Acoustical Analysis (pun intended)

I’m convinced the best acoustics in the world are not at the Mormon Tabernacle in Utah, nor the Gorge Amphitheater, or even in the shower as is commonly believed. The best acoustics in the world are in the toilet bowl in the bathroom at my workplace. You can hear the activities in there for miles. I swear there is a hidden mic or something. The slightest puff of air sounds like twister is right outside the window. There is a printed out sheet of paper tacked above the toilet warning everyone of the extreme consequences of their actions, so to speak, but no one follows it because, apparently, I work with a stealth team of Mission: Impossible poopers. You know, the ones who think they can just sit and lower down their payload without triggering any of the acoustic or motion detectors expertly tucked inside the toilet bowl. Needless to say, they are wrong and the whole office is acutely aware of their misperception.

You would think the person who designs toilet bowls would probably put in some of that sound dampening material or something. Or not make it a perfect parabola that just bounces all the sound waves into one loud focal point. Come to think of it, if I designed toilet bowls I wouldn’t change a thing. How else would I get any “feedback” on my designs?

Modern-Day Romance

on our first date
we hit it off
i said I was a Little Ceasar’s man
you said you wanted a slice
but not from Pizza Hut
because they don’t have cheap crazy bread

we both like Target
way better than Mervyn’s
for clothes and for knick knacks
even though they are similar
how perfect is that

but it hasn’t been all
Ben and Jerry’s
you’ve opened my eyes
to feelings I’ve never known
I had never even tried
the chalupa at Taco Bell
when you said it was better
than the gordita
it was a struggle
but now I think we are on common ground

we both like the Gap
but would never shop at Abercrombie
we both think that Burger King
is way better than McDonalds
we are like two scoops
of the same ice cream at Baskin-Robbins

but i knew it was fate
the night we shared
that we both can’t stand
but loved Saved By the Bell

we share everything there
is to share with one another
and we play back the memories
over the soundtrack from
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

and we won’t get chicken
from KFC
because it’s too greasy

Zillion Dollar Idea #836

I’m about five seconds away from getting out some toilet paper, scissors, and masking tape in order to fashion the world’s first “Toilet Paper Glove.” I know what you’re thinking and, no, it is not related to my loss of innocence (although, note to self: look into non-tearing, quilted, two-ply “toilet paper glove” with “handy” roller dispenser). Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the “toilet paper glove.”

I’m sick of trying to change my bad habits. I want services and products that adapt to me, instead of forcing me to change the “bad” behaviors that have become hard-wired in my brain. I’m talking about the same concept that brought us the dentist, people. Instead of “brushing my teeth” or “flossing,” I just pay the dentist to jackhammer in my gums for a few hours and, voila, I come out looking like a famous literary character (Hint: scroll down to the block quote) . To this day, I laugh maniacally whenever I see someone wasting their time on dental hygiene!

Which brings me to the “toilet paper glove” again. I’m considering crafting a “toilet paper glove” so that I can just wipe my runny nose with my hand as I do usually, except this way it will be sanitary. And I won’t have to wipe all the accumulating hand-snot on my jeans. Or on my socks. Or on the cuff of my long-sleeve shirt. Or on the inside of my pants pockets. Or on my boxer shorts. (Cue the Forrest Gump rip-off music.) Or on my hairnet. Or on my legwarmers. Or on my excessively large russian fur hat…

One box of “toilet paper gloves” (the name has a sort of “ring” to it, don’t you think) will only cost like $10 bucks or so. I figure, if everyone is like me, they’d probably pay $10 seeing that it will offset 97% of all laundry costs. For example, one dry-cleaning of my excessivley large russian fur hat usually runs $15 or so.

Free Beef!!!

I think Les Schwab is doing something right. If case you haven’t seen the ads on TV, Les Schwab is giving away free beef with the purchase of new tires. Free Beef! Are you hearing me people? Buy tires, get free beef. It’s marketing genius, and they’ve been doing it for years. After all, when it comes to closing a tire sale, nothing sweetens the pot like red meat.

I can only imagine how this promotion came to pass:
Customer (hesitantly): “Well, the warranty is good, and the price is right… but I’m just not sure…”
Salesman: “Alright, you’re twistin’ my arm here, but how ’bout I throw in a big hunk of raw meat and we call it a deal?”
Customer: “Sold!!!”

The marketing team at Les Schwab apparently studied their key tire-buying demographic and reached this conclusion:
1. Let’s face it, vegetarians don’t buy tires.
2. The tire-buying public are all bloodthirsty carnivores.

With this in mind, they knew that offering “Free Salad!” with every tire purchase would get them nowhere. And thus, the free beef campaign was born.

To fully appreciate the brilliance of this promotion, we need to understand their use of two seemingly unrelated products. They combined tires and beef into complimentary goods. First of all, this promotion could never succeed with other products. Can you imagine: “Buy a Home Pregnancy Test, Get Free Beef!” or “Buy Tires, Get a Free Nipple-Piercing!” Because of this campaign, beef and tires now go together like peanut butter and jelly. You almost can’t imagine one without the other. And therein lies the genius.

Finally, speaking as a man that eats six servings of red meat per day, this is a dream come true. How many times do I find myself making two special trips for both tires and beef? This promotion by Les Schwab is one stop shopping, at it’s best.

Wait! You Forgot Your Receipt!

The previous post by DA got me thinking about my own issues with receipts:

First, I hate the yellow, carbon-copy receipt some places give you. First, the store is immediately giving you second-class-citizen status. Essentially, they are putting you in your place by saying, “No, you’re not good enough to get the special top copy, with the clean white paper, fresh ink and legible printing. No! That’s our copy! You can’t have the original! You get this worthless, retread copy!”

To begin with, the yellow copy is only readable if there was so much excess ink from the good copy that it bled thru the paper to create your hand-me-down copy. And if it does bleed through, half the time they are impossible to decipher anyway.

Clerk: “Ok sir, here’s your receipt. Have a nice day.”
Consumer: “Uhhh… wait a second. This is just a blank piece of carbon paper… It doesn’t even say anything on it.”
Clerk: “Alright, look… We don’t even have the capability to print receipts. We just give everyone a blank piece of paper because people think they need something after we take their money. People need to feel secure, nestled in at night. This receipt is their security blanket.”

Now, a receipt is essentially a meaningless piece of paper, but somehow it can make any transaction or dealing seem official and legal.

Black-market organ dealer: “Ok, I put the kidneys in the cooler, and here’s your receipt.”
Buyer: “Well, seems like everything is in order… thanks.”

Conversely, not getting a receipt when one is expected makes people very suspicious. It’s an immediate red flag to question the whole operation. The cashier is suddenly as trustworthy as a back-alley three-card Monte dealer. When they do finally present the receipt to me, I look it up and down, pull out a 10-key machine, and perform an IRS-like audit to make sure sale prices, coupons, and all the senior citizen dicsounts I’m entitled to are credited properly.

Finally, I hate it when you purchase a candy bar or something, take your change, and quickly make for the exit, only to have the cashier call after you, “Wait, sir! You forgot your receipt!”

Now, what do I do here? It’s obvious I’m in a hurry. Perhaps the cashier is worried that I’ll be ten miles down the road, realize my gaffe and have to turn around to retrieve my receipt. This person obviously assigns some value to this piece of paper, they are trying to deliver good customer service, and it would possibly hurt their feelings to yell back at them, “Throw it away! I don’t want it! I just wanted to buy a candy bar and get on with my life!”

Instead, what usually happens is I walk back over, and have to endure an awkward moment for all parties involved. The cashier is left holding the receipt out over the counter, knowing in hindsight that she should have just thrown it away. Those waiting in line are annoyed by this unnecessary prolonging of the transaction, and I’m forced to muster an insincere “Thanks” for this worthless piece of paper that I was going out of my way to avoid getting in the first place. It’s just one of the many socially cumbersome moments in our society.