Archive for yakkity gadget

Connected

Posted in Humor, Rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by BrainRants

I did a blog entry in early August about my thoughts on cell phones (read it here). That was about how I thought of cell phones themselves, and now I think venting about the people who use and abuse them is in order. Since I travel a lot, I have ample opportunity to observe the human animal in its natural habitat. One behavior I can’t seem to come to grips with are people’s intense obsession with their cell phones. Why do people have this need to be connected? Some stuff about them just drives me batshit. Continue reading

Yakkity Gadget

Posted in Best, Humor, Rant, Worst with tags , , , on August 4, 2011 by BrainRants

I’m not sure this is a full-blooded rant or not because I’m not entirely certain how I feel about cell phones.  I have to admit that they are pretty handy, notably in times when there are no other phones available, or you don’t have a quarter, or are flat-out lost in the middle of nowhere and you suddenly hear banjos playing.  Texting can be convenient, though frustrating for cave men like me with big, fat fingers.  Getting email on my phone has, admittedly, saved my ass in the past (see prior blog about Asscratch, Kentucky and the email debacle that ensued here).

A lot of my indecision on this subject probably stems from the whole duality of the situation – the damn things are irritating and necessary at the same time.  I get a lot of entertainment out of watching someone walk around with a bluetooth thingy jammed into their ear talking – apparently – to themselves.  This is why I just stick with the earphone method.  At least people can get a visual clue that I’m not completely schizophrenic and having an argument with myself (I do have arguments with myself, but they stay inside my head).

Having grown up tethered to a wall unit with a rotary dial and a curly-stretchy cord, I like to think that I view cell phones as a convenience versus the latest addition to my collection of bodily organs as my kids seem to think they are.  I could well live without a pimphone but I am pretty sure my middle kid would curl into the fetal position, dessicate, and blow away in a poof of dust if her phone was pried from her skull.  I visualize this much like what happens when you drive a stake through a vampire’s heart, but with more feminine teenage drama.  I often wonder if at some point, the light will turn on and they’ll recognize the value and power of being totally and completely unavailable.  To everyone, not just their parents, I probably should add.

I suppose that is what bothers me the most: not being ‘off the grid.’  As an Army dude, I understand that I kind of have to be available, but there is enough room for abuse of this notion to drive a tank through without scratching the paint.  Some high-attention-needs bosses in my past have left scars that color my view of yakkity gadgets:

ME: [Answering cell phone somewhere past 1AM] “Yes, Sir?”

BOSS: [Wading straight into the 5th call since 9PM] “The brigade commander sent out some notes from the training meeting.  Have you seen them?”

ME:  “Not yet, Sir.  When did he send them?”

BOSS:  “About an hour ago.  I added my thoughts.  Make sure everyone gets and understands them.”

ME:  “WILCO, but would that mean right now, or is later this morning going to be ok?”

BOSS:  “Later is fine, and I think we need to discuss your attitude.”

Someday I imagine a news agency will come interview me because I’m the last living American with a functioning land-line.

Angry Rant: Store Clerks and Phones

Posted in Humor, Rant, Worst with tags , , , , on June 30, 2011 by BrainRants

Is it just me or is it a really stupid idea to answer a phone while you’re in the middle of doing a customer-service-related function?  Just to be really clear about this rant, I am NOT talking about Store People who will answer their personal cell phone in mid-conversation with me.  That is clearly F’d up and deserving of an entirely separate and particularly caustic rant.

No, what I’m talking about is the situation when you are shopping, looking, or wandering lost and confused in a store and need help.  Or clarification on a product.  Or some similar feedback requirement that will enable you to open your wallet and/or purse and fork over the green.  Perhaps you need to empty your dangerously overfilled bladder, and you cannot for the love of porcelain find the super-secret hidden wardrobe entry to Narnia where the pissoir is located.

The logical person will find an employee and ask the relevant question.  In this logical scenario, the helpful employee will answer.  Actions ensue, Nirvana is achieved.  I’d guess that nine times out of ten this is pretty much what happens.  Until you inevitably encounter the tenth time of ten…

Here’s the scenario: I’m in a store, looking at shit I might conceivably buy.  If you know me, you know I am not shopping in the ‘want’ mode.  I only trouble myself with shopping when I slip past ‘want’ and into ‘need.’  Anyway, I have the Candidate Posession in hand, but I always wonder about it.  Does it take batteries?  Is it resistant to urine?  Are there hidden features that require further purchases (like batteries) to ensure complete functionality?  You get the idea.

So with Candidate Posession in hand, I approach the clerk and post my question.  As the answer is issued, the inevitable occurs – the store’s phone rings.  Someone else in the need mode who is too damn lazy to get up and look at stuff.  The clerk answers and I hope to hear, “Thanks for calling, please hold,” and have the clerk re-engage me.  Instead, I get the dreaded Long Conversation.  One time it sounded like this:

“Hello, how many I help you?….yes, yes we do…  is that the one in Asia, or Africa?… no, we don’t normally ship to those places… uh huh, yes, I understand…  I’m sorry he’s in a foreign prison, but that country is under embargo…  yes…  blue…  forty-seven…  we’re open daily until eight PM…  234 Main Street…  yes, I can; do you have a pencil?…  ok, M… A… I… N…  hmm, I don’t know let me pop back to the storeroom and look, can you hold?”

I fail to get the guy’s attention as he turns, without so much as a word or even silent finger in the air to say, ‘sorry, one second,’ and walks off into the dark, creepy bowels of the store.  During this exchange three more customers have queued up.  We look at each other sympathetically as if to collectively say, ‘WTF? Really? For real?’ 

Again, then, I ask: is it just me, or is it stupid to put a live, cash-carrying customer effectively on hold in favor of a random caller who will more than likely assume you’re busy and call back if nobody answers?  Have we become so relentlessly conditioned to answer phones that we cannot resist the siren call of the long-distance yakkity gadget?  I don’t know about you but I find it insulting.

The end to this scenario of course depends on the relative urgency with which I need the Candidate Posession, or how much trouble it was to locate the store to begin with, or my general Fun Meter reading at that moment in time.  My favorite response is to put the ex-Candidate Possession on the counter to make the jackwagon re-shelve it, and just Walk. My. Ass. Out.