Saturday, July 30, 2005

gas math

The price of gasoline is probably one of the most widely recognizable prices of any consumer product in the United States. Even so, most people aren't smart enough to make eduacted decisions about their purchases because they don't understand basic math. That doesn't surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that even the people whose whole lives seems to revolve around the stupid sports car they drive do not seem to understand understand the following concept:

Octane ratings
Over the years I've heard people who own a high performance car say "oh, I know it's supposed to take premium, but I use the cheap stuff anyway." I drive a Honda Prelude, and the 5th generation models are designed to use premium gas, as are a number of other high performance cars (i.e. foreign sport compacts, domestic muscle). The reason for this is too much to be explained here, but long story short I can tell you that it does not hurt the car in the short run to use regular. Modern automotive computer systems will detect lower octane rated gas and adjust the engine's timing to compensate, BUT the result is decreased performance. If you drive a high performance car, performance was probably one of the biggest reasons you got it (unless you are female and just like the color). Anyway, using inferior gas on a car that was designed for the good stuff is just plain stupid and I can prove it:
1. If you are worried about saving money on gas, why did you buy a high performance car in the first place? If the answer is "I don't know" or "I just like the way it looks" - you should make friends with people who get their combo meals at McDonald's with a Diet Coke. That way neither of you will feel burdened by each other's lack of intelligence.
2. The difference between regular and premium in most places is $0.20/gal. Yes, that's one-fifth of one dollar. To illustrate what that really means, let's say you have a 18 gallon tank, which is quite large for most 2 door cars. When your gauge is at the empty mark, you would probably have about 2 gallons left in reserve, which means to fill up you would have to buy 16 gallons. Buying premium would mean spending 16 * .2 = $3.20 extra per tank. If you fill up once a week, that's 3.2 * 4 = $12.80 per month. Honestly, is twelve dollars and eighty cents REALLY going to break the bank? If so, you should have bought a different car to begin with.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

dumb things heard at work

I am a server at the Olive Garden, and pretty much like any restaurant, customers always say really stupid crap. And if that person is usually you, then yes, we probably make fun of you in the kitchen. I'll just highlight a few examples:

"Can I get an iced tea, with no ice?"
Classic stroke of genius here. "Ok, sooo... you don't want iced tea then. You just want 'tea'?" I often make smart remarks without even thinking twice about it, but then I think to myself, damn it, these people are paying me to be nice. Oh well. Come on, honestly, iced tea with no ice? Would you also like me to bring you a non-alcoholic gin and tonic to go with your meal, dipshit?

"Could I have the fettucine alfredo, but with angel hair pasta?"
Heh, heh, this is a good one. Everyone seems to think that when you go to a restaurant, you MUST order a listed menu item, and then modify it to suit your needs. But in reality, you can order pretty much anything you want as long as the ingredients are available. Either which way, fettucine alfredo with angel hair pasta is NOT fettucine alfredo, tard-face! "So, what you really want is the angel hair alfredo?" Seriously, that's like walking into a Ford dealership, and saying "I want a red F-150, but can I get it in blue instead?" Dumb. Ass.

"What kind of pasta comes on the Spaghetti Delle Rocca?"

This was a question that an employee actually asked me. I was speechless.

"I want soup."
Me: "What kind of soup would you like?"
"I'll take the zuppa." (note: zuppa is Italian for 'soup')
Me: "Yes, we've established that. Now just tell me what kind."
I don't even feel like explaining this one, except that one of our soups is called the 'zuppa toscana.'

"Can I sit upstairs?"
Our restaurant has a second story balcony in the wine hutch room, with a large window, a display table, a couple of chairs, and some plants. There are no stairs or any other way to get up there. Yet, I just can't help myself: "Sure, be my guest. I'll be with you in just a moment."

Some people are so damn stupid I feel like I should tutor them after hours or something. It's unbelievable how many in this town could use an academic high school reunion to absorb some of the basic thinking skills everyone should have.


"Could you bring us some salad and breadsticks as soon as possible?"
Unbelievable. Since when does your waiter EVER intentionally take their sweet time to do anything? Our job depends on how fast we work coupled with how enjoyable we make the experience. Dragging our feet means we get less tables per shift, which usually translates to less money. That's the whole concept of "turning tables." And yes, you guessed it, I've got a smart answer for everything:
"No ma'am, probably not. See, what I usually do after I take people's orders is go straight to the break room, stare at the ceiling for a few minutes, and then poke my finger around in my butt. After that, I'll see what I can do."