12: Battered [Delta] Customer Syndrome

Greetings from Tallinn, Estonia.  It is currently 1:39 p.m. on Wednesday August 11, 2010 — and I am 1 day, 1 hour, and 36 minutes from starting play on Day 1B of the European Poker Tour: Tallinn.  Thus, this entry is not real-time, but rather a pre-write since I will be busy this week(end).  I hope you enjoy it!  Much love to you all!

One of the things that separates humans from dogs is something called “opposition reflex”; dogs have it, and humans don’t… at least, so I thought.  Opposition reflex is a fancy term for a dog’s drive to escape pain by fighting progressively harder against it.

Example:  If you put a metal choke collar on a human and had them run forward while you simultaneously pull back on the collar, they would begin to lose consciousness and will know that:  If unable to overpower you, they need to stop moving forward (away from) and start moving backward (toward) the source of resistance.

A dog, however, will continue to pull in the opposite direction (attempting to escape the resistance/pain) until they eventually pass out.  And this is why we walk dogs, and not the other way around.  This is also why you see people constantly complaining that they cannot get their dog to stop pulling them during walks.  They don’t realize that by pulling back harder and harder on the leash, they are exacerbating the dog’s “opposition reflex”, not countering it.

*THIS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY A GUY WHO USED TO DO THIS SHIT FOR A LIVING*

Apparently, Darwin never told me I had this ability.

I have been a customer of Delta Airlines for some time now (probably close to 5 or 6 years), and during that time, Delta has fucked me over no less than twenty-five times.  Every time it happens, I vow that I will never again fly Delta… but, for some reason, I always go back for more:

FUCK OVER #1:  February, 2010. Yours truly gets stranded at Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta for two days due to weather from a “record” snowstorm (a.k.a. three inches)… Meanwhile, every other airline was getting their planes off the ground without a hitch and had ZERO delays.  But, Delta told me it wasn’t safe to fly yet, to “ensure [my] safety”. I was then told to (I’m paraphrasing here) “shut up and color” at my hotel until it was again safe to fly.  I missed my daughter’s birthday due to this delay.

FUCK OVER #2:  October, 2009. After a long, exhausting trip, I was boarding a flight home to Albuquerque, New Mexico… but only one piece of my luggage chose to join me!  The other two pieces of my luggage decided they wanted to go to Salt Lake City.  Five days later, I got my luggage back and discovered that the white gold necklace that I bought my girlfriend for her birthday had magically disappeared!  This wasn’t just any necklace… it was a cartouche that I bought in Istanbul, Turkey, with her name inscribed in Arabic on it.  You can’t exactly go and pick up a replacement for that at the local Whitehall Jewelers.  The BOX that once contained it was still in my luggage… there was just nothing inside of it.  How nice of them to at least allow me to keep the box!

FUCK OVER #3:  April, 2010. A one-hour layover in Paris De-Gaulle airport turned into four-and-a-half hours of sitting on the plane at the gate (with only sporadic air-conditioning) while maintenance fixed a problem with the electrical system that we were told (multiple times) would take “ten more minutes”.  This caused me to miss my connecting flight in Atlanta by five minutes — which meant another overnight stay in lovely Atlanta.  I was never compensated for the hotel cost since they classified the delay as “weather related”.

And, that’s just a few examples…  I’ve had so many Delta-related delays in Atlanta that I am now a regular customer at the Best Western-Airport East hotel.  If you ever visit this fine establishment, just mention my name and they might give you their special “pissed off the travel Gods” rate.

Now, most poker players usually have one thing in common:  lack of respect for money…  But, NOT ME!  When I’m away from the tables, I’m a shrewd penny-pincher – and this is part of the reason for my inability to cut ties with Delta.  I’m on their frequent flier program and I have a bunch of unused bonus miles in my account that I refuse to give up.  The way I see it, I’ve earned those miles by putting up with Delta’s countless fuck-ups in the past, and so I deserve the chance to put up with MORE of their fuck-ups in the future… for FREE!  So I keep going back to them like a hopelessly addicted battered wife – only, I’m actually FUNDING my abuser.

Maybe my dog can teach me a thing or two about pain avoidance, eh?

HOWEVER… things can always be worse!  There is such a thing as a “Fate Worse than Delta”.  It’s called RyanAir…. and they make Delta look like Air Force One!  I’ll talk about them next week!

UPDATE:  It is now currently 8:23 p.m. on Friday August 13th, and I have officially been knocked out of the tournament on Day 2 of play… which means, in exactly 30 minutes, I will be nice and sloshy drunk at the hotel bar.  ♥

~ Roy “weekendkeyboardwarrior”

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