Joys of Being a Jerk

Having had a brief exposure to the front end of retail sales, I have dealt with all sorts of customers. The ones that come to mind the most are obviously the horrible, screaming ones. They are the kind which makes people in retail despise humanity as a whole. I had often thought when dealing with this type of customers, that I would never do something like this while making a purchase myself. I planned never to scream or make a scene even if my shopping caused me some inconvenience. But then again, the best laid plans of men and mice…

I have a high-end gaming laptop which cost me quite a bit. It is, as expected, an ultimate performance machine which comes with extended warranty. I was having some issues with it recently so I called in the service guy. His diagnostics suggested replacement of a few parts and he committed to complete the task next day at or before 11:30 AM, because that was when the necessary parts would be sent separately by the company. Apparently, parts were delivered separately to ensure genuine products reached the customer. So far, so good.

The next day however, I started getting. apologetic calls from the company from 10:00 AM at an interval of every 20 minutes, explaining possibilities of a delay! Apparently, what had happened was this – Possession of this tres cher laptop made me one of the most valuable customers and in order to get a good feedback, the service guy had made the time commitment too early for their warehouse to adhere to. He arrived on time and had a proper contrite face when I told him that the people on the phone said the delivery could happen by 1:00 PM earliest (by Indian standards, this was not even an issue. Hell, they could have been 24 hours late before anyone except the customer could be bothered).

At this point, knowing the situation, plus my background experience, I should have ideally smiled and said that it didn’t bother me. Instead, the core of my existence, which is twisted and evil, prompted me to have a feel of the other side of the table, being a nasty customer. I purposefully berated the poor guy for wasting my entire day and added some other filler I had heard as a front-end guy. The man immediately started making calls to his bosses and as a result, a delivery van arrived with the parts within half an hour. Before 12:30 PM, my laptop was good and I was golden. My takeaway from this episode can be summed up very simply – The crying baby gets the milk. I think I understand why people do it in a store. Making a scene is not only a surefire way to get your needs fulfilled immediately, but also, there is a chance to receive a bonus to placate you. Also, venting out makes you feel (temporarily) good and doing so publicly makes you seem macho. I did end up giving the service person the best possible rating in his feedback.

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The Kettle Water Situation

I am not ordinarily a superstitious person. I mean, I believe in God, but then that too in a limited fashion. I used to be scared of ghosts as a kid, but to be honest, most of us were. So I can safely call myself a science-oriented person who does not believe in astrology, curses etc. My fervent prayers before the exams and results is something which I hope can be overlooked in this context.

But of late, I have started to observe a trend which has convinced me that my sleep has been jinxed. Simply put, whenever I take a flight and try to sleep, I cannot. Be it any time, any destination, if I want to sleep, I just cannot. The reasons are myriad. Most often than not, its crying babies. Once it was a curious toddler who was fascinated by my beard and kept trying to play with it despite dissuasion from me and its parents. Sometimes, it is the flight attendants, who prove too hot to keep your eyes off. A couple of times it has been the flight turbulence, which left me as a cocktail of half-nauseous and half-paralysed in fear, shaken as well as stirred.

The other side of the coin is if I want to stay awake and get some work done in the course of the flight – I sleep deeply and peacefully. No babies, no turbulence and no attendants. It doesn’t even have to be work; it could be a novel I want to read or simple solitaire on the laptop. The moment I start it, I go off like the light.

I think it is something like water boiling in a kettle. Like Jerome K. Jerome said, if you look at it, it will take forever. So, don’t look at it and pretend you will not need it. It will boil off immediately. Sounds like a perfect fit for my situation. On a profound note, I think the same goes with success and money in life. But then again, it’s easier said than done. When I am sleep deprived, I don’t think I want to play solitaire, I want to sleep, flight or not.

The Gay Purse Theorem

I didn’t make any publications, appeared in journals etc. during my academic years but I did come up with some theorems. Not the kind which will be a part of a hypothesis, and certainly not a part of any curriculum, but the kind you come up with when the combination of sleep depravedness and a little too much scotch hits your brain. Well, I am presenting the first of them – the gay purse theorem.

It so happened that one of my close friends and I were out shopping for his significant other as a welcome-to-Lucknow gift. It was her first visit to the city, and my friend wanted to be a gentleman for a change. He didn’t want to go alone for the shopping, so he asked me to tag along. Being the cheap bastard I have always been, I agreed to go only after he promised to get me a couple of drinks at the nearby pub. Now all said and done, when a guy shops for clothes or accessories, the only thing which stops him from selecting an item is the fact that it did not fit him. Not so much for gals. So when we arrived at the ladies section of a big, posh, departmental chain store, the realization hit us. No matter what we would pick, it wouldn’t be up-to-the-mark in her eyes. We would definitely score ‘A’ for effort, but the end result would be zero. So we decided to retire to the aforementioned pub and think. Of course, we had a moment of clarity about an hour later, so we went back to the store with our new theorem.

So, what our theorem states is this – In order to see what accessory suits your better half, you try it on yourself (hopefully, not in public eyes). The gayer you look with it, the better she will look in it. Your friend cannot try it for you because she is with you, not with him. Armed with this new revelation, we went forward and tried its practical application. As my friend tried on one purse after another, I gave him the necessary comments – “Gay…Very gay…ehh, not so gay…wow that is gay…ok gay.”

Turns out that the theorem was correct. My friend later reported me with its success. Sure beats getting published in a journal any day!!

Frasier Quotes

I am a big fan of the sitcom Frasier. It is one of the most successful spin-off series in television history and one of the most critically acclaimed comedy series of all time. During it’s eleven year run., it won a record 37 Emmies. I decided to compile the best quotes from the protagonist, Dr. Frasier Crane. Although I do believe watching them in context is way funnier.

01.I’m not chicken. I’m just really hesitant.

02.I’m sorry, Niles, I was afraid you might be trying to get a picture of my butt!

03.How can we possibly use sex to get what we want? Sex is what we want!

04.You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger snob in the entire room!

05.I’m not bored, I was simply wondering how long we’ve been sitting here enjoying ourselves.

06.You’re not a child anymore. Now come with me to the bathroom.

07.There’s an incredible piece of scientific equipment known as the Tunneling Electron Microscope. Now, this microscope is so powerful that by firing electrons you can actually see images of the atom, the infinitesimally minute building block of our universe. If I were using that microscope right now, I still wouldn’t be able to locate my interest in your problem.

08.I took my poor battered heart and offered it to Lilith….who put it in her little food processor and hit the puree button.

09.She’s obviously a little touchy about her age, but it’s not like this is the first time she’s turned forty.

10.I am so tired of your exaggeration! You always make things 50,000 times worse than they are!

11.There are worse things than seeing your career go down the toilet. I could have my hedges cut into unattractive shapes.

12.Oh, I’m sorry. Was I snippy? I didn’t realize that it was too much to ask that there not be gunplay in my living room!

13.And while I agree that washing his hands twenty to thirty times a day would be considered obsessive-compulsive behavior, bear in mind that your husband is a coroner.

14.I see you’re still waiting on that spine donor.

15.Somebody’s marriage must be on the skids! Somebody’s career must be going badly . . . besides mine.

 

The First Time

Laughed real hard at this e-mail forward –

I recall my first time with a condom. I was 16 or so. I went in to buy a packet of condoms at the local pharmacy. In those days it took a lot of guts to go in a store and ask for that kind of item because everyone in town knew me and there was no doubt the beautiful young lady behind the counter (I think her name was Delores) knew what they were for.

She could see that I was really embarrassed by the whole procedure. She handed me the package and asked if I knew how to wear one.

I honestly answered, “No, this is my first time.”

So she unwrapped the package, took one out and slipped it over her thumb. She cautioned me to make sure it was on tight and secure.

I apparently still looked confused. She looked all around the store to see if it was empty. It was. “Just a minute,” she said, walked to the door and locked it. Taking my hand, she led me into the back room, unbuttoned her blouse and removed it. She unhooked her bra and laid it aside.

“Do these excite you?” she asked. Well, I was so dumb-struck that all I could do was stand there with my mouth open and nod my head. She then said it was time to slip the condom on.

As I was slipping it on, she dropped her skirt, removed her panties and lay down on a desk. “Well, come on,” she said, “We don’t have much time.”

So I climbed on her. It was so wonderful that, unfortunately, I could no longer hold back and, KAPOW, I was done within a few moments.

She looked at me with a bit of a frown. “Did you put that condom on?” she asked.

I said, “I sure did,” and held up my thumb to show her.

Then she beat the shit out of me. Women have always been hard for me to figure out!

Duct Tape Driving

So, I joined a start-up in Ahmadabad some time back. We are trying to do something for the rural sector…and no, it is not going to be another N.G.O. Anyhow, marketing basics taught me that if I am to make you interested in what I have to offer, I have to know what you want, directly or otherwise. So to get our marketing inputs, we keep making trips to the countryside, where our customers are.

During our last trip, we had done a particularly torturous route of 50 km on village road, before hitting the wonderful highway. So within moments, we were doing around 150 kph and still cursing the car to go faster and make up for the last stretch. Then IT happened. The front tire blew up, and took the fender panel out with it. In a breathtaking manoeuvre, we managed to stop the car without any accident. After a few oh shits and thank gods, we got to the damage assessment. We had the following situation at hand –

1 car with a blown tire, no right fender or indicator and hanging electrical wires.

1 fender without a car with broken unknown scraps instead of an inner panel.

4 ‘mechanical engineers‘ with a wtf look on their faces.

1 spare tyre, a jack, some duct tape, tools and bolts we didn’t know about.

We got to work. Well, they got to work and I watched. After they replaced the tyre, they started looking at me. No matter how much I hemmed and hawwed, they made me work on the fender with them. After a considerable amount of time, we ended up taking pics or smoking because the damn thing wouldn’t hold. And then, the genius hit me. India runs on jugaad. So can this car. I took the duct tape and taped the wires and the fender. True, I used up a big tape completely but the fender was in place, a true ta-da moment.

Well it ends on a happy note. We reached a mechanic soon who ripped us for the repair works but we had a satisfying dinner. We made it back without any further incidents and my conceited ego got inflated by another 100 PSI. I realized my superpower of jugaad and decided that this super hero could have his great powers without any responsibility.

 

The Lonely Mannequin

The corridor in Ahmadabad’s NDBI Incubation Cell features a female mannequin. It must have been put there by a fashion start-up which either moved out or closed down. This mannequin is always covered in an old jacket and from the time I have been in NDBI, it had never been moved or touched. It was one of the old fixtures in the joint we never bothered about.

Until the fateful day. We started sharing our office with another team. In a leisurely break when I asked them about the place, the topic of fashion start-ups came up. One of the guys then informed me that the jacket on the mannequin wasn’t always there…and the mannequin, as he put it, was anatomically correct to a perverted level. Then he added a sly knowing smile, and said to my partner – “kyun sahi bola na bhai?” (Am I right, bro?)

From the hemming and hawing that came as a response from my partner, it was clear he was standing on a quicksand and we were about to facilitate his drowning. With hyena like smiles on everyone’s face and my interest piqued, my poor partner was a gazelle trapped in midst.

As it turns out, my friend used to work till wee hours alone before I came and didn’t realize that a camera used to watch his activities with the mannequin in the corridor with interest. So did the guards and eventually, the entire NID campus, with much amusement…unless someone put a jacket on the subject of interest. Now I understood why anatomically correct to a “perverted” degree. How he gave up his habit is a mystery. Whether it was the end of his perversion, his finding out about the camera or someone eventually covering the mannequin with a jacket as a subtle hint, its anyone’s guess.

You cannot question a person for mistreating a mannequin; hence my partner escaped scot-free. But on the very next day of this conversation, the mannequin was removed. Hmm…do they have microphones in the office??