Planning A Trip

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What used to be an exciting event – planning a much needed vacation – is now an exercise, for some (particularly the elderly), in overcoming obstacles. There are many unconventional things that must now be considered before embarking on, say, a cruise:

  1. Are there wheelchairs available in the terminals (and onboard the ship itself)?
  2. Will all your meds be able to pass safely through customs?
  3. Do you have a doctor’s note to explain the beeping that will (because of the titanium rods currently holding together your limbs) inevitably occur when you go through the metal detectors?

Mind you, these are only some of the obstacles elders will be facing getting onto the ship in the first place. Once you board:

  1. Are there elevators to take you not only floor to floor but also to your seats in the dining areas and theaters?
  2. Is there a special menu for diabetics?
  3. Are there devices for the hearing impaired in noisy areas where BINGO and other activities take place?

And this doesn’t even cover any additional transportation snafus that might be incurred by using planes, busses, cabs or boat tenders to and from the cruise ship. Sadly, at this point, you will be so exhausted from merely planning (what should have been) this fantastic trip that you’ll most likely… just stay home!

 

Self-Serve Checkout

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I am just as guilty as the next person of sighing when there’s a ‘newbie’ at the checkout. I know they’re learning and I realize it’s to make them better at their job once they’re on their own but, seriously, every time and on every line I choose to stand on… what are the odds?

Now that it seems like I’m constantly on line buying groceries (I used to just pick up what I needed when I needed it) and picking up prescription renewals (I’m sure it would kill the insurance companies to have all the meds be due on the same day), I thought it was time to ‘check out’ the quick checkout (usually referred to as self-serve or self-check).

By virtue of its very name, I assumed it was a quick way to help myself out of the store during the busy shopping hours. But you know what they say about people who assume…

First obstacle: There is no SELF in self checkout because almost every time you weigh an item, the machine tells you to wait for assistance. Call me crazy but, if I thought I was going to need assistance, I could have stayed on line.

Second obstacle: Every item in the store is not necessarily marked and, if there’s no price or store sku, you’ll again need assistance.

Third obstacle: Just because there’s a price or sku doesn’t mean the machine can read it and… yup, here we go again.

Fourth obstacle: When it’s time to pay, oftentimes the machine won’t accept your credit card/cash/other payment. So, why did you choose this method of self-serve checkout?

Oh yeah. You were in a hurry. Or you didn’t want to stand on line. Or you’re just a glutton for punishment. Whichever the case, assume you, once again, made an ASS out of U and ME!

The Paper Chase

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As many of you have undoubtedly tried, at one time or another, I have learned to forge my parents’ signatures. Now, before anyone gets all uppity and tells me this isn’t exactly legal, I have been asked by both my parents to perfect their signatures. Mom wants me to do it because our signatures are similar and, this way, I don’t need to drag her around with me to pick up her meds or to deposit her checks.

In Dad’s case, he just can’t see well enough to get his signature to land in the correct spot. When I’ve taken him to the bank, I have to point to the area where his signature is required. However, between the time I get his pen to the paper and he actually begins writing, he always manages to move his hand. Banks frown on signatures that end up outside the ‘write-in-this-area-only’ section.

And when it comes time to signing your name at the pharmacy counter, it’s very difficult for a sight-challenged person to write with those ridiculous pens that are attached to the machine – especially the ones with the invisible signatures.

When Dad asked me a while back to take him to buy Mom a Mothers Day card, I had to first pick out the card, then buy it (nothing says love like a card from the dollar store) and, when it came time to signing it, Dad insisted he could do that much by himself. So I let him. The end result was a card signed upside down. But we didn’t tell him that. Because we love him.

So here’s my tip when facing the inevitable paper chase:

To save both time and stress, learn to compromise and remember –  it’s the thought that counts!