Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Great Mosaic

With the Democratic National Convention underway, this is a good time to think about all of the things that make our country such a great place. And one of those key components is diversity.

I don't like it.

Oh, not as it pertains to people. Black, white, old, young, male, female, gay, straight and all the other unique characteristics that make us all special blah blah blah etc. That's fine. It's the diversity of consumer goods and certain inanimate objects that bothers me. Rather, the inconsistent application of diversity to these things that bothers me.
For instance, our cars are all powered by internal combustion engines that run on petroleum fuel. Look where that has gotten us. Pizza only comes in one type of box; flat, with a flip up lid which is a tremendous hassle to dispose of. Why are there no viable alternatives in these areas when there is variety to spare in others? Such as...
  • Toothbrushes - Any toothbrush that scrubs the crud out of your mouth is a good toothbrush. Which means they could have stopped after they made the first couple. Yet they come out with new and improved toothbrushes all the time, each of which looks like it was tested at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I have a hectic schedule, but I don't need a toothbrush that can challenge the world land speed record.
  • Razor blades - Even more ridiculous is the world of razor blades. If toothbrushes are rocket cars, razor blades are stealth bombers. And there's hundreds of razors with their own blades, none of which work with each other. It's a sharpened chunk of metal on a stick. There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be able to grab a box of razor blades at any store and not worry about compatibility issues.
  • Garbage bags - Is there a less complex item in existence? There's an opening and you put trash in it. That's all! It shouldn't even be possible to make them different. But every time you but some, you have to figure out how they come out of the box (attached or individual?) and where the opening is. Every. Single. Time.
  • Receipts - Pull two different receipts out of your wallet and look at one of them. What's that number at the bottom? The total? The tax? The cash you received back? The date? Your phone number? Last night's lotto numbers? The amount you paid for arugula? Go ahead and figure it all out. Now look at the other one and re-learn that all over again because it will be laid out differently. Anything on a receipt that isn't the date, the name of the place, what you bought and how much you paid is a waste of paper and ink.
  • Gas pumps & ATMs - A gas pump is a very simple machine. It consists of a pump, a hose to deliver fuel to a vehicle and a calculator to tabulate how much should be charged for the fuel dispensed. An ATM is even simpler. It dispenses and receives cash and logs transactions. Why then are no two alike? They all have protocols that must be followed exactly or they will not function. Some want to know what language you speak, others don't care. Do you lift the handle before selecting the grade of fuel you want or after? Do you want to check your balance first? Some pumps will not give you a drop of gas until you decide whether or not you want a car wash. Do you want a receipt? Because you're getting one. Unless you say no. Or not. It's like if each individual Catholic church had a different way of conducting Mass.

1 comment:

Wildhair said...

The slider debit/credit doo-hickey thing at the check-out counter always leaves me feeling like I should have studied harder during economics and algebra. Is there a course in modern buttonry? Just sayin'