Monday, August 23, 2010


So while we are selecting out incompetent store workers, lets talk about the cashiers.  If you hand me my change on top of my dollar bills, I will make you walk the plank.

            In fact, I think I will create an entrance exam for admittance to the ark, and it won’t be like the college exams, which have become increasingly easier in order to jack up the schools’ attendance and thus profitability, it will be a real exam created with the intention of weeding out everyone but the most deserving.  Remember, this is my ark so I get to decide who is most deserving.  There will be no politically correct couching here; you either pass or fail. And on the basic customer service skills portion, if you put my change on top of the paper bills, you fail.
            This, like grocery bag packing, is not a difficult one.  Common sense should prevail here.  If you place a pile of coins on top of a pile of bills in a person’s hand, it is
likely to spill when the hand is moved, unless you are a master at stacking coins and the recipient has an exceptionally steady hand, and even then, why?  If you are counting back your change the way you are supposed to (I know, it is like grocery bag packing all over again, no one knows how to do this any more) you have to count out the coins first anyway. (To those of you for whom this is news, check out this website).  So place the coins in the palm of my upturned hand and then count back the dollars and place those on TOP of the coins.  It is much easier this way.  I can put the bills back in my wallet before having to go for the change purse, and nothing drops on the ground and rolls under the counter or half way across the floor so I either have to look like a fool chasing after it, or walk away from my money.
            And while we are at it, can you please learn how to make change without relying on the cash register?  Again not difficult, anyone old enough to work should have the basic skill of subtraction.  That is all change is you know, subtracting one number from another.  If you can count to one hundred and subtract, you ought to be able to make change without a cash register.  If you can’t do both of the above things, you ought not to be hired, at least not as a cashier.
            So lets go over this for the intellectually challenged teenager working at my local drug store. If my total comes to $13.47 and I give you a $20, all you need to do to get started is subtract 47 from 100 to figure out the coin part of the change. 100-47 is 53 so you owe me 53 cents to start.  Count that out from your drawer and place it in my hand.  If you are really good, you can even count it back to me handing me the three pennies and saying “forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty” and then handing me the two quarters and saying “and fifty cents makes fourteen”.  If you are already confused, please don’t take a job working with money. 
            Now you need to figure out the bills.  This is even easier because you are only subtracting 14 from 20; my first grader can do that.  So when you hand back the $1 you say “fifteen” because now our total is up to $15, then you hand me a $5 and say “twenty.”  This completed, you have successfully made change for the $20 I gave you and distributed it back in the correct manner.
            It is simple subtraction, and it is subtraction that is likely to never go above 100.
            Finally the one that really gets them at the store is when I hand them a payment that allows me to get back fewer coins.  Like for instance, the time that I handed the teenager $20.02 when my total came to $15.77.  She could not for the life of her figure out why I handed her the two pennies.  First she told me I gave her too much money and tried to hand back the pennies.  I explained that I did that on purpose.  She looked at me like a deer caught in headlights and said “but it’s too much.”  I explained to her how the pennies allowed the change to be a quarter.  Still nothing. Eventually I had to walk her step by step through the exact change to give me and she hesitantly went along with my instructions.  It would have been amusing if it hadn’t been so pathetic.  I mean really, when did Americans get so dumb and why on earth are employers hiring these ninnies?  There is a recession out here you know.  There are plenty of intelligent people who can make change, smile, and exhibit genuine customer service all at the same time.  There is no need for you to hire the idiot that can’t do her job even with the aid of all her fingers and toes.
            So the standards will be higher on the ark. If you couldn’t have graduated high school in the fifties, you aren’t allowed passage (unless, of course, you are a child).  My flood is designed to get rid of all the rude, selfish, and entitled people, if you can’t bother to learn subtraction you aren’t serious about survival of the fittest and we will be just fine without you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mangled Bread

I haven’t put a lot of thought into the social workings of the ark, but I suspect that if we are all going to be on board for a long time we may need some sort of ship’s store and if so, we are going to need someone to work the cash register and package the goods.  Can you see where I am going with this one?  People who cannot handle these simple tasks with some semblance of competence will not be allowed access to the ark.  In fact, maybe we’ll all take turns at the various necessary jobs on the ark and those who are incompetent will be fired and then dispelled.

            This post comes from many years of being thoroughly frustrated by the incompetence at the grocery store.  As a young mother, my grandmother worked at a grocery store (and a bank, and took in other people’s laundry to help pay her bills; people did that back then, did what it took to pay their own way).  Back then people took pride in their jobs.  I remember my mother telling me “anything worth doing is worth doing right.”  My grandmother knew how to pack groceries: cans on the bottom, bread on the top.  She would never have handed a customer a bag that had a turkey crushing the produce, or eggs precariously balanced and waiting to fall off the top.  It isn’t a difficult concept.  There is no need for an extensive education, just common sense.  If it is crushable like hot dog rolls don’t put it under something heavy like a 24oz can of crushed tomatoes. And believe it or not, you can fit more than three or four things into one bag if you have even a basic understanding of space (the round peg cannot fit into the square hole).  For those of you who don’t believe me, here’s how.
            If it were a lot to ask or even took a lot of time to do, it might not bother me so much that no one does this anymore, but if you know what you are doing (and I am sure a five minute training session from the host store could teach anyone) it can be done right in as much time as it takes to do incorrectly.  It is simply laziness on the part of the packer, and apathy on the part of the store.  I just don’t think it is that much to ask that my loaf of bread resemble a rectangle when I get it home instead of the mashed modern art shape I sometimes unpack from the bottom of my canned goods bag.
            My solution is often to beat the clerk to the punch and pack it myself.  I suppose my mom deserves a shout out for that one since it is she who taught me, when I was a young girl shopping with her, how to pack a grocery bag.  Who knew that would turn out to be such a rare skill?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Please Shut Up

First, let me apologize for another unintended absence.  I have no excuse other than August has been a very busy month for me and although I have encountered plenty of blog worthy situations that all call for a rant, I have had to make note of them for future use.  That said, I am back and I am responding to a request for more rants on rude people.  Let me introduce you to the self-important know-it all (and yes, I know who you are, or at least who you think you are) who is the latest on my ark black list.

            So today I am sitting in a class for which I paid a significant amount in order to hear two experts speak.  It was a hot day, and I love to learn and so for those two reasons I sat in the front row; there was a fan and it is easier to see and pay attention when one is up front.
            Right off, I realize I have made the wrong seating choice.  I should have sat on the right hand side of the room, but instead I have planted myself directly in front of a woman who feels that she deserves as much airtime as the paid professionals.  At first, it is just an overly loud “uh-huh” or “that’s right” coming from behind me.  Then she begins to follow their points with points of her own.
            In a seminar that only lasted two hours and accommodated thirty participants, none of whom were asked to introduce themselves or say anything at all for that matter, I learned that this woman used to be a musician and also a consultant with her own training firm by the time she was 39, and that she now writes poetry, loves Thelma and Louise, and does not believe that Anna Karenina had an antagonist.  I probably would know a lot more about her but for the fact that after about three interruptions I began chanting “please shut up” silently in my head every time she opened her mouth.
            Unfortunately, I seem to run into her type frequently.  It is one thing to be stuck next to her at a dinner party or cornered by him in the doctor’s office where I have to hear what a wonderful dancer he believes himself to be, but when I pay to go hear experts speak, that is exactly what I want: to hear the experts speak. I don’t want to hear other participants, who may or may not know more than the rest of us, tell the entire paying populous what he or she thinks.  We don’t care about your opinion.  If we did, we’d have paid to see you!  As it stands, we paid to see the very polite persons (yes it is persons not people for those who are concerned with the deterioration of the English language- look for a future post on the dumbing down of America) who are indulging your diatribe during their scheduled speech and smiling politely while the rest of us, or at least myself, seethe at your rude self-indulgence.
            So to the woman at the seminar who was obviously craving everyone’s attention for some dysfunctional reason, next time you are in a situation where a number of persons have paid to hear another person or persons speak, please sit there quietly, take notes, and fight any and all urges you may have to put in your two cents.  We aren’t interested.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thinking For Ourselves

If you like my sarcastic rants, thank you and you can expect one shortly.  In the meantime, I have had such a trying week that I took a little time off from writing, especially about the things bothering me, because I was afraid that humorously sarcastic would morph into downright mean and I don't want to go there.  If I did, I wouldn't be allowed my own ark.  

However, in thinking about last week's post and the labels of left and right for political thinking, I realized that we as Americans have boxed ourselves into a two party system.  Americans' political views are as varied as Americans themselves and I think it is time we stop limiting ourselves.  Perhaps a little old-fashioned American diversity would do this country good during the next round of elections so here is my challenge to you all.
Don’t blindly follow a political party or politician.  Don’t let anyone tell you how a good “Democrat” or Republican" thinks.  Here is a quiz that will help you to determine to which party your own ideals are closest.  Politicians use propaganda to convince the masses they are Democrat or Republican depending on the agenda.  But when an intellectual debate is held, I think you’ll see that many who vote along party lines because they think they are supposed to would actually align themselves with a different political party if they examined the belief systems of all the political options.  Take this test and see which party you truly line up with best.  And then use that knowledge in the next election when it can make a difference.

And I’ll be back to bitching in the near future.