I’ve often wondered how staple manufacturers stay in business.  Let’s say you staple three things every week.  That’s roughly 150 staples every year.  That 5000 count box of staples in your drawer?  It will last more than 30 years.  You might use 2-3 boxes in your lifetime.  Even worse, the staple industry is being attacked on all sides.  You can cut staple use by storing documents electronically, duplex printing, and even by storing documents in binders (the binder companies will love to have your business).  With so many factors working to erode their profitability, perhaps the staple companies should be in line for a government bailout.  Do we really want to see fine companies like Swingline teeter on the brink of insolvency?  Not in MY America.

A couple of fine upstanding Americans are planning dueling rallies at the National Mall (not to be confused with the Mall of America) on October 30.  Jon Stewart will kick off the day with a Rally To Restore Sanity.  Toward evening, Stephen Colbert will work to undermine Stewart’s rally with a March to Keep Fear Alive.  Any other time of the year, I would probably lean toward the Rally to Restore Sanity – but a day before Halloween, I have to go with the March to Keep Fear Alive.  (Yes, there actually is a permit request pending with the National Park Service – this is serious business.)

Have you ever wondered why street signs aren’t larger?  You’re driving in an unfamiliar city, trying to find your cousin’s house.  Hey, is that Palmetto Street or Pimento Street?  You confirm that it is Pimento and swerve into the turn lane at the last moment.  Have many of these dangerous swerves (or the more dangerous swerve in / swerve out) are the result of signs that aren’t readable until you’re about two feet away?  Why not double the size of the signs in order to save some lives?

Archaeology Magazine really isn’t getting the hint.  I chastised them publicly for allowing questionable ads to appear in their magazine.  When I received the first renewal request, I wrote “NO” across the renewal slip and included a printed copy of my article in the envelope.  Since then, over a span of about six months, they have sent six more notices.  Apparently they don’t read comments from their subscribers.  I tried to email them my concerns, but the email bounced back.  Last night, I got a call from a third party hired to rope people into renewing.  This was particularly disturbing, because I had never given them my phone number (I never give my phone number to magazines, for the reason of avoiding these sorts of calls).  Sadly, I actually enjoy the content of the magazine.

I’ve mentioned my displeasure with a certain kiosk at my local mall in the past.  I’m not really sure why I haven’t mentioned them by name.  It’s the folks that sell Dead Sea lotion products.  There are currently two locations in the mall.  The employees at one kiosk are pretty civil (I guess they are new).  The employees at the other kiosk are very aggressive, stalking you from one edge of the mall to the other, and refusing to back down even when you tell them you don’t want to be harassed.  Apparently they failed their marketing class – why waste your time on people who obviously hate your company when you could spend that effort trying to attract a different customer?  I now make an effort to walk a half step ahead of my wife when we pass the kiosk, so that they have to deal with me to get to her (they always chase after the women).  We’ve complained a few times to mall management, who have confirmed that this behavior violates their lease.  Yet, somehow, they managed to retain their spot in the mall.  In a down economy and with people already making many purchases over the internet, it seems that malls would want to enhance the shopping experience by removing the unpleasantness.  Interestingly, none of the other businesses in the mall have adopted Dead Sea’s patented harassment brand of marketing.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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