Valentine’s Day messages to go along with the gift of an A-Maze Mug!


You’re a smart cookie. You’re a planner. You’re not waiting until the last minute to get your significant other a gift (or many gifts) for Valentine’s Day. As it turns out, the A-Maze Mug could be a perfect gift, or compliment to any gift. You read that they’re available, right? If you’re thinking of getting one, I have thought of some messages that you could use to go along with it on a gift tag or a card.

Get an A-Maze Mug for your Valentine!

❤️ You’re a-maze-ing!

❤️ All my paths lead to you!

❤️ I am lost without you!

❤️ My prize at the end is you!

❤️ Finish this maze, then meet me in the bedroom!

❤️ Relax with this maze while I start making you some hot tea.

❤️ I’m a-maze-d that you’re mine!

❤️ I’m glad you’re with me along the way!

❤️ We can solve anything together!

You could also use it as a parting gift. Break up with class! Include messages like this;

💔 Get in the kitchen, and make me a coffee!

💔 This is maze is still less confusing than you!

💔 Sorry, it’s the end of the line for you.

💔 Luckily, you can erase the mistakes & start over on this mug. It’s been nice knowing you!

If you have any additional ideas for notes, please leave them in the blog comments below!

When I tip, you tip, we tip. [#Tipping?]


So, I’ve written about tipping at length before.  I won’t get into all of it again, but I have heard the subject come up lately, and I just want to know where I fall.  This is all about discussion.  I want feedback.  How do you tip?  Some questions I’d like answered…

  • Do you tip 20% when out to eat, or are you still at the 80s 15% standard?  (Please don’t say it’s 10%.)
  • Do you round to the nearest dollar or leave exact change?
  • If you only get a slice of pie and a cup of coffee (or less), do you throw percentage out the window and go for a minimum amount?
  • Is it cool to leave the tip on a receipt if paying with a credit card, or does the waiter/waitress think you stiffed them?
  • Do you tip if there’s an automatic 18% gratuity for a large party?
  • Do you tip better (or worse) based on service, or should it be automatic?
  • How much do you tip a pizza guy/girl?
  • Does the pizza tip change if you have more than pizza or a ridiculously large order?
  • Do you adjust tipping a delivery person in inclement weather, on or near a holiday, or on a day like thanksgiving or New Year’s Day when everyone else is ordering out?
  • Is your delivery tipping based on a percentage of the total, or on a flat per-trip fee?
  • Is it cool to leave the tip on a receipt if paying with a credit card, or does the delivery driver think you stiffed them?
  • Do you tip on take-out when you pick it up?
  • Do you tip at Starbucks or a mom n’ pop coffee place?  Is there a difference?
  • If so, is it change, or paper?
  • Do you tip per beer/drink at the bar, or per round?
  • How much do you tip for a $15 or $18 men’s haircut?  How much more for a beard trim or a shave?
  • Who else do you tip that may not be so obvious?  The garbage man?  The mailman?

I try to tip well as with my food allergy I have a small circle of places where we dine out or get delivery with a high level of comfort.  I want to make sure I’m in the right place.

Please, discuss!

As a reminder, you can comment here without a WordPress account if you’re already logged into Facebook or Twitter, just go to town!

Moo.

Moo.

💵 💸 💳 💰

Merry Christmas 2013!


So, I haven’t blogged much over the last year or so.  The new job has me out & around… not near a desk with time on my hands to save a draft & come back to it later.  I also have less time to monkey around on the internet as it’s mostly taken up by our sweet little girl once I am home.  Speaking of home, that’s new too.  We finally bought a house and are no longer renters!

Check out our little sweet pea in an album on Facebook if you’re interested.  This was the day after moving, and 2 days after Molly turned six months old.  Photos by Kristina Serafini.  This was the one we chose for the Christmas card this year:

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Hopefully I can adapt how I blog, maybe use the android app… to get my thoughts out there. Maybe it’ll be shorter less link-filled stuff. Maybe not. Maybe I can do drafts with the phone and edit/post/link/add media later.

The house is taking some time to get set up, but eventually I’ll have all my toys in a room that will make blogging and computer time easier.  I also have a nice workbench now so I should be able to monkey with my guitars more often.  I have some ideas to put into play.

This has been a crazy year.  New job, new baby, new house.  What’s next?

How have things been for everyone out there in WordPress land?

In the spirit of Christmas, check out this post, and join in:

If I owned a department store chain…


Every time I go to a Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc. I’m driven slightly mad. Sure, part of it is because of the stores themselves or the employees who seem to be rather uninterested in working… But most of the problem is the other shoppers. I was going to put a percentage on it, but I’m not sure I can. I think is a small percentage of idiots with a largely negative impact. Well, idiot just implies that they’re stupid. I think it’s more inconsiderate than stupid. I’m talking about people who are generally unaware of the needs, thoughts, and feelings of everyone around them. The best word that I can think of (even though I generally try to avoid being vulgar in print) is asshole. We all know what kind of person that describes. If I owned/ran a department store, I would try to prevent the behavior that goes with this type of personality.

Parking Lot

Parking Lot

Curbing unacceptable behavior would start in the parking lot (pun intended). One of my favorite blogs calls these people “Peter Parkers.”  They’re where the problem begins.  If your jackass behavior can’t make it through the parking lot, we’ll hope you don’t even bother to come in to the store.  Whether we’re talking about people driving & parking the wrong way in one way lanes, people who park over the lines, people who don’t slow down/stop at cross-walks, or people who park in handicapped spaces or on the line-covered spaces near the handicapped spaces.  That’s just the drivers…  Don’t forget that people need to learn how to walk to their car in a parking lot too.

Crossing Guard

Crossing Guard

To curtail all of this inconsiderate conduct we’d have meter maids, crossing guards, and cameras.  I guess the meter maids wouldn’t have meters to read, they’d just be parking enforcers.  Cars parked over painted lines, at curbs, or in handicapped spaces without proper tags will be towed.  Immediately.  I’m saying we’d go after them mere seconds after it happens, perhaps as their door is being shut.  The parking enforcers wouldn’t be like the people on that TV show where they argue.  They’d just do their job.  I’d have a tow truck or two on site at all times.  I have no tolerance for people who think that rules somehow don’t apply to themselves.  (I’m talking about inconsequential rules here like how to conduct yourself in society.  I think it’s always good to question authority & what not… but that doesn’t apply here where you’re just being a self-indulgent dolt.) 

People entering & exiting the store wouldn’t have the free reign to walk out into oncoming traffic.  Somehow (here in PA at least) people have taken “pedestrians have the right of way” to the extreme, where the actual law is that they have the right of way in crosswalks.  Everywhere else, you’re fair game.  A crossing-guard would facilitate safe passage and at the same prevent a traffic jam like you get in the front of every Walmart or Giant Eagle when an endless stream of lackadaisical shoppers lumber slowly in front of you without glancing in your direction as you sit in your auto waiting for a break in the action.  If the people who like to park wherever they please or run into oncoming traffic with faith in an imaginary no-fault law somehow don’t feel welcome in my department store, then good.  We’ve successfully weeded out the first wave of assholes.  If they have learned to conduct themselves in a respectful manner while spending time in my controlled outdoor environment, then let ’em in!

Amish parking, Cashton, 29 June 2012

Amish parking

(Oh yeah, bicycles would have their own parking lot… they’d share it with buggies & horses in Amish country, and buses would roll to the edge of the parking lot, not right to the front door causing endless amounts of chaos.)

Inside the store, we’d have checkout lines like the bank, Wendy’s, or Best Buy.  People can be incredibly ignorant when it comes to getting in line.  It’s certainly not everyone, but there are a select few who ruin it for everyone else.  See any McDonalds or Sheetz without the rope at lunch time.  It’s absolute chaos.

Queue Area

Queue Area

I know they’re not department stores… but it’s easier to see the same behavior there as it’s more concentrated.  It would eliminate getting into line behind the people who want to put things back, use expired coupons, write checks, talk on their phones, shop for everything in the impulse-buy section, or search for their method of payment long after everything is rung up.

In fact, no checks.  All it does is slow things down.  It’s 2012.  It’s almost 2013.  If you have a bank account, you have a debt card or credit card, some of them are even called check cards now.  Use it.  Don’t use that antiquated paper log-book that does nothing but slow things down for everyone.

No Checks Accepted

In my store, there would be no greeter that avoids eye contact completely or looks at you like you’re the grim reaper come to take them to hell.  Maybe there would be a robot there to say hello.  At least a robot could fake sincerity more efficiently.

Even though it doesn’t have to do with behavior exactly, the restrooms would have faucets in the sinks (with hot water) that you can fit your hands under, paper towels that are actually stocked regularly, hand dryers that actually dry your hands, and soap.  No foam soap, no hand sanitizer, no bathroom attendants to do it for you.  It might put people in a better mood if they can be comfortable.

I’m sure there are many other things I’d have to put in place, and many other bad customer behavior… but these are the ones I can think of now.

What would you do to make a trip to a department store more tolerable?  Would you enjoy it if stores weeded out the a-holes?  Are you one of the people who behaves like an a-hole by parking in the wrong spots, jumping to lines in front of people, and walking like an idiot in the parking lot?  Please, share your thoughts in the comments section below!

last minute shoppers.

last minute shoppers. (Photo credit: the idealist)

Bronco Scores Again!


Well, I didn’t get Jalapeño Bites back at Arby’s yet, but I did answer a tweet from Radio Shack… and it got me a free T-shirt and some moral support for the cause!  Messing around on Twitter & insanity are well rewarded these days, I guess.

https://twitter.com/#!/RadioShack/status/190424115423887361
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/190425836485218304
https://twitter.com/#!/RadioShack/status/190454336034308097

I DM’ed them and told them of me real name and my cause.  I think more companies are engaging people personally & directly with Twitter like this, and it’s a great thing.  Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Today the mailman delivered some goodies…

Bronco Jalapeño wins a Radio Shack T-shirt!

Free stuff!

The card s pretty cool too!

Eric, While this shirt can't replace Arby's jalapeño poppers, we hope it comforts you through your withdrawal. Thanks for tweeting at us and for being a fan. Tweet us a pic of your new duds when your shirt gets there. Thanks again! - Billy

@Bronco_Jalapeno #ThanksRadioShack...? Yes, yes he does.

Hilarious.  How fun is that?  I do need some soldering stuff, I guess it’s off to Radio Shack for the stuff next time I need it!  (I might get a couple of capacitors to mess around with.)

So, thanks to Radio Shack for being cool, for the laugh, & for the T-shirt!

Tipping is not a city in China


Tipping is not a city in China

Has anyone checked? Maybe it really is.

“Tipping is not a city in China” always struck me as amusing since the first time I saw it written in sharpie on a piece of paper and taped to the tip jar residing at the Misfits merchandise table in the late 90s or early 2000s.

I have seen the subject of tipping come up repeatedly lately on Facebook , in the news, and other sources (like actual conversations face-to-face with real live people).  I’ve probably even talked about it here before. Check out this snarky yet brutally honest article by a blogger (& waiter?) that I Re-Tweeted +1’d pinned shared on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Who sets the standards?  The people being tipped (tipees?)?  Their bosses?  The tippers?  Society at large?

The whole process has always confused and bewildered me (& will most likely always continue to).  I was raised thinking that for a waiter/waitress that 15% is a good tip.  For the past several years, through the magic of the internet, I have been told that 20% is a good tip.  So, 20% is the new 15%.  I’m not sure if this varies per area, or if this is all over the US.  I’m not sure if everyone agrees with this, or just your server.  I know some people that still think 10% is acceptable, and it puckers my butt-cheeks.

Things I know:

  • It’s crazy to get out the tip calculator & lave a tip to the penny.
  • In fact, don’t leave change.
  • Waitresses sometimes have to tip busboys, bartenders, and other employees.
  • A tip is expected, even for bad service… just a little one.

Things I don’t know:

  • Say I’m at Bob Evans and I don’t have any cash on me… I tip with the card.  Does my waitress think I stiffed her?
  • When will they just pay waitresses & waiters what they deserve?
  • Is “keep the change” acceptable if it’s an adequate tip, or is that just a pain to figure out?

I always try to leave decent tips, simply because I don’t have a large circle of places to go where I feel comfortable.  (You know about the deathfish, right?)  I’m sure I’ll be back if I find a place that I like.  Why not tip well?  Hopefully I’ll be treated well the next time, & the next time, & the next time..

Here’s where it gets weird…

One waitress at a Diner could come across all of these issues:

Breakfast

Cup of Coffee

Lunch Special

Casual Dinner

Meal Total

$17.95

$1.95

$6.50

$28.40

# of People

2

1

1

2

Table Trips

6

6

3

3

Refills

2

5

0

1

Hours There

1

½

1

20% Tip

$3.59

39₵

$1.30

$5.68

So, in all of these situations, is 20% rule appropriate?  Is it the “no less than $5” rule?  Is there a “no less than $5” rule? Do you get $6 for dinner because of the price of the meal, despite less trips than say a breakfast where you get tons of cheap sides?  What do you tip when you drank a butt-load of coffee?

I used to work night shift on an assembly line at Sony & a bunch of us would hang out at Eat ‘n Park in New Stanton with the late-night UPS employees.  I know I’d always get free stuff… bowls of soup, drinks, grilled stickies…  But I always tipped to include for the amount for that item.  We were hanging out for endless hours, and tables weren’t turning over, so it was only appropriate.

What about a trip to Sonic?

  The Carhop

The Drive Thru

Takes your order:

☒ No

☑ Yes

Reads It back:

? Sometimes

☑ Yes

Takes Your money:

? Sometimes

☑ Yes

Walks (or skates) out of the building:

☑ Yes

☒ No

Hands it to you:

☑ Yes

☑ Yes

You tip the carhop, but probably don’t tip at the drive through… the only real thing that they do differently is exit the building.  For that they get a tip?  (OK, rollerskating carhops deserve a mad tip.)  Why doesn’t the drive-through person get a tip?

How & what do you generally tip?  Do you have any personal guidelines?  What were you taught?  Percentage or straight dollar amount?  Always?  Never?  On Holidays?  Who taught you?

  • The pizza guy (or girl) (…or other food delivery.)
  • Haircut / Wash
  • Car-wash (Magic ash type drying people, and/or fundraiser.)
  • Six Pack Shop / Beer Distributor
  • Doorman
  • Cab / Limo driver
  • Person who takes your bags at the airport
  • Bellhop
  • Furniture delivery
  • Mailman / UPS / FedEx
  • Movers
  • Garbage man
  • Coffee shop or ice cream parlor with a tip jar
  • Touring band’s merchandise table
  • Any sandwich shop, deli, or pizza place where you “eat in” that has a tip jar.
  • Gas station attendant?
  • A masseuse?
  • Anyone I forgot?

If there’s a jar asking for tips…

  • Are you more or less likely to tip?
  • What if it’s funny?
  • What if it’s begging?
  • What if it’s “whiny” or demanding?

I just really find the subject interesting & I’d like to get a discussion going in the comments here.  GO!

(I fully expect my friend Laurel to rant here in the comments, please don’t let her do it alone!  Let’s engage in intelligent discussion.)

TIP JAR

I’m not Kmart.


This is a logo for Kmart Australia.

Are YOU Kmart Smart?

Apparently, the difference between an address bar, a search box, and a To field are entirely lost on a certain segment of the population.  That’s OK, because those people are here for our amusement.  I believe this kind of thing may sort of be the fault of a smartphone, but maybe I’m giving too much credit there.  I’m still lost on the exact chain of events, but this came through my blog’s contact form:

From: Mckiver <mckiver317@gmail.com>
To:  <me>
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Mckiver
Email: mckiver317@gmail.com
Website: http://google
Message / Comment: January 16, 2012

Hello!  I have an Award Card.  My Award Card’s validation date is 12/05/11 – 12/09/11.  I would like to know if my Award Card can still be used?  If not, I would like to know if I can exchange this gift card for a new valid one?  I also want to know the valid amount on my gift card (if any)?

Thank You,

Please email your reply/answer to me at:
mckiver317@gmail.com
or
mckiver317@hotmail.com

Thanks Again!

How’d you find my blog?: I found this  blog on the back of my Kmart Award Card.

Time: Monday January 16, 2012 at
IP Address: 00.000.000.000
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Again with this crap:  How’d you find my blog?: I found this  blog on the back of my Kmart Award Card.”  No, I’m pretty sure you didn’t.  But, you’re here anyway.

So, I wrote back…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jan 17, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart)
To: Mckiver, mckiver317@hotmail.com

Hello Mr. or Ms. McKiver,

I just wanted to write to let you know that I’m not Kmart.  I believe you found a blog post that I wrote about Kmart, then somehow navigated to my blog’s contact form to send this email.  Perhaps you searched for “www.kmartfeedback.com” instead of using the url bar, and it brought you to my blog?  Or perhaps you searched for “help@customerservice.kmart.com” instead of sending an email?  Were you maybe browsing on your phone?

Unfortunately I am unable to assist with your awards card query.  I am also not McDonald’s.  Good luck in your quest for information, I hope that Kmart is able to provide an agreeable answer.  Hopefully they are more responsive than my dealings with Pizza Hut.

Rock and Roll, my friend!
-W(aL)D

I never got a reply.  Perhaps they were embarrassed, …or just incredibly computer illiterate?  So I tried to nudge one:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart)
To: Mckiver , mckiver317@hotmail.com
Cc: help@customerservice.kmart.com

Hello McKiver,

I hadn’t heard back from you, and I was worried that you had given up in your quest for award card information.  Did Kmart get a hold of you?  I Cc’ed them on the email hoping they’d step in & deliver your information.  I hadn’t received a thank you from them for trying to help out a Kmart shopper, so I was a little discouraged.

If you were able to use your gift card, what did you buy?  Anything exciting?  Last time I was at Kmart, I bought some really warm socks.  They’re nice this time of year.  I like to keep my feet warm.

Does your Kmart have a Little Caesar’s out front?  I remember their pizza used to be awesome, but now it tastes like tomato paste spread over cardboard & covered in wax chips.  Someone ought to look into that.  Yeah, it’s only $5… but my $5 was hard-earned, and I’m not going to spend it eating a turd, you know?

In conclusion, I’d suggest socks, not pizza for your award/gift card.

Hope you’re having a nice day!
-Waldo Lunar

Well, Kmart is concerned at least:

From: Kmart Help <help@customerservice.kmart.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart) (KMM20865508V93493L0KM)
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

 Good Morning Waldo,

 Thank you for contacting Kmart.com.

Waldo, we are sorry for any inconvenience you encountered with the feedback that you have given today. We know that your time is valuable and we appreciate the fact you took the time to give us feedback on our performance.

 We are listening to what you have to say. The feedback that you have provided today regarding (will be taken into consideration as we continue to enhance our services to meet the needs of our customers, (including you) going forward.

 Many of the changes that we have made have been a result of feedback from customers like you.

 We are here for you! Please reply should you have any further questions. We value your business and look forward to serving you in the future. You can also contact us on our customer service number 1-800-733-7249 or login to our chat support. Have a wonderful day!

We certainly hope you will continue to make Kmart your choice for quality and value!

At Kmart we care for our customers’ feedback, it helps us improve our service. Take our survey to tell us how we’re doing.

Make sure you’re registered at Kmart.com for emails, so we can stay in touch! Please add Kmart values, Kmart.com to your address book to ensure our emails reach your inbox.

Sincerely,

Stanton K.(mkundal)

Kmart Customer Care

webcenter@customerservice.kmart.com

1800-733-7249.

We’ll see what happens, I guess.  I’m still not McDonald’s.

See also:

Troy and Dave both get a gold star, but only one gets a coupon…


Well, only Troy & Dave participated in the “I need a whole new level of participation” request in regards to the McReadverspamtiesemntply letter/coupon… and really only Troy made a graph.  But, I said I’d leave it to a vote… so I will.  Apologies that it’s later than I said it would happen… but then again, there can’t be many people hanging on the edge of their seats waiting for the results, as no one else participated.  Ha ha ha.

Here we have Troy’s submission:

Begorrah,
I thought the regular Big Mac was already “snack sized?”

Here’s my Mc-Chart . . .

Normal level ————-_———————.
Big Mac Snack

Here we have Dave’s submission:

Dear McDonald’s,

Fuck you.

Seriously,
Dave.

With the follow-up:

I don’t do visual art.

I have also recently received a coupon for a free McCafé Coffee be cause I re-tweeted something on Twitter at the right time.  I’ll throw that in for the winner too… even thought, they submitted on the 1st page, and not on the actual contest page.

Can I get you to vote for a winner here?

It’s set to end voting next Friday, so pimp this out to all your friends & relatives.

Thanks guys.  When a winner is declared, if you can email or PM or Facebook me a mailing address, I’ll get you your coupons!

I need a whole new level of participation.


OK, so in a recent McBlog, I made a call out to the readers to be creative and active, and make a chart depicting the levels of snacking as  mentioned in my SPAMvertisement from McDonald’s.

So far, Troy is the only one to reply.  While Troy’s submission is a valiant effort, I’d like to see more.

This is my second request, in which I will simultaneously be more stern in my request, and shamelessly plead for your participation. I know you’re out there reading.  I hear things.  I see traffic.  I get notes/comments on other sites.  I get comments here.  Let’s pull it all together here, shall we?

This is what I need: I’d like a chart, graph, illustration, photos of a diorama, cartoon, audio recording, video, whatever you want to create… depicting the “whole new level” of snacking noted in this letter.  Is it a top level?  A side level?  A hidden level?  A secret level?  A low level?  You can even use some of my past McDonald’s-related posts for inspiration.  Is the McGangBang on the map?  Does snack level have a correlation with restroom cleanliness?  Is the ketchup station a mess?  Does Heinz’s opinion count?

Be Our GuestHere’s what you get: Bragging rights.  Well, that, and one of my “Be Our Guest” Cards that entitles you to a free Mac Snack Wrap.  Why only one?  Well, because I already used one… and really, do you need more than one Mac Snack Wrap?  Plus, the letter suggested that I share one… so I am.  Also, it gives me a twisted sense of satisfaction knowing that McDonald’s is (albeit indirectly) sponsoring their own ridicule.

How do we decide who wins? Well, again, this depends on you… the readers.  I believe that I have the option to put up a poll… so once all submissions are in, the voting will go on for a week or so.

How it will go down: Let’s give it to Friday, Feb. 5th, 2010 to get submissions in to me.  We’ll vote the following week, closing & announcing a winner on Friday, Feb. 12th.  You’ll have your free Mac Snack Wrap just in time for Valentine’s Day… so you can show someone you love how cheap you are.  You can get submissions to me by leaving them in the comments here (if you’re ‘net-savvy) or you can email them to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com.

So, we’re all clear on this, right?