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Why is it in America that going somewhere, buying something, calling someone- just about any transaction that you can name in America is about as nerve-racking as a Bosnian grocery run? Why is it that seemingly everyone with a job along the great service highway is an uninterested sociopath with the interpersonal skills of a wolverine?

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but why is it that I can't seem to go through the simplest procedures without a major hassle? For example, I recently subscribed to a magazine, and after paying for it they sent me another bill. So I called them up to rectify the situation, and they assured me they'd correct the problem. I then started receiving two copies of the magazine each week, one addressed to "Dennis Miller" and the other addressed to "Denise Miller." Now, I want to know two things: One, how can they not know they're sending two magazines to the same address, and two, how did they find out about my cross-dressing?

You know, nowadays, half the people you ask for help say, "It's not my job, man." And the other half don't have a clue about how in the hell to do their job. See if this sounds familiar: Hotel clerks who, even though you requested a nonsmoking room, give you a suite that smells like Denis Leary's index finger; maids who don't give a shit about the "Do Not Disturb" sign and come through the door like Pete Wilson raiding the kitchen for green cards at El Pollo Loco; movie ushers who constantly ask you to remove your feet from the seat in front of you, but refuse to even shine their flashlight on the gang-initiation golden shower taking place during "The Lion King".

In trendy restaurants from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to West Hollywood the one dish you can be sure about on the menu is ATTITUDE. Now I know all these waiters and waitresses have the talent to be the next Luke Perry. Or the next Luke Perry. Couldn't think of anybody else that bad. And excuse me for wandering into your restaurant in a quest for sustenance to jam in my pie hole. But from the time you strap on the Buford Pusser pepper mill to the time you drop your last check, do all of us hungry patrons a favor and use your sense memory to portray a wait-person who gives a shit about the customer they're serving even though that customer rudely insists on not being Mike Ovitz. Okay?

And it's not like I don't sympathize. I've been in the vast service gulag. After I graduated from college, one of my first jobs was as an ice cream scoop at a Village Dairy in Pittsburgh. I'm standing there at age twenty-one in a paper hat with my two fellow employees asking me if they're gonna find the driving test hard and the prettiest girl from my five years ago senior class walks in to order a cone. She recognizes me, and tries to cover her discomfort by making small talk about sugar versus cake, as I think, "Yeah, I'll get laid on this planet...sure."

And once I had a job cleaning toilets for a living--on the night shift, for chrissakes. Got that? I didn't even rate cleaning toilets during the DAY. My bosses actually thought to themselves, "Yeah, Miller's good, he's REAL good. He's just not ready for The Show yet."

I know jobs can be unrewarding, but I'd like to go on vacation for a week, call the paper boy, and ask him to suspend delivery during that time and not come back to nine newspapers sitting outside my doorstep, screaming to every lowlife in the area, "Yoohoo! Over Here! Nobody Home!"

I'd like my groceries in a bag that will actually contain what I purchased, and not open up like the bomb-bay doors on the "Enola Gay" as soon as my pickle jars are over the cement driveway; I'd like the universal remote I bought to change the channels on my TV and not shut off my neighbor's home dialysis machine.

And you know, while we are on the subject of inefficiency, why doesn't somebody warn you that the "stay hard cream" will short circuit the "auto-suck"? Are you with me on that? A little too specific. All right, let go, walk away from it, it never happened.

More important, I've had it up to here with corporations pushing the fucking unions around. You know that if you haven't been laid off by now, you're working overtime. Companies are lean and mean. And so is the service they give you: lean and mean.

Still, a lot of the blame falls on us. There seems to be this notion that good, honest, hard work is something to be viewed down our collective snout. That doesn't make the workers at the bottom of the pole feel very good. Does it?

If you want better service, the next time you see one of those workers in an "employee of the month" photo in a fast-food restaurant, suppress your urge to make your friends laugh by ridiculing the guy as a dork loser with a bad haircut. Instead, why not seek out the guy who actually took pride in doing his job the way it was supposed to be done and thank him for dotting the i's and crossing the t's and making sure there is toilet paper in the stall, and ketchup in the dispenser. Make that person feel good because he is the last thin blue collar line between a frayed but still functioning society and full-blown "We'll be there anytime between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. or maybe we won't even show up at all, assface" anarchy. All right?

And let's grab the reins as customers. Don't stay on hold forever. "What's that? I should press one if I am calling from a touch-tone phone? Hey Hal, I'm pressing flash, 'cause I'm hanging up now and taking my business to a human operator!" Don't settle for fish nugget and the green spooge, turn the car around, go back, and demand the goddamn cheeseburger you ordered!

And lastly, let's get out pride together, go to the whip, and regain our position at the head of the socioeconomic pack! How about less billions spent on getting the war machine cherry, and a few more billions on tightening up our educational system. Forget the "moment of silence" in the morning. Let's shoot for a moment of SCIENCE, okay?

It's time we stopped looking up Japan's ass, and you know why?

Because that is definitely "not our job, man."

Of course that is just my opinion...I could be wrong!


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