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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Open Letter to My Grocery Store

Hey there,

I hate you. I hate how you never stock the items I'm looking for and reorganize your shelves every three months. And I can tell that you feel the same way, based on how you have huge numbers of registers near the entrance and only one employee manning them. Let's just recognize that we need each other to survive, and focus on getting our business done as quickly as possible.

That's why we need a grocery store GPS. Handheld units, available to shoppers, that will lead people to the items they need. People could upload their whole grocery list and have the system give them the fastest route through the store. You could even have people e-mail the list ahead of time so their route was already planned for them by the time they got there (yes, you can currently order groceries online at some stores to have people actually shop for you, but that costs more and I'm cheap).

Back to this route planning thing. They do it for cars. UPS programmed their guidance systems to completely eliminate left turns from their truck routes in order to save gas, so I'm sure you can make something that tells me to pick up the eggs right near me before I have to walk across the entire store and look up at the top shelf before I can figure out where you're hiding the bacon.

It's brilliant, right? Well, I'm sure that someone else thought of it first, or is working on it at Microsoft, or whatever. Still, I want it implemented immediately, so that we don't spend any more time together than we have to. But here's how you, terrible example of mismanagement and customer abuse that you are, will manage to fuck it up:

You'll order 15 units. 10 of them will break immediately and never be replaced. 2 will get stolen by punks and disgruntled stockboys. The remaining three units will all have their own signature defects (like sticking keys, unreadable displays, etc.).

Despite advances in RFID technology, you won't keep up to date with your inventory, leading customers to the wrong areas of the store, or shelves that are bare because no one brought the last shipment out from the back room.

The wireless signal will interfere with cell phones, blackberrys, and pagers, displaying text messages on the grocery readouts and making all incoming or outgoing phone calls impossible (wait, that last bit doesn't sound so bad). It will also have an effect on pacemakers.

The increased amount of radio waves bouncing around the store (or whatever) will give us all cancer, like how cell phones are supposed to do only a million times more dangerous.

In conclusion, shopping for groceries has been awful, is currently awful, and will forever continue to be awful. If I weren't so lazy, I'd grow my own damn food and avoid them altogether.

Monday, September 22, 2008

So, September.

September has absolutely been a crap month for me, and I can't even remember half of it. The highlights:

I received my worst performance review of my life, hands down, for any job I have ever held. As a bonus, my efforts went to making others (including my manager) look phenomenal in their own reviews. I have graciously been allowed to keep my job so I can get another sub-par review next year while boosting the performance of my peers.

I tripped over a snake in my yard while taking out the trash. It may or may not be poisonous (I didn't get a good look, but it was totally a copperhead), and I don't know if it is still lurking around or if it hustled off after the indignity of getting brained by a hefty bag full of soiled diapers. Now all outdoor activities (coming home from work, taking out the trash, walking the dog, etc.) have taken on the aspect of a treasure hunt where the treasure may or may not exist but will probably try to put you in excruciating pain if you come close to finding it.

My dog suffered through the worst vacation ever. He was introduced to the concept of swimming by falling into a pool and then developed a nasty but robust colony of intestinal parasites. Not as terrible for me as it has been for him, but he's not the one cleaning up watery stool and dumping bleach over huge swathes of the yard. He probably doesn't mind all of the new smells he's creating as much as I do, either.

My daughter has been dealing with two different kinds of diaper rash. There was a raised, pinkish, hive-y series of welts at first which cleared up before she developed a nasty set of raw-looking friction burns. We are going through a lot of rash cream right at a time when she thinks diaper-change time is squirm-free-and-roam time. Based on where it ends up, we don't need diaper rash cream as much as we need some kind of all in one diaper rash/hair gel/upholstery cleaner/laundry detergent cream.

I have been tantalized by nostalgia that remains unobtainable. The rental house for our family vacation was equipped with an N64 and a Sega Dreamcast that had a bunch of kickass, old-school games. It was not equipped with the AV cables that were needed to actually PLAY those games. Petty? Sure, but after all that other crap, I really needed some escapist diversions to occupy my time that I was completely denied.

As always, my plans to make more/extra/any money through writing just keep getting shut down. The less time spent dwelling on that, the better.

Really, it's been a blur of swearing under my breath at work, jumping at shadows in the yard at home, and trying not to have a total meltdown on vacation to the point where the month is no longer made of discrete memories, and has become a solid blur of unpleasantness. I had forgotten all about the eight-hour power outage I was complaining about earlier, but that might have been in August. I'm so tired of it all that it's impossible for me to review these above points to find a bright side for them. Instead, I made this brief list of things from our vacation I can be thankful for:

-I didn't lose any fingers

-I didn't flip or roll the SUV we rented

-Our vacation didn't get cancelled by the hurricane

-Our vacation was not ruined by arson

-Despite being led widdershins around the Wright brothers monument by the momentum of the crowd and the conniving of the National Park Service, we weren't sucked into the fae realm and trapped there for all eternity

-In that vein, our daughter's eyes are still blue, which means that she probably hasn't been replaced by a changeling

-None of us were torn apart and devoured by bears

So I guess we've got that going for us. And really, with a vacation like that, I should be completely refreshed and recharged for work.

Except I'm totally not.

Fuck.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Operation: Abandon This Craphole

So, this house doesn't have water, and it doesn't have electricity for up to eight hours* after as little as a half-hour thunderstorm, but it does have snakes. Big fucking snakes that loiter on the grass in the dark. It's seriously not cool. They'll fuck your shit up if you give them half a chance.

I had thought that I had seen the worst of the various fauna overrunning the place, but I was wicked wrong. Now we need to sell this house and get ourselves back to civilization.

Of course, to do that, we'll have to start in on a lot of home-improvement projects. That should be fun.

*If you're thinking that it's going to be fun to "camp out" with a baby in a house with no electricity (and no water) for 8 hours starting around her bedtime, you're thinking wrong