02 February 2010

Free Floating Hostility, Vol. 1

For those of you who are new to following my writing, you may not be aware of a post that I wrote last year (exactly one year ago today, coincidentally) that broached the subject of my burning rage for random people who are annoying and should be taken out of our society.

After some thought, I have decided that it would be a good idea to bring the rage to my new digs, so this will be the first entry of a series titled Free Floating Hostility. The title is taken from one of my favorite comedians of all time, George Carlin (RIP) who did a comedy routine several years ago where he spouted off random people and/or things that annoyed him.

Anyway, on with the hostility.

People who let their kids roam freely in public

As a father of two young children (5 year old boy and 1 year old girl), I know how important it is to keep an eye on my kids at all times, especially when in a public setting. Kids have the ability to disappear within seconds without anyone noticing them (and as a parent this scares the crap out of me), and I get especially annoyed when I see other people's rug rats roaming around with no adult supervision.

It bothers me for several reasons, some of those reasons being that I fear for the kids' safety (there are a lot of nut jobs out there who like to steal kids), but the main reason it bothers me is the kids who roam around with no supervision always seem to do so while being loud and obnoxious, and they always seem to be in my way while they're being loud and obnoxious, and it makes me want to beat the parents with a crowbar to thank them for my inconvenience (this should be legal in all states, by the way).

If you have kids, please do the world a favor and pay attention to them when you're out in public. If you don't have the mental capacity to keep up with your kids while you're in the store then please do one of two things: a) get a babysitter, or b) get a leash. I really don't care which one you do, but keep your loud and annoying kids out of my way - I have two kids of my own, I don't need to deal with yours too.

The self-checkout counters at Wal-Mart

This one really irks me. I go to Wal-Mart to shop. I don't go to Wal-Mart to shop AND to ring up and bag my items. That's why there are cashiers. They're not just there to look pretty (even though most of them FAIL at that as well), but they're supposed to ring up customers and put the purchased items in a bag and say "have a nice day and thank you for shopping with us" - they're supposed to get paid to do that all day. They're not supposed to get paid to stand at a desk and ensure that I ring up my items correctly.

And to make matters worse, the self-checkout counters never work properly (at least for me they don't, I don't think it's a coincidence - they're just out to get me for some reason). There's always a glitch, or the scale doesn't work properly, or the sensors that recognize the items being placed in the bags don't work (that one really pisses me off - I have been stared at by fellow shoppers in Wal-Mart on several occasions because of yelling "I PUT IT IN THE FREAKING BAG ALREADY!" at the computer screen).

I understand that in this economy retailers have to cut as many costs as they possibly can, but is it really necessary to take away the cashier? It seems to me that the satisfaction the customers get out of not having to ring up and bag their own shit is worth the minimum wage salary the cashiers have to be paid, because eventually people will get tired of being their own cashier and bagger and will find another place to purchase their goods.

(Oh wait, that's right - Wal-Mart has taken over the market and put all the other stores out of business with their super low prices. My bad.)

Automated messaging systems in Customer Service departments

How many times have you called to get your cable fixed or dispute erroneous charges to your phone bill only to discover that you are talking to a robotic voice that wants you to press '1' for English and say a command to better serve your needs? Why can't there just be a person on the other end of the conversation?

It's so much easier to talk to a person than it is trying to explain to a computer what you want, especially when you have to repeat yourself 5 times to get the computer to understand you (or is that just me?) - by the time you get the computer to understand what you want, you have forgotten why you called in the first place, and you end up sounding like a total dumb-ass to the technical assistant when you can't even explain that your cable is out or even remember your account number, phone number, social security number, or mother's maiden name. (Why is that the end-all security question, anyway? It's not like that information can't be easily found.)

It all goes back to the robot answering the phone. If companies would just hire people to answer the phone, a lot of problems would be avoided (imagine that). Oh, and don't hire the people in India or Bumfukistan to answer the phone. How about getting people who can speak English with proper pronunciation and diction instead of people who sound like they have a big spoon of mashed potatoes in their mouth and only know at most ten words in English? I know they're cheaper, but come on...

Also, I don't want to press '1' for English - I want English to be the only choice. If you want to live here, then learn English. If I want to move to Italy, I have to learn Italian, so shouldn't America have the same policy?

But that's a different topic for a different day.

I could sit here and rant all day, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to set my limit to three for now. Are there any specific groups of people or things that bring out the rage in you? If so, feel free to discuss them in the comments section below.

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