Complaint Box | Modern Inconveniences

Complaint Box
Fit to Be Tied?

Send tales of ire and indignation — no more than 500 words, please — to: [email protected].

Looking back at 2010, I can only wonder why, in an era when the unimaginable has become doable, have some tasks we had down become more complicated?

Using the Facilities Why do increasing numbers of bathrooms have self-flushing toilets? Flushing is a skill that we master when we are potty trained and that we retain till we return to diapers. Do we need help during the intervening years? Who has not been drenched by a prematurely activated bowl mechanism that thinks you are finished (before you are) or has not been forced to stare at leavings while waiting for a slow flusher?

And why the giant toilet paper dispensers? When the roll nears its end, the paper is impossible to reach unless you crawl on the floor of the stall while contorting upward. Who thought of this?

Where Am I?
Reading a tiny street marker while hurtling along at 50 miles per hour must be as dangerous as talking on a phone or fooling around with a passenger. Not to mention the consequences of the road rage that wells up when street names come into view only after it’s too late. Why are these signs so hard to find? And why do we hide our house numbers? Our private lives are out there for strangers to take advantage of, but our homes are impossible for our friends — or emergency vehicles — to find.

Coin Toss Have cashiers actually been taught to balance coins on top of bills when they hand us our change? Does this help anyone? Not the customer who has to do a juggling act as she sorts out paper from metal, and not the person in line behind her, waiting till the nickels and dimes that have cascaded into the crevasses around the register have been retrieved.

You’re Welcome When did you last get a thank-you note? Is a simple acknowledgment of time and money spent too much to expect? Why is the giver expected to be thoughtful while the recipient gets to be thoughtless? Now that e-mail has actually made this simple act easier, people aren’t bothering to do it at all.

Wrapping Up Why the tiny type on drug and food packaging? We all wear glasses eventually, but when you need a magnifying glass to see calories, dosage or expiration dates on a package, the font is too small. And we still can’t rip apart the packaging on the things we buy. Everyone complains about this, but the situation has not improved.

I say we all patronize businesses at locations we can find, whose restrooms have small toilet rolls and no self-flushing toilets, whose cashiers give us change we can grab when paying for products in containers we can open and read. And then we should send thank-you notes to the shop proprietors and the product manufacturers.

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