Safeway SUCKS!

Anyone who has spent any time on my blog knows that I am pretty much good for nothing.  I complain a lot, and I’m relatively good at complaining… in fact, if complaining were an occupation, there is a good chance I would finely be at the top of my game career-wise, ’cause I am, in my humble opinion, a top-notch bitcher.  Ok, so I’m not good for nothing!  I’m a good… no, a GREAT…  bitcher!  Man, if only the world could compensate me for this talent.  That’s what I want on my tombstone: “Not Good for Much, But Boy Could He Bitch!”

Anyway, I had an experience a couple of weeks ago that got the complain-mechanism in my brain all fired up and ready to go.  In fact, I was so torqued, I had to wait a couple of weeks just to prevent this post from becoming a spewing geyser of venomous hate… which it still runs the risk of becoming.  I promise, I’ll try to be civil.

I was feeling adventurous and was going to try our a new recipe.  In order to follow this recipe, I needed some Italian sausage links.  Since we had none of these links at home, I was forced to drive to a grocery store.  The closet grocery store to my house was a local store called Panhandle Coop, so I drove to Coop in an attempt to save time.  I figured I could pick up about 3 packaged of Italian sausage for about $3.00 each.

I walk into Coop and head to the meat department.  I walk up to the section that contains the Italian sausage and the crap is like $5.00 per pack.  I turn around, grumbling loudly to myself and I leave the stinking store.  “Hometown friendly my $#*!,” I grumble.

I drive a couple of blocks over to Safeway.  I almost never shop at Safeway, because I feel like their name should really be “Wanna-Shop-Here-Then-Bend-Over-And-Take-Our-Exorbitantly-High-Prices-Like-A-Convict-Reaching-For-The-Soap-Way.”  But maybe… just maybe… they are having a sale or something.  After all, I have one of their pain in the $#*! Club Cards!  I like to think of people who shop at Safeway as mostly mentally-deficient, because only those with brain damage would pay twice what something is worth just have the store pretty much to themselves while they shop.

Ok, so I walk into Safeway and I make my way to the meat department.  I walk up to the Italian sausage section and… GLORY… they have Italian sausage on sale for $2.99 a package.  I grab 3 packs from right behind the sign (this is particularly important and will come into play a little later) and I head to the counter.

I’m fumbling through my wallet searching for that stinking Club Card as the pimple-faced checker rings-up my sausage.  I hand him the card and he swipes it.

“That’ll be $17.97,” croaks pimple-face.

“Should be like 9 bucks,” I tell him.  “It’s on sale.”

He looks over at the cashier next to him and holds up my sausage, “Is this on sale?” he asks.

“No, not that one,” says next-door pimple-face.

“I’ll show you,” I say and I start walking back to the stinking meat department.

Me and my pimple-face get to the meat department and I point triumphantly at the sign which boldly proclaims that Italian sausage is on sale for $2.99 per package… and then I notice in very small print that it’s the Safeway brand of sausage that’s on sale.  I had grabbed Johnsonville, which isn’t on sale even though the Johnsonville is the only sausage I can find in the meat cooler.

“I want the stuff that’s on sale,” I say.

“Yeah, we’re out of that,” says pimple-face rather a little too smugly for my taste.

“Then why is the sign still up and why is the Johnsonville piled up behind the sale sign?” I ask.  “Can’t you honor the marked sale price with the product that is displayed?”

“No, that sausage isn’t on sale,” says Smugly van Pimple-face.

“Screw Safeway,” I say and make for the door, grumbling and unleashing expletives as I storm past the manager at the customer service counter as I realize that Safeway having a customer service counter is somewhat like Payless Shoes having an airplane repair counter.

“But Payless Shoes doesn’t offer airplane repair,” you may say.


I get in my car and I drive five mile to stinking Walmart.  I get out of the car and hike like 1/2 mile to the meat department.  I grab 3 packages of $3.00 Italian sausage and go to the checkout.  I don’t have to get dig out any stupid cards, I pay my $9.00, and I leave.  If I had just gone to Walmart in the first place, I would have saved time, I would have put less wear and tear on my car, and my blood pressure would have stayed within a safe range.

Ok, so the safe bet is to avoid all of the other retarded grocery stores and shop at Walmart, right?  Moral presented in a solid fashion, correct?  I thought so, until a couple of days later.

The family and I decide that the dry, itchy skin we are all experiencing needs to come to an end, so the oldest boy and I head out to buy some water softener salt for our water softener (which has been out for awhile because… uh, well, because I’m lazy, I guess.)  But the boy and I play it smart.  We don’t go to Coop, we don’t bother with Wanna-Shop-Here-Then-Bend-Over-And-Take-Our-Exorbitantly-High-Prices-Like-A-Convict-Reaching-For-The-Soap-Way, we head straight to Walmart.  We park the car, head into the store, and make our way right to… where… the… water…softener… salt… used… to… be…

“Where in the crap is the water softener salt?” I ask the boy.

The boy shrugs and gets that oh-man-Dad-is-getting-mad-and-is-going-to-embarrass-me-in-public look on his face.

Our Walmart recently went through a remodel, which means that they put down new floors, moved everything in the store to a different location, and cut their selection way back… after all, they have already capitalized on offering a great selection and low prices and they have most people in the area trained to shop there, so why would they want to go through the expense of offering any sort of selection anymore?  Walmart know better what you need to buy than you do… trust them, they are Walmart!

Finally spying an elusive Walmart employee, I ask where the softener salt has been moved to.  The employee points out that the salt has been moved to the opposite end of the store, so the boy and I trek that direction.

After loading our cart up with softener salt, we head to the checkouts (which, it is not easy to push a cart full of bags of water softener salt through Walmart.)  After paying for the crap, we start to make our way out of the store, struggling with that stupid cart full of heavy softener salt.  I’m about to leave the building when one of the ‘greeters’ yells, “Excuse me… sir… sir…” and I finally realize that the dude is yelling at me “… I’m going to need to check your receipt!”

“What?”  I ask.

“I’m going to need to check your receipt.”

“You think I’m stealing a cart full of water softener salt?” I ask.

“I’m sorry, I need to see your receipt.”

“Of course,” I spew.  “I’m shopping at Walmart, therefore, I am the kind of person who would steal, right.”  I’m pretty hot.  Go into flipping Walmart, spend your hard earned money, and be treated like a criminal for it!  I HATE Walmart.

“Well, if you are shopping at Walmart, you are the one that is being robbed,” says greeter-dude.  He smiles.  He puts his hand on my shoulder as he delivers his lame attempt at calming me down.

The boy pulls the hood of his hoodie up over his head and heads straight for the parking lot.

I’m not a violent man… mostly because I’m kind of a wimp and fear getting the snot kicked out of me… but this Walmart dude is about to lose his hand!  And then, in a brief moment of clarity, I realize that this poor sap is stuck greeting ticked-off Walmart customers and making sure that the thieves aren’t running rampant through the front doors of Walmart.  His employment at Walmart is punishment enough for his hand touching my person.  I let him check my receipt, proving to him that not every nincompoop that graces the front stoop of Walmart is out to rob the stinking store blind (but… if you’ve ever looked around Walmart, you must realize that many of the shoppers in a Walmart are the kind of people that you would search if they spent a few minutes in you house, and by shopping at Walmart, we apparently put ourselves in the same class as this trash, and we should feel happy being treated like thieves by the greeters at Walmart after we’ve spent our hard-earned money to support their employment!)

The boy and I get home and I relay the experience to the wife.

“You shouldn’t act like that in front of the boy,” she says.  “You’re setting a bad example… and it embarrasses him.”

So, I’m coming to the holy revelation that I am meant to stay away from grocery stores, and the final anchor in this feeling was pounded home the other night.  My favorite ice cream in the entire world is Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio Ice Cream.  There is no better treat on the planet.  We seldom have this treat.  I know that 2 of the 4 grocery stores in our little berg do not carry this particular slice of heaven because they suck!  That leaves us with Walmart and… heaven forbid… Safeway.  After a great meal, the wife says, “Wouldn’t some Pistachio Pistachio be good right about now?”

“Oh yeah, that would be AWESOME,” I say… because I am a dorky product of the 80s.

“Well, Walmart doesn’t carry it anymore,” says the wife.  “Since their remodel, they went from carrying about every flavor of Ben & Jerry’s to, I think, like, six flavors.”  After all, Walmart knows better what you want to buy that you do yourself.

“What!,” I cry.  If Walmart doesn’t carry my Pistachio Pistachio… and stinking Panhandle Coop doesn’t carry my Pistachio Pistachio… and the stupid Nash Finch store doesn’t carry Pistachio Pistachio… that leaves stinking Safeway, where I recently swore not another of my hard-earned pennies would be spent!

Needless to say, I called Safeway, they had Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio Ice Cream, and the wife ran to their store and spent, I believe, about $20.00 for a pint of my favorite ice cream.

The moral of the story is… who knows?!?  Corporate American SUCKS!  Walmart SUCKS!  Panhandle Coop and Nash Finch SUCK!  I would honestly consider voting democrat if it meant our local grocery stores would stop being so stinking SUCKY and actually put the wants… no, I say, needs of the customers right up there alongside their stinking PROFITS (uh… ok, me vote democrat… hahaha… that may be pushing it… hahaha… I’m upset, I didn’t have a lobotomy.)

I guess the moral of the story has to be the same as the title of this post: Safeway SUCKS!

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Dave Ramsey’s Stinking Financial Peace!

My wife and I recently finished up Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  I am not going to dog on Dave’s system too much… ’cause I think it works and is pretty much worth the effort for anyone who wants to gain control of his or her finances.  Dave teaches a lot of common sense stuff (and makes a buttload of money teaching it… how much is a buttload… well, it’s more than most of us will ever see; an amount of money that verges on the border of being uncomfortable.)

Dave teaches “baby steps” that anyone can follow and everyone could benefit from implementing.  Dave’s little catch-phrase is that you should “live like no one else” (i.e. sacrifice having any sort of life-joy now,) “so later, you can live like no one else” (i.e. so if you find a way to avoid death and make it to 70, you can finally start realizing some of the fruit of your labor.)    Yeah, doesn’t sound real dreamie to me either, but it sounds a lot better than completely depending on the soon-to-be-extinct Social Security (damn democrats… instead of finding more ways to spend my flipping tax money, like health care, why don’t you guarantee that I’ll get back some of the stinking Social Security benefits that I have given those who went before me!)  Dave paints a much rosier picture than what I believe is truly possible for average folks out there.   I think Dave may be a little unrealistic and misleading in some of his assertions and examples.

Dave Ramsey: “If you start investing $2000 per year beginning at age 12 and can make a simple 20% interest, by the time you retire at age 90, you will be a millionaire!”

Ok, this example may be a little far fetched… a little.  Maybe Dave didn’t actually use any examples that were quite so retarded.  It is funny, however, that whenever he gives an example of the average guy, he picks some 30 year-old schmuck making an above average income(’cause I think you have to make above average to really “live like no one else” in the long run,) and Dave proceeds to tell us all of the sacrifices this guy is going to have to make to (which usually involves, for some strange reason, a night job delivering pizza?!?); this is the first part of the “live like no one else.”  Then, when we get to the second half of the “live like no one else,” Dave is throwing out examples of multimillionaires (like himself) who can drop cash for about anything because, well, they’re multimillionaires.  The thing is, that 30 year-old schmuck isn’t going to get Dave Ramsey-rich just because he delivered pizzas.  The only way to get Dave Ramsey-rich is to make a lot of money through your career (maybe by charging honest folks $100 to take your class where you can teach them how to find financial peace…,) which those of us living in the remote, rural areas of this country will never do.  So, although Dave never actually comes out and says that the 30 year-old schmuck will get Dave Ramsey-rich, the way the “live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else” is presented could be interpreted as a little misleading by anyone who is actually paying attention.

In most of his examples, Dave starts with a savings plan starting at or around age 30 and a retirement age of 70.  He gives several examples of how you can amass a ton of wealth (MILLIONS) by investing X amount of money at age 30, making 12% on that money, and retiring when you are 70.  First of all, I don’t know what the average age is of someone going through Financial Peace University… but I’m guessing it is well above 30.  Crap, I’m 40, so I guess I would have to retire at 80 to hit Dave’s projections.  Second, 12% earnings on a retirement fund may be slightly unrealistic in today’s market.  I’m going to cut Dave a little slack on this one because the video series I watched was made like 2 years ago (I think it was made in 2008), so things are a little less financially rosy at present time than they were 2 years ago, and who know, maybe the markets will completely rebound and no other major damage will be done to the markets again (but I think the radical Muslims may have a thing or two to say about that.)  Finally, even if I had started working toward financial peace 10 years ago, I have no intention of working until I’m 70!  Hell, I have no intention of living until I’m 70, so why would I base future plans on retiring at that age?

Dave Ramsey is, first and foremost, a salesman.  He tries to sell his ideas, and his books, and his program, and his swag (it kills me that Dave preaches that we shouldn’t spend money on unnecessary crap and there, right in the middle of his workbook which tells you not to buy crap, is an add for all kinds of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University CRAP that Dave would love for you to buy… ’cause God knows that coffee is going to taste a helluva lot better while you’re doing all this personal sacrifice stuff if you’re drinking it out of a Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University coffee mug!)  Dave portrays himself as, you know, just this dude who is trying to help others.  He is so willing to help others that it only costs like $100 to take his course that will help you gain control over… uh… your money.  But seriously, no harm, no foul.  The dude needs to make money, and the course is well worth the money it costs to take… but the “I’m just here to help you” front doesn’t fly.  Dave, if you are going to be honest with us and yourself, let’s try, “I’m here to help you, but it’s gonna cost you about 100 bucks because that’s how I got Dave Ramsey-rich and I ain’t ever going back, you’re gonna have to sacrifice more than you are probably comfortable with and you are going to miss out on a lot of crap for now, and you will NEVER be as rich as me.  Want to buy a Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University fanny-pack?”

Dave works a biblical approach into his plan, which I like.  He actually seems sincere when it comes to his faith, so I’ll give him props for that.

One of the portions of the course I really enjoyed was Dave’s philosophy on insurance.  He starts out this section of the course talking about how insurance agents HATE this part of the course.  Dave then goes on to talk about why whole life insurance is for idiots and all kinds of other things that I’m sure most insurance agents would not like the average person thinking about.  Well, Dave gets done, the DVD player gets turned off, and the one insurance agent we have in our class goes off about how Dave Ramsey is not “all knowing”; about how Dave Ramsey is a salesman more than anything, after all we all paid for his class… he isn’t doing it for free… and about how each individual’s insurance needs are different and we can’t all base our needs for insurance off of what Dave Ramsey is trying to sell us on.  In other words, the insurance agent in our class HATED this part of the course.  The thing is, the “crappy” stuff that insurance agents try to do which Dave discussed are not things this agent does. I think Dave ended up pissing every person off in our class with one point or another… and it wasn’t that I really enjoyed Dave’s teaching so much as I enjoyed watching how right Dave was about insurance agents not liking this part of the course.  Our insurance agent (who is, by the way, a good, honest person… and I like the dude) made this section enjoyable just by how much he let it upset him.  It’s always fun to watch someone unnecessarily defend what they do for a living!  I know, I used to work for a cell phone company… and there are few jobs that require more defense than when you represent one of the cell phone monsters:

“Isn’t cell phone insurance a rip-off?”

“Well, it makes it easier to replace your phone if something happens to it.”

“But you don’t get a new phone, do you?”

“No, you don’t.  You get a refurbished phone.”

“How can you push cell phone insurance when it puts a customer in a refurbished phone?”

“Because I have had the people without insurance come up to me with the 2-day old phone that they dropped in the toilet and which now does not work, and I have had to explain to them that they are under a two-year contract and they have no insurance so their only option is to spend $200 or more full-retail price for a replacement phone.  These people almost always yell at me, like I make the rules or I have the power to just give them a brand new phone because they have, after all, been a customer for three years or something.  I don’t like being yelled at, I have no control over the policies and procedures of the company, you’re the retard that dropped a $300 cell phone in the toilet, I don’t make any more commission just because you have been a customer for three years… in fact, I don’t make any money unless you actually purchase something… and did I mention that I hate being yelled at… so buy the stupid insurance and quit wasting my time.”

Yeah, working at the cell phone company sucked… the money was good, but people are pretty stupid when it comes to their cell phones.  Anyway… long story short (too late), I understand the insurance dude trying to justify around Dave Ramsey’s observations.  No one likes to have what they do called into question by a “professional” like Dave Ramsey.  Thank goodness there were no credit card customer service reps in our class 🙂

Probably my favorite lesson in the Financial Peace University course was the one on careers.  Dave said some stuff that I thought really made sense.  He spoke of finding a job that utilizes your natural talents.  He said that those who tell you that you can “learn” to overcome personality traits that work against certain aspects of your career… well, those people are full of crap (ok, he didn’t say crap, but it was implied.)  If managing people, or outside sales, or whatever, is not something you are good at or comfortable with, you will not “learn” to be good at this stuff.  You need to find something you are naturally good at or enjoy and go full forward with that.  I love this advice… and I agree wholeheartedly!  Those people who tell you that you need to “work outside of your comfort zone” to be successful have no idea how extraordinarily craptastic the area outside of the comfort zone can be for many of us!

Dave refers to using personality tests to help you figure out what careers you can be successful in.   Upon completing the Gary Smalley test, I have determined that I am almost 100% pure golden retriever, which means I have no self-confidence and do almost anything to avoid conflict… wow, big surprise there.  There aren’t exactly a ton of high-dollar jobs available to golden retrievers.

Librarian was one that I think I would actually love… but that would mean, probably, another stinking bachelor’s degree  PLUS a MLS degree to actually be able to make ok money… so, at 40, sell the house, take out some student loans, go back to school, and hopefully by the time I’m 50 I can have a career I love… and a crapload more debt.  Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.

I can’t really remember what other jobs a golden retriever could excel at, but I know they all paid CRAP!  For example, I would probably make an excellent file clerk.  I don’t care how long I work as a file clerk… or how GREAT I get a being a file clerk… or how indispensable I become to my employer as a file clerk… I ain’t ever topping about 12 bucks an hour as a file clerk, and I REALLY ain’t gonna get even close to Dave Ramsey-rich at $12 an hour.  Ok, so the “follow your personality trait” deal sounds golden… but in all reality, I think it’s really just a stinking pile of pyrite.

Dave Ramsey has some great ideas, and if you are having issues with your personal finances… or have no idea how you are ever going to be able to retire… you might want to check Dave out.  Dave’s system is not get rich quick (and he stresses that it is not get rich quick.)  Financial Peace University is touted as a get-rich-very-slowly-system, and if your earnings are above average, you can get there.  For those of us with a little less income coming in through the front door, Financial Peace University may offer us the hope of not having to reverse-mortgage our homes to survive when we retire!

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Tech Support

If anyone has ever called the tech support department of their Internet service provider for one reason or another, every once in awhile you may get a tech on the phone who seems to be a little lacking in patience.  The reason for the tech’s lack of patience is most likely because the following conversation (or something very similar) happened moments before you called:

“This is Rich, how may I help you.”

“Your Internet ain’t workin’. ”

“I’m sorry to hear the Internet isn’t working for you.  How long has it been down?”  hurried sound of typing as the tech tries to figure out what’s wrong

“Don’t know.  Damn thing was working last night, but this morning, nothing.  I paid my bill, so why ain’t it working?”

“Well, according to what I can see here, it looks like your Internet should be working.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to try to do some trouble shooting over the phone…”

“…Can’t you just send someone out here and make this #$@*& thing work.  I paid my bill!”

“Yes, I understand your account is current.  I can’t get anyone out to your location today or tomorrow…”

“…So your gonna credit my $@#% account, right, since your Internet ain’t working and I gotta wait two days for you sons-a-$@#&s to come fix it?”

“I really think we can get this fixed over the phone if you just give me a few minutes to troubleshoot your problem.”

“Ok, fine, do your troubleshooting.”

“Great, thank you!  Could you please open your browser?”

“Open my what?”

“Your browser….”

“…What the hell is a browser?”

“Your browser is the program you use to surf the Internet; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome…”

“…So you want me to open the Internet?”

“Yes, please open the Internet.”

“But I already told you, the damn Internet isn’t working.”

“If I could get you to pretend that the Internet isn’t broken and you were trying to get on the Internet, that would be most helpful.”

“But it ain’t gonna do any damn good, ’cause the Internet is broke.”

“Yes, I understand that the Internet is not working.  What I am trying to determine is the error message that you are receiving when you try to open a web page.  This error message may help us figure out why the Internet isn’t working.”

“Well how am I supposed to open the Internet if the Internet ain’t working?”

“I don’t actually need you to get online.  I just would like you to open your browser to see what error message you get.”

“What’s a browser?”

“For the love of… never mind!”

“Well, there’s no need to get snappy.  If anyone should be getting snappy, it’s me.  I’m the one who paid the bill and I’m the one who ain’t getting no damned Internet!”

“I didn’t mean to snap at you. I apologize.  Let’s try something else.  In the bottom right-hand corner of your monitor, there should be a series of little icons…”

“…What’s a icon?”

“An icon is a little, uh, like a picture.  There should be a series of little pictures in the bottom right-hand corner of your monitor.”

“Oh, ok, pictures, and what’s a monitor?”

“………– You’re kidding, right?”

“What’s a monitor?”

“Four years of college and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and… your monitor is your screen… you know, the thing you look at when you are using your computer… kind of like a little TV.”

“Ok, monitor, got it.”

“Down in the corner of your monitor, do you see a picture that looks like… oh man… two computer monitors?”


“Ok… there should be a little picture that looks like two little TVs, one in front of the other, down in the bottom right-hand corner of the TV-type-thingie you look at when you use your computer.”

“I don’t have that.”

“You have to have that.”

“Don’t tell me what I have to have because I’m telling you… I don’t have that!”

“Ok… could you please tell me what you have pictures of down in the right-hand corner of the TV-type-thingie you look at when you use your computer.”

“Well… I got a picture of what looks like a speaker or something…”


“…and I got a picture of a little blue guy with a red ‘x’ on him…”


“…and I got a smiley face…”

“Right… right…”

“… and I got a picture of two little TVs with a red ‘x’ on ’em…”

“……..– So you have the icon of the two TVs that I asked you about?”

“No, these have a red ‘x’ on them.  You didn’t say anything about an ‘x’.  You gotta be specific.  I ain’t real swift with this computer stuff.”

“Wow, you could have fooled me.  Ok, can you please put your cursor over the little picture of the TVs with the red ‘x’ on them?”

“What’s a cursor?”

“For crying out… the little arrow that moves when you move your mouse.  The thing you use to select things on the screen.”

“I don’t have an arrow on the screen.”

“You have to have a cursor.  Every computer has a cursor!  You HAVE to have a little arrow that you use to select stuff!”

“I have a little hand that moves around when I move the mouse.”

“Ok then, that is your cursor.”

“But you said I HAD to have an arrow.  I don’t have an arrow, I have a hand, so you were wrong.  I’m not to sure you know what you’re doing.”


“Are you there?  Did I lose you?  Damn it, if he hung up on me…”

“… I’m here.  Can you please move the hand over the little picture of the TVs with the red ‘x’ on them.”

“Ok, done.”

“There should be a little pop-up message that displays when the hand moves over the little TVs with the red ‘x’.”

“Yep there is.”


“You there?”

“Yes, I’m here.  Could you please tell me what that message says?”

“It says, ‘local area connection – a network cable is unplugged’.  What does that mean?”

“It means that your computer isn’t getting the Internet through the cable plugged into it.”

“What cable is that?”

“It would be your Ethernet cable.”

“What’s a…”

“… Ethernet cable looks like an over- sized telephone wire.  It usually plugs into the back of the computer.”

“You know, that’s kind of funny.  I unplugged a cable from the back of the computer last night when I was cleaning up.  It looked like a big telephone wire.”


“Do you think I should plug that back in?”


“Hello, did I lose you?”

“A long time ago.  Yes, could you please plug your Internet connection back into your computer.”


“Why would you unplug wires from the back of your computer?”



“Yeah, I got her plugged in and your Internet seems to be workin’ again.  Thanks.”


Please, please, please think twice before allowing that codgerie, crankity person in your life to buy a computer.  If you have even the faintest sliver of humanity in you, and if you disregarded my first plea… for the love of everything sacred and holy… please do not let that crusty, complaining, technologically inept person in you life get the Internet!  Your goodwill may save the innocent from the fury of a tech support specialist gone postal!

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