The Grand Ole Opry

Nothing is more associated with Tennessee than country music, and nothing is more associated with country music than the Grand Ole Opry.  Many southerners grew up on a steady diet of country music and love it.  Others have an attitude that seems to vary from being perplexed to indifference to hatred.

A joke about country music among newcomers to the Nashville area is, “If you live here long enough, you’ll get to where you can almost stand it!” This author was among those who thought it unsophisticated and hated it until, after suffering a personal loss, I had the radio on in the car and was shocked to hear the singer voicing my feelings exactly. That is the way it is with country music.  It speaks to the soul.

Whether you love it or hate it, no trip to Tennessee or Nashville would be complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, rightly billed as the “shrine of country music.”  This is the long standing variety show where older country stars got their beginning. Even now, some of the biggest names in entertainment are associated with The Opry and perform there.  The show has become legendary and several shows are performed in the Opry House every weekend, unrehearsed.

A visit to the Grand Ole Opry will easily show why it has reached the level of legend that has come to be associated with it. With tickets as low as $35 per seat, it is without a doubt the biggest professional entertainment bargain you will every encounter.  The Opry House itself is plain, comfortable and functional. The atmosphere is casual, more like a ball game or movie than a live stage performance.

People munch on popcorn and watch the three-hour show, which is almost continuous with only brief pauses of a few minutes.  Fans leave their seats and walk forward to the stage to snap pictures of favorite stars. Yet, there is no chaos, but complete order and almost an awe of what is going on. The performers and audience alike seem to be caught up in the nostalgic aspects and enjoy being a part of history, something somehow greater than any one performance.

When attending it is necessary to “let go” and get into the spirit of the music to enjoy it. It is folk music — music of the common folk.  The songs are about loving, lying, cheating, drinking and common life.  It is interspersed with unsophisticated comedy acts, a bit of dancing for variety, and toe-tapping, fiddle and banjo playing.

When you make a reservation for the Opry, you never know who will be performing.  The lineup is announced Wednesday prior to the show.  Probably the most interesting aspect of the whole thing is that it is live on the radio, and live radio commercials can be heard by the audience and seem to tie the various parts of the show together. Part of the show is also carried live on cable television. The cameras are there filming and monitors show the audience what the television audience is seeing. It is truly amazing how everything continues to flow and the show goes on without interruption.

Why is it called the Grand Ole Opry?  It seems that way back in the 20’s when the show first began, it followed a radio show of classical music. The announcer made a crack about the Grand Opera being followed by the Grand Ole Opry and the name stuck.  It is, of course, about as far from opera as music can get.

Nashville is now a cosmopolitan southern city with live theater, an orchestra, and a ballet.  But the roots of southerners and of Tennessee and the heritage for which they will probably always most be known, is still the music of the common folk, country music.

©1999 Sheila Moss

 

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It’s a New Grandchild

baby

Recently some good friends had an addition to their family, a grandchild.  Of course, everyone thinks that their own grandchild is the most special, the cutest, and the most wonderful grandchild that has every been born, and they are no different.  It must be an ego thing, an instinct for the survival of their own genes and continuity of the species. Yes, they can blame it on nature instead of pride and human vanity.

They checked out the baby to see whom it “looks like.”  It has its “daddy’s ears,” it has “mother’s nose;” it looks “just like grandpa.”  In truth, all babies look pretty much alike, soft, wiggly little creatures with heads too big for their tiny bodies, so big, in fact, that the little neck cannot even support the big wobbly head for a long while.

The grandparents look at the baby, goo and coo and talk baby talk, none of which the baby can comprehend, of course, though it does seem to listen and look toward the sound of human voices.  Some feel that the baby hears even while still in the womb and has learned to recognize certain voices.

Every gurgle and grunt is a delight to the adoring grandparents, and they give their own interpretation to the sounds.  The baby has no comprehension at all of what it is saying and is simply discovering its own vocal chords.  Grandparents, however, can scarcely wait until the baby learns to imitate sounds and begins to learn the first words of language.  They are in such a hurry that they even try to put words into the baby’s mouth, certain that the baby is already attempting to communicate.  “He said ‘dada,’ I know he did!  Isn’t that cute?”

The baby’s natural grasp is another source of delight. Silly grandparents. They are sure the baby is holding on to their finger because they are so special and he wants to show his affection. His little grin, probably from a gas bubble, is a smile to them and another source of pleasure. They do not care at all that the baby is bald, toothless, wrinkled and a bit too pink.  The baby is their grandchild, their bloodline, their genes!  This is the most wonderful baby there ever was or ever will be (at least until the next grandchild).

Now babies do really disgusting things — they soil themselves, they belch, they pass gas, they cry, they slobber, they spit up. It is okay because, after all, the baby is “just a baby” and does not know any better.  And the very best part is if baby does something really gross, they can always pass him off to mom or dad until it is taken care of. Grandparents don’t have to feel responsible for training or discipline. Grandparents can spoil the baby to their heart’s content.

Grandparents really enjoy their newly found role.  Too bad they didn’t find out about it sooner.  It is much better than being a parent. “The baby is so smart!  Probably those great genes he inherited.”  He learns a new little trick every day, playing with toes, rolling over, and crawling. “Let grandma rock you. Aren’t they sweet when they are asleep?”

“Yep, wish we could have found out about this grandparenting stuff years ago,” they say.  “Wouldn’t it be great if we could skip the parenting all together and just go straight to being grandparents?”

Guess it would be sort of like skipping the meal and just going straight to desert.

Copyright 1999-2016 Sheila Moss
Revised 2016
Posted in Family, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time Traveler

time

I have always been a person who looks forward instead of backwards, who lives in the present instead of the past.  It has always seemed to me that is the best way to live, to learn from the experiences of the past, but to keep my thoughts and energy focused on the future.

I am not nostalgic.  I don’t know where my high school yearbook is, or really if I even still have it.  I don’t save sentimental memoirs.  While some folks are “pack rats” and save everything, I tend to follow the philosophy that when something has not been used in a year, it isn’t worth saving.

I’m not interested in genealogy.  I don’t keep in touch with distant relatives or old friends.  I moved here from an another city where I lived for four years and have never been back to visit. In fact, I go back to the city where I lived for 20 years only because my immediate family is still there.

In view of all this, I have had a very unusual week.  I joined an online community that encouraged me to get in touch with groups that I was once associated with but left behind as life went forward and day to day living took up all my time.   At first I felt a bit reluctant to provide the information asked for, but finally I filled in the blanks and dates: where I went to school, where I went to college, and where I grew up.  The computer searched the data bank and names came up of people that I could contact who went to the same school, or lived in the same town.  I did not recognize anyone, but there they were.

The way the on-line community works, a request is sent to a person with a common interest, and if the person is willing to have you contact them,  you are automatically notified.  When my first contact came, it was a person who went to my high school at approximately the same time as me. What a strange feeling. I went to high school with this person, but we both went in different directions to live our lives apart and without ever knowing each other.

My next contact came and it was someone who lives in the small town where I grew up and spent my childhood. I had almost forgotten that the little town even existed; yet here was someone who lives there today. The town is still alive, still there after all these years – changed, I’m sure, but so much a part of who I am.

And so the plug that held back the past was pulled.  As I revisit old places, I am getting in touch with a part of myself that I somehow lost.  Finding my roots?  Yes, I suppose that is it.  No matter whether we wish to admit it or not, all those places, all those people, all those ghosts from the past still live inside us – indeed are us. I was flung backwards and traveled through time to another place in another life.

I have heard that life travels in circles. If this is true, perhaps we can only know where we are going when we know where we have been. And so people who were there but are now here has mysteriously united the past and the present.  Life goes on as it did before, but something came together for me.  I remembered a person I used to know long ago and I was the person.

©Sheila Moss 1999

NOTE:  Are you nostalgic? Do you stay in touch with people from your past? Just wondering.

Posted in Family, Humor, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Chair

desk chairI’m writing to you from the literal lap of luxury – my new chair.  Now a new chair may not seem like much, but to me it’s a tiny bit of heaven. There was really nothing wrong with the old chair.  In a way, that was bad because it made the decision to replace it even more difficult.  But, every time I sat down at the computer, it seemed like that old chair became harder and harder. I tried to soften it up with a cushion, but even that did not help.  Finally it became obvious; the chair was ridiculously uncomfortable and just had to go.  I decided the time had come to treat myself to a new computer chair.

Trouble is, I’m not very hard to please.  I sort of had in mind what I wanted and anything halfway close seemed okay.  But that was the problem with the old chair.  It seemed good enough, so I bought it without really considering long-term comfort.  Actually, it was such an improvement over my former chair, a borrowed straight back from the dining room table, that I felt blessed just to have wheels.

My former real computer chair was one of those inexpensive little armless office typing chairs. You know the kind, a seat and a back on wheels.  The burgundy upholstery matched the sofa, and the chair would fit into my tiny computer corner.  It was functional, but HARD… man… that chair was hard as a rock!

So, I went from store to store shopping for the new chair and feeling a bit like Goldilocks at the Three Bears house.  This chair was too small, almost like my old chair with arms added.  That chair was too big, obviously made for a man’s body; my legs could hardly bend. This chair had nice feel, but the back was too low.  Finally, there it was at the third store, a chair that was JUST RIGHT.  It fit my frame and had every thing I wanted.  And the price was just about what I wanted to pay.  As soon as I sat down to try it, I knew this was it – my chair.

The salesman came up and said, “Could I help you with something?”

“Just wheel me out to the truck!” I replied.

Now, I have arrived!  I’m telling you this new chair is pure heaven.  It is soft buttery leather that sinks when you sit down and cushions your buns like a baby’s bottom. Then there is that wonderful lumbar support in back.  And it has a high back so I can lean back my head to think and rest my neck  And it has arms…nice soft leather covered arms!  I can adjust the height so my feet touch the floor and adjust the tilt so I can lean way back if I want to rest. But it also fits up close to the keyboard and has room for my elbows inside the arms.  I’m telling you, I’m like a queen with a new throne.  This is a great chair.

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer.  So, why not have a comfortable chair in the spot that I use most?  I write here, surf the net, watch TV, and sometimes even eat at my computer.  It really takes so little please me; a small item like one new chair, and I melt.

Guess, you think I’m pushing chairs, and I’m gonna tell you where I got it?  Nope, find your own chair.  I’m gonna rock myself to sleep.

©1999 Sheila Moss

 

NOTE: Tell me, what sort of chair are you sitting on right now? Do you like it?

Posted in Home, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sorry, I Can’t Take Your Call

Hand_holding_phone

Voice mail is one of those “love/hate” kind of things.  Some people could not live without it, while others still have an aversion to talking to a recorder .  Never mind the convenience of it all, being able to leave a message when no one is there to answer.  It is deeper than that, not unlike the aversion of some primitive tribes to having a picture taken for fear it could steal their soul.

Some people are sure that the electronic message system will somehow twist their words and make them come out in a way that was not intended.  This can become somewhat of a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Being nervous while talking to a machine can cause the words to come out wrong and before you can take them back, your words are recorded for posterity — your soul has been stolen.

Ever mess up when calling someone and make yourself sound like a blithering fool? This is not so bad if is just a friend or family member, but could it be part of the reason texting is so popular? When making a professional call, we hate having our verbal inadequacy made a matter of record. Businesses do not usually have a text message option — at least not yet.

Some people, apparently, do not mind sounding ridiculous.  Some, in fact, leave an answering message on their own system that sounds like it was made under gunpoint in extreme duress.  You know the kind:  “Hello-this-is-Dr. Jones’-office-we-are-not-in-the office-now-please-leave-a message-at-the-beep,” all done in monotone.  On the other end of the spectrum is the too cute, too friendly, too eager type of message.  “Hi!  THANK YOU for calling!   Your call is important to me!   I’ll call you back as soon as possible!” How long is “as soon as possible” anyhow?

There are a few holdouts that still refuse to set up voice mail. They expect people to actually call back if they are not home or the line is busy.  Seems the phone company has even covered this base now, however.  The other day I made a call and instead of the busy signal I usually get when the line is busy, I was offered the recorded option of leaving a message. People without voice mail were probably one of the last frontiers for the information age.

I called the phone company to see what was going on.  Seems this is a “service” that came from my own phone company. I can leave a message on the phone company’s equipment, and it will continue to call the number until the phone is answered, or for a certain number of calls, or for a certain amount of time — or maybe even for 3 years or 50,000 miles, who knows?  This is all for a fee, of course.

It really is hard to imagine how someone gets by these days without voice mail.  It is almost annoying when an actual person answers the phone.  Here I am all puckered up and ready to record when a real person picks up the phone.  How dare them answer!  Then I am stuck with actually talking to them instead of just leaving a quick message.

People sometimes joke about letting their voicemail call your voicemail. While the recordings are talking to each other, real people could get a lot of stuff done.  We could even make up an original answering message instead of using the canned ones that come with the voice mail services. The worst message I’ve heard recently was from my credit card company, whose recording advised me: “If you want to end this call, hang up.”  Guess they figured I wasn’t smart enough to figure that out.

Even cell phones have voice mail nowadays. Things are getting so darn convenient we might as well just get rid of land phones entirely.  Some people already have.

Excuse me, my phone is ringing. What?  No message?

©1999-2016 Sheila Moss
article updated
Posted in Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sleepwalking on the Job

sleepy woman

Oh man, am I ever sleepy this morning.  Some days are just like this.  How I wish I could have just stayed home in bed instead of having to drag myself in to work.  They better stay out of my way today or I’ll bite off their heads.   That shower this morning didn’t wake me up a bit.  Don’t know how I made it to work – on automatic pilot, I guess.

Just my luck to get to the office and run into one of those cheerful early morning people who obviously go to bed at 7 p.m. and bounce up at 5:00 in the morning, wide awake.

GOOD MORNING!!!  How are you this morning?

Man, wouldn’t I just love to smack them across the mouth and tell them to shut up and let me sleep!

On a morning like this the coffee is never ready.  Any other morning the office pot drips coffee through in a matter of minutes.  This is one of those days when I hope no one is around so I can take the pot away and put my cup under the drip to catch the first cup.  The coffee maker is running in slow motion.  I’ve never seen it take so long to fill up a cup.

As I take my black poison back to my cubical, I wonder if I can sneak a nap during lunch. Oh me, I sure feel rough today.  Those dark circles under my eyes were not helped a bit by the makeup.  Is it impossible to hide a lack of sleep with make up?  Of course, if I could just keep my eyes open that might help.

Maybe today will be an easy day.  Wish I could smile.  Heck, wish I could wake up.  No, actually, wish I could go to sleep.  Maybe I can pretend to be reading and take a little nap.  I can prop my head up with my hand under my chin and rest my elbow on the desk.  Drat, every time I doze, my chin falls off and it wakes me up.

Wish I was dead.  Wish I was home.  Wish I was rich and didn’t have to work.  Wish I had enough sense to go to bed at night instead of staying up for one more e-mail, one more TV show, one more excuse to put off sleeping at night when the rest of world is slumbering.

Curses, it is no use!  I’m going to have to quit trying to sleep with one eye at the time and wake up. Whatever you do, don’t get between me and the coffeepot on a day like this!  Did somebody it switch it to decaf?

Never again am I staying up till 11:30 on a work night.  I’m going to bed early tonight and get some rest.  I know I said that yesterday, but this time I mean it.  What day is it anyhow?  Groan!  Only Monday?  I can’t make it ‘till the weekend.

Why am I a “night person” in a “day person” world?  Why does the day have to start so early in the morning?  If the day could start about noon, that would suit me just fine.  I would be ready for breakfast by then.  The thought of food at 7 or 8 in the morning is sickening.  Heck, at 10 p.m. when the rest of the world is turning in, I’m getting my second wind, ready to shift into second gear and start revising web pages.

Well, its 8 a.m. and the coffee is starting to hit my blood veins now.  I feel a little better.   Maybe I can make it for a while – at least until 2 or 3 this afternoon.  Me?  Crabby?  Shut up and mind your own business!

©1999 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Nashville Flea Market

 

fleamarketHere in Nashville we have a fantastic flea market on the fourth weekend of each month at the State Fairgrounds. There are buildings and sheds, aisles and aisles of junk – new junk, old junk, and collectable junk, even a few genuine antique items if you look hard enough.

Flea markets are a love/hate thing.  Some people love ‘em and some people hate ‘em. Do you wonder why it is called a flea market?  Well, in the olden days, it seems that the merchandise from open markets was sometimes infested.

The first time that I went, I loved it.  In fact, I liked it so much I went back the next day.  Some of my best junk was purchased from flea markets.  I used to collect depression glass.  Depression glass, for the benefit of you flea market novices, is pink or green glass dishes that were popular back in the depression era.  Because it is old, the only place to get real depression glass is at flea markets, antique shops, garage sales, and second hand places.

I also like hand-crafted wooden items, which are great for country decorating.  Fleas markets are handicraft heaven.  Crafts are plentiful and crafters are often willing to cut you a deal.  One of my all-time, very best flea market finds is a wooden bread bowl that was a steal for a mere $2.75.   Another favorite flea market item was a wooden bench with a hinged lid for storage.  I got a good deal near closing time when dealers will sometimes sell a bit cheaper.

Another item often available at rock bottom prices is antique linens.  These are frequently embellished with hand-done needlework. The prices are nearly always low.  Cross-stitched tea towels, pillowcases, and other hand-decorated items can be found.  It amazes me that people will walk right by tables of linens without even stopping to look through them. I have a gorgeous wall hanging that was probably once a dresser scarf.

My latest weakness is for quilts. They are so beautiful and have such interesting names: Flying Geese, Log Cabin, Nine Square, to name a few.  I love the traditional patterns the best, though there are many pretty new patterns too.  Old quilts are very expensive and often a treasured family heirloom.  New quilts are, in my opinion, just as beautiful and come in sizes large enough for modern beds.

Flea markets have stuff for everyone.  Tools, rugs, clothing, toys, furniture – it is really difficult to describe the variety.  My son likes baseball cards and is always looking for collectibles.  Flea markets have all types of collectibles: books, post cards, jewelry, knives, magazines, you name it.  Collectibles are highly speculative if you are thinking about making a profit.  But if you just love memorabilia, fooling with it can be a great hobby.

My daughter wanted a Tiffany lamp and could not find one that she could afford.  At the flea market she found a dealer who made the glass shades himself.  At first he wanted too much money, but using flea market savvy, I suggested she make a cash offer of the amount she could afford to pay.  It worked!  A good thing to remember is: HAVE CASH. It is always easier to negotiate with cold cash than with a plastic credit card.

Part of the fun is the search, of course.  You never know what you will find at a flea market. I have an old bench with the initials “HJ” carved in it.  I love speculating on the past history of the bench and wondering who “HJ” could be.

Not every trip will produce a treasure, but nearly every trip will produce memories.  Flea markets are more than places to shop — they are folk museums and collections of nostalgia.  If I can take home a memory to enjoy, I think that’s a pretty good deal

Copyright 1999 Sheila Moss
Column edited for brevity

Do you like flea markets and old, used things, or would you rather buy new and forget the hassle?

Posted in Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lost & Found

cell phone.jpg

The new line of comedy, they say, is to talk about yourself.  You and your life are your are your material.  Be your own critic and laugh at your own shortcomings.  Well, my shortcoming is an easy one.  What I do that annoys me the most is simple – I lose things.  What kind of things?  Well, important things, of course.  If they were not important things, it would not matter.  I don’t loose them forever; I just loose them temporarily, long enough to make me a blithering idiot, crazy with worry.

Ever lose your car keys?  When did you notice it?  When you start to leave, usually running late, and you look in your purse or pocket where you always keep your keys, but they are not there.  I usually run from room to room, searching for my keys, getting later and later by the minute.  Panic sets in.  Maybe I left them in the car?  So, I run to the car, but they are not there.  I look in the bathroom, take the cushions off the chairs, look under things.  What did I wear yesterday?  Look in the pockets – not there.  Panic!  Finally, in desperation – I dump my purse in the middle of the floor, and find that the keys were there the whole time. I just overlooked them.

Then there is the check book.  Same story.  I need to write a check and can’t find the checkbook.  But I know I had it the other day at the grocery story.  Look in the dresser drawers.  Panic!  Maybe I lost it…maybe some pickpocket stole it, slipped it out of my purse while I was busy.  He is probably writing checks on my account right now.  He is draining my account.  Panic!  Need to call the bank and stop payment on all my checks, right now before that thief  breaks me and gets my whole account.  What is my account number?  I find the statement from last month.  Oh…well, my goodness. Guess I left the checkbook with the paid receipts when I wrote checks last time.

And so it goes.

I’ve lost credit cards and called the last store where I made a purchase to see if I forgot it.  I’ve called the credit card company and reported my card stolen only to find it as soon as I hung up the phone.  Apparently, I’m not the only one that does this, as there is a special number just for lost or stolen cards.  I lost my entire purse, only to remember later that I left it in the car. I lost a ring and had written it off as gone forever only to find it months later in the bottom of a jar of jewelry cleaner.

Am I alone in this?  Do other people loose things?  I think I’m a reasonably intelligent person.  I graduated from college and as far as I know there is no insanity in the family.  Why can’t I keep up with my belongings?  Why have the gremlins chosen me to hide things from?  Am I getting dementia before I get old?  Or am I just in too big of a hurry to worry about small things, and let them become big things?  I’ve almost become obsessive, but things still play hide and seek.

Maybe it is just my destiny, to live in a perpetual state of  “looking for stuff.”  Maybe I should  give up trying to figure it out. Maybe I should save my mind for more important things – like finding my umbrella. If only my stuff would quit running away. If only life had a “find function” on the menu like my computer. If only I could find my glasses so I could see what I’m looking for.

©1999 Sheila Moss

Do you lose things, or is it just me?

Posted in Humor, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Parking

parking lot

Why is it that whenever I go to a discount mart or a shopping mall, I can never find a decent parking place?  What time of the day do all of those people get there that have the great spots right up next to door?  They must get up at 5:00 in the morning, arrive at 7:00 and wait for the doors to open.  How else could they get those places?  And they stay all day, never leaving.  The spots are still all full at 10:00 p.m., an hour after the mall is closed.  Maybe they live there, stay all night and never leave.

I use to have it figured out at the discount store where I shop.  I would park down at the end instead of out front.  For some reason people tend to avoid those end slots.  Actually, they were not that far from the door.  They looked further, but compared to those way back at the back where I usually end up, they were a mere hop, skip and jump.  But, alas, the store apparently decided the employees were taking spaces away from customers and ordered them to park on the side.  My glorious days of finding a spot at the side of the store suddenly ended, and again I had to fend for myself among the others out front.

Those lovely handicap spots are so tempting, so empty.  No one ever parks there.  Some people yield to temptation and pull in.  I just can’t do it.  I always think, “what if…?”  What if a handicapped person actually came along and needed that place?  What if a policeman came along and saw that I did not?  What if I was handicapped and someone who didn’t need it took my parking place?

Then there are those who circle the parking lot like vultures, waiting for someone else to back out so they can zip in.  Once in a blue moon I might be lucky enough to get a spot that someone else is vacating, but not often.  If I see them leaving and decide to wait, they seem to take an hour to unload their packages, get in the car, adjust the mirror, find a good station on the radio, adjust the seat, fasten the seat belt.  I think they are just claiming squatter’s rights and are reluctant to leave with me waiting there impatiently to pull in.

And there are those drivers who will zip up from the other direction and whip into a spot that you have been waiting on for an eternity.  Fools!  I would never be brave enough to leave my car and go shopping after provoking someone that much.  I have had words with people over such behavior – not very nice words either.

Back at my local discount mart, I again found some spots on the side.  I can go in through the garden center door instead of the front door.  A shortcut through the flowers and I am inside.  Then, as luck would have it, they expanded the garden center out to the parking lot.  My favorite parking places are now under 5000 bags of fertilizer and mulch.  How can they do this to me?  I’m telling you, there oughta be a law against garden supplies on the parking lot.

Along the curb by the front door, a few souls disregard the rights of others, pull over in the “no parking” area and run in to grab a quick item.  Some leave a spouse in the car.  Why is it that leaving a spouse in the car gives you the right to park illegally?  Or is the idea that the person can move the car if the cops happen to show up – not that they ever do.  As much money as I spend there, they should really give me a designated parking place.  Valet parking wouldn’t be bad either.  Now that’s an idea I really like.

I guess I might as well park at the back of the lot and forget it.  It isn’t worth the gas and time to drive around and look.  I can always wear my gym shoes.  Besides, there’s hope.  That pile of fertilizer can’t last forever, and I still remember that shortcut through the garden center and in by the back door.

Now if I can only find a back door at the mall.

©1999 Sheila Moss
Posted in Automotive, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

OOPS! -Delivery Disaster

oops
OOPS is guys in Bermuda shorts sent from God to put the regular postal service out of  business and deliver our packages on time and cheaper that we ever thought possible.  Unfortunately, all that glitter is just bug dust.  It seems that OOPS undercuts the other delivery services by hiring mentally underprivileged morons.

After a year of scrimping, saving, pinching pennies, calling in old loans, doing without vacation and other forms of debilitating and humiliating miserly sacrifice, I finally scraped together the money for a new PC.  I was so excited.  For some time I had been eyeballing the latest and slickest models.  I gladly handed over my hard-saved moolah for the privilege of having delivered right to my door a brand-new PC.  Yes, I hardly even looked around.  I had dealt with Gateway before.  No use fooling around with those other companies.  This was exactly what I wanted.

Having bad experiences with OOPS in the past, i.e. finding a motherboard on my seldom used front doorstep two days after “delivery,” I had my reservations about the delivery part, but the salesman promised me:  “Just call a day or two before the projected delivery date.  We will give you the tracking number and you can call OOPS for an exact date or ask them to hold it.”  HOLD IT?  What a superb idea.  Home delivery is no longer a convenience for residential customers.  It means taking off work and waiting around all day.  I would much rather just go there and pick up my goods in person.

Well, I called two days before the projected delivery date  for the number, just as requested, and a check of the infamous online tracking system showed that it was “delivered.”  DELIVERED?  How can that be?  It’s two days too soon and I’m not at home – besides, it’s raining outside.

“Not to worry, they will leave you a note and you can be home tomorrow or put it on hold.”  Somehow, I just had a knawing feeling that there was a problem.

When I drove up in my driveway at home, I could not believe my eyes.  There was a pile of black and  while spotted cow boxes, an entire computer system, piled up neatly right beside my garbage cans – SOAKING WET.  Idiots!  How can anybody be that dumb?  It is  obviously a computer.  Gateway is written all over it.  They know it is raining.  Are they nuts?  Obviously, they must be.

Hell hath no fury like a computer geek scorned.  A call to  Gateway resulted in the usual busy signal at customer service – so I packed up my soggy  goods, risking flood damage to my vehicle, and floated off to OOPS blind with rage.

To their credit, there is one sensible person at OOPS.  The manager was very understanding and took back the damaged goods without question.  My anger was defused.  I see how she became manager.  She is the only person who works there that graduated kindergarten with an “A” in common sense.  Seems that Gateway no longer checks the box that says “signature required for delivery,” so the driver decided it was okay to just leave the shipment.  What can I say?  He has been working for OOPS for 20 years the manager said.  Twenty years and still not enough sense to not leave a computer in the rain.  Sad.

So what about Gateway?  Well, days later when I finally got through to customer service (Seems they are closed after hours and weekends and have a phony recording that says, “all representatives are busy.”) They said I should have kept the computer and contacted them.  I should have opened it and seen if it was wet inside.  Yeah, I bet.  Let me have a damaged computer, let me worry about fooling around with the service people, let me have a piece of junk that will probably never work right, let me suffer for their carelessness.  No thanks, Gateway.  I need a computer not a goldfish bowl.  I paid for a new, undamaged computer, through the teeth, and that is what I want.  Sorry the delivery did not work out.  I asked to have it marked “hold” when I bought it.  Now you or OOPS can eat it.

Am I mad?  Depends.  Like I said, I’ve dealt with Gateway before.  They do have an excellent product and good support services.  They once talked me through a C drive crash that took weeks and support reps at levels so high, they probably had halos and wings. After that experience, I still have enough confidence in the company that I believe they will make it good. I simply want what I paid for. I’m not stupid and I don’t expect to be treated as if I am.

You are thinking they will just re-package it and ship it back to me, aren’t you?  If so, it better work right or they will get it back again. I’m sick of being taken advantage of.  I’m sick of throwing money away and not getting what I bought, and I’m sick of consumers’ rights being violated.

And if the truth were known, I’ll bet there is not one employee at Gateway or OOPS that would want to be treated any differently than I do. Be fair – give customers what they pay for and they won’t be on the Internet screaming to the world about it!

©1999 Sheila Moss

Question: I don’t have to ask, but have you ever had a bad experience with a delivery?

 

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