I’m only in my mid-fifties, but I suspect I may already be turning into the proverbial grumpy old man.

There’s this pandemic-thing going on, and virtually every business is complaining about decreased sales, and finding it harder to make ends meet. We are encouraged to buy local, which I entirely support. Local SMEs are the lifeblood of our economies.

Last weekend I walked into my local Staples (known as Bureau en gros here in Quebec); yes, I realize Staples is a big-box chain, but they do provide local employment. I needed an office chair, as I am now working from home and was tired of sitting on a hard kitchen chair. I looked around at the chairs they had on display and ended up picking the one I liked: reasonable price, comfortable, and they had 2 of them on the showroom floor.

I asked one of the employees, a young woman, how to proceed to get one of those chairs. “Let me see if we have stock,” she said. She disappeared for a few minutes and came back to say, “I’m sorry, sir, we’re out of stock on these chairs; we might get some later next week.”

Now, I just didn’t have the energy that day to be that asshole that gives a store employee a hard time; I just looked at her blankly and said, “Ah. Ok, thanks.” But what I really wanted to say was more like, “But, YOU HAVE TWO OF THEM RIGHT HERE ON THE FLOOR!!! Don’t you guys want to make a sale, today?”

So I went back home, checked out Amazon.ca, found a great choice of chairs, and ordered one; I received it 2 days later. So much for “buying local”.

Earlier this week, I decided I’d like to add some extra memory to my iMac, as well as possibly change the hard disk that’s in it. I wrote to one local store here in town, via their “Contact Us” form on their web site, for the memory, and to 2 other stores in a bigger town 20 minutes away for the hard disk; both of those stores advertise on their web site that they service Apple products.

I finally heard back from the first store 24 hours later; they replied that they don’t have access to Apple parts. Except that…I didn’t ask for Apple parts!! I just need memory modules – Kingston brand will do, or whatever else you can propose. It took me about 3 1/2 minutes to find the modules on Kingston’s web site based on my iMac model; “Don’t you have access to distributors where you could order these??” I replied!

No effort whatsoever.

I have yet to hear back from the other 2 stores; I wrote to them on Monday. It’s now Thursday.

Look, folks: if you have a business and you put a “Contact Us” form or email on your web site, THEN FUCKING ATTEND TO THOSE MESSAGES AND GET BACK TO PEOPLE, WILL YA??!!

You’re losing business opportunities!! How difficult is that to understand??!

I’ve now ordered the memory modules from an online retailer; I should receive them next week. Still not sure what to do about the hard disk, though…

Buy local? Ok, I’ll support that. If the local businesses want to sell; otherwise, they’re just driving people online.

Or maybe it’s just me, turning into a grumpy old man.