Friday, May 25, 2007

Another Installment in the Things That Annoy Me series

It's been awhile since I subjected you to one of my rants.
I'll start with the good news.
I was glad to see on my 3rd trip to Miami in March that a Dunkin Donuts-Baskin Robbins combo was about to open in the SAME building as the office I work in down there. They were open for business on my last trip a few weeks ago.
The other good news is that they're starting to get my drink orders right.

The bad news is that in the 6 times I've been there over two trips they haven't managed to get a single order fully correct. Last time, they used cream instead of milk, added sugar when I ordered equal on the side, made an iced latte instead of an iced coffee, used a bagel instead of an english muffin, and added cheese to every breakfast sandwich among other things. I think many of these errors stemmed from their system which seemed very inefficient. I'd place the order with the cashier. And then she would yell to someone in the back area (I think there's a slight language barrier between them too). And then she would move on to the next customer. So in every case I never knew who to talk to after my incorrect order had been left on the counter for me.

Anyway, this week they got the drink orders right! And the person who took my order also filled the order. I like that system. The medium iced hazelnut coffee with milk and equal on the side was great. However my breakfast sandwich was a creative interpretation of what I ordered.

It's not that I'm THAT picky. Even when they get the orders wrong, I'm still pretty happy and everything tastes fine. But having worked in several coffee shops over the years, it bothers me when I see so much sloppiness and it makes me want to teach them some tricks if only because they'd get more tips if customers could depend on accurate orders. Wow, that's sounds really arrogant!! That's ok, in this series I'm allowed to sound whiny and pretentious.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Lost sailors on my mind

My mom called yesterday to ask if I recognized the name of one of the sailors reported missing off the coast of North Carolina after their 54-ft. sailboat sent out a distress signal on May 7th.

I did recognize her name.

Christine Grinavic and I had all of the same classes in middle school when I lived in Cumberland and shared some of the same extracurricular activities. We were never best friends, but I remember working on a school project at her house and how she was one of the most intelligent people in every class. I haven't seen her since I was 12 so I'm a little surprised that the news of her disappearance is affecting me so much. The last time I heard what she was up to, she was involved in an archaeological dig in Israel. I didn't know that she graduated from URI or that she studied English. Articles about the missing sailboat and crew have mentioned that she's traveled to New Zealand, Peru, the Caribbean, and Israel. Coverage of the story by the Providence Journal seems particularly poignant since she has written for the paper several times. What an interesting life she's been leading.

I'm struggling with the realization that reports of tragedies like this don't seem to affect me very strongly unless I feel a personal connection to the people or circumstances involved. It's probably a very normal, human response that we find it hard to really empathize with complete strangers. The shootings at Virginia Tech seemed much more real and gut-wrenching once I heard that the first victim was an R.A. in a dorm.

The father of one of the other missing crewmembers said that he's holding out hope that everyone is safe and that the boat may just be drifting somewhere out of power. “That’s a huge ocean out there,” he said. I'm holding onto the same hope.