Wonderful World of Retail

I have so many updates that I’d like to write about but need to get something off my chest first.

Tuesday of this week, I decided to buy something that I have been holding off getting for a while. I was waiting for the right time and this seemed to be it. It’s a high-ticket item that would cost me about $700.

I go into the store and they don’t have the item in stock–right now. “We usually do, but at the moment, we’re out. We can order if for you, though.” OK, sounds fine to me.After I place my order, pay in full, and leave.The next day, I decide that I no longer want the product I bought the day prior. The reason for not wanting it isn’t all that important for the story. Anyway, I call the store and ask if I can cancel the order, and none of the employees know what to do. “We need a manager to take care of this,” they say. “We’ll call you back.” That’s fine. There’s probably some kind of process to this.I decide to call the store later that day, knowing that they will be closing and I’d like the issue to be resolved. Still nothing. They are checking into it. Same thing the following day. I ask, “If I can’t cancel it, can I just ‘return’ it to you?” “You should be able to. It’s not like it was a special order. We usually have those in stock anyway. Someone will call you back.”I wait for my call, and of course, I miss it and am left a message to this effect:

We are able to take your item as a return but it won’t be a full refund. We can only give you $500.

WTF???? Let me make sure I understand, I haven’t received, opened, touched, used, or SEEN the item and you’re telling me that you’re going to keep $200? You’re going to keep about 30% of the original cost?I call the store back today and can’t seem to get in touch with a real manager. “Real” meaning someone who has any authority to do anything. “He’s in a meeting.” The guy on the other end empathized and thought it wasn’t right but his hands were tied. He calls the $200 a down payment at one point and I asked, “How could I have made a down payment when I paid in full? No one said anything about that? I expected to keep the thing but circumstances changed. Why are you holding on to $200?”Yeah, so. Let’s see where this thing ends up going.

To Put it Bluntly…

I get frustrated when I grade sometimes.

One semester, I asked my students to write a note in the comments section of where they turned in their assignments online. Essentially, the note was to detail where they goofed up so that I knew that they knew they goofed up because, really, I’m going to catch their mistakes anyway. And, really, I was tired of trying to say things in a way that was more “teacher-esque” constructive criticism than just plain blunt statements. I needed a way not to waste all of my energy.

Here’s what I mean.

  • Teacher-esque: Your work was fairly good but you need to focus on your spelling and grammar. At times, I was unsure of what you were trying to say.
  • Blunt: This was awful and I hated reading it because it’s clear that you didn’t double check your work.
  • Teacher-esque: Most of your work was solid but you did have some issues along the way that added up to hurt your score. Let me know if you have questions.
  • Blunt: Follow the directions. READ and follow the directions. Follow. The. Directions.

I really wish I had thought to do that again this semester, particularly when I found myself yelling the following at my laptop the other night as I graded a student’s assignment:

“This is the kind of work you turn in when you’re ON something! Are you high?! What IS this? Are you high?! You must be to turn this in to me! I mean, what kind of garbage is this?!”

Soft Talker with a Megaphone

Hi, blog. It’s been a while. Here’s something funny/not funny I want to tell you about today.

Generally speaking, I’m not a yeller but I’m not a soft-talker either. I’m somewhere in between and I will fluctuate depending on the situation. Most days, I’m on the quieter end of the spectrum. Today in class, I was pushed to the louder end because no one was listening and I was over it.

The following happened:

“Listen, I’m not going to yell about this. This isn’t me yelling. This is me raising my voice so that you can hear me and understand how important this is because the other times I have said this, you have ignored me,” I said.

“When class started today, I reminded all of you that you needed to make sure you do two things before starting your work: connect and manage. It was a problem the other class had and I didn’t want you to forget these critical steps,” I said, as my voice got a little louder.

Then, without realizing it, I cupped my hands together like a megaphone and started talking with my “megaphone” and I guess it kind of sounded like yelling at that point.

“It’s clear that not everyone has chosen to listen to me, and you know what? That’s fine but please don’t come to my office on Monday stressing out, crying, about to throw up, whatever because your website doesn’t work. I’m trying to help you, but you won’t listen and again, that’s fine. But if you come to see me and the problem is happening because you haven’t managed the site? I’m not going to hand you a tissue for your tears and I’m going to tell you to leave my office.”

“Manage. Your. Site,” I megaphoned loudly.

Musings with Dad

It’s almost Father’s Day (or Fathers’ Day?) and my gift to you is a conversation my dad and I had yesterday on the phone.

A few notes and background info:

  • My mom and I have trouble communicating sometimes due to language barriers. Sometimes I’m genuinely confused by what she is trying to say in English so I have her speak her native language instead, which I do not speak but I understand it fairly well. Why is this important to know? My dad and I typically don’t have a problem, though his native language is also not English, but I think the trouble Mom and I experience ended up flowing into this conversation with Dad.
  • My dad’s hearing isn’t as good as it used to be.
  • I haven’t been keeping up with the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.
  • I call my parents almost every week at 8:00pm on Sundays. I’ve done that ever since I left home to go to college.
  • I get my sense of humor from my dad and we used to always watch sports on TV when I was growing up. (Hubby is thankful I’m sure.)

that girl: What are you up to, Dad?

Dad: I’m watching Jimmy Kimmel before basketball. Are you calling early because you’re going to watch the game?

that girl: No, we have some friends who are coming over so I wouldn’t be able to call you later… Who’s playing? What game is it?

Dad: San Antonio and Miami. It’s game 2.

that girl: Who won the first game?

Dad: San Antonio but everyone was complaining about the Heat. [my capitalization]

that girl: What happened?

Dad: The Heat [my capitalization] was too much. That’s why they lost.

that girl: [confused] Wha? I thought the Spurs won, Dad.

Dad: The heat. It was too hot.

that girl: In the coliseum? It was hot in the coliseum?

Dad: It was too hot in the coliseum. I think the air-conditioner was broken.

that girl: So you are saying the heat, as in the temperature? Not the Heat, as in Miami Heat?

Dad: Yeah. Everybody is complaining about the heat.

that girl: Ohhhhh! I was so confused.

Dad: You know what the headline says? “The Heat can’t take the heat.”


Good talk, Dad.

I should have remembered that my dad rarely, if ever, refers to sports teams by their mascot. It’s always by location or school. My mistake.

Happy Father’s/Fathers’ Day, everyone!

I got skillz.

The hubby’s watching the NFL Draft. While I’m not totally paying attention, I pipe in from time to time to take a break from grading.

that girl: Michael Scofield [character’s name on the now defunct TV show Prison Break, who had a tattoo of a floor plan of the prison on his body]? I bet that dude has a ton of tattoos. And I bet they are a bunch of X’s and O’s.

the hubby: [no response]

that girl: Did you hear me? That was funny.

the hubby: It was funny… You’re tired.

that girl: I’m not tired. I got skillz. These are great jokes.

the hubby: You’re tired.

that girl: (sigh)


Dog Selfies?

that girl: Look at this picture of this dog. Doesn’t he look like a person?

the hubby: He doesn’t look like a person. He’s a dog.

that girl: Look at how his head is tilted. It’s like a selfie.

the hubby: But he has fur on his face.

that girl: Pretend that’s skin.

the hubby: But it’s fur.

that girl: (sigh)


Sister, Sister

We were born to the same parents.

We lived together for 17 years.

We are nothing alike.

My sister and I. We are so different. I’d even say we might be polar opposites.

I wonder how this sort of thing happens in a family. How is it that our psychological DNA is so out of sync with one another? Physically, if you stare long enough, we do look related. Though, I do admit as a child that I was convinced I had to be adopted. But mentally, we just function differently. We have different values, different priorities.

It’s not something that has come with age. We’ve been like this our entire lives.

  • She has a smart phone. Mine is dumb and is sometimes left unanswered and uncharged for days and even weeks.
  • She likes Disney World. I don’t understand the draw and prefer Universal Studios.
  • She drives a Ford. I have a VW.
  • She likes to throw parties to celebrate. I prefer going out with a small group of friends.
  • I play musical instruments. She tried and gave up on them.
  • I can sit quietly for hours. She has to stay busy.
  • I plan and think ahead. She pushes the limits of time.
  • I don’t care if people think I’m goofy. She’s afraid of being embarrassed.
  • I wear bright colors like pink, yellow, and orange. She sticks with blues and neutrals.

Surely I can’t be the only one who is like this. Are you dissimilar to your siblings? Do tell.

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Wednesday Morning Funny

As we’re getting ready for work this morning, the TV is on. A Hunger Games trailer/commercial comes on.

the hubby: Hunger Games. Isn’t that the movie about being in the woods?

that girl: I don’t know. I think they eat each other, like survival of the fittest… Hmm. But then, that would make them cannibals. So… maybe not.

the hubby: No, wait, they fight in the woods or something.

that girl: Oh! I remember. I think they fight to the death and then they get a meal… maybe?

the hubby: Why is the name of the movie, THIS movie, Hunger Games? Didn’t that already come out?

that girl: Maybe it’s one of those movies that has a secondary title and you missed it.

the hubby: Could be.

that girl: Maybe the first one was… Hunger Games, the Appetizer. Get it? The appetizer! Hahahaha. It’s like a prequel!

the hubby: [silence]

that girl: Come ON! Did you hear what I said? That was hilarious and really clever. I make your life fun.

Pleasure Reading

Any good writer will tell you that word choice is important. A good conversationalist may tell you the same thing.

I don’t consider myself either.

that girl: You might like that book over there. It seems to apply to your current situation.

the hubby: What would I like about it?

that girl: I don’t know. I haven’t read it.

the hubby: And you want me to read it?

that girl: Well, you might like it. It’s for that class.

the hubby: So you’re giving me homework? I don’t need homework.

that girl: It’s not homework. You like pleasure reading. You do pleasure reading.

the hubby: What, Playboy?

that girl: No, that’s not what I mean.

the hubby: I think you mean, “reading for pleasure.”

that girl: Whatever.

Practical to a Fault

I look over at the hubby and he’s got a pen in one hand, a piece of paper in another. In his lap is a photo directory, sort of like a mini-yearbook.

I see him put an X near one of the photos.

that girl: What are you doing?… Oh my gosh! Are you marking out people in the directory?

the hubby: Yes.

that girl: Why are you doing that?

the hubby: They are people who have died. (He continues making X’s in the directory.)

that girl: Are you serious?! That seems so wrong. Why don’t you just put a “D” next to their name?

the hubby: I don’t want to accidentally ask how so-and-so is doing and then it turns out they’ve died. That would be awkward.

that girl: That… What?… Why?… What? That is so messed up. Did you put X’s over their faces?

the hubby: No, just their name. I have some decency.

That hubby. He’s so practical.