Random Musings

Hey, my blog’s supposed to be about randomness, so here are a few random musings from the last few days.


The Unreal Water Fountain


What’s up with airports adding fake sound effects to various items? On Sunday when getting a drink from a bubbler (water fountain to folks outside Wisconsin) at Seattle’s airport, I noticed this very robust water gurgling sound. It in no way matched the dribble of water the fountain was producing. Turns out there was a recorded sound of a water fountain playing each time you pushed the button to get a drink. Is reality not good enough for even the bubbler these days?


AT&T’s Mysterious Billing


Checking my cell phone usage lately, I was surprised to see a new item showing up called Rate Plan Overage. Surprised because I have an AT&T phone with rollover minutes and have more than 1,300 minutes extra. In fact, I have so many of these rollover minutes that I lose some each month due to a one-year expiration period.


Not wanting to get surprise charges, I phoned AT&T customer support. I guess that was my first mistake. Four hold periods later the customer service rep’s basic answer was not to worry because they could see I wasn’t over my minutes.


Right, don’t worry I’m thinking when here you are telling me something is putting me over my plan minutes. I guess when the bill comes in I’ll tell AT&T, don’t worry about those extra charges, maybe I’ll pay them someday.


A couple more hold periods and some further investigation, and the AT&T rep now discovers that this Rate Plan Overage listing is really telling me how many minutes I’ve used calling other AT&T cell phones—this by the way is something for which my plan has an unlimited number of minutes clearly indicated in another section of the minutes used statement.


So, I guess now we’ve arrived at a point where even something as simple as a billing statement is unable to tell you what you are really being charged for. AT&T’s final answer by the way, was just don’t worry.


Biggest Braille Menu Award


It is still a nice treat when dining at a restaurant to have the wait staff ask if I’d like a Braille menu. Sure, the ADA and such says menus should be made accessible in some fashion and all but unless it is a Braille menu from my perspective it isn’t realistic to ask the wait staff to read the menu when you are dining with sighted folks. Even then, often the Braille menus are out of date or incomplete.


So, it was a doubly nice surprise when going to eat at The Cheesecake Factory a couple days ago to be asked if I wanted a Braille menu and to have the menu be comprehensive and accurate on pricing.


This restaurant has to win the award for the biggest Braille menu too. The combination Braille and large print menu brought to the table was more like a small book with 95 pages of menu items. A tip of the proverbial diner’s fork to The Cheesecake Factory for taking accessibility seriously. By the way, while the desserts are clearly the cornerstone for this chain, the food itself is really quite good with a menu that features a wide range of selections.

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