Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walmart Zombie

Due to the financial "snafu" detailed in my last blog, after a very long Monday I made my way to Walmart to shop. Following the company's proud tradition, the Walmart in West Des Moines is a cesspool of great bargains. I think I read in the paper it's already been condemned and scheduled for demolition. But the city council won't tell when it's coming down so they can remove two kinds of eyesores and societal blemishes with one bulldozer; that is, Walmart and its shoppers.

So, there I am, pushing my cart - alright, staggering behind my cart - wandering up and down the aisles and apathetically running my cart into the shelves, hoping items will fall into my cart so I won't have to expend the energy of picking them up and putting them in the cart myself.

I was so tired I seriously considered curling up for a quick nap in the produce section. Staring at romaine, the I must have been visualizing myself on a bed of lettuce too convincingly because a Walmart employee approached and asked me if I was feeling alright. I said yes and kept shopping.

When a second employee asked me the same question, I decided it was probably time to wrap it up and go home. But when my checker snapped me back into reality by asking me, "Is everything okay? You look terrible," I was just plain embarrassed.

Given the classy clientele at Walmart I must have looked like a walking corpse if THREE employees were so shocked by my appearance they asked me how I felt. And so, I can tell all of you exactly how I feel about my experience: Mortified. And now I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Financial Fiasco

I'll get back to France soon - for now...

Like most students, I support myself during the academic year by borrowing large amounts of money generously fronted to me by banks and guaranteed by good ol' Uncle Sam. He may want his many nieces and nephews educated but he wants 'em to do it on their own dime. Ain't America grand? As most of you know, one must apply for these funds through the college or university they attend. Then, after taking tuition and fees, the financial aid office, or FAO, disperses the remainder. Recently, I was duped into what I can only call a "scheme" as a result of the following conversation, paraphrased by yours truly:

Me, arriving at FAO: "Excuse me, good sir, but would you be kind enough to tell me when I might expect my educational loan check to be available for pick up?"

Deceitful FAO employee, looking deceptively sympathetic: "Dear me, I'm afraid to tell you checks won't be available for several days."

Me, brow furrowing in concern: "Oh, drat. I do believe my bank roll is growing terribly small and I still need to purchase books for school and essentials from the grocer. What ever shall I do?"

Treacherous FAO employee: "There is one thing that might speed up the process. You seem to be a decent, thoroughly-modern sort of chap. Maybe you'll be keen to hear about a new-fangled way of getting funds: E-leck-tron-ic deposit. It's becoming quite the rage with forward-thinkers. Why be stuck back in the Dark Ages, standing in line with all the other simple-minded saps, waiting to pick up an old-fashioned, paper check when you can join the way of the future by signing up for E-leck-tron-ic deposit? If you sign up for this free service today your money will be sent directly to your bank so you won't have to do a thing. Plus, you'll get your funds TWO DAYS earlier than if you were dull enough to do things the drab, boring, old way."

Me, poor trusting dolt, wanting oh-so-much to join the future today: "Ooh-eee! That does sound mighty fine, what to get my funds early AND not have to wait in that line. What do I do?"

Demonic FAO employee, grinning greedily: "Just sign here and I'll take care of the rest."

If you couldn't tell from the narrative, things didn't end up working exactly as I was promised. I did eventually get my funds and I didn't have to pick up the check. But I didn't receive them early at all. In fact, I got them five days late and only after I stood in the long line to pester the FAO on TWO separate days. Boooo!!!!! Hiss!!!!!!

P.S. The reprobate FAO employee that sold gullible me on this pipe dream of banking convenience? Well, the FAO claims to have no knowledge of him - said they never had an employee by that name - said I must have been mistaken or imagined it. But how can I make a name like "Beelzebub?"