Day 3 in Palestine started off with more of the same. General unpacking, setting up of equipment, and moving boxes around ensued in the morning. I set up a printer. Then I set up another printer. Brian continued configuring the GSE computers. We all made an effort to organize the hangar. What I’m getting at is that the morning was very uneventful. Sunday’s main event wouldn’t start until after lunch, so let’s cut to it.
The whole team headed out to a Tex-Mex place for lunch. It was delicious and the serving size was insane. We were all too full to get up, but it didn’t stop us from grabbing a cone of the free ice cream available at the front of the restaurant (I’m starting to like Texas…) After our midday meal, we went to Office Depot and Lowe’s to gather more supplies. The trip to Office Depot went off without a hitch. Pierre-Simon even bought a pack of mechanical pencils that came with a little zebra figure to hold them all. Next up, was Lowe’s.
The mission was to buy shelving units, a flexible wire grabber, and a box fan. We had no difficulty finding what we were looking for, but we found that buying them would be next to impossible. Since AESOP-Lite is a university project and John is a professor at the University of Delaware, all major purchases are paid for with a University of Delaware credit card. John had bought things before with his UD credit card, but this specific Lowe’s in Texas simply wasn’t having it. They had recently instated a new system for processing purchases and it requires a pin number for purchases. Unfortunately, the UD credit card does not have a pin associated with it. The specific details are lost on me, but essentially John didn’t have the pin number that Lowe’s wanted and he had never needed one before. Furthermore, the system was painfully slow in processing anything and no once had the authority to override it.
Managers were called over to assist the poor cashier to protect her from John’s fury. When he failed to fix the issue, he called the regional manager. Once again, failure. Then Brian tried ordering the items online for store pickup; the idea being that we’re here and the items are here, so we should be able to order them and pick them up simultaneously. After waiting 10 minutes for the Lowe’s system to process our new purchases, we found out we were wrong. Our order got moved to get picked up at a Lowe’s that was hours away. As we walked to customer service to see if they could help us fix the issue and pay for the items we already had in hand, John’s frustration began to bubble over.
We spent the next hour sitting at the customer service desk, John’s mustache shivering with rage, powerless to do anything. All we could do was wait and hope that customer service could figure it out. John berated the situation; completely fed up with everyone’s inability to fix our issue. After waiting, powerlessly, for what felt like hours, customer service essentially told us that no one knew how the new Lowe’s system worked and that they couldn’t find anyone who had the authority to override anything. John decided to cancel the order and let the workers know they had lost his future business due to the overall ineptitude (he would be back the next day). He had no choice but to pay for all of the items out-of-pocket and storm out of the building. To top it all off, as we walked towards the automatic sliding door to exit, it didn’t open. It was broken. Fueled by his wrath, John forced the doors open and continued mumbling about how ridiculous the whole experience was. Personally, I started laughing wholeheartedly at the situation. I couldn’t handle watching my professor lose his temper to such a degree and started cracking up uncontrollably. Best. Lowe’s. Trip. Ever.
Categories: Palestine, Texas