28 Apr

Would you like some fries with that?

When it comes to restaurants, apparently you have to bug the living piss out of the employees before you start implying anything. The latest comes in a recent visit to Sbarro.

First off, I knew that something was gonna go down, because my view of them has been: Expensive and Average. (oh, and the fact that they are in bankruptcy protection) What do I mean by that?

As I approached the counter to check out the selection of pizza, the employee behind the counter was giving out samples of their breadsticks and their garlic dipping sauce. I proceeded to try it. Yum, not bad. The man told me, you can get a slice of pizza, two breadsticks and a drink.

After selecting the pizza, he put two breadsticks on the tray, started some small talk, and asked me, and I quote:

"And would you like marinara or garlic dipping sauce with the breadsticks?"

Naturally, after having just sampled the garlic sauce, I chose that.

More fast small talk, and after having selected Pepsi as my drink, he rang up the total.

"That'll be $8.98"

My thoughts at that time were: $8.98? Holy crap. One piece of pizza and some breadsticks and pop? Seemed expensive. Really, $8.98? Hmm, wow, ok, well... uh, all right, I guess. Geez (adding up rounded estimates of all components in my head). How do you get to almost 9 bucks?

The receipt didn't print. He asked me if I needed the receipt. Too coincidental in this situation? Who knows, and who the hell cares -- I'm stymied. I requested the receipt be reprinted. I quickly found out the cause -- they charged me for the garlic dipping sauce!

Ok, back that ship up... now I think I see why you're the fast-talking used car salesman type... if you come across as all nice and whatnot, you can get almost anything by any customer.

What you can't tell in this blog is exactly how the individual asked me about the sauce. It wasn't the "Would you like to buy?" type of voice, where the pitch of the voice goes from softer to louder. Rather, it went from higher to lower... you know, the implied tone of voice... the "You get either, which one would you like?" type of voice.

And what sucks is that by the time I saw that they charged me for the sauce, I had already paid the bill. I wasn't going to be "that guy" to have a fit with the other couple of people that were in line with their food getting cold. So I bit the bullet.

This type of behavior of implying something is included when really we'll charge you for it, really pisses me off. A couple of other places it has happened:

  1. Jimmy Johns, when asked if you want cheese, watch how gleefully they put that extra charge on your bill. Oh, Mr. Employee, you think that's funny? See how funny it is when I tell you to remove it and then I mock you for charging me for it. (yes, that has happened) Then, watch me put on my "schizo face" when I correct myself and say I want cheese, and then when you recharge me for it, I tell you that I change my mind.
  2. Champps, when they ask you if you want seasoned sour cream with the waffle fries, they really mean "Would you like me to charge you $9.99 for it?" (ok, it's really not that expensive, but for what you get, it is)

It seems like this is specifically a restaurant thing. I mean, it's to the point where I have to basically put the brakes on every restaurant conversation and request clarification on every question. Ultimately, I blame myself for thinking Sbarro would give you ANYTHING without charging you for it. If I do go back and they pull that stunt again, you can rest assured I will respond with a "Hell no, you charged me for it last time I was here, even though you worded and sounded like the sauce came with it already" in about the loudest voice possible.

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21 Apr

Journalists cannot think for themselves

So I'm reading about McDonalds' National Hiring Day on Yahoo.   Now keep in mind, this is an Associated Press (AP) story -- Yahoo is merely displaying it on their site.

So they have a number of informative statistics and whatnot, and then I run across this:


"... according to government formulas"? What, are you trying to sound all sophisticated or something? Do you really think there's some secret governmental formula to calculate the $15,000 figure? I mean, let me take one crack at it:

Hmmm... <grab calculator>... $7.25 (hourly rate) x 40 hours (since full-time) x 52 weeks a year (converting to annual figure, since that's what they gave) = $15,080. WOW, I got it! On the first try!!!

(ding dong)

Hold on readers, someone's at my door.

Guys in Black Clothes: Are you Schoms?

Schoms: Yes, can I help you?

Guys in Black Clothes: You're under arrest for exchanging confidential proprietary information. You have the right to remain silent......

I mean, seriously, the editor had to be laughing before submitting this one. Did the journalist really have to ask the government how much a $7.25/hr wage converted to on an annual basis for a full-time worker?

Why not just say "for a standard, 40-hour work week" or something like that?

Formula. Pshhhh.

And I get that it is a formula. Rate x Hours x Weeks, I get that -- we all do.

<whiny voice>Oh, but Schoms, full-time doesn't always mean 40 hours. I mean, some people have employers that view 32 hours a week as full-time. That woudn't add up to $15,000</whiny voice>

No kidding! If you're hourly and work more than 40 hours, it's called overtime. If McDonalds viewed 32 hours as full-time, then that's a relevant piece of info, so PUT IT IN THE STORY! But they don't... and that's the point!


If it's different than 40 hours, then state it. Otherwise, stick with the standard!

So quit trying to sound all sophisticated. If you want sophistication, grab your favorite hoity toity flavor of Taster's Choice with your soy-based cream and watch reruns of Masterpiece Theater.

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13 Apr

Relationships and Symbols (last I checked, I'm a math major!)

So I went to the University of Minnesota -- that's right, I'm a Gopher. No doubt, I'm still bitter about my experience there, with having to go back for one semester for one class because of a mix-up by my advisor. But that's a story for a different Gripe. The point is, I did graduate with a math degree. But still to this date, people have been trying to convince me, as well as many others, of one particular expression: I < 3

Now I understand that not everybody is good at math, but if you take any individual who is at least in kindergarten, they will be able to confirm that indeed, 1 is less than 3. Why does everyone insist on driving that fact home in their conversation? Here are some examples where I have seen this, mostly on Facebook and internet pages:

  1. I <3 Jimmy!!!
  2. ooohhh!! I <3 chocolate ice cream
  3. 5 years today! I <3 Tim!!!!! :)

What the hell... make the connection for me in that last one! They're clearly talking about their anniversary, but then they have to go and insert some obscure math fact. It's like a passive form of Tourette's Syndrome:

"Ooooh, it's such a happy day... 5 years ago today, my husband and I got.... HUBBY, LEARN YOUR LESS THANs AND YOUR GREATER THANs, IDIOT!"

But no, I'm not an moron... I know what the "expression" means. But why not just say it? Is it too much to type? I argue it takes longer to type it that way than to just type the word l-o-v-e. I mean, how often do you use the less-than key? How many of you actually knew it was on the comma key? Not only that, but now you have to hold the shift key down! Oh golly, what an inconvenience!

And this is the most hypocritical thing ever -- you're in the relationship. Men will relate to this. Your woman comes up to you, right out of the blue, and says:

"I love you."

You look at her just sitting there, waiting for verbal reciprocation. You can't wait too long or it'll piss her off. You can't say it too soon or it'll feel forced. Ahhhh, so confusing! In all the panic, you've got a great idea -- let's get cute. So you give your response in that cute baby-talk voice:

"No, I L-O-V-E you more"

Suddenly, the demoument shifts from one of happiness and rainbows and trumpeter swans and $1 Caramel Fundraiser Bars to her storming away, displeased. The proverbial air has been let out of the balloon. And why? Cause you didn't say the magic word. You didn't say the magic word. Nope, no magic word. Instead............you spelled it. You thought you'd get cute, only to have it bite you in the behind! Ya forgot the magic word!

Moral of the story: Don't get cute, just say it.

So why is it ok for women to use it? Oh sure you could argue that she initiated the conversation in the examples above, but if you brought home flowers and on the little card you wrote "I<3 [insert name]", you KNOW that the flowers just took a backseat. Hell, you might as well not even have bought them, because the focus will be on the "meaning" of the card. "Why didn't they just say it instead of sort-of writing it?" Even in times of good deed, you fail.

Relationships and symbols -- unless specifically a marriage symbol, a deadly combination.

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07 Apr

Even better than your cable TV technician's 3-hour delivery window

Americans love it when things turn out better than expected, especially when it comes to waiting time estimates. But man, if the actual waiting time is longer than the estimate, all hell breaks loose. The customer goes into "bust-a-cap-in-someone's-ass" mode.

So businesses err on the side of caution and quote very conservative waiting times. There has been no better example of this than my latest purchase on Amazon:

We shipped the items in your order placed on April 06, 2011.
Delivery Estimate: April 13, 2011 - April 28, 2011
This shipment will be delivered by USPS.

You have got to be kidding. Not only is that not an accurate delivery window, but it's a direct rip on the U.S. Postal Service. I'll bet you anything I get that package BEFORE April 13th. That, or the company sent the package 17th class, where it will be delivered by children working for the USPS riding their tricycles.

But seriously, let's pretend that they SENT it on the 12th, and we're not talking about priority mail either... just first class. There are some addresses that would possibly receive it the next day, but give me an address ANYWHERE in the U.S. where the USPS would take 16 days to deliver the package! That's right, there IS none. Moreover, since they sent it on the 6th, that would mean it would take them 22 days to deliver the package. I don't think so Tim.

Then the package arrives... earlier than expected. We're all supposed to jump around and cheer because it came earlier than expected. "Yippee!!!!! Wooooo-hooooo!!! That Amazon did it again... they always exceed expectations." Amazon gets a good reputation because of it and if something happens to occur, causing a delay, they have their butts covered courtesy of the absurd delivery estimate. What a crock.

Liberal delivery estimates have occurred in every other Amazon purchase I've made at least within the last 3 years. And some people (me included) have even become immune to the delivery estimate. "Oh, it'll never take that long. We always get it within a few days." The concept of delivery quote times is almost ignored.

But Amazon is not the only one to give absurd estimates:

  1. Ever order a pizza and get it before the 30-45 minute window?
  2. Ever go out to your favorite sit-down restaurant and get seated within 20 minutes, even though they said it would be an hour wait?
  3. What about your spouse, who says they'll only go shopping for their $50 pair of pants only to come home with $600 worth of miscellaneous clothes?
  4. Ever wonder how, even though all flights seem to be delayed, airlines still have an 80-90% on-time record?

Look, everyone likes getting things before expected, but if you're going to quote a expected arrival time (especially after you have officially sent the package), be accurate with the estimate. UPS/FedEx can get the estimated time down to the day. We're just asking to get the right week, Amazon.

Categories: Gripe Read More

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