Friday, November 25, 2005

A Juan and a Two

As much as I’d like to keep my posts as impersonal as possible, I thought I might make a much-needed update by recounting a recent experience I had with Home Depot. About a month ago, I visited the DIY mecca intent on purchasing new carpeting for my home. As obsessive about most things as I am, when it comes to shopping for consumer products, I’m a pretty easygoing shopper; I see a product that I want to buy, I buy it. I don’t need 11 weeks to think it over – people who spend inordinate amounts of time hemming and hawing over which blender they should take home will ultimately be left with unresolved feelings of despair and frustration as they realize that alone offers 1,555 different models of blenders. Americans have far too many choices nowadays, and that’s probably one of the reasons everyone is sucking back pharmaceuticals like they were Skittles.

But I digress. After spending about 20 minutes browsing through carpet samples, I picked the one I wanted and attempted to hunt down a salesperson. If you’ve ever been to one of these warehouse stores, you know that finding an “associate” is harder than tracking down a virgin on prom night.

And what’s with this new trend of altering the employee-customer relationship by giving us new titles? Do the top brass at Target really think I’m going to feel better about purchasing cheap pillows and DVD’s by calling me a “Guest?” And when exactly did salespeople become “Associates?” In one store I visited, they referred to the clerks as “Guest Counselors.” Please. At $5.60 an hour, let’s call a spade a spade – if stores wanted to increase the self-efficacy of their employees, they’d throw them some medical benefits.

In any case, after spending another 20 minutes stalking one of the elusive Home Depot “associates”, I attempted to make my purchase in a timely manner, which according to Home Depot standards, was just under one hour. I’m not sure exactly why I was subjected to this sort of treatment, but for whatever reason, HD felt that “Andrea” needed to interview me for almost 60 minutes before I could slap down my credit card and get the hell out of Dodge. Except that after giving them my phone number, address, SAT scores, specific density and ¾ of my DNA sequence, I wasn’t allowed to pay for the carpet.

No, instead, I had to go back home, call a “Project Hotline” and arrange for an appointment with a contractor so he could come and measure my floor. Nevermind the fact that I had the blueprints to my place in my hand, Home Depot insisted in the interest of “absolute quality.” I was figuring that the contractor, or “Area Measurement Specialist” would show up with some high-tech, shiny laser calculator or something that looked like it was lifted from Q’s workshop. Alas, a week later, some guy named “Dennis” came in, spent 30 seconds with a tape measure, and 5 minutes using my bathroom.

My next leg of this carpeting quest entailed me calling back the “Project Hotline” to arrange for payment, which, thankfully, took only minutes; it was no surprise to me that the step involving separating me from my money was the least involved. After forking over close to $1000, I was told that I had to wait another two weeks for the carpet to be shipped. Two weeks? What were they using, the Pony Express? Fine. Patiently I waited, knowing that soon, I’d have a lovely new carpet, and I could actually use the living room for something other than CD storage.

Finally, the day arrived where yet another person, probably also named “Dennis” called me back and informed me that his “crew” would be arriving “sometime this week” to install the carpet. “We’re going to call you between the hours of 7 and 9 AM to tell you what time we’re coming, which could be any time between 10 and 6 PM” Dennis related to me. I asked them if it just wouldn’t be easier to make a more definite appointment, and we’d get it over and done with. Apparently, this raised the ire of Dennis, because he suggested that I didn’t know how “installs” were “handled” and that he couldn’t give me a specific time because they were “very busy.” OK, no problem. I’ll just sit around like a fool for 10 hours waiting for a carpeting crew.

This very morning, a very cheerful woman named Dennis called me at exactly 7 AM to tell me that the crew would be there “before 12.” Great! Could she be more specific? No, of course not, because it took an hour and a half to load the truck. 90 minutes to put a carpet in a van? I want to be in that union! Calculating that they would need at least a half an hour to drive to my building, ten minutes to park, and 15 minutes to engage in a union-mandated coffee break, I decided to take a shower. Not five minutes after turning on the water, the phone rang, where someone with the most comically stereotypical Mexican accent informed me that “We down a stair.” Throwing on jeans and sweatshirt, I rushed “down a stair” and opened up the service entrance for the “crew” which consisted of two guys, both named “Juan”. The Juans and I made our way back to my apartment, where they had the tack-strips and padding installed in ten minutes. Good job, Juans.

Now for the crowning glory, my new carpet, which they unrolled to reveal was… absolutely not the right carpet by any stretch of the imagination. The carpet I had picked was a subtle sand color, with vertical textured lines running along the length. The abomination that sat in my living room was the color of congealed coffee and it was plaid. Plaid! I told the Juans to stop, as this was most certainly not the right carpet. Juan # 1 said, “No right? We stop,” and proceeded to fire off a string of Spanish to Juan #2, which, judging by the duration of the conversation, was a recounting of everything that happened on Earth up until that present moment. Juan #1 then dialed his boss, handed me the phone, and then he and his buddy proceeded to lie on the floor to catch a little nap. Ah, the siesta!

The boss turned out to be yet another woman, named Rosa, who asked me if I was sure if the carpet was incorrect. As I had not suffered any head injuries in the past three weeks, I assured her I knew exactly what I had ordered, and the rolled up product that Juan #2 had propped his head against certainly wasn’t it. She then told me to “cut a piece of the carpet off, so I could show it to the Home Depot Sales Associate.” Why? I knew it was wrong – I didn’t feel I had to prove to anyone what I was certain was a mistake. Nevertheless, Juan hacked off a slice of carpet, approximately the size of an individual carpet molecule, gathered up their equipment, and bolted from the apartment as I looked around for a blunt object.

Here’s the best part. I drive back to the Home Depot, where my journey first began, and was told to talk to a man named “Pakkow,” which I thought was a joke, because in print the name looks like one of the visual punching effects used in the 1960’s Batman TV show. I locate “Pakkow”, inform him of my dilemma, and am asked, inexplicably, “Are you sure it’s wrong? Maybe you forgot what it looked like.”

I’m not exactly sure why they do this – are they expecting the customer to say, “By golly, you’re right! Even though I spent a $1000 on this carpet, and waited for three weeks, I couldn’t possibly remember what I spent my money on. You’re right! Give me the plaid.”

After much consternation from Pakkow, the original Sales Associate, Andrea, and yours truly (who had wisely left his gun at home), we finally decide that, yes, I am correct, the carpet they had sent was the wrong one. Pakkow swings into action and calls the distributor who doesn’t believe that they had sent the wrong item. Andrea quietly sneaks away, and I start fashioning a spear out of crown moulding. Pakkow hands me the phone and says, “They want to confirm that the carpet is incorrect, because they are pretty sure they sent the right one.” I hand it back and tell him that wouldn’t be a good idea, as that would lead to many, many needless deaths, so could he please handle it himself. Pakkow, sensing my growing anxiety, finishes the call himself, and assures me that by Monday, I’d know the resolution. I told him that the only possible resolution would be “Yes, Sir, we have the right carpet, and we’ll install it at your convenience.” Anything else would be unacceptable. He nods, and then picks up the phone and dials a random number in an attempt to get me to leave.

No, there wasn’t any, “We’re very sorry, Sir,” or “Here’s a gift certificate to attempt mollify you because of our mistake,” or even a “We value you as a customer, so please, let is do whatever we can do to prevent you from going home and writing a scathing indictment of our business practices on a website that no one reads.” The art of Customer Service is long gone, replaced with minimum wage “Associates”, piped-in soothing music, and nametags that read: “Helping you help us help you…” I don’t want a catchy jingle, or classes on how to use a paint roller, or some retired bus driver living on a fixed income greeting me at the door with a Santa hat and a phony smile.

I want my freakin’ carpet.

More on this as it develops…

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ah, The City Of Lights

Paris is burning, as it goes, erupting in a stunning display of barbaric behavior by some of the most uncivilized people on the planet. Cars, buildings, small lapdogs and other edifices are being torched by African Muslim immigrants in response to what the rest of the civilized world sees as a non-event.

It all began on October 27th, when two teen-age Muslim boys -- a 17-year-old immigrant from Tunisia and a 15-year-old from Mauritania -- were electrocuted when they hid in a high-voltage power substation while trying to avoid a police checkpoint in the northeastern Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Why they were running from the police is anybody's guess --mine being that they were actually guilty of some sort of crime. So after their deaths, the "community" of Muslim Africans in Paris decided to take action in the only way their backwards, stone-age culture can possibly respond: By burning and destroying other people's property. As of Sunday, 1,295 cars had been torched in a 24 hour period all across France, yet only 186 arrests have been made. Seeing how France has 5 million Muslim immigrants, it stands to reason that many more post offices, schools, shopping centers and automobiles will meet the wrath of the ululating Koran-thumpers before this incident is squashed.

Come on people now..

We all read the papers; there's no reason to rehash the events over and over again. What we need to do, dear readers, as logical and civilized people, is determine the real reason behind the violence in the first place. After carefully examining all of the facts and figures, and comparing them with similar events in modern history, I have figured out a formula that clearly explains the rash of violence, terrorism, and sociopathic behavior from this "community."

Muslims + Blacks = A crazy, indoctrinated, murderous lot, hell bent on burning down everything that they haven't already looted.

Now before all you NYU African Studies majors start furiously sending death threats to my email account, take a look at some historical proof to my statement:

2005, Hurricane Katrina: A natural disaster claims a thousand lives and billions of dollars in property. Thousands more are displaced and without food and water. In response, American blacks break into Walmart and steal cases of beer before setting fire to a minimall.

2001, September 11: Believing that America is a land of idolatrous devils, Muslim extremists hijack three airplanes, and crash them into The World Trade Towers, The Pentagon, and an empty field in the middle of nowhere, killing and maiming thousands.

...Smile on your brother...

1992, LA: After white cops were acquitted of using excessive force against repeat offender and PCP addict Rodney King, the city erupted into a chaotic miasma of arson, assault and murder --not to mention looting -- all started by blacks not happy with the verdict.

...Everybody get together...

October 12, 2000: Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives-packed boat next to the U.S. warship USS Cole as it refueled in Aden harbor at Yemen's southern tip, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding 39. Those responsible were found to be 6 members of Al-Qaida, the very same people responsible for the September 11 attacks.

...Try to love one another...

2001,Cincinnati, Ohio: Black rioters spent two days destroying the as a reaction to the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old black male, Timothy Thomas, by Stephen Roach, a white police officer, on April 7, 2001 during an on-foot pursuit by several officers. According to Roach's statements, Timothy was cornered in an alley and stopped running. Roach had his gun pointed at him and, according to Roach, he thought he saw Timothy reaching for a weapon and reacted with deadly force. Timothy had several outstanding warrants, and had made the mistake of hitching up his ridiculously oversized pants in a dark alley while a police officer had a gun pointed at him.

August 11, 1965, Watts, LA: During the 6 day riots, 34 people were killed, 1,100 people injured, 4,000 people were arrested, 600 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and an estimated $100 million in damage was caused. All because a black man and his family refused to comply with the requests of a white police officer, and were arrested due to their behavior.

February 2003 - Present, Darfur, Sudan: An estimated 300,000 people have died from violence, disease, and starvation, as their totalitarian Arab dictator, President Lt. Gen. Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, with the help of state-funded Janjaweed mercenaries, continues to spread his Sharia law throughout the country.

...Right now.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Regardless of the Washington Post's apologist stance on the event, Paris is blazing away simply because they failed to protect their borders from African Muslims. Instead of tear gas and plastic handcuffs, the French police forces should be firing gas-tipped explosive rounds into the heads of anyone who is not French by virtue of their birth. And if the plague spreads to other immigrant havens such as Germany and England, then it would behoove the United States and Russia to deploy tactical squads to those countries to aid in surpressing and destroying the barbaric invaders.

Rome fell when it let in the Christians. China, to the Mongols hordes. The Egyptian Empire fell as soon as the Greeks arrived, seeking "knowlege". The Aztecs and Incas succumbed to the Spanish Conquistadors. English colonists all but wiped out Native American Indian culture in the name of religious freedom. If history has taught us anything, it is that forks, spoons, and knives all have their own little slots in the drawers for a reason. And if you don't like that analogy, think about what hapens if you try to pour red paint into the blue can -- you don't get a new, exciting, and beautiful shade of purple. You get ruined fucking paint.

I realize that this piece seems awfully nationalistic -- and I'm not even a soccer fan. There comes a time, however, when we must crush the whiny, hand holding, nonsensical icon of "diversity" with the cold iron fist of common sense. Lions don't let hyenas wander into their pride's watering hole: why should we?