Friday, March 19, 2004

Things that make me really mad (this week)

1. MBNA Canada. Over a week ago someone called to offer me a super low rate on any balance transfers, and I decided to take advantage of this deal. The other day someone else called to tell me they had not in fact proceeded with the transfer because I had an outstanding balance, so that would be contrary to policy. Eight stinking dollars. Not only did no one notice I owed eight stinking dollars at the time of offering me a low rate for transfers, MBNA cancelled a transaction of thousands (well, one and half) for the sake of eight stinking dollars. "Customer service" called to tell me that if I wanted to proceed with a balance transfer I would have to call back after my payment to them of eight stinking dollars had cleared — and the super low interest rate may not be available at that time. Well, forget it! Eight stinking dollars!

2. My dishwashing detergent. Specifically President's Choice Invigorating Aromatherapy Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Passion Flower Scent. Which I purchased because my usual brand wasn't available and this seemed like the best available option of the slim pickings at the nearby overpriced grocery store where I don't usually make such household product purchases, but this was a dishwashing liquid emergency. No, there's nothing wrong with the dishwashing liquid per se, but it doesn't work. Invigorating — my ass! Do they really think a little whiff of something can transform the dishwashing experience into a pleasant, let alone pleasurable, one? Not even catnip...

3. Bookstore employees who don't realize they're at work. Not that I have anything against enjoying one's job, but failing to acknowledge that customers exist is a bit of a problem. It's not like I wanted to ask them a question or anything. All I ask of them is a little professional demeanour. Two of them scrambled to get past me and the stroller to grab the last two copies of Umberto Eco's Baudolino off the bargain shelf ($8.99), chatting the whole time about what a good deal it was and how lucky they were to save the last two for themselves. Lucky for them I already read it. I can appreciate that some bookstore employees actually like books and that, with their wages, a bargain may be worth scrambling for. But do it on your own time, before or after your shift, or at least when there's a lull in the store. Not during lunch hour when the place is packed and you have to scramble through crowds. Maybe that's what it took for them to feel the urgency of the bargain, with the books' potential to vanish from their shelves forever, but it's so not professional.

4. People who push and shove in order to wrangle the last available table at Starbucks when I, tired and coffee-deprived and with a baby chomping at the bit to get out of her stroller for a stretch and a snack, could really use a sit-down. Sure, there were pre-baby times when I didn't offer up my seat to seemingly more deserving individuals, but guiltily I would always try to smile apologetically to convey that I had a migraine or otherwise didn't feel well and I really deserved that seat. But these two guys were just assholes.

5. People who don't understand how traffic flows on sidewalks (walk on the right, pass on the left), escalators (stand on the right, pass on the left), and within buses. I've been on buses that were transporting as many as four babies in strollers at a time, and I know they can be compactly arranged so as to not impede the flow of other passengers. But yesterday's stroller owners obviously sucked at Tetris.

6. Arriving home when Helena's been asleep in her stroller for only 20 minutes and it's not feasible to extend our excursion just for her to get a little more nap time. It's damn near impossible to extricate her from the stroller and lug her up to the third floor without her waking.

7. My hair.

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