Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's the End of the World as I Know It....

I had a very frightening and unsettling experience on Wednesday,
the week prior, and I am only now finding myself capable of discussing
the particulars.

I finished my appointments and chores over in Alabama on said
Wednesday afternoon, and was looking to chill a bit with some
window-shopping and people-watching in one of my longtime
favorite places on earth.

And then, in the midst of my beloved chain, it happened;
I had my first ever piss-poor customer service experience at
a Publix Super-Market!

I sort of feel violated. I'm still harried and recuperating from
the shock. I surely didn't feel it would have occurred in my lifetime.

Here's the rub; it wasn't just a single person. It was nearly every
person I encountered! (Which of course lets you know right there
that there's a rotten apple in the barrel and it has tainted the entire
staff, from training to daily atmosphere.)

(But I digress; dissecting isn't nearly as fun as dishing!)
When I entered, a big, burly, bellowing manager was hanging out
at the customer service desk. Neither he nor the much, much younger
female employee he seemed to be trying (too) hard to impress ever
acknowledged me, greeted me, or stopped their very strange

(He was one of those middle-aged goofs who tries so desperately
to act 25 years younger than he is in order to impress and associate
with teenagers. Gads.)

Oh, my beloved Publix...what is there left to
believe in now!?!
So I'm perched at the counter going over sales papers, reading,
checking out coupons, etc. for at least 7 or 8 minutes, and, again--
no one ever checks to see if I need anything, ask how I am, etc.

Then another teenager comes in and Goombayah starts talking
in some of the most embarrassing slang and hackneyed, cornball
dialogue I've ever witnessed, shamelessly attempting to connect
with his 'home slice,' presumably another barely prepubescent worker.

I decide to move along.
One thing Publix never runs out of;
hot, young Bag Boy talent!
Now that's good eatin'!
In the bakery, a worker has me wait while she finishes her "Girl, pleeze!"
conversation with a coworker. When she comes around and asks
what I would like, I tell her, and she inquires "Just one?" She
goes about preparing it and then when she hands it to me asks
again the most dreaded, awful, ban-worthy phrase in retail; "IS

I cringe and my gut tightens every time I hear that.

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is 'all I want.'
Of all the places I could be, I came here to spend my very hard-earned
dough, so act like you appreciate that. I don't have to be spending ten cents,
let alone ten dollars.

It may be just a matter of laziness or poor training, but words do
matter, and the phrasing of such a missive is bad, bad business.

Alternatives include:
"Would you care for anything else today?"
"Can I get you a (fill-in-the-blank-suggestive sale) to go with that, sir?"
or, just plain
"Thank you, I hope you enjoy!"

(I'm quite accustomed to getting a boatload of ornery, gum-smacking,
barely bathed home-grown rough-around-the-edges peaches when I
deign to grace the local Piggly Wiggly, and even-- of late-- Harvey's. But
good old reliable Publix? Tsk, tsk.)

Over at the deli, again after waiting, I asked the worker a simple
query about whether a sauce could be added to my chicken
purchase. She looked at me like I had whizzed on her granny.
Her face went white...she stalled.....looked around for direction...
hemmed and hawed....asked me to hold on...kind of rolled her
eyes, and finally gave a really weird, defeated response of "Uh,
yeah...I guess I can do that."

Publix's main black eye in the past;
Mistreatment of farm workers
Here's the thing; "Yes" or "No."  Not a pound full of drama and
bullshit and Turrets responses and weirdness. But a properly
trained employee in handling customer needs (like all Publix stores
are known to provide) would have eliminated all of this.

After giving in and prepping my order--which seemed to perplex
and confound the poor dear from head to toe--she gave it to me, too:
"Is that all for you?"
Fingernails on the chalkboard. (Just go ahead and say "That was barely
worth my fucking time, asshole!"

The checkout girl was very pleasant, and greeted me and asked if
I'd found everything all right. She didn't push after I declined to give
a donation to whomever they were collecting for (another practice
I truly despise.) So that was all good.

And another manager was at the next register, bagging...I had spotted
his sexy picture on the wall of manager photos at the customer service
desk, so I could have even called him over by name.

But I was over it, and he was super-fine and wearing the shit out  of
those polyester pants, so I figured I was past the point of maintaining
eye contact, which is always a good point of professionalism when
registering a complaint, so....I just said "screw it" and took my shit
and left.

Honest and true; I was really flabbergasted though.

I have been shopping at Publix Super-Markets since 1975, dammit!
We lived in Seffner, right outside of Tampa and Lakeland (where the
business is centered,) and I have known their philosophy (commitment
to customer service as the highest goal) to be true for all those years.
(Until moving to the Boondocks, it was the only grocery store I used.)

That's why I love it so; you can depend on a Publix store to be spotless,
stocked, friendly, well-run, professional, and highly attentive. It's
all synonymous with the brand.

Hell, Publix has consistently been on multiple major lists on the
annual Forbes listings of best, highest ranking, largest, and so on.

The company is one of the largest and fastest-growing entities,
even though they still only exist in 5 southern states. Right there, I tell ya,
the whole conundrum of being southern and high quality would have
thrown me if I weren't already acquainted with them.

You just can't give Southerners too many choices, dammit!
And Dothan sure as hell had endless rumors, excitement, and
anticipation for its multiple stores coming in for the chain. But I guess
somebody dropped the ball. Just a bad day? Maybe. But that's all
it takes to ruin a reputation. And, as mentioned, across-the-board
problems are typically a sign of starting-at-the-top problems.

The manager I saw at the end was polite, professional, and relaxed;
the employees in his area were as well. Super-Freak at the front desk
seemed oddly off his game, and all employees in his general area
followed suit. Hmmnnnn...ya think there's a connection??


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sky is Falling, America

A very somber and sobering, realistic view of the current state of affairs
and the stranglehold of corporate-think and erosion of individual power.

Like all things, the American super-power will fade and die, and author
Chris Hedges points out how we are well on that path to the fall of the
empire (as is most of the rest of the world.)

Engaging, interesting, and provocative, you won't be bored by the
conversation. I don't agree with everything he states or several of his
politics, but exploring differing points of view makes for more healthy

Love or hate, agree or disagree, this interview is worth investigating.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

That Thar' is Big C'untry Drivin', Y'all!

Look out for Yee-Haw Hee-Haw Junction, everybody!

You-'ins probably related to whoever ya crash into!

In a small country town, the traffic laws are, evidently,
quite different. (I don't know where that's listed, but
everyone seems to know it, so it must be a real thing!)

Yup, it's a little known or stated fact, but here in the thick
of Seminole County, each and every individual driver

Yeah, you'd better watch out, cuz they each own the road.

You're  likely to see a mid-intersection U-Turn in
mid-day traffic, or someone parked in an invented spot,
or a driver plowing down the sidewalk in their ole truck.

Maybe a vehicle parked in about six spaces, or car
idling at the front door of the grocery....
maybe weaving across all lanes while texting in that
sheriff's cruiser.

It's all good.

Take that golf cart across the interstate, drive mopeds on the
highway, play chicken on busy thoroughfares....meh! It's
the country...we don't need no stinking rules! (Until we crash...
then they for damned sure want police and medical to step in!)

"I just loves it! It's so much derned fun to drive in a small
town! Cuz e'rrybody know car accidents here ain't as dangerous
as thems in the Big City!"

What the Hooplah!?!?

Stay away from the meth labs, Farmer Brown and Jo-Jo Le Po';
the fumes have overcome ya.


It's GREAT to Have a Free Press!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Love Us From Afar

Friendship United Methodist Church Lack-of-Outreach Program

Announcement: For Immediate Release

for the designated, privileged few!

Where the crusty, white elite meet to
feign superiority and talk shit
about the 'unwashed masses.'

Come get your Fake Jesus on, today!
(Pending the meeting of basic requirements!)

Non-white, poor, gay,
liberal and other outsiders please
don't apply.
But you can come receive our
rude, smug, condescending
'charity' every third Saturday.
Don't get it twisted;
the pretense of compassion
and love has a very strict schedule
around here.

The open door policy is good for
one day only, and we have
plenty of high quality, self-righteous
mouthpieces and gate-keepers on the
premises to make sure unwanted elements
know their place.

We're wonderful, we know it,
and we're very discriminating in our
efforts to preserve our high-faluting standards.

Jesus saved us, and we're
saving him for ourselves.
At least, that's what those weird voices in our
heads tell us!

Admire us as you drive by!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Perv Alert

The ridiculous old standby for 'educating' kids about potential
molesters; the notion of creepy strangers in vans trying to grab them
off the street.

Not much has changed when it comes to the public's notion
about child molesters. Most still think--and teach their
kids--that the people who will harm their kids have a
certain look and way about them.
"Stranger Danger," and all that.

Meanwhile, in reality, nothing could be further
from the truth.

Most child molesters are from within the immediate
household, within the immediate family, or from
within the immediate innermost circle of friends,
family and neighbors. Trusted folks.
That's their 'in.'

The reason we don't see more of those folks
convicted is that parents, grandparents,
social services, and especially the church rally
behind a wicked notion of keeping families intact
(and therefore not pressing charges, nor getting
counseling for the child) rather than seeing anyone
prosecuted or punished.

Compliance, and cover-up, is big.

So when I see idiots giving me the once-over
simply because I'm gay, I roll my eyes in contempt.
There is still a knee-jerk connection in people's
heads relating sexuality to abusiveness.
Old myths and prejudices die hard.

Sorry; isn't me, never has been, never will be.
But meanwhile the real perpetrators go unchecked.

Even the tactics used to 'combat' child abuse
are focused on finding out where existing
abusers live and avoiding those areas and people.

The focus needs to be on teaching kids how
to spot potential abuse and stave it off from any
source. Because it's likely going to be someone
in a position of authority and influence who seduces
them into being a victim, and furthermore keeping
quiet about it.

Stop blanketing heterosexuals with a Free
Pass of assumed safety and reliability.
Sickness comes in all shapes and sizes, and it will
generally be someone you  don't suspect. A
favorite uncle, a sports coach, a Sunday School
teacher, a day care worker, a grandparent,
a parent, a sibling, etc.

Unpleasant realities to face, but what's more
important? Your sense of comfort, or your child's
actual safety?

In Seminole County, Georgia (Donalsonville,)
you can find a list of convicted sex offenders
hanging at the courthouse, or online at
and I suppose that's useful information,
but it does cause a bit of a false sense of
security, doesn't it?

Doesn't it just seem like those are The People to be
 concerned about, disregarding all the
multitude of uncaught, unprosecuted, unrevealed
child rapists running around this town?

I know for a fact people wanting to keep their
kids safe need to avoid the following places:
The Ford Dealership,
The Lion's Club,
Friendship United Methodist Church,
Mike's Auto Sales,
Alcoholics Anonymous,
Narcotics Anonymous,
the Fire Department (or really, anywhere
you might be likely to see Victor Hornsby,)
and plenty more.

What you get away with tends to be
dependent on who you know,
who you are, and how important
you are to the 'right' people.
Our society excuses and covers for the ills
of the rich what we condemn and shame
in the poor.

Teach your children to use their minds,
to observe everything objectively.
Teach them skepticism and discernment,
and most importantly courage and their
right to protect themselves.

They aren't advanced enough to perceive that
threats can come from anywhere unless
they're taught. Use that as a reason
to educate them, not to keep them
in the dark.