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Tag Archives: conservation

Eating: Waste vs. Value

As a non-practitioner of the concept of “leftovers”, I am probably perceived as wasteful.  However, that is not necessarily true.  Depending on the situation, I am either very considerate or I am very value-conscious.  Those ideals may not seem to work together, but they do… for me.

As I’ve said, I don’t believe in leftovers.  I eat one thing and I’m done with it, at least until the next time I want it, which could be the next day.  Still, it’s a new meal.  So, when I eat my meal, I make certain to eat the most expensive parts of my meal before giving up.  If I have a pizza in front of me, I’m not going to eat the crusts.  That’s filler, it’s just bread.  If I’m still hungry after I eat the parts with cheese and pepperoni, awesome! I have breadsticks now!  I’ve gotten my money’s worth by eating the highest-valued parts of my meal.  In this way, I am value-conscious and do not consider myself wasteful in the least.

Now, if someone is contributing to the meal or providing the meal, my priorities change and courtesy comes first.  With that same pizza, I will eat the crust, because the money is not mine and I would not waste another person’s money.  That’s being considerate.


Yellow Pages Are Anything But Green

It’s a new year and part of the new years ritual is receiving multiple 10-pound books dropped off at the house for telephone listings.  Growing up in a small town, I remember the white pages and yellow pages being a book about a quarter-inch think.  Now living in a larger city, the yellow pages alone is…2 inches thick (I had to check).  Then on top of that, you get a second book from a competing directory.  and this one has a “smaller, convenient” version, so you can take it with you.

Ok.  Here’s the problem.  There’s something called the Internet, which is available in our house.  This Internet thing allows us to search for information, including phone numbers.  Usually, it’s faster to type in the name of what you want instead of the traditional alternative: trying to figure out what category it’s listed in, flipping through pages, and scanning the tiny type while being distracted by large ads.  Then there is issue of storage.  The directories take up…4.5 inches of vertical space (I had to check again).  That’s valuable real estate on counters or drawers.

So, in summary, the Internet is far superior to a printed list.  This is probably universally accepted.  So, I thought it was time to stop the waste of time and space… and paper.  This year is also the year I discontinued all paper statements for bills.  But back to the point, I called the directory’s service number.

The first person I spoke to was pleasant and upon hearing my request, wasted no time collecting my information and completing the request.  After I hung up, I thought, “That wasn’t so bad.  She was really nice.  Too bad I’m putting her out of a job.”  After all, these directory services are contracted by the phone company or are completely independent.

The second person I spoke to handled my request promptly also, but then asked an odd question: “Do you travel much?”  Hmmm.  I responded that I don’t travel too much.  Then the pitch came.  They also print atlases.  They had a new atlas of the United States that she could sell me for a great price.

Ok.  Here’s the problem.  There’s something called a GPS, which has recently become available in our cars.  A few years ago, I might have bought it.  I used to have a very large collection of maps from the areas I’d visited.  I was pretty proud of the collection also.  But now, my 25-pound pile of maps (I had to estimate, since they’re now disposed) has been replaced by a tiny touchscreen device.

So in summary, GPS devices have replaced atlases in much the same way as the Internet has replaced phone books.  Now, if these directory services were smart, they would partner with a GPS vendor and preload POI’s (Points of Interest) into a GPS based on their directory.  Then they would sell the GPS device.  Or they could sell a flash card with the POIs on it.

If I was cancelling my phone book delivery and the agent asked me “Do you have a GPS?” that would be a totally different conversation.  If I didn’t, I might be intrigued at buying a GPS preloaded with millions of POIs (if the price was reasonable).  If I did own one and they offered a POI card or subscription service compatible with my GPS brand, it might be attractive.

Random thoughts

It’s a little late and I’m a little light-headed and headachy from primer fumes in the room getting painted next to mine, so I thought I’d type out a random grab bag of thoughts.

Capital One wants me to go paperless with my statements.  That would work for me since I do everything electronically in Money, but what about the people that would print out their statements each month from the online site?  That doesn’t help anything.  I think Capital One should reduce the paper ads they put in their statements and double-side their statements.  That would cut paper usage more than half right there.

I was thinking one day about a borderline neurosis I had growing up.  Thanks to my short attention span, it never really developed.  I used to anthropomorphize everything.  I used to imagine chairs clamoring to have me sit in them, and the rest would be disappointed.  Some items I owned would be proud that they have served me so well, and others would be sad that I don’t use them enough.  I’m sure some psychologist would say I had some disorder that I couldn’t accept the fact that it’s impossible to please everyone.  Then I would get drugs – that’s a given anymore.

One of the creepiest and most disturbing thoughts that I thought up in my youth and still have to force myself to not think about is:  No one really knows what happens when you die.  What if you are just trapped in your body?  Not so bad for humans – you die, you get put in a box and you rest until you decompose and you disappear.  But what about animals, specifically roadkill?  You get hit with a car and die.  Then someone else runs over you and you feel the impact again.  And again, and again.  Slowly, you start to disintegrate and the pain becomes less with each passing car.  Finally, you are not much more than a spot and you begin to decompose and disappear.  Physiologically, I guess that’s not possible since the nerves couldn’t transmit the sensations to the brain, still it’s a morbid thought.

I’m bugged by Circle K’s new ads with the line, "Gotta buck?  Get a snack."  I don’t have any problem at all with informal speech in ad copy, but if you’re going to do it, it needs to be correct.  "Gotta" is not short for "Have a", it’s short for "Have got to".  Idiots.

My previous complaint about Mercedes radio ads has been continued with a Lincoln ad.  I guess the dealerships are owned by the same person, or the marketing company got both as accounts.  More pompous people talking about how other people think their car (and I guess the owner by extension) is so great.  I really don’t think the customer testimonial idea is so great.  Maybe it is, though, and I’m just not their target market.  Thank god for that.