Monday, August 4, 2008

One of those days

You ever have one of those days when everything you touch seems to go wrong? Okay, so maybe not everything went wrong today - work was actually pretty uneventful (other than the two hours on clearance delivery, where I was busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest). It was after work that the shenanigans began.

I needed to print out a couple of packing slips for stuff I was sending out, and I had promised that it would ship today. My printer at home has been problematic for some time, and today it finally refused to work at all. Annoying, but not truly unexpected - I'd already picked up another one to take its place. So I extricated the old printer from its home in the overhead cupboard and pulled the replacement out of the box and put it in its place. Another couple of minutes were needed to hook up power and USB cables, install the new print cartridges, and load the paper. Whereupon nothing happened - the replacement printer didn't work either! This was, as you might imagine, a bit more annoying. After pulling the replacement out and stuffing it back into its box, I went to the local WallyWorld and bought a new replacement printer. By this time, I'm becoming more aware of the passage of time, as rush hour starts early in L.A. Arriving home, I did the out-of-the-box-and-into-the-cupboard routine again with the brand-spanking new printer, and . . . you guessed it, this one didn't work either! Jimminy Freakin' Christmas! So I got to repeat the out-of-the-cupboard-and-back-into-the-box routine again, and returned to the WallyWorld to find that their computers can't handle a customer returning an item less than an hour after purchase - a manager override is required. We all know what that means: everyone standing around, waiting for the Customer Service Manager ('CSM' - so next time you hear that over the loudspeakers, you know somebody's having a fun day) to make their way to the returns desk and use their special key in the register. Meanwhile, everyone in line behind you is dreaming up incredibly imaginative and cruel ways of orchestrating your demise. When the manager finally showed up, he wanted to have a conversation about my credit card (which has - surprise, surprise - a picture of an airplane on it), telling me that he was going to flight school, etc. Now I'm the one dreaming of his immediate, if not sooner, demise, while looking at the clock over his head and wondering what time is the last pick up at the post office. Eventually, having talked for more time than I suspect he has actually logged in an airplane, the manager had to answer someone else's call for a CSM, and I was able to make my escape back to the printer aisle to choose the replacement for the replacement for the replacement. Darned if, on my way out of the store, I didn't encounter the same CSM - who looked as if he wanted to relive his first cross-country all over again with me - minute by minute, in real time. I swear I'm gonna replace that credit card the first chance I get!

The rest of the story is anticlimatic: This fourth printer actually worked, despite the cats' helping. I made it to the post office with 15 minutes to spare, so all worked out in the end. But for a while there . . . !

A couple of notes:

First, having at one time worked for WallyWorld, I can empathize with the poor guy wanting to talk about something he was obviously interested in - I may well have been the highlight of his day, in which case it's really a shame that I truly needed to be
elsewhere and doing something else.

Secondly, the remark about reliving a student cross-country in real time reminded me of a guy I used to know, who would set up his home computer flight simulator for a many-hundred mile flight in a single-engine trainer, and then spend hours 'flying' the entire route in real time (straight-and-level, VFR, 100 knots). This would have almost made sense if he had been preparing for an actual flight; but to my knowledge, he never went anywhere near an actual airplane.

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