29 Jul

Advertising Euphoria

It used to be your normal sources: mail, newspaper, radio and TV. Even one's own body has succumbed to it, via tattoos. Advertising is everywhere. The newest way to get their message across? The vehicle.


Yes indeed, nothing tarnishes one's self-image more than flaunting around with your hands at 10-and-2 with a daisy following you.

And I'm sure that hot date will really be impressed as they're entering the Pringlemobile. After all, to a date, nothing says "I'm worth it" more than that feeling of security, knowing they're safe inside a box of Cheerios.

And for a hundred dollars of revenue a month, you too can sell out and achieve this level of superiority. That's right, in a country where dares are the norm, you have shows such as Fear Factor and bets such as "Would you drink a gallon of milk for $50?" Everything seems to have a price tag -- it's just a matter of what the price is. Think of it...

Pull into the parking lot for Sunday morning mass touting "Hell's Kitchen on FOX 8pm".

Hold your head up high as you drive around the city flanking a photo of Trojan Man.

Feel self-confident, pulling up to your cashier job at Wal-Mart in a vehicle displaying Amazon.com or Target.

Suit yourself... I'm making an extra $100-$200/month!

Here's a cookie, I'll keep my pride. If you're a man and relying on the $200, you're probably the same person who, when asking a woman out on a dinner date, would go halvsies. Then, after dinner, go balls-to-the-wall and take her to a $1 movie theater ON YOU!

But if you're a NASCAR fan, you're probably stoked at the idea of driving around with a bunch of ads on your car. Now you can REALLY feel like Dale Jr! All you're missing now is a matching racing suit! Though I'm sure if you're envisioning having a NASCAR-like car, you probably already have the racing suit in your closet.

I mean, advertisements are everywhere now. The bus has always had advertising on the sides, now they managed to use every square inch of the bus and have started covering all the windows! Advertising is now in schools too to offset budget cuts. Anything to keep from raising my property tax, I guess!

You won't catch me dead driving around with these types of ads plastered to my vehicle. I'll keep my dignity and do the Smith Barney thing and make money the old-fashioned way.

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

20 Jul

No Soup For You!

Hear that? It's the sound of emptiness coming from the eastern-most area of our building -- the cafeteria.

The once bustling cafeteria, serving a variety of flavorites that seemed to nearly please everyone, and at a reasonable price, is now being held hostage by corporate threats. Healthier options or else...

I remember having to wait in line, sometimes as much as 10-20 people long, simply to pay for the food. Food served piping hot was practically ice-cold by the time you got the chance to sit down. Favorites in our office such as Chicken Parmesean, Country Fried Steak, Pasta Bar, etc have all either been removed, or are only served once a year. And when they ARE served, they've been severely modified.

All this, to tout the "healthier lifestyle".

When I go down there now (to get my afternoon milk), I can almost walk up to the cashier and immediately get helped.

More examples of changes fascist in nature:

  1. A once edible pizza with limited flavor is now being made with a whole-wheat crust and now NO flavor. On top of that, the crust is extremely hard.
  2. Virtually all foods requiring frying have been practically eliminated from the "home" section of the cafe.
  3. Thinking about getting a hamburger? Not only have they made it smaller, but don't expect a white bun... only 900 grain wheat bread -- enough fiber content to wean the entire United States off Metamucil.
  4. Heaven forbid we ever serve red meat -- instead, we'll have at least one fish option every day, and sometimes (during the summer months) we'll have 2 -- salmon and tilapia! I thought we were supposed to eat fish in moderation? And how long before people will be tired of the fish option?

And if you think this Soup Nazi (Seinfeld reference) type "here's how we're serving it, and you'll like it" attitude is being taken lightly by the employees in our office, you've got another thing coming. Here's a few comments from colleagues:

I used to go down to the cafe every day. Now, I just bring my own lunch.

I don't even bother looking at the menu anymore, it's sad.

There's nobody down there anymore, so I don't go down there [to the cafeteria].

And what effect has this had on Aramark? Well, with the reduced revenue, they've had to increase prices everywhere. Baked potato bar for $5.95? Seriously? For a freakin' potato... one I can get at my local store for $.59? That's with no drink or any side item! No sanctuary for the healthy salad bar option either... increases there too! So now there's no variety and everything is as expensive as hell.

Want more examples of variety? There's little inventive skills at play here -- we've had/have taco bars on Monday and Friday weekly. We had outside vendors come in to serve their own food instead of our own. Where variety once stood, fish is served continuously. Now, the main portion of our cafe is closed on Fridays and some Thursdays because of a lack of demand!

Some are even now going out of the office for lunch, because it's cheaper! And it makes sense too. Convenience is being sacrificed because of price and a lack of variety!

For example, let's say you and a few others are in a pizza mood. You each can either get a slice of tasteless pizza, having to force yourself to eat a dried-up whole wheat crust (which doesn't sound like something that would satisfy one's mood) for $3.00 something (no drink or sides) or you can walk across the highway with your friends to the Little Caesar's (I'm not saying that's a choice establishment... but it's decent), get 2 slices of edible pizza, breadsticks and a drink, and still have it be LESS THAN $3.00/person.

Look, I get what the corporate directives are trying to do -- promote a healthy lifestyle. I will still maintain my stance on this point -- it's not solely about the foods we eat, but how much of it we eat. I will agree that things such as trans fat should be eliminated (actually, it's hard to argue that point with the slew of data out there regarding it). But what's the harm with bringing the variety back in lunchtime portions instead of full servings?

My stance toward lunch has always been "Tide me over until dinner". For example, when I was just at 5 Guys restaurant for lunch, I ordered a burger with no sides and a water. The cashier looked at me in near disbelief when my response to his "do you want a soda or fries with that" was "no".

It reminded me of the Super Troopers scene:
Dimpus Worker: Want me to dimpa-size your meal for 25 cents?
Farva: Want me to punch-a-size your face, for free?
Dimpus Worker: It's only 25 cents, and look how much more you get!

I DON'T NEED TO BE FILLED UP AT LUNCH. GIVE ME ENOUGH ENERGY TO MAKE IT THRU THE WORK DAY! It's not about the deals... it's about moderation!

As a colleague of mine said, the healthy options being served in the cafeteria are driving people toward eating fast food. How is that promoting a healthy lifestyle in the end? As analogous as the comparison can be made, it's like the Republicans touting "We did it without raising income taxes!" when in the end, property taxes, sales taxes, etc are increased because of the pledge. (unintended consequences) It's like the healthy option mindset is: We don't care if everyone complains... we just don't want "unhealthy" options on our property.

Really? Well then why do you still sell pop, cookies, deep-fried french fries, etc? Go ahead and get rid of those options too so that I can completely be independent of the cafeteria (full disclosure: I make a morning fountian pop run nearly every morning)

All this politically-correct crap can suck it, and I'm not just talking about the subject in this blog entry. I'm talking about ALL politically-correct garbage. We're becoming so sensitive that if one disagrees with the politically-correct view, they're labeled a bigot.

Categories: Gripe Read More

15 Jul

Could we not add ONE little sentence to it?

So my iPod Touch 4G went dead earlier in the week. Plug it in... nothing. Try hitting the power button... doesn't even give you the lightning bolt "feed me" indicator. So I checked out the only instruction booklet that came in the iPod Touch packaging -- the Finger Tips.

What a worthless sheet of paper, and I do mean "sheet" of paper. It's basically a 4" x 8" sheet of paper folded up, with random things that even a newborn could have figured out on their own. Here's the home button. Here's the volume button. Here's how you touch the screen with your finger. Good grief, there's only 4 buttons on the damn thing, how hard could it be to figure out?

So heaven forbid they put anything useful in it.

Like for example, if anything should go wrong. I mean, with only 4 buttons and no screws to get inside of the machine, there's only so much you can do, right?

No instructions regarding troubleshooting, so I just started hitting every combination of buttons. Nothing worked. Left it plugged in for 1 whole day to see if that helped. Nothing. Held down combinations of buttons for 10 seconds at a time (online site mentions holding for 10 seconds or something like that). Nothing, so I brought it into the Apple Store.

To avoid having some elitist, nose-up-in-the-air, I'm better than you brainiac male look at it, fix it and then hand it back to me without telling me what happened or what they did, I ensured that I went to a woman inside the store.

Found a very nice and helpful lady. I told her the story, and after testing some basic things, she said "I think you'll have to do this..." Ploop... the Apple logo appeared. All is well.

"How did you do that?" I asked. Her response: If there's ever a power surge or some other issue causing the iPod to shut down, you just have to hold the two main buttons down.

"Oh, but I did that!"

"How long did you hold it down?"

"At least 10 seconds... that's what it said online."

"Oh, you need to do it a lot longer than that! Usually it's at least 30 seconds, but can be up to a minute!"

Some information that would have been HELPFUL to add in your little Finger Tips thingy, Apple. Let's go further than that... why not say something that's important in your online manual? Heaven knows that would have been asking too much. Damn though... I should have known to modify (ignore) the online advice and hold it for much longer than 10 seconds. I skipped the entire first semester of Psychic Ability 101 in college and now I'm regretting it.

They must have left this important information out of their documentation because nothing ever goes wrong with Apple products, so why should we bother with including troubleshooting tips? Maybe it's because they're a green company and try to limit the amount of paper they use for packaging? Oh really? Well then why are those dumb Apple logo stickers in there? 'The hell are we supposed to use them for?

And like I said earlier, the Finger Tips didn't help me at all. I didn't have one ounce of knowledge of how an iPod worked, yet when I walked around in the store and used one, I didn't need any assistance. I figured out how to use the camera, I knew what the volume buttons did, and I knew how to power down ALL BY MYSELF. IT'S NOT THAT HARD!

Put something useful in your instruction manual. One simple sentence -- maybe two at most, is all I ask. Perhaps leaving out useful information is another way to get you back into the store?

Categories: Gripe Read More

08 Jul

All trailer, but no park

Apologize for the delay this week. This is going to be a short one today, and I just experienced it not a half-hour ago TWICE (two separate occasions)

1. Travelling behind a truck pulling a trailer. Trailer was very wide, so you couldn't see the truck's taillights. (only reason I knew it was a truck is that it eventually made a turn, so I could see it). I was travelling at a fairly high rate of speed (legal though!) about 4-5 carlengths behind -- plenty of room. Suddenly, I find myself catching up to them fairly quickly. I'm not sure why though, because I don't see any brakelights light up on the trailer. Very quickly realized that it must be because he's stopping/slowing down and his lights don't work. I hit the brakes with plenty of room to spare, but nonetheless...

2. Travelling behind a car (yes, a car) pulling a trailer with an off-road vehicle on it. Car is making a right turn and I can see that the car's right turn signal is on. However, the left turn signal is illuminated on the trailer, with no brakes lighting up [on the right side]

What the hell people?! Rule #1 (and don't make me look up the MN Statute number on this one): If you're towing something... in this case, a trailer, MAKE SURE THE LIGHTS WORK. IT'S THE LAW!

Oh, they work... they just did yesterday

Specious reasoning. Sure it might have, but you aren't towing something yesterday, you're towing something now. My incadescent light bulb worked one day and the next day it burned out. These things happen to light bulbs.

Eh, I attached the wires already, and they always work

What a stupid way of thinking. What if the contacts aren't just right... they won't light up. It's happened to me once. They're finicky sometimes. Simply reattaching the wires solved the problem.

There's nobody there to tell me if they work, while I press the brake pedal/turn signal/etc.

Blah! No excuse... I use a 2x4 to hold down the brake pedal while I go and check the lights before every use. You can use any household item -- a broomstick/whatever -- instead of a 2x4. No excuses!

You ignorant drivers, visit your proctologist if you're searching for your head. Use your brains please. This is yet another reason why accidents happen!

Oh, and that stupid car pulling the trailer whose opposite blinker came on when making a right turn... cars were really not mean to haul trailers -- especially your dinky Escort-sized vehicle. Invest in something decent instead of that POS wiring job that you had on that trailer.

Categories: Gripe Read More

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