Andy Livengood

Actor. Comedian. All around fun guy.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

People are smart, but something happens to the average person when they transform into……a customer. It’s unavoidable. No matter who you are, or what you do, once you become a customer, you…change…..

 Here’s my definition of a customer: 

Customer: (Noun) A person with a glorious, amazing absence of self awareness. 

There’s one thing that speeds up the evolution of a reasonable human being into a clueless customer; the grocery store sign. We put up these signs to help customers; to guide them to their desired products. Grocery stores fail completely in this noble endeavor.  It seems most people become confused, panicked, or even angry when confronted with a grocery store sign. It’s not their fault. If these stores wanted them to be able to read these hieroglyphic-like enigmas they would provide some sort of rosetta stone. 

Below are some of my favorite (and more importantly, 100% true) examples of customers just looking for a sign. 


Customer: I'll take a half of pound of shrimp. 

Me: Sure!  Here you go! 

Customer: The tag says local. (The sign actually says Regional)

Me: Well, it's regional. It's coming out of Georgia. 

Customer: (long pause) That's South Carolina, right?


Customer: Your ALASKAN salmon says its wild caught. But where is it from? Is it American?

Me: Um... its from Alaska.

(Blank stare)

Me: Yes, it's American.

Customer: Great! I'll take a pound.


Customer : Is this local wreckfish east coast or west coast wreckfish?


Customer: Is this blue crab? It says red crab on the sign.

Me: It's red crab.

Customer: Are you sure?

Me: Yes, ma'am. We don't carry blue crab like that.

Customer: You should make it more clear.


Customer : Is this the tilapia that's on sale?

Me: Let me check. This is my first day working this sale.

Customer: The sign says it's on sale.

Me: Then yes. That's the tilapia on sale.


Customer: Do you have any wild caught salmon?

Me: Yes, I do. Right here. Some WILD CAUGHT sockeye salmon.

Customer: Ehhh...sockeye? Is that all you have?

Me: Yeah. When it's out of season, the only WILD salmon I can get is sockeye. It's really good, though. Sockeye is some of the best WILD CAUGHT salmon.

Customer: Okay. I'll take a pound.

(I give it to her. She turns and walks away. Then she runs back over)

Customer: Wait. This is wild salmon, right?

Me: Yeah. It's still wild.

Customer: Great. Thanks!


Customer : Your lying to your customers. That sign says there are 51- 60 shrimp in a pound.  Those shrimp aren't 51/60 count.

Me: Uh....yes, ma'am they are. I can show you the box.

Customer: They're too big to be 51/60s. You're telling me 60 of those would make a pound? You're lying.

(I count out 15 shrimp and weigh them)

Me: That's 15. It's about a quarter of a pound. So four of those would be about a 60 shrimp.

Customer : Look, I'm a local. I go shrimping. There's no way there 50 or 60 of those in a pound.

(I count out 50, throw out on the scale, it's a little shy of a pound. I put on 8 more. It's now a pound)

Me: That's 58. A pound on the dot.

Customer: Wow. I could have sworn it wasn't that much.

Me: How much did you want?

Customer: Oh, I don't want any. (Walks away)


(A Customer Service Clerk walks back with a Customer)

Customer: See. That pack of chicken should be $2.99. Look at the sign. 

Customer Service Clerk: That sign means it $2.99 a pound. 

Customer: Oh...uh....well...it's not very clear. 

Customer Service Clerk: It says per pound. The "lb" is right beside the price. 

Customer: Yeah...well....I'm not used to that. That's not the way you guys normally do it. 

Customer Service Clerk: Excuse me. Did you guys start doing these signs?

Me: I mean, those are the same type of signs we've had the entire time I've worked here. 

Customer: Yeah, but how long has this guy worked here? That's not saying much. 

Me: Ive been here for awhile. It will be 18 years in July. 

Customer: The sign is dumb. 

 

 

 

Maps be damned! Just perform!

I love improv. I love teaching it. I love performing it. I love watching it.

I can truly say it changed my life. It brought me out of my shell. It gave me a circle of friends that are closer to me than family. It gave me a secret handshake that allows me to enter this world no matter where I am. I feel like everyone should give it a try at least once.

It doesn’t matter where you do it; A huge theatre in a big city, a crappy bar in the middle of nowhere, or in a living room somewhere. I’m just happy that you get to be apart of this amazing experience.

I want to exist in a world where there’s more improv, not less. I’ve seen amazing work in some of the “big theatres. ” I’ve also seen amazing work in smaller venues that you probably have never heard of.

To me, your passion for improv is way more important than your geographical location. Find a way to do the work you love with the people you want to work with.

It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter where you studied. Just get up there and perform!

Yes, and!

ProFlowers Isn't Over my Breakup

 While I was dating my Ex-girlfriend, I would send her flowers from ProFlowers.com. After the breakup, I no longer required their services. Since the split, I have gotten 4-5 emails a week asking me if I would like to surprise her with flowers.

Dear ProFlowers,

              As you know, I am a loyal ProFlowers customer. I enjoy the quality of your flowers and that of your customer service. I appreciate your desire to save me money on my next flower delivery to Maggie Jo, but, unfortunately,  I will not be taking you up on your offer.

           Unfortunately, Maggie Jo and I broke up a few months ago. While I appreciate a good bargain, I feel like surprising her with flowers now may send the wrong message.

           I have been receiving these emails since the breakup. I have repeatedly clicked unsubscribe, but when I check my inbox, there they are. I’m sure you’ll understand that I really don’t want a constant weekly reminder that I’m still single. I’d like to check my email without the painful sorrowful moment that comes with your special offers.

 Thank you,

 Andy

 

Look, ProFlowers. Maggie Jo and I broke up. It’s okay. It’s nothing you did. Sometimes people break up. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. This isn’t anything you did. I still love you and your website. I know you want us to get back together, but it’s not going to happen. Don’t beat yourself up. It will be okay.

 

ProFlowers, relax a little. You don’t want to come off as desperate. Being needy won’t make you feel any better. It’s not you….it’s me. Just promise me you’ll stop obsessing about this. It’s for the best.

 

Come on, ProFlowers. You’ll get over this. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. You’re a great corporation. A girl would have to be crazy not to want to get flowers from you. You gotta stop moping around. She’s moved on. You need to too. I know it’s hard, but you got to stop thinking about her all the time.

Proflowers, are you drunk? I’m worried about you.

 

ProFlowers. There’s nothing you could have done. These things happen. Obsessing about it won’t bring her back. I mean, did you think it was going to last forever?  Just try to remember the good times we had. I ordered flowers. You sent flowers. She enjoyed flowers. We’ll always have that.

Proflowers, It’s not your fault.

 

It’s not your fault.

 

It’s not your fault.

 

It’s not your fault, ProFlowers.

 It’s not your fault……

ProFlowers? Are you okay? I haven’t heard from you in a while.

 Look who finally moved on! I’m proud of you, ProFlowers, you didn’t mention her at all! Let’s go out this weekend and pick up some girls. You bring the flowers.

 

Loss and Hermit Crabs

            My Grandmother loved to write. She wrote in her journal almost everyday. She had a collection of old calendars on which she filled in every box with what she did that day. My favorite thing she wrote? Birthday cards. She always filled every square inch with writing. These letters never felt long or rambling. They felt like real conversations. She managed to truly capture her voice in a way that I can only dream of. She always signed the card, “xoxo Grandma, Spider, and Hershey.” Spider and Hershey were her cats. When I would write her back, I  signed, “xoxo Andy and that’s all. Mom won’t let us have a pet.”

My mother might have always vetoed my annual Christmas request for a dog, but my brother and I finally wore her down enough to get a nice, cuddly…hermit crab. When I first brought Merlin home, the first thing I did was call Grandma. After all, the last time we were in Ohio, Grandma introduced us to her two hermit crabs. She would let them crawl around in her bathtub while she wasn’t using it. Mom and Dad nixed that idea, but I couldn’t wait to tell Grandma about the nice little mini aquarium I had for Merlin.

Hermit crabs are disposable pets. They tend to last slightly longer than goldfish won at the state fair. Evan, my brother, went through several crabs. Merlin, however, seemed to live forever. He was a badass in that way. I loved him. I would spray him with water, take him out to crawl around, and talked to him the way some would talk to their dogs. (The weirdos.)  Merlin loved me back. He would walk right off my hand. There was no pinching me to hang on, oh no,  he would rather fall then to hurt me.

Death is inevitable, even for hermit crabs. One day Merlin wouldn’t move when I touched him. I was beyond devastated. I ran crying into my parent’s room. Between sobs, there was only one thing I demanded. I wanted to call Grandma. If anyone could understand the traumatic loss I just experienced it would be the woman who herself cared enough for her crabs to give them an entire bathtub to play in. I cried on the phone to Grandma. I told her I missed Merlin. I explained it wasn’t fair that he died. Grandma told me how sorry she was. “If I could send you my hermit crabs in the mail, Andy, I would.” I truly believe, if it was possible,  she would have overnighted the crabs to me. I can picture her calling my Uncle Jeff and asking to be driven to the post office.  She was so sincere. I swear she was on the phone with me for a full twenty minutes. She would have kept talking for hours, if I didn’t have to get off for the funeral.

I buried Merlin in the backyard that day. I’ve since gotten over the loss of my crab, but I still remember Grandma taking the time to comfort me. She taught me how to relate to kids. Don’t brush them aside. Things that matter to them should be treated as important.

My Grandmother died on November 16, 2013. It was a bittersweet event for my family. She batted Alzheimer’s for almost a decade. We were happy that she was no longer suffering. We were devastated that she was gone.

I’ll remember many things about her. The way she liked to hum. Her sense of humor. The way she pronounced wash as “warsh.” But the thing I will remember the most is how she would take the time for her grandchildren. If something was significant to us, it mattered to her, even something as dopey as a kid crying over his pet crab.

She wasn’t Grandma Bev. She wasn’t Grandma Cunningham . She was simply Grandma, and I miss her.