13 SEP 11: Basket Cases
So really -- what is the deal about hand baskets? They simply don't get any respect. When someone talks about going somewhere "in a hand basket," they almost always are going to a place that's bad. You never hear people at church talk about going to heaven in one....
I have nothing personally against hand baskets. I use them often when I pick up a few items at stores. But in the last few days, I've had to learn a lesson in shopping basket etiquette. It's a small lesson, I suppose - but then, hand baskets are built on the small side.
It happened last week at a drugstore east of Interstate 185, which I will keep nameless. I went there to pick up several small items at mid-afternoon. I put them in a hand basket and proceeded to the register - and there wasn't even a line, to give me time for some on-the-spot arm exercises.
But that's when the problem happened. I set the hand basket on the counter next to the register, and explained to the cashier what specials I had. She stood and listened, but didn't move. Of course, she might have been an Army wife and considered me a retired soldier....
When my explanation ended, an awkward quiet second or two occurred. Then the cashier said, "I thought you were going to take them out of the basket...." Then she took the items out herself. I mean, I wasn't concerned about the fact that she didn't wear protective gloves.
I tried to apologize for not removing the items from the hand basket on the counter, but I probably didn't do it very well. At least I put the basket on top of a stack of them, while she rang up the total. Doesn't that mean I did the heavy lifting?
As I drove away from the drugstore, I pondered over what happened. My approach with the hand basket wasn't different from what I'd done at other store checkouts over the years. The items were on the counter, ready to be scanned. And I wasn't carting around a 25-pound bag of dog food, to give the cashier a hernia.
But after thinking over the scene for a minute, I decided I was the guilty party. After all, I take items out of large shopping carts when I reach the checkout of a supermarket. So I should have taken these items out of the drugstore hand basket as well. It's a matter of being consistent - and it probably showed why my dating life is consistently poor.
As it happened, I had a few more things to pick up at that same drugstore Monday afternoon - and after I did that, I was ready. "I want to thank you for giving me an etiquette lesson," I told the same cashier as before. And I said that as I removed my items from the hand basket. It's not often that I successfully do two tough tasks at the same time, but it happened.
"Thank you," the cashier said after my brief explanation. Someone got her message - and in this case, the concept of "good customer service" should include a good customer who serves the cashier. After all, we're in an economy where you might have to give that cashier a resume someday.
So the next time you're shopping and only have a few things to buy, please don't do what I did the other day. Think about a classic jazz tune - so you don't get taken to task-et for dropping down a little hand basket.
Another undoubtedly awkward moment begins our review of other major Monday developments....
+ Which male student at an area college was stopped by a campus police officer - and had to be told the dance team tryouts were for women only? The man wanted to audition. But instead, the only improvising he did was with his mouth -- to avoid getting arrested.
+ The Ledger-Enquirer revealed 13 attorneys have been nominated to take the seat of retired Superior Court Judge Doug Pullen. Talk about frustrating! The Columbus unemployment rate stands at 9.6 percent, yet everyone nominated for this seat already has a job.
(Two nominees are current Assistant District Attorneys - LaRae Moore and Alonza Whitaker. But perhaps the most surprising name is Arthur Smith, who's a senior vice president with Aflac. Shouldn't someone associated with the duck have a court show on Animal Planet?)
+ The Kia plant in West Point celebrated winning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. A team of drivers traveled in a Kia Optima hybrid through all 48 contiguous states on less than six tanks of gasoline. That sounds impressive, but it raises a question which could be even more mind-boggling. How often did that team stop to use the restroom -- and where?
+ WRBL planned to bring back its 5:00 p.m. "First Edition" newscast for the first time in two years. But the return was postponed until today, because of the U.S. Open men's tennis finals. One reporter promised online Monday afternoon would rank among "television's biggest events." Not for Rafael Nadal, it wasn't....
+ Instant Message to Solid Rock Ministries church in Walton County, Georgia: Wow - some of you think Satan was behind people getting sick at the Sunday potluck dinner?! Now I feel a little guilty. The same thing happened at one of my congregation's potlucks a few years ago, and nobody ever brought up that explanation.
TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/13 SEP 01: White House aides say President Bush has talked with his father about how to respond to the terrorist attacks. The former President probably advised his son one thing above all else - make sure Alan Greenspan is well protected, to handle the economy.
The President asked Congressional leaders to grant him the authority to use emergency money to do "whatever it takes." If it means building a deeper bomb shelter at the ranch in Texas, then do it....
Some members of Congress minced no words about how they felt. Georgia's Zell Miller mentioned the Taliban in Afghanistan by name, and said - "Let's bomb the h**l out of them!" [True/news release] Apparently his first name is short for "Zell-ot...."
We heard one report Wednesday that prime terrorism suspect Osama bin-Laden moves to a new location three times a week. Before you call this suspicious, keep one thing in mind: he could pass for almost any player in the National Basketball Association.
....Tighter security rules will change one fun thing about living near Atlanta's airport. We used to go there on cold winter evenings - and for a one-dollar hourly parking fee, we jogged inside the long "Transportation Mall" under the concourses. We blended right in with the travelers, except we didn't have on those funny souvenir hats.
More rumors spread about spikes in gasoline prices Wednesday. One caller told us a convenience store employee in our town talked about the price hitting three dollars a gallon in the morning. We hope the caller misunderstood this - and milk is going on sale.
The Southeastern Conference decided it WILL play football games this weekend. Tributes to the terrorism victims are planned before kickoffs. But if groups of planes fly in the "missing man" formation, that will only make people nervous again.
The Army base just outside town [Fort Benning] tightened its security Wednesday - and it turned into a mess. Some drivers told us they were stuck on the Interstate SEVEN hours, before reaching the main gate! If this keeps up, the Red Cross will set up a blood drive along the side of the road
(Maybe NOW the radio stations in this town will see the need to hire a traffic reporter....)
Blood banks from coast to coast have been swamped with donors since the hijackings. That's a good thing - but at the blood donor center in our town, some of the nurses only got one hour sleep between shifts the other night! If you're giving for the first time and the nurse starts feeling your leg, speak up....
(The blood bank employees are SO BUSY that the refreshment table isn't the only place getting "punchy.")
Our count of unique visitors from January to August was up 22 percent from 2010! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment about this blog, write me - but be warned: I may post your e-mail and offer a reply.
BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 593 (+ 22, 3.9%)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.
© 2003-11 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.