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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Technology Snafu or dumb Humans?

Well, I did something the other day I swore I wouldn’t. I promised in blood I wouldn’t do it, but I gave in.
I bought a lawn tractor.
You see, at my age, I don’t get enough exercise. I know, I know. It’s my fault. Most of what I get was walking behind my little Lawnboy self-propelled and playing with the grandkids in the swimming pool.
But, I tell you, the way grass has been growing plus the heat, I wasn’t just pooped when I finished mowing, I was flat pooped out.
And if you know anything about poop, flat-pooped-out is to pooped like a double dog dare is to dare.
What started all this was a few weeks back when I had cataract surgery. Couldn’t even read the big E at the top of the chart.
Now, it had been almost seventy years since I’d been a patient at a hospital when I had my tonsils out as a boy, but that’s another story. The eye doc told me no strenuous activities for four weeks, so I hired a local gent to mow my yard, which is fairly good size.
At least it’s fair sized in my estimation.
It takes about two hours with a hand mower, and that’s not counting weed-eating, another task I heartily dislike.
To top it all off, the once a week business just let the grass get too high. Don’t misunderstand, tall grass doesn’t bother me. I can watch it grow all day without the least bit of guilt or shame.
I just don’t have the get up and go I once had. Like the old cowpoke drawled, ‘it just got up and went’.
That’s enough rambling. Let’s get back to the story.
I went to my local lawn mower specialist, an independent business owner in Port Neches. I buy all my lawn stuff from him and he maintains it, a service you don’t find too often today.
He gave me a few hints, and I headed out, spending the day looking through Mid-County.
I followed his suggestions: at least 17 hp; front engine; Briggs and Stratton; local maintenance; and a cup holder in the fender so I’d have someplace to put my beer and keep both hands on the steering wheel.
You know, they say sometimes even a blind dog finds a bone.
That summed it up for me.
I found what I wanted in Mid-County, paid for it, made delivery arrangements.
I should have expected trouble when the clerk handling the process kept asking a second gentleman questions--profound questions like ‘which button do I push now?’ or ‘do we deliver?’
I glanced at my wife and rolled my eyes. Why is it I always get the new clerk—oops, I mean ‘sales associate’ that the store is breaking in?
That was Wednesday. Delivery was Saturday. Here’s where the trouble started.
We received a call that next day informing us the tractor would be delivered Friday instead of Saturday.
Great—give me an earlier chance to play with my new toy.
Next morning we got a call saying there was not one at the warehouse. They wanted me to call the store, which I did, and got hold of another one of those ‘sales associates in training.” Patiently, I started going over all that had happened. By the time I finished, my hair was standing on end in frustration.
Somehow communication suffers between two people when English is a sixth language for one of the participants.
I was ready to call it off, but my wife said just wait.
A couple hours later, a call informed us it would at our house by noon that day.
I didn’t hold my breath, but by golly, here it came in the back of a pickup. No delivery truck. Simply a pickup with no logo on the door.
The deliveryman unloaded the tractor and showed me how to use it. I’ll tell you one thing, while appearing pretty much same as they did twenty years ago, lawn tractors are a little more complicated. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t catch on as fast.
After he left, I forgot all he had said. I had to read the directions to figure out to start it. You can follow my trial run by the shaved flowerbeds, knocked-over shrugs, skinned yard, treed cats, and angry wife.
But if you think, as I did, that with the delivery of the tractor, my dealings with this company were over, you’re wrong.
Next day, Saturday, I got call saying delivery was delayed. If I’d call them, we’d set up a time.
I called and explained the tractor had been delivered, then added “But I’d be happy to take another if you won’t charge me for it.”
She didn’t laugh. I guess some of my humor is lost on someone with English as a sixth language/ I had more calls the next two days informing me delivery would be delayed. I called them again Monday, explained it and was told everything was fine. Not to worry. Tuesday morning I received two more calls.
What do you want to bet that if I’d bought it at a local Mom and Pop business that Pop would darn well have remember delivering it? Unfortunately none are available around here.
Technology gone haywire? Or humans botching technology?
Even this morning, I received three calls before ten a.m. I’m tired of explain. I’m tempted to let them deliver it. Since I never signed any delivery papers, I could claim I’d never received it.
You think?
Naw, wouldn’t be right, but if they keep calling, wanting to deliver one, I might just break down.

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