Grumpy grumpy grumpy!

He’s a model citizen
I think I’ve got them fooled them again
He’s an ultra-sweety guy
And a master of disguise
He’s a model citizen
Just keep believing that my friends
I’m a model citizen

~Alice Cooper, 1980
Song: Model Citizen, Album: Flush the Fashion

Yeah, my new tag line.  That’s been me today, an ultra sweetie guy.  Take today, for example.  I woke up at 11:45.  And I was grumpy.  Extremely grumpy.  Ultra grumpy.  Not at anything or anyone in particular, just grumpy.  And the day just went like that.  Dropping things.  The bark-a-billy dog not wanting to come in so I had to chase his ass down with a leash to bring him in the house.  Canceling a trip out because I knew people and I would not mix well today.  Things like that.  I haven’t been mean or testy, I think, but I haven’t been my usual cute and cuddly, either.  Nothing went wrong, per se, but nothing really went right, either.  You ever have days like that?

So what does a grumpy person do during a day-long grump-fest?

Me?  I stay grumpy.  (Farley’s even grumpy with Roscoe as I write this, it’s catchy.)  I did some things, got some stuff done.  The day wasn’t a total waste, but in a weird strange way I’m actually looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.  I usually wish weekends were always three or four days, but this one two days was enough.  It’s felt all… disjointed.

Tomorrow will be normal.  Thankfully.  Hopefully. Be careful what you wish for.

Soap Box: Rebates, coupons, and other insidious retail games

I don’t think I’m an unreasonable person.  I just want things to be simple and uncomplicated.  I want to save any thinking and planning for things that are, you know, actually important.  And this filters down into daily activities that should be as drama-free and boring as shopping.

Why does shopping have to be so… annoying?  I mean, it’s bad enough that I have to go out and brave the wilds of rude people, now I have to run the gauntlet of pricing, too?

Maybe it’s just me… it usually is, just ask The Wife Missy… but is it too much to ask that pricing be simple and straight forward?  No games.  No illusions.  No fine print.  Just sell me what I want, at the same price you sell it to everyone else, and let me be on my way.  Is that really too much to ask?

I guess so, as evidenced by some of these offenders…

Local Regional Nursery (plants, not people)

At every sale they give special discount “bucks”. the more you spend the more you get.

The catch:  They expire next month and you can only use it at their store.

Local Regional Grocery Store

Absurdly high prices… averaging 30% more, yes, I’ve done two of my own surveys/studies… coupons and special sales galore.  Plan accordingly, or…

The catch:  …be gouged.

Local Regional Home Improvement Big Box Store

Rebates.  Awesome rebates!  11% rebates.

The catch:  In the form of a gift certificate redeemable only at their store.  So, it’s not really a rebate, it’s an in-store coupon.

All of these tactics are designed to get you to come back, of course… often.  I’m sorry, but no.  I’ve probably collected over $100 worth of nursery “bucks” over years, and never used a one.  I go back when I need to go back.  I only shop the regional grocery store when the stars align and they have a good sale AND I need what’s on sale.  Otherwise, say what you will about the primary big box retail behemoth, at least they respect me enough to give consistently reasonable pricing day in and day out.  And I virtually stopped shopping at that home improvement warehouse store solely because I didn’t like being played like that.

What other underhanded tactics can we see?

Coupons and Rebates in General

Manufacturers and retailers aren’t offering discounts and rebates because they’re swell guys.  It’s a gimmick that most people, including me at times, fall for.  They know full well that most people will never claim a rebate, especially if it requires effort, like putting a stamp on an envelope.  They know full well that people who use a coupon will likely spend more on the higher priced items at the same time.  They get to tout themselves as the good guy while not really risking anything.  It’s a win-win… for them.

The World’s Pre-Eminent Online Retailer

Prices change daily, often hourly.  See an item for $63 today?  It might be $57 tomorrow, $68 the day after, and back to $63 the day after that.  In other words, pay attention, keep coming back, and oh… buy some other stuff in the meantime.

Internet & Cell Phone

New customer?  $50/mo for a year.  Existing customer?  Sorry, you pay your standard $90/mo out-of-contract price.

Airlines

Next time you fly, do a survey of ten people sitting around you.  Chances are you all paid different prices.

Bottom Line…

I shouldn’t have to worry about something as simple as pricing.  At least pretend that you actually value me and my business.  You want to impress me?  You want to really impress me?  Just sell me what I want and let me go on my way happily.  I’ll come back.  Honest.

Self-reflection, annoyances, and other random oddities

Sounds like an album name by Collective Soul, doesn’t it?

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying, “Here, let me tell ya…”, and I’m gonna tell ya.

Fireworks

Oh, where do I start?  How about fireworks.  July 4th, or 4th of July, or whatever you want to call it.  Independence Day.  And with that goes fireworks.  So many people loooooooooooooove fireworks.  I couldn’t shit care less.  Seriously.  They do nothing for me.  Ok, yeah, they’re kinda cool, but my reaction is more of a… 😐

Being a semi-serious photographer, I totally don’t get the fascination with fireworks photography.  Seriously, what’s the point?  All the photos look close enough to the same that they might as well be.  There is no discerning difference from one photo to the next.

Ooh, a story:  Many years ago I was leaving Disneyland one night, and while walking to the car the fireworks show started.  That’s not what caught my attention, though.  What made me stop and stare and chuckle was all the Japanese tourists… and if you don’t see the humor in the stereotype, you’re hopelessly liberally unfunny… stopped and ran for a better vantage point and started shooting dozens of photos.  What were they hoping to get?  Were these fireworks any different from the fireworks they’d see in Japan or anywhere else?  Would they be able to tell the difference?  Was it that they were Disneyland Fireworks that made them all that more special?  The mind boggles.

And of course, right now, all the yahoo neighbors are out setting stuff off and generally having an inbred good time.

Procrastination

Procrastination is the bane of my existence. That should be my official trademarked slogan… Ken Boardrow: Procrastination is the Bane of My Existence(tm). Example: When was my last post here? That’s right, about a month ago.  Ish.  Oh, I’ve had plenty of ideas, on an almost daily basis.  I even start writing them down on occasion, and get some pretty good stuff set to keyboard.  But do I do anything with it?  Not often enough.  No, I sit and read random Wikipedia articles, learn about the second largest island in Norway, for example, and generally do nothing productive.

Selective Hearing

I hear what I want to hear.  Ok, not that literal, but sometimes.  If you’re constantly harping on me, then of course I’m not going to listen or pay attention.  Why would I?  I don’t get anything from it.

On the other hand, sometimes… more often than even I like to admit… I’m so far off into my own world that I’m not hearing anything around me at all.  The best part is that I’m probably recreating what I should have said in an argument 30 years ago.  Really important stuff.

How can you tell by looking at me?  You can’t.

Memory

My older family and friends can probably relate to this, but my memory is slipping.  I don’t remember things in minute detail like I used to.  I have lost count how many times I have had to get out of the car, and go back in the house to get what I forgot.  The best part?  It’s almost always sitting right next to where everything else was that I did take.  So, apparently it’s not only memory, but eyesight as well.

Conclusion

What?  Oh, tell me tomorrow, I’ll deal with it later.

Rant: No, people aren’t ‘freaking out’.

It’s just a burger with a pancake. Sheesh!

This is a relatively new trend, primarily on social media, and it’s so utterly ridiculous.  I’ve been inclined to blog about but have not been in the right place at the right time, but now I am now so here we go.

I’m reading Google News and see this “story”… ahem, advertisement, really… and I rolled my eyes.  Today’s dumb example is about IHOP putting a pancake on a hamburger.  I see this type of thing all the time.  Somebody says something, or does something, or tweets something, and it’s portrayed as people ‘freaking out’, or ‘going out of their mind’, or ‘going crazy’, or some other such similar bit of absurd hyperbole.  And the supposedly outrageous and awesome things is always something completely not worthy of mention at all.  I have never… ever… known of anyone to get so worked up over one of these misleading headlines.  So please, stop with the eye roll inducing excessive overkill.

In this case, it just a burger with a pancake.  😐  So what?  It’s not like the McRib came back, right Matt?  (Inside joke)

Things that Annoy Me, Part 1

These are just the minor ones… in no particular order:

  1. A blank page at the end of a Word document.
  2. When the letters stop appearing on my screen and I’m still typing.
  3. People who slow down to a virtual crawl a block and a half before their right turn, and don’t use their blinker until they start making a turn. (You had to know there’d be an Iowa driver reference in here somewhere.)
  4. The constant never-ending list of small pesky things to do… check one off, two more pop up.
  5. People who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle then wander off to look at something, then give me a dirty look when I move their cart.
  6. Forgetting one thing… every… single… time… I… leave… the… house.
  7. Companies that encourage you to contact them with questions and feedback, then give only the most inconvenient options for contacting them.  They don’t really want to hear from you, but they do need to appear that they do.
  8. Rewards cards where earned rewards expire quickly. “Quickly” defined as anything less than one year.
  9. Companies, i.e. cell, cable/satellite, etc, that won’t give you the time of day to negotiate a new rate, but then are your buddy offering the world when you want to leave because they wouldn’t work with you on a new rate.
  10. Gaining weight.
  11. Subscription pricing on software.
  12. The freaking plethora of passwords that I’m expected to remember. And no two places have the same requirements. Do I need a number or not? Capital letter? A symbol? And are all the symbols available across the board? We don’t know. And it’s all over-hyped, anyway.
  13. People who excuse bad behavior in others by saying, “You should have known better.”, or “You made a choice.” It’s still bad behavior and shouldn’t be encouraged or enabled.
  14. Just answer the phone… (calling customer service).
  15. Non-negotiable terms of service.

There’s gonna be a part 2.  🙂

Is anyone ever happy?

This post could have so many different titles.  I considered naming it Whine, whine, whine!, or It’s always somebody else’s fault. That would have been appropriate, too.  It’s a never-ending trend anymore, everybody else is an incompetent idiot… hey, maybe somebody should blog about that.  Might be onto something here.  What’dya think?

So here’s the story:  Yesterday morning (Saturday) I’m in line at the bank to make a deposit.  Only went in to cash in some coins that I’d been tossing in a jar and you have to do that business inside.  I get in line behind some guy slightly older than me and he’s wearing a John Deere hat.  After a couple minutes another guy comes in… older, long scraggly beard, overalls, dirty hat, possibly one of Jed Clampett’s kin… who also reeked of cigarette smoke.

The two obviously knew each other as they called each other by name, and apparently this was the second place they ran into each other.  Well, they begin talking, I’m standing in between trying to appear uninterested but listening, and their conversation for the next 10-ish minutes goes something like this…

  • The credit union we’re in has gone downhill lately… especially since “that lady” took over… now it’s run more like a bank… yada yada yada.
  • The bank doesn’t have tellers, they only have “cubicles”… “All those people right there are ‘cubicles’.”… which I took to mean people who normally worked in cubicles during the week.
  • The city is incompetent… too many potholes… no one knows how to run a city… and on and on and on.
  • Some lady friend of theirs has been paralyzed from the waist down for nine months because the doctors are idiots and don’t know what they’re doing… then it comes out that she was suffering the effects of e-coli (they think) and she had been ignoring sharp pains for several weeks until someone finally made her go get checked.  Something settled into her spine, or something like that… but it was the idiot doctor’s fault.  <eye roll>
  • Jed Clampett Part Two is out of work and can’t find anything… he’s had three manufacturing jobs since 1973, but now they’ve all gone away and that’s all he knows and he can’t find one.  (I so wanted to say, “Wasn’t Donald Trump supposed to take care of that?, but I didn’t.)  Which leads us to…
  • Social security, both for JDPT and the partially paralyzed lady who has been denied disability.  To be fair, this was a legit point about people being denied the first time as SOP then having to apply again
  • Back to the credit union… he could do an electronic transfer one way, but not the other… more incompetence…

It was about this time that we reached the front of the line where the telle… er, umm, ‘cubicle’… asked me for ID to make a cash deposit, which of course annoyed me.

Anyone else noticed a theme here?  No matter what or who, literally everything in the world was sub-par and was somebody else’s fault.  Is this what we have degenerated to?

“I’m done!” Are you, really?

I’m done!

I’m seeing and hearing this a lot, lately. The implication being, of course, that the person is so frustrated with the futility of it all that they’re, well, done, and are going to walk away and pay it no attention from here forward.

Sounds good. Actually, it sounds pretty healthy. Walk away. Ignore that which you cannot change. Or, if you can’t ignore it… sometimes you have to deal with it, let’s be real… at least don’t obsess about it and move forward anyway… the unsaid portion being without bothering others.  I like that.

Unfortunately, based on my observations, at least, it pretty much never seems to actually work out that way. “I’m done!” is just a buzzword* for “I am so frustrated… here, let me tell you!” Because, based on your actions, you are far from done. You’re going to continue to kvetch for the next 30 minutes about what you are supposedly done with. Then, maybe a couple days will go by, and you kvetch some more, finishing again with, “I’m done!”

If it’s an ongoing situation you’re dealing with, all too often you fail to rectify the situation in any timely manner, and continue your kvetching for weeks, months, sometimes with no end in sight. Yet every time you vent, you finish your vent with, “I’m done!”

No, you’re not ‘done’. You’re just venting, and this is the new way to phrase the depth of your frustration. It would be really cool if people meant what they said. But then that’d probably cause even more problems.

*-Did you know that “buzzword” is a buzzword? 😛

Pre-packaged vegetables… damn them!

Carrots, just in case you’re one of those people who never eats vegetables and aren’t sure.

Damn the grocery store produce manager, I mean.  This is serious.  It’s all about them when it’s supposed to be about me.

Here’s how it goes down.  I decide to eat healthy.  I select a scrumptious recipe that has… <gulp!>… vegetables.  (Remember, I said this was serious!)  Anyway, I scan the internet for something appealing… I plan my meal… I write down the ingredients I need for said recipe… I pack the dog away so I can leave… I leave and head to the store… I turn around and go back home to get my list… I get back in the car after trying to get the dog to calm down after being hopefully excited that I’m home for good (to service him, of course, it’s all about the dog)… I drive to the store… I get annoyed at the parking… I grumble at the cluster-eff of people in my way… I make my way to the produce section.

I have arrived!  Now time to ‘be healthy’.

I need a carrot to spruce up my dish, make it a little more colorful, add a few extra vitamins, ya know?  Please note my specific working here.  I need A carrot.  One.  I don’t eat carrots often.  So what do I see?  I see bags of sliced carrots, baby carrots, and 5-10 lb economy bags of whole carrots, the literal bag-o-carrots that even Bugs Bunny would be hard-pressed to consume.  What happened to the loose carrots?  Back in my day… get off my lawn!… there’d be a huge bin of loose carrots, allowing me to sift through them and pick the one perfect carrot for my needs.

It worked for me.  It seemed to work well for everyone.  I cannot recall ever hearing a complaint.

What was wrong with that set up?

Rules to Live By, Vol. 1

Sometimes people simply need to be told, and I’m gonna tell ya.  I’m probably going to have to tell some people that these points are self-explanatory, so here we go…

  1. When a stranger or casual acquaintance asks, “How are you?”, they’re not actually expecting an answer.  (Unless you’re like me when I’m in a mood, and I do answer… in great detail.)
  2. Don’t say, “Ewwww!”, in response to what someone else is eating.
  3. When talking with someone on the phone, don’t talk to someone else in the room.
  4. When visiting someone for a meal, offer to help clean up.  If they decline, offer once more.  If they still decline, drop it!
  5. Don’t take the urinal next to an already occupied urinal, unless no others are available.  This is simple unwritten ‘urinal etiquette’.
  6. When someone else is buying a meal, don’t order the most expensive item.  Try and have them order first, then follow along in the same or lesser price range.  If they insist you order first, pick something somewhere from the cheapest to roughly mid-price.
  7. Always hold the door open for the person behind you, male or female is irrelevant.  Say ‘thank you’ when it is done for you.
  8. Middle names are for use only by mothers when you’re in trouble.
  9. Don’t ask shy or introverted people, “What’s wrong?”, or otherwise bring attention to their quietness.  It only makes them even more self-conscious.
  10. Never… ever… makes plans in front of people you’re not involving.
  11. Close your mouth while chewing/eating.
  12. In the grocery store, when you change your mind about an item, put it back where it properly goes.  Especially do NOT abandon frozen or refrigerated items at random.
  13. If you borrow someone’s car, before you return it fill up the gas tank, and clean out trash (even if not yours).
  14. Don’t let your dog jump on people.  (There is an understandable training period to this.)
  15. Praise publicly and often.
  16. Don’t talk to people while wearing sunglasses.  It’s rude.
  17. Don’t expect someone’s else’s food to get cold just because you haven’t been served yet.
  18. Don’t answer someone’s thoughtful email with just, “k”.
  19. Don’t stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk or aisle.
  20. Don’t read every word in your PowerPoint presentation.
  21. Don’t expect someone to not talk about the hot new movie a month after its release.  You get one week of consideration, that’s it.
  22. Don’t bring toddlers to movie theaters or loud concerts.
  23. Knock before entering your kid’s bedroom.
  24. Compliments on people’s appearance is fine, just once, though, and don’t overdo it.
  25. The customer is not always right.  It’s ok to tell some people to just get the eff out.  (Remember, the theme of this post is that some people need to be told.  🙂 )

You know there’s going to be a Vol. 2.  😉

Three Superpowers I Need

Life would be enhanced if I could have superpowers.  We all want superpowers, don’t we?  I mean, who wouldn’t?  My life would be greatly enhanced with superpowers.  Now, I could go for things like enact world peace, or cure cancer, or some other selfless act, but where’s the fun in that?  No, I want “revenge superpowers”.

This does preclude something like the ability to see through clothing.  I think Superman had that one, but I forget.  That has a certain… provocative allure to it.  There would be downsides, though.  You’d have to be able to pick and choose whose clothes you were ignoring.  Don’t want to see just anybody.  Plus, looking through clothing you wouldn’t be seeing people in their perfection.  The clothes would still be there, so you’d be seeing their body all stuffed in and wrinkled and unnaturally pushed here and there, not unlike a homemade sausage.  And do you really want to see the entire muffin along with the muffin top?  I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound as appealing as one might think.

Presuming the genie would give me only three superpowers, here’s what I’d choose…

The ability to have the entire road pull over to the side while I drive where I want to, unhindered.  Readers of The Grump know that other drivers is a pet-peeve of mine.  This is numero uno.  People just need to get out of my way.  This includes police and ambulances and fire trucks.  Now, in my own magnanimous way, my superpower would include the ability to heal whoever is being transported by the ambulance, or reverse the fire the fire truck is going to.  The Grump just wants people out of his way, he doesn’t want to be a jerk about it.

The ability to disable all cell phones within a 150 foot radius of me at concerts.  The Grumpess and I went to see Alice Cooper a couple nights ago.  Truly an awesome show.  We had great seats.  The man may be 70 years old, but he can still bring it!  He even played one of my favorite songs from a semi-obscure album from 1980 that he hadn’t played live since 1982 until this leg of this tour.  It was a perfect night… except for the lady in front of me that kept raising her phone in the air, in my direct line of sight, throughout the show.  And for what, some crappy photos and videos that she will probably forget about after next week.  It was rude!  I was tempted to knock on her head and tell her to stop, but an arrest for starting a riot wasn’t exactly in The Grump’s best interests.  So now, I want the ability to disable ALL cell phones around me so that I can enjoy the show.  I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all.

The ability to remember where I put my keys, and my wallet, and my glasses… all the time.  For anyone who is getting up there in age, this is self-explanatory.  What’s that you say?  I should just designate a place and always put them there?  Bless yer heart.

There ya go.