Archive for the 'Consumerism' Category


Monday, October 7th, 2013

The traditional gift is china, or diamonds, but we opted for foam. Let me back up. Twenty years ago, my mom and dad bought a mattress for Xy and me, a wedding present. This year, as an anniversary gift to each other, we got ourselves a new mattress. That’s right, we slept on the same […]

So You Wanna Buy My Daughter a Gift?

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

A quick guide to help you out. If it’s gender-neutral that would be a plus. It it’s made of plastic that would be a minus. Mass-manufactured is a minus, but hand-crafted is a plus. Batteries? Minus. Noisy? Minus. Educational? Plus. Reflecting values antithetical to our own? Minus, minus, minus. When in doubt, remember: The best […]

Thank-You Cards

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Cards, cards, cards. We had 25 holiday greeting cards printed. When I drew up a complete mailing list (after the fact, stupid, I know) I realized we needed twice that number. But it’s all good, because in point of fact we only actually mailed a dozen or so cards before time got away from us […]

Dear Netflix

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Dear Netflix, After many years of loyal patronage, I will be canceling my Netflix membership at the end of December. As we’ve shared so many delightful years together I thought you deserved an explanation, so I’m writing this letter to spell it all out for you. I’ve been with you from almost the beginning. I […]

Dear Mr. Bissell (2)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Bissell Homecare, Inc.
 PO Box 3606 
Grand Rapids MI 49501 For the attention of Mark J. Bissell, President & CEO Dear Mr. Bissell, Goodness gracious! I’ve just been going through some old files, and I realized it’s been one full year since I wrote to you. I have yet to receive the courtesy of a […]

We Roll Tight Whips Every Day

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

When we were out in Oregon there was a story on the news that caught my interest, out of the corner of my eye, about Jeff “Free” Luers being released from prison. Luers was arrested and convicted for setting fire to three vehicles back in 2000. The guy was trying to make a protest statement […]

Dear Mr. Bissell

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Bissell Homecare, Inc. PO Box 3606 Grand Rapids MI 49501 For the attention of Mark J. Bissell, President & CEO Dear Mr. Bissell, We recently purchased a Lift-Off Revolution Remanufactured 3760R vacuum cleaner produced by your company. During its second use, the stretch hose came detached from the hose grip, rendering the whole apparatus inoperable. […]

Mystery of the Gas Rebate

Monday, May 18th, 2009

We recently let our Better World membership lapse. I like Better World and recommend them to anyone shopping for an auto club, but our insurer offers roadside assistance at a price that can’t be beat. I heard about Better World through Car Talk back when I used to listen to NPR. (Another Katrina casualty. After […]

Dear TrueNorth

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Dear TrueNorth, I picked up a bag of your Pecan Almond Peanut Clusters at the store the other day, and have found them quite delicious. In fact, they are alarmingly habit-forming. Upon examining the nutritional information on the back of the package, I was pleased to see a list of only six simple ingredients, instead […]


Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Whenever I get a raw deal, I rail against the people who are screwing me. For example, I’ve filed a complaint with the feds about our car. I’m about ready to write a personal letter to Lee Young Dong about our TV. So when somebody does right by me, I feel like I should give […]

Dear Coby

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

One of the key tensions in my relationship with Xy has to do with television. To put it bluntly, she’s for it and I’m against it. I long ago gave up the battle to keep television out of our home, but at least we don’t pay for cable or satellite. We get our TV off […]

Got a New Phone

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Whenever something happens to one of our cellphones, it precipitates drama. I guess it’s an unanticipated side-effect of not having a landline. Anyway, Friday was no exception. When T-Mobile confirmed my phone was busted beyond repair, I decided it was time to join Xy on Verizon. By complete coincidence, Friday was the day the Blackberry […]


Monday, November 17th, 2008

I first got the idea to use this kind of heating unit a year or so ago when I went into Ken Brown & Sons to buy some plumbing stuff. They’re a plumbing supply shop located here in Mid-City right smack in a residential neighborhood — one of those many weird juxtapositions I love about […]

More Recycling Blues

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, we are paying approximately $15/month to a private company to pick up recyclables. I’m not happy about the situation; in my opinion this should be a standard municipal service like trash collection. But we haven’t had it since the floods of ’05. So we’re contracting for it privately out of a […]


Friday, August 1st, 2008

For the last few days I’ve been mildly obsessed with locating some superfine sugar, also known as bar sugar or castor sugar. This stuff is often called for in drink recipes. It dissolves faster than common granulated sugar — which, incidentally, is often labeled “extra fine,” but don’t get confused. Superfine is finer than extra […]


Saturday, April 19th, 2008

My new iMac arrived Thursday. First impression: Wow, this thing is huge. It’s mostly screen, of course, but at 20″ x 12″ it’s almost twice the size of my old iMac’s screen. I tried using the Migration Assistant to move data from the old iMac to the new one. Unfortunately this worked for Xy’s account […]

Eat-Well Food Mart

Monday, April 7th, 2008

The “Eat-Well Food Mart” has been under construction at the corner of Canal and Broad for some months. Google knows nothing about “Eat-Well Food Mart” so I was intrigued. Today, I saw that it was open, so I stopped in. Could this be some kind of health food store in my neighborhood? Wouldn’t that be […]

Deal or No Deal

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

We bought the girl’s bedroom set at Imperial Furniture on St. Claude Avenue a couple months ago. This afternoon we went back there and bought a metal storage cabinet and a garish red couch. The place is kind of funny. There’s a sign in back that says “Keep Hands and Feet Off Wall.” Their slogan […]

Cardholder Blues

Friday, December 14th, 2007

My friend JB was having trouble with his debit card on his recent visit to the Crescent City. When he called his bank, he was informed that Visa debit cards haven’t worked in New Orleans since Katrina. [Edit: I surely misunderstood. It must be just this particular bank’s Visa debit cards.] I found that somewhat […]


Monday, December 3rd, 2007

We finally got our new washer and dryer hooked up and situated properly, and last night I did our first load of laundry at home for over two years. Our old dishwasher was crapping out on us, so we also got a new one of those. Splurged a bit and got a fancy one with […]