I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Clueless in Mechanicsburg

Yesterday, as I was working the paint desk, a young man came up (early twenties) with a quart can of Gel Stain and asked if we carried the product in gallon cans.  I told him we don't since it's mostly used for smaller projects.  He turned and left and I followed him to see if I could provide further assistance.  He joined a woman about his age and an older one, who seemed to be her mother, and told them it only came in quarts.  I asked what their project was and the young woman said they were going to be staining her hardwood floors.  Since I, myself, have actually refinished the hardwood floors in my house I started to talk to them and... the mother shut me down.  "I've done this before, I know what I'm doing," she said.  I wanted to ask her if she knew most people used Gel Stain for fiberglass and steel doors since it's too thick to run, but didn't.  I did bring up the process of sanding down the floors and... got shot down again.  However, I did learn that the young woman was planning on doing 4 rooms, and that they had just finished tearing up the carpet.

Too thick too run

And they were there to buy stain?  I was allowed to bring up the subject of finishes, briefly.  Most people put down a couple coats of polyurethane on freshly stained hardwood floors, and polys have an amber tint.  And the older woman said, "it's not going to make any difference, she's wants a dark stain."  And I knew she had no idea what she was talking about.  Perhaps she'd seen a show on HGTV, or read something, somewhere, or had maybe even paid someone to do one of the floors in her home.  But she knew absolutely nothing about floor refinishing.  When they left the department to go check out, all they had in their cart were 3 gallons of Dark Walnut stain, and 5 cheap chip brushes that are virtually useless because they shed so much.  There is a good possibility that stain will end up being returned because the only thing that woman was an authority on, was being clueless in Mechanicsburg.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Because my schedule has been so screwed up for the past few weeks, I went through the whole day yesterday thinking it was Saturday and today was Sunday and I had to work.

Woke up this morning and discovered today was Saturday, not yesterday, and tomorrow is Sunday... and I have off.   This is good because it means I will not have to wait until Wednesday to have a day off, and then I have 2 days off in a row, truly a rare thing.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Odd Humor at the Paint Desk

Yesterday morning I noticed a young woman looking at colors over at our Color Wall and so I did what all of my associates are supposed to do, went over and offer my assistance.  As I said she was young, probably early 30's, blond, and wearing an enormous engagement ring and wedding band.  Oh, and she was also wearing a Romney / Ryan T-shirt.  We don't care about an individual's politics at the paint desk, we'll sell it to any one.  Anyway, when I asked if I could help her she said she was looking for a specific color: Timber.  She'd said she'd pull a paint swatch from the wall a while back and wanted to look at it again to verify it was the color she wanted.  I immediately went to the computer and did a Color Search for Timber. Indeed, there to color Timber is in our system, however the ID code was MS-05.  I'm not familiar with that code and I knew for a fact that we'd never had a swatch for Timber on our color wall.  Of course, she wouldn't believe me.  So I pulled out several fan decks from different paint manufacturers and showed her none of them carried the color Timber. She gave me a "woe is me" sigh and said, "well, I guess I'll have to pick another color."  A few minutes later she left.

An hour or so later my associate Bill showed up and I asked him about the color Timber.  He went through the same process I did to no avail. About 2 hours later he snapped his fingers and said "I know."  He went down to our exterior aisle and came back with a two page brochure, opened it up and pointed to the color Timber.  MS stand for Masonry / Stucco.  He said "we've never had that color on the wall."  So I told him about her T-shirt.  He said "well, maybe she's never going to get anything right."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Glidden bamboozle

Of course some wouldn't call it a bamboozle, and many would no doubt interpret the action as pure deception on the part of a customer.  The customer did deceive us by trickery which pretty much the definition of bamboozle.  This person did think he was smarter then the associates who work at the paint desk, however he failed to understand that people who work with paint daily tend to know their paint.  It's not as though we were actually bamboozled because as soon as I heard his complaint I said "that guy's full of shit."  Of course the incident happened long before my shift started so I was unable to grab him by his lapels and shake the crap out of him, all the while asking him did he think we were really that stupid?

What happened?  A customer came into the Returns desk shrieking about how the 5 gallon bucket of Glidden paint was the worst he'd ever bought.  And evidently he did shriek as he demanded to speak to a manager.  He shrieked "this paint doesn't even stay on my walls, it runs down them! It's terrible!  Terrible!" at least this is how the scene was described to me.

Exhibit A, found at the scene of the crime

Anyway, when I got to work and heard about the complaint, I brought the bucket of paint to the desk for a thorough examination.  After putting it in the paint shaker for 3 minutes, I unscrewed the cap and shoved a wooden paint stirrer deep into the full bucket.  When I pulled out the stirrer the paint ran off, there was no adherence what so ever.  So I touched the paint and rolled it around between my fingers (paint people do that) and it felt funny.  Lifting the stirrer up to my nose I smelled it (we all know paint has a bit of a scent), except this didn't smell like paint.  Finally, I dabbed a bit onto the lid, next to the sample dot the associate had put there when the paint had been mixed.  Of course I knew they weren't going to match. You see I'd already figured out the customer had actually returned about 1.5 gallons of paint and about 3.5 gallons of water.  In fact, there was just enough of the original paint in the bucket to give it the correct color, no more, no less.

Sadly enough, in addition to giving the shrieking customer a refund, they also gave him 3 additional gallons of free paint.  One can only wonder if he truly though he was outsmarting us.  Then again maybe he didn't care.  Maybe all he needed the lie to work for a small period of time, just long enough for him to bamboozle us.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's Dr. Who this evening

Way back, three weeks ago, when they were writing the schedule for this week I had to request an early shift for today.  Why?  The new Dr. Who series premiers tonight on BBC America.  There was a time when we'd get the show 2 to 3 months after the UK premier, however that changed some bit ago.  Popular it is, you see, and people were downloading copies on their favorite torrent.  Now the show premiers simultaneously in both the UK and over here in the US, and probably several other countries as well.  And, in case you were wondering, I've been a fan of the show for over 30 years.  I was actually aware of the show 40 years ago, back when I was in college, but didn't begin watching it on my local PBS affiliate station until I moved into my first apartment.

And in case you're wondering, my favorite doctor is Tom Baker.

The show was actually used for filler on Saturday afternoons and not part of the station's prime-time line up.  Because of this, they didn't telecast individual episodes but rather the entire story-line series at a time.  So every Saturday I got to watch 2 to 2 and a half hours of the Doctor.  And, of course, Tom Baker was the first Doctor I saw.  Over time the episodes with all of the previous Doctors were shown.  Mr. Baker was the first to have fun with the role.  He didn't play the part as though the weight of the universe was sitting on his shoulders.

So this evening the girls will get their Saturday night bones, and I' sit back comfortably and watch the first episode of the 14th Doctor.  And I have no doubt it will be wonderful.

Friday, August 22, 2014

I get to work with Santa

Review time has arrived and, even though this is supposed to be one of my days off this week, I have been busy trying to be fair and unbiased.  When I worked for IP we actually reviewed our associate's performance over the last year.  This is not the case with my current employer.  The process has devolved into little more then a pat on the back.  We are not permitted to point out any weaknesses or missteps, instead we are supposed to tactfully provide positive "game plans."  So, if during last year's review cycle I assigned an associate a particular task, and during the past year needed to remind that person several times to do that assigned task, I'm not allowed to mention it during this year's review.  Instead I'm supposed to point out the things that were done well, give them a pat on the back as well as another strong "game plan."  Right.

Not that I really have any issues with my associates, it's actually one of the best teams in the store.  I took a selfie with some of them, so here they are, in case you're wondering what they look like.

The first thing people say when they see this pic is "oh, you work with Santa Claus."  Yes, it's true, I work with Santa.  Actually, I'm Santa's boss.  And you always thought it was Mrs. Claus.  He takes off the month of December and dons his Santa garb and visits schools and hospitals and such.  He's a very nice man.

In fact, every one of my associates is nice, as long as you over look certain issues.  One of them has a serious problem with those customers who speak English as a second language.  One of them works the time-clock to the tune of about an hour and a half each week.  Hey, nobody's perfect.  I have one associate who does quite well with a part-time cake decorating business, but takes orders while working.  In the scheme of things, these are small problems, not the sort of things I would consider mentioning on a review.  And I do get to work with Santa.  Now you got to admit that's pretty neat.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gold Standard

A few days ago I was slightly chastised for getting two song titles wrong in a piece I'd written about musical artists who have failed to create a standard.  Aw, well, that's life, I'm not perfect.  Rather the mute, or nullify my point, my error did more to emphasize the fact that the songs are... forgettable.  It's a bit embarrassing about the Elton John song, since I've seen him in concert 4 times and he's played that one song each time.  However, we do forget.  This is what time does.  We either forget it or remember it.  This is how standards are created.  For those who don't know what a standard is, Webster defines it as "a musical piece of sufficiently enduring popularity to be made part of a permanent repertoire."  

Anyway, since I get to talk to quite a number of people every day, I decided to do a little survey.  From a list of several artists (Prince, Elton John, Madonna, Billy Joel, and Bon Jovi), I asked 72 people which song they remembered the most. Seventeen people said they couldn't think of a single song. Bad news for Billy Joel - he didn't get any votes.  Prince got 2 for "Little Red Corvette."  Bon Jovi got 8 for "Living on a Prayer." (?)  Madonna got 14 votes for 3 different songs, "Like a Virgin," was her number one vote getter with 7.  Elton John got the most votes with 48, however that's misleading.  Nine people voted for "The Circle of Life," but 35 more just voted for "The Lion King," which is a movie.  That's right, if you just count song titles, Madonna beats Elton John by one.  Does that mean one of her songs is going to be a standard?  Of course, the answer is no. I suspect having your song attached to a hit movie, and a Disney movie to be more precise, increases the probability.

In fact, thinking back on all the popular music written, there probably is only one true standard and that was song by a teenage girl a long time ago in a little movie called "The Wizard of Oz."

So, I'm wondering if anything out there can ever even compete with this?  Or did Judy Garland set the all time gold standard?    I suspect we'll have to wait 75 years and see how well that song from Frozen does.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

People might hate me for saying this

Last week was Madonna's birthday... so what?  Now I know she has her legions of aging fans out there who live and breath Madonna, me?  I could care less.  Of course, I've never been a fan.  The truth is I purchased one of her discs (the one with that crucifixion video), listened to it two or three times, and gave it away.  Without the video, that song had no legs to stand on.  So it is with all of her music.  Because of this, history is going to be less and less kind to her and in the end she will be a small blip on the musical radar of the late 20th century.  Her biggest downfall is that she failed to write (and I use that word loosely) a standard. There is no "Your Song," in her repertoire, no "Goodbye, Norma Jean."  Look at Whitney Houston.  She took a Dolly Parton throw-away, from a bad version of a good Broadway musical, and turned it into a standard.  That's not going to happen with "Like a Virgin," or "Poppa Don't Preach."  They may have been trendy songs and kept her name in the spotlight, but trends pass.  If you go to a concert these days, it is far more likely the band is going to break into a rendition of "Saturday's Alright for Fighting," then they are "Vogue."  You are more likely to hear a Rolling Stone song, or a Beatles song, then you are one of Madonna's.

Fans will say I don't know what I'm talking about, but I do.  I work in retail.  I hear the music which gets played over and over again.  You know those songs that are supposed to keep people in the aisles so they spend more money?  I hear all kinds of music from greatest hits, to current pop music, even country now and then.  They never play Madonna.  People will hate me for saying this.  You know, those devotees who just can not believe she, like her music, will be here today and gone tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

This is what I see

Had you said to me 5 years ago that at this point in my life I would be a Sultan of Shades and a Maven of Hues I would have laughed.  Of course, none of us truly know what our future holds no matter how detailed a plan we make.  Managing a paint department would was not something I ever would have considered doing.  Yet this is what I do.  And, this is what I see, a lot.

And, I now can say that I know color.  

So, when  customer comes up to the paint desk with a garbage bag of empty cans I know my expertise is about to get a work out.  He had a total of 4 empty cans altogether, one had traces of a gray semi-transparent stain and one traces of a Williamsburg Blue semi-transparent stain. He had two can lids, one with traces of gray which was dated 2014, the other had been wiped clean which was dated 2009.  He claimed that they had just put the 3 cans of blue stain on the deck, needed more, came in for the fourth and were given gray instead of blue.  When I pointed out that the one lid was dated 2009.  He gave me this little song and dance about how, after they bought the stain, the clerk had told them not to put it on the deck for at least a year... and the next year he was too busy... and the next year his father, mother, and brother had all died, so he didn't do anything that year.  When I pointed out that the tints used on the 2009 lid were for a slate gray not a Williamsburg Blue he became irate and demanded to see the store manager.  So, I called the store manager.

This is what I see... a lot.

When the store manager asked him why he put down the slate gray stain when all of the other cans were blue he said, "I thought it would go blue."  Right.  In the end I mixed this customer 3 more gallons of the slate gray so he could "cover up" the Williamsburg Blue.  Of course, that gray is not going to cover up the blue, if there actually is blue stain on the deck.  This customer was so full of horse shit.  This is why your costs go up.

This is what I see, every day.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall Rides On

A long time ago, back when I was in the Navy, I was stationed up at the Great Lakes Training Center for both my boot camp and my "A" School training, where I was trained to be a radar operator.  Since Chicago was only a thirty-five minute train ride south, it was not unusual for my friends and I to spend time there when the weather was warm enough.  I say this because I was there during the winter and Chicago does live up to its reputation as being a windy city.  Wind equates to wind chill so much of January, February, and March were spent on the base.  Except for one cold Saturday in January on which a friend and I decided, on the spur of the moment, to see what was happening downtown.  i remember the day being very sunny, but cold, very cold.

Walking down the sidewalk I could see a marquee in the distance and I asked my friend if he wanted to go see a movie, in order to get out of the cold.  He said "sure, if it's a good one."  However, the marquee was not for a movie theater.  It was for the Chicago Opera House, and there was a show playing with a Saturday matinee.  I recognized one of the names so I asked my friend if he might want to see a show instead.  He agreed, so we each paid $6.50 for our tickets.  We got good seats, first row in the first balcony, right in the center, and looking directly down on the stage.  Neither one of us had an idea as to what the show was about.  We didn't even know it was a musical.

Sitting there, in my balcony seat, I got to look down and watch the legendary Lauren Bacall.  The show happened to be a little thing called "Applause."  Needless to say, I had my socks knocked off.  Sitting here and thinking about it, I can honestly say it was one of the greatest "wow" moments in my life.  I was saddened to hear Ms. Bacall had passed away, but then, no one lives forever.  Not only do I have my memories, I still have the program.

In my book, Lauren Bacall rides on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chase Sucks!

When I opened my email this morning I saw I had received one from Chase - I have my credit card through them.  They send me monthly notifications since I no longer receive paper statements.  It's rare if there's a balance carrying over from month to month so normally I just do an online payment.  This month, however, I am going to be carrying a balance forward thanks to the new phone $600 (to replace the one the dog chewed up), $387 for a plumbing issue, and $150 for the new Ipod to replace the one which vanished.  So today I really did look at my online statement.  Holy shit!  They're charging me 17.24% interest.  The last time I looked it was 12.7%.  My credit rating is outstanding.  I know this because last year, when I purchased my fairly expensive CR-V the deal gave me a copy of my credit report.  Like 93% of the country rate lower then I do.  That's right, I'm in the top 7%.  Anyway, since I'm going to have to pay an interest payment, I wanted to find out why it was going to be higher then I was expecting.  I called Chase.

Pay us more money!

I was told that I "was receiving the lowest APR I could get at this time."  My credit rating, so I was told, has nothing to do with it, nor does the fact that I rarely carry much of a balance.  I was also told by the Customer Service Rep that "we are trying to get you a lower rate, and we may be able to get you a lower rate in six months time, however right now there's nothing they can do."  And I'm sitting there listening to this guy thinking "those dirty bastards, they're going to nail you anyway they can."  For every guy like me who does happen to look at his statement, (even though it's done rarely) there are thousands out there who don't.  And if I'm getting the lowest APR possible, what are the highest APR's?  There are people out there paying those rates.  Just like every other large bank, Chase has no problem screwing people over.  The bottom line is, Chase Sucks, almost literally, every penny they can from you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pumpkin Hell

I was reading John's blog this morning about the flower show, very quaint in a good sort of way.  We don't have anything like that around here.  I don't think we ever did.  For years and years and years, Enola was a railroad town and, unfortunately, many of those in nearby communities viewed it as being 'on the wrong side of the tracks.'  Everybody who lived here worked for the railroad and most of what came through was coal on it's way to Bethlehem Steel.  Coal is dirty, so for a long time we were a dirty, little town.  Of course things have changed.  We still have the railroad, but it rarely, if ever, ships coal.  Now everybody wants to live here and what ever might have been considered quaint is disappearing.

It would be nice if we had the quaintness of a flower show, instead we have the East Pennsboro Pumpkin Festival (ie Pumpkin Fest).  And it's big.  Why we have it is beyond me since this area is not known for either its pumpkin growers or its pumpkins.

This is what it looked like in 2011.  It is also the park where I take the dogs for their walk.

To get an idea as to how big this thing is, the area on the right?  Those are the vendor booths.  They peddle anything and everything pumpkin.

This pic is, again, from 2011.  Oh, and I have to correct myself, there is also a car show which runs in conjunction with the pumpkin festivities.  See the little, yellow school bus?  Parking is so terrible they need to shuttle people in from nearby parking lots.

I like pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin bread, but I've never bought any of those items from the Pumpkin Fest.  You see, I've never been to the Pumpkin Fest.  I have no desire to go, to have to deal with the traffic, to have to pay to park (even in those outlying lots where you need a shuttle to get to the festival).  This thing is far too big to be quaint.  People attend by the thousands.  i guess they just don't know the difference between a pumpkin festival and pumpkin hell.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Solving the fan deck dilemma

Busy day today.  I accomplished much, including a long walk with the girls.  They love their walks.  I also dropped some clothing off at the Mechanicsburg Community Aid.  Pants, mostly, those with the 32 inch waistline I will never see again.  We all tend to hold onto clothing believing someday it will fit us the way it once did.  The odds of that happening a rare as hen's teeth.  Besides, I find it rather embarrassing to think I once wore elephant bell bottoms and platform heels. On the way home I stopped off at my local Sherwin Williams Paint store to say 'Hi' to Mike, the manager.  Now I know there are people out there thinking Sherwin Williams is my competitor.  Not really.  Unless you're a contractor, they're expensive.  A lot of people pick their colors and have them mixed in Behr paint for this very reason.  This makes me his competitor, or would if his store was closer to my store.  It isn't.  Last week one of those odd things happened.  One of his customers wanted Behr colors (you have no idea how rare that is).  Anyway, as a result, he had to stop by my store to buy paint testers so he could  do a color match because he didn't have a fan deck.

This is a fan deck

Fan decks are an expensive commodity.  We give them to contractors because they buy a lot of paint.  Private party's rarely get to see one since they run about $70.  We used to be able to sell them to customers but not any more.  You sell more paint if the customer actually comes into the store to look at colors.  Give them a fan deck and they'll sit at home paging through it, and then they'll set it aside and do something else.  Anyway, I gave him a fan deck.

As I said, I stopped by his store today and he gave me a T-shirt.  That was very nice of him, even if I can't wear it in public.  

The gift

What would people think?  Anyway, I have some very nice Behr Paint hats.  They give them to me every time I go to one of their training seminars.  So, I think that probably next Tuesday I'll give him something he can't wear in public.  Think of it as tit for tat.  At least I feel good knowing I solved his fan deck dilemma.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Guardians Ride On

I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy last evening.  Usually, when a movie opens and there is hype out the kazoo, I end up being disappointed.  This was not the case.  Word of mouth was right, which is why it's raking in the big bucks.  This is surprising for a couple of reasons:  1. Movies released this late in the summer are usually not expected to have blockbuster status because they tend to have flaws (perhaps the studio execs couldn't see Chris Pratt as a leading man).  2. School starts soon, which means less time for the kids to hit it twice.  3. By this time those films expected to be heavy hitters have already knocked the buckos out of our pockets.  The last time I checked, Box Office Mojo hadn't posted Wednesday's ticket sales but Monday's and Tuesday's totals tally up to over $23 million.  If this keeps up, Guardians of the Galaxy will most likely cross the $200 million mark sometime late Saturday afternoon.

The Guardians Ride On

There were about 100 + at last nights 9:05 showing, and they were all ages, and they all seemed to be having a good time.  While so many films try and connect with the audience and fail, this one succeeds.  I think it's odd when you hear people singing along with a soundtrack and it happened last night.  There are also times when there are some really funny bits.  This is another way where the movie connects.   Where an alien does not understand something, we as earthlings understand it extremely well because Chris Pratt is speaking in a language only earthlings know.  And, of course, there is Groot.

I will admit that discovering Amy Pond, from Dr. Who fame, is, in reality, an alien named Nebula came as a bit of a shock.  I wonder if Rory knew?

Amy Pond revealed!!

Having seen a number of films so far this year, it's obvious to me that Guardians of the Galaxy will ride  on into Cinematic History.  It wouldn't surprise me if it turns out to be the biggest money maker this year.  That would be two... or is it three years in a row for Disney.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The NRC defined

I get my cardio in one of two ways, either on my bike or on my eliptical.  That's right, I own one, and it's big.  Call it a size thing.  While I always wear an HRM while doing cardio, I almost never turn on the GPS when I'm on the eliptical since I'm not really going anywhere.  Yesterday... I turned it on.  Tracking was, shall we say, sporadic as far as location.  Even though I had never left my dining room, according to the map I was all over the place.  I'm posting it below so you can see what I mean.  If you look at the red elevation line you can see I'm also going up and down, and not by just a couple of feet. How's that for accuracy?  Don't they use GPS when they're dropping bombs?

As I said the eliptical, a Sole E95, is large.  It's in the dining room because it was too big to get up the stairs, like I said, it's a size thing.  Perhaps if it hadn't been delivered almost completely assembled things would have been different.  I'd have more space in my dining room and the eliptical would be upstairs, in the weight room, where it was intended to go.

The bike I ride is a Cannondale X6 Cyclocross.  Back when I  bought it, Cannondale was still building their bikes by hand out near Johnstown.  This is no longer the case.  The gears are different then a road bike and it has wider tires.  A friend of mine has a nice Cervelo road bike.  Where as I can take mine off the road he can't, at least not without worrying he'll hit a teeny, weeny stone and bend one of his expensive rims.

Finally, I thought I'd throw in a pic of one of the NRC's (naked rubber chickens).  This one has a hole in it's belly and has lost it's squeaker, and is the only one the girls can take outside.  The other still squeaks.  That's right, they have two.

It's the little things, you know.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bad Moment at Best Buy

Last Friday I had ordered an Ipod Nano from Amazon.  Yesterday I checked to see if it had shipped yet - nope.  In fact it was not expected to ship until sometime today.  Ugh.  So I checked out Best Buy to see if my local store had the one I wanted in stock.  They did, so I cancelled my order with Amazon and drove over to Best Buy.  Years ago, when I purchased my first Nano, all Ipods and MP3 players were located in the same department, not so today.  All Apple products are segregated away from everything else; "beneath the Apple sign," is where I was told to look.

There were 4 sales associates in the department, one was attempting to sell an AirMac to some customers, the other 3 were with customers at the registers.  So, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and checked the time.  I work in retail.  Timely Customer Service is important.  A Sales Associate came walking past me on his way to Small Appliances.  I said "excuse me," and he walked right on by. At 2.5 minutes an associate named Zach left his customer at the register and came over to pick up some paperwork setting near the Ipads.  I asked him if he could get someone to help me and he said he would.  A couple minutes after that another customer entered the department, a man wearing a dirty white T-shirt.  We looked at each other and shrugged, both of us figuring we were both going to have to wait.

How can the be so happy when their customer service sucks?

Four and a half minutes after I had initially talked to Zach, he closed his sale and came walking over.  However, instead of asking me what I wanted, he went to the guy with the dirty white T-shirt. I said "excuse me, I was here first."  His reply was "I called someone to help you."  Did he really expect me to wait until the associate he called showed up?  So I said "excuse me, you're expecting me to wait?"  And he made a face and said, in a snippy tone "well, do you have a question or do you know what you want?"  I told him what I wanted "a space gray Nano."  Of course, no one had the keys for the cabinet.  In fact, Zach had to leave the sales floor to get the keys, most likely from the person he called when I first asked him for assistance.

Best Buy's biggest competitor is Amazon.  They know this.  As such you would think they would demand exemplary customer service skills from their sales associates.  This is an example of rotten customer service.  It didn't ruin my day.  This was just a moment at Best Buy.  Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if this experience is repeating itself today, for someone else.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Price of Babies

On an average day we get to see quite a few people at the paint desk and while some may pass us by, quite a few order paint.  Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed what seems to be a trend.  Since one person's trend my by normal to others, I started asking my associates.  "Is it me, or are we seeing a lot of pregnant women"  Everyone agreed with me.  We're a high volume store so it's not unusual to see one or two expectant mothers daily, but some days we're seeing as many as 8 or 9.  Yesterday I counted 12.  And there's nothing mysterious about these numbers.  We had a nasty, little winter, lots of freezing rain and ice.  Couples stayed home and tried to "keep warm," and in the process made a baby.  We are a very prolific species so making a baby is not that difficult.  Of course, babies mean change, and I'm not just talking about on the personal level.

Twenty years ago, when I bought my house, this was a small suburb with a population of around 6000.  Today we are the fastest growing community in the region and the population has ballooned to nearly 28,000.  That's a big jump in 20 years.  That's a lot of new housing, and a hell of a lot more traffic.  I went out this morning and took a couple of pictures.

This is the new West Shore Hospital.  Actually, these are the physician's offices and, being that it's Sunday, the parking lots are empty.  The Hospital proper is on the other side.  It's big.  Twenty years ago this was all forest. 

This is the new Giant Supermarket they are building.  It's 2.5 miles from the Giant Supermarket I use and that supermarket is 4 miles from the Camp Hill Giant.  Three years ago this, too, was all forest.

This is the construction site for the new Weis Market they are building, which just happens to be across the road from the new Giant they are building.  That's right, we're going to have two massive supermarkets separated by the macadam of a 3 lane road.

Traffic is already so bad I felt the need to order a Road ID just in case some moronic driver sends me flying into the gutter.  I should probably look on the bright side, the new West Shore Hospital is only a hop, skip and a jump away.  This is the price of babies.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Steal this

Lucky me, I'm getting a new Ipod Nano... well, only kind of lucky... well, actually not lucky at all.  You see I had a very nice silver Ipod, 32G, and it got a lot of use.  The operative word here is 'had.'  It was always in either one of two places: my car or on the Bose Ipod player in the living room.  Thursday, when I had my first day off in quite some time, I went to visit my Mom.  As is always the case, when I got in the car I turned on some tunes... or tried to.  I got an error message which notified me that the Ipod was not connected.  Not connected?  I opened up the cubby where it normally sits and... it was gone.  Vanished!  I thought "well, maybe I left it at home," though I was fairly sure this was not the case.  It wasn't.  At that point I pretty well knew what had happened, but I wasn't going to rush to any conclusions, so I did a search.  Everywhere.  I even went so far as to pull the sofa front, and check behind all the cushions, just to make sure one of the dogs hadn't thought they'd gotten a brand, new shiny toy.  No Ipod.

At that point certainty set in.

Shipping Monday

You see on Monday morning, when I went to work, I shoved the Ipod into my pocket to take out to the car, however, don't ask me why, I didn't leave it in the car.  In fact, I'd forgotten it was in my pocket until I was in the building.  No problem, I thought, I can leave it in my locker.  So I put it in my locker, putting it right at the front so I'd remember to take it with me.  Now my locker has lock but I never lock it because I never keep anything of value there, (you know where this is going, don't you?).  And at the end of the day, I threw my apron in my locker and went home, without the Ipod... because it was no longer there.  Now I know I should have locker my locker, but I'll be honest, it never occurred to me one of my fellow associates would be a thief.  And, since I do have a lock and it wasn't locked, I don't have any legal recourse.

My only option was to buy a new Ipod.  This one's a Nano, 7th generation, the case is space gray.  

As for the old one, it has a lot of German stuff on it, and even more French stuff (M. Pokora), the last 4 Kaiser Chief albums, and a lot of Linkin Park.  Nothing Pop.  Nothing Top 10.  And nothing you can really dance to, well I might be able to but most people wouldn't.  Hopefully it will broadening someone's horizo

Friday, August 1, 2014

Into The Woods

The trailer for Into The Woods has dropped and already there are people shrieking like a bunch of little girls who've had their panties pulled down.  "There's no singing!" So what?  It's not the first movie musical to have a song-less trailer.  "There are going to be changes!"  Of course there are going to be changes.  I would like one person to name me one Broadway musical that didn't undergo changes while transitioning into a movie musical.  Look at Burton's horrendous "Sweeney Todd."  I saw that show, on Broadway, with the great Angela Lansbury, and I can tell you there is no comparison to Burton's adaptation.  Ms. Lansbury was funny, what's her name... Burton's wife?... was not.

There are going to be changes.  Take the wolf's costume.  You see, I also saw Into the Woods on Broadway (I've actually seen the show several times in various productions) and the first time the Wolf came on stage I said to myself "that'll never make it into the movies."  You can't have a wolf running around on screen for 6 minutes or so with an erect penis if you want to keep your PG-13 rating.  Take that 8 or so inches away and his song is much less about pedophilia and much more about eating little Red Riding Hood. " But that's going to change the meaning of the show,' some whine.  To some extent... yes, but most likely not enough to change the focus of the show.

Okay, so it wasn't erect all the time.  Sometimes it just hung there.

Or take that other little Sondheim musical which happened to become a major Oscar winner, "West Side Story."  I was lucky enough to direct the show while in college and was surprised to discover, on reading the script, that the song "Somewhere" is actually song by an anonymous character in the middle of the "Somewhere Ballet" sequence.  You say what?  That's right, they cut a ballet which, gruesomely enough, has Riff and Tony (already dead) re-entering and killing each other a second time.  Try to find that in the movie.

Changes happen.  This is normal.  Here's the I wish  Give it a chance.