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  • Writer's pictureTina

Man Blog Musings for June

This past month, I was able to spend some time camping out with The Bean. I would love to reflect on the primitive draw of the campfire and how the overhead stars remind you of how small you are in the universe's grand scheme. However, it has instead motivated me to speak up about some great wrongs.

Smaller portions. Our standard-size hotdog was more of a Slim Jim. Gone are the days of getting a decent share of overprocessed encased mystery meat. Now we have casing on bread with a smidge of actual meat. Not only did the price of a hotdog go up, but the actual size went down. Giant marshmallows are not as big as they were, and now special smores-sized sugar puffs must be purchased to make the melted treat correctly. They pass it off as healthy eating. I'm calling shenanigans.

This trend is not stopping at the campfire. After the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, the rolls got thinner. The manufacturers have discovered they can't make the paper thinner without consumers noticing. So they made the rolls themselves shorter. I know there has to be a boardroom somewhere that has repeatedly had the same ideas thrown out on how to make more money with T.P. The first company that comes out and says, "Yep, the price went up, but you are getting what you paid for," should triple in value. If this is not stopped, T.P. will resemble floss within a few short years. Is it too much of an indulgence to expect some standard? Everything I buy makes me feel like I am at an amusement park. I spent too much in the first place and didn't get what I paid for. I wonder if there was testing done that companies assess how much product can be taken away every year without being noticed by the consumer?

Another trend that drives me up a wall is customer service, or, more accurately, lack thereof. If your company is so big that every call starts with an automated system that reads out a dozen languages before you even begin, perhaps you should rethink your strategy Nothing gets my blood boiling as much as half an hour of pressing one because my previous selection was indeed correct. There is more automation replacing jobs every single day. It is happening to make lives easier, but who would have thought customer service would be the first on the chopping block? Sooner or later, there will have to be a breakthrough when companies realize, yes, we saved some money, but we are hated. Perhaps a friendly voice on the phone directing you to whom you need to talk to would be money well spent.

I refuse to use self-checkout. Another trend that I fully expected to be over by now. I realize it would be faster and more convenient almost every time I am in line. However, I cannot bring myself to make eye contact with a clerk and then do it myself. I could have ordered online to save the trip if I wanted self-checkout. The stores pushing self-checkout seem to go out of their way to chronically be understaffed, forcing more and more folks into their automated lines. They no longer care or worry about keeping shoppers happy. If a slight inconvenience can cause the results they desire, they win.

I also question the actual intelligence of artificial intelligence and all of these automated systems. It seems at least once a week, some expert claims artificial intelligence has become dangerous. We are past the point of no return for computers to take over. The entire security system of the internet is based on one question, are you a robot? The day we are indeed doomed, the robots will be able to lie on this question and select every traffic light in the picture. It leads me to question if these supercomputers can solve all of the world's problems; how are they stumped in a login? Is their primary purpose to calculate how much they can trim off toilet paper, hotdogs, and marshmallows before society crumbles?

Until next month, If you get a chance to sleep under the stars or enjoy a campfire, do it. Stock up on oversized hotdogs and marshmallows and enjoy the peace and quiet. Stay safe and wash well.

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Self checkout….uhhhg. Hate it. Would hate it less if they discounted the purchase by 10-15% for doing an employee’s job. But then, you cannot accost me on the way out the door to verify I did my job correctly. In my neck of the woods, they have almost the same number of employees tending to the various issues of the self checkout than if they would have just opened up a manned checkout lane.

I shake my fist in the air with you on this and the downsizing of the quality/quantity of products for an increased price.

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