Category Archives: Retailers

Those Other Stuffed Peppers


So, tonight for dinner I made a new (to me) one.  The wife has made it several times and it’s always a hit with the kids.  I think her original recipe was entitled Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers.  This takes out a bit of the spice and she’s not a huge fan of black beans (which I would have included).  Everything here came from Aldi, except the slices of white American cheese.  We just had that on hand, and no shredded cheese.  It worked well.

Our 3 year old daughter wolfed down about a pepper and a half worth of filling, skipping the outer pepper for some reason.  (She would possibly eat it all, or just the reverse tomorrow.)  She said that we should have it every night for dinner.  I noted that she really likes these, and her mom’s homemade Manwich-like sloppy joes, and that we should start a food truck that specializes in ground meat and call it “Ground Around Town.”  She said we have to paint it pink.  I asked if she wanted to cook or wash dishes.  She chose cooking.

Out of all the stuff you think kids might be picky about, they gobble this up.  (3 yo & 18mo).  I like these better than the more traditional meatball w/ rice stuffed in a green pepper & covered in spaghetti sauce or tomato soup.  For some reason, I can dig the rice & ground meat mixed… but I do not like rice in meatballs.  The red, yellow, & orange peppers are very sweet too.  I like them more than the green ones.  Also, if you mention that you like your peppers stuffed with sausage, you can just close this tab and move on.

These were really easy to make…

All I did was…

Cook the rice & set it aside.  I used the liquid from the can of tomatoes & a beef bullion cube in the water.

Cut the tops off of the peppers, pull out seeds & weird white stuff off of the inside.  (Bethany parboils them first, I didn’t.  I liked them a bit crunchier.)

Brown the ground beef, season to taste.  I added onion powder, garlic powder, & seasoned-salt.  (We have also used ground turkey for this.  It’s delicious.)

Mix the fire-roasted diced tomatoes into the ground meat after draining the fat off.

Mix the rice & beef/tomatoes together.

Put the peppers in a glass baking dish.  Pack the peppers with the tasty rice & beef goodness.  Two didn’t stand up well on their own, so I made little foil stands.

I cooked them in a preheated oven at 375° for 20 minutes, then added the slices of cheese for 5 minutes.

Like I said, Bethany parboils the peppers so they’re a bit softer, so she cooks it at 325° for 20-25 minutes.

Next time, if I make this, I may cook the rice in tomato paste or other tomato flavoring, and add the black beans.  Not sure what the kids would think.  Maybe a little bit of heat would be nice too?  This reminds me of Spanish rice in a pepper.

 

 

Do you make anything similar?  Do you do stuffed peppers a different way?  Do you stuff acorn squash like this?  Do you do different seasonings?  Make ’em meatless?  (Toasted garbanzo beans & black beans might be really good in this!)  Let me know in the comments!

At my signal, unleash a $3 VHS cassette.


So, browsing one of the local flea-market/yard-sale type groups on Facebook, I discovered this post…

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

As you can imagine because I’m blogging about it, many questions came to mind.  It’s hard to even know where to begin.

We’ll start with the obvious.  Who would pay $3 for a VHS cassette of any movie, let alone this movie?  I mean Gladiator was a good film… but here is a shortlist of better values available online…

This is just for physical media.  I didn’t even look into streaming.  I get that not everyone is set up to stream and that some people (myself included) like to put their hands on physical tangible media.

Who has a working VCR?  OK.  I do, but I’m odd.  It’s a VCR/DVD-recorder, and someday I will transfer all of my VHS tapes to DVD (which is already a dead format).  Who is still watching video tapes?  I mean, watching the old 4:3 aspect ratio drives me nuts these days.

The other side of this… who goes through their stuff, decides they can part with this, and assigns a $3 value to it?  I mean, I could see if this was a collector’s item.  I have Star Wars on VHS and I’ll probably have it forever, but The Gladiator?   Sure, it was a good movie… but not that good. Why were they even still making video tapes in the year 2000?

What do you need that badly that costs $3?  This wouldn’t be worth the gas money or the bus fair to meet someone to make the sale.

I have been strapped for cash, but never would think to list what essentially amounts to garbage for a negligible value on a Facebook flea market group.  If this sells, I really have a lot of stuff that I need to be listing for under $5 amounts.

Wait. What? (The Bob Evans saga continues.)


I never emailed these names.  Seriously.  Someone must have sent Jon the text of my blog, or a link to my blog.  My original email contained the names which I then changed to something I thought would be ridiculous and obvious, so I didn’t accidentally call out another real employee.

Am I being trolled?

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 8:54 PM, “0503, BER” <Unit_503@bobevans.com> wrote:

Hello,

                I am following up on a bad review that we had charge to our store.  I was hoping to get some more information, as we believed our location received this review in error.  We don’t have servers by either name mentioned in the review (Maleficient and Lincoln), and would like to find out which store you were actually at.  Then we can send this along to them, so that they can address these issues.  Thank you for your time.

Jon Herrmann
General Manager
Bob Evans #503
Bridgeville, PA
(412) 257-1369

Shenanigans. ☘

I wrote back.  Nothing interesting besides pointing out that I never sent those names in an email.

I also got an email from LeAnn confirming our Dormont address, so I passed along the new one.  I wonder if I’ll get a T-shirt?

If it’s gift certificates, does anyone know of a charity that accepts them or of a family in need?

Maybe they’re sending someone to dispatch of me.  Maybe I should ask King’s to weigh in?

This still makes me laugh uncontrollably:

YOU GET A CRAYON!

Smiling & coloring rule.

I did get a really insightful comment on the last post though. Doesn’t seem like it’s gone down that way so far.

 

Five Guys Burgers and Fries: Doing It Right


So, the other day I posted a Facebook status about Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and I thought I’d share it here and maybe even add some more thoughts.  It seemed to get a lot of comments pretty quickly.

Here it is:

I’ll tell you what, for all the customer service and food service that I do complain about… one place stands out as incredible. Every time I’m at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries no matter the location, they are fully staffed… everyone is doing a job & doing it quickly & efficiently with a rather pleasant look on their face. They communicate with each other quite well. The employees seem to be having fun while getting their job done, and they seem to take pride in what they do. I can only assume they pay much better than the average fast food joint, or just know how to delegate responsibilities evenly & know how to treat employees. I was in the one in Robinson when they got SLAMMED at lunch time today, and they put more people on registers, and worked down an ridiculously large amount of people in a short time. It helps that they only have burgers & the occasional hot dog as a menu item I’m sure, but it still is pretty impressive.

I'll tell you what, for all the customer service and food service that I do complain about... one place stands out as incredible. Every time I'm at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries no matter the location, they are fully staffed... everyone is doing a job & doing it quickly & efficiently with a rather pleasant look on their face. They communicate with each other quite well. The employees seem to be having fun while getting their job done, and they seem to take pride in what they do. I can only assume they pay much better than the average fast food joint, or just know how to delegate responsibilities evenly & know how to treat employees. I was in the one in Robinson when they got SLAMMED at lunch time today, and they put more people on registers, and worked down an ridiculously large amount of people in a short time. It helps that they only have burgers & the occasional hot dog as a menu item I'm sure, but it still is pretty impressive.

I’ll tell you what…

I should take a video of 10 minutes in a Five Guys and 10 minutes in this damn McDonald’s on West Liberty Ave. and compare how they’re run.  McDonald’s employees are slow, confused, careless, and sometimes even slovenly.  Five Guys employees seem to be the exact opposite on every front.

I’ve been to several locations, the Waterworks, Murrysville, Robinson, and Greensburg… and they’ve all been run with the same efficiency, pleasantness, and extreme cleanliness.  I just think it ought to be said that it’s noticed by the customers, and they need to keep doing what they’re doing.

Of course, I’m very aware of food allergies, and peanuts are a big thing at Five Guys.  This seems to get a bunch of flack, but they do take allergies seriously.  The peanut-allergic have to accept it just like I accept that being allergic to shellfish, I’m not going to get a safe meal at Red Lobster.  It’s OK.  There are many many places to dine & choices to make.  I’m glad that I have Five Guys as a choice.  I’ve heard that they are excellent in handling a dairy allergy.  Just check out the comments in the image above to the right.  I see the allergy warnings on the door as a very responsible thing to do.

Even after all that… the burgers are just absolutely delicious.  I tend to get a bacon cheeseburger with A1 and green peppers… sometimes even mushrooms.  The french fries are almost as awesome as Kennywood’s Potato Patch fries, and that’s hard to do.  The ingredients are always fresh, the burgers always cooked perfectly.  One of these days I want to try a hot dog… but I can never get past the burgers.  Maybe a little burger & a hot dog will have to do some day?  I don’t even know if I can handle that.  I’m glad I don’t live too close to one of these places, I’d be there way too often.

I hope to send a link to this to Five Guys, just to tell them that I appreciate what they’re doing, and to keep on doing it.  Customers can see and appreciate that the employees are enjoying what they do, and doing it well.  It does make a difference.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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A letter to Sprint, HTC, and Android…


This is my letter to anyone within the Sprint, HTC, and Android organizations who will listen to my plea for an actual quick and final solution to my phone problem…

Hello,

I’m writing to inform you of a problem that I’ve had with Sprint customer service, HTC‘s hardware, and Android‘s operating system.  I’m not sure what kind of answer or resolution I’m looking for.  I just feel the need to tell someone or everyone how unacceptable Sprint’s service (or lack thereof) has been lately as related to multiple HTC or Android errors.

It started about two weeks ago, shortly after I applied the latest update as prompted by the phone.  My original HTC EVO 4G LTE purchased only in September started going crazy.  The screen would freeze, become slow or completely unresponsive.  It would eventually load a screen that looked like TV static… only not moving.  Naturally, I took it to the Sprint store.  They also tried to blame the problem on various apps and settings. They did a soft rest, a hard reset, and even apparently looked up the problem on the internet.  I had to leave my phone overnight and pick it up the next day.  Well, the next day I was given a new or refurbished phone.  The store employee said he couldn’t tell if it was new or refurbished.  He said it might be new because the phone itself was rather new and they might not have refurbs yet.  I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell a new phone from a refurbished one.

So, after updating the new phone, reinstalling some apps, and setting everything up the way I had it on the old one…  I started to notice a minor annoyance.  If I opened a browser link through Facebook, email, or Twitter it would immediately close after it fully loaded.  I took it to the Sprint store that Saturday morning.  Again, they did the soft & hard resets, and tried to blame it on an App.  They changed some settings in the phone that were telling the phone to look for a 4G network.  When I went back in after leaving the store & running into the browser-closing problem again…  The next guy changed that setting back and told me that I shouldn’t have changed it… and wouldn’t listen when I told him the last guy had just changed it.  Oddly enough, I was told that the 4G network would be in the area by January when I purchased the 4G phone.  When I told the person helping me at the Sprint store that I was told that… he says they were never given a timeline.  Is lying part of your training as a Sprint customer service representative or sales person?  What about intimidation and making someone feel like they’re not using their phone properly?

I was persuaded out of getting a 2nd replacement phone.  I was told to delete all of my apps, add them back one by one to see which was causing the problem.  The browser-closing problem was happening even without any added apps.  Now it was shutting the phone off each time the browser crashed.  I can assure you that I’m not an idiot when it comes to technology.  I was told I was part of a percentage of HTC users that were having a similar problem, and that a replacement phone could potentially have the same issues… and to wait for HTC to make the next update.  So, the solution was to wait?

My phone has taken to shutting itself off all week at random intervals.  I can be talking on the phone, using Facebook, or not even be near the phone.  It just shuts itself off.  It comes back on, and I send HTC an error report.  Where do these error reports go?  Do they do any good?  Is anyone working on the problem?  Is this an HTC problem, or an Android problem?

Well, I waited a week.  This Saturday I went back to the Sprint store, looking for a replacement phone.  I work on the road & I have a pregnant wife.  I need my phone to be functioning properly all the time.  Again, we went through the hard reset option, and my apps were blamed. “Unfortunately Android is an open system” they said.  “It must be a bug.”  What about this mysterious problem that a certain percentage of HTC users had encountered?  (I wish I could remember the percentage, I was told 10% or 20%, I believe.) A week has gone by with an apparently large bug issue, and nothing has been done about it?

Lookout

All clean!

I was advised to install the Lookout app.  I guess that app’s OK.  I was told it would hunt out any apps that were messing up my phone.  So, another thing to add to my monthly bill…  Of course it’s not free or a one-time fee.  As I tried to download & install Lookout, my phone shut itself off.  I handed it to the woman assisting me, and it shut off for her again.  She took it back to the technician.  Again.  Their advice was to run this app, and hope for the best.

Upon walking out of the store, I ran the app & it found no problems with any of my installed apps.  I went back into the store, and this time they decided to put in a “ticket” for a replacement phone.  I really have to wait again?  A phone may be in by Tuesday.  Again, I will have to re-download my apps, re-import my contacts, put all of my settings back.  This will be the 5th time within the span of three weeks.

I left the store hoping to go on about my day, & my phone went into some “HD media link” video after hanging up on my wife in the middle of a conversation where I was expressing to her my exasperation with the entire situation.  I went back to the store asking for the next level of solution.  An entirely new phone?  I’m not eligible for anything other than the ridiculously outrageous full prices because I’m not eligible for a new phone, or wouldn’t be singing up for a new line.  I have been a Sprint customer for over 10 years.  You would think that would carry some sort of weight.  You would think I could “split the difference” in purchasing a new phone with some kind of discount.  You would think a quick affordable solution would be offered instead of feigned apologies & being told to wait.  I feel like I might as well have been talking to the brick wall in front of the store.  It would have offered the same resolutions & peace of mind.

The early termination fees are the moral equivalent of extortion.  I am tempted to move all five lines in our plan to another carrier.  For what we pay for 5 lines total per month, you’d think Sprint would like to keep us happy.  Once all the 2 year limits are up (and they’ll all be happening around the same time), we will be moving to another carrier.  I know that Verizon has better signal/coverage in our area anyway.

I think that HTC and Android may find it interesting that Sprint employees routinely verbally (pardon the expression) shit all over the hardware, firmware, software & apps before any diagnosis is even made.  Perhaps you ought to review your arrangements with how Sprint “supports” your products.

HTC ought to be a little more transparent as to where the error reports go…  and maybe perhaps respond to them?  Let someone know that you’re working on the issue.  Maybe let Sprint or other carriers know if you’re having a major issue or if you get 10+ error reports from the same phone in one day.

If anyone can offer a solution or explanation that doesn’t throw another entity under the proverbial bus, I’d love to hear it.  I just wanted to let everyone involved see how poorly their products & services are being represented.  Writing this & eventually blogging it will hopefully be therapeutic.  It’s an added bonus if it helps bring to light a seemingly never-ending careless customer service loop, and even better if it gets something resolved.

Thank you for your time in reading of my misadventures, I hope to hear your thoughts.

Disgruntled & disgusted,
-Eric

Some more phone info if you need it:

Sprint Fail

Sprint Fail (Photo credit: evo_terra)

Digital Media vs.Physical Media.


The other day I posted a Facebook status, and wanted to expand upon it here.  This is what I said:

I get that digital & cloud media are the next step. I get that ALMOST everything is available for streaming as part of a service. Anyone else weirded out by it? Some stuff… obscure or whatever just isn’t available for streaming. What happens when the companies close or the cloud’s redundant services fail? What happens if someone buys the rights to streaming movies, just to keep them from the public? What if censorship goes out of control and some committee decided certain movies are no longer available? Will they all be lost forever because no one will have physical copies? Don’t say it can’t happen… it has in the past with books.

It sparked a discussion.  Not too long after I posted that, Amazon posted this:

Announcing AutoRip from Amazon MP3: Buy an AutoRip CD and instantly get the MP3 version for FREE. Learn more: http://amzn.to/VMhFaJ

I of course shared it, and it sparked a tiny bit more discussion.

English: Photograph of Roku XDS player with re...

Photograph of Roku XDS player with remote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like the idea of digital music & cloud storage.  I just purchased a 3TB drive, and in addition to other uses, hope to eventually rip all of my CD’s & put them on there so I can set it up to listen to all of my stuff from any browser anywhere.  Well, after I make a few decisions.

I like the idea of Digital movies & TV shows…  I love having Netflix‘s library available in an instant.  I love being able to watch a movie from Netflix or rent a digital movie from Amazon through the Blu-ray player.

I like the idea of Pandora or Google Play where there’s streaming music there in an instant.  Pandora just disappoints because of the variety of music I listen to… a lot of smaller bands that I really dig just have a minimal or even no presence there.  Google Play at least lets you upload your own mp3’s in addition to purchasing new ones.  Amazon holds your stuff in the cloud too.  I just wish all the music that I wanted was all in one place.

I have had an older external hard drive crash.  It’s not good.  I still need to get it fixed without breaking the bank.  Anything physical can be destroyed…  CD’s & Records can melt or scratch, and not too many people have 8-Trak or even cassette players any more.

My original question is as much about content control & ownership as much as anything else.  Say you purchase a ton of music that’s in the cloud… and that company shuts down.  How do you hold on to that music?  Were you just renting it?  What happens if the parent company gets into a disagreement with the management of your favorite band and their catalog is removed from your clous storage?

Cover of "Idiocracy"

“…a time when people cared about who’s ass it was, and why it was farting!”

What if you bought the movie Idiocracy and it becomes so true to life that it’s banned?  Don’t sit back comfortably and think it can’t happen.  Books are banned all the time by different groups.  No one comes & takes all of your books… yet.  What if the banned book could be deleted from your Kindle or Nook?  All In The Family would never fly on TV now, but what if it was no longer available because of its abrasive humor?

I just feel uneasy about it.

That being said, I absolutely hate cash money.  I hardly ever have it on me.  I like swiping my card for everything.  If I could use it in parking meters and pop machines, I would.  There’s a swing back towards cash though, as credit card company fees are crushing small businesses, especially if you’re making a purchase with a low dollar amount.  Is it odd that I have no problem with my money being intangible,  but when I use to to purchase an album or a movie… I need that to be tangible?

I’d like to get a good discussion going in the comments.

Free Swag From Guitar Center!


So, did you read the last post about the Guitalele & Guitar Center’s price match guarantee?  The whole thing is pretty awesome, especially if you’re a musician and you actively purchase gear.  It’s worth checking out, so click that link.

Once you’ve read that, this will make sense:

The gig bag & the stand are a perfect fit!  Thanks again to Luke for the excellent customer service, and to YaJagoff for sparking it!

Guitar Center does me a solid, and I didn’t even initiate it.


On the Saturday before Christmas, we were headed to a family gathering & gift exchange.  On the way, we stopped at Guitar Center in Monroeville so I could pick up a book of Christmas Carols that I had seen at the Guitar Center in Robinson.  I didn’t find the same book, but was pleased with two that I did find.

Guitalele GL1

Guitalele GL1 (Photo credit: matsuyuki)

Usually, I’m the one who lollygags in guitar stores, but the wife has taken up the ukulele, and over the past few years she’s the one that lingers near the ever-growing uke section at music stores.  In Monroeville’s Guitar Center, the ukes were right by the music books, so we both started looking.  Bethany was the first to spot our newest acquisition… The Yamaha GL1 “Guitalele“.  We both were fascinated by it, and I played with it a little as she asked “Do you want this as an early Birthday present?”

At first, I said no and went to hang it back up, but flipped over the price tag and saw that it was $99.99.  She gave me the “just get it” look, so we both new I just landed an early birthday present.  I do enjoy the wife’s ukulele, but the GCEA tuning did always mess with me.  Now I can play the ukulele without having to play the ukulele.  Although, if tuned “properly” the guitalele should be ADGCEA.  Of course, I dropped it to E because I didn’t like pretending it was a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret.  Although, I may have to get thicker strings or just suck it up & put it back in the A tuning.  They’re sort of like rubber-bands at this point.

I'll be home for Christmas, uke can count on me...

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Well, that’s just the first part of the story.  The second part stems from some interactions on Twitter.  I’ll try to post it all here as it happened, thanks to @YaJagoff and Luke from Guitar Center.

A simple question.  I gave the easy, flippant, and predictable answer.  Rock musicians are supposed to rail against the establishment and big business, right?  Well, Guitar Center proves to be awesome here…

These are the links I sent to Luke at Yourvoice@guitarcenter.com:

I only half-jokingly asked “Any chance I could get a gig bag or stand for free?”  I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?

I was met with a response saying I was getting both of them for free!  We discussed shipping details & the right size gig bag in a few more email exchanges… but they’re now on the way to me via UPS.

I’ve written to companies before, but I’ve never had any of them seek me out on a social media platform in a conversation that wasn’t even addressed to them.  It’s pretty cool that Guitar Center believes in their price guarantee so much that they actively go after any perceived detraction.  It’s also cool that they’ll not only go up against brick-and-mortar stores, but online retailers too.

That being said, the “little guys” could argue that they have no way to compete.  They can’t buy in quantities & therefore probably not at such a low price… so there’s no way they can pass on such savings.  Free enterprise, supply & demand, competition, it’s all very interesting & a continually evolving battle.

At any rate, I win out here… with a free gig bag & stand.  So, thanks to Ya Jagoff!!! & Luke for helping to set the whole thing into motion!  I’ll post some photos of the gig bag & stand as soon as I have them.

So, does the Guitalele count as a guitar in my “13 Guitars in 2013” goal?

Horrible Christmas Presents…


So if you’re looking for a Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa or Festivus gift… You may not want to go with these, unless you’re trying to give some kind of hint that you don’t like the recipient. I’ve heard them advertised on the radio lately, and they’re both just ridiculous.

Go nuts over Fresh Balls!

Go nuts over Fresh Balls!

Fresh Balls – “So Fresh. So Dry.” | It is what it sounds like. Some kind of deodorant, lotion, or talc for application to your apparently sweaty coin purse.  Maybe I’m not active or sweaty enough, but I’ve never considered this a real problem.  They advertise buying it for someone as a gift.  Who’s damp smelly package are you close to on a regular basis?  I have some good friends, and I’ve thankfully never smelled their family jewels.  If I ever do smell someone’s nether-regions, I’ll be sure to tell them about Fresh Balls.

✔ Badass colors ✔ Badass patterns ✔ Badass warranty

✔ Badass colors ✔ Badass patterns ✔ Badass warranty

Seats of Anarchy – “Custom toilet seats for hard asses.” | I love some good terrible wordplay, but the name is almost as atrocious as the idea. I’ve never watched Sons of Anarchy, but do they poop a lot?  If they did, I could see the point to this then.  If your man cave is your bathroom… maybe this would be appropriate?  Someone better get their Copyright and/or Trademark lawyers on this pretty quickly.  Nothing says badass like a camouflage toilet seat, or one with barbed wire.  Guarantee that all your guests will hover!  “Designer” toilet seats for manly men and bikers…  It sounds like a crappy idea.  Get it?  Crappy?  Toilet seat?  Ugh.

So, what have you seen lately what would make a horrible holiday present?  Anything as bad as (or worse than) these?

If I owned a department store chain…


Every time I go to a Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc. I’m driven slightly mad. Sure, part of it is because of the stores themselves or the employees who seem to be rather uninterested in working… But most of the problem is the other shoppers. I was going to put a percentage on it, but I’m not sure I can. I think is a small percentage of idiots with a largely negative impact. Well, idiot just implies that they’re stupid. I think it’s more inconsiderate than stupid. I’m talking about people who are generally unaware of the needs, thoughts, and feelings of everyone around them. The best word that I can think of (even though I generally try to avoid being vulgar in print) is asshole. We all know what kind of person that describes. If I owned/ran a department store, I would try to prevent the behavior that goes with this type of personality.

Parking Lot

Parking Lot

Curbing unacceptable behavior would start in the parking lot (pun intended). One of my favorite blogs calls these people “Peter Parkers.”  They’re where the problem begins.  If your jackass behavior can’t make it through the parking lot, we’ll hope you don’t even bother to come in to the store.  Whether we’re talking about people driving & parking the wrong way in one way lanes, people who park over the lines, people who don’t slow down/stop at cross-walks, or people who park in handicapped spaces or on the line-covered spaces near the handicapped spaces.  That’s just the drivers…  Don’t forget that people need to learn how to walk to their car in a parking lot too.

Crossing Guard

Crossing Guard

To curtail all of this inconsiderate conduct we’d have meter maids, crossing guards, and cameras.  I guess the meter maids wouldn’t have meters to read, they’d just be parking enforcers.  Cars parked over painted lines, at curbs, or in handicapped spaces without proper tags will be towed.  Immediately.  I’m saying we’d go after them mere seconds after it happens, perhaps as their door is being shut.  The parking enforcers wouldn’t be like the people on that TV show where they argue.  They’d just do their job.  I’d have a tow truck or two on site at all times.  I have no tolerance for people who think that rules somehow don’t apply to themselves.  (I’m talking about inconsequential rules here like how to conduct yourself in society.  I think it’s always good to question authority & what not… but that doesn’t apply here where you’re just being a self-indulgent dolt.) 

People entering & exiting the store wouldn’t have the free reign to walk out into oncoming traffic.  Somehow (here in PA at least) people have taken “pedestrians have the right of way” to the extreme, where the actual law is that they have the right of way in crosswalks.  Everywhere else, you’re fair game.  A crossing-guard would facilitate safe passage and at the same prevent a traffic jam like you get in the front of every Walmart or Giant Eagle when an endless stream of lackadaisical shoppers lumber slowly in front of you without glancing in your direction as you sit in your auto waiting for a break in the action.  If the people who like to park wherever they please or run into oncoming traffic with faith in an imaginary no-fault law somehow don’t feel welcome in my department store, then good.  We’ve successfully weeded out the first wave of assholes.  If they have learned to conduct themselves in a respectful manner while spending time in my controlled outdoor environment, then let ’em in!

Amish parking, Cashton, 29 June 2012

Amish parking

(Oh yeah, bicycles would have their own parking lot… they’d share it with buggies & horses in Amish country, and buses would roll to the edge of the parking lot, not right to the front door causing endless amounts of chaos.)

Inside the store, we’d have checkout lines like the bank, Wendy’s, or Best Buy.  People can be incredibly ignorant when it comes to getting in line.  It’s certainly not everyone, but there are a select few who ruin it for everyone else.  See any McDonalds or Sheetz without the rope at lunch time.  It’s absolute chaos.

Queue Area

Queue Area

I know they’re not department stores… but it’s easier to see the same behavior there as it’s more concentrated.  It would eliminate getting into line behind the people who want to put things back, use expired coupons, write checks, talk on their phones, shop for everything in the impulse-buy section, or search for their method of payment long after everything is rung up.

In fact, no checks.  All it does is slow things down.  It’s 2012.  It’s almost 2013.  If you have a bank account, you have a debt card or credit card, some of them are even called check cards now.  Use it.  Don’t use that antiquated paper log-book that does nothing but slow things down for everyone.

No Checks Accepted

In my store, there would be no greeter that avoids eye contact completely or looks at you like you’re the grim reaper come to take them to hell.  Maybe there would be a robot there to say hello.  At least a robot could fake sincerity more efficiently.

Even though it doesn’t have to do with behavior exactly, the restrooms would have faucets in the sinks (with hot water) that you can fit your hands under, paper towels that are actually stocked regularly, hand dryers that actually dry your hands, and soap.  No foam soap, no hand sanitizer, no bathroom attendants to do it for you.  It might put people in a better mood if they can be comfortable.

I’m sure there are many other things I’d have to put in place, and many other bad customer behavior… but these are the ones I can think of now.

What would you do to make a trip to a department store more tolerable?  Would you enjoy it if stores weeded out the a-holes?  Are you one of the people who behaves like an a-hole by parking in the wrong spots, jumping to lines in front of people, and walking like an idiot in the parking lot?  Please, share your thoughts in the comments section below!

last minute shoppers.

last minute shoppers. (Photo credit: the idealist)