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Buy & Sell

wicker chairRecently I was introduced to a phenomenon that I was completely unfamiliar with; the on-line community of Buy & Sell.

For about two weeks I was obsessed. I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning, fascinated by the crap that people were posting for sale; furniture, baby clothes, shoes, toiletries and other things that I thought most people just donated when they got tired of it.

On-line buy and sell is the hunting and gathering of our times. I wonder if it’s fulfilling some ancient drive to be self-sufficient that we lost after being turned into mere cogs in the capitalist machine?

I could not believe that someone would actually go to the bother of arranging a meet-up to pay for the same soap you can buy at the store. And besides that, who wants to rub stuff all over their body that someone else has cracked open…I’m talking about toiletries here folks, get your mind out of the gutter.

So I gave it a try. I was reprimanded for donating clothing that I myself had posted to see if the on-line system worked. I was accused of teasing other users with my selfish way of donating since one person in the group was offering me $1.

You can imagine my response to the administrator’s accusation of ‘teasing’. I could just picture her with her laptop perched on kitchen table of her two-million dollar Etobicoke home surrounded by the loneliness of Stepford-Stay-At-Home-Wifedom. Pul-eaze darling! Take your one dollar, pseudo-group-policing badge and stick it where the sun don’t shine. I’m quite happy knowing that my suits are being used by women trying to better themselves.

On a more positive note, I did have some adventures. While waiting outside a strip mall for a lady named Dee-Dee who was going to sell me a new vaccuum for twenty bucks, my son brought it to my attention that  the whole ordeal was, ‘sketch’. As in shady as hell. The vacuum being the equivalent of a chocolate bar used to lure middle-aged women into the abductor van of life.

My son leaned against the back of my bumper-stickered car and licked his ice-cream cone, “Look Mom, if some weirdo shows up and gives you a hard time, I’m not really sure I’m prepared to fight.” About five minutes later, a beige mini van with two septuagenarians pulled up and we cordially exchanged cash for the vacuum. “Sketch, mom. Totally sketch.”

I sent my boyfriend on a mission to buy a rug, which I somehow linked to the awesomeness of the-rug-that-tied-the-room-together in the Big Lewbowski.

giphy

My man-friend did not perceive the ;same, high level of coolness as I did. As a matter of fact, he was kinda pissed at me. Until he saw the rug.

Then there was the wicker chair that my son accurately described as smelling like old lady and wet cigarette butts. A little vinegar and water wash and some airing out, and it’s as good as new – the chair, not the old lady.

And then there’s the giant bean-bag chair that I have been coveting on-line for a year. It’s $400, but I managed to buy one for $50 that was never used. I smelled this one before I bought it though. Old lady is much harder to rinse out of a bean bag chair than wicker.

I have always been a donation gal. If it no longer serves a purpose in my home, it gets packed in a box and dropped at the nearest donation drop-off. I believe that someone out there needs it more than me, and I want them to have access to it.  I also believe that I like the idea of making a little extra cash too, especially from items that I over-spent on, and never really use.

Perhaps that’s what it’s all about; Easing our consciousness of how much crap we consume, and how it actually diminishes the quality of our lives.

Maybe that’s why it enraged someone so very much that I had the gall to snub the one dollar offer, and the tank of gass I’d use to meet the cheapskate. The idea that I would rather donate my stuff to someone in need takes away from the glory of the almighty dollar.

 

 

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Why Your Terrible Breakfast Offends Me

"Let them eat cake." ~Marie Antoinette before the French Revolution~
“Let them eat cake.”
~Marie Antoinette before the French Revolution~

Not you, dish-rag of a girl behind the counter, nor you, 65ish waitress with the second-hand Target sweater and hair clip.

Nope, you two have my respect. You’ve earned it. Over and over, you’ve earned it. Day in, and day out, you’ve earned it.

Say what you like about what money can’t buy, it can buy a whole lot of peace of mind and privilege. That’s why it’s so coveted, and so hoarded by those who have it. If it was as worthless as all the popular memes want us to believe, people would be way, way, way more generous.

Why your terrible breakfast offends me is because YOU are likely a greedy-money-hording employer from hell. I’m guessing, but it’s an educated guess.

More than once favourite restaurants have changed hands, and I believe that one of my favourite breakfast spots, Artisano’s may have also changed ownership, or perhaps the management has just dumped the concept of customer service? I’m not sure. I am sure that I will not be going back, nor recommending it based on my own personal experience.

Any time front-line staff don’t produce excellent products or customer service, it’s likely because they don’t have the tools or energy to do it. After all, who likes to feel second-best after a long day at work? When I say tools, in this case I mean decent food to use and enough staff. When I say energy, I mean; the staff likely get treated and paid like hell.

Yah, a bad breakfast is a first world problem, but it’s the symptom of a larger problem. First of all, if you’re raising kids, and working, you likely have to stop somewhere to eat at least once or even twice a week, simply because the demands of work and the demands of trying to have your kids get ahead mean you have no time and a whole whack of  extra blood pressure. Why? Simply put; the Have’s now have more, and the Have-Nots have even less. And yet we’re not protesting in Canadian streets. This both intrigues and frightens me.

ewwwSo, when I get a chance to actually enjoy a meal, and I’m paying YOU for it, I’d like it to be well-cooked, fresh and hot. That’s the least someone should expect. Your burned bacon and rubbery-older-than-dirt sausage and cold as hell eggs suck. No salt or pepper. Clearly those are extravagances.  Besides, when the food is burned, old and cold, salt and pepper are really just putting lipstick on the pig aren’t they darlings?  And if you’re looking at the photo, that’s not pepper, it’s grit from the grill. Ewww.

Staff to bring you those things after you ask? Can’t be bothered. Breakfast is a completely indulgent meal to enjoy on a Sunday morning; with hot coffee and a newspaper, there are few things that make me happier.

I do not blame the all too commonly underpaid staff who are working their buns off to pay the bills. I do blame employers who skimp, penny-pinch and do so at the cost of the health of employees and customers.  This is why your terrible breakfast offends me. This is why I will not be back.

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Self Check-Out

Interior Grocery Store Design | Check Stand Ma...
Interior Grocery Store Design | Check Stand Markers | Waikoloa Village Market | KTA Store (Photo credit: I-5 Design & Manufacture)

The first thing I thought years ago when I encountered the very first ‘self check-outs’ at our local grocery store was, “Great. Now not only do I have to pack my own groceries, I have to check them out too.”

You see, as a youth, I worked for five years at the local grocery store. I was a shelf-stocker, check-out girl, grocery packer, carry-out girl, and even worked on occasion wrapping and weighing produce and meat (we didn’t have scales at the checkout, or a conveyor on the counter).

I wouldn’t even think of someone pack their own groceries or carry more than one bag to the car alone. But that was long, long ago darling, and far, far away.

Now, as the mother of a teenager, I seem to be the floor-show on a regular basis, and there’s nothing he likes to see more than his wise, sophisticated mother lose her cool. Tonight when I asked if he wanted to go get some groceries with me, he tagged along, secretly plotting our trip to the self check-out.

There’s nothing that can consistently make me lose my cool more than when I use the self check-out.

Basically, I’m faster than the machine that weighs measures, and makes sure I’m not shop lifting a bazillion extra pounds of food.  This inadvertently causes alarms and multiple calls to the self check-out police. Usually these folks are women putting in part-time retirement hours, or  teenaged boys who don’t need to shave more than twice a month and could give a crap less about who you are, what you came for, or where you’re going next.

The check-out is a measure of our quality of civilization, a short stop in your day to say hello to another human being, perhaps exchange opinions about the quality of whatever you’re purchasing and discussing what might be the topic of the day.

Not any more.

Our interactions are increasingly becoming automated and mind-numbing. Remember going to a bank to transfer funds, cash a cheque, or withdraw cash? Yah, I hardly remember it either.

We no longer discuss or question our purchases, we load the cart and scan ourselves out of the store.

Although the self check out has cost me the human interaction with the cashier and the ‘bag-boy’, it has helped create a bond between my kiddo and I. I’m always goaded into checking out my own groceries, and we usually giggle through the entire process.

It took me two trips over to the-kid-who-could-care-less in order to scan my baguette. One visit from the kid-who-could-care-less because I took the eggs out of my bag to make room for the peaches, and six attempts before the darn thing accepted my new, plastic twenty-dollar bill.

Ah yes. Self check-out, another illusion of freedom.

Self check-out, another opportunity to practice patience, have a giggle and bond with my teenager.

It’s all about perspective.

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Seditious Wishes

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...
Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that the “luxury market” is set to boom this year? Bain and Company makes this prediction in the face of the looming global economic crisis. Did you know that Noam Chomsky has predicted this economic crisis by way of middle/working class brainwashing (by “them” – the combined political/capitalist elite)and apathy for decades?

Why, all of this thinking could make a girl dizzy! So, while my Vietnamese aesthetician exfoliated and massaged my feet today, I came up with my “If I were a Rich Girl Birthday Gift Wish List”. 

1)I will open the door to you holding a bottle of Clive Christian‘s Imperial Majesty Perfume: Price $215,000, and a bouquet of  orchids crafted of peridot, diamonds and rubies. Of course they will be token gifts for me so that you may cross my very glamorous domestic threshold.

2) Le Creuset‘s Metal Cork Catcher. That way we can start the occasion off with some bubbly minus the worry of injuring anyone, or more importantly anything.

3)Of course I would like a nice bottle of bubbly to practice using the Cork Catcher. Let’s see. Hmm? How about a nice bottle of the Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck.  Better get on that. It’s rare, and you only have a month left before my big day. If for some reason you’re not man enough to get your hands on a bottle of that, I’ll take some Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet. Actually, better get two.

4)A nice little Michael Kors leather-bodice dress to wear for the special occasion. I’ll need to get it altered for a little extra va-va-va-boob, so don’t leave it too late.


5)Pearls are a no-no for a man to give for a woman as they represent tears. Since I’ve had some experience with this, I will resist putting a beautiful strand of pearls on this list. Instead, how about a little something from Cartier. I think the Two-For-Trinity necklace would go nicely with the dress. Oh yah, and the earrings too.

6)For our little ride to the airport there’s a 1951 Rolls out there you could arrange. If you can’t manage the ’51, the ’49 will do.

7)After your people book a private luxury flight to Charles De-Gaulle, be sure you have made reservations at L’Ambroisie. You get the best tables if you call 01-42-78-51-45. Mmmm…can’t wait to blow out the candle on  the tarte fine sablée au cacao! Oh you’re so good to me. This is where I will open your real birthday gift to me..ooooh! I can’t wait for the surprise! I hope it’s shiny!

8)After dinner let’s slum it a bit and hit Au Lapin Agile after dinner eh? I know, it’s not Michelin starred darling, but let’s have a laugh and buy the house a round. Please, pretty please. I promise we can make for the jet straight away after the last act.

9) I suppose I need a “you” to direct this birthday list too. How about  one of the world’s eligible billionaires? I have a lot of respect for Oprah, but being heterosexual and all,  I’ll take Eike Batista. The latin ones are always pretty frisky and we’re born only 5 days apart – we can celebrate together! After a couple glasses of bubbly they all look the same anyway…blah, blah, blah.

10)A simple Langford cedar canoe. You see, indulgence can only ever come to a catastrophic end, whether it’s gluttony or greed. Kinda like the global economy. I figure with the canoe – I’ll have a place to reflect upon my 37th year as our civilization crumbles around me.

All of this  Noam-Chomsky-subversive-truth-telling-while-waiting-for-civilized-North-American-life-as-we-know-it-to- blow-out-our-liberal-class-sputtering-candle is enough to make a girl think twice about filling up her gas tank, or heaven forbid hope for a little over-the-top-materialistic-romance. Sheesh! Somebody pass me that bottle opener and whatever cheap hooch we’ve got on hand.

Since I likely won’t be getting any of the things on my greedy-guts-glam list, I’ll settle for a little public education. Go out and get yourself  some Chomsky in honour of this gal’s big day. Perhaps start light with Chris Hedges and his Death of the Liberal Class.  

After you’ve finished reading come on over, have a beer with me on the patio and chat. After all, enlightened conversation is a priceless gift. It’s all about the Om baby.