The world needs a simple plan for comprehensive restructuring. I’m sure one exists, but if implementation is accompanied by a degree of complexity equal to my sister’s difficulty in changing from Cingular to Verizon Wireless, we’re dooooooomed!
See Jan Curran Events (link over there )
I’ve had similar experiences with user-unfriendly “service” based organizations. In August of 1984 I stopped into a McDonald’s in Richland Washington for the singular purpose (non-cellular) of buying an ice cream sundae. They had two flavors: chocolate and caramel. For your money, you received a big blob of vanilla ice cream covered with TWO PUMPS of syrup. I paid my money, and asked for ONE PUMP of chocolate and ONE PUMP of caramel. “I can’t do that,” said the waitress, trembling at the very thought. “Yes you can, it’s simple.” I demonstrated the divine art of pumping the lever. “No, I mean I am forbidden by corporate policy. I am not allowed to MIX SAUCES.” I looked around furtively. “Shhhhhh We are alone I am the only customer. I’ll never tell. I’m sure they don’t do a sauce audit measured by pumps — no one will know.” She still refused. “OK, I’ll pay you twenty-five cents extra for one pump of caramel on a chocolate sundae, or one pump of chocolate on a caramel sundae.” Beads of perspiration broke out on her already broken out forehead. “Okay, but I’m not putting the sauce directly on the ice cream — I’ll put it on a little piece of plastic and YOU put it on. I’m not taking responsibility for the sauce being on the ice cream” Damn! This woman seems obsessed with the paranoid delusion that Ronald is not clowning around when it comes to his recent edict: Mix the Sauces; File for Unemployment. She pumps the caramel onto an inverted plastic cup top, and leaves it to me to get the goo onto the ice cream. So much for “we do it all for you.”
This same commitment to the diverse needs of an ever evolving customer base is best exemplified by AOL — they only stopped sending me a bill for $80 after I sent them an invoice for $5,000 — my standard fee for willful misrepresentation by a customer service representative.
My sister’s mind bending adventure with the pretzel logic of Cingular Cellular is exceeded only by my current WWE Title match with Capitol One — even a second grader knows $1,050 minus $700 does not equal $2,500. They found their error once, apologized and said “it will never happen again.” Damn right. Last week they called about the $2500 I have never owed them — when was I going to pay it? NEVER!! Now, how much can I charge THEM? My advice to my sister’s frustration with Cingular may not align with the world’s best legal advice, but I find it consistently effective: Send them an invoice for $5,000 for each individual occurrence of “Screwing with a customer’s right to peaceful enjoyment of goods and services.” (As with any such course of action, consult your doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, and Rabbi)
Isis, my gentle loving doggie — ok, she is a Sheffield/Bull Terrier mix who goes nuts at the scent of another dog, and has a marked propensity for licking total strangers as if they are her long lost relatives — apparently thought it a fun idea to eat her leash. She didn’t exactly eat it, she chewed it in pieces..two pieces. It is now useless as an old queen with a head cold. There was no way getting around taking her out for a walk — she needed excercise, an opportunity to vent her anti-poodle hostilties, and the call of nature had become a shrill shriek. I found a length of ethernet cable, and we took off on what is, to her nose, the information super-highway: Ocean Park Blvd.
"Wow," commented the owner of the computer repair store down the block, "I’ve never seen a networked dog before!"
"Yep," I replied, "not only do her jaws lock up, but as you see, she stops cold at various windows."
"Funny! What’s her name," he asked.
I couldn’t resist a little white canine lie.
Now, at last, I’ve joined friends and family documenting the details of our lives on-line. This is how we know (a) what our family and friends are doing, as they are too busy typing to actually tell us, and (b) how to tell them what we are doing because we are too busy typing to tell them.
I am in Santa Monica, California. It is lovely here. The sun shines and Lord only knows if they have ever heard of Lobster Thermadore. I was living in Venice — not Italy, but Venice Beach where prices are high and so are the majority of the residents — artists with cannabis sativa sensibilities. That isn’t one of my shared interests as the aroma of that particular burning vegetable makes me green around the gills.
Speaking of gills, people fish off the pier in Venice. I understand fishing in Loon Lake. The most scary thing you might catch there is a real ugly brown trout or a tinch. But in the ocean you could catch some real horrid mutant prehistoric God-Knows-What Godzilla sort of thing! I mean, nobody knows what is even IN THERE! Ask a marine biologist and even they will tell you it’s safer to fish for red meat in Kansas than drop your pole into the Pacific. You could dredge up Gorgo or Jimmy Hoffa or both at once. You probably don’t know this, but the original edit of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL had Michael Renie giving a big speech about not fishing in any body of water not bordered by railroad tracks and trailers. Trust me on that.
Lately I’ve been enjoying the company of famed Hollywood private detective Fred Wolfson. Fred has the never-ending distinction of having saved Groucho Marx’s life, as detailed in the book LIFE WITH GROUCHO. He also was the private eye who solved the mystery, "Who Sold the National Inquirer Tom Arnold’s Love Letters to Rosanne Barr?" All America was holding it’s collective breath for the answer to that one, as you assuredly recall. You don’t? Me neither. The answer, for those of you who missed the shocking revelation, was Tom Arnold.
That’s about my quota of old show biz gossip.
As for me, I’m within walking distance of an excellent Patty Melt, an OK burrito, and a decent video store. Life is good.