Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baskin Robbers

I'm abysmally behind on all things blogging and we have so many fun things to post. It pains me that I'm seriously venting about this instead of sharing fun pictures. [Vent On]

Thing 2 has been curious about Pistachio Ice Cream ever since hearing about it on an episode of his favorite cartoon du jour "Sushi Pack." So, with Mark's Free Birthday Ice Cream Cone Coupon in hand, we head over to our local Baskin-Robbins (slash) Dunkin-Donuts.

We look over the wide variety of flavors. This is Baskin Robbins after all. Home of the 31 (really more than 1,000) flavors! We called ahead of time to see if they had pistachio ice cream and they did, so we happily point out the flavor to Thing 2 as we look through the fingerprint-smudged glass. He excitedly smiles and we ask for a sample. Thing 2 tries it. Curiosity satisfied. He chooses another flavor for his ice cream cone.

I'm undecided between 2 flavors--Jamoca Oreo (feature flavor of the month) and World Class Chocolate (a tempting blend of milk and white chocolate ice creams). I don't even like white chocolate but I have to admit, that flavor looks good. I ask for a sample of the featured Oreo flavor and, after much pointing and enunciating (the clerk is from India and was apparently having difficulty understanding us), the clerk sighs and grabs a tiny pink plastic spoon and gets me a sample. Mmmmm, it's good. But I'm not entirely convinced. That World Class Chocolate flavor looks so delicious tonight. Maybe I'll try that one and then choose between the two.

Meanwhile, Thing 1 looks over the many new-to-her flavors trying to decide which one to choose. I'm reminded of my own childhood visits to the ice cream shop of 31+ flavors and the minuscule, pink, plastic sample spoons. Thing 1 isn't particularly loud and the clerk doesn't hear her (or even see her) over the high counter covered with cones and toppings, so Mark repeats her request to the clerk. He quickly puts the kibosh on our request.

"No, no. Twooosamples. No More."

We stare at him, confused, Thing 1 slightly panicked.

"Onleee two samples. No more."

I explained that our son had one sample and I had one sample and that--oh it pains me to state the obvious--we are a party of 4. I held up my fingers (4 of them) to be clear.

"Onleee two samples. No more. Or peeeeple come in and try sample, sample, sample. Sori. Only two."

I looked around at our family. We didn't look like a bunch of pranksters. And we were the only people in the store. I stared and blinked at nothing in particular. He was seriously thinking that we, a nice family of four, were going to bilk him of his ice cream inventory by asking for tiny, little samples of frozen goodness. What did he think we were going to do? Ask for 2 samples each and leave? "Mmmmm, yeah, I'm full from those tiny pink spoonfuls! No more for me, thanks. I'm good!"

Two samples per group? That's absurd. There are 4 of us. If we'd come in as 2 groups of 2, we'd each get a sample, but nooooooooo, we're stuck now!

I, a normally friendly person, don't even attempt to hide my annoyance over this policy, mumbling only slightly under my breath, "That's the stupidest policy I've ever heard. Like we're going to bleed them dry with those teency, tiny samples." The Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the register and also run by the same people gives away free munchkins but ice cream samples? Nooooo. Too risky a business practice apparently.

Mark and Thing 1 order their cones. I continue to be and look confused and annoyed at their stupid policy.

I keep looking at the flavors, now especially perturbed about my decision between the Feature Oreo Flavor and the World Class Chocolate. Now how could I decide? I knew what one tasted like. I'd have to guess on the other and hope I'd like my choice. I begrudgingly choose the one I hadn't yet sampled, since, you know, I hadn't tasted it yet.

Mark orders it for me since 1. I'm annoyed with the clerk and 2. I can't see over the counter either.

So we hand him the coupon Mark printed from his email and the guy raises his eyebrow like he just handed him a counterfeit bill. He tells us, "No Gooood. It's a Xerox."

Mark explains to him that we got it via email as part of the birthday club program and that we printed it.

The clerk shakes his finger. "No gooood. It's a copee. It's a copee." He holds up the coupon and points to it.

Mark explains again that it's printed and I, insulted at having our integrity questioned, start in on the clerk. "We printed it up. We wouldn't lie!"

It then occurs to me that the clerk figures it's a copy because it's in black and white. As I make this realization, Mark is on his 3rd or 4th explanation of how we've printed the coupon from an email. I interject, "It's black and white because we don't have color ink."

Yes, it was a black and white printout from an email, but it was legit. No amount of explaining was going to convince this guy. Like $1.11 is so much money that we went to the effort of faking a coupon. But this guy kept insisting we had a "bad coupon."

At one point he calls over his coworker like Mark's going to jump over the counter and forcibly take the scoop of World Class Chocolate. I can tell you one thing. If Mark did jump over, he'd get some jimmies, too!

So the two workers hold a conference, avoiding using any English so we can't pounce on them. Eventually Miss Congeniality uses her head to point at us and says what I can only assume was, "Just let them use the coupon. That guy weighs more than you and me put together."

So we get the cone and get to use the coupon. To be accused of forgery and lying and deceit is despicable; to be accused of forgery and lying and deceit over a $1.11 ice cream cone is insulting.

I try my ice cream. It's good, but my sample was better. If I'd been allowed another sample, I would've chosen the first flavor.

On the way home, while still discussing the incident, we figured out that if you were going to forge a coupon with a "Xerox," make a color copy, because apparently *that* would fool them.

Later this evening, I went on the Baskin Robbins website and filled out a customer feedback form. My favorite questions were:

1. Thinking of this visit, how satisfied were you with your overall experience at this location?

4. Overall, how satisfied were you with the level of service received from the crew?

and my very favorite:

7. Did the crew member help to influence your menu selection?

I ticked the "Extremely Dissatisfied" box but was disappointed that there wasn't a comment area specifically for that question so that I could write, "Yes. His refusal to give me another sample influenced my decision to get a lesser flavor."

8. How likely is your decision influenced by a suggestive sell?

"Um, I wouldn't know. He wouldn't suggest because we'd hit our limit on the tiny pink spoons."

Don't even get me started on this one: 11. Based on your most recent visit, how likely are you to return to this location?

Yeah right we're going to return. No way. Not us. They lost our business, bucko. Morons.

I got to the comment box, told them exactly what I thought of our experience, triumphantly submitted the form, and up pops a freakin' coupon for a dollar off our next visit!

Yeah right. Like we're going to use it. Like hell we're going to use it!

We'll probably use it. Mark will probably print it in black and white again . . . just to see what happens.

[Vent Off]

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mark!

Happy Birthday, Mark!

Here are 34 things I love about Mark:

1. He's smart.
2. He's funny.
3. He's handsome.
4. He is, hands down, the best husband in the world.
5. He's a fantastic father.
6. He's a wonderful partner--there's no one better.
7. He's got vision and doesn't settle for being status quo.
8. He puts our family first, there is absolutely no question in my mind on that.
9. He really considers all the special little things we all enjoy.
10. He is very centered and spiritual and open.
11. He is fun to be with,
12. Whether we're doing something like games or dinner,
13. Or simply sitting together quietly.
14. He is very good at his profession--people love him.
15. He is well-respected in the community among his colleagues,
16. For his medical skill and smarts,
17. And also for his strong commitment and priority to personal and family values.
18. He volunteers with our library and serves on a Concert Association Board.
19. He runs our business with smarts and grace and class.
20. He isn't afraid to follow dreams and I love that.
21. He supports and encourages me being me and that's a very beautiful thing.
22. He also isn't afraid to lovingly and straightforwardly call me on stuff and I like that.
23. He does all kinds of little things to keep things running smoothly.
24. He helps me with projects I do, big and small.
25. He models self-confidence and courage by being who he is and being in charge of his own life.
26. He is classy and respectful and has great manners,
27. But he isn't afraid to question authority and that's admirable.
28. He never rushes me.
29. He speaks his mind.
30. He bathes the kids, feeds the kids, wrestles with the kids, plays with the kids, reads with the kids, teaches the kids, learns with and from the kids, loves the kids--you get the idea.
31. He pays attention to his emotional and physical health and I'm so grateful for that.
32. He is humble and unassuming and very accepting and open and non-judgmental.
33. Over 15 years ago, he gratefully and inspiringly and willingly chose Plan B (already following his heart back then!)
34. He loves me! He loves me! He loves me!

Happy Birthday, Sweetie! I love you more than I can say. I'm very, very blessed. I love you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jim!

(This is doctormark posting, but I'm using boquinha's computer, so it's easier to post as her rather than log out and then back in again. Running joke--I always mess something up on her computer. Let's hope this isn't one of those times!)

Those of you who know us have probably heard us talk about Jim. There may be even a few of you who have actually met Jim. He's a quiet guy who prefers to blend into the background at times, but he is a major part of our family's life. I'll give you a quick idea of some of the reasons we love him (although there is no way this is a complete list!):

  • He took time off from work to travel to Utah for our wedding. (He never takes time off from work.)
  • He has paid for a lot of meals at great restaurants.
  • He took time off from work to travel to Arizona for Thing 1's blessing.
  • He has picked us up from the Providence airport on more than one occasion.
  • He even made the trip to Logan Airport in Boston, complete with the 4-hour drive home during the Thanksgiving mayhem.
  • He is Thing 2's Legos buddy.
  • He anxiously awaits Thing 1's blog posts each week.
  • He drove almost 400 miles just to bring us a van we could get cheaper there rather than here.
  • He cries at the drop of a hat, showing us how much he cares.
  • He treats us all like family, and who can have too much family looking out for them?

Happy Birthday, Jim! We love you!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ice Cream and Nature Walks and Concerts, Oh My!

I haven't posted in a while--we've been doing a ton of fun, summer stuff including, but not limited to:

Playing at the park with our awesome homeschool group (for 10 straight hours!!)
Playing in the creek
Library Summer Reading Program Parties
Nature Walks with our awesome homeschool group (pictures to follow)
Beatlemania Now Concert (SO SO fun) at very cool open-air playhouse
Symphony Summer Concert at very cool open-air playhouse
Playing outside
Reading books
Doing school
Brithday parties

We're off to the park again today (and we're usually there all day) and we've got Mark's parents visiting next week (YAY!!) and my mom for a week after that (YAY!!), so we've got a lot going on! So, blah as this post may be, it's something in the meantime. Back to your regularly-scheduled summer fun! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dentistry Question

Has anyone ever gotten a cavity or two filled and then had pain while eating for several weeks afterward? And in that time, visited the dentist TWICE to have him scratch his head trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong? And had the dentist schedule a follow-up to undo and redo the cavity filling? And then, in the days leading up to the appointment (and about a month after the original filling), noticed the pain goes away? Has anyone ever had that? I'm totally just curious, that's all. Completely hypothetical.