Thursday, December 23, 2010

That’ll be $44+“Tax” (BTW, “tax” is 61%)

Warning: if you are overwhelmed by a joyful Christmas spirit, you should probably not read this right now. It’s a rant.

I don’t get out much. My last concert was…a while ago. There is something about buying tickets that hasn’t gotten any better in the years since, though: ridonkulous fees.

Take, for example, the following invoice for four tickets to Toy Story on Ice (I have kids, ok?):

ticket racket

That’s $44 for the tickets, and $26.75 for…I don’t know what for. They are literally charging 61% extra. These are electronic tickets so they aren’t even trying to hide the evil with these fees. You don’t have bags to haul around like an airline—we’re talking about electrons here.

  • “Handling fee”? This is 100% electronic—what are you “handling”?
  • “Convenience fee”? What the hell is that? I’m buying these online, which saves you money on printing, shipping, logistics, etc. Charging me extra for the privilege of saving you money is just absurd. Can you imagine buying any other product and paying more to download it than having it shipped to you?
  • “Facility fee”? Isn’t that what I bought the tickets for? Or did you forget to book the stadium when you booked Disney and now you’re short $200,000?

What about tax? That’s one that I wouldn’t shy from but you don’t have that there. Odd.

You know what, Quicken Loans Arena (and pretty much any place that sells tickets, probably)? You suck. Let’s make a deal: you keep your tiny, cold seats, $8 sodas and who-knows-what-parking spaces and I’ll keep my money and my sanity. Square?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life Lessons About Glitter (ZOMG IT’S EVERYWHERE)

A week or so back Wife and I were cleaning upstairs while the kiddos dumped out all their toys in the basement. A typical Tuesday. Of course we check on them often and on my rounds I discovered this:

glitter 1

In case it’s not immediately obvious, the kids got into an industrial supply of glitter and went. to. town. Here’s the same photo marked up where we found (and can still find) this horrible, horrible stuff:

glitter 2

Astute readers will note substantial collections in shoes, and all over Thing2. What’s most unfortunate is where the glitter is not: in its glitter containers (not marked, but scattered throughout) or in the two giant, wide-open baskets designated for such activities.


To appreciate the gravity of this you must understand that I h-a-t-e glitter. Passionately. If an organization existed with the sole objective of outlawing glitter, I would donate both time and money to the cause.

(jump to 3:00)

Upon discovering the horror in my basement, I uttered a single expletive, followed by the undo code “peanutbutter” to wipe it from the children’s memory and immediately commanded wife to stay upstairs and ignore the preceding commotion. Obviously that didn’t work as I have no such power. Thing1 was lucky to hit the sweet spot on the shock curve:

chart(this is inverted because I messed up and didn’t want to start over)

Don’t get me wrong—we made her (help) clean it up and that led to a lot of tears—but I really wasn’t as angry with this whole situation as I would have predicted. That’s the life lesson, I guess. After replacing the upstairs carpet because of the great paint-everywhere-even-on-the-dog-omg-are-you-kidding incident of 2010 (featured on, a bucket of glitter’s just not so bad.

But glitter is banned from my home. I’m not a fool.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Minute Gifts: Guide 2010

So you’re out of ideas for that obscure relative or friend you forgot to buy for and you need to pick up something quick before that Super Saver Shipping deadline passes? Here are 10 surefire gift ideas to save face this Christmas:

1. Robot Alligator

robot alligator

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a ferocious alligator. In robot form, you can be assured that the terror will cease only for 4-6 hours each night while Chomp recharges. Particular skilled recipients may have luck with training their new robot alligator to do useful things like eat that annoying dog next door. STOP BARKING DOG. STOP STOP STOP.

2. Peanut Butter


Everybody likes peanut butter. Plus, those that are allergic to it can just re-gift it back to you. If you’re both allergic then this is probably a bad gift idea.

3. Empty Box

empty box

The key to this one is to work on your “surprise face”. When your gift recipient opens the box, you need to act as confused and stunned as they are. Ask what they expected the gift to be and then just tell them that’s what it was until your alligator (allegedly) stole it. This idea works even better if you mail your gifts.

Depending on your relationship to the recipient, this gift has other variations.

4. Old College Textbook


Ah! The gift of education. How else are you supposed to unload these things? After lugging around 50 lbs. of dead tree with me from house to house, I finally just started leaving them around my office and giving them away as swag prizes during my presentations.

This gift is best opened while you revel in the value and timelessness of learning.

Bonus points if the person receiving your gift actually enjoys the book’s subject.

5. Coffee


It’s awesome.

6. Bag of Snow


Nothing captures the spirit of Christmas like a bag of Christmas snow. What makes it Christmas snow? Easy: it came from the North Pole *wink*. If it melts before the recipient opens it, you have yourself a perfect lead in to a pun filled guilt trip.

7. Expired Gift CardIMG_20101214_171618

Those expired or used up gift cards are no good to you…except as wonderful gifts! Dig out that new Sharpie you bought with your now defunct gift card and proudly write whatever value suits you directly on the card. This one’s great because you can just blame those damned computers if your recipient is ever so taboo as to bring up the matter later. Plus no one needs more lotion anyway.

8. Incomplete Decks of Cards


Go green this year by reusing your “vintage” playing cards as gifts! No need to combine incomplete decks into whole decks, either—that’s just wasteful.

9. Pictures of Food


Recent research has discovered that simply imagining the act of eating helps you eat less. Get ready for a big “thank you” from your gift recipient after you explain as they open their beautifully illustrated card.


I’m out of ideas.

Happy Christmas!