Petty Annoyances: Random Things That Annoy Me, Part 1

I’ve decided to begin a series about life’s little annoyances. These are things that crop up in daily existence that tighten my colon. There is no particular order to these things…they are just the unexpected lumps in my gravy.

The phrase “To be honest…” or “I’ll be honest with you.” Every time I hear someone use this in conversation, I want to interrupt them instantly and ask, “So, is this honesty to be a departure from your normal habit of telling lies?”

Phone calls from machines. The phone rings and I answer it. I hear a recorded voice say, “Please hold for an important message about (fill in the blank). What ever happened to good customer service? I guess I’m just barely important enough to contact with a machine, but not important enough to have a real person speak with me. Anytime I get one of these calls, I hang up immediately. I figure if the message is important enough, the company will either send me a letter or have a human call me.

Voicemail instructions. Every time I make a phone call and get routed to someone’s voicemail, the person leaves their own message (which is OK) and then the machine will spend another 30 seconds telling me how to leave the message. This wastes my time and costs me extra money for the extra 30 seconds of cell phone time I have to pay for. Just once, I’d like to get someone’s voicemail that said, “This is Joe. Please leave a message when you hear the tone”…and then just get the tone. Five seconds, tops.

Christians that are pro-government and pro-war. I could write two articles about each of these…in fact, I have! But, this situation comes up so often that I’m constantly irritated. The government stands diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Old and New Testaments.
And, last time I checked, the Commandment of “thou shalt not kill” (murder) didn’t come with a disclaimer that said it was OK to murder others when you wear an army uniform.

People who say that America is a “democracy.” The LAST thing that the Founders of our nation wanted was a democracy. Our national government was designed to be a Constitutional Republic. People who call America a democracy…including the politicians all the way up to the President…prove that they‘ve never spent even one hour studying the Constitution.

Foreign technical support operators. When I need tech support for something, like my computer, or my internet service, or my new washing machine, I dial the number for Customer Support and get a person in a foreign country, usually in India or the Phillippines. While their knowledge might be good, their English is so bad that I cannot understand what they are saying. I did find a way around this, however. When you call in, you’ll usually get the choice of hearing the messages in English or Spanish. If you choose Spanish, you’ll usually get an American who can speak Spanish. Just talk to him or her in English.

Familiarity and the lack of manners. People used to have good manners. When you met someone new, you would either wait to be introduced, or introduce yourself. “How do you do” was an appropriate greeting. Calling the person by their first name was not done unless someone invited you to do so. Respect was shown by using a salutation like “Mr.,” “Mrs.” Or “Miss” with their last name. These days, manners are passe. People want to be instantly familiar with me, and it grinds me. Etiquette is the oil that lubricates society, and society sure needs the oilcan today.

Tipping waiters. This is one of the most widespread scams I’ve ever witnessed. When I look at a menu, I see food prices listed plainly. Part of the food cost is labor, both to prepare and to serve the food. Now, if I’m in a fast food joint, there’s no serving. They hand me my food and I either sit down and eat or leave the restaurant. But, it was a brilliant maneuver for restaurant owners to foist part of the labor cost for serving food off onto the customer.

Same thing with barbers, or car valets, or bartenders.

In what other retail transactions do you tip? When you buy a car, and pay $10,000 for the car, do you tip the salesman an extra 15%, or $1,500.00? When you visit your doctor, do you tip the nurse 15%? Is there a tip jar at your favorite gun shop, or Home Depot, or grocery store, or gas station? No…that would be absurd. In my opinion, it’s also absurd to tip anybody for serving me food or a drink. And the most annoying thing about tipping is that it is expected, and if you don’t tip, you the customer are thought of negatively. No one ever thinks of the restaurant owner negatively for not paying his waiters more than a minimum wage.

There will be more petty annoyances to come in subsequent articles. Stay tuned.

If you have something that annoys you, send me a comment about it.


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