I. Q. Optional

Answers = $1.00
Answers which require thought = $2.00
Correct answers = $5.00
Dumb looks are still free!

You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.  Think!  Damn it. Think!

The Kindly Hermudgeon had a post recently about the asshattery that she went through trying to get an item at the correct price from Toys R Expensive Us.  It took three clerks, in two stores, but, I had an afternoon which almost matched hers.

The thing which most irritated me was not that there was an error.  It was not even that they didn’t see what the error was, and kept compounding it.  What really blew the wind up my kilt was the lack of concern for a customer’s problem and needs.  Ain’t the customer always right?  For at least one of these clerks, the customer didn’t even exist.

The wife and I went out to do a bit of shopping.  A couple of the things we wanted were on sale at two stores in a nearby plaza.  Being Canadian, we first went to Canadian Tire.  For Americans, these are like an Ace Hardware or a Target store.  They started years ago with automotive parts, and now sell everything from sporting goods to groceries.  We needed toilet paper, so that you can’t claim I’m full of s**t.  They had 24-packs of Charmin, Extra-soft, in blue packs or Extra-strong, in red packs, for $8.88.  There were none on the shelves but, as we gained the center aisle, there was a display of Charmin.  I grabbed a red pack and threw it into the cart with the other Items.  The wife noticed that these packs were 16s, and selling for $9.88.  Not as good as 24 for $8.88, but still a decent price.  If these were in a separate display, perhaps the 24s were too, so I went to customer service to ask where I might find them.  She paged someone and asked if there was a display.  After about five minutes she got a reply back that there were none on the shelf.  That’s Not What We Asked!!

The wife and I went to check out.  As the TP was scanned, the wife noticed that we were charged $10.99, rather than the shown price of $9.88.  She told the clerk that she wanted it priced at the displayed amount.  Little Miss Snippy-Nose informed us that, “Sometimes people just put the wrong stuff with the sales items.”  I told her that this was a store display, with at least twenty of each type in the big pile.  She paged someone to go check.  As we waited for a reply, the wife reminded her that it was in the center aisle.  She told whoever answered that we wanted to know if the red packs in the center aisle were displayed at $9.88.  Three minutes later, we got the reply that there were none on the shelf.  Again she asked the other clerk if the red packs in the center aisle display were priced at $9.88.  Two minutes later, the clerk showed up with a blue pack in her hand.  I asked her why she had brought it.  “Well, she said you wanted the one that was $9.88.  That’s what this one came up.”  THAT’S NOT WHAT SHE ASKED!!

I took the blue pack from her hand and told her to follow me.  We went to the display, and I pointed to the big price sign and said, “Does that say that all these packs are for sale at $9.88??”  She whipped out her radar gun and zapped a blue pack.  “It says that these come up $9.88.”  “What about the red ones??”  She zapped one of those.  “These come up $9.99.”  “$9.99??  Then why does the checkout want to charge me $10.99?”  “Oh, sometimes there’s a computer error.”  “That’s what I’ve been saying all along.  I want to buy my package for the $9.88 that’s shown here.”  “Well, what do you want ME to do?” (whine, whine)  “I want you to go to the checkout and tell the clerk that they are shown at $9.88, and tell her to do whatever is necessary with the till, to accomplish that!”

When I left, there were three or four potential customers behind us.  When I got back, I was not surprised to find the line empty.  Perhaps that was what had caught the attention of the mature, female, check-out manager.  She looked at the clerk that I had led by the nose.  “Are they displayed at $9.88?”  “Yes, ma’am.”  She looked at the checkout clerk.  “Highlight the item. Void it. Punch in the product code.  Push Over-ride and enter the correct amount.”  See how easy it was?  From start to finish, I wasted half an hour for $1.11.  Paid at less than two and a quarter an hour.  I’m 67.  I don’t have that many half-hours to waste any more.

We finally took our correctly priced merchandise, placed it in the trunk of our car and drove across the parking lot to the Shoppers Drug Mart on the other side.   Local politicians, eager to appear eco-friendly, have passed laws allowing stores to charge five cents for plastic bags.  Many stores sell their own shopping bags.  My wife is a bit compulsive.  Usually we can’t go into a Wal-Mart with a Staples bag, but this time we took in two Canadian Tire bags, to hold some chips that were on sale.

I put the two shopping bags down first, so that she wouldn’t pack in plastic. Then I put a couple of bags of chips on the counter, and turned and leaned into the cart to get more, when the clerk asked me a question.  I just received two, brand-new, electronic hearing-aids.  I heard what she said, but the question was so stupid that I must have misunderstood.  I asked her to repeat it, and she said, “Are these new, or are they yours?”  She had her hand on my shopping bags, and had pushed them down the counter until they were touching the display of Shoppers Drug Mart bags.

“They are not new, and they are mine.”  “Oh I just wondered if you wanted to buy them.”  I pointed to the display she was touching.  “Mine are cloth.  They are black, and they have a Canadian Tire logo on them.  Yours are plastic.  They are green.  They are three-quarters the size of mine and they have Shoppers Drug Mart logos on them.”  “Oh. I didn’t look.”

Despite the fact that my Neurologist told me that I don’t have one, as Jeff Foxworthy says, “What does an aneurism feel like?”  After an afternoon of service (?) like that, I’m pretty sure I could work one up.

W.T.F. Inc.

BrainRants has written about some of “those people” who don’t even have to go out of their way to piss the rest of us off, in an office environment.  Some of these asshats are inspired naturals, who keep the pot of pass-me-another-ammo-clip, filled to the brim.  Since he, and others, have covered the irksome, I felt I might expound about the odd but entertaining.  Anyone who has ever worked in an office will recognise some of these people.

When I was much younger, I worked at a metal fabrication plant.  What with sales orders, purchase orders, drawings, specs, billings, and general correspondence, there was enough work for a full-time file clerk.  The old gal who was there when I started had been with them since the days of quill and vellum.  She hadn’t turned 65, but her husband had, and he wanted to retire to Florida, or Buttfuckistan, so she gave two weeks notice that she was quitting.

I just lost the young crowd again.  Nowadays, there is no “notice”!  Especially with computers, it is so easy for a dissatisfied employee to seriously screw an employer.  If I were quitting, I’d order a lifetime supply of Mongolian porn and arrange for 87 loads of manure to be dumped in the parking lot.  As soon as you indicate that you’re quitting, an armed guard escorts you out of the building, while a couple of your “friends” ransack your desk, keep all the good stuff, and bring you the pitiful balance in a cardboard box.

The office manager interviewed a number of possible replacements, and settled on one in particular.  It’s hard to judge someone from four desks away, but she seemed like a nice person.  She started the next Monday to get a week’s training, and then Betty Rubble disappeared.

Dictionary.com just had a post about the name of the song we all sing when we do our ABCs.  It’s Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  In the discussion thread, I was interested to note a significant number of people who admitted that they had to sing the song, aloud or in their minds, to know that D went before E, or S before T.

It was painful to see the new clerk perched on a wheeled stool, in front of the filing cabinets all day, her lips moving as if in prayer.  She had a desk, but never got back to it except to pick up another pile of paper.  The old clerk had made it look easy.  Of course, when she started, there were only 15 letters in the alphabet.  She had time for three unauthorized smoke breaks a day, as well as finishing 15/30 minutes early, to gossip with the receptionist.  At the end of the first week, the new gal was behind by a pile of files almost as tall as she was.

At the beginning of the second week, the office manager took her desk calendar and wrote the alphabet in black marker, across the top.  It always sat on top of the cabinets as she worked.  That, and some assistance from a couple of the other clerks, and by the end of the second week, she was caught up and managed to stay that way.  I know jobs can be hard to find but, maybe that job was one she shouldn’t have applied for.

The company president travelled on business, and needed the paid travel invoices for tax purposes.  His secretary came out one day to look for one for a trip booked through Clare Miller Travel Agency.  The two of them searched and searched.  No file for Miller and nothing in M misc.  No file for Clare, and nothing in C misc.  No file for Agency, and nothing in A misc.  No file for Travel, they even looked for Ticket, nothing in T misc.  Finally, the irked secretary demanded, “If you had an invoice for Clare Miller Travel Agency, where would you file it?”  The response came back, “What color would it be?”  What side of your desk do you put your coffee on?  What difference does it make?  “Well,” she said, When I can’t find where things go, I look for other invoices the same color, and file it with them.”  Two weeks later we had a new, literate, file clerk.

This office was the first one I worked in that was air-conditioned, a pleasant perk on hot summer days.  It had been installed after the building itself was built, so some of the windows still opened.  Winters were when the problem surfaced.  There were two women in the office who were constantly fighting about the temperature.  This was also the first place where I saw one of those lockable Plexiglas covers installed over the thermostat.  I have carried a work knife since I was twelve.  Cheeky Monkey!  I knew how to use the blade to change the setting.  I never did it, and I never told either of the hens that I knew how.  What made it ironically amusing was that, the one with the short-sleeved blouse, at the desk beside the panoply of windows at the front (one of which she insisted on keeping cracked open), was the one who was too hot.  The one with the desk in the back corner, bundled up in two sweaters, beside the steam radiator, was the one who was always too cold.  A nice, constant 72 F, winter and summer.  Not having been issued ovaries, I never understood.

I see a few of you nodding your heads.  You’ve worked with some of these WTFs in your time too.  Perhaps we’ll wander down Nostalgia Lane and visit a couple more another day.

Alas! In Medical Wonderland

The tale of my eyesight, and lack thereof, has morphed through more iterations than a TV pilot.  It has gone from being a potential tragedy, to an ongoing drama.  Now fortunately, it seems to have decided to become a bit of a mystery/comedy.

The MRI that I had, showed nothing, so I had to go ahead with the lumbar puncture.  The women who have delivered children with an epidural are now saying, Yeah!  Go ahead with it, you wimp.  Not ever having suspected that I would need one, I have not paid a lot of attention to them.  All I knew was that a lot of people thought they were painful.

I was told that I should be at the hospital by 11:30.  Since there is always paperwork, I got the wife and I there by 11:20, figuring that they’ll probably be late anyway.  I was told by the doctor’s office, to go to Day surgery registration, so that is where I presented myself.  The receptionist there felt that I was in the wrong place, and sent me to Radiology reception.  The Radiology receptionist called Day surgery and politely told her that she was an idiot, and that she was sending me back up.  Back at Day surgery, I got registered, got my chart and my fancy wristbands, one red because of allergy, and was sent back up the hall to Day surgery reception.  Now I’ll get something done, I thought.  Silly optimist.

Reception told me to take a seat and wait.  After about ten minutes, I got called…. and was escorted to Day surgery administration, where I sat in front of another clerk, with another computer and was asked the same questions that I had already answered over at registration, and were on my chart.  Apparently my procedure wasn’t scheduled till 1:00 PM.  I had to suffer the vampire thing again so that they could do some last-minute blood checks but, the bulk of the extra hour and a half was to allow for bureaucratic inefficiency.  At least I went to the operating room on time.

Two female techs got me up on the table, with a pillow under my ample tummy to open a gap between the bones.  One of them placed cabalistic runes on my back with a Sharpie, and then the doctor came in.  She told me that she was going to give me a freezing shot.  She said, “This will sting and burn for ten to fifteen….”  MINUTES??!!  No! Seconds, you wuss.  Suck it up.  It did sting and burn, but not badly, and only for 3 to 4 seconds.  With the internal scar tissue from my shoulder implant, I had a problem getting my left arm up on the table to straighten the spine.

She told me not to move suddenly.  No problem for ten or fifteen minutes, but twice she just touched the sciatic nerve, and I got a lightning bolt through my butt and scrotum and down to my left knee.  I didn’t actually jump, but there was a sudden breath sucked in.  She took the pressure of the fluid.  I asked, and was reassured that it was normal, as was the look of the fluid, nice and clear.  Then she wanted to draw some off for bacterial and/or viral culture.  She got the first, larger amount easily, but the second, smaller amount just didn’t seem to want to seep out.  They finally tipped the top of the table up to produce a head.  I was worried they might start shaking me up and down.  I dealt with the whole procedure with relaxation and humor, and the gals told me that I did both them and me a favour, no short or long-term problems, no pain.  Well, just a little bit.

A week later I went back to the Neurologist for a follow-up visit.  I found him pleasantly bemused.  He told me that, with the symptoms I was exhibiting when I first went in, he was ready to throw me in the trunk of his car and drive me an hour up the highway to the University Medical Hospital, for, either optic or brain surgery.  Having looked at the results of all the tests, he is bewildered.  He is happy, but apologised for not having a positive diagnosis.  I do not have a brain tumor.  I have not had a stroke.  I do not have cerebral bleeding, an aneurism or blocked brain drainage ducts.  Neither the bacterial or viral cultures showed anything.  I am truly a conundrum to the poor doctor.  To be honest and fair, I am to my wife and family, and the rest of society, also.

He advised me that, should this occur again, I should immediately contact him or go to Emergency for a spinal tap while the problem is happening.  He offered two possible answers, but was not happy with either.  The “Flu” I had, might have been caused by a meningococcal bacterium, which could have caused a meningitis-like inflammation.  The other thing he mentioned was “benign intra-cranial hypertension.”  I asked if that was caused by thinking too hard.  This is almost always suffered by young women who put on a lot of weight at the beginning of a pregnancy.  I didn’t fit any of those slots, so that possibility is unlikely.

He showed the wife and I the brain slices from the MRI, on his computer.  He stated that my brain is normal, and my wife snorted.  He said, whenever he states that the man’s brain is normal, the wife ALWAYS laughs.  My eyesight is back to almost normal.  This saga seems to be concluding with no unhappy ending, so it’s my turn to laugh.  Onward and upward!  Excelsior!