10 Things I Wonder About

Recently, Kim at Eyes On The Dollar did a post about some random things that she can’t understand.  While I agree with her on many accounts (especially the one about popcorn ceilings…how did those things even come to be invented?), I figured I’d blatantly copy the idea and give a list of ten things that I often wonder about.

  1. Why do people insist on sharing any details about their juice cleanse? It’s gross.  Stop it.  I don’t care if you skip over the disgusting parts, it’s still disgusting.  If I owned a juice company, I would specifically put a note on each bottle of juice asking people to please not use my juice as part of any cleanse.  Because, you know, it’s gross.
  2. Why do people buy homes and then let the home or yard fall into disrepair?  I’m not saying every home and yard has to look immaculate, but for people who just neglect them, I don’t get it.  It’s not like we haven’t been doing this home buying thing for decades now.  You should sort of know what to expect.
  3. Why can little kids can magically pick up on any bad word?  Even if you say it in a regular tone of voice surrounded by fifty other words that you want them to learn, but they don’t, they will instantly pick out any naughty or swear word and being using it.  In context.
  4. Why do we think it’s OK to treat each so poorly when we’re behind the wheel of a car?  People think nothing of zooming around other cars or cutting other cars off.  Read that sentence again and it becomes clear why people rationalize it.  Because they see themselves as cutting off another car or going around another car or getting angry at another car.  People forget that there are other human beings driving those cars, and in most cases, people wouldn’t dream of treating another person that way in a face to face situation.
  5. Why has executive and management pay gone up (in terms of real buying power) but everybody else has pretty much stayed the same over the last 20-30 years?  Is management the only group doing a better job than other workers?  And, are they?
  6. How come companies could afford to offer things like pensions and full health benefits but now cry poverty and cut anything to do with those benefits without giving it a second thought?  Oh, wait, I guess that’s the executives doing such a good job, right?
  7. Why do people care so passionately about the political beliefs of other people?  Honestly, as long as you don’t try to push your beliefs on me, I really don’t care what you believe.  But, how many people now instantly dislike someone when they find out a particular affiliation or belief?  Too, too many.
  8. Why do computers know to ask if you’re sure you want to do the things you are absolutely sure of, but to give you no such consideration when you click something by mistake?
  9. Why do we think that it’s only today’s politicians that don’t worry about what the decisions they make down the road will cost ‘our grandchildren’?  Let’s face it, most of the infrastructure we have was put into place under politicians who are long out of office or dead, and while they approved the funding, they didn’t look ahead and plan for what do with it once it started falling apart.  So, this has been going on for a lot longer than many people think.
  10. Why does every Michael’s or Joann’s store have leaky ceilings?  I remember my grandma dragging me around to crafts stores as a kid, and every ceiling was covered with water stained tiles.  Now, every so often, my wife drags me to one of the stores, and the ceiling is the same.  Other stores in the same shopping centers are fine, but leaky ceilings in craft stores?  Every single time.


34 thoughts on “10 Things I Wonder About”

  1. In regards to #4, watch the latest Louis CK stand-up special. He has a whole bit about the terrible people we become when behind the wheel.

    For #8, clearly you’re not a programmer!

  2. Fun list.

    Maybe people neglect their yards when they stop being able to impress their children into doing yard work?

    At least where I live, people are rude no matter whether they’re behind the wheel or out in public. There’s something to be said for consistency.

  3. I guess I’m lucky to live outside of the juice cleanse states! 🙂

    The ceilings of stores everywhere leak, but some stores replace the ceiling tiles when they fix the roof, while lower margin stores don’t. Even lower-margin stores don’t have drop ceilings at all–hardware stores, grocery stores, warehouse stores, etc.

    Executive pay has gone up because business people are good at negotiating, and they are very motivated to negotiate their own salaries. But it’s utterly untrue that other wages are stagnant. The average worker has eaten up much of their pay increases through lifestyle inflation. My grandparents were a head nurse (with a master’s) and a lawyer, and they lived in a modest 3 bedroom, 1.75 bath ranch in a neighborhood that is blue collar today not because it’s run down but because white collar workers’ houses are twice the size. Heck, my parents live in a neighborhood that used to house the superintendent of schools and doctors and lawyers 30 years ago. Now they’re all in houses that are much larger and the neighborhood, though mostly in excellent shape, is full of teachers and plumbers. 3-4 bedroom, 1-2 living areas, and 2-2.5 bath just isn’t attractive enough anymore, even with a blue ribbon school in walking distance.

    The average house in the 50s was about half the size they are now, and people now spend a smaller percentage of their income on most necessities except for transportation–because now they have two cars instead of one.

    The wages of the top 20% of workers–NOT all or even mostly management–have grown faster than the rest, but they are also responsible for 80% of the growth in productivity. To put it another way–fast food technology hasn’t changed much in 30 years, while office work has been dramatically transformed.

    As far as benefits, the price tag for healthcare has gone up dramatically for employers as well as employees. The cost of a night in the hospital (non-intensive care) was about $120-150 in today’s money in the 50s. Now it’s $1000+, even with insurance. Part of that is better care and more technology. A lot of it isn’t.

    And pensions were always a very dangerous, bad idea for many workers–401(k)s are preferred by modern workers for a reason! Once the company is gone, the pensions are gone. Destroyed. Poof! My grandfather chose independent investments over a pension–and a good thing, too, because his firm, which had been around for more than a century, went bankrupt 5 years after he retired. He would have been left destitute if he’d been depending on a pension to see him through.

    In addition, the pensions negotiated in the past by unions are a large part of the reason that certain companies ARE struggling now. It’s easy to offer a pension before you have to pay it! And it’s much easier to offer a pension when the average retirement age is 65 but the average life span is 60. Pensions are enormously more expensive today because people live longer but expect to retire at the same age. It’s not even comparable to the past.

    • Very good points, thanks. I agree that pensions were unsustainable but it’s definitely a hit and I think it explains why the expectation that each generation would end up better financially than the one before is probably at an end for a while anyways.

      • Well, I guess it depends on your definition of “better”! Bigger houses, more cars, cheaper food, more and cheaper clothes–YES! People are living better than in the past. Longer, healthier lives–if you aren’t obese, yes. If you are…then on average, no, unfortunately.

        We were actually (until the recession) working fewer years, too. Women in the workplace largely displaced male senior work, allowing more people to retire than before. Even with SS, men in the 60s and 70s worked later in their lives than people did in the 90s and early 2000s.

        But if you want to look at retirement age, well, since the recession, it’s been rising, and it’ll probably continue to rise for quite a while. And that has to do with SS no longer paying out more than people put in (people retiring right about now are going to break even–everybody later will lose) and with people living longer, period, and being healthier longer, both. It’s a whole lot easier to save for a 5 year retirement than to plan for 30 years. If you get a master’s degree and then work to 65, that’s only 31 years of work. Saving for up to 30 years of retirement with 31 years of work…that’s not something people have ever done en masse before, but it’s something that people now believe they are entitled to…without actually doing the savings required, I might add.

        Now, I’m in my early 30s, but I don’t foresee myself stopping all work just because I hit a magic number. 🙂 I like work–not all of it, of course, but a good part–and I’d want to work on my own terms, but I’m just not one of those “retire at all costs” folks. And we are putting about 18% of our income into retirement savings, so it’s not because I want to party now, either. I just don’t think work is a dirty word!

        • While work may be fine for now, what happens if (heaven forbid) something bad happens and you are no longer ABLE to work? While there is a small chance of this happening, I personally would like to know that I am covered in such a circumstance, instead of having to try and deal with it after the fact.

  4. I find that people do things based on personal reasons which are very different than my own. Companies are under pressure to perform every quarter and increase profit. They do not see benefits as a way of attracting better employees and create bigger profits. Political and religious beliefs are difficult arguments because it is an emotional subject. I agree that as long as you do not impose your beliefs on me I am okay with yours.

  5. I am with you on #7. This isn’t just about political affiliation, it is about any group. It is group mentality to think you are better than someone else and that when they are not part of your group, then they are inadequate. I don’t mind what your views are as long as you don’t put them on me. I am with you on that one.

  6. Thought provoking! Politicians rarely think past their own nose as far as I know. The most irritating part is the folks who buy into the “right”-“left” drama series playing 24/7 on every “news station.”

    And I suppose folks document juicing for similar reasons to documenting a debt reduction – accountability and support.

  7. Wow, can I ever relate to the kids/swear words. They have some alarm that goes off in their head whenever they hear one. It is amazing. I have a funny story to go along with it.

    My wife was driving when someone pulled out in front of her. She exclaimed, “Oh sh*t!” Our 3 year old was in the car. A couple weeks later, my wife is in the car with her mother, an extremely conservative and frumpy person. Again, something happened that made my wife stomp on the brakes. Guess who said “Oh sh*t!” this time?

  8. The driving one, oh man people are jerks behind the wheel. When you see traffic at a standstill and people merging into one lane why do people think that it’s okay for them to drive past everyone else? It’s not as if we wanted to get to our destination!

    • That infuriates me as it makes them seem as if their time is more important than others. Oh well, you can’t change other people.

  9. #4 is something I could relate to! I’ve seen people who are normally nice become monster when they are behind the wheel.

    #7 Some people are just so passionate about politics that they tend to take it personally or maybe they just take everything personally.

  10. Good list! In regards to #7, that bugs me too and why it’s not ok to disagree. As long as someone does not put their beliefs on me then I am fine…but do I really need to believe what you do – I think not.

    In regards to #3, that is so true. Our oldest, who was at the time 3, unfortunately picked up “What the Hell”. That was mildly funny…until the grandparents heard it.

    • I hear you on the kids picking up swear words. My son 2.5 was in the room playing when a Seinfield episode was on and the next thing I know he’s yelling the same thing. Oops. I guess he was paying attention.

      • Yeah, we’ve caught ours saying or doing things that were on TV that they pick up on when they’re not even focused on the TV. We have to be really careful what we have on in the background.

    • So far we’ve only gotten our three year old calling things stupid, but I don’t even like that. He also loves potty words, but I guess that’s probably the case for just about every kid that age.

  11. I agree with #7. Respect is the keyword for that. Everybody should learn how to respect others’ opinion and beliefs. They shouldn’t insist that theirs are the good ones. It really is frustrating to hear and see those kind of people who hates you because you belong to some kind of a group they don’t want.

  12. I am with you about people not keeping up with their houses. Why would you neglect one of the biggest investments in your life? Yet many people do. Oh well, when I go to sell, hopefully that means my house will stand out that much more.

    Also with you on the executives’ pay part.

  13. I love this list, and I may now borrow the idea from you.

    The identify with almost all of them, but the one that gets me the most is people and their political beliefs. I was just talking about this the other day, nobody will every get everyone to agree with their point of view regarding politics. Healthy discussion is good, getting angry and defensive is bad. I feel the same way about faith. Some people just cannot stand when people do not share their religious beliefs.

    Fun post! So glad I had some time to read again!!!

  14. I’ll have to look at the ceiling next time I’m at Michael’s and Joann’s. I’ve never noticed that before. The driving thing makes me crazy too. Why are people always in such a hurry too and not paying attention – I almost got hit by a car trying to zip through a turn once when I was in the cross walk. If I hadn’t slapped the front of the car he may have never even seen me.

  15. LOL! Ten Wonderments of the Western World!

    Have you noticed that people have begun to move their driving habits into the grocery store? Yes. I’m sure they drive exactly the same crazy way as they push grocery carts — cutting you off, blocking your way, and trying to run you down.

    • I haven’t noticed that. I think the aggressive behavior is harder to put in place when you’re in a face to face situation. I do see a lot of people being completely clueless in the grocery store, just leaving their cart any which way, and giving you a funny look if you make it apparent that you’d like to get by.

  16. Using juice as cleansing is indeed really gross. I don’t know why people are into it and they are even proud of sharing this “little secret” to everyone.

  17. I’m glad I could inspire you. Some very good things to wonder about. That is a very true observation about the leaky roof at craft stores. I believe Hobby Lobby suffers from the same problem. Maybe selling discounted items leaves no money for repair budgets? You are also very right about kids and swear words. They also tend to notice things right at the wrong times. There is a guy who works at the grocery store we tend to frequent who only has one arm. We’ve seen him a million times when he has been out of earshot, but not once did my daughter ask about him. The one time I ask him a question, she blurts out, “Mommy, why does he only have one arm?” I’m sure he’s used to it, but still, Argh!

    • Well, that I could handle versus the time my son saw a very large person and asked ‘Why is that man so big’ Ugh, I suppose every kid probably does that at least once, but still….

  18. “How come companies could afford to offer things like pensions and full health benefits but now cry poverty and cut anything to do with those benefits without giving it a second thought? ”

    I think b/c they were priced incorrectly near the end of the movement. People that were supposed to die were living longer, but didn’t want reduced benefits.

    • That’s a big part of it. Pensions used to last a few years as most people would retire and die within a few years. With longer lifespans, this definitely contributed to making the model unsustainable. Doesn’t make it any easier though!

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