Sunday, November 1, 2009


A few days ago I read in the newspaper about a woman who “lost it” while trying to get gasoline for her car. She and the attendant quibbled over whether she had given him a $1 or a $20 bill. When the attendant insisted that she had only given him a single dollar, she started screaming at him, then went behind the counter, hit him in the face and finally grabbed a pair of scissors which she held at his throat. The attendant gave her two $10 bills and she left.

Shortly after, she glanced in her purse and saw the $20 bill, so she returned to the gas station to make amends. But it was too late. The police were there and she was arrested.

In such a short article one doesn’t really know if she simply overacted to a perceived grievance or if she had some type of mental problem. I suspect the latter, but in this day and age one never knows. Short fuses abound.

But not without reason. Trying to get something done today in one try is almost an impossibility. The other day I needed to reference something at the Pomona Library, a 17 miles drive from my house. I set aside a day for it, checked their website catalog to see if they still had the book (they did) and to ascertain the hours they were open on that day. Confirming everything, Jerry and I set out at 10 in the morning for the library, but upon our arrival we learned that the book was held in a special collection and the room holding that collection was only open from 2 to 5 each day.

I took a pair of slacks that I needed to have altered to a dry-cleaners with an “Alterations” sign in its window. I needed the hips and legs taken in. It required a simple seam down the outside of both legs and then re-hemming the pants. I dealt with a young teenage girl who marked the hips and said her grandmother did the alterations. I told her I needed the pants to wear on an event Friday night. “No problem,” she said. It became a problem, though. They did not come in on Friday like she promised. And when they arrived on Saturday – too late, of course – the grandma had taken in the hips but not the pant legs, making them look totally stupid. I gave her a piece of my mind, though it did no good, I’m sure. I must confess I did not punch her in the face and hold scissors to her throat, but I felt like it.

Last weekend our TV was out. Four phone calls to the cable service and four days of information offered by the customer service rep turned out to be totally wrong. The rep had not listened when Jerry told her our TV cable service had a problem; she somehow entered it into her computer that we had a problem with our DSL connection. A visit from the repair man on day 4 solved the problem that should have been handled with a simple phone instruction to us of something to check on our TV when we called the very first time.

These things are happening just too much these days. I don’t know if heightened stress is causing all this incompetence, or whether attitudes have just changed to not caring about what other people want. I am fairly long-suffering, I think, but I’ll tell you, it is getting harder and harder to hold my tongue. I don’t want to turn into a crabby old lady, but I can sure see how it could sneak up on a person!

1 comment:

Gene said...

I think you are right; people just don't care what they are doing. I find the same incompetence in restaurants.