Sunday, 29 January 2012

57 Minutes I'll Never See Again

Saturday afternoon. Department store.  

Two dresses. Cashier off her game.  Did not offer me the opportunity to save 15% by opening a store card. Paid cash and gift card.

Children's department cashier a little smarter.  Offered me the 15%.  But - said it was too late to get 15% on purchases I'd made earlier that day.  Paid with my own credit card.

Third cashier (hey, don't look at me like that, everything was on sale) was persistent.  

Sure, she said, I could get 15% off my spring status bag and satin clutch very important and crucial items from her department and 15% off the women's and children's department.

I bit.

Manually returned all items from first purchase.  Took a gift card out of her drawer and put the total gift card amount back on the gift card.  Refunded the rest of the purchase.

Manually charged each item to new 15% off card.

People behind me in line thrilled.

Manually returned all items from second purchase.

I am making a lot of friends.

Charged total to new 15% card - one item at a time.

Card rejected. 

Rejected? You just sold it to me.

She calls Customer Service.

I am asked to verify my identity.

The identity that I just gave them during this very same transaction.  The identity that is still on a piece of paper in front of the cashier.

I gently point out that they rejected my card less than twelve minutes after approving it.

Asked me for my mother's maiden name.

Choose a Moral for This Story:  

1. You can save money with an in-store credit card, but you won't win a popularity contest
2.  No amount of money saved is worth waiting an hour for endless manual transactions
3. Customer service reps do not always make sense
4. Is it time to buy your spring status bag already?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Then Again, Golda Meir Never Met Justin Bieber

My Dad used to tell me about a Golda Meir quote where she said something like we can forgive the Arabs anything, but we can't forgive them for turning our sons into killers.

I know what she meant.

I can forgive Justin Bieber his youtube video.

I can forgive him for his music, his lyrics and associated fame.

I can forgive him for my ten year old boy's endless use of my blow dryer.

Hell, I can forgive him for creating a nail polish, marketing the nail polish to six year old girls, and naming the colors after his hit songs.

But Justin - making the nail polish so unbelievably hard to remove?

I really can't forgive you for that one.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Funeral Faux Pas (with special thanks to N who gives me all the best ideas)

Funeral today.  Work related.  Mid-range tragic.

Look across the aisle.  Someone brought her Starbucks.  Into the funeral home.  To enjoy, during the service.  I love my venti soy latte with sugar free hazelnut as much as the next starlet, but really - could you not have left it in the car?

Funeral this summer.  Complete Stranger sitting next to me missed the part about turning off your cell phone.  Esteemed suburban rabbi sitting in front of us.  Leans back - says to Complete Stranger - that's why I left my phone in the car.  Ouch.

Final story.  Jews wash hands when leaving a funeral.  Was in line for the spout.  Old woman literally shoves me out of the way to jump the queue.  The washing hands queue at a funeral.  I'd hate to see how she behaves at Starbucks.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Three Complaints About New Year's Resolutions

1. We use resolutions as an Excuse to beat ourselves to a pulp.

If only I could put kale in my coffee, then I can really wake myself up and get my nutrients, too!

I should start making my own laundry detergent, composting and reading Tolstoy. In its original.

Put down that oh-so-helpful magazine and get some fresh air.

There are some lovely resolutions you can make to treat yourself better, and still improve your life.

2010 my resolution was to only knit with high quality yarn.  Sure, I still reach for a ball of acrylic every now and then, but for the most part, I respect my work enough to use only the best materials.

(Ironically, the girlfriend who gave me that resolution now owns a high-end wool shop.  I sort of wonder if there was some prescient guerilla marketing involved...)

Choose a resolution that makes you happy.  Not one that fills your heart with dread.

2.  We give up our resolutions too easily.

A million years ago, I took a project management workshop where we learned how to do a brainstorming exercise using post-it notes.  And one of the navy blue suited, 90s Rachel haircut participants actually raised her hand to ask what we should do if we didn't have yellow post-it notes.  Can we use pink? Would store brand be okay?

Lady, it was just a suggestion.

Same thing with the resolution deadline.  The January to December thing - just a suggestion.

If you find yourself in February still not having put your spices in alphabetical order or crunching your abs, you can start now. You don't have to wait till the clock winds its way back to Jan 1.

 3. We are quick to suggest resolutions for Everyone else.

Much as we love looking in the mirror and coming up with ways to improve ourselves, we love even more looking at each other and offering suggestions of ways other people can improve.

It is amazing how many people have offered me suggestions for New Years' resolutions over the past two weeks.  More housework.  Less yarn.  Shorter haircut.

I would never do that to you.

Well, if you insist, there is one teeny-tiny way in which you can improve.

I appreciate deeply that you read this blog.

To fully enjoy the experience, you can comment.  You don't have to say a lot, but if you threw me the occasional one-liner I would be forever grateful.  Anonymous is fine.

Commenting on the blog.  A New Year's Resolution from me to you.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

And the Cafeteria Ladies Should Have Checked the First Aid Kit


Community Centre pool has been open for 60 seconds.

Janitor calls to a lifeguard: Hey, your emergency phone working?

Lifeguard shrugs: Think so.

(Think so? THINK so? isn't that a little nonchalant for an EMERGENCY phone?)

Janitor calls to Lifeguard: Why don't I call you? You can answer the phone and lets make sure it works.

Thank you Mr. Janitor.  Maybe we should all switch t-shirts, and you can be the lifeguard this afternoon.

Top Four Things That Are Scary About This Story (aka Complaint Tie-In):

1. There were two lifeguards, neither of whom had checked whether emergency phone was working.  This should obviously be part of the opening of the pool procedure.  Check that lanes are set up, check that chlorine/filter are working.  Check that phone is operational.

2. Someone died in this very same pool a couple of weeks ago.  You would think that the lifeguards would be sufficiently freaked out to be extra super mega double dog careful.  You would think that the lifeguards would be downright neurotic about accident prevention and safety.

3. The janitor's plan, while well intentioned, only checks the emergency phone's ability to take incoming calls. Aren't we more worried about the phone's ability to make outgoing calls? Shouldn't we be checking that?

(and the fourth scary element of this story:)

4. When I overheard this conversation I was secretly a bit happy. Because even though my personal safety and that of all the other swimmers was briefly compromised, I knew I'd have a great story to tell you later.

Happy New Year.