Sunday, December 11, 2011

WORSE CHRISTMAS JOB EVER: Santa’s “Last in Line” Elf

The worse Elf job isn’t a Dentist, it’s actually being the last person standing in line for Santa pictures at the mall.

At first, I didn’t think anything of it when Santa’s maybe 16-17 year old cashier girl Elf approached my family and gave me a handmade written sign on the back of a dinosaur experience ad that said “LAST IN LINE :) ”

Her only instructions were “Here, hold this and show it to people behind you.”

Exhibit 1: “LAST IN LINE :) ” handmade card on back of the dinosaur experience ad. Note irony of smiling face at the end of the note.

Then as she walked away I thought to myself, “Hmm, a little odd since it was a Sunday, just after noon, and just two weeks before Christmas.” But whatever - just flashing a sign to strangers shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right?

I was wrong. Terribly wrong…

Potential Customers #1: Couple with small infant--

I flash “LAST IN LINE :) ” card and smile.

Me: (pointing to cashier elf) Santa’s Elf up there gave this to me.
Dad: What’s that mean?
Me: We’re the last in line.
Mom: (I see anger forming) Well, where’s he going?
Me: I don’t know, she (pointing to cashier elf) just gave me this card.
Mom: (definitely angry while looking at me) SCREW THIS!!

Then they walk away talking pretty loud. It’s a good thing the infant doesn’t understand english yet.

Potential Customers #2: Grandmother with with two small toddlers--

I flash “LAST IN LINE :) ” card and (try) smiling

Me: (pointing to cashier elf) Santa’s Elf up there gave this to me.
Grandmother: (Shocked) Are you joking?
Me: No, the (pointing to cashier elf) Elf up there gave this to me.
Grandmother: Where am I supposed to go? (Angry and peering into my soul…it burned.)
Me:I don’t…I don’t know…maybe he’s going on break and is coming back…
Grandmother: (Starts talking in a foreign language. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard my gardener say a few of those words while screaming at his lawn mower when it doesn’t start…)

They all walk away and the kids look really confused.

Woman standing in front of us with infant turns around---

Woman: Wow, I’m sure glad I got here early enough before you guys.
Then she turned back around and resumed texting on her phone.

Potential Customers #3: Couple with lots of kids on a big stroller---

Exhibit 2: Big stroller. How on earth do they go shopping with these things without running over innocent bystanders?

I flash “LAST IN LINE :)” card and (force) smile

Me: (pointing to cashier elf) Santa’s Elf up there gave this to me.
Dad: What the...!
Me: We’re the last in line… the (pointing to cashier elf) Elf up there gave this to me. It’s not my fault. Go talk to the (pointing to cashier elf) …Elf. She’s the one that's done this.

Then the kids got upset, and then the wife, and then my kids get scared because the Dad is yelling at his kids and his wife and maybe mine and everybody else's too. And then they eventually leave. But then more people are behind them...!

I went over to the Elf that started this all and ask how long the wait was going to be because being the “LAST IN LINE :)” was a horrible experience. She said the Elf girl that normally holds the “LAST IN LINE :)” card didn’t show up to work. And then people that were paying for their pictures said it took them nearly an hour and a half to reach Santa.

I walked over to the woman in front of us, handed her the “LAST IN LINE :)” card, and then we left.
On the way out I told my wife I’m just going to take the Santa picture from last year and Photoshop new heads on the kids.

Done. And I saved us $35.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Disney World – The Most Tiring Place on Earth

I think I’ve finally recovered now that we’ve been back for a week.

No doubt about it, all of the kids we traveled with loved the place and all of the adults seemed to have fun as well - eating and drinking at EPCOT is a huge reason alone to go. And in hindsight I really enjoyed spending time with my family, some in-law's we hadn’t seen in a few years, and our friends that traveled along with us.
The only problem I really had was waking up early, walking and waiting in lines all day, and then getting home at around 10-11PM at night…for 6 days in a row!

The place is a marathon of endurance and all while spending enormous amounts of money for simple things like a bottled water ($3), popcorn ($3), and pretzels ($1 million!) I finally did try a Turkey Leg, but the $9 price and the fact I looked like Fred Flintstone while walking around with it prevented me from buying another.

I told the wife at day 4, 5, or maybe 6 (I don’t really remember as the days all seemed to have blended together towards the end) that next year we need to go someplace relaxing where we don’t have to move much and someplace that can keep the kids entertained for at least half of the day so we can sleep.
Then on the Disney bus ride back to the airport, they showed a commercial for a new resort out in Hawaii with parents having drinks and sleeping on a beach while the kids are running around in a kids program with Goofy.

Hawaii? OK, I'm listening...

Talk about brilliant marketing and timing. If I hadn’t spent so much on bottled water, popcorn, and a Turkey Leg I would’ve asked the airline to take me directly there from Orlando.

Flying with a Toddler: Follow-up
I’m impressed with all of the suggestions and comments in the last post - Thank you! I did try a few out with my 18-month old son. Most worked for a bit, namely the small new surprises idea, but in the end the iPad beat everything out.
I did download around $30 worth of iPhone/iPad apps and ripped a few kids movies onto the thing.

I thought I’d share a few apps that REALLY kept my son and daughter (and me) entertained:

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Great interactive storybook of the TV special.
Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App - Very nice and clever cartoon/storybook using the kids' own voice.
Elmo's Monster Maker HD - Make your own Muppet and then it interacts with you and Elmo. It's a little short, but my son loves it.
Where's My Water - My six year old, wife, and I are completely addicted. And shockingly this game is only $1 for both iPad and iPhone!
Harold and the Purple Crayon - Another well done interactive storybook of the classic story.
Toca Tea Party, Toca Birthday, Toca Store - Pretty much anything done by this developer "Toca Boca" should be bought. Completely clever not quite games but "toys" that get everybody playing together.
Scribblenauts Remix - Amazing solving game and pretty much anything your imagination comes up with. I still can't get over how large this game is - type anything in and it appears. My daughter and I just had fun coming up with weird scenarios and watching Ninja's fight with dinosaurs with hats!

An Airline Steward That Hates Toddler’s and Children:
I can’t even begin to describe how truly disappointed I am with my favorite airline in the entire world – Virgin America. I’ve been a die-hard fan for years now literally going out of my way to make our planning work out with their plane schedules just so we can fly on their fancy planes. But then something devastating happened on the flight back home.

And this isn’t something small and petty either - it was downright cruel. So bad that even others around us were horrified. I still can't believe it...

Anyway, I’ve contacted Virgin America and am now waiting for response; if I don’t hear back from them then I'll share the experience.