Andrei Freeman (lordandrei) wrote,
Andrei Freeman

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Trip away on conference... Part 1

Note: This will be posted in parts as I can. It will be lj-cut for length. The reason I say "As I can" is that there is no phone or cell coverage where I am. Also, the group of us (8) are sharing a 56K dial up line for connectivity. Agh!!!!

It was the best of times; it was the worst of Delta....

Well, it's very simple. The first 48 hours have been....interesting.

Not skipping over the surprise 8hrs of work that I acquired 24 hours before my departure, I managed to pull an all nighter leading up to my trip to the Carolinas. Typically, when I fly out of LAX I fly on USAir. (Note their puddle jumpers are often referred to as US-Scare.) But this time would be different. My company, which shall not remain nameless (Dude, it's SYMANTEC the NORTON folks), has this 'thing' with United. This of course means that I flew Delta for the conference. (No, I don't get it either...if you do, don't bother...I don't care either) So...I call for a cab at 11am to pick me up at noon for a 3pm flight. (My S.O. pats me on the head and says, 'good boy'; actually, she didn't pat me on the head, it's poetic license to help explain the inflection of the comment which was made, So there).

The cab is waiting by 11:55am. Good cab. Good company. This is not the incompetent one that decided "Well, I'm not sure what his destination is, so rather than interrupt his business call, I'll just drive him downtown and drop him there." (Yes, this really happened) The cab gets me to the airport. I'd like to offer everyone out there a cab tip. When you get to the destination, very definitely read aloud to your self and the cabbie, the fare. This reminds him that "now" is a good time to stop the meter. Which, I've discovered, they like to frequently forget. I have a basic rule. I tip $3.50 for a cab. If they forget to turn off the meter, I forget to include a tip. If he asks me about the tip. I say, "Just take it out of the extra time you charged me for at the destination." (My cab company I use now, has learned to recognize me when I call)

But back to the airport. Delta Terminal in LAX was okay. I got through security with no problem. I tend to wear business dress in the airport, I get harassed a lot less then I did with a t-shirt and long SCA-hair. Back then, they always assumed I was some freaky, hippy, drug runner. Since security was a breeze, I now had two hours to kill. Since I had a four hour flight ahead...sitting, wasn't really an option. Now...I'm still going on 27 hrs without sleep...but I'm buzzing at this point. Paycheck this morning, Ari in a few hours. Day is good!

So there is a place in the terminal that has a sushi combo for $8.00. So... why not. It takes me about 15 minutes to flag down the waitron unit. He finally wanders over with a stunning attitude of "Why are you here?" No kidding, the following exchange occurs....Note: He speaks with an accent that I'd only expect from a serbian terrorist.

"Yess, did you vant to order?"
"Yes, I'd like the combination sushi and a Kirin"
"Oh, ve don't have the shrimp sushi. We only have the combination sushi?"
"Oookaaayyy. I'll have the combination sushi and a Kirin."
"End vat vould you like for drink?" <-- No kidding really says this...this way.
"Hmnn, perhaps a Kirin."

Well, about two minutes later, the sushi arrives. Or more properly, the plastic serving container had had its plastic wrap removed. Yum, pre wrapped least the fish rice look! A McDonalds!

So another $7.00 later... (Yes, $7.00 in the airport) I'd at least had food which matched the quality I was expecting.

Fast forward to the boarding of the flight. Out of curiosity, I asked if there was any first class available. Apparently, there are a whole bunch of people that can qualify for first class, so don't even bother asking. They announced they were pre-boarding first class and "whatever the hell Delta's Fly-Mileage group is" and about 70% of the people stood up. The woman checking tickets and ID was like a kindergarten teacher. She was about as pleasant as 'wiping with brillo'. Yeah, I know...ick on the imagery.

Well, I get on the plane. I've made it 30 hours straight without any sl...zzzzzzzz

The next thing I remember they are offering me a drink and icky looking pretzels. I ask for Ginger-ale. Never has one cup of soda been such a task. All my body knew was, "PUT DOWN CUP. GO BACK TO SLEEP." So I drank the cup as quickly as my body would allow and drifted gently ba...ZZZzzzzzzz

Now there was food. You, know there's this fight within my body that is really animalistic basics by this point. Food, Sleep, Grunt, Eat, Drink... The flight attendant asks what kind of food I would like. I look up and say, "My food." Now, I wasn't trying to be a smart ass, I just hadn't truly become conscious by this point. "I pre ordered a special meal.. Dietary restriction."
"Oh, no, you're another one of those?"
A strange reaction I wasn't expecting....
"We were supposed to have 6 on this flight, and we only got 1. Wait, I don't even see yours on the list."
(Must remember to kick Delta) They serve me the following for Dinner:
Caesar's Salad (With CHEESE in Caesar's CREAM dressing)
BUTTERED Roll (Pre buttered, get that...)
MILK Chocolate Cake.

I eat the meat (Still basically on animal mode I guess) I leave the rest. The Attendant comes back,
"You know, the cake is really good sir."
"I don't doubt it, but it's milk chocolate and my not eating it might be related to the lactose free meal your caterers decided not to provide.." (I was tired and cranky. I said it in a polite tone though, she was uselessly apologetic.)

After a short discussion with Ari, I should explain "Uselessly apologizing." This is what happens when a person realizes that someone has dropped the ball and because customer service training instructs that it will aid the situation , the person will say the words "I'm sorry" as if it actually accomplishes something. Now, had the words, "I'm sorry, sir. I don't know what happened with catering, but I'm going to follow up to make sure this gets straightened out." I'd feel that there was 'useful apologizing' going on . Even if she was lying to me... It meant that somehow at least the comprehension of the situation leading to a possible solution would help buffer the inconvenience. Side note. It's most annoying, when the person who's "uselessly apologized' for a 'grandiose fuck up' still feels the need to end the conversation with 'have a nice day.' My advice... Stay polite throughout the futile discussion as the wage slave goes through the training of pretending to care about your inconvenience they have no control over. If they try to end the conversation with the ever deadening, "Have a nice day." Pleasantly, get in the last word, "Well, you've told me, that there is no way to fix this. There fore my nice day is fairly ruined. Thanks for rubbing it in." If this is too long, shorten to the following exchange, (Again...always stay polite... or after you leave, they will say, "Fuck you very much")

"Your company lost my direct deposit. I'm bouncing checks all over the country"
"We'll have that fixed next week"
"What do I do now?"
"Don't write checks."
"So that's it?"
"Yes, is there anything else I can do."
"Well, you have to admit...we haven't really accomplished anything."
"I'm sorry sir. I do understand; is there anything else I can do."
(Please note....until you say, no. The AI is forced to repeat this last line until you acquiesce in the negative."
"No, I guess that's it."
"Okay sir, thanks for calling. Have a nice day"
"Too late" (Through a gritted smile)

(This example will become relevant in 18 hours.)

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