Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Never Choose The Shortest Checkout Line At The Grocery Store

This is a reply that I posted to Fiftyodd's amusing Laws of Life Post:

Blogger, Fiftyodd, Laws of Life, 7-19-2012

The particular law to which this applies is:

"6. Variation Law-   If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time)."

Corollary 1 of the #6 Variation Law states that if you get into the shortest line at the grocery store, the customer directly in front of you will have 50 payment cards with an average remaining value of $1.47 on each.  Five of those cards will not work in the reader, 7 have no remaining value,  2 of them will be cards the store does not accept causing bitter complaints to the manager of the store, as though he could change the policy on the spot for a regional grocery chain that has 700 stores. The total amount of the cards successfully read will be only a fraction of the bill, which will then results in a repeat performance of the 5 cards that can't be read.  After much cleaning of the magnetic strips, one card does work further reducing the bill by 49 cents and inspiring more confidence that somewhere on the four remaining cards the bill will magically be paid.  More cleaning, more attempts, more griping that the amount on the two cards the store does not accept would more than adequately pay the bill, all to no avail.  So now a mitful of credit cards comes out.  Most are expired,  five are not.  One works and further reduces the bill by $13.24 cents and then is maxed out.  The rest are already maxed out further inciting complaints that this card should be good, they paid the  minimal balance on last month's bill.  Now comes out the checkbook, they write a check for the remaining balance,  the check is fed through the register and rejected.  Now comes out the cash further reducing the bill by $9.13 with a litany of complaints that the cash was needed to put gas in the tank and there is doubt that the car will run out of gas and all the frozen goods will be lost.  There is still a remaining balance.  A floor manager is called over to remove items from the bill because a partial payment has been made and refunding items is beyond the cashier's level of authority.  The floor manager does not know how to use the cash register.  You look over in the long line and you see the girl with pink hair checking out with a huge cart of groceries that walked into the store when you got into the short line.  Several other employees are called in to aid the floor manager, slowly the first item is successfully refunded.

The cashier apologizes to you and suggests finding another line.  But you are into this, you want to see this saga unfold to the bloody end.   The next item is fresh broccoli.  It must be weighed, the register can not find 27 ounces of broccoli, only 26.8 ounces, it will not approve the refund.  An argument ensues with floor manager that the broccoli is not wanted.  Well then we have to cancel the entire order and try again.  The shopper relents on the broccoli, and reduces the order with goods with fixed prices, with accompanying comments as to how difficult life will be without shampoo, laundry detergent, etc.  The four 6 packs of beer and 2 cartons of soft drinks are not returned.  Finally the order is reduced below the tendered amount, resulting in a $1.23 refund.  Because of the lengthy transactions the register runs out of receipt paper.  The cashier looks under the counter, no tape.  The assistance light flashes on and the floor manager returns.  He does not know where the tape is stored.  The cashier goes to get the tape.  Mean while the floor manager attempts to remove the empty roll and jams it in the register.  The person in front of you starts complaining that they just want their change and leave.  The floor manager states the drawer on the cash register will not open until the register tape is replaced and the receipt is printed.  The cashier returns with the new rolls of tape.  The old roll is hopeless jammed.  The floor manager calls the janitor on the PA system.  The janitor is outside having a cigarette and is not available.  The floor manager walks out to his car and brings in a screw driver, pries out the roll but breaks the plastic door with the toothed cutter off the register.  The out of tape alarm will not clear with broken door.  The cashier presses the broken door into place and the receipt is printed and the register drawer opens.  As soon as the cashier leaves go of the door, it falls off and the register out of tape alarm illuminates.

The money is refunded.  The person leaves.  The cashier notes the door laying on the floor.

"I am sorry sir.  This register is broken you will have to go to another line."

OK, I will admit to putting different events into one incident, but there is nothing in the above story that hasn't happened to me.  If you ever see me in a line at the grocery store, gas station, bank, or highway,  immediately get into another line.

Edit 8-21-12:  I had an interesting variation of this experience on Sunday.  I went into the super market, and picked up 3 items.  It was Sunday afternoon and all the checkouts was busy.  There were two express lanes, 12 items maximum.  One line (the one I should have go into) had about eight people in it.  The other had only one.  I did a double take, yes the light was on and there was no one else in line.  Although the alarm bells were going off, I couldn't justify getting in line with 8 people in front of me.  So I go to the empty line, I look and the cart is full of bagged groceries, they are ringing up the last few items and the total bill is over $217.  What the hell, this is the 12 item express line!  What gives?   So then the cashier asks the lady by her first name if she brought those other store coupons in.  Ahaaa, they know each other and they are friends.  So that's  how you get a big cart of groceries into the express line.  Ok but they were done ringing it up, how long could it be?   Ha. Ha Sextant you dumb ass, you should have listened  to your alarm bells.  The woman pulls out a shovelful of coupons.  So her and her friend the cashier get into a protracted review of each coupon.  I felt like going over to the warm food section, getting 3 chairs and 3 cups of coffee and maybe some Danish, so we could sit and discuss these coupons like a true coffee klatch.   Oh each coupon had a story, some quite interesting.  Meanwhile in the long line I see the person who would have been in front of me, leave.  And on we go with further couponization, discussing advanced techniques for getting coupons off the internet, using other store coupons which this store will recognize if it is a full moon...on and on.   I notice not one other person was stupid enough to get in this line, even though I am the only one in it.  Finally we got to the bottom of the coupons, $217 reduced to $165.  I was amazed.  Hell it only took 15 minutes.  OK, maybe it didn't take 15 minutes, but it seemed like 45.  Ten minutes anyhow.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review 50 Ways to Play, BDSM For Nice People

50 Ways to Play: BDSM for Nice People50 Ways to Play: BDSM for Nice People by Dob Macleod
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't like BDSM before I read this short volume and I still don't like it.  I have been flabbergasted as to the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey with women.  Then today I noticed this book in a side bar advertisement at Goodreads.  My first thought was oh great someone is going to cash in on the FSoG mania and end up getting people injured.  I checked out the book on Amazon and the Kindle version was only $2.99 so I decided to read it out of curiosity.  EDIT 8/11/2012: The price for the Kindle edition of this book is now $8.99.  That is no longer in the curiosity price range. 

As I mentioned above, I really dislike BDSM.  I don't consider myself a prude, but I just don't feel that pain and humiliation have any place in a loving sexual relationship.  I will grudgingly give this book credit that for a couple looking to dabble in BDSM, this is brief introduction--although I have some serious reservations.  I  would have been far happier if this book was simply devoted to a little kinky sex and role playing.  You know, flip a coin to see who is going to be the dominant, "yes master" giggle, restraints loosely tied, a playful slap on the ass.  All good fun stuff with no pain and no humiliation.  Well let's put it this way, this book got far beyond simple role playing and fooling around for a little extra spice.  Its going for the real deal, although the tamer versions, sort of BDSM lite. It delves into BDSM far more than I am willing to play, although for the couple just wanting to role play, you could certainly pick up ideas here--you don't have to do everything stated in the book.

The book is very short, print length of 112 pages, it is concise--except as noted below, and fairly well written although it does have a certain rushed quality to it.  The book describes the various gear, rudimentary methods, and some cautions. It even suggests common house hold implements to replace the expensive gear and sex toys.  Much of the book seemed to be vanilla sex (the pain free kind that I really love) hurriedly adapted to BDSM.  It struck me that the authors are trying to ride FSoG's coattails before it becomes yesterday's thrill.   Reading this book will not make you a master practitioner of BDSM.  It will give you an introduction, and in my mind there in lies the danger of 50 Ways To Play.

Because the book is about real BDSM, albeit the kinder and gentler form, and not just simple role playing, I don't feel that the authors offer up sufficient cautions about what the couple is embarking on.   The first few pages almost come off sounding like, "if you want to save your sex life, you have to try BDSM."  I honestly believe that most people's sex lives will do just fine without any BDSM.  So here is a list of reservations I have about this book.

--Insufficient cautions that BDSM is not for everyone.

--Insufficient explanation of the psychology of the dominant and submissive and how to handle the roles.

--Insufficient explanation on limits, safe words, and the safe - sane - consensual concepts.  It is mentioned but almost in passing.

--Insufficient explanation on safety.  One doesn't simply pick up a whip and start lashing someone's ass with it.

--No discussion of safe sex methods.  The word condom does not appear in this book.

--No discussion of the need for contraception.  Yes it should be obvious, but it does not hurt to remind people.

--No discussion on the potential dangers of an over enthusiastic dominant.

--No discussion on being sober and in a good frame of mind.  BDSM, anger, alcohol and drugs do not mix.

To the book's credit it did offer a discussion on Aftercare, where the couple express care and love for each other.  Like the rest of the book the chapter was brief, but at least it did provide a fleeting notion that some tenderness for each other may be in order.

To be honest, I do not like this book. I feel that it is basically a vanilla sex book (a good thing) which has been BDSM-ized to ride the cash wave of FSoG.  I don't like the attitude that "OH try it, you will love it" as though BDSM was nothing more than some kinky technique on the order of nude massage or a really nifty sexual position.    BDSM is a very intense method of sexual expression that can result in physical and psychological harm to the participants if incorrectly done and I question the wisdom of providing a rushed how to manual without adequately describing the dangers inherent in the activities and the psychological atmosphere of sado-masoshism.   This book is an introduction, and I don't feel that BDSM is something that one should fool with based on a 112 page cursory introduction.  For anyone seriously contemplating purchasing this book, read the Wikipedia article on BDSM and follow the links.  Caution, some of the information and images provided in Wikipedia are disturbing...exactly what this book lacks.

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