The Airing of Grievances

Before my relatives panic, this post is not the airing of FAMILY grievances, but rather a small collection of annoyances that have been piling up on my desk over the last couple of months awaiting an opportunity to get them posted on the blog.  It occurred to me today that this would be a perfect time to get this done.  And why is this the perfect time… well, in tribute to the classic Seinfeld episode, it’s “Festivus for the Rest of Us”.  Taking the risk this post will make me out to be a heartless, puppy kicking grinch, I begin…

  • To Peoria news stations, stop reporting on the fictitious high unemployment rate the area is supposedly experiencing.  Why do I believe this is a waste of air time?  Well, this opinion is due mainly to one indicator that is almost always a positive side effect of high unemployment – the Service Meter.  High unemployment by definition implies there are multiple applicants for just about every job – especially in the service industry.  This in turn means the employer has a choice when hiring.  For example, an employer, could say, choose an individual that has higher math skills to fill a numbers related opening like a cashier.  Additionally, it could be a tipping point if one applicant is very positive and cheerful for a position that interacts directly with a customer.  But alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case around here.

    Example #1: A few of us went out to lunch at a local restaurant that begins with an A and ends with an S that serves cheap Italian food.  After completing our meals we headed to the lobby area to pay.  A friend ahead of me was joking about the condition of his penny looked (looks like it had been found by a weekend warrior with a metal detector) and was glad he could finally get rid of it.  It occurred to me that I didn’t have a penny meaning my change due would likely result his penny heading to me.  I gave the cashier my $6 for the $5.27 bill.  As soon as she rang it in, a friend behind me gave her two pennies to apply to my payment (jokingly to prevent me from getting the bad penny).  What proceeded stunned us both.  She literally stared at her register tray picking up random coins and looking dumbfounded.  After about 30 seconds my friend told her the change would be 75 cents which was met with “Thanks, I’m just not good at this thing”  I would have laughed if I wasn’t mortified.  Of course, this is the same restaurant that charges more for two half loafs of bread than one whole loaf (trust me, there is a picture of that menu coming in a future blog).

    Example #2: Linda and I went to a Burger King to get a quick bite to eat while shopping in the area.  After struggling to get my order taken (see the hamburger grievance below) we proceeded to wait for our order to be filled.  We waited and waited and waited while they worked on getting the chicken sandwich cooked – note, we were the ONLY people in there.  Meanwhile, they have my hamburger done sitting on the non-heated ready shelf.  Pretty soon the manager grabs up our fries from the heated fry shelf, slaps it on a tray and sticks it up on the non-heated shelf and proceeded to head for the bathroom.  For the next 10 minutes I stood there staring at my cooling fries and hamburger.  Eventually the chicken finishes cooking.  Sure enough the chicken and hamburger are put on the now cold fry tray and handed to us.  Needless to say, we demanded warm fries (note, manager never did come back).

    Example #3: We made a quick run to McDonalds to get something to drink before Linda’s doctor’s appointment.  The drive-thru was pretty busy (maybe 8 cars lined up) so we went inside to make our order (where there was only one party ahead of us).  Our total order was one small hot chocolate and one small Sprite.  I didn’t clock it, but I had to wait over 15 minutes for them to actually make my hot chocolate.  That 15 minutes actually felt more like 30 minutes having to endure their conversations:

    Hit the jump to see the rest of the grievances:
    Continue reading The Airing of Grievances

A Service Recap

I thought I would take the time to recap some recent service experiences I have had.  If you recall, I was complaining about having to load just about all of the cement bags at Menards by myself.  I am still a little torqued about that, but I ended up patronizing their store again to purchase the treated lumber for the bridge span (which will sit atop the cement purchased previously).  In this load (and there will be multiple) I purchased 25 2x12x12x10′ and 15 2x2x8′ treated boards.  Pulling into the wood shed, my heart sank noticing that the 10’s were on the end of the  SECOND floor of the shed which has one set of stairs a loooong way away.  The worst part of it, is the distance from the second to first floor which made it impossible to simply slide the boards over the edge and then move them to the truck.  A close second was the weight of these boards.  If you want to test your strength wrestle a few of these babies out of their storage location in a small aisle.  I made it through 3 and quickly decided this was going to take a few hours.  Although my history of help is less than stellar at Menards, I noticed an employee on a forklift helping someone on the other side of the shed.  A few internal pride discussion ensued before walking down and asking the guy to help me when he was done.  He agreed and promptly came over to help once his other business was completed.  Turns out the railings of the aisle come off providing a means to simply slide the boards straight out and across the raised forklifts.  He helped load the 25 boards on the lifts, assisted in moving them to my truck and then went with me to help get the 15 8 footers which are stored in another location (I have no idea why by the way).  So I need to keep some credit to Menards and their employee (ironically named Bryan) some credit for saving some sweat and allowing me to get out of there in under 30 minutes.

Contrasting this with a Burger King visit last week in East Peoria.  Hungry after a night out, Linda and I decided to catch a late quick dinner.  This place actually keeps a display in their back kitchen area that grades their service for the day.  Rarely have I ever seen it over a ‘C-‘  but that night it was at an ‘A’.  We walked up to the counter and looked for someone to take our order – everybody was back in the prep area.  Minutes passed before one of the employees said he would be there in a little bit… waiting … waiting …. waiting.  Finally he comes up and takes our order where I explicitly state I want onion rings instead of their fries.  I go to pay and he walks away and says someone else will be back to get my money.. waiting … waiting …. waiting.  A lady eventually comes up and takes my money.  The food arrives the original clerk asks me if I want sauce for the chicken fries – thankful for him asking since I always forget, I requested one ranch and one sweet sour.  He then stuns me and questions “You do not want more than that?”  I responded that I really wanted two sweet and sour (which I did) and he said sure, “We don’t charge you like some stores try to do!”  I knew exactly who he was talking about and thanked him for the free extra condiments.  Although I had to wait, this experience put a satisfied smile on my face… which lasted until I was driving back to the house and Linda informs me they gave me crappy fries instead of the requested onion rings – Sigh.

Note, as a confession I was early to Menards on Sunday so dropped by Micky D’s to get a quick breakfast sandwich.  I order a sausage and egg (no cheese) bagel.  Forgetting to check before I left, the prophecy came true about carry out and there was cheese on the sandwich.  I honestly though that the service industry was better when the unemployment rate was high but  it is cresting over double digits now (thank you current government and oh great no change orator) and the service is not improving.

Oh well, shame on me for not validating the orders I guess.