Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Bloggin' Good Blogger Days"

My good friend Pajamamama has christened the next few days "Bloggin' Good Blogger Days."

I am contemplating a post that fits right into her request, but first, I want to go ahead and release some thoughts that fleeted to the very front of my grey matter before thoughts ventured into formulating a post to fit into PM's brilliant and loving broadcasted request of folks participating in cyberworld communications.

When I read her post, I was actually already in deep contemplation of how generally inconsiderate people are. These thoughts were caused by a general notice of how prevalent "coping mechanisms" are in people around me. I have one coworker with whom I've discussed smoking with. He's tried to quit, and can't seem to shake the habit. He's not alone. Maybe it was wrong to mention a coping mechanism first that I don't happen to use, but trust me, I have my share. Now I've watched the smokers around me. Not only do they often have a set schedule for smoking that they just can't deter from, but they also run for the back door each and every time things get heated or stressful. Thus, it's an escape hatch.

Some smoke. Some eat. Some sleep. Some get hostile. Some engage in high risk activities. Some drink. Some use drugs. Some just run away for awhile.

I have a myriad of them that I personally employ.

So why do we need these coping mechanisms? I think it's just because the world sucks so much more than it used to. We're in a bigger hurry. We spin our wheels incessantly trying to do more with the 24 hours in each day. We're tired and weary.

And we're damn impatient.

Detroit is one of the worst areas for road rage. I read an article once that described a strange phenomenon where people see cars as inanimate objects and forget that live human beings are inside. For example, you don't normally see people in a grocery store checkout line get impatient and step out of line to rush past someone along side him to get in front. But you see that on the road every time you leave your house. People in line at the movie ticket counter don't normally holler if the line is moving too slow. But you hear horns blow in contempt for the same phenomenon on the road. If you were at a ticket counter, and the woman in front of you was too busy getting her two-year-old to blow his nose in a Kleenex to notice that the line had moved, would you wait patiently or holler at her to scootch forward? Do you honk of someone doesn't move immediately when the light turns green?

I don't think it's necessarily our "fault" that the world has become what it is. However, it is our fault that we allow it to change our attitude and behavior.

I had these thoughts going on earlier today at work after watching some interesting behavior. Then I read PM's blog, which was right in line with what I'd been thinking about. I kept this in mind for the rest of my day.

Later this evening I headed to the local shopping mall. I was supposed to get my eyebrows done, but there was a huge mix-up and the eyebrow person was not even working at the salon today. (The mix-up is a really interesting story, and will make for another day's post.) I resisted all temptation to holler at the people working in the salon, who didn't deserve it, and hadn't done anything wrong. Somehow, it's natural to feel "entitled" to lash out when we feel someone has inconvenienced us or caused us grief. I'm no exception. But I know this is a really crappy way to be, and I'm going to try my best to shake the habitual response. The salon was my first opportunity, and I think I did okay. The second opportunity was only moments away. I grabbed a super quick dinner on the run, ran to three places in the mall, and then headed out before deciding I needed a Starbucks. I love Starbucks lattes, but have been trying to refrain from visiting any Starbucks because $4 on coffee is just stupid when credit card companies are charging 29% APR on debt I owe. (Duh, right?) So I hardly ever go, and when I do go, I get regular coffee - not a latte. Big savings overall from both efforts. Anyhow, I go in, and order a large coffee of the day. I decide to ask for it iced, as it's 98 degrees outside and really friggin hot. Now the last handful of times I've been to Starbucks, it's either been in Rochester or Royal Oak. Not the one in the mall. The non-mall SB's will simply put ice in a cup, add the coffee of your choice, and off you go. But no - the SB that lives in the mall doesn't roll that way.

A large coffee at SB is $1.70. With tax brings it to $1.80. Yes, I know this is still ludicrous for coffee that I can make at home, but that's not the point here. The gal running the register took my order, pushed some buttons, and $1.70 flashed on the digital display before she wiped it out, pushed some more buttons, and suddenly $2.40 appeared. Add tax - $2.54. Why had my coffee doubled in price? Or, since the amount supported the theory perfectly, had the girl simply charged me for two coffees instead of one? So of course I politely asked her. She insisted that iced coffee was more than hot coffee. I resisted the urge to sternly ask her what she is smoking, and courteously asked her why that might be. She went on to explain that the coffee used for iced coffee is brewed stronger, so it uses more grounds. It is also more labor to prepare an iced coffee than just a regular hot coffee. Yes, of course I was calling bullshit. Even if the coffee used twice the grounds, I seriously doubt that twice the grounds would yield exactly twice the strength coffee. And even if twice the grounds were used, doubling SB's cost, there is no way that a full 10 ounces of coffee are added to the cup full to the brim of large ice cubes.

But instead of launching my natural instinctive argument, I simply smiled and asked for the coffee regular and served hot.

Then things got even more challenging. Remember the total had become $2.54 with tax on the overpriced iced coffee. I had two dollars in my hand before seeing the total appear, and while I was adding it up and wondering why it was so high, I reached in my purse for another dollar. I handed the gal three dollars while asking the questions, hearing the ludicrous explanation for the coffee being twice the price when served with half ice in the cup, and changing my order to hot coffee.

This gal finished the sale for $2.54 (don't ask me why) and then processed a "refund" through the register for the $2.54. During this, she put my $3 in the register. Then, she rang up my coffee for $1.80 with tax, and gave me $0.74 in change. Obviously, she rang in $1.80 in charges, then entered $2.54 as the amount I'd given her.

I looked at the change in my hand and reminded her that I'd given her $3. She babbled on insistant that the change was correct. I instinctively wanted to lean over the counter and bite off her head for want of cashiers who can make change intelligently. But I held it together and was kind to her, in large part due to PM's reminder that it's a whole lot harder to stay positive and not just find fault. I explained to her that I'd given her $3, and my total was $1.80, so my change should be $1.20. Although she was thoroughly confused at what happened, she did understand that statement, She just opened the register and dumped back in the $0.74, while removing $1.20.

Remaining patient and kind is difficult in the face of frustration, but I do think it would make the world a better place if we all did it. Maybe, some folks could even find it a little easier to quit smoking or drinking far too many cosmopolitans.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey buttmunch.why don't you free up the next blog button? you some kind of blog nazi?

Thu Aug 03, 12:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Jen said...

wow! last time i remembered, these blogs were to write whatever! apparently u took the time to read it, so maybe you should refrain from comments like that. and to think you didnt even have the balls to post ur name. save the comments for someone else!

Fri Aug 04, 11:51:00 AM GMT-5  

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