Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Underprivileged? No. Smug? Yes.

So it looks like I haven't posted at all in October. I guess life happens, eh?

I had a great time working at the polls during the recent election. The big pile of forms, envelopes and ballots that had to be sorted just right was thrilling. It was like my coming out as a bureaucrat.

In fact, I even compiled a list of corrections to the elections manual based on the questions and problems I encountered through the day. There were a number of problems with it. For example, when gathering the items on a list of materials we'd require at the end of the night, we spent five whole minutes looking for an envelope that didn't exist. Also, there was no central list of what to do at the end of the night: it was all "go from this set of instructions to that one over there and follow them." Quite confusing, even for a logic puzzle solver like myself.

I e-mailed Elections Canada to let them know I've got this feedback, and I offered to write it up if they would give me an address to forward it to. The response I received, in full (albeit within 24 hours), was "We acknowledge receipt of the electronic message you sent to Elections Canada on October 16, 2008. Your message has been forwarded to the appropriate directorate." How nice of them to accept the input that I haven't even sent them yet!

I've been really busy since then with various commitments, but I've got some breathing room now.

I was very disappointed this morning to find not 25-35 cm of snow on the roads (as forecast), but mostly clear roads with a smattering of wet stuff on the sidewalks. I was looking forward to the adventure of riding in the snow again, but it'll have to wait for another day. (Hopefully a month or two off)

Other things are also going well. A few things have broken, or I've otherwise determined the need to replace things, and it's been quite painless to get them fixed. For example, the belt holster for my phone broke and I was so disinclined to deal with the people at the Bell World store (who conned me into buying the thing) that I'd rather spend the $30 elsewhere to get a new one than to have to deal with those fucks. In the meantime, I'll just stick the holster in my pocket.

A better example of something breaking is my sunglasses. When I got a new prescription earlier this year (hmm... same time as the new phone...), I had to choose between getting new frames and new lenses on my sunglasses, or just replacing the lenses on my five-year-old shades. New frames would allow me to update the style with new glasses, but replacing the lenses would be much cheaper. Since I was also buying non-sunglasses, I chose the cheaper sunglass option.

Then a couple of weeks ago, the frames started to fall apart. I wasn't quite sure what to do. My worst fear was that I would have to buy new frames and lenses, and toss the expensive lenses I had purchased earlier this year. Very expensive. Then I got an idea: I could try getting another pair of the same model as my current shades.

I called up the Lenscrafters at Rideau Centre and asked them if they had any of these five year old model. They were very polite and very helpful. They did a bunch of looking around for me and concluded that, while the model wasn't marked as being discontinued, there were no more of them in any Lenscrafters in the country. They suggested I try on the internet, and they gave me all the details that I would need to make sure I get the right ones.

With this information, I looked on the internet for the shades. According to places that didn't have them in stock (including the manufacturer), they cost about $235 new. Yowch. So I went to the next obvious destination--eBay. There they were, the only ones, available from a place in California for 90 bucks plus shipping (this was while the dollar was still at about 90 cents. Then, the icing: they had them in different colours. Okay, "colours". By replacing my gunmetal model with a black matte, I could get the best of both worlds: cheaper (by replacing the lenses earlier on, and subsequently replacing the frames at much less than retail), and still get a bit of change in style. Still a costly item, but much cheaper than it could have been.

So fast forward to this week. The shades arrived in the mail and I swapped out the lenses. Only they didn't quite fit. Grr! It was clear that when they had installed the lenses the first time five years ago, they removed some of the sweep in the frames to accommodate them. I did not want to bend my frames and risk breaking them.

I would have to go to the Rideau Centre to take them to Lenscrafters.

I hate going to the Rideau Centre. It's so big and commercial and unfriendly. There are so many people, yet so little personality. Give me the charm of Elgin or Bank street any day. On top of that, since it's a place I don't go often, there are likely to be a few things that I want to photograph, but I forgot my camera at home today.

I took them into Lenscrafters, expecting to have to leave them there for a few days while they fixed it. Instead, they took them behind the glass and did the work right there in minutes. Best part? They didn't charge me for it at all!

So what does this have to do with the title? On the way back out, I saw the welcome mats outside Miss Tiggy Winkles. The one in the front annoyed me so much that, with my one free hand, I fumbled my phone out of my pocket, pried it out of the holster and aimed it in the general direction of the mat to take a photo of it (hence the atrocious quality):

It says "WE WORK WITH THE UNDERPRIVILEGED (Our children)"

Anyone who displays that slogan outside of their house--whether they mean it honestly or in jest--ought to be shot. If you're rich enough to afford that mat, then either your children are privileged as fuck or you're gloating at how poorly you treat your children. If you children aren't privileged, then you're a neglectful cad for wasting your money on a stupid novelty mat instead of something that will help in their development (or at least get them a toy that's a bit more fun than a bloody welcome mat). If you want to spend money to show appreciation for your children, buy a damn "my son/daughter is an honour student" bumper sticker (or some, uh, prescription sunglasses :P ), but calling them "underprivileged" is just insulting to everybody.

- RG>

1 comment:

Erigami said...

There's another option with the mat: the kids are self-centered egoists who feel they deserve whatever they want; when they don't get it, they feel hard done by.

No, it's not a good reason. The mat is tacky, but it's the best I could come up with.