Friday, November 12, 2010

A Quick Jaunt for Some Decorative Chain...An Autobiography by Brett Probert

So today I goes to get a couple of feet of decorative white chain and a swag hook to hang a plant for Carla.  I went to our favorite hardware store...Bellevue Hardware.  Unfortunately, they were sold out of the chain, which was priced at $0.24 per foot.

So I was forced to go to another "big box" store which shall remain unnamed for legal reasons.  After finding the swag hooks in the lighting department, I ask a friendly orange-aproned sales associate if he could help me.  He said, and I quote, "only if you need help with shelves."  So I ask someone where the decorative white chain is to go with my swag hooks.  They tell me in hardware, which is at the other end of the store. 

So I goes to the hardware section, find the decorative white chain, and ask the sales associate who is standing literally 4 feet from the chain if he can cut a few feet of it for me.  And he says, and I swear I'm not making this up, and I quote, "I'm not certified to cut chain."  And that's it. 

So I politely asked if he could find another store employee who was schooled in the art to come assist me.  After a short wait, a board certified, card-carrying member of the white decorative chain cutters union appears to cut my 5' feet of chain.  He handed it to me, and started to walk away.  At which point I says, don't I need an SKU number so they'll know to charge me $0.96/foot for my chain (you'll notice that the price is just slightly, LIKE FOUR FREAKIN' TIMES, higher than Bellevue Hardware)?  He says, oh yeah, and scribbles the SKU number on a piece of scratch paper with a bunch of other writing on it. 

I went up front to pay, and when I handed the cashier (I'll call her "Jan", mostly because that is what she had written on her orange apron at this unnamed big box hardware store) the scratch paper and she enters it in, she says "that number isn't right.  What's the right number?"  So I said "I don't know...I didn't write the number down...the certified Master Decorative White Chain Cutter did!" 

After a call to hardware, which BTW was a wrong number, a line of about 17 people waiting behind me in spite of the fact that I'm telling Jan it's $0.96 per foot...can't she just key that in..., the manager or someone in authority came over to help.  (I know they were an authority figure because they had an orange apron on.)  Instead of just looking up the price, she decided it was a great time to school Jan in the fine art of how to search for an unknown SKU number in the 'puter system.  I thought that was a great idea, because Jan is probably now a certified SKU number looker upper, or something.

After only six hours, I was able to walk out with my chain and hooks, although I must admit, it felt more like A BALL AND CHAIN!!!

Anyhow, I'm glad I missed church last week because the sermon was about complaining and since I wasn't there, I'm allowed to complain.  But in order to reign it in a little, I've decided to keep the name of the store a secret.  Thanks for letting me rant.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Loss of Innocence (sniff, sniff)

So the other day I was working with a couple of groups of college student volunteers at TPP.  I love working with groups like that because you meet people from around the world.  Perhaps most interesting at times is the different dialects I experience from across the US.

Welp, I said to one group "let's weed this hillside up to those jagger bushes."  And one student, not from Western PA, looked at me and said "what?"  So I repeats myself and said "just go as far as those jagger bushes."  At which point she said "what's a jagger bush?"

Now what ensued was a discussion that led to a heartbreaking revelation: "jagger bush" isn't a real term.  It's a colloquialism of Western Pennsylvania.  People from other places don't call them jagger bushes.  They call them thorn bushes, or they call them by their proper names. 

Alas, at the tender young age of 45, my innocence was shattered like tender young skin laid bare by the hapless destruction of a jagger bush...