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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Dear Holzhauer Auto and Motorsports Group:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Best?

When Gideon was visiting me, he found a 2014 Dodge Charger he liked at your establishment. (What is it with my kids and muscle cars? Just teenage boys, I guess.)

We took a drive to Nashville, Illinois, and purchased the car on the spot.

Gideon save up $2,000 for the down payment.

We were assured that you had inspected the car and all was well. We purchased a warranty to be on the safe side.

We drove back to St. Louis, and arranged for Gideon and Eddie to come up this weekend to drive it back to Georgia.

Worst?

I took the car for safety and emission inspections to get it registered.

I bet you know what is coming.

It failed the safety inspection because it needed a new catalytic converter, engine mounts, an engine leak fixed, etc.

I think you knew this. That’s why we got such a good deal.

And your warranty doesn’t cover any of that. Of course. (So what good is it? I’d love to know.)

More than $6,500 later, the car is finally road worthy.

Happy about the car. Not happy about the 12-hour drive ahead.

Sigh.

It was worth it to see Gideon so happy, but I’ll be contacting you tomorrow for a discussion.

Talk to you later!
Beth

*Thanks, Rihanna!

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Dear Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center,

I attended my annual research conference in you this week. I am NOT a fan, and I will not be back (unless I have absolutely no choice).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Your staff is not prepared for guests. The line was 10 deep for check-in, and you had one person actually working. Three other employees — one of whom looked like a manager — were at the other end of the counter chatting. Do their eyes work? Couldn’t they see the line?
  2. Your building is not prepared for guests. There are six elevators “servicing” floors 40-70. Only two appeared to be working. A gang of fellow conferencers and I waited 10 minutes Thursday night for an elevator to take us down.
  3. Your events staff is not prepared for guests. Two thousand people attended the last in-person AEJMC conference (Toronto, 2019). That is standard for this conference. Yet nothing was set up to handle this influx of people. Your staff selected large rooms for small events (e.g., the University of South Carolina alumni breakfast featured three tables for eight in a cavernous room) and wee rooms for major events. For example, the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism group awards ceremony and reception was in the tiniest conference room I’ve ever seen. No tables. For an event that featured food and drinks. Group leaders who got to the event early drug in tables and chairs for the 50 or so attendees. Way to go, Marriott!
  4. Your technology support is not prepared for guests. This conference is primarily for journalism/mass communications professors. You know: People who communicate. They have devices that need to be charged. Outlets were few and far between.
This is the ONLY OUTLET in the room!

The various other problems fellow attendees and I experienced had to do with The Renaissance Center in general. It is, generously, an atrium-focused maze of wasted space.

Circulation Ring = CIRCLES OF HELL
Trust me: You can’t get there from here
No, you don’t really want to sit and meet/eat/work do you?

There is a shocking lack of open restaurants. Again, conference of 2,000+ people (and AEJMC was one of at least three going on at once). Hotel with 70 floors of rooms. Yet, it was hard to find a place to eat. Literally (see maze above) and because so many were closed. Note: There was a VERY bougie seafood restaurant open, but who wants to pay $75 for shrimp?

Desperation signage
Starbucks: closed
Another Starbucks: closed
Food court: mostly closed
Oh look! The open Burger King that I thought was only the stuff of legend.

Then there is the location. You are on the Detroit River. So a riverwalk with shops and restaurants would make sense. Apparently, it only makes sense to me. I would not say the United States side has ample commerce. The Canada side (Windsor) looks promising.

The Renaissance Center provides a great view of our northern neighbor.

But once again, you can’t get there from here if you don’t have a car.

I realize that the pandemic took a toll on the hospitality industry. That said, people are traveling again. Conferences are back in person. Do better, or you won’t have guests to piss off anymore.

Sincerely,
Bonvoy Member on Floor 47

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Dear Lamar,

It’s clear your ex didn’t treat you as well as I treated my ex. However, please do not bring your baggage into this relationship. Please save your drama for times I can do something about it. Like when we are at the dealership for regular service.

I’m not happy that you refused to start the other day. It seemed like it was your battery or starter. In case it was the former, I haunted the nearest intersection until I found someone with jumper cables.

While I was searching for a person with jumper cables, an asshat parked next to me. Why would you do this?
This looks like some strange R2-D2 proboscis.

When that didn’t work, I was forced to tow you to the dealership. Jeff, the service guy, is getting used to that kind of call from me.

As it turns out, it WAS your battery, but I probably shouldn’t have even tried the jump.

“It was an Interstate battery,” Jeff sniffed, all condescension. “We’ll get you a good one.”

He did, and you and I were back together.

It would be great if you could behave, though.

Love,
Your new girl

*An underrated early Adam and the Ants track

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Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I’ve been taking what I’ve termed “murder-prevention trips” during the pandemic. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an extrovert who likes to travel. The pandemic was hard for me for those reasons, as well as the fact that my children and I were all up on each other trying to work/study.

(First-world problems, I know. We did not have nearly the issues that many, many other people had. But this was my reality, and I’m acknowledging its difficulty.)

I’m not an indoor cat.

Look at what Dominic got me (on his own!) to commemorate my latest trip:

When he is good, he is very good indeed. (And when he is bad, he is horrid.)

Where did I go? England. Boris said I could.

Plus, my favorite band was playing their first gig in a billion years (i.e., 18 months).

I am such a huge Anglophile — constantly amused and/or impressed by the things I find. This jaunt was no exception.

An all-in-one station. You don’t even need to move your hands. Genius!
If it’s needless, why is it there?
Ew! No. That’s an assault on humanity.
I asked the waiter what this was on the saucer. He said, “Flake.” I said, “A flake of what?” It’s chocolate. We Americans don’t have that.
Brilliant!
I love that it’s a “Demand” button instead of the more polite “Call.”
I’ve never seen a toilet shaped like this.
Well, OF COURSE there will be nudity. It’s the UK and “naked” is in the title.

I’ve promised Gideon a birthday trip there in May, COVID willing. Maybe he’ll be as delighted as I am with the cultural differences.

Have a great week!
Beth

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Dear People Who Like Speaker Phone:

You have to stop. Seriously. You live in this world with other people who do NOT need or want to hear your conversations.

I’ve mentioned this before.

Why are you still doing it?

All loud. On speaker. In a grocery store.

And you people who like to watch videos with the sound up and no headphones? That goes for you too.

Don’t be loud in public. The world is not your living room. Have some dang manners.

Kthxbye,
Auntie Beth (I’m no Miss Manners, but I’ll do.)

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Dear Gary Chapman:

Trish the Human told me about your “Five Love Languages” philosophy ages ago. I have three languages competing for the top, but Acts of Service usually wins. No surprise.

I would like to propose Five Text Languages. I’m pretty sure everyone I know falls into one of these categories.

  1. Actual words
  2. Gif
  3. Emoji
  4. Bitmoji
  5. None

Words: I text in full sentences with proper grammar and punctuation. (Of course I do.) Gideon does too. Dominic texts in words without grammar or punctuation, and I want to die.

Gif: My niece Chelsea is definitely a Gif fan. This is my second favorite way to communicate.

Emoji: Eddie is an emoji user. And sometimes I can’t figure out what he means.

Bitmoji: Trish the Human is a bitmoji fan, as is my new friend Andy. (A discussion with him was the inspiration for this post.)

None, aka radio silence: This style is no style at all because these people DON’T TEXT back for DAYS, if ever. Brian and Edgar, I’m looking at you.

Which one are you?

I’m guessing you use words because you are an author.

If you read this, let me know in the comments.

Yours in service,
Beth

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Dear Dominic,

Imma be real with you, Chief*:

I’ve had a great time with you this week, even though it wasn’t supposed to be just us hanging out together.

You were supposed to get off work so we could all go out of town.

But despite the fact that I told you the dates four times (🙄), you didn’t ask for time off.

So your brother and father went to Savannah without us.

That’s ok. We made the best of it.

We watched all of “Sexy Beasts” together, and were both very amused.

We went kayaking on the Chattahoochee.

We teased each other mercilessly.

Me to you after you made me wait an hour to start “Forged in Fire” with you: Let it be known that you’re the worst.
You: Oh, I know.

You even learned to ride Marta to football practice as I was working and couldn’t take you.

You even cleaned up after yourself in the kitchen and cleaned your room.

Maybe your prefrontal cortex took a developmental leap this week.

The reason doesn’t matter. The outcome does.

It’s been great. And I’m glad you sometimes enjoy spending time with your mom.

I hope to do it again soon. Maybe more “Forged in Fire” tonight?

Let me know via text (that’s your way, even when you are just in the other room).

Love,
Mama

*Dominic said this to me no fewer than three times this week.

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Gideon and I look happy. Of course, I took this just as we arrived. Ignorance is bliss.

Dear Six Flags Management:

My son and I visited Six Flags Over Georgia yesterday. A Saturday in June. We must have been high to think that was a good idea.

You can’t do anything about the sun or the heat, but you CAN do loads about the rest of the experience.

My complaints fall into three categories: customer service, your app and basic human needs.

1. Customer service

You have none. Not a single person working there wanted to work there. That was clear. And some who were “working” were not.

Case in point: Macho Nacho.

We went into the restaurant at 1:14 p.m. — prime lunch time. Though there are two sides, only one side was open — despite the fact that there was food out and ready to go on the unmanned side AND you clearly had the staff on hand.

A few minutes later, four employees came in with Icees and stood around watching the others work.

It was at this point that I went partial Karen and emailed guest relations.

Meanwhile, my son faded into oblivion.

One other thing: If you are going to advertise that you have guacamole, please have guacamole.

2. The Six Flags app

As I am a diamond member, you send me surveys all the time. You always ask about the app. I always tell you it sucks.

Why? It’s useless. It doesn’t provide any information you can’t get inside the park all over the place.

You know what makes a theme park app useful? Ride wait times. Every other theme park app has them.

Not yours.

Plus, you have to have cell service to use the app. Service in your park is nonexistent. And your WiFi?

Right.

One of the incentives to use the app is the chance to earn points with checkins. (What these points go toward is a mystery, but whatever.)

Great, right? Haha! No.

“Too far away?!” I’m IN THE LINE.

3. Basic human needs

People need food, clothing and shelter.

I would argue that you deprived us of the first for longer than necessary (see Complaint No. 1).

No. 2 is not applicable here. I live in the South. I know how to dress for a day at the theme park.

No. 3, though, is applicable when it comes to the rides. There is no reason you can’t have canopies over the lines for the rides.

We wanted to go on the Goliath, but the wait time appeared to be an hour in the broiling sun.

No shade whatsoever.

No thank you.

All skin burns. My pale skin gets it worse.

I would argue that hand sanitizer is now a basic human need. Why have sanitizing stations when you don’t fill them regularly? We tried five before we found one with fluid.

Also bathrooms need to be stocked with toilet paper. I can’t believe I have to tell you that.

After one ride and lunch, we were ready to leave.

Gideon: I’ve had enough for today. Let’s go and come back on a weekday or some night.
Me: Good plan.

Please don’t send me an after-visit survey unless you really are planning to implement changes.

Kthxbye,
Beth

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Dear Gideon,

What’s this about you having a girlfriend?

Your brother is a reporter after his mother’s heart.

Dominic: Did you know Gideon’s got a girlfriend?
Me: What? No!
Him: For a month now. Long distance. She lives in Arizona. Her name is Kate [redacted].
Me: What? How did they meet?
Him: On Yubo. We made Dylan download it because he’s got no girl.
Me: Is that like a dating social media app for y’all?
Him: Yeah. Like Tinder.
Me: Tinder for kids. Kinder!

😂

(I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your server!)

Anyway, start spilling. I need details.

Love,
Your curious mother

*The Killers. Very catchy.

You are a catch: a dude not afraid of the kitchen. Look at you making dessert!

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Dear Coworkers,

It’s been an interesting year, right? We’ve made work work. And most of us did it from home, with all corresponding challenges/distractions.

I don’t know about you, but my space is not ideal.

My friend Tammy came to visit this past weekend. She HOWLED when she saw my setup.

I can’t believe you haven’t written about THAT yet!

I haven’t. It’s a little … embarrassing. I’ve had to carve out a corner of the living room.

Here’s a peek behind the curtain — the room behind the Zoom:

The other night, I walked over there to put something down on my way to the couch. Eddie said:

Oh, you just had to stop by work for a minute?

Yeah.

Sigh.

For the first six months of the pandemic, I still got dressed in my professional lady clothes (including heels) and went to work during regular business hours. But when my university welcomed back a designated number of students in the fall, the number of faculty/staff allowed on campus had to be limited.

So I set up operations at home and made the best of it.

I still dress up for work (at least on top) but I wear slippers now.

I’d love to get a look at your Zoom room. Please share!

Looking forward to seeing you in human form.

Best wishes for the return to normal,
Beth

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