Thursday, January 15, 2009

Al Z. Heimer

There was this old guy in the Apple Store at The Grove yesterday. Clueless, shambling, unsteady on his feet, clearly baffled by his surroundings. Hilariously, it turned out he wanted to buy an iPhone. Shoppers and Genius bar staffers traded sympathetic smirks and amused eyerolls as the old guy made a meal of inputting his information on the screen so he could switch from his previous phone to his brand spanking new purchase. Then when it came time for him to enter his ZIP code and the last four digits of his Social Security, the form advised him his entries were incorrect. The old fool was flummoxed. His only course of action was to repeat the same entries and stand by, even more confused, as, once again, his information was rejected. Finally, he shuffled, mumbling and embarrassed, from the store, making incomprehensible noises about getting to the bottom of this and promising to return.

Guess what! The geriatric nutcase found his way back to the Apple Store this morning. He sought out the patient staff member who watched him flail yesterday and bored her blind with a never-ending monologue about how he spent 42 minutes on the phone with AT&T trying to find out what ZIP code was on his previous accounts because, as he attempted to explain, he changed addresses frequently. But now, he explained with dismaying self-satisfaction, he had the correct Zip code-- he'd even written it down!-- and would be be only to happy to repeat the process he screwed up yesterday. Once again, he fumbled with the keypad. Once again, he got to the part of the form with the required personal information. And then he realized: he'd forgotten the ZIP code. He plunged a hand deep into the hidden recesses of his dismal pants. Change. Loose buttons. Abandoned fingernails. Nothing else. No Post-It with the correct Zip code. The old guy fell apart. He pulled all the debris from all his pockets. He spread them out across the pristine Apple Store worktop as if the Post-It would materialize out of pure sympathy. When that failed to occur, what do you think the crazy old bastard did next? He only started inputting random combinations of numbers into the box just in case one of them miraculously turned out to be accurate. After a nightmarish few attempts, the old guy gave up, shoveled his grubby belongings back in his pockets and headed for the door, once again, mumbling promises to return with the correct information.

Dear God, I hope he's not there when I go back to the Apple Store this Saturday with my Zip code written on the palm of my hand so there's no confusion of embarrassment when I buy my new iPhone...

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