Please Stop “Vaguebooking!”

Warning: rant ahead. Read at the risk of getting pissed off.

People, you have to stop “vaguebooking.” For those of you who might not know what this term means, it is “An intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help.” (Courtesy of www.UrbanDictionary.com.)

Before some of you get your knickers in a knot, I get where “vaguebooking” when used as advance marketing tool builder of excitement for a product launch or an advertising campaign for a company is semi-acceptable (although some of them can be downright annoying due to repetitiveness). It’s the “I don’t know what I’m going to do!” type of posts that leave the reader hanging, not knowing what the person who posted that sentence is going through. When I see comments like that it creates within me a sense of urgency and anxiety – as if the poster is going through something horrible or may need real help. Then three posts and fifteen minutes later they write, “Phew! Turns out it was just a bad spark plug that made the car not start this morning.” I mean, wtf people? I thought you were going through some life or death situation, not having crappy car problems! Meanwhile, myself and 132+ others have been worrying ourselves needlessly over you.

The other “vaguebooking” posts that totally suck are ones like “Something awesome just happened! So excited!” or “This is huge! Can’t wait to share!” Really? You should have waited to share your big news WHEN you knew for sure it was REAL news. (Don’t get me started on ‘fake news’ or I’ll be here all day.)

I’m happy that your company is releasing a new and improved (although they can’t be both of those items at once) type of adult diaper, or that you’ve reinvented a better mosquito trap that humanely captures and releases the little buggers outside via a reverse vacuum system. I get that you want to sell us these items by creating a big hoopla about their eventual release into the unsuspecting psyche of the buying public by creating a buzz (pun intended) before launch day. But those of you who deliberately and habitually practice “vaguebooking” need to get over your love of creating drama at the expense of having the rest of us worry for nothing.

Because if you don’t, one of these days you might just cry “wolf” … and no one will come to your rescue.

Carry a Bag, Doofwad!

Max with bowl July 16 12 adjHey you! Yeah, you. The guy who walks by my house every day with that cute little white-haired doggie. YOU, sir, are the reason why dog owners who walk their precious pooches get a bad rap!

This past Saturday, I saw you walk by my house on the opposite side of the street with your dog. Said dog walked up on the neighbour’s lawn, did the usual ‘circle’ dance, and then proceeded to do a #2 business. Now that in itself isn’t unusual because when you gotta go, you gotta go, right? It’s what happened next that made me want to reach out and smack you – the owner, not the dog!

Did you calmly reach into your jeans pocket to retrieve a doggie doo-doo bag? No… Were you carrying a left-over grocery store bag or perhaps even a sandwich bag with which to collect the afore-mentioned # 2 drop? No… You just calmly kept walking with Fido after he/she/it was finished. I mean, what the hell dude?

Then, to make matters worse, you walked to the top of the street and then came back down on MY side of it. My friend and I were standing in my garage when you and your pooch paused at the end of my driveway. She, being more vocal than myself (yes, folks it IS possible that someone is more outspoken than I am!), hollered out to you, “Hey buddy! Would you like a bag so you can go pick up your dog’s crap on the lawn across the street?” You never even acknowledged her – just kept your head down and walked away.

This morning as I was taking my fur-baby out for our morning saunter, guess who is stopped at the end of my driveway? Yup, you guessed it – Mr. “I-don’t-pick-up-dog-crap” and his pooch. I turned to my own dog and said, “Think we’ll wait a few minutes before walking today, Maxster” and you heard my voice as you looked right at me. (Actually I think you were glaring at me but I wasn’t 100% awake so really couldn’t tell for sure.)

I gave you a good five minute head start, but you and your dog were only about 5 cement walk blocks ahead of me when we set out. And did I see any type of bag in your hands? Nope. Hanging perhaps out of the back pocket of your jeans? Nada.

It’s people like YOU, dipstick, that give dog owners like ME a bad reputation!

I know that Mercury is going into retrograde as of today and perhaps that’s why I’m so ticked off at this common occurrence, but seriously, people. If you’re going to take Fifi or Fido out for a walk, be considerate enough to carry a plastic bag of some sort with you in case nature calls so you don’t have to leave an unwanted ‘gift’ on someone else’s property.

Arrgghh…  Some people’s children…

Driving With Ms. Daisy

old red carFor years and years I’ve read novels and watched numerous films about the genteel ladies who reside in the southern states of the US. I’ve even had a couple of clients who from the lower 48 and I’ve dearly loved listening to them talk. But the best of them all is a fabulous lady I’ve had the pleasure of knowing while visiting Florida these past two years.

 
Ms. Virginia as I call her, is definitely a one-of-a-kind lady. The fact that she’s has this adorable Southern accent only serves to make her more endearing… and funny as hell.

 
Ms. V does not swear… at all. She always manages to find some redeeming quality about almost everyone she meets, but if she doesn’t find a person suitable to her discerning taste, she just simply avoids them rather than talk to or insult them. (Wise lady, this Ms. V!)

 
However, this poor lady didn’t know when she first met me that I tend to pick up accents rather easily and love to do mimicry. I don’t do it to be mean, but rather to relay a story or incident that has happened while I’ve been in Ms. V’s company to others. You see, most of the funny part is listening to her tell a story with that delightful twang of hers adding some pizzazz to the telling.

 
Ms. V is the only person I’ve met to date who can turn a one syllable word into two and make it sound like a totally different consonant. Her ‘r’s’ come out like ‘e’s, ‘o’s’ sound like ‘a’s’, and there are other letters of the alphabet that come out of her mouth so long and drawn out I have no idea what it actually is!

 
So far this trip I’ve learned that the number ‘four’ and ‘sh*t’ are two syllable words pronounced like this: “Thare waren’t none but ‘fo-ore’ minutes afore I had ta run to the privy.” And today, when we got lost going to a flea market no more than 15 minutes away from our condo, she said when pulling into the parking lot, “Well, ‘she-it!’ It done looks like thare closed!” (She was right ticked at the fact that only a quarter of the market was open for business when we arrived since we’d gotten lost on the drive, driven up an off ramp, and hit a curb.)

 
The other day when she dropped by the place where I’m staying to ‘chat a menute’ she came out with one of the best one-liners I’ve heard in a long time. She was talking about her husband pacing the floors and deadpanned “He were jest about climbin’ the walls. Made me want ta cut a hole(r) in the ceiling so he’d have a way to escape!” I almost spewed coffee all over the carpet at that one. She later went on to tell us about someone who’d cut themselves and they were “bleedin’ like a stabbed ho.” What she really meant was that they were bleeding like a stuck pig and the ‘ho’ was supposed to be ‘hog’ but not the way Ms. V said it. Again, I narrowly missed spitting out my drink all over the place.

 
Today’s excursion, however, is so far one of the best. On the way to the aforementioned flea market, we were driving down a busy three traffic lane street when Ms. V decided she wanted to go all the way over to the left-hand turn lane. With God as my witness, she floored the gas pedal on her Cadillac and cut across all three lanes of traffic in under 30 seconds, and then proceeded to go through a red light. I calmly (not really) pointed out that she’d run a red and she said, “Oh well…I’ll prolly get another ticket in the mail in ‘bout three or ‘fo-ore’ months just like I did the last time.” No sooner had those words come out of her mouth then she jammed on the brakes so hard my seatbelt fetched up against my neck. She damned near ran another red light, but this time she turned, looked at me and said (as I was trying hard to get my breath back from being choked by the belt) “Ha! No sense ina temptin’ fate. Figured I’d best stop for this one.”

 
The next lane change brought on a retort that was said in such a desultory voice I lost it and almost peed my pants. After she cut off another car (changing lanes again, I might add) she calmly said, “Waell…” (Long, drawn-out version of the word well.) “That thare guy in the ker behind us done just flipped me the bird.” HAHAHA! Imagine that! Someone getting ticked off because this lovely southern belle cut in front of him with about two inches to spare before her Caddy would have ripped off his front bumper.

 
I’m not going to tell you about the rest of the excursion or how it took us 45 minutes to do a 15 minute drive to the flea market. Let’s just say it was eventful and leave it at that.

 
Driving with Ms. Daisy is never a dull experience and being in her company is guaranteed to make you laugh until you cry.

 
I am, however, calling home and seeing if I can the payout on my life insurance… just in case, because she just asked me to go ‘shoppin’ with her again next week.

Smile… Pretty Please?

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – Steve Maraboli

Emily June20004One of the most underrated activities, but most thoroughly appreciated ones, has to be the art of giving and receiving of a smile.

One of the hot topics almost every day in the business world is poor customer service… which I think relates to smiling or the lack thereof. There are tons of posts on Facebook and other social media sites telling tales of how such and such a company ‘shafted’ someone out of money by refusing to issue a refund, or how the cashier at a local grocery store practically bit someone’s head off when they questioned whether the price of the kumquat’s they were purchasing was correct. While some of the beefs are definitely legitimate, I believe I’ve stumbled on one of the biggest flaws in providing excellent customer service. And do you know what it is? (more…)

Why Bounty is THE Strongest (and Best) Paper Towel

Dear Proctor & Gamble;

While I sincerely doubt the story about Bounty paper towel that I’m about to relate to you will ever make it into one of your marketing/advertising campaigns, I’m certain that someone in your company will definitely get a chuckle out of this true story.

I’ve used only Bounty paper towels for years now as I truly find them to be strong, durable and very absorbent. However, I’d never envisioned them to be as ‘tough’ as they proved to be in this recent, shall we say, ‘crappy’ situation.

First, a bit of background.

Max with bowl July 16 12 adjMeet Max – our 2 year old Havenese/Shih Tzu mixed male fur-child. Max is an over-curious, spoiled rotten, ‘baby’ who has a propensity to make the 5 second rule of anything dropping on the floor being edible look supremely stupid. He eats everything… and I do mean EVERYTHING, that comes into his line of vision or near his superior sniffing skilled nose. His steel-trap teeth and muscles around his mouth require that the Jaws of Life need to be utilized to remove anything from his oral cavity if we deem what he’s eating as inappropriate. To say we often fail to successfully remove what’s in his mouth is a gross understatement, as both my husband and I are rather fond of our fingers and fear the loss of same. But I digress.

A couple of weeks ago, my hubby and I had just finished our dinner while watching the evening news. As he often does, hubby had grabbed a section of Bounty paper towel to use as a napkin while eating. We were both so engrossed in the program that we failed to pick up the used Bounty paper towel when we took our dishes to the kitchen. In what must have been no more than 4 minutes, we went back to the livingroom to finish the program, only to discover Max enthusiastically chewing on something while sitting on the couch. Uh oh, this spelled trouble. My hubby grabbed Max and held on to his mid-section while I set about prying apart those Tyrannosaurus Rex teeth of his to see what he was eating. When I finally managed to get his mouth open, I saw the last little piece of the Bounty paper towel disappearing down into his esophagus. Bam! Gone… but not forgotten. You see, Max had to have surgery at our veterinarian (who is on speed dial by the way), a year prior due to an obstruction being found in his intestines. It turned out to be yards and yards of ‘string’ he’d consumed from chew-toys, all compressed into a small ball of indistinguishable content.  So you can imagine my concern over Max swallowing a full half-sheet of Bounty in one gulp.

Then began the ‘wait until he poops’ vigil.

Day one – nothing. Just your regular, average outside call of nature. However, day two brought on the “Bounty is Better” scenario.

Hubby had taken Max out to do his morning ‘constitutional’ while I lay still comfy in our bed, snoozing off and on. From the back door, I heard my hubby holler, “Sweetie, I need your help!” so I knew something was up with one of the dogs. (We also have a 10 year old West Highland Terrier, Angel, who tolerates Max as SHE was here first!) Judging by the tone of his voice I knew one of the dogs most likely had a messy bum but what I saw when I reached the back door was truly astounding. There was my hubby crouched down beside Max who was in a half-sitting, half-standing position… with something off-white protruding from his butt. The words “OMG! Has he already gone for a # 2?” came flying out of my mouth as I stared in disbelief as what looked like the Bounty paper towel, hanging from Max’s bum. “You won’t believe this”, said hubby, “But he’s already gone… and now there’s this thing stuck there!” I grabbed another sheet of Bounty and gingerly started pulling on the protuberance to see if I could dislodge it intact. And upon removal, sure enough – there was the FULL sheet of Bounty that Max had eaten TWO days prior, still in one piece! No pieces were missing, no fibers had disintegrated – nothing!

I relayed this story to my vet who after hysterically laughing herself to the point of tears said that I had to write and tell you about this incident as it was just too amazing (and rather funny to boot!)

I can now say without a doubt that Bounty paper towels are definitely the strongest, most durable product on the market. Unfortunately, I can now also lay claim to the fact that I most likely have the world’s only dog who has umm… crapped AND wiped his butt simultaneously.

PS – Response received from P&G, Tuesday, July 30th, 2013.

Thanks for contacting P&G, Marlene!

We appreciate your interest in our products and the time you’ve taken to share your feedback. While we’re grateful for your efforts, we’re unable to accept unsolicited advertising ideas or suggestions. We rely on our employees or the agencies we hire to create and handle our advertising. We hope you understand.

Thanks again for writing!

Kelly

P&G Team

 

Auto-Correct Isn’t So Correct After All

celll phoneAs most of you know I’m an editor/writer and words are my forte… or so I thought until I got a supposedly SmartPhone and found out I’ve been outsourced to a battery the size of a gnat.

I do use spell-check while writing and editing simply because it came with the software on my computer, and it does pick up on misspelled words. (By the way, according to Wikipedia, spell-check first became available on mainframe computers in the late 1970s. A group of six linguists from Georgetown University developed the first spell-check system for the IBM corporation at that time.) Even though it can’t distinguish between homophones (they’re, their, and there, for example), and doesn’t recognize common grammatical spelling errors, at least it provides a slight improvement in ones written word when used judiciously.

But this auto-correct thing has me baffled.

Where does it come up with these often hilarious substitutions of what ‘it’ thinks you want to type? Is there a mini-me in that electronic box who can mysteriously read my mind, knowing what I want to say almost before I do?

Here’s an example of a text I sent the other day to a friend of mine. Keep in mind that I have rather long fingernails (my one area of vanity) and the touch screen on my phone is definitely not conducive to spelling properly at the best of times.

After I hit “send” here’s what showed up on my screen:

“Sorry I couldn’t join I guys but my accountant I’d fur here around one… bummer.”

Why in heaven’s name would I’d be “furring” anyone let alone my wonderful accountant is anybody’s guess. (And yes, furring is an actual word. One definition is “furring strips are long thin strips of wood or metal used to make backing surfaces to support the finished surfaces in a room”, and another one involves an <ahem> sexual practice which I’m not going to go into here at all!) I’m guessing that “I guys” is the new pluralized version of “us” or perhaps a new urban rap phrase, as in “I guys be wise downtown and round da block… we rock” but hey, it’s a SmartPhone, so it obviously knows the English language better than I do.

Sigh… I guess I truly am now a part of a generation where communication with others involved talking to someone via that black rotary-dial phone which was wall-mounted in the kitchen of my family homestead, sitting down on a sofa and having an honest to God conversation with the person next to you, face to face, or putting pen to paper and <gasp> writing a letter that you actually had to put in an envelope, lick and place a stamp on the upper right-hand corner, then walk to the local post office to have it sent out to the intended recipient.

By the way, what I REALLY typed in (honestly) was:

“Sorry I couldn’t join you guys but my accountant is to be here around one… bummer.”

It’s official. My phone is now smarter than I am.

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