Friday, September 12, 2014

CUSTOMER SERVICE AT SEARS MUST HAVE LEFT WITH ROEBUCK (Squatlo tries to use a coupon... insanity ensues)

              I'm not a coupon person.  My lovely (and dangerous) wife definitely is.  She can find them in the newspaper, or load her store card digitally with money saving coupons on items she intends to purchase, and end up saving us a lot of money every time she goes shopping.  On those rare occasions when I've been asked to carry a couple of coupons on one of my solo trips to the grocery store, I always end up grabbing the wrong item and paying full price.  On one memorable occasion I managed to pick up the wrong items three out of three times, thus negating the handy-dandy "Buy One Get One Free" bargains she had in mind when I was sent to Publix.  She took the receipt and my bag of errors back to the customer service desk, and managed to get a refund of over $25.  I'm surprised her eyes didn't roll completely out of socket that day.

               In my defense, it's easy to confuse items if their only distinguishing information is that one is "heart healthy", or "sodium free", or "bland as a sandpaper sandwich".  You have to grab the EXACT ITEM LISTED ON THE COUPON, not the one next to it that's cleverly disguised as the thing you're looking for...  And I'm not a guy who likes to stand in front of a rack of tomato paste carefully deciphering content labels, while a lady with three screaming urchins pushes her shopping cart over my foot.

               But this is a new day, and hope springs eternal.  Or it did.

               On my way back from another clusterfuck I won't bother to go into (fodder for another rant...) I remembered that my wife and I have been invited to accompany friends of ours to this Sunday's Tennessee Titans game against the Cowboys.  We don't usually attend the games, but always watch them together during football season.  So this is a rare treat for us... to actually go to LP Field for a game, fight through the traffic and the crowds, pay $8 for warm, watered down domestic beer, sit through interminable commercial timeout delays in the midday sun, and then fight through the crowds and traffic to get back home?  We can't wait!

                But while I own and proudly wear many different shirts adorned with the Titans logo, I'm not sure my wife's wardrobe has anything "stadium worthy" for her to wear to the game. On my drive back from the aforementioned CF, I remembered having been given a COUPON worth $22.20 at any Sears store.  We had purchased a gas grill in the spring, and apparently our purchase warranted this generous coupon to spend on any product Sears had in stock.  I was passing that very same Sears store when this occurred to me, and I also remembered that Sears stocks women's clothing.  She needs a nice Titans shirt, Sears sells nice Titans shirts, and I have this wonderful COUPON worth $22.20.  What could possibly go wrong?

               I don't know when Sears hired all of the people from the community center's Club Geritol, but everyone working in that place today was pushing the limits of any life insurance salesman's actuarial tables.  Everywhere I turned I was greeted by befuddled Wilford Brimleys and Jessica Tandys... people who seemed nice, but (on the whole) knew nothing whatsoever about their employer's store or the products therein.  Asking for help in my efforts to find women's Titans gear, I was twice told (by different people) to just keep looking, because they "move everything around so much" it was impossible to know where anything actually was at any given moment.  Seriously.  Same response.  Twice.  Wilford and Jessica and the rest of the cast of "Cocoon" pointing me in various directions.

                 I finally found a size medium Titans shirt in the men's section of the store that looked stylish enough, and at that point I began my search for a working register.

                 "Sorry, young feller, this register's only for appliances..." said one gentleman.

                 "I'm sorry, son... the clerk who's supposed to be at this register has gone somewhere..." said another fellow, looking around as if he'd lost his car in the parking lot. 

                  I just kept walking around until I found a clerk actually ringing up another customer's items.  There was a problem with the scanner.  And the customer was upset that her toddler clothing had rung up at a far higher price than what was advertised.. an additional 75 cents.  They quibbled, and the clerk (a dead ringer for Aunt Clara from "Bewitched") insisted the price was correct.  The customer (who was accompanied by a little girl who ought to be starring in "Poltergeist" if they ever do another remake) insisted the price was 75 cents too high.  I got out a dollar and was fully prepared to pay the difference, but the customer agreed to pay this outrageous amount.  She got her things, and I stepped up to Aunt Clara's counter, still relatively hopeful.

                 She took my wife's shirt (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!) and flashed the tag with her handheld scanner.  It did an ominous double bonk, akin to that annoying noise they use for scene changes in "Law and Order" reruns.

                "This didn't scan." she announced.  "Were there any more of these where you found this one?"

                "Quite a few." I said.

                "Where did you find this?" she asked.

                Sensing the inevitable snag, I replied, "I have no idea.  Way the hell over that direction..."

                She tried the scanner again.  Bonk bonk.  Scene change.  With that she turned and called out, "Jerry?" at Wilford Brimley in appliances.

                As he moseyed up, she asked, "What do you do if the scanner doesn't accept the tag?"

                "Well, you key in this number right here..." said Wilford/Jerry.

                She glanced at the end of his pointing finger, then said, "Well I can't read THAT..."

                So Wil/Jerry read it aloud to her, at arm's length, while she keyed in the digits.

                It didn't bonk bonk.  Progress.  She looked very pleased, and said, "Your coupon is worth $20."

                I pointed out that the coupon itself read $22.20.  She insisted it was only good for $20.  I remembered how annoyed I had been when the last lady quibbled over 75 cents, so I told her to just ring it up, and I'd happily pay the difference.

                So she punched a couple of keys, and we all heard the bonk bonk noise again.  I looked at my feet, and tried to remember what that anger management guy had said about slow, deep breaths.  

                "This coupon won't work unless you have a Sears card, apparently." was the next thing out of Aunt Clara's mouth.  "Do you have a Sears card?"

                "No, ma'am.  I don't."

                "You want one?  I've got an application form right here..." she dug through some paper to find an application for me.

                "No ma'am.  I don't want to fill out an application for a card.  I just want to use this coupon to purchase that shirt.  That's all I want."

                 "Well, it says here you need to put in your Sears card information.  Maybe if you keyed in your zip code it would work.  Try that." she offered.

                  So I keyed in my zip code.  Twice.  Bonk bonk, both times.

                 "You're gonna have to have a Sears card if you want to use this coupon, I guess." she said, finally.

                  I left the shirt on the counter and walked away.  I may have uttered a few wordy derds on my way out, because I remember at least two geriatrics turning to watch me leave.

                  I don't coupon well, obviously. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

THE FAMILY THAT BRAWLS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER (Sarah Palin and the trailer trash clan go a partyin'!)

The Palins arrive for the party...                    

           I've written highly critical things about Blunder Woman in the past, and most recently made light of the fact that dozens of people were signing up to pay Sarah Palin $10 per month to have access to an "all Sarah, all the time" television network.  But I must confess... If Sarah and her network buddies are the only outlet showing the video of last Saturday night's alleged drunken brawl involving the entire Palin clan, I might subscribe for a month or two.

           The details are sketchy, but enough witnesses have come forward with the same basic story to make it worth a mention:  Apparently, there's a thing called the Iron Dog Race across Alaska, and apparently it's a big deal to the folks who live in that godforsaken place.  

          According to multiple accounts, the Palin clan arrived at a post race party last Saturday night in a stretch Hummer limo, and almost immediately the problems began.

           Palin's son took offense at the sight of one of his little sister's former boyfriends.  Words were exchanged.  Then the host of the party asked the Palins to leave.  At that point, Bristol Palin reportedly assaulted the guy hosting the party, striking him multiple times.  Before long almost all of the Wasilla Wankers were going at it, and the police were called.  At one point, Track (or Truck, or could it be Trek?) Palin was seen standing in the street shirtless, flipping birds at other party guests, while his mom, the almost-vice-president-of-the-fucking-United-States stood behind him shrieking "Don't you know who I am?" at everyone.

            Someone was quoted as having yelled back, "This isn't some damned hillbilly reality show!"


             Because no one was willing to press charges (or because enough money changed hands to make such a thing go away), the police were unwilling to name participants in the brawl.  Palin's hubby the Todd-ster was seen with a bloody lip or nose (accounts differ) when at last they took their leave and got back into the limo.

             But like a certain video tape of a certain NFL running back involving a quick left hook inside a casino elevator, there's almost certainly a video of this incident out there somewhere.  Whomever owns said video is probably in contact with TMZ as we speak, angling for the very best price for that oh-so-desirable footage.

             Won't this be fun?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

EVER GET THE FEELING YOU'RE BEING WATCHED (Squatlo versus Chuck the Groundhog...)

         Ever since my lovely (and dangerous) wife took a new job in property management here in town, I've found myself becoming more and more involved in her work... not necessarily by choice.  

         Yesterday she asked if I would mind ("Of course not, honey!") driving out to one of their rental properties to do some light vacuuming and cleaning.  Not having anything on my schedule until later yesterday evening, it didn't sound like a big deal, and I agreed to take care of it.  

         "Oh, and one more thing, if you don't mind... The tenant who's moving in says there's a groundhog living under the house.  Would it be too much trouble to put out your trap while you're out there?  Thanks, babe!"

          So I've gone from professional photographer to housekeeping, and now I'm being employed for animal removal services.  Jeez... But hey, it beats the hell out of building tires for a living.

          I've got a pair of catch-and-release traps I've used frequently around Chateau Squatlo.  The smaller one has been handy for getting the attention of a couple of nuisance squirrels (they really don't like being sprayed with a garden hose while they're hearing my lecture about leaving the bird feeders alone...), and the larger one has helped me relocated at least ten full grown raccoons who had violated the same bird feeder mandate.  The only ugly incident involving my traps was the morning I went out and discovered I had captured a skunk.  The back deck was unusable for three weeks after that encounter.

           Anyway, I took the trap with me yesterday, along with some tasty salad ingredients.  I had pulled up a page that said groundhogs love fresh pole beans, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and lettuce, so I carried out some of each for the trap.

           Immediately upon walking behind the house I spotted Chuck's hole.  He had burrowed out a foot-wide entry door just beneath the living room window of the rental property, and had no doubt gone under the foundation and up under the house.  Probably very cool under there.

           When I latched open the trap I accidentally dropped a nice tomato from the bag of veggies, and it (of course) bounced once before falling directly down Chuck's tunnel.  Shit...!  I wasn't about to reach down into the hole for a tomato, and reasoned that it might serve me well to chum the waters a bit, anyway.  

           "Have a preview snack, Chuck.  More where that came from."

           This morning I drove back out into the country to check the trap, and while I was refreshing the garden ingredients I got this uneasy feeling that I was being watched.  Here's what I saw when I turned around:

                   I'll go back out tomorrow and see if Chuck's found his way into the trap.  For the moment, I'm just glad he didn't bite a chunk out of my ass while I was baiting the cage!

                 This isn't my first groundhog post on the blobber, either... if anyone's interested, here's a true story (every word of it, I swear!).

Monday, September 8, 2014


         A couple of weeks ago my lovely (and oh so dangerous) wife purchased a Samsung Android phone for me.  Since then, I've made one phone call.  And other than a test poke here at home, it hasn't rung.  But that doesn't mean it's been an overpriced piece of useless junk.  No sir... Not at all.

        I found an app called Guitar Tuna, and it's way cool.  And I'm sure one of these days I'll figure out how the map thingie works when I'm lost somewhere.

        But even though I haven't needed this high tech marvel in my everyday life, it constantly reminds me that it's available, should the need arise.

        Every now and then, for no discernible reason, this phone chirps out a little burp from the other side of the room.  When I swipe the screen, there's no notification that I can find telling me why I've been summoned.  You'd think a burp would signify something, right?

        But I open it up and come face to face with a screen full of hieroglyphics... little symbols that might as well be from another planet.  There's a top row of microscopic symbols which are (no doubt) very important, though I couldn't tell you why.

        It chimes from time to time, and I've decided these unsolicited techno-farts are cries for attention, like those made by a puppy that feels it's being ignored.  I'm sure it's all self-explanatory to someone from this century, but I need to buy one of those Rosetta Stone language apps to figure it all out.

        I just wanted something that makes and takes phone calls.  And I didn't really even want that.



           This short video animation is from the One Human Family, Food for All campaign.

           When you get down to it, it really is this simple.