Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Checkout Line

The following are all true experiences I have had at checkout lines. My memory isn’t perfect and therefore I might not recall the conversations verbatim, but for all intents and purposes everything you read here actually happened… believe it or not.

Office Depot:

A male customer in his 30s places a Palm Pilot / Pocket PC (I didn’t see the exact model at the time) on the counter and reaches for his wallet.

Cashier (male): [Examining device] Oh wow have I got a great deal for you man – you can add a 3 year warranty onto this for only like 75 bucks.

Customer: No thanks.

Cashier: Really? – I mean these things are really expensive.

Customer: Well IF it breaks, I’ll just buy a new one. I’m not interested in the warranty.

Cashier: Wow….you must have a lot more money than I do if you are willing to buy a new one every time it breaks.

Me thinking to myself: Yes genius, he is buying a $350 Pocket PC and sporting what appears to be about a $1200 watch while you are a cashier at Office Depot…..I’m pretty sure he does in fact have more money than you do.

Then again suggesting the item the customer is purchasing might actually be prone to breakage probably isn't the best way to instill confidence in the buyer.


Black Friday 2008. There are at least 100 customers in line waiting to checkout with a wait time of about 15 minutes to get to a register. A young male cashier who had an accent and dark skin color which suggested he immigrated from Africa in the last few years is checking out a woman in her mid to upper 40s who had an obvious problem with weight management. The woman has a cart full of various items, but one of them is a vacuum cleaner with a retail price somewhere around $100.

Cashier: I’d like to offer you a protection plan on this item. The total cost is only $19.99 and it covers the vacuum for three full years.

Woman: I’m just not sure…..what does it cover?

Cashier: (Reading verbatim from the very same product documentation the woman is holding in her own hands) The protection plan covers…

Woman: (interrupting) Can I return the protection plan if I don’t need it?

*long uncomfortable silence as the cashier tries to decide if he is on a hidden camera show*

Cashier: I’m not sure….nobody has ever asked if they could return one. Let me check.

At this point – with still over 100 people in line waiting to check out, the cashier walks away from his register and goes to find a manager at the customer service desk. After a period of about two minutes he returns.

Cashier: You have 14 days to decide if you want to keep it. If you change your mind in that period you can return it.

Woman: Ok let me think…..

At this point – both the woman and the cashier as well as the woman’s daughter (which appeared to be in the 13 year old range) stand in complete silence for no less than a full 60 seconds while staring at one another.

I was about three seconds away from blurting out “Go ahead take your time….it is a very important decision and surely the 112 people behind you have nothing better to do today than watch you consider a purchase of an extended warranty on your frigging vacuum cleaner!”, but thankfully after her extended silence she finally said she would take it.

Congratulations Mr. Cashier….you sold a $20 protection plan on a $100 vacuum to a woman with no common sense and a complete disregard for her fellow human being. It is things like this that make me want to slam my head into a brick wall in a vain effort to "dumb me down" to the level where I felt this was normal behavior.

Why do I think this sort of thing plays out at least 25 times a day in Wal-Marts all across the nation?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


They are in countless movies every year. They are part of popular culture not only in the US but according to several low budget horror flicks I have seen, seem to have a strange fascination for Japan as well. Zombies are referenced in television shows, mentioned in songs, found in comic books and even episodes of Scooby Doo.

Zombies are practically everywhere…..but what is the fascination? What is the fear? I’m convinced this is nothing more than yet another story blown out of proportion by the anti-zombie crowd among us. It must be the liberal media conspiracy machine back at work just like they were when they told us the killer bees were coming or SARs was going to kill us all or when they tried to tell us some magical type of bird flu was going to wipe out the planet or that global warming was going to melt the polar ice caps.

OK well maybe not the global warming thing since that is actually a legitimate concern – but the rest of that crap is a conspiracy! It is time we stood up and took action against those who seek to persecute zombies! When you really look at this objectively, it is nothing short of profiling.

I mean honestly – do you know a single person who has ever had their brains sucked out by a zombie? Have you ever heard anyone who was walking through a cemetery at night when all of the sudden one of the graves opened up and a zombie crawled out through the fog (that just happens to look an awful lot like smoke) and started chasing them while moaning?

Exactly! It is just myths being perpetuated via some sort of Chinese telegraph experiment. I really think Zombies are getting an undeserved reputation here – they never hurt anyone but mothers live in a constant state of fear that a zombie is going to come and kidnap, hurt, or even kill their children.

Even worse than the mothers are those who choose to stereotype zombies as if they are all the same. Just look at the movie I Am Legend with Will Smith. Not only does the movie push the myth that zombies can only be active at night, but it actually tries to suggest zombies are attracted to human blood. Can you imagine the uproar if someone suggested rednecks are attracted to plastic flamingos and are only capable of showing emotion when speaking of their favorite NASCAR driver?

Stereotypes can hurt – so why are we singling out the zombies?

Then you have the Cranberries (the band, not the tasty juice squeezed by those Ocean Spray guys). They actually use one of their songs to say this: “In your head, in your head – zombie, zombie, zombie.” I mean why don’t they just come out and tell us that zombies will eat your brains if you let them…..why beat around the bush. I see through you Cranberries – I’m on to you.

I guess my point is all this hostility towards zombies is misplaced. Maybe zombies are merely misunderstood? Maybe they are much like bears and they are just as scared of us as we are of them. Maybe we just need to form some type of zombie-human coalition so we can work towards a common goal of eradicating myths and stereotypes.

Imagine how much better we would all be if zombies were treated with a little respect.

I’m just sayin…

Monday, February 23, 2009

What ever happened to Steve Guttenberg?

Let’s face it, when this guy started in a movie back in the 80s and early 90s it was practically guaranteed success. He had the string of Police Academy films, Short Circuit, Three Men and a Baby, Cocoon, and he even went so far as to star in a movie with the Olsen twins. I’m telling you the man was box office gold!

Not that any of these films have stood the test of time mind you. Guttenberg will probably always be known as “the guy from those Police Academy movies” much like pretty much every one of his co-stars, but the point is at the time those movies were made there weren’t very many actors in Hollywood with better name recognition.

Then all of the sudden - *poof*. The guy disappears off the radar…sort of makes you wonder who he pissed off. I mean the guy is Jewish so one might think he was a lock in Hollywood, but something snapped. I did an IMDB search on him and see his is still working, (if you count a brief stint on Dancing with the Stars working) but obviously nowhere near his former glory. Maybe that is why he is so angry these days.

Hollywood is a fickle city, but such stories of former glory are usually associated with child stars, not leading men.

Oh how we have fallen.