This Woman Needs Some Christmas Spirit, Pronto!

It’s tradition for our family to go visit Santa at the mall once per year.  We all dress up in our nicer clothes that my wife picks out for all of us, and head over so that we can get pictures and such.  Last year, we switched malls, going from the most crowded mall in the area that charges you a minimum of $35 to get any pictures taken, instead choosing to go to a nearby outdoor mall where the pictures are free, lines a lot less, and we’ve had better experiences with Santa.

Early Arrival

The Santa experience we found is sort of a diamond in the rough, so to speak, but it still does get busy.  Santa comes for only a few hours per day, and on the day we had decided to go (Sunday), it was a relatively nice day and we knew that it would likely get busy.

The mall itself opened at noon, and Santa was set to arrive at 1pm.  Our plan was that my wife would take the kids to a shop where we have a membership where the kids can build with Lego and other blocks, and I would hold a spot in line.

We arrived around 12:10pm and I was the first person in the area.  There’s a small gazebo type building where Santa does his thing, and the line forms outside.  There’s a grassy area in the middle and walkways and benches along either side.

As I was the first person there, I thought it would be fine to sit down on the bench and relax.  Within 15 minutes, three other guys showed up and we all laughed that we were the dads holding down the fort.  The other three guys also decided that sitting down was fine and we were all cool.

My wife called to make sure everything was good and I told her that there were just a couple of us there and that we were first in line with about 30 minutes to go!

Here She Comes, To Wreck The Day!  (Or Try To)

A few minutes later, a woman (hereby known as Rudiepants) arrived with her two children.  She was on the phone yelling about something.

Rudiepants looked at all of us, and proceeded to walk up in front of the gazebo and stand there.

The four of us guys looked at each other, and we decided that it was probably time to get the line going so we all stood up and walked over, starting to form a line along one of the walkways.

Around this time, a couple of other people arrived that obviously knew Rudiepants, another woman (I’m guessing her sister) with her child, and an older lady, I’m thinking the kids grandmother.

The older woman noticed that the four of us guys were forming a line and pointed out that she thought that we were there first.

Rudiepants snapped: “What?  I’ve been doing this for years and this is where the line starts.  They were sitting on benches, and if they were sitting on benches, they weren’t in line.”

She didn’t look at any of us, and neither of the women she was with said anything back, though you could tell they were embarrassed.

The four of us guys looked at one another, all with that same look on our faces like “Is this woman for real?”

She was.  She stood there and staked her place in line.

Why I Didn’t Say Anything To Her

None of us guys said anything to her or challenged her on it.  Of course the thought crossed my mind, but I immediately figured a few things:

  1. It wasn’t worth it to me. Santa was coming at 1:00.  This would put us just a few minutes later.  I wasn’t in mb-2015-12-santaa big hurry, although Rudiepants certainly was.
  2. I was in a good mood and wanted to keep it that way.We were there doing something that we look forward to doing as a family.  I knew that any confrontation, no matter how it turned out, would put a sour spin on the day, and although she was clearly already in that sour spot, I had no interest in getting there, so I just let it go.
  3. Her kids were there. While my kids weren’t there, her two kids and (I’m guessing) her niece where there.  I had no interest in calling her out in front of her children.  I just find that in poor taste. Her kids will eventually figure things out for themselves, assuming this isn’t abnormal behavior.
  4. Her mind was made up. You could just tell by Rudiepants attitude that there was no way her mind was going to be changed.  No matter if I might have raised a big fuss, or calmly spoken to her, you just knew that in that moment she wasn’t going to see things any different way.  I figured I’d save my breath.
  5. I instantly had a funny stor. Let’s face it, encountering someone like Rudiepants provides you with a story that you can tell over and over again for years and laugh over and over again.  For me, waiting an extra five minutes in line as a result of her rudeness was worth all that and then some.  I mean, every year we go visit Santa, you better believe the “Hey, remember that rude woman….” story will get retold.  In fact….

It Didn’t Take Long

As planned, my wife and kids came over a few minutes before Santa arrived.  Remember earlier in the story I mentioned how I talked to my wife on the phone and had told her that we were first in line?   Well, so did she and she had told my kids as much, so they walked up and took their ‘rightful’ place right in front of the door.  I had to call them back and try to tell them that we needed to wait.  My wife looked at me and looked over at the woman and was like “What happened?”

At first I sort of just nudged my head in the direction of the woman and did the universal ‘cuckoo’ finger sign, but she wanted details.  So I sort of gave her the abridged version.  “Well, apparently because we were sitting on benches, we weren’t officially in line.”

My wife rolled her eyes and sort of figured the whole thing out.  Rudiepants could very well have heard the conversation.  I’m not sure.  She was staring straight ahead.

But, then my kids kept asking too and I had to explain that while I’d told momma that “We had been first …but now we’re not.  So we’ll just wait until it’s our turn”

Was She Embarrassed?

Finally, after Santa arrived, they went to get their pictures taken.  The four  guys, whose families had all arrived and who had also filled in their spouses, all started talking amongst ourselves.  I’m sure there were a few choice comments and laughs at her expense.  The body language of our conversation was apparent to anybody that was inside and maybe looking out.  Did I mention the gazebo was made of glass walls?

So, while nobody said anything to the woman, I’m quite sure she got the point.  But then again, she really didn’t get the point at all.  I know I’ll wonder for a long time as to whether the few minutes she saved was truly worth it.  Sadly, I bet in her mind, it was. I mean imagine her telling the story: “These people that were there before me thought that they should go first.  Can you believe it?”

OK, so maybe she shouldn’t tell the story.  But I will!

In any case, here’s hoping that she gets some Christmas cheer.  She definitely was lacking on Sunday.

Readers, I know that the holidays can bring the best and unfortunately the worst in people.  Do you have any stories about Christmas spirit (or lack thereof) to share?

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Those Crazy Russian Drivers

Taking a little break from personal finance, I thought I’d talk about some things that amuse me of late.  One of the biggest things I’ve recently been turned onto is Russian Car Crash videos.  You can find thousands of them on Youtube, just start typing Russian Car, and it’ll come right up.  Here is a channel that I’ve found is one of the more entertaining.

The reason that there are so many from Russia is that, from the sounds of it, just about every driver installs a dashcam.  I guess insurance fraud is rampant over there, so companies will offer discounts when drivers install a dashcam.

The other reason is that, from what I can see, Russians simply haven’t picked up on the nuances of driving just yet.

Russian Crashes – What’s The Deal?

  • Turning from any lane is apparently something they do.  Unfortunately, this seems to lead to many crashes with drivers not turning.
  • Every tire on our two cars and trailer have been changed over the last 18 months. I’m pretty sure that all of them plus every other tire with worn tread is sent over to Russia and installed on cars there.  It seems that losing control is altogether too easy.
  • Russian drivers seem to have a theory about driving in the snow, that if you drive faster, you might get done with driving in it sooner.  Alas, all this extra speed seems to lead to many, many accidents.
  • People in Russia seem to stop their cars in the middle of the road for any reason.  Why bother pulling to the shoulder when you can stop in the middle lane of a three lane highway instead?  What’s the worst that could happen?  Just countless accidents from other unsuspecting drivers having to swerve out of the way!
  • It must be perfectly normal that some drivers careen down a busy city street at three to four times the speed of any other car, because the number of accidents that take place with this scenario is very unsettling.
  • Apparently crashes take place so often that, after a crash happens nearby, other drivers and pedestrians simply go about their business as if nothing had happened.

Other observations:

  • There are a lot of trees in Russia, but I’m not sure what they actually do.  None of them seem to ever hold leaves as it always appears to be wintertime there.
  • I’m pretty sure I can swear in Russian now.  I wouldn’t know what I was saying, but after hearing some words repeated over and over, I have a pretty good idea.

Readers, are there any Youtube channels that you just can’t stop watching?  What do you think of crazy Russian dashcam videos?

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And Already It Starts

Our (almost) thirteen month old daughter has an obsession that can only mean trouble to my wallet down the road:

Shoes.

She loves them.

She ignores most of the toys, and instead will walk/crawl to the laundry room where we have the shoe caddy.  She’ll find hers and will sit and cry until someone puts them on her feet.

Then, she’ll stay there, taking everybody else’s shoes down and throwing them into a big pile.

Shoes are her thing.

At thirteen months.

Yikes!

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The Funniest Part Of The Mortgage Re-Finance Conversation

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we’re looking to re-finance our home loan to a much more manageable 3.375% rate on a 15-year mortgage compared to the current 5.875% 30-year loan we have today.

The conversation with the loan agent went remarkably well, but the part that had me laughing was when she was giving me our credit scores (over 800!) and said “Oh, I notice you don’t have one of our ??? credit cards.”  I don’t even remember the name of the card, but I politely declined.

I couldn’t help but laugh and it does show that there is humor to be found when talking to a bank.  You have to keep your eyes out everywhere for people trying to get you into the latest and greatest credit card.

I can only begin to imagine what they’ll bring at closing, assuming we get that far!

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