Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I know, I know - customer service is dead

Now, I know most people say this a lot: whatever happened to customer service?

There is the usual culprit, the minimum wage service worker talking on their cell phone when you walk up to the register, then rolling their eyes and continuing their conversation. Yes, those people are annoying. But they are also getting paid like $5/hour and have to deal with crap customers. Yeah, they are wrong, but I have come to expect it.

I have been noticing, however, that this is extending to other service sectors. Like when I called my credit card company to complain about a new annual fee they imposed after 7 years without one, they were like "So?" and I said, "I want to cancel then." Their reply? "OK, bye." Or when I called the cable/internet company because the cable was STILL not working and I didn't understand why I had to (over)pay for service that is awful and intermittent at best, I had to screech "do you seriously want to keep me as a customer? I have one foot out the door." Their reply? "Well, we can fix it in a couple of weeks. Don't like that? See you."

Old capitalist/free market society equation:
product + caring about quality of product + good customer service = sales = $$ profits

New capitalist/free market/dead beat customer service equation:
product + finding ways to make product cheaper and crappier + minimum wage workers phones with no incentive to sell + indifference to product = what? crappier products that I can buy from surly workers.

I just called the alarm company and was all "We don't use the service because the keypad isn't near the door and we can't use the motion detector. I was thinking of canceling but then thought about how we could make this work better. What are my options? Can you send someone out to talk about it and look at our system?" I spoke to the upgrades departement and was totally prepared for the hard sell. I mean UPGRADES department. But it was like pulling teeth. I looked it up online and then read him each upgrade and he was all "oh, yar, that would be good." So I was all, "do you have a salesperson to come out and pitch me all the upgrades/packages after looking at our place?" Then he woke up and said "No. You can pay $800 to get what you need and an extra $10/month - I can see your system over the phone. Oh, and you can pay to have the sensors that are broken fixed. But that's another department and no, you can't schedule the fixes and the upgrades at the same time, it has to be as inconvenient as possible." I was all "um, this is kind of expensive. . .I'm not sure if it's worth that much." His reply "OK, bye."

I mean, I don't want people to bend over backwards and kiss my ass, but I sort of want customer service reps to CARE if people cancel their service/product. Even if you don't cut me a break on pricing, at least give me the shtick on why I need your product. Try, would you? I would and have. I didn't love coffee when I worked at Starbucks, but I sold the shit out of it. I mean, the company's longevity would keep me in a job, no? I used to at least make the effort to get my supervisor to soothe the unctuous customer (or at least pretend to be the supervisor). And even knew the propaganda about why our product is superior.

Am I just an old man shaking my cane? Everything was better in the olden days?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We'll Sleep When We're Dead

This is long overdue. Yours truly was the subject of a sleep study a few months back. It was awesome, in terms of the fact that it involved not only retching, but crying.

So, I don't sleep. Seriously, I'm like a gazelle, half awake, waiting for the lions to eat me all night long. The entire night? AWAKE. But only half so, as it turns out.

Anyways, the sleep issue was getting progressivly worse, and nothing was fixing it. Melatonin? PFFFF. Tylenol PM? I MOCK YOU. Ambien? Try this: sleep for 30 minutes and then WIDE AWAKE AND READY TO KILL. Honestly, that drug is a crock.

So....the study. I was nervous (what, me, worked up? NEVER), so I went in advance and checked to make sure that I A: wasn't allergic to the adhesives and B: that they could move some of the leads so as not to trigger a migrain (I have pain points on my skull.)

So, my demands met, I show up at 9 as requested. To find that they weren't putting me to bed for two hours. You know what ratchets me up? WAITING. With some dudes I don't know. And no cat. Or any comforts at all.

I request a walk around the area for a bit, which they grudgingly permitted. Maybe they thought I'd run away? Who knows why this was such an issue, but it was. After about an hour, I returned, and awaited my fate.

Apparently no one had received the memo about moving the leads, so I had to tell them again and again. I need special tape and NO LEADS ON MAH FACE. I did agree to the one on my leg, because, you know, who cares if the skin comes off there anyhow? It's just a leg.

So, my surly helper attempted to put all the leads in. A challenge, considering I have the most unruly hair, and it had to be clean. She would part, it would fall over what she was working on. As time progressed, she was pressing into my head harder and harder with each lead, as they didn't want to stick to my scalp, either. At this point, I was starting to feel nauseous, and the lights were starting to star out-a sure sign a migraine was brewing. She strapped me into bed (Seriously, there's this stupid belt thing that goes around your waist and you're also tethered by your brain. and they expect people to sleep like this.)

The nausea rising, I request that the trash can come for a visit. I get glared at, but she DID thrust the bin at me, so I wouldn't puke myself. Nice.

For the final insult to injury, she then got an oxygen lead? You know, the thing with the prongs that goes in your nose. YEAH. That. Which reeked. Like an old strawberry shortvake doll. And it was huge, filling one side of my nose entirely, as I have a deviated septum-one side has less room than the other.

Let me tell you, IS A JOY to have stinky things stuck up your nose when you're already migraning. STENCH FTW! Within minutes I was retching. Violently. OVER AND OVER, because every time I tried to breath, it smelled of that horrible, weird, plastic-toy smell. The leads were burning into my skull, and it reeked, and I had a weight belt on.

Apparently, they could hear me. After about 20 minutes, they asked if I was okay. At this point, I was quietly sobbing on the floor, OUT OF BED. After much begging on my part, they called the neurologist, who gave the go ahead for pain meds. THANK THE GODS.

At that point, I was told to go back to bed. Did I mention the bed was made of rocks? And springs? And everytime I moved, I hurt from it? I curled up on my side (BAD CALL) and festered there. I think I fell asleep for about 15 minutes. At which point I awakened in MASSIVE PAIN because the bed was so hard.

At 3:45 I threw in the towel and demanded release. I walked home, after much admonition that IT WASN'T SAFE. Yeah, my neighborhood, the DC equivalent of Rodeo Drive? SO DANGEROUS. Did I mention I saw two people walking their dogs when I went home? And one dude jogging? THOSE SCARY PEOPLE. WITH THEIR PETS AND THEIR EXERCISE.

Turns out I slept about an hour total. But I was able to tell the doctor everything that was said and everything that happened in the place overnight. She tells me I don't really go to sleep-I'm asleep, in REM and all that jazz, but I'm constantly waking up because OMG! WOLVES!

I would have made a great sentinel back in the day. Alas, nowadays, I am the girl that doesn't sleep, because OMG! CAT! OMG! CLICKING! OMG! LIGHT! OMG! WAS THAT SOME RAIN? HALP! COULD ATTACK AT ANY MOMENT. OMG! I MOVED! SOMETHING MUST BE COMING., we'll see. it's a hard issue to treat. But at least I won't have to sleep on rocky, the bed of doom again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

RHoDC: Summary of Awful People

Since having a baby six weeks ago, I have readjusted my priorities. And watching the Real Housewives of DC is one of them. I also make Baby watch repeats of West Wing, so he can understand politics.

I have great love for any shows that purportedly take place in DC. We don't get much love and when we do, it's often filmed in Ontario and then passed off as DC (Bones, I am looking at you with the fake subway and the Rock Creek stop and perpetual drives that only go past the Capitol because that's the only road in Bones' DC). And possibly DC may be getting some love with Obama in the White House, a non-crack-smoking mayor and with east moving gentrification which has made the city so much nicer than in the 80s (I saw my first prostitute on 14th St who propositioned my father with my sister and I in the back seat). I hope the DC gets some more entertainment cred, but RHoDC is not helping the situation.

So I saw RHoDC the other night. And it was even more awful that I thought it would be, which is bad. First of all, most of us have grown up in the DC Area and understand that DC is not a city for reality show whores because the powerful people in DC are too busy being powerful and important to have people film them. There are important people in DC who are classy and elegant, who think that reality shows are tacky and awful. Therefore (like all reality shows) Bravo is going to get the scrapings at the bottom of the shit barrel. But the people on this show are truly in a league of their own.

Here is the breakdown of the "ladies":

MARY: oh holy jeebus. She name dropped about a million names in the first ten minutes and she lives in McLean (across the street from Colin Powell and she summered with the Kennedys and WE GET IT.) Husband said she looked young but I think she looked a bit stretched and I told him to poke me when her shiny smooth forehead actually moved. Throughout the show she looked stoned and dead behind the eyes. Oh, and at her birthday dinner (at Equinox which really isn't that exclusive, but whatever), she totally started going off on how salons need to integrate and AWKWARD. She went on and on about how black and white hair should be treated the same. And then she dresses her husband in SEAFOAM pants and a blazer for the Washingtonian Style Award (she's best friends with the owner, NATCH).

STACIE: I actually didn't hate her so much. I think she might actually live in DC, she talked shit about people from the suburbs pretending they were from DC and she talked about how DC used to be a chocolate city. I hear that phrase bandied about a lot on the B2 bus - often people are lamenting the lack of chocolate and look at me as I am the only representative of whitey on that bus. Anyway, she is a realtor and says it's expensive to live in DC (she is insightful) and also knew Obama back when. She has some hawt love for Obama and she has very cute kids.

LYNDA: runs a "modeling" agency out of someone's basement and hates social climbers. She is dating a lovely black man half her age named Ebong. And that is awesome. She looked a little Maria Shriver-skeletal and has lots of kids. She called the polo match a goat rodeo and I repeated that phrase for the rest of the night. I loved her for that phrase alone, even though Husband and I were wondering what the hell a modeling agency was doing in DC (Hollywood for Ugly People). She says that she sends the girls out to embassies and dignitaries (*cough*escort service*cough*). I think she might actually live in DC as well.

BRITISH LADY: she is married to a White House photographer and had some romantic story about it but I so didn't care. She lives in some suburb in a very normal looking house (it could be something one of us lives in and why do I want to watch someone who isn't richer than I am?) and makes everything all about her. She loves Bush as a man because he RSVP'd to her wedding when Obama didn't (holy fuck, I wanted to smack her when she said that - deranged social climber and you are a waste of a British person).

SOCIAL CLIMBING ANOREXIC: this is the White House party crasher lady who I hate so much I don't even want to look up the spelling of her name. We had to start fast forwarding through her bullshit pretty early on. She started out with her low rent polo match (GOAT RODEO!) with the most famous person being the "celebrity stylist" from the local DC50 commercials (Paul Wharton - this is his blog: Oh, and some lobbyist who was dressed like a clown and then SCA starts talking about how she was a lobbyist at the state level. WTF. She lives in wine country and is a deadbeat.

So those are the Housewives.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I speak like Stevie from Malcolm in the M

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Douchebags Save Metro from Crazy Pregnant Lady

As a full-time Metro rider, I often suppress my fury at the issues Metro faces and/or creates. I feel as if I spend lots of time on Metro platforms and on bus stops trying to suppress impatience and helpless anger at the way Metro is run. What helps me get through it is watching the people who ride the Metro. It keeps me from going completely crazy on the Metro and from rushing the driver's seat and driving the train myself. I could even do it without texting or having my friends hang out in the driver's seat with me (oh, Metro).

So last night around 9:30pm, I am riding the red line from Silver Spring. I finally got on a train, after the message boards were broken and there was "track maintenance" at Medical Center, 15 stops away, so I had been waiting for a while. There was a dearth of entertaining people on the train. No random person preaching about Satan or telling the women they had demons and there wasn't even any singing. But then we hit the CUA stop and I hit the motherlode. A hoarde of douches alighted the Metro - law students from CUA. Now, I was once a law student at CUA. And it seems that nothing has changed - these were not only douches, but they were also typical DC guys (and CUA law students) who are maybe a 2 out of 10, but think they are an 11.

The median age of the whole group looked to be 23 and most looked nervous being on the train after dark. Most of the kids sat in the seats, clutching their Contracts text and smiled nervously. But the douche kings swaggered into the train and clustered right by the door. In case we weren't aware they were law students by their ostentatious carrying of a Torts book (which also means that they are first years, which hahaha, poser tools), they start talking loudly about how awesome they are at law school while simultaneously texting because they are busy and important.

Since they were standing in front of the doors, they had to pick up all of their books and man purses every time someone came on the Metro. One kid actually figured out that this was inconvenient and he moved - which promptly got his douche membership revoked. But the rest of them just kept sighing heavily and acting all put out when someone came on the Metro. Obviously, if the alighting passengers had been aware that they were FIRST YEAR LAW STUDENTS, they would have gone in a different way.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Bad. So bad. I shudder when I think of it.

We have mice. But specifically, there is one ballsy mouse who comes out while we are watching television, says hello and then runs behind the television. We recently found the nest in our television cabinet, which was bad enough, but then it turns out the mouse was defiling the PS3 and we went on CODE RED HIGH ALERT. Ryoko, our dog, has been trying so hard, but she is an Epic Fail at catching it. But we needed to up the ante, because the PS3 might be in danger, people.

This morning, Ryoko runs to the television cabinet as soon as we come downstairs (as usual), to start her vigilant stalking (and CATCHING FAIL) of the disrespectful mouse. As Brian opens up the cabinet, he sees the mouse tail disappearing under the record player. He moves it, and the mouse comes running out - but I am alert and block her way with my foot (showing some amazing reflexes which haven't been apparent since I was 16 and caused me to check for spider bites that I may have gotten in a laboratory) and she runs into a bag of kindling, in which the mouse is trapped! My joy is fleeting because then I realize we have to kill the mouse. We simply cannot let this mouse live, IT WILL DESTROY THE TELEVISION.

Brian takes it to the kitchen to kill it.

"How are you going to kill it?"
"I'm going to chop it's head off."
"WHAT? Are you a serial killer? Who does that? OMG, GAH, GAH, GAH!"

I am in the dining room, being totally helpful, by screaming really loudly and making references to Silence of the Lambs.

"GAH!" from the kitchen
"The head is off and the mouse is STILL MOVING!"

Cue more screaming and flailing from me. Ryoko is so excited she can barely contain herself because she wants to carry the bloody corpse around the entire house and play with it. Which NO, just NONONONONO.

"Why did you chop it's head off? Why didn't you just knock it over the head with the skillet?"
"Oh. Hmm. . ." said the Serial Killer.

So the whole ride to the Metro, we were quiet and subdued, like we had just killed a hooker in Vegas and buried the body and eventually the madness will descend and more people will have to be killed to cover up the first murder and OH MY LORD. We shall not speak of the MOUSE DECAPITATION. Except when I do. A lot. To anyone who will listen. Whatever.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soylent Allergy

I've been on an elimination diet for a couple of weeks now. Good times. Said diet consists of meat (good), rice (acceptable), fruit (eh, depends on which ones), and vegetables (ew). Yeah. No spices. No sugar. No flavor. No delicious, delicious tositos. No frosted cereals, the love of my life, and main staple of my diet. I SHALL DIE A PAINFUL DEATH WITHOUT MY BELOVED FROSTED FLAKES.

Aside from discovering that one should not drop both coffee and sugar simultaneously, as it will cause near-death experiences in the form of running over the curb, snow piles, and anything else with your auto, it's been....fine. Except for one thing. Apparently, MAH BODY HATES TEH FROOT. AND VEGETABLES. Every day, I awaken with abdominal cramps, and have to run to the toilet. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT DOES FOR YOUR OVERALL MOOD, KIDS? I am a POOP MACHINE. Seriously. NOTHING BUT POOP. This diet is supposed to HELP with allergies, NOT CREATE GASTRIC WOE. Also, am becoming fashionably gaunt. Why isn't it bathing suit season?

Anyhow, the likely culprit at this point? FRUCTOSE. Seriously. What else?

I've already had reactions to DAIRY (makes me congested, sneeze), WHEAT (migraines), and EGGS (vertigo, migraines). WHAT THE HELL, BODY? I am going to get scurvy at the rate we're going at. That or beri beri. Or rickets. Or some other old fashioned disease, like when I got scarlet fever as a kid.

Oh, the horrors. Anyhow, I cut back on the froot, supplementing with the healthy exchange of POTATO CHIPS (natural variety, no additives). Lo & behold, feeling MUCH BETTER.

In short, my body can only handle MEAT, MEAT, RICE, POTATO, LARD, MEAT, LARD, SALT. AND COFFEE. Go figure. Oh, and bananas. I ate about 10 of those in the past 2 days as well. So there's that.

Off to the allergist with me, as one of my friends noted that at this rate, the only food left on the list is soylent green.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old Dog

Hobo is the name of our family dog. My dad, sister and brother went to the pound one day to get a cat in 1994, but when they came back, they had a dog who had mange, a cone and flies buzzing around him. They were all "they were going to euthanize him! but we had to save him, look at his face! He's so sweet." When my mom and dad died died, I took over running the house, the teenage brother and Hobo, who was about 11-ish at the time. Needless to say, it was very difficult trying to maintain a large house with a useless. . . er. ..troubled teenager and a dog who was bordering on elderly and often escaped from the yard to defecate on other lawns, thus making all the neighbors want to get together and lynch us. Then, after many years, I bought a condo and my sister took the dog. Now, my sister is selling her place and I live in a house, so Hobo has returned (thankfully minus the useless teenage appendage who is away at college).

Hobo is now officially OLD. We don't know how old he was when we got him in 1994, but at the minimum, he would be about 16 or 17 now. Which is ELDERLY. He is:
  • Mostly deaf
  • Sort of blind
  • Somewhat incontinent (conditions apply)
  • Lost a lot of sense of smell
  • Underweight, possibly because of some teeth issues where he can't eat
  • Crippled (right rear leg is completely useless, front left is bowed)
  • His farts smell like he's just taken a dump, which leads to. . .
. . .the poop issue. My theories are that he is either:
  • Incontinent and can't tell when he has to go
  • Too crippled to get to the door to let us know he has to go out
  • Too deaf/blind/smell impaired to realize he's not outside
  • Forgotten his house training
  • Just decided that he's too old to even bother and just says "ah, fuck it"
Also, he can't really squat or lift his leg to pee, so it looks like he is just standing there, staring into space, when you notice that he's peeing.

On a sidenote, our other dog is totally using this as an opportunity to remind us how great she is. She ostentatiously goes to the bathroom in appropriate places, with triumphant glances at Hobo (who really can't see them anyway). She is totally overcompensating by doing every cute trick she has in her repertoire.

So this dog. This dog. He is not in good shape. The question would be "why don't you put him to sleep?" which is a logical step. However, every time he gets sick or we decide he's miserable and take him to the vet, he KNOWS and is all "I want to live! And DANCE! I love you and you and you so much and see? I only have a little bit of a limp! I am so happy and joyful, let me just put my head on your lap!" So we decide, well, he seems happy and then he is spared because I can't bear to put a dog to sleep who wants to live.

When he came, I was like "Husband will be able to put him to sleep, I'm too emotionally involved." Alas, this is not the case as the Husband has fallen under the spell that is the poor, sad, lovely, sweet, decrepit dog. He does have a sweet face. So we are investing in rug cleaner, towels, a crate and a lot of patience.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's 10 AM, Do You Know Where Your Ovary Is?

So, had to have an ultrasound, and what a joy that was, let me tell you. First off, said procedure involves drinking fluids and NOT PEEING FOR HOURS. They say drink, oh, ELEVENTY-TWELVE OUNCES of water, and then go to the appointment, and, you know, just HOLD IT, since this is the SAME TEST USED ON PREGNANT LADIES. WITH BLADDERS THE SIZE OF THIMBLES. Anyhow, this time, I learned, and just had a cup of coffee, and proceeded as usual, figuring, hell, they wouldn't notice that I was flagrantly disregarding their rules. I was correct. So let this be a lesson: coffee fixes everything.

Anyhow, I proceeded to the appointment, whereby they where searching for our pals, the Rice Cysties, the harbringers of pain and doom. Said pals are small, and usually to be found on the right ovary. Which, as far as I know, is located in my abdominal cavity. Somewhere nearish to my uterus. Or something.

Everything was going according to plan, my belly beginning to itch dramatically from the ultrasound fluid (note to self: HOW IN HELL CAN YOU BE ALLERGIC TO AN HYPOALLEGENIC GEL?), and as I'm talking to the tech about my issues, she notes that my ovary appears to be rather small. Well yes, part of it was peeled off in a surgery, removing a prior Cystie, but hey, there should be THREE MORE THERE.

The radiologist then enters the room, and looks at the images, and announces, that NO, THAT IS NOT MAH OVARY. Okay. What is it then? A ghost? She then asks me if I know where my ovary is. Dude. Really? I mean, yes, I've had a few anatomy classes, but this is a pretty small organ, and I'm retroverted, so mine's not exactly in the normal placement, and it's a little smaller than average. So no, I can't just POINT TO IT FOR YOU. And HELLO, YOU ARE THE ONE WITH THE HOITY-TOITY DEGREE.

My confidence rapidly falling, she then states that maybe I don't have a right ovary at all. Hmmm. 6 months ago I had one. Did I somehow lose it? Did I leave it in the car last week? Or in the office? Did something EAT IT? I don't know. Then she claims to see a fallopian tube. Yeah...those were sort of burnt out, in a surgery, last I was told. So what are we seeing, exactly?

At the end of this, she tells me I have no Cysties....but riddle me this, Batman: IF YOU COULDN'T FIND MY DAMN OVARY, HOW DO WE KNOW THERE AREN'T ANY CYSTIES?

To be honest, I'm a bit perplexed. And ironies of ironies, it's acting up today, and I think I actually could point to it this morning, hahaha.