It's the little stuff that drives me nuts
"Here you go, buddy, I'll grab this second piece and we'll rip 'em apart."
Say it's not me, Bubba. Do you have problems at the pizza buffet with slices that are not cut all the way through?
"Sure, but not just here. If I order a pie to take home from any store - and I've tried them all, believe me - it's likely to be the same. It's like pizza wheels or knives can't handle the job."
That makes me feel better. But don't call it a pie; that makes you sound too much like a Yankee.
"Sorry, I was shooting for continental."
I've had the same experience with takeout and with full-service pizza restaurants, but the buffet line, what with balancing a half-full plate and a drink glass, peeves me more.
"Did you say 'peeves'? Does that mean we've got to wander down that lane comparing pet peeves while eating mass-produced pizza?"
It's better than watching a TV we cannot hear because of the din. Let's not go all the way to peeves, though, just keep it at little things.
"Here's one. I was in the supermarket the other day. It was busy. This woman with a child was pushing a cart through a crowded area when a big ol' guy stepped right in front of her cart, making her stop because she was blocked in. Here's the kicker. He was an employee who blocked her path to talk to another employee, apparently his superior."
Sounds like they both thought of themselves as superior. We need to replace our water heater soon and I've been balking at the idea of tackling the plumbing and electricity issues myself, so my wife asked at a store about getting one installed. To keep the story between bites, let's just say the boy did everything he could to discourage her from getting that service, obviously because writing it up would require too much effort on his part.
"Like arriving at a restaurant where nobody wants to acknowledge your presence. There are good ones, though. There's this one in particular whose employees try to watch for people approaching so they can open the door and greet them."
Well, Bubba, anytime we walk into this place, we hear two or more shouts of greetings. When we leave, we'll likely hear yells of thanks. It's kinda corny, but I appreciate that.
"I'll tell you one thing I don't appreciate is warranty scams. That's what I think they are, scams. You buy what should be a perfectly good product and they try to con you into buying an extended warranty. That's not the employee's fault but the company makes him push the policy."
I came across a new one yesterday. I rented a DVD and the young man offered damage protection for a quarter.
"Don't you know that the executive who thought up that little scam got a huge bonus."
Of course, the other side of the coin is abusive customers. I've heard some pretty mean comments directed toward service people and seen incredibly messy tables left behind. That could take the joy off anyone's disposition after a while.
"The little woman and I were in a sit-down restaurant the other day. It was a fun place and we enjoyed ourselves. Our waiter was a high school grad starting college. The tab was just over $15 and I left a 20 on the table. My wife glanced back as we walked away and saw the boy approach the table. She said he smiled and said, 'Sweet,' which made me glad I did it."
Well, Bubba, I guess the bottom line is that we should have enough good stuff to balance out our peeves.
"Sure, but I still wish they could cut all the way through a pizza."
Steve Martaindale is a self-syndicated columnist. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.