I didn’t realize that Major League Baseball got under way this coming Sunday until I saw this.
Well, now I know, thanks to the MLB Memes Facebook page.
And to think, there are some here on this blog who don’t believe in American exceptionalism…
I didn’t realize that Major League Baseball got under way this coming Sunday until I saw this.
Well, now I know, thanks to the MLB Memes Facebook page.
And to think, there are some here on this blog who don’t believe in American exceptionalism…
Running a bit behind with this, but it was a busy weekend.
As you can see, a good time was had. Particularly by me, what with the honor of riding on the official Yesterday’s float. My first time on an actual float in an actual parade.
They issued me a green cowboy hat, but it was too small, and I was already wearing a hat, so I used it to wave with.
Turns out that early is the time to go. It wasn’t as hot as later, and you miss a lot of the crowd. I was a bit concerned at what I perceived as low turnout, but Scotty at Yesterday’s said, wait until about 2. I left a little before that, and the mob waiting to get in was impressive. The crowd was later estimated at 40,000.
Among all of them, I only ran into one person who I actually knew was Irish, as in personally from Ireland — Jerry Hackett, who teaches philosophy at USC. He and Bud Ferillo were sitting out in front of Starbucks. I joined them for a bit and we talked about the new Pope, which seemed the thing to do while celebrating a saint’s day.
Speaking of philosophy, I heard a pearl or two from the mouth of Cedric the cowboy as I stood next to the bathtub from which he waved. For instance, as he looked out on the sea of green-clad folk, he wondered aloud, “How come on St. Patrick’s everybody wants to be Irish, but on Martin Luther King Day, nobody wants to be black?” I’m not sure what it meant, but that was the only thing I actually tweeted out from the float.
I got a bit sunburned and my famous gigantic hornrim glasses got broken. No, I didn’t get into a brawl. And I had not so much as touched a drop. It was right after the parade, as I was re-entering the festival area; I was trying to remove my green sweatshirt and my glasses flew off and hit the pavement, and I saw one lens go skittering off down the street. I sort of repaired them with some tape from behind the bar at Yesterday’s, but it might be time to invest in some new ones.
So when you next see me, I might look different…
You can usually count on seeing me at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Five Points, but this year is special — you’ll be able to see me in the parade itself!
The way this happened is slightly complicated. My daughter who used to work at Yesterday’s somehow won the right to be on that fine establishment‘s float. But she won’t be in town on Saturday. This situation led to a worldwide search, and I was deemed best qualified to fill in for her, what with the close DNA match and all.
I’m told I’ll be right beside the bathtub itself, and there is no greater honor than that.
As I participate in this spectacle, I will endeavor to be as appealing as the Twins were when they appeared in the parade two years ago, below. Even though I probably look more like the old guy in the Mustang above.
And I’m hoping that I can find a new T-shirt like the one I bought at the 2007 fest, which still stands in my memory as the most awesome one ever. My brother-in-law (who was in town for my son’s wedding, that night — it was a very memorable day) and I had an awesome time. Not quite as awesome as the time Frank the Tank had at the party in “Old School,” but right up there.
You can see the back of it above, and the front below (from when I thoughtlessly wore it to the Italian Festival one year).
As you can see in the above pic, it’s getting a bit worn. That’s because it’s my very favorite weekend shirt. So a new one would be in order. I’ve written to the folks at Newcomb Graphix, hoping they’ll have a stall at this festival. If not, I’ll be hoping for next year.
Speaking of next year — I keep thinking that one year it would be cool to have a bradwarthen.com float in the St. Pat’s parade. We could dress up my battered pickup truck. Anyone game to ride in the bed and throw trinkets at the crowd?
I went down to the demonstration, as Mick Jagger would say, for just long enough to take a few pictures before walking briskly back to the office (I’m really trying to work in a little exercise each day).
What I saw was a respectable-sized, but smaller-than-usual crowd.
Of course, it might be a bit unfair to compare this to previous such events that had a special “draw.” There was the first of these events, in 2000, at which a throng estimated at 60,000 — you couldn’t move on the grounds, and the crowd covered Gervais and spilled northward up Main Street — demanded that the Confederate flag come off the dome. (Which it did later that year, and now all subsequent King Day events have occurred under the one flapping on the grounds.)
But this time, the event was up against Barack Obama’s second inauguration, and a lot of people who go to demonstrations went to that instead. Or watched it at home, instead of on the screen provided on the State House steps.
I didn’t hear much — as I said, I was just there long enough to take a few pictures. And as usual, that was a challenge, with the crowd in sunlight and the speakers in shadow. One of these days, somebody needs to have one of those on the other side of the State House.
I did hear part of an address by the Rev. Brenda Kneece about gun violence (from what I heard, she was against it). Then, as I was leaving, Tom Turnipseed got up, and after a reference to his having been “hooked up to jumper cables” (it was him saying it this time, not Lee Atwater) in his youth, he started talking about MLK Jr. having psychiatric problems. I’m not sure where he was going with that, but the theme of this event was supposed to be mental health, so…
As I walked away, I ran into Sammy Fretwell of The State. Someone else was doing main coverage of the event, he said, explaining that he was there to look for “fringe elements.” And as it happened, someone had just been arrested… he broke off then to ask a passing cop about it, but didn’t get anything.
Anyway, I hope Sammy found some fringe elements, to make his efforts worthwhile.
The WSJ today had a piece today about the first official Thanksgiving proclamation — which was George Washington’s first proclamation of any kind as president — and it struck me how fitting that the main objections to it came from South Carolinians. During debate over the resolution asking the president to proclaim the holiday:
Rep. Aedanus Burke of South Carolina objected on the grounds that a Thanksgiving was too European. He “did not like this mimicking of European customs, where they made a mere mockery of thanksgivings.”
Rep. Thomas Tudor Tucker, also of South Carolina, raised two further objections. “Why should the President direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do?” he asked. “If a day of thanksgiving must take place,” he said, “let it be done by the authority of the several States.”
Tucker’s second reservation had to do with separation of church and state. Proclaiming a day of Thanksgiving “is a religious matter,” he said, “and, as such, proscribed to us.” The Bill of Rights would not be ratified until 1791—but Congress had just approved the wording of First Amendment, and that debate was fresh in everyone’s mind.
It fell to a New Englander to stand up in support of Thanksgiving…
Of course, the only one of those objections that had a ghost of substance was the church-and-state one — you can see how someone who had recently debated the First Amendment might pause remembering the words “Congress shall make no law…” But of course, a reasonable person’s next thoughts would be that this was just a resolution, it only asked that the president recommend a day of thanksgiving, and it in no way established anything, much less a religion, or inhibited the free exercise thereof.
It’s not the substance of the objections that strike me. It’s that it’s so very South Carolina to be the ones objecting to even the most vanilla, Mom-and-pumpkin-pie actions by the federal government. I mean, leave it to a South Carolinian to inject state’s rights into a discussion of Thanksgiving.
What is it in our water, or whatever, that has always made white men from our state so prickly?
If you’re looking for a place for end-of-the-year charitable contributions, here’s a good place to consider:
Dear Brad Warthen,Harvest Hope wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving at this time when we acknowledge all our blessings, and our most generous of thanks for all your support in our mission to provide for hungry families across 20 SC counties.
Families and friends gather at this time to celebrate and offer thanks for all the blessings the year has provided. Yet, 1 in 6 families in SC does not know where their next meal will come from. Thanksgiving only serves as a painful reminder of their struggles to put food on their tables.
Over the last four years Harvest Hope has seen a steady decline in not only the number of donors who are the cornerstone of our mission, but the monetary level of their donations as well. Our donations for 2012 to date are down more than 21% over the same period of time in 2010.
Yet in the face of decreasing donations we struggle to make sure no one is turned away hungry. Your generosity helps Harvest Hope make sure families in our community do not have to experience the pain of hunger while so many others celebrate the simplest of joys. Your kindness is how we continue our mission of HOPE. Giving to Harvest Hope is easy at click here.
The lines were long yesterday at our own Emergency Food Pantries on Shop Road and in Cayce, and they even longer this morning. Many requests are coming into our Florence and Greenville Branches for help with families in those communities struggling to put the most basic of food items on their tables. Help is needed and your support can provide great nourishment and great Thanksgiving by going online today or dropping off nonperishable food at any of our four locations.
2220 Shop Road, Columbia – 29201
1175 12th Street Ext, Cayce – 29202
2513 West Lucas Street, Florence – 29501
28218 White Horse Road, Greenville – 29611
During this season of thanks ~ thank YOU for sharing your
kindness with your neighbors struggling with hunger.
By which I mean that it should be celebrated on July 2, the day the Congress took the vote for Independence. But anyway…
Speaking of which, I saw parts of “1776″ on the telly this afternoon. It was actually pretty accurate. I was a bit disconcerted to see Benjamin’s father from “The Graduate” as John Adams, but he did OK.
And I say it was accurate because it pretty clearly showed what happened in the Continental Congress — how it was the obnoxious, irascible Adams who was responsible for persuading the Congress to declare independence. Jefferson sat there silent through the debates. And Adams chose him to write the thing, which he was reluctant to do. (The film shows Jefferson eager to run home and see his wife rather than work on the drafting committee. Not sure whether that’s literally accurate, but it’s true to character. Jefferson tended to want to do things when they were convenient to him, while Adams went out and did the hard work.)
It was fun to watch William Daniels’ Adams browbeat the Congress, especially the courtly Rutledge from South Carolina, into making the big decision. The last part I saw was Rutledge singing this song:
Molasses to rum to slaves, oh what a beautiful waltz
You dance with us, we dance with you
Molasses and rum and slaves
Who sails the ships out of Boston
Ladened with bibles and rum?
Who drinks a toast to the Ivory Coast?
Hail Africa, the slavers have come
New England with bibles and rum
And its off with the rum and the bibles
Take on the slaves, clink, clink
Hail and farewell to the smell
Of the African coast
Molasses to rum to slaves
‘Tisn’t morals, ’tis money that saves
Shall we dance to the sound of the profitable pound
In molasses and rum and slaves
Who sails the ships out of Guinea
Ladened with bibles and slaves?
‘Tis Boston can coast to the West Indies coast
Jamaica, we brung what ye craves
Antigua, Barbados, we brung bibles and slaves!
Molasses to rum to slaves
Who sail the ships back to Boston
Ladened with gold, see it gleam
Whose fortunes are made in the triangle trade
Hail slavery, the New England dream!
Mr. Adams, I give you a toast:
Hail Boston! Hail Charleston!
Who stinketh the most?
Rutledge’s main concern was that after independence, that South Carolina’s sovereignty be paramount. Ah, yes, South Carolina was playing that role from the beginning.
Adams, of course, would live to see his own role largely forgotten by the public, while Jefferson was lionized every July 4. Fifty years later, on that very day, they both died.
And now, to take you from the very heights of American statesmanship to the, um, present day, here are some pictures that Lora Prill of ADCO texted to me from the Gilbert Peach Festival, with her comments…
I have to take issue with this Independence Day message put out by Vincent Sheheen:
Independence day is a time to remember what our forebears fought for and believed in. They believed in an independent country where citizens could join together in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They did not believe in a government dominated and controlled by one faction.
Unfortunately, that’s what we have here in South Carolina. And all I can say is – a government controlled by one party dominance in the Governor’s office, House, and Senate does not work.
Instead of working on improving public schools, these people are fighting to take away public money and send it to private schools.
Instead of fighting to protect the environment, these people are working to undermine it.
Instead of trying to bring the citizens of South Carolina together, black and white, rich and poor; they are continuing to divide us.
While regular people have been struggling to make ends meet, our state government has been using public taxpayer dollars and time to fly all around the country and world.Instead of seeing honest leadership, South Carolina has continued to see scandal at the highest levels of government.
Nothing will change unless we change it. Let’s all work together, Democrats and Republicans, for common sense solutions.
I am still a believer in America and South Carolina. Happy July 4!
Actually, Vincent, they didn’t believe in ANY factions. In other words, the “healthy” two-party system you seem to be invoking here was not their aim.
Of course, they turned right around and, practically in the same breath, created two parties that ripped into each other with a viciousness that we would recognize today.
But, in terms of what the Framers thought right for the country (before Madison and Hamilton became the driving forces behind our first bout of hyperpartisanship), they wanted as much as possible to limit the influence of parties:
AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular Governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular Governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American Constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our Governments are too unstable; that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties; and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice, and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true…
Thus spake “PUBLIUS.”
Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. In fact, it SO didn’t work out that way that it’s a bit hard to believe that James Madison, who would so soon be the chief hatchetman of the Democratic Republicans, wrote those words.
Oh, as for wishing us all a happy Fourth: One of the Founders I regard as most consistently sincere in despising faction, John Adams, thought we’d celebrate on the 2nd, which after all is when the Congress voted for independence. Which makes sense. But I suppose I’m picking nits here.
I had a busy Saturday and Sunday, so it’s just now that I’m getting around to posting my St. Patrick’s Day in Five Points pictures.
Were you there? Did you have a good time? I had an awesome time, as usual — even though I had to work. Kathryn Fenner had guilted me into volunteering with other Rotarians to check IDs.
As it happened, when I first arrived, all of the ID-check tents were out of the bracelets that certify partiers as being over 21. For awhile, that put us out of business, so I went walkabout.
Then, some more bracelets arrived, so I worked checking IDs for awhile, until we ran out again, at which point I went walkabout again.
Then, we got the word that we could simply write “21″ in day-glo marker on both their admission bracelets and the backs of their hands, so I did that for a long while. At one point, Kathryn noted suspiciously that it was odd that most of the really cute girls were coming down to my end of the tent. A few minutes later, I went over to Kathryn and asked, in all innocence, “Just to make sure I’m doing this right — if she’s cute, I give her the OK, right?” She didn’t think that was as funny as I did.
What I learned from this experience was that most of the world was born in 1990. (The cutoff date was March 17, 1991.) I also learned that only about half of the people in the crowd were from South Carolina. There was a surprising number of out-of-state licenses. Many of them were from Virginia, and quite a few, of course, from Georgia and North Carolina. But they were from all over. One unusually large laminated ID (it was about 3 inches by 4) was from Republique Francais. Two young guys showed their (U.S.) passports instead of licenses, which seemed odd, but whatever.
Then things got slow, so I went walkabout again. That’s how I got all of these pictures.
Near as I could tell, a good time was had by all. Jack Van Loan did a great job in this, his last year heading up the festival.
Michael Rodgers shares the above photo, and this report:
At the S. C. NAACP’s King Day at the Dome, Attorney General Eric Holder reminded everyone that the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized in 2006 and that that reauthorization was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Here’s a picture I took of Mr. Holder (attached).
Here’s a link to Mr. Bush’s statements when signing the bill.
I’m glad to have this contribution, as I didn’t make it to the dome today — unlike four years ago, when I and thousands of others froze listening to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. Good thing for Obama that he had borrowed our bathroom at The State to don some longjohns. He had been there for his endorsement interview with us.
It’s good to hear that Gen. Holder gave that credit to the previous administration. It’s always good when we emphasize the values that unite us, and take a break from dwelling on our divisions.
Which reminds me…
The only MLK event I made it to today was the annual Columbia Urban League breakfast at Brookland Baptist in West Columbia. All sorts of folks were there. I was writing down names…
Mac Bennett, Samuel Tenenbaum (both at my table), Paul Fant, Kevin Marsh, Jasper Salmond, John Lumpkin, Heyward Bannister, Ike and Sue McLeese, Seth Rose, Hemphill Pride, Bob Coble, Bill Nettles (main speaker), Ronnie Brailsford, Pam Lackey, Bill Clyburn, Tony Keck, Donita Todd, Harris Pastides, Vincent Sheheen, Sonny White, Dave Aiken, Milton Kimpson Jr., I.S. Leevy Johnson, Henry Heitz, Mark Keel…
… but then I got tired and quit. There were just too many people I knew.
The most remarkable thing that happened, to my mind, at the breakfast was this: Ever since the historic King Day at the Dome in 2000, which drew 60,000 people demanding that the Confederate Flag come off the dome, there had been a certain tension between civil rights organizers in the community.
Some Urban League supporters (I was on the CUL board at the time, which is why I was privy to all this) at the time had felt like that was their event, that they had pulled it together, but that the NAACP had sort of hijacked it, and claimed undue credit. So over the years, there has been a slight sense of rivalry, with the Urban League having the breakfast (which is always attended by a lot of business and p0litical leaders) and the NAACP having the limelight at the State House rally — although many people attended both.
The tension was behind the scenes, but painfully palpable.
I think that’s behind us now. Today, I was touched by something Urban League President J. T. McLawhorn went out of his way to do at the breakfast: Twice, he urged those assembled to attend the NAACP event — and essentially calling it that, giving his clear support to the other organization and its observance. Maybe he has done this in previous years and I missed it, but this really grabbed my attention this morning.
I thought that was a fine thing to do. I appreciated it. I think Dr. King would have, too.
We didn’t have to wait long for a release that addressed MLK day more in the style of the Dick Harpootlian we all know:
On the day that the country and the state of South Carolina celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Republican Governor Nikki Haley chose to break bread with Texas evangelist, David Burton, who has fought to take all reference to Dr. King out of the Texas public schools text books.
He not only disrespects Dr. King, but he uses Jesus Christ to justify every far right position that he can dream up.
Poor judgment and disrespect, two character traits we have come to expect from Republican Nikki Haley, and she has met our expectations once again.
Call her office at 803-734-2100, and tell her that her actions are disrespectful.
If you want to learn more about the man who Nikki Haley believes was worthy of celebrating her Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with, watch below…
I have to say that I watched that video and didn’t get out of it what Dick said was there. It was too incoherent. See what you think. But at least the world has resumed its normal shape.
And at least we did the environmentally correct thing and took it to Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, which is one of the locations in the Midlands for the Grinding of the Greens project.
You can still drop off your tree, wreaths and what have you by Jan. 13, after which:
Free mulch from the recycled Christmas trees will be available to the public on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at Seven Oaks Park and the Clemson Institute for Economic & Community Development from 9 a.m. until the mulch runs out.
Which is cool, I think.
Here’s the Scripture reference:
6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
An alert source whom I shall keep anonymous shared this with me via email over the weekend. I wrote back to ask, “Is this a real Santa, or a mannequin?” and I was assured it was a real guy. My source was NOT going into the club in the picture, but was attending to important business across the street at the Central Midlands Council of Governments. Or so my source says, and I believe my source.
There’s a really tacky Christmas song in this somewhere. Something like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” or “Santa, Baby.” Something really, really not in the spirit. Something like the thing I heard this morning for the first, and I hope, the last, time, which I think is called “Gonna Get Drunk, Drunk, Drunk on Christmas.”
Some of us ring bells. Some of us find another way to give:
Allow me to take a break from my regular political banter and tell you about an organization that could use our help.
It’s the holiday season: we rejoice in miracles and holiness at this time, enjoying family, food, friends, and festivities. As families, we gather to share time, love and traditions and create memories that last a lifetime.
The children at Carolina Children’s Home have often experienced the season quite differently. Home has frequently been a place of abuse, not hugs; neglect, not love; abandonment, not gathering.
This Christmas, let’s take these children into our family circle of caring. We can help create holiday magic and memories for the children and give them a holiday full of joy and love.
This week’s Pub Politics will be a little different. Sure, we will be drinking beer and talking politics. But this week Phil and I will also be raising money for the Carolina Children’s Home. Republican or Democrat, this is something we can all do to help people less fortunate than ourselves.
Let’s open our arms and welcome these children by making this opportunity part of our holiday plans!
Please go to https://rally.org/pubpolitics, click the “Give Now” button to the right and make a donation.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. Have a very Merry Christmas.
Wesley Donehue, that is. He and Phil Bailey are the hosts of Pub Politics. Which I’ve been on 7 times, you know.
In an earlier comment, Phillip Bush posted a link to a rabbi’s spoof of the Perry ad that got me so outraged yesterday. It was… OK. I give it points for quick turnaround, but as comedy goes, it was lacking.
Kathryn responded with a link to an old Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart skit, which I said wasn’t nearly as good as SNL’s classic “Hanukkah Harry” bit.
And now, continuing the meme, Stan Dubinsky brings to my attention the latest Hanukkah video by the Maccabeats. It’s a cover of a Matisyahu number. (Watch to the end — Barack Obama makes an appearance! No sign of Rick Perry, though…)
You may or may not remember the Maccabeats for their breakout hit, “Candlelight.” Also about Hanukkah. And also very light-hearted.
The Maccabeats — yet another a cappella hip-hop bubble-gum Yeshiva group. When is the recording industry going to come up with something original, I ask you?
Recently, you contacted our online customer service group for assistance. We are conducting a study that will help us evaluate and improve our levels of customer service, and would like to include your opinions. The survey will only take a few minutes, and will help ensure that our customers receive the best possible service.
Please take a moment to tell us about your experience. You can be assured that your responses will be used only for research purposes, and will be held in strict confidence.
We value your input, and thank you in advance for your participation.
Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us!
I’m saving this for tonight, when I have some time to spend on it. I hope there’s an essay question on it…
This is a notification-only email. Please do not reply to this message.
Dear Brad Warthen,
Thank you for ordering from us. Your order number is [bunch of numbers] and has been successfully placed. You’ll soon receive additional emails regarding your order as it is processed.
Here is a review of your order.
Store Pickup summary
The Ready for pickup email typically arrives within 2 hours. Orders placed near or outside store hours may require additional processing time. If you have selected someone else to pick up your order, they will also receive a copy of the Ready for pickup email which provides detailed instructions on what is required to pick up the order….
And so forth and so on. Triumph, right?
But then at 1:33, I got this:
This is a notification-only email. Please do not reply to this message.
Dear Brad Warthen:
Thank you for shopping at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us.
Unfortunately, we were unable to fulfill your order # [same bunch of numbers]. As a result, your order has been cancelled. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your cancellation, please contact Customer Service 1-800-ToysRUs (800 -869-7787) for further assistance.
Order Date: 11/28/11
I’m steeling myself to make that call now.
In spite of this unreality, I’m told that we live in a brave new world of blissful online shopping, and today is that world’s High Holy Day. There are many stories out there celebrating it, such as this one:
A Shopping Day Invented for the Web Comes of Age
Cyber Monday might have started as a made-up occasion to give underdog e-commerce sites jealous of Black Friday a day of their own, but it has become an undeniably real thing — surprising even the people who invented it.
Last year, for the first time, the Monday after Thanksgiving was the biggest online shopping day of the year by sales, and the first day ever that online spending passed $1 billion, according to comScore, a research company that measures Web use.
This year, with a record-breaking Black Friday — shoppers spent $816 million online, 26 percent more than last year, in addition to spending more offline — online retailers are gearing up for Monday to once again be their best of the season…
Yadda-yadda, yadda-yadda, yadda-yadda. I remain less-than-favorably impressed.
To begin with, I tried to do it the old-fashioned way. I asked my Dad if he’d like to ride out to Harbison with me, and he said sure, so I picked him up in the truck and we went out there. We went into the store with me clutching the ad that showed the item on sale. After my usual thing — wandering about the store looking for it without asking for help — didn’t work, my Dad asked someone.
This led, indirectly (I’m giving you the short version here) to someone going to the back and searching for about 20 minutes before informing me that they were out of the item. They offered to order one for me, but I said, don’t bother, I’ll order it online from home. I thought I’d read that shipping was free, and I figured I’d save myself another trip to the store.
So I got home, and I went online, and there was the item, so I put one in my cart, and went to check out. Where I found that instead of $69.99, it would cost me $111.40. Turns out I would have to order another 40 bucks worth of merchandise from that store to get the free shipping.
OK, so I clicked on the “store pickup” radio button, and presto!, the shipping charges disappeared. Seemed fair enough to me… they put it on a truck that would be going there anyway, and I drive a few miles out of my way, and I pick up the item. Fine.
One more step, though: I had to click on the link that said “select a store.” Fine. I went there, and filled in my zip code, and was shown the two stores in my area.
Then came trouble: I couldn’t click on either store. They were grayed out, because the item was “Out of stock (or not carried) at this store.”
Well, duh. Otherwise I would not be placing an order from it and opting for “store pickup.”
Well, obviously there was a malfunction in the software, so I called the store to go back to Option A, which was to get them to order it for me.
I just needed to deal with a human being, thereby placing me back in the land of sweet reason.
So I called, and after listening to some singularly bad muzak (it was country, and I think it was intended to be patriotic, but it was extremely off-putting), a man came on the line.
Of course, sir, I’ll be happy to help you sir. What’s the item you were trying to order? I give him the stock number, and he keeps me waiting a brief while before politely informing me that they couldn’t order that particular item for me, because it wasn’t in the store already. If it were in the store, I could have store pickup, but not if it wasn’t already in stock.
But… they had offered to order it from me when I was there, I insisted, my voice rising a bit.
They must have meant they would order it for home delivery, he said, beginning to sound a bit put out with me.
But… if we did that, the cost of the item to me would almost double.
Yes, sir. Unfortunately, however, the store could not place the order for me unless the store already had it. Unless I’d like to have it delivered to my house for $50 more, a transaction I could easily have managed without involving him at all.
I was beginning to feel a bit panicky, like Yossarian in the nose of his B-26, surrounded by glass, with flak exploding around him so thick it looked like you could walk on it…
And as he sensed my disorder, the man tried to placate me a bit by admitting that yes, perhaps, the way it is worded, as “store pickup,” implying an item being ordered from elsewhere when it was already there, was a bit misleading, nevertheless…
Fortunately, I calmed down enough to ask him whether… by any chance… this item, which had just been advertised as being at his store today… might be coming in on a subsequent shipment without my having to place an order.
He said that was possible. And he had a truck coming in tonight. Perhaps, if I called first thing in the morning, the item would be there and I could place my order.
So I resolved to do that. But I must confess, there’s this paranoid little voice at the back of my head that tells me that by that time tomorrow morning, Colonel Cathcart will have raised the number of missions on me once again…