Monthly Archives: April 2008

Getting grandfathered-in isn’t always a good idea!

Our cell phone carrier “grandfathered us in” with a cellular package about 3 years ago. We were getting a great deal back then, and were quite happy with it.

Today, we noticed that almost $500 came out of our account for our monthly cellular usage for 2 phones. After visiting the cellular provider’s website, we learned that our base cost of our grandfathered-in packages is almost double what they should be…

In the last 3 years, the cellular market has become a lot more competitive, and cheaper to provide since the network infrastructure has already been built.

This means we’ve been overpaying over the last year or two, significantly more than we could be, if we would have just reviewed our cellular bills and compare them to the latest cell phone plans out there.

But who has time to do that?

Well I learned my lesson this time. I’ve probably overspent about $1,000 as a result of my mistake.

Now I’m sharing this with you too. If you haven’t reviewed your cell phone bills and what the newest calling plans are with your provider, maybe you should. Otherwise you may find yourself in the same situation as us..

Funny weather: Vegetable Garden is dead!

This year I decided not to plant a vegetable garden. I usually plant tomatoes ever year among other things..

However this spring has been the weirdest weather pattern ever. We keep going to  very cold and windy temperatures, way too much rain. The ground is too cold, and this means that plants will suffer and will lead to a very late harvest, maybe even too late, where the plants frost over before their fruit is ready to be picked.

Is this funny weather something that will happen every year now that Global Warming is here? (By the way, global warming doesn’t just mean warm weather. It can also mean weird weather patterns, like snow in the desert)

If this weather is so horrible for my home vegetable garden, this means commerical growers are going to have a hard time too. Expect your fruits and vegetables to cost a lot more in the stores this year if this is widespread.

I imagine summer will eventually get here, and then I will regret not starting my seedlings, but I’m going to wait this year out and see how it goes. There is always next year. ūüôā

Keno Odds are horrible! Why play at all?

Keno use to be one of my most favourite games. It was easy enough to play, and you always “came close” to your number, giving you that false hope that your only a number or two a way from htting it big.

At a nearby casino, I examined their multiple keno game plays, all costing different amounts. I took home the card and did some research on the internet to find out what my best odds would be, for a certain dollar played in order to get a nice profit if I won.

I took a look at this Keno odds chart and I was very shocked to see certain combinations are extremely hard to hit.

For instance, if you bought a $5 Keno ticket, where you picked 6 numbers, and your payouts would be:

Match 6 numbers, win $6,000
match 5 numbers, win  $275
Match 4 numbers, win $35
Match 3 numbers, win $5
Match 2 numbers, win nothing
Match 1  number, win nothing

You might think, well, $5 isn’t too expensive if I can win $275, even $6,000!

Let’s look at your odds now:

Match 6 numbers, you have 0.1% chance of a win (Buy $38,755 worth (7,751 tickets x $5 ea) you are bound to win once)
Match 5 numbers, you have 0.3% chance of a win (Buy $1,610 worth (322 tickets x $5 ea) you are bound to win once)
Match 4 numbers, you have 2.8% chance of a win (Buy $170 worth (34 tickets x $5 ea) you are bound to win once)
Match 3 numbers, you have 12.9% chance of a win (Buy $35 worth ($7 tickets x $5 ea) you are bound to win once)
Match 2 numbers, win nothing, 31% chance
Match 1  number, win nothing, 36% chance
Match 0 numbers, win nothing, 16 chance

So those are your wonderful keno odds. Buy a $5 pick-6 ticket, and there is a 83% chance you will win absolutely nothing.

There is a 13% chance you will win your $5 ticket cost back.

That’s 96% of the time, you will either lose, or only win your money back.

This is why people go broke playing Keno. Lot of fun, isn’t it?

Funny Walmart Story: Customer service return.

I recently met a very old lady who is 72 and she said for 15 years she worked in the customer service department at Walmart.

She said she dealt with a lot of customer complaints. Often customers would start getting very loud and obnoxious toward her, and she would cool them off by saying things like “oh, I agree with you. If I had any idea that they made the product like this, I wouldn’t have sold it to you myself”

That would usually crack a smile with the customer, and she’d process the refund.

One day a troubled woman came into the store, and said “I have to return these bed sheets I bought. They were suppose to be for my son, and it turns out that he can’t possibly use them”

Interested, the customer service clerk said “oh dear, why, what is wrong with them?”

The troubled woman replied “My son has severe allergies to flowers”, and then she pointed at the floral pattern printed on the sheets. These could be dangerous to him.

Now, I’m not sure if:

a) This actually happened

b) If this was her interpretation, and not what was exactly said

But I will tell you that this 72 year old lady shares this story often.

Women and how they find work around the house.

 Now, as a man, if the grass is uncut, I see that as obvious, and that it needs to be cut.

If I see a tree that is growing into the power lines, it needs to be pruned.

Finally if I  see dirty dishes in the sink, I know they must be cleaned.

A woman, on a bright sunny day sipping on a drink in the back¬† yard will look over and say “um, hun, do you really like that large decorative rock here? Wouldn’t it look better in that corner?”¬† She won’t rest until you move that 200 pound rock to the other corner.

After lounging around, you both walk toward the house, and she says “you know, I think the color of that door should be changed. Why don’t we paint it X color instead of what it is now?”

“Fine, you say, we’ll do that later”

You walk into the house and she goes into the living room, sits down, and turns on the TV. “Um, hun, can you help me move that big chair over to this corner? I hate moving it when we close the drapes. Oh, and by the way, I want to change those drapes and make them into blinds instead, we should do that soon”

Women can find work in strange places, and once they think of it, it never leaves their minds until it’s done. Why worry about such silly things? But the way their minds work is much different then that of their male counterparts.

Men want simple lives, are happy with simple things, and only need to take care of obvious things that stick out.

Women love detailed lives, are not happy until every last detail is taken care of, and need to take care of every last detail to temporarily be happy. When they finally reach that utopia of being happy, they immediately think they are missing “something”, and start inventing new details, and new things that have to be taken care of…

Life is funny that way.

Bar / Pub / Club tabs – Always pay cash!

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. We use to visit this local bar / tavern / pub, whatever you call it where you live.¬† We’d casually meet there one night a week for some fun with a bunch of friends.

On average, the two of us spend about $40 to $60 a night for drinks, which is tolerable. However when we began running a tab at this pub, every night our bill would range between $80 to $120.

We would notice that drink specials were being charged at REGULAR prices. Also the odd phantom drink would appear. If you ordered 4 beers, inevitably 5 would show up on the tab by the end of the night.

We couldn’t prove it, so we simply stopped running bar tabs and paying cash for each drink.

Ever since¬†we went back to the pay cash per drink method, our bar tabs are back down to the standard $40 to $60 a night. Now before you start thinking “hey buddy, maybe since it was on a tab, you were drinking more than you thought” etc..

Here’s the clincher: Everytime we order a drink, the waitress says “ok, so I’ll start a tab?” No, we make it clear we would like to pay for our drinks as they come. She brings us another round “ok, start that tab now?” — No, we’re happy with the pay-per-drink model.

If we order 4 or 5 rounds, she will constantly ask us if she can start a tab with enthusiasm, and when we say no, she frowns and walks away.

STOP ripping off the customers with bar tabs!

I have a feeling that this doesn’t just happen here, but it happens in a lot of places… As the night goes on, they figure your too drunk or buzzed to notice, so why not pad the bill? Not only does it bring in more cash for the bar, but it also raises the final total, which usually results in a larger tip.

I’m glad we caught on to this one before it went too far.¬† How about you?

TV Ads: If she can do it, you can do it?

¬†I’m getting sick and tired of hearing that TV commercial for a career college that says “if she can do it, then you can do it” call now.

Well, I’m a man.¬† If she can menstruate, does that man I can menstruate too? If she can get pregnant can I?¬† Well then that basically shows us that the phrase “if she can do it, you can do it” does NOT hold true. So stop saying it?

Just because someone can do something, it does NOT mean you can do it too. So use a different stupid cliche or phrase on your TV ads, because I am sick of hearing this same one again and again and again.

The customer is always right. Please forget it, it’s not true.

No one is always right.

So please stop referring to the phrase “The customer is always right”. We are plagued with this stupid marketing slogan that was used back in 1909 from Harry Gordon Selfridge as part of his marketing campaign.

Enough already.

It’s obvious that there are some really stupid customers out there. There is even more greedy shady people, posing as customers who deliberately try to get what they are not entitled to, meanwhile the rest of us pay for it in our normal prices.¬† For example, a customer complains his meal wasn’t hot enough, goes back into the fast food restaurant and walks out with an extra free food item. Yes, that item was free to the customer who was actually just trying to get a freebie, but the rest of us pay for it the next time we order something because the cost gets factored back in…

The customer is always right, just leads to abuse by customers. It happens everyday. Customers cannot be trusted. Have you ever had a legitimate complaint about some product or service, and when you bring it to a staff members attention, they kind of look at you sidewise with one eye open larger, thinking “yeaahhh right…”. As soon as you begin talking, they are already discounting everything you say in their mind, because they’ve met the scammer customer before, and they think you might be one of them too.

Customers ruin it for other customers. So how can we possibly say that the customer is always right?

Here’s my complaint. I can’t stop hearing that phrase from people. It’s everywhere and used to this day. But this is exactly happens to these cliche phrases, THEY NEVER DIE.

This is why I can’t put all my eggs in one basket.¬† (I don’t keep eggs in baskets at all, I use egg cartons)

It’s why whats good for my goose, is good for the gander. (I don’t have a goose, don’t want one, and I could careless what is good for a gander of geese).

Let’s start inventing some *NEW* fresh cliche phrases, shall we? Help me think of some!

How about…

Run a Google search, find a spammer. Run several searches, find even more spammers”¬† … hmm sounds dumb right? Well so does “The customer is always right” so if you can accept that cliche, you should be able to be happy with mine.

Do you see my point? Cliche phrases really aren’t all that useful.¬† If you pick them apart and analyse them, they really hold us back from using our heads to think about situations.

The fact that an “apple does not fall far from the tree” does not mean that because your weird uncle is in jail, that the rest of you are prone to being in jail too. An apple and a tree, have nothing to do with a weird uncle and yourself. Do you see the point?

¬†I bet you could write an entire story with cliches… Would make a good school project.

My uncle was in a store trying to return something he stole for cash. He told the cashier that the customer is always right, and he demanded a refund. The cashier looked at him, and said sorry sir, but you appear to be a little wet behind the ears, we saw you steal that item on our security camera.

My uncle looked at her and said “you’re not going to hang me out to dry” are you?

She said, sir, “your ass is grass” and “you’re all washed up“, I’m sorry but “your name is mud”. I’m calling security.

He replied, look, “i’m hungry as a horse“. I know “you have an axe to grind”¬† with me, but would you please let me off of this one?

She looked at him sternly and said¬†ok, I’m going to “hold out the olive branch” for you and “I’m going to let this slide.” Just be very careful to “not look a gift horse in the mouth” ok?

My uncle just smiled, and that’s the end of the story.

Now, if I did it right, the story was suppose to sound dumb and stupid. This happened because of the heavy use of old stale cliche phrases. I tried to make my point, and if I didn’t…

“Oh well shit happens.”

Censoring movies on TV: Why bother?

I am personally not a fan of unnecessary foul language, profanity, cussing and swearing. However, there are times that it needs to be used in movies to go with the scene.

If you’ve seen the movie Scarface starring Al Pacino then you know that some of those scenes have heavy amounts of foul language in them, and for good reason. He plays a poor, uneducated refugee who turns to crime to earn enough money to live the American dream.

So, as a result, he uses a lot of profanity in the movie, it just goes with his character.

Now if you take Tony Montana and change his quotes..

FROM THIS: “I’m Tony Montana! You fuck wit me, you fuckin’ wit da best!”

TO THIS: “I’m Tony Montana! You mess wit me, you fool wit da best!”

It just takes the whole drama out of the scene, tones it right down, and makes Tony Montana sound like someone you would want to bring home and introduce him to your parents.

(Well actually, I think we’d all like to bring Al Pacino home, since he’s a star, and introduce him to everyone we know, but that’s not the point)

I can usually tolerate a language censored move on TV for about 15 minutes before I finally give up and flip the channel.

What sparked this tonight, is that I was watching the movie Christine tonight and it was the scene where he meets Will Darnell played by Robert Prosky. He’s a character in the movie who owns a dirty run down salvage yard. He smokes cigars, spits regularly, wears old filthy clothes, looks like he hasn’t bathed in a week.. A real awful person.

But on the censored version of the movie, this guy sounds as sweet as pie as he politely puts Arnie in his place by supposedly talking down to him.

It totally ruins the movie, especially when you’ve seen it before.

So let’s take a look at this problem:

People who have never seen the movie before, are bound to be put off at the “poor acting” which basically refers to a horrible script when you edit out the true conversation and replace it with flowery, polite ways of talking.

Censored movies on TV ruin it for people who have already seen the movie.

Censored movies on TV ruin it for people who are seeing the movie for the first time too.

So why bother to put them on? Either raise the tolerance level, or don’t show the movie at all. They are so worried about Al Pacino using profanity on Scarface, but it’s okay to show him snorting cocaine, or shooting people, etc.

It’s such a stupid double standard, why do we tolerate it?

Life is Funny.

Soda: Cheap Plastic, Thin Cardboard, and a MESS!

I’ve just discovered that¬†Diet Coke appears to be using a thinner plastic on 2L bottles. Traditionally I could pour a brand new 2L¬†soda pop¬†into a glass using only one hand. But now when you try to do it, the plastic buckles and the bottle starts bending.

I found this news article which says that Coke is using 5% less plastic in order to help stop global warming.

From my experience, it looks like a lot less than 5% has been removed from the new bottles.¬† I know since we’re talking about Global warming, we should be tolerant of these things…

But when I’m carrying a 12 pack of soda pop from the grocery store to my car, and the cardboard rips and pop cans start flying everywhere.. I think we’ve gone a little too far.¬†

…AND… here is the biggest question…

These soda pop maufacturers are using less plastic and less cardboard [for global warming reasons], but if they are using LESS, shouldn’t we be paying LESS too ?¬† If I have to go through the aggrivation of spilling my plastic bottle pop, or chasing cans rolling around in the parking lot, shouldn’t I also gain the benefit of cheaper packaging materials in my cost?

Here is a case where the soda pop maker WINS, and Global Warming “apparently” wins, and the rest of all lose.

I’m tired of cheap plastic bottles, thin cardboard boxes, and the mess it creates.

Scratch ‘n Win odds: Let’s get the truth

If any of you play the occasional scratch ‘n win lottery ticket, you’ll notice that in many cases discovering the winning odds is as simple as turning the ticket over and reading the reverse side.

For instance, the ticket might say “odds of winning 1:4.58” which theoretically means that for every 5 tickets you buy, you will probably win atleast once.

What they don’t tell you is that a “win” is when you win an amount equal to the ticket cost. In addition, a “win” is when you win the chance to get a free ticket as well.

So the truth is, that once you take out all the prizes that equal ticket costs, or free tickets, the odds are much, much, MUCH worse.¬† When you buy a $2 scratch ticket that says your odds are 1 in 4.58 to win a prize, it would probably be more accurate if it said “odds are 1 in 38 to win a prize greater than your original ticket cost”

If it said that, watch how quickly people would abandon the idea of buying scratch tickets if the truth were told on what their chances are to win something like $10 or $25 on a $2 ticket.

I use to play these every now and then, and I’ve totally given up on them. Now I buy them once in a while out of boredom. I already know that once I begin scratching , I’ve basically lost my money, or at the very best, won my original ticket cost back.

Its weird how no one really pays attention to these things…

Railroad Crossings and timers

How many times have you sat at a railroad crossing, and wondered how much longer it would be before the train passes?

I usually want to shut my vehicle off, but I’m always worried that as soon as I do it, the last few train cars will go by…

If the train could signal a countdown timer that everyone could see, and it started counting down: 8min 32 secs.. I think a lot of people would shut off their vehicles once they realized how long the train would actually take..

I’m thinking of Global Warming here, and having 20 cars on each side of the tracks.. that’s a total of 40 vehicles sitting there idling and polluting our atmosphere.

A little thing like a countdown timer might actually give peace of mind to people that don’t want to get caught with their vehicle engine off and the train crossing re-opening. Soon as the timer got down to the last 45 seconds, people could start their engines again and feel comfortable doing so..

If you mathematically figure this out, with real data, it could mean a large savings.

40 cars at major crossings x 8 minutes of unnecessary idling x number of railroad crossings in North America that do not have a countdown timer = a lot of unnecessary pollution.

It’s just an idea — what do you think?

Stupid Cliche Phrases – Let’s talk about this!

Here’s a dumb cliche for you.. “Everything happens for a reason.”

I say, “so? Your point is??” Usually the response is:

“Well it was obviously meant to be”

“It’s God’s will”

“God works in mysterious ways”

Now in this blog entry, I’m not attacking religion. What I am doing is pointing out how stupid cliche phrases really don’t carry much weight behind them. Why do we use them and depend on them so much?

Let’s look at some scenarios, and possible theories as to why it was “meant to be” or “God’s will”, or why “God is working in mysterious ways”.

Example #1: You are walking through the house and accidentally stub your toe into a coffee table leg.

Example #1 Reason: Stubbing your toe happened for a reason. Well yes, it did. You were clumsy and weren’t paying attention.

Example #1 God’s Involvement: It was God’s will that you stubbed your toe. He works in mysterious ways. Well that sounds bizarre. I can’t think of any possible reason why God would purposely setup events for you to stub your toe.

Maybe we need to add some descriptive language for these stupid cliche phrases to have them make more sense..

Let’s leave the correct phrase “everything happens for a reason” alone, because in some microscopic or technical way, yes, everything does happen for a reason. (Even “nothing” happens for a reason)

BUT!

Let’s change these:

“It was obviously meant to be” TO “Some things are meant to be”

“It was God’s will” TO “It may have been God’s will.”

“God works in mysterious ways” TO “We have no idea what God wants or what he does”

—————–

So this way, the next time something happens of significant value, where these cliche phrases come into play (other than stubbing your toe), it will sound like this:

Your uncle dies…

Someone comes up to you says “Sorry for your loss, everything happens for a reason”

You say “I know, his health gave out, but why him?”

To which they say “Some things were meant to be”

You say “I know, but was this one of them? Perhaps he was just old and sick”

To which they say “It may have been God’s will”

You say “Maybe, I guess we really won’t know if God wanted this, or if it was just a physical limitation of our natural cycle as human beings”

To which they say “We have no idea what God wants or what he does”

You say “that’s right. So can we stop with the stupid cliche phrases and just deal with the fact that my sick elderly uncle died, and anything you say won’t change it? You can give theories and hypothesis all day long about why it happened — the fact is that it happened, and cliche phrases don’t solve anything.”

Why do people feel that stupid cliche phrases fix things? They don’t. They are wasted breath and carry little value.

Let’s just stop using them. Why carry them through generation to generation? Some of these exist the same way dumb internet chain emails recirculate for years and years..

It’s not a bad thing to take a moment, look at ourselves and realize HOW LIFE IS FUNNY and how stupid we are for participating in the same thing that everyone else falls victim to..

Stop stupid cliche phrases! They are just a waste of time.

So the next time someone says “Everything happens for a reason“, return the comment “You’re right, and stating the obvious helps whom?

BTW, it may seem that writing this blog entry I’m over exaggerating, or stretching the concept too much to prove a point. The reality is, that I’m addressing a significant problem with stupid cliche phrases that are used everyday, by hundreds of thousands of people, and very little thought is given to it.

Then again, maybe I did this because:

1. Everything happens for a reason

2. It was obviously meant to be

3. It is God’s will

4. God works in mysterious ways.

AHA! GOTCHA!

Horrible Packaging: Certs Candy and Rolaids

Ok, why do we tolerate the wrappers that certs breathmint candies and rolaids come in? Every try and peel the ultra-tight wrapping away from them? The candy starts to crumble in you fingers as you do it.

The foil and paper shreds off in tiny strips and goes everywhere.

As consumers, we should stop buying this stuff until they come up with a better alternative. No one speaks up about this stuff, we just allow it to go on and accept it as the norm.

Sometimes when you have heartburn and the thought of fighting to open a rolaids package this way can cause you to hope that the heartburn is only a short attack and will not last.

I’m all for small packaging to avoid filling our landfills, but come on, this is just as bad as CD shrink wrapping. Convenience foods and junk foods should be easily accessible. These are things we use while we are on the go… While walking, driving, at the mall, at work, in a restaurant etc.

So why make them so difficult and messy to open? I hate it!