Something is Better Than Nothing
I haven’t posted so long that I am reduced to making a random, numbered list. This is what it has come to. Let us begin in an Andy Rooney frame of mind:
1. Toilet paper. The packages now all claim “Double Rolls! 12 rolls equal 24 regular rolls.” Or, more recently, “Triple Rolls. 12 rolls equal 36 regular rolls.” No, no they do not. Quit lying. They equal the old rolls plus maybe a little more, at twice the price.
2. I’ve been doing great at keeping up on posts at Craftastrophe. In fact, the proudest moment of the past few weeks may be when I pointed Jenny the Bloggess to this big-enough-for-a-human-to-wreak-havoc-in wolf pelt outfit (the wolf died of old age, don’t worry) and she went bananas for it. I think she may actually be in the purchasing process. Do I know my audience or what?
3. My happiest recent moment may have come from discovering that Marcel the Shell with Shoes On has a new video. Ok, so I am weird. But Marcel rocks so hard.
4. I needed to go to the Amtrak station to get a refund on a $14 ticket. I knew even before I went that it would be the kind of errand that would make me think I should have brought Flurrious with me, and Amtrak did not disappoint.
The reason I needed the refund was that the train never showed up. I waited 45 minutes past the scheduled time of arrival. Another irritated would-be traveler called Amtrak and they said not only were they not sure when the train would arrive, they had no idea where the train was. THEY LOST A TRAIN. I know that Amtrak has a very limited budget and tht they are facing a lot of challenges, but I think that keeping account of where all the trains are is sort of, as we say in corporate-speak, a core function.
I ended up driving my car to my destination (along with my two friends and a spare lady traveler, Veronica, who was very nice and entertaining).
I left the ticket in my car for a couple weeks and it got bashed about a bit. The little ticket stub was the most loosely-perforated thing on earth (unlike most perforations, which usually cause me to tear apart whatever I am trying to tear off) and by the time I took the ticket back to the only manned station in the area (which is about 10 miles from me), the stub was hanging on my one…what do you call it? perf? so I secured it together with a paper clip.
Scene: Amtrak station. The players: me and a paunchy, rumpled Amtrak station attendant who had the attitude of someone who has been maddening and disappointing people for years and who considers himself something of an expert at it.
Me: I’d like a refund on this ticket.
Attendant: (takes the ticket and immediately tears the one remaining perf, so it is now in two pieces) Oh, this is going to be a problem. It is in two pieces.
Me: You just tore it in two pieces.
Attendant: No, it was in two pieces.
Me: No, it was barely hanging on. That’s why the paper clip was on it.
Attendant: It doesn’t have your name on it. That’s a problem.
Me: I bought it from a machine at an unmanned station.
(Many, if not most, Amtrak stations are unmanned with machines that do not print your name on the ticket. Additionally, if you buy a ticket on the train, your name would not be on the ticket. So why did he insist it would be a “problem” if my name wasn’t on the ticket? Because, to this guy, everything is a problem.)
Attendant: Why didn’t you take it back where you bought it?
Me: It was an unmanned station, so there was no one there to give me a refund.
Attendant: Why didn’t you use the ticket?
Me: The train never showed up.
Attendant: It says “Ventura-Santa Barbara.” Why didn’t you take it to Santa Barbara for a refund?
Me: If the train to Santa Barbara had shown up, I could have merely USED the ticket, negating the need for a refund, since at that point the ticket would have been actually useful to me.
We continued in this vein for some time, including him getting furious at me for signing on the wrong line on a form full of lines that he held up about 4 feet from me and pointed with his pen and said “Sign here.” The line I signed actually DID say “Sign here” next to it, but it was the wrong “Sign here” line that I filled out, and that was enough for him to yell “NOT THAT LINE. YOU SIGNED ON THE WRONG LINE EVEN AFTER I TOLD YOU WHICH LINE TO SIGN ON.”
Eventually I got my $12.60 (Amtrak has a 10% convenience fee for refunds, of course) and scampered out of there, delighted for having used my cunning and wiles to get a refund on a ticket that was not only ALMOST in two pieces but had NO NAME on it, simply by driving 20 miles round trip and losing $1.40 on the deal. Am I a smooth criminal, or what?