Monday, April 30, 2007

Aw C'MON Atlanta Bread Company!

You'll remember from this post how nicey-nice I was to Atlanta Bread Company b/c they'd admitted a screw up and were happy to make amends.

Went there again this weekend. Two sandwiches. Both require cheese. Cheese is my life's blood. I would live on grilled cheese sandwiches if I wouldn't then have to use a pulley system to get to/from work.

Anyway, yeah, no cheese. Not even 'wrong cheese'. Not even 'half-assed attempt at cheese'. Goddammit. Where's my CHEESE?!

Atlanta Bread Company is now on my sh*t list.

I'm misty-eyed. Words are failing me. So I'll let this dummy take a crack at it:

Looking for a job? You must be smiling, cheerful, dependable...at least during the interview.

Cashier/Stock Associates

Company: Duane Reade, Inc.
Location: Various Stores
Status: Full Time or Part Time
Experience:
Salary:
Posted Date: 4/9/2007

Job Description:
Cashier/Stock

What We Do:

Duane Reade, New York's number one drug store chain, has the largest market share of any chain drug store in the New York Metropolitan area. We are recognized in this market as the consumer’s first choice for pharmacy and convenience needs including health and beauty care items, cosmetics, gift cards, vitamins and grocery items.

Convenient locations in NYC's five boroughs, Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey, flexible schedules that fit your lifestyle and promotions from within are just a few of the benefits we offer. If you are looking for a great career in retail, we welcome you to explore the many opportunities we have at Duane Reade; a Company where an exciting career is in your future!

Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalency.
  • Must be eighteen years of age.
  • A smiling face and upbeat attitude.
  • The drive to see opportunity and go get it!
  • Dependable and trustworthy.
  • Passion and a sense of urgency to take care of the customer.
  • Basic leadership skills.
  • Ability to learn quickly and follow basic instruction.

Responsibilities:

  • Ensure a fast, accurate and pleasant check-out of all customers.
  • Provide exemplary customer service.
  • Deter shop-lifting following Company standards.
  • Follow basic instruction from store managers and assistant managers.
  • Unload trucks in compliance with Company standards.
  • Comply with the company uniform policy.
  • Conduct price audits using the scanner gun.
  • Ensure as many customers as possible are enrolled in the Dollar Rewards loyalty card program.
  • Be a team player and provide a helping hand to all associates.
  • Work safely and efficiently building displays and stocking shelves.
  • Treat all associates with respect and dignity.
  • Bring the right attitude to work everyday and ensure all customers leave the store happy!

Click on link below and apply online or visit us at our Career Center:

505 8th Avenue

New York, NY

(Entrance is on 35th street off of 8th Avenue)

*Dress code is business casual. No jeans or sneakers allowed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

From Consumerist: A Typical Day with HP Customer Service



God Bless Consumerist.

Although nothing major happens during this recorded call to HP's customer service line, it's somewhat comforting to know that it's not just you who gets the runaround.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nice-os Doesn't Have the Same Ring...

Gird your loins, people. I'm gonna post something positive.

Atlanta Bread Company...specifically the one in Clifton, NJ...you've melted a cold witch's heart.

BF and I were grabbing some lunch last Saturday at ABC. Because we both have the immune systems of a poorly-funded TB-ward, we had a lot of exceptions to our order:

Me: Balsamic Bleu Salad with Chicken, hold the tomatoes, dressing on the side.
Him: California panini without onions and sub Rosemary bread for onion panini.

Sold.

We get our food and sit down. I'm about to dive in (that'swhathesaid) and I see tomatoes. Ok, no biggie. I take them out and give them to BF.

He starts pulling out onions and we bemoan the poor service, but still maintain an even keel.

I'm halfway through my salad...why am I still hungry...wait - whereTF is my chicken?

BF chimes in with "yeah, this is still onion bread."

I channel my father and slam my napkin on the table, which falls to the floor, so really what was I proving by littering, and approach the counter.

"Hi, yeah, here's the receipt. The entire order is screwed up. He's allergic to onions and I'm not seeing any chicken in there." (Yeah, wearing the bitch hat.)

So I get the obligatory "sigh of frustration," which I think in the tri-state area is an official weather pattern.

And I expect nothing less than a side order of chicken added to my half eaten salad and a spare roll for BF. I'm not hopeful here. We ARE talking about customer service, right?

Well, I swear on Alec Baldwin's phone bill, they not only give us our money back, they give us both new entrees (that looked better than previous...and I saw them make it, no spittle in sight) AND escorted me to the table.

We're done, right?

No, because here comes Manager:

"Folks, I just wanted to stop by and apologize for the mix-up. I wouldn't blame you for not coming back, but I hope you do. We've just put things together here, so they're a little unorganized."

Sitting there, mid lettuce, I chew "thanks".

"Ok, well, you guys have a good day and hope to see you again!"

Ok...we're stunned. But wait, who's this?

Food prep guy: "hey, sorry about that. I screwed up. Hope you guys come back."

I choked on my complimentary bread. No really. I did. Crumb in windpipe.

Luckily, I recovered. They'd probably flog themselves if I choked to death.

So, bravo Atlanta Bread Company in Clifton, NJ. You guys took the Wrath out of me...

...That is, until I have to refill my meds at Duane Reade...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Duane Reade's Rigorous Entrance Exam

A little bird told me to visit DuaneReade.com and take a look at their online job application. I figured it might have a typo or some lame background question, but I never thought I would stumble upon the comic gold that lies before you.

This test is multiple choice only. Please take out your #2 Ticonderoga pencils and put your head down on the desk when you've completed. You must answer each question before going to the next (this is true, btw). Ready class?

Begin!

As a condition of employment, would you be willing to be screened for illegal drug use in the next 3 business days?

Are you willing to work with the general public?
(Sincerely love the fact they have to ask.)

Will you authorize us to conduct a criminal background check?
(This theme was brought up a few times in the exam. I get that this is standard for pretty much any job, but about 25% of the test was dedicated to your 'record'.)

Have you ever been fired due to attendance problems?
Should a person who's been caught using illegal drugs or alcohol at work be fired?
(Ah, the trick moral question.)

Can you operate a calculator?
(For those special moments when the f*in registers blow.)

Have you been convicted of any other crimes in the past 10 years?
Do not answer "Yes" if your conviction record has been annulled, expunged, pardoned, erased, impounded or sealed. *Note: The existence of a criminal history will not automatically disqualify you from the job you are applying for.
(See?)

Has your family received Food Stamps in the last 15 months?
(Now, to be fair, they said these types of questions were there for tax purposes only, but I'm wondering if it's legal to even ask this question? Any lawyers out there willing to illuminate?)

In the last 6 months, were you member of a low-income family?
(Your choices here were 'yes, no or I'm not sure.' Sorry DR, I've been there. If you're broke, you're sure.)

Do you find dealing with customers to be difficult?

Is it hard for you to be friendly and courteous if the customer is rude?

Is it acceptable to argue with a customer if you think they are wrong?

Would you say finishing a task is more important than stopping to help a customer?
(These are my favorite, since folks obviously don't answer these truthfully. Funny how the questions they ask make you wonder how many complaints they've received that would warrant a special place in a job questionnaire.)

Would you rather:
A. Always be pleasant to everyone
B. Have supervisors who know what they are doing
(Those are the options - be nice or have a competent boss?)

Would you rather:
A. Decide yourself how to do the details of your work
B. Work where you don't have to pretend to be polite
(I truly would shed tears if they pretended to be polite.)

Would you rather:
A. Work where there are frequent conflicts
B. Do fun and creative work with your mind
(Gee, are there frequent conflicts at DR? Rather than finding folks who are ok with dealing with the conflicts, how about FIXING THEM?!)

Would you rather:
A. Do quick and accurate work with your hands
B. Stay patient with equipment that breaks down
(See 'calculator'.)

Answer these yes/no:
You do some things that upset people
(Does eating cheetos at the cash register count?)

You don't act polite when you don't want to

Any trouble you have is your own fault

You are careful not to offend people

You have no big regrets about your past
(Gettin' a little personal there, Duane. And, what if your biggest regret was not shooting up a pharmacy chain?)

It bothers you when you have to obey a lot of rules

It is maddening when the court lets guilty criminals go free (Another morality issue...personally, I was disappointed there was no 'roe v. wade' question here.)

You look back and feel bad about things you've done (Yes. Every moment of my life. It involves fire. Now, can you please give me a job where I can ignore customers, talk on my cell while 'working' a register and f*up pharmaceuticals? Thenkew.)

Pencils down!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Duane Reade: Missed Connections

Oh god, there are so many wrongs in this world, this can only make it right:

"my dog peed at duane reade. - w4m (Midtown East)"

Reply to: pers-313938772@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-04-17, 11:09PM EDT

My puppy peed all over the floor at duane reade. You were on the phone and laughed as i tried to cover it up. You made me smile...

Dear pers-313938772: You had us at dog pee.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NJT: Ok, now you're just messing with me.


4/18/07, 5:23pm from NJ Transit Alert:
Update: Due to a disabled train, NEC, NJCL, and Midtown Direct trains are subject to 15 - 30 minute delays in and out of NYPS.

4/18/07, 5:26pm from NJ Transit Alert:
Due to a disabled train, NEC, NJCL, and Midtown Direct trains are subject to 10 - 15 minute delays in and out of NYPS.

4/18/07, 5:29pm from NJ Transit Alert:
Attention: Due to a disabled train, NEC, NJCL, and Midtown Direct trains are subject to 10 - 15 minute delays in and out of NYPS.

So, let me get this straight:

First, there was a disabled train causing delays of up to half an hour.

Then, in a feat rarely seen outside of Leviticus, that train cut traffic IN HALF three minutes later.

Then we were scolded for not paying attention.

Duane Reade Ranked #7 out of 7
::cue surprise face::

Bwahahhaaahahahaaa!!! (lightning bolt)

Big fat kudos to Meredith for pointing this out - rock it, M!

Did you see this?
Duane Reade ranks 7th of 7 brick-and-mortar pharmacies for customer satisfaction. Big surprise.
In case you don't have a WSJ online subscription, here's the post:
April 17, 2007, 12:07 pm

Pharmacy Survey Says: Medicine Shoppe No. 1

Posted by Jacob Goldstein

When people get prescriptions filled, they like to be asked whether they want to speak with the pharmacist — even though they don't usually want to have that conversation. (Apparently, consumers just like to know it's an option.) That's among the findings released today from J.D. Power and Associates, which for the first time ranked customer satisfaction at pharmacies.

The results are based on an online survey of 6,543 U.S. consumers conducted last fall. The top retail pharmacy was Medicine Shoppe, an international franchise business owned by the drug distributor Cardinal Health. Here are the complete rankings for brick-and-mortar pharmacies:

    1. Medicine Shoppe
    2. CVS/Pharmacy
    3. Walgreen's
    4. Longs Drugs
    5. Rite Aid
    6. Brooks-Eckerd
    7. Duane Reade

And for mail order:

    1. Caremark
    2. PharmaCare Management Services
    3. Medco
    4. Walgreen's Health Initiatives, Inc.
    5. Express Scripts
    6. PrecisionRx.com/WellPoint
    7. CIGNA Pharmacy Management

The company also ranked pharmacy services at supermarkets, where Florida-based Publix was No. 1, and big-box stores, where Target fared best. For complete results, see the company's web site.


HA! HA! F*cking HA! I love karma/fate/yourmom. She's been such a good friend - like the time when the stuffy business dude gave me a huffed 'excuuuse me' while pushing past me and then tripped over his own feet into the large angry woman ahead of him. Yeah it's like that, but gooder!

UPDATE: Story is also posted via our friends at Consumerist, with kicky grandpa jpeg.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Times Are Hard: Jobs at Duane Reade

From Craigslist. You know, the ONE thing that was lacking from my Duane Reade experience was obnoxious unsolicited schpritzing.

SEEKING BEAUTIFUL AND OUTGOING FEMALES (ages 18 to 32)

Looking to hire "100" females to work in Duane Reade stores in the NYC Region.

You will be promoting men's fragrance body deodorant.

Date: April 14th & 15th (must be available to do both dates, no exceptions)

Time: TBD

Pay: $17/hr

Please forward this to anyone who you feel might be interested.

Email your headshot and resume for consideration.

When responding please be sure to include your full name, address and telephone number in the body of your email.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bizarro NJT: Polite, Responsive, Prompt?!?

Putting on my Jersey drawers again. And yes, they're fruit-of-the-loom.

A few weeks ago, I'd stumbled upon the NJTransit Board of Directors customer complaint email address.

They've been threatening fare hikes again and I've been really pissed off.

A little background: I subscribe to both the official NJT Alert newsletter and a citizen-based e-alert called CleverCommute.com. 99% of the time, CleverCommute beats NJT with alerts based on sheer observation like "Hey guys, I'm still waiting on the platform. Train's 20 mins late. No announcements from NJT."

So, I started emailing them every single time the train was delayed, canceled, on fire, etc. Very grandpa of me, but I pay way too much for a 30 minute ride on a dilapidated electric shoebox.

Imagine my surprise when I started getting direct emails back addressing my issues. At first, they were canned responses, but as I continued, I received an actual...semi-virtual...human!

Take a look:

3/12/07, after my first series of "hey, fix your trains before charging us $$" complaints:

Thank you for writing to the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors and Executive Director, George D. Warrington. I have been asked to respond on their behalf. Please be assured that your comments have been received and entered into the public record, and that no final decisions have been made. The public's views on the fare proposals will be presented to the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors prior to a final decision in these matters.
A. Grieco

Nice form letter. And really, did I expect anything beyond? PS: Hee. "he was asked to respond." More like "could you shut her up, please?"

Then on 4/05/07, our train line is suspended completely b/c it's...under water. No alerts from NJT, I had to find out via the local news and Clever Commute. So, again, I wrote.

Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2007 6:52 PM
To: Grieco, Anthony M. (CCRDAMG)
Cc: NJTBoard
Subject: Re: Your Recent E-mail to NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors


I understand this morning was weather-related, but there are still at least 3 delays affecting my trains EVERY WEEK!

There are many lovely privately owned bus companies and terrific car pools we can all consider if this nonsense persists.

Very frustrating - I see nothing in NJT's "how we'll spend your money" referring to diminishing delays and cancellations.

To quote one passenger on the cross-honoring bus this morning "why should we even bother getting on those rickety trains?"

I'd be amazed if I didn't get a form letter.
Lo and behold, here comes Anthony:
04/11/2007 11:37 AM
Subject
RE: Your Recent E-mail to NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors


I apologize for the delay in responding to your follow-up e-mail. In order to investigate the issue you've indicated with your chronically late train, could you provide me with the specific train information, i.e. origin/destination station and scheduled departure time?

Ok, now he's blowing my mind. So I responded, b/c I can't keep my fat mouth shut. It's the Greek in me.

Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:41 AM
To: Grieco, Anthony M. (CCRDAMG)
Cc: NJTBoard
Subject: RE: Your Recent E-mail to NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors
Importance: High


It's the Montclair-Boonton Line...the 7:52am via Glen Ridge is chronically late, as is the 7:37pm from Penn.

The poor conductor on the morning train has to apologize EVERY day for signal issues, missing our "window" from Amtrak, congestion ahead, a bridge that hasn't lowered, you name it.

It's become par for the course on this train and I'm positive I'm not the only one complaining.

However, I appreciate your response, but remain skeptical.


Now I thought: Ok. There's no WAY he's getting back to me. Who am I, but a snarky and spoiled commuter from suburbia. There's no..waitaminute...what's in my Inbox today?...

I've run the on-time performance over the last 30 days for each of your trains. Over the last 22 business days from 3/11/07 - 4/10/07, the 7:52 has definitely had some issues, although the issues do not seem to be related. In other words, there isn't a single cause that's responsible for all of the issues. This train was late more that five(5) minutes on 7 of the 22 days. There were various causes, including Amtrak preference and equipment problems, other equipment-related issues and signal issues. In addition, this train was annulled on Thursday, 4/5/07, due to the water main break.

I can understand your frustration with the 7:52, because a delay of more than five (5) minutes on more than one-third of your morning trains certainly doesn't meet our on-time performance standards or expectations. I'll continue to periodically monitor this train's performance; however, please feel free to call or e-mail me with any further issues regarding any aspect of our service that falls short of your expectations.


Whhhaaaa??? Granted, this is an "it's not our fault b/c of act of God, etc.etc. thank you for your patience b.s. b.s b.s., we're reviewing the situation" answer. However, I'm kind of tingly over getting a direct response.

Alright NJT. You win this time. You've sated my inner Kraken. However, it's not gonna stop me from spreading the word, boys.

Any commuters out there who'd like to send a note to our friend, please feel free at either the board of directors' email (njtboard@njtransit.com or agrieco@njtransit.com). Keep it NJT related please - they'll only be nice to us if you're nice to them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why I Hate You: NYPD edition

....Like this post wasn't bound to happen eventually.

I feel safe when I see a cop car... and I will refer to them from here on as cops (bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?) I've always felt safe when the cops were around because they are here to Serve and Protect. It's the blue uniforms and the tough look in their eyes. No one will do anything wrong around them because of what it all stands for.

Sadly, behind those eyes is a vacancy so deep it's amazing they can form sentences. Can you say lobotomy?

I had to go smoke a cigarette before I told this tale. I've dealt with the cops on a one-on-one basis many times (Canadian Police included, but that's a different story), all not good. It usually ends with me feeling like, "@#$%&!"

I've recently had the misfortune of losing my cell phone in a cab and the individual who STOLE it (the cab driver) racked up over $1000 in calls to South America in only 48 hours. I'm already irate about it and the fact that T-Mobile is trying to pin this on me is doing nothing for the ulcer I'm developing.

I went to the cops yesterday to file a report. Big mistake. I stood out front for a minute saying a small prayer that they aren't the smug pricks I know them to be. Bravo, gentlemen, for your consistency.

When I walked in 10 cops in uniforms stood around chatting, not a one turned around to help me. I was ahem-ing until one behind the tall desk looked up and moved in my direction. I announced that I need to file a report for stolen property. He asked what was stolen and when I said my cellphone immediately his demeanor changed... smug prick. I could tell he was thinking, "Here we go." Because I immediately thought, "Here we go." And I went on to further explain that whoever STOLE my phone racked up over $1000 in charges, which I KNOW is larceny in the 4th, a Class E felony punishable by up to a year and half in prison (thank you, law student fiance!)

This meant nothing to him. He sent me to a room where three little old ladies were waiting to take down my statement. When I looked in the room I saw no one. I was standing there, confused, helpless, 10 cops standing idly around and no one noticed that I was wondering loudly, WTF? I went back to the cop (who I swear to Christ, was staring at the ceiling, busy as a mother fucker) and annoyed, he pointed to the room and told me just to go in there. All the while 10 cops standing around, chatting like ladies.

I'm not even going bore you with the details of being talked over and talked down to by the three little old ladies who sit in the corner of this room, hiding, waiting for the next idiot to go in there to entertain them with their tales of woe. I will tell you that I came away with this fabulous knowledge:
  1. I cannot just go in there accusing people of anything. I did not SEE the theft with my own eyes so my phone is considered "Lost." I suppose they consider all your shit "Lost" when your home gets broken into since you didn't see the theft.
  2. Despite what everyone thinks it is not the police's job to follow up on such things as felonies. It is the cell phone company's job. Holy fucking shit, now I know.
  3. Also, just because the car company is in Park Slope (one block from the police station)doesn't mean that's where the complaint gets filed. It gets filed in Harlem, where I realized the phone was gone. Considering I've seen a shooting victim at the McDonald's on 125th & Bdwy, I'm thinking they're not going to Park Slope to follow-up on my cell phone caper.

There you go folks. I give them my story and an incredibly easy lead on a silver platter and they throw me away. Why? Because I didn't murder anyone and this sad tale won't make anyone Captain.

I have a whole bag of stories just like this of these bored, hardly-high school-educated, desk jockies in uniform. If you too would like to warm me with your tales of NYPD woe please feel free to write in. And don't forget to thank the officers for being as helpful as a case of syphilis, as usual.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This Just In: Prescribe Me Edition

Ah, another entry into the Duane Reade BS Hall of Fame:

Isn't it time the biggest pharmacy chain in NYC moves past the disgruntled employee scrounging through alphabetical buckets when retrieving our prescriptions? All I'm asking for is a computer linked to a conveyor belt and the ability to swipe my debit card.

Picking Up A Prescription At Duane Reade: AKA A finely tuned strategy in which I ultimately buy more crap.

Me: I'm picking up
Employee: Last Name?
Me: Schwartz
Employee: S - h? w? - s???
ME: S-C-H-W-A-R-T-Z
Employee: First Name?
Me: eye roll indicating annoyance at not being asked my full name in at once
Me:
Allison
Employee: Goes to the "S" bucket and sifts through every single prescription, during which time I text my boyfriend, blow my nose take a picture of my shoe on my cellphone, and decide I need to buy more Chapstick conveniently sold at the pharmacy checkout.
Employee: Shouts while taking a futile stab at the "A" bin. When did you call it in?
Me: This morning.
Employee: Oh. She nods as if to say "that's a totally different story" and begins to rummage through the stack of prescriptions that have not yet been sorted and while looking for mine decides that this would be a super time to alphabetize the lot
Me: Bite my nails
Me: Decide I need Purell hand sanitizer so I can bite my nails without fear of strange diseases, conveniently in my purview
Me: Decide I have no time for lunch and grab an energy bar from the under the checkout counter
Employee: Finds my prescription and rings up my items annoyed at something, possibly that I have a first and last name that begin with different letters.
Employee: You have a 5 dollar coupon!
Me: I take my yard long receipt and stuff it in my bag with disgust. Another $100 bucks spent at Duane Reade.

Well executed, Ms. Schcwh5rtz!

Got an equally bullshitty story? Tell us.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spare Some Change There, Duane?

G.A. heard about our 'lyl blog and told me he had a story for us.

He'd recently gone to Duane Reade for a few random items. The total was about $15, so he gave the cashier a $20 bill.

The cashier said "I don't have any change."

G.A. stood there, waiting for a "I'll call the manager and get some." Or "Let me ask the cashier next to me."

What he got was "I don't have any change."

G.A.'s a nice guy, so he started offering solutions, but it soon became clear that she expected him to accept that answer and leave without his change. Not to leave with his original money, but to leave with his sundries and be gone, minus $5.

What in salty fuck?

Now. I can seriously rationalize anything in this world, pick it apart, assign a flow chart, slap its ass and head to the showers.

But this...I don't think I have the strength.

Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin....IHDR.com

Hey folks, Wrathos here.

Wanted to share some of the press we've been getting of late, since...

a) We want to be nice to those who've linked to us.

b) We're still traumatized from tucking our denim skirt into our tights in 7th grade and are therefore desperate to be popular. Ok, that's notsomuch we as it is me.

and

c) We love the fact Duane Reade has to see this sh*t in their daily press bulletins!!! KEEP IT UP, KIDS!

USATODAY.com's Tech Space

Overheard in the DR

From Overheard In New York:

Crazy woman: Puh-scuse me! Puh-scuse me! Where your pussy products at?

Pharmacist guy: What?

Crazy woman: I said, where your pussy products at?

Pharmacist guy: Um, do you mean cat food?

--Duane Reade, 51st & 8th

Monday, April 9, 2007

This Just In: My Lady Pocket



From "D" (name protected for obvious reasons...I mean, c'mon...it's the virginia we're talkin' bout.)


I had a prescription for some gynecological medicine. They ended up giving me a topical acne medication. Thank god I had the good sense to google the name of the drug when I got suspicious. Went back to DR pharmacist and asked wtf they were doing. Pharmacist lady gets hostile and tells me to call my doctor - that it's MY DOCTOR's fault. Mind you this was after waiting online for 45 minutes with 2 ppl ahead of me in line. I LOATHE DR.

[Ed. -- Can I get an 'amen'? Also, wondering what made her 'suspicious' enough to google the drug. ::shudder:: Thanks, D!]

Why I Hate You: Connecticut

Visiting family over the weekend, I went to the gas station to fill up for the ride back to Jersey.

Now, I'm no idiot. Circus clown, maybe (confidential to Bello: your 3ft tall hair is zeeking me out. Stop it.), but I certainly know how to fill a tank.

I take the Honda to the pump and approach the pay here screen.

Screen: Pre-pay inside or swipe card.
Me: Swipe
Screen: Card not reading
Me: Swipe other direction
Screen: Pre-pay inside or swipe card.
Me: Ok I'll pay in cash, let me just pump and pay inside.
Screen: Pre-pay inside or swipe card.
Me: ...
Pump: Don't look at me.

I go inside to figure out WTF is up. Cashier 1 is ready to help:

C1: You have to pre-pay.
Me: Pre-pay what? I'm filling up, so I can't predict how much I will owe.
C1: You can leave the card with me and I will charge it when you return.
Me: What? That doesn't - ok, whatever, I have to get out of here, could you just start the pump?

I head to the pump and sure enough, it's ready to go. Now, I could've just let this go and chalk it up to Cumberland Farms' policy or some bullshit. But, dear readers, I have a responsibility as a bitchy blogger to try to pay in cash.

C1: Debit or credit?
Me: Cash. Let me have my card back.
C1: Ok.
Me: So, why do you need my card? What's stopping you from buying shit while I'm gone? And what if I didn't have a credit card on me and only had cash?
C1: You could give us extra cash and then we'd give you change.
Me: Whaaa?

At this moment I hear:
'you're not from around here, are you?'


Now, there are only a few situations where that phrase is valid and 90% of those end in dismemberment. But, here we are in a Hartford suburb, population bleh, where I'm now meeting Cashier 2.

She's easily 65, rides hard or dies, and could be described as Jerry Blank meets Vicky Pollard. And she has a mustache. Full grown, strong man from the 20s, mustache. Perhaps she should look into "waxing hard."

C2: You're not from around here are you?
Me: Nope. Jersey.
C2: We have a law here. You have to pre-pay before pumping.
Me: That's stupid.
C2: It's the law. ::Flash of gums::

Alright, Connecticut. You're a bad influence on other states and must be thwarted.
A few years ago, you came up with a catchy slogan to entice tourists called:
"Connecticut: We're Full of Surprises."


Surprise! You have to let a minimum wage yokel manhandle your debit card while you pump your gas.

Surprise! You have no viable transit system.

Surprise! You have no sports team.

Surprise! You can't buy booze after 8p on weekdays and at all on Sundays.

Surprise! YouSUCK.

That's IT. Connecticut, I hate you.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Yet another lesson I should have learned by now

This incident is so mind-numbingly typical of every single visit that I have to Duane Reade that I was at first hesitant to even bother typing it up. But I’ll press on so future generations will have a full and complete catalogue of the miseries inflicted by this place that I occasionally have to go (I can no longer bring myself to call it a store, as leaving there having purchased the items you actually need is purely a matter of chance rather than the whole fucking point of DR's existance.).

I’ve had some eye troubles the past few months that have required the use of a wide variety of prescription eye drops. Recently there was a particularly vile flare up of my left eye that made me look like Al Swearengen after he and Bullock have that huge fight and fall off the balcony, and Al gets a really disgusting case of kidney stones or gall stones or some other kind of stones that made his eye bulge and turn yellowish-red (I recently watched the entire second season of Deadwood over a period of two days. If I had my own flesh eating pigs, this story would have a very different ending.). I dashed down to my Doctor’s office to get a prescription for more drops and returned to my office which is perched directly above a DR.

My history with the pharmacy at DR is, let us say, fraught with unpleasantness. We’re that couple that everyone hates. We fought all the time and stayed together too long, primarily out of spite. We finally broke up, but I will still bitch to anyone who will listen about how I pissed away years of my life with that asshole. They have lost one prescription, told me they would fill another only to tell me later that the medicine wasn’t in stock, and last but not least, told me that I had no refills left even though my order clearly stated that I had three more to go.

I knew from the get-go that getting it filled there would be a mistake that would very likely take forever. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that I would walk out with the medicine I needed. I knew that, and yet, I went for it anyway. I was in something of a bind. I needed to get this medicine that night, and by the time I would get back home, my usual place would be closed. Besides, I stupidly thought, maybe this time will be different.

No, I will never learn.

Dropping the prescription off wasn’t a problem. Shocking as it may sound there was nobody in the pharmacy line, and someone was actually manning the register. No, I wasn’t drunk, and I didn’t dream it. I swear. I was told to come back in forty minutes to pick it up. I’m not quite that na├»ve. I knew there was no way they could do this in less than an hour, so I went back to work and returned in sixty minutes.

Friends, there were EIGHT people waiting in the pharmacy line by that time. Do you know how long you’ll be in line at a Duane Reade pharmacy when there are eight people in front of you? I don’t think numbers go that high. Every single person there was on their cell phone bitching about it. I would have been dictating this to Wrathos if I hadn’t left my cell at home that morning. And just to add a teeny bit more misery, my Ipod died almost immediately.

So I waited for an hour, two hours, ten hours, who the hell knows. Time may have actually stopped moving. Everything was getting fucked up. Customers were getting pissed, and the cashier didn’t know what he was doing (In his defense though, he wasn’t going out of his way to be a douche, which is a welcome step in the right direction customer service wise.). Finally a manager came to help him out. The manager stood at the other register, and we all thought that we were in for sweet relief. Manager asked to "help" the next person. Person told him her name, manager turned around, got her prescription, set it next to the other register and told her that the other guy had to ring her up. So she had to get back in the line she just left. Next person walked over wanting to drop off a prescription. The manager couldn’t take those either. Get back in the other line. As it turns out the only thing the manager could do was get prescriptions that were already filled. That was the one part of the whole torturous process that the original cashier had no problem with.

By the time I reached the front of the line, I felt like I had just reached the summit of Everest. My victory was short lived, however, because my eye drops weren’t ready. I had to wait another twenty minutes. I was so beaten down at that point, I couldn’t even get mad. I just stood by the counter perusing the selection of vitamins, lube, and hearing aid batteries on display by the cash register. I did finally get my eye drops, and I only missed the opening credits of The Office, so I guess it could have been worse. There could have been a small child crying in line behind me.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Complaining Is Like Sex...

...even when it's whiny and passive-aggressive, it still feels good.

Have sex with us by submitting your nightmare stories.

Could be about Duane Reade (or Duane "Greed," as I was corrected) or any other illogical bullshitty retail event you've encountered.

Oh and while I have you...

Quick shout out to a couple folks who reminded us of characters we'd missed during Duane Reade Stratego.

How dare we forget "The Cheeto Eating Employee who won't look at you until you've been standing there an uncomfortably long time. At which point, she'll sigh, wipe her hands on her pants, stuff the bag to the side, and ring you up." THANKS LIZ!

And we'd be remiss without acknowledging "The Security Guy: 10% concerned with stealing, 90% concerned with Cashier #5's ass." INDEED, GARY. INDEED.

Keep 'em coming, folks, and thanks to Choire, et al for the plug.

BK(lyn)Broiler

From Consumerist:



God, that's beautiful. ::tear::

Duane Reade Stratego: Employees


Each week we'll shed light on a different aspect of your Duane Reade shopping experience.

"Cast of Characters"

Waiting in line at the DR is always a treat, but what you may not know is that the front counter is a strategic and airtight operation, involving key players and military precision.

Cashier 1 - She came with the building and will take no shit from anyone this morning, thank you very much, now do you have your club card.

Cashier 2 - Cell texting dynamo whose entire collection of gold plated accessories must be worn at all times. You can't work a register when a baller's calling, so she aint helping you.

Cashier 3 - Pacer. She walks back and forth behind the counter, moving one item at a time from top shelf to bottom shelf and then back again b/c the best thing to do when a line is aisle-deep is look busy enough not to have to open a second register.

Cashier 4 - Where the fuck did she go, she was JUST here!

Cashier 5 - C'mon now - you think they actually HAVE a cashier 5?

Stock Guy - Sitting on box of Garnier Fructis samples, blissfully contemplating a change in career...ok that part is bullshit. Asshole is sitting on my leave in conditioner.

Manager - In the back with cashier 5.

Asst. Manager - Up front, trying to distract Dewey the Bum from getting another free pack of matches.

Dewey the Bum - Gets free matches here.

Photo Guy - He's there. He's just standing there. He knows you want him to say 'cash only' and invite you up. Nope. He's photo guy. Don't mess.

Pharmacy Cashier - She doesn't speak English. She has your pills. Do the math.

Pharmacist - Uptight white asshole who delights in the following statements:
"when we said it'd be ready by 4:30, we meant we'd check if we had it by 4:30."
"you have to call your doctor and then have him call us and then we'll call him back to get the approval."
"no you can't get your prescription back, it's already been processed."
"go to another Duane Reade, but you have to call your doctor for another prescription."
"we don't have insulin."

Anyone we've missed? Tell us.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Knowing your rights. Seriously, dude, it could save your life.

No one likes a know it all... especially airline workers!

There you are, Daisy, on line at the airport and your flight gets cancelled because of "technical problems" or "your pilot is drunk." But you don't sweat it because you know your rights, for real this time.

Rule 240 is going to be your secret weapon from here on out because an airline's job is not to turn you away after screwing you, it's their job to keep you from multiple homicide. Should the airline cause the delay (the cause must be the airline's fault, not weather or "act of God." Sorry, Wrathos) you are entitled to some sort of compensation whether it be a transfer to a different city to connect to your ultimate destination or a full refund.

Not all ticket agents are aware of Rule 240 so it's your job to read up, carry a copy of the specific airline's Rule 240, and be polite when bringing the smack down on them.

Overheard in the DR

From Overheard In New York, entitled "This phone stinks. The reception is really shitty."

Clerk lady #1: So, like, my kid dropped my cell into the toilet last week.
Clerk lady #2: Oh yeah?
Clerk lady #1: I had to recharge it for over a week before it worked.
Clerk lady #2: Hmm.
Clerk lady #1: When I made a call to my friend, it was all static. And the buttons didn't work. A few days later my kid picks the phone up and says: "I threw your cell in the toilet! Ha ha!"
Guy: ...you took it out of the toilet first, right?
--Duane Reade, 49th & 9th

[Ed. - I'm just hoping she Purelled before manhandling my swiffer wipes.]

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

We're gonna' get some satisfaction down at the Grocery Store

Yesterday I stepped over a used condom to get into my local grocery store. A portent of things to come.

Sidebar. There was also a used prophylactic in the middle of the isle I had to walk down for my high school graduation. And there was one in the toilet when I moved into my dorm freshman year of college. AND there was one on my windshield when I lived in our Nation’s capital (George Bush had just been elected. Coincidence, or hard proof that we had all just gotten fucked?) Now all my friends tell me weird condom stories that they either see or hear about from all over the country. People I haven’t spoken to in years will e-mail me out of the blue with subject lines like "Purple cum sock stuck to the bottom of my shoe!" Feel free to add your own condom stories to the comments section. For a blog, this has far too few random digressions. Let’s remedy that shall we? Whoever has the best used condom story will win one of the books, DVDs or CDs I’ve been meaning to get rid of for the past few months. Winner to be determined based on my own inscrutable criteria. Good luck!

Anyway it started off rather uneventfully. I picked up my weekly supplies and headed for check out. It was remarkably uncrowded so I had the completely absurd notion that I might get out with everything in a reasonable amount of time. There was one person in front of me with about half a cart full of groceries. The cashier was displaying what my general manager at Wendy’s my senior year of high might have described as a lack of urgency in going about her job. She was scanning and packing and chatting with the cashier next to her. I don’t know what they were talking about as the Peter Cetera classic "Glory of Love" had just come on over the speaker system, so I was cool. Somewhere around "Like a knight in shining armor from a long time ago-o" she started the process of checking me out. All was going well until she got to my eggs. Now I buy eggs in the half dozen cartons, because I am the only person in my house who eats them, and I don’t even eat them all that often. Twelve is far too many for me. It’s not the money; I just don’t want them moldering in my refrigerator for weeks at a time after I forget about them. So the cashier couldn’t get a price on my six eggs so she called the manager over. My trip to the store immediately went to hell.

The cashier asked the manager to get a price check. The manager asked me to buy the twelve pack instead. I unwisely got into the whole half dozen vs. dozen eggs thing, which did little more than piss off the people behind me. Though in my defense I really do feel that I should be able to buy whatever is for sale in the store without input from the manager, particularly when her advice was offered for no reason other than to make her life a little easier. So the manager finally calls for a price check and wanders off to chat with another cashier. Meanwhile my cashier whips out her cell phone and starts to beep out a text message. I saw no movement to actually get the price of my eggs. After about thirty seconds of this nonsense the people behind me were growing restless, and even I was beginning to hate me. So I told the cashier to forget the eggs. She held up her finger and asked me to "Hang on." I could only gawk until she finally sent her text message. She ran the total, and as I swiped my card, she told the manager to cancel the price check. The manager, still babbling about bullshit with her friend, looked up and said not to worry about it, because it appeared that whomever she called for the price check had forgotten about actually doing it. Nice. If I had been adamant about buying those eggs then and there, I’d probably still be on line. Not that any of the employees would notice. Apparently they’re all busy with other things.

As I walked out I walked right in front of the manager as she was getting her picture taken by another manager. With a cell phone. Hard at work obviously.

I stepped over the used condom again on my way out.

From Curbed: DR Taking Over Midtown



Oh for f*s sake.
They're spreading faster than Amy Winehouse's eyeliner.

Check out Curbed for the full story.

Monday, April 2, 2007

This Just In: Mamadou Edition

Alright kids, let's help our pal: If anyone has a tip on how to get this guy fired (or how we can harass the hell out of "Mamadou") email us at svh2007@gmail.com.

And I will say, for helping out our friend in need, I'm giving a very small shout out to DR on 64th and B'way. Very small. Minute.

From businesswu:

"I saw your website when I typed in 'duane reade sucks' on google.

I had this horrible experience at Duane Reade and I am dead serious about getting this manager reprimanded, ideally fired. Do you have any suggestions on how to do that?

I wrote this e-mail to Duane Reade, which I am sure will do nothing.

Thank you and God bless your soul for having such a blog."

[ed. no, bless YOU for reading it! See below for the letter]
To Whom It May Concern,

I was at the Duane Reade Store number #208 (2025 Broadway) on March 26th at 8:37 PM. I saw a store promotion for Garnier Fructis 100% Color Hair Dye (buy 1 get 1 free) and purchased two, expecting to be charged for one item. There was a problem with the scanner not recognizing my $5 dollar reward coupon so the assistant manager on duty whose first name is Mamadou rudely asked me to leave, rather than fixing the problem (and gave me back another coupon I was using, which was a mistake on his part, and I did write to your company about this a few days ago, for which I have not yet heard the resolution of).

Then, upon returning home, I learned that I got charged for the second hair dye so I got a chance to return to the store today. The same assistant manager (referred to as "manager" for the remainder of the letter) was on duty again this evening and when I told him of the situation, he left the register to check up on the promotion by going to the aisle where the product was located. 10 minutes later, he returned and told me that he did not know where the item was located, which surprised me as I expected a manager to know where items are located in his store, especially because this was a prominently displayed item with huge promotion signs all over the place.

When I took him to the shelf and showed him, he told me to bring back the item, which I did half an hour later. When he saw me again, he said I had to wait to get my $7.79 back because he had to take care of something. When he said I had to wait, I expected a reasonable wait time of at most 5 minutes. However, as soon as he disappeared, all the cashiers turned to me and warned me that it would be a while, at least 15 minutes, as if they had seen him do this many times before. It turns out that the manager had to "take care of money" and I patiently waited at first for 10 minutes by the register, then I decided to go purchase some items for another 10 minutes.

By this point, the manager still had not returned. I asked one of the cashiers that I no longer wanted the promotion and just wanted to return the item but the cashiers said that the assistant manager was the only person who could allow for a return. They were all in agreement with each other that he should have taken care of my situation before he had gone to the back room as this could have been resolved in two minutes or less.

I waited for another 10 minutes, a total of half an hour, in an attempt to receive a credit that was rightfully mine as Duane Reade has the responsibility to abide by the promotions that it chooses to endorse. I asked a cashier to page the assistant manager so that I could leave. When the assistant manager was reached over the phone, his words were according to the cashier, "don't push me any further as I am dealing with money". Upon hearing this, all the cashiers broke into laughter and started to joke around with each other about the situation which got me all the more upset. I asked the cashier to call the manager once more before I write a formal complaint, at which point the cashiers started to make inappropriate jokes to me about whether this is how I "deal with my ex-boyfriends" and how this is no use with this manager as this is his way of doing things and how he is this way with every customer in the store.

I must say, the behavior displayed by the assistant manager was one of the least professional acts by someone who is at a managerial position I have ever seen. One of the cashiers (all of whom had been trying to help me in their own way by trying to make light of the situation, as I do believe that they had no bad intentions - it is just unfortunate that they were highly unprofessional) suggested that I go to another Duane Reade store to get the refund. I did go down to another store on 64th and Broadway and within 4 minutes of entering the store, the manager issued me the credit, a stark constrast from the behavior observed in the other store. He was polite and professional. He even apologized for the trouble I had encountered at the other store.

Worst Buy

My boyfriend and I have an agreement:
If we need to go to Best Buy, I am to be dropped off at the Barnes and Noble in the strip mall and wait.

Why?

I've been known for my wrath, but usually it's short lived and I do my best to make amends.
Not so with Worst Buy. This, my friends, is a grudge I intend to keep.

A couple of Christmases ago, I saw an ad in the Sunday paper for a 'buy an XM, get a free Elton John DVD' promotion. The guy I was dating was planning to get his parents an XM anyway and I was hard-pressed to find a gift for my mom that year...since she's a huge fan of Elton John and refuses to believe he's gay, I thought 'perfect: good gift and hello? It's free. Merry Christmas to me.'

Off we go. We b-line to the XM area where the promotion poster is up: Buy XM, get bitchy pianist. Great. We talk to the dude manning the area, get the right XM for the ex's parents and grab the DVD.

Get to the line. OF COURSE, they charge me full price. Backstory: I used to work at the now defunct Bradlees (think Target meets Annie Says meets suburbia meets gold plated cleopatra pendant). I know a little about retail and puff up every time there is a retail injustice.

Hence this blog.

Back to the register. I say "Ok, there's a sign in the that says we get this free with any XM device."

She: ::siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhh:: Hol' on.

(dials intercom thingy)

(we wait)

(ameobas evolve)

Guy (not our dude from XM dept) shows up: What's up?

She: They want this for free.

Me: Well, there's a promotion...

She: Here (shoves DVD at Guy). Go see.

Me: I'm going with.

So I escort guy to the XM area, meet up with Dude and show them both the promotion. I even point out that our device has the same SKU (ooh, technical) as the promotion, so there shouldn't be any problem. Right? Right.

They agree and we three stroll up to the register to explain.

Manager's called.

Manager's called Dick.

Dick: Yeah, that promotion's for this week, but it doesn't start until Tuesday. That promotion shouldn't be up there.

Me: Understood. But you guys made the mistake, right? So, we should get the DVD.

Dick: It doesn't work that way.

Me: Why not? We specifically came here because of your promotion in the flier. We even checked if there were any dates on the in-store set up. It doesn't say "starting Tuesday, so just look at it now and make plans to buy it in two days."

Dick: Well, I can't give it to you.

Me: Well WHY NOT? You're the manager, right? You're in charge, right? It was YOUR MISTAKE, right? Don't you care about customer service? Don't you care whether you've lost a customer over this?

Dick: No.

Me, looking to crowd for support and not finding any: fine.

So, Ex and I left in a major huff. NOT buying the XM, nor the warbling beaded handbag box set.

What did we do?

We went to Circuit City, bought the XM there, then proceeded to buy a $1,600 flat screen Sony TV. Turned around and drove back to Best Buy, called on Dick, and presented him with the receipt.