Thursday, May 17, 2012

Have a nice day

I just threw a tantrum in Kmart. I don't really know if anyone saw it but I hope they did.

I used to man a till at Kmart, getting paid $9 an hour to scan socks and undies for price conscious pensioners. It sucked. When I quit however I knew that operating a checkout at Kmart was something I would never again have to do. Or so I thought.

I was planning on starting a herb garden today and I went to Kmart to purchase some seeds. I got to the registers and there was only one with its light on and it wasn't manned. Reluctantly I went to the self-checkout lane. The oregano went through but when I tried to scan the sage the machine froze up and kept telling me to put the scanned item in the baggage area. Even after I did that it kept on saying it like it was Rainman or something. At this point I just lost it, throwing my assorted herbs across the scanning area and storming out of the store. Who knew gardening could bring out such anger and petulance?

Scanning stuff is a job for acne ridden teenagers, unambitious older people and recently arrived migrants who haven't yet got their computer science degrees. Back when I fell in the first category I was at least getting paid something to do it. Now however they are trying to get me to do it for free. In the words of John McEnroe, "that's bullshit!"

I don't know where all the staff have gone at Kmart but it seems like an eerie ghost town with overly bright lighting. Providing a human to take my money seems like it would be a common courtesy but I guess Coles Myer would prefer to cut costs than provide me someone to exchange pleasantries with.

I think if you use the self-checkout lane you should be able to steal one item. That way you would be rewarded for your effort and hiring checkout chicks may once again become a good value proposition.

But what's next? Are we going to have to flip our own burgers? Are we going to have to pour our own love heart milk thing when we order a coffee? Are dirty old men going to arrive at brothels and be told to look after themselves? It's a slippery slope people -watch out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What a waste

An awful lot of your formative years are spent at school learning stuff that doesn't really end up helping us in any way. Sure my Asian studies class may have helped me know the capital of Brunei during pub trivia but there were probably some far more important lessons I could have been learning. If we wanted to really enrich people's lives through school and prepare them to live successfully there would be some other things I would teach.

Gambling - why it is stupid. There are literally billions of dollars wasted on gambling each year in Australia by people who think they have a chance at winning. It gets glorified as some endearing national characteristic but each time I hear some TV commentator say "Australians love a punt" I realise they are really just saying "Australians are idiots".

 Mental health - what the hell is going on. I spent the first 25 years of my life thinking the only people who had issues were the people locked away in the asylum. What's going on inside our heads is pretty fundamental to how we understand and relate to each other. If it is always some dirty little secret you become freaked out by things and totally ill equipped to deal with them.

 Girls - ??? Going to a boys school doesn't really help things but even people who went to co-ed schools still often have no idea. Maybe with a few lessons and a bit of straight talking we would be better prepared for all that relationship stuff. Maybe we would all be happier and have a lower divorce rate.

Rebellion - why not to follow the well trodden path. Fit in, do as we say, accept what I'm telling you - we get get the creative streak kicked out of us pretty quickly at school. Critical thinking needs to be encouraged rather than contained. The most successful people are non-conformists. Often the status quo is crap and it takes a rebel to shake things up.

 Trampolining in to a big foam pit - I did this once. hey should make it a subject because it is just really fun.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spitting image

Every now and then I meet someone who is convinced I look exactly like someone who is famous. Often though they are not famous to the degree that I've ever heard of them which makes for a really awkward conversation. I think the worst time was at Tracks* circa 1996 and being absolutely hounded by some loud chick who was totally convinced I was some dude from Neighbours. Mostly being compared to a famous person is supposed to be a compliment but sometimes it really doesn't feel like it - especially when you are being told you look just like someone from New kids on the block.
On Friday night I got told I looked like some vampire character in Twilight. My skin isn't that pasty white and I wasn't drinking blood or anything at the time so I didn't really get that one. I have hair that sticks up in the air the same way but is that really enough?
Last night I was told I looked just like the guy from the Hangover. Pictures were even taken so this vague resemblance could be proven.
I once worked alongside two French work experience chicks and they were convinced I had the eyes of a scary lizard creature from the 1983 television series V. Every time I walked past they would point at their eyes and say V in a deep moronic French accent. Thanks to the power of Google Image search I now understand they definitely were not paying me any compliments.
I also once had a woman at a milk bar say "you look like a dog" which was a weird thing to say when all I'd done was nicely order a hamburger. She clarified that she meant a husky dog, which is one of the more attractive breeds, but it still didn't feel like the nicest compliment ever.
*Tracks is Epping's premier nightspot. Relax at Tracks - oh yeah.