First off, the lack of recent updates is due to 2 factors:

  1. I’ve been busy with the new job and I don’t really talk about such things here.
  2. Ariesna and I have started some serious house hunting. Well, to be perfectly accurate we’ve seen a house we like and now we’re mortgage hunting.

Still, while I won’t discuss who I work for or what exactly I do for them on this site; I do have to share some thoughts that occur to me at the office. Which brings us back to the title of this post, it’s the strangest thing how different companies treat office supplies. In my old job, there was one stapler provided to each department and it was always jealously guarded. In the new job, I got a stapler given to me practically as soon as I walked in the door. In the old job, the newest computers generally went to the people with the most seniority. In the new one, I got a brand new machine my first day while a co-worker who’s been here a while is still waiting to get a new one. In my old job, if you needed things like paper or pens or whatever, you had to go ask one of the secretaries to get it for you. In my new job, I was shown where to find things in the supply closet on the first day.

Corporate culture is really weird sometimes, but at least here it’s weird in a good way.

Back in April, we bought a new car from Carousel Motors. And until yesterday, it’s been great. I let me explain…

Yesterday, I went home for my lunch hour. When my time was up, I went down to the car to get back to work. The car unlocked and started up without any problems. What was a problem is the ASL light turned on and stayed on. Normally, this light turns off once you press down on the brake pedal. It’s there to prevent you from shifting into gear without having the brake pressed to avoid accidents. Except now, my foot was on the brake and I was still stuck in park. I fiddled around with it for a bit, but couldn’t get aything to happen1. I rushed back inside, called by boss and worked the rest of the from home via the corporate VPN.

After work, I called the dealership but found out the service department closed an hour before I called. I talked to the salesman who sold us the car and he suggested calling the VW roadside assistance 800# to have them tow the car out. I called them up, waiting on hold for several minutes and then got to talk to *mumble, mumble #1*. He had me go out ot my car and try several things to get the car out of park. I was just nearing the end of his instructions when the battery in my phone died. *grumpf*

I tromped back up into the apartment and called back on a wired phone. Again I had to wait several minutes and then I got to talk to *mumble, mumble #2*. I explained what was wrong and what I’d done so far. He gave me the complete instructions and I wrote them down. Then I set down my phone and ran outside to try them. Success! I could now get my car out of park! Before I ran back inside to relate my success, I turned off the car and tried starting/shifting normally. No luck, that was still screwy. I went back inside, picked up the phone and… And nothing, all I got was dead air. *double grumf*

I called the roadside assistance a third time and once again had to wait several minutes for the privilege of talking to *unidentified pissy man*. This guy never gave me his name. I told him everything that I’d been through and the resuylts of their procedure for getting the car out of park. I asked if I was supposed to be ok now, or if I still needed to get it to the dealership? He grumpily answered that “of course I needed to get it to the dealership.” All this around, though not entirely their fault, was not exactly making my evening any better.

Today, I called the dealership and their receptionist was waaaaaaay to gorram happy for 7:45 AM. Fortunately, she quickly transfered me to their service department. And they answered the phone with a “Good Afternoon”. While time is relative and there was a period in my youth where I always used “Good Morning” as a greeting that was high school for crying out loud. Still, she could have just been tired by the early hour of the day, so I didn’t go off on her. I explained my problem and that the roadside assistance people had given me a procedure to get the car out of park. She said since I could technically drive it; their first opening to have somebody look at the car is next Monday. I made the appointment, but it left me feeling very disappointed. I think if this is the average level of customer service I get from them then when we replace our other car, it’s not going to be another Volkswagen. As much as I like driving the car and as good as their sales department is; if the rest of their team is lacking in customer service then it’s not worth it.

Or I could just be grumpy from having to handle all this so flippin’ early in the morning.

1 Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. All I did appeared to make things worse. After my fiddling with it, the EPC light came on. Though after following the instructions from roadside assistance that light went back out.

I confess. I’m a technophile. I like reading about new technologies and gadgets. Even better, I like owning new technologies and gadgets. And yet, I don’t have a cellphone of my own. I bought one for my wife but that was only because she was doing a lot of driving out into the boonies of Iowa as part of her degree program. The phone is a couple of years old now but I’m in no hurry to replace it. I’m in even less of a hurry to get one for myself.

Why? Because every cellphone I see out there sucks. The cellphone manufacturers are rushing to build in all sorts of extraneous functionality. This adds to the phone’s weight, size & complexity without providing any meaningful benefit.

Let’s look at a similar product for a moment, the iPod. In a field of hundreds, if not thousands, of MP3 players the iPod is the industry leader and it has the least functionality of the lot. While the other manufacturers have added FM tuners and recorders and god-only-knows what else; Apple has kept the iPod simple and it’s making them money hand over fist.

But what does the iPod have to do with cellphones? Besides that hideous ROKR thing? That’s simple, literally. By restricting the functionality of the device to the bare minimum, Apple gave consumers exactly what they wanted. While cellphone manufacturers keep throwing function after function into their phones in hopes that more people will plunk down $500 for their latest toy.

All those functions sound great, but really how many people actually use all of them? I cannot speak for everybody, but I would greatly appreciate a cellphone that simply promises:

  • Superior battery life
  • Excellent Reception
  • Easily fits in my pocket

However from all the adverts I see for cellphones; I have a feeling that is just too much to ask for. *sigh*

One of my co-workers was having a rough morning and came up with this most amusing list.

Top Ten Signs That The Office You Work In Is Transforming You Into A Comic Book Super-Villain

10. You believe that Corporate America was instinctively constructed by the weak and stupid in order to preserve their gene pools and in accordance with Natural Law it must eventually be destroyed.
9. You’re certain you can take over the entire world if you can only “eliminate” the twelve levels of management between you and the CEO.
8. In those rare moments when things actually work out for you, you’ve caught yourself grinning menacingly and saying, “Everything is going according to my plan.”
7. It seems as though everyone on the planet is an idiot except you even though you’re the one working sixty hours per week on a meager salary in a 6×6 cubicle and your only plan of escape is, “Destroy my enemies and assume control of the world’s nuclear arsenal.”
6. Nobody understands you except Lex Luthor as played by Michael Rosenbaum on the WB’s hit series “Smallville”.
5. You’ve become numb to the suffering you hear reported on the news but reading “Dilbert” makes you weep like a baby and renew your vows of global domination.
4. You’re finding it more and more difficult in casual conversation not to refer to your coworkers as “henchmen”.
3. You keep trying to think of ways to bend the business professional dress code so as to allow you to wear your “Supreme Chancellor of Earth” outfit to work.
2. You’re convinced that key members of your work group are spies and you have already plotted their gruesome deaths.
1. In your personal daily planner the career objectives “deliver world-class customer service” and “exceed productivity goals” have been replaced by “vengeance” and “complete and utter vengeance”.

Like many wage slaves in the US today, I recently had to fill out a self-evaluation form. After doing so, I started to wonder what these useless time wasters would look like if both the employer & employee were being completely honest…