Another attempt

Tag Archives: generational

Dining Out and Out

I’ve lamented the decline of Pizza Hut’s “red roof” – dine-in – locations for many years.  Even when I worked there decades ago, there was always an emphasis on carry-out and delivery.  And even back then, they had the concept of “delcos” – delivery/carryout-exclusive locations.  My delivery manager was always campaigning to open one in our town, probably so he could be a general manager.  But if that had happened, what would happen to the dine-in location?  Would it be able to cover its own costs?

I’m sure having a dine-in location is much more costly than a delco.  Insurance, furniture upkeep, utilities, cleaning costs, there’s a lot more.  And it’s funny, because wait staff get paid so little, so it’s not even really a concern of labor costs.  But my introductory point is that Pizza Hut pushed take-out food over the dine-in experience for a very long time, and it seems that it has come to pass that dine-in is the great exception now.

Now, doesn’t it seem that everyone is in on this little racket?  Every restaurant now offers take out or delivery.  If not on their own, through some partner like GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, or whatever.  I just got an email from Chili’s bragging about delivery.  I get that people don’t want to cook, so they turn to restaurants.  But now it seems that people don’t even want to leave their houses in addition to not wanting to cook.  What the hell is going on here?

I read articles about this.  Let me tell you something, I often mention that I read articles on this or that in my posts, but I know that means absolutely nothing because you can find an article or two to support any position on any topic out there.  But still, that the article exists means someone is observing and thinking about this.  Yeah, so, these articles say that the casual dining experience is coming to an end (articles always promote the extreme) because of generational differences.  Boomers and millennials (ugh, this again) have different priorities for dining.  Ok, sure, but why should the concept of dining out be ending?

Let me cut to the chase here.  I hate restaurant take-out, and I would hate restaurant delivery just as much.  And my reason is simple and logical.  When you go to a restaurant and eat there, you are served your food in courses.  You get your drink and some bread, you get your soup or salad, you get your entrée , you get your dessert (if you’re really that hungry).  The meal is paced and you have an opportunity to engage in conversation over a period of time.  Or, if you’re solo like I am most all the time now, you have a chance to digest and relax between courses.

When you get takeout or delivery, all courses are available at once.  Now you have to decide what’s going to suck.  Do you want your salad to get warm (if it isn’t already from being packed with your entrée ), do you want your soup to get cool, do you want your entrée to get cool?  Which course is going to suck the worst?  Or do you want to reheat your entrée after getting through the early courses?  But that’s why you ordered out in the first place, right?  No cooking.

The few times I did order Outback for takeout was a miserable experience.  I live 15 mins from any restaurants, so there’s that chilling time.  Then, when I unpack it, I have to eat everything as fast as possible.  I bounced between the salad and the steak and the bread, trying to stuff it all in before it got even colder, and I was left with a shitty experience.

Even things like sandwiches don’t really stack up after delivery.  They settle, they soak, they cool (or warm).  It’s not the same as in-house eating.  Even fast food, as low-grade as it is initially, can get worse.

So, my fear now is that the concept of dining out is going to diminish and eventually fade away.  I guess it’s not really a fear, because I’ll certainly be dead by then, but I am worried that my options will become more limited in the future, as Pizza Hut is now.  Everything would become an “Express”.  Olive Garden Express; Longhorn Express; Red Lobster ToGo.  And these are all places that young people hate – chain restaurants – so maybe it’s inevitable for demographic reasons.

The future is so bleak.  So, so bleak.


I Can’t Sleep – Web Crawl

This crawl started by seeing AK in a snapchat picture with a BK+Budweiser filter.  I wondered what that bullshit was all about and ended up reading a press release saying Burger King had a limited time burger for sale.

The burger was hyped as best as it could be, I suppose.  It was a double cheeseburger with more shit on it.  The part that caught my eye was “features two savory flame-grilled beef patties totaling more than ¼ lb.* of beef”  Wow, guys.  Two patties to make a quarter-pounder, huh?  I’m not going to say it’s more than a quarter pound, because otherwise they’d be bragging it was 1/3 pound.  Or maybe not, since stupid Americans don’t understand 1/3 is more than 1/4.

Anyway, that got me reminiscing about how I used to love double cheeseburgers at BK.  They were the absolute best value on the menu.  And then they shrunk the fuck out of them around the great recession, 2008 or so.  I wish I could prove it.

Maybe I can.  I went looking for nutritional information and ended up on a site that had these impressively accurate meter thingies about the BK double cheeseburger.


Does the taste good?  Of course the does!

And from this page, I got a number, a serving size.  171 grams, which is .377 pounds and must include the bun.  So, how do I find out how good things were back in the day?  Well, I use my favorite tool for exposing embarrassing facts, the Wayback Machine.

Looking at the nutritional info for the double cheeseburger on BK’s site from 1999, I get another number, 198, which is .436 pounds.  So, you do the math and see how much it’s lost over the years.  Tip, calculate it as a percentage to make it sound more impressive.  The Fake News Media does it all the time. (Seriously, I don’t care which side you’re on or what you believe.  If you see an article on anything that only uses percentages, be skeptical.  They’re selling it to you.)

But that’s not the end of the data.  After I got the serving size from the old archived BK website, I felt like an idiot for not just going to the current BK site instead of this “Durr, click Delicious or Disgusting button, pleez” website.  And when I went to BK’s current site, I got yet another number. As of May 2018, the size of a double cheeseburger is 148 grams, or .326 pounds.

To summarize, in 1999, BK’s double cheeseburger was .436 pounds, and in 2018 it is .326 pounds.  That’s a reduction of .110 pounds, which is a 25% reduction from the 1999 size. Oh no! Percentages!  I’ve destroyed my credibility by at least 108%.

Florida, The Bakery

I’ve been seeing a lot of billboards lately with a new slogan: “Drive Baked, Get Busted”.  It just kind of appeared out of nowhere and suddenly, it was everywhere.  Ok, yeah, police want (stupid) people to know that driving after getting high is a bad thing. 

I looked this promo campaign up and yes, it is new this year.  Supposedly, it’s because of the new medical pot law in Florida.  If we’re going to have medical pot, we need to let people know that you can’t take your “medication” and go for a drive.  Here’s the funny part.  The ad campaign is primarily targeted to 18-34 year olds.  Exactly the ones that would need medical stoning plants.  Secondarily, the ads target 55-74 year olds.  You know, the ones that smoked pot all the time when they were… 18-34.  But anyway, fuck yeah, Gen-X!  You’re not targeted as pot smokers.  And I find that really dumb, because everyone I knew growing up was perpetually high.

It kind of got me thinking about the whole PSA campaigns for any sort of impaired driving.  First of all, what idiot doesn’t know that driving under the influence of anything is bad? (Anything but driving under the influence of Jesus)  Second, if the person doesn’t know naturally that it’s bad, is a billboard really going to educate them?  Sometimes, I see messages on the traffic warning signs that say, “DUI – Decide before you drive” and I think a lot of people are like, “Already done.”

You just wouldn’t believe the frequency I see impaired drivers on the highways.  If it’s not some drug, then it’s probably tiredness.  Tiredness is an impairment that doesn’t get enough attention.  Maybe a billboard or two would help: “WAKE UP, MOTHERFUCKER!”

Lack Of Drive

The other morning, I was in RaceTrac getting my usual breakfast and there were a couple of kids in the store.  I say kids, but I don’t mean like little kids.  Probably teens, probably 16.  They were milling around and eventually bought some stuff, then milled around a bit more.  A few things struck me as kind of odd about that.

First, there weren’t any parents with them.  I’m not sure why I thought this, since they’re old enough to be out and about on their own.  But the idea that they didn’t just go in the store, buy stuff, then leave made me think they were chaperoned.

When I was growing up, when you got to your teens, you wanted to be independent.  You demanded independence.  Because I lived in such a tiny town, I would drive almost 45 minutes just to eat at Wendy’s.  I would drive over an hour to go to a decent mall.  Even today, I still don’t see any problem driving half an hour for food.

As a completely-unrelated aside, this current era is nothing like my youth.  I distinctly remember standing alone in a checkout line and the cashier wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence because I didn’t look old enough to buy anything on my own.  Kids now have purchasing power and don’t get ignored if they want to buy something.

But back to these teens, when they made their purchase, I expected them to head right outside and leave.  One probably just got his or her driver’s license.  But, because they remained in the building and just hung out, it was pretty clear they didn’t have their own vehicle, which is another oddity to me.

I’ve read plenty of articles saying that the new youth have little care for cars, which completely boggles my mind.  Having a vehicle is freedom.  It lets you get out and see more things, on your own terms.  I must assume that because so much entertainment is at hand via phones and TV, there is less desire to find entertainment through exploration.  Also, since everyone is so isolated in their virtual worlds, there is also little desire to get away – because they are always “away”.

The GF is the same way.  Maybe it also has to do with growing up in a small town, where you had to have transportation to do anything or see anything interesting.  But that desire to see and explore continued long into our lives.  On a vacation a while ago, while driving on some random highway, I observed that unlike other couples that sit at home and watch TV, this (identifying the car seats) was our couch, and this (identifying the windshield) was our television.  It’s not like we couldn’t see other places and other things by sitting home on the Internet, but that’s unsatisfying for us.

Recently, we wanted to go to touristville, which ended up with a crazy meal at a steakhouse.  Instead of taking the interstate, which would have been a minimum trip time of an hour (with no defined maximum due to traffic), we chose to take all back roads, which gave us a more predictable, although longer trip time.  But more importantly, it gave us something to experience other than stopped traffic.

Similarly, when I moved from the wasteland across the great commonwealth, I would sometimes return home to visit friends.  The first (or last depending on direction) leg of the return trip, I had a choice to take an interstate or take a smaller, alternate route.  Without fail, whenever I chose the interstate for time concerns, I always regretted it because the drive was so uninteresting and fatiguing.

Driving is embedded in my being.  If I lost the ability to drive, I think I would have a very difficult remainder of my life.  Driving is freedom; driving is experience; driving is risk and reward.  America is a big country and deserves to be seen down low, not from far above.

How Staples Is Enticing Me

I get emails from Staples because sometimes they’re pretty good with coupons and whatnot.  They show up just about every day.  What isn’t very good about them (aside from the frequency) – and this is a rapidly deteriorating condition – is their subject lines.  I have a pretty deep-seated hatred for click-bait headlines, and running close behind that is a distaste for pointless headlines.  Here’s a bunch of recent examples:

  • ⌛ You hit it big! Open asap for a COUPON!
  • We need your attention! 20% off toner
  • Access: GRANTED.  Buy 1, get the 2nd 50% off!
  • Don’t waste this ☞ You’re first in line to get this COUPON for 20% off…
  • We dare you to miss out: Your sneak peek is here.
  • You’ve unlocked it! It’s official, you’re in. >>Save 60%<<
  • You were chosen: Last-minute gifts inside.
  • You checked your inbox just in time: Get up to $280 off.
  • Let’s see you resist this: COUPONS inside! You hit it big.
  • You rock! You checked your inbox just in time: Get up to $300 off laptops!
  • 🙂 Yes, it’s true! What are you waiting for?

This goes on and on.  Each time I think I have enough examples, they just keep coming…  Who the hell is writing this garbage?  Are they speaking to children?  Is anyone going to be fooled into thinking that they are getting some sort of exclusive offers?  So many questions.

You know when this started?  10/16/2015.  And it was identifiable by the first emoji ever used in the subject line of their emails.  This suggests that the marketing person is young and hip.  Young and hip doesn’t always mean smart.  Just as the younger generation is failing to learn proper composition in its many forms, they are woefully ignorant about business communications.  Staples is a business supply company and primarily communicates with professionals.

Regardless of the target audience, which is being completely ignored here, there are some simple rules with regard to correspondence, whether electronic or physical.  The rule being shat upon here is: “The subject line identifies the context of the letter”, as in “This letter is regarding…”  This is not achieved with “You were chosen” or “We dare you to miss out”.  Seriously, you, a company, are extending a challenge to me, a potential customer, to not purchase something from you.  I don’t think you realize just how easy that is to do.

Ok, I’ll admit, I don’t know if the marketing person/people are “young”.  But they definitely seem to be “young” in experience.  To be honest, the subjects really seem like they were written “offshore” by spam/scam professionals.  I can say that Staples trying to portray itself in this fashion is definitely a turn-off.  If I want to shop at a goofy store, I’ll go to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.  Not even Big Lots has such corny emails.

Hopefully I Remember When I’m Senile

After reading:

I’m actually not sure how to present this idea because in today’s hyper-sensitive world community of “activists”, anything can be construed as evil, manipulative, or exploitive.  So, I guess I will have to say that this is my idea for myself, but if anyone else thinks it’s a good idea and can run with it while dodging whatever arrows are fired by the SJW’s, have at it.

So the premise of the article is that there is an unbelievable amount of data that needs archived into some non-degradable, digital format for preservation.  I’m certainly not opposed to it, despite whatever posts I’ve made about “anchors”, “baggage”, “simplification” and so on.  And it’s something that I would like to help with, but right now, I am in a generally busy part of my life.  This is a very labor-intensive task, and it has a degree of drudgery.  Maybe 20 years ago, I would have been able to devote large chunks of time to the cause, and maybe in 20 years I will have that opportunity again, when I am retired.

That’s when it hit me.  There are a lot of people out there that are… hmm, have to be sensitive about this… underutilized.  Those people could find a purpose by contributing/donating labor to the archival project.  In the spirit of my previous post, they could do archival work.  Maybe (hopefully) they might find the work fulfilling and be driven by the same purpose.  Then they could be archivists.  For many of the people in the demographic I am envisioning, the archival process could also be a nostalgic endeavor.  This could be a potential source for metadata in the archives.

It’s a pretty well-known fact that people who end up in retirement homes fade away quicker because they lose a sense of purpose, the knowing that you are needed and the feeling that your contributions have value.  So, what if archival stations were set up in some retirement homes?  Give some of the residents training on use of the equipment, let them know the benefits their efforts are providing and let them do as much as they wish to do?

The hardware is certainly not a problem.  Hardware is cheap now.  It’s the labor that is  expensive, unless that labor is donated.  I hope I can remember to do what I can when I am too old to contribute in the fast lane of technology.  Just get me off the highway and into the rest area with a bunch of data for slow processing and I’ll do what I can.

What You Know, In Your Favor

Last night, actually early this morning, like 3 in the morning, I was driving home after returning from vacation.  It was late and dark, and I was tired.  Surprisingly, I was not the only person on the road at that hour, even though I was driving secondary highways.  Usually, it was nice to have another car on the road to keep my focus and pace, but sometimes it wasn’t, with people racing up behind me or pulling me faster than I was comfortable.  In those instances, I had the usual thoughts of “idiot” and “moron”, but I got to thinking about why people drive like they do.

Usually, you can attribute slow drivers behavior to a unhurried lifestyle.  Where I live, there’s no shortage of old people to drive 10-15 under the speed limit because they have nowhere to go.  What else?  Tourists, we have plenty of those, too.  People that are looking for something in particular among the clusters of business along the road.  Those are both understandable cases.  What about the cautious and the reckless, though?  That’s the situation I was in.  I was being cautious and I felt others were being reckless.  And my mind wandered to the concept of wisdom, earned by experience.

The conclusion I came to is that living life is a perpetual game of risk management.  Let’s put this in a totally different perspective.  If presented with an opportunity to walk a tightrope between two buildings, most normal people would do a risk assessment.  “I have never walked on a tightrope before, so my experience in this endeavor is zero.  Let’s then say that makes my chances of success, zero.”  A moderately skilled tightrope walker would do different evaluations.  “I’ve walked that distance before. The winds would be stronger than what I’ve experienced, and the height might cause some extra distraction.  I have a decent chance of success.”  A skilled walker would only have to do a quick evaluation.  “I can do that.  Distance and height aren’t an issue.  What’s the weather going to be like?”

I consider myself an experienced driver, so my evaluation of driving conditions is pretty quick.  However, experience has taught me that there are many variables that need to be considered.  Road debris and wildlife are chief among those concerns.  Driving late at night in the woods doesn’t give you much reaction time.  Yet, some people drive like it’s broad daylight. 

I assume these drivers just don’t have the experience I have.  And you don’t even have to experience something personally to gain from it.  Have you ever had a moment of thought like, “If I’d left a little bit earlier, that could have been me.”  Or maybe “If I’d left a little bit later, that could have been me.”  After enough of these moments, the wisdom comes.  “It doesn’t matter when I leave, it can be me.”  And so you have to be aware of what could happen at any time.  Maybe these drivers haven’t seen enough yet.  “I’ve never seen a cop on this road” is popular.  Replace that with “never seen a tree down”, “never seen a deer”, “never blown a tire”,”never slid on a turn” or any number of other things that I’ve seen or done in my years.

But experience brings wisdom.  I was once in their shoes.  As a reckless youth many years ago, I was driving on a slushy highway up north.  Inexplicably, I had the cruise control on.  Even more incredibly, when I caught up to a car, I simply moved into the passing lane – up a hill, on a turn, with the cruise control on – and promptly lost all traction.  My car spun 360 degrees around, and the other car slowed down to give me room to do my thing.  Now in front of the other car, I spun another 180 degrees, slid off the road backwards and slammed into the mountainside.  The other car slowed down enough to make sure I was ok when I got out of my car, then promptly left me there to die.  Middle of winter, probably 20 miles from anything and long before cell phones existed.  It’s a really good thing people were more helpful back then.

Since then, I’ve grown up a lot and put a lot of experience into my mental file as to what could happen when you do the wrong things.

English, Motherfucker, Do You Write?

Ok, you idiots.  You want a job?  Do you know how to get a job?  You have to present yourself well.  No, you have to present yourself as perfect as you can be.  There’s a lot of conflicting advice as to whether you have to answer questions 100% perfect in an interview or whether you should just be yourself.  The answer is both.  Be yourself and be 100% perfect.  If you’re good, this should be easy for you.

Now, the reason for this bitching is because I’m doing interviews now.  These are interviews for decent jobs.  I don’t actually know the pay scale, but 50-80k is not out of line.  The jobs are for computer programming, so a level of precision is somewhat expected.  Why then, of the last four resumes, do I see spelling and grammatical errors?  Why, you stupid people? 

The two resumes I got today each had at least five mistakes in them, and I even purposely ignored punctuation and poor sentence structure.  How can this happen?  The one resume was five pages long – which is ridiculous to begin with.  Apparently, all the technical terms were generating spell-check warnings, so spell-checking was probably turned off for the document.  Stupid.  Are you in some kind of hurry?  Do you not understand proofreading?

You’re not solely to blame, either.  Your resumes are being submitted by recruiting firms.  They missed the errors as well!  Do you realize you are literally giving money to people who are doing nothing but sitting between you and an employer?  This recruiter is doing nothing for you.  They copy your resume text into their template and call it a day.  In one of the two resumes from today, the document formatting changed midway through.  The recruiter’s standards are just as low as yours.

It gets better.  The first interview for today has cancelled.  You don’t cancel an interview unless you got a great offer.  Someone out there looked at the resume, either didn’t notice the mistakes or didn’t care about them, interviewed this guy and hired him.  This is what we’ve come to.  We’ve had candidates come in wearing business casual clothes instead of a suit.  We have resumes submitted with multiple mistakes.  We have to accept these shortcomings from candidates because if we don’t someone else will snatch them up?  Screw that.

But I’ve been instructed to not point out these problems in the interview.  So go ahead, fools, see how low you can take the standard.

They Eat Their Own

I’ve been steadily increasing my ire towards the effects of the Boomer generation.  I know that once this generation passes, the world will be a better place.  Unfortunately for my generation – Gen X – we will be in a wasteland by that time and Gen Y will also have to help clean up the aftermath.  Gen Z has a chance at success by middle-age.

I’m keeping a close eye on news stories of financial scandals, as they always seem to be led by baby boomers.  No matter the time frame, whether the 80’s, the 00’s or the current 08 meltdown, a boomer is always at the head of the greed.  There are plenty of other blogs out there that share my impressions of that generation, so I won’t soapbox it.

A news story caught my eye today about how boomers are being scammed in record numbers by Ponzi retirement schemes.  This disheartened me.  I thought to myself, “Come on, Gen X’ers.  We’re not like that.  There’s no need to act like them.”  So I researched the scheme described in the article.  It was alleged to be run by James D. Risher, who happens to be 61 years old.


Left To My Own Devices

I’m sure I could be described as both complex and inconsistent.  I can be difficult to figure out a lot of times.  I know this because I spend a lot of time trying to figure myself out.  My latest interest in myself was raised by my new gadget toy.

I am a latecomer to the e-reader party.  I have joined the Kindle camp and I’m somewhat excited about it.  My reaction caused me to question why I was getting excited over a device.  I hadn’t had a similar feeling since I got my first Zune many years ago.  And that parallel is very odd and really spurred my curiosity.

I have always been a Zune fan, which has always been the underdog compared to the iPod behemoth.  But when buying an e-reader, I chose Kindle, which is the far-and-away leader in that industry – the iPod of e-readers.  Kindle users are passionate about their devices, much as Apple users are about their products.  Why would I buy in to the industry leader, Amazon, while I have such a disdain for Apple?  And why the Kindle and not the Nook?

Let’s start with a Kindle/Zune comparison vs. a Nook/iPod comparison.  The Kindle is a dedicated reading device, much as the Zune was a dedicated media player.  The Nook, in its popular Nook Color model, is a hybrid device for books, video, internet, and games, like the iPod.  So on that level, it is clear that I prefer a dedicated, specialized device to an all-in-one (something I’ve recently considered to be a generational thing).  Nook users talk up the positive points of their chosen device – the wider format compatibility, the expandable memory, and the color touch screen.  Kindle users just shrug and say “that’s not important to me.”  I sympathize with that.  All the iPod users hammering on “apps” didn’t mean anything to me, because that’s not why I bought my Zune.

The e-reader community doesn’t seem to have as hostile a membership as the portable media community.  It is more forgiving, like most of the motorcycling community, where if you’re on two wheels, you’re cool.  There’s no feeling of “you don’t have an iDevice, so you can’t experience things like I do.”  So, from what I can tell, Kindle and Nook owners pretty much respect each others’ choice, with iPad owners feeling superior to both.

So, being a supporter of the underdog, why would I choose Amazon over Barnes and Noble?  This is more difficult to answer, but I suspect it’s simply because I have used Amazon for so long and never had a single problem with them.  I’m sure B&N is good, too, but I just don’t have any history with them.  In this case, it’s inertia keeping me in the Amazon ecosystem.  And to have the “industry-standard” device to go along with it is a bonus.  Amazon is kind of the Wal-Mart of internet shopping, but somehow they manage to not have the same stigma.

Then, so far, I’ve identified that I like a device that is specialized and I like a community that isn’t perceived as elitist. I get both owning a Kindle and a Zune.  And I don’t feel I’m supporting an evil company by being tied to Amazon.

So what if Microsoft made an e-reader device?  That’s an interesting question.  If there’s one ecosystem I’m tied to more than Amazon, it’s Microsoft and .NET.  Although I would know deep down that the product wouldn’t be a huge success and that it would be dropped a few years down the line, I suppose I could enjoy it.  But I can’t think of any software that I could write to make use of the e-books, unlike the Zune and Windows Phone.  It’s just not that much of interest to me.