Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RIP Common Sense

Common sense is making me crazy.

Why? Because I have it. Every day that goes by I become more aware of the shortage of common sense in the world. Everyone has heard the age old adage: The problem with common sense is it isn't common enough -Unknown (Maybe it was even me that said it.)

I know we all have lapses in common sense every now and then. Take for example, my niece. She is a beautiful, intelligent girl that has not yet developed any common sense. Not too long ago, a friend was giving her directions to his house. He told her to "turn left at the fork in the road" to which she very innocently and with all seriousness replied, "The fork? But what if someone moves it?"

To be fair, she was fifteen at the time, so her lapse is understandable and even forgivable. What kills me is the adults that have none, leaving you to wonder how they have gotten this far in life without ever being hit by a car because they didn't know to look both ways.

Several years ago, I owned a pizzeria in a little town that hadn't been discovered yet. It's main claim to fame was that the "famous" Ma Barker shootout took place there and was re-enacted yearly. This place would still need a horse before you could consider it a one horse town. Needless to say, when it came to hiring it was slim pickings, so when a sweet, bubbly girl named Suzy* came in, I thought she would be perfect to answer the phones. *(Note, names have been changed to protect the stupid).

One day, Suzy strolled in late looking quite perplexed. When asked what was wrong, she replied, "My car broke down again." Shortly after, her father came in to visit and noticed her somber mood. The conversation that followed went like this:

Dad: "Hi sweetie. What's wrong?"
Suzy: "Oh, my car broke down again."
Dad: "It did?"
Suzy: "Yeah."
Dad: "Did it break down just like last time?"
Suzy: "Yeah."
Dad (with a soft sweetness and a great deal of patience): "Why don't you try putting some gas in it?"

And yes, that is what was wrong with the car. I would like to point out the most important words in the above conversation: "...like last time." Suzy's lack of common sense provided much entertainment for us. There was the time that she mopped herself into a corner and sat there until the floor dried. Then there was the time that she was grossed out by cleaning the windows because of the spiders that were on there. When we told her the spiders were all dead, her reply was, "I know. I wish they were alive so that they could run away from me."

Then there was Madison, who was given the simple job of  filling up the newly purchased salt and pepper shakers, but decided when she couldn't unscrew them and get them open, the best thing to do was to just throw them away.

Good times. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

However, as intellectually challenged the staff at the pizzeria may have been, no place demonstrates the absence of common sense more than good ol' Wal-Mart.

Let's start with the parking lot. If someone is kind enough to let you walk in front of their car without running you over and making you roadkill, the decent thing to do would be to give them a thank you wave and hurry across the road. The wonderful Wal-Mart clientele seems to disagree with me. In fact, not only will they walk in front of you while your car is moving, but, if you stop to let them cross, they will mosey as slow as possible, even stopping to light up a cigarette or take a phone call.

Next, we have the people that have completed their shopping, are leaving and know you are waiting for a parking space. These idiots are particularly frustrating during the holiday season when drivers speed around corners like Indy racers and would run over their own mother in an effort to beat someone else to a coveted spot.They see you, sitting in your car with your turn signal on patiently waiting as they load their bags. Then they have to buckle their children into the car seat and of course, get them a juice box and a toy to entertain them. Finally, they get into the car, pull out their checkbook, write a few things down, put it away, then decide to fool with the radio. Once a station is agreed upon, the driver will check hair, make-up and whatever else, completely oblivious to you and the 12 cars that are waiting in line behind your vehicle and getting pissed off because you haven't just given up on the parking spot and continued on your way.

Once you have parked and managed to actually get through the parking lot without being run over by some driver that is talking or texting on the cell phone, you walk into the store where you are met by a greeter. OK, it stands to reason that if you are hired at a place to be a greeter, you should, and maybe I'm going out on a limb here, greet people as they come in the door. Just a thought. However, I don't believe I have ever entered a Wal-Mart where the greeter actually does this. As a matter of fact, it is almost as if they train them not to greet you. They look at you as though you have just interrupted a vitally important conversation or thought process that had them on the brink of figuring out cold fusion, but, thanks to you and your inconvenient timing, have now caused them to forget their epiphany.

Unfortunately, the greeter is just the beast that guards the gate. Your next obstacles are the wonderful Wal-Mart shoppers. We have all seen the emails of the fashionably challenged individuals with their clothes five sizes too small. *Note to these people - If you are over 25, you are no longer considered a junior! No one thinks it is cute when you wear booty shorts stretched to capacity that claim you are "Hot Stuff." You're not and you may be sued for false advertising. Still, I digress.

There are no words...
Yes, the fashionably challenged ranging from the mullet having, Confederate Flag t-shirt wearing rednecks, fur coat, hat adorned pimps with more gold in their teeth than Mr. T wore on his whole body, men dressed as women (and ugly women at that!) and kids dressed in all black with holes in every visible orfice sporting the trademark skull or tribal tattoo that they got to show their originality...just like everyone else, are an obvious example of people that have no common sense, or mirrors apparently. You must try to avert your eyes from these spectacles and continue towards your goal of grabbing the things you need and making it out of there alive.

But your tests are not over yet. You then encounter the ones that really burn my butt -the people with the carts that stop in the middle of the isle so that no one else can pass.You say, "Excuse me," once in a normal tone, then if they do not move, you say it again, louder and with a bit more irritation in case they are hearing impaired or just plain stupid. People with some common sense will generally be startled back into reality, apologize and move their cart. This is acceptable and can be and shrugged off. After all, sometimes we have so much going on we get a little self involved and don't realize we are being idiots.

Then there are the assholes. You know the people I am talking about. The ones that usually have a kid or two running up and down the isle screaming or climbing on shelves while they ignore them and talk on the phone, tossing you a dirty look like you have just asked them if you could have sex with their boyfriend. No common courtesy or sense whatsoever.

Now, as a person that does have common sense, I feel it is important to tell you that it is your right...no it is your obligation to show them how rude they are being. I recommend doing this by effectively ramming your cart as hard as possible into their's causing it to go catapulting down the isle and maybe even knock one of the unruley little brats off of a shelf in the process. To me, this is a perfectly acceptable and dare I say, rational, thing to do.

As you go merrily on my way, you realize that at some point, when you were in the isle, someone had stolen the "Little Wendy Wets A lot" doll out of your basket and put it in their's because to them, that was a perfectly rational thing to do. You of course, steal it back, then put some of the essential items like milk or diapers that were in their basket on the shelves and haul ass out of there. Later, they will see you in the store, notice the doll in your cart and give you a dirty look because you stole it back from them.

Finally, you make it to the checkout where you stand behind twenty people because although everyone and their uncle are shopping this time of year, their are only two lanes open. You wait patiently as the woman currently being checked out sends her child to run and get the marshmallows she forgot to get bringing the checkout process to an abrupt hault. Junior comes back and the cashier realizes there is no price on the marshmallows and calls for a price check... three times. Then after someone with the lightening speed of a turtle brings up another bag of marshmallows with a price on it, you watch the shopper, completely oblivious to the line of frustrated people behind her, ask that the items be rang up in two separate transactions, then bitches because one of the items that should have been rung up on this bill was actually rang up on the other one. You would get out of line and choose a different lane, but you are sandwiched between ten other people and have already placed your items on the conveyor belt.

The cashier calls a manager and they begin to go through each line on the bill trying to figure out how to remove the item from the transaction. After fifteen minutes of trying and failing, they decide to open a new lane and ask everyone to move to that one, instead of just voiding the transaction and taking the pain in the ass shopper up to customer service. ( I have actually been in line when this happened).

At last, you get through the checkout, pay your bill and get the hell out of there. You race to your car and in an effort to make sure that you are more conscientous than the person that left you sitting, waiting for the space, load up your bags as quickly as possible, get in your car and peel out of the parking lot. As you drive home trying to shake off the ordeal you just went through, you realize that in your haste you forgot to pick-up the one item you went to the store for: Toilet paper!

I'm no expert, but something isn't right here...
Common sense says next time, make a list!

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