The Covington Taco Saga

So it was nearing dinner time. Sue worked hard all day in the yard and she was in no mood for cooking anything. We had each received our monthly code for a free movie rental from Red Box yesterday too, so I suggested we go out and kill two birds with one stone. (I had already gotten my free movie on the way home from work.)

In retrospect, we should have stayed home.

When we got to the Red Box kiosk, she found that her phone was dead. Her phone contained both the code for the free movie as well as her personal list of potential movies to rent. She plugged it in with her car charger, but it was really dead so we opt to get food first.

My suggestion of Subway didn't work for her so we decided on Taco Bell. Our local Covington Taco Bell is one of those "half-n-half" restaurants with the other half being KFC. As we neared the place, I reminded her of my bad experience at this very Taco Bell a couple years earlier while she was in Kauai. I had gotten the shrimpiest tacos I had ever gotten in my life, but she didn't want to hear it.
"I've eaten here lots of times. We're not going to stop going here because you had one bad experience." she said adamantly. (She says almost everything adamantly.)

We drove through the drive-up window and ordered 6 tacos and 4 bean burritos. Pretty simple. As we left the window, I counted the items to make sure they were all there. Then she wondered aloud why it cost so much. In her mind it should have been under 10 dollars. She continued around to the other side and parked. She walked inside to check prices. She got back in the car with the answer.
"$1.19!" she said, "They used to be 89 cents!."

We went back over to the Red Box and she got her free movie and we went home.

When we got back home we went into the kitchen and I started dividing things up. Imagine my surprise when I opened a taco and found that it was literally less than half filled. I opened another one. Same thing. All six tacos were a joke. I was pissed. That reaffirmed it--I was never going to that restaurant again. What surprised me was Suzie's reaction when I showed her.

She looked at them in disbelief.

"That is totally unacceptable. We're going back." she said. (Yes, adamantly.) I was surprised. I never know how she is going to react and I almost always mis-gauge either the level or direction of her reaction. I expected she would sigh, shrug her shoulders, and say something like, "I guess we'll have to stop going to that Taco Bell." Not this time. I was mad about it (it was my second time ripped off after all) but she was really mad.

"Get your camera and take a picture." she said.

We exchanged plenty of dialogue between us both in the kitchen and during the drive back about how completely ridiculous it was to sell someone a taco with an inch of filling (that included everything) in it for a $1.19. There was tension in the car as we drove back. I couldn't believe that I failed to check them before we came home.

We went in and walked up to the counter. I spoke to the nearest girl behind the counter.
"Excuse me..." I said, to get her attention, "Is your manager in?" I asked.
"Yes, would you like me to get him?" she asked back.
"Yes, please." I didn't quite get why anyone would ask the question she asked, but maybe they are trained to be the first line of defense when it comes to protecting their store manager. Why else would I have asked her? Taking a 'How many managers are on the premises in fast-food restaurants' poll perhaps?

He came out of his office and over to the counter. His last name was Senti I believe. I wished I would have written his name down. [UPDATE: his name was Sethi]
"Is there a problem?" he asked, completely stone-faced.
I opened the bag and opened several of the tacos.
"These are unacceptable. I can't believe you would sell me a taco that looks like this for $1.19."
He looked through the bag like he was counting or something.
"What did you order?" he asked.
"I ordered six tacos and four bean burritos!" I said, my voice rising.
He dropped the bag into the trash in front of him.
"We'll replace them for you. I do apologize, sir." he said. His face never even neared a smile. He walked over to his staff on the other side of the room and gave them some instructions, then disappeared back into his office. Sue went back out to the car to wait.

During the course of my waiting I exchanged a few comments with other customers waiting. I told the one guy, "If you're getting tacos, you'd better look at em."

After waiting a few minutes, Mr. Senti Sethi came back to the counter with a bag. Again, he had the same stone-faced and insincere delivery.
"Here you go sir. I do apologize sir."
I opened the bag and inspected the contents. What?! The tacos were just as puny as before. Did he not get it? Is that their normal taco size? I opened them in front of him and held them out.
"What is this? These are not acceptable. These tacos should be full. I paid for tacos, not 'partially-filled' tacos." The nearby customers took some notice as this was going on. Mr. Senti looked at them like he really didn't see what the problem was. I continued:
"I have eaten at Taco Bell restaurants for many years and have never seen this. This is ridiculous."
He seemed both unconcerned and confused as to his next move, so I helped him out.
"Give me my money back please. I'm finished." I said, firmly.
Again, he dropped the bag into the trash in front of him.
"I do apologize sir." he said as he walked away.

The nearby customers I had already exchanged comments with were taking it all in as well.

He handled it poorly. It cost him two full orders of food tossed in the trash and he alienated at least the two of us as customers. What he should have done was replaced the four tacos with full ones and refunded our meal. It's how you keep customers happy.

We took our refund to Arby's and had roast beef sandwiches instead. Full roast beef sandwiches.

To top it all off, the movie she chose was so riddled with F-bombs (she investigated it on IMDB before she burned it) she opted to leave it alone.

Time Spackle

Where do you start when you haven't blogged in a long time and so many things have happened?  It's been so busy around here that it seems like the days have run into weeks and now they're well on their way of running into months since I have blogged last.

The activity level has been strange.  The times when I haven't been just busy with regular (I'm beginning to wonder what 'regular' is anymore) stuff it seems there was always something of some kind cropping up unexpectedly.  Something to do, someone coming over, or somewhere to go seemed to always be happening.  Obviously, it started with the previously-mentioned water heater fiasco.  Having just arrived back from Kauai and expecting a week away from obligations of any kind, I was greeted instead with solid work.  That was, of course, on top of the frantic pace of things at work.  During that week, the water heater job used all my spare time.  While I wish I was blessed with lots of gaps in my time, I was instead cursed with spackle.  I'm going to call it Time Spackle.  It filled in any and all gaps I may have had in my day.

When that job was completed I expected that I would be able to catch up at work but that hasn't happened very quickly.  There was always something unexpected filling in my workday time and keeping me from focusing on catching up on my material receiving job.  During much of the previous weeks, my job was spackled together with unusual levels of kitting up assembly jobs, preparing items for UPS shipment, and even doing some delivery/pickup tasks in the work truck.  For three solid weeks the level of paperwork in my inbox rose.  Once a week I would get a fairly substantial delivery from our main supplier, to which I would quip, "Damn--I still haven't touched what you brought me last week!"  I feel that I am just now (finally) catching up from what I came back to after taking two weeks off for vacation.  My definition of vacation: Taking time to stop working so your workload can accumulate and cause you even more anguish.  It has definitely been that.  On top of that, my usual work has been punctuated with checking and repairing things that were done in my absence.

We went to Ocean Shores a couple weekends ago.  That was the first example of a prearranged weekend event being Time Spackle to my preferred gappy weekend.  I had no warm fuzzies going into that weekend.  I'll put it bluntly:  I didn't want to go.  I had been working hard and the last thing I felt like doing was cramming into a dormitory situation with a house full of people for a weekend.  Luckily it ended up being a good time.  The rented house was huge and nobody got in anybody's way.  In a previous incarnation it was apparently a corner store so it had plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms, and floor space.  For example, it had three tables we could sit at to eat or play games--either separated or pushed together banquet-style.  Because JW's don't celebrate birthdays, Christmas, or other mainstream obligatory gift-giving days, Sue likes to use the annual family chaos weekend at Ocean Shores as her gift-giving time.  It was during that weekend that Sue gave me an advance anniversary gift:  A new iPad 3 tablet!  That was totally unexpected and I was blown away.  I brought nothing for her and felt bad.  It was not actually our anniversary yet, so it didn't occur to me to have anything ready.  My head is very thick bone.

For the next several days, investigating and shopping were my Time Spackle.  I should have been working overtime but instead was hitting stores on the way home--looking for an elusive item on my shopping list that Sue wanted.  Again I felt like such a bonehead--because the first item I had ordered for her was coming from Hong Kong, and I failed to order it in time for it to arrive by the proper date.  When it was finally our anniversary (June 6th) I presented her with her main gift:  A box of computer parts.  For for our 3rd anniversary I gave her a brand new computer.  Why didn't I put it together and give it to her?  Because I needed to use two parts out of her current computer in it.  I also thought the box full of smaller flashy boxes looked more exciting.  In retrospect, I should have probably just built what I could and given it to her.  Oh well.  We celebrated that evening with a great dinner at Mizu, personally cooked and served with flourish before our very eyes by a talented food and cutlery juggler.  I caught the piece of flying scrambled egg in my mouth like I had been doing it all my life.

Last weekend could have been relaxing.  Saturday was a big JW event in Puyallup which of course Sue was attending.  I could have had all day to do nothing.  Instead, her new computer was the Time   Spackle of that day.  After spending the whole day with it (formatting a new drive and installing Windoze XP takes a lot of time), I had to face the realization that the new motherboard was no good.  What should have taken half the day, tops, took all day because I didn't give up on it.  I tried everything.  Because the computer store wasn't open on Sunday, it gave us some time to ponder things.  We decided that we would make the jump to Windows 7 during the upgrade.  I didn't know it at the time, but I found that Windoze XP had a RAM limit of 4 gigs, and I had bought 8 gigs for her new machine.  To maximize the performance of her new machine we had to face the fact that it was time to retire the pirated version of Windoze XP that I had been using since 2001.  Monday after work I exchanged the bad motherboard.  When I got home and started to put it all back together I realized I had mistakenly put all the packets of screws and mounts into the box with the bad motherboard I had exchanged.  (Like I said: Thick bone.)  I hurriedly sped back to Federal Way in yet another example of filling the chinks in my day with Time  Spackle--This time self-inflicted.  When I got home I contacted someone on Craigslist that was selling Windows 7 for $50 and arranged to meet her the following day.  After waiting for her to show up at the prearranged location (yep, more Time Spackle) I called her.  She apologized and actually delivered it to our house a couple hours later.  That was good.  The speed in which Windows 7 installed on her new computer was so fast it actually chipped away at some of my Time  Spackle.  I may have actually regained half a day it was so fast.  That was also good.

It's not over yet.  Upcoming weekends are still mapped.  Time  Spackle apparently must be used before it expires.

I sometimes long for the days when my life was so full of holes that I didn't even know what Time  Spackle was.