Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting Served

Getting Served


The Reason Sarcasm is now banned from WaWa.

*Disclaimer: The specific Starbucks employee mentioned was fired the next day. Oops.

Moving on....I happen to be a very easy going person. I don't ask for

much, in fact most of the time I don't really try and have a

conversation with people at all. The sound of people weeping gets on

my nerves and seems to follow me around any day I feel chatty. However,

this particular day all I wanted was a simple coffee. I like coffee.

Coffee likes me. We get along great, as long as no one tries to

converse with either of us until we get together for our morning

ritual. I either hit my usual Wawa (where the coffee is usually made with the

tender loving care of other religious coffee drinkers) or, if I'm feeling spendy,

I will hit the Starbucks, which is along the same route to work.

Well, on this particular day, I had to take a different path than I usually do, so I stopped at a relatively new Wawa in my area. Used to the good quality

brew I find at this franchise, I made my black, lightly sweet, cup of coffee,

and took my place in the check out line queue. Some of you are groaning right now. He hasn't paid for it yet, why is he drinking it already? Well, frankly, I made my cup of Joe all by myself, just the way I like it. I may not have filled the water reservoir, or scooped the grounds into the filter, but I poured the resulting liquid smile into the cup, added just the right amount of sugar, and stirred till the granules dissolved. They aren't going to put it back in the pot at this point, are they?

No, of course not. So, logically, standing at the counter waiting to check out is the perfect place to take the edge my early morning stabbie feelings. Two birds, one stone, and all that. Normally, this action would have resulted in a deep, throaty groan, closed eyes, and a small smile. On this day, however, I gagged. You can imagine my disappointment to discover the coffee was ice cold, and at a closer glance had black flakes of something floating in it. Please don't get me wrong, I enjoy a delicious glass of

iced coffee as much as any other addict. Floaties though? Not so much.

I know, it was probably just burned coffee from a pot left on the warmer too long, no biggie right? Well, to me, it most certainly IS a biggie. You see, I come from a long line of coffeinds.We are a rare breed of human who require the achingly sweet embrace of caffeine on a daily basis to ward off a murderous demon that resides deep within us. This demon, if not appeased, makes my normal sarcastic self seem like Bob Hope

in a Christmas special, with Jerry's kids, Santa Clause, and 6000 Puppies thrown in for that extra "if I wasn’t sure I wanted to kill myself before" effect.

We like our coffee hot, fresh, and not burned.

I started to walk back to dump out my cup, and try and find a fresh pot

of hot coffee. Before I could, some clerk, who will be forever known to me as dick face lumpy chins, stopped me and declared in a nasally power mad voice, "You drank from that CUP!!!".

Now, with the entire store staring at us, and the other coffee loving patrons

staring at me like I had something wrong with me, I explained to the

clerk that I had all intentions of purchasing said cup of coffee until

I realized they must have used frozen piss to make this batch of

coffee and I was going to go back to find a decent cup of coffee from

their plethora of coffee dispensers and then purchase a cup when and if I

found one. At this point the other patrons began to try theirs, and

several looks of disgust ruled out the Hazelnut, Irish cream, and

Jamaican Blend from the options available to me. As the clerk

berated me for about 2 minutes for abusing the serve yourself kindness of his establishment, I watched as several future customers set their coffee cups on the counter and left. I pointed to the counter then to the clerk and said. "Your service sucks, your coffee sucks, and now everyone who is in here knows it too." I handed him my cup of coffee and left.

Luckily there is a Starbucks down the road. Well, at least usually that

is a good thing. While waiting in line at the drive through window,

the common thing to do is listen to music and think about what you are

going to order. The person in front me however felt the need to yell.

I assume her screams of anger were at a person on the other end of a

cell phone although she had no cell phone in hand, no kids in the

backseat and no passenger, unless they happened to be invisible. I

suppose she could be an actor, and any play with that kind of language

is going to be high on my must watch list, but I doubted it. So with

the drama unfolding before me we crept slowly in the manufactured

circle of service around the Starbucks. The screamer pleasantly

ordered something with too many names to be called a coffee, and I

ordered my usual heart bursting caffeine overload. When I finally

reached the window, I paid for the white and green cup, and waited for them to finish making my coffee. The clerk who took my money set my cup of coffee on the little metal counter just inside the window. I knew it was my cup because the espresso box was marked with a number 6, followed by 3 question marks.

And then she left. Walked away. Leaving my cup of coffee all by itself,

alone, without handing it out the window to me. There sat my hot

cup of coffee, slowly getting colder, kept from me by only a glass and

metal frame. That was locked by the way! I tried to open it but it

wouldn't open.

About 2 minutes later I noticed the woman working the drive through window was standing at the corner having a cigarette, and talking on her cell phone. And there I sat. So I did the only thing I deemed to be the least violent, much to the chagrin of my inner demon, who would’ve preferred I smashed the drive through window and retrieve my cup of coffee. I got out of my truck, locked the doors, and went in to talk to the manager. About the time I got inside they were all asking about the truck sitting in the drive through. I explained that it was mine and I had been forced to stare at my coffee sitting in the window in front of me for the last five minutes without bothering to hand it to me before she took a smoke break out behind the Starbucks. I think I went on for a little while because I blacked out with rage at this point and found myself walking back to my truck with a gift card and a fresh cup of coffee in hand. So there I was, a fresh cup of coffee in hand, and more free cups to come in the future, walking past the clerk who had snubbed and forgotten me. Well, obviously, there was only one thing to do. I got in my truck, rolled down my window and drove up to where she was.

I poured my coffee on the ground about where her feet were and drove

next door to Dunkin’ Donuts and got a cup of coffee there.

I have not been back to the WaWa. However, the manager of the Starbucks remembered me, apologized again and gave me another free cup of coffee. Cool guy, he also fired the clerk. That's justice, and the Sarcasm Way.

So remember, Customer service is not dead, with the appropriate amount

of rage it comes back rather quickly, with bonus prizes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ballad of the wing-men..

I am not a follower of the "Bro" Bible as founded by Barney Stinson on "How I met your mother." In fact I have been out of the dating game for some time. Well, 12 years is more than some time, but that is a conversation for another time. But, as a married man, when hanging out with single men, you are going to be the wing-man 99.9% of the time, and it is a responsibility I take seriously. Unlike single men, married men have nothing to prove, and nothing to lose by walking up to an attractive women with the trademarked, "Ha-a-a-ave you met Ted?" If they shoot us down it doesn't effect our ego because we already have a beautiful wife we are committed to back home, so nothing is lost to us.

For the last 6 months, I have been working a contract with the US Navy as a Graphic Designer on board an Air Craft Carrier. With my civilian rank, I find myself spending more time with pilots and officers. This always guarantees a good time, and stories to share with the wife and friends back home. While we have been busy and have only stopped at a few liberty ports, I feel it is my duty to share some lessons learned as the permanent on hand wing-man.

First: Your responsibility as a wing-man (as it pertains to flying wing-man for Naval aviators; there is a difference trust me). Accept your call sign. Mine was "Cash". This is important to aviators. They will have entire conversations with you using this name. This is your new name, accept it, embrace it, and respond accordingly. You can miss very important details about the path your night is going to take if you do not pay close attention. For example: "Cash, you'll need to talk to the one with a mustache so she doesn't get bored and take all the hot women home with them." This small missed phrase almost lost my friends the chance to spend some quality time with very attractive Swedish teachers. It is called jumping on the hand-grenade. As the wing man, who has no interest in the pursuit, this is your responsibility to deal with. Be funny, interesting, and keep the pattern full. Once the the rest of your group has paired off and separated from the hand-grenade, you politely excuse yourself, or mention your wife and kids. Hand-grenade defused, you can carry on with the rest of your night filled with people watching, dancing, copious amounts of imbibing......or whatever your thing is.

Second: If you are all headed back to the hotel, and the cab only has room for 4 people, and you are the fifth, as the wing-man it is your responsibility to catch the next cab. As a note, this cab should not arrive at the hotel for at least 2 hours. Arriving early can cause some unsavory mind burning trauma, should you arrive too early and find your single room has been commandeered for the greater good. So, be prepared to have extra money for time at the hotel bar, or have a visual code, like the universally understood sock on the door handle, and make sure your roomies set your laptop by the door so you can at least peruse the inter-webs while they "Call in the alert 30 strike package." On a second note, if your pilots are slapped and left naked following an also naked, quickly dressing, British female down the hotel hallway after the last phrase is shouted during intercourse, it is in no way your fault if she makes it out the front door of the hotel and into a cab. Holding people any where against their will is kidnapping, and always will be. If you have to explain this, it is time to call in a replacement pilot. You do not want to be associated with this one anymore, no matter how funny it is to watch him try to explain to the military police and local authorities why he is bare naked on the street, screaming at a cab that left 20 minutes ago.

Third: Pilots should have respect for the wing man. I walked up and talked to the women first, kept the conversation funny and personable every time the conversation died, sacrificed sleep, and at times, pride, so that you could pursue your conquest of an exotic goddess in a foreign land. You owe the wing man. He lied, bribed, sacrificed, and sweated so you could have your fun. This is a list of things you should not ask your wing man to do.

#1: Permanent forfeiture of hotel room based on "falling in love". Quite frankly, "FUCK YOU". This is most important when you have been on a US Naval Vessel for the last 6 months. Get your own damn room if you are in love, and want to spend the last 2 days of liberty with your Spanish beauty you only met last night in that topless bar. You can't have my room. You wanted to share a room, and feel uncomfortable when your roommate walks in on you.

#2: If you order a round, you ordered the round, and therefore you pay for said round out of your money. Just because my call sign is "CASH" doesn't give me the ability to shit money and cover your idiocy.

#3: If you get her drunk, you have to clean up after her. That is not my job. If I have to, I will curse your name the entire time I hold her hair back as she pukes, while you try to pick up her friend down at the bar.

#4: Any failure on your part to close the deal is not my fault. I don't care how close you got, what went wrong, what you said about the hair on her nipples, or shouting random ass thoughts while in mid-coitus. NOT MY FAULT. This is not potty training, or summer camp. I am not Yoda. I am not going to call a time out and slap the shit out of you before you abruptly slap her ass and knock her off the crappy box springs on wheels they call beds in your small cheap ass room. However, if you wake me up, or approach me while I'm eating, to go into detail about what went wrong, right, or ask what an STD looks like, I will fucking stab you in the face.

#5: During the down time of the cruise at our hotel, if I am in my room, using the internet to talk to my kids, wife or mother, and you walk in and expose yourself to any of my family, punishment will be dealt out when you are drunk, and at your most vulnerable. For 50 Euros, most janitors will jump into bed with you while you are passed out. Many will do it butt ass naked wearing lipstick, and will kiss you awake for 150. While you sew your oats, I want the time to talk with my family. I respect your fun. Please respect mine, or suffer the consequences.