Sunday, April 29, 2018

Organizationous Interruptus

I was all ready to climb down off of my lectur-y high horse this week and go back to posting about bathtub spiders and shoddy consumer goods, but alas, I made a two-fold mistake: I tried to get organized, and I left the house. I should know by now not to attempt either of these things. As a result, I am clambering right back up onto said high horse to complain about atrocious service.

A pre-clarification is in order before I go on: At work, I am very tidy, organized, and efficient. I have a paperless file system for the numerous documents I need to manage, and nary a single paper file to be seen. But I learned long ago that my organizational drive is a finite resource, sort of like mana in a video game, and I spend it all on work. By the time I get home, my organizational energy bar is drained dry, and I allow the vagaries of the household to wallow in chaos while I whittle away my precious hours playing Minecraft and listening to conspiracy podcasts. However, after having neglected the household filing for upwards of six months, I got a wild hair this weekend and decided I was going to Get Things Organized Around Here. This plan required a label maker tape cartridge, hanging files and file folders, so I trundled off to Big Cavernous Corporate Office Supply Store, visions of neatly ordered, color-coded, gloriously cataloged household files dancing in my head.

All was well until I asked for help finding the correct label maker cartridge. I had come prepared, the old cartridge in hand for reference, but I couldn’t find it in the bewildering array of weirdly numbered cartridges on display. There were all of three customers in the store including myself, so it was easy to find a clerk. Said clerk squinted at my reference cartridge, gave a casual glance at the display, and immediately got on his radio to call for back up. Momentarily, a slightly more authoritative-looking second clerk ambled over and did the same squint/glance combo, then scanned a shelf label with a bleepy thing and nodded knowingly. “Oh, yeah. We have that cartridge here. It’s just not out yet. It got inputted but it wasn’t checked in. Sorry about that.” He shrugged and began to walk away.

Sensing the imminent bursting of my organizational bubble, I followed him. “But, the cartridge is here in the store, though, right?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s in a box right up there.” He pointed to a high shelf. “It was inputted, but it wasn’t checked in.”

“But…if it’s in a box, just sitting up there, I mean, is it possible could you get it down from there so I could buy it?”

“Naw, we can’t do that.”

“You can’t get it down from the shelf?”

“Naw. We’d have to check it in. See, it got inputted but—”

“So it’s here, but you can’t get it down from the shelf.”


I was so flustered by his bizarre refusal to perform this basic act of store clerkdom that I couldn’t even work up a counter argument, so I just threw out a Hail Mary. “Could you maybe call another store and have one sent over?”

“I mean we can call, but they’re not allowed to send it over. You’d have to go get it yourself.”


“Yeah. Sorry about that.”

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised or even fazed considering most of my retail experiences over the last several years, but I was beyond rankled. So rankled, in fact, that I fleetingly considered asking for the manager. I never, ever ask for the manager. I feel like that would make me the sort of person who asks for the manager, and I don’t want to be that sort of person. It’s a line I feel I must not cross, lest I also become the sort of person who writes strongly-worded letters to their district selectman, leaves churlish notes on ineptly parked cars, and organizes their neighbor’s recycling: A busy-body, a fussbudget, a buttinsky, a meddler. I don’t understand what this guy was thinking, and I really wanted that cartridge, but I couldn’t stand the thought of getting anyone in trouble and standing there being the high-strung crabby lady ratting out the minimum-wage employee out for not doing his job. I also considered punishing Big Cavernous Corporate Office Supply Store by leaving and not buying anything, but it was a mile long walk and I was there and I didn’t feel like going to another stupid, customer-service averse BCCOSS and contending with a similar situation. So I just curtly bought my darn files and came home.

By the time I got home, I was too deflated to care about organizing anything, so now there is a big messy stack of unfiled papers, a jumble of file folders, and dismantled label maker on the living room floor, where the whole mess shall probably linger for another six months, or, knowing me, even longer. I realize this is entirely my own fault for not being assertive enough, but I’m resigned to my fate.

Here’s a Simon’s Cat video for your amusement:

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

Nancy Harris said...

Enjoyed your story and your video cartoon!