I drove my friend Hannah to Seattle today so that she could board a plane for more fertile and exotic lands. 5-6 hours in a car doesn’t seem so bad after my marathon road trip this weekend and I quite enjoyed zipping along the I-5 and thinking of how impossible it was to progress at anything above a reverse-crawl on the same freeway in my one-time home-town of LA (you may have heard of it). This sense of self satisfaction and regional superiority was brought to a halt when a small rock came hurtling through the air and made a little moon-crater in my windshield (henceforth: rockshield).
I resent that rock for putting a cramp in my style but I applaud it for stressing me out, thus resulting in an “emergency” stop-off at Nordstrom(s) and the purchase of a pair of awesome new leather boots… mmm boots.
Of course, neither the rock nor the price of these boots were as deserving of my ire today as the waitress who served Hannah and I at breakfast. Okay, I get it… you work at a place that features an excessively noisy wind chime and an apparently non-functioning Wurlitzer Americana; however, this wild and crazy style is no excuse for dismissing the basic standards of the service industry.
Fact: Filling someone’s coffee cup every time they take a sip is annoying, redundant, and guaranteed to make for desperate dashes to highway-exit restrooms later on.
Fact: Bringing the bill halfway through a meal when there is no one in the restaurant makes you seem either a) lazy (does this mean you will stop filling up my coffee cup every 15 seconds?) b) clueless (food on the plate means the bill can wait) c) rude (are you trying to get rid of your only customers?)
Anyways, my point (yes… I do have one) is that picking a restaurant based on its online popularity/Yelp ranking can be hit or miss. Sometimes you get great restaurants with a killer menu and local charm, and sometimes you get self-important wait staff, mediocre food, and an over-worked bladder. I am not going to mention the restaurant’s name because I left my “put people out of business” days behind me when I realized that I only wrote for yelp because I liked hearing the sound of my own voice (probably the case with most yelpers… and bloggers… okay I still like the sound of my own voice) but needless to say, I was not overly impressed.
On the other hand, the employees at the Bellingham Trader Joes are delightful, patient, and (at least this was the case with my check-out guy) pretty darn cute. Now I don’t make a habit of oggling people in grocery stores but he chatted like a champ, didn’t make me feel bad when my credit and debit cards failed to scan, placed my items on hold while I dashed off to get cash out of the machine, and generally made my shopping experience even better (going to Trader Joes is treat enough so a friendly checkout guy was icing on the cake). If you are Canadian and are heading south of the border to porter some friends about, travel, or shop outlet malls, I highly recommend a stop at Trader Joes. I became addicted while at UCLA and it never ceases to improve my mood when I have snacks from that store of stores in my pantry.
Ps… I am aware that this picture is distorted but it makes me feel like I am entering a black hole… awesomely nerdy.