Category Archives: Rants

A Little Time Costs Nothing

We get 24 hours in a day. For most of us a quarter of that time is spent sleeping. that leaves 18 hours of productivity. We choose to fill that time with work, family, friends, maybe eating. But, lets be honest, most of us spend the majority of our time just wasting time. I do it, you do it. We all do it. Playing games, iPad, iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Tumblr,  Fumblr. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Amazon Not so prime (aka reading)

We waste so much of our 18 hours just wasting time. I’m not accusing. I do it too. And because we waste so much time, we often feel rushed because we feel we have so little time. Or, for some of us, looking and feeling busy is the rush we desire. I think I already wrote on this topic, maybe not, but looking busy has become a personality trait for many. I’m funny, he’s athletic, She’s always busy. (Or he’s always busy, not to judge) We rush around and we don’t have time for simple things.

I’m not talking about family, friends, watching birds and smelling flowers. Those things are cute, but the simple things I’m talking about are as follows:

1: Putting your shopping cart back in the return area. And I’m not talking about leaving it in the general area, barely touching the one in front of it, but still hanging out in the parking lot. I mean pushing it all the way down the chute and possibly even slamming it into the back of the previous one so they all lock together. It’s so tacky and annoying when I’m returning my cart and I cant even get it into the chute because everyone has just left a pile. So busy they just couldn’t give it a good shove. Who does this affect. First of all, me! Secondly the guys and girls making minimum wage fetching these carts. They should be able to hook them up in a little train and return them. Instead they spend most of their time having to push them all together. Which breaks their backs and leaves more and more shopping cart mess in the parking lot. And if you are the person who leaves your cart in the parking space next to you…. I’m coming for you!

2: Saying hello to the Walmart greeter. (This also applies to Target, Home Depot, and any other shopping center or market that employs someone usually elderly or disabled to say hello and make you feel welcome) Saying hello costs no energy and takes no time. They say hello, you say hello. Maybe smile, but its not required. Of course, I’ve lived in places where if someone says hello to you on the street, there’s a pretty good chance you are going to be leaving with less money. But, I can 99.9% assure you the Walmart greeter isn’t going to mug you or swindle you into buying them a new car. Just say hello.

3: Cleaning up the mess you made on or around your table at a restaurant. I’ve eaten with kids, and they can be messy. I’ve eaten with adults, and they can be messy. I get it. You’re having a great time eating and celebrating and throwing your bread up in the air and sometimes things will fall to the floor. But, if you are able to pick up your fork, napkin, onion ring, or 4 month old baby, that would be a great help to the servers and busboys so they don’t have to climb under the table. And if they aren’t the cleaning type so the next customer doesn’t have to step on your fork, napkin, onion ring, or 4 month old baby. It doesn’t take that much time and it’s a great help.

4: Putting clothes back on the hanger at a store. Many places employ armies whose entire job it is to put clothes away. But, you know there are other places where an hour after opening it looks like a tornado came through and knocked every article of clothing off its hanger and onto the floor or draped over the rack. It’s a disaster for the employees and future shoppers. I won’t say I’m the biggest fan of hanging up clothes, but how much time and energy does it really take to notice a shirt is the wrong size and to put it back on the hanger it came off of? This also applies to folded clothes, but I would recommend having a PhD in Foldology first.

Yes, we are busy. Some days are more rushed that others. But, if you take a little extra time to help a fellow man or woman, the world might be just a little nicer.

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People Need Turn Signals

I first had this theory a few Christmases ago when I was doing my shopping.

I was driving through the parking lot at the O’Fallon Walmart searching for a parking spot. My eyes were darting around, checking traffic, looking for spots and most of all keeping an eye on all the people walking around.

There is this rule we all know. In the hierarchy of transportation. Pedestrians have right of way over cars. It makes sense, cars are bigger than people and hitting a person with a car makes them break. I have no problem stopping and letting people cross or not following too closely if they are walking in the middle of the road. I consider myself to be very courteous.

However, this hierarchy does not give the pedestrian to act like a moron. All around the world people dart into traffic. They are walking down the sidewalk and then suddenly they cross in front of you without looking. They push their shopping carts out of the store that full speed without checking traffic. Parents don’t hold their kids hands in the parking lot and then the kid dashes to the car. If I hit one of them, it really doesn’t matter whose fault it was, the person could be seriously hurt or killed and my car will be fine.

That is why I propose that people should be required to have turn signals. Maybe some day they will be surgically installed, but for starters all we will need is a belt with lights on each side that either you activate or they sense movement to the side and signal automatically. This would allow drivers to know that the person in front of them is about to step in front of you without thinking. It could work.

Along those lines I also propose rail road style crossing gates for the entrances and exits to stores. If you want to cross the street you must first wait for the gates to open. I have actually seen a system like this. There are places in Ho Chi Minh City (Mainly in the tourist areas) where there are mechanical crossing guards, lights and a warning alarm to let the motorists know people are now free to cross the street willy nilly. It could work.

Before I close this rant I would like to take a moment to address the drivers. Every car has turn signals. They are activated by a little up and down lever on the left side of your steering wheel. You push it up to signal right and you push it down to signal left. It is a very easy process and does not cost anything to use. PLEASE USE THEM!

Every day, I come to an intersection. There is someone in the lane opposite of me. Their signals are not flashing with leads me to believe they will be driving straight. Since I am also going straight I start to pull forward only to discover their car turning left towards me. And the worst is when they get mad at me for getting in front of them. Well, awkward situations like this could be fixed if they had only used their turn signals. Of course this example is a minor annoyance. There are plenty other times when not using signals cause accidents. Changing lanes right into someone, slamming into someone’s rear because they didn’t signal and therefore did not notify the driver that they were going to slow down for the turn. My wife tells me nobody in Missouri uses them, its just the way things are here. But I say they are in cars for a reason people.

USE THEM!

Thank you, that is all 🙂

Nothing’s On

I pretty much gave up  on the TV world a year ago. That is when my wife and I said good bye to cable and satellite and started watching all our programming live on demand via Netflix and Hulu. It was a financial decision. Our provider was hiking up our rates and we chose to get off the crazy train.

Besides, most of the stuff on TV was lame anyway, and there isn’t much you can’t get on Netflix and Hulu. We were giving up sports on ESPN, but it wasn’t going to kill us. My wife and I are binge show watchers anyway. We finished all of “Heroes” in a week and “Crossing Jordan” in a week and a half. BTW.. any suggestions on our next show will be greatly appreciated.

But last night while visiting the In-Laws we watched our first dose of broadcast television in a while. While we were watching the newly relaunched “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (Not as good as the original) we saw the lineup of new shows coming to the networks this fall…

NOT IMPRESSED!

What I saw was the re-branding and regurgitating of the same TV show ideas that they try every year which all ultimately fail. The mismatched families, the strange offices, the girl who gets pregnant from the loser, some performance based reality show. Seen them all before. Remember “Skating with the stars”? wasn’t that a great idea?

Every once in a while you will get a “Modern Family” or “How I Met Your Mother”.. I thought “House” was a fine program. And what all those shows have in common is that they have characters that you care about. You want to know what they will be up to next week, you know and love their mannerisms and you can point out their favorite moments. I don’t want to be negative.. but I just don’t see me falling in love with any of the characters on these upcoming shows.

I think we need to get a panel together that focuses on the quality of TV programs. If people like the shows, they get on TV.. if its lame jokes and “comedy at the lowest denominator” (as I call it) then the show will never see the light of day.

Television executives! We desire quality programming that is built to last. And not another telling of The Real Housewives.

Thank you!

Coffee: Black and Beautiful

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I LOVE COFFEE!

The nectar of the gods. Smells great, looks great, tastes great! Wakes you up in the morning and relaxes you in the afternoon. It really is an amazing discovery for humankind. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else on this Earth.

When I think of the most relaxed times I have had, it always involves coffee. Sitting in a cafe, on my porch, on the beach. Coffee has always been there with me.

Coffee lead me to one of the most important times in my life. Working at a charity coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The place is called Sozo and they helped and employed street kids and their families. Give them life skills and some money in their pockets. And if we could keep them out of gangs and off drugs, that was nice as well. I worked there and ran their student center for a year. How did I end up there in the first place? Coffee. Their Cafe Da (Ice Coffee) was so good I was a regular customer and one day they gave me the keys to the front door.

I like my coffee black and bitter. There is no other way to drink it. It drives me crazy when people fill their cups with creams, caramel, syrups and foam. The more things you add to your cup, the less space you have for coffee. And isn’t that what you came to buy in the first place? I brew my own and add twice the amount of grounds in relation to water. If you can see light through your pot, you haven’t made it right.

In college my WDUB metal coffee mug was my most prized possession. I had it with me at all times and it was always filled. Who needs to fall asleep anyway? Coffee and I could never be apart.

I am not a fan of Starbucks coffee, but I am a fan of Starbucks. I love the overall image of the place. From the Mermaid logo to their quest for world domination. I had the documentary about the history of Starbucks saved on my DVR for years until I got rid of cable. I just love that a small business in Seattle could become an international brand on the wings of coffee.

If I went to Washington I would push for legislation to start the import of coffee from Vietnam. Because you have not tasted coffee until you have tried a slow drip from the highlands of Vietnam. The story is the country was trying to kick their national heroin habit, so they started growing coffee. It is that good!

In closing. I love coffee.

Now I am going to have another cup.

I Want A Riot

Do you know what America needs? A good soccer riot. A mass of people out in the street flipping cars and breaking windows because their team won or lost. This is something that needs to define life in America.

Of course, I am speaking tongue in cheek.

I do not ever want to see the people of Pittsburgh trashing their fine steel built city when their Penguins get swept by the Boston Bruins. But I still like the idea.

Overseas, it would seem that fans of sports teams are a little more loyal and driven by their team’s wins and losses. If Manchester United falls to their rival Manchester City, or Liverpool loses to Chelsea their fans go nuts. Whether they go out on the town and start wrecking havoc is not important, just that they actually care.

Americans love their sports teams. Personally when my Ohio State Buckeyes play the rival Michigan Wolverines I am filled with excitement. And when the Buckeyes win, I am very quick to find any Michigan fan and rub it in their face. There are plenty of other fans and their rivalries that cause over the top reactions to the games and I support them.

I just wish that as a country, we would care just a little more.

Not so much about collegiate or professional sports, but sports on the international level. Namely the World Cup, World Baseball Classic, and the Olympics.

I just don’t think we Americans get excited enough for International play. I understand that during the Cold War, we had the Soviets to root against, which lead to some really great sporting events. And that today we really don’t have that kind of rivalry. We currently dislike the likes of North Korea and Iran, but neither one of them are really a challenge on the athletic field.

Maybe we need to come up with a new rivalry. Just call out some random country and throw down the gauntlet. “Hey Argentina! We are coming for you!”

During the last World Baseball Classic my Korean students were losing their minds. It didn’t matter if Korea was playing Japan or England, they were fired up for their team the whole time. Let me ask my American readers. Did you even know the World Baseball Classic even existed? My guess is, no.

We just don’t seem to care. Even on the biggest stage of the Olympics, we aren’t all that excited. Sure, we go nuts for Gabrielle Douglas in Gymnastics and Micheal Phelps on the pool, but other than those sports which get the most coverage, did anyone watch or even care about any other events? Were we on the edge of our seats when the Women’s Water Polo team faced Croatia? Did we stand up to cheer for our six man rowing team? Because I can assure you, the fans of the country we were facing did.

America is an amazing country with a proud history. We have some of the best athletes in the world and the overall lead in Olympic medals, but as a country we take it for granted. I want to see this change in the near future. And when the American pistol shooting team settles for the Silver against South Africa, I want to see a riot!

10:23?

I have a question for everyone out there in TV Land… What time does McDonald’s stop serving breakfast?
Everyone knows this answer: 10:30.

Then why is it that I was denied service of my chicken biscuit at 10:23?

Let me tell you my tale of woe.

I drove up to the McDonald’s on Lake Saint Louis Blvd. Wednesday morning with an order of a nutritious breakfast for me and my beautiful wife. I rounded the corner and to my delight I saw that nobody was waiting in line. I drove up to the speaker box and looked at their trendy new brown breakfast menu which is not their lunch menu because they go out and flip it exactly at 10:30. The conversation goes as follows.

Voice: Welcome to McDonald’s, would you like to try our mocha hot chocolate?

Me: Not today, Ahhhhhh.. I’d like a chicken biscuit…

Voice: We are serving lunch now.

Me: But it’s 10:23

Voice: We are serving lunch now.

Me: I still have 7 minutes until you are supposed to stop serving.

(Long Pause)

Voice: We are serving lunch now, would you like to order from the lunch menu.
(Keep in mind the lunch menu IS NOT BEING DISPLAYED RIGHT NOW!)

Me: Talk to you later

I then drove off and looked in the window and the lady I was talking to was glaring at me and waved me off.

I would like to tell you this was the first time this has happened at this particular McDonald’s but it is not.
This was the 3rd time, and the other stories are just as good.

Time #1

I arrived at the McDonald’s on Lake Saint Louis Blvd with an order of a nutritious breakfast for me and my beautiful wife.
This was a Saturday so there was a line, but it was 10:18 so I had plenty of time.
I slowly worked my way through the drive thru line and was waiting for my turn to talk into the little magic box.
The front of my car was already parallel with the box but my window was not in speaking distance. But, it was okay, I still had 8 minutes.
And there I sat in the same spot for 8 minutes. The car at the window was waiting for their food the whole time. Suddenly at 10:30 a door swung open and a girl ran out and flipped the menu around to the lunch side. Just as she did that the car moved and I was able to move the 2 feet needed to speak into the box.

Voice: Welcome to McDonald’s, would you like to try a Double Cheeseburger?

Me: Do you still have breakfast?

Voice: We are serving lunch now.

Me: But I have been waiting in line for the last 12 minutes.

Voice: We stop serving breakfast at 10:30.

Time #2

My beautiful wife and I arrived at the Lake Saint Louis Blvd McDonald’s. We went inside this time because we were going on a little road trip to the city.
There was a small line inside but it was okay, we still had 10 minutes.
So we stood in line, and we quickly realized that the line was not moving and there was nobody working at the counter.
But this is okay, because that just means everyone was working on making food for their loyal customers.

Finally the girl comes back and looks at the line, and looks at the clock.. 5 min remaining. So what does she do?
Does she jump up and make sure everyone gets their orders in before 10:30?
NOPE
She then turns around and starts to make more coffee, slowly scooping it while watching the minutes tick by until they don’t have to grill any more sausage. The time went down, and breakfast was over.

I used to defend the McDonald’s on Lake Saint Louis Blvd. They were new and they had a few mistakes in the beginning, but I knew everything would work out.

Sometimes I am wrong.

Why is it that so many people get so worked up about this 10:30 deadline? It has been in TV shows, Movies, and stand up comedy.
People want their breakfast and they want it now!

McDonald’s, you need to see this problem and make some changes.. like hold breakfast until 11:00

Me: I want a chicken biscuit

Voice: We stop serving breakfast at 11

DRAT!

Customer Service

As you know, one of my biggest subjects is customer service.
Its an archaic kind of saying, but the customer is always right, and as an employee you should be willing to do whatever is needed to improve the customer’s experience at your establishment.
It doesn’t matter what kind of day you are having, it doesn’t matter what time it is, it really shouldn’t matter how annoying the customer is (But lets be polite people).

However, I have a customer service gripe from this morning.

I had to race to work today to save the world (Because that is what I do) and I did not get my breakfast. After I put out all the fires I went down to a local eating establishment that specializes in custom made sandwiches. (Know the one?)
I must have been the first customer in that morning because the staff was not 100% ready to serve me and the annoyed look on the server’s face told me that she was not mentally prepared either.

After throwing some things together and slamming things on the counter she asked me (more of a mumble) what I wanted.
I proudly announced that I wanted a steak and cheese melt on an English Muffin.
She seemed even more annoyed that she had to cut the muffin in half to accommodate the steak and cheese.
After putting everything together and making sure to throw away the extra piece of cheese she accidently put on instead of just giving me some bonus cheese, she put my muffin in the oven to complete the melting portion of the “melt”.

There must have been an earthquake or something because while the muffin was cooking the melted cheese managed to slide off the meat and on to the paper. She pulled the muffin out and with her own eyes saw that the cheese had departed from the rest of the creation. She paused, glanced at me, and then proceeded to wrap the half complete English Muffin in white paper.

I am not a habitual complainer, but if the melted part of my “melt” is missing from the “melt” I feel it is my right to say something.
I announced to my server “Dear woman, It would appear that the cheese of pepper jack seems to be on the paper and not on the muffin, would you mind awfully adding another slice of cheese?”

She gave me a look of “You’re going to be that guy, eh?” and added another piece of cheese, and proceeded to NOT put it back in the toaster, but instead back in the cheesy paper. I said to her: “Dear woman, I would much appreciate it if you would kindly melt the new slice of cheese.” She opened the paper, which had since transferred the melted cheese to the top of my English Muffin. And melted the new slice.

I will not go into her reaction to my choice of veggies, but I will say she did not look like she was a fan.

The moral of the story is that, if you aren’t going to put any effort into your work, then maybe you should not be employed.

Until Facebook can pay us all for making random posts of cats, we all still need to be a part of the working community and we need to be more communal.

Thank you for your time.