Thursday, August 21, 2008

(Minor) Bitches, Moans, and Complaints...

So… after four or five days of wonderfully balmy weather… for these parts, and I’m talking mid-70s to low-80s, in August (!)… it’s “back on your heads, coffee break’s over.” It’s supposed to be 92 today, and I believe we’re quite close to that as I peck out the oh-so-late Thursday post (we’re at 89, I just looked). Which means Happy Hour will be just a lil bit delayed, at least until the sun sinks low enough to be obscured by the trees. I’m looking forward to Happy Hour more than usual today, as the Brown Truck of Happiness stopped by early this afternoon and dropped off my latest shipment of cigars. It should be interesting, as I’m gonna fire up one of those pricey Gurkha Titans and see if the reality of the smoke matches its rather princely sum… which is about three times what I consider usual, customary, and reasonable. I’ll report back, either tomorrow or later today. Tomorrow is much more likely.
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I posted a minor bitch last month about the Cannon AFB Class VI store, mostly about their piss-poor beer inventory and stocking practices. I had a follow-on conversation with the manager of the Class VI on the next beer run following my bitch-moan-complain post, and was told that Trippel (which they’d been out of for a month or so) was a “seasonal” beer and was routinely replaced by New Belgium’s Mothership Wit during the summer. (Minor digression: I bought a sixer of Mothership… and while it’s about as close to “light” beer as I get these days, it won’t become a regular occupant in my fridge, as it’s just too light for my tastes.)
So… imagine my surprise this past week when I see LOTS of Trippel on their shelves! Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I quietly picked up two sixers of Trippel and just thanked my lucky stars, while simultaneously cursing the manager (under my breath, of course) for lying to me… apparently. Summer ain’t over, AFAIK, and all indications would seem to verify that fact, including New Belgium their-own-selves and my calendar. So why did that woman lie to me?
And, apropos of nothing, it’s Official: Trippel is now the Beer of Choice here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington. Fat Tire has been displaced. The King is dead. Long Live the King!
―:☺:―
Here’s another brief “customer service” tale o’ woe…
Earlier this week I stopped into Subway and bought a sandwich. The clerk, a young 20-something woman... or possibly in her late teens... prepared my order and rang up my purchase. So far, so good.
My bill came to seven Yankee Dollars and 48 cents. I handed the clerk a Jackson, two quarters, a nickel and three pennies. My attempt at reducing the loose change in my pocket apparently confused the Hell out of her, as she looked at me quizzically as she deftly keyed in the amount tendered. You could actually see the light bulb go off over her head as she did so. But then we went downhill, and rapidly, at that. She handed me my dime in change and closed the cash register drawer. Before I could ask “where’s my 13 dollars?” she sez… “Oh, damn!” and then spends the next minute punching all SORTS of keys on the register in a vain attempt to re-open it. “You don’t have a ‘no sale’ key?” I ask. “No,” says she… still punching keys feverishly. Finally she sez “I’ll have to call the manager.” “Wait,” sez I… “sell me a cookie.” “Hunh?” says she. And then… it’s light bulb time, Part Deux. I hand the girl three pennies while laying a dollar bill on the counter. “It’s fifty-three cents,” says she. I heave a deep, deep sigh and tap the dollar bill on the counter, not wanting to confuse the issue further by asking her to take the price of the cookie out of my overdue 13 dollars in change. I’d probably still be at Subway, had I suggested that course of action…
Do I fear for the next generation and the nation, as a whole? Yes. Yes, I DO.

13 comments:

  1. Ah yes. If you do the "get rid of the pennies" thing, do NOT use a Jackson. If you use a Jackson AND do the get rid of pennies thing, keep your mouth SHUT while she works the register. Otherwise, that twelve- or thirteen-dollar thing will happen every single time.

    Of course, you did keep your silence while she worked it and she messed up anyway. Oh well. Sometimes Murphy is out there waiting for you and there isn't a lot you can do about it.

    You can mess things up the other way too. Last night my son was doing his homework, writing out decimal numbers. Here's where the smart people get tripped up: Where the test demands an empathic connection between the test taker and the test maker. Great example: "Write out one hundred and seventy-seven thousands." Poor kid did exactly what I think I did when I was his age: "100.077." I said no, I think they're after something else. Try to see if there's another way to interpret that. He does it again. And again. And again. Technically he is correct. Trouble is, the person who made the test didn't even realize the statement is ambiguous. So it's up to the test-taker to figure it out.

    What's heartbreaking about it is, having his ailment and having gone all the way through the school system with whatever-ya-call-this, I know that when you develop the ability to detect there might be more than one way to interpret an instruction, that is really where all the grief begins. Because that's when everything starts to get confusing for you, when they're crystal clear to everyone else. And that really SUCKS. Oh well, too bad he has to suffer my fate, the only way out is through.

    Your cashier lady -- her problem is she was taught by procedure instead of by concept. That probably means she demonstrated to someone, this is the only way she could be taught. That's how things are done nowadays. I'm glad you were there, to help her make sure her register came out right at the end of her shift. ;-)

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  2. It's always too hot here in Vegas in the summer. Always.

    I have to admit, I used to have issues with doing math in my head, even when it came to money. Working as the beverage cart lady on a golf course for a few months rapidly brought me up to speed, plus it was nice to be the most popular gal around!

    On the whole I do worry about the future of our nation. As my daughter put it one time as she looked around her in history class, after the teacher addressed the students with, "YOU are the future of America!"...Oh, my God! We're doomed!

    I have no comment on the beer thing, other than congrats on finding a new favorite!
    I'm an anomaly as a German. I hate beer. And wine. And pretty much all alcohol. I just don't like the taste. Plus my budget wouldn't have room for it anyway!

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  3. I wouldn't be too hard on the poor girl. Those new register things are just way too complicated. Try ordering a cheesburger and McD's and the cashier has got to push about 13 buttons just to get your order entered.

    Actually, I can remember doing the exact same thing when I worked at Wal-mart some 20 years ago. There is no way to open those things without calling a manager or making a sale. What I did was to ring up the next person in line, then get the first person's change out while the drawer was open. It was still faster than trying to get a manager over there.

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  4. I understand your frustration with the Subway woman. Just don't forget that there are significant risks involved in being (even perceived as) rude to food service workers. We have no choice but to grin and bear it. :)

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  5. "Oh my God! We're doomed!" LOL! I think that could be applied more than one generation, though!

    Buck, I think you might have been witnessing a math panic attack there at Subway. I recognize the symptoms, having experienced many of those in my younger days. I've been susceptible to it since grade 3. Panic affects logical thinking so I wouldn't be surprised if the poor thing was so embarrassed that she was madly punching cash register keys in random order just so that it would look like she was doing something. (Doesn't Subway have those cash registers in use that do the thinking for people?) Your idea for buying a cookie allowed her to "reset" her brain, too. Brilliant! :)

    I did get to be competent in making change after more work experience and I even trained people later on who had that trouble. Although, if I got a real jerk who jangled me emotionally, I could still revert to staring at the money like a deer in the headlights until I could pull myself together.

    Many young folks don't learn it at all anymore because of the new registers - just like using calculators makes many of us forget how to do calculations in our heads.

    Here's a fun site for people like her as well as the interesting comment section I found it on. Practicing with real money is always best, though. If she practices, it'll suddenly "make sense" and she'll be able to get through those scary moments after building some confidence.
    Fun Brain
    How to make change

    And so what the heck am I doing? Asking you to run on down to the Subway and help out the cashier? (Sheesh, mind your own beeswax, Bec)

    Mike, you are a real trooper, hanging in there with your son. That problem confused me for a moment too. I think it is because I assumed that the word "and" meant "decimal." You're right that it has to do with communication. Now, if they had asked, "Write out the decimal..." I would have been okay. I think. I always hated those word problems because I could never figure out...
    Wow, I just found this online. I sure could have used this when I was in school!
    Purple math

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  6. My math abilities have always been bad. I have a difficult time with numbers in my head - I just cannot hold them there. If you added any pressure to that, I would definitely have a brain freeze. Because I worked a job giving change when I was younger, I can do it. It takes repetition and training.

    I was the third person back in a line at McDonalds once when the person at the head of the line began yelling at the Mickey D worker. I could understand the customer's frustration, but it was a bit embarrassing to hear his fit. The customer in front of me turned to me and said, "You know, they don't hire rocket scientists here." How very true!

    Drink a beer, smoke a good cigar and enjoy the cool of the evening.

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  7. Ahh, must be a P-ville graduate! LOL!

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  8. Morgan: Nice illustrations, and, like Bec, I sympathize with you and your son's plight... most especially your son's. Good on ya for the coaching and explanations your providing. I don't think anyone would be better-equipped than you to deal with this.

    Christina sez: It's always too hot here in Vegas in the summer. Always.

    I hear that. SN1 did a TDY (temporary duty) to Nellis this summer and mentioned this fact about 127 times. He also mentioned y'all get more wind than we do, a fact I had a hard time accepting. But I did. Accept it.

    Your daughter's comment ("We're doomed!") made me laugh, and your comment about you failing to live up to your German heritage made me cry. But then again, I wasn't a big beer drinker myself until I hit 35, went to England, and found out what real beer is all about!

    Becky: I'll take your word on the register complications. Calling a manager, in this specific case, would have been a real BIG deal, as she was reaching for her phone to literally "call the manager." I can only speculate about what sort of cluster-frick would have ensued then...

    Amy sez: Just don't forget that there are significant risks involved in being (even perceived as) rude to food service workers. We have no choice but to grin and bear it. :)

    Ooooh... right you ARE. But I did remain polite and non-threatening. Helpful, even. Coz I'm just basically a good guy. ;-)

    Bec: I know, fer shure, she was having a panic attack, coz she blurted out "I'm SO stressed!!" right in the middle of all this. I omitted that lil bit from the original narrative for brevity's sake. Nice links, as always! Thanks.

    Lou sez: Drink a beer, smoke a good cigar and enjoy the cool of the evening.

    Yep! I did JUST that very thing!! And about that "they don't hire rocket scientists" bit: truer words, never spoken...

    Jenny sez: Ahh, must be a P-ville graduate! LOL!

    I'll take your word for that, too! OTOH, Grand-daughter #1 on the SN1 side of the house is a P-Ville grad, and she's a pretty smart cookie. That's understating the case...significantly. ;-)

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  9. I'm reminded of what a commenter at Lex's place said recently:

    The generation raised under the useless teachings of Dr. Spock - have come of age.

    I do indeed fear for my country's future.

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  10. One of my pet peeves, Buck. Many kids can't do simple math in their heads. Easy answer is too much calculator usage, but that stuff is kind of like riding a bike - once you learn it, it shouldn't leave you. Until you can prove your ability to do math WITHOUT a calculator, you shouldn't be allowed one.

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  11. @Suldog...my daughter was not allowed to use a calculator at all during the three years of middle school, just for that reason. Now, she uses a graphing calculator when necessary, but still prefers to do most calculations on paper.

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  12. Christina - Hurray for your daughter (and her school!) I keep stats for my softball teams - batting averages and all that good stuff. I do much of it in my head, rather than resort to a calculator. I figure it's just good exercise for the mind, y'know?

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  13. I ran into a problem myself when taking a sorta pre-pre-nursing entrance exam. It was very basic math and a little algebra, and I knew how to do all the problems, but I wasn't allowed to use a calculator during the test and took too long to work the problems out on paper. Luckily my grammar and reading comprehension scores pulled my final score up...
    My "official" pre-nursing exam is in a week, and you can bet your ass I'm practicing the math every day!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask.