When I went to start this post, I kept trying to open the dashboard on Temerity Jane, probably because I’m about to write about some shit that annoys the hell out of me and that’s my habit. I’m going to eventually move those archives, most of them at least, over here, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. That doesn’t have to do with this post, just a thing that happened that now I’ve written down.
Okay, two things that I’m real het up about this morning.
First. There’s another one of those memes going around with a bunch of little girls dressed as princesses except for one who is dressed as Batman and it says something like be a Batman in a world of princesses or whatever. It’s cool for a lot of reasons. One, Batman is cool. Two, it’s cool that little girls are into dressing up as Batman if they love Batman. Three, it’s always cool when a kid breaks from the pack because that’s not always an easy thing to do. HOWEVER. It’s also not cool. It implies that breaking from the pack automatically makes you superior in some way. Sometimes the pack likes awesome shit because it’s awesome, you know? And it’s fine if you – or your kid – wants to like that awesome stuff, too. It’s like shaming someone for liking pop music because it’s popular. Shut the fuck up. It’s popular because people like it. You’re a people. Do the math, jerk.
It also implies that choosing a superhero is superior to choosing a princess, and that is some bullshit internalized misogyny to stick on your four year old. “Boy” stuff is not inherently better than girl stuff. Girls who are into “boy” stuff are not “cooler” than girls who are into “girl” stuff. Yes, it is very awesome that more and more little girls are becoming comfortable with choosing superheroes over princesses or choosing to like both. But your daughter’s preferences of one over the other don’t make her a better or worse child than the one next to her. She is not more awesome, more evolved, or more cool because she wants to be Batman instead of a princess. You stop telling her that. You don’t let her think that. You let her know that whatever she likes, whatever she wants to do, whatever she is interested in – it is all fine. And whatever the little girl next to her likes, whatever the little girl next to her wants to do, whatever the little girl next to her is interested in – that’s all fine, too.
If you send the message to your kid that she is better (and I’m using the general “you” to encompass the dickbags I’m talking about here) and heap praise upon her for being such a cool girl for choosing Batman over Sophia, she’s going to think it is better. She’s going to think she’s made a better choice than the Elsa next to her. She might grow up thinking that the superior way to be is whatever way chooses the least “girly” option possible, because the “girly” choice is the lesser choice. And it’s not. It’s a valid choice, too. These memes and ideas – you know, where you see a little girl dressed up as Superman next to two of her friends dressed up like Cinderella, and someone comments, “you’re raising her right!” – are the ones setting these girls up to spend their younger years claiming to “not be like other women,” which, in addition to being a dick thing to say (which, still, most of us have said/legitimately felt at some point or another), also sets her back many, many years in developing the female friendships she’s really going to want and need someday.
Anyway, there’s a lot of points to be made from that and I could keep going, but you’re all smart people who can totally extrapolate further and get everything I wanted to say from the disjointed mess I left up there.
This is the other thing that is bothering me a lot. I’ve been buying a lot of stuff on Etsy (STICKERS IF YOU MUST KNOW), and I’m in a lot of Facebook groups for handmade things (ALSO MOSTLY STICKERS IF YOU MUST KNOW), but this applies to most small business/WAHM-type things. I am really, really over poor customer service/cutting some slack for slow shipping and poor communication being the rule rather than the exception lately. I don’t understand why people who are running a business at the same time want to be treated as someone who is doing me a favor.
Mostly what I have been running into lately is incredibly slow shipping. In some ways, I’m fine with this. Most shops post lead times. Those lead times factor into a purchase decision, right? If I need something in two weeks and the shop lists a lead time of 4 to 6, then I can’t buy from that shop. But if they say they ship in 4-5 days, I should be able to expect I can give them my money and get my item. That’s not a crazy concept. But people are making me feel like that’s crazy. The date the item should arrive goes by and nothing has even shipped. If you ask in one of the groups dedicated to these items, you’ll get responses like, “I always give it a week or so more” or “you know, it’s a one woman shop,” and things like that. Like I am supposed to be cutting some slack because, hey, one person is doing this all on her own. But but but I gave you money and you said you could have it done by this time. That was part of the whole arrangement. There are ways to avoid that, like not making more sales than you can handle – Etsy does allow you to sell certain quantities, but many shops insist on making to order so they can sell unlimited numbers. Or you can put down an honest lead time with cushioning. I feel like a lot of shops avoid listing long lead times because people won’t buy if it’s going to take that long. No, they won’t buy if you miss your fake deadline by weeks or months. They’ll be pleasantly surprised if things show up early.
What’s making me so mad about this lately is that yeah, most of us do want to support small businesses. And we do want to shop small. And we’re being encouraged to do this, to choose little companies making their own shit over big, faceless businesses. You want to be the company I choose over Amazon, Walmart, etc, but at the same time, you want special treatment, too? And the people jumping in to defend the small Etsy companies just make it all worse. You have to cut her some slack, she’s doing this on her own, what do you expect? I expect that when I give you my money, you’ll fulfill your end of the bargain with a the product you promised in the time frame listed. I’m not even saying you can’t list a two month turn around time, I’m just saying I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you actually meet it once you set it. And buyers are put in a position of actually feeling like an asshole for expecting to receive what they paid for in a reasonable amount of time. How very dare you, the shop owner has children, the shop owner has a lot going on, the shop owner was abducted by aliens, you have no idea what’s going on in her life.
Listen, I paid actual money to buy a thing. I didn’t use my special money that I set aside for special businesses who can just, you know, keep it until they feel like they’re up to doing the contracted work someday. I won’t keep buying cool handmade shit for myself and for gifts if I’m always expected to be understanding and give leeway and look the other way and not file PayPal claims and not leave bad reviews when things don’t go right. This is not… we are not friends. You are not doing me a favor and I am not doing you a favor. I give you money, you give me things. That is what Amazon and Walmart and everyone else do for me. I’m sick of being made to feel like the Great Satan for having expectations of receiving products in exchange for money. How is this a thing that is happening?
AND DON’T GET ME STARTED on the ones that print the shipping label on the very last day of Etsy’s turn around time window and then just LET IT SIT THERE and then claim “oh I shipped it, I don’t know what’s wrong” like I’M NEW HERE NONE OF US ARE NEW WE ALL KNOW WHAT “PRE-SHIPMENT INFO SENT TO USPS” MEANS IT’S 2016 COME ON.
I want to start this post by saying that I know that there are people with anxiety and other issues that make every day tasks very difficult. I also want to say that I know that the majority of us do not have those issues but still find many every day tasks and interactions uncomfortable and difficult, but more in a “wow I need to adult the fuck up and just do this” kind of way. I want you to know that I know that there are definitely differences between these two groups of people, and I also want you to understand that I am addressing the second group here, and I apologize for not including everyone in this post, but if I included everyone, someone would get offended and I don’t want to offend anyone. So is that out of the way? You know that I know that some people really would find this situation cripplingly difficult, and I have great sympathy for them but I am not talking about them. Okay. Okay. We’re all set.
So here’s a thing that happens that I think is THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING TO EVER HAPPEN. That’s not entirely true, not in, like, the grand scheme of the world, but in that moment, there is not a worse thing that could happen.
So you’re at the grocery store, right, and you get all your stuff – maybe a lot of stuff or maybe not a lot – I don’t think that has anything to do with when this sort of thing happens but I’ve never worked at a grocery store, so I can’t say. Maybe there’s some kind of item number vs time taken to scan math that goes into this, but I assume they cover that in grocery store training. You’ve got your stuff and you find an acceptable line that is not too long for the amount of time you’ve got available, and the cashier is there cashiering and the light is on so you get in the line and put your stuff on the belt or just hold it if you’re hitting up the $1.25 Reeses pumpkin things my Exchange had on all the registers for a week or so before they SOLD OUT ENTIRELY and I had to buy regular circle peanut butter cups, which, don’t get me wrong, I totally love, but you have to admit that with the different shapes come different pleasing texture differences and sometimes a lady wants a pumpkin.
You’re in the line and you’re at the end of the line, and the cashier turns her light off. Now, you’re already in the line so you’re fine and you don’t have to go anywhere else, unless the cashier tells you that you have to, in which case you probably just should, definitely if you only have an item or two, though I’d be super annoyed if I had already unloaded a full cart onto the belt and was told I had to move, but I’m pretty sure that’s such a rare occurrence – it’s never happened to me – that you could probably assume there was some kind of cashier emergency or even personal emergency that the cashier must attend to, and soothe your annoyance by reminding yourself of that.
But in this situation, the cashier doesn’t tell you to go somewhere else. You’re already there so you’re fine. Instead, she tells you, “you’re my last customer, ok?” Why would she have to tell me that? I’m not a total asshole or anything, but I have to say, I really do not care what you do and with who after our personal transaction is finished. I don’t need to know that I’m the last one. So you know why she is telling me?
BECAUSE IT IS NOW MY RESPONSIBILITY TO INFORM ANYONE WHO COMES BEHIND ME THAT THEY CANNOT JOIN MY LINE.
Now instead of zoning out looking at the magazines and evaluating all the shapes that chocolate and peanut butter come in for possible pleasing texture differences, I have to stand there ALL STIFF and on HIGH ALERT thinking about nothing but the desperate hope that people will be decent people and not approach a checkout with the light off, even though you know full well there are people who will see that the light is off but also see that I’m standing there and decide they can jump onto the end of the line, even though we all know the universal lights off signal means that the person already in line is the LAST PERSON and you are definitely trying to cheat the system while FULLY AWARE that you are doing it.
So that’s what makes it the worst, because you’ve been told that you’re the last, and by telling you that, the cashier is letting you know that she kind of expects you to play End of the Line Police, but her light is out, so in theory no one should be getting in the line and you should be saved from having a 2.5 second mildly awkward in a non-consequential way conversation with an absolute stranger, EXCEPT for the fact that of the two kinds of people who will get in line behind you anyway, one will be clueless and just have not seen the light off and apologize and walk away, and the OTHER kind will certainly have seen the light off but figured they could sneak onto the end of the line like they’ve cracked the big grocery store code that no one else knows about. AND THAT IS THE PERSON YOU WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH.
To sum up, my favorite cashiers are the ones that will say, “I’m closed now but 3 is open” over your shoulder WITHOUT BRINGING YOU INTO THE SYSTEM AT ALL.
So I was talking with Phil about something the other day, and then a similar situation occurred today and I got all Baader-Meinhoffy and decided to write it down. (If you feel like you’ve seen someone mention Baader-Meinhof recently, guess what? It’s happening to you.)
To tell this story, I have to admit to doing something stupid. Okay, several stupid things. First, last year, there was a whole thing, and for a list of reasonable yet pretty indefensible reasons, Phil and I started smoking again. He’s already quit and I smoke maybe two or three a day, so the end is in sight (well, the end has passed for Phil but you know I prefer to look at things from a me-centric point of view, it just works best for me). Anyway. That’s one of the stupid things. Should not have done that. The second stupid thing happened this morning. I was getting ready for work – and morning in our house is kind of a hustle, with 2/3 of us sleeping until the last possible second we can sleep and the rest being Phil who gets up early probably to just get a damn minute without us ladies up in his face with all our talking – and I’m not saying that like, haha, isn’t it funny how much women talk? No, I’m talking about me and Penny specifically. The number of words being flung into Phil’s head at any given waking moment are incalculable. So yeah maybe that’s why he gets up at 4am, because our damn mouths are shut for a damn second.
So we rush around a bit in the morning, we being me, because I leave myself no time, and for some reason today, I kept thinking my backpack was on the chair where it sometimes is, but it wasn’t my backpack, it was Penny’s. And I kept putting things into “my” backpack and then looking down and seeing, like, my phone nestled sweetly beside an R2-D2 thermos. And I’d take my stuff out and move it to my backpack, in the other room, and then putting something else in there a minute later. So I’m sure you can see where this is going, and on my lunch break – which I take at 9am because that’s life and I’m very hungry right now – I had to call Penny’s school and tell them what I had maybe done, and could they please go check, and yeah if you find them go ahead and throw them away and I’ll call it a stupid tax.
Anyway, I came home and I found them on the table, so that was fine, but what was interesting – to me, I don’t know about you – was how the woman on the phone reacted. She was taken aback, I definitely got the impression that this was not a common sort of phone call to get, and I apologized a bunch, and she said she’d handle it and thanks for the call. But what she didn’t say was anything like, “oh, it’s okay,” or “these things happen,” or “don’t worry about it.” And maybe I wouldn’t have noticed that if I hadn’t recently had this conversation with Phil.
The other night he and I were talking about a mistake someone had made, one they feel bad about, and while he’s not one to flip out on someone, he wasn’t really thrilled about it. And we were talking about how when this person apologized again, as he would surely do, maybe Phil should resist the urge to say, “it’s okay.” Because you know, we all have that urge, right? Someone does something against us – not, like, murder, but something minor – and the reflex is to say, “it’s okay,” so that they don’t feel as bad. You’re the one wronged (“wronged,” you know the type of thing I’m talking about here), and your immediate response is to alleviate some of the upset the other person is feeling.
And you know, a lot of times, that’s totally fine. Sometimes someone spills something in the coffee shop, and I say, “that’s ok! Don’t worry about it!” And they shouldn’t worry about it! It is okay! One, those things happen, and two, part of my job is to clean shit up. I am zero percent bothered by the little accident you just had, and I want you to know that you really shouldn’t be bothered at all, either. But then, say, some kind of different situation occurs – like you’re acting like a jackass and you knock a whole row of drinks off my counter and all over the floor, as a direct result of your jackassy behavior. Of course I will clean it and it will be fine, and you know, I might still say, “it’s okay” if you apologize, but you know what? It’s not really okay.
I would say, “it’s okay” as a reflex because I see you feeling bad about what happened and immediately feel it’s now my job to make you not have that discomfort. But when people fuck up, shouldn’t they kind of have some discomfort? I’m not talking about prolonged suffering, or holding a grudge forever or anything like that. I’m saying, why should we say “it’s okay” when it’s not? If a person makes a mistake, as all people do, there should probably be some sort of consequence, because that’s how we learn not to do these things again, right? And a lot of times, the mistake is little and the consequence is little. Like the consequence is just… feeling bad.
I think a lot of people kind of rush to take responsibility for the feelings of others, either by doing something small like saying, “don’t worry about it,” or something big like bending over backward to accommodate someone who is upset by your personal boundaries, making yourself uncomfortable in the process. And that second one, that’s a whole other topic, so forget I said that, but maybe we’ll come back to it sometime in the never future.
Instead of “that’s okay,” you can say things like, “it’s done so let’s move on,” or “I accept your apology,” or, I don’t know, some other things that aren’t coming to mind. And yeah, the person who made the infraction doesn’t get that weight a little bit lifted off their shoulders. They have to sit with that uncomfortable feeling that they’ve upset you, or inconvenience you, or messed something up. And is that so terrible? To make a mistake and then just have to… regret it? Or feel bad about it? I don’t think so.
And obviously I bring this around to my kid because what doesn’t come around to my kid. It’s really tempting to say, “it’s okay” to her when she’s having some kind of big feelings. I just read an article about this, actually (I didn’t read it, that was a lie, I saw it linked somewhere and only read the title, but I assume it said to stop saying “it’s okay” to your kids.) And I should probably stop that. She should just have the feelings. The same is true when she’s disappointed by something – I instantly want to swoop in and fix it, to offer something else for whatever she’s missing, to stop her from having to feel disappointment for a damn second, but that’s not a good path for us all to walk down, is it?
Anyway, I guess what I’m thinking here is that I’m going to stop telling people it’s okay when it’s not. I don’t mean I’m going to sulk, hold grudges, get revenge. I mean I’m going to stop that knee-jerk reaction to lift someone’s [minor] guilt off his shoulders. Because sometimes it’s not actually okay, you know? I put my cigarettes in my kid’s backpack today and sent her to school (I didn’t, actually, but I believed I did). And I called the school and fessed up and the woman on the other end didn’t tell me it was okay, and that’s good, because you know what? It wasn’t. I made a minor but still quite stupid mistake (I didn’t, actually) and it’s not the end of the world that no one made me feel better about that. Why should I feel better about that? It was dumb. I should feel dumb. I did feel dumb! And the world didn’t end because I had to feel dumb for a while.
There is a lot of stuff right now, for me and for the general world but I’m mostly always focused on just me, that is kind of terrible. I don’t feel well again. I felt better for a long time and now I don’t feel well again, and it’s shitty just like before, but with the added bonus of anxiety and distress at the sensation of being dragged back down into a craphole. I sleep a lot, mostly.
And, you know, other terrible things.
Anyway, here are some things I like right now.
NUMBER ONE. Facebook groups. I dunno, man, I am just into them. I like how I am in a bunch of different groups with a bunch of different purposes with a lot of the same people. And I like the groups I’m in with not the same people. I like how groups are being used, or at least, how I’m now seeing them being used. Like how you can just make a group for any damn thing and be in it and post in it or not or just read things. This doesn’t make sense and that’s fine. You know, the idea of people deleting Facebook or being addicted to Facebook never really made sense to me before – post something, look at some things, leave. What else is there to do on there that you’re spending hours a day? But groups, man. I don’t participate a ton, but I just really like being in them and reading things and saving links for projects and recipes some alternate universe version of myself might take on some day. You know any good groups I should be in? Add me to some Facebook groups. Make a Facebook group with just you in it and add me to it. I’m fine with that. Don’t add me to any direct sales groups, fuck off with that shit, but otherwise, yeah, put me in all your groups.
NUMBER TWO. Being basic as hell. I don’t really like the word or the concept, not so much. Especially not the whole “basic bitch” phrase. I dunno, you know that’s insulting and meant to be insulting, but the concept goes against everything I’ve come to learn about myself in recent years, so I’m not into it. But accepting the concept as a THING that we all understand, OH MAN I LOVE IT. Fall is when it seems to come out the most, but obviously being a basic person is a year round endeavor. But examples from right now: what, leggings, warm boots, top knots? Yes, yes, yes. Sign me up for all of those things. Those are all things I love. I love doing basic shit. Being incredibly average and predictable is my jam. I like watching fall tv show premiers and I like putting stickers in my planner and I like stopping for coffee. I get that the whole “basic” concept is meant to be sort of, “haha, look at you, liking things other people like,” but you know me well enough by now, or maybe you don’t, so I’m telling you now, I think that liking things that other people like is the absolute BEST THING IN THE WORLD. Yes. Put me down for one of everything that average people are enjoying the shit out of. Make space for me. I’m coming to enjoy shit with you.
NUMBER THREE. Korean television. Guys, it just keeps getting better, I promise. I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything, so I’m going to use myself as an example here, but BEFORE I started watching Korean television, it was impossible for me to imagine it could be as good as American television. I mean, I guess I just assumed the US was where quality entertainment came from. I don’t know if I thought it would be hokey or poorly produced or what. I don’t think it was a conscious thought, just some kind of embedded ethnocentrism I wasn’t super aware of. So anyway, I know I’ve beat this drum forever, but I don’t really plan to stop. It really is just as good as American television. It’s just as well produced, just as complex and interesting, and it’s just really, really great. I do think you’re missing out on something awesome if you haven’t tried them out, and I hate when people miss out on awesome things.
Okay, well, that’s about all of the things I am liking right now. I hope you are liking some things, too. Add me to Facebook groups about them.