Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stupid People and Dumb Things, 2014

George Carlin, the deceased but one time acerbic and controversial comic, used to tell a joke about stupid people.  “You ever wonder how many stupid people say and do stupid things?” he used to ask.  “Well, I made a list – and it’s long.”

Never ending is more like it.  I made my own list to honor some of the dumbest things I’ve observed in 2014.  I hope you’re not on it, but you never know.  We all do dumb stuff and even if we think we’re smart, kind, and helpful, chances are we said something another could be offended by.  None of us are anywhere near perfect and we cannot be all things to all people.  The more you go in one direction, the less you are in the other.

So who has shown exemplary behavior when it comes to stupidity?  Let’s start with these:

1.      Post Office  - I bought stamps the other day because my Forever Stamp (valued at 49 cents) would not cover my holiday card.  The weight of my card was in line with a 49-cent envelope but the shape of it was more square than rectangular.  The US Postal Service determined a 21ç tax cover them for having to handle different-sized mail. When I was given the loose stamps they gave me an envelope to hold them.  That’s their version of a bag, which is fine, except it was not big enough to hold any thing.  Leave it to the post office to not have right-sized envelopes.

2.      Apple – It has the audacity to sell products like the iPhone 6 or iPod touch with inferior cases.  Not one of their cases offers a screen protector.  But other places sell cases, like the Otterbox, that protect your phone.  Hmm, could Apple hope that your screen breaks so it can charge you for a new phone or bully you into getting its insurance program?

3.      Heavy Bank Doors – On recent visits to a Wells Fargo and a Citibank in Manhattan left me bracing my body to pull the heavy cover-sized glass doors to enter their banks.  I can't imagine anyone with a handicap, the elderly, or small women not struggling to gain entry.  Trying to create the image (illusion) that the bank is an institution of stature can be expressed in offering better rates, improved customer service, and convenient hours – not in palace-heavy doors.

4.      Starbucks  - They also make the genius list of creating an environment welcoming customers to drink good coffee in a comfy area amongst other people who like to chat or read, but they get a razzle for being out of those green sticks that seal your coffee. Did they not anticipate selling coffee and people needing those?

5.      Ticket Vendors – Why, when I buy a ticket to a concert or sorting event, do I pay multiple fees?  I get it that Ticketmaster charges a fee, but when you say one is a processing fee, another is handling, and another is something else, you feel like a sucker.  The worst is when they tell you there’s a fee for picking the tickets up at Will Call.  Some charge for emailing tickets that you print.  Really?

6.      Saturday Night Live – It had one great year – its first – and the next 39 have been hit and miss every single year.  The DVR is the perfect way to watch it.  Opening monologue by the guest host, then the “news,” the musical guest, and then give each skit a minute before moving on to find the one or two good ones like Second-Hand News or Drunk Uncle.  I can’t believe how many successful people have come out of that show to star in movies and TV shows.  I also can’t believe how many of them have died prematurely.

7.      Being Against Those Protesting For Change – You can support the police and still be for reforms in trainings, management, and attitude.  To constructively criticize is not the same as to destroy something.  The “I Can’t Breathe” protests in New York City have shown amazing restraint – no looting, no building burning, no violence.  Sure they will inconvenience people, but that’s the price we pay for ensuring everyone’s safety and fair treatment.

8.      Anti-Environmentalists – There is a mound of scientific evidence showing we pollute the air, oceans, and ground and that we are threatening our food chain, our sea levels, and the very air that we breathe. It is due to both natural and man-made causes, and we need everyone to pitch in to reverse the destruction.  It’s not a political issue and it’s not about jobs.  It’s about sustaining the planet so our grandkids can live.  To oppose saving the planet is suicidal.

9.      Pro-Gun Enthusiasts – I’m only for more guns if those who oppose background checks, mandatory trainings, testing for crazies, and limits on size of gun and number of guns owned can shoot each other.

10.  Government – As a liberal, I believe a government could do a lot to help its people but I am convinced after watching it operate for the past four decades (I was 7 when Nixon resigned) that government is truly broken no matter who is in power.  Run by lobbyists and corrupt politicians, politics trumps production, and it’s obvious to me that few changes, on a national level, can only take place if citizens work together to pass referendums and demand action.

11.  Pennies – Why do they still make pennies?  They cost the government more to produce than they are worth.  What costs a single cent?  Just stop producing them.

12.  Bank Tellers – Tellers will remind me that I have the convenience of doing my banking online 24/7. I respond to them with: “If you keep encouraging me not to come here, you won’t have a job one day.”


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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