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Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Virtual offices

Chrysler building image courtesy of photobucket.com

I like having satellite radio in my car. There’s so much variety. I can listen to almost any type of music, listen to talk radio shows not available in my town and even listen to national news: Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. (Okay, that’s a lie. I never watch or listen to MSNBC. Way too annoying.)

But what I don’t like about listening to the news on satellite radio are the commercials. The commercials on TV are bad enough. As I type this, I’ve got that jingle in my head: “The Vil-lages! America’s friendliest hometown! The Vil-lages!” And now, so do you. You’re welcome.

I can’t even listen to my favorite news station with my kids in the car because every other commercial is an ad for erectile dysfunction. On a positive note, at least radio commercials don’t have some couple sitting in side-by-side matching bathtubs holding hands on the beach. What’s up with that? (Oh, boy. Can’t wait to see my spam filter after this post.) But I digress…

Last week I heard an ad for something called a “virtual office”. Based on what they said in the ad, I knew I had to check out their website. Because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But sure enough, I heard correctly:

You can pay people to set up an elaborate hoax so that potential clients think you work in a fancy office building:

Including the Chrysler Building and Rockerfeller Center in New York City, The Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles, and some fancy building I’ve never heard of in Miami Beach.

Here’s a brief description of the services offered:

  • An XYZ Virtual Office gives you an enhanced business image, complete flexibility and support without the overhead.
  • A great address – choose from 1100 locations worldwide
  • Your mail forwarded or saved for you to collect
  • A local telephone number with scripted call answering, screening and forwarding
  • Your messages passed on by phone, SMS, email or via secure online portal
  • On-site admin support, for everything from photocopying to travel bookings
  • All the benefits of a full-service office without the overhead
  • Complimentary XYZ businessworld Gold membership giving you unlimited access to our network of 1100 business lounges and cafés across the globe. Great for when you’re traveling on business, in the UK or abroad

I don’t who I find more repugnant. The company selling the fake addresses, the people who feel the need to use the service, or the clientele who would give preferential treatment to a firm who has a fancy shmancy office location.

You know what? I think I find them all equally repugnant. Unless I’m missing something here. Am I?

I don’t know about you, but if I were doing business with a firm and found out they were using a virtual office service, I would feel deceived. I would also wonder what percentage of my bill was going towards this elaborate hoax. It’s cheating. It’s deceptive. You’ve just lost all credibility with me. Because you’re trying to pretend you’re something that you’re not. Don’t try to impress me with smoke and mirrors. Make a better widget, or dazzle me with your creativity, or your wicked-awesome accounting skills. Whatever. Be better at what you do than your competitor. But don’t start our business relationship with a lie.

Besides, aren’t there enough pretentious assholes in the world? Do we really need to encourage that behavior?

Sincerely yours,

katdish
President and CEO
katdish.net
worldwide headquarters
a red couch somewhere in suburbia

Oh, and for those of you who don’t have that jingle in your head, here ya go:

Sorry/you’re welcome.

Why I hate writing, Part 4

Who would have thought that my love/hate relationship with writing would be such that I would need to write not just one post, but a series of them? I suppose I could simply categorize my writing posts under “Me ranting incessantly”, but that category is getting pretty substantial, and they might get lost in the shuffle.

I have issues, people!

In case you’re interested, you can find Parts 1 through 3 here:

Why I hate writing
Why I hate writing, Part 2
Why I hate writing, Part 3

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah…

Last Friday, Rachelle Gardner (who, in case you didn’t know, is a literary agent) wrote a post which asked the following question:

“(So) if you had a choice, which would you rather be:

(1) An author publishing steadily to positive reviews and strong critical acclaim, but selling low numbers of books and therefore unable to support yourself with your writing…

or

(2) An author publishing frequently (maybe two books a year) to average reviews and sometimes even being called unflattering names like “hack” yet making an extremely comfortable living and never having to take on other work.

To simplify: Great reviews, critical acclaim and awards… or great sales?”

Of course, I chose “both”, because she’s not the boss of me. Then she told me the point was to choose one, to which I responded, “I don’t wanna”, then she accused me of being a cheater… (This all happened on Twitter, btw. Not on her blog. But I digress.) Anyway, my point is (and I do have one), is that Rachelle posed this as a “thought question”, and rightly so. Because it really got me to thinking.

Not so much about choosing to be a critically acclaimed, award winning author or a best selling one, but about what lengths will you go to achieve the latter?

Before you get to be a published writer, chances are the words you share with the world are yours. They may be edited, but probably self-edited. Whatever point or message you are attempting to convey will be retained. The questions of critical acclaim or strong book sales are largely theoretical, because let’s just be honest: It might not even occur to you that once someone buys your story they may want to change it to fit a certain audience. You write because you have a story to tell, not to fill a niche in some yet unsaturated demographic, right?

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I think editors are the unsung heroes of the literary world. A good editor can make a good story even better, and it is in the best interest of your agent and publisher to do what they can to help you tell your story to an adoring audience. But how much control are you willing to give away in order to see your name on the best seller list? And at what point do you stop writing from your heart and start writing what you think people want to read?

I wonder about this because I have read so many best selling authors who start out with such promise, only to be disappointed by their later books. I don’t lay the blame completely on the marketing of a writer. I think some writers only have one or two good books in them, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is when they continue to write anyway because they think writing something is better than fading into obscurity. You know, like Margaret Mitchell did after she wrote Gone with the Wind or Harper Lee after To Kill a Mockingbird. I bet you probably had to google those writers just to refresh your memory…

I guess the moral of my rambling story is this: If you are fortunate enough to have your work read by a large audience and achieve financial success because of your gift, please don’t take it for granted. Remember why you started writing in the first place. Don’t be a lazy book whore.

Editor’s Note: While I have a rather long list of well known authors whom I consider to be lazy book whores, I will not share any of them here so as not to offend them. While I’m quite confident that none of them read my blog, some of you might really enjoy their books, even though they’re crap. Kidding. Mostly. (See? I’m a great self-editor, huh?)

If you haven’t already entered to win a free, autographed copy of Snow Day by Billy Coffey, see details on Monday’s post. I will be accepting entries until Sunday.

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Chris Matthews

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Did you see this?

Let’s put aside for a moment that MSNBC dares to call itself a news station when they chose five liberals to cover a historic national election. Nevermind that they acted like a group of giggly school children instead of a seasoned, respected group of unbiased folks who are supposed to report the news. One could make the argument that Fox News Channel is dominated by conservative views and CNN is dominated by their liberal counterparts. But in defense of both networks, they had representatives from both the democratic and republican points of view. They differentiated between opinion and fact. Which is exactly what they should do.

I suppose NBC decided they had nothing to lose, since Comcast has bought the network and is fixing to clean house, but as annoying as all of this is to me, what really bothers me is the blatent disrespect Matthews has for anyone who doesn’t share his political views.

Regardless of his personal feelings for Congresswoman Bachmann, she is a seated member of the Congress of the United States of America. Furthermore, she is a human being. Whatever happened to good manners? Respect for the office? I don’t always agree with the decisions or even the rhetoric of elected officials on either side of the aisle, but that doesn’t give me permission to attempt to publicly humiliate those I don’t agree with. You can’t knowingly set out to steal someone else’s dignity without losing some of your own.

As to his denial of the “tingly leg” comment — He never said that, huh?

Okay, thrill…not tingle. I stand corrected. Yes, Mr. Matthews. You are completely objective.

I long for the days when rude behavior was frowned upon rather than celebrated…

“I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.”
~ Gus McCrae, Lonesome Dove

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Selling ARCs for fun & profit

Yesterday was an exciting day. Billy Coffey announced his debut novel, Snow Day is now available for pre-order on all major online book selling sites. It was also the day I checked my mailbox to find a package from someone who was selling an advanced reader copy (ARC) of the same book online. What is an ARC?

Definition: An ARC is an Advanced Readers Copy of a book. In the freelance writing field, this term is most commonly used by those who review books for magazines and newspapers. The ARC is generally a paperback edition that is not complete- that is, it may lack a final proofread or its final cover design. ARCs are sent to potential reviewers based on their relationship with a certain publications, or with the publisher themselves. Sometimes ARCs may be supplied by an editor at the publication to the freelance writer. (from About.com)

If you want to buy an ARC, there are many opportunties to do so. Last time I checked, there were about 64,000 ARCs available for sale on Ebay. Every one pictured had the same words emblazoned on the cover: “Advanced Reading Copy – Not for Sale”. And yet, there are 64,000 copies available for sale on eBay and many more available through private sellers doing business through places like Amazon.com. That’s where I bought the copy I now own. Why did I buy it? Mostly because I wanted to take it off the market.

A week or so ago I was checking the Snow Day listing on Amazon when I saw that it was listed as being available in paperback. Upon further investigation, I learned that it was an ARC, not the final edited version of the book. The person selling it even advertised it as such. Before I purchased it, I asked the seller via email why, if it was clearly marked, “Not for resale” she was selling it. Here is her response:

Hello,
I am selling it because it is collector’s item as it’s a publisher’s
release and there are people who collect these kinds of books.

Clearly, I was entirely too subtle. Either that, or she just doesn’t care if what she is doing is wrong. I know many of you may be saying, “What’s the big deal? Everybody is doing it.” Here’s why I think you shouldn’t do it:

  • ARCS are not the final product. They are not intended for sale to the general public because they are not complete.
  • Just because there are collectors of these books doesn’t make it right to profit from something that was never intended to be re-sold. What if I told you I had a collection of shrunken heads?  Should it be okay to sell shrunken heads because there’s a market for them? (If there is a market for them, that’s really something I’d rather not know about–just saying.)
  • Because people selling ARCs typically have nothing invested in them. They simply got something for free and have decided to make a profit from it. The publisher paid to have that ARC printed, and the author spent considerable time and effort on it writing the book. Neither will see a dime from the sale of it.
  • Because, DUH, it clearly says NOT FOR SALE on the cover. There’s been some debate as to whether the practice is illegal, or if illegal, if the law is enforceable. But come on people! It’s most certainly unethical.
  • Because if you were the author, you wouldn’t want someone profiting off the sale of your book. It’s that whole “Do unto others” thing. Old school, I know. But that’s how I roll.
  • If you sell ARCs for fun and profit, you will placed on my crap list with black sharpie.

I’m just so tired of people with the attitude of doing what they can get away with because no one wants to go to the trouble of doing anything about it. And even though I’m just one person, I chose to do something about it. Immediately after I received that book today, I reported the seller to Amazon. I don’t know if anything further will be done about it, but at least I did something.

“The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.” ~ Confucius

End of rant…

And now, the winners of a free copy of Plan B by Pete Wilson as determined by random number generation (thanks, random.org) are (drumroll, please…)

Michelle (butterfly avatar)

and

Melissa Brotherton

Congrats, ladies! I will email you both with further details. I like this book giveaway thing. Look for more in the future! Thanks for all who participated!

Why I hate writing

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Do you know what I was going to call this post?

Why I hate writers.

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I’m in a really pissy mood right now and I’m not sure why. Two years ago, I would have done what any normal person would do. I would yell at my kids or eat a half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream, or turn on the Wii and box a few rounds. Heck, I may have done all of these things simultaneously.

But I’m not normal anymore.

I’m a writer.

I can sit here and say, “Well, I’m not really comfortable calling myself a writer. After all, I have no plans to ever have anything I write published into a book. Clearly, I’m not invested enough into the craft to call myself a writer, yada, yada.” (Unless, of course some publishing type happens to be reading this and wants to offer me an obscene amount of money to write my memoir. Please validate my existence!)

Whatever. Here I sit banging away at the keyboard, searching the depths of my soul as to why it is I’m so angry. I’m actually sitting here wondering if I should take a spiritual approach to writing about my anger, or if I should just go with my standard “katrant”. This is why I hate writing. Because everything becomes potential material. I’m always writing. Whether it’s in a notebook, on the computer or in my head. It won’t stop! Why won’t it stop?

Back to my original statement:

Why I hate writers.

Good writers and bad writers. All of you. I blame you all.

Good writers: I blame you because when I read your work I feel inferior. You force me to study the craft so that my writing can be better. This is an investment in time and energy. I don’t feel like investing right now. I just want to do what I feel like doing. But you make me look bad if I do that. Thanks for nothing.

Bad writers: I blame you because when I read your self indulgent, flowery-worded diatribes it gives me a false sense of confidence. You make me think I’m actually better than I am with your badness. Truth is, I still suck, just not as much as you do.

Okay…

Not really. I don’t hate writers. I love writers – all writers. I love writing – good and bad. All writing encourages me to write better. It’s just so darned frustrating sometimes.

I think I’ll eat some ice cream…

Carry on…

EDITOR’S NOTE: It occurred to me after writing this post that upon reading it, approximately 96% of people reading who consider themselves writers would wonder (if even for the briefest period of time) if I was referring to them when I mentioned “bad writers”. That’s another thing I hate about writing. It tends to do a number on your self esteem. Not to worry. I’m actually NOT talking about 96% of you.

And now you’re wondering if you’re in the 4%.

See what I mean?

Pardon me while I rant incessantly…Ring bell for good service

I don’t know what it is about grocery shopping that turns me into a grumpy ho, but I dislike everything about it–the meal planning, the list making, the coupon clipping (HA!–As if)–I’m already stressed out and I haven’t even left my house yet! Now, with most chores I find unappealing, I find that once I stop procrastinating and just do them, they’re really not so bad after all.

Grocery shopping? Not so much…

My disdain for the grocery store is well documented. In my post I do not heart grocery shopping, I took you along as I trudged through the aisles of the local Kroger, where you met the beloved Pornographic Cheese Buttler. You then shared in my outrage at the removal of said PCB in Say it ain’t so, Kro! Say it ain’t so!

Is it any big surprise that the same local grocery store would be the object of my latest incessant rant?

Back in March of this year, Billy Coffey wrote a post called Grocery store goodness where he describes the latest phenomenon encouraging excellent customer service: the “Ring bell if you received excellent customer service” bell. 

In a nutshell, here’s the concept at my store: 

  • There’s a bell with a sign at each register.
  • If your cashier gives you excellent customer service, you ring the bell. 
  • Upon hearing the bell, the entire staff of store stops what they’re doing and applauds for the cashier a-la Pavlov’s dog. 

In his typical style, Billy ends the story with an important life lesson on the importance of doing good not for the sake of recognition, but simply to give of yourself without expecting anything in return. And while I could also go this route, I figured he already covered it, so I’m just gonna gripe. You’re welcome.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m all about appreciating good customer service. Especially since it seems so rare these days. I’m not one of those people who are rude to store employees because I’m having a bad day. I worked retail back in the stone ages when the customer really was always right. Believe me, I’ve smiled and bit a hole through my tongue more times than I care to remember rather than telling some jerk with a superiority complex who talks down to a sales associate what I really thought of them. I get it. I go out of my way to be nice to people who often have jobs I suspect they would rather not have.

But this bell crap? Not a fan. Now, if they had an option for bad customer service I might be more inclined to participate in the celebration of the good service. 

For example:

Cashier carries on conversation with bagger about how many hours the manager screwed him out of this week without acknowledging the customer whose groceries he is ringing up…

Ding!

Employees park grocery carts in the covered walkway of the shopping center instead of in the designated shopping cart area inside the store, forcing customers to push their grocery laden carts in front of the store where all the thru traffic is. For some reason, this only happens when it is raining.

Ding!

Customer seeks assistance checking out groceries from one of the five cashiers standing around the customer service desk and is told, “The self-service lines are open.”

DING!

Store management removes the Pornographic Cheese Buttler display from the store and ruins any remote possibility of me having fun at the grocery store…

DING! DING! DING!

Enough with all the positivie reinforcement stuff already if you’re not going to acknowledge and correct all the things that make grocery shopping an unpleasant experience. And bring PCB back. His public awaits…

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: pageants

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I have resisted the urge to write about this topic for a few reasons, but I happened to be watching a little train wreck of a show on TLC called Toddler and Tiaras yesterday afternoon, and I’m sorry–but I’ve gotta get my rant on. The quality of the this video is not great, but it was the only one I found that would allow embedding. If you’ve never seen the show, this gives you a brief introduction. This disturbs me on so many levels:

I’ve never been a fan of beauty pageants. One could argue they provide scholarships, platforms for worthy causes, and that the interview and talent portions are important. But I don’t ever recall seeing any homely gals on there rallying for world peace. Let’s be honest–the prettiest girl wins. Which is fine with me–just don’t pretend it’s anything more noble than that.

Even though I don’t care for Miss America, Miss USA, et al, at least the contestants are old enough to understand what they’re involved in. Such is not the case with these child pageants. On one episode I watched yesterday, the youngest contestant was three days old. Yes, they have an infant category. I’ve watched several episodes of this series, and I have yet to personally hear a parent say that their daughter didn’t love being in these pageants. I’ve also heard mothers say if their daughters wanted to quit they would allow them to do so. But I can’t help but think many of these girls would equate not competing with disappointing their moms, and I wonder if many of the moms aren’t trying to live vicariously through their daughters. I’m trying to understand what the point of these pageants are. One of the pageants they featured on the show yesterday had a grand prize of $600. A pageant dress can cost around $1,200. Then there’s hairpieces, make-up, flippers (false teeth the girls wear over their own teeth), tanning, manicures, pedicures, dance classes, pageant coaches, etc. I’m sorry. I just don’t get it.

Here’s a quote from one of the judges: “I’m looking at the little girl–not the hair, or the fancy costumes or the make-up.”

Oh, really? Then what’s with the hair and the fancy costumes and the make-up? My 8 year old came home from a friend’s house the other day wearing eye liner and it really bothered me. I want her to enjoy being a little girl while she’s got the chance. There’s plenty of time for make-up when she’s older. Please explain to me why it’s okay to spray tan a 5 year old, put make-up and false eyelashes on her, and parade her around a stage in a bikini and an evening gown that costs more than my son’s braces?

If you want to have child beauty pageants, then fine. But enough with the false teeth, pancake make-up and spray tans. They’re not miniature adults. They’re children. And they grow up much too fast as it is.

I could say a whole lot more about how these little girls are made up to look like women, but I won’t. Because despite how some people may view them, they are still children, and I want to respect that.

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Dumbledore is gay

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I had a recent conversation with a friend who told me about the winner of a senior thesis writing contest at the local college. What was the topic of the winning entry? The writer’s belief that all of the major characters in The Lord of the Rings were gay.

I’ll give you a minute so you can soak in that last line.

This reminded me of another group of folks who seemed hell-bent on getting J. K. Rowling to publically proclaim that Professor Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame was a homosexual.

My question is, WHY?

I’m not singling out the Gay and Lesbian movement, I’m just so sick and tired of people trying to make everything slant towards their own political agenda and then shove it down all of our collective throats.

The beauty of a well written story is that it allows the reader to create their own concepts of the scenery and characters. The reason great books seldom translate into great movies is because your concept of a hero or heroine will always be a bit different from mine. That’s a good thing. A good storyteller will always allow room for the reader to shade in the imagery with their own brushstrokes.

It’s why The Giving Tree can be a beautiful tale of unconditional love to you while it can be a story of abuse, selfishness, enabling and codependency to me.

It’s why we can quote a guy like Friedrich Nietzche whose words are often hauntingly beautiful when most of us who know anything about the man knows what a sick bastard he really was.

So, all of you with your single-minded agenda—would you just stuff a sock in it? Can we just agree to disagree on some things?

The world can be a hard, cold and scary place. When I seek to escape into the refuge of a good book, I really don’t need you looking over my shoulder insisting that Robinson Crusoe escaped to a life at sea because he was being unfairly persecuted for his latent pirate tendancies.

End of katrant.

Wow.

I feel much better now.

Carry on.

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: In search of pizza


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Last Friday night I wanted to spend a quiet evening with the family watching the Olympics and not cooking. Even though pizza is the arch nemesis of a low carb diet, the convenience of a meal in “30 minutes or it’s free” seemed too good to pass up. So I dug through the mailers and found a deal on 2 large pizzas, two toppings. We checked the stores listed on the flyer and were delighted to find (okay – “delighted” may be a tad strong) there was a new location only minutes from our house, plus they didn’t charge for delivery – Win-Win.

I call in my order. The girl asks for my address. She then asked what subdivision I lived in. I told her. She then informs me that particular shop did not deliver to my area, but gave me the phone number of the one that did.

So I call. I ask the new girl at the new location if they charge for delivery. “Yes, we do.”

“Okay. I’ll pick it up.” I said.

I proceed to ask the exact location of their store. She gives me location, to which I reply, “Oh, so you’re north of the interstate?” To which she replies, “Oh…well…I couldn’t tell you that.” (This is the future of America, people. Be very afraid.)

Whatever. I know where it is. I drive to the location, which was twice as far as the first one I called, but I digress…

“May I help you?” says the man behind the counter.

“Order for Kathy please.”

Thus begins the search for my order.

“We don’t have an order for Kathy. Are you sure you’re at the right location?”

“Is your phone number 555-1234?”

“Yes.”

“Then, yes. I’m at the right location.”

“What number did you call from?”

I proceed to give him my phone number. They check their phone and insists I did not call them. All the while the girl who took my order is avoiding eye contact with me. (I may not be good with names, but I have very good voice recognition.)

The manager says, “Well, you didn’t call here, but I can place your order now.”

“How long will THAT take?” I ask.

“About 20 minutes.”

Sigh…

“Okay.” I repeat my order, then call my husband to tell him I’ll be late.

“No,” he says. “Cancel the order. I’ll call the other location and by the time you get there it will be ready.”

Allrightythen…

I drive to the first location, which happens to be next door to a very popular Mexican restaurant in a strip center with woefully inadequate parking. I drive around the parking lot four times. Nothing. On my fifth pass, I am blocked by an SUV whose driver is waiting for someone to vacate a parking space…or so he thought. The drive is wide enough for a car to get around easily. That is, if the guy wasn’t idling right in the center of the drive. It mattered not that there was a line forming behind him. The parking spot was too good to pass up. I finally got around him with about 2 inches to spare. I ended up parking on the other side of the parking lot. (Did I mention it was cold outside and I was wearing flip flops?)

An hour and change after I left my house, I am finally holding two pizzas in my hands.

On the way out of the strip center, I notice the Ooo La La Bakery has put in a drive thru. Which makes sense, because sometimes you need a $10 cupcake on the go…

“I love humanity. It’s people I can’t stand.” – Charles Schulz

On a brighter note, they really have improved the crust…

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: In search of pizza


image courtesy of photobucket.com

Last Friday night I wanted to spend a quiet evening with the family watching the Olympics and not cooking. Even though pizza is the arch nemesis of a low carb diet, the convenience of a meal in “30 minutes or it’s free” seemed too good to pass up. So I dug through the mailers and found a deal on 2 large pizzas, two toppings. We checked the stores listed on the flyer and were delighted to find (okay – “delighted” may be a tad strong) there was a new location only minutes from our house, plus they didn’t charge for delivery – Win-Win.

I call in my order. The girl asks for my address. She then asked what subdivision I lived in. I told her. She then informs me that particular shop did not deliver to my area, but gave me the phone number of the one that did.

So I call. I ask the new girl at the new location if they charge for delivery. “Yes, we do.”

“Okay. I’ll pick it up.” I said.

I proceed to ask the exact location of their store. She gives me location, to which I reply, “Oh, so you’re north of the interstate?” To which she replies, “Oh…well…I couldn’t tell you that.” (This is the future of America, people. Be very afraid.)

Whatever. I know where it is. I drive to the location, which was twice as far as the first one I called, but I digress…

“May I help you?” says the man behind the counter.

“Order for Kathy please.”

Thus begins the search for my order.

“We don’t have an order for Kathy. Are you sure you’re at the right location?”

“Is your phone number 555-1234?”

“Yes.”

“Then, yes. I’m at the right location.”

“What number did you call from?”

I proceed to give him my phone number. They check their phone and insists I did not call them. All the while the girl who took my order is avoiding eye contact with me. (I may not be good with names, but I have very good voice recognition.)

The manager says, “Well, you didn’t call here, but I can place your order now.”

“How long will THAT take?” I ask.

“About 20 minutes.”

Sigh…

“Okay.” I repeat my order, then call my husband to tell him I’ll be late.

“No,” he says. “Cancel the order. I’ll call the other location and by the time you get there it will be ready.”

Allrightythen…

I drive to the first location, which happens to be next door to a very popular Mexican restaurant in a strip center with woefully inadequate parking. I drive around the parking lot four times. Nothing. On my fifth pass, I am blocked by an SUV whose driver is waiting for someone to vacate a parking space…or so he thought. The drive is wide enough for a car to get around easily. That is, if the guy wasn’t idling right in the center of the drive. It mattered not that there was a line forming behind him. The parking spot was too good to pass up. I finally got around him with about 2 inches to spare. I ended up parking on the other side of the parking lot. (Did I mention it was cold outside and I was wearing flip flops?)

An hour and change after I left my house, I am finally holding two pizzas in my hands.

On the way out of the strip center, I notice the Ooo La La Bakery has put in a drive thru. Which makes sense, because sometimes you need a $10 cupcake on the go…

“I love humanity. It’s people I can’t stand.” – Charles Schulz

On a brighter note, they really have improved the crust…

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