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The New Pandemic

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With all the concern about the many pandemics bird flu, mad cow disease Lyme disease, aids. The rise in childhood asthma caused by air pollution it’s not surprising that one would slip through unnoticed especially one that affects brain function. You wouldn’t expect someone to go to the office manager and say, “I need to go home I’m feeling stupid today.”

But that’s the insidious nature of CSS or corporate stupidity syndrome, it invades the mind and multiplies driving out common sense leaving the victim either mentally incapacitated or suffering with rage fatigue.

Recently a hamburger chain with a little red haired girl as their mascot advertised staying open late through the drive in window. As I pulled behind the restaurant I saw nine or ten cars waiting in line and thought that was a heck of a good idea! But twelve minutes later as I still hadn’t received my food I said, “The hell with this” and drove off.

They had inside the restaurant 2 count em 2 employee’s, one taking in money while one was trying to prepare all the food. With out a doubt CSS and the worst kind Insertus Cranius in Rectumus or bean counters chorea. The mark up on fast food is tremendous but when the bean counters deviate from the formula of supplying A. food and B. quickly the vehicle rapidly falls apart. The drive off rate was about 40% split between those who ordered their food and left with out it and those who tired waiting to order.

But to the CSS victim they were doing great! They saved the $10.00 an extra employee would have cost but of course the franchisee will kick in to the national ad campaigns to convince his customers to choose their hamburgers over someone else’s and their drive through window was driving off thirty angry customers a hour but hey! You saved ten bucks!

Symptoms of CSS include the blank stare and glazed eyes with a pronounced inability to understand the problem. The other Sunday with my wife was ill I wanted to make sure she ate so I went to a local family restaurant to get her a chicken biscuit. The place is always packed but today the drive through was backed up out in to the street. I found literally the last place in the parking lot and headed for the door but looking inside it looked like the fraternity prank of how many people can you squeeze into a phone booth.


So I headed for my second choice the place with the clown for a mascot and in reality there has never been a more appropriate mascot ever named on Earth. The building just underwent a million-dollar renovation with stone work and the addition of flat screen TV’s you see to the CSS victim I won’t get angry about slow or incompetent service as long as I have a television to watch.

I ordered two big breakfast’s and two orange juices, but because my order was complicated I had to wait, I moved over to the left to join the crowd of the disgruntled, all waiting for their orders. As I watched each customer would thoroughly check their orders before leaving taking up time and space. It was then I realized just how extensive CSS has become. You order a hamburger french fries and a Coke and you have to check the bag to make sure that there is a hamburger and french fries in the bag and you have to get your own coke because they can’t handle that either!

What’s next I come in and cook my own hamburger? We have a place like that now it’s called home. But ordering two big breakfasts for CSS suffers is akin to building the space shuttle. You see they advertise breakfast but just can’t seem to handle the concept that people are coming that want breakfast. So when my turn came I checked the assemblage asking for a drink tray and napkins. It never occurs to the CSS sufferer that maybe I can’t drive a 5 speed and juggle orange juice cups.

My employer was going to provide me with a cell phone so I went to pick one out and as I pointed to one the saleswomen explained that’s not really a very good one. So I pointed to the next expensive model and she explained “That’s an older model we had problems with those, I don’t think we’ve got those in stock. My curiosity piqued, I asked, “Which one would you suggest?” With a smile she grabbed the $300.00 model with camera and texting and video games. I answered “I just want to make phone calls.”

Of course she was doing the CSS sell job as they train them to do, so I asked why does your company sell phones that are crap? And if your company sells phones that are all crap why should I expect your service to be any better? Apparently that question wasn’t in the training manual. I explained to my employer I’ll use my own phone and we left empty handed CSS sales training at it’s finest.

But the other day my Direct TV malfunctioned, I have been a subscriber for three years and loved it. Yes it flickers when it rains but how often is that and anyway anything is better than those rude stupid a**holes at the Cable Company. We once had a problem with the dish being out of line but their customer service explained how to correct it quickly with out incident then one of my favorite channels Link TV had disappeared and the company explained the fix for that. So the system isn’t perfect and provided you have a modicum of customer service it’s no problem.

But the other day I turned on the set and the converter box blinked it’s red light on and off at me thirty time a minute “Hmm,” I said “it’s never done that before.” I grabbed the bill and began to look for the customer service number that was once prominently posted on the bill but it was gone. The only number listed said for billing inquires but no luck that’s all they were concerned with was the money. So I went on line and found a number that was labeled for home subscribers with no mention of customer service.

Welcome to Direct TV press 1 for English press 2 for Spanish press 3 for pay per view press 4 for billing enquiry press 5 for NFL Sunday ticket all others please hold.After five minutes of listening to Direct TV commercial I get John, “Hi can I get your phone number please” I give him the number and he asks what seems to be the problem? I explain, “John I’ve had Direct TV for three years and tonight the red light on my converter box is flashing on and off. He asks,“But other wise it’s functioning ok?” No John it’s not functioning ok were it just a flashing red light I would learn to live with it. “Are the other appliances in your house working ok?” With great difficulty I restrained myself from telling John what an absolutely stupid question that was. I would have loved to have said no, we are sitting here in the dark with everything out but thought we’d call Direct TV first because even though the powers out we still have that damn flashing red light!

So, John asks, “Have you tried unplugging it and waiting 15 seconds” Yes John we’ve tried that, “Hmm he says I’m going to have to turn you over to a technician” What? You’re not a tecnition John? So I’m put back on hold for twenty-five minutes listening to more Direct TV commercials. Want to hear them? I know them all by heart the movers special and NFL Sunday ticket and Direct TV pays your mortgage for a year contest but if you call because your converter box is flashing it’s red light off and on you’re screwed.

I figured a half an hour on hold to answer the question of why is the red light flashing was long enough. Domino’s can bring me a pizza from across town Brakeo can do half a brake job on my car and Evelyn Wood can improve my reading abilities in the same time frame.

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I was born and raised in Chicago in a liberal Democratic home my Grandfather was a labor union organizer my Father a Democratic district committeeman my Mother was an election judge. My earliest memories were of passing out Kennedy yard signs from (more...)
 

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