Sunday, January 28, 2007

Um. x3.

Um. #1: Oh, I see. Well then.

shutdown

I guess on the one hand, it's really great that you can download firmware to fix the tiny little issue of your COMPUTER JUST TURNING OFF RANDOMLY.

Convenient!

Of course, there's also this message on the bottom of the same page.

shutdown2

Maybe I am seeing things in black and white, and not from the eyes of a tech person, but I think having a line of computers that just GO OFF is kind of a big issue. Yeah? No? Anyone?

So I installed the firmware updates, which then led to my computer turning itself off even more than before. Yay!

I had to call directory assistance to get the 800 AppleCare number because my computer wouldn't stay on long enough to provide me with the number itself.

The man I spoke with was very pleasant, which secretly annoyed the piss out of me, because MY COMPUTER JUST GOES OFF. I feel like, say, having trouble with one's email settings? Internet connections? That's cause for AppleCare folks to be chipper and helpful, a la "let me explain to you what your Extensions folder is." You know?

But when your computer seems to think that being ON is optional? Um, Mr.AppleCare man? "Won't stay on" is not a what I call a bug. I hate you and your "yes, this is a known problem" ways.

Anyway, the guy at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store seemed to be able to fix my known issue (so far, so good), but the entire experience makes me a bit leary, because I'd really prefer that my computer be, like, functional. As opposed to a really pretty paperweight with a Mac logo.

* * * * *

Um. #2: I'll Bet She Was Chewing Gum, Too.

As I mentioned earlier, I am helping my friend and co-singer, OneBadSue, plan her wedding. I couldn't be more excited about this, as she and her fiance are fabulous people and plus a little bit crazy (in the good way that we like here at She Walks) and the event is going to be fun and awesome even if I have nothing to do with it whatsoever.

They are thinking about having their rehearsal dinner at a non-traditional spot (a low-key eating place with great beer we'll call "The Spot"), and I am working on securing it for them. Which may be more difficult than I first thought. As illustrated below.

I call The Spot when I know they are open but probably not too busy, and am immediately thwarted by their automated phone system. Would I like to be connected to the bar? I figure there's probably someone there, so why not? I hit "5" and get an answering machine, followed by a hang-up.

I call back.

"0" for more information gives me three minutes of recorded details about their hours of operation, calendar of live events, and -- of course -- driving directions -- but zero information of how one might go about speaking to a live human being. Cool.

Fine, then, despite that I don't know who "Ginny" is, I will call back and hit "1" to speak with her. But then she never picks up.

I call back a FOURTH TIME, and picked "2" to place a to-go order.

The Hostess answers the phone.

Hostess: Hello, The Spot, can I take your order?

Me: Hi there. I'm not calling with an order; actually, I'm calling about a private event.

Hostess: A what?

Me, clearer, because perhaps she didn't hear me: A private event.

Hostess: Like, what do you mean?

This is a very bad sign.

And honestly, I wasn't sure which was more problematic: that she, as hostess of a restaurant had never heard of the phrase "private event," or that she couldn't figure out the meaning in context.

Me: I'd like to have a large group of people in for a private dinner. Do you do that?

Hostess: Oh, ah...I don't know.

[pause]

[pause]

Me, politely: Okay. Is there a manager or someone there I can speak to about it?

And then, as though this were the dumbest question she'd ever been asked and gosh, what kind of idiot is on the phone, replies:

Hostess: You can talk to ME!

Um.

Um.

Me: Okay.

Hostess: So...how many people would this be?

Me: Probably around 45 people.

Hostess: Hold on.

I can hear as the phone is put down on something hard. There's restaurant din in the background. A few seconds later, the phone is picked back up.

Hostess: Yeah, we can do that. So...

[pause]

Hostess: Let me make this reservation --

And before I had a chance to clarify that just "making a reservation" for 40 probably wouldn't work, she asked:

Hostess: When is this for?

Me: October.

Hostess: OCTOBER?!?!

She said "October" absolutely incredulously, as though the month of October were as far away as the year 2050 and, really, who could possibly know if they'd even be alive then, let alone where they'd want to be for dinner. And also I'm guessing she wouldn't have any idea how to make that reservation anyway because her book only went as far as, like, next month.

Me, as seriously as possible: Yes. October. This is a rehearsal dinner. For a wedding. That is why I'm asking about private dining options.

I think these were the magic words, because it seemed I had finally revealed to her exactly what a "private event" is. Because she next says:

Hostess: Oh, well, like. There's the Board Room.

[pause]

[pause]

Me: And do you do private events there?

Hostess: Well, sometimes groups eat in there. I'm not sure how they reserve it.

[pause]

[pause]

Um. But. Um.

[pause]

Me: Do you know how many it seats?

Hostess: Hold on.

At this point I'm guessing whoever she spoke to earlier is now standing within earshot because rather than put the phone down, she simply covers it with her hand.

Hostess: It seats like, 30.

[pause]

I wonder if at any point she is going to pick up on the fact that by and large? 30 is LESS THAN 45.

Me: That probably won't work then. Do you know how many the restaurant seats in total?

Hostess: Like, the whole place?

Me: Yes.

Hostess, exasperated: Hold on.

More murmuring.

Hostess: We don't know how many exactly, but it's a lot.

Oh, well, then! Perfect!

Me, knowing full well what the answer would be: Do you know how much it would cost to have the entire restaurant for a few hours?

Hostess: You mean like, have the whole place private? I don't know if we do that.

You don't say.

Hostess: Hold on.

There was murmuring in the background again, but it was cut short when whoever the Hostess was talking to had lost her patience and grabbed the phone from her.

Hostess's boss: Hello there, may I help you?

She sounded as though she was already fed up with me, as though I were asking ridiculous questions for no good reason.

Me: I just wanted to talk to someone about a private event.

Hostess's boss: Ohhhh!

SOMEHOW the Hostess had not managed to communicate this to her boss, which is maybe even harder to comprehend than the the "You can talk to me!" comment.

Perhaps not surprisingly, her boss recommended that I call back this week and ask to speak to the manager.

Yeah. No kidding.

* * * * * *

Um. #3: Not cute enough.

There are a few establishments in San Francisco where I can safely assume that the male manager has hired the scantily-clad, none-too-bright-but-awfully-cute female staff based not so much on their technical skills.

One such establishment is a coffee shop between Ish's apartment and the garage where he keeps his car parked. When I sleep at Ish's, I get coffee at this shop on my way home because it is convenient.

Except when it isn't.

The New Girl is young, probably 19ish, and cute. She also doesn't speak so good English.

Which would not be an issue for me at all if she weren't also incompetent. But simply getting a medium coffee has proven difficult in the past, and on the days when I add something to my order -- say, a bagel, or a bottle of water -- the exchange becomes downright painful. She doesn't understand what I am saying, and feels self-conscious about it so she giggles and blushes, and then gets things wrong and giggles more. And you know? At 7:30 a.m. I really just want to get on with my day.

One morning last week I was really hungry and decided I would stop in the cafe. As we walked in, I told Ish that I wanted a bagel, and he looked at me nervously.

"Don't worry," I said. "I won't have her toast it."

And here is pretty much how our exchange went:

New Girl: Good morning!

Me: Hi. Can I have a medium drip coffee, please?

New Girl: Just drip?

Um.

Me: Yes(?)

New Girl: What size?

Me: Medium.

New Girl: You want leave room for cream?

Me: No, thank you.

New Girl: Is that all?

Me: Actually, I would like... [I eye my choices] a poppy seed bagel. With cream cheese, but NOT toasted.

New Girl: Okay. [She pours the coffee and puts that down on the counter in front of me. She has left room for cream.] What bagel?

Me, pointing: The poppy seed.

She grabs the bagel and brings it over to the counter behind her. She goes into the fridge and gets out a tub of cream cheese, and goes to the sink and gets a knife. Then she starts slicing the bagel, but about half-way through the process turns back to me.

This has already taken twice as long as it should.

New Girl: You want cream cheese and slice?

Um?

What? I just want to go. But since she's already started with the slicing process, and um, because they apparently don't have cream cheese packets, what other choice is there?

Me: Yes(?)

She then finishes slicing the bagel and goes back to the fridge and pulls out tomatoes.

Um.

And then I realize. "Slice" is in reference to "tomatoes." Got it.

Me, to her back: Oh! Sorry, no! No tomatoes!

She turns to me, confused.

Me: I'm sorry, I do not want those. No tomatoes.

I shake my head and hands to indicate no. She then sort of shrugs and returns the tomatoes to the fridge and completes spreading the cream cheese on the bagel.

And then, without a word or any kind of warning at all, she puts the bagel and cream cheese in the microwave.

I stood there, confounded. I had clearly lost the battle.

Ish leaned in to me and said, "Your mouth just actually twitched."

11 comments:

  1. and I thougtht the ten years I spent working retail killed my faith inthe future of humanity...

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  2. Total incompetence is funny later when you blog it, but not so much as it's occurring. Your loss is our gain - that was hilarious.

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  3. Sometimes you just can't win . . .
    I had a similar experience at Panera's once - - the lady waiting on me couldn't get the automatic slicer to slice my bagel, and handed it to me on a plate only sliced halfway through! I asked her to finish slicing it so I could toast it, but she just kept saying she couldn't get the slicer to work right. I finally asked for a knife to finish slicing it myself (because by that time I did NOT want to see her with any sharp objects in her hand), and she handed me a PLASTIC KNIFE with NO serated edge! At that point, there were a lot of people lined up behind me by that time, so I just gave up . . .

    When I got home, I called and explained what happened to the Manager, and later got a free meal out of it . . .

    I can laugh about it now, but at the time I (and the 10 people in line behind me) were not happy!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences - - it's good to know there are more people like me out there going through some of the same s**t I am . . . :-)

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly with amberance. My eyebrow would have been twitching in impatient fury if I were in your shoes, either with the hostess or the coffee girl. But reading about it is ever so much more enjoyable.

    I'm thinking the Spot might not be the ideal rehearsal dinner spot. I could be wrong.

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  5. Wow, I thought I was the only one stuff like that happened to.

    Good luck with the wedding!

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  6. Wow, k. You just made my day! I know exactly how that is. :)

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  7. I work with someone like the Hostess girl. It's really hard to keep yourself from strangling someone like that... i feel for her boss.

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  8. I also chose to have my rehearsal dinner at a "non-traditional" kind of place--an old, beachy, seafood shack with great food. Despite the arrangements I made with the manager, they had no idea who we were when we walked in. They were utterly shocked that such a large group had just up and decided to come in and eat together.

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  9. There is nothing quite like being in the middle of writing a giant dissertation and having your computer just shut down for no reason. Yeah. Just often enough to be terrifying and maddening, but not often enough to warrant turning said computer over to someone to fix it -- what with a dissertation needing to get written and all.

    That's what I hear, anyway.

    {ctrl'S'} {ctrl 'S'} {ctrl 'S'}

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  10. This reminds me of an incident from my waitressing days.

    *scene goes wavy, indicating a flashback*

    Me: I'm sick of doing all of Lauren's sidework for her! And she's not even a good waitress, I always have to pick up the slack on her tables. Why is she getting a free ride here while I work my ass off?

    Male Manager: Well, look at her! She's so pretty.

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  11. Unfortunately the "boadroom" area at the Spot, upon further reflection, just won't do.

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