Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Special Place In Hell....

There are a few things in life that I find infuriating. I try to show patience; however, the following scenarios are the most consistent irritants in my life:

1. Women in check-out lines at grocery stores: Is it really unreasonable to expect these troglodytes to think about others in line behind them? How tough, really, is it to be prepared when the checker has completed scanning items? For example, I am fully prepared to swipe my debit card or pay cash well in advance of the checker completing their part of the process. I have my wallet ready, card or cash in hand, and I have already entered any requisite preferred shopper number. If forced, I will make the obligatory small talk about the weather, and I always cover my son's photo in my wallet when I have it open on the off chance the checker wishes to comment on his cuteness or -- God forbid -- start to discuss their own cute grandchild. I don't care. I want my stuff, and I want out of there. But not most women. Most women not only take their own sweet time placing items from their cart onto the check stand conveyor belt, but they wait to even begin opening their purse to retrieve their wallet until AFTER the clerk has finished scanning. There is the typical fumbling for the wallet and then the glacial decision about whether to write a check, pay cash, or use a card of some sort. Like a finger nail scraping on a chalkboard, a woman who uses cash invariably fumbles through the change pocket to get the exact change. If they write a check, they seem intent on balancing their checkbook right there in line. If they say, "Oh, sorry, I think I have a coupon for one of those thingies," you can hear the men in line scream behind them as they open a beer in their cart with the complete understanding they will be there a while as an inane blob of humanity tries in vain to complete a basic shopping chore.

2. Slow drivers in the fast lane: Speed limits are there for a reason. There is no reason for a slow driver to be in the fast lane. Ever. If they are intent of driving 45 in a 75 or 65 per mile zone, they should take a bus. A mini-van filled with kids, McDonalds, and portable DVD's coupled with their parents belief that everyone on the road must drive slow in a show of sympathy for their miserable lives is the worst. There outta be a law.

3. Lines in coffee/pastry shops. This morning, I stood in line twice at some coffee/pastry shop at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas in order to bring my wife a dark chocolate almond tort. I was in line because she didn't have time yesterday to stay in the same line due to concerns she would miss her plane. I have the same concern today, and my plane leaves in 4 hours. This morning, the line moved at a snail's pace. Clerks in such places are a template in the unmotivated, unkempt, and tattooed generation that thinks a career as a barrista or parking lot attendant is just fine, thank you. For those with lives, the idea of spending 15 to 20 minutes in line listening to horrible people order incomprehensible combinations of coffee, for God's sake (that term again), is akin to cutting off a limb without anesthesia. When you bring pastries -- or dark chocolate almond torts -- into the equation, the complexity of a simple transaction increases exponentially. I failed in my quest to be a good husband. After two attempts at the line which didn't seem to move at all, I left in a huff. How hard is it really to focus on timely customer service? How about an express line for people who actually know what the hell they want and are prepared to pay for it (see above about women in check-out lines because people in line at a coffee/pastry hell hole are equally criminal in their inability to effectively pay for their stuff -- and it is gender neutral stupidity in this case)? Sigh, when I get back to Boise this morning, I will hand my wife a five dollar bill, make my apologies, and remind her once again that I am too organized and reasonable to patronize places where the "experience and ambiance" seem quaint to idiots.
A few months ago, my step father accompanied me on a series of errands in Boise. On our tour, we went to Lowe's, Wal Mart, and Fred Meyer in Boise. At each stop, I efficiently and quickly used the self-check out stands. When we drove home, my step dad -- who owned a retail furniture store his entire career -- commented, "You know, you went to each store and never talked to anyone. It was all automated." My response? "Yes. And that's the way it should be. I have no desire to talk to anyone when I shop, and I have no desire to suffer through idiots in check out lines."

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