Friday, May 17, 2013

Please Come Back In 60 Seconds

Something you should know about me is that I’m wrong. A lot. Most times if I’ve predicted something then the exact opposite will happen. Unless you’re reading this from an alternate universe where Dick Gephardt won the 2004 presidential race and the Seattle Mariners won the World Series in 2010. Sometimes I’m not the one who’s wrong though, it’s the rest of the world who is. 

I really solidified an anemic offense
In the summer of 2000 I went on a date and I fell in love. I met a girl at a Ram’s Horn in Michigan, and we agreed to go out. I picked her up and we went to the movies. It wasn’t the girl that I fell in love with. The date went just okay. We went to a movie. I asked her if she wanted to get a cup of coffee afterwards. She did not. I called her a few days later to see if she wanted to meet up again. She did not. Which is fine because I was already changed as a result of the date. The movie was saw was Gone in 60 Seconds. I got to learn what it means to be a brother, I was introduced to a young Angelia Jolie, I got to see fast cars, and it was all anchored by the ever bonkers Nick Cage. It was great. I don’t mean it was great in a Citizen Kane kind of way, but it did everything it was supposed to do. It was stupid silly fun and I loved every minute of it. 

Turns out I was one of the few people who thought that way. Critics didn’t seem to see the same movie I had. According to Rotten Tomatoes 75% of critics were wrong about the movie. Some called it dull, a drag, and even clumsy. Which is fine I don’t care if critics want to out jerk themselves by pretending their too good for a fun romp with Nicolas Cage. 

fuck you

All that was fine until the next year when I saw a preview for a movie called The Fast and the Furious. I laughed it off like it was nothing. I thought it was just another studio’s attempt to cash in on the fast car craze spawned the previous summer by Gone in 60 Seconds. I thought nothing more of it. I was more confused when two years later 2 Fast 2 Furious came out. Why are we revisiting these characters when America is wondering what the hell happened to Memphis Raines and the crew? My confusion turned to anger when I saw the preview for The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. We’re bringing new characters into this tired franchise when Sphinx hasn’t gotten his own spinoff? How is it that these things keep on getting made when my follow up to Gone in 60 Seconds is still languishing in script phase. Unacceptable. 
You've got to be kidding me

Now that 6 Fast 6 Furious is about to hit the theaters I’m left feeling that way again. Though I’ve had some time to give it some thought. I no longer look at this as another instance where I’m incredibly wrong. I think time has proved just how right I was. This isn’t a studio trying to make as much money as possible from a successful franchise that people love. This is just a sad group of people realizing that it takes at least 6 Fast and Furious movies to equal the greatness that Gone in Sixty Seconds achieved on it’s first try. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Retail Warning Sign #1: The New York Times Sucks

As I’ve mentioned before I work in retail selling electronics. Sometimes people are friendly and you enjoy talking to them during the transaction. Those people are very much in the minority though. Most people are terrible for one reason or another, and if you work retail long enough you’re able to pick up on why it’ll be terrible before it’s even started. Sometimes you don’t even need for the customer to speak before you know they're going to be trouble. When guys come in wearing decorative scarves, they’re very rarely fun to deal with. And the more scarves a guy is wearing generally corresponds to how much trouble they're going to be (referred to as the Sokol rule of exponential scarves). Most times you need them to open their mouths before you know you’re in for trouble. One of which I’ve noticed is that whenever a customer starts out by saying “I was reading in The Times...” that person is going to be trouble. The problem with this is that their rarely if ever is any context to go along with what they’ve read. And when people come in without context I have fill in a lot grey to make them understand. 

This is where they export confusion
I don’t know the demographics of folks who read The Times, but from what I can tell, it skews old. Really old. And when old people read the technology section they get confused. When they get confused they turn to friends and loved ones for help. If they’re not available they turn to me for help. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to give an eighty year old a brief history of everything that’s been invented in the past thirty years, but it can be a frustrating experience. If I were to read an article about a product and understand nothing about it, I would probably realize that this product is not for me. People will often come in because The Times said that the Apple TV is great (it is) and everyone should go out and get one. Which is fine it is great and most people need a certain level of understanding before an Apple TV enters their life. You should be at least aware of the internet. If not then the whole experience plays out like the movie Blast From the Past. And if you recall that was a shitty movie. You not only have to explain what an Apple TV, but every associated piece of technology. You have to explain what Netflix is, what an HDMI cable is, what WiFi is, and why you can’t fit a VHS tape into a streaming box that’s a quarter of one’s size. It’s like trying to explain a Mazerati to a guy who just learned that it was possible to tame horses. 

All the news that's fit to confuse the shit out of old people
People never come in with any context or what they read. People will be thumbing through the finance section and see that the price of TVs have dropped the past few years. I don't know if they read the whole article or just read the headline and then make a beeline to annoy me. Every time this happens people will come in and get angry because they should be paying less because The Times told them so. When they ask me why TV prices haven’t dropped I have to ask them compared to what. They will then look confused. I will have to explain that the word less implies some starting point, and just because it is now less does not mean it’s a price they want to pay. They will then say that there was a story about how The Times reported that the price of TVs have dropped. You will then have the same conversation 4-7 times depending on how old they are. 
"In my day you could buy fifteen TVs for a dollar!"
This isn’t the only behavior that is almost universally trouble this is just one of the hundreds of things that make me know I’m in for a rough ride. I'm sure I'll cover some more of them. But let that be a lesson to all the budding young retail hopefuls. You’re out there going to college hoping to land a good retail job. But it’s not all fun and games. In fact it’s rarely either of those things. Especially when someone has just read The Times.