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Kentucky Grilled FAIL

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After coming home from the internship to write (count ’em) seventeen pages (in Verdana, inclusive of title page, abstract, and references…) about faculty status and tenure for academic librarians (are you asleep yet?), I was in the mood for a dinner that involved: a) minimal work for me, b) ingredients that would potentially be harmful to my cardiovascular health, and c) chicken. Because I like my proteins either in dairy or chicken form. As luck would have it, I had heard that KFC was running a coupon for their new Kentucky Grilled Chicken, and that (with sides included!) fulfilled all of my dinner criteria.

Even after I read this, I was cocky enough to think that it wouldn’t happen to me. I offered to download the ridiculous coupon printer thingie and take a screenshot so that GP could print it at work (he’s wary of downloads onto Big Computer Company’s machines) and pick up dinner on his way home. All I have to say about that is…MASSIVE FAIL. Upon downloading the ridiculous (and completely unnecessary) coupon-printing application, I was told, “Sorry! You have already printed this coupon the number of times allowed.” Was the “number of times allowed” ZERO? Why was it so hard to get some chicken?

After calling their customer satisfaction number and getting a busy signal (which, wtf), I resigned myself to sending a scathing email through an online form. This is what the poor bastard who has to read these things will have to go through:

“I tried calling your Customer Satisfaction line, but it was busy. Nice.

I know I am not the first to make this comment (it has been, by this time, widely publicized), but I did want to add my voice to the many complaining about how customer-unfrie

ndly your coupon for free Kentucky Grilled Chicken is. First of all, asking someone to download a “coupon printer” is just ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. Second, once someone has downloaded your ridiculous coupon printer, it is reasonable to expect the printer to…you know, function. Instead, I was greeted with a message that told me that I had exceeded the maximum amount of prints allowed for an IP address. Was the maximum zero? Thanks to your huge and needless usability and customer service error, my fiance and I will be having Boston Market tonight, and recommending that our friends fulfill their chicken needs elsewhere.”

I know that I am making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary, but come on, KFC. Oprah talked about this– you had to anticipate some volume. Next time, design a non-shitty way to get people to come in to your store.


Emo shoes

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Good thing I wore my Emo Shoes (complete with– wait for it– broken pink hearts!) today, because it was definitely the lamest Monday I’ve had in awhile, and this is counting the recent illness/head cold business. Had a meeting with the boss (yes, even in our “non-hierarchical” office, there is a boss), and talked about the numbers. Numbers that I was 100% convinced I had met, convinced I had done a good job. I was not nervous about this meeting, thinking that I had satisfied what was asked of me (that I grow our participant database about 20% in a three-month span, using my own marketing genius and whatever resources I asked for). What I realized, though, thanks to a reminder from the boss…was that I was about 100 people short. Totally something I should have known, and something that I did know– until my mind got stuck on this one number, and led to me sitting there at the end of this meeting, willing myself not to cry because, seriously, I am a Goddamn Adult.

Something I have to say about my job is that I probably didn’t know what I was getting into, when I first started. This is true for probably about 98% of jobs– you never really know until you’ve been there awhile what you are truly expected to do. I would like to think that I am in a special situation, that it was a little unclear in the beginning of my time there just how much and what I would be expected to do. Because, seriously? I have a BA in English. I can write one hell of a paper, I understand shades of meaning like nobody’s business, and I can craft metaphors that would make you gasp with their accuracy. I cannot, however, devise successful marketing plans. I am not what we would called skilled in enticement, and I cannot think of catch-phrase-y, gimmicky things that will draw people like fat kids to a pie-eating contest. That is not my expertise, and I have never presented any illusions that it was. I am ok with certain expectations that go along with my job, but not so agreeable to certain others. I am willing to work, and work hard. I just hate when effort is rewarded with so little, and I hate that I never even had a chance to be the Golden Child of the office. Right now I am doing the work of one and a half people, at least, and earning what I imagine a full-time barista at Starbucks does.

This is rant-y, and I apologize for being so complain-y, but you know what? Days like today make me really glad I’m going back to school, where expectations are laid out in syllabi, and those in charge of me only get to be so for a semester at a time. I’m glad that, someday, I will get to be a librarian, and at least have to be dealing with problems that I’m qualified (and prepared, ideally, to a certain extent) to deal with.

Martha Stewart takes the cake

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So, this week is Cupcake Week on the Martha Stewart Show, which I get to watch on repeat, thanks to Tivo and the Fine Living Network (which is totally the television equivalent of the Finer Things Club). I couldn’t even finish the episode, because it was all too much to bear. It began innocently enough, with a demo of some tasty-looking coconut cupcakes, and then devolved into my reason for pouring another, quite full, glass of wine. Without further ado (and because the theme for this month’s NaBloPoMo, which I am too chickenshit to actually participate in, is “letters”), here we go:

Dear Martha,

Look, I love you. I really do. So much so that I toted a “Free Martha!” poster all the way back to LA from DC for a friend after I acquired it at a rally I attended, and only reluctantly handed it over (you may know that unique college-apartment furnishings are hard to come by, especially for a gal on a budget). On the inaugural episode of your Cupcake Week, I was instantly riveted– it is a poorly-kept secret that I love cupcakes, and I was on board all the way. You kept me waiting breathlessly as I bleep-blooped through the commercials to see how you concocted an icing suitable for topping those beautiful white cupcakes, and you certainly didn’t disappoint (also, way not to give credit to Ina Garten for that recipe– she and Jeffrey are probably going to TP your Hamptons house now).

Then came the second segment, in which you examined the process by which Earnest Sewn jeans are made. No stranger to fashion magazines, I was familiar with the brand name, as well as the fact that I, an amply-assed lady, am no match for their skinny-thighed magnificence. When you sent your assistant (who I truly believe you do pay pretty well, well enough to buy her own Earnest Sewns) to get some custom-made jeans, I began to groan inwardly. Poor thing, she’s over six feet tall? Ok, I could see that being a problem, especially if she likes to wear heels when she goes out with boys and then minds that she towers over them. She played college basketball? Very impressive– also, a collegiate basketball career is the pathway to being your assistant? I had no idea. So, she had her $700, 38-inch inseamed, Japanese organic cotton jeans made, and they fit her like a glove. It was a thing of beauty. Where you really lost me, though, was the very first “model” in your Earnest Sewn fashion show (and I generally love a fashion show, especially at lunch). However, Martha, I have to give you a big, hearty, “What the FUCK?!” at your description of a girl who is maybe a size four as “curvy and voluptuous.”

I’m not sure what you are smoking, but a size four? Is in no way, ever, curvy. Sure, it might be something other than razor-sharp collarbones and concave tummies, but seriously? I sort of wanted to cut you. At least I’ll get to save money buying my jeans for less than $40 at Old Navy, rather than being burdened by a 38-inch inseam or a “curvy” size-four body that demands $200 jeans.


P.S. Since I know none of those curvy ladies so much as touched any of those cupcakes, would you mind sending me one? I’m sure you can afford it– MSLO is doing so well!

P.P.S. I’m still a little bummed that you stopped publishing Blueprint, but I appreciate the check you sent in lieu of extending my already-existing Martha Stewart Living subscription. Don’t worry, I’ll renew when the time comes.

Dear Today Show…

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Dear Today Show,

To borrow a phrase from our friend Stephen Colbert, you are officially On Notice. From that baby that you claim knows how to read, to Laura Schlessinger talking about women driving their husbands to cheat, to asking Jim Cramer, a FINANCIAL expert, about his friendship with Elliot Spitzer, your segments this week have been even more grating than usual. It’s bad enough that I have to watch Meredith Vieira forget that she’s now on a more “legitimate” morning show than The View (please, let’s not get me started on Elisabeth Hasselbeck), but now I have to watch this baby, who is really more “local news” material (I need to see some corroborating studies, please!), too? I love babies and all, and do think that infidelity is wrong, and can understand that we might want to know, in an inappropriate and slightly voyeuristic way, what Jim Cramer thinks of what his friend did, but I have a sense of decorum. Today Show, I love your dramatic opening music, and I love that my DVR allows me to start you a little late, so I can watch your longest (and most actual-news-related) segment before I leave for work in the morning. But if you continue in this manner, and if I have to look at Drew Peterson’s ugly, young-wife-killing mug one (or a couple) more time(s), I’m going to be forced to listen to Morning Edition instead. Don’t make me be more of a yuppie than I already am, mmkay?


That really cuts my cake…

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…and not even in a good way. So, our apartment complex was recently purchased by a new management company, which I think is based in LA (at least that’s what it said when I Googled it). Right there, I feel, is Strike One, because how the eff are they supposed to manage anything from hundreds of miles away. I suppose that’s not the point, and it’s not like they’d be walking around the units, inspecting the landscaping and making sure that nothing was floating around in the fountain, even if they were based here in San Jose, but still. LA is not close, people.

There have been issues with the apartment and management before– there have been too many “we need to shut off the water today between 10ish and 6ish” notices to count, not to mention general pain-in-the-ass cable and internet setups (basically, there is an internet monopoly for people who don’t want a landline in their apartment, as the internet would have to have some sort of…line, and the only alternative to crap-ass, no-Food-Network-having cable is DirecTV, which entails a huge pole/tower/tripod thing on our deck, not to mention a godawful DVR– but that’s a tangent we just don’t have time for…). But, by and large, the most egregious things have happened since the new management company has taken over. Don’t get me wrong, GP and I are happy to be in the location we are (mostly), happy that we’re not paying a too-crazy (for the Bay Area) amount of rent, and happy that we have all the necessities, like shelter, food, and enough wine to last for a couple weeks, at least, even if it were to be the only thing we ever drank. The offenses I am about to describe to you are offenses of intense inconvenience than they are of actual damage or harm. Right now, and in the next few weeks, there will be three concurrent construction projects going on throughout the complex– and this is after they replaced all the doors and windows in the midst of a few stormy weeks in late January (genius thinking, by the way…).

Three projects. At the same time. Now, as a college graduate, I feel that I may have an advantage over these clearly middle-school-educated property management companies in that I know a thing or two about time management, even if I don’t always practice it. (Warning: I am about to be very petty, complainy, and all-around unpleasant. Consider yourself warned.) Since when is it a good idea to run three enormous construction projects at the same time? Since never, is the normal-people answer. You want to re-roof all twenty-odd buildings in the complex? Knock yourself out. That in itself is quite the undertaking, and I realize that you have a Serious Company set up to do it, not some guy in his pickup truck with his sixteen year old son helping him out after school. I get it, but why not pace yourselves? Might be nice to have to deal with only one potential clusterfuck at a time.

Oh, no? You want to replace all the balconies, too? Oh, that’d be nice, especially since we had to have some of the boards out there replaced immediately after moving in because they were rotted through and we could see through them. I get it, you want to be all structurally sound in earthquake country, that’s cool. Oh, and bringing in our small table, chairs, plants, and grill? Not a problem, they might be able to live in our kitchen or whatever. But we have to get the eyesore of a DirecTV tripod off the balcony, too? Hmm, let me think: no. No freaking way am I going to bring that thing into my apartment, and neither is GP. (Sidenote: I’m going to have this conversation, this one about the eyesore-tripod de- and re-installation with Management tomorrow, as I seriously have no intention of paying to have it re-installed, nor do I plan to take that thing down by myself.) I’m interested to see what sort of solution you have, because my suggestion is that you be the ones to contact the cable company to have them take it down and put it back up. You wait for that four-hour window in the middle of a workday for that grubby guy to show up, and you pay him for the privilege of his company.

Oh, and the third thing? Is probably the worst yet. We got a three-page, Very Serious Document taped to our door (the typical delivery method for Very Serious Documents, no?) on Monday, saying that all the units are going to be re-piped. Apparently, this is a process that involves not only plumbers, but drywall and painting teams, too, and there’s always the wait for the city inspectors somewhere in the middle there. During the process, we are to have everything off the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms and everything out from under the sinks, which leads me to an interesting question, a Zen koan of sorts– where is all that stuff supposed to go? See, we’re in a two-bedroom apartment, and storage is not at a maximum around here (witness the shoes that meander over all available floor space). I can’t wait until this process begins, and the note taped to the door gives us some more firm dates, but you see, I can’t read it in its entirety. Why? Because it is to remain on the door, like some sort of Passover marker, although I doubt that this one will serve to protect us very successfully. How, exactly, am I to review the pages that are posted on my door, if they are supposed to stay in that very place? Also, you guys put the wrong floorplan in the packet. Idiots.

You may be able to gauge the level of frustration…and I’m not sure what exactly (if anything) there is that I can do about it. A law-school-attending best friend of mine told me recently that she regretted that she didn’t have any advice, as they haven’t gotten to landlord-tenant relations in her Property class just yet, so I ask you, Internets: is there anything I can do besides complain into your vast tubes? Sure, it’s therapeutic, and I’m sure at least someone likes to read my bitching, but I’d hate to think that it ended there. What would you do, in my position?