31 Jan

Electrical Signage Issues


An oldie, but a goodie. Would you walk into this place?

 

I might think twice... but still walk in, just to understand the true definition of "nasty."

On my way to work, I would pass by the Regal Cinema. Here is the picture of the building:

But seemingly every time I passed the building, the "G" at the top was burned out. In the early mornings, as well as at night on my way home, it would look like the "Real Cinema." Perhaps there is no faux pas and they are simply highlighting/setting the gold-standard of their building with all the neon and stuff.

Even the Target Greatland by us was "Target eatland," perhaps indicating to the public that they now have a full grocery store inside (which they do).

And lastly, I passed by the Broadway Bar & Pizza the other day to have it say "road Bar." Simple, and to the point -- as effectively as the Rogers liquor store sign that says simply "BEER."

I realize the last three aren't as good as the first one. I also realize that light bulbs do burn out. But in the first case above, by choosing the name "Dynasty Buffet," if you're the manager/owner, I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying it's good business practice to keep a watchful eye on the signage. It's the price you pay for the name. That, or have the bulbs linked to each other, so when one letter goes out, they all go out.

Choose your names carefully, if you're going to have lighted signage with each letter powered independently. After all, we saw what happened in Revenge of the Nerds...

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

27 Oct

Wrap, wrap, wrap, wrap it up!


Ugh, yeah those Subway commercials were damn annoying -- "Wrap it up!" And then at the end "That's a wrap." Oooh, creative!

But it seems like plenty of fast food chains took their advice.

We live in a world where the $1 menu was created so select people would still be interested in their stores. We have coupons, gimmicky promotions, new inventions... restaurants want you in their store. Investors want growth in companies. So what can companies do to increase their profit margins in this economy?

Wrap up their sandwiches and charge a premium for it. That's crazy whack funky.

Seemingly the first to do it was the McDonald's Angus Burger. It came in a box, and inside the box the burger came half wrapped. I guess the mentality is if you're paying $4 for a burger, we don't want your little fingers getting any grease on them! Plus, since we really can't change the flavor of the burger anymore, we can give it the extra sense of "hugeness" by having it stick out of the wrapper. ANYTHING looks bigger if it protrudes out of its home!

Then, of course, BK had to follow suit with their Chef's Burger... almost identical to McD's Angus Burger, only without the box. Instead, an individual wrapper around, yes, half the burger.

Wendy's has "Dave's Burger" sandwich, which is inserted into a box about 3/4 the size of the burger. You never box any of your sandwiches, Wendy's... why do you feel the need to do so with this one? Oh, because it's a step up from a Double Stack, but somehow charge 4x the amt.

I mean, does a person really sit at the dirty booth that hasn't been wiped in 3 days, and even when it's wiped, the rag used to clean it has been sitting in a soapy water bucket filled with a collection of who-knows-what from way earlier in the day, and think to himself '... look at everyone else, just eating that lame burger. MINE's got class. It SCREAMS classy because it has an extra wrapper! Everyone else's burger just comes in that thin glossy wrapper. HA!'

I think I just threw up in my mouth...

If you need an extra wrapper, you probably should remove the grease from your burger before you serve it! Just a thought.

Now I'm no environmentalist, but I am conscious. As Ethan and Erin would say, I'm an Eco Ranger! Just that you slap an extra wrapper around a sandwich, or put it in a glossy box doesn't mean you can charge a premium. I mean, didn't McD's learn a little something from their classy McD.L.T. invention? Remember this beast? It took up the whole tray! And trying to fit it into the garbage container was equivalent to a complete workout at Lifetime Fitness.

oooh baby... mega styrofoam!

But I guess it does mean you can charge more. I'm in the wrong... after all, it's still on the menu (full disclosure, I do order the Angus Burger about a couple times a year) And yes, I do know that I quoted Digital Underground above, unintentionally.

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

17 Aug

"I get de-lirious...." - Prince


Most of us have experienced this -- either it has happened to you, or you've seen this happen to others. A celebrity or event comes along which gets someone excited and then they lose all sense of sanity that they become delirious.

Oh my goodness, you're my favorite baseball player!

AHHHH.. It's a Glee movie... and it's 3D... I totally have to see it because it's GLEE!

So my employer is hosting a Career Development week, currently planned for September. The announcement was made via our intranet site. Under the announcement is a comment box, where anyone can leave a comment. I've posted a snapshot of the announcement, and the first 5 comments. Trust me, you'll be glad I stopped at 5 -- you'll have a hard time keeping down your breakfast/lunch, and I thought a good balance between this and getting my point across was 5. (I removed the last names from the picture)

*bleh*  

Honestly, these people must have got ahold of a pure batch of crops from Columbia and smoked it right before posting. I mean, seriously, these posts have to be planted (sorry about the pun there). [The employer] HASN'T EVEN DONE ANYTHING YET, other than posting a date! You don't know how involved it's going to be, as there's no information about the event. You're purely speculating how good it's going to be.

"Wow, cool!"

THERE'S. NO. CONTENT. THERE.

"... model behavior... plan for ongoing skill & knowledge development"

Please stop with the buzzwords. You must already be an executive.

"refreshing and encouraging...executive team outwardly encourages their employees to grow in stature"

Who were you working for before? Give me one company that insists that their employees remain life-long cashiers. Even McDonalds encourages moving up the corporate ladder! It's how you create the next generation of leaders!

I'm going to be looking up these people in our employee database to see if they're even employees. If they are, I'll bet you that every one of them (except the buzzword person) was hired in the last month. In other words, they're still on the honeymoon period of their hiring. That, or every company has its nodders and cheerleaders. RAH RAH!!!

"Lose all self-control, baby just can't steer... I get delirious!"

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

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.

Disgusting

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

23 Jun

Don't spend it all in one place


So I got a piece of mail this week -- not surprising, as I usually get some mail each week. One in particular was from my bank, Wells Fargo (WF).

Now, I'm used to getting mail from WF on a regular (weekly) basis. Such mail ranges from:

Pre-approved for a WF Plutonium Credit Card

You're qualified for a Home Equity Line of Credit

Open a savings account today, with a competitive rate of 0.0005%

Competitive rate?! They must mean a rate that keeps THEM competitive.

Sorry about the mini-rant there. Anyway, this specific piece of mail I received looked different than anything else I have received from them before. After opening the up, I quickly realize it was a check!

Upon reading the letter accompanying the check, it mentioned that it was an escrow refund check. Odd, as we haven't had an escrow account in 10 years, and it was not with WF. But we did refinance our home a couple of months ago, so a temporary escrow was probably set up.

Excited to see how much the check was worth, I quickly went to the bottom of the letter, which contained the check:

Holy hell, where to spend this amount of money!?

$0.63? 63 freakin' cents?! I understand that WF technically can't keep it, but seriously, did you need to send a check out for this? Why not just deposit it in my checking account? You probably spent more to process the check than it's worth.

And it's a good thing you require an "Authorized Signature" on the bottom. Normally, corporate checks require signatures for amounts greater than $25,000 or $100,000 or something. Surely the person processing this check had to have been laughing.

And how am I supposed to cash this? We have direct deposit for our paychecks, so we really never visit the teller anymore. Do I deposit this check or take it as cash? Which is less embarrassing? Either way, I can imagine the scene:

Schoms: Yes, I'd like to make a deposit (hands deposit slip and check)

Teller: Certainly, (looks at check)... whoa, you're certainly doing well Schoms! Do you want to deposit the whole thing?

Schoms: [already embarrassed, but now disgruntled] No, please deposit $0.50 and I'll take the other $0.13 in cash.

Teller: [equally a prick] Ok, with cash back, I'm going to need to see a photo I.D.

63 cents... pshhh... Anyone got any good ideas what to do with this?

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

02 Jun

Coupon editors must have skipped their morning coffee


So I'm prepared to accept defeat with this Gripe, provided someone can explain the reason why. Until then...

There was a coupon in our local newspaper which provided a discount for purchase of gasoline. I clipped it out for use on Double Coupon Tuesdays at SuperAmerica (they accept any competitor's coupon as well). Here it is:

Confusing, I know

I must have skipped Rational Thinking 101 in college, because to me, it would seem like this coupon essentially penalizes you for paying with cash.

Sure that damn Visa commercial from a number of years ago shows everyone paying with a Visa card and being happy because the total transaction time with the cashier is almost nil. Then, they show some doofus guy (again, a guy -- always a guy) that wants to pay for his purchase with... gah.... cash! (insert blood-curdling scream). The cashier gives him a goofy look. The horror!

Anyway, with gas stations, it's slightly different. They work with such slim margins that paying with cash is encouraged. Transaction fees from credit card companies start to eat away at profits. Couple that with the fact that the use of credit cards for paying-at-the-pump eliminates the need for the consumer to enter the store itself, further diminishing the success of the store. Stations make most of their profit not on the gas, but on purchases inside the store.

So how do they attract you into the store all while getting you to pay with cash? They invent a special discount (coupon or not) for paying with cash. Since you can't pay with cash at the pump, you pay inside. Bills Superette is one example where you don't need a coupon -- they tout it on their sign outside. "Pay with cash, save $0.05/gallon"

So with that said, when you break down the coupon above, it doesn't make any sense:

  1. You can save $0.10/gallon period, as long as you use the coupon and pay inside or
  2. You can save $0.03/gallon, but you must use cash

To me, point #1 says that you can save 10 cents while still using your favorite credit card to pay for it. The only restriction is that you are limited to 15 gallons. I think the vast majority of people will find that 15 gallons will fill up their tank, or nearly all of it.

It would seem the only benefit out of #2 is if you are a trucker, and want to put in 100 gallons or something. Then option #2 looks better. But are you really going to pay the tab with $400 in cash? Probably not, or risk getting mugged on your walk back to the semi.

So with this coupon, there is no real incentive to use cash. And now on top of the 10 cents off you are offering the consumer, the credit card fees are going to further eat into your profits.

And yes, the gas station did take 10 cents off per gallon (20 after doubling) despite paying with a credit card. As a matter of fact, the cashier had to do a double-take, trying to figure out themselves why the coupon was worded in the way that it was.

Dumber... slowly but surely, they are trying to mold us...

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

13 Apr

Relationships and Symbols (last I checked, I'm a math major!)


So I went to the University of Minnesota -- that's right, I'm a Gopher. No doubt, I'm still bitter about my experience there, with having to go back for one semester for one class because of a mix-up by my advisor. But that's a story for a different Gripe. The point is, I did graduate with a math degree. But still to this date, people have been trying to convince me, as well as many others, of one particular expression: I < 3

Now I understand that not everybody is good at math, but if you take any individual who is at least in kindergarten, they will be able to confirm that indeed, 1 is less than 3. Why does everyone insist on driving that fact home in their conversation? Here are some examples where I have seen this, mostly on Facebook and internet pages:

  1. I <3 Jimmy!!!
  2. ooohhh!! I <3 chocolate ice cream
  3. 5 years today! I <3 Tim!!!!! :)

What the hell... make the connection for me in that last one! They're clearly talking about their anniversary, but then they have to go and insert some obscure math fact. It's like a passive form of Tourette's Syndrome:

"Ooooh, it's such a happy day... 5 years ago today, my husband and I got.... HUBBY, LEARN YOUR LESS THANs AND YOUR GREATER THANs, IDIOT!"

But no, I'm not an moron... I know what the "expression" means. But why not just say it? Is it too much to type? I argue it takes longer to type it that way than to just type the word l-o-v-e. I mean, how often do you use the less-than key? How many of you actually knew it was on the comma key? Not only that, but now you have to hold the shift key down! Oh golly, what an inconvenience!

And this is the most hypocritical thing ever -- you're in the relationship. Men will relate to this. Your woman comes up to you, right out of the blue, and says:

"I love you."

You look at her just sitting there, waiting for verbal reciprocation. You can't wait too long or it'll piss her off. You can't say it too soon or it'll feel forced. Ahhhh, so confusing! In all the panic, you've got a great idea -- let's get cute. So you give your response in that cute baby-talk voice:

"No, I L-O-V-E you more"

Suddenly, the demoument shifts from one of happiness and rainbows and trumpeter swans and $1 Caramel Fundraiser Bars to her storming away, displeased. The proverbial air has been let out of the balloon. And why? Cause you didn't say the magic word. You didn't say the magic word. Nope, no magic word. Instead............you spelled it. You thought you'd get cute, only to have it bite you in the behind! Ya forgot the magic word!

Moral of the story: Don't get cute, just say it.

So why is it ok for women to use it? Oh sure you could argue that she initiated the conversation in the examples above, but if you brought home flowers and on the little card you wrote "I<3 [insert name]", you KNOW that the flowers just took a backseat. Hell, you might as well not even have bought them, because the focus will be on the "meaning" of the card. "Why didn't they just say it instead of sort-of writing it?" Even in times of good deed, you fail.

Relationships and symbols -- unless specifically a marriage symbol, a deadly combination.

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

24 Feb

Even when your best, just isn't good enough


This one clearly is categorized as Amusement Gripe.

So little Ethan hasn't been feeling well lately. So when I got home last night, I immediately asked him if he wanted me to read to him. He said, "Sure! Can we read this book?" It was a Star Wars 3rd Level Reading book.

Now, upon reading it, I quickly realized that it was about Yoda.

Hey, I've tried doing Yoda impersonations before... maybe I can do the voice of Yoda. That'll put a smile on his face and maybe help him feel better!

So as I started to do the Yoda part, Ethan stops me and says:

"Dad, you're not supposed to do Grover, you're supposed to do Yoda!"

<sigh>

Even with nothing but the best of intentions, I still get a "fail" from the audience. Now I feel like Rodney Dangerfield "Man, I don't get no respect!"

I guess I'll stick with my Mitch Hedberg impersonations...

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

09 Feb

Eee-mail Funn


So who hasn't received spam e-mail before?

It's a fact now that as commercial spam filters are becoming the norm, idiot spammers are having to come up with creative ways to get their message seen. These spam filters are as hard to penetrate as those 3M Filtrete furnace air filters that do more damage to your furnace than good. So how do these spammers get their message through?

**************************

Subject: Gett your MmmeDds heere! Viaagrrra, sUper lowWww price$

chandler0017,, click here: $Low Cost$

[link omitted for safety]

**************************

I mean, when it comes to medication, nothing says 'I trust you' more than a business that sends out messages with:

  1. Repetitive letters (to avoid spam)
  2. Combination of unneeded capital letters and excessive and unnecessary comma usage
  3. No business name listed in the body of the e-mail
  4. Use of chandler0017 as my name... I mean, nothing says "personalized" more than calling someone by the e-mail prefix
  5. A link that uses a tinyurl address. Good, reputable companies always try to hide their own name. I mean, what business wants publicity?!
  6. I'll give them some credit, the usage of $ in "price$" is creative.

I mean, anyone clicking on these truly must also fall for those same e-mail messages where Bank of America wants to validate your account information, and to do so, you must install a program which is conveniently zipped up in an attachment. We know businesses do this ALL the time. And I know that businesses also send these messages to people that don't even have a Bank of America account.

Another creative spam idea is to piggyback off of the success of a popular social networking site.

I was flabbergasted to find out that over the course of 3 days, I had received 5 e-mail messages from Sarah, Jill, Cherry (how cute), Debra and Tanya. All of them had the "From" listed as Facebook, with the subject line "_(name)_ has sent you a message".

Oh wow. It must be legit, because it says it's from Facebook... and the subject line is in the same style as that which Facebook sends, so I think I'll open it up!

And, funny, all wrote nearly the same thing (two of them were the same). I'll summarize:

"hey you, i saw your fb pic and i think it's hot. we have lots in common. perhaps we could hook up sometime. check out my pics at [link omitted for safety]"

I know Miss Manners always tells you to greet a stranger with a "hey you!" That always works. Plus, I can now sleep at night knowing that someone wants to hook up with me because I look hot. AND, since we have so much in common (since she only "saw my pic"), that MUST mean she's hot too.

Sadly though, I don't know how I can find her, 'cause she didn't give a last name. I can't add her as a friend on Facebook, because there are a ton of Sarah names out there.

The link she gave sends me to a weird pornish site at: www.bustybombshells.com. And then I find out she wants $9.99/mo just to enter. Man, we just met (and in a way, we haven't) and already she wants my money!

And finally, what gives it the uber-personalized feel is knowing that I can see 8 other e-mail addresses in the "To:" section. But I thought she was talking to me? Why did she copy in the others?

(sob)

Ugh. Come on people, get a little more creative with the e-mail. Spammers and virus-senders are now the lowest of the low.

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

23 Jan

"I Want My MTV..."


We've all been there, I'm sure. You're at a gathering among friends when suddenly you realize someone just changed the radio station. You had been enjoying what was on, but now you hear the awful sound of:

  1. Fiddles and honkeytonk
  2. "A little ditty, about Jack and Diane..."
  3. "Never let me slip, cause if I slip, then I'm slippin." (your boy, Dr. Dre)

Inspiring lyrics in that last one for sure. Plus, with sentences like "Compton and Long Beach together, now you know you in trouble," I learned not all sentences need a verb. It's no wonder we're getting dumber by the minute. I feel for the teachers who are already behind the 8-ball, but I digress...

So yes, you can probably see where this gripe entry is going -- it's about music. When MTV first came out in 1981, they played videos. Then, they started playing non-music-related shows, so they stopped playing videos. There was some negative feedback on that, so they introduced MTV2 -- a station dedicated to videos (both rock and alternative). Then, because the more recent generations of Americans are losing their grip on what it means to appreciate musicians that actually play their own instruments, they quit playing videos on MTV2 as well! (in favor of more of the same crappy programming that has nothing to do with music)

"Oh Schoms, you're being hypocritical You liked Beavis and Butthead!" Uh, yeah, but B&B actually played song videos within each episode, unlike "Road Rules" or that stupid Flava Flav show (or anything else on that channel for that matter), so it was at least relevant. But of course you wouldn't know that, since your only exposure to B&B was streaming them over the internet where they edited the videos out of the episodes.

We've all had our squabbles about which music is better and all, but recently, a group of friends and I have chosen to put together a top 100 songs from the 80's -- not the best-selling, not the most popular, not "encompassing all the emotions of that time" no no no.

There's thousands of "top 80's songs of all time" lists out there from expert wannabees. And of course, there's endless complaining from readers behind their computer screen stating "How could you not have ______ in there? This list sucks!" or "How could you have _____ in front of ______? You're clueless!"

Ugh

No, we've each put together a top 100 "Songs you personally loved listening to from the 80's." Hard to argue this approach... unless your friends come up to you and remind you of a song that you truly did like, but forgot about it when you were putting your list together. I personally like to view these lists instead, because it's fun to get to know people's tastes without radio dictating which songs are represented (for example, simply tuning into KQ92 tells you they like classic rock, but KQ may not necessarily play the artists the person truly enjoys). The songs have to be released in the 1980's, which makes a few songs that were on the border ineligible.

So anyway, I have put a video version of my top 100 together. It's a fairly-short 30 minute video of all 100 songs. Think of it as my way of bringing MTV back! Fun to watch/listen to at work for the following reasons:

  1. Unlike MTV, you can actually see videos (yes, I know MTV owns VH1 which does play videos, I get it, I get it)
  2. 30 minutes of commercial-free music (except for the visual at the end)
  3. Better variety than 101.3's 10-song mix list

But despite the fact that this is my personal list, there will nonetheless be some complaining. That's ok, I'm willing to take it. So enjoy, and let the griping begin!

Be patient with the links below. I'm trying to figure out why they don't work for some people. If you can't view Flash content, try the video link which uses Windows Media Player.

Video: Schoms Personal Top 100 80's (requires Windows Media Player, I believe)
Excel List: Schoms Personal Top 100 80's
Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

11 Jan

This coming from a college?!?!


On a piece of mail I received from Liberty Insurance, sponsored by the University of Minnesota, it said:

"... save up to $256.78 a year, OR MORE! [switching to our insurance]"

Really? REALLY?!? Um, if you can save UP TO $256.78, how could you possibly save more? Isn't "up to" an upper-bound? Can you imagine if parents took this approach?

Mother: "Billy, I'm going to count up to 10, and if you don't come down, you're going to be on a timeout... I'm serious! 10, 9, 8, 7...2, 1... ok, I'm giving you another 10 seconds!" (ugh)

Sad and pitiful piece of mail, especially with the U of M's sponsorship on it. It's no wonder we're getting dumber by the minute!

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

 
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