Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I must be on a roll this late night (or early morning) -- imagine -- two posts in a row! Anyway this one has been brewing for some time. For the past three months I have been working a job at the Service Desk of a regionally based retailer (not the BIG W, but similar and smaller) and in these three months I have begun to lose my faith in the inherent good and compassion of a vast majority of people. I am finding that over the past few years, people are becoming more self centered, rude, and downright greedy. Now I must say that there are a lot of nice people in the world and some of them even cross my path at work frequently. However, there are more who are 1) in a hurry, 2) on their cell phone when they are trying to conduct their business at my counter, 3) looking for every potential thing they can GET (awards for misscanned items, deeper discounts, faster service -- translated that means that we exist just to serve them and only them. I also find that people don't read the ads or signs correctly and somehow feel that the store policies (or even the state laws) may be okay to apply to everyone else, but certainly THEY are the exception. To any of you who are customers of this kind of retail establishment please remember a few things -- 1) many of us are working for minimum (or nearly minimum) wage, 2) we are doing the best we can, 3) it is not my fault that you made an error reading the signs or ads or that you "bought the wrong flavor cat food and need to return it (Yup -- they do, and we end up having to scrap any food related items that they bring back), 4) I don't set the store policies or legislate the laws about awards, coupons, returns, lotteries, liquor, or the host of other things you don't agree with. Please don't take my refusal to meet your request (or demand) as a personal affront -- I will respond the same way to the next customer with the same issue. And finally, remember this -- Screaming at me, swearing at me, or telling me what an idiot I am are not ways of encouraging me to find a way to accomodate your needs and wants. And for God's sake, hang up the cell phone when you come to the counter!!!! I had a customer tonight who "gassed" on her phone the entire time I was ringing up her huge grocery order and bagging her treasures. She even continued to yak yak yak through the payment process and was still blabbing away as she left the store! There was no opportunity to greet her, to make sure she was satisfied, or to tell her to have a nice day (or to go jump in the lake). That is a perfect example of the ever rising rude quotient! I know this post is rambling, but I could write pages about the stuff that these "guests" (they aren't guests, they are CUSTOMERS) pull. And in conclusion, contrary to the old adage -- the customer is NOT ALWAYS right! Sometimes they are just plain misinformed or perhaps just brain dead! And that is my thinking on the subject. Be nice to the cashiers and others who are there to help you have a great shopping experience!! Remember it's not all about you and that the store will still be there whether you get your way or not.


I have remained fairly quiet on the whole issue of the government push to spend three quarters of a trillion (how many zeroes is that?) dollars to rescue the economy. Around the house, Ben is probably tired of my saying "Let the economy collapse if that is where we are headed.", but it is the way I feel. It is also apparently the way that a LOT of citizens feel based on the information coming out of various congresspeople's staffs as to constituent input on this matter. I was pleased to hear an interview with a LosAngeles based US Representative who made it clear that she listens to her constituents (Wouldn't it be nice if they all did that?) and out of 1500 calls and emails (admittedly a small number of her constituents), 2 were in favor of the bailout plan and the rest were opposed. That kind of response has been reported from other districts as well which tells me that a vast majority of US voters are opposed to the plan set forth. I heard one man say that it is better to let the economy fail now and have the current generation suffer the consequences than to burden our children and several generations with the enormous debt this would incur.

I oppose the bailout for several reasons:
1) No one bails me out when my finances run amok
2) Why should the government buy the very risky loans and investments that the financial industry says were the very things that led to this crisis? A bad debt or investment is bad whether it is made on Wall Street or Pennsylvania Avenue.
3) Too many people have been raping the financial system for personal gain for years -- they need to be called to account for their possibly legal but surely unethical and greedy actions.
4) All of these federal bailouts (this one, the proposed huge loans to the automakers, Freddie and Fannie, and others) set a dangerous precedent. It is a precedent that can not be carried to the point of bailing out every industry or business that is in trouble, so why start here?
5) Perhaps my biggest reservation is that this crisis is being brought forth by the Bush Administration -- a body of folks known for their collective forthrightness and absolute honesty. If George Bush told me that the sky was blue, I would have to go look to see if it really was so. From the stealing of the presidency in the 2000 election to the illegal invasion of Iraq to go after the "WMD" (Which of course never turned up), to everything else that has been a load of horseS**T (to use the word purportedly muttered in the debate by John McCain), we have been misinformed, misdirected, badly governed, and essentially screwed over.
6) Actions have consequences -- SOME of us try to teach that lesson to our children (though it seems that more parents than ever before seem to not be teaching it to their "special" children). If we (the people) bail out Wall Street, what kind of object lesson is that?

Now, I don't pretend to understand global economic matters, and perhaps some kind of government intervention is needed. However, I think it needs to a responsive action rather than a reactive jumping to a rapid conclusion -- a jump that could essentially bankrupt not only Wall Street and the business community, but the US Government.

Just to wind down, I say again, "Let's be responsible and responsive -- make informed and well thought out plans and actions and listen to the electorate -- not just to get their vote, but because I for one still believe in "We the people". And that, my friends is my take on this mess.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Christmas Countdown Begins

Well, many of you who read this blog should have been expecting this post. It is now exactly three months until --- wait for it --- here it comes --- don't scream yet -- Christmas! By now the early birds are planning their decorating, shopping, and celebrating. We are beginning to see signs of the Christmas crap (I mean "goods") in the stores (Trust me, there's plenty more on the way.). I fear that this year as I work in retail, I will be Christmas'ed out long before December 25 comes along. But Ben and I will have a wonderful time celebrating together -- it is without a doubt the favorite of the holidays. Get ready -- it's coming.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Autumn All

Happy beginning of Autumn. It won't be long before we get to see the colorful panorama of changing leaves and feel the crispness in the evening air. Enjoy the season.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

They Got Me

Well, I guess it had to happen. Last night as I was heading home from work (near midnight), I exited the interstate and started the short northward drive toward home. The speed limit through this area (a main road no less) is 25MPH, which I find a bit slow. It is currently a construction area, but there was no construction going on at that hour. Anyway, I guess I was in a hurry. As I zipped along, I saw headlights come on in an adjacent parking lot and saw a police car. Of course I slowed down and went on my way. As I rounded the next corner, the flashing red and blues came on behind me. I turned into a residential street and pulled over, waiting to take my medicine. The police officer was very polite and kindly handed me a ticket, but only for 5 miles over the limit instead of the 15 or 16 over at which she clocked me. So now I have to come up with the bucks to feed the local coffers. I admit I was exceeding the speed limit and therefore violating the law -- but I also think that the speed limits in our community are set intentionally slow. Most folks I know are not always going to poke through town on major roadways at 25 MPH. Trouble is -- the police are lurking, always ready to present drivers with a local souvenir -- a traffic citation. The cost of my ticket will be nearly 150 bucks -- should be fun finding that kind of cash lying around. Ah well, if you speed, you bleed (in this case GREEN). So -- slow down and save money. My new slogan is "Drive 25 -- arrive alive -- eventually!"

Sounding Off

Well, here we go. Hurricane Ike was poised to hit the Texas coast with nasty force, but its so called effects were already swirling around the gas station community hours before the storm had any major impact on the market. I am not belittling the force, vengeance, or threat of Hurricane Ike -- sure am glad I'm not in that part of the country right now. However, as I looked out from the store at the gas station in the parking lot, you'd have thought they were giving something away. Then I headed for home -- the first other station I passed had jumped their price a dime this evening -- not unheard of I guess in these uncertain times. I drove on toward home, gambling that I might still get a decent price for a fill up in preparation for the weekend. When I got off the freeway, the signs were reading 3.91 (right where they were when I went speeding by -- another subject -- last night. I pulled in and was pleasantly greeted by the pump price of 3.89. I filled up and headed out. The next two stations I passed had signs with prices of 4.59 and 4.49 respectively. I heard rumors of some neighboring communities with gas in excess of 5 dollars per gallon. Now -- they are going to attribute this huge jump in price to the Hurricane. I grant you that the oil refineries will be lucky if they survive the storm. BUT -- the gas that is in the tanks at the stations today is not impacted by storm damage that has not even occurred as yet! I can only attribute the premature jump to two possible motives -- fear and greed. Some stations may fear that they won't be able to get gas next week, so they are going to try to cover potential future losses. Others, I believe, see the opportunity to gouge (Yes, I said it) the communities in which they function and hike the price for gas that they already have purchased for a lower price to new record prices. My guess is that if the motive is gree, then we can see those stations hike their prices even higher next week because "our costs took a big jump." I wish that I could convince my employer to pay me based on what my rent and utilities might be next month. I will remember the stations that are holding the line on prices for the moment and will likely give them my future business. No doubt by tomorrow or Monday at the latest even these stations will jump to new record prices, but they will do it based on what they are paying for new gas, not on what they paid for their gas on hand. The whole issue of oil and gas prices is a major issue, and I pray that we can elect some leaders who have the guts (I would have said "balls" but that might be seen as sexist) to develop a comprehensive plan and to regulate pricing. I know who I am voting for and it is NOT more of the same old song and dance -- and that not a very entertaining song and dance. I do not approve of price gouging -- come on station owners, stop practicing economic voodoo and behave responsibly. I guess I've said my piece. What's your take on the situation?

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's Coming!!

Christmas is coming! We all know that on some level, but working in a retail establishment is making that reality hit home already. I went to work the other day, and the area that up until the other day held garden ornaments is morphing into a Christmas wonderland -- just on the edge of my line of sight from the service desk there is an entire display of green garland. I woas off yesterday, so God only knows what may have appeared and what I may face when I return this afternoon. I love Christmas, but I fear that working so close to that section of the store may give me an overdose. Hope not! Hug someone today.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Food Meme

via Torn and Lemuel

1) Bold all the items you have eaten.
2) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. Venison – Not Impressed.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile – No, but have had their cousin Alligator
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue – I think so – it was cheese, so it had to be okay.
8. Carp – Again not impressed
9. Borscht –NYET!
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich – A mainstay of school lunches in my day!
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart -
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream – Yes -- once and only once – yuck
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries - Yes! Strawberries! Raspberries!
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans - Yes.
25. Brawn, or head cheese – no thanks
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters – Just can’t bring myself to it.
29. Baklava - Yes, too sweet for my taste!
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas -.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - Yes! Yes! Yes! - as long as it’s New England (cream) style. One of my fav’s – love it from Panera!!!
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut - YUCK
35. Root beer float - O my yes! But it has been so long! In a frosted glass mug at an A&W drive in. (Lemuel’s answer is so appropriate)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea -.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo - Yes, but I’ll pass. Usually too spicy for my palette.
40. Oxtail - Yes. By mistake.
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects - Not intentionally. (I’m keeping Torn’s answer here, because it is *so* right!)43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk -.
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Yes, hot from the oven –otherwise they get kind of gross
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – No – too much “stuff” on them.
56. Spaetzle - Yes,
57. Dirty gin martini – taught me I do not like gin
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips - Yes - not as good as chocolate.
61. S’mores - Yes.- not as excited by them as most folks.
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs – yes, quite tasty
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - Yes (funnel cake). A fair/carnival staple.
68. Haggis – Not in this life -- Even though it is from my ethnic history, it’s beyond my comprehension
69. Fried plantain - Yes
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill -
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie - Yes,.
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict – Can’t stand Hollandaise.
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash -.
88. Flowers – Not that I know of
89. Horse - HORSE – no; LIKE a horse – all the time
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam - Yes, when times were tough, it was a budget stretcher. A camping and trailer park staple
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish – a true bottom feeder
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox – Bagel yes; lox -- yuck.
97. Lobster Thermidor -.
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake -

Special bonus for Sociètè members:
101. Picked red beets and eggs.

I guess I am too picky an eater for this list -- a lot of this stuff I've not only not eaten, but also have not ever heard of. Ah, guess I have a lot to learn. LOL Hug someone