Customer Service.

Monday, April 30
Them: “Hello, this is Davidson’s Chevrolet in Rome (author’s note- caller ID says they’re calling from Watertown, over 80 miles away) and we’d like to let you know that the part you ordered has arrived. Could you please call and schedule a time to bring your car in?”
Me (ignoring the fact that she wants me to hang up and call back to schedule an appointment): “Uh, the car is already there. You looked at the problem, determined that you needed to order a part and so you did. Can you just go ahead and install it?”
Them: “I’ll call parts.”
Me: “Shouldn’t you call service?”
Them: “Yes. Thank you. Good-bye.”

Wednesday, May 2
Earl: “Hello, I’m calling to check the status of my car. The part has been in since Monday. Has it been installed?”
Them: “We are waiting for you to bring the car in.”
Earl: “You’ve had the car for the past week.”
Them: “We don’t know where it is.”


Thursday, April 26
Earl at the bank: “I’d like to apply for a home improvement loan.” (patio and landscaping)
HSBC: “No problem.”
They complete the application, Earl signs his life away.
HSBC: “We’ll have an answer for you on Friday, Monday at the latest. I’ll call your cell phone when I have an answer.”

Wednesday, May 2
Earl (after searching 45 minutes for the local branch phone number, since HSBC only wants you to call Singapore, Pakistan or India, depending on who’s cheapest today): “I’m calling for the status of my loan application. It’s been almost a week and I was told that I would have an answer by Monday at the latest.”
HSBC: “We don’t have any record of a loan application.”

This, gentle readers, is one of the many reasons that Old Glory is going right down the tubes. Lousy customer service has become commonplace and fully accepted in our society and no one gives a care.

This is just plain wrong.



I think I am going to go postal. I am ready to lose my mind. I am ready to grab the closest thing I can find that resembles Excalibur and run out into the lawn and begin screaming at the sun. “Why are you doing this? Why can’t people see this isn’t right? Why? Why? Why? Why?”

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for this area. It is in effect until tomorrow morning. We will see lots of rain, sleet and snow before all is said and done.

I am so sick of this whacked out weather that I am ready to seriously lose my mind and not in a funny ha ha sort of way. Are they fucking kidding me? Snow? Lots of snow? On April 12?

I don’t give a flying fuck. I’m not plowing the driveway. I’m not shoveling one single, solitary flake of it. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’ve had it. I’m done with it.

And if I hear one moron utter something like, “Where’s this global warming you liberals keep chirping about?”, they will lose their head and it will not be done in a pretty matter.

And while I’m at it, if I get one more spam comment on this blog that incoherently screeches about the virtues of credit cards I am going to lose my mind. I will download viruses and I will just start e-mailing all over creation at these idiots until they plead and beg for mercy.

And since I’m all fired up, if I hear one more newsbrief about Imus’ idiotic racial comments I am going to rip the knobs off the nearest radio and mail them somewhere important. Between clips of Elisabeth from The View saying he should get a “time out” (someone should give the American public a reprive from her stupidity) to those interviewed on the street who obviously have to briefed as to who Imus even is, it’s enough to make a person gag. The man is an idiot and said some idiotic things. Get over it. (And yes, I would feel the exact same way if he said similarly spirited remarks about gays.) If you don’t like him, change the channel. You don’t even have to walk to the television and turn the knob, just sit on your lazy ass and click the remote. They tout “As a broadcaster, he should be ‘responsible’.” Please. Someone. Get. A. Life. He can say what he wants. His job is to say what he wants. Don’t like it, change the channel. I keep changing the channel trying to escape the coverage of his comments but it’s everywhere. At least Imus is confined to one network.

Where’s Don Knotts and his magic remote? I want to be in black and white. I want to go to Pleasantville. I want a malt with Wally Cleaver. I’m sick of this static we call the present.


Later Come Early.

I’ve been desperately been trying to avoid the subject this entire week but I can no longer hold my breath. In the infinite wisdom of the United States Government, the dreaded Daylight Saving Time starts this Sunday at 2:00 a.m.

Now look it. It’s bad enough that we’re subjected to this flip flopping of the hours twice a year as it is. Since 1986 it has taken place the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. Now in an effort to distract the American public further from things that really matter (“don’t look at that war behind the curtain!”), now we’re moving the clock around the second Sunday of March until the second or third Sunday in November (I don’t remember the specifics because in all honesty I wish I couldn’t care less.)

This new configuration of DST is part of the latest energy bill to get passed through Washington. Because of this new approach, electronic calendars and various clocks are going to be skewed for the next three weeks while we all decide whether we should eat breakfast or lunch before going to bed because it’s dark when it shouldn’t be and light when it can’t be.

I wish I could get away from the trouble by jumping a time zone or two but that would interfere with my college courses which I’ll probably have to take by candlelight because the timers on the classroom lights won’t know what time it is. Oh it’ll look like nighttime but in reality it’ll be 9 a.m.

Here’s how time is suppose to work: “noon” is when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky. That’s what “noon” is. For convenience sake we use a rough estimate of this so that cities like Syracuse, N.Y. have the same “noon” as Toledo, Ohio, though in actuality “noon” should be several minutes apart.

But now our “noon” will be 1 p.m. By doing this, according to the government, we use less energy because we don’t use as many lights in the evening when we’re awake out playing in the snow. (Unless, as someone mentioned on their blog that they overheard in a conversation, the extra hour of sunlight melts the snow faster.)

So next week when you’re stumbling around in the dark, late for work because someone has frigged around with the clock, remember that it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. I don’t know why you should remember that but I find that it helps me get through the day.

At least last year’s rant was later.

Not Sure.

This afternoon I embarked on a rarely traveled boulevard in our happy little home; I cleaned the master bathroom from top to bottom and left to right. To make the task even more enjoyable, I turned on the bedroom television and tuned in Lifetime around 4:30, expecting to catch “The Golden Girls”. I surprised to find that they were running their new game show, “Gay, Straight or Taken” in it’s place.

Ugh. I think.

First of all, this program has all the earmarks of that trainwreck “Boy Meets Boy” with a revolving cast. I think it’s kind of demeaning to all parties involved for the primary contestant to have to figure out who’s gay, who’s straight and who’s taken. This afternoon’s female participant was particularly clueless, because she didn’t guess the correct guy for being the gay one and used the “let me see your fingernails” urban legend as one aspect of her barometer. Please. I had the gay one picked out within the first 15 seconds. He had more chiffon shooting out of his mouth than Marilyn Monroe, and he went a little wild about the woman’s purse pooch that she was carrying. All that was missing was the flashing neon pink triangle flashing over his head.

“Ring, ring.” It’s the cluephone, and it’s for you, Miss Contestant.

She picked the well groomed guy as the gay one. That’s so 1999.

Anyway, I’m not going to go out of my way to search out another one of these episodes. I feel like it was 30 minutes of my life that I won’t get back.

But at least I got the toilet clean in the process.

Just A Couple of Things.

I have a few rants brewing in my psyche today. I’ve been debating them a little bit, trying to decide if it was healthier for me to blow off some steam or to keep it all in and just deal with it.

I’ve decided to blow off some steam.

First of all, let’s start with the fellow drivers on the road. As automotive technology increases apparently the motorist’s common sense decreases. In New York, like many other states, you must turn on your headlights when your windshield wipers are on. It’s a law that makes sense to me; usually when it’s raining it’s dark enough or visibility is reduced enough to warrant the use of headlights. But because cars are becoming smarter than the drivers, motorists are relying on cars to turn their own lights on instead of having a human exerting the effort of turn the little knob on the turn signal stalk. This results in daytime running lights being on but not the actual head and taillights. So the purpose of the law is lost. I noticed a correlation this morning, the more expensive or bigger the vehicle, the less likely that the headlights will be on.

Secondly, combining this overly marketed, ad laden world with the ultra PC vibe we’ve got going on lately is making “normal” people feel ugly. Every commercial, every brochure, every pamphlet has picture perfect people with picture perfect teeth plastered on whatever the marketing material happens to be in a perfectly diverse group setting. There’s a man. There’s a woman. There’s a white person. There’s an African American person. There’s an Asian person. Where’s the drag queen? The Bosnian? The Italian? The Native American? The Cello Player? I’m sorry, but if you’re going to market to me, market to me in a realistic manner and just put *people* on the brochure. Quite frankly, I don’t care what race or sex you are when you’re trying to sell me something I probably don’t need. Just make it look normal. I realize that it’s quite easy for me to say that from my point of view, but just don’t insult my intelligence by making things appear to be all unified when there’s people killing each other all over the world for stupid shit.

And lastly, software developers really need to stop taking the above mentioned ratio of people and plastering them in software simply because they can. In my job I use a web based software program provided by a really big, mean, nasty telephone company that rhymes with “Horizon”. Said software program is peppered with pictures of Asian women smiling everywhere. I have no idea why, but there they are on screen after screen, smiling. They’re usually in mildly seductive poses whilst wearing an operator’s headset. I have nothing against Asian women, in fact, I find them to be quite attractive but c’mon, I’m running a line test for Betty Lou’s residential phone line, I don’t need a face staring at me while I’m doing it.

Thank you for listening. I feel loads better.

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It’s Not In Stock.

With Mother Nature not being very cooperative for this holiday, Earl and I decided to just relax and do stuff around the house today. One of the projects I embarked on was working in and on my music studio. I rearranged the layout of the equipment to make it a little more ergonomically friendly and made room for some gadgets that I’ve had my eye on for awhile.

After getting everything in it’s new place, I decided that I needed to replace my headphones. I’ve been using the same headphones from my radio days and they’re pretty much shot. I can’t complain as they’re almost 16 years old and have had a lot of use over the years, so they’ll always have a place in my studio, even if it’s just for nostalgia’s sake. But unfortunately the speakers just don’t sound right anymore with almost all of the bass gone and one side clunking around a bit when you move the set. So I went to the local Circuit City to take a look and see what they have. I found a sweet deal on a pair of Bose headphones that I’ve read great things about so I thought I’d get these and get back to being creative tonight.

Let me explain a few things about our local Circuit City. First of all, it’s at the only mall left here in the area. It was built in the mid 1990s. Even though it’s attached to the mall, there’s no entrance from the mall, only from the outside. So if you’re shopping in the mall, you have to go outside if you want to go to Circuit City.

Secondly, like all the other “big box” stores in this area, we get the “Barbie’s Dream House” version of Circuit City, being built to approximately 2/3 scale of a regular store found elsewhere. We have less of a selection to choose from in less space. It’s really quite convenient.

And last but not least, the fine folks at Circuit City felt that we didn’t really need the pesky retail feature known as “checkouts”, leaving us to maul any commission paid lackie wandering around the store and begging him/her to take us to one of three department kiosks to allow US to pay THEM for the items we’ve already selected.

Headphones and a USB hub in hand, I finally tracked down an associate so that I could pay and be on my way. I was told that it would be faster to go to the service desk to checkout. Something about a break and a statement that was punctuated with the snap some neon colored gum.


After waiting for about 10 minutes and watching the lone cashier juggle several customers at once, my turn finally came. She scanned the headphones and then frowned at the computer screen as it made several beeping noises that did not sound friendly. She plunked a few keys on the keyboard and then looked at me.

“Uh, these aren’t in stock.”

I looked at her for a moment and said, “They’re in your hand, hence, they must be in stock.” I even smiled.

“The computer says we’re all out.”

“But you’re holding on to the set that I just picked up off the shelf.”

“Unfortunately I can’t sell these because they’re out of stock”, she responded, looking down at the headphones like it was a dead minnow or something. “It’s a computer thing.”

Getting ready to go ballistic but remarkably keeping my cool, I calmly said, dare I say almost whispered, “Since I’m ready to plunk down a sizeable chunk of change for a pair of headphones, is there a manager or something that can do an override?”

“I guess so”, she responded, irked because I was asking her to do something as crazy as sell me something.

After another seven minutes of more customer juggling, repeated phone calls and whatnot, I just left the store, empty handed, without saying another word. I had completely lost interest in buying the headphones and could not believe that I was actually arguing to give Circuit City our money.

I’m sticking to the Apple store from now on. Even if the closest one is 90 miles away.