Whole Foods Feud Update

Since multi-grain crust pizzas from Whole Foods came up yesterday in Oliver’s poem, I just want to give you a little update. You’re probably thinking that the feud has blown over, because you haven’t heard about it recently.

Well, it hasn’t.

Last Friday we called four hours early, as we have every week for the last THIRTEEN MONTHS, they told us that they were thawing some out and, in fact, writing a note to make sure the next shift knew about the pizzas, so there “wouldn’t be any surprises”.

Guess what? Surprises!!

When we got there to pick up the pizzas, it turns out they had already sold our multi-grain crusts to someone else. Not only were our pizzas on regular crusts, but they also made us broccoli instead of sausage.

It would be annoying if it wasn’t utterly predictable. They didn’t even give us a discount!

I do find it interesting that the response from the corporate office way back in May was, “Well, you know, it’s really not that popular…” AND YET the number of times we show up to get our pizza only to find it has been sold to someone else. Obviously SOMEBODY out there wants it! Maybe if it wasn’t, I dunno, impossible to actually obtain, someone might buy it? Maybe?

Obviously there is no reason to continue ordering pizzas there. We have tried, oh have we tried, to help them get it together. We have vowed so many times to never buy pizzas there, and yet we go back. Why?

I guess for the sense of justice? Can you imagine if someone asked you to do something at work, and you were still getting it wrong after 52 consecutive weeks? Can you even imagine?

I was hoping maybe things would get better under Amazon, but at the moment I can say the Hyde Park Whole Foods has THE WORST pizza department in the ENTIRE WORLD.

UPS Update – Credit where credit is due

A couple of months ago, I had a fairly public dust-up with the UPS over the fact that our building security cameras had caught the driver throwing the package over the fence, and then signing our name. Those packages were subsequently stolen.

Here’s the video again, in case you missed it the first time around:

So, so many people shared and retweeted that story, which I appreciate. Naturally, making a big stink is the only way to get any attention; it is an unfortunate fact that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Anyway, I felt I owed you all an update as to what happened next.

The official response from the UPS was distinctly underwhelming. I received a voicemail from a customer service representative who had seen the ruckus online. She left no phone number or other way to contact her, and instead just said she’d call back later.

She did call back, and I think a 3rd time, at which point her tone of voice made it clear that I was trying her patience by not answering her call in the middle of the day while I was at work, and implied that they were doing everything they could because they were just so gosh darned upset about this, and why didn’t I have the decency to do this on THEIR timetable, when it was convenient for them? She did not call a 4th time.

I honestly forgot about the whole thing until last week.

I was walking with the kids not far from our house, when a UPS truck pulled over and the driver yelled out, “Hey!” I looked around, but he could only be talking to me. “I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry about what happened,” he said. “Were you able to get the items replaced?”

I was completely flabbergasted. I had no idea he knew who I was, I didn’t even know for sure if the message had even gotten all the way down to him. I have to admit, it kind of creeped me out a bit to know that he knows who I am, and that I am the one who possibly got him in trouble.

That being said, it is really, really, really hard to give an apology like that. This is clearly something that had stuck with him for the past few months, and he as clearly been waiting for an opportunity to bump into me and apologize. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to just keep driving by, and I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. To be totally honest, if I were the one in his shoes, I don’t know if I would have the guts to do it. You know how hard it is to apologize to someone you know, much less a stranger, and while I complained from the comfort of my computer chair, he apologized in person, to my face.

So, while the official UPS response left a little to be desired, and knowing that I will do anything in my power to avoid shipping with UPS, I’ve got to give props to the individual driver. If nothing else comes from this, I have a feeling he won’t be a repeat offender in the future.

Let’s talk about “dash” buttons

So, it has been brought to my attention that Amazon is now marketing these dash buttons. They are little branded buttons that are hard-wired to order a certain product from Amazon. The idea is that you sprinkle them around the house in convenient locations, and when you realize you’re out of some essential item such as dish detergent or toilet paper (or Doritos™, Gatorade™, or Ice breakers™ mints, or whatever other trivialities you can’t live without), you press the button and Amazon immediately ships you another one, ensuring you never have to have to live for even a single second without your precious Burt’s Bees™ lipbalm, or contemplate just how empty and meaningless your life has become.

Of course Amazon makes these little beauties free, and why wouldn’t they? They are bypassing your Superego, and wiring a button directly between your Id and those tasty, tasty Doritos™. Once you have that button there, you’re never, ever going to stop pressing it. Forget price comparison, forget avoiding impulse buys…those puppies are guaranteed delivery in under two hours with Amazon Prime Now™!

When I first heard about this, my reaction was something like:

I mean, this is it, right? The end of humanity? This is where we slowly sink into the abyss? Full on Idiocracy?

I mentioned this to a few friends and neighbors, like, “Hey, aren’t we all horrified by this? Isn’t this the worst of American consumerism on display??” and actually…everybody disagreed with me. They thought this was a great idea, and in fact, one co-worker has already installed several in his house.

So…am I off base, here? Is this not the worst thing ever, and actually just a convenient way to get products you need with minimum effort? Can I look forward a whole wall of these buttons and I just do my shopping by pressing whichever ones I’m in need of?

I mean, I guess being able to order any product on earth from the Internet in our pockets was just too much effort for some people? I don’t know. What do you think?

(Horrifying concept via Keffy)

UPS Caught on Camera

Recently, we realized we had never received a couple of packages we had ordered. Thinking it was a little odd, Sara looked up the tracking info and found, not only were the packages marked as “delivered”, but in fact they were signed for by Sara.

Only problem? Sara wasn’t even home that day.

“Wait a minute!” I said. “We have security cameras!” Anybody want to guess what we found?

Anybody see Sara sign for a package in there? Or did you instead see the packages scanned and thrown over the fence, and the buzzer only rung after the packages were already tossed, not giving ANYBODY a chance to sign for those packages?

Of course those packages were eventually stolen, which is why YOU HAVE SOMEONE SIGN FOR THEM RATHER THAN THE DELIVERY DRIVER FAKING YOUR SIGNATURE.

The irony is that this is the absolute most common occurrence at our building. In fact, when we had the security cameras installed and the security guy was giving us a demo, he picked a time at random, and there was a UPS guy throwing a huge package over the fence. We all laughed because we all know: if you randomly pick any time on any day, you will probably see the UPS or the Post Office throwing packages over the fence.

I’m so used to that part, that it doesn’t even bother me anymore. In this case, it was the forging our signature that was especially egregious. What is the point of “signature confirmation” if the package is treated no differently than any other package?

Quite frankly there is a word for forging signatures, and that word is “fraud”.

We sent the video to the UPS and of course they ignored us. Hey, this is 2016: the only way to get any customer service is to shame a company on social media! So share far and wide, my friends. Share far and wide.

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

It seems like there is no way to avoid hearing about Donald Trump these days. He’s on the news, on the radio, and on the lips of anybody discussing basically any possible topic. I mean, I can’t blame anybody for that; I am as terrified disgusted transfixed by the circus shit show spectacle that is Donald Trump as the next guy, and as I try to process my utter terror absolute disgust complicated feelings, I’m sure some of that has leaked through to the kids.

Kids are excellent at picking up on this sort of thing. When I was a kid, there was a phrase: “Little Pitchers Have Big Ears”. Basically, little kids hear more than they should. My parents would use it as a reminder to each other to tone down the “adult talk”, usually because there was a kid nearby standing with their eyes wide and their mouth agape, having the curtain of their innocence violently ripped back.

The thing is, as a parent you are hyper-aware of your kids at all times. You hear things through their ears, and you know their ability to handle things. Therefore you try to be a bit more careful about what they see and hear. People without kids…not so much. Used to being immersed 24/7 in online worlds that have been carefully curated to echo exactly their world view, you’d be surprised at the number of people who forget that they are not always among peers. They forget that impressionable kids might be hanging around with their eyes wide, their mouths agape, suddenly realizing that their parents are worried, that adults are not always responsible, people don’t get along, and that the world is more or less a complete disaster that is one small step away from an utter meltdown.

When it comes down to it, we teach our kids an idealized version of the world. We teach our kids that the people in charge are kind, caring, and competent, but we know that’s not true, don’t we? We tell our kids they need to get along with people they disagree with, and then talk about those idiots on the other side of the aisle who we just can’t stand. We teach our kids tolerance, but suddenly they’re hearing story after story of intolerance. Because of this farce of a primary season, they’re learning the world is a lot uglier than they’ve been led to believe.

Donald Trump is a *CONSTANT* source of questions around the house. They want to know who we are voting for, what would happen if Donald Trump “wins”, etc. The kids talk about it at school *INCESSANTLY*. You know how school goes: it only takes one kid to overhear a conversation, and now everybody knows.

In Evelyn’s class the teacher banned the words “Donald Trump” because they kids couldn’t stop talking about it. Evelyn said, quite uncomfortably, “I don’t like Donald Trump either, but I don’t like to say bad things about people!” Ollie has broke down crying several times because he’s afraid Donald Trump is going to start a war.

These are things they’re hearing, our little pitchers with their big ears. Kids are very sensitive to moods, and the mood of this country is not…right. They know that, but they’re missing the context around it. Missing the necessary maturity to handle this information, and process what they’re hearing, and be able to put it into the context of their lives. They’re making incorrect assumptions based on incomplete information, as all kids have and always will.

Anyway, all of this is to say that this video hit me pretty hard, because it absolutely represents my experiences. And it breaks my heart that this is happening.

Please think about the little pitchers around you when discussing murder, or Flint, or racism, or any other complicated issue. I firmly believe that when it comes to kids, these things require a full, rational discussion and a deft touch rather than an overheard clickbait news headline read in the heat of the moment.