Friday, January 09, 2009

My final day on the road, Part 1

Unlike most Americans, I learn from my mistakes as well as from other people's mistakes. I'm not afraid to share the knowledge I gain from this method of learning, even though I know most people are stubbornly unreceptive to ideas that contradict their own; even when their own ideas cost them thousands of dollars every month (like most independent pizzeria owners).

Some people think that makes me a negative miser. However, I think it makes me something more like a scientist--a valuable asset in a society that no longer functions. Y'see, there are always reasons for why things happen. There are reasons why our economic system is in a world of shit. There are reasons why American automakers and fast food joints are failing. There are reasons why most of our kids are stupid when they graduate hy skule. There are reasons why Americans often attach Canadian flags to their backpacks when traveling abroad.

From morning until well after midnight, my final day of Aimlessness was filled with screaming examples of why the United States of America doesn't work anymore. Here's the story of December 18, 2008, my final day on the road, and what I learned from it...

On the day I left California a few weeks ago, I arrived at the Ontario airport a couple hours before my flight was scheduled to leave. Talking to my mom before I checked in, she informed me that Delta Airlines now charges $15 for each checked bag, something their web site did not make clear when she arranged the airfare a day earlier. As we talked, she was logged on to their web site again, trying to find a way to edit my ticket so the bullshit baggage fee would be added to her credit card along with the airfare, but there appeared to be no way to make such a simple change.

Inside the airport I approached the lone human working at the Delta Airlines check-in desk and asked if there was any way to add the baggage fee to the original bill. He said it can't be done. He told me the only option was for me to pay the baggage fee myself, which really pissed me off because: 1) That's fucking retarded; 2) I was lucky I even had enough money to pay the baggage fee; 3) I hadn't eaten all morning and I was about to spend the whole day in airports, where food prices are unreasonably jacked up, leaving travelers with no options other than to pay too much for something they wouldn't normally buy anyway; 4) They now also charge for meals on flights that would have been part of the cost of airfare less than a year ago.

Anyway, since all these brilliant American companies have replaced humans with computers wherever possible, I had to venture over to a very unintuitive kiosk to check in for my flight. When I told the machine I'd be checking one bag, it gave me ONE option for how to pay the baggage fee: credit card. Yeah, well I didn't have a credit card, so I had to flag down a human employee to help me get through everything, thus keeping him from doing the job he's paid to do for a couple minutes.

Am I to understand that Delta Airlines, a large corporation with tons of resources, can't figure out a way to make their web site give you the option to add a bullshit baggage fee to your original bill instead of putting you and their own employees through all this crap? Are they unable to put 2 and 2 together and recognize the fact that people are fucking sick of horrible service, which is precisely why the airlines are in so much financial trouble in the first place? Because I'll tell you what: I love flying, but I don't want to fly ever again. Not with Delta or any other airline because instead of providing me just a hint of service, they give me a miserable experience just about every time.

At this point in my day, I already wished I would have just stayed at the truck stop and kept trying to get a ride. Yes, I would rather spend a week or two hitchhiking my way across the country than put up with the bullshit that has become standard with the airlines. And I'm not even close to finished with this part of the story yet.

Airport securitah
Whoa, now this requires its own post, but I'll say something short about airport security: We don't need all these ridiculous extra security restrictions. If airport security employees had only done their jobs correctly on September 11, 2001, none of that shit would have happened. The World Trade Center would still be standing tall and proud, and 3,000 people would still be alive today. There was no need to change any rules regarding what people can or cannot carry onto a plane. The only thing that needed to be changed was the competence level of airport security personnel. There is a reason one of the hijackers didn't make his flight: It's because someone did his job correctly, without creating new rules.

Enough about that.

The flight to Atlanta was fine. A Marine in the seat beside me let me borrow a pair of earphones, so I was able to watch Wall-E for free. That was very cool of him.

In the Atlanta airport I spent most of my remaining money on some baked ziti at Sbarro. Surprisingly, the Sbarro menu prices were not a whole lot higher than they would be at a regular Sbarro. Of course, every regular Sbarro is way overpriced as it is. So I spent $7 for a meal that didn't fill me up, and I didn't have any water to wash it down because you can't take water through airport security. As everyone should know by now, one semi-filled bottle of water will take a plane down, but only if it is carried on, rather than bought on the plane.

Yeah yeah yeah. Atlanta to Columbus. Smooth flight, but very late. Mom and dad were there waiting outside the securitah checkpoint. Time to fetch my backpack from the baggage claim.

By now I'd already noticed that my baggage claim voucher had someone else's name on it, and Someone Else's stuff was supposed to go to Raleigh. Whose stuff do you think went to Raleigh? You guessed it: My stuff went to Raleigh! And all the people who were already on the plane before it landed in Atlanta, their stuff was somewhere other than Columbus.

Oh, I haven't even started yet.


Aimless Video Evidence

Search keywords

Have you ever wondered what kinds of search phrases bring people to the Aimless blog? Well, here's how they got here last month:

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By the way, I might have some more fuck shit crap to say soon. It's time to start writing the book. It won't be anything like the blog has been because now I have time to think clearly and write about the amazing things instead of just the things that pissed me off.

Aimless Video Evidence