I have this meme that I saw a number of years ago. I forget the exact wording, but it is something like “I try to be a warm, caring, relaxed human being, comfortable in my surroundings and at peace with the world. Except for spiders, DEATH TO SPIDERS!”. What I really like about it, other than the spider deaths, is the idea that no matter how “at one” you are with the universe, some things are likely to piss you off. For me, it was a number of things today that didn’t exactly piss me off, but they affected me enough to respond aggressively when normally I wouldn’t.
This will take a bit of vague wording to protect certain identities, but someone had pushed to be part of something that’s going on at work. We didn’t have an option for it, I found an alternative for her with someone else who was kind of doing us a favour and helping her at the same time, all good. A “success”, or so I thought. It didn’t turn out the way she expected or thought at least it should. So, early today, she went back criticizing the group that helped her, they didn’t do this or that, it should have obviously been this way or that, yada yada yada. And on a good day, I like to think that I will try to see the other person’s situation, accept that I don’t know all that is going on, blah blah blah. Which I can do okay, right up until that person decides that their problem is now someone else’s problem and it’s an excuse to be a jackass.
That I’m not okay with. That’s the mark of a bully. And I am perfectly okay treating bullies like the f***ing wastes of skin that they are, and I sometimes have no off switch for that…I will go 0 to nuclear and may not stop until the person is radioactive dust. 99% of the time I can keep my temper in check, but the 1% where I might lose it? It is almost always dealing with someone who is wielding power badly because they feel like it. So, today I started to write a strong reply, could deal with it that way, and instead I decided to go evil. I don’t do it often, I find it offensive and manipulative, but I chose to send them a sh** sandwich.
If you don’t know what a sh** sandwich is, it basically is an extremely passive aggressive email or letter that gives the other person NO room to go anywhere in their response because you are being TOTALLY FRIENDLY in your tone while feeding them the sh** sandwich that they pretty much have no option but to swallow and say thank you. I had lots of smiley faces and well wishes for a great afternoon, and offers to help them out in any of the three options I could offer, all of which would require them to swallow some sh** to accept. They know what you’re really saying, but if they try to call you on it, they just end up looking like a turd. It is the complete opposite of transparency or even civil discourse. As expected, they chose the option that they absolutely didn’t want to agree to but was the one that would make them look the least ridiculous.
I haven’t used that technique in almost 12 years because I find it offensive. I don’t mean offensive in the sense of its use is offending to people, I mean that relying on it is an offense to integrity. It violates almost every principle I have in dealing with people except one — dealing with people who are bullies. Now, I know this person has issues. Or to quote a recent meme, they may even have the whole subscription. Doesn’t matter. Someone did them a favour, they didn’t quite understand how it worked, got ticked off with the result, and basically dumped it back to the person like a steaming pile of turd. I played patty cake with a disposable shovel, made it look pretty, and served it back to them. Problem solved. Moved on.
Later today, a close friend posted something that I find a really stupid meme for someone of any knowledge of business and economics about how evil Amazon supposedly is. Most of the people who comment on Amazon are full of sh**, and I don’t care. Certain people love the “buy local” mantra, and think it explains capitalism in some way, virtue checks in another, and because I know why they think that, it doesn’t bother me. Educating them won’t help. It’s the same with Walmart. Or Costco. Or any of the disrupting chains. Anyway, I decided to engage, and when they doubled down even further, I gave a rant with a lot more context than I would normally. I normally smile and ignore it, but I tend to speak my truths with friends, and stupid attempts to badly explain economics or business rankle me.
And finally, I got really annoyed tonight at three companies just doing business badly, and it has nothing really to do with COVID.
First and foremost is a company that makes one of the plugins I use. They’ve had a problem that has plagued members / users for months, and despite the fact that we pay for support, paid members haven’t got any more support than free users. Which is nada. They have not figured out what the problem is. Nor how to fix it. Which was fine. Except 3 months ago, I FIGURED IT OUT, or at least figured out where the bug is. Kind of like a diagnostic for a car…it might be 20 different problems, but if you can narrow it down to the carburetor, you know there are limited ways to fix the limited ways it can be causing the problem. So I messaged them when it stopped working after an update this week. Nicely, but more or less, “WTF?”. I am way far away from ever using a sh** sandwich with them, but I opened the ticket, lowered previous ratings for their performance feedback, and got their attention quickly. Only to find out they have no solution. They haven’t for over six months. Even 3m after I found the bug. At first, I thought it was a different problem. So I repeated the steps I had done before, and voila, it solved it again. It’s a simple ordering problem. If you run plugin 1 and plugin 2, everything works. If you update plugin 2, it stops. If you disable plugin 1, rerun #2, reactivate plugin 1, it all works again. I told them that 3m ago, I’m 95% positive it is a simple file permission problem, but they don’t know how to fix it. Why am I paying for tech support when I have to resolve conflicts that are hurting hundreds if not thousands of users? (The big plugin has over 800K+ users!). I felt like a crankypants complaining, but come on, if *I* can solve it with my limited skills and knowledge, surely they could have done it months ago? And don’t call them Shirley!
Secondly, I was cleaning up an email folder I call “Financial – Pending” and generally it is stuff that I have ordered. When it arrives, I will sometimes but not always move the email confirmation to another folder for Financial – Done. A digital archive folder. But until I confirm I have them, I don’t move them. I don’t always do it right away though, so every few weeks, I go through and tidy up. This time through, I realized it has been a whole month since I followed up on a t-shirt order.
I’m a bit of a sucker for astronomy-related t-shirts, they just help me stay in touch with my hobby, and I ordered three back at the start of October as part of a sale that was on. One came in about 3 weeks. A cute little shirt I like that has a picture of an animated version of Pluto, and it says, “That’s OK Pluto. I’m not a planet either”. Two other ones didn’t arrive. I checked the tracking after 3 weeks and it was really weird. Supposedly one of the other 2 shirts was coming from the same place as the one I got from the US. I don’t know why it didn’t get bundled together, but what do I know? The other one was coming from somewhere in Europe and hadn’t been printed or shipped yet. It said on the website, it might take an extra 5 days or so, but if you haven’t received tracking info in 3 weeks, contact us. It was close to 4w so I reached out. They basically said, “Oops, sorry, COVID delivery delays”. It didn’t look like it was a COVID delay in the normal sense, one of them hadn’t even been printed out and the other came from a place in the US really fast — just by itself, no friend in tow.
It is now a month later, so I checked all the shipping again. Well, it SAYS they both have shipped. One supposedly even arrived in Canada a month ago. Then? Radio silence. The other is just confused. Soooo, I followed up again. They replied and said, “COVID delays”. I replied and said, “Umm, no, you said that a month ago. It is now 2m from when I ordered.” Their reply came back from the tier 2 people, or at least a T2 sounding position, to say, “Actually, looking at your tracking now, it appears your shirts have been lost in transit”. Really? Cuz I’m pretty sure I have one of them. Their solution was to file a claim. Which I did. For the two missing shirts, which they can reprint for me, probably. No rush, just want them eventually. And I got my claim receipt. They are reprinting all 3? WTF? I wrote back, they said, “Yeah, it’s with claims now, all good.” I give up on correcting them. Maybe I’ll get another shirt out of it.
Finally, tonight, something I ordered yesterday for a Xmas present sent me the receipt overnight. A smallish company in the US. The address I put in, the info I confirmed, is NOT what it says on the invoice. On the invoice, it lists my country as US, instead of Canada. Minor, but I just wanted to confirm it would come to Canada — the province info is there, we have a different postal code, it is very clearly NOT an American address. So I followed up with them to say, “Will it be okay?” and their response was the typical “Send them to the website T1 response”. Except that wasn’t my question. They told me how to go in and change my address, which was NOT what I wanted to do. It was RIGHT in the system where I needed to put in info, it was NOT right on their invoice. So I replied, gave them a low rating on their performance feedback indicator (some places that really matters), pointed out that was NOT my question, and instantly I got a much different response. She went in and edited the invoice address, it hadn’t shipped yet (supposedly) and it was all good, with a confirmation to me. Okay, I’ll count that one as done.
Normally on all of those things I am more measured. Today I was more inclined to not hold back. I didn’t do it because I was tired or anything, or upset, or whatever. I did it because it felt appropriate today. Some of that is residual COVID dampenings, some of that is just age, some of it is just I get tired of being a doormat sometimes even if I think I’m trying to be nice. If the old Shiva inside shows through PolyWogg from time to time, I’m okay with that…one of my favorite phrases from my high school days came back to me today…The clean phrase was “take a flyer”; the NSFW version was to “take a flying f*** on a rolling doughnut”. Poetry it wasn’t.
Today I chose to be a cranky-pants. Maybe when I’m older I shall wear purple too.
What choices did you make today?