Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Loaves and Fishes II

While we're talking about things that bother us, here's my list:

I'm sick and tired of all the mail order companies who employ wealthy dowagers and billionaire CEO's to do their "shipping and handling". I mean, how much does it really cost to shove a pair of pants or a fishing reel in a box, slap a stamp on the box and hand it to the postman? I could do this in a matter of seconds. And yet the precious baboons who do this are always charging $6.95 and up. Heck, "The Video Professor" has to charge $9.95 to slip three dinky CD's in the mail and send them 2nd class! Wake up mail order companies! You're shipping and handling people are a bunch of lazy, over-paid bums.

Driving habits? Don't get me started. I subscribe to the "Three Idiot Rule". This is the rule that says when you are at a traffic light and there are three cars in front of you, chances are all thee of them are being driven by idiots. I also think driving a car opens a window into a person's true nature. And most drivers commit all sorts of gratuitous acts of discourtesy which they wouldn't think of doing in person. Why? Because for most, a car gives them a sense of anonymity which allows their true, swinish behavior to rise to the surface in all its abysmal glory. I could give you a ton of examples. But anyone reading this (except of course for you, my dear Steve) is probably a total jerk when it comes to driving anyway, so why bother? I think there ought to be a law that every car on the road must have a two way radio installed, keyed to an ID number prominently displayed on all sides of the car - and the radio must stay on at all times. That way, when some jackass cuts in front of you or just stops at the start of a merge lane, all you have to do is punch in his ID number and then give him your candid opinion of him and his loutish family, up to and including dogs and cats.

Another thing that cooks my cookies is the "door hog". OK, let me set this up. You walk up to a convenience store and open the door. Just as you start to go in, some dolt squeezes out and almost hits you. Now I have no problem with this if said dolt is a female. After all, its just good manners to open the door for a lady. But what I can't stand are the misanthropes who waddle out, expecting you to stand aside - as if your only purpose in life is to hold doors for them. Lately, I've been using the "bump and run" technique to fight this problem. Since most doors are clear glass, I can usually see when some egotistical slug is preparing to barge out. In these cases, I open the door - pretending I didn't notice - and lower my shoulder into him. Sometimes, as an extra bonus you get a spilled coffee or a dropped sack: mute witness to man's inhumanity to man.

Now being a car salesman I'm fairly accustomed to brutish behavior. Once in a great while you run across a customer who honestly just wants to trade cars and get the whole thing over with. Believe it or not, car salesmen will literally walk through fire for this type of person. But that's far from the norm. When it comes to buying a car, most people went to the same idiotic school. They drive up in some bucket of bolts and act like its Donald Trump's limo. They tell you they don't really have to trade because their car, which sounds like a cement mixer, is running just fine. Then they say their car is "loaded", even though it has crank windows, vinyl seats and no air. Loaded my arse. The only thing loaded is the guy driving it. Eventually it comes out that not only do they still owe a fortune on this rolling scrap heap, they want to trade it in on a brand new car and lower their payments! Are you kidding me? Sometimes its all I can do to keep myself from falling to the ground in a fit of hysterical laughter.

I'm going to finish with a small, but revealing episode in the almost endless annals of human discourtesy. My oldest son was about 13 when he got his first paper route. Now being a fairly decent father, I resolved to get myself a bike and go out with him every morning and help deliver papers. So, we got up, rolled and banded the papers, then pedaled up and down the streets, throwing paper after paper onto porches. It didn't pay a lot. I knew my son was only going to make about 20 or 30 bucks a week - but I thought it would be a good lesson for him in the value of money. Boy did I ever get that one wrong. It was a lesson alright, but one in how far people will go to express their inner jerks. Here's what happened:

A couple of days after we started, the newspaper office started getting calls about the special ways our customers wanted their papers delivered. Some wanted us to tip toe up to the porch, gently open the screen door, and place the (unbanded) paper inside. Others wanted us to open the gate, go around back (mind the man eating dog!) and lovingly place the (once again, unbanded) paper on the back porch. So we tried this for a few weeks and as you might expect, the one hour paper route suddenly turned into a three hour ordeal - which meant my son and I were working for around a buck an hour. Oh and by the way, we never got the first tip from anyone.

Steve, the newspaper costs each royal patron a single quarter! I could see taking special care of it for those who were aged or infirm. But these were big, strapping men and women who, for their measly two bits, didn't feel they should have go through the painful exercise of opening the door, picking up the paper and taking off the rubber band. What bozo's!

Thinking it would only be a matter of time before we had to go inside and actually read the paper to these slobs, I decided to go back to the "band and toss" method. Believe it or not, we had maybe a dozen people who cancelled their subscriptions due to "poor service". I thought this was fitting - since these precocious infants would from that point on have to get dressed, drive down to the IGA and buy a paper - all to save themselves the few seconds it took to walk onto the porch and pick it up.

Towards the end, we fought back. My favorite technique was to politely deliver the paper as requested - that is, inside the door, unbanded - but minus some crucial part like the sports section or the TV guide. My son favored "the stick". This is where you deliver the paper like they wanted, only rolled up and banded so tight that the "jaws of life" couldn't get it open.

Surprisingly, our career in newspaper delivery was rather short. I still wonder why.


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