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Hostess: There’s a wait of at least an hour without a reservation.
Weetabix: Are there any reservations that maybe canceled or haven’t shown up?
Other Waitress: My table by the window is about to leave. They can have that one.
Hostess: Ok, it will be about ten minutes. Have a drink in the lounge. We’ll come and get you.
Translation: In an hour. Have twenty drinks in the lounge.

Weetabix: Fat men loooove hats.
Translation: Man, I am sooooo drunk right now.

Esteban: Wha-wha?
Translation: This hat-wearing fat man will never have sex with you again.

Weetabix: I wonder who this is? It sounds like Mojo Nixon. Bartender, who is this?
Bartender: Uh’ lessee’. Mojo Nixon?
Weetabix: Hoooooooooooo doggie!
Translation: Even drunk, I am obviously brilliant.

Weetabix: Man, these pretzels are so good! I’m sooo hungry!
Esteban: Don’t fill up with pretzels. They will come and get us soon and you’ll spoil your dinner.
Weetabix: No I won’t. I’m totally famished.
Translation: I’m totally going to spoil my dinner.

Girl (wearing jeans under a flowered prairie skirt topped with a sweater that has a ruffle of camisole sticking out the bottom) Gee, I must really look cute.
Translation: Wow, I can’t decide what to wear, so I think I’ll just wear EVERYTHING.

Waitress (As she spills a bowl of rice on Esteban’s chair while we’re at the grill two feet away) Hmmmph.
Translation: Shit, I’m totally going to have to go back to the truck stop if I screw up one more time. I’ll just brush the rice onto the floor and chair.

Waitress: Sorry I haven’t gotten to spend much time with you tonight. I just have a lot of other tables.
Translation: Who are more important than you.

Weetabix: No, we’re fine. Really.
Esteban: Yeah, don’t worry about us.
Translation: Because you’re only getting ten percent anyway from spilling rice all over our table and chairs and also for not wearing a bra when you’re obviously in your forties and breastfed twelve kids. No nipples in my Mongolian in the future, please.

That’s me. I downgrade tips for fashion faux pas. But it works the other way too. If you give me lousy service but have really cute shoes, you’re still getting a decent tip. Or rather, with bad service, I’m just looking for another reason to justify it.

Speaking of which, my cell phone problems continue. After I had to go back to the store four times before they’d replace my new phone that dropped calls. Four times. The first time, after waiting 20 minutes to talk to someone, I was told that they couldn’t help me because I didn’t have my box. Fine. Totally understandable. I went home and got the box. Then I was told that they couldn’t help me because I didn’t have a receipt. Despite the fact that I had purchased the phone four days before. I asked if the associate, let’s call her Liz, (mostly because that’s her name and she’s a snot so I don’t care if Liz who works at Cingular in the Bay Park Square Mall in Green Bay finds out that someone thinks she’s an ineffective ass) could possibly look it up, since we had an account and our purchase should be on the account, right and it had only been four days, right? Liz? Work with me here? She had sighed and then asked if I could come back because she had to help other customers and she didn’t have time to go digging through receipts looking for mine. Fine. Whatever. When I returned, she told me that she couldn’t help me because I didn’t have a receipt. And when I started objecting, suddenly someone else in the store magically found my receipt and gave me another phone. Which only holds a charge for a day, instead of the touted four billion hours of supposed battery life. Great. And then someone stole my wallet, which had the receipt in it. Wonderful. Then some kind person brought my wallet back and the receipt was still in there, so yay for that. So Esteban took it back for me because I couldn’t handle dealing with them again, and he was given a new battery for the phone. It didn’t help. We bought a new charger. It still didn’t help. Granted, I wasn’t quite Johnny on the Spot because I didn’t want to go down there and do it, and with Esteban watching his parents’ dogs, I hadn’t seen him enough to give him the phone and box and receipt. I gathered everything up on Sunday and we met at the phone store.

My least-favorite employee was there again, Liz. This is the same Liz that was explaining to a foreigner in loud obnoxious manner that she couldn’t help her and she really wasn’t concerned that she couldn’t get her business calls and would have to wait a week for a new phone because it wasn’t her problem. I let Esteban do the talking because he’s friendly and I tend to get really sarcastic when I’m irritated (which I’m certain that you couldn’t have guessed). But we had the receipt, we had the box, we had the phone, we didn’t anticipate any problems.

But then Liz told us that she couldn’t help us because 30 days had passed since the initial purchase. We explained that we knew that and had been back to the store five times since the initial purchase. She kept looking at the receipt, stating that it was 10 days too late. But we’d only had the phone for 27 days. But the first phone was purchased on the 13th of January, so we’re too late. I asked if I had exchanged a broken phone and gotten another broken phone on Day 30, does that mean that I was stuck with a broken phone? She reiterated that Cingular had a 30 day return policy to prevent people from returning their phone every 30 days to get the ‘latest greatest models’. I ignored the argument that I would take an older model that, if working as expected, would be pretty great in and of itself, and just explained to her that we couldn’t even bring it in for a refund because the wallet was stolen with the receipt and then we just got it back last week. Liz just looked at me blankly and I swear blinked just like I’ve seen lizards do on the National Geographic channel. Liz wasn’t interested in our sob story. Liz was designed without an emotion chip. Liz then told us that she didn’t have the authority to accept this phone which would be like taking $250 out of her manager’s pocket. We did not point out that he had taken $250 out of our pocket and replaced it with a shitty phone. Instead, Esteban requested that if she needed a manager’s approval, could she call the manager? She replied ‘He’s not around. Come back on Wednesday.’ Because she could sense that with her higher evolved brain processes. As we would try to reason with her and further explain that we were not trying to get a free Razor phone, we were not trying to even get a refund, we just wanted a phone that does what it’s supposed to, Liz. Come on, Liz. Help us. Smile. Tilt your head and show sympathy. We’re not bad people, Liz. We’re not trying to screw Cingular. Tell us that you’re sorry that you’ve given us two different crappy phones and made us come down in two different snow storms and four other non-storm but equally annoying visits. Liz. We beg of you. Just stop repeating that we need to come in when your manager will be here on Wednesday in that snipey harsh way that seems as though you feel this is our fault. Liz. Liz. Please. Liz.

But no. No. This was not to be. You are ten days too late (although the math of that is very strange. Is it not Feb 20? And we got the replacement phone on January 20th? But I suppose it makes it more dramatic if it’s been 40 days, like an entire Biblical flood could have come and whacked my phone since I got it). No soup for you. Liz would to repeat that we need to come back on Wednesday. Liz would like to cut Esteban’s sentence off again to say that it doesn’t matter as we are past the 30 days. Liz does not have authority. Well, Liz does have authority, but she’s not going to use it. Liz has other customers and is finished with us. Liz is not interested. Liz is just protecting her manager’s $250 which we are obviously trying to con out of her just to get the latest greatest non working piece of crap.

Apparently, during this, Esteban was getting very irritated. Then it turned into a scene out of Cops. Or maybe, Mall Cops. Esteban said loudly ‘Well, screw you too!’ and then advised another customer to not buy anything from them and then Liz looked at me with her dead eyes and said that I had to leave now (and I suppose, take my inappropriate husband with me) and Esteban said that was no problem because he’s never coming back and then we stomped out of there, talking loudly about how much Cingular sucked, and I announced that she was the same chick that had been so rude the last time too.

As we were stomping past Old Navy, feeling very white trash, I suggested that perhaps he shouldn’t have said ‘screw you’ as it devalued everything we had said before that. He asked what they were going to do about it, because it’s not like they were going to fix my phone or anything. But really, I just felt that it was unseemly. We are definitely not shouters of ‘Fuck You’ and even its vanilla ‘Screw You’ is beyond our normal oeuvre. But now I feel like he should have been wearing a stained undershirt spitting tobacco juice into a mayonnaise jar and I should have been standing there in sweatpants and dirty fake Keds, wondering when my kid was going to get out of prison. It is official. I have now been asked to leave the premises. Of a Cingular store.

So yeah, still have the shrinking violet phone and am feeling vaguely victimized by Cingular. I’m going to drive to another store, but I have this weird feeling that every Cingular store is staffed by Liz. Like Liz comes with the franchise or something. I understand the phenomenon of going postal. Because I keep running over in my head what I could have said to have made Liz stop interrupting or see reason. I keep wondering what I could have done differently to make it work better, to keep Esteban from being driven by frustration to unleash his S-bomb. And I keep coming up with nothing. We tried everything. Nothing worked. And the worst part is that I doubt Liz is running this through her mind tonight. I’m sure she is telling her friends (pretend, I’m certain) about the assholes who came into ‘her’ store and how she made us leave. Perhaps she invents a scuffle.

Which, actually, I kind of wish there had been a scuffle, just because that would have been surreal. And made for a much better story. A crazy cell phone rumble. Anytime minute this, bitch!

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