To Run an Errand in this Era -A Rant

Errands. The mission of driving somewhere to do some small task, that you feel doesn’t really warrant the effort of driving all the way there just to complete it.

Here’s the thing: I think that because most tasks can be accomplished online (we are used to online bill pay, shopping for items other than groceries, etc.) these small tasks that actually require more effort really annoy us now.

I used to not mind so much stopping by the bank or post office or dry cleaner or whatever, but now I absolutely loathe it. That’s right, not dislike, not hate, I LOATHE it. Why? 2 things happened to instigate my loathing.

First, every company became Internet friendly. My bank literally charges me a fee if I visit in person, in a branch or talk to a real person, even on the phone… Because I belong to the online club. Honestly, that’s not a real problem. I prefer talking to machines or just doing everything online, until I run into a problem. I had an issue with a withdrawal, it withdrew twice, so I called. Only, there is no machine option 7 to help out, so I talked to real person. We discussed the issue, got it settled and then the person says, “I see you are in the online club, so this call is going to charge you $5.” I was shocked, so I said so and the lady was nice enough to just waive the fee.

The second thing that has happened is the economy went down, down, down. The drop has resulted in companies that we still need to visit shortening their hours. If you have a 8-5 job, forget about visiting any government maintained building, no post office, no banks, (who all now work Mon-Fri 8:30 – maybe 5 and Sat 10-3) conveniently on your way to or from work. I’m the type of person who has always attached errands to other obligations or planned outings, because I hate making Saturday “Errands Day.” (It doesn’t happen all the time but its very annoying when it does.) So here is the really annoying part: these shortened hours means anyone who works my schedule must either take time off work, go during the lunch hour, or make “Errand Saturday”exactly at 10am. Limited hours for many people means the hours your able to go is the same for so many others resulting in lines like Disney with a bunch of irritated adults with no ride at the end, only a small sense of satisfaction that your task is done.

I understand companies needing to shorten hours and reduce costs, but I really think they should think about the time they are open. I think any company who’s current hours are so conveniently a half hour after I start work and close when I get off should make a decision; either elect to open an hour before so that your hours are from 7 – 4 or shift an hour later 9 – 6. If they really want to be helpful (which will never happen) they could do a 2 hour shift; either 6am-3pm or 10am-7pm. They still cut costs and shorten their operation time while maintaining hours that help people actually complete errands through the week.

I also understand that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, and I guess since I live in a city where so many people work night, swing or various other shifts I should be less loathe-full about the subject because their decisions may be based off that -I doubt it though. Come Tuesday during the lull of office hours, right before their shift starts at 4, people working these irregular hours can walk straight in, no line and be out. Apparently, they get fast passes.

Agree? Disagree?