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By Mark Snyder, Gatehouse Media Columnist
When it gets this late in the year, I have had twelve months for my pet peeves to bubble up and drip onto the page. There are so many annoyances in this world, but some are just a bit more annoying than others. For those of you reading this, I hope you can nod your head and identify with what I say. If not, don’t get peeved. Herewith are some of my pet peeves (in no particular order):
MEDICAL OFFICES : It doesn’t matter whether it’s a dentist or a physician’s office, the front reception staff is usually overworked, overstressed and not wearing a smile. We all know about the notorious long waits for regularly scheduled appointments, but even the waiting room is a pet peeve. What’s with the 1984 National Geographic magazines, or the 1998 People Magazines? When arriving at the doctors, they hand you numerous forms that ask the same question in eighty different ways. Is it an exercise to keep us busy? Is it punishment for daring to be sick? And, with the newest privacy laws comes even more forms to sign. Does anyone ever read them? Thought not. I’d like to go to a medical office where the receptionist gives me a wide smile, says “hello Mark” (they never know your name), and then adds, “the doctor will see you---on time.” I can understand the sour attitude of the “help” at the office. With the reams of paperwork the state and federal authorities require, together with the endless requirements of the HBO’s, it’s no wonder that these folks don’t have time to inhale, or smile. And, here’s another one. The doctor sends you for tests for a horrible disease, and while you wait on pins and needles, never returns phone calls with the results. A little courtesy can go a long way!
SUPERMARKETS AND RETAIL STORES : This time of year brings my biggest beef to the surface. Why do large corporations—from the international owners of our supermarkets like Stop & Shop and Shaw’s, to national retail chains—require us, their customer, to foot their generous charitable donations. I donate a lot to charity. But, I like to choose the charity I support with my check So, why do these huge companies wait until we go to the cashier with our purchase to ask us to donate $1 (or, in the case of Shaw’s, up to $10) to their charity of the moment? Why do we have to make excuses to the poor teenage cashier? “Sorry, I already donated.” It’s true, but it sounds lame. And, if we donate every time we hit the cashier of our favorite stores, we’ll end up asking for charity ourselves. If the CEO’s of these companies (who take in high six figure salaries) want to donate, let them use THEIR money or some of the company profits. Don’t keep begging me. I’ll drop the dollar in the Salvation Army bucket outside, if I so choose.
NEIGHBORS : Don’t get me wrong. I love the neighborhood I live in, and I choose to be friends with many, and friendly with all. I’m the first to wave at every car, some of which turn out to be people cutting through the ‘hood who think I’m some kind of mentally challenged hippie. But, what’s with neighbors you don’t know sending you those envelopes for the charity they are working for? I must get a few every year, some seeking donations for charities I regularly give to (like American Red Cross and American Cancer Society.) Shouldn’t a neighbor know me first, before they solicit me? My kids have both been involved in athletics for years. When they are asked to solicit to sell calendars, magazines, candy, cookies and the like, we write a check. I would never think of sending them to neighbor’s houses to ask for money. But, many little ones are at our door regularly with these items, and sometimes I have no idea who they are. It’s a dangerous practice for the kids. Who knows who will answer a door?
TRAFFIC and DRIVING: There are so many incidents while driving my car that make the blood pressure skyrocket to dangerous levels. Here are a few of my hard-driving peeves. When I’m at an intersection and I graciously allow someone to cut in front of me and there’s no acknowledgement. All is takes is a nod or wave to make me happy. But none is forthcoming. I make a mental note to never be nice again. People who take left turns in the right lane and right turns in the left lane make my blood curdle. Ditto those who put on makeup, drink and eat, and converse on the phone instead of watching the road in front of them. People who make a turn while failing to use their signals. Drivers that tailgate (and, I don’t mean the ones at football games!) I enjoy giving them the brake treatment. Probably peeves them. Those in such a hurry that they give you high beams and horns on the highway, when you’re already driving 70 mph.
METEOROLOGISTS : What other job is there that failure is routine, and being accurate is unusual? How many times have you cancelled plans because the weatherman (or woman) said it was going to snow—but it never did. Barbecues and outdoor events are constantly cancelled due to inclement weather that never happens. Other times, it’s supposed to be beautiful, and turns out dreadful. With all the Doplar Radar and other sophisticated equipment at their disposal, you think they’d get it right every once in a while! I think Coco Crisp had a higher average than most Boston TV meteorologists.
JUNK PHONE CALL, MAIL AND EMAILS : Does it seem like telemarketers wait until you hit the bathroom, shower, or sit down to dinner before they call? Even if you’re on the “no call” list, any company you’ve made inquiries to in your lifetime or done business with the past decade can call—and usually does. They are very good at not taking “no” for an answer, so I have developed my own “system” to deal with these irritants. I simply put them on “hold”—permanently. I’ve had some hang on for ten minutes, others drop like flies in a few seconds. It’s effective. They usually don’t call back, because wasted time makes them no money. I have sometimes got three pounds of junk mail in a single day. I got so much of it, that I needed to devise an effective means of revenge on these wasters of forestry. My solution is simple—and highly effective. Whenever they send a postage-paid return envelope stuffed inside their junk mail, I stuff the contents of their missive into it, and mail it back to them. They have to pick up the additional costs of return postage. And, I leave my name and address right on it. They don’t usually keep me on their lists. As for junk emails, another scourge of modern times---and a pet peeve of numerous internet-savvy folks—I have a split-second trigger finger on the delete button and that, combined with excellent spam software protection, has kept me free of computer viruses—another of my pet peeves. Why do people spend their energy and intelligence with destructive behavior? Probably the same thing that motivates those who “tag” buildings.
Do you have a pet peeve? Send it to me for the next column on this subject. I’ll share some of yours!
(Mark Snyder is CEO of PMPNetwork.com, the internet’s entertainment superstation. His radio feature, The Entertainment Minute, is heard on WMJX-FM/ Magic106.7 FM, WROR-FM 105.7 and WBOS-FM 92.9. Mark can be reached by fax at 781-344-7207, or by e-mail at email@example.com.)
(c) 2006 by PMPNetwork.com.
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