Monday, June 24, 2013

That's Not a Super Burrito...That's Just a Regular Burrito

I've mentioned before about how Wayne's World is one of my all-time favorite movies.  I'm fully aware that it really holds no artistic merit whatsoever, and despite receiving mostly positive reviews from critics, it is a satirical comedy and should always be examined within that context.  I'm not going to, now, so don't worry, but I do want to highlight a particular scene because it is applicable some of my life experiences.

At the beginning of the film, after we see Wayne and Garth film an episode of their show in Wayne's parents' basement, the camera focuses on Wayne for one of the film's characteristic monologues where a character speaks directly to the audience.  Wayne is describing his seemingly pathetic existence, where he is in his (presumably) mid-20s, still living with his parents, with no real direction in life.  He says, "I've had plenty of Joe-jobs...Nothing I'd really call a career.  Let's put it this way...I have an extensive collection of name tags and hair nets," at which point he poses in front of a bulletin board full of said name tags and hair nets.

When I was in college, it was sort of an ongoing joke between my friends and I, because I was just like Wayne.  It seemed like every other month I had a different part-time job.  Just a few include Allsports, Target, Lowe's, O'Charley's, Carino's, KBA, UK Intramurals, Dick's Sporting Goods, and a few other summer jobs back home.  Part of my near constant job change was because of particular situations (seasonal employment, lack of business, etc), but part of it was because I would just get bored and want a change.  Lexington is a regular gold-mine for low-paying, part-time work, so I could always find something to earn a little extra cash.  But, the point is, virtually all of the jobs I held at that time forced me to work directly with the general public in some sort of retail or service job.  And working with the general public really opens your eyes a bit.

I think a vast majority of the general public has no idea how businesses like those actually work.  Or, they just hate their own lives and feel compelled to take out their frustrations when any situation arises that allows them to.  In any event, if you work in that environment, you really get a good sense of just how crappy some people can be toward others.  And it's sad.

A few nights ago, Adrienne and I were eating dinner at a Mexican restaurant when a family of 6 or 7 were seated at the table next to ours.  The patriarch of the family was a gentleman in his mid-50's, wearing a pair of cargo shorts, a brightly colored shirt, and Crocs with socks on.  He was...Very large.  And not in a "Man, I bet that guy can bench press a school bus" kind of way.  But a "Man, I bet that guy hasn't even looked at a gym since he last rode a school bus" kind of way.  He was grossly overweight.

We couldn't help but overhear their conversation, not only because of their proximity to us, but also because he had a booming voice that reverberated off the walls so much that it almost made the ice clink in our glasses.  Tact was obviously not a strong suit for him.

As the waiter came to the table to take their orders, he went around the table and each of them placed their order.  Whom I assume is his wife ordered nachos or a fajita or something to which she said, "I don't want any of the onions or peppers or anything.  Just meat and cheese."  Fantastic.

When he got to Mr. Cholesterol, he said, "I want the super burrito, with extra beef, extra queso, and no wrap."

Just to clarify...The guy wanted a plate of double ground beef, rice, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, and extra cheese.  No tortilla.  Just everything that goes into it, plus a little more.

So, the waiter left and we continued our meal.  When their food arrived a few minutes later, we heard this exchange take place:

"I don't want this crap!  This ain't what I ordered, and I don't want it!  There's no beans and no rice, and I ain't gonna eat it!"
"I'm sorry, sir, let me correct it for you," the waiter replied, or something along those lines.
"No, I don't want nothin'!  This ain't a super burrito, it's just a regular burrito.  If you can't get it right, I don't want nothin'!"

The waiter and a manager exchanged a few words in Spanish, which I'm sure were extremely kind in nature, and they took the man's plate and left.  I would pay money to know what they said about the guy.

After they left, he continued to bitch and complain to his family, saying, "No, this is bullsh**!  It ain't that hard to put rice and beans on a damn plate."  He was furious.

Now, I've been in situations like that on both sides of the coin, as a waiter and as a customer.  And even before I ever had an experience like that with a customer, I always tried to be nice to anyone that screwed up my order.  In all reality, it likely wasn't their fault, and even if it were, I'm sure it was an honest mistake.  He acted as if the waiter had robbed him or something, and what's worse...Made a complete fool of himself in front of his young kids.  Great example-setting, guy.

In angered Adrienne and I to the point that we talked about it for the next hour or more.  We wanted to go back and tell that guy exactly what we thought of him.  We thought about what we'd say if we were his waiter, as if we didn't care if we got fired.

"Oh, I'm sorry sir...I just noticed how fat you are and thought the last thing you need are extra calories from rice and beans.  I thought I was doing you a favor.  You need to lose a few...Check that...A whole bunch of pounds.  Figured I'd help you along a bit."

We both got the impression that he never would have treated the waiter that way had they been white.  He never said anything racist, but there were undertones pointing toward the waiter's intelligence, and it just made the whole situation worse.  Regardless, he made an awful spectacle and we felt terrible for the waiter, whom had given us excellent service.

I bet the guy hit up a McDonald's drive thru on the way home.  Just what he needs.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy Friars, Uglies, and Frontiertowns: An Observational Commentary

I don't remember the name or location of the first roller coaster I ever rode, but there is a photo documenting it.  Or at least, I'm fairly certain this is my first ever ride on a roller coaster.

It's obvious by my expression, and that of my dad's, that this thrilling dragon ride was not for the faint of heart and was apparently a big draw for tourists from all over the country.  But one thing is for certain: it is a microcosm of many childhood vacations we took as a family.

As we grew older, the rides became taller, faster, more thrilling, and filled with far more flips and steep banks than we started with.  But, Mom was, far too often, behind a camera lens instead of in front of it, as Lensey, Dad, and I became thrill-seekers one monster coaster at a time.  Mom suffered from motion sickness any time a ride flipped upside-down, so when we visited parks like Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, Mom had to spend an awful lot of time watching us from the midway, or catching a show while we waited in line.

Theme parks were frequent vacation stops for the Edwards clan as I grew up.  We went to Opryland in Nashville, Kings Island in Cincinnati, Six Flags St. Louis, and Disney World.  The aforementioned Cedar Point was a stop more than once, and easily trumps all the others without much of a contest.

The first time we went to Cedar Point, I was in the 8th grade.  We stopped off in Columbus for a night on the way and went to a Columbus Clippers baseball game that was followed up by a random Village People (yes, those Village People) concert performed on a portable stage they set up just beyond second base.  We stayed for one or two songs and left promptly.

Again, a family photo minus Mom:

We made another trip a few years after that just before the start of my senior year of high school.  Lensey and Josh got engaged on the Ferris Wheel a few years later, and I've made 3 subsequent trips to Sandusky since, with Stan and motley collections of other friends.  So, Cedar Point has a special place in my heart for many different reasons.

On Monday, Stan and I decided to make our third trip to Cedar Point after I discovered a new ride had opened.  Our last trip, in August of 2009, was pretty successful altogether, but Maverick, which was under construction during our first trip together in 2006, was either not operational or had too long of a line to ride, and Gatekeeper, new to the park this year, was barely in the earliest stages of planning.  So, we had two new rides we had to try out.  Adrienne hates roller coasters (and theme parks, and people), so she, quite adamantly, gave me the okay to leave with Stan for a few days.

We arrived in Sandusky Monday evening, checked into the Sleep Inn, and walked about 40 yards to an Applebee's that shared the parking lot with our hotel.  We had dinner, a few drinks, met a few nice folks, and went back to the hotel to crash for the night.

We had paid extra for two Fast Lane passes that allowed us to cut to near the front of every line, so our longest wait was merely 25 minutes all day.  We should have been able to ride everything two or three times. But, despite the fact we spent little time waiting in line (with "the poors" as Stan so eloquently put it), we made several observations that have held true throughout virtually every trip either of us has ever made to a theme park.

1. Every theme park in the free world must have a "Frontiertown" or some variation.  You walk to a particular section of the park and every building is constructed to look like an old log cabin.  You'll find a waterwheel with a wooden chute designed for kids to sift for "jewels" and "gold."  Grown men will walk by wearing cowboy hats and fake Colt pistols strapped to their legs.  There will undoubtedly be fake stocks for a photo op, that any stereotypical tourist can't pass up:
Stan's ability to frighten young children was on full display while searching for a photographer as he yelled, "Hey, girls!" to a pair of 14-year-olds that just happened to be walking by.  But, we had to get this picture. 

There will be a "Thunder Canyon," or "Raging River" ride to help park-goers cool off during a steamy summer day.  You'll be able to take Old Tyme photos in period garb, or get custom-made leather straps if you feel so inclined.  It's as if park designers sit in a room, totally out of ideas, and say, "Well, we can do an Old West section."  And there will be one.  Disney, Cedar Point, Kings Island, Six Flags...They all have them.

2. No matter where you are, you will pass a food stand with a big picture of a Friar chowing on a huge turkey leg that can be purchased for $12.  I don't know why turkey legs are so popular at theme parks, because you don't see anyone scarfing one down anywhere else.  But, you can't go to any major amusement park without seeing one.  Cedar Point's version is called "The Happy Friar," and I'm sure it didn't disappoint.  We opted for the double-priced Chick-fil-A, however.

3. The people at theme parks almost seem to leave human decency at home.  I feel like there has to be a group of scientists sitting in an office somewhere watching closed-circuit television footage of the entire park conducting research on human behavior.  Or, maybe they're hiding in trees or riding the Tin Lizzies over and over, feverishly scribbling notes as they watch people walk by or wait in line for a ride.  The people you see at a theme park just aren't the same people you see in everyday life.  Maybe paying outrageous entrance fees and being in the hot sun all day gives people the right to forget how to dress properly.  Maybe it makes them forget that everyone else doesn't want to watch them make out with their scantily-clad, behemoth of a girlfriend for two hours.  Maybe they forget that Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are actually really terrible, and the furthest things possible from classics of literature.  Perhaps they also forget that black blue jeans cut off at the knee don't actually constitute comfortable shorts, and only add to the stench that hundreds of bodies crammed into turnstiles like cattle at a livestock sale can create.  In any event, theme parks are a people-watching gold mine, and might, alone, make it worth the price of admission.

4. Maybe it is just the cultural change between the North and South, but folks in northern Ohio are different.  Listening to their conversations in line is comic gold.  Watching them interact is like a sociological experiment in and of itself.  And, as Stan said many times, makes you wonder what "that gene pool" looks like.  Maybe folks up there just don't care about their appearance as much as we do down here, but the "uglies" were out in full force.  I don't think we saw one even remotely attractive person, male or female, the entire day.  And we can only hope that, as people passed us, they recognized we were far from home.  Don't get me wrong, I don't expect anyone to get up and dress to the nines as they prepare for a day out in the sweltering heat.  But, it made us wonder if they even glanced at a mirror before they left for the day.

Maybe I'm just not cut out for theme parks anymore.  Or, maybe we just had one too many Brewtuses at the bar the night before.  But, the two of us struggled throughout most of the day as we trudged through the park.  At the bottom of the first drop of each coaster, we both almost blacked out, and since we didn't have to wait long in line, had little time to recover between each ride.  So, by about 3:30, after riding everything we wanted to ride one time, we packed it in and headed back to Kentucky.  Four years ago, we would've probably ridden at least five of the coasters a second or third time.

Adrienne already told me that theme parks can sort of be mine and Stan's "thing" moving forward, but it will probably be a while before we go back.  I'm sure we will, but next time we'll make sure to cut our Applebee's trip a bit short, and maybe take a few more notes along the way. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

What Do You Call a U-Haul Truck Loaded With Amy, Marsha, and Brandy Driving Off a Cliff? A Good Start.

I like to consider myself a fairly level-headed guy.  Sometimes my tone of voice sounds much more agitated than I really feel, and Adrienne hates that, but I picked that up from years of exposure to my dad doing the same thing.  That's not a knock on him, he just raises his voice at times when it really isn't necessary, and when asked why he's so mad, he replies, "I'm not mad!"  I do that too.  Chip off the ol' block, I guess.

But usually when I have an interaction with a rude person, or I don't get top notch customer service from a business I am patronizing, I try to have at least some compassion...I have no idea what kind of day they are having, and Lord knows I've not always provided the best customer service when I've worked in that environment, so I try not to take it at total face value.  But, everyone has their boiling point, and mine was reached and exceeded a dozen times Friday night.  But, I'll get to that.  Let's start from the very beginning.  I apologize in advance for the length of this story, but all the details need to be included to really get an idea of what I had to deal with.

Adrienne and I have been planning to move back to Glasgow for some time now, and about 4 weeks ago, I reserved a 17-foot moving truck from U-Haul.  I had checked around to all the major moving companies to try to find the best deal, and U-Haul was not only the least expensive, but the most convenient as well.  It was the only one of the major companies that had pick-up and drop-off locations near where I needed them, so it really was a no-brainer.  Besides, I had used them to move to Mt. Sterling last July, and had no problems at all.  I expected much of the same.

But, on Thursday afternoon, one day before I was needing the truck, I got a call from them, which I expected to be nothing more than a confirmation much like you get from the dentist office a day or two before an appointment.  When the woman, named Amy, told me my truck was not going to be available, I was rightfully surprised and agitated.

"How is a truck not available when I reserved it A MONTH in advance?" I asked her.
"Well, we have trucks going in and out daily.  It's really impossible to determine what will be available at any given time," she said, as if what I was saying was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard.
"So...Why have reservations in the first place?" I asked, returning the condescending tone.  She sort of side-stepped the question, offering some token apology, and said I could take a 14-foot truck instead.  I declined, obviously, and she finally said she had secured a 14-foot truck and a 12-foot trailer at no extra charge.  Really doing me a favor.

I wasn't at all satisfied, but what could I really do with less than 24 hours to spare?  I relented, and thought that would be the end of the ordeal.  My, how I was mistaken.

Friday afternoon, my friend Ryan, Adrienne, and I got the truck and trailer loaded down and ready to go.  A couple of my neighbors had to help me put the trailer on the hitch because it was so heavy, but we finally got it lifted and secured.  Adrienne drove on ahead because I knew I'd have to drive slowly, and didn't see any need for her to have to do the same.  I grabbed a bite to eat, and headed on my way.  Less than 10 minutes down I-64, the unthinkable happened.

I was going down a slight grade and went over a small bridge.  I glanced at my side view mirror and saw the side of the trailer begin drifting into the other lane.  I frantically tapped the break as I let out a string of language that would make my mother want to crawl in a hole.  The hydraulic brakes on the trailer engaged, and the trailer took a sudden turn straight toward the shoulder.  I continued slowing, but the trailer violently shot back across the other lane, and back again.  It did this four or five times before I was able to come to a stop on the shoulder.  I sat in the cab, shaking like I have never experienced, contemplating what I was going to do next.  It had taken three fully grown men to get the trailer on the hitch in the first place.  How was I going to do it by myself?  Luckily, I glanced back and saw a truck stopping behind me.

"I don't know how you did it, man, but that was one heck of a save," the guy said as he approached me.  I don't remember his name, but he was a life-saver as far as I was concerned.  "That thing was across both lanes, totally sideways."

I immediately called the emergency help line at U-Haul to explain what happened.  Marsha was the first U-Haul representative I spoke with.  As I explained to her the situation, it was immediately clear she had absolutely no clue what I was talking about.  She kept trying to confirm what kind of equipment I had, focusing on the appliance dolly for some reason, as if it had anything to do with the situation.  She implied that I hadn't connected the trailer correctly, and that U-Haul personnel should have done it for me.  "They did when I picked it up, but they're not going to come to my house and connect it for me.  Besides, Marsha, I know how to operate a trailer.  It was connected properly."  She didn't even tell me where the nearest U-Haul dealer was...She just gave me a reference number and said she'd be in touch with me later.  Didn't call any roadside assistance.  Didn't do ANYTHING to help the scenario.  My only saving grace was the gentleman that happened to be on his way home from work, that saw the whole thing happen.

He luckily had a hydraulic jack we could use to get the trailer back on the hitch, and he followed me into Winchester to the nearest U-Haul dealer.  The 5 miles took about 30 minutes, because I was driving no more than 20 MPH the entire way, still shaking and scared to death at what had happened.  I was just lucky that no other cars were around me, and that I, and no one else, was hurt during the ordeal.

When I arrived there, I found the U-Haul dealer to be located in the back room of an IGA...A desk and computer right next to a meat locker.  Literally on the other side of the tracks.  Ken, who was the manager there, didn't have any trailers available, he said, but was able to secure Ray's Rapid Repair to come fix the trailer.  My definition of rapid, and Ray's definition must be two very different things.  I sat in the parking lot of the IGA waiting for Ray to rapidly arrive for over two hours.  The store closed.  Ken went home.  So it was just me.  And the hood rats that periodically walked through the parking lot to go to their apartments.  And my pocket knife, always at the ready.  Just in case.

Ray finally arrived at around 9:45, at which point I had already walked to a gas station to buy a car charger for my quickly dying cell phone.  He took one look at the coupler on the trailer and said, "Damn, what did they give you?  This thing should have never left the lot."  I concurred.

He went to work with a hammer and wrench, attempting to tighten the coupler down on a severely stripped bolt.  After about 30 minutes, he finally got it secured enough that I felt somewhat comfortable driving it.  However, the trailer lights had been malfunctioning all afternoon, so I asked him to take a look at the wire, just since he was there.  He and I both expected it to be a quick fix, but oh no...He spent almost 4 hours working on the wires, only to determine that they needed to be completely replaced.  I couldn't legally drive the trailer, even if I had wanted to.

By this time, it was about 1 AM.  I had heard from Marsha again.  About 3 hours after the initial call.  She said, "Has the roadside assistance arrived yet?"  At this time, Ray wasn't there yet, so I said no.  She replied, "Hmm, I was afraid of that."

You were afraid of that?  You didn't even call them in the first place, Marsha.  You only knew roadside assistance was coming because I told you they were.  You were as useless as a butter knife with a bowl of cereal.  I had called U-Haul twice already to ask where Ray was, and so I told her he was close and hung up.  When she called again about an hour later, I said it was getting taken care of and hung up on her mid-sentence.  I was done with Marsha.  Thank God.

So, by this point, I realized that I couldn't continue the drive.  For one, the trailer lights didn't work, and the last thing I needed was a ticket and/or someone rear-ending the trailer on the interstate.  Plus, I was totally exhausted and wouldn't have made it 10 miles without falling asleep.  So, I went to a nearby Wal-Mart to get padlocks for the trailer and truck, McDonald's to get some Chicken McNuggets that I would enjoy in my room as I wound down watching Sportscenter, and then pulled into the nearest hotel, a Best Western, to sleep for the night and figure things out in the morning.  The parking lot wasn't visible from the road, and when I pulled in, I realized I wouldn't be able to get back out.  Cars were placed perfectly to prevent me from turning around, and so I was stuck.  I HAD to stay at the Best Western, despite how sketchy it looked (really, the only good thing about the night turned out to be the hotel.  It was surprisingly clean and comfortable).

As I was getting out of the truck, a man happened to be walking by and told me to just leave the truck where it was, because it wasn't blocking anyone, and the lot would clear out in the morning allowing me room to maneuver the truck.  Coupled with the level of stress and fatigue I had been battling all evening, the distraction was enough to make me forget the keys were in the ignition as I closed the locked door.  I realized what I had done and almost broke down crying right then and there.  I plopped down on the curb, contemplating my next move, and chowed on my now cold McNuggets.  I was so distraught, I didn't even take the time to open the ketchup packets.

So, I called U-Haul for about the 7th time to tell them I needed a locksmith to come unlock the truck.  This time it was Sue.  She said, "Well, since there isn't anything mechanically wrong with the truck, you will be responsible for any fees a locksmith would charge.  But, I can get in contact with the nearest service and have them come out to your location."

Poor Sue.  Wrong place, wrong time.  Wrong thing to say to a man at the end of his rope.  It was like lighting a fuse on a stick of dynamite.  I honestly don't even remember what I said to that poor woman...It was like an out-of-body experience.  But I absolutely unloaded on her, and let her know just what I thought of U-Haul and the whole crappy experience I had been put through that evening.  I'm fairly certain I made up new curse words at one point.  When I finished my tirade, Sue was stunned and stammered out, "Well, I, uh...Um...Let me see what I can do."  She called back a few minutes later to tell me that her manager would not okay the locksmith services, but she had called the Winchester Police to come unlock the truck for me, free of charge.  She was the only U-Haul representative that had been remotely helpful throughout the night.  I apologized to her for blowing up, but I was only sorry for taking it out on her.  She didn't have anything to do with the problems I had all night, she just happened to be the one that answered the phone.  But I wasn't sorry for what I said...Whatever it was, I'm sure I meant every single word.

So, I finally settled into my hotel room, which I should have never had to get in the first place, and had to call U-Haul, yet again, to secure a new trailer in the morning.  There was no way in hell I was going to drive that piece of junk anywhere further than the nearest dealer.

This time, I got a guy named Ramon.  I explained the whole situation, again, and said I needed a new trailer.  He replied, "Let me get you over to roadside assistance."  I screamed into the phone, as I lay face down on the bed, completely mentally and physically exhausted, "I don't need roadside! I already had roadside!" But it was too late.  Ramon had already transferred the call.  I explained the situation to roadside.  They transferred me to customer service.  I explained the situation to customer service.  They transferred me to roadside.  I hung up.  I let out a bellowing scream of frustration.  I called again.  This time, when they tried to transfer me to roadside for the 4th time, I said, "If you transfer me to roadside one more time, my brain is going to explode.  I have been bounced around for 20 minutes.  I just need a new damn trailer, and I need it FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!"  Brandy, whom I was speaking to this time, finally relented and began calling me darling and honey every 5 seconds, which only made me angrier.  She couldn't secure a trailer for me, herself, but she could give me a phone number to call in the morning.  Yay.  Thanks for the help.  By this point, I was simply delirious and I finally made it to bed by about 3:00.  I think I was asleep by 3:01.

About 4 hours later, I called the number to reserve a new trailer as soon as the place opened.  The voice on the other line?  Amy.  The same Amy that started this whole ordeal by telling me my truck was not going to be available.  We had finally come full circle.

I explained the whole situation for what felt like the 20th time, and told Amy very directly and very sternly (I had cooled off SOMEWHAT after some much needed, albeit short-lived, rest) that I had to have the trailer now.  Verbatim, I said, "I don't need the trailer tomorrow.  I don't need it this afternoon.  I need it now.  Within the hour.  Your company has wasted me a ton of time and money, and I'm tired of getting jerked around."  She didn't respond immediately, and I could tell she was shocked a bit by not only what I said, but also my tone.  She knew I meant business.  After she gathered her thoughts, she replied, "So, you are in Mount Sterling, correct?"

I almost threw my phone across the room.  "No...Like I already explained to you, and said more than once, I am in Winchester.  I WAS in Mount Sterling yesterday.  I need the trailer at the Lexington Road location in WIN-CHES-TER."  I had thrown all tact and human decency out the window at this point.  I just immediately assumed every U-Haul employee was a complete idiot, and with little exception, I was right.

I want to backtrack just a tad, because this part of the story is critical to the picture I am attempting to paint.  The night before, after I had left the ghetto IGA to drive to Wal-Mart, I had passed a second U-Haul location about two miles down the road.  While the IGA location had no trailers to replace mine, the second location I passed, the one on Lexington Road, had 3 or 4 sitting in the parking lot.  I was banking on at least one being available to me.  Had I known that location existed, or if Marsha's dumbass had told me about it, I would have gone there in the first place.  But I'll come back to that.

 Amy put me on hold, and when she finally came back she said the Lexington Road had a trailer available for me.  "But, they don't open for business until 10:00," she said.  This fact only made me angrier, but by this point, what was another couple of hours?  I could shower and eat breakfast and be there waiting when the doors opened.

"Fine.  Reserve it for me.  Will you send someone to help me unload and reload my stuff on the new trailer?  This is U-Haul's fault, after all," I said.
"Well, I can't speak for that specific location.  Maybe one of the employees can help."

If I had been sitting across from Amy, I would have punched the woman in the face.  And felt no remorse.

I agreed to take the trailer, because I had no other choice at this point.  She told me the trailer would be reserved and ready for me when I arrived.  "Is there anything else I can hel..."  I hung up.

I went down to the lobby of the motel, made myself a waffle at the continental breakfast, drank a couple cups of coffee, and drove the half mile to the U-Haul dealer.  This time, instead of an IGA, it was located at Butternut Bread Inc.  I was about a half hour early, so I spent the time to call my friend Matt to come from Mount Sterling to help me unpack.  I knew there wouldn't be anyone else to help.  Luckily, he wasn't busy and was there in a few minutes.

As the clock approached 10:00, a car pulled up and a familiar face got out and headed toward the door with a set of keys.  It was Ken.  From IGA.  The same Ken that had told me he had no trailers available to replace mine the night before.  While he had been pretty nice and helpful the night before, I instantly wanted to punch him in the face too.  Why hadn't you mentioned you had another store a mile down the road with trailers up to your eyeballs, Ken?  How did that little bit of information slip your mind?  I could have been in Burkesville last night.  But, by this point, I was so over it and just wanted to get my stuff moved and on the road.

I followed Ken inside, to the back of the store, just like at IGA, and he pulled up his reservation list on the computer.  Shockingly enough, there was no reservation in my name.

"Call Amy at this number," I said immediately.  "Her name is Amy.  AMY."  I hate to say this, but I hope Amy is unemployed today.  On second thought...No.  I don't hate to say it.

Ken spent a good 30 minutes on the phone trying to get everything sorted out.  Matt arrived and I relayed the whole ordeal to him.  He responded just like any other normal human being would...With complete disgust and anger.  Finally, Ken came out and said we were good to go.  Then, just to put the cherry on top of the whole situation, he said, "You can take that trailer over there, but just make sure you park the old one in the same spot."

I pictured what I assumed Amy's face might look like on Ken's body for a second or two, but decided against it and went ahead and did as he requested.  Matt and I unloaded the old trailer, reloaded the new one, and finally I was on the road to Burkesville.  After leaving Mount Sterling at 6:00 on Friday night, I arrived in Waterview at about 3:00 Saturday afternoon.  I then took the best nap I have ever had in my life.

I've had some bad experiences with companies and services in the past, but I've never had one be so consistently negligent, incompetent, rude, inconsiderate, and insulting as U-Haul was throughout the entire ordeal.  Only one person genuinely seemed to care about the straights I found myself in.  One person, out of the 10 or 12 I spoke to, really went out of their way to help.  One person really tried to make my situation easier.

I've already filed an action claim with U-Haul's corporate management requesting a full refund for the rental, fuel cost, and needless hotel, but have yet to hear back from them at this point.  I have never been one to get involved in a frivolous lawsuit, and usually find them to be ridiculous, but if U-Haul fails to come through, a lawsuit just might be headed their way.  And if that ends up being the case, I'll look for much more than just a simple refund.  I didn't know a company could care so little about the service they provide, or the happiness of their customers, as U-Haul proved to over the course of Friday and Saturday.  They can either attempt to make it right, or continue to demonstrate total failure in customer service.  Either way, they've lost one customer and I'll make sure everyone I know takes their business elsewhere as well.