Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Revamping the Grocery Shopping Experience

Everyone on earth has pet peeves, yet for some strange reason, my pet peeves seem to dominate my psyche minutes after an off-putting incident. This occurred recently at a Sunday grocery shopping experience. But since I am a "don't complain unless you have a better idea" advocate, I felt it best to put my money where my mouth is and provide suggestions to enhance the grocery shopping experience, weed out undesirable behavior, and streamline processes so that we obtain maximum efficiency at all times. Here goes.

Deli Line Efficiency and Waste Management

We all hate being in the deli line, but have we really ever asked WHY we are there so long? It's simple - you're all wasteful hogs who buy too many different meats and cheeses, throw out 25% of it each Sunday morning, and then go and repeat your filth when you do your weekly shopping. You're paying forward wastefulness and sloth. You then pull a ticket number, repeat your order seven times to the deli clerk, and then watch them move slowly as they cut your meat. We don't want anybody rushing, since they work with really sharp equipment and could severely injure themselves, but more importantly, get AIDS all over my salsalito turkey. So here's what we do to keep you honest, limit waste, and ensure the line moves quickly - we install usage labels with sensors that track how much of the deli meats you eat, and how much you throw away. It calculates (somehow, someway) a 3 week average of how much you consume, and maxes out how much you can request. So if you order a pound of roast beef, but throw out 50% of it each week for xxx amount of weeks, this locks in a 'waste ratio' and you can no longer order anything over a half pound (or anything above the waste %). Because you like to waste shit. You also probably get ham, turkey, two types of cheeses and then either bologna or salami, the white trash meats. And then you throw out a lot to make room for next week's items. Uh uh. Not no mo'. There's a new sheriff in town. Here's why. 

My proposal would limit interaction with the deli clerks and strictly result in you using an automated terminal. With a twist. You scan your shopper card (mandated), it pulls your 'moving averages', and then it asks you to 'apply your punishment mechanism.' The punishment mechanism (PM) is a mini-jumper cable that gets attached to your breasts or crotchal region. If you submit a dishonest deli request, and have a track record of being a waster but you are trying to trick the system, it will give a limited electrical jolt to your body. The jolt should be enough to get you back on track so that you don't make absurd deli requests again. The computer remembers your joltage, so if you pull a stunt like this the next week, the voltage will double, and so on and so forth until you are a smoking sizzling corpse. This will aim to: 1) limit deli meat waste 2) encourage folks to ask for less during each trip to the deli 3) speed up the process so that the line moves faster, and 4) Scare the shit out of you every time you go to the deli. Downside - none. 

Targeted EMP Strikes In Aisles

I hate zombie texting and oblivious shoppers, slowly meandering in and out of aisles, blocking traffic, gabbing about nothing of substance, texting things like "OMG, I'm like shopping with my pahhhrents....this is like so ratchet." My new proposal would be to have special tile lanes in the center of each aisle where an EMP kills any cell phone service, which in essence frees up the busy aisles for people to get through. You want to text? Totally fine, just do it in a designated 'texting area' or hug the sidelines of each aisle, where service is restored. But sure as hell don't be diddling your phone in front of the meats, milks, yogurts, cheeses and breads. It's high throughput areas, so moving at a fast pace is critical. This also keeps the shoppers moving at a brisk pace, with a slight sense of urgency because they can't otherwise their phone in a relaxed setting until they are done with what they need to do. Not much to dissect here. Downside - none.

Check-out Line: Forgetful Florences

We've all had situations where you are checking out and the dumb birdbrain in front of you forgets butter or olive oil or Uncle Ben's rice. They leave the line, slow things down whatever conveyor belt momentum you have, and you are left in a holding pattern while they awkwardly book it down the aisle to grab the forgotten item (which invariably becomes two or three since they have a stay of execution). No more. I want a healthy fear of failure when you go grocery shopping, and I want failure to be met with punishment. So here's what happens - a claw from one of those kiddie games at arcades comes down from the ceiling of Johnny's Food Mart. It takes all of your items and places them in the back room to be inventoried and subsequently restocked. You've basically lost every grocery item because you were forgetful and foolish. Make a list, stick to it, and don't forget shit. It's really simple. And if you forget something, don't tell those in line that you forgot it, simply finish your order, check out, and re-enter the store to obtain aforementioned forgotten item. It's like when someone needs to be in a certain lane on the highway but they didn't plan properly and now need to jump two lanes to the left with no space and inconvenience countless others in the process. You go up the road, take the next exit or street, and retrace your steps the right way - you don't screw over others, you selfish whore. You lose, start over. But guess what I guarantee won't happen again? You will never leave line to get a forgotten item again. Downside - none.

Check-out Line: Ill-prepared Isabelles

Not sure if this is common knowledge for some, but here goes - when I food shop, I intend to pay with either soft fiat currency or debit card. There is a 100% change that I will have to pay for my groceries at a given time whilst in the grocery store. To that end, the second my last grocery is on the conveyor belt, I remove my wallet and get in ready position to pay. The numbers are in - 8 out of every 10 unprepared shoppers are women. The pocketbook comes into play AFTER the final system tabulation. The purse gets unclicked, the credit card is fumbled, or change is foolishly counted even though you are about to give an amount back to the cashier that results in them just staring at you cause it doesn't even make sense. The new automated prompt will come from a sensor on the grocery cart that identifies when the last item has been removed. User will be reminded, "Please ensure your method of payment is ready for processing. You have 10 seconds." Once those ten seconds are up, the cashier presses a button and you're either safe to proceed or.....Alternative B - instant removal. You see, as you are unloading, you are stepping on collapsable tiles that are connected to a grid on the cashier's register. If you are bobbling your money and coins and not ready to pay after your 10 seconds, then the cashier presses a button and you fall through the floor into a dank, dungeony environment and have to fight either an angry centaur or some Gamorrean guard creature from Star Wars. If you survive, you get to come back upstairs and reshop (cause that claw has since come down and taken all of your items for restocking purposes). If you die, then I don't have to worry about you not being ready to pay for your groceries in a timely fashion. Downside - none

Fire All Baggers

I have nothing against baggers, but they are going the route of the elevator button presser. Let's free up space, keep things moving, and utilize technology. The bagging area becomes a circle 'tub' with a hole in the middle where you press a button and a bag it flayed open like a dissectible frog. Items circle the 'tub drain' and land in the back, and when a certain threshold is reached, the bag closes/ties itself and is moved via robot arm into your cart. Your cart goes in a 'loading zone', you sit on a bench and watch this all unfold. Next bag is automatically queued up to load. Sensitive items like eggs, deli meats, cheeses etc get put to the side (I mix them together with dish soap and fruit because.....gasp.....nothing actually happens if you mix them). Delicate items then get hand packed into the bag and put in manually by the cashier. This solves two problems: 1) Gets rid of baggers and their minimum wage demands for simple work and 2) speeds up the throughput and gets you out of line and out of the store faster. Downside - none

Boxing Gloves At The Express Lane

Why would there be boxing gloves at the Express Lane, you ask? Real simple. In case someone disobeys one of life's five golden rules (ie - don't get more items than the Express Lane allows), boxing gloves rest on top of the scanning terminal. If someone of any age, gender, race, creed, or religion decides to purchase more items than the Express Lane, an alarm goes off, metals bear-traps wrap around the perp's feet and holds the in place while the boxing gloves get deployed and hit the them about the face and upper torso. Cashier also has a yard stick with a plastic index finger and middle finger on it that they shove into your eyeballs, 3 Stooges-style. A bucket of semen gets dumped on your head from above and then sawdust gets shot out of a hidden compartment underneath the Nestle's Crunch bars. You are then thrown out of the store and have to do the walk of shame to your car. You will never make that mistake again, you hear me? Downside - none.

Now, these are some very simple ways to improve the shopping experience. I guarantee earth is a better place (less waste), people are more considerate (lest they be shamed), and you are in and out about ten minutes faster due to the technological advancements. Feel free to float your own ideas. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Get Excited About The GOP Tidal Wave On Election Day 2014

Here we are, 24 hours away from another mid-term election and if this were the World Series, the police on horses would be lined up in anticipation of a GOP blowout victory. Years ago, I'd normally be a sore winner, taunting, rubbing in, bragging about how much more wonderful life would be under Republican leadership. Then I woke up.

Hate to deliver some perspective here, but the GOP winning back the Senate and maintaining the House will not lead to anything of substance. I'll be thrilled to see that sack of monkey shit Harry Reid lose his job as Senate Majority Leader. But we can expect more of the same from the Republican Establishment. Mitch 'The Turtle' McConnell will be Senate Majority Leader (yawn). John 'Blubbering Vagina' Boehner will keep his job (undeserved as he's a scoundrel sissy). Lindsey Graham, leader of the lisping warhawk wing of the party, will get re-elected in South Carolina. The same Establishment wusses who survived their Tea Party/Libertarian primary competitors will beat their Democrat counterparts. And I'm supposed to be excited for these bozos? What are they going to do to make our lives better? NOTHING. Let's break down 25 years of the Two Party Pendulum:

2001-2006 - Republicans own the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. 9/11, Patriots Act, DHS and TSA launched, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Recession, snail-like recovery, eventual full employment. Wiretapping. Nothing to write home about. Debt increases significantly.
2006-2010 - Democrats win back the House, the Senate, and win the White House in 2008 when a junior senator/community organizer from Chicago who used to snort coke and give blowjobs to old elite men in crime-riddled Chicago ('Down Low Club' within Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church of Christ) wins the Presidency. Global Economic Crisis. Bailouts. Iraq and Afghanistan wars drag on. Zero % Interest Rate Policy. More bailouts. Obamacare passed. Debt increases significantly.
2010-2016 - Democrats keep the White House. Lose the Senate and the House. US credit downgrade Fiscal Cliff theatrics. Sequester theatrics. Government shutdown. Benghazi. Fast & Furious. NSA spying. Wiretapping. IRS scandal. Solyndra scandal. VA scandal. Obamacare atrocity. Quantitative Easing. Zero % Interest Rate Policy continued. ISIS created/funded/trained by CIA and Western allies. US-initiated Ukraine debacle. Obama signs official amnesty in Nov/Dec 2014. Ebola. Stock market on steroids. QE3 ends and QE4 rumored. Epic market crash between Dec 2014 and Oct 2015. Hillary Clinton wins Presidency. Debt increases significantly.
2016-2024 - Republicans squander House, keep Senate. Middle East spirals out of control, ISIS flourishes, US/Mexico border gradually melts into an amorphous North America. Hillary Clinton gets re-elected. US gets downgraded twice. US dollar falls. Resurgent Yuan/Ruble gold-backed BRICS currency becomes new official reserve currency of record. Debt increases significantly.

Do you see the trend here? A hot potato gets passed between two parties who average a 10-14% approval rating, yet get re-elected 90% of the time by schizophrenic voters who insist on the status quo. We get what we deserve. It was over 9/11/2001, but reiterated 11/6/2012. We basically have Stage 4 cancer but act like we just got told to lose five pounds. There's $1.5 quadrillion of derivatives on the market right now. $200 trillion plus of unfunded liabilities. $18 trillion debt right now. So much momentum and inertia is behind that figure that no matter WHO wins the White House, Senate, House we are STILL going to incur $750 billion -$1 trillion of incremental deficit a year (don't pay attention to politicians saying the deficit has been cut in half. They quote the highest annual deficit and then use an unconfirmed estimate on the lower end, which always gets revised upward by 25%). But you didn't know that, because.....'war on women' and 'RAAAACISSSTTT!!!'

Both parties got us here - Democrats with chronic bleeding heart syndrome and 67% of the mandatory budget spend on entitlements, with the other 33% of mandatory budget spend going to Republican-sponsored military industrial complex that shoots anyone that may smell remotely like camel semen. You know, links Saddam to 9/11, refuses to attack the source of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers in Saudi Arabia, let ISIS run roughshod over the Middle East, expanded drone programs, 2 billion + of hollow point bullets, etc etc. The normal numbers I spout on this blog. So THOSE are the neocons that will inherit Congress and push the GOP agenda. Remember John McStain taking selfies with Free Syrian Army rebels who ultimately joined ISIS? And the old coot couldn't put two and two together? That's our neocon leadership in action! Can't wait!

Here's a quick rundown of how the Republicans will use their newly won Senate majority and reigning House leadership to 'change Capitol Hill':

Immigration Reform - Remember what the GOP did with immigration from 2001-2006 when it had total control of the WH and Congress? Jack shit. Now Bathhouse Barry is going to amnesty 10-34 million illegal aliens and turn them into Democrats (cards already printed, look it up). What will the GOP Establishment do to block it? Nothing. Cause they can't. They need the cheap labor under the table and barely registering on payrolls too. They'll do the Paul Ryan approach of making it as painful as possible to gain citizenship here (good, fine so far). Maybe throw in some incentives to sweeten the deal of playing by the rules (we'll give you a pass on the whole initial trespassing part). Marco Rubio did this by sticking his little toes into the debate and almost gotten them bitten off. Expect nothing except capitulation.

Bear in mind the two lowest years for Obama either haven't happened yet or will be revised upward

Budget Discipline - The debt exploded under Bush due to the combined defense spending and sizable tax cuts. You do one or the other, but not both. Entitlements increased a good deal (albeit not at the accelerated rate that Obama increased them). Homeland Security was launched, as were thousands of federal subsidy programs. All told, the debt shot up about 50% in the Bush years, which were mostly dominated by Republican Congress. Why would NOW be any different because they are back in power?

Foreign Policy - Republicans get the bad rap as warmongers. Though Obama bombing seven different countries in his first six years, fomenting unrest in Ukraine, Middle East, and Libya has to count for something. They sold us on WMD's in Iraq, used 9/11 to give us a blank check to attack any country we wanted, push boots on the ground at will, insist on regime change, overuse the word 'liberty' and 'freedom'. McCain and Graham, the warhawks of the party, wanted Syrian war badly. They wanted Iraq war badly. They want Putin pushed back along the Russia/Ukraine border. The neocons want boots in every country to export American Democracy on uneducated, rock throwing, goat molesting Middle Eastern theocracies. Democrats are just more slick about it, and instead of boots on the ground they pay unsavory rebels to cause chaos so that public opinion is easily manipulated. Do we think the Republicans will suddenly show an isolationist streak?

Growing The Economy  - 2001 through 2006 featured 'ehhhh' growth, 5-6% unemployment, slow stock market rises, the Real Estate Bubble, The Stock Market Bubble Part I, The Derivatives Bubble Part I, and the Bailout Bubble. Republicans allow themselves to be blamed for 2008, but weren't vocal enough five years earlier when signs of a bubble in these asset classes were evident. A few wise members of the GOP cautioned the need to curb sub-prime lending, insisting on tougher regulations to buying a house, more documentation, cutting down on 'liar loans', and not giving Fannie/Freddie cart blanche to loan to any slob they wanted to. Investment Banks were allowed to continue investing in derivatives even though like seven people on earth could accurately price them. Nobody of substance was prosecuted for the near collapse, other than Bernie Madoff, black sheep of the hedge fund industry. Republicans took their eye off the ball, kept their mouths shut, embraced the 'steady as she goes' mentality, never fought back, never pushed innovation, never pushed domestic pipelines other than ANWR, didn't revamp the tax system, didn't foster innovation for the small business owner, didn't give significant tax breaks to John Q. Entrepreneur, looked the other way while corporations exploited loophole after loophole. Stuff went bust, Republicans were stuck holding the bag, allowing the Democrats to simply point fingers and save the day. The Obama administration has been living off of QE, ZIRP, and a dead cat bounce on GDP growth for six years. Workforce participation is at a 40 year low. "Oh but the unemployment rate is 5.9% and I operate in five second sound bytes so can't peel the onion back for context." Would a GOP landslide tomorrow night suddenly cause growth in the economy, better workforce participation, spurn job creation and innovation? Hells no. They didn't do it last time they had power, and haven't really been effective since the Reagan Recovery of the 1980's. Don't hold your breath children.

These are but a few issues that show no significant solutions and differences. As has oft been stated, the Democrats are the party of BAD ideas, the Republicans are the party of NO ideas. Both suck, Republicans are the lesser of two evils, so if you have to vote, hold your nose and press R. Or do what I will be doing and vote for either the libertarian candidate or write in names like Joren Van der Sloot, Zombie Robin Williams and Thomas Eric Duncan. Get some wine, candy, and chips. Sit back and enjoy another useless midterm where one party pretends to claim things can only get better only to watch things get worse. As if that's possible.