What Is It With That?
By: Wayne Brown
I don’t know if it’s me or the world. Maybe it’s a combination of me and the world or me in the world. Maybe it’s just because I am becoming more of a relic than a fad. For a long time, I think I must have been unobservant or more tolerant in my approach to the world. Otherwise, I have to conclude that the world around has changed significantly. And, might I add, it has changed in such a fashion that too often it just pisses me off to watch what goes on around me. More and more I wonder, ‘what is it with that?
Take Wal-Mart for example. They build stores that I have to assume are designed with the utmost efficiency of merchandising built into their boundaries. Then, they turn right around and waste a whole bunch of that precious space by installing a jillion checkout counters that they never seem to have staffed. They are like an empty promise sitting there. A deserted ghost town on the prairie, not a soul around. It is like they are sending you the subliminal message, ‘these are the checkout stands we intend to use someday when our customer base grows much larger’. Well, that starts to make sense until you look around the store and realize that they did not include the future space in the store for all the extra merchandise they will need when the new customers show up. So, I ask ‘what is it with that?’
You head down the big city freeway in the morning. The traffic is bumper to bumper in every lane as it is every day at this time. You turn on your patience switch, choose a comfortable lane, and move along with the traffic flow. Here comes some dude from behind weaving in and out of traffic, cutting people off, and generally showing his ass to be one dumb cracker in every way. He is driving 20 mph over the post speed and pissed at everyone because they are in his way. You saw him yesterday and he will be here again tomorrow. He always gets to the same off ramp that you take about two car lengths ahead of you but he manages to piss off everyone he encounters on the way. Although I consider myself a rational person, it is beginning to make good sense to me to locate former postal employees at strategic points above the freeway equipped with deer rifles who are instructed to show no mercy as they methodically take these folks out of the traffic flow permanently. Now, I ask you, ‘what is it with that?’
I like to treat myself to a cup of coffee from the 7-Eleven each morning on my way to the office. I slip right in, head to the coffee bar, pick up a cup, throw one container of the hazelnut coffee creamer into the bottom of the cup, pour the coffee in over it, attach the lid, and I am off on another adventure for the day. My coffee tastes the same, every morning and that’s a comfort to me. Now, there are those mornings when I arrive at the 7-Eleven only to find that both sides of the coffee bar are saturated with about a half-dozen Hispanic housepainters and landscapers who are making a cup of coffee for themselves. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem. Oh, but it is! Now, we all know that six Mexicans can sheetrock, tape/bed, texture, paint and mow the front yard at the Alamo in less than an hour and a half. Well, I’m here to tell you that they damn sure can’t seem to make a cup of coffee! Every single time I encounter them in the act of getting coffee, it is the same story. They take the cup, they pour in the coffee, add a bag of sugar, stir, taste it, add a creamer, stir, taste it, add a bag of sugar, stir, taste it, add a creamer, stir, taste it, add a bag of sugar…well, you get the idea. Now, these are the same guys that I saw at the same 7-Eleven yesterday getting coffee and they were doing the same thing. Whatever happen to the processes of simple counting and common-sense reasoning. Duh! It took three bags of sugar and two creamers for my coffee yesterday so one would think that I would just throw that number in and stir my coffee, put a lid on it, and get the hell down the road. I have never seen a group of people who know more about what they like and less and less about how to make it than these guys. Now, I ask you, ‘what is it with that?’
I call the ‘1-800’ number listed on the package to talk with the company’s customer service people about why the universal attachment that I just bought does not seem to fit on the piece of equipment that I own. As is the norm in this great techno-logical age, the phone is not answered by a real person. No, instead I get an automated system that professes to actually understand the spoken word. Now, this computer generated pleasant female sounding voice cannot shut the hell up long enough for me to give her the information that she is asking that I speak into the telephone. Every time I start to say something, the bitch starts running her mouth again issuing me more instructions or telling me that she did not understand what I have not yet had the opportunity to say. Now, after we go round and round and round for a while and I finally lose it and start shouting ‘CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE’ into the phone, I actually get a reply telling me to hold for a transfer to a customer service representative. There is a brief pause on the line which includes pre-recorded elevator music for my listening pleasure. Then just at the point I think I may actually be getting to speak to a real person, a recorded voice comes on the line and says, ‘all customer service representatives are busy at this time, please call back at a more convenient time’ and hangs up on me. Now, I have to wonder why they even bothered to spend all this money to eliminate the real live person who use to answer this phone. Why didn’t they just not answer when I called if they were that damn busy! The same result would have been achieved. Either way, I’m pissed-off. That’s what you call customer service these days. Now, I ask you, ‘what is it with that?’
You know that I could go on and on as you probably could. We are told that we now live in a better world. That modern day professionals have a better understanding of us and our needs. Technology has exceeded all boundaries of the old days and convenience waits at our fingertips. Yet, I seemed to get pissed-off on a daily basis. Now, I ask you, ‘what is it with that?’