Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Triple Rant

I’m not generally much of a complainer. I tend to roll with things pretty easy and don’t let things bother me. Lately, I have encountered a couple of things that have been worthy of a rant.

Incident #1
The Ft. Worth Zoo / the Train Ride Fiasco
First of all, let me dispel the myth that the Ft. Worth Zoo is far superior to the Dallas Zoo. It isn’t. In fact in many ways it is a far inferior zoo. But that is not the subject of my rant. The issue I am ranting about has to do with a train ride within the zoo. The Dallas Zoo (the aforementioned superior zoo) has a train ride that carries you through and over different animal exhibits and treats you to an interesting view of the various habitats. It provides a nice chance to relax and enjoy the zoo comfortably. It allows the short legs of your children a chance to rest and since they are on a “ride” they are content for a while and quit asking for the $5 Ice Cream. The Ft. Worth Zoo also has a train ride. The Ft. Worth Zoo’s train ride costs $2 per person. I plunked down $8 for my wife, kids and I to enjoy a train ride. We waited in line for 35 minutes for the train ride. Anticipation was high by this point as small children are not experts at standing in lines. The train finally arrived! Then the ride then lasted for less than 3 minutes, going about an 1/8 of a mile and consisting of a straight shot behind some buildings, past the trash dumpsters. No animals. No exhibits. Nothing but the smell of diesel fuel and an empty wallet (I don’t personally carry a wallet, but the image is fitting). So ridiculous! You pay Eight Dollars to be carried past some dumpsters?! I paid 8 dollars to avoid walking less than a quarter of a mile?! I will NEVER be going to the Ft. Worth Zoo again! They have lost my patronage forever. When I combine the train ride with the fact that several of their exhibits were closed on a holiday weekend, I come to the conclusion that it isn’t worth driving an extra 40 minutes past the Dallas Zoo just to get ripped off.

Incident #2
The Ranger Game / False Advertising
I am a baseball fan. I absolutely LOVE going to a baseball game. This is one of my very favorite things to do. Last night I loaded up the family and headed out to the Ballpark in Arlington for Dollar Dog Night. It was a chilly night. In fact, it was far colder than what was predicted on (which I’m not complaining about since weather people regularly mis-predict the weather and for some reason we continue to believe they know anything about what they are talking about). The family and I were all huddled up together (having already eaten our dollar hot dogs) enjoying the many strikeouts from Rich Harden from our view high up in the windy cheap seats. My wife was very cold and asked me to get her something warm from the concession stand. I went out to the stand and got in line. The line was extremely long because it was dollar dog night and everyone has to buy as many dollar dogs as they can eat, since they are only a dollar. Out in line the wind was blowing extremely hard since there was nothing to block it and I was soon shivering violently. I would have left the line except for the fact that I looked up at the list of available options and saw what my heart desired. Hot Chocolate! Now I wasn’t a fan of the $3.00 listed next to the words Hot Chocolate, but considering the frigid conditions I decided to wait out the line. Of course the line wasn’t moving because in the Tom Hicks era, things aren’t done efficiently at the ballpark (hurry up and finish the sale to Greenberg already!) and the hot dogs weren’t being made quick enough to keep up with the demand. I stood in line in the hurricane for a full half an hour in order to get hot chocolate for myself and my wife. During the time in line, the Rangers hit two home runs (which was about the only excitement the offense provided all night), but of course I did not get to see the home runs because I was in the unmoving line. FINALLY, I got to the front of the line. I already had my six dollars in my hand so I could speed along back to my seat and heroically deliver some warming hot beverage to my nearly frozen spouse.
“Two Hot Chocolates, please,” I said with confidence.
“We don’t have Hot Chocolate,” was the declarative and slightly annoyed response.
I pointed up to the sign on the wall and said, “But it says that you have Hot Chocolate.”
“Just because it says it don’t mean we have it!” was the loud, sarcastic response.
I am not kidding. That was the actual customer service response that was given to me by an employee at the ballpark.
I informed her that if they didn’t have that item, then it should really be taken off the menu so that people don’t stand in line for it. She kind of shrugged her shoulders in a “who cares, I’m not the one standing in line” manner. I had $6 in my hand and couldn’t return after being gone for more than half an hour with nothing, so I panic ordered a cheeseburger (which costs exactly $6). I took it back (keeping in mind the whole way that my wife doesn’t eat beef on almost any occasion). Long story short (too late) – the Cheeseburger was terrible and reminded me of the frozen cafeteria cheeseburgers in elementary school. We ended up leaving early due to my children being too cold. The Rangers ended up losing (probably because they were so disappointed in my leaving early).
All in all, it was a very disappointing night at the ballpark. The only complaint though is the service given to me at the concession stand. I found it completely unacceptable. Of course I will still go to several more games this year, during which I will sweat profusely in the Texas summer heat and remember fondly the cool temperature from last nights game. If Ron Washington’s Cocaine usage can’t keep me away, rude Hot Chocolate lady won’t either, but it’s just very disappointing.

Incident #3
Not really an incident, just a thought.
When I ask someone an Either / Or questions, I don’t expect a Yes / No answer. Here’s a hint – If I ask you a question like, “Would you prefer I kick you in your head or punch you in your stomach?” it is not appropriate to answer with a “Yes” or a “No.”

Thanks for your time and your ears. I feel better having warned you to avoid the Ft. Worth Zoo, warned you about standing in line for Hot Chocolate, and educating you about the proper way to respond to a question.