Horrifying Revelation In Bellevue

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 3:02 pm

Not my first, certainly, but quite possibly the most intense.

Okay, so Margaret and I had to head up to Kirkland for my post-surgical followup with my back surgeon on Friday. (All is well, by the way; my surgeon, my wife and my self are all delighted with the results, and hope to see even more progress when I start physical therapy in a couple of months.) Amazingly, the entire appointment, including the commute to the East Side, took only an hour and a half. By comparison, I have never been able to get out of an appointment at my doctor’s Seattle office in less than two hours, and have at times been there for more than three and, in one memorable case, was not able to see him at all because the mollusk manning the phone carefully and deliberately set me up for an appointment in Seattle on a day when my doctor was seeing patients in Kirkland. Doctor Roh is an excellent surgeon and I would recommend him unreservedly, but his Seattle office staff needs some serious retooling. I may continue to set up my appointments at his Kirkland office, if this trend continues.

(Off topic: as usual, Interstate 405 was looking like steaming crap during the morning commute, so we elected to take Interstate 5 to Interstate 90. A prudent plan. However, while taking our morning soak in the tub, I got the phrase “5 to 90” stuck in my head, and five minutes later I had the entire chorus for a terrible cover of Chamillionaire’s Ridin’:

We need to roll in
to Kirkland
but 405 sucks so let’s take 5 to 90

Better just take 5 to 90
Really oughta take 5 to 90
Let’s just take 5 to 90
Why don’t we take 5 to 90

You know I can’t stand
the traffic
So if it’s alright let’s just take 5 to 90

Better just take 5 to 90
Really oughta take 5 to 90
Let’s just take 5 to 90
Why don’t we take 5 to 90

Thank God I have absolutely no skills as a rapper; else I might have been tempted to take a shot at the first stanza and we might never have gotten to my appointment on time.)

Anyway, after the appointment we decided to run a couple of errands and then go to lunch at the outstanding Dixie’s Barbecue in Bellevue. We went to the bank and then dropped by Crossroads Appliance to pick up some cleaning gunk for our glass-topped stove. We walked into the massive labyrinth of stoves, fridges, range hoods and washer/dryer sets and navigated our way to the back where the cleaning supplies were.

We trundled our purchases over to the sales counter—there are approximately ten different counters in this particular store, each with a computer terminal and a place in front of which to stand; someone had to point out to us which one was actually for buying stuff at—and Margaret busted our her checkbook to pay for the stuff.

And here, our nightmare begins.

I won’t bore you with the details (“but you would bore us with your horrible rap cover?” Yeah, well….), but all in all it took twenty minutes and three employees to process the check and finalize our purchase. Counter Monkey 1 couldn’t figure out how to enter a check into the computer system; she needed the help of Counter Monkey 2 to puzzle out the arcana of payment method, check number, amount, etc. But Counter Monkey 2 didn’t understand the verification process, and after some minutes of ablutions before the computer had to enlist the help of the accountant, who turned out to be out to lunch. Finally they managed to track down Middle Management Monkey, who understood the verification system and got our check processed. And off we went. At a dead run, lest they call us back to request a stool sample or some other form of identification they may have forgotten.

Now to be perfectly honest, everyone was very apologetic about the whole incident. They were appropriately aghast at their inability to handle the transaction with more speed.

But just today it hit me with the force of a pillowcase full of Brach’s Caramels to the back of the head: we had experienced the very scenario depicted in those horrible Visa commercials, against which I had railed in the past:

When I realized what had happened, my vision blurred, my head was filled with the song Brazil and my outraged brain began to savage itself, then threatened to implode, taking my skull with it.

We’re almost there, people: the consumer-credit utopia so long dreamt of by the financial institutions is nearly upon us. Best dust off your Equifax rating, gird your Gold Card and prepare for the future, lest you be rated Sub Prime and be forced to labor in the data mines of Amexopolis. This has been a public service announcement. 😯

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