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Gasoline Alley, 10/7/15

Sometimes I refer to myself as “pretend Internet famous,” which is a thing that a lot of people are these days, I think. It means that I’m not actually famous, but I am known to many people who don’t know me, and am occasionally recognized in public. It also means that I have what people in the tech-publishing-internet-fame world call a “platform,” in the sense that I have a blog and a social media footprint that I can use to reach several thousand people very easily. There are a lot of people who use those platforms for what I’d call “brandshaming,” which generally involves posting about really terrible customer service interactions with big companies on Twitter. I don’t begrudge this to anyone, obviously, because I find these scenarios as infuriating as the next person, but ranting about them online doesn’t usually seem super fun to me, plus it strikes me as unfair that someone with a relatively popular Twitter account can get problems resolved very quickly when another equally deserving person can’t.

Maybe the time I was most tempted to go on a brandshaming tear was a few weeks ago, when I was trying to get a new stove delivered to our old house in Baltimore. We’re selling it and our tenants had moved out and our realtor told us that a new stove would really help make the kitchen stand out, so I ordered one from Home Depot’s website and paid the extra fee to have them install it and take the old stove away, and arranged for a friend to be there when it was going to be delivered. Easy, right? Except, haha, no, in Maryland you need a qualified plumber to do gas hookups, and so the guy who delivered it said to my friend, “Oh, no, this is a gas stove, I can’t hook this up or disconnect the old one,” as if he hadn’t known he was delivering a gas stove, and then he just left it there in the middle of the kitchen and took off. It took several phone calls to reveal that in fact a plumber contracted by Home Depot would be calling me to set up an appointment to install this thing in the next, like, 72 hours or so. And then someone else would call to make another appointment to take the old stove away. Did I mention we were having an open house in two days?

Anyway, everyone I talked to at Home Depot was extremely nice and apologetic, as people often are when they don’t have decision-making power but have to serve as the public face of a dysfunctional institution. Several people told me that I would’ve been informed of all this if I had actually bought the stove in a store (but why couldn’t the info be included in the four auto-generated emails I had received after I bought it?) and that Maryland had overstrict laws about who could and couldn’t install gas appliances (but then why didn’t they just send a qualified person out with the delivery people, like Sears did with our gas dryer?). I ended up paying a handyman I knew to install it and take away the old stove and he was able to do it the next day, and Home Depot refunded me the amount I had paid for installation, so it all worked out in the end, but it left an extremely bad, I-will-never-buy-from-Home-Depot-again taste in my mouth, and I really wanted to complain about it to my hapless Internet followers, but I thought, nah, nobody wants to hear this.

Except apparently the writer of Gasoline Alley went through the exact same thing recently, and has decided to inflict the saga on everyone who reads Gasoline Alley, which is obviously substantially fewer people than the number who read it in its heyday but is still, let’s be real, probably more than the number who follow me on Twitter, and I thought: why not me? So, apologies to everyone, but, damn it, if there’s one thing that causes huge corporations to change their crappy policies, it’s public shaming on a dumb comics blog. Improve or face further opprobrium, Home Depot!

Crankshaft, 10/7/15

Speaking of home improvement projects, the term is actually R-value, not R-factor. I’m not sure if using the correct phrase would’ve ruined the joke or not, but the important thing is that either Crankshaft or his son-in-law or both are in terrible, terrible pain.

Mark Trail, 10/7/15

Sorry I haven’t been keeping you up to date on the undersea battle in progress in Mark Trail, but I was definitely sure you’d want to know that Mark has finally summoned Chekhov’s giant mutant moray eel to defeat his enemies, in a move a thousand times more badass than anything Namor is going to pull off in Newspaper Spider-Man. Today’s single panel is the greatest entry in the “man attacked by sea serpent” artistic genre since Laocoön and His Sons.