Thursday, March 15, 2007


So recently my RAZR V3 cellphone decided not to charge. Specifically, it decided not to recognize the charger, and therefore died. I bought a cell about five years after everyone else. I don't talk on it much. But the idea of "missing that one call," whether it be from work or a drunk ex-girlfriend was enough to initiate a run to the nearest Verizon wireless.

The Santa Monica store was open until 9 PM. I arrived at 8:30 PM, and was surprised to learn that the "restaurant rule" applies. The restaurant rule warns of arriving at a restaurant a half-hour before closing. An hour is usually enough... usually.

Here's the scene: Two cellphone technicians, young girls, one probably going to school part-time, the other probably enjoying the idea of attending school part-time at sometime in the not-so near future. Two customers - me, and a twenty-something local girl wearing all black and looking disheveled. I would have to label her as a transplant, as native Angelanos, especially on the Westside, do not overtly signal their frustration.

(I believe this resonates from the surf culture, where the cardinal sin is not to show anger and thereby bring down the vibe of the rest of the group. The Westsider, when expecting conflict, will instead play it cool as long as possible until provoked by a personal attack, so they can claim a righteous justification for their anger. Just a thought.)

I hand the clerk my phone and she says she could replace it and my battery for fifty bucks. I say fine. "What a great customer you are," she says, "I wish all customers were like you!" This is for saying OK to the fact that I'm going to have to pay for a phone that's past warranty, I then understood why they're so anxious to leave.

As for the girl next to me, her phone is also out of warranty and she also has to pay - boom! Throws a fit, you could tell she was prepared, "this is the 4th phone blah blah blah." Next thing you know, here's come the manager, who was promoted to his position because of his rare but critical talent - the ability to speak softly.

Now at this point I notice the irate girl has a huge bag disguised as a purse, and this bag is stuffed with crap. Beware the big bag. I swear, it denotes bad news. The person with the big bag obviously cannot plan for the day. So to make up for this deficiency, decides to pack life supplies for every possible situation, and is therefore unprepared for routine situations.

This reminds me of a supervisor I had once who carried two big bags plus a purse to work everyday. One of them was filled with binders filled with paperwork presumably for the project at-hand. But the project did not require binders of paperwork, it was a website. Websites require code. The abundance of the former and the absence of the latter gives you an idea of how the project went.

I add that my supervisor was also afraid of computers. Apparently they chose to crash randomly and consistently in her presence.

A computer crash resulted in a loss of email which was her excuse for a lack of productivity. She believed that if she crashed another computer management would fire her. I dunno if this was true, but she believed it. So as a fail safe, she printed every email she received and archived them in binders.

Consider the moment when someone in the office says, "Didn't you get my email?" We all know it. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't. Upon hearing this, my supervisor would dive into her binders "Yes, yes, I have it here... somewhere," and would produce the email on paper 10 minutes after it was no longer relevant.

She later sued the company for sexual harassment and settled for a boatload of cash. Apparently she kept a written record of all her superiors' nasty remarks, which, as is now apparent, must have been the other bag.

So, beware the big bags - not the original point of this post but we'll run with it.

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