Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Which one is the Christmas Grinch?

I finally made it out to do a little Christmas shopping and as a result, I’m in much more of a Holiday mood! I wasn’t feeling Grinchy. It was just that I have to travel home for Christmas… and was supposed to go on a work trip two days after Christmas, so I figured there was no sense getting a tree. It would be like setting up a fire hazard in my home.

However, while shopping I encountered a man who was none too happy about having to shop one day out of the year. A sight to behold! *(More on that below!)*

I was in a department store, seeking a fluffy soft robe, which Mom said she would like to have for Christmas. I found what I wanted, but not the right size so the store clerk called a couple other stores to find it. In the meantime, a few other customers approached the counter to ask where they might find this or that. The clerk –on the phone doing MY business – just pointed the first woman in the general direction. The next woman was looking for slipper socks, and since the dismissive sales clerk was occupied, I decided I could take the lady directly to the slippers.

When I returned to the counter, the clerk was still on the phone. Then Mr. Christmas came up and asked where to find the robes. Cotton. This guy knew what he wanted and would waste no time. She pointed him ‘over there’ which he didn’t seem to appreciate, as it still wasn’t obvious to him. In a few minutes he came back with a very pretty robe and asked the clerk what size he should get given the dimensions of the woman he was buying for. She said small, I said medium. He got crankier, because there was no small from which to choose.

Still on the phone, she rung up his medium purchase. When he asked for a box, she matter of factly told him to go to customer service. He didn’t like this answer – and though I knew she giving him the right information, I couldn’t blame him. With just a few extra, carefully chosen words, she could have made the whole experience a bit more pleasant.

When he left, I commented to the clerk – still on the phone looking for my robe – “That guy doesn’t want to be Christmas shopping.” She went on to say that crabby people like that are the worst part of her job. I told her that a little coddling can go a long way, but she insisted that when they act like that, they make her not even want to help them.

I shut up at this point. And I regret it. The guy wasn’t that bad. He just clearly doesn’t like Christmas shopping, or probably any type of shopping. She could have changed his entire holiday spirit if she had said things like, “I’m sorry. I’m working on the phone to help this customer. You’ll find the robes in that corner. Let me know if I can assist you.” or “Medium would be a safe choice. I’ll give you a gift receipt so she can exchange it if it’s really too big.” and “I’m sorry, we don’t have boxes at this counter, but if you take your receipt to the service counter, they’ll even wrap it for you.”

It would only take a fraction more energy, and everyone’s experience would be better by far. Poor customer service is my biggest pet peeve. It’s ridiculous to me because it doesn’t take that much more energy to mark the line between SERVING a customer and not serving. It’s so simple… just do for your customer what you would like done for yourself.

And part of me hates to complain about it because she did go out of her way to help me. But she sure wasn’t very nice to the woman on the phone.

very strange to me, to see someone who doesn't like shopping. I
love shopping.

At a party last weekend, I approached a guy who was talking about football and to include me in the conversation he asked, "do you like the Broncos?" I responded, "I don't watch football at all." I about died when I saw his face! He had this curious, bewildered look - as if I had told him that I simply don't breathe.

I decided the equivalent would be trying to involve this guy in a conversation about shopping!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Another Man Falls Off The Planet

Well, another man fell off the planet. Apparently meeting or dating me causes men to lose their gravitational pull. I feel a bit responsible for all these guys floating aimlessly in outer space. (but I guess that’s better than having them wander aimlessly on Earth) I’m relieved only by the fact that plenty of other women seem to be responsible for the same phenomenon.

Still, it seems rather dramatic to me, to choose to fall off the Earth so often. Is it that hard to just call a girl and let her know you’re no longer interested?

Case in point:
This last guy that I dated seemed like a real contender. Things were going so well, that I honestly believed that I would not have to date random men again for a good five or six months. It might not be forever, but at least I could be off the market for a little while.

He called just often enough. He planned dates well in advance. He made me dinner at his house so I could meet his dogs.

Meeting his dogs! Come on! That’s a big deal. That’s bigger than meeting his parents. Parents you only see on holidays. The dogs I may have to live with someday.

Then POOF! He fell off the Earth.

Being the woman that I am, I spent some time trying to figure out what I might have done wrong. You know, other than being sweet, listening to his stories about work and golf, meeting his friends with a charming smile and even better conversation. If he were on the same dates as I was on (and I believe that he was) he’d know beyond a doubt that I’m the ideal girlfriend.

But the poor guy fell off the face of the Earth.

Doesn’t matter. A man too dumb to know that he should continue dating me, is too dumb for me to continue to date.

The main reason I’m miffed… is that he dated a friend of mine earlier this year, and managed to fall off the Earth then too. That makes me “Just Another Girl” also known as “Nobody Special” and that’s what hurts.

So it all makes me wonder, what happens to these guys when they fall off the planet? Is there a safety net? Do they float? How to they return?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Do People Really Expect Me To Put Up With This?

I was in a state of blissful happiness in the months after I bought my condo. It was cute, charming and MINE. All MINE! It was a thrill to come home each evening. I dreamed of throwing parties and having friends over – things my last apartment was just too small to even consider doing.

Then, after four months of elation, I returned home on New Years Day after a weekend of skiing with my friend Kaha who was visiting from out of state. I heard hammering coming from another unit the night before, and assumed my next-door neighbor who moved in a month behind me was hanging some new artwork. The next morning before 9:00am I awoke to strains of too loud music. At first I thought it was some bozo from the building next door and shot out of bed to investigate. To my surprise, it was coming from directly below me – and I remembered that the unit below me had sold and the woman was moving in this week.

All tousseled and rumpled from an interrupted sleep, I made my way downstairs to break the news to my new neighbor that her music level was too loud for this building. (not to mention too early) She was going to have to adjust, but at least she would know from the start.

She seemed like a dear sweet lady, invited me in coffee and everything, but I explained that I had company upstairs. Let’s call her Maca. She turned the music down and I thought all was well.

Well it wasn’t. She continued with her loud music and punctuated it with banging doors – sometimes one aggressive bang after another – other times, spurts of one bang per minute for an hour and a half. The music is loud enough to vibrate my floors and chairs and to sound as if I have my own stereo cranked in my own unit. It’s loud enough to hear each word clearly and sing along if I know the words.

She came up to third floor one day, took everyone’s welcome mat and threw them in the back stairwell. Another day, she brought her umbrella with her and proceeded to poke holes in the hallways walls. When one of my neighbors caught her in the act, and asked what she was doing, Maca looked stunned and said, “Oh, I didn’t know anybody was home.” With that, she retreated to her own unit.

Oh, well, that explains it. The music and banging continued. Sometimes I could hear her stomping on her floor. Another time, banging on her ceiling (my floor) moving from one end of the living room to the other. It lasted for an hour. My friend Kaha heard it all through my cell phone!

Every effort to reason with her was futile. We – somebody – learned that Maca has bi-polar disorder, so that makes this even more difficult. She’s someone with whom you can’t reason.
She accused others in the building of sneaking into her apartment and stealing her spoons. Or of coming in and messing things up.

At this point, I no longer loved my new home. My home was no longer a refuge but a place of torment. I dreaded walking into the building because I knew I would have to have my guard up and that is something one should be free of when in their own home.

I tried to pass a quiet hours rule through the homeowners association. It failed. So I took my next recourse. I called the local police district’s non-emergency number to report noise disturbances. One, when a police man was final able to confront her, he returned to my door to tell me that Maca is indeed crazy and he reminded me that the only way to win this battle is to sign a complaint against her – yet he didn’t offer a complaint for me to sign.

The next morning, she was by my car when I left for work and she threatened me. Saying that I had better watch it.

This is when my friends and family started telling me to leave it alone. That she might do something crazy.

This is so frustrating. I have a right to live in my home in peace. I will stand up for my rights. I don’t particularly care if she is crazy or not. If she is not capable of living on her own like a reasonable person, then she should be put someplace where she doesn’t infringe on other peoples rights.

Yesterday, I stayed home to work from my house. She started her music at 7:30 am. By noon, it was so loud that I called her and asked her to turn it down, saying that if she didn’t do so within 20 minutes, that I would report her for disturbing the peace. So I did. The cops came out, heard her music from my apartment and went to talk to her. She wouldn’t answer the door, and the last I heard, they took her away in handcuffs.

I’m sure she wasn’t arrested for the music, but for resisting the officers. When I told a co-worker, she said she’s worried about what will happen to ME! She’s scared for me and says that I shouldn’t do this to provoke Maca because we don’t know what she might do.

Ridiculous!!! I am well within my rights to want a peaceful home. Maca is preventing me from living peacefully. Am I supposed to just roll over and take it because of what she might do? If that is how America works now we’re in for a hell of a lot of trouble!!!

This sounds like those parents who can’t control their kids and then complain when other people comment on their lousy brats! If you can’t behave – someone better show you how. And don’t be surprised when they do.

If we let everyone violate all our rights, we shouldn’t be surprised when we have no rights left.
I WILL stand up for myself. And I’ll even pretend that it’s in the interest of getting Maca help. In my opinion, she’s not fit for society. She could just as easily take her dang medication and be pleasant to live with… but she chooses not to and in doing so she impacts my life. Well, I’m going to impact her right back!