Month: August 2016

My Opinion, For What it is Worth…

I admit it, I buy lots of stuff online. I have to; I live on an island where the stuff I want just isn’t in the stores, and if it is, the price is often outrageous.

I have been using eBay for several years, but thanks to the Canadian Government and their application of duty for anything over $20, and our worthless dollar, I am actually paying too much for the items I order, which are mainly technology items. The duty is another thing: A ‘hidden’ cost that is impossible to foresee.

As of late, I have been making several purchases on Canadian websites. Although the prices are not as good as the American sites (Thanks again to our dollar), I can still find quite a few good deals.

I ordered several Bluetooth speakers. I find those little things so handy around the house and in the shed. Instead of my old Realistic transistor radio, whose sound and reception were beginning to fail, I can enjoy music right from my iPhone, through the Bluetooth speakers. No wires, but unbelievable sound.

Anyway, getting back to my rant. After ordering and receiving an item, the seller (and Amazon) asks if you could rate your transaction, and maybe write something about your experience. Seeing how I am a blogger, and for my love of the written word, you could imagine the review I wrote. Several days after I sent in the review, I received an email from the seller.

Apparently they were pretty impressed with my review. I was asked if I wanted to review other items. I was even offered an 80% discount if I wished them to send me items to review. Of course I would have to purchase the item, but at a great savings. So I agreed.

My first thing to review was a food thermometer. I received the item very fast. When I tried the item, I was disappointed with a few of its features. When I wrote the review, I was immediately contacted by the seller.

“Thanks for the review of our fine product, but could you please edit it before publishing it? Better still, could you please send us your rough copy for our approval before you post it?”

What the hell? Do you want an honest review or do you want me to lie? If you want me to lie, you can go to hell. I agreed to give my honest opinion of your product, so others will know what they are getting. I will not lie.

“Sir, we do not want you to lie. We just want you to write about your positive experience. Please write about the pros, and leave out the cons.”

I wrote back, this time less enthusiastic as I was in the past. I told the seller how leaving out the truth and lying is the same thing. I also let them know how dissatisfied I was with their treatment of me, and how I am not for sale. Apparently most people accept their 80% discount and write what they are told, but I for one, cannot be bought. Furthermore, I explained how I will never purchase anything from this seller again. I will also tell my friends of this fiasco.

I have not been asked to write another review.

‘The more things change…the more they r̶e̶m̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶a̶m̶e̶ change…

My kid just celebrated his 14th birthday. We gave him our ‘Old’ iPhone. The thing cost over $700 two years ago, and when we upgraded to a newer phone, we were stuck with our old one. He doesn’t have to know it is used.

When he opened the box, his other 14 year old friends exclaimed “Wow, you finally got an iPhone!”

Finally?? He is FOURTEEN for crying out loud. I was 50 when I got my first one….and I PAID for it with my OWN money.

We aren’t stupid though. We got him a ‘Pay as you go’ package where we put $25 cards on the phone once a month…if all his monthly chores are completed on time.

I tried this earlier in the summer and it backfired.

“Empty the dishwasher at least twice a week and keep your room clean” I promised, “And every week I will fill your ATV with gasoline.” (yes, you read that right, he has his own ATV. His grandparents purchased a $5000 ‘Side-by-side’ for him when he was (get this…TEN YEARS OLD!)…against our wishes of course.

“I have to do the dishes TWICE a week??? No Way, not worth it!” He says. The ATV sits in the garage, rotting into the ground.

We made the same deal with the phone card. I imagine next month, the phone he finally got will be collecting dust on the dresser. No card means no texting. He might actually do something this time, but I doubt it.

That’s another thing. Kids don’t understand the real use of a phone. No, it wasn’t developed for taking ‘selfies’, it was originally made to make calls. Kids these days text rather than actually speaking. They have their own language consisting of words that may or may not ‘sound’ correct, but are definitely not spelled correct. “Hey kid, did you know that if you turn the phone the other way, you can actually take pictures of things other than yourself? I thought not. Alexander Graham Bell must be rolling in his grave.


 

 

 

 

Amos

On the way to work today I noticed an old man walking along the side of the road. He walked feebly, with the help of a cane, then I noticed who it was.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When I was 17, I had a best friend named Jerome. He was a poor kid from the poor side of town. We used to work together at the local Canadian Tire store. We were flunkies. The manager had several kids he used to do all the store’s dirty work, such as cleaning up spills, tearing up boxes, clearing snow, and emptying trash…things the regular workers didn’t want to do. He called us ‘flunkies’.

Me and Jerome often cruised around town together. I had my first car back then, and it was fun to ride around town in the search of girls. Remember, we were only kids back then, and this was great fun. Often we would have a car full of girls, and we would drive around like we were the kings of the world.

One evening, Jerome called and said he wouldn’t be going ‘girl hunting’ for awhile. He met somebody. “Wow!” I thought to myself, “Jerome is settlin’ down.” He was quite smitten with the girl, even though I found he mistreated her when they were out together.

One evening, we all went to the movie. Jerome was especially cruel to the girl, and I didn’t like what I saw. She stormed out of the theater, crying. He basically told her to ‘F**K off!, which I guess she did. On my way home, I seen her walking by herself. I stopped to ask if she wanted a ride, which she agreed.

When we drove up to her house, I did something I never did before, I asked if she would like to go out sometime. I know, my best friend’s girl, but he didn’t treat her good, and she was so pretty….long black hair that almost touched her waist, and the prettiest face ever. I couldn’t resist. And she said yes.

That was the start of it; me and Pauline. We dated for a few nights, to get to know each other a bit better, and then she introduced me to her family. I must say, her dad and I got along so good. Her mom was a bit of a flake, popping ‘nerve pills’ and complaining all the time, but her dad, he was a very nice person. In the two years Pauline and I dated, Amos became a second father to me.

He said I was like the son he never had. We went fishing together, and basically had long talks, mostly about life. He was a simple man who worked at anything he could find. He worked in the construction industry, mostly building houses. He never had his carpenter papers, because he couldn’t read. Amos was ashamed of this.

Pauline had a sister named Anne who was as wild as the wind. She had a boyfriend who took her places, but treated her cruel. In fact, I know of several occasions where he actually cheated on her, sometimes while she was with him. I knew that relationship wouldn’t last. It didn’t. Neither did me and Pauline.

Pauline had told me about her job. She said she used to clean up doctors’ offices for money ‘under the table’. A few dollars here and there, but enough to get by. This wasn’t true. She didn’t work at all. It was all lies. When we weren’t together, she would sit in her room alone, popping pills her mother would provide. “It’s her nerves, that’s why she is the way she is” her mother would say. I don’t think it was her nerves, I think it was the pills. Either way, I was beginning to see that maybe Pauline wasn’t for me.

Pauline didn’t have an education, I think she dropped out in grade 9 or so. I believe I only stayed with her so long out of pity, and that is no way to build a relationship. When we were together, I would often find myself embarrassed to have her around. People would talk to her, and instead of responding, she would giggle as if they said something funny. At first this was cute, but it began to get on my nerves.

It was Amos who helped me make the right decision. “She isn’t right for you Teddy” he said, to my surprise. “You are a nice guy, and a smart person. Pauline has ‘issues’ like her mother.” He said. “You can’t believe anything they say, and I bet if you really listened to what she was saying, you would understand.” he added.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A father warning his daughter’s boyfriend about his daughter. Either he really didn’t like me, or he respected me enough to be honest with me.

“Don’t do like I did, Ted. When I fell in love with Pauline’s mother, my head was in the clouds. My friends warned me that there was something not right with her, but I wouldn’t listen. 25 years later, I see what they were talking about, but now I have two girls, I just can’t leave. Don’t let my regret be your regret.”

Me and Amos stayed friends even after I split up with his daughter. I never seen Pauline again, but I hear stories of how she got mixed up with bad people, had a couple of abortions, and is now living with a much older man who treats her like a slave. I talk to Anne all the time, she agrees with her father, saying  I made the right decision to leave her sister when I did.

I hear Amos’ wife passed away a few years back. It was then that Amos began to ‘live’ again. Someone said he had gotten himself a girlfriend. I remember seeing him and some woman at the mall. For once in his life, Amos looked happy.

…………………………………………

I pulled my truck over and got out. I went over to greet the old guy. He returned my greeting with a big hug. “Teddy, you look great!”

He didn’t look so great. His face was weathered and craggy, and he shook while he stood in front of me. “Are you doing okay?” I asked. “Doing okay, just old, that’s all.” he said.

We spoke for awhile, mostly about family. He extended his congratulations to me on my recent marriage. He said he seen my wife and I in church and commented on how perfect we were for each other. He talked about his wife, how she spent years in mental hospitals, and how Pauline did as well. He said he was glad my life turned out good, and he was glad I had listened to him way back then. He said the conversation we had back then was one of the most difficult things he ever had to do, but he was glad I took his advice. I am glad as well.

“Gotta keep in shape now!” he said, “that’s why I am out here walking. You know what women are like…”

I shook his hand, laughing. “Take care Amos” I said.

“You too, Son” he said.