Friday, December 21, 2007


Normally, I wouldn't call a company out on something, I'd just ignore it. But today, I got out of work early, so it was the perfect opportunity to buy one of my last "perfect gifts."

Things Remembered, this is where you pay attention.

I went in to the store just hoping that I could buy a certain item my friend showed me online. So I braved the Westminster Mall for this one item (and happened across another gift for my mom!). And sure enough, it was in the display case. Perfect, I thought, but they don't have any out on the shelf. So I flagged down a barely-of-working-age girl and asked if she could open the locked drawers, so I could go meet up with said friend. She nervously asked an emo-type worker at the cash register for the key, who rolled his eyes and said everything was out. I heard him but she nervously repeated, so I asked where the next nearest store was, as I still had some time.

Well, the next nearest store was in Cerritos, and I didn't much want to drive all the way there in traffic if they were out, too. So I went back in the store and asked my emo sales clerk (the previously crowded store was now empty and the employees had vanished) for the number for the Cerritos store. Normally, an employee will call another store for stock. This employee asked another behind the desk to hand him the phone, dialed, and asked the person on the phone for the store phone number.

Now, if you dial a number off the top of your head ... couldn't you just tell someone?

He wrote it on a post it, and I went on my merry way.

The following conversation took place:

Me: {eep} "Hi, I was looking for (insert pretty specific item description, or about as specific as one can get)."
Clerk: "Do you have the item number?"
Me: "Umm... no?"
Clerk: "Well, I could tell you if we have that, but if you don't have the item number, I don't really know what you're talking about."
{At this point, I'm utterly confused, and trying desperately to think of another way to describe this thing. I mean, the store is tiny! And all of the similar items are in the same display case! Can't he just walk over and look?)
Me: "Well, it was just (insert same description; I don't know why I tried again but I did feel dumb after)."
Clerk: "Oh, you mean the gunmetal (item description)?"
Me: "Yes!" {more excitement than aggravation here}
Clerk: "Yeah, we have that."
Me: "OK, I'll be there in just a bit, thank you!"

He hung up on me. And at first I was a little afraid I'd called the wrong store, and talked to emo clerk, and that they didn't really have it in stock. I know it's a hectic time and all, but is it really that bad? I've worked in retail over Christmas, at even more popular stores (in my opinion) than Things Remembered. It wasn't that bad.

So, after a very long drive on side streets because the highway was clogged, I get to Cerritos. Why I thought I could just pop in to a mall 4 days before Christmas, I'm not sure. Anyway, I pulled my "park at Sears" trick (there's always parking at Sears), and found out that the store is on the opposite side of the mall. Now, I figure, time is running sort of short, so I practically run to the other side of the mall. And they indeed have my gift, but not on the shelf! Luckily, a nice young sales clerk took pity on the crazy, red-faced, out of breath lady, pulled one right out of the locked drawers, and sent me on to the register.

I know I'm probably insane, but it made for a funny story later.


I love gift cards. They're so small and fit all uniform in my wallet, which satisfies my OCD. I saw this article and it makes perfect sense - I mean, when you don't know what to get someone last minute, I can see how a gift card would be your best bet. (On a side note, I don't see a gift card as a cop-out. Starbucks? Perfect! And, if you don't know what size/shape/color to get, you know the person can get what you want to get them and they're happy too.)

Shortly thereafter I saw this next article and I was completely horrified. Now, gift cards were really getting popular when I was in college and taking a battery of accounting and financial reporting courses, so of course one of my professors added as a side note how to account for and report gift card revenue. It made perfect sense and seemed fair. Then I heard that they expire, and even still, that seemed fair. Or at least expiration dates would reduce the havoc that gift cards could wreak on financial statements. But this is basically a 60% gift card tax on companies. It's ridiculous, and unfair. I can see how this might be popular with constituents, because people just love taking money from those big nasty corporations.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a woman of strong opinions, but this really ticks me off.

Sigh. I guess I'll go pick up my last-minute gift (cards).

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Oh my, where have I been?

Well, school got really hectic at the end of the semester. I had quite a few weeks where I had very little homework and studying to do, and looking back, I wish I could have worked ahead but I really couldn't have. But the semester is finally over, and I haven't gotten a single interesting (read: grade related) email to my school account since Tuesday.

  • My project management professor graded the final exams really, really quickly, so I already know my grade. He graded the exams and assigned final grades only two days after the final. I was kind of disappointed and felt a little misled - I mean, I got 100% on just about everything!
  • I turned in a 14-page paper on the things that I learned about myself in self-help. Funny thing was, I actually did learn things! It wasn't too hard to fill up the minimum 12 pages, and my professor seemed happy about it, so hopefully I will do well in that class.
  • Finally, database. Oh, how awful that class was. I really wanted to learn; and I did learn a lot. But the project was so huge, and hard for people who thought Microsoft Access was really good database software. I'm proud of what we turned in, though ... so all I can do is hope for the best.
With this semester, I am officially half-way done with the program and on schedule for a December 2008 graduation. It can't come soon enough!

And work is work, I suppose. We had two holiday parties, which usually one would expect to be pleasant but ... work-y. I have such a fun group of friends in the department, though, that they were actually really fun. We laughed a ton!

On the actual work front, though, things are a little sticky with the current situation, and my being scheduled to change jobs in March. Also, I'd like to motion for eliminating performance evaluations. They are much to subjective and biased.

With school running so late this year, along with some family difficulty, I am terribly far behind on Christmas. It took me three weekends to make all my cookies, and I had barely started shopping for gifts by the time we turned in our project. It's put me in the position to visit the mall twice, when I'm completely agoraphobic during the holidays. And I still haven't finished! I'm going shopping (or something, we'll see) with my friend tomorrow, and likely Saturday when I get to Omaha, but Christmas is in a mere 5 days! Whew. I can't wait to see everyone, but I'm afraid I've fallen short of my usual lofty "perfect gift" goals this year.

Time to pack, and get the apartment ready for the trip!


Hooray! My school is #3 in Business Week's part time program ranking. I'm not really happy about them calling it a "spare time" thing though. I'm not saying night school is the end-all be-all... but I'm working a lot harder than night school!


I still managed to make cookies this year. I love love love to bake, and I was miserable thinking that I might not have time. It ended up that I made a couple of kinds each weekend, which worked out to a big list:

Andy made fudge for one of our holiday potluck parties, and there are two little squares left - and even the chocolate craving monster in me has had enough! The cookies came out really festive and elaborate-looking, and everyone at work loved them. I even had more than enough to send to Omaha and St. Louis!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Uh oh, bad news.

Normally I don't pay much attention to Britney Spears. It's boring; I mean, every day it's "Britney flashes her hoo-ha!" "Britney drops her baby!" "Britney runs over some jerk who threw himself in front of her car for a picture!" Repeat.

So I'm not sure why I checked out her Piece of Me video. I didn't like Gimme More. And her new songs are ... OK, but nothing stellar. But I actually really, really liked this one. It's like the ultimate comeback song ... if she'd gotten her act together and pulled it off.

I thought, as a society, we'd made it socially unacceptable to make fun of mentally ill people.