Maybe the title of this expo isn’t exclusionist and I’m the one who’s obsessed with gender-neutral language; I think I’ll go and grow my armpit hair and knit a Germaine Greer statue out of hemp.
I went on a morning stroll/jog/run/walk/undignified crawl today to work off some Generally Undiagnosable and Irrational but Very Real Crankiness and wandered through a new industrial estate.
It’s all rather exciting looking at chunks of former farming land being reinvented into large sheds and marvelling how importing cherries from the USA, avocadoes from New Zealand and kiwi fruit from Peru or Gautemala or some place on the other side of the world makes good sense.
The current lessee of one vacant block stores monster trucks that move dirt from here to there with a burgeoning side business in growing dandelions.
The developer’s marketing campaign for this block took my interest because it, well, seems less industrial than its intended client base would expect.
Who on earth invented the word ‘factoryette’ for an industrial estate? A dickheadette?
Crank-o-meter: the stupidettes are taking over the world
Every now and then, a stealthy catalogue distributor skulks the streets when people are at work and deposits the ‘Innovations’ home shopping junk mail on doorsteps. I’m fortunately still at the stage of life I don’t need a set of customisable bunion pads or a replica cuckoo clock so I leave the plastic wrapped mound of crap in the doorway and try not to bust my bottom slipping over until the bloody thing is taken away.
This week the Penny Miller Christmas catalogue was waiting patiently when I got home from a less-than-fun-day at the saltmines. I don’t know if Penny Miller is a real person or a marketing department creation to sound homely and trustworthy to people who buy crap, but the cover caught even my sceptical eye: ‘Don’t throw me away.’ Oh, okay, thankfully I had been beaten about the head with blunt instruments at work and obedience was the path of least resistance.
The plastic tree-shaped lolly holder on the cover caught my eye for its sheer shithousedness. Who has time to pick the best – or worst, if you don’t like your guests — lollies from an assorted bag and spear them on a plastic tree? It would always be winter at my house because I’d pick the tree dry every time I walked past the table.
It got better. I wish I had to buy Christmas presents for people I hated because it’s a gold mine of passive aggressive gifty shit. The savoury version of the plastic food tree is adorned with cornichons. Who the fuck has the inclination to rip baby gherkins out of a jar, dab them bone dry because no one wants little cukes dripping on the other savouries, and impale them like proud little frog penises? I almost started crying for the catalogue stylist who has to create these displays for the photographer.
I’ve crapped on about crosswords on toilet roll wrapping in the past, but Penny and her gang of whacky funsters have put the poo in Sudoku. Look for yourself while I have another breakdown about bacteria, where to locate pens and visitors hogging the dunny for hours.
Done in the toilet? Have a shower and amuse your feet with big foot bath mats. Ha de bloody ha ha, I nearly peed my pants laughing at the hilarity of putting my wet tootsies on foot-shaped towels. Genius!
My heart goes to the copy writer trying to flog these green shaggy dog slippers that you skid around the house in to collect dust and fluff. No, I’m sure there isn’t an easier way to climb your hardwood floor either, because everyone I know with a hardwood floor has a pair for each member of the family. And if they don’t, I’m buying them all a pair because they’re missing out on the fun of skidding under dining tables and chairs while trying not to snap their spines.
I hark back to cheap imported products like this when I worry about the state of our planet. If we have the resources cheaply available to manufacture so much superfluous junk, perhaps Earth has plenty of energy left. Damn crazy scientist telling us otherwise; sit down, shut up and have a snack from the plastic tree.
Crank-o-meter: cranky santa pants
The hounds failed in their duty to give early warning of a door-to-door salesperson yesterday and I ended up having to answer the door. They would have been sent to bed without dinner if they didn’t raid the bin anyway.
For once, the visitor was sent by the electricity company I use (I am still an old-fashioned supporter of government-owned utilities, if for the only reason that it reduces the number of salespeople from myriad competitors with increasingly complex deals and promises … but only if they can see my last bill … and only if I sign on the line today … and yes, I can cancel later and return to my old provider if I’m not happy – who the fuck’s got time for that? It took a year to cancel an internet service I never took up because my three cancellation calls weren’t logged on the system).
The rep outside my screen door wanted to reward me for being a customer. The company loses customers after being waved gifts from competitors so this mob was getting in early and rewarding me for being loyal. Me! He flashed the laminated card with photos of choices including a shower head and some other shit I already have but I still prepared to make my selection. I was so excited I even got my bill for him without being asked. See, I am a customer! I’ll even open this locked screen door to grab the freebie out of your hand and not break your wrist when I close it!
But, like all gift horses, there was a catch. I had to change my electricity plan to 20% ‘green’ energy (right there and then, of course), but the upside was that it wouldn’t cost me any more than 100% coal-powered energy.
I scratched my head and showed him the section of the bill confirming I subscribe to 100% wind power.
He said I was able to unsubscribe from 100% green and switch to the 20% green plan and I’d receive my gift. I, in fact, didn’t have to be on 100% green power because did I realise I was paying more for it?
I replied that I had chosen wind power and pay more because I feel it’s one of my civic responsibilities and I’m fortunate enough to afford it (and, by crikey, it makes me use less energy). Do I still get my piece of free crap?
“No. Only if you switch to our 20% green. Would you like to sign up?”
I said no, we shook our heads at each other in disbelief and walked away from the aborted transaction.
In the meantime, landholders outside Ballarat are divided on a company’s plan to build Victoria’s largest wind farm with 282 turbines. People offered and accepting financial deals to have turbines on their land are in favour, while almost everyone else is in the negative, citing the usual reasons of ugliness and saving the birds.
There are few things uglier than open cut mines and coal-powered electricity plants, and most people, when pressed about which birds on what migratory paths are at risk, can’t answer because they are parrots repeating neighbours’ angry vitriol as unassailable fact. The State Government is possibly being moronic in this instance by not insisting on the usual environmental impact studies, so no one knows if any or what birds might be munched up by 846 spinning blades. Ignorance all round.
Vote 1: wind if it’s studied, sensible and sustainable.
Crank-o-meter: another reason the planet is fucked
I remember a Louise Hay book about self acceptance or thinking positively or some tricky life qualities I should study more, and she had a novel approach to paying bills received in the mail. Instead of cursing the greedy scoundrels for ripping her off blind, she would write and mail a cheque with gratitude for the valuable service provided.
She obviously wrote the fucking book before the privatisation of utilities and the advent of hyperactive marketing departments with budgets to burn into the atmosphere.
I go off my nut when I receive a bill, and not because of the amount owing or how they all hit the mailbox in the same week. It’s the fucking extra shit enclosed in the envelope that’s breaking me.
With this quarter’s gas bill came:
Hypocritical ‘don’t we think we’re green and awfully pleased with ourselves’ marketing has spread like a plague of corporate consciousness but pongs like a stream of verbal diarrhoea. Hey, with one envelope we can coerce the customer into converting to electronic billing by pulling a tree-hugging, pinko greeny guilt trip, but in the meantime, we’ll bombard the passive fuckers with as many paper products as we can stuff in the envelope. Our brand of environmentalism is better than yours because we can afford to tell you so. Ha haaaaaa, take that, consumer! And pay your fucking bill before the due date or we’ll charge you interest — and send more correspondence for the snails in your letterbox to shit on.
Crank-o-meter: burning the propaganda to stay warm instead of turning on the gas heating