Hello, Readers. Look, I've been so busy with work this week I haven't had the time to do much that makes me happy. That's just the reality of things. Speaking of reality, I just glossed over my notes from this week's Bachelor in hopes of throwing something together in my carved-out hour of writing time today.
At first, I was convinced that I had horrible case of Writer's Block; however, after careful, measured reflection I've come to realize that the show is boring this season. It's also uncommonly predictable. Ergo, my heretofore misdiagnosed Writer's Block. The truth is that I just don't have much to say about it this week. Let me try, however.
First, the letter from JoJo's ex-boyfriend looked like it was written by a female ABC intern. I'm not buying the fact that Chad uses XOXO to sign his letters or that he dots his I's with hearts. I'm also not buying the strategically placed roses outside of the Uptown Dallas condo that JoJo's dad bought for her.
Every guy knows this. If you order roses for a woman and she's not home when they try to deliver them, the florist calls you and they keep them refrigerated in the truck until they can track her down. Every. Guy. Knows. This. It's common knowledge.
And don't tell me "Chad" picked them up and left them there coincidentally when JoJo would be arriving home after 3 weeks out of town with a television crew in tow. Nonsense. "Chad" doesn't strike me as the flowers at the airport baggage claim guy.
By the way, I'm sick of that guy. It makes the rest of us look like we're not trying. If you're that guy, knock it off.
Oh, and an a**hole from Dallas named Chad? That's easier to find than a coffee shop in Seattle or a guy named Hector on a construction crew. Aside from Sean Lowe and Tony Romo, every white guy from Dallas is named Chad. In fact, I think both of JoJo's "brothers" were named Chad. That whole situation was a bit creepy, was it not?
My predictions for the Fantasy Suite:
1. JoJo gives it up faster than Usain Bolt can run the 200.
2. Lauren gives it up but makes him a nice gift before she gets defiled.
3. Caila gives it up but somehow fumbles the ball on the goal line after she gets defiled.
My best guess is that JoJo and Lauren make the final two. I've said that Lauren B.'s simplicity compared to the edgier JoJo will win out. The ex-boyfriend and hyper aggressive alpha-male step-brothers certainly didn't help JoJo's case and Lauren has been, if nothing else, consistent all season. I'm confident that she'll be sort of engaged for an indefinite period of unspecified time and that JoJo will lose her shot at becoming the temporary-almost-Mrs. Ben Higgins.
Now, I'd like you to humor me as I rant about what's really on my mind today.
Ok, so why am I cranky and uninspired today? Well, let me allow all of you to peek behind the Some Guy curtain for a moment. Lord knows there's a lot to see behind my curtain.
Anyone who knows me is aware that my biggest pet peeve BY FAR is waiting in line for anything. I hate it. I mean really hate it. Another one of my pet peeves is bad service or incompetence accompanied by apathy. Examples? A waiter who doesn't know about the menu or getting the wrong thing at the drive through. Perfection is not required but I expect a certain amount of competence and pride in whatever is being done. I just want people to do the job they're being paid to do. It's that simple. When that doesn't happen, it drives me nuts, especially if I have to wait in line for it.
How far will I go to avoid both of these from invading my day? Trust me, it crosses the Unreasonable Line into the Ridiculous.
I've actually paid an additional $300 to upgrade my airplane seat 6 rows so I didn't have to wait to exit the plane.
I paid $800 for a new iPhone because I was told I'd have to make an appointment at the Apple Store to get my broken one fixed.
I once drove past 2 bagel shops and one breakfast place in my neighborhood because I saw a line when I pulled into the parking lot. I ended up not eating.
Crazy? Maybe, but I can't get around it.
Another pet peeve? Millennials. Not everyone in the entire generation, just the vast majority of them. I know I sound like an old man, but to be fair, many of the qualities that made me angry when I was in my 20's are now embodied in that generation. In other words, I hated most of them before they were born.
Little did I know that I was headed for the perfect storm when I broke that phone I paid $800 for in order to replace the other one I paid $500 for a few months prior to that. Yes, you heard that correctly. So here's how this sets up.
Months ago, I dropped my iPhone. Because I'm a minimalist, I refused to buy a giant rubber case for my iPhone. Let's just forget about the fact that Apple has the balls to charge me $40 bucks for it. The iPhone 6S is already big enough. Putting a giant case on it is like carrying a gas station restroom key chained to a 2X4 to prevent it from being stolen. If it won't snugly and unassumingly fit in the front pocket of a pearl snap shirt, I don't want it. That rule of thumb, by the way, saves me a lot of aggravation.
I won't belabor the background and I promise to get to my point. When I broke the first phone, I made the mistake of going to AT&T--you know, where I bought the phone--to replace it. I was given the "we're just the service provider we don't handle repair or replacement" canned speech and told I had to go to Apple. I called Apple first from the AT&T Store and was told I had to make an appointment. The guy was nice enough to dial them from the land line for me.
The call went something like this:
SGIA: Appointment? I'm not going to the dentist. I'm coming in a retail store to give you some more of my money. Why do I need an appointment to give you money?
APPLE: Sorry, sir (read: jerk), you'll have to make an appointment at the Genius Bar so they can look at your phone.
SGIA: Genius Bar? Hold on. (to AT&T guy behind counter) How much will it cost me to get a phone right here right now?
ATT: $800 but I think you should just . . . .
SGIA: Ring it up.
Fast forward to early this week and picture my eyes widening in slow motion as my phone tumbled from my hand on to the sidewalk in front of me shattering the screen. I'll spare you the four letter words that followed in quick succession . . . all 100 of them.
So I'm sitting in my car realizing that I now have two iPhones with broken screens that need to be fixed. The trip to The Apple Store was now as inevitable as the sunset. I called from my cracked phone and made an appointment. Like it or not, I'd have to play their game.
noun: genius; plural noun: geniuses
exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability."she was a teacher of genius"
brilliance, intelligence, intellect, ability, cleverness, brains, erudition, wisdom, fine mind; Moreartistry, flair "the world knew of his genius"
talent, gift, flair, aptitude, facility, knack, bent, ability, expertise, capacity, faculty; strength, forte, brilliance, skill, artistry "she has a genius for organization"
Let's see. Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Rene Descartes, and every single person that works retail in the back of the Apple Store. Sounds about right, doesn't it?
Here are my observations upon showing up for my Apple appointment.
1. The store is, by definition, designed to draw all of the customers to the back. ANYTHING that needs to be accomplished there--other than playing with all of the Apple devices--must occur at the back of the store. In other words, it's designed for Apple's benefit rather than for the customer's convenience.
Just in case there is any question about that, there's a guy in a blue shirt within 5 feet of the door wearing $10,000 worth of electronics hanging from various parts of his blue Apple shirt and skinny jeans holding an iPad that--by the looks of it--contains the answer to every single possible question he could be asked. I know this because he never made eye contact with me he just stared into his iPad rapidly punching the screen.
I wondered for a second if he wasn't in the process of putting the final touches on his avant garde movie or finishing his online application at Starbucks.
The answer to all of those millions of possible questions, by the way, is "go see another guy in a blue shirt with $10,000 worth of electronics hanging from various parts of his blue Apple shirt and skinny jeans holding an iPad at the back of the store."
2. There are 200 employees who cannot help me with $10,000 worth of electronics hanging from various parts of their blue Apple shirts and skinny jeans holding iPads between the guy at the front door and the guy at the back of the store. They don't look up from their iPads either.
3. The guy at the back of the store's job? As best as I can tell, his job is to ask me the same questions I was asked by the guy up front, type knowingly into his iPad and then respond, "wait over there, someone will be right with you" while simultaneously pointing to an empty area.
I won't bore you with all of the details, but because I had two phones repaired, I ended up making four visits to The Apple Store. Numbers 1-3 were identical each time. They are, if nothing else I suppose, consistent.
4. The other 198 people working at the store cannot help me unless their iPad sends them a message to speak with me. They might as well unionize or work for the government. They're only allowed to perform one function and have no interest in doing anything but that one function--whatever that may be.
I was actually "helped" by a woman who emerged from behind the Wizard of Oz-esque giant silver door behind the "Genius Bar." She looked at her iPad (a job requirement) and actually said--and I mean this--"Great SGIA, someone will be right out to pick up your damaged phone and take it back for repair" before she hit a spot reading "Enter" on her iPad and walked back behind the giant silver door. I literally thought they were f*cking with me.
So I waited. And waited. I waited in fear of leaving the spot I was told to stand on because I thought if I moved, I would somehow reset the Apple front-to-back-to-Genius checker-to-next guy behind the door continuum. After all, these are geniuses I'm dealing with and I'm far too stupid to second guess them. After I got sick of waiting, I began to wander.
5. NOTHING has a price on it. I take that back. The Beats headphones have a $399 price tag buried on the back right hand corner in small font but it takes real effort to find it.
I resented the intentional manipulation. Granted, the entire marketing industry is designed around manipulating the customer, but it was something about the patent, unapologetic way in which it occurred in the store that I found offensive.
What? No price? Oh, shucks. I guess that means I have to ask someone who will tell me about the product, try and upsell me, and can "conveniently" ring it up (on the ubiquitous iPad) right there so I don't have time to rethink it as I walk to the cash register.
6. "SGIA?" I heard my name. Finally. A glance at my watch (not an Apple watch) told me that I had been in the store for my "appointment" for a full 42 minutes before actually (I presumed) getting to someone who could help me.
The guy shook my hand as if to say "you're about to get bent over the Genius Bar" and had the balls to ask me "what can we do for you today?" Are you shitting me? I was so shocked that one of the Geniuses addressed me with a direct interrogatory statement and looked me in the eye while doing it rather than regurgitating what was on the iPad 6 inches in front of his face and attached to his non-dominant hand that I actually answered. After some more iPad punching, I surrendered the phone--and $109--so he could take it behind the giant silver door.
I think we all get the picture at this point. As I type this my Apple experience is still not over. The second phone is being repaired and I have to run back through the gauntlet in a bit. I can't wait to repeat myself for an hour again.
I suppose Tim Cook is to blame for all of this. It is, after all, his company to run. However, Tim Cook happens to be gay--a fact completely irrelevant to anything having to do with Apple--so I don't want to criticize him for fear of being labelled homophobic. Rampant political correctness is perhaps the most annoying byproduct of the millennial generation.
For the record, I could not care less if a man dressed as Joan Crawford with a Liza Minelli Fan Club card in his purse floated out from behind the Genius Bar like Snow White skipping through the forest to assist me as long as he did it competently. I'm very gender non-specific in that way.
I'm certain that my experience and my frustration are not unique. Let's face it, though. When it comes to technology the Millennial Generation runs the show and the experience at The Apple Store is the perfect metaphor for that generation and a larger statement about our entire society.
Technology has taken away the common sense human element of simple interactions and created layers upon layers of inefficiency tantamount to what communism did to Russian society. Instead of standing in line for bread and milk to be rationed by the government, we now stand in line waiting for iPhones and half-truths to be rationed by "Geniuses".
Instead of standing tall to sing the Russian National Anthem at the local rally, we're all walking around humming the default ring on the iPhone. How many times have you grabbed your pocket or your purse in search of your phone only to discover that it's someone else's phone that was ringing?
All the more reason for me to move to Montana, write my own Constitution, and live in a buried school bus. I wonder if I could get internet access, though.
Steve Jobs is the Henry Ford of his time. There's no question that Apple products and innovation have changed the world for the better. It just hasn't done the same for the retail business.
Well, that's it. Share your Apple Store stories below. I'll read them while I'm waiting on a Genius.