Monthly Archive: November 2008

Calling the Call Center

I hate having to call customer service. Mortgage company, bank, cell phone company, whatever. I hate having to call them. If I can’t handle whatever problem I’m having on the website, I’d rather just cancel my service than have to call and sit through all the bullshit. Alas, that’s not very realistic though, as I’d be changing providers and canceling shit about every month. So I have to deal with calling in and talking to someone – hopefully – a lot more often than I would in a perfect world.

The first thing that pisses me off is the menus. Forget the fact that I have to push a certain number to hear it in English. I don’t mind the “Para Espanol prima el numero dos” or whatever, so the Mexican folk have to press two to continue in Spanish. That’s fine. Just don’t make me push something to continue in the national language. But the menus are just silly and time wasting. Now what they’re trying to do here is keep you from talking to someone. If they can take care of your problems with an automated system, they much prefer that. Keeps their call volume down. Store hours, available balance, directions, whatever – they can all be taken care of without having to talk to a human. But most of the time I already know all that shit. And I need to talk to a person. Enter my next complaint.

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Farewell, old friend.

Yesterday, one of my favorite authors of all time passed away at the age of 66. He had been privately battling cancer. Michael Crichton wrote some of the greatest science fiction stories I’ve ever read, and more times than not, I found myself wondering if they were reports on events that actually happened. The Andromeda Strain and Terminal Man, for instance – both written like essays on actual events – yet, not at the expense of thrill and good storytelling.

In his later years, Michael began politicizing his writing to the point I almost couldn’t stomach the read anymore. State of Fear was one, then Next was really not even worth reading, in my opinion. I don’t want to use this space to bash Michael’s writing, but to say that it was evident he had an agenda. Maybe this explains some of that.

At any rate, he will be remembered well, and missed. I will have to add yet another date to my calendar where I drink a short of scotch in remembrance of someone. Rest in peace, old chap.

Well, my guy didn’t win.

I’m deeply saddened tonight that my candidate didn’t win. We had every chance, it seemed like, to step forward with a voice that would carry America into the next four years with a positive celerity and ensure peace and stability for the future of life as we know it.

I had great expectations that we would step forth and raise our hands in support of the next great leader, but majority ruled in favor of the underdog. The dark horse. And what saddens me the most is how close we really came. That’s right, friends and patriots. We came close enough to smell victory’s sweet, yet pungent aroma. And we elected the wrong guy.

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Industry Standards

Why is it that when I walk into a barber shop, which is like twice a year at best, someone always turns to me and says, “May I help you, sir?” Yeah, I’m here to get my tires rotated and pick up a meatball sub for the girlfriend. What the hell do you think I’m here for? Yesterday (which was actually October 9 – I know, we schedule these columns way in advance) I walked into the local SpaceTown Barber Shop, which has been there for over thirty years. And this little Asian guy turns and says that very thing to me. “Can I help you?” So I looked about real quickly, and responded, “Uh, yeah. I need a haircut. You sell those here?” I don’t think he got it.

When I walk up to the fresh seafood bar at the local Snostrebla, I expect the worker there to ask me what she can help me with. There’s a variety. I could get the fresh jumbo shrimp, the frozen popcorn shrimp, the Alaskan King Crab legs, the lobster meat, the imitation krab meat (yes, it’s spelled with a K :rolleyes: ), the fresh Atlantic salmon, or whatever else they sell. Of course she needs to ask me what she can help me with. A barber shop sells one service. A haircut. Does anyone really go to the barber shop to buy their haircare products? I mean, obviously they try to upsell you while you’re there, and sometimes people buy the tea tree oil shit, but no one actually just goes there just to buy the products, right? Well this old town barber shop doesn’t even sell them. They, therefore, sell one thing. Haircuts.

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