There Ought To Be a Law Against…

Monday to Saturday, around lunchtime, I step outside my front door and empty my mailbox. And, each day, I feel my blood pressure rise.

Nothing but junk mail, advertising brochures, flyers, and unsolicited credit card offers! Some of it goes directly into the recycling bin, where I pause to say a brief prayer for all the trees sacrificed at the altar of Junk Mail. 

On the rare occasion, I spot an item of real mail—oh, happy day. Then, I take the rest of the junk and log it into the “to be scrutinized” process. (This highly sophisticated system consists of a deep shoebox that sits in front of my paper shredder.) I shudder as I see the pile grow because I know that soon I will have to open every single envelope to judge if it can be tossed or if it needs shredding. 

As we are a household with few credit cards, every bank in the world assumes we require their services. Everyone knows you shouldn’t simply toss these credit card application forms because dishonest people may fill them in. Envelope by envelope, I slit them open and decide on a course of action. If they require shredding, I get to run them through the shredder.

It makes my head ache. Why am I being forced to take action for something I never asked for in the first place? I found myself muttering; there ought to be a law that the top executives of any company that sends me unsolicited junk mail should have to spend every single weekend for an entire year planting trees.

This past Sunday saw me enjoying a 2-hour shredding fiesta. With the pain still fresh in my mind, I thought about other things that make me want to yell: There ought to be a law!

Now, I am not talking about the truly serious and often heartbreaking issues we all know about, but rather the small pet peeves and annoyances that we could all do without.

Holiday Décor: here in the US, most people decorate for the various holidays. From colossal Christmas installations and Halloween extravaganzas to St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and so on. Although I love seeing these festive displays at the appropriate time, the sparkle dulls when April rolls around, and your Santa and Reindeers display is still on the lawn.

There ought to be a law that if your decorations are up past a certain date, your neighbors have the right to rip them down and set them on fire—or donate them to people who own calendars.

Loud Chewers: I did a quick and completely unscientific survey among family and friends, and this one came up frequently. I totally agree with the loathing for loud chewers, and I need to add an amendment: the law must also include people chewing gum who keep snapping it (when you “pop” the gum in your mouth.)  

There ought to be a law that if you chew your food like a starving crocodile, you are sentenced to live on pureed baby food for a month. Gum chewers? I say stick it in their hair!

Noise from a cell phone: who on earth thinks it is okay to listen to music, watch a video, play a game, or whatever in a public area with the sound on? There are these magical things called earbuds, headphones, headsets! It is noise pollution. I do not want to sit at a sidewalk café, sipping my wine accompanied by the raucous din from your First-Person Shooter video game.  If you are old enough to hold a device, then you are old enough to wear earbuds. I do not want my meal, show, beach visit, forest walk, or bus tour spoiled by your inane pastime.  As for Face Timing in a public setting, treat it like cutting your toe-nails; do it alone, far away from others. 

There ought to be a law that culprits have to hand over their device for immediate stomping-on by offended parties or be sentenced to 48 hours of non-stop polka music.

Automated customer service: just typing those words caused me to clench my jaw! What big companies call a “service,” I call legal torture. Occasionally, we all have to deal with these voice-activated call centers, but try it when your accent doesn’t match most callers. Recently, I had to fake an American accent to get the machine to understand I was saying “walk.” Finally, I hit on the idea of pronouncing it “wok”—it worked! Departmental stores, big medical practices, pharmacies, you name, have all adopted this approach. The frustration caused probably drives more people to their medical services! 

Last week, I called a huge departmental store concerning an account query. I listened to their options: Press 1 to return a purchase. Press 2 for curbside pickup. Press 3 for our credit card. There didn’t seem to be an option for what I needed. I replayed the message 3 times, trying to figure out what to press. I pressed the one I thought the closest but then had to state my exact issue. No matter what wording I used, it kept responding, “We are having trouble understanding you…” I am a public speaking coach, for goodness sake! 

There ought to be a law that if any company uses automated customer service, their top execs have their salaries cut to match the lowest employee. And they each have to answer the Customer Service line for a month.

Life is full of very real problems, but if anyone wants to start a government department to deal with these “There ought to be a law…” complaints, call me. Just don’t ask me to talk to a robot!

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4 comments on “There Ought To Be a Law Against…
  1. Maria Oskwarek says:

    Jane, I know that as a general rule, you are not a complainer. I must applaud you on your choice of pet peeves here. All are worthy of your curated collection. I am especially irritated (read: enraged) by the examples of loud chewers, gum poppers, and public FaceTimers and speaker users. If you suffer from misophonia as I do (google it; it’s a real thing), these intrusions are particularly problematic. Pet peevers unite! Well-done.

  2. Joanne Nesi says:

    Excellent Jane! I agree with all of the above! Add those people who hum unidentifiable tunes to my list. Also those drivers who don’t use their blinkers. I’ve cursed like a truck driver when that has happened! Those robots of customer service have to go. It’s not just you they don’t understand. They don’t like my voice either! I was yelled “talk to a real person” and they put me through to an operator! Felt so empowered 😆

    • Jane Paterson says:

      Yes—those drivers who think indicating is an option. As for the auto response, next time, I’ll try yelling too!

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