Friday, September 21, 2007

Move Over J. Geils.....

Waaaaaay too funny stuff here. So much for the good Senator's "wide stance." This one should be radio play. And 'Centerfold' always was one of my favorite tunes....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back Behind The Velvet Ropes, Please

So on Monday, an older female customer came into the store and selected a couple of very inexpensive photo frames that had been on sale on Saturday, but went off-sale Saturday night at close. Unhappy that the employee she was dealing with wouldn't give her the discount, she of course summoned for me. The conversation went like this:

CHEAP CUSTOMER: I was in on Saturday and these were on sale.
ME: Yes ma'am. However, that sale ended at closing on Saturday. We have a new sale that started on Sunday and these frames are not part of that sale.
CC: Well, I'm a very good customer and I think I deserve to get the sale price.

Aaaah, that feeling of entitlement. The ol' me-me-me. Mind you, I don't think I've ever seen the woman in my store before, and the two frames in her hand total about $20 before the aforementioned 30% discount. A good customer? Those of you who read my blog will recall a prior entry regarding a woman who said she was a good customer and proceeded to say "blah blah blah" in my face. A good customer would be my gentleman who just spent $1400 to have his Thomas Kincaid's framed. A good customer would be my woman who owns a studio and buys crapload of canvas off of me. This woman? Not so good. So all of the following go through my mind when I hear this old woman say "I'm a very good customer":

You should have been less of a good customer of mine and a better customer of your plastic surgeon.

If you can produce the receipts from your last ten transactions, I'm sure we can do something for you. But they'd better be big receipts.

Do you shit as big as your ego?

But nay...I refrain and merely reply:

ME: I'm sorry, but that's not how it works.
CC: Well then, I guess I'll go buy my frames somewhere else.
CC: Your loss.

My internal responses:

Not really. I'm already $2000 over plan for the day and don't need your $20 (before discount).

A really good customer wouldn't leave, would they? Wouldn't you at least want me to know your name?

Is your husband aware of the fact that you're a stuck-up, cheap, pretentious, frigid bitch? Cuz right now, my whole store knows it.

Nay...I merely answered:


Just another fun day in retail.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Excuse Me, I'd Like To Buy Five Poison-Me Elmos

So according to an article today, Fisher Price has had to recall nearly one million toys created in China, due to dangerously high levels of lead in the paint. This isn't the first recall in recent weeks for products from China.

I recently had a conversation with my district manager over the fact that so many of our frames and canvas are manufactured in Asian places: Taiwan, China, Vietnam, etc.. The main reason given is that these countries produce a higher-quality product at a lower price than American-based companies.

Mind you, I felt a thud in my heart while watching Michael Moore's Roger And Me, about the closing of GM plants. I get pissed off when I call in for technical support and I get some guy in India who has a great recipe for tandoori chicken but barely speaks English. I got mad when Asian companies began buying up Times Square.

It's not that I'm necessarily the type of person who says "buy American or else." I mean, c'mon, let's be realistic here. Have you BEEN to Wal-Mart? There's a LOT of crap there. Not nearly as much as at your typical Dollar Tree (most of which is made in China), but crap nonetheless. I just think there's GOT to be a few decent companies in the US that are worth buying from and supporting.

I really started looking around the store to try and find things that were made in the US. You know what? Couldn't. Even our damn flag cases, with an American flag on the paper insert, are made in China. I mean....what? Are you kidding me?

So it's interesting to me now that all of the reliance on Asian manufacturing is starting to hurt American companies. Fisher Price and Mattel are REALLY going to feel this recall, especially this Christmas. Maybe it's time to find some nice American company to paint your toys? Maybe if we sucked it up a little and said "OK, we'll be a LITTLE less greedy, pay a little more for American quality and keep the money in-country," we'd be a bit better off.

I Have My Own Saliva, Thanks

Had a truly insane customer dealing with one of my employees today. He brought in a movie poster from The Simpsons Movie. Of course, recognizing the value of the piece, he had put it up on his wall with packing tape in each corner.

To be honest, I don't know what really happened with my employee and him, but it appears that there was some misunderstanding about whether or not he wanted custom framing or ready-made frames. All I know is it eventually led to this idiot screaming at M so much that she came in the back and said to me "I need you to go deal with this guy, I can't."

I went out all sugar and spice and sickening sweet, but the guy had driven past the great town of Rational about 30 miles back. He was ranting and raving about how we had wasted his time and how little of it he had. How we refused to listen to what the customer wanted and he was going to go somewhere else. He kept telling me that he was going to call my district manager (who, ironically, happened to be in the back room at the time and was rather amused).

Why is it that when people say they are going to call your home office or your district manager, they think that's some kind of threat? Fine, make a phone call. Feel free. I'm still gonna have my job tomorrow, me. If you REALLLLY think they're going to fire me because some psycho didn't communicate how to frame his trashed Homer poster...boy, you must really think you have a lot of clout.

I did what I could, but of course the guy had no real interest in listening to anything I had to say. He didn't really want the situation resolved. The one thing that really disturbed me was that much like a large dog, he produced an adequate amount of slobber the more worked-up he got. Unfortunately for me, I got in the path of said slobber. And, of course, he didn't apologize for that.

Have a nice day, Mr. Psycho. Thanks for the bath.

Gee Buffy, Sorry I Miffed Ya

Ah, the rich. You know, as much as people try to tell me that they are just like everybody else, I can reassure you on a daily basis that this just isn't the case. Take, for example, my run-in with a certain woman from the wealthy area known as Los Gatos, who I had the misfortune of having in my store on Monday.

Said rich-bitch arrived in her tennis shorts, tank top, overdone tan and visor. Shudder. Yes, visor. As if as soon as she got done selecting frames, she was heading out for a game of tennis with Muffy, Buffy and Clarissa.

The first thing she informs my assistant is that she wants three of the same frame, and she EXPECTS us to honor three coupons from her. We currently have a coupon that states it's good for 40% off one item, one per customer per visit. She of course tells my assistant that she'll be happy to walk out the door and come back in three times, but she WILL use all three coupons. My ASM tells her she can't, and of course she blows a gasket.

D'jever notice it's always the rich ones that want to save as much money as humanly possible?

So my assistant comes into my office and asks me to intervene. I come out to the sales floor where said woman is looking at frames. She tells my ASM that she's found her three and she will be using all of her coupons. I very calmly explain to her that she can't use all three, and that the intention isn't to print as many coupons as you possibly can to use. In fact, if our home office wanted the entire store to be on sale for 40% off, they'd just have a 40% off the entire store sale.

So she looks at me, puts her finger to her lips, and says...."Shh. You're embarrassing me."

Mind you, the only three people in the whole damn store are me, her and my assistant. Who am I embarrassing her in front of? The frames? I'm sure those 16x20s were thinking to themselves, "Damn! There's no way I'm going home with that bitch!" Hell, I was embarrassed FOR her, with the way she was carrying on. So, I took the moral high road, turned, and went back to my office.

Flash forward half an hour, and her HUSBAND calls me on the phone, to chew me out for how terribly I treated his wife. How she was so humiliated and came home in tears. How I was a terrible manager. I then proceeded to tell him my side of the story, since he wasn't anywhere nearby. He then asks me if it's true I told his wife she was never allowed to return to the store. Hey, let me tell you. She may have been a bitch, but I'm a money whore. The last thing I'd ever do is tell a customer not to come back when I can get more dough out of their wallet. I got pretty upset at that one. He decided he wanted to call my district manager and I happily gave him the number.

I called my DM first....and he LAUGHED. Thought it was really funny and said "Don't you just love people?" Actually, I don't most of the time. I much prefer animals.

If karma exists though, this woman's next plastic surgery and spray-on-tan session is gonna go MIGHTY wrong.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dear Rude B*tch.....

Wow....what a way to start my day today....

A woman in her 60's arrives with her husband as the first customer in my store today. In her hands is a bag with our logo on it.

Me: Do you have a return?
Rude Woman: Yes
Me: We do need you to leave the bag at the front of the store please.
(woman ignores me and continues to walk through the store)

RW: Do you have any Father's Day frames left?
(I walk her to our Clearance section)
RW: No, I wanted the one you had in silver.
Me: I'm sorry, but those are sold out. These are the only ones I have left.
RW: I guess this will do. Do you have a box?
Me: No, I'm sorry. Most of the clearance items don't have a box.
RW: So, can't you just take a frame out of another box and give the box to me?
Me: No, I'm sorry. The boxes have specific skus on them for inventory. We can't take skus off and start moving them around to other items and boxes.

Now, the woman completely and utterly goes apeshit on me. Apparently, just short of the Crucifixion and just this side of slaughtering busloads of children is the idea that I'm not going to give her the box. We go up to the front of the store, where she proceeds to tell her husband how disgusting it is that I won't switch boxes around for her, and has he ever heard of such a thing?

Mind you, I probably WOULD have done it, but her attitude has been utterly disgusting and rude that at this point, NOT accomodating her seems to be a matter of pride.

I ring up her new frame and begin to ring the return:

RW: What are you doing?
Me: I'm doing both items in the same transaction for you.
RW: Well I WISH you had asked me first.
Me: Oh, did you want me to do the new item first and then a separate transaction for the return?
RW: Well, yeah.
Me: problem. (I ring up the new frame). Ok, your total is $3.98.
RW: Yeah...without a box!

I ignore the comment, and begin ringing her $12 return.

RW: Are you one of the managers here?
Me: Actually, I'm THE manager here.
RW: You people used to be MUCH more helpful. As if people asked for boxes every day.
Me: Actually, they do. Which is one of the reasons why we can't switch boxes around for people.

Then, she actually leans forward over the counter into my face and in a childlike voice says to me: "blah blah blah blah blah." Seriously. In my face.

I do my best not to reach out and slap the living bejeezus out of her. Instead, I say to her "ExCUSE me?"

RW: It's just words. You could give me the box if you wanted to.

I'm shaking, I'm so angry. "Ma'am," I say, "I have not been rude to you ONCE during this exchange. You will NOT be rude to me."

RW: I can't believe it. And for how much money I spend in this store! (Mind you, she just returned a $12 frame to get a $4 frame)

Somehow, I completed the transaction and gave her her receipt, explained when she would get her refund, and she stormed out with her husband in tow. I had to go in the back and calm down and get someone else to cover the front for me. I'm happy to say I NEVER lost it in front of her.


Happy Anniversary To Us!

It's hard to believe, but it's been a year (June 17th) since Luis and I had our wonderful commitment ceremony.

This year, we really weren't sure what we were going to do to celebrate. We had discussed possibly going away to the mountains or something for a couple of days, but we couldn't seem to get any of the rental places to call us back. Then, luck was with us. The fantastic place we stayed in last year for the honeymoon, East Canyon Hotel and Spa, was running the same special as last year where you pay for two nights and get a third free. That pretty much settled it for us, and last Friday we drove down to Palm Springs.

Yep. Drove. And what was supposed to be 7 1/2 hours turned into almost 11 due to terrible traffic around San Jose. Next year, we fly if we go back.

What was really terrific was that they gave us the same room we stayed in a year ago, and told us that anytime we wanted to come back we could try and request the same room. We also had an INCREDIBLE dinner at a place called Copley's, which the hotel recommended and setup a reservation for us.

It was a nice, relaxing few days. Always nice to get away with the hubby, since it seems as if our schedules so rarely mesh these days.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


So...I've got a real humdinger of a decision on my hands....

I have the opportunity to become a District Manager In Training. This is something I've pretty much wanted my entire damn retail life. After all, who wants to be a store manager their whole life?

The problem comes in that the job would essentially require me to be on the road five days a week, and only home on weekends. This means I would only get to see my man a couple of days a week. There is no guaranteed end to the program, essentially have to wait until a District Manager position opens somewhere, apply for it and then hope you get it.

On the one hand, it's a great opportunity. On the other, I've actually had nightmares about being away from Luis for so long, and in the nightmares I just cry and cry. I can't imagine not being with him, even if the end result is positive.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Getting Organized

I spent most of my childhood with absolutely no interest in comics. When everybody else was oohing and ahhing over the latest Batman or Superman, I was....well, ok, I was drooling over them on television but I WASN'T reading the comics.

Then, a couple of years back, I decided to take a look at a few different titles, particularly ones like Fantastic Four and Spider-Man (because my first crushes were Spidey and the Human Torch) and got hooked on the titles. Then, I discovered that there were so many other great titles out there, particularly from independent publishers. Great stuff like Dorothy, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse and Zombies. Ok, it's not exactly higher literature but...

My buddy Matt recently decided to downsize his collections, and it got me to thinking. Do I need to get rid of them to make space? Can I continue collecting them? Is it just stuff? The more I thought about it, the more I know what? It's ok to hold onto these. I don't really collect anything, I have no expensive bad habits and I've always enjoyed collecting different types of writing and literature. I'm also one of those people who buy comics based on the storylines, rather than the artists.

So I don't have a problem with keeping the comics, but I DO have a problem with keeping them organized. The hubby is a bit tired of the piles everywhere, so I bought a couple of longboxes and started throwing them in there. The problem is, I have a lot now, and really have no idea which ones I have and which ones I need.

There's lots of software out there for comic organization, but all of it is written for the Windows operating system. As one of those folks who now says "I'm a Mac" instead of "I'm a PC," this was a real problem. I didn't want to setup a custom spreadsheet in Excel, and I didn't want to fork over a ton of money for something like Filemaker.

Fortunately, after digging around on the 'Net, I found a great site called which basically lets you keep track of your collection online. It's also very grassroots, in that everyone is encouraged to upload missing cover images, fill in missing information about the comics, etc.. It's a little slow at times, the interface maybe not so pretty as something you could fork out $50 for. You know what? I don't care. I finally have a way to get all these comics organized, and I love being part of the community and contributing my share of the work to keep it running.

If you're looking for an option to keep track of your comic collection, I highly recommend them.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Songs For Friends

Did you ever have that one song that always made you think of a certain friend? Something you'd always associate with that one person in particular?

I got to thinking about that today on the way home from work. I was thinking about songs that always make me feel happy/bouncy, and I fired up the Ipod to play Bon Jovi's "Captain Crash and The Beauty Queen From Mars." Although the song is about a romance between two people who are kinda off the wall, there's certain lyrics in there that just make me think of both my friends Lee and Matt H. I think it's sort of the whole feeling that no matter how crazy the world is, we can be crazier and always friends. As the song says, we're "Sid and Nancy, Fred and Ginger, Clyde and Bonnie, Liz and Richard." I dunno...I just can't help but thinking of the two of them when I hear that song.

Then, of course, what do you do if you have a friend who you love dearly but they don't have a song that comes to mind right away? Hmm.

What does everybody else think?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Computer Error"

So after reminding my company that cutting off the health insurance for Luis was completely illegal, I got a follow-up phone call mighty quickly from the Benefits Department at home office. It seems the whole thing was 'computer error.' They were switching over systems, and some files didn't get sent correctly to Kaiser. Of course, they caught the error and everything is fine. In fact, they caught it back on April 11th and he's definitely covered.

Wow...I almost believed them. Too bad the letter canceling Luis' insurance is dated after April 11th. Guess that blows a big hole in their story.

At any rate, I struck another blow for domestic partners everywhere. Well, at least in California.

Prejudice Night At Denny's

Luis had to work particularly late this evening, so we decided to catch a late night meal at Denny's. It took us forever to get a table, as there were only two servers on and the place was a bit busier than usual.

We eventually got seated in a booth, at the edge of a curve of three tables. On the far end of the curve was a table with four Latino men. The next table at the curve held a group of six or seven high school boys who, from the looks of their uniforms, work at the local Go-Kart racetrack. Then there were us, followed by a table with an African-American woman having dinner with an older white lady.

As we were sitting down in our booth, we started getting he hairy eyeball from the table of Latinos, who commenced to start making some discussion amongst themselves with frequent looks in our direction. Although my Spanish is pretty rusty, I DO recognize slang for "faggots." I'm not sure what it was about us that was bothering them. Too bad one of them was really hot...the nasty looks and comments made him a whole lot uglier.

Meanwhile, the group of high school boys had been visited by the waiter, who was also Latino and whose English wasn't that great. Since there were six or seven of them, he said he needed to put all of their items on one check. As he headed back to the kitchen, the boys started making snotty comments about his inability to speak excellent English and saying things like "oh yeah, I've got your tip" and pulling their hand out of their pocket to show their middle finger. Of course, being teenagers, they also kept referring to things as being 'so gay.' Completely rude and immature.

Meanwhile, the woman behind me remarks to her African-American dinner companion: "I think she was Asian. I mean, she was awfully slanty-eyed." Then she actually tittered. I've only read about tittering...she actually pulled it off.

I wonder if there was some sort of coupon in the newspaper for a discounted meal if you brought your prejudices to Denny's tonight. Needless to say, it was NOT one of the better experiences I've had there.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I received a letter on Saturday that informed me that Kaiser Permanente HMO was canceling my husband's health insurance PER THE INSTRUCTIONS OF MY EMPLOYER! Oh yeah....this was effective MARCH 17TH! Absolutely no notice from my company to me, and no explanation given. I jumped through hoops to get him the medical in the first place, mostly through a loophole because we are registered domestic partners here in California and he is automatically entitled under Kaiser. We even had to submit copies of our domestic partner registry to my home office.

They also have continued to deduct money from my paycheck for the last month for coverage for two people, not one.

I am BEYOND furious. I realize they don't have a domestic partner benefits program (oh yeah, but they DO have common-law...go figure) but to cancel coverage without any notification to me, which is required in writing by law and not after the fact, is seriously illegal. My District Manager is going to talk to the head of HR. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


OK, so it's no secret that I absolutely can't sleep at night. When I was on tour, nobody wanted to share a room with me because I snored so bad (when I lived with my friend Sue, it's amazing she didn't come in at night and try to smother me with a pillow). It's kind of funny that my hubby claims he can't sleep at night UNLESS he hears me snoring.

At any rate, I'm the type that wakes up a million times a night. The other day, while walking through Whole Foods Supermarket (a chain that specializes in organic foods and all-natural remedies), I came across the following product:

Now, I'm dubious at best about 'all natural, herbal remedies.' However, I decided what the hell and took it home. That night, two squirts on the tongue (of the Rescue Sleep, that is) and I went to bed. AND SLEPT ALL THE WAY THROUGH! No hangover, no nothing. Tried it again a couple of nights later and once again slept all the way through. Recommended it to a co-worker who tried it and....SHE slept all the way through.

According to the website for the company, it's basically a shot of a flower garden. I kind of cracked up over the flower for 'irrational thoughts.' Wow.....there's a flower I oughta try more often.

So, I have absolutely no idea why it works...but it does. And no, it has virtually no alcohol in it, and the only alcohol in it is to get the flower juice into your bloodstream quickly. This ain't Nyquil.

I guess maybe it goes to show that sometimes the oldest remedies are better than anything a lab can cook up over a Bunsen burner. Makes me darn happy, though, to sleep all the way through the night.

Interesting Idea...

Ever wonder whether or not you're supposed to be flying your flag at half-mast (no, I'm not talking about the Viagra kind)? Over at they'll give you the opportunity to sign up for email alerts as to when you should lower Old Glory. I thought that was sort of a neat idea. For example, I had no idea that the flags were to be lowered for the Virginia Tech killings until April 22nd. I always assumed the half-mast thing was just for the death of presidents and so forth.


My boss decided to quit yesterday, giving absolutely no notice. I talked to her briefly today, and she gave me her reasons. I won't go into them here, but they certainly seem valid and make me question a little bit about continuing on with the company. I was REALLY fiercely loyal to her...she was hands-down one of the best bosses I've ever had. Who knows what the next one is going to be like?

I also have been wanting to move up to a District-Manager-In-Training position. Today, I found out that a mandatory part of this process is that I have to be willing to travel to different regions and help manage several stores for a few months at a time. I don't think I'd really mind this...if I was single. However, the thought of leaving my hubby behind and only getting to see him a couple of times a week is really awful. So do I make the sacrifice with the idea that it MIGHT pay off one day in a DM position, or do I put more emphasis on my relationship and know that I'll be stuck as a store manager for a long time to come?


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Bad Customer Service Story

When my man and I went to visit the parents in Florida last November, we went on a buying binge. We had to buy a separate suitcase to bring home all of the clothes and other items we purchased.

As many of you know, I have quite the addiction to penguins. We have decorated our bathroom primarily in penguins (and some dolphin stuff to appease my mate). Therefore, we figured we'd be on the lookout for some penguin stuff while we were down that way.

We stopped by Cocoa Village and found a little bath shop called The Bath Cottage. Inside, we hit the motherload...penguin-shaped bath oils. I picked up a bunch of them, with the intention of filling up a glass jar for the counter in the bathroom.

Recently, I decided I didn't have enough to do what I wanted, so I called my mom and asked her if she could check with them and see if they had any more. They informed her that they had a few left. Mom asked them to ship UPS to my store, but the owner of the shop told her that since there weren't that many, they'd fit in the mailbox. However, she'd put them in a box to make sure they survived the trip. She collected Mom's info over the phone, got the credit card, billed her for the shipping and the product and I sat back to wait for it to arrive.

A few days later a package arrived in the mail from them. However, it wasn't a box, it was a padded envelope.

Oh was also empty. Apparently, somewhere along the way, somebody in the postal service decided to help themselves to my penguins. And the lovely people at The Bath Cottage failed to send the items with insurance, so there was no way for us to make a claim with the post office.

I called the people at the Cottage the next day, and got a really nice girl who was very understanding and apologetic and collected my information to give to the owner's daughter who would be in the next day.

The next day, I received a phone call from this woman, named Theresa. Below is pretty much how the conversation went:

Theresa: "So I guess I don't understand what the problem is."
Me: "Well, we received the package completely empty. Somebody in the postal service must have taken the contents. Since it wasn't sent insured, we have no way to make a claim for it. I was hoping you could help."
Theresa: "Well, I talked to somebody at the post office who said you can file a claim on your end without having the insurance."

(Wait a second.....didn't she start off telling me she didn't understand what the problem is? How did she know to call the post office if she didn't understand the problem?)

Me: "That's fine, I guess. But this wouldn't have happened if you had sent it through UPS. I would have a tracking number and $100 insurance, and this is what my mom asked for."
T: "Well, we decided that it was ridiculous to spend $7.50 on shipping for such little product when we could just mail it through the post office."
Me: "That's actually not for you to decide. My mother specifically asked to ship it UPS, AND she was told it would be in a box. She had no problem paying $7.50 to make sure it would get safely to California."
T: "I find it hard to believe your mother would want to pay the $7.50. I've never had a customer tell me they didn't care about the shipping."
Me: "Well, considering it was a gift, you just met somebody that didn't care. And why wasn't it in a box, when she was told it would be? Who sends something like bath beads in a padded envelope? They'll smash!"
T: "We ship all the time and nothing ever happens. I don't see what the big deal is."
Me: "The big deal is that you have my mother's money and we have an empty package."
T: "Why would the post office deliver an empty package?"
Me: "How should I know? The bottom line is you did a bad job sending this stuff insurance, a padded envelope and you shipped something fragile cross country. I'd like to know how we can take care of this."
T: "Well, I'm already out the money, so I don't know."
Me: "You're not out anything. You have all of my mother's money in your cash register and I have nothing to show for it."
T: "Well, I could order some more from the vendor, but then I'd be out the money for it because we'd have to pay for it."
Me: "Well, if you had shipped correctly the first time, this wouldn't be an issue. And right now you're not out anything. You have my mother's money for both the shipping and the product."

Now is when she begins to get this extremely nasty tone of voice with me.

T: "Well, I can send out the penguins, but you'll have to pay the shipping."
Me: "I'm not paying any shipping. We already paid you for shipping and got nothing, including no insurance."
T: "Well, I can ship them out UPS but you'll have to pay for it."
Me: "Wait a second. We already paid for shipping and got nothing. Why should we have to pay for it when you didn't do your job right in the first place, or fulfill the order the way you promised? Heck, why should I trust you to send them out correctly this time when you didn't do it the way we asked the first time?"
T: "Then your mother should come down here and pick them up and mail them to you herself."
Me: "This is unacceptable. I can't believe you're putting everything on me and not willing to admit you did anything wrong."
T: "I have a store full of customers and I really don't have any more time for this. I'm sorry that I couldn't help you. Goodbye."

And she hung up on me. Guess what makes me the angriest in the world? Hanging up on me. Especially when that person is 3000 miles away and I can't reach their neck to wring it.

So, I called Mom who proceeded to call Theresa and launch into her. Theresa continued to play it that she shouldn't have to do anything. Finally, she also told my mother that she was too busy to deal with her anymore and she'd just send her a check 'to make her go away.'

So in the end, Mom got her money back. I got not penguins. The Bath Cottage lost my business and got a bad blog post out of me, as well as a spread of nastygram emails to my friends and family to avoid the place.

So terrible customer service, right? But here's the kicker. The bath oil beads plus the three stamps on the padded envelope totaled about $11. Was it worth it for me to call? Yes, because the business who collected my mother's money failed to deliver on promised goods or to take adequate steps to ensure safe delivery and/or insurance of the product for arrival. Was it worth it for them to fight with both my mother and I over it instead of saying simply "You're right, we didn't send it the way we promised and we should have checked with you first. We'll make good on it."? Well, I'll let you guys decide that one. I can tell you I've done a lot more than that for MY customers to ensure they are taken care of.

Free At Last, Free At Last.....

I'm happy to announce that my man has finally quit the gas station job entirely, and is now working full time with the inventory service. It may mean a little less money here and there, but he's infinitely happier and more well-rested. Not to mention, we get to spend a lot more time together. Guess that makes us both happier!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I've Become A Sheep

I can't believe it finally happened. I swore it never would. I mean, getting a Macintosh and giving up Windows was truly a big step. However, everyone knows how much I love my Rio Karma MP3 player. It saved me through two national tours. It's kept me company on many miles of driving. Now, I'm afraid I've thrown it over for a new toy:

I wish I could say I feel guilty, but the thought of being able to watch television shows and movies on my lunch breaks or long train commutes is too wonderful to contemplate.

G'night, sweet Karma.

Monday, March 12, 2007

So You Thought YOU Had A Bad Day

Just when you thought you had a bad day, maybe you should consider this little story.

I was standing at the front of my store today looking out the front windows at the far end of the parking lot, and noticed that there was a fire engine with its lights whizzing around and several police cars. I thought perhaps somebody had a heart attack or something. About half an hour later, I realized that there was still a fire engine and multiple police cars, but no ambulance. "Poor guy," I thought to myself. "Maybe he didn't make it."

Oh...he didn't make it, alright.

Word trickled down through the plaza that what had happened was that a passerby had noticed a man slumped over in the front seat of his car. When they knocked on the window to see if the guy was ok, he moved.

Whoops...sorry...that wasn't the guy. Seems it was the flies.

You see, apparently, the guy was dead. And had been for two days. Crack pipe found at his side.

Now I usually park up in that part of the lot, but I didn't remember seeing any car there in particular when I left late last night and arrived back this morning. Then again, I'm not in the habit of tracking down corpse-filled vehicles. Well, not usually.

So who had the bad day? Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it wasn't the dead guy. I mean, after all, yeah it sucks to die in your car. However, he WAS smoking crack, and you're pretty much asking to check out in a most indelicate way when you pick up that particularly nasty habit. After all, how many people do you know that have died suddenly from biting their fingernails?

No, I'd have to say the bad day was for the cops. Why? Well, we've had some near-record heat here the last two days. So...two days of heat plus one dead crack addict in a sealed car equals one seriously unlucky police officer that had to open that vehicle up. Did they draw straws? Pull donuts from a box?

Needless to say, I find it hard to complain about anything having to do with my job today. After all, in a different life I could have been that poor police officer. Unlucky bastard.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Further Ruminations

I wish I could put out of my head all of the things that my mother said to me about Luis' and my relationship, but it keeps playing over and over in my head. I had some additional thoughts today which continue to make me angry:

1. My father divorced his 1st wife. Why didn't he insist that she not be allowed to keep her married last name, since she isn't family? Part of their argument was that Luis shouldn't be allowed to use the last name because he isn't family. I'd argue he is more family than an ex-wife.

2. I've probably mentioned this before, but my mother got divorced. Her parents got divorced. Her brother got divorced. Who is she to tell ME what marriage is?

I just found out that a good friend of ours who did the ceremony sent a letter to my mom. His heart is in the right place, but I suspect that it is going to do more harm than good.

Dad called today and left a voicemail that he wanted me to call them sometime when I was at home. I don't particularly want to, and I don't know when (or if) I will.

Luis is being tremendously supportive, and just keeps reminding me that I have him. I also realize that I have a lot of loyal friends and co-workers who love me unconditionally.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Penguins Win Two Years In A Row

For those who are keeping score, we now have at least two films that have won Oscars that feature penguins. Last year's winner for Best Documentary was March Of The Penguins and this year's Best Animated Film was Happy Feet. I predict that 2007 will indeed be another big year for penguins.

I was very surprised to see that Pan's Labyrinth had been nominated for Best Foreign Film instead of Best Picture, and I found that disappointing. However, watching Melissa Etheridge win for Best Song, kiss her wife and actually refer to her as her wife onstage more than made up for any disappointment I might have had.

The Departed wins Best Picture and Best Director. I can't wait to hear the backlash from the gay community tomorrow. I remember when this film came out how outraged everybody was about Mark Wahlberg's character using gay slurs through most of the movie. Sigh. It's a MOVIE folks...some people really DO talk like that.

When Parents Go Insane

OK, so I'm definitely confused on this one.

When my man and I went to visit my parents during Thanksgiving, Mom cried over him and talked about how thrilled she was that I had brought him home. Over dinner, she said thanks that I had brought her somebody else to love. Multiple conversations afterwards were all about how much she missed the two of us and wished she could spend more time with us and how terrible it was that we lived so far away.

Originally, she had said that she would never accept the concept of gay marriage, and only supported us because our invitations had said 'commitment ceremony' and not 'wedding.' However, while we were there, she and I had conversations about using the term 'partner' versus 'husband' and so forth. She even recommended to me how I should go about hyphenating my name.

Then, today, everything suddenly changed. We had sent her some pictures and had made the return address using both of our names, only hyphenated. I called her today to ask her a question and World War III ensued. How dare I allow him to use our last name! He isn't family! He will never be my husband! I've expected them to handle too much with this! If I want to change my name so badly I should go back to what it was before I was adopted by my stepfather!

I don't know where any of this is coming from, but I'm deeply saddened, and quietly furious. At 35, I shouldn't be having to worry about making my parents happy. And so, I'm not going to. I have a life here on the West Coast, they have their life on the East Coast, and ne'er shall the two meet again for a VERY long time.

You know, I was never really a proponent of gay marriage. I certainly think that I should be entitled to the same rights as a straight couple, but the actual word marriage didn't matter to me. Now, however, I'm starting to feel more political about it. My mother got divorced, my stepfather got divorced, my grandparents on my mother's side got divorced, my uncle on my mother's side got divorced...where do these people get off trying to tell ME what marriage should be? That would be like Britney Spears giving me child-rearing tips.

Needless to say, I have no desire to speak to them right now. My man says it's he and I against the world, and I think there is some truth to it. However, I have a good life and great career here, and I think those who don't wish to be accepting and a part of it need to find their way to the nearest exits.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Maybe They're Aiming For The Wrong Market

Saw this on a website that specializes in obtaining foods from Latin American and South American countries for consumption by folks around the world. Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking that if the makers of this product set up shop on Castro Street here in San Francisco, they'd make a killing.