Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Owning a bar rules

Occasionally I have a dream that I still own the bar. For those of you that don't know, I owned a bar.

The dream is always the same. There's a ton of people waiting and I have to cook for them as soon as I walk in because the kitchen guy is late. I'll have to beg the bartender to stay past her shift.

Delivery drivers start coming through the back door to fill beer orders. Sales reps are waiting at the front to take orders for the weekend. The weasel bastard landlord is there to talk about the bar he opened next door.

Everyone orders at the same time. How is that even possible? And they all want something different. There's a plumbing problem (Again?) in the men's room.

Hell of a start for a Thursday, I think.

Finally, the cook shows and I pass the spatula. He's had car trouble and his phone is turned off. I like him, though, and he's a good worker. Just perpetually 20 minutes late. Works is ass off for me when he gets there, though.

I relieve the bartender set the room for the band. (Bands were there on Saturday. It must be Saturday. OK... hell of a start for a Saturday.) The bartender is supposed to do it but never does.

The waitress shows up drunk from being at the pool all day. She says she didn't want to let me down by calling in for a replacement. Now it's too late to have another waitress come in. It's OK, I say. I'll handle it.

The band calls and can't find the place. They're going to be late. The doorman is arrives. On time. Problem is that he was scheduled last night.

It's gonna be a long night...

I wake up really tense. I'm actually sweating. It feels like I didn't sleep at all. My teeth hurt from grinding them and I have acid reflux. My pulse is racing and my hernia is acting up.  I think I'm developing psoriasis.

Sure do miss that place.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dealing with Heat and Humidity in the Old West

SCENE: A saloon in the Old West. The bartender wipes down a glass, as they constantly did in the Old West. In the background, several people of easily identifiable socioeconomic status play poker. Two ornery looking desperadoes enter.

BARTENDER: Hello, Humidity. How goes it, Heat? Haven't seen you guys in a while.

HUMIDITY: How 'bout a bottle? (Tosses some sort of coin indiscriminately on the bar, as desperadoes were known to do. Bottle service was apparently much cheaper in the Old West.)

HEAT: And sumpthin to eat. (Nothing specific, just whatever they can rustle up. Probably steak and beans. Potatoes if they were able to get them, but trade routes were unreliable back in the day.)

BARTENDER: Boys, the people round here are tired of ya. Best you boys be movin' on.

HUMIDITY: We don't have to take that talk from a bartender. (People in the service industry were not respected as toughs in the Old West.)

HEAT: You lookin' to get thumped?

BARTENDER: Boys, you know we look forward to seeing you all winter. But you boys have outstayed your welcome. Best you head south now. They likely would like to see ya.

HEAT: Let me thump him, Joe! (There's always at least one desperado in the Old West named Joe.)

HUMIDITY (OR APPARENTLY, JOE): I think we may just stay a while. And we'll be takin' that bottle, our dinner and whatever else we want while we're here!

Bartender reaches for a sawed off shotgun under the bar, but is beaten to the draw by "Joe" who puts an inordinately large knife under the bartender's throat. (Every desperado in the Old West carried an inordinately large knife.)

HEAT: Whatcha think 'bout that, Old Man? Joe's gonna make ya bleed now.

SOUND: Multiple firearms being cocked. Always identifiable is one pump action shotgun, which didn't exist in the Old West.

STORE OWNER: I don't think so. (Store owner is easily identifiable by his apron.)

HUMIDITY: You don't got the guts. (The emerging middle class of the Old West were widely known to be less than brave, and only stood up for themselves as part of a group.)

FARMER: Nah. Mebbe he ain't. But WE do. We don't like your kind stayin so long. You best be hittin the trail where they don't mind you. (After all, have you ever heard of a "cold and dusty trail?")

PIANO PLAYER: That's right. Y'all git. (Piano players were men of few words in the Old West, but eventually had one line.)

Even the dance hall girl/lady of the night (difficult to tell the difference in the Old West) has pulled a Derringer from her garter. (OK... now we know her status.)

HUMIDITY: A'ight. (People think "A'ight" is modern. But it originates in the Old West. Google it.) We'll leave. But we'll be back.

HEAT: Yeah, we'll be back.

BARTENDER: We'll be lookin' forward to that, Heat. We ain't sayin' you ain't welcome, we're just gettin a little tired of ya. We'll be seein' ya again. You'll be welcome after a spell.

The desperadoes walk out. The people of easily identifiable socioeconomic status uncock their weapons and return to their poker game. The bartender smiles and nods at the piano player, who starts playing.

And... SCENE.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Help Wanted: Problem Solver. Apply at KCPL.

There's a classic scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent and Julius have gotten themselves into a situation and Marcellus sends them Mr. Wolf, in the person of Harvey Keitel.

KCPL needs the wolf. People in Kansas City lose power when the wind blows 40 mph. Not sure why, but it seems like we lose power a lot more often than when I lived in Wichita.

KCPL customer service sucks.
As often as they have to field calls from people who have questions, you'd think their customer service people would be more professional. If you want information, estimated time of reconnection or an explanation of the damage, it's best to put the cell phone away.

Here's what you get from a conversation with a KCPL customer service rep:
  • repetition
  • rudeness
  • hot air
  • ambiguity
  • bullshit
  • details about their prioritization policy
  • condescending customer service people who don't know shit about shit

Talking to KCPL customer service is kinda like working out.
Elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, that feeling that I'd really like to put a bullet in my head rather than do this again, exhaustion when I'm done... without all the health benefits.

Fear not, loyal customers... KCPL is on it with what you need.
KCPL is distributing dry ice in JoCo, Prairie Village, Sedalia, St. Joe and Maryville so the stuff in your fridge won't rot.

Just NOT in Kansas City, MO! You know... where most of the customers who lost power live. That would make entirely too much sense and might cost a little extra. And they're starting at 3:00, so all you juvenile delinquents who want to make dry ice bombs can get the stuff before normal people get off work. Morons.

Nice job, KCPL.
Good planning. Way to do exactly what a well-run company that gives a shit wouldn't do. KCPL is definitely a company that benefits from being a monopoly.

That's my two cents worth, KCPL morons. Now, get back to work. At last count, you've got 52,000 more people to piss off.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

Like a lot of people, we're on the "Don't Call List." But there is one company calling us every three or four days promising to lower our credit card rates. We don't have credit cards.
The call comes in with a recorded message. "Rachel" (if indeed that is her real name) informs us that they can lower our rate if only we will press 1 to talk to a representative.
After several times just hanging up on this call from 513-417-0498, I decided to press 1 to ask them not to call. When I asked the rep to remove the number from the list. He said, "He wants the number removed from the list?" in the form of a question.
Then he hung up.
The next time, I asked the name of the company... she immediately hung up. My Spidey senses told me I may be dealing with a scammy company. I filed a complaint with the FCC. 
The next time they called, I pressed one and played along for a little bit, then asked the name of the company. The rep said, "Why do you need to know that? We're gonna lower your rate. Give me your credit card numbers." 
I hung up and filed another FCC complaint. At the end of the form, after name and phone number, there was a box that said "Execute?"
You may think it extreme, but I started looking for the "Hell YES" box. Shit, I've told them three times not to call. Eventually, I just marked it and hit SEND. No sense being obstinate.