April 28th, 2007

Interesting words

"To me reading is a rest, as conversation or a game of cards is to others. It is more than that; it is a necessity, and if I am deprived of it for a little while I find myself as irritable as the addict deprived of his drug. I would sooner read a time-table or a catalogue than nothing at all. I have put books aside only because I was conscious that time was passing and that it was my business to live. But it is an effort, and I have always returned to my books and my own company with relief."
W. Somerset Maugham

the twilight zone

Last night as I was leaving University Village I noticed that the Blockbuster across the street had a sign saying "4 DVD's for $20." I thought I might find some flics for viewing at the cottage this summer and decided to pull in.

Once there I browsed the special buy table and dug out four dvd's that looked passable. Then the twilight zone took over.

After waiting in line for a while I got to the register. I plopped down my dvd's and put $22 on top of them. Okay, the guy at the register started the purchase and then said, "Oh, no." It turned out that he had successfully scanned only three of them, and the register had totaled them as separate amounts. The result of three being bought for $28 rather than four for $20. Simple problem, right? He punches some button to fix the purchase and the register starts to spew out a reel of all purchases from that register starting with January 1. The paper rolls and rolls out. "It will just be a minute!" He grabs six-foot handsfull (handfulls?), tears them off and tosses them. "It will just be a minute!" I hand the dvd's to the next register and ask for help. "NO!" They have already been scanned. No help there. The register then starts to reel off some new data. I put the money on the dvd's and say, "I will take the dvd's; you keep the change, okay?" "No! Then you wouldn't have a receipt. Against company policy!" I say, "I don't need a receipt; I just want the dvd's; you can toss the receipt." "NO! can't do that."

I stare at him. The register rolls on. The line behind me gets longer. I am trapped in one of those strange fugue states. No exit. Blockbuster clearly has no policy at all of satisfying their customers.

I reach over, take my money back, turn and walk off, saying "Take your time with the register. I am gone."

I leave the store to the echo of the words, "I am sorry! I apologize!"

(To tell the truth, the fellow seemed like a nice guy, but I am amazed that Blockbuster has even two customers with policies such as they seem to have. I do have a good story to tell 150 students next week, and I bet I can put a tiny dent in Blockbuster's sales to gullible customers.)