5 Things I Will Never Understand

We don’t need no pre-amble, let’s just get to it.  The title is self-explanatory.

1. Why my printer cannot scan when it is out of ink/toner. I totally get why it cannot print or make copies, but why can’t it scan?  Why can’t fax?  The conspiracy theorist in me says it’s for no other reason than to force you to get out and buy more ink/toner.  That’s the big money-maker for them, anyway.

2. Typing states in forms.  When filling out a form you literally fill out every line… except the state.  You get a pull-down, instead.  You’re on a roll typing then have to come to a screeching stop and pick an option.  Eh, I guess they figure most people don’t know their state’s two-letter abbreviation.

3. Why there needs to be a “cancel” button on a toaster.  What the deuce?  Back in the day… when I walked to school in the snow uphill both ways… you simply pushed the lever up.  And it worked just fine.  Why wouldn’t that still work?

4. Why “the little people” donate to political campaigns.  After the election you are no longer important to them.  Plus, “neck-and-neck” races end up being 10 point blow-outs, anyway.

5. Why people thank Facebook group administrators for approving their membership in the group.  Is there a skeleton in your closet as to why they might not?

So there ya go.  A handful of life’s mysteries.

Why The Grump Does Not Do Third-Party Delivery

It’s been over a year now since I stopped using third-party delivery, but from what I’m hearing things haven’t changed much. I bet you’re wondering why, aren’t you? Well, I’m here to tell ya… 😉

It’s expensive. Not only am I tipping, which is fine in and of itself, but the delivery fees are outrageous, and I have seen times when there are two fees. It can approach doubling the cost of the meal. Granted, the fee by itself is justified as they have a business, too, but there is a limit and they pass it.

Inserting a “middle-man” confuses everything if there are issues that need to be resolved. I once had an order double-billed to my credit card. It took over four months to get someone to give me a refund for one of them. The delivery service wanted to push it off on to the restaurant, the restaurant wanted to push it off on to the delivery service. Basically, both of them just wanted me to go away. Only after writing a snail mail letter to the restaurant telling them they now had all the money from both charges and explaining what happened in detail, did they send me an apology and a refund.

Some services impose themselves on restaurants without permission. Some of these also use outdated menus, deceiving the customer.

Delivery drivers can be unprofessional. I was pre-tipping because it was during the pandemic and I wanted contactless delivery, but I would read delivery drivers online say they wouldn’t even accept an order unless there was a huge pre-tip involved. Ya know what, buddy, screw you, you don’t deserve my business at all. Yes, I tipped and I tipped well, but my order shouldn’t have to depend on the whims of some self-entitled punk-ass kid.

Quality of service itself is spotty, 50/50, at best. I have indeed had some great experiences, but I have had some absolutely horrible experiences, too. One driver let my food sit at the restaurant for 25 minutes before she left the restaurant, then delivered two other orders across town before dropping mine off (I was watching her tracker and the clock the whole time, and I bet she accepted three orders and waited for them all), 55 minutes after the restaurant signaled it was ready, which by then was ice cold. This was the end for me, it was after this experience I swore off third-party delivery. So instead I pick it up myself or I stick to places that do their own delivery. The no middle-man aspect, especially, is huge. To the point above regarding the double-charge, with no middle-man they have to deal with me.

Having said all that, I do believe third-party delivery has a legitimate future, but that day is not today. The industry needs to mature and work out the kinks. When it does, I’ll probably come back.

Be More Like Dogs

We’re flawed.

Have you ever been walking along and stumble over nothing but your own big feet?  We all have.  There’s nothing strange about that.  But what do you do when that happens?  Ok, you get up, of course, but what else?

You feel embarrassed, and… you look around to see if anybody saw you.  Don’t lie.  Don’t kid yourself.  You do and you know it.  Don’t pretend your above it.  You don’t want to feel like your dignity is lessened.  It’s part of the human experience, and it’s flawed.  I do not know if it’s natural or learned, but it’s there.

You stumble and fall.  You get up and brush yourself off, and you look around, already thinking how you will give a fake laugh and try to “blow it off” to others just in case they saw it.  You have to save face, you know.  And God forbid someone recorded it and you end up on a funny video show.

But what would a dog do?

When a dog stumbles over nothing but their own paws and falls, they get up, and… resume walking as if nothing happened.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  There is no internal feeling of shame or embarrassment.  They literally could not care less if a person or another dog saw them do it.

Think about this.  Maybe this is one reason why dogs seem to be happier and less troubled than humans.  They don’t sweat the small stuff.  And a minor stumble is the small stuff.  It doesn’t hurt anything, it doesn’t affect anything, we should get right up and continue on just like dogs do… but we allow emotional baggage to creep in.

Be more like a dog.

 

The (Perceived) and Real Evils of Self-Checkout

Self-checkout seems to be a fairly controversial thing, and we all know The Grump is all about controversy, and I’ve been thinking of writing on this subject for awhile.  First off, let’s be real, some of the “reasons” for being against them are really dumb… as is the case with so many things in today’s society, not just in politics.  Things from “I’m not employed here”, and so on.  But if you’re as old as I am and you remember having to go inside to pay for your gas instead of pay at the pump that argument is specious.

Anyway, let’s take a quick look at some reasons in the photo attached…

1) They kill jobs.

Ok, I suppose they could.  I mean, there are fewer people up front, and for some businesses that would be a definite boon.

2) Self-checkout machines don’t contribute with payroll taxes.

This is really combined with #1, and like I said it could be true, but… as my good friend Lisa pointed out to me… if the store is now moving those people to be individual shoppers for curbside pick-up then nothing is being lost in either point.  So much for those points.

3) They are really not that convenient.

Convenience depends, both on the individual and the situation.  When I have just a few items they’re very convenient.  When I have a cart full of groceries they very not convenient… at all.

Moving on with my commentary:

But none of that is why I don’t like them. Why I don’t like them is stores go out of their way to make sure using a human checker is so inconvenient I’ll want to give up and just do it myself.  They… the stores… take away my legitimate choices.

Look, I don’t expect every aisle open, but I also don’t want to see 6+ full carts lined up for a single human checker.  I’m sorry, I want a reasonable and realistic option of using a human check per #3 above, depending on MY needs, not the store’s desires.  It’s the way self-checkouts are used to make the shopping experience even more inconvenient and disrespectful to the customer.

Sometimes You Do Win

I had a recent online shopping experience that was initially frustrating but in the end turned out in my favor.  Here’s how it played out…

I ordered a relatively obscure CD from a third-party merchant via Amazon.  The package arrives and it is empty.  Just an air-filled bubble package, nothing else.  With shipping I paid about $7.00.

Contacted Amazon and got a refund.  Because it was from a third-party there were no more in stock, so a refund was my only option.  Ok, great, but I still wanted the CD, so I got back on Amazon and purchased the same CD from a different third-party merchant.

Long story short, because of rewards on my credit card available, instead of paying $7-ish I ended up paying 17 cents!  Shipping and sales tax  included in that 17c.

See?  Sometimes you can win!  😀

Rant: Everything’s a Chore… ATMs, Passwords, and Bears, Oh My!

Everything’s a chore

Computers and technology were supposed to make life easier.  Computers and technology were supposed to give us more free time.  Granted, most of us aren’t churning our own butter anymore, so there are certainly benefits to our modem lifestyle in the information age, but it’s not all a cakewalk, either.  Now, the following examples aren’t life threatening, they aren’t going to bring you to your knees, and they most certainly aren’t the most important thing you will deal with.  But they are annoying, frustrating, high blood pressure inducing… and they are most certainly unnecessary time stealers, and they’re all a byproduct of computers and technology.  Here’s just a few of them…

Getting a new debit card

I am the Treasurer for a local Toastmasters club.  The old debit card had expired and I got a new card in the mail.  Called and activated it and set the PIN.  So far, so good.  Then kept getting declined when I went to pay people’s dues, so I called the bank. Turns out I have to use it at an ATM as a second step, then it would work fine. *sigh*  Ok, thank you, I cheerily said.

So, I had to get in the car, drive to a bank, check my balance, and drive back home. Then it worked fine. *smh*

“For your protection…”

Last Saturday I had a photo shoot and on my way out of town stopped at a convenience store for some drinks for the ride.  My debit card (from a small local credit union) got declined.  Hmmm, that’s weird, I know there’s plenty of money in the account.  I try four times, declined every time, so I pull out a credit card and pay.

I then go to the ATM at said credit union which happened to be right next door.  The ATM looks suspicious like when I computer has been reset.  Had to go to the photo shoot, so I can’t call the credit union until Monday… which is another pet peeve of mine… you want people to abandon big banks and go local, then have someone to answer phones and deal with people during off hours.  But I digress.

Monday morning and I try the card again.  No go.  Good thing I had cash on me, which I normally don’t anymore.  I decide to visit said credit union branch in person.

To cut to the chase, through three visits to their ATM, and two visits inside to talk to a person, it turns out there was a “scheduled maintenance” (skeptical, there is no email evidence of such in my email) of the system on Saturday morning and my card usage was bad timing.  Then, because I tried four times, which is one more than the maximum of three allowed, my card was locked.

I’m sorry, but if it’s YOUR down time, then shouldn’t YOU be aware enough to make sure these things don’t happen?  Plus, back to the big bank vs credit union thing, big banks don’t have down times for “scheduled maintenance”, yet small banks and credit unions do.  It’s the 21st century, get with the program.

Passwords

How do you do your passwords for internet sites?  Do you have one for everything?  Do you mix them up?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you want to do, you can’t do that.

You can’t have a single password for everything (which they say is a bad idea).  All require letters, but some require at least one capital letter, some require at least one number, some require at least one “special character” (i.e.: !@#$%, etc., and not all allow the same special characters), and none all have the same requirements, it’s a mix-and-match, so even if you wanted to have one password you can’t.

So, you have many different passwords.  Ok.  How do you remember them all?  Do you write them down on a piece of paper or a computer file?  They say you’re not supposed to do that either, btw.

How about one of those password organization sites?  I would think the chances of that getting hacked is greater than little ol’ me getting hacked.

There is no perfect answer.  And don’t even get me started on requirements to change my password every so often.

Money and ATMs

One of the great things where small banks and credit unions shine over the big banks is doing the small things to make life easier for the customer.  (That’s you and me, btw.)  One of these things is allowing ATM withdrawals in $5 increments.  This is so handy.  Sometimes I just need $5 or $10 for something small, and there is no need to force me to drain my account more than necessary.

Within the last year two of my credit unions have changed their policy and now only allow $20 increments.  This does not serve me well, and removes one of the key points for being with a credit union.  If I’m going to be treated like I’m at a big bank I might as well do business with a big bank and gain the added benefits, like the ability to call on a Saturday evening and talk to someone and get my issues solved.  (See what I did there?)

Conclusion

This turned out wordy.  😛

What’s on TV?

“Honey hole.”

Is it just me, but doesn’t that sound almost obscene?  Almost pornographic?

Well, that’s an odd way to start a post.

It’s been a lazy inside snow day, and The Wife Missy and I have been putzing around, wasting boatloads of time on the internet, and watch tv.  Primarily American Pickers, which the above is Mike Wolf’s favorite saying when he finds a pick that is especially promising.  Maybe it’s the inner 12 year old in me, but I giggle every time he says that.

Of course we could be watching Forensic Files.  I’ve seen the entire series on, oh, maybe four times.  I don’t even pay attention anymore, I just use it for background noise.  Bores Missy to tears, though.

Then there’s Forrest Gump… but that’s all I have to say about that.

The theme here, of course, is that on a Saturday there’s nothing on tv.  Missy likes Pickers, and I’m fine with it, so all is good.

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.”

Tipping: Why a percentage?

Today we are revisiting the art of tipping… sure as hell isn’t a science… and we are asking the question of why do we tip a percentage instead of a flat amount?

Let’s consider the following scenario:  Let’s say you go to John’s Steakhouse twice in one week, and the scenario breaks down like this…

  • On Monday you have a ribeye meal with a baked potato, broccoli, roll, butter, and two beers. Price: $50.
  • On Thursday you go and have a grilled chicken dinner with a baked potato, broccoli, roll, butter, and two beers. Price: $30.

If the tip were 20% (easy math) the steak dinner tip would be $10. The chicken dinner tip would be $6.

Why? Why the difference when the amount of work and effort by the server was exactly the same for both meals?  Don’t whip out the emotional guilt trip of not eating out if you can’t afford to tip, that doesn’t even address the question.  Don’t sidetrack to the fact that in most states (not all) tipped employees get paid less than minimum wage, that’s an entirely different subject about why we tip at all.  This question acknowledges we tip, just questions why a moving target of meal value is used rather than effort, work and/or service performed. Restaurant owners don’t pay servers based on sales values, why should we the customers be expected to?  Be articulate and come up with something reasonably rational.

Standard disclaimer:  I tip and I tip pretty well.  Usually over 20%.  Be that as it may, I am still put off by how tipping has become an entitlement mentality, and how it seems to continually creep up.  Was 10%, then 15%, then 18%, now people are preaching 20%+.  If sales tax were 20% you’d scream bloody murder, and tipping is really nothing more than a private tax because most states (not all) allow tipped employees to be paid less-to-nothing.  Hmmm… I smell another post.

The Grump Blames Toastmasters

The Grump has become downright chatty in social situations.  *gasp!*  I know, right?  He talks to people in public.  Willingly.  He makes idle chitchat with complete strangers.  In line at the grocery store, in an aisle when we’re both scanning the shelves, even in public restrooms.  (Yes, it’s become that bad.)  He… initiates the conversation.

Sometimes people join in the conversation… this IS Iowa, after all, not California… and sometimes people who aren’t as jovial and friendly as The Grump look at him like he has two heads.  When The Grump lived in California, in a past life, this response was not only acceptable, but preferred.  People were rude.  It just was.  The Grump fit right in.  Oh, there was the occasional person who suffered from “Dawn Syndrome” (inside joke for about three people) and who would always smile and try to start conversations with strangers, but those people were always and properly dissuaded from doing so simply by the surly responses they’d get from their intended targets.  This is the environment where The Grump was raised, and in that sense The Grump flourished.

Then The Grump moved to Iowa.  He’d be in line at the grocery store and people would openly talk to him and try to start conversation.  People who didn’t know The Grump, they’d just… smile and talk as if we had been friends for decades.  Initially, The Grump’s reaction was something like in this photo. (That’s Tim Curry, btw, an awesome actor.  Not just as Frank-N-Furter, but check him out as Winston Newquay on Wiseguy.  Awesome story arc.)  Utter disbelief.  Why are you talking to me?  Turn around and mind your own business.  Go away.  Leave me alone.

Then The Grump joined Toastmasters roughly eleven years ago.  The Grump met people.  Good people.  Friendly people.  People he’d run into in the store and who were actually happy to see The Grump.  Whoa, this was new. Toastmasters, without knowing it, taught The Grump how to be sociable, how to talk and have a conversation.  Even “small talk”, which is more important that people think.  And this eventually evolved to The Grump taking the first step and starting the conversation.  Where did this come from?

Of course, the downside to knowing people is that one has to behave while in public.  No more can The Grump ram carts in the grocery store.  No more can The Grump give Iowa drivers the bird for being idiot drivers, even if they do deserve it.  It might actually be someone The Grump actually knows, and that would be awkward.

Fast forward to 2019 and The Grump has become one of “Them”.  A Chatty Cathy,  a talker.  The Grump has become Dawn.

This is unacceptable.  The Grump must purge himself of these disgustingly social tendencies and become grumpy in public again.  Yes, we do know that The Grump is an ultra sweetie guy, but we still have a reputation to uphold, ya know.