September 27, 2005

Faith in Humanity

Someone really ought to ban me from interacting with the public in retail locations. Someday soon, I'm going to decide that one of these people has just lost the license to live. The parents of a family who came in today came pretty close.

We knew that we had incoming customers when we saw a toddler come... well... toddling up to the door. Caleb graciously let the toddler in and we stood amused as he charged down the center aisle while we awaited his parents and brother. Once they made it in the door, I took to talking to father (who was holding a computer) while the mother set about tracking down her children as Caleb stood aside, surveying the situation. Now note, while I have few doubts as to the status of the mother, the guy who walked into my store shouldn't, by all means, have been the father. He looked about 19 at the oldest and acted with an immaturity and social awkwardness that belies the onset of adolescence in most boys... and yet it would appear that this was his family and he was the head of it.

It became quickly apparent with the mother's frequent barking at her two young children and her simultaneous disregard for the fact that they kept getting more hyper and reckless that this woman had no control over her two sons, nor did she have any clue about this whole mothering thing... at all. As things became more apparently uncontrolled, Caleb and I had a quick whisper-conference wherein it was agreed that he would try his best to prevent the children from destroying any inventory, as it was apparent that the mother didn't really have the capacity.

I then went to talk to the man who informed me that they were evacuees from Mississippi who would be staying locally for a while. Asking him what I could do, he grinned (more about that later) and produced a "Matrix Online" box and queried, "What do I need to get so's I can play this?" I told him I'd have to plug his computer in, at which point he informed me that he was gonna have to type the password in himself and wouldn't give it to "nobody." After I informed him that we had utilities to deal with such problems and suggested (rather forcefully) that he could go keep an eye on his sons for a moment, his curiousity was piqued. Rather than going to deal with his children, he began pestering me for the application we used so that he could "play around with it" (otherwise translated, get into my wife's account... go figure.)

At about this point, mom wandered up, abandoning even the appearance of attempting to control her children. As I explained that the system would need RAM and a new video card to be brought up to spec, I noted that the computer was a bogged-down mess that was loaded up to the gills with porn. At this point , the couple decided to discuss what they could afford, so I wandered off to help Caleb with the brats. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of earshot before I got the distinct impression that a significant amount of the relief moneys being received were about to be set aside for computer upgrades, and the wife was arguing that she ought to get her computer (left behind) replaced before the husband got more upgrades... and then there was the prospect of their ailing vehicle.

I hurried further away, eager to assauge my guilt for selling these people things that they shouldn't be buying, coming up to Caleb and helping him watch the children for a moment. As it dawned on me that I would feel better selling people things that they couldn't afford to buy than I would continuing in this babysitting fiasco, I waited for a lull in the conversation and returned to my customers post haste.

As I stood there, double-checking his system configurations and discussing his final choices, I began to play 20 questions. It came out that our husband and wife duo typically had the two brats in day care until 3 so they had plenty of time to do a bit of gaming, hence their presence in my store. They had opted to go the cheaper route on equipment at this junction so as to save money until after they had discovered how much it would cost to repair their car and perhaps buy the wife a new computer. At about this point my boss arrived back from an off-site job and began chatting up the husband while I completed the sale and talked with the wife. It was at this point that it came out that she was currently pregnant with twins. I didn't know whether to congratulate her or look up some adoption agencies and pass her the numbers.

In any event, it was at about this point that we finished the sale, gave the couple their new parts (plus a game that the husband had decided to snag) and sent them and their spawn on their merry way. It was at this point that I slipped through the back door and began shuddering at the thought of this couple continuing to breed and we discussed what we had all been thinking about: the husband and his "fresh out of the trailor" appearance. He smelled of the most foul things in nature and his breath was even worse, he looked kind of like a young, blonde Una-Bomber, and his teeth were nasty, yellow, caked in grime and housed in bleeding gums. All told, I was very glad the whole family was gone and hope that I never have to deal with any of them again.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:53 PM | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

I Hope Not

I was watching a television program before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends - apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends' mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out, and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me: these people don't vote, do they?
- President Bartlet, from the West Wing

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:25 PM | TrackBack

September 18, 2005

My Friend Jason

When I lived in New York, I met and befriended a guy named Jason. Jason always wanted to be a pilot and while I was starting high school in Ohio, he started taking classes to get his private pilot's license, in addition to his normal high school stuff.

Several years later, I went off to LeTourneau... and I tried talking him into coming, but he raised the valid point that LU is expensive as crap. So, he went to Embry Riddel and got all sorts of licenses, graduating a year before I did (though, he IS a year older and all.)

Anyways, due to an incident that happened on Friday, he's getting his 15 minutes. All I can say is it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy and I'm just glad he's ok, and hopefully enjoying his bit o' limelight.

I would like to note that this is the first of my friends to ever get noted in one of my warped links. Isn't that sweet?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:39 PM | TrackBack

September 11, 2005

The Cynic Works!

So where have I gotten off to? You would think that with a computer in front of me for roughly 50 hours a week (M-F) I would be posting with a bit more regularity. But yeah, I've been busy... all kinds of busy, with my job. And really, even when I'm not busy with my job, I do have a wife who I like to see every now and again.

On the flip-side, by the middle of this week, barring a barrage of new business, life ought to be substantially calmer at the job with the advent of finishing off inventory. That ought to be replaced with the less-stressful jobs of figuring out Win2003 Server (not my choice, I would have done Linux), getting our webpage up, and fixing a couple of computers a day. Mmmm... thinking work. But yeah, stop on by some time... I have lots of free time to talk to customers. And while I can't build you the cheapest computer in existance, I work for the only store in town that will happily put Linux on any computer you want and save you the $100-some dollars of an OEM Windows install.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:24 AM | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Life as a Professional Tech

I've been the Assistant Manager of Plug 'n Play Computers for 3 days. In those 3 days I've spent roughly 28 hours at the store, doing everything from providing quotes over the phone to glancing over resumes to repairing computers to performing inventory to engaging in interior decorating overhauls of the store. I've been having a blast working with my boss and the "Marketing Man" to help improve the store-front, develop a functional business plan, acquire a fix on where the company currently stands, and just do the plain day-to-day stuff like talk to customers, take orders and fix computers.

In the course of the last couple of days, I've seen all sorts of special things. The top of the list, as I've told some of you, is a resume that lists having a baby as employment experience for a computer tech/sales postion. Other interesting points of note are customers. Check that, pretty much every oddity that pops up in this job is the result of a customer. Today, it was the customer who was under the impression that her monitor was what she needed to bring to the shop so that we could fix her computer... and when we finally talked her out of that, she told us that she could indeed bring the grey box... but she didn't know if she could disconnect it from the monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. She also referred to the case as the "software". I was amused.

Anyways, come by and see me sometime... maybe I'll even score you a discount or something.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:19 PM | TrackBack

September 04, 2005

Rehnquist Passes On

Chief Justice Rehnquist died, presumably due to thyroid cancer, on Saturday night. His professionalism, dignity, dedication to the Court and wry sense of humor will be missed by liberals and conservatives alike. Personally, I will miss his unique attire as Chief Justice with the yellow stripes on each sleeve that he is said to have made to imitate a costume from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:14 AM | TrackBack

September 03, 2005

My Kingdom for a Job!

As many of you know, I have been unemployed since I ceased my activities as a traditional full-time student in May. Unfortunately, this period of time neatly coincides with the months that I have been married, meaning that my wife has never had any financial support from her husband... and that's been kind of sad and a little bit rough as far as money goes. As many of you have been told over the years, teaching does not pay well.

Anyways, I've been looking around for a job for quite some time now, and the market in Longview, to put it politely, sucks. I've had a couple of calls, even an interview in Mt. Pleasant (which is an hour away), but nothing by way of a seemingly-good lead, other than the local company that's been giving me the run-around for roughly 1 1/2 months.... that is, until this week.

I had heard that Plug 'n Play computers on the loop was hiring about a month ago, but when I went there, they'd already filled the position. So, it was much to my surprise that I heard over the weekend that they were hiring again... and lacking anything better to do, I went to check it out. It turns out that the manager, Brad, has had terrible luck with employees. He's had 6 of them in the space of 8 months and only once has he had 2 at the same time. Four of those 6 were just clueless and inept... not really bad employees as much as they were bad hires and incapable of doing the jobs for which they were hired. The 5th employee was capable, just lazy... more willing to invite his girlfriend to the store and sit with her rather than do work. And the 6th... yeah, he robbed the store blind. So to say that I was overqualified in comparison with my BS in Computer Science, experience in technical work, and good references by reputable people was an understatement. Fortunately, Brad wanted what I had, I wanted what he had (a job at a company that really wants to grow), and we both got along very well. Still, there was the matter of convincing the owner (his father) that it was worthwhile to pay me a bit more than the average "pimple-faced" technician. That took the rest of the week and saw the hiring of a very intelligent and capable business-man to handle the marketing side of thingsl. So, on Friday, I got the official word that I was hired, along with another LU grad so that we'll have 2 guys to do technical work and a guy to do marketing.

Usually, I'm not very excited about work... I've had some bum jobs and even the good jobs have been rife with bad co-workers or nasty customers. But this job, I'm really excited about. The challenge is more than I've faced at any other job, but I'm really anxious to prove myself, help this business get off of the ground, and help build it into a competitive brand. So yeah, if you need software, hardware or computer labor or you know someone who does, send them my way and I may even buy you lunch.

note: at the moment the web site is down (one of my first projects) or else I would give you a link. More on that on Monday, after I've worked a day.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:36 PM | TrackBack