Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Day 15: Challenges off the trail

May 5: In the morning, I had plans to meet up with Evenstar and Addie for breakfast at Denny's, but before I went, I headed over to the UPS Store to print maps for the next section of trail for Evenstar. The store was supposed to open at 8:30am, so I showed up a few minutes before that and 8:30 came and went without any hint of life in the store. At about 8:35, an employee finally arrived, unlocking the front door to get in.... then re-locking it once she was in. I watched her putz around, getting the store ready before opening it, and about 10 minutes after the store was supposed to open, it finally actually opened.

So I was already in a somewhat foul mood. Come on, man! You can't arrive at the store after it was already supposed to be opened! I was supposed to meet Addie and Evenstar at 9:00am. I didn't have a lot of time to screw around with incompetent employees that literally didn't even show up until after the store was already supposed to be open.

I had copied all of the maps that Evenstar needed to an SD card--three files in all--but when I showed the SD card to the employee, she said that they didn't support SD cards. Really? Those are pretty common nowadays.... But I actually came prepared for this and brought an adapter so I could put in any SD card that would then plug in to any USB device. But why didn't they have such a device themselves? It probably didn't cost more than $10 and would have shown a "we can handle all of your printing needs" attitude.

I explained which pages I needed. They had numbers on them. One file I needed printed in its entirety, but the other two files I only needed one or pages printed rather than the entire file. So I explained which pages I needed, then the employee went into the back to print them. She came back shortly telling me that the systems were starting up but it would be done soon.

As I was waiting, she started helping the next customer who also wanted to print something. This customer didn't have a thumb drive with the files, though--it was in their email. She told them that they had to forward the email to the UPS Store's email address, then they could print it.

The employee headed to the back to see about my maps and returned a couple of minutes later with the printed maps. Until I took a closer look at them and realized that she had printed some of the wrong pages. I told her those weren't the correct pages. Well, some of them were, but not all of them. 

At this point, the employee was telling the other customer, who had forwarded the necessary files to the UPS Store's account, that she didn't actually have access to that account and that the customer would have to come back in another hour or so when the manager of the store arrived and could open the files. WTF?! Seriously? Why didn't she mention this before? The customer was very angry about this and left in a huff. I could sympathize.

Now that I had her attention again, I explained again which pages I wanted, and she went back to try again. Then she returned having printed all of the maps saying that she didn't have time to figure out what it was I needed. But there are friggin' page numbers on these maps! How hard could it be?!

Then she started to ring me up for the purchase. At this point, I was livid. My inclination was just to say, "Screw you!" and walk out without the maps, and I would have done just that if the maps were for myself. I had all day to find somewhere else to print maps, but the maps were actually for Evenstar who wanted to start hiking as soon as she finished breakfast--speaking of which, it was now almost 9:00am already when I was supposed to be meeting her and Addie. I was definitely going to be late.

So she charged me $16 and change for a measly 8 pages of maps that I did want. Basically $2/page--which was a huge ripoff. I was livid. Absolutely livid. I wasn't even sure if she charged me twice for the pages that she printed twice. I swore off ever going to a UPS Store again. I took all of the maps--Evenstar didn't really need the others, but I had paid for them so I may as well take them. Evenstar could choose which ones she wanted to actually carry.

I would have to print more maps for myself along the trail. I had only printed maps for New Mexico when I started the trail and planned to print more as I needed them, but I'll tell you--I never went to a UPS Store again after that. Yeah, I know, the horrid customer service at this store doesn't necessarily mean I'd have that issue at other stores, but why take the chance? For the rest of the trail, I did my printing at libraries which not only had better customer service, but often were cheaper than the UPS Store prices.

Anyhow, I finally got out of there and quickly walked to the Denny's, arriving nearly a half hour late. Addie and Evenstar were already there chatting away and I handed the maps over to Evenstar. "Don't even ask how much trouble these turned out to be!" But I told the story anyway and Evenstar said she'd buy breakfast for me. 

Evenstar tells an intriguing story to Addie.

Pez didn't join our breakfast goodbye for Evenstar--he had managed to score an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination and was off doing that. I was a little envious of him! I wanted my vaccination! I had only qualified for a vaccine just a few days before I left Seattle, but appointments had to be scheduled weeks in advance so I hadn't been able to get one before I started the trail. I did sign up for notifications for vaccines in New Mexico, and I'd gotten several texts about the Moderna and Pfyzer vaccines being available, but I wanted the J&J one. I didn't know where I was going to be in a month or how easy it would be to get the second shot in a different city--or maybe even a different state! I didn't want to worry about trying to coordinate a second shot of the right type, so I was holding out for the J&J vaccine. It didn't help that those were suspended about the same time I started the trail, but they had since resumed.

Anyhow, Pez somehow managed to score an appointment for a J&J vaccine and was off doing that. He was pretty excited about it too, since the vaccine rollout in Europe was going much slower. He was among the first people he knew to be getting it.

So Addie, Evenstar and I enjoyed breakfast and sat around for a couple of hours chatting and catching up, but eventually Evenstar announced that she really needed to start hiking so we wished her good luck and told her not to hike very fast so we could catch up. =)

As we left the restaurant, I went to put my sunglasses on and realized that the frame had cracked and no longer held the lens of one eye anymore. Shoot! I think I sat on it. I'd definitely have to replace that before I left town. I couldn't hike through New Mexico without sunglasses. That was practically one of the ten essentials on this section of trail!

Addie headed back to her room at the Motel 6, as did I, but only long enough to pack up my food drop that I'd mail ahead to Pie Town. Once that package was ready, I walked out to the post office where I ran into Pez mailing his own package. He had a bright red band-aid on his arm where he had gotten his vaccination.

Pez shows off his vaccine band-aid

Pez walked back to the Motel 6 with me where we hung out for a bit, eventually meeting up with Addie again later in the afternoon. For dinner, we decided to walk over to the Domino's pizza located practically right next door to the motel. Their dining room was closed, however, so I called them from my phone while standing outside their door.

When the woman on the phone asked for my phone number. I didn't have it memorized and asked if it was really necessary. I didn't really want to mess around with trying to look it up. "Well, we're really supposed to have it." 

"Can't you just poke your head outside and ask if you have a question? I can see you from here now."

And I could. I could see the woman on the phone in front of the terminal where she was entering the order. She turned around and I waved.

"Ah, okay. Well, then..." She entered our order without a phone number. I wondered idly if it counts as delivery if I want it delivered to their parking lot?

Our order came out faster than you can print 8 maps at a UPS Store, and we sat on the curb outside eating dinner. It was so much fun! I don't know how many of their customers actually eat right there on their curb, but they took it in stride.


Dinner at Domino's!

After dinner, Pez said he had to get going. He still had some chores to do. Addie and I walked over to a Walgreen's where I bought a new sunglasses for myself. But I also found a small set of bubbles. Three little bottles for just 99 cents! I couldn't say no... I had to buy them. Bubbles! =)

I gave Addie one of the three bottles leaving me with two. I was sure I'd find someone who'd be interested in one of the other extra bottles eventually, so I kept them both. For now, at least.

Then we headed back to our own rooms at the Motel 6 and called it a night. I meant to get on my laptop and do some work, but I managed to procrastinate by watching more YouTube videos and surfing the web.


Mary said...

I would have lost my temper with the UPS employee! It's not UPS - it's that poorly trained employee with a poor customer service attitude. Printing costs should have been clearly posted. I wouldn't have paid for the pages she shouldn't have printed. Not telling the other customer immediately that she couldn't access the store's email is ridiculous. I would have asked her for her private email address so she could access it and print it. I would have thought of that solution 2 hours later because I'd be too angry to think straight!

Mary said...

Evenstar bought your breakfast but didn't pay the printing costs? Odd.

Ryan said...

It seemed easier to let her pay me back by buying the breakfast. Didn't have to worry about splitting the bill between us which is a hassle. It's fine. We're good. =)

Evenstar said...

I felt awful that Tortuga had gone through all that because of me... :'(