You would think a person could run a few chores around town on a Thursday afternoon without being inconvenienced at every turn by half-wits, lame-brains and lunk-heads. Unfortunately, such is not the case.
I had several errands I needed to tackle yesterday after work. Nothing too complicated — a quick stop at the grocery store and the bank, maybe get some gas, maybe pick up a cup of coffee. Shouldn’t take more than an hour, tops.
Two and a half hours later, I’m almost incoherent with frustration. Nobody seems to be paying attention to what they’re doing today.
Who do these people think they are?
I pull up to the stop sign at the exit of our subdivision with plans to make a simple right turn. In front of me, trying to turn left, is a large SUV, piloted by a woman talking on her cell phone. She’s positioned her vehicle just enough to the right of where it should be so as to block me from getting out.
As cars whiz by from the right and left, she’s paralyzed by indecision. I can see her occasionally swiveling her head, trying to find an opening, but she seems much more focused on her conversation than she is on her driving. If she would inch forward just a bit, I could get by on the right and go on about my business. No, she wouldn’t want to do that. It would be too considerate. If she shows any awareness at all of motorists around her, next thing you know she’ll have to start using a turn signal.
I hereby call on this lady to move it already. Let’s go, let’s go. If you must turn left, pull into the center turn lane and gradually merge your way into traffic. Or, you could turn right, circumnavigate the globe, and still get to your destination with the next month. I don’t care which option you choose, just please let me pass.
Once out of the neighborhood, I’m able to make my way to the supermarket. All I need is a half-gallon of ice cream and a pack of hamburger buns. I quickly locate the items and make my way to the self-checkout area.
There are four U-Scan stations, two on the left and two on the right, with a sign centered in the entrance area indicating this is the place to line up for the next available opening. Another person is already standing there, and I dutifully take my place behind her. Meanwhile, a guy saunters over from the adjacent produce department, arms loaded with bananas and pineapples, and goes directly behind a shopper finishing up at one of the terminals.
That’s not how it’s supposed to work, mister. We all line up at the entrance, and as a station opens, the first person in line gets to advance to the checkout. We don’t each pick the U-Scan we like best, and stand in front of it. What are we, animals?
I implore Fruit Man to be more considerate and learn more about the etiquette of modern shopping techniques. I think they have a course at the local community college that he might be wise to take. In any case, you need to wait your turn.
My next stop is at the bank. My plan is to pull up to the drive-through ATM and make a “fast cash” withdrawal of $50 for weekend money. There’s only one car in front of me, which is good luck this late in the afternoon.
But wait a minute — what’s this? The driver ahead is climbing out of his car and bending over to look quizzically at the cash machine. I don’t know if he can’t see because of the bright sun, or if his car window is broken, or if he just feels the need to stand erect in order to transact business. He’s an older gentleman, so I’m guessing he’s a little flummoxed by the technology. Now, out of the passenger side of the car, here comes what looks to be his wife. She joins him in pointing at the machine and looking skyward.
I urge you in the strongest language possible to figure this out and move along so somebody else can play with the nice bank buttons. Pick a slot, shove in your card, and randomly start poking at the keys. With any luck at all, the ATM will keep your card and you’ll be forced to go inside. There are people here waiting who have used a computer before.
I don’t want to stop for gas at 5 in the morning on my way to work, so I pull into a station just down the street from the bank. I swipe my card at pump number 12 (my personal favorite), and the inquisition begins.
What is my zip code? Do I want a car wash? If so, standard, deluxe or premium? Do I want a receipt? Which grade of gasoline do I want? Am I sure I don’t want a car wash?
It’s not the meddling I mind so much as it is all the time these questions are taking. It’s just gasoline, for crying out loud. It’s not like I’m trying to check out the Constitution from the National Archives.
I insist that gas companies get back to their core business model of providing fuel to the motoring public. You’re supposed to be involved in the mining of energy resources, not the mining of data. Quit asking me so many questions. You can have my zip code when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Finally, I’m ready to swing by the Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee to settle my nerves. No one waiting in front of me here — the combination of increased competition from fast-food outlets and the caffeine-fueled pace of the baristas keep the lines down inside the shop. I place my order for a small black coffee, no room, and give the cashier my name. Within moments, my order is ready. I think.
“Tall black no room for David,” calls out the barista.
Several issues here: (1) I know “small” in the Starbucksian language translates to “tall,” but using the phrase “tall black” makes me look around for the African-American basketball player whose order is apparently up. (2) “No room for David” sounds very inhospitable. (3) My name is Davis, not David.
I beseech the corporate decision-makers at Starbucks to simplify their ordering process. Have customers tell you in simple terms (small, medium, large, etc.) what they want, take their money and give them their coffee. There’s no need for a separate pedestal halfway across the room where you pick up your order, there’s no need for you to know my name, and there’s no need for the whole concept of “room.” If the cup is too full to put in creamer, I’ll just pour some onto the floor.
In conclusion, the editorial board here at DavisW’s Blog urges the world around me to get its act together and stop throwing so many impediments in my path to happiness and fulfillment. Why does it seem that everyone is out to get me? Does no one have even the smallest shred of decency and common sense?
Who do these people think they are?