Friday, December 21, 2007

They Walk Among Us

Unfortunately in this Season of Giving, I’ve had to focus too much on work, which explains the very large gap in posts. Fortunately there have been a couple blog-worthy things to report. First, you have GOT to check out this video: For those of you involved in the bankruptcy field, this will be especially hilarious, though it’s pretty funny even without that background. It’s a video on payday (or check) loans. These things are evil, and anyone who is actually able to pay them off is extremely lucky. The worst thing about these is the interest. I’ve heard of interest being charged on one of these at 520%. No joke. A staggering number of debtors in bankruptcy owe on these loans. And generally when they owe one, there are more to follow. Usually this is because they will take out additional loans to try to pay off those they already owe. It ends up being a proverbial house of cards, and all you have to do is pull one card out of the bottom, (such as someone getting sick and missing too much work,) and the whole thing collapses (i.e. a bankruptcy is filed.) As funny as this video is, in some ways it’s not that far off base.

Thankfully, though there has been quite a bit of work to do, there has been some comic relief as well. We have, in recent months, had difficulties with our paper folder. For those of you that might not know, this is a machine built for the sole purpose of folding pages of paper in thirds suitable for mailing. This is what we use when there are a large number of people that need to receive copies of a document. Recently it has been jamming quite a bit, and mangling the papers that were being put through it. The room which houses this machine is directly across the hallway from the break room. I was surprised to find one day, as I walked out of the break room, one of the office supervisors down on her knees in front of the paper folder, hands held reverently in a the praying position and raised toward the ceiling. I, of course, started laughing and asked her what she was doing. She said she was praying to the Paper Folder Gods so that the machine would finish the present mailing being run through it. I told her I did not remember reading about the Paper Folder Gods in Greek mythology. She assured me that they do exist. Later, on her way by, she stopped by my office to tell me that as soon as she stopped praying the machine jammed again. Don’t mess with the Paper Folder Gods….

I also have a story about my biggest pet peeve ever, which all of you are aware is stupid people. No, the title of this post does not refer to angels, though I believe that to be true as well. It does refer to the stupid people. They seem to be everywhere, and it gets worse during the holidays. Last week we had our first Monthly Project Night at the office. This is just a night to get together in the break room and work on projects we might have unfinished, but no time to do at home. For me it will most likely always be my cross stitch projects. I have so many unfinished I many never get to the ones that have not been started. However, the night is open to anyone in the office with any sort of project they many want the extra time to work on: scrapbooking, needlework, crafts, baby books, etc. We also have dinner. This time, due to short notice and the holidays, there were only three of us. So, we decided pizza was the best option. Early in the day I got on the website belonging to Domino’s, and placed an order to be delivered at 5:45. Since the doors to the building lock at a certain time, I waited in the lobby to let the delivery person in. 5:45 came and went. Then 6:00. 6:15. 6:20, no pizza. Finally, I came back upstairs to find two messages on my work phone saying the delivery man couldn’t find the address. I called the store to ask what was happening, and then was rudely (and I DO mean rudely) informed that I typed in the WRONG address. Uh, no, I didn’t. Apparently the computer not only changed one number of the address I entered, but the directional as well (from South to North). Why in the world would I type in North? This was definitely a computer glitch, but the little snot that answered the phone at the store insisted it was my fault. When I finally stopped arguing with her and asked her what I needed to do to get my pizza, she informed me that they would not deliver to this building, and that needed to call another store and place a new order. Ok, so I did that. I was quite annoyed to find that they charged me $4 more for a phone order than they had for an internet order, and could only offer the explanation that it’s cheaper on-line. Whatever. Since I was in a hurry so we could get the pizza before everyone was ready to go home, I didn’t bother to try to convince them to charge me less. Soon thereafter a received a call on my cell phone that the new driver couldn’t find the building either. I still can’t figure out what is so dang hard about locating this building. It’s twelve stories tall and it’s on the corner with a big sign on top with the name of the building on it, for crying out loud.

Nevertheless, I answered the phone only to be informed that “someone gave [me] the wrong address”. When I asked what address he had, he repeated to me the correct one. I told him that was the right address. He insisted that there was no car dealership on that corner (our building is owned by, and houses the main offices of, a local company well-known for their car dealerships). When I explained to him that it is not a dealership, but a building named after the company, he still insisted it was not there. It was all I could do to bite my tongue and not let him know how much of a complete idiot I thought he was, since I was STANDING in the building. Instead I tried to help him identify it by telling him which corner the building was on, and to look for the bank that is on the lobby level. Unfortunately this was also a wrong move on my part, since there is a building owned by that bank up the street. I had to again explain to him that no, this is not that building, there just is one of those branches on the main level. What floored me about this is that this is the store that is supposedly the one that is designated to deliver downtown. You can’t tell me that with all the offices in this building, and the surrounding buildings for that matter, no one here or near here has ever ordered a pizza to be delivered! Finally he said he saw the building and would be there in three minutes. Ten minutes later I was still waiting.

At last, as I was coming around the corner after having checked the back doors of the building (they lead in from the parking lot) for the umpteenth time, I hear pounding on the glass doors in the front of the building. I run to let in the delivery man, who is literally so nervous he is fidgeting. He informs me that this is because he has parked illegally. There is a whole parking lot out to the side of the building with free parking that was probably empty at that time of night, but he parks illegally. Ok. So I ask him for a pen to sign the credit card slip. Pen? What pen? He didn’t bring a pen. I placed this order with a credit card, he has the receipt and can see that it needs a signature, but he didn’t bring a pen. He then tells me to just scratch a tip and my signature on the receipt and he’ll keep the yellow carbon copy. I know I had that blank what-can-you-possibly-be-talking-about stare on my face. He said, “you know, scratch, with your fingernail”. I was like, uh, no. Luckily I had seen a pen sitting on the lobby floor that someone had dropped. I ran back in, picked it up and signed as quickly as I could just to get him the hell away from me. As it turned out I had to actually push the little green button (that says right on it “push to open doors”) FOR him to let him back out, since he tried unsuccessfully TWICE to push the doors open. Uh, they’re locked, remember? I was waiting for him to start screaming and hitting himself in the head when he couldn’t get them open. By the way, he got no tip. Needless to say, in future we will not be ordering pizza from Domino’s for the Project Night. Truthfully I’m not sure which aspect of this is scarier to me, the fact that this man was actually DRIVING, or the fact that he contributes to the gene pool.

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