Grrr! It's the Service, Stupid

If only the Internet could provide instant gratification for all of one's service needs.

Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Contrary to popular belief, I am a people person. I need people around me to bring me life. That said, the sheer stupidity of a lot of people makes me go Grrr, and nowhere is that more apparent than when I'm out spending money. The culprits are usually the people I'm paying to do some service or another.

It can be in a restaurant, in a department store or at a local contractor or service provider.

Where do I begin?

You might remember my column about my broken tungsten carbide wedding band that I bought at a national jewelry chain. When it was returned, the sales associate assured us they would call when the replacement came in, probably in two weeks.

After four weeks of letting me make believe I was single, Mrs. Grrr! finally called the store to get an ETA, and lo and behold, the clerk said, "It's been sitting here for a few weeks now."

Great! Thanks for the call.

The next is my lawn care service — and no, $25 every week is NOT unreasonable, so save me the e-mails about how I'm wasting money or how you can't afford that service and I should be thankful. Consider this: I ride my bike to the train, a conscious decision I made so that I can spend what would be gas money elsewhere.

The Grrr! to my former lawn care company is that its employees simply didn't show up, yet still expected to be paid $100 for the month since they bill once a month. If it rained on my scheduled lawn-cutting day, these guys wouldn't make up for it the next day, leaving my grass to grow an extra week. And they refused to credit my account, too.

Even when they did show up, I'd come home to my accent lighting piled up on my front steps. As if it would be so hard to put it back after they were finished mowing the lawn.

The owner was actually surprised when I told him I wouldn't be needing his services this summer.

These days, I do it myself, and my Aeroflex weed whacker attachment is still the greatest invention for getting those hard-to-mow spots.

Stopped in at an awning store over a month ago on a Saturday. Picked out fabric and said we had six windows we were considering covering. Signed up for the seasonal "put up and take down" service for an extra 75 bucks per year, and the nice saleswoman, who was the daughter of the owner, said her uncle would be at our house on Tuesday to measure and give us an estimate.

It's been five Tuesdays, and still no awning guy.

Last weekend at the busy Italian deli near the beach where the "Sopranos" wannabes I wrote about a few columns ago get their "Moots-A-Yell", I called ahead for a large order I was placing. When I arrived 40 minutes later to pick it up -- when I was told it would be ready -- the sandwiches "had gone out with somebody else."

"You're kidding!?" I said to the part-time help behind the counter who probably wished she was spending her college break on the beach and not working in a deli. She responded snarkily with: "It's hard to keep orders straight when it's so busy. It happens."

I had to take a deep breath before the owner came over and said he'd remake the order right away, which is really all I wanted to hear in the first place.

Now most people are reasonable, and I understand that mistakes do happen.

But imagine what would happen if, say, after making a mistake in a news story where I called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a Democrat instead of a Republican, I told my boss by way of excuse: "Well, it's hard keeping those political affiliations straight when there are so many politicians to keep track of. ... It happens," instead of recognizing my carelessness and assuring everybody and their brother that it would never happen again.

You'd be reading this column on with a "Donate Here" button set prominently on top of the page right now instead of at, that's what.

A few months ago at a local restaurant, our plates were piling high on our table, and the waitress came over and said, "Sorry about the plates. Our bussers are back in school, so we have to do it ourselves."

I replied, "That's OK. I get paid on Thursday, so that's when I'll pay the bill."

The point, which she apparently didn't get, is what does the restaurant's poor hiring planning have to do with me paying for dinner and expecting my table to be cleared? If there were no bussers, I would expect the owner of the place to personally throw an apron on and get to bussing those tables.

Come on, everybody. Treat your job as if you owned the place yourself, and you'll be greatly appreciated not only by your employer, but by the customers too.

Well, at least the customers who aren't complete Obliviots, anyway.

Until then, I'll try to buy as much as I can online. A 404 error once in a while is still better than dealing with someone who hates you for being there.

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