Friday, June 05, 2009

Bring out your dead...

My new cross-country ski exerciser came today. I was relieved when I got an e-mail a couple days ago indicating UPS was going to deliver it; originally the company selling it claimed that a freight company was going to deliver it and I would have to "contract" with them for a time-of-delivery. (My experience is, the more different parties you have to deal with, the more likely something will get badly screwed up).

And I have a pretty good UPS guy. He hauled it up the front steps (it weighs something over 65 lbs) and asked me where I wanted him to set it. I had him just leave it in the living room (right inside the front door) as I wanted to put it together there (so it would be easy to move the box and packing) and I'd need to get the old one out before putting the new one in place.

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel Murphy is laughing at you?

This has been one of those days. I got the thing out, unpacked, started putting it together. Seemed that two of the bolts were missing (&$*%#^@$). So I called the company. I had to pass through the forest of "press 1 for English, then press 2 if you are calling about something you've already ordered, then press 2 again if you want to sit and wait to talk to a really real person instead of pushing buttons forever...") I told the guy the bolts were not in the bag indicated. So he said, "OK, I'll send a set out Monday."


Then, going back to the thing, I noticed that the bolts, rather than being in a bag as the instructions implied, were already on the machine. Frack. (I didn't call the guy back. So they spend $5 to send out a new set of bolts; serves them right for having unclear instructions). So I kept working.

Then it turned out one of the lockwashers that held on a vital part was broken. Frack. I thought about calling them back, but crap, I want to be able to use this thing some time soon. So I looked at the old machine - yup, four lockwashers, and they are all accessible/removable.

First one I pulled off catapulted away and I can't find it.

Second one, trying to force it on the new machine, it popped out of my hand and went down the heat/air conditioning register in the floor (Frack.)

Number 3, I got it off, and got it on the new machine. (thank goodness). The rest of the put-together wasn't too bad.

So then I took apart what I could of the old machine (feeling like I should be humming The Dead March or somesuch) and carried it out to the curb. Yeah, I missed the bulky waste pickup for this month, and the dump doesn't re-open for drop-offs until Monday. So I'm leaving it at the curb. I don't care if that looks a little trashy over the weekend. (Frankly, I'm hoping one of the avid recyclers/thing-takers that exist in my town will remove it. The frame is some kind of metal (it's too sturdy to be aluminum, but I'm not sure what it is), so maybe someone could get a few bucks for it. Or maybe someone will "steal" it like they stole the $9 sprinkler I had in my yard a couple years back.)

Anyway, the rest of the day was kind of a Murphy-and-his-horse days ("F Murphy and the horse he rode in on"). First off, a trip to the pharmacy for a prescription I've been taking for YEARS - it isn't for any lifethreatening condition but I'm not as healthy or happy without it. The pharmacy dude acted like he didn't know what I was talking about. He acted like I had no prescription with them. I was bracing for him to ask, "Are you sure you dropped it off here yesterday like you said?" in which case I was planning to say, "No, not really. See, I have multiple personalities and one of the other ones was in charge yesterday." Of course, knowing pharmacy dude's general wattage, he'd probably take me literally.

But finally pharmacy dude figured it out (they "owed" me a month's worth of the script, thanks to their having had limited stock the last time I refilled).

Then I went to the post office.

You know what I hate about small-town post offices? The fact that they usually have one window open, and that people who drop in, if they know the clerk (and this being a small town, they usually do), feel like they might as well stick around and chew the rag for a while. As a line forms behind them. I had to mail a package or I would have left. Anyway, I hate that. I think it's the height of rudeness to obliviously carry on a conversation that has NOTHING TO DO with the service you have already had completed as people are waiting.

Then, to Lowe's, which as it turned out completed the Trifecta of Stupid.

I had ordered a new screen door. The couple who are installing it had come out and measured, they had reported what size was needed, I had told the Lowe's people what model and color I wanted, and supposedly they had the whole price quote ready.

Problem was, the guy who called me to tell me it was ready - the guy who knew what he was doing - had gone home for the day by the time I got there. Instead, I got Moe, Larry, and Curly, none of whom apparently knew how to retrieve the invoice from the bowels of the computer. Finally, after calling in a fourth (Curly Joe?), they decided they had it sorted and told me to go up to the checkout, that they could print it out and charge me there.

Nope! No go. The tattooed guy who tried to help me couldn't get it, the woman he called over to help couldn't. Finally, I left in disgust, making the comment of, "I'll come back later." and thought the addition "when someone who knows jack is working"

Later, I got a call from a guy from Lowe's - yes, he could get it all sorted, yes, he'd be there until 10 pm. So after my piano lesson (the one spot of non-stupidity in my day) I went out there. The guy (once he showed up at the desk, after my being told, "Oh, he'll be right there") managed to get it taken care of while copiously reminding me that I should only sign off on the final paperwork AFTER I was satisfied with the workmanship. (Seeing as it's the folks who put in my dishwasher, and seeing as it's replacing a storm door with one the same size and made by the same company, I expect there will be zero problems).

And then I very nearly got into a car accident on the way home because someone decided it was a good idea to pull into my lane as I was coming. They saw me but I presume that they figured because the universe revolves around them, the power of their own importance would keep my car from hitting theirs. Well, my foot on my brake took care of that. Not because they're so very important but because I didn't relish having to have bodywork done on my car.

In between all those things, I cleaned house and cleared out several months' worth of cardboard boxes I'd been hoarding -first, because a friend was moving (she didn't need all the boxes) and second, because I do order quite a bit from Amazon. And Stash Tea. And Superbuzzy. And Elann. And Vermont Country Store. I had broken down all the boxes and was saving them to recycle - yeah, yeah, I know, but it's my understanding that cardboard recycling is actually one of the more cost-effective ones. And besides, I don't always have space in my smallish roll-cart for all the boxes, and they fine you if you have stuff outside the rollcart.

So I drove to where the recycling bins USED to be.

Nope, none there.

Drove to another place where I had known them to be in the past.

Again, nope.

So I went back home, with a backseat full of stacked cardboard (you don't want to leave cardboard for long in an enclosed car in warm weather; it fast develops a smell not unlike spoiled milk).

Called the Solid Waste department. Asked where the bins were at these days. The guy started slowly listing them, finally as soon as he said, "At the wal-mart" I cut him off and said, "That works for me."

So I drove over there. Could not see any bins. Drove around the whole dang store. No bins. I'm on the verge of hunting down an employee but figured they'd give me the patented "not my department" stare. So I started to drive off, figuring, well, maybe I can take them down to the waste transfer station.

Then I saw the bins. In a distant corner, almost as far from the wal-mart itself as it was possible to be and still be on wal-mart property. So I shed myself of several months' accumulated boxes (plus a stack of newspapers) and went home again.

In the end, I finally hopped on the new exerciser. I was only able to do about 15 minutes, partly because I've been away from it so long (being on vacation plus the old one finally broke only a day or two after I was back) and also because this new one is tighter - I kept having to adjust things to make it feel right - and the new handgrips are a LOT heavier. Which is probably good in terms of a workout but it means I may have to slowly build back up to being able to do the hour I did in the past.

But crikey, what a day. I hope this means that all of my dealings with stupid and/or lazy people are done for a while. I'm beat. I find that dealing with "dumb" really gets my goat. I can deal with problems - I understand that lots of stuff that goes wrong is beyond someone's control. I can deal with stupid bureaucratic rules where Someone has to sign off on Something and that Someone is not readily available. I can even shrug and smile in the face of certain balls-ups and say, "Stuff like this happens."

But when someone just stands there, mouth hanging open, not knowing what to do - and not even wanting to TRY (that's what really gets me - not the ignorance but the laziness) and makes whatever I am trying to get done take far, far longer than it should because they have really no interest in either making the situation work or finding someone who can make it work - that's when I start to fume.

1 comment:

Kate P said...

Trifecta of Stupid!? How awful!