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Monday, February 27, 2006

That Busy Guy

You go to pick up your office mail from the mail kiosk. You casually glance at your coworkers' mailboxes. There is always at least one box that is completely overstuffed. It looks like the person has not bothered to pick up their mail since 1986. You would think that this is the mailbox of the Sales Director for Asia who only comes into the office every six months. But it's not. It's the mailbox of somebody who comes in every day. You even see him walk by the mailbox every now and then, but he NEVER stops to pick up his mail.

What is up with that? Was this guy actually layed-off in 1993 but is still working because he never picked up his pink slip? Does this guy know that the dental plan changed last year? How does he function without ever reading his mail?

That really stuffs my envelope.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Why Bother

You are on the phone with a salesperson or a customer service agent and they are going to send you something by email, or perhaps snail email. They ask you to spell your name. You spell it for them very slowly and carefully. You get your email or package and there is your name, spelled incorrectly.

Why Bother?

Friday, February 17, 2006


We are giving away all of our money in dribs and drabs called monthly fees. There is the cell phone, satellite radio, magazine subscriptions, TiVo, and the champion of all -- Onstar.

As bad as it is to pay a monthly fee for something that you will probably never need and is mostly redundant with a cell phone, the real rant here is Onstar's fear-based marketing. Even before 9/11, companies were acutely aware of the concept that fear sells. Onstar has taken this to a new level. I think we have all heard these commercials on radio and TV:

Onstar: This is Onstar.
Desperate Woman: I locked my keys in the car with my baby, and it is sinking in a lake and on fire! Also, I have a headache.
Onstar: OK, calm down and give me your VIN number.
DW: T36882402895458216829
Onstar: OK, you're all set. The doors are unlocked and I put some aspirin in the glove compartment.
DW: Thank you, OnStar!

So now I am a bad parent and can't sleep at night because I am not protected by Onstar. I think the commercials should really go more like this:

Onstar: This is Onstar
Desperate Woman: Help! My kids are driving me nuts, and we really need a vacation.
Onstar: OK, let me connect you with Travel Services. How much money do you have?
DW: Uh, none. We're actually in debt.
Onstar: You know, if you didn't sign up for Onstar 12 years ago you'd have enough for a Mediterranean Cruise.
DW: Oh.
Onstar: I went ahead and unlocked your car. You should go trade it in for a Hyundai.

That really pushes my button.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cell-Phone Rave!

I suppose that I can't call this a rant and RAVE blog unless I actually rave about something (I prefer to rant).

For many months, I have been suggesting that it would be wonderful if your cell phone could connect to the internet through a Wi-Fi connection. There are so many Wi-Fi hot spots, why bother using the cell towers when you are in an urban area? You will get better reception and reduce your phone bill, especially if you have a VOIP account like Vonage.

Many of my friends thought I was nuts. "There is no way the cell phone providers would provide that capability, it cuts into their business." If that were true, I should have gone into business making Wi-Fi phones. However, I would have been trumped by the big boys. All the major carriers are about to provide Wi-Fi capable phones (see link). So there, nay-sayers.

That really vibrates my handset!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mall Depression

I only had two goals for my trip to the mall this weekend; eat lunch and buy sneakers.

Walking along, I passed Lady Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker until I arrived at Foot Locker, my sneaker-purchasing destination. Yes, there were three Foot Locker stores in a row. The first pair of sneakers I looked at in Foot Locker appeared feminine. I glanced up and saw that I was in the Ladys section. Ladys section? They have a whole store of ladys sneakers next door. I glanced over and saw a kids section as well. Sigh. I walked over to the mens sneakers. I found a pair I liked. They were in the "Classics" section. I felt old. At least I wasn't wearing black socks.

I went to the food court to get a burger. The menu was a picture menu of 4 different mouth watering burgers I could select from. All of them were topped with yummy seasame seed buns... at least, in the pictures they were. My burger was delivered in a plain, seedless bun. In fact, everybodys's burger was seedless. Fraud! I thought about complaining to the manager. It may only be a few seeds, but how dare they swell my hopes with false visions? I felt a little better after eating the burger (it was good) and decided to just rant on the blog and then move on with my life.

That really burns my buns.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Want McFries, Please

Have you ever gone to McDonald's and been told that they are out of fries? Or to KFC and been told it will be 20 minutes for extra crispy chicken? There was this one KFC/Taco Bell I used to go to that would occassionaly be "out of Taco Bell". Out of Taco Bell? OUT OF TACO BELL? Savages!

How poorly managed do you have to be to run out of the stuff you sell every day? Why wouldn't every McDonald's keep at least a week's worth of fries stored in the freezer at all times? Don't these people realize that the only reason I ever walk into their establishment is because I have some undeniable craving for some specific junk food?

That really fries my potato.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Perils of Stock Ownership

When you buy a stock or mutual fund, you get a fancy prospectus with all sorts of exciting information. But no where in there do they warn you about any of these annoying things that are about to start happening after you purchase shares:

- You will be getting letters about once a month to announce to you the important fact that "We are happy to announce the following change to our Board of Directors: Replaced H. Whitworth Shipley with Woodruff Alabaster Bigglesby"

- You will be getting letters about once a year to announce "Widget Co. is happy to announce the spinoff of Widget Inc. and the merger of Widget Trust. you will receive 0.018 shares of common stock for each share of Widget Co. unless you inform us otherwise before March 1. Otherwise, your holdings will be converted to dividend shares. For additional information, please consult your tax attorney." (My tax attorney?)

- You will be getting letters about once every three years to announce "A class action lawsuit has been filed for all stockholders who purchased shares between July 9, 1994 and April 6, 1997. Please send all paperwork from that period to the above address. At the completion of the litigation, you may receive an amount between $0.04 and $0.07 per share unless you opt out of the settlement."

- You will get a thick envelope once per quarter with a quarterly report explaining that the reason the fund lost 4% while the benchmark went up 6% is that there were instabilities in the Middle East that affected the price of oil.

That really licks my envelope.