Monthly Archives: September 2003


Coming back to work today inspires me to write yet another obvious tribute to Why I Hate Working Retail.

Actual telephone conversation from this morning:

Me: May I help you?
AngryCustomer: I was told you talk to you.
Me: OK, what can I help you with?
AngryCustomer: I am looking for some items to order, and they aren’t on your website.
Me: Let me look them up for you. What are they?
AngryCustomer: They are lab items.
Me: OK, what sort of items are they?
AngryCustomer: I have the manufacturer lot number.
Me: That will work just fine. Can you tell me the number?
AngryCustomer: 65489065467-154867710456467-461540187487.
Me: Hmm…that’s not coming up in our system. What exactly is the item?
AngryCustomer: A Vacutainer tube holder.
Me: I can’t seem to find that.
AngryCustomer: My department says they always order these from you.
Me: They must order them from our warehouse, as we only sell computers and computer-related items at this location. You may want to contact SC at the warehouse (phone number given), as he is the manager and orders all the lab items.
AngryCustomer: I was given your name as the contact person!!
Me: Well, I did work at the warehouse location, but it’s been a couple of years. SC would be able to tell you if they have that item in stock, or he will able to order it for you.
AngryCustomer: I was told that I am supposed to order these from you and that you could add them to the website!!
Me: I’m sorry, but I cannot add items to the website if they aren’t already in our inventory. SC will be able to add them if you want to order them from our warehouse location.

The next sound I hear is her phone slamming back into its cradle.

Is it so improbable that old information someone gave you in 1998 has changed?



How addicted to Diet Mountain Dew do you have to be to get out of bed on your day off and walk up to Main Street to buy a bottle of it from the vending machine in front of the feed store?

I feel so much better now.


More unexpected drop-in visitors today! This time it was a worker bee from the phone company who knocked on my door at seven in the morning. He wanted to tell me that my phone troubles weren’t their fault and that he thinks it’s my “computer modem”. I brought him inside the house to show him that the DSL modem wasn’t even connected, as I’d unplugged everything during the thunderstorm last night. “Hmmm….” was his response. He gave me his card and left.

During the unintelligible homily at Mass, I pondered the comparison between an absolute monarchy and the Roman Catholic church versus a democratically-elected government and the Presbyterian church.

Later, I went to Wal-Mart to pick up my developed photos. I had dropped off three rolls of film I’d found in the car and was happy to see pictures from Summer Vacation 2002. There’s still at least one roll missing, as the ones I received were all from the second half of the trip to Montana/Idaho/Wyoming/Yellowstone National Park. After visiting Yellowstone, I’d decided to drive down to Jackson Hole to see the Grand Tetons and there were several pictures of the massive mountain range. I don’t know why I thought I could capture the majesty of the view with a Canon 35mm camera. Delusions of Ansel Adams, I guess.

I cut the grass one last time for the season and lit the furnace. I threw an extra blanket on the bed and hope I can snuggle in and sleep late on my last scheduled day off from work tomorrow.


Unexpected drop-in visitors arrived during my afternoon nap today! My father and brother were in the next town to attend a college football game and thought they’d “stop by to see if everything is OK”. “Why wouldn’t everything be OK?” I asked. My father explained that my mother had tried to call me yesterday and the line was busy for several hours, so she called the phone company to “check the line”. The phone company told them that my line must have gotten hit with a power surge.

My phone company sucks. Every time it rains, I am without phone service. The DSL works, but there’s no dial tone for the phones. I e-mail a repair request and in a couple of days, it’s resolved. How, I don’t know. I just wish they’d upgrade their POS lines to my house.

In any event, my father got out his cell phone and called my mother and made me talk to her. “Is everything OK??” Yes, of course. “But I haven’t heard from you in two days!!” I reminded her that I’d e-mailed her yesterday and that if I were hospitalized, I would have been able to call her from there. I think my mother gets freaked out over the most trivial things.


Last night, I was reading an article about Castle Urquhart and that I found the whole idea of the place existing before the year 1228 just staggering.

History, for me, tends to fall into three periods. “The past” includes anything from 1865 to the present. “The ancient past” includes anything from 1600 to 1865. “Ancient history” includes Ancient Egypt (with pharaoh), Ancient Mayan civilization (pre-Colombian) and the like.

But Castle Urquhart forced me to re-think everything. My first questions ran along the line, “Who wrote all this stuff down?” and “Who was in charge of keeping track of all this information between 1228 and now?”. Mr. Capp mentioned the Magna Carta and said he thought Those Guys were good note-takers.

I read the English translation of the Magna Carta and Mr. Capp turned all “I’m getting a PhD in Political Science and I don’t understand how people can walk around not knowing this stuff” on me. He asked me where I thought the current American governing system had come from, if not from the Magna Carta. I answered, “I hold these truths to be self-evident…” Seriously. Why should people live in fear that the king or his minions will just show up at your door and take whatever they want? Why should people have to suffer unjust taxation? Why should an underage heir have his inheritance plundered or widows be forced to marry against their wills? All these offenses indicate corrupt and arrogant governance by an absolute monarchy who has decided it is above the law. Why should anyone have to put up with that?? My question upon reading the Magna Carta is, what took the people so long to write the dang thing?


Listening to the car radio this morning, I heard that Robert Palmer had died. Sad, really, sad.


Last night CK and I went to a Thai restaurant and then to the local small-town ice cream place. But the excitement didn’t end there. We went for a walk around the block and happened upon an actual house fire. The firefighters, police and utility workers had just arrived. We stood on the sidewalk across the street as we watched the firefighters systematically destroy the house in their quest to determine the location of the attic electrical fire.

A ladder was placed on the side of the house and siding was torn off. Then they poked a hole through the eave vent and looked inside with a lantern. Someone else snaked the water hose through the house and managed to knock over the giant concrete flower urns on the porch. As the planters rolled down the yard, someone else entered the house with a giant poker to knock out walls and ceilings. In the end, it seemed one basic fire extinguisher could have done the job with far less property damage.

We continued our journey down the street and happened up a once-in-a-lifetime sight. There, with lights flashing and engine running, was an unattended and unlocked police car. We’d passed the officer walking the other way and by now, he was over a hill and behind a railroad track. He couldn’t see his car or us.

So tempting. I wanted to get inside the car and drive it down the block, then park it at the next intersection and keep walking. But I wasn’t sure what the charges would be if I were caught. CK said The Boss would freak all the way out if both of us were jailed and couldn’t get to work. We discussed the possibilities, but ultimately did nothing. I knew I would never get this free chance again.

This morning when I got to work, I saw an actual police officer standing by the building directory, looking for the name of the person he was about to serve. I asked him my “hypothetical question” about the possible charges for moving the unattended police car. He laughed and said the responsible officer would be the person in trouble, because he’d just left $30,000 worth of property and firearms unsecured. However, he guessed that a person COULD be charged with improper use of an official vehicle. That is so a misdemeanor that I regret not seizing the Crown Vic.


Please let me know what you think of the new look!