Sunday, June 18, 2006

I wasn't going to rant, but then I remembered...

Really. I was going to spend my energy today by complaining about mediocrity, not by complaining about my day in California Consumer Hell, but then I remembered that I did have several legitimate things to complain about.

As I mentioned before, we went to California on Friday to visit some friends in Riverside. I had forgotten to bring anything to read, and I was tired of poring over maps looking for places that might be fun to live, so we stopped in Baker for a magazine. My standards were pretty low--it was too hot to nap in the back of the van and I was tired of staring out the window, so I would've settled for a Cosmo or a Self or a Shape or something. We checked five gas station/convenience stores and found absolutely nothing except books of bible crossword puzzles and kiddie word searches. What kind of a town doesn't have anything to read? On an unrelated note, gas was a whopping $3.71 a gallon. One more reason why Baker is dumb.

The Big Boy in Hesperia I've already mentioned. They were out of mushrooms, which made my mushroom patty melt not so mushroomy--which I could have overlooked, had it not also been simultaneously dry and soggy. The waitress served our ice waters in cups with lip marks all over them, then forgot to bring us sodas in to-go cups to replace them. Tyson's burger was cold. It was bothersome not simply because the whole experience was crap, it was one of those crappy experiences when bringing the state of crappiness to someone's attention would get, at best, a blank look and maybe a free slice of crappy pie. Then the next time someone was desperate enough to eat there it would be the same old crap. Nobody would bother to wipe the lip marks off the glasses or serve hot food instead of cold food.

We ended up in Redlands at a Sports Chalet trying to buy a book on rock climbing, and the one copy of the exact book we needed didn't have the right SKU tag on it so the sixteen-year-old-girl behind the counter had absolutely no idea what to do. She wasn't just clueless about how to ring the book up, or who to ask for help; she didn't really seem to know what to do with us, either. She kept looking away at the next customer in line and then back at us as though she hoped we'd disappeared while she was turned around. Finally, some manager-type guy just made up a number and sold us the book so we could leave.

We had gone to Riverside early to get some climbing in before our friends got off work, but it was about 100 degrees and humid (at least for us) so we headed towards the nearest Coffee Bean, in search of blueberry-pomegranate iced tea and free wi-fi access. Turns out the wi-fi wasn't free like it is at every store here in Vegas. We still have almost two hours to kill, a laptop computer with no internet, and nothing to read. We ask the girl behind the counter where we could find free internet access and she goes, "I don't know. I don't live around here," and then she walks off.

Then I saw a homeless guy taking a dump behind somebody's trash bin, and that convinced me that California people are nuts.

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