Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Humor is the shock absorber of life; it helps us take the blows. -- Peggy Noonan.

I had an amusing yet pathetic interaction this morning. I ran by the eye care place to ask if they have those small bottles of contact lens solution, perfect for traveling. [I'd buy the damned things if someone sold them, but after checking CVS, Walgreens, Dominicks, Target & Jewel, no one seems to.] I mentioned that I'd asked when I picked up my contact lenses 2 weeks ago & they were out. I explained I'd be traveling this summer & would really like to avoid hangups with the TSA and with carting around an 8 oz bottle of solution and an 8 oz bottle of saline. The result?

One of the women, we'll call her Helga, there said she couldn't help me, didn't I know that the particular brand had production issues a few months back, and no one makes small bottles of saline.

One of the women, we'll call her Angelica, there stepped around the person named above, went to a back cupboard and came back with .... you get one guess .... yes, the very brand of solution I'd been trying to locate. We joked that it was magic & I thanked her profusely.

Then, I said I was up a creek with the saline, because I hadn't found any in local stores and they didn't have any, either. I explained my biggest concern was I wanted to have something to rinse my lenses in the morning.

Again...guess the result.

Helga shrugged & said that I should probably just take my 8 oz bottle of solution on vacation.

Angelica tilted her head, inquired if I used my particular brand of solution because I was allergic to anything. I told her no, and she walked me over to a cupboard with a different brand of solution. She explained it was an all-in-one kind of deal, and that I could use it to soak my lenses AND rinse them in the morning.

So, here's what I find amusing ... how is that 2 people with the same supposed job have two completely different skill sets in problem solving? I like to think of myself as a problem-solver. There's always a way around, over, under, or through a problem. It may not be a solution I particularly like (for example, having to take 2 large bottles of liquid on a plane and deal with the TSA being a PITA), but it just fascinates me that some people are interested in identifying an array of solutions while others are just totally uncaring of that process. What makes one person so eager to find various ways of getting to the same destination and another completely clueless?
I had a similar thing happen at the post office lately. For the 3rd time in a year, their credit/debit system was down. So they could only accept checks or cash. They didn't tell me this until all 6 of my packages were weighed & metered. I got very angry when they told me the only solution was to come back later, because I had only ONE chance to hit the post office for days, and this was it. I said firmly, "I am looking for a solution, here, people." One of the agents finally piped up about an ATM he knew about across the stress*. SOLUTIONS, people ... SOLUTIONS. Is it really THAT hard???

*uh, that should be "street". As Toos pointed out, a bit of a Freudian slip on my part. *grin*


Kel x said...

AAAAAARGH! I know exactly what you mean, that is really a pet peeve of mine. Where I work is a perfect microcosm of that. If I am asked to describe myself, I often think of problem solver in the top ten. I try to be anyway ;)

toos said...

These last two bring to mind "never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence". Supposedly a quote from Leo Bonaparte. Glad you found a solution solution :)

Mel said...

*shaking head*


It's all about attitude for me.
Solution based means I get to be sane. LOL
And I'm all about staying sane today!

kaj said...

Some people just can't see the end result without being all messed up. They would rather give up! I never quite understand this logic.

Nicole said...

I always find these situation amazing too!