Apple Pay

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning, reading the newspaper, drinking coffee, and minding my own business. Suddenly my wife exclaimed, “Shit. You need to run to the grocery store. I need some fresh organic cranberries, a shallot, four pounds of Brussel sprouts, some fresh thyme, an organic orange, and unsalted butter.” Seems she had decided, at the last minute, to bring a side dish with us to the Thanksgiving dinner at my son’s home.

I wasn’t dressed, so I quickly slipped into a pair of jeans, put on my sneakers, grabbed my car keys, and drove to Safeway. I dutifully filled my cart with all the items on the list my wife gave me. I wheeled my cart to the checkout aisle and loaded my groceries onto the short conveyor belt as the cashier scanned each item.

When I reached for my wallet in my jean’s pocket, the cold, hard realization hit me that I had forgotten to bring it with me. I looked plaintively at the cashier. “I seem to have left my wallet at home,” I said.

She looked at me, saw my iPhone in my cart, and said “Give me your iPhone.” I shrugged and handed it to her. She looked at it for a second, handed it back to me and instructed me to tap on the icon on my screen that read Wallet.

I did as she instructed and this popped up on the screen:

Then she said, “Hold your phone up to the scanning device.” I did and in an instant, the word “Approved” showed up on the scanner’s screen.

“Cool!” I said.

“Here’s your receipt,” she said, handed me the paper that popped out of the register. “You’re good to go. Happy Thanksgiving.”

“Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.” I said.

When I got home, I said to my wife, “Guess what I learned how to do at the grocery store.”

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — June 3rd

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on June 3, 2017.

SoCS — Whether the Weather


“What’s tomorrow’s weather outlook?” she asked as we were getting ready for bed.

I checked the weather app on my smartphone. “Mostly sunny with a high of 65,” I said. “Why?”

“I’m trying to decide whether we should take a day trip up the coast with the kids or whether we should just stick around the house and have a backyard cookout in the afternoon,” she responded. “What do you think?”

“I think the weather will work either way, whether you want to take that drive or hang out at home.”

“Let’s do the cookout,” she said after tossing the two option around in her head for a few minutes. Then she gave me a rather wry look and said, “Now we need to decide whether or not to invite my parents over.”

“Um, on second thought,” I said, “maybe we should take that ride up the coast with the kids.”

Well, I thought, whether she knows it or not, my wife definitely has got my number!

This post is for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt over at Linda G Hill’s blog, where we’re asked to use the words “whether” and “weather.”

Before and After

On Thursday my wife and I adopted a rescue dog, which I may have mentioned to you here. Thursday night, the dog’s first night in a strange house — not that there’s anything particularly strange about our house, but for her, having been at the animal rescue center for nearly a month, it was strange for her — and it didn’t go well. My wife and I hardly got any sleep. But by the next night, our new addition was apparently feeling more comfortable at her new venue and the three of us got a good night’s sleep.

And so far, we are adjusting well to our dog and she is adjusting well to us. So it’s all good. Well, except for the cost of dog food, dog treats, dog toys, dog bones (for chewing), dog beds, etc. I’d forgotten how quickly those costs can add up.

But the point of this post is to share some great news with you all. I have gotten up off my lazy ass and am racking up some heavy numbers. What am I talking about? Let me explain.

I have an app on my iPhone that automatically keeps track of my daily steps. I took a look at a bar chart that the app generates showing my steps each day. And it’s pretty clear that getting a dog is having an impact.

Look at the difference in daily steps in the three days immediately preceding the day we brought the dog home and the days since.

Woo hoo, I’m gonna be in fighting shape again before you know it.

It’s User Error

“Did you fully evaluate the ramifications of that latest round of enhancements to the app before you released it?” Rosemary asked.

“Can you be more precise?” Todd asked. “What do you mean by fully?”

“Thoroughly, completely, totally.”

“We tested a little, but we did it with, you know, gusto,” Todd laughed. “Why do you ask?”

“I ask because my customer service reps are being inundated by questions and complaints about issues with the latest release,” Rosemary said. “Functionality that used to work fine, they’re saying, is no longer working, and they don’t understand what the purpose of the ‘new, improved’ features are intended to do.”

“Don’t let yourself be intimidated by those moron users,” Todd said. “In our vernacular, it’s user error that is the problem. There’s this phenomenon in our business that no matter what changes we make to our app, the users will complain but won’t leave. We’re pretty much the only game in town.”

“The real phenomenon,” Rosemary said,” is, with that attitude, that we’re still in business.”

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (evaluate), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (enhance), Your Daily Word Prompt (precise), Ragtag Daily Prompt (gusto), My Vivid Blog (intimidated), Word of the Day Challenge (vernacular), and E.M’s Random Word Prompt (phenomenon).

Happiness Engineers

“Damn,” Rachel said. “Hey Jimmy, can you come take a look at this?.”

“Hey, Rachel, what do you need?” Jimmy asked.

“I got a help ticket from a user. There’s something wrong with the user interface,” Rachel said. “It doesn’t seem to recognize when the user is logged in. And when they try to log back in it causes the app to crash.”

“Hmm. Let me toss out a trial balloon. See what happens if you remove this line of code right here,” Jimmy said, pointing to Rachel’s monitor. “That seems superfluous and deleting it just might obviate the need for the user to have to reauthenticate.”

Rachel removed the line of code that Jimmy had suggested. “Fingers crossed,” she said when she restarted the app. It crashed again.

“Okay, well I’m afraid that was more like a lead balloon,” Jimmy said.

“We have to figure out how to fix this fast,” Rachel said. “If the app keeps crashing every time a user tries to log back in, that’s a huge liability.”

“Listen, Rachel,” Jimmy said. “Respond back to the user who opened the ticket. Tell him you understand how frustrating this is and that you’ve been able to replicate the problem. Tell him that you’re going to notify the developers about the issue and have them make it a priority. Explain that we can’t provide a definitive date for when it will be fixed, but that you’ll get back to him with an update.”

“Right,” Rachel said. “You know, Jimmy, that’s pretty much our standard response to any help ticket we get. I wish there was more that we could do.”

“Come on, Rachel,” Jimmy said. “You’ve been a Happiness Engineer long enough to know that we take all the flack but can’t do shit when it comes to actually fixing the problem. “That’s what the developers do.”

“Jimmy, have you ever met or even talked with a developer?” Rachel asked.

“No, but I’m sure they exist,” Jimmy said. “Don’t they?”

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (help), BlogBattle (interface), The Daily Spur (recognize), Word of the Day Challenge (crash), Ragtag Daily Prompt (balloon), Your Daily Word Prompt (obviate), My Vivid Blog (afraid), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (liability). Image credit: