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This Day in My History


The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency.

~ Eugene McCarthy

Yesterday's Entries

2001:  Smile, tho your Heart is Breaking
2002:  The Concert of Your Life
2003:  Time for a Rant


I let myself watch one more episode of Sopranos (Richie Aprile gets killed by Janice) while I rode the exercise bike for 15 minutes, made lunch, and folded laundry.


Breakfast:  3 slices of 100% whole wheat toast with 2 cubes of Laughing Cow cheese

Lunch:  A turkey salad with lots of veggies, and a whole grapefruit

Dinner:  Turkey tacos and salad (I think we are maybe approaching the end of the turkey)


Sunny, but chilly.  Probably would have been good bike riding weather.



3 January 2003

You’d think it would be easy. What’s so difficult about it?

This afternoon I was typing and once again my fingers were freezing. Yesterday I solved the problem by turning the heat up to 70 in the house. I was quite comfortable, but also aware that we were paying a hefty sum for the comfort level of my little pinkies (even if they were hard at work).

Today I decided to get a space heater for my office. I had one once before, but I think they are a bit more sophisticated today. The previous one would burn my ankles and the neat never made it as far as my hands. I’d have to shut it off because it was just too damn hot, even at the lowest settings. Surely there has been improvement since then.

So I set off for Longs to buy myself a space heater.

When I parked the car in the mall parking lot, I noticed a crowd and realized that it was SPCA Day at PetCo so I wandered over. There she was -- Scout. The dog I’d submitted an application form for. Very sweet. Looks like we could bond well together. But there were 40 billion people wandering around oohing and aahhing at the pens of puppies and it took me awhile to find out who could give me information about Scout.

I was directed to one woman, whom I told I had just sent in an application for the dog. She wasn’t sure what to do, so took me to another woman (each involved a wait while the woman in question finished a conversation). The second woman said they hadn’t received my application yet (I explained again that I had just mailed it yesterday, so I didn’t expect them to have received it). She said I’d have to fill out another form. Then, while I waited around for that to happen, a melee broke out among some of the dogs and there was a flurry of activity to cover the pens that the dogs were in and I lost both of the women I had been speaking with.

I decided that I’d just take my chances with the application form that was already in the mail and went on about my business.

Next stop: Longs. I found a nice space heater and while I was at it, picked up a little travel alarm. Now that I’ll be starting a job, I figured I should have a fighting chance of waking up on time. I stood in the line of post-holiday-sale shoppers to buy my stuff, and finally I had them all and I left.

I passed by Peet’s to get some more coffee beans and for the very first time in recorded memory, I had to wait in a line here in Davis. It used to be commonplace in Berkeley, but not in Davis. But I guess we are a growing community. Progress is not always a wonderful thing.

Finally I had my coffee, I had my alarm clock, I had my heater, and I headed home without my dog.

First thing I did when I got home was to plug in the heater to warm up the office. Second thing I did was to get out the new batteries I’d bought to go with the new clock and put a battery in. The clock wouldn’t work. The second hand would twitch over and over and over again, but would not move. It was a cheap clock, and I figured that I’d been had. I’d have to return it.

I came into my office and tested the heater.  It was blowing cold air. I turned it up to medium. It continued to blow cold air. I tried high and still–cold air. The heat coils were not working.

Swell. It’s now 5 p.m. and much colder and I really really did not want to go out into the cold again, but I did it.

This Longs, it turns out, unlike the one where I usually shop, has no customer service desk. In order to return the defective merchandise, I had to stand in line behind all the post-holiday-sale shoppers and wait my turn.

When it was finally my turn, she insisted on ringing up a credit. I explained that I just really wanted to exchange both for ones that worked, but it had to be done that way. So I waited while she called for a manager ( who had to be paged 3 times) while post-holiday-sale shoppers behind me glared and tapped their feet impatiently.

Finally my transaction was approved and I was then free to go back into the store and get another heater and another alarm clock.

Then I got to stand in line behind all tlhe post-holiday-sale shoppers and wait my turn yet again.

Years ago, a friend of ours traveled to Russia for a conference. He told us that they had the most inefficient system in the cafeteria at the University where the conference was being held. To get your food, you stood outside the cafeteria and made your selection from a menu that you could barely read because it was so faded. Then you paid for the food, got a ticket and went inside to get the food. At least half of the time, he explained, whatever you had chosen was not available and so you’d have to go outside and do it all over again. When they tried to explain that it might be more efficient to choose your food first and pay afterwards, the people they were dealing with thought they were crazy.

I me crazy, but I think that whoever is making the "defective merchandise return policy" for Longs at one time ran a cafeteria in Siberia.


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Created 12/28/03