There Ought to be a Law

imageOne of the biggest complaints that I have at this time of the year, sorry make that a collection of complaints, comes from the retail industry. It’s bad enough that Christmas decorations were going up in October and Home Depot was selling Christmas trees when I was still hoping to buy leaf bags, but I feel bad for the people who have to work on Thanksgiving and at weird hours throughout the holiday season. Unfortunately, these complaints don’t fit with the title, because there used to be laws but they have long been repealed. I can’t complain, but I can ignore – I won’t be shopping, in person or on-line on holidays like Thanksgiving. On the other hand, there are some things that should be outlawed:

Stuff that looks official but isn’t – We get these offers imageall the time. “Your warrantee is expiring” “You must call within 48 hours” “Your credit rating might suffer” – yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s all fake. It’s all just plain evil marketing by people who prey on people who are easily confused or less technically or legally savvy or just in a hurry. I’m sure it’s all just this side of the line drawn in the law, but that doesn’t make it right. The sad thing is: they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work.

Subscription renewals into the future – Magazines should not be allowed to even offer you the ability to extend your subscription beyond 12 months unless they are discounting the cost (of the subscription, not the newsstand price) 50% or more. They also should not be able to offer to extend your subscription without telling you in big bold letters, exactly when your current subscription expires.

Go green for free – Hotels that want to encourage you to “save the environment” should not be able to do so without also offering to share the savings. I pay the same price if I reuse my towels and crawl back between the same sheets as I do if I demand all new everything every day. While my willingness to wipe down with a day-old towel might be saving the planet from the by-products of turning clean water into waste-water, it’s saving the hotel money. Share that savings with me, or give it to a charity.

Free stuff – Keep the perfume samples out of my credit card bill. Keep the anti-virus 30-day trial off my new pc and keep Sirius Radio out of my car. I actually asked the dealer not to activate Sirius Radio when I bought my car. The salesman said “we can do that” but they didn’t (not activated it, sorry for the double negative). Worse than having that service active for a year is the unbelievable effort it takes to let the free term expire.

“Your free subscription is expiring”

“Yes, I know, that’s fine. I don’t listen to it and I don’t want it”

“So, if I understand you correctly, you would like us to extend the free service for 60 more days while you decide”

That snippet is from an actual call that lasted 20 minutes, and ended with bad language.

Common courtesy – Should be required. A woman I used imageto know was fond of saying “how about a little C here?” meaning courtesy. I’m not talking about holding doors or letting drivers merge in front of you. I’m talking about not parking so close to my car that I can’t open my door, leaving the paper towels you used on the floor of the common bathroom and leaving your food in the common toaster while you answer a phone call. While we’re talking about food…

Who are you protecting – I have tweeted something similar to this on numerous occasions:

“When the clerk puts on gloves to make the sandwich for the guy ahead of me, rings him up, takes his money, gives him his change and then makes my sandwich; the only thing that’s being protected are the clerk’s hands.”

This goes for the tissue at the donut shop that is left surrounding my donut in the bag and the plastic bag you brought your lunch to work in that you placed in the common refrigerator.

Employees can’t be Mayor – OK, this is a petty first-world problem but it’s of the era. Employees at places like bars and restaurants shouldn’t be allowed to be the Mayor on Foursquare (I told you it was petty). Foursquare should have a special category for staff, and they should allow a Staff Mayor and a Customer Mayor to be selected.

Cell Phones usage on planes – I know, this is still not allowed, but it should never be allowed. I don’t want to wake up someday and find that the same bozos that thought that shopping on Thanksgiving was a good idea shoved handfuls of money into the pockets of the politicians that control air travel. I have been on trains where people are using cell phones. Not only are they loud, but they tend to call multiple people, to tell them the same non-urgent message. If you ever have the chance to voice your opinion on this subject, please vote against it.

That’s it for today. I’m sure there are other things I want to establish laws about or against, but I’ll stop at 8 for now.

19 thoughts on “There Ought to be a Law

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  1. One more for your collection Dan . . . I refuse to use a “self checkout” lane in any store until they give me a discount for saving THEM money by not having to staff that checkout register. If I have to do their work for them, I should get an additional discount . . . period.


    1. I usually use the self checkout line just so that I can do it “my way”. That’s the savings for me. At least at my local Star market, the inane banter isn’t good enough with the real people to make it worth using their lanes. Plus, the “real” lanes usually have longer lines!


      1. Sounds like you’re buying more than beer and chips. I do more shopping at Home Depot than a grocery store and the self-serve almost always can’t figure something out, forcing me to wait for the real clerk.


    1. They are trying to learn from the banks. They laid off tellers, stopped processing checks, stopped sending statements, stopped building branches but charge us to use an ATM. And, they try to offer less protection for Debit Cards than they are required by law to offer for Credit cards.


      1. And let us not forget that banks originally _charged us_ for the privilege of using ATM machines rather than interact with their tellers! Making us pay to save them money is about the only thing I can think of that’s worse than not sharing the savings with us. Humbug!


        1. You’re right Steve. I had forgotten about that. How generous they’ve become allowing us to access our money and process out own transactions for free (unless we use a different bank).


  2. So, comments piled in before I was able to post the explanation of the pictures – here they are: This was the scene at Home Depot on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I stopped in at 6:15 am (on my way to work) simply to avoid having to go near this store anytime during the weekend after Thanksgiving.
    The envelope is an offer to extend the warranty on my wife’s car, which is in no danger of expiring. Nothing in the letter is accurate, but I could see an elderly person falling for something like this. I hate to imagine what the phone call would be like if I called or worse yet, if I bought it and ever tried to file a claim.
    Below that is a coworker’s sad waffle, waiting in line at the toaster behind toast that is getting cold in the absence of its owner.


  3. Some great entries here, Dan! What I hate is getting an offer to renew a subscription when I’m only a couple of months into a year-long one. Yeah, I get it, people need to be reminded more than once, but come ON. And those detachable (and loose) cards in the magazines — ugh. The FIRST thing I do is pull them all out. I hate how they make you keep flipping to certain spots. Anyway, good list!


  4. Agreed , agreed ! I can relate , especially , to the /Sirius Radio thing . Cell phone use on planes ? People on cell phones 1. usually talk louder than if it were in person , and 2. talk non- stop . If it were in person there would be pauses . But , on the phone , no pauses .


    1. Thanks, and thanks for following. BTW, I read the Christmas story on your blog and I sent a link to my wife. We are currently training our 4th Irish Setter puppy in slightly over 30 years. Each loss has been difficult, each puppy has been precious and each day with an Irish Setter has been interesting.


  5. You hit my #1 pet pieve….clerks wearing gloves when preparing food, handling money, etc. They missed something in the safety in- service. Self protection only. YIKES


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