Category Archives: customer service

Whole Foods…a Vortex to Acting Like 5 Year Olds.

I was thrilled when I moved here to discover a Whole Foods right around the corner from my house. Coming from Alaska, this was a brand new experience. I had heard stories about the LUXURY of shopping at a Whole Foods.

Vegetables are like diamonds encased in security sealed cases.

Cheese by the pound is on display by region.

Fresh meat all organically grown, petted daily and humanely put down for sale.

A salad bar worth drooling over.

Fresh this and wholesome that.

Vitamins, detox mixtures, tonics and fresh squeezed orange juice….oh my fucking my.

Seriously….people…this is heaven on earth.




Yeah, it’s heaven on earth if I want to be ignored by the staff, nearly run down by patrons and….on top of it all pay out the ass for a 4oz container of guacamole, of which I could make better at home.

What am I missing here?

I simply don’t get it. There are several things that slap me in the face when I go in there:

1. Their customer service SUCKS. Granted, they have good produce. Every time I dash in to pick up something, it always happens the produce guy has his little cart right in front of whatever item I need in the produce aisle:

Corn on the cob? Check.

Tomatos. Check.

Apples. Check.

Potatoes. Check.

Vegan salad dressing. Check.

Doesn’t matter, he is parked there and it never crosses his mind to MOVE THE FUCKING CART a foot to let me select my green beans, snow peas, broccoli or peppers. It annoys the hell out of me. I’m sorry. It’s common sense. You have a customer approaching, with a basket on her arm and obviously looking at the produce right in front of you.

Why yes, I would like some of those carrots with the green leafy tops still on….all five of them for $9.99. Could you excuse me?

So

I

Could

Just

Reach

The

Damn

Carrots?

Oh, no wait, I see the issue. You are too busy laughing it up with the guy who is stocking up the pineapples and grapes. Never mind. Don’t want to bother you. Let me climb over your cart. Who is the customer here?

Apparently the overhead they charge for the produce also includes a gym membership fee.

Who knew?

It annoys the shit out of me.

AND, the people who check you out never smile. Tonight, when I ran in to grab corn and tomatoes, the guy walked away from the counter without saying a word so he could go throw a paper out two rows away.

REALLY?

I always approach and say HELLO! HOW ARE YOU?! Nothing.

If you really hate your job so much that you can’t smile and greet your customers, such as Michael this evening at my local store, then you need to go work somewhere else. The lady at the corner hot dog stand has better customer service than these people. It never fails. Save the overhead and have self check out!

Wait! Do you think because people are paying $5.99 for a pack of gum….gives you the permission to ignore your customers and treat us like shoe leather? Oh wait, you thought we were the plastic shoe leather? Pleather? THAT explains so much then.

But should one of their friends come up to help bag, whoa! It’s all fun and games….my, how the tides turn. Did I just slide down the rabbit hole? Apparently you are just hard of hearing and you didn’t hear my greeting.

Maybe I should just start yelling at people.

Let’s move forward.

********* The Salad Bar *********

So the tremendous salad bar. They have a great selection of soups. If you enjoy soups.
I don’t.

The salad bar is a typical salad bar. A variety of leafy greens to select and toppings. Nicely done.

Then the opposite side is mixed salads, rice salads, weird shit and shit I wouldn’t eat as I don’t eat weird shit or limp shit, or shit I can’t pronounce.

I’m sorry but when you see zucchini and squash that has been sliced lengthwise and then grilled….placed under heat lamps….it’s not right. They’re limp. They’re gross. It’s veggie abuse. Same goes for the eggplant. It is a horror flick right there in the deli. I have to turn the other way as it makes my stomach turn. Kind of like smelling sour milk.

Imagine holding up a piece of limp grilled zucchini in your hand….it falls over. So sad. It was excited at one point, I’m certain of it. Who wants limp shit? Okay, maybe a starving Sasquatch.

But apparently someone out there is enjoying the limp shit. Desperate, hungry, rich people, that don’t know about crisp veggies. Imagine holding up a piece of limp grilled zucchini in your hand….it falls over. So sad. It was excited at one point, I’m certain of it.

The thing I hate about going around that damn salad / deli area are the people.

No

Sense

Of

Personal

Space.

Which brings me to another point of the experience at Whole Foods….

2. The regulars. Maybe it’s where I live. I think it’s a feeling of entitlement. I’ve started to wonder what’s happened to two things: personal space and common courtesy. It’s not like we’re on the NYC subway here….ass to coot-chy …. DAMN.

Bumping elbows, watches, shoulders, baskets, hips…..okay – BACK THE FUCK UP!

Unless you are planning on popping open a bottle of wine in aisle 9 and then taking me to dinner, you are way too close to me. Knock it off.

There is no reason for your shoes to be hitting my shoes – there is plenty of space to go around me. I am all of 5’2 on a good day and it’s not like I weigh in like a gorilla. I don’t even have a cart! There’s simply no reason to be up my ass, over my shoulder, climbing up my eyeballs to get around me.

Take a breath.

Take a step to the side.

Go around me.

SAY EXCUSE ME! It’s not difficult!

If I stop to look at something, you are going to have to adjust your plan and detour. Don’t roll your eyes and huff at me. I’m not your child and am certainly not your spouse. Life does not revolve around you, jackass. Get over it. I’m putting my basket down and looking at this colon detox powder for the next ten minutes or until you stop glaring at me. If you’re going to continue, I will pick up this anal itch cream and ask you if you’ve tried it.

Don’t tempt me.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah….life sucks….get in line with the rest of us. Waaaahhhhhh.

Oh my god….if you are going to shop in here, suck it up and act like an adult.

That’s what I don’t get. To shop in Whole Foods, you have to have money, yet all these people in here act like five year olds.

They’re playing chicken with their carts in the aisles.

I’m not moving….you are going to have to climb over me if you want to get that hot sauce, fucker.

They will run you down to get to the salad bar – and block it. MINE! IT’S ALL MINE!

Missy is going to be a defensive blocker for the vegan cheese display and then at the organic wine area.

Sorry, did you want to get in the front door? I’m cleaning my cart handle off with the sanitary wipe. Sorry.

Clint is on his phone shouting about his latest trade while trying to choose what bread to get sliced. PICK ONE!

For the love of all things holy – concentrate – get your shopping done and move out of the way for the rest of humanity.

******* The End Result *******

I’m done with Whole Foods.

We have found a fabulous farmer’s market up north we go to every weekend. We can fill up bags and bags of fresh produce for just dollars. It’s fantastic. Right from the farms. I can go to our little guy and get what we affectionately call…”Hooker Vaginas”….but we have to get there early as he sells out. We get a quart for $10 and then I usually get my own for $3 and enjoy it in the car on the way home. Eric sometimes gets one as well. It’s good for us yumminess.

I would rather drive 30 minutes and go to a Trader Joe’s than go through the non-sense we continue to experience at a Whole Foods. I don’t get it. It’s not worth it. They’re not making me feel like a valuable customer and I’m not going to support them as a business. It’s ridiculous. Yes, they may be easy and healthy, but there is lots to be said about good customer service and feeling welcomed into the establishment.

Thanks for letting me vent…..I feel lighter…..like dandelion fluff or glitter in a confetti cannon.

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Maybe if I Said it in Pig Latin, You’d Understand

There is one particular word in every language that drives people crazy.

They can’t comprehend it’s meaning.

It confuses the hell out of them.

Baffles them.

When uttered, it sends normal people into a rage in 2.49 seconds.

It can send children into bawling tantrums in less time.

It’s a small.  Simple. Word.

A word that apparently, people didn’t grasp it’s true definition in school

That word is:

No.

.

.

.

.

Such a small little word.  NO.

NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

no.

There is the letter, “N” and the letter “O.”  So simple.  NO.

The world’s languages are filled with NO, it’s not just the English version:

Non, née, nein, nahi, nem, nai, ne, nu, niet, nyet, nej,não…..but wait… look….there’s more….ez, hindi, ohee, tidak, aniyo, hapana, không, a’ole, waka….and the list goes on and on and on.  (Please consider this your lesson for the day on:  How to say NO in 20 languages.  You’re welcome.)

Never has a word evoked such anger, frustration, denial and dumbfounded moments and also throwing caution to the wind and trying something new.  I’m not going to speak to the anger and frustration.  But the other emotions that come out of being told WAKA (Manchu) are ridiculous.

For example, many moons ago, and by many moons ago, I am literally referring to the passing of time by watching many moons come and go.  (If you need a timestamp, as your moon clock is off, then this would be decades ago when I was married.) I was told NAHI (Hindi) by my computer.  It went something like this:  Do not download this file.  It has malicious content attached and could be a virus.  Red lights started flashing, sirens went off, my index finger went stiff so I couldn’t click the mouse and the malicious content police came to the front door.

Well.  What.  Could.  Really.  Happen?

Here’s the problem with being told:  Do not download this file.

I might need that file.  How do I know I need that file if I can’t see the file?

In my mind, the computer gets a virus and we’ll just clean it with the virus software.  They have programs for that.  

This is exactly what I was thinking.

I’m curious.  I can’t help myself.  You tell me not to do something, I am going to do the opposite.

Click.

RESULT:  Computer got a virus.  Husband was not pleased.  I didn’t need the file.

 

Last weekend I stopped at the mall by our house.  Which, this mall is a blog.  Good grief, the people.  The mobs.  The outfits.  The lack of outfits.  OMG.  The parking.  It’s insane.  But I had to go to the Apple store, which the iPad is still not right and I still can’t get my books, it’s never good when a reader doesn’t have her books.  HINDI (Filipinio), LO (Hebrew), NEM (Hungarian)!

At any rate, I’m making my way through the maze of bodies and this large woman is yelling and I mean yelling at her little boy.  He is all of about 3.  They’re standing outside the children’s “occupy time while a parent is shopping in the hallows of shopping hell arena” area.  I don’t know what he did, but I felt bad for him.

First of all, she was a beast.  She was towering over his little self.  Yelling.  It was quite obvious he had done something she didn’t like.  By god, he better not be doing that any time ever again in his life…..whatever IT was.  IT was not good.

I was expecting her giant head of cornrows to come swiveling off and explode like a firecracker as I went past.  Hurry up and walk faster.  I don’t want to loose my eye to one of those whippets.

Secondly, I could just tell from the look on his face he had OHEE (Greek) idea what he had done wrong.  He was simply at a loss.  Clueless.

True.  He could have been in trouble for anything from punching another little kid to dropping a napkin on the ground to stepping on her foot.  I will never know.  The look on his little face, looking up at her, completely lost as to why she was screaming at him….it was sad.  Sad.  Sad.   His AHAA (Nepali) experience was dumbfoundedness.  Bless his little cotton socks.  Or here in Florida, his flip flops.

Another type of NON (French) moment experience is when you want something so badly and you just simply can not and will not have it not matter what you try.

It

Is

NOT

Going

To

Happen.

PERIOD.

I am dealing with a situation currently, that has been going on for OVER A MONTH.  About two weeks ago I finally had to say out loud to a business partner, “I don’t know how many other ways to tell this person NO.”  To give you an example, walk with me and let me tell you a story:

Imagine you ran a restaurant and every Tuesday you host a murder mystery dinner with 100 seats available.  It sells out every Tuesday, so people buy tickets in advance.  It’s a very popular local event.

One day you get a call and the person says they have 100 people for the show next month.  Unfortunately, you have already sold some seats for the night they are interested in and can only give them 75 tickets.  They can’t change their date, so they decide to take the 75 seats and ask if you can get more seats.

No.  There are no more seats.  There is a limit for how many can fit in the restaurant.

Every day they call.

Them:  Can you bring in more actors and do the show in the parking lot?

Me:  No.  The health department will not allow us to operate in the parking lot.  Please   stop selling tickets to this event.

THEM:  Did you find any more seats?  Did anyone cancel?

ME:  No.  What we can do is a private affair at a later time in the day for 130 of your guests.

THEM:  That’s not acceptable, we don’t want the private function.  Can you rent out the restaurant down the street and move everything there so there is more space?

ME:  No.  We are not moving our restaurant.

THEM:  Our numbers have increased.  We are now at 150 people.  Can you rent tents and add on to the back of your property to hold our event?

ME:  No.  There is only an alley in the back.  There are no additional seats available.

THEM:  We found another company that is willing to help out with the show.  Can you work with them?

ME:  No.  We do not have a contract with them for services.

Other people from various departments within their company start to call you and ask you the same thing.  The answer is the same thing over and over.  We have tried everything, there are no more seats.  Had you planned in advance, we could have reserved the entire dinner event for you.  I’m sorry but NO, there are NO more seats.  (Please attach me to the Vodka IV drip….thank you.)

Lastly, one of the most interesting kinds of ELLA (Zuni) is when you say, “JEN (Danish).  I haven’t done that.  Let’s give it a go!”  Haven’t tried it – let’s go for it.  You might actually enjoy it.

Of course, there are things I definitely wouldn’t do if offered the chance.  Stick my head in a lion’s mouth.  Well, actually, let me think about that….I might….depending on the circumstance, so that’s not a great example.

I don’t think I’d jump at the chance to eat a grasshopper.  Too big.  Cricket – yes – if deep fried and with hot sauce.  Why not.  Crunchy little buggers.  HA!

Not going to get me to jump out of a plane.  Not happening.  NYET (Russian).

But there are plenty of things I have yet to experience that if someone said, “hey have you….” and I haven’t….I bet I’d give it a shot.  Actually, let’s be realistic….I’d at least ponder the possibility of giving it a shot.   You know, like pedicures.  If you haven’t tried them you should!   They’re relaxing and will put your feet, whether they’re like Hobbit feet or horses’ hoofs, into a better state of appeal for all to enjoy.  The best part about a pedicure is they don’t even charge extra in those cases when you have an extra toe – which is fantastic!

Just saying.

 

 

 

Your Fingers In My Hair

One of the hardest things about moving to Miami is finding a hair stylist.    In Juneau, I had the same stylist for ten years and then he moved.  I was horrified.  It was as if suddenly God shouted there would be no more coffee or cheese on earth.

W H A T ?

Then I found a great new hair stylist who I used until my final day in Juneau.

Whew.

Fast forward to Miami and 40,000 salons, spas, hair cutters and strip malls offering quick cut services.  What to do?  Only one thing.  Try.  Try.  Try again.

So far, I’ve tried three salons.  The first was nice but too far away after a few visits.  The second was….honestly…..the stylist just didn’t listen.  I’d sit in the chair, tell her what I wanted and I swear she barely cut anything off my head.  Not to mention the color never stayed.  Lastly, it’s never a good thing when it looks like you’ve tried to behead me with the electric shaver.  Oh, I’m not kidding!  Big giant red cut across the the back of my neck.

In Juneau, my hair was my glory.  In Miami, it’s my struggle.

Needing to get another cut.  I was dreading having to go back to salon #2.

puffy dog

The stylist, I knew would cut off the equivalent of a gnat’s leg hair width of an amount and the end result would be my head would look like a giant q-tip.  

Yeah me – cause that’s the latest hot style!  Everyone loves that look!

Finally, due to my simple exasperation, my better half searched and found a place on line and I gave it a look.  My initial response was “are you kidding me?  Have you seen the pricing?”  A few visits and I could buy a new car…and we all know what kind of car I want.

As my hair continued to get pouffier, yes that’s a word, thank you.  I cancelled my standing appointment at the salon that doesn’t listen to me and made an appointment at the next salon attempt.  We’ll call this place, “Salon Oh La La.”

I walked in the front door and nearly turned around as I thought: oh no, this is not for me.  No.  No. No. No.  This can’t be right.  I’ve never been in such a salon.

No.  It’s not the mix of 4 different languages that make an impact on me:  Spanish, Russian, Jewish and Muslim.  That’s just a common, regular day in Aventura.  What stuns me is the 3 tiered, enormous, bigger than a VW Beetle, crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling….over a circular couch that could very well be in a porn film or posh advertisement with nearly naked men lounging on it.  Wait, in fact, I think there might be nearly naked people lounging on it.

Every square inch of space has someone in some form of processing.   There’s no waiting area, so I continue to stand in the middle of the chaos.

Well, this is awkward, as I wait to be attended to by the front desk.

My uncomfortableness is compounded as I don’t know where to look as there are people everywhere.  And, by the way….why do they have a money machine in here?

I have to yell my arrival to the woman at the front desk.  Yell.  Over.  The.  Noise.

I can only yell my name and appointment time to her as, unfortunately I have no idea who my appointment is with.  When they called me back to tell me my time (as I requested my appointment via their online system) the background noise from the salon was so loud I couldn’t hear who the name was of the stylist.

OH yes!  You’re with Suyera.

Great!  (WTF? I think silently to myself…what name did she say?)

A few minutes go by and this young guy comes up and introduces himself to me:  Hello.  I am Stoerj.  Nice to meet you.  Please, this way.

He is so quiet and I have barely understood anything of what he said.  Not that he has an accent but he is quiet.  OH MY.

We go to his station and he asks what I want to do.  I tell him I need his help.  That he is my third stylist and I am looking for someone to just do what needs to be done.  He says, “not to worry.”  Then he starts to look at my hair, which I wear naturally curly.

He looks at the back and says, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?”  No mistaking his dislike of my shortened buzzed cut at the nape of my neck.  “WHO DID THIS?”  He’s obviously quite upset.  “TERRIBLE!”  I continued to just let him go on and he continued to run his fingers through my giant mass of hair.

A few minutes later another gentleman joins us and my stylist introduces him as Joseph.  He and Joseph start to consult together over my hair – in Russian.  Joseph calls my stylist Sam.

Eureka!

I have a name!  Mental note to self.  SAM.

The two of them push my head to the left, to the right and to the front.  All of the sudden…. Sam’s voice goes up four octaves and his sentences start running together.  The only word I could understand was:

FUCK!

Again, he’s not happy about the shaved nape of my neck.

I’m thinking, it’s a good thing I didn’t ask him to do this again.

Joseph walks away and Sam says to me, “don’t worry, I will fix this mess in the back.  It will take a few visits, but it can be fixed.  They should have never done this.”  Little did he know, I wanted it like that.

We did color and high lights, low lights, mid lights, rough lights, sweet lights, edgy lights and I even had a cappuccino while I lighted and processed.

It was time for the wash out and he leads me over to the sinks.   A Russian girl comes out to shampoo me.  All I could think to myself was two things….

1.  Please, don’t wash off my eyebrows, I have to go to the store after this.

2.  I don’t think you need to shampoo down my neck.

No, I am not kidding.  She would hold my head up by placing her palm on the crown of my head and then shampoo down my neck.

DOWN

MY

NECK.

I wasn’t just a bird in a bird bath, I was a raccoon in a bird bath.  Water was going everywhere.  I thought at one point….if I start to squirt water of my mouth we’re going to be in trouble here.

My thought process went something like this for the shampoo session:

marilyn

Please don’t wash off my eyebrows.  Oh my god, is my mascara waterproof?

I bet I look like Marilyn Manson by now.  How is this water NOT going in my ears?  Is it necessary to wash my forehead?  Oh wait, time for the neck again.  Please don’t wash off my eyebrows.

Note to self:  Thank god I invested in the clear eyebrow sealer, thank you Bobbi Brown.

Back to Sam, we’re down to business.  He uses his index finger to push my head this way and that way.  The cutting starts normally enough.  It’s your typical hair cut.  Comb and cut.  Comb and cut.  He dries my hair and uses the flat iron.  It looks fantastic.  I love it.

Little did I know the best was yet to come.

Cue Edward Scissorhands.

images-2

I’m not kidding.

It starts with Sam pulling up sections of my hair with one hand……while he cuts wildly….as gravity pulls my hair back into place.

This occurs all over my entire head.

Step two:  He takes sections of my hair and twirls it around his finger.  These large twists of basically hair rope are cut into with his ridiculously fast scissors.   Again, all over my head.

Step three:  Get out the hair dryer.  Tilting my head to one side and then the other, with the hair dryer on….causing my hair to blow wildly….he cuts madly into the forced wind.

All I can do is keep my eyes closed and hope the scissors don’t nip my eyeballs or my ears.  He moves so fast and the sound of those scissors makes my upper lip break out into a sweat.  Talk about scaredy cat ….. I’m on the verge of scaredy cut.

Witcha….witcha….witcha….witcha….witcha…witcha…witcha… (sound of his scissors)

Not to meRollercoasterntion he leans into the chair while doing all of this so I’m also vibrating at the same time.  It’s like a getting a little massage.  No, actually, it’s like you’re going up that first big hill on a roller coaster.  That chug, chug, chug feeling, but at 100mph.

Or, I’m riding along in a POS car and it’s stuck between 2nd and 3rd gear and can’t get over it.  Goodness.

I’m somewhere between getting my hair cut and a Siegfried and Roy act.

The other thing is, when I open my eyes, it amazes me…his cutting draws an audience.

It truly is a performance.  I’ve never had people watch me with such jaw dropping (literally) anticipation.  Perhaps they too are worried about my eyes and ears.  Today when he threw back my hair and I opened my eyes there were four people standing around his station.

FOUR!

They said, “SAM! Beautiful work!”

He said, “Oh no!  She is beautiful!”

Even the woman and stylist in the station across from me yell over how great it looks.

A lady, his next client can’t stop exclaiming how wonderful it looks and wants to know if this is my natural color.  Seriously?  

Ok – who doesn’t want to go to a stylist that says this?  Who doesn’t want to go to a stylist that gets an audience when he cuts?  Is this what it’s like to be a rock star?

Joseph came back over and told Sam he did a great job.  They spoke more in Russian about my FUCKED UP area but we’ll be okay they reassured me.  HA!

hughes

I get the 360 review in the mirror and Sam walks me over to the reception counter so I can make my next appointment.  The receptionist hands me my bill and I realize I won’t be making my first car payment …. instead, I will upgrading to Hughes 500 helicopter payment.  Well shit.  But you know what.  It’s SO WORTH IT.

Now, I also see why they have the money machine in the lobby – tips are cash only.

Sam gives me a kiss and hands me his card with my next appointment on it.

Guess what.  His name is Assaf.

Apparently, I need to get my hearing checked.

Buckle Up, You’re a Traveler.

Last week I took a long weekend to travel up to Buffalo, New York to visit my better half’s family.  It was his Dad’s 80th birthday.  There were enough candles on the cake the wait staff actually brought in fire extinguishers…..just in case.

Had Dad had extra long eyebrows or nose hairs, we would have had some serious issues.  The dancing flames of flamenco dancing would have had all new meaning to the clan.

The joys of traveling.  A necessary evil.  Luckily we’ve been able to bypass the stagecoach nowadays.

A first for me was having to find a boarding place for our child.  I wasn’t going to bring her with me and while she’s 11 years old, she’s too young to stay by herself.  After asking around I found a highly recommended boarding facility about 45 minutes from our house. The morning of departure I packed her up and we traveled to the cottage.  The entire time in the car she pitched a fit.  Wouldn’t stop telling me how unhappy she was for all kinds of reasons:

  • She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go with me.
  • She was unhappy that she couldn’t stay by herself at home.
  • She’s never been to the new boarding place.
  • She was worried about making friends.
  • She was pissed she couldn’t see out the window.
  • She wasn’t happy about having to travel in the car while zipped inside a bag.

Needless to say, Liggy, was one pissed kitty upon arrival to the Country Cat Cottage.  After dropping her off at the feline spa, I raced home and threw on my dress and grabbed my suitcase.  I was off and running to the airport.

Yes.  That is correct.  I wore a dress.  On the plane.  With heels.  For one main reason: I wanted to see if I got treated better dressed up.

What do you think?

Remember years of yore when people actually dressed up to travel on the airplane?  Sunday best attire, hats and gloves?  Now everything including pajamas are acceptable.  It’s ridiculous.  I think there should be a little bit of a dress code to fly.  Honestly, there was a hooker on my return flight!  Forgive me, a working girl.  A gentleman’s lady.  An escort.

Seriously, she was a lady of the evening.  I saw who checked her in at the Delta kiosk.  That wasn’t her father.

Another reason for dress codes on the airplanes is because seats are now so close together that you pray the person sitting next to you doesn’t cross their leg….resting their ankle on their knee closest to you.  Chances are they’re wearing inappropriate shoes, right?!

Of course.  Flip flops.  Toes that haven’t been tended to in months.  Nails so long they’re leaving snags in the airplane carpet.  What is that tapping noise?  Oh, that guy’s toenails hitting the tray table.  Lo and behold, if you looked close enough you’d probably spy moving fungi between the toes.  Oh, wait up….that was jam.

What’s even worse (you’ll want to mentally prepare yourself for engaging your anti-gag reflex) the people who play with their toes or pick their nails and then put their fingers in their mouth.

Good grief….disgusting.   Miss Manners would be horrified.  Forget Miss Manners – I AM HORRIFIED.

Being this was my first time to the Fort Lauderdale airport as a departure contestant (think Fear Factor contestant) I drove around the entire complex TWICE before locating the proper exit for parking.  I can’t say it was a scenic drive as I was too busy trying not to be run down by the taxis.  The first parking garage I drove around and around and around was – full – of course.

There was a sign for Valet, which I actually considered as I was beginning to panic about finding parking, but couldn’t actually locate where the hell the Valet people were stationed.  Everything here in Miami has valet.  Seriously:  malls, restaurants, movies, bars, strip clubs, doctor offices…you name it there’s a valet.  You would think the airport would have a blazingly bright neon sign screaming, VALET.  Or at least a random homeless person with a sign around their neck with a big arrow saying, VALET….this way.   Nope, this airport is like Pandora’s Box.  Good luck with that shit.

Finally, I find a spot to park Norman….in a second parking tower.

Since the complex is so enormous, I actually took a picture of the garage parking map where it said, “YOU ARE HERE.”  At least I’ll have a general area of where the hell Norman is when I return.

I race down 6 floors to the ground level where I see a sign for a shuttle to the terminals.   The airport fairy sends the tram car and I hop on.  The gentleman in the back car smiles and gladly takes my carry on luggage.  Score one point for my test of dressing nicer for service.  I advise him of my airline and off we go.

Now, I am sweating, not because of the heat (well mainly because of heat) but I’m now later than I wanted to be walking into the actual airport.  I have a little over an hour before departure.  My time has been wasted trying to find parking and then taking the tram to the actual building.

This is ridiculous.

In my haste to get to the airport, I completely forgot you have to take your shoes off at security.  There I am BAREFOOT in the airport.  The best I could do was try and keep my little piggies up off the floor.  Most people wear socks right.  Wrong.  I look around and 99% of the people going through the security gates are sockless.   Walk on your heels.  Don’t walk on your heels – they’ll think you’re mental.

Finally, I make it to the gate only to learn the flight is 25 minutes late.  Great.  There goes my connection in Detroit.  The gate agent assures me it won’t be a problem, there’s a tail wind and all connections will be made just fine.  I try to think positively but in my heart I know this is going to be a mess.  You know like when your gut tells you not to open that piece of junk mail but you do it anyway and it turns out to be a virus.  I felt like that.

Once on board the silver bullet we take off and the pilot comes on to announce our arrival time into Detroit.  Oh yeah, by the way, we’re still going to be 30 minutes behind schedule.  Luckily I am in the second row of steerage so I’ve formulate a plan.

As soon as the “double-ding” occurs I am up and out of my seat heading towards the door.    I race up the gangway and leap out into the terminal like a ninja.  Where’s a monitor?  I need to see the monitor!  (No.  Thanks Delta, but you were’t able to provide gate information coming in for the landing, you didn’t care I had a connection and there was nobody at the gate to assist.)  We’ve arrived into terminal A – and my connection is in terminal C.

YOU MUST BE KIDDING.  With 10 minutes before departure, I give it a solid try.  My feet have already been contaminated so what’s it going to hurt?  I yank off my high heels and begin sprinting through the terminal like OJ Simpson.  The exception is I’m shorter, pulling a wheeled bag and I’m barefoot.  AGAIN.

I’m following the big C signs with the arrows  and come up short when I realize, there’s a  shuttle to the C terminal!  I hurl myself into the car as the automated announcement tells us the doors are closing.  No shit, really?  The gentlemen next to me asks about my connection, I tell him it’s to Buffalo.  A Delta employee is sitting there and says, “Oh, they shut that gate 7 minutes early.”

The doors open and I weigh my options.  Continue like a crazed nutter and hope the guy was lying or put my shoes back on and stroll up to the counter?  Yep, you guessed it.  The Nutter won.  I continue sprinting along the long hallway, which obviously must be under an runway as it went on forever.  My little naked feet are pounding against the moving walkway as I keep praying silently to myself, “I will not get foot fungus.  I will not get foot fungus.”  It was like being in a horror film….running down one of those long hallways that you never get to the end of….and Jack Nicholson is chasing you with an ax screaming “Here Comes Johnny!”

As I’m dashing down this hallway, more like a character from a Dr. Seuss story than a long distance runner I notice with horror one thing.  I’m loosing my panties.

My under ware is falling down.

By the time I get on the escalator going up to terminal A, I realize half of both cheeks are exposed.  Well, how the hell am I going to pull these up?  Thank god for the person who invented the pockets.  My dress has pockets.  Insert hands and pull up panties.

Good grief.  I’ve never.  Ever.  EVER.  Had a problem like this before.  What’s next?

Finally I get to the counter and there are THREE Delta agents there.  Nobody making eye contact with me.  Oh so sorry, that flight is already gone.  We’ve already booked you on another flight this evening, here’s your ticket.  No seat assignment?  Oh, we can’t do that, you have to go to that gate.  Alright fine.

I walk away, sit down on the bench and burst into tears.  Now I know how people feel on American Idol.  You give it your best shot, do everything in your power and you still loose.  My cute dress didn’t even help me.  They can’t even give me a seat!

Finally I pull myself together, wipe the sweat and melted eyeliner off my face and walk to the departure gate.  I have about 90 minutes before the next flight.  I ask the agent if they can assign me a seat.  Nope, they are not dealing with my flight yet and suggest I come back in about an hour.

Are you kidding me?  There’s computers and technology sitting all over counter.  You’re telling me you can’t assign me a seat?  For real?  OMG.  Where is the customer service?  Not at Delta Airlines.

Don’t worry, it gets worse.  Trust me.

I get something to eat and head back to the gate.  They assign me a seat and while I still have 30 minutes to kill before boarding I wander the terminal and make some phone calls.  I stand across from the gate, while I’m on the phone, waiting for the flight number to read “now boarding.”  All of the sudden the gate number changes.  WTF?  I rudely tell my friend, “I have to go!  The flight is now departing out of B terminal!”

Once more, I ponder my situation and decide, in order not to miss the possibility of this next flight also leaving early, I better take the heels off again.  I dash through the airport, pulling my purple wheel bag and praying to God my panties don’t end up around my knees.

Again, they get so bad that I seriously consider just stopping and yanking them off.  I don’t care at this point.  But then I think to myself, “what would you do if you fell and didn’t have anything on underneath?  You’d be embarrassed….”  So instead I stopped and pulled them up three times on my run to the next terminal.  What baffles me is they were cute new roos.  How could they not fit?  Good grief.  Leave it to me.

I finally arrive and sling-shot myself into the counter in B terminal.  The agent tells me I have plenty of time, not to worry.  So I decide to use the restroom, wipe the sweat off all exposed areas of skin and secure my panties.  I’m not just misting or glowing, I look like I’ve been enjoying myself on the slip & slide.

Pulled together once more, I walk on to the tiny plane.  It’s one of those with 2 and 2.  My seat, last one, by the bathroom and it’s a window.  Of course.  Nothing like being a nervous flier stuck by a window, in a seat that doesn’t recline and enjoying the aromas of the freshly used toilette.  Love it.  Sign me up to do this multiple times a day!

I get to my seat and the guy on the aisle is very nice.  I figure it must be the dress.  I get my ear plugs out and a piece of gum.  Departure time comes and the Delta crew tells us they’re waiting on a few connecting flights that just landed, giving those folks time to catch this flight.  Fuckers.  You didn’t wait for me, you sent my plane early!

Really though, it was a lie.  Nobody else joined us on the plane.

20 minutes later.

30 minutes later.

45 minutes later.

60 minutes later.

We’re still sitting at the gate.  Trapped in this silver bullet.  Waiting to go to Buffalo.  It was a mechanical.  It was paperwork.  It was the dispatchers. It was the hokey-pokey.  I don’t know exactly which excuse it actually was but just be honest.  While you’re at  it….  offer us something to drink for crying out loud!  This was the first time that I didn’t travel with my Quart Size Bag filled with alcohol bottles.  Yes, I am the only person who actually  uses those bags properly.  Had I stuffed it with my little bar bottles, I could have made a fortune on that plane.  $5 a bottle.

70 minutes into our collective meditation on the lack of service provided by Delta and we’re on our way.

Ahhhhhhhh…….

Had a great time with the family.  Lots of laughter.  Met new faces.  Ate the same thing for lunch two days in a row….the sub shop is AWESOME.  Bought hosiery cause I can’t find any in Miami.  Wandered through the village.  Went to the zoo.  Chased little kids.  Played one hand of some sort of card game (I don’t like cards….too many numbers.) And ate a steak for the first time in months!  Was also the only one who didn’t get sick after eating at the weird taco place….

I would like to say on my return, I did not wear a dress.  It obviously had put the hex on my customer service experience.  Upon arriving at the Buffalo airport I had plenty of time to get to my gate.  Once on board I relaxed and happily anticipated enjoying an adult beverage from the cart.

We push back from the gate and guess what?  Delayed.  AGAIN.  Trapped like a sardine.  AGAIN.  Are you kidding me Delta?  The people around me immediately start balking.  Their flights before this one were all late and now this one is leaving late.  Connections are going to be missed.  It’s a fiasco.  Previously, I had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta.  Now, I have about 60 minutes, which is fine.  Not a problem.

The real problem however was when we landed in Atlanta and I walked to the next gate for my flight to Fort Lauderdale.  Yep, you guessed it, my last flight of the day….delayed!  Honestly, they should consider renaming Delta to Delay or maybe just Delete.

Things I learned from this experience:

The dress didn’t make a damn bit of different.

You can’t drink alcohol in the Buffalo airport before noon on Sundays.

Never to work for Delta, let alone fly with them again.

Always travel with your own bar.

Oh and yes in case you were curious, I threw out the panties.