Friday Frivolity: Full Disclosure

First Disclosure:  I would like to get just ONE order for one of my “Laughing…” books as a result of my Friday Frivolity blogs.  I’ve been blogging stories for almost 5 years and have not had even one measly order for a book from a blog.  I’m going to discontinue this blog very soon and would like to finally get an order.  I’ll even offer free shipping…just comment to this story with your e-address.

Second Disclosure:  This particular story, “Full Disclosure” is from Laughing While Shopping

Ever read the small print on a package?  It’s getting more distressing for me as the years wear on.  Oh sure, it’s troubling because of my diminishing eyesight, but also from diminished capacity to understand the rationale for much of the small print.   Such was certainly the case when we left a major home improvement store.

It wasn’t that long ago that I’d go buy bolts and nuts out of bins.  Yup, I’m old enough to remember hardware stores on the corner.  Those neighborhood proprietors would stock fasteners in ceiling-to-floor walls of drawers, drop-down wooden bins or stave & hoop barrels.  If you are  too young to remember those barrels, they’re arched slats held together by steel bands—mostly used today as decorative planters spilling dirt and bloom into the yard.  Back in my adolescent years, my grandpa often took me to the hardware store where he’d grab what he needed from a barrel or bin, toss it in a paper sack and proceed to the cashier.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t all that long ago and there still are a few hometown hardware stores. However, I think those days of buy only what you need are gone.  Today, such hardware items are in baggies, shrink wrap or blister packs.  Yesterday…not yesteryear…Sue and I bought a pair of brass machine screws and two plastic nuts and washers all neatly packaged in a plastic bag.

I was happy we found exactly what I needed.  Often the marketing of such items is seemingly packaged with the intent of overstocking.  Not their shelves…my storage bins!  Nevertheless, most of my family would testify that overstocking my storage bins is my delight, not my displeasure.

But, I digress from my story.  These were packaged precisely sufficient for my need.

I guess Sue was bored as we drove away.  In itself, that’s quite disparaging as to my ability to entertain her.  Aside from that, she likes to read.  First she read the shocking news that I had not purchased a toy.  Ahhhh, more precisely, the BAG which contained the nuts and bolts was not a toy.

Aw, gee whiz, …and to think I almost bought a dozen bolts just to get enough bags to fill with beans for my bean-bag-toss game.  Oh rats, they went on to nix the thought of refilling the bag in Warning Number 2.  Once I had removed the hardware, I could not refill the bag with anything.  No beans, no rice, no dinner leftovers…nothin’.

Before I could recover from this no recycle for personal use caveat, Sue continued with even more distressing, specifically-stated cautions.  Would you believe we can’t use the empty bag in a baby’s crib?  For what purpose?  You’d have to staple a hundred of them together to make a sheet.  Of course… there was at least some temptation…the packaging was a delightful baby blue.

Oh, but there’s more about this simple little purchase that annoyed me.  I fully realize the diverse ethnicity in the United States has caused lots of things today to be printed in multiple languages.   That fact doesn’t trouble me.  Predictably, the package’s Identifications, Features, and Instructions were in both English and Spanish.  No big deal.

What, then, was so abrasive to me?  The Warnings, which I just highlighted as foolishness, were only in English.   Apparently the packagers figured only Anglo-Saxon descendants would be dumb enough to toss all their scrap plastic bags into a kid’s playpen.

Hold on…, don’t toss this book in the basket just yet.  The worst is yet to come.  As Sue neared the end of her perusal of the bag, she exclaimed:  “Ohhhh… My… Goodness!  Ed, we’ve got to keep this bag.”

You do remember that I mentioned Sue reading thou shalt not keep the bag for any purpose.   I will testify without duress, Sue is not predisposed to disobedience.  Okay …alright …if the truth be known, she does indeed tear off all the “Do Not Remove under penalty of law” tags.  However, such actions are mitigated by trying to satisfy some residual teenage rebellious attitude still swirling in her head.  But, why would she suggest we save a tiny, plastic, perforated, non-zip-lock baggie in flagrant violation of regulations clearly stipulated…in ENGLISH?  The answer lies in the producer:   Keeney Mfg. Co.

For those of you who are not aware of Sue’s heritage, she began life as a Keeney.

See, I told you the implications of small print are often very perplexing to me.

Friday Frivolity

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do carnivores prey before they eat?

Eat.  That’s one of my happiest pastimes.  Especially dessert.  What a treat it was when my granddaughter, Tara, got a job at the Great American Cookie Company.  The thought of Tara fixing a special cookie for me was akin to the Cookie Monster hearing that Sesame Street was to have a ribbon-cutting for a Great American Cookie store.

Great American Cookie —   You know…it’s one of those mall stores you don’t have to walk inside to shop.  As you stroll by, they entice you with a large array of the usual four-bite confectioneries plus a delectable variety of HUGE, cake-like decorated sugar disks.

I generally am not tempted by cookie-store offerings, but the thought of sharing one of my granddaughter’s artistic masterpieces with our friends was alluring.  And when we got to the store, I must admit they looked quite tantalizing.  “I think I’d like to buy that one,” I mentioned, pointing to the two-footer Tara had iced that afternoon.

“You can’t buy that one, Grandpa,”  Tara said. “It’s made of rubber.”

“What?  Rubber?”

“Yeah.”

“Rubber!  I can’t believe it.  That cookie’s actually made of rubber?”

“What did you think it was made of?”

Looking up at the sign, “Let’s see… GREAT AMERICAN COOKIE… how about sugar!”

“Gee, Grandpa, if they were made of cookie dough, we couldn’t re-use them.”

“You don’t re-use cookies.  You eat them!”

Pacing along the display, I mumbled my disappointment…if not some skepticism of the forthrightness of my granddaughter. “Rubber cookies.  I’m shocked.  I’m appalled.  My own granddaughter, perpetrating a hoax on the public.”  My murmuring intensified to intelligible clarity.  “The public should be made aware of this deception.  You should change your sign to Great American Rubber.”

“Grandpa, they’re just for display.  Nobody buys these showcase cookies.”

“It’s no wonder; they’re rubber.  And, I’ll bet the unsuspecting public doesn’t know it.”

======================== If you want to read the rest of the story and find out how I “informed” the public, go to ButtonwoodPress.com and buy Laughing while Shopping

In Your Ear

I had a prescription to pick up.  The waiting line formed along a wall of medical devices.  In the past several years, I have not had occasion to pause in the aisle of thermometers.  With all the advancements in medical fields, I should not have been at all surprised with what was displayed.

But I was.  There must have been twenty different “In the Ear” thermo-sensors.  Wow…you must choose between thermometers which accurately record temperatures within 2 seconds, 8, 20, 30 or 60 seconds and one that did not promise any time duration.  Could have been stick it in your ear ‘til tomorrow, I’m not sure.

In the area of children’s thermometers was a Quack Quack or Woof Woof digitals.  I believe they “talk” to the kids.  I didn’t have my microscopic reading glasses so I can only surmise the Dog’s head only gives a whimper with a low grade temp…yips gently at 101°…barks loudly at 103°…and howls like a hysterical hyena at 104° and up.

Another one I needed a magnifier to read the fine print was a “Basal”.  From the pictures, I’d surmise you could stick this one in almost any orifice of the human body.  I was able to read the RED LETTER WARNING:  Clean thoroughly after rectal use.  Clean?  More like, please buy an autoclave sterilizer before oral use.

And speaking of oral use, one package declared Mercury Free.  Really?  Is it necessary to advertise “mercury free”?  It’s been 15 years since mercury filled thermometers have been banned in Michigan. But who wants even a mercury free one to stick in your mouth.  I spotted some Non-contact beauties.  You just aim them at your forehead or temple.

It took a lot of years to develop these for home use.  I saw them in use on the Enterprise many years ago.  And, in addition to temps, those babies scanned for all diseases known to man, Klingons and probably even Orkians.  Keep watch during next year’s Cyborg Monday for Tricorders under Ten-grand.

I will say that one of the varieties I saw had little practical use as far as I was concerned.  It boasted about being battery-free…solar powered.  What are you gonna do drag your sick child outside to get a good reading?

Almost every variety of thermometer I spotted had some variance of regular, touch/touch free, infrared, or premium.  Oh, boy…Premium for one brand included Fever Insight along with Smart Phone Wireless Technology.  Would you believe it dials 911 if the reading is over 108°.  No?

Well, then, would you believe it sends your phone a message for any temps over a hundred-five?  Not that either?

How ‘bout you get a different  ring tone with each degree over a 98.6?

At the very least, you’ll get a loud siren on your phone when your child sticks it in their ear.

Friday Frivolity: WOW!

Oh, WOW.  Double wow.  What a gorgeous blonde on a postcard.  Nah, not a French postcard (for the wonderment of guys old enough to remember that inference.)  But a post card sized advertisement just the same.

Perfect, blemish free skin and ample of that without revealing anything particularly sexy but certainly a provocative expression.  And all frames with soft fuzzy fur Santa hat, gloves and…  Just to her left a gold frames sign clearly stating $59 per treatment.

That’s not a paraphrase of what I presumed.  That’s a quote…treatment, and without much imagination, a proposal she was offering.  To the left was “CALL TODAY!  …and a local number at that.  Not 1-800-dream-on.  Rather it was a number in my area code.  Not that I was at all tempted, but I was admittedly misled.

You see, the ad wasn’t even targeted for my demographics.  Sure, the price might have been reasonable for a retired guy’s income.  However, Look younger, melt fat and lose inches are more like she was tossing sugar plums at my head rather than visions of them dancing in my head.  By the way, RedPlum is the company circulating this dream.

Oh, and removing hair is certainly not anywhere on my priority list.  I’ve had enough of that happen already and it didn’t cost $59 a treatment.  So, what was the card promoting?  A complete non-surgical solution to a new you!  Oh, my goodness!  I could look younger…supposedly very much like the Santa clad gal I mentioned as WOW.

Trust me.  Without hesitation, even Bruce Whoever would choke trying to tell me that was remote possible.  And this ad said it could happen without a face lift at a fraction of the cost.

All I can say it WOW.  That’s gotta be one heck of an elixir.

Friday Frivolity: Rummagin’

I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a gene for rummagin’   If there is, I’m sure it is dominant on the Kaiser male chromosome.  Well, at least for my brother Rick and I.  Bob’s in Alabama.  ‘Bama Bob says folks thereabouts don’t have rummage and they ain’t about to sell the yard or garage.

But some weekends, the northern Kaiser boys…and their wives…begin their tour of yard sales on Thursday and could encompass a few stops every day.   It’s often a team effort.  We don’t plan to cross paths.  That way we can hit a lot more great deals than if we rode together.  Not only do we go to rummage sales, we host one almost every year.

Rick’s got a real knack for rummage sellin’.  Every year we challenge him with a new item to try to sell.  Once I recall a block of wood.  I didn’t recognize it as something Sue or I had utilized, yet it was in one of our boxes of cast-offs.  The speculation was that I bought it in a “lot” of other stuff I wanted.  Actually, that is not a rare occurrence.

Often, the best dickering and greatest values is in buying a box, tub, or coffee can of mixed items.  You see, if I can get a can of nuts & bolts that also has some screws in it, and I don’t really want the screws, I can get a better deal than if I sort them out.  At home, I could separate out the screws and offer them at our next annual sale.

Okay…so maybe that’s a bad example.  I never sell off any screws or nails.   Fact is, I keep any and all fasteners.  Sue cleaned out a drawer the other day and claimed we had enough Swingline™  staples to survive two successive generations of inheritance from our estate.

Anyway, back to the piece of wood which no one could recognize a specific use for.  It wasn’t just an ordinary piece of scrap.  It was a very nice block of wood, with a fine, polished, finish …and smooth grooves.  Rick thought he should market it as a trivet.

It probably should have been called a hot pad, but trivet sounded more expensive and in line with the 50 cent price tag.  Besides it only had 3 feet, thus trivet was more precise.  Well, I guess I should admit, …the feet were more like pads…very small, clear plastic.

Clear was a good thing.  You could hardly notice the missing one.  Also hardly noticeable was the faint impression of hinges that had been removed.   Why a trivet would have hinges was a mystery.  Ah, but the pre-drilled holes might give Rick another selling point.  Anyway, he took the challenge.

I’ll be darned if he didn’t sell it in the first hour.  I didn’t hear his entire pitch, yet I did manage to catch bits and pieces.  He’s very adept as marketing seemingly worthless stuff.  Without a doubt he called the buyers attention to the beautiful grain of the wood…oak for sure…very expensive wood…and the lustrous, un-scorch, obviously heat resistant finish.  I did hear his plausible explanation the scientifically engineered grooves precisely placed for efficient dissipation of heat.  Truly a bargain at 50¢.

My sales strategy employs little different tactic.  I’m more incline to make package deals.  We don’t put price tags on everything so people often have to ask.  I’ve been known to inflate a price when asked just so I can later discount it to give a person a deal.

A lady and her husband had selected a few items and came to me for some prices they were not sure of.  “How much for these two tapes”, the guy asked.  “Audio tapes – a dime apiece”

Then she asked me about a piece of cloth.

“Oooo, that’s a fine piece of linen, …bright, …colorful pattern too.  Two fifty a yard.”

She frowned.

I quickly countered; “Ah but this is a YARD sale, after all.  Since you probably don’t have a yard there, I’ll discount it down to fifty cents.”

She smiled approval and handed it to her husband.  “And this pillow?”

“Gee, that’s certainly lovely pillow.  Almost new looking…very fluffy.   Should easily be worth a couple bucks.  Velvet, don’t you think?  .”

“I think it’s velour.”

“Oh, …well, then, velour’s on sale today for half price.”  I picked out a second, almost matching, pillow from the pile.  “At that price you can have both of them for two bucks?”.

“I only want just one.  It’s a dollar then, right?”

Oooh-my, I could tell she was going to be tough to deal with.  She handed the pillow to her husband, and showed me two porcelain pieces marked 50¢ as she put them on the pillow.  “Fifty cents a piece, right?”

“Yup, that’s right.”

She reached into her purse; “How ’bout three bucks for the all of it?”

I was certainly surprised.  I’d calculated two-seventy.  I think her rummagin’ gene had mutated.

To be honest, I think lots of rummage sale customers have mutated genes.  One lady came up to me asking where the rest of the sales were.  I commented that ours was the only one I was aware of in the neighborhood.

Emphatically she intoned; “But your sign said ‘Block Sale’ ”

Actually the sign at the corner announced:  SALE  ⇒1 Block⇒

Yup, I’m sure there’s a gene for rummagin’ .  It’s gotta be somewhere in my DNA.  I suspect it’s on the chromosome right next to my goofy gene.

 

Friday Frivolity: Full Disclosure

Ever read the small print on a package?  It’s getting more distressing for me as the years wear on.  Oh sure, it’s troubling because of my diminishing eyesight, but also from diminished capacity to understand the rationale for much of the small print.   Such was certainly the case when we left Lowe’s  yesterday.

It wasn’t that long ago that I’d go buy bolts and nuts out of bins.  Yup, I’m old enough to remember Hardware stores on the corner.  Those neighborhood proprietors would stock fasteners in ceiling to floor walls of drawers, stave & hoop barrels or drop down wooden bins.  Grab what you need, toss ’em in a paper sack and proceed to the cashier.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t all that long ago and there still are a few “home town” hardware stores. However, I think those days of buy only what is needed are gone.  Today, such hardware items are in baggies, shrink wrap or blister packs.  Yesterday, we bought a pair of brass machine screws, two plastic nuts & washers, all neatly packaged in a plastic bag.

I was happy we found exactly what I needed.  Often the marketing of such items are seemingly packaged with the intent of “overstocking”.  Not their shelves…my storage bins.  Nevertheless, most of my family would testify that overstocking my storage bins is my delight, not displeasure.

But I digress from my story.  These were packaged precisely sufficient for my need.

I guess Sue was bored as we drove away.  She started reading the package.  In itself, that’s quite disparaging as to my ability to entertain her.  Anyway, first she read the shocking news that I had not purchased a toy.  Ahhhh, more precisely, the bag which contained the nuts & bolts was not a toy.

Aw, gee whiz, …and to think I almost bought a dozen of bolts just to get enough bags to fill with beans for my bean-bag-toss game.  (Otherwise known as “Ed’s Cornhole Game”.  Sorry, again I digress.)   Oh rats, they nixed the thought of refilling the bag in Warning Number 2.  Once I had removed the hardware, I could not refill the bag with anything.  No beans, no rice, no dinner leftovers, …nothin’.

Before I could recover from this “no recycle for personal use” caveat, Sue continued with even more distressing, specifically stated, cautions.  Would you believe we can’t use the empty bag in a crib?  For what?  You’d have to staple a hundred of them together to make a sheet.  Of course… there was at least some temptation…the packaging was a delightful baby blue.

Oh, but there’s more about this simple little purchase that was bristled me.  I fully realize the diverse ethnicity in the United States has caused lots of things today to be printed in multiple languages.   That fact doesn’t trouble me.  Predictably, the package’s Identifications, Features, and Instructions were in both English and Spanish.  No big deal.

What, then, was so abrasive to me?  The Warnings, which I just highlighted as foolishness, were only in English.   The packagers figured only Anglo-Saxon descendants would be dumb enough to toss all their scrap plastic bags into the kid’s playpen.

Hold on…, don’t toss this book in the basket just yet.  The worst is yet to come.  As Sue neared the end of her perusal of the bag, she exclaimed:  “Ohhhh…, My…, Goodness!  Ed, we’ve got to keep this bag”.

You do remember that I mentioned Sue reading thou shalt not keep the bag for any purpose.   I will testify without duress, Sue is not predisposed to disobedience.  Okay, …alright, …if the truth be known, she does indeed tear off all the “Do Not Remove under penalty of law” tags.  However, such actions are mitigated by trying to satisfy some residual teenage rebellious attitude still swirling in her mind.  But, why would she suggest we save a tiny, plastic, perforated, non-zip lock baggie in flagrant violation of regulations clearly stipulated…in ENGLISH.  The answer lies in the producer:   Keeney Mfg. Co.

For those of you who are not aware of Sue’s heritage, she began life as a Keeney.

See, I told you the implications of small print is often very disturbing to me.