Five for Friday: Public Transportation Rules

Public transportation,  I’m a huge fan.  It saves time, money, and emissions.  In a city like Atlanta (too many people, serious urban sprawl, not enough roads, and an abysmal public transit system) when you have the opportunity to find a way out of fighting rush hour traffic daily, you take it.  I made the leap to becoming a bus rider several years ago.  And 90% of the time, I’m a happy camper.  I enjoy a nice, stress-free ride into and out of the city.  I catch up on my reading or my Facebook newsfeed.  I take power naps.  Or I stare aimlessly out the window.  Wonderful.

 

However, those other 10% days are an entirely different story.  And the problem?  People.  Rude, ignorant people.

marta

So since it’s Friday and my very favorite and most tragic bus story occurred this week, I give you 5 ways to not be a douche on the bus:

#5- Butt Out

As in your cigarette.  I know this might be breaking news, but cigarettes reek and when you smoke them, so do you.  So how about not smoking in line for boarding.  Is it really necessary to get that final fix so you don’t lose it over the next 45 minutes to an hour?  The vast majority of us on going to work and don’t want to walk in smelling like an ashtray.

If you must smoke, by all means, PLEASE make sure you sit right next to me so I can smell you the entire way to the city.  It’s not like I have a super human sense of smell or anything.

 

#4- Keep Your Eyes to Yourself.

I’m not asking that you look down and make no contact ever, but how about not staring a hole in my soul.  When I can feel your eyes on me, you’re staring.  And it’s really effin creepy.

If you must be a complete creeper, just make sure to sit by me every opportunity you possibly have.  Nothing says weirdo like doubling up when there are 20 single rows available.

*PS- Please think about switching laundry detergent/methods.  You smell like a mildewed wash cloth.

 

120512_factor_costas_640

Don’t make eye contact.  Don’t make eye contact.  Shit.

#3- Hold Out Till Dinner

You must truly be famished if you can’t hold out till you are able to breeze through the McDonald’s drive-thru for your nightly dose of transfat.  If those chips are going to save you from knocking on death’s door, by all means eat them if you must.

And please do feel free to chomp them down with a wide open mouth.  I so enjoy mouth noises.

1336610202599_4007502

Too much?

 

#2-  What’s Mine is Mine; What’s Yours is Yours.

As in my seat.  Keep your thighs to yourself.

But if you must cascade over into my seat, please make sure that I cram myself completely against the window and yet still am unable to escape the heat that apparently radiates from your ham hock.

 

#1- Get Off the Phone!!!!

I have a real problem with folks who don’t know how to use their inside voice.  It seems when a phone is placed in the hands of one of these people they go from audible to hearing damage levels  in seconds.  I really, really, REALLY don’t care about you sister’s cousin’s deadbeat boyfriend.  I certainly don’t need to be exposed to your phone sexscapades.  Yes, that happened, two days ago.

Part 1:

1. I’m on Mr. Tortoise’s bus which means add an extra 15 minutes to me trip.
2. This kid behind me is having the most cheesy, I’m gonna vomit in my mouth convo with his girlfriend at the top of his lungs. Smoochy mouth noises and Harry Potter references included.
3. There are 20+ German exchange students screaming at each other across the aisles.
4. Kid behind me is bitching about how these people “not speaking English” are annoying.
5. His convo just got graphic.
6. I feel really bad for the dumb girl on the end of the phone.
7. God get me home and get a beer in my hand.

 

And then this:

Bus update:
For the first time in bus history I just “told” someone. After his convo got way more graphic than I wanted to hear, I turned around and said loudly enough for her to hear, “Dude, she does know that everyone on this bus can hear your conversation right?” Apparently he is now going “text her later”. I guess he thought I was German too? Either that or I’m now being referred to as the old, nosy bitch in his corresponding Facebook update.

If you must talk dirty on the phone, then make sure to lean up directly into the back of my seat and position the conversation up against my actual eardrums.   This way I don’t miss a single grimy detail.

Guys, I know this may all sound completely petty and nitpicky.  I totally get that I ride on a nice bus and it could be a lot worse.  I’ve ridden Marta, I know.  And were I ever to commute on a real system like the NYC subways, I’d long for the days when some pocked face college Freshman was clumsily seducing a chick in my ear.  Call me a dreamer, but I just keep holding out hope that people will develop some social/situational awareness.  Ah, who am I kidding!  I’ll just be happy about the 90% days when I enjoy the availability of mass transit!

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:
Eating:  Hummus wrap
Drinking:  Monster two of the day.  Caffeine you are my biggest weakness!
Random thought:  I truly do feel sorry for the girls of this generation.  It really seems like guys have lost a step or two in the “game” department.

 

 

You’re an Uber Baby: Why Folks Should Quit Their Crying About Surge Pricing

Readers, something has really got me “all fired up” today.  As I was listening to the morning news, I heard coverage of the customer outrage being directed at Uber due to their practice of surge pricing.  Boy oh boy did this make me angry!  Before I get into my editorial on this news item, let me get you up to speed if you’re not in the know.

Uber uses a method to set ride fees using surge pricing.  Essentially, it all boils down to supply and demand.  When rides are more in demand (ie. New Year’s Eve between 12:15 and 2:30), prices soar.  Pretty easy to understand.  But just incase some folks couldn’t quite comprehend, Uber sent out several communications to its users prior to NYE.  One included the diagram below:

unnamed.png

Now, with all of the warnings AND  confirmation screen at time of order, people still took to the internet in droves to cry the next day:

surge2

This is just one of a million examples.

baby

I’m all about consumer advocacy and customer service; I’ll be the first to back someone when a business has truly “done someone wrong”, but that definitely is not what went down on NYE.  I simply cannot stand when a consumer goes online and bullies a business when the mistake/poor judgement/lack of responsibility falls squarely on the customer’s shoulders.  The damage to a business’s reputation can be catastrophic, especially for  small businesses.  Now that is not what will happen here.  I actually think Uber will benefit from this in the end and they aren’t exactly a small business.  But it still pisses me off nonetheless.  Here’s why:

1.  You aren’t ENTITLED to a black car service.

Uber is a higher end car service.  It’s not a public outreach program.  It’s not even a cab.  It’s a luxury.You’re paying for upgraded service and convenience.   If you can afford it and choose to do so, great.  If not, find another alternative.  In case you haven’t figured it out, you aren’t owed the privilege of everything when and at the price you want it.

2.  Surge pricing is nothing new.

surge1

Supply and demand people.  You want the convenience of flying at peak times, you’re going to pay more.

I just bought $300 dollars worth of Christmas lights yesterday for less than a $100.  Yeah, no one really has a need for Christmas lights in January.  Supply is low.  Now I wait a whole year to enjoy them.  Guess what, I also bought lights just after Thanksgiving when the mark up was 3x what it is now.

A show at the local pub to see someone’s Dad ackwardly strum Jimmy Buffet covers is a hell of a lot cheaper than seeing U2.

Drink prices and bar/club covers are sky high on NYE.  You know why owners do this?  Because they can.  Because volume and demand dictate it.

Bottom line, prices are set by what people are willing to pay and how many people are demanding a commodity.

I guess they’re not teaching economics in school any more.

3.  Other options exist.

I mentioned this already, but let’s explore it further:

Cab- But I don’t want to wait in line with the other thousands trying to hail a cab at the same time.

Safe Ride- But that’s still a cab right?  Yeah, I’m not waiting on a cab even if it’s free.  Didn’t we already cover this?

Public transportation- Yeah, like I would be caught dead riding with all of the commoners. The horror!

Designated driver- Wait, what’s that?  You mean someone would have to be like, responsible or something?  Boo, no fun!

Drive yourself and don’t drink-  Huh?  Aren’t I entitled to pay through the nose for drinks and get completely hammered.  I can’t face the New Year sober!

Can’t conceive of not drinking?  Stay home. I think they show a ball drop on TV.  Yeah, it’s kind of a yearly thing.  You should check into it.

4.  You’re an adult!  So how about taking responsibility for your actions?

At least in terms of age you’re supposed to be a grown up.  You decided to spend the money to have Uber  take you home.  You clicked the confirmation of price.  Now in the harsh sobriety of late afternoon, you feel like an ass for spending $300 to get home.  Come close, I’m going to tell you a secret,

ALCOHOL MAKES PEOPLE MAKE STUPID CHOICES!!!!

So if you decide to get so completely shit housed that you think, “Damn, I’m a straight baller and I’m rolling home in style tonight.  Bye schmucks waiting in the cab queue!”, then be prepared to feel like a straight idiot the next day.  And maybe don’t announce how stupid you are to the world by broadcasting your regrets all over Twitter.

There you have it.  I’m team Uber.  A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency or handout on Uber’s part.  Grow up, quit crying, and learn how to manage yourself and your life without relying on others to figure it out for you or roll out the red carpet.  You’re not nearly as worthy as you think.  Your wallet on the other hand…..

– Melissa

Today:

Listening to:Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away – Live from KCRW

Reading:  “Sitting Up with the Dead” by Pamela Petro

My NYE:  Given the insane cost of tickets to do anything and the massive crowds of folks (like the ones bitching about Uber) that would be out, Matt and I opted to stay close to home and enjoy some reasonably priced beers next to a free fire.  We had a blast and I’m 100% confident the playlist was much better than anything we would have heard out and about in the city.

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears? Volume 2

Since it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a nice, long rant, today felt like the time to break one out.   Well, that and one of the items on this list occurred this morning on the way to work.  Cue internal rant in my car!  So I might as well pass the frustration on to you, dear readers.  On my last You Know What Really Grinds My Gears? post, I merely scratched the surface!  There are a plethora of pet peeves about which to bitch over many more posts!  Today I bring you three particularly annoying gear grinders.  Get ready to roll your eyes and shake your head with me!

 

Egregious spelling and grammar errors.

Yes, I know that I’m far from perfect, and I’m quite sure that when I look back on this post later, I’ll find several errors.  You simply never catch everything when you self-edit.  But every day, without fail, I see stuff on the internet that boggles the mind.  How exactly does one make it out of elementary school without knowing how to spell basic words?  In what grade is the use of an apostrophe taught?  I don’t know if these people just didn’t pay attention, really are that stupid, or simply just don’t give a shit.

IMG_0904[1]

Look at this.  Someone actually took the time to photoshop this gem.  Oh wait, it was SwagtoStrong;  yeah, I guess I’m not so shocked. 

interwish

For the love of all things holly holy, please stop breathing.

spelling

That would involve quite a bit of hiding.

spelling2

I want this book and I don’t.  I would just sit and roll into a tight ball of anxiety.

Bottom line, I do judge you.  Shit, I judge myself.  But you likely really don’t care about the eye daggers I’m throwing your way, so it’s a moo point.

*A moo point is the point of a cow.  It doesn’t matter; it’s moo.

 

People who back into parking spaces.

This is the morning occurrence that sent my rant stream a runnin’.  I can’t handle these people.  If you’re one of them, I ask you, why?  Why are you such an ass clown that you feel it’s perfectly acceptable to cause the people lined up behind you to have to wait on you?  Are you aware that you’re causing delays for others while you back in your ginormous SUV?  No, of course you don’t, because you don’t give two shits about anyone else.  What’s that?  Oh, it makes it more convenient and quicker when you leave?  Seriously, why do you need to leave in such a hurry anyway?  You take two to three times as long to park to save yourself from backing out later.  That makes total sense.

One of my first jobs was writing parking tickets on my college campus.  It was such a jerky job and I did feel like an asshole on a daily basis.  The only saving grace was that on our campus it was illegal to back into a spot.  Boy, when I’d see a car parked like that, I’d almost sprint to write out the ticket.

5525605384_5f6c2aa4d3

 

Phillip Phillips

This guy, whew.

So today is the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s In Utero album.  If that doesn’t paint a stark contrast between music in the 90s and music today, I don’t know what does.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of talented musicians releasing music every day, but there is also a lot more crap than ever before.  This turd falls into the second category.

1.  His name is stupid.  I know, I know, his parents are to blame for that.  But seriously, nice name Johnny Johnson.

2.  He hasn’t a clue what HIS musical style is.  He’s quite adept at ripping off Dave and Mumford and Sons, but I have zero clue what his deal is.  The first time I heard his increably overplayed hit, I thought, “Hmmm.  This Mumford and Sons song sounds a lot more commercial than their other stuff.  Wait a second…”

3.  I catch myself singing, “I’m gonna make this place my home.  ohhh ohhh oh oh oh shit, not again.”  That damn song is on at least 20 different commercials.  They play it at my gym every single morning.  I have my ipod to save me from hearing it there (seeing the video is offensive enough), but I can’t go an entire day and hope to completely escape it.

68dab8857ca8b0790c2e77551a2a7d04a0e44c03-Phillip-Phillips-Papas-Got-a-Brand-New-Bag-American-Idol-Hollywood-Week

Here he is not caring about my opinion and cashing his American Family Insurance checks. 

 

 

So there you have it.  What do you think?  Are you a backwards parker?  Do you loose sleep over the spelling errors of other’s?  See what I did there? Did you found the Phillip Phillips fan club?  Let me hear it!

 

Stay positive & love your life!

 

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to:  X Ambassadors – Litost

Eating:  Veggie burger and lima beans.  It’s seriously time to go to the grocery store.

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  In Utero is my favorite Nirvana album.  Also, I’ve never drunk pennyroyal tea.  Yeah, I just looked up whether drunk or drank is the past participle of drink.  Drunk is correct and drank is now considered acceptable.  The more you know…..

 

 

 

The Walmart of Dentistry

I’m feeling pretty annoyed right now.  You see, just  about two months ago I spent a not unsubstantial amount of money to have a crown replaced.  My tooth wasn’t hurting.  It just had an “odd feeling” around it.  When I’d go for a run and my feet would strike the ground, I could feel it in my tooth.  Since this wasn’t normal and I’m a bit of a stickler for oral health (never miss my 6 month check-up, floss, etc.), I visited the dentist to have it checked out.  Of course the crown needed to be replaced.  I was told the margins weren’t looking great and that was possibly what was causing the issue.  The gums by the problem margin were irritated.  And so I had them replace the crown.  I’ve now had my permanent crown on for about two weeks, and walla, tooth pain.  What was just an “odd feeling” is now pain.

But this post isn’t about the new problem in my tooth.  And it’s not about getting some feedback online from a dental expert.  Although any guidance would be swell and actually I think swelling of surrounding gum tissue is likely the issue as I suspect this new crown was shoddily fitted. It’s about how shitty my now ex-dental office has become.  And sadly, I don’t think it’s one isolated chain practice problem.  I think this is were health care is headed (if it’s not already mostly there).

The problem started when my previous dentist sold his practice and went into early retirement.  Great for him.  Not so awesome for me.  You see, the practice was bought out by Great Expressions .  These guys are a chain operation.  From their site:

For more than 35 years, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) has been exceeding patients’ expectations with more than 200 dental centers in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. GEDC is one of the largest privately owned dental service organizations in the United States, but don’t let our size mislead you. GEDC and its employees continue to maintain the dedication and core values found in small, hometown dental practices, but with the stability and convenience of an established national organization. GEDC’s mission is to provide affordable dental care without sacrificing quality and convenience. GEDC accepts most major insurances and is focused on partnering with insurers to increase access for patients.

Compassionate and Trusted Dental Care

We won’t judge or scare you. We are here to make your experience with us as comfortable as possible. Our respectful professionals promise to give you the highest standard of care in a welcoming and friendly environment. We provide a full range of dental services including general and preventative care, cosmetic, endodontic, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pedodontics and periodontics.

Our Mission

The mission of Great Expressions Dental Centers is to provide affordable dental care, without sacrificing quality or convenience. This mission is both reinforced by our talented group of dental professionals and supported by our patients who recognize the quality of care they receive. Our patients rely on us to provide quality, professional dental care, and we deliver that — one smile at a time.

Look for the Smile Above Our Name!

Sounds nice in theory.  But here’s the issue, that’s not the experience they are delivering.  Here’s how it plays out:

You sit in a huge waiting room that is devoid of anything remotely comfortable.

Despite what their site says, their pricing is no different than any other dental practice.  I wasn’t looking for a bargain and they aren’t giving one.  I want good service; service for which I’m happy to pay.

The chances of having you back in the dental chair anywhere near the time you’re booked is slim to none.  They are notorious for overbooking.  If you’re thinking, “don’t all medical professionals do this now?”, to some degree yes.  But I’ve never experienced it on every single visit.  And each time I’m there at least two people show up claiming to have an appointment set and they have no record of it.  Sure, some people lie.  But is it this widespread?

Something would always happen on their end the day before my appointment (and once the morning of) and they’d try to reschedule me.  Not once.  Not twice.  This happened every time I booked an appointment but once.  I’d pitch a fit and they’d move someone’s appointment around to accommodate me.

Now, all of the things above are really annoyances (before I get blasted for bitching).  And if the issues below weren’t, well, issues, then I wouldn’t have felt compelled to write this post…..or leave their practice.

I never saw the same doctor twice. I don’t know if this is because they have so many or they have a high staff turn-over rate.

The dentists never spent anytime at all with me.  I felt like I was in an auto shop for a tune-up.  They came in, checked under the hood, poked around a bit, and moved on.  No “hi, how are you doing?” or even a “what brings you in today”.  Check the chart.  Do work.  On to the next $.

Before any procedure you’re taken in to a “treatment coordinator”.  You know what this person coordinates?  Your payment.  Will that be credit card?  It feels like the finance office of a car dealership.  I get that a lot of people don’t pay, but there has to be a better way to do this.  It feels so cheap and unprofessional.  When I went in for my crown they had someone just come in to the room and take my payment while I was there in the chair!

The dental assistants don’t seem very well trained or competent.  I think this may be from where my new crown problem  is stemming.  She struggled to get it fitted correctly.  And the dentist looked in my mouth and walked out.  After much shoving and filing, it seemed to feel okay that day.  But something isn’t right now.

So by this point, you’re wondering why did I stay if things have been so bad since my old dentist sold?  My hygienist.  She’s a gem.  And I hate to stop seeing her.  But one outstanding hygienist does not a dental practice make.

I’m moving on in search of a small, family dentist.  I need to find a place where I feel comfortable, secure, and well cared for.  I need a place I can take my kids (when I have some).  I need a place where I feel good shelling over the bucks because the service and people are worth it!

walmart

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  New Order – Elegia

Eating:  Leftover gnocchi and arugula salad

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  Even with the solid dental habits instilled in me by my Mom, I would still have a cavity almost every visit as a child.  Teeth are so not fair.