Random Thoughts and Musings


I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a love affair with multitasking. Doing things the most efficient way has become almost  a hobby to me, and I find myself thinking about ways to maximize productivity and efficiency throughout the day, in sometimes bizarrely minute detail. This could explain my clumsiness; I’m thinking about how to shave off a few minutes at the grocery store or see how many things I can do at once rather than focusing on the task at hand, like walking to the parking lot successfully. 

For example, my usual pattern with the grocery store is to make a list that is divided by aisle (going back and forth to grab missed items wastes time) and organized with a clockwise route through the store. The entrance is at the left side of the store, and the self-check aisle is also near the left side of the store, near produce; however, the regular “in-person” checkout line is on the right side of the store, near frozen foods.  When I go with my usual route, I finish in the frozen foods section (which makes sense – you don’t want to have the frozen stuff out of the freezer for too long) but it puts me on the opposite side of the store with regard to the self-check line. Now, hear me out – if I am doing self-check and do not have a ton of frozen items in my basket, wouldn’t it be MORE efficient to do a counter-clockwise route and start in frozen foods? That way I end in produce, right by the self-check line, and don’t have to carry a full basket all the way back across the store to get to self-check. BUT, if I am doing a big trip and using a wagon – meaning I wouldn’t self-check – then the most efficient route would be my clockwise route, ending in the frozen foods, at the regular check-out line, right? 

Another example: when I get home from working out on a weekend, I specifically vacuum FIRST (because I’m already sweaty and the ladies are in their crates) then shower, then go downstairs to start laundry. That way, when I get back, I can let the ladies out of their crates, walk them, and start chopping/cooking while the washing machine runs. Then, while food cooks, I can run down and put the laundry in the dryer and while it dries, I can mop and Swiffer the floors and wipe down surfaces. See? Maximum efficiency.

I also play little games with myself in stores and at the gym that feed into my desire to finish those mudance tasks quickly. At self-check, I like to try to scan and bag everything before the rest of the people at self check, and get all of my bags out of the bagging section BEFORE the machine tells me to "Please remove all bagged items." At the gym, I'll find someone nearby in the weight section and try to finish my sets for whichever exercise I am doing before they finish theirs. The other day, I managed to do 3 sets of 6 different exercises before this one woman finished doing her sets on the leg curl machine. 

I also tend to listen to podcasts on 1 1/2 speed and skip the commercials - maximum listening efficiency.

No one else knows about my "efficiency games" - nor does it really affect anyone else. It just kind of amuses me and I find the planning and carrying out the plans incredibly satisfying. The other day, I planned out my entire afternoon - how long specifically everything would take me from the time I got home from work, to walk the ladies, walk to the gym and work out, grocery shop, walk home, vacuum, mop, shower, do laundry, cstart food cooking, clean, walk ladies, and fold/put away laundry. I basically ran on time DESPITE having to unjam the vacuum. That felt like a major success. Is it kind of dumb and completely inconsequential? Sure. But it's amusing and makes the routine interesting, to say the least.

Adventures in Air Conditioning 

So the following is what we call a learning experience for some, and an exercise in patience for others. 

We went to Lowe’s to pick up some air conditioners - our last ones were really on their last legs and with the warmer weather approaching, we figured it was time to get some new ones. We have used an online leasing company in the past several times to purchase more expensive items and it’s always been a smooth process, so we got approved for a purchase of $3,600 or less at Lowe’s and headed over to get the ACs. 

That’s when the adventure started. 

In the past when have used Progressive Leasing, we got approved, picked out our items, and went to the cashiers to check out.  Very simple and quick. 

Not today. 

We picked out two ACs that had good reviews, were energy efficient, and looked like they will last for awhile. We then waited on line at the cash registers. Cashier 1 told us she had no idea what we were talking about with Progressive Leasing and sent us to cashier 2. We waited for her. Cashier 2 had never heard of Progressive Leasing in her entire life and sent us to customer service. 


Customer service reps 1-4 had never heard of Progressive Leasing, had no idea what we are talking about, and started paging their managers Nancy (names changed) and Dan. One customer service rep, Arden, was very overwhelmed and left for break taking (and I didn’t know this until later)  Kylie's phone charger with her. Kylie decided to help us even though (as she stated many, many times) that she had no idea what she was doing and had never ever even heard of Progressive Leasing. (Like I invented it and picked Lowe’s in Yonkers for a beta test.) 

Multiple customer service employees told me that appliances usually handled this (I thought they hand them heard of it?) and they didn’t  know why appliances sent me to them. I reminded them that the cashiers told me to come to them and wondered why they didn’t just get someone from appliances to come and help. 

After a 20 minute wait, Kylie paged Dan and Nancy (again) and invited me into the customer service department because through the masks and sneeze guard, we couldn’t hear each other to exchange fairly sensitive information (social distancing be damned). Kylie attempted to start a new quote for me through the Progressive Leasing website, which the website (and I ) stopped. After another few pages to Dan and Nancy and a phone call (and several voice texts) to some manager who was apparently NOT on duty and a little annoyed he was being bothered at home, she finally saw my Progressive account and tried to enter in the ACs by item number. 

Which didn’t work. 

At this point, we had been trying to check out for about an hour. 

She started to type in “air conditioner” to look up the items, and I started to get an inkling as to why her manual inputting of item codes for the ACs wasn’t working and was telling me that this item wasn’t available for leasing. She got one AC inputted into a purchase, but couldn’t figure out how to add another item to the purchase. At this point, I felt like I could easily don a Lowe’s vest and start helping other customers at customer service while I waited. The computers weren’t even password protected. I could probably help a few people while I waited, right? Pay it forward and all.

She was trying really hard to sound out “air conditioner” to spell it, but kept spelling it different ways - her go to option was “air condtioner.” 

Kylie then informed me how she was gonna buy her boyfriend the same AC as I was getting and was going to get him to buy her the purse she wanted that was way more expensive than the AC, but she figured she could convince him to spend the extra money. 

Kylie’s phone started dying so we had to wait for Adren to return from break to return the phone charger before she could continue to help me. Kylie paged Arden a few times as well as Dan and Nancy. Arden finally returned with the charger and Kylie listened to more voice texts from our homebound mystery manager. In retrospect, I think he was telling her the right info and we could have saved an hour of time, but you live and you learn. She also told me that she would ask if I could take the items today or if I had to wait until they were paid off. I assured her this wasn’t lay away and it was leasing, and that we had used this company before and always taken the items home on the day of purchase, but she wasn’t convinced. 

Kylie left at one point after several more pages to the elusive Dan and Nancy. I was still in the customer service  pen without anyone watching me (I guess I just don’t look shifty enough to pose a security risk) and was strongly considering the fact that I could probably log into their computer systems, create a passable receipt, and leave. 

I saw a man approaching with a name tag that read “Dan.” This had to be THE Dan, right? The magical Dan that knew how to do this? 

I stopped him and asked if he is THE Dave that knows how to do progressive leasing. He assured me he would help and then called a guy who I think was named Carl and asked him if he knew how to use progressive leasing. 

Sigh. I’m considering chugging the Bissell carpet cleaning fluid on the rack in front of me and hoping for the best, whatever that might be. 

Kylie returned and finally figured out how to add two items to an order on the computer. She had to click on the “add another item” button. Shocking, I know. This allowed the system to generate a lease and email it to me. I signed the lease and paid the first installment on my phone. 

Shortly thereafter, another guy showed up and somehow Nancy managed to get them the printed instructions on how to have a customer pay using progressive. I found step by step instructions online as well, and Carl, Kylie, and I crowded around a computer to finish this process. 

We have been working at this for about an hour and a half now. Kylie had to enter my name, which she kept spelling as “ALLSION” and my phone number to look up my account, which was an adventure in itself. Once we logged in,  I began talking them through the steps I had found online and could read on the paper they had - scan my code, scan the items, hit F5, tab down to tax exempt ID, enter 500 005 009...and they decided the computer wasn’t working and we had to switch to another computer. Carl said it was because he didn’t see the “tax exempt ID” option, but tbh I think he was hitting “enter” and not “tab”. I didn’t have the energy or see the point in making that argument. 

We switched to another computer and started  over. Enter name. ALLSION. *facepalm* Enter phone number. Scan, blah blah blah. We finally progressed to the next screen and I could enter prices into the website on my phone to speed the process along. 

At this point, it dawned on Carl that maybe a customer shouldn’t really be back behind the customer service desk, and asked me to move to the other side of Kylie (still behind the desk) because I was right in front of the register and they didn’t want it to look like I could steal money. Which I wouldn’t have done, but I did feel like they should start paying me, so... 

 The website generated a payment card that they needed to scan for payment. Kylie’s mind was blown over this virtual payment card. Now here’s where it got tricky. (Just here?) The computer kept prompting them to insert the card, and after multiple attempts, Kylie and Carl decided to enter it as a phone payment, thereby bypassing the “enter card option. This worked. 

After a few more minutes of reviewing the payment, discussing how they had no idea how to do this, and how this was all crazy, we were able to load the ACs onto a dolly and leave. 

Total time picking out ACs? 15 minutes. 
Total time checking out? 105 minutes.