Do I Really Need That?

This topic needs a new category because methinks it’s going to come up more often:  Old Age.

I don’t know if it’s actually increasing as I get older or if I’m simply noticing it more because the consequences are in my face, but I seem to be dropping things left and right.  Sometimes I’ll drop something, pick it up, drop it again, pick it up again, drop it a third time, then stand there and think… do I really need this?

I mean, as I get older things as simple as bending over… and getting back up, just sayin’… are somewhat of a chore.  As I get older the prospect that what is now on the floor can just stay there gets more and more appealing.  I can kind of understand how an older person’s home becomes a hoarder’s paradise.  The person’s mindset could very well be, “Meh, I didn’t need that anyway.”

Soap Box: The Opposite of Bad Tipping – the Entitlement Mentality

Wow.  Just… wow!  No tongue-in-cheek tonight.  I’m serious.  A ‘Soap Box’ post.  This is the second post in a row where we talk about tipping, and this one wasn’t planned, but I read something tonight that annoyed me so much I felt the need to comment on it immediately.  Before we start I want to make sure a couple things are clear regarding my attitude about tipping.  The Disclaimer, if you will…

  • I tip.  I tip well.  Most often 20%+.
  • I don’t begrudge paying a tip, per se, but I do get annoyed by the constantly moving target aspect.
  • All but five states (I think) allow tipped employees to be paid less than minimum wage.  I think that’s wrong.  Minimum wage should be minimum wage.  (I don’t think tips should be taxed as income, either.)
  • The biggest annoyance regarding tipping in general is how it’s turned into an entitlement mentality.  That’s what this post is about.  I recently read on a forum where a server talked about how the tip was her money before the customer even gave it to her… but this is even worse than that.

I am going to do something that may or may not be kosher.  I am going to post this person’s post from another forum in it’s entirety, as posted and unedited.  I feel that to properly understand the depth of unethical behavior here it all needs to be said.  (I’ll elaborate further down.)  I am not including the name, though I suppose if you’re internet savvy enough you could probably find it on your own.  So, without further ado, here we go…

The question was:  How do waiters and waitresses handle “regulars” at restaurants who are terrible tippers?

The server’s answer was:

I handle them in a very simple way. I slip a service charge on their receipt. I always go under the “usual” good tip, I put 15% on. I get paid solely in tips. I don’t get tips, I basically don’t get paid. One bad tip isn’t going to ruin my day. But if I wait on you hand and foot to get $2 on an $85 bill and you do it every week, you bet I’m going to put a service charge on.

I had this couple that always came in. I was actually cashiering this night, another server got their table. We all know how horribly they tip, and dread getting them. They take up all of our time, asking for suggestions, pretending we forgot something when they never asked for it in the first place, multiple refills, etc. They tip $3 no matter what the bill is. I’ve seen their bill go up to $78, still a $3 tip. She put a service charge on them. Oooooh boy. They came up me at the front and demanded to know what this charge was. I told them “it’s an automatic service charge, it’s an automatically calculated tip to your server.” She was livid, “this is WAY higher than I would normally pay! Why is this on here?!” Uhhh m’am it’s because your bill was $45 and you still would have tipped her $3. I notice she went back and forth from the kitchen to your table at least 7 times with a smile. I think she deserves at least a 15% tip.

I don’t feel bad. We make $2 an hour. Until that changes and we get paid fairly, you can afford to leave a decent tip. If you can’t, don’t go out to eat. If your server sucks, by all means leave a small tip. If you leave $3 every time, I’m going to put a service charge on. And no, I won’t take it off and neither will my manager.

EDIT: I turned off comments because I’m not looking to argue. I wrote my answer, if you have a different opinion then write your own answer. No, automatic gratuity is not illegal. There is no legislation against using service charges. Usually they are only added to large tables, 6+ people at 18%. (hence, my adding 15% is a low amount) The IRS made a decision that starting in 2014 automatic gratuity would be a service charge, meaning it does not count as a separate income as a tip to the server, it goes to the restaurant and they have a choice in giving the money to the server as a tip or keeping it for themselves. This means the customer does not have a choice in paying this amount. Since posting this I’ve gotten multiple comments saying this must be illegal, I felt a need to clarify.

Again, just… wow!

I get there are bad tippers.  There are also wonderful tippers.  I’m not defending bad tippers, especially chronic bad tippers. If you’re a chronic bad tipper, screw you, you’re a cheapskate, but it’s still your money until you decide if/when you tip.

Think about the hypocrisy.  If someone tips  35% does she chase them down and give back the excess?  Ha!  I bet not.

She talks about her actions being legal.  I question that.  Maybe.  I know service charges are legal when stated up front, but afterward as a surprise, and at random based on her whims?  (I would have spoken to her manager at another time, and if that didn’t get satisfaction I just might file a small claims suit against the restaurant solely to make my point.  She’s an agent of her employer and it would get her employer’s attention, more so than if I sued her.)

Notice at one point she says, ” I notice she went back and forth from the kitchen to your table at least 7 times with a smile. I think she deserves at least a 15% tip.”  You think?  YOU think?!?  Not only are you deciding if they tip, but you get to decide how much?  Entitlement much?

She turned off comments to her post.  Basically she knows her attitude is sketchy and she doesn’t want to have to defend it.

This, THIS, is exactly the type of entitlement mentality that our tipping culture has degenerated to, ‘If you don’t give it to me I’m going to take it.’

Needed Drive-thru Etiquette

Rules.  The world needs damn rules, and the sooner the better.  You know, when the world is too lax and needs to be tightened up a bit.  Except, of course, when the world needs to lighten up and not be so anal about everything.  How do you know the difference?  It can be tricky, I’ll admit, but The Grump is here to guide you, never fear.

There are three rules that need to be enacted for proper drive-thru etiquette and an efficient drive-thru experience.  Those rules are…

  1. No more than two meals per vehicle.  That’s right, don’t think you can carry the little league team in your SUV-cum-station wagon behemoth vehicle and order custom meals for ten kids.  Two meals, that’s it.  If you want more, park and go in.
  2. No substitutions.  No customization, either.  You get it pre-assembled.  As is.  You don’t want lettuce?  Tough, you’re getting lettuce.  Does it come with bacon as a standard item?  No?  Tough, no bacon for you.
  3. Credit cards only.  No fumbling with cash, and certainly no digging for change.  Not necessary when using plastic only.

Your experience… especially if you’re the vehicle(s) in from of me, should be pull-up -> bark your order number -> pull-up to the window… no need for two windows now… pay your money, grab your bags, and go!  Easy peasy.

I guess there’s a #4, also:  Know what you want before you pull up to the menu board and speaker.  Don’t sit there looking at the menu of items you’ve seen for the past 20 years trying to decide.  If you don’t know what you want, a large arm comes out and pushes your car aside and allows the next car to order.  Back to the line for you!

With these simple rules your drive-thru experience will be much more pleasurable and stress-free.  🙂

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)

Rant: Are you honestly surprised?

Shocked… yes, shocked I am!

Oh noes, a somewhat serious subject:  Outrage over the education scandal du jour where some wealthy parents paid money to get their kids in select colleges and universities.  Sometimes BIG money, no less, upwards of $100,000.

Ok, I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that, the more money spent, the dumber the kid.

But, I digress.  (I do a lot of that, digressing.)  Anyway, everyone is all up in arms.  There’s outrage… OUTRAGE, I tell ya!  How could this have happened?  This is an unethical and moral perversion of the purity of higher education!  (Don’t laugh.)  Academia is above this.  (Stop laughing.)  I’m shocked… shocked, I tell ya!

😐

Seriously… honestly… are you really naive enough to believe this is somehow new?  After your check clears for the bridge, I have a special nugget of information for you… write this down:  People cheat!

Not everyone, of course, but enough to make it common.  And people with money cheat no less than the average person, they only do it at a higher level, hence the current scandal.  Generally, though, rich people can buy their way out of it, but this one was just too much.

Anyway, again, another little nugget:  People are greedy.

Inconceivable, I know, but it happens.  Why do you think the cost of higher education has kept pace with the availability of easy money, i.e. student loans?

Long story short, it’s ok to be disapproving, but any outrage on your part is either insincere or naive.

I’m kind of curious how this one will play out.  I’m expecting it to be eclipsed by the next outrageous scandal within two months… if that long.

Rant: I had such grand plans…

I was going to be off work for roughly two months due to surgery.  I knew not much would happen the first couple weeks, I’d be sleeping a lot, and I did.  But after that I could get a great deal of stuff done that I had been putting off.  I’d work on all my blogs and websites, clean/organize my office, get ready for the spring semester for school, update AutoCAD on my home computer, and some other random stuff.  It was truly going to be a productive time.

Well, I go back to work in four days, and I have accomplished almost nothing.  I did get some posts done for my blogs, but nothing in the way of maintenance or upkeep.  I got my desk cleaned off and roughly “organized”, but that’s it.  Didn’t do a $#@! thing regarding school.  I have binge watched Forensic Files.  Didn’t watch many of the other shows on my Netflix list, though.

*sigh*

I once read a book about procrastination (forget the title and author’s names).  The authors related a story about a weekend seminar they put together to work with and interview procrastinators.  They planned this whole big shindig for over a year.  A week before they had almost no one signed up, in the single digits if I recall correctly.  They seriously considered canceling, due to insufficient interest.  Then, in the last five days scores of people rushed to sign up, and filled all the slots.  The seminar was a huge success.

But why did the sign-up process almost go so horribly wrong?  They figured it out, and were very embarrassed about it.  Their target market was… procrastinators.  And they did exactly what they do.

I chuckle every time I think about that story.

Anyway, back to me.  Four days.  Lots to do.  Yeah, I can pack it in.  😉

Three things Facebook needs to do to improve my experience

Hey Facebook… I’m lookin’ at you, Mr. Zuckerberg… your product is pretty good, but needs help.  I have three things that should be easy peasy for you to fix, because I think you do them on purpose.  Let’s get started..

Put things in order.  News feed and notifications, both.  Skeptical Ken says you do this on purpose because you want people to be confused and stumbling around the site.  You want them spending more time, doing more clicks, that appeals to advertisers, and so on.  It also makes you look incompetent, even though it’s deviously brilliant.  If Social Fixer can put the news feed in order, so can you, and you know it.

Stop notifying me when people I don’t know do something.  Whenever I comment on a friend’s thread I get notifications when people I don’t know… and don’t want to know… post as well.  Let Annoyed Ken carefully phrase this so it’s crystal clear:  I… don’t… care.   I don’t even care if they post in response to my comment, or tag me by name.  All it does it muck up my notifications, which I already have to navigate deftly because you refuse to put things in order.  I don’t know these people, why should I care?

Give me a place to contact with questions… and get answers.  And something easy and legit.  How about an email address or a contact form.  How about something where I can ask a question and get a human response with an answer?  At least a legit place for me to complain about your shortcomings, with a real person reading them, even if you don’t respond.  I know, I know, I know, nobody does this.  Not Yahoo, not Google, not Microsoft.  Be better.

There ya go.  These three things would enhance my experience greatly.  Please note that I did not suggest more privacy or that you don’t sell my information.  We both know that will never happen.

Equal Time: Yes, Men Have Their Annoying Quirks, Too

I used to live in the downtown district of a very small town. Lived there for 15 years, as a matter of fact. Being that it was literally an old-fashioned small town downtown, I did not have a driveway or a garage. I had on-street parking in which I had to vie for a parking space every single day. I could usually get pretty close to home, but it was no guarantee. Simply put, I hated that.

What was especially not optimal was that I preferred to wash my own cars. I will now do a touch-less automatic car wash, but I do not do any automatic car wash that drags carpet across my vehicle or spins abrasive brushes against it. Washing one’s own car is the way to go, and gets the best results.

Whenever I could get a parking space right out front on a Friday or Saturday night, I would drag the hose and bucket and soap out the next morning and wash my car in the street. Just me and some shorts and a tank top and some sandals and a hose and a bucket and some soap, and… old men.

Ugh!

Just as women have that chemical imbalance that kicks in at middle age regarding their shopping rituals that I mentioned in my last post, men I think experience a similar brain chemical imbalance that kicks in right on their 60th birthday.

Obviously, because I was washing my car on the street, and it was downtown, people would often walk by. Pretty much everyone would look, some would point while whispering to their companion, probably wondering who the hell washes their own car anymore to begin with, but would never say anything. Except the old men.

Always, without fail, some old codger would sidle up to me, and smile in his charming my-dentures-are-about-to-fall-out kind of way, and say… and this is pretty much verbatim, it was like they all had the same script… “How about I pull mine in behind you and you can do mine next?”

😐

Oh, lordy, you’d swear they just made up the most uproariously hilarious and completely original, joke. Wow. I’d never heard that one before, by golly. They’d all get some version of a belly laugh as they wandered off feeling so satisfied with themselves. If they were strolling with their wife they’d re-tell it to them, usually while the wife was rolling her eyes.

And I single out old men for a reason. It was only them. Never kids. Never younger men. Never ever a woman, at all, ever. Just old men. I will strive to never be “that guy”.

By now you’re wondering, “What did Ken do?”

At first I did an eye-rolled laugh and quoted a price of $50 (a couple guys were actually offended by the price, go figure). Then after awhile I just said, “No thanks.” I eventually just gave them a blank stare and didn’t respond at all. That last one was the most satisfying to me, as they seemed to enjoy comebacks, and didn’t know what to do with no response at all.

Fast forward to today, and I have a driveway and a garage, and I used to still wash my own car in my own driveway… and loved it… but the last several years have been using automatic touch-less car washes, instead. I miss washing the car… really, I do… but I don’t miss getting dizzy every time I bent over that came with my own advancing age.

Rant: Stupidity, defended

Being from the “big city”, there are things that are just not in my mindset.  Living in a more rural state has shown me there’s much trust out there.  Trust that I was raised to reject.  One is the naive lack of awareness of one’s surroundings.  Case in point:  In the winter people will leave their cars running and unattended while they go in the store.  It’s only a few minutes, right?  (They also openly count their money while still standing at the ATM, which drives my sister crazy.)

Where I come from your car would be gone in a heartbeat.  And guess what… it happens here, too, albeit not as often.  In fact, it happened here just last week.  This guy that I do not know personally, but am loosely acquainted with through a Facebook group, had his car stolen in this manner.  I’m copying portions of the story here…

http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Marion-man-has-car-stolen-after-leaving-it-running-unattended-468390093.html

MARION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — A Marion man says he was just trying to keep his vehicle warm in sub zero weather when someone stole his SUV.

It happened on December 30th at Casey’s General Store at 680 Lindale Drive in Marion. <deleted> says he was running inside to get a cup of hot chocolate before work.

He had his spare key on him, and thought he locked up before going inside. A person at the nearby laundromat spotted the SUV and drove off with it. Police are still searching for the person who did it. <deleted> thinks the person is homeless, and stole his car to stay warm.

He adds, “Well I feel violated. And like I told the officer, the Marion Police officer. I told them, I said I would’ve given him a ride. You know, some place or a shelter, or wherever he wanted to go.”

…and…

The vehicle was found Monday in Cedar Rapids. Police will check it for evidence, then give it back to <deleted>. He says he will keep his doors locked from now on.

He adds, “I screwed up, you know. I don’t know how else to put it.”

(He wasn’t this contrite in the Facebook group.)  And he’s surprised it was stolen.  😐

Ok, now this news story does not include all the annoying details.  It also happens that this guy posted his plight on the previously mentioned Facebook page, expressing sadness and shock at being victimized.  And… this is what gets my goat more than the car theft itself… people lined up to defend him and his choices.  People slammed the thief, which was appropriate, but not a single person dared criticize him for the obvious.  They actually defended him and told him he bore no fault whatsoever.  It was all on the thief.  It was as if they were all enabling dumb decisions.  No one was willing to say what needed to be said… “But you left your car running, you idiot!  That was stupid!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t matter how ‘available’ something is, and no theft victim ever “deserves” it, there is never an excuse to steal.  But let’s get back to the real world, shall we?  In the real world there are dishonest people.  People who will steal, and it is incumbent on you to reasonably protect your stuff.  Locks were invented for a reason.  Leaving your vehicle available is not responsible.  Leaving your vehicle available is dumb, especially without remote start.  Even if the door is locked, if the key is in the ignition you’re asking for trouble.

Oh, and the best part:  In the Facebook group he said he will continue to do the same thing.

Rant: Idiot Drivers

And no, I don’t mean just Iowa.  I mean idiot drivers everywhere.  I mean the morons who refuse to turn their headlights on in inclement weather.  Rain, snow, fog, and so on.  And what are the most common lame excuses?  They are…

1) “Having my headlights on don’t allow me to see any better.”

Yes, I have actually had people say this to me.  Hey, idiot, headlights on in bad weather is not for you to see better, it’s for other people to better see you.  Duh!!!

I come from the central valley in California, with some of the worst Tule Fog imaginable.  Fog so dense you often feel the only thing guiding you is the lines on the road.  “Driving by braille” we often called it (many California roadways have raised line markers), and the ONLY thing that clued you in to an oncoming car was their headlights.  You for a 2 second warning.  Cars with no headlights on you wouldn’t be aware of until they were right on top of you.

Most places, such as Iowa, don’t have fog nearly that bad, which actually makes your headlights more important because you can get a decent sense of who else is on the road.

2) “My headlights are automatic and activated by a sensor.”

😐

Seriously?  That’s your excuse?  Don’t be irresponsible.  Are you in charge of your car, or is your car in charge of you?  Think.  Be aware of your responsibilities as a safe driver and take  control.  Be pro-active.  Override your automatic system and manually turn on your headlights, if necessary.  To blame it on your automatic sensor is pure laziness and abdication of responsibility.

Bottom line:  Don’t be an idiot driver.  This has been your driving PSA for today.