Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch. . . or I used to.

I don't like to come on my blog and do much of anything but poke fun at life. . . particularly mine.  But, every now and again, something comes along that really tweaks my melon and I feel morally obligated to address it.  This morning is no exception.  In fact, I'm hoping that you know me well enough that if any of you read this article, you immediately jumped to my blog and/or Facebook page to see if I had any commentary on the subject.  So, here it is:

As a quick side note, I hate to even draw attention to this story in fear that it will draw added attention to the Abercrombie and Fitch brand.  At the same time, there is enough terrifyingly awful commentary made in this bitter diatribe that I think it's important to address it - particularly when discussing a brand's perspective.  If this was simply about a personal opinion of the CEO of A&F, I'd leave him to his opinions and let him believe as he may.  However, when you take such a flawed perspective and make it your company mantra and, in a sense, refuse service to the masses because of said opinion, you've crossed a line.

In case you don't want to read the article (which is short and incredibly, awfully compelling - it's like watching a train wreck happen right in front of your eyes), the president of Abercrombie and Fitch has stated that they purposefully don't carry any sizes larger than a 'large' to keep fat girls from wearing his clothes; fat girls aren't popular or cool and would taint his brand target - popular and cool kids.  He does cater to big boys however, because of course guys that wear these sizes are the athletic type and (clearly) popular.

If you have any sense of moral integrity, I'll excuse you for a minute while you throw up in your mouth.  Go ahead. . . I'll wait.

Before I even address the moral ambiguity of these statements, I'd like to stick to a purely economic argument, something that I'm hoping will cross waist-size barriers and make sense to the masses.

The CEO states that brands that try to cater to everyone rather than a skinny, 28" waist are just "vanilla" and will eventually be obsolete.  I completely agree with niche marketing - when you have a legitimate niche.  Let's take a brand like Skull Candy, for example.  They don't advertise to the masses - it would be a waste of money; their edgy product line doesn't typically appeal to the 40+ crowd. . . but they can.  Even though an edgy brand like Skull Candy doesn't go out of their way to market outside of their niche audience (which is HUGE, by the way), they don't alienate others from buying their product.  First bad move, A&F.

Second, the size of the niche.  If I were on the A&F board and had any sense of the American woman, I'd know that the average pant size for women in this country is a 14 - that is two whole sizes larger than you even carry.  Two pant sizes isn't close - it's not squeezable and extends way beyond the acceptable muffin top.  We are talking not breathable, folks - crushed ovaries.  For those at A&F who have trouble with math, let me explain something to you: an average basically means the middle.  So, while about half of the people wear a pant size under size 14, about half wear over that.  This basically means that you are alienating over 50% of your potential market by not making clothes that are slightly larger for basically the same cost (maybe a difference of pennies on the dollar. . . maybe).  How does this make economic sense?  If I walked into a meeting and said "I know how to appeal to 20% more of the population with no added hard cost on our goods," I would be made Queen for a Month.

I must profess that I don't work in clothing retail and have little knowledge about the A&F margins.  BUT, I have never in my 31 years of living seen a store charge different prices for a size 10 pant vs a size 14, so I have to assume that the additional material cost has to be minuscule enough that no company EVER has though to mark up the larger sizes.

I'm not being irrational here - I'm not saying that A&F needs to delve into the plus-sized clothing model as clearly, it's a niche of its own and does carry significantly more material cost (I'm assuming that's the case anyway otherwise why in the heck am I paying so much for a pair of pants?).  I am, however, asking who is looking at this model and thinking it's a good idea?

Lastly, I can see the point about how targeting the masses makes you "vanilla".  Hey A&F, I double-dog-dare you to take you earnings over the last six quarters and sit across the table from Wal-Mart and Target and call them "vanilla".  Side note: if you are thinking this isn't a fair comparison because of the additional product selection, I say 'fine', just compare your profits to those in the clothing departments only.  However, I say that this even further makes my point as both of these stores epitomize diversifying, both in size and product selection which backs my model to another degree.  How are those plaid shorts and Polo's going for you, btw?

OK - now comes the more emotionally charged part so if you are left-brained and really just about the numbers, this is where you sign off, agreeing that my math is correct and reason enough that you shouldn't shop at a company with such ridiculous leadership.  Adios and see you next time.

For the rest of you that know that I'm about to do a chubby-girl rant, I will try not to disappoint.
The CEO (I accidentally just typed DEO and almost left it there. . . you can infer what the "D" stands for in this instance) states in what I can only hope is part of his resignation letter that "In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids.  Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong."  Let's address this with some personal experience, shall we?

I've never been thin.  OK, that's a lie.  I was "thinner" once after taking drastic, pill-popping measures to lose the chub and fit in.  I was between eighth and ninth grade and had already dealt with about 8 years of thinking that being thinner would make me more popular - the very stereotype that the CEO is trying to pass off as truth.  At my thinnest, I could have fit into a pair of A&F pants - at the top end.

Anyway, I got thinner and had a great time doing so and then got fatter again (and had a great time doing so) and I realized something - NOTHING was different.  I wasn't any more or less popular because of my pant size.  I had the same friends, did the same things, wrote the same papers, tutored the same idiots (that generally shopped at A&F) and earned the same honors that I did when I was thin.

In fact, I would venture to say that I was more popular and cool because I knew what it meant to be chubby.  Being chubby made me empathetic to other people's issues and that, in turn, made me a good listener.  Everyone talked to me.  I got hear all sorts of skinny kid issues over the years - and believe me, the "cool" kids have them.

Being chubby taught me how to laugh and make jokes about life's unfair nature.  This put me into the "funny" group that got invited to parties because I could get people laughing and have a great time.

Being chubby let me focus on my school work because I didn't have a date every Friday night.  But guess what, neither did the skinny kids.  And when they didn't, they were asking me to help them with projects and papers and make it so they could graduate.  I was popular in class because everyone knew I could help them get a better grade and have a great time doing it.  I would also argue that this focus made me much "cooler" in college as well because I had time to hang out with friends and go and do things because I didn't have a job. . . because I didn't have to. . . because my school was being paid for.  Now THAT is cool.

I love that this article pokes fun of the CEO at the end, wondering if he is still longing to be part of the "cool crowd", even though high school (and apparently smarts) waved bye bye to him long ago.  While it's a joke, I think it poignantly makes the point "What is cool anyway?"  Being thin doesn't automatically make you cool - being an athlete doesn't make you cool; it doesn't not make you cool either.  I knew a lot of athletes and "all-American kids" in high school that didn't have friends because they were complete jerks.  I knew chubby kids with the same problems.  I know people now that were very talented athletes in high school that are even cooler now than they were then. . . not because they went pro (and I don't even know their pant sizes) but because they have stayed steady and are good, incredible people, right to the core.  I know chubby kids in the same category.  Now THAT is cool.

I hope I've made my point and for the sake of not making this any more of a novella, I'll finish with this:

We already have far too many kids questioning their worth because of their looks and I think that a company coming forward with this POV is just socially irresponsible.  At times (not all the time but in a lot of cases), obesity is as genetic as cancer - kids everywhere are suffering with this problem and it's completely beyond their control; they have parent's with bad habits, they are low-income and can't afford healthy foods, their schools don't teach healthy habits, they are genetically pre-disposed- whatever the case, they can't help it.  It isn't fair to pigeon-hole them into a category of "not cool" because they are overweight.  Side note: I use "overweight very loosely here because remember, we are talking about pant sizes that are well below "average" or "middle" - I don't think you are "over" anything.

Some of the most fun, most witty, smartest, loving, incredible people that I've ever met can't (and I'm hoping never will) shop at A&F.  And that's OK.

In honor of chubby people everywhere, I'm going to be bold here and do what I do about once per year:

Abercrombie and Fitch is on Carlee's Black List o' Businesses.  Just don't shop there.  There are perfectly acceptable substitutes (the article even mentions two of them) that also sell t-shirts and bum-hugging shorts at a lesser price.  Do it because it's the right thing to do.  Do it because their business practices are ridiculous.  Do it for the chubby kids that is helping you with your homework.

Afterthought: I know that there will likely be some parallels drawn between what I'm saying here and other politically and socially charged issues of the day.  Although I see the situation as very different, you may be wondering why I haven't written anything about these situations.  I'm here to tell you that I didn't take a stand on this just because I am chubby, although I identify.

I think there is a HUGE difference between a CEO/management having personal views about a topic and a business actually taking a position on such.  While I do think there is always a need for corporate responsibility and for public figures to be careful with their actions and words, I think (as I said) it crosses a line to make your opinion the practice of the business.  These types of alienation have no place in business and I hope that A&F gets exactly what they are hoping for. . . a very, very small population of the most popular kids shopping at their stores.  So small, in fact, that they become a distant memory like their biggest supporters, LMFAO.

Friday, December 21, 2012

You've Been Boxed

So, I've been graduated and working at a "grown up" job for nearly a decade now.  (I say "grown up" because part of my job is teaching people about social media and writing for them and really, that's just fun and not so grown up - all of the teenagers that I know basically want my job. . . and maybe I paint a prettier picture than reality so that they all think I'm cool.  So what?  They don't need to know that I Facebook for medical supplies and not Nike - specifics aren't necessary.)  

In that decade, I've met a lot of people at work - some of them have become great friends and some of them, well, let's just say that I would totally duck into the feminine hygiene isle at the grocery store to avoid seeing in my private life.  Anyway, a lot of people.  Yes, that was the point.  And these people must be categorized.

I'm going to tell you right now that I have very strict boxes that I put people into once we meet at work: buddy or professional acquaintance.  Crossing over is not easily tackled.  

If you do, by chance, enter the coveted "Co-Worker. Friend. All-Star" box of greatness, you are basically there for life.  This is like the all-access pass that says "Hey, not only would I trust you with my budgets but I'd trust you to throw down at a dance party without hurting yourself as well."  It's kind of a big deal - not because it's a special club with free movie tickets or anything but because I have a very low, VERY LOW, annoyance tolerance so to beat that in a social AND work setting is a tough job.  I don't issue passes to this club (if I did, they would absolutely have glitter on them) - you just know when you are in.  The people that have this title are literally the best, brightest and coolest people I know.  We can have a contest.  They will beat anyone at coolness.  Easily.

I'm proud to say that this box has grown size-ably over the years and there are exactly 30 members at this current juncture.  (This is going to send all of my former co-workers into a crazy spin wondering if they are in.  Remember, you just know.  So if you don't, keep reading.  This section isn't for you.)  Considering that I've been working professionally for about eight years, this club is more exclusive than Congress.  Well done, my friends.  Well done.

And then there are the "other guys" - the people that are content residing in one of my previously-mentioned compartments.  My thought is that they are either content because they don't care (not usually the case because the non-carers are in the All Star box, more than likely), they don't know that they aren't in the crossover section of peeps, or they are total jerks.  (This third category is surprisingly large - not all of them mean jerks, but jerks in some sense).

Anxious to know where you sit?  Well, other than the "you just know" hint that I've already thrown out (and who doesn't feel comfortable with that??), here are a couple of hints:

If you send me a request on LinkedIn because we are "buddies" and worked together once and I never respond - it's not because I didn't see it.  It's because I think you are excellent at parties and a super great bowler but I have zero desire to connect to you on a work-endorsement basis.  Translation: you might want to look at our relationship in a strict "work only" sense and see if I am the right person to ask for an endorsement from because, more than likely, you don't want any of this.  I probably know all of your work secrets like the three hour lunches after you spent your morning on eBay and finishing YouTube.  Trust me, it's better that I just ignore the request.  It's kind of like seeing someone's baby for the first time and all of the comments you can make are about arbitrary things like "man, her hair sure is curly" or "look at those feet" or "oh, he looks so happy".  I'm trying to avoid telling you that your baby looks like the spawn of Mars life without being insulting.  Same issue applies with work stuff.  Don't ask me for the endorsement unless you are really sure that I'm actually going to compliment your work and not write "Has great socks" as your professional thumbs-up.  You, my work com padre, are in the buddy box.  I don't want to be tied to you professionally.  Don't ask me to help you get a job or a raise - I don't wanna.  But hey, we can still bowl.

The flip side is also true - just because I give you a ringing professional endorsement on LinkedIn does not mean that I am anxious to see your weekend escapades with your cousins and the World's Largest Ball of Twine on Facebook.  I just don't think of you like that; I respect you at work and would totally hire you in a heartbeat and will get you a raise before you know it but we do not know each other otherwise.  We aren't buddies if we see each other at Target - I'll likely introduce you to whoever I'm with but will do so as my "co worker" and move on. . . if I haven't already ducked somewhere to avoid the awkward social interaction.  Welcome to the professional acquaintance box.

There is one other box that I put people into that I don't like to talk about because it's a very dark and scary place.  It is even more difficult to get a spot in this box than my All Star box. . . it's the "I'd sooner drink the water than share it if your clothes were on fire" box.  These people have done the near impossible of not only being lazy and incompetent at their jobs but being jerks about it and generally, no fun at all.  I only talk to these people because I'm getting paid to and even then, I have to give myself a pep-talk before I go in.  Getting into this box has proven a difficult task for most.  In fact, until just a few years ago, I didn't even have this fourth box because it was unnecessary.

The good part about this fourth box (and the only reason I disclose it) is that it makes the other two divisions of my game seem a lot less harsh - at least we can bond over spreadsheets on Just Dance - not both, but one or the other.  Oh, and I would at least share the water.

Don't judge me for compartmentalizing people.  Ah, the irony.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Real People Don't Win Things

I'm baaaack.  I hope that read as creepy as I meant it to.  And if it didn't, you need to up your scary movie intake big time.

I've had a fairly random tangent on my brain lately so I figured that it was only appropriate to take to the blog-o-sphere to write about it.  After all, this is my completely public diary of my most embarrassingly twisted thoughts. . . Oh, you thought I was going to post pictures of my family from the past year?  Sorry to disappoint but you are on the wrong blog.  No photos here; just a dose of sarcasm with a side order of cynicism so abort if you must.

This train of thought is brought to you by Ellen.  That's right, Ellen.  You know the hilariously real television host who loves to give stuff away and is a friend to the animals?  That's who I'm talking about.  You see, I've always been an Ellen fan - read her books, watch her specials and tune into the show; she's one of the few 'true to herself' folks on television these days and I find that rather refreshing.  I support people like that so it's why I watch.

If you've seen her show, you know that Ellen is a giver.  She is always giving away cars and money and shopping trips and whatever to her audience and to people in need - it's rather inspiring and awesome.  She gives to charitable causes and people down on their luck and in tough spots.  She even gave away a brand new house once to a lady that needed it which floored me - it's a pretty big step up from Tickle Me Elmo, right?

Well, some years ago two of my besties and I decided to take a road trip to see So Cal and (drumroll), we got tickets to Ellen!  I was so excited.  We went to the show and had a great time dancing and laughing and all of that good stuff.

Confession time: I probably should have done the Christian thing before we left and warned my friends that (here comes the thesis of this blog) I, Carlee Hansen, am the most unlucky person on Earth.  I don't win things randomly.  I don't even get detergent samples in the mail when they are issued to entire zip codes - somehow, they always run out right at my address.  But I was sure that the trip would be a success and I'd at least get the CD of a musical guest or something so that I could say that Ellen changed my luck. 

About half way through the show, Ellen was interviewing a guest and talking about bettering the world and then it came.  The tension was palpable.  I could tell she was about to do a give-away and I, Carlee Hansen, was about to end my unlucky streak with the woman who makes everyone's dreams come true!  Ellen turned and said "And everyone in the audience is going home with. . ."  hold your breath. . . "A dog collar."

Um. . . what?  A dog collar?  You can imagine my dismay when I realized that my unlucky streak flew with us to California and sat next to me at the Ellen Show.  A dog collar?  I don't have a dog.  I don't even know someone who would want said collar!

Now I'm not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth; for heaven's sake I would have been happy with a CD.  But a dog collar?  I was at a loss for words.  The one time I actually am issued something like everyone else, I couldn't even use it.  If the dog collar had said "Ellen" on it, I probably would have framed it or something at least but it was from a non-profit group and came in a plastic bag like the ones you get a toy in at McDonald's.  I could hear an audible "wah waaaaaah" in my head.

The point: every time that I've watched Ellen since that fateful day, not once has she given away a dog collar.  Not one time.  What do I do?  Well I do the only logical thing: I keep watching and hoping that by some crazy stroke of luck, I'm going to see Ellen's bus pull up in front of my house to make up for the dog collar incident.  This train of thought is particularly hilarious considering that she has no idea that we exist or that I'm harboring feelings about said dog collar.

I have come to a point that I do realize that I'm not alone.  I bet Ellen's swag bus has never even been to Utah, period.  (I promise we don't all wear bonnets and long dresses.  Salt Lake even has a democratic mayor now!  You know, just in case that is an issue).  I have come to the conclusion that regular people don't win things. . . ever.

I have thought back about the people that I know and I think that the best thing anyone has ever one is an iPad.  I know that you are thinking that my friends probably just don't post about their amazing winnings but clearly, you don't know my people for if they won something amazing, the first thing they would do is take to the inner-webs to announce said winnings. . . narcissistic jerks.  Jokes, jokes.

I just don't believe that regular people win things.  I've seen the commercials for Publisher's Clearing House and there is a haunting similarity between them all: everyone that wins PCH lives in the sticks of some underwater county and barely speaks English.  I've concluded that this is the case because anyone at a socioeconomic level above that would read the fine print of the contracts they sign and PCH wouldn't be able to jip them out of a ton of money.  Normal people don't win $5000 per week for the rest of their lives.  They just don't.

Here are some other things that I have never seen or heard of a person winning: a car give-away, mortgage paid for for a year, free house, any amount of money.  I barely hear of anyone actually winning gift cards.  Not at the mall, not on tv, not anywhere.  I've never actually seen or heard of someone winning these items that, oddly, I see being "given away" all of the time. I smell conspiracy.  Lastly, there are enough people in this country that eat McDonald's multiple times a day that someone, somewhere should have won something of value from Monopoly at this point.  And it wouldn't it be awesome publicity for McDonald's to publicize these winners?  But it never happens.  Ever.  Why?  Normal people don't win stuff.

Just once I'd like to see someone I know get something amazing.  I've succumbed to the fact that it won't ever happen for me because I'm the unluckiest person on Earth, despite the fact that Fate owes me a huge bone after this year.  But it would restore my faith in humanity if someone I knew won something big. . . and I mean something that they didn't have to lift a finger for, just because the universe wanted to balance things out a bit.  So prove me wrong, Fate.  And Ellen, we're that weird shaped state between Nevada and Colorado.  Now is a great time to visit - you and Portia can get your ski on.  I'd be glad to give your driver directions.  Holler if you're interested.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Everything I needed to know about life I learned on Facebook.

"I Facebook."  It's like hearing someone say "I breathe," isn't it?  Even after years of being on Facebook, I continue to be amazed by what people are willing to post online for the masses to read.  Seriously.  No, no. . . seriously. 

Sidenote: there is a good chance that this post may be a good ol' slap in the face to a good portion of my Facebook readers that also consider themselves FB aficionados.  I'm doing this for everyone's sanity so don't take it personal.  Also note that I do social media for a living so I see EVERYTHING you post so I've just become easily annoyed. . . I blame the frequency.

The last several months have taught me a lot about life. . . and not just mine.  I'd like to thank all of my FB buddies for teaching me all about life and your points of view on things.  Here is what I've learned:
  • Jesus doesn't support spam emails or photos on Facebook.  In fact, He didn't even have Facebook when he was alive (that may shock you kiddos).  Me not "liking or sharing" a picture doesn't mean I hate Jesus or puppies or kids with cancer.  It just means I don't want to.
  • Generally the people who talk the most about politics know the very least.  These people are also the perpetuation of misrepresentation of political ideals (smartest sentence I've written in a while).
  • On a related topic: You can find an article or info-graphic to support your thoughts on anything.  That doesn't make it real or right or true.  (but feel free to use this blog to support your ideals at anytime. . . it's about as credible as NBC News or Fox these days).
  • Mondays still stink. . . after all these years.  Thanks for the reminder.
  • All kids with odd diseases are sweet and beautiful.  I know that you think these photos need "likes" to prove it but you don't.  100% of people should agree with me and if they don't, they are heartless and don't matter anyway.  And no, there isn't a company that is going to donate $1 to research said disease for every like their picture gets.  No company is that crazy. . . or that generous for that matter.
  • Popping the world's largest zit is apparently more exciting than any other video on the internet, followed closely by Robert Pattinson moving out and fighting over their dog.  I just threw up in my mouth a little bit and am embarrassed for you.
  • Equality and the right to free speech are both very, very important.  They are.  Any time we try to rank the order of importance of rights granted in the Constitution, we are in a bad place.  One is no more important than the other.  In fact, it is the right to free speech that allows minority groups to stand on a corner and picket a business.  Smell the irony?  What would happen if we boycotted everyone who said or watched or wrote something off-color or, I'll even grant, stupid in their lives?  (See previous bullet - a good portion of Facebook users should be boycotted for watching that video).  People can have opinions and you don't have to agree with them. . . that's what makes America great!
  • eCards have made everyone funny.  "Thanks funny people who write eCards for letting me post twisted Hallmark cards online.  My "likes" have gone up 30%."
I've got some duck-face bathroom pictures to post (jokes, jokes. . . I take mine in the car) so I had better get to it.  Happy Facebooking, all.  And don't forget to share this post if you love puppies.

Monday, June 04, 2012

I have a complex. . .

I've missed this.  A lot.  I was telling some family yesterday that I wanted to get back into blogging because seriously, my heart is here.  Going six months without blogging might not aide in proving my point but what can you do when you have a baby.  I don't even do my hair.

I'm pretty sure that there is only one male that reads my blog (hey David) so I feel like the start of this blog may only be rough for him.  Stay with me though, my point gets much more vast and much less uncomfortable as my ranting continues.

I have a complex.  I think it may be one that a lot of people silently suffer from but since I find it not only disturbing but mildly humorous, I think this is an appropriate venue to talk about it.

I called my doctor today (how many stories start this way and you immediately want to check out?) to schedule an appointment - you know, the kind that generally only happens once every twelve months.  (I could say this same sentence 15 years ago and everyone would automatically assume I was talking about my physical I would always get before basketball camp.  If it makes you feel more comfortable, we can stick to that.).  Anyway, as I called today, June 4th, I was notified by the appointments desk that my doctor's next available appointment is at the end of July.  JULY.  Three things struck me at this very moment: first, I need to stop doing such an amazing job of telling everyone how great my doctor is because they are making it so my yearly becomes a year and a halfly.  Second, I missed my calling.  Apparently there is a pretty major market for doctor's that can do. .  ahem. . . physicals.  I think I should have stuck out biology and went the way of job security.

The final thought that went through my head (and this is where the complex comes in) was (audibly): "Alright.  That will give me another two months to lose more of the baby weight.  She'll be proud."  Um, what?  Did I just project my need for acceptance onto my doctor?  Really?  Yes, yes I did.

You see, I have this issue that anytime I go and get a professional service done, I, in the back of my warped head, am hoping that said professional will turn to me and say "I am not needed here.  You are free to go."  Or, at the very least, nod in amazement because they have never seen such a specimen and they feel overly privileged to be performing such a service.  I'll give you a couple of examples of this:

The Pedicure
Do I think I have the most fabulous feet in the world, no.  Do I like to think that I offer some sort of relief to my pedicuring vixen that my feet are not the grossest thing they have ever seen?  Yes.  The point of a pedicure: to relax, get your feet treated and PAY to walk out with perfectly manicured toes.  So naturally, it only makes sense that I remove my chipped nail polish and pumice my feet for a week before I go in for said treatment.  I don't want them to work too hard (or talk about me when I leave, or while I'm right there, either way).

The Dentist
I have straight teeth and I brush. . . but never as hard or as long as I do the day I go to the dentist.  Most of the time I even rinse and floss before I go so that when he asks, I can say "Sure do."  Never mind that one day of rinsing will not fool a seasoned professional (or a third year student for that matter).  The point is that in my head, it totally fools him and every dental tech that enters the room.  I sit in that chair ready for him to say "I have never seen such a fine smile," and then proudly sends me on my way.  Usually, reality sets in and for one reason or another, I can't feel the right side of my face for the next few hours.  BUT I RINSED!?!?!

The Hairdresser
Did I just wash and straighten my hair before I got here?  Noooo.  "What, oh my gosh no.  Seriously, I haven't washed it in a couple of days and it looks so dirty right now."  False.  PS: I pulled out the couple of gray hairs in the front too so that you can wonder how my color holds so well.  Must be that expensive shampoo that I use every day.  Must be that.

You get my point?  So back to the doc.  During my pregnancy, my doctor was amazing at reminding me to eat healthy and try to not gain too much weight.  (Pregnant translation: eat all the chocolate cake you are craving.  Who is going to say anything?)  So, I did what any patient would do and took her advice: I ate more vegetables (with my hamburger) and drank skim milk (after that chocolate cookie).  Ok, I wasn't horrible but I could have been better.

One week, Trev went to an appointment with me and over the previous two weeks, I had gained like five pounds or something that sounded WAY more astronomical to the doctor than it did to me apparently.  So, she started quizzing me about what I was eating.

"What did you have for breakfast?"
"Some eggs. . . on a piece of toast."
"Hmm. . . ok.  Maybe just egg whites next time?  Lunch?"
"Some carrots and a turkey sandwich."
"Hmm. . . what kind of bread?"
(Here was my opening)
"White. . . I probably should have done wheat (like THAT made five pounds of difference)."
"Yeah, let's try that."

When she left to get some test results, my cute husband turned and smiled at me. . . and I buckled.  "Ok, I know I didn't eat toast and eggs for breakfast but if I had said that I ate a breakfast burrito from Burger Stop, she would have killed me!!"

In my head, I got away with it.  Reality says that my doctor walked straight into the hall and said "Eggs and toast my. . ."

Man is she going to be proud of me in two months. . .when I start eating healthy the Saturday before. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why do you taunt me so?

I'm pretty sure that I would never write a blog post about such a ridiculous subject in normal life, but being 9 months pregnant, this seems to be a topic worth addressing.  Of course it's about food so. . . Wait a minute, that would be pretty normal to discuss in normal life as well but there would be no paper trail.  Either way, I'm taking this train and going full-steam ahead.

It's called the vending machine taunt and I hate it.  It's not hard to explain because I'm sure at least 75% of the population has suffered it's wrath; the other 25% of you are eating Paleo or Jenny Craig or something similar so I'm not sure why you're on my blog in the first place.  Anyway, I digress. . .

Sometimes I just want a treat from the vending machine.  You can call it gross and that's fine.  But sometimes I get desperate and those Pop Tarts don't actually look that bad compared to the alternative. . . a gut-wrenching nothing!  Thank heaven that our work vending machine has a steady supply of Pop Tarts. . . or does it?  See, that's the issue.  I never know.  So in my mind I've built up this processed-brown-sugar-and-cinnamon obsession only to get upstairs (which is WAY more of a hike now than ever) only to find that the regular Pop Tarts have been temporarily replaced with some other (and might I add NOT CLOSE) substitute like, I don't know, fruit snacks.  Dear Vending Machine Guy: just because the package is roughly the same size, fruit snacks are not a suitable substitute for Pop Tarts!  One is a baked good (sort of) for crying out loud!  There is nothing even remotely "bready" about fruit snacks.  What are you thinking?

The only other vending machine tragedy that is equally offensive is what I like to call Flavor Alternating.  Once again, we go back to the Cinnamon and Brown Sugar scenario.  Still climbing the vicious flight of stairs, I see that blue Pop Tart package as I reach the summit.  But what is this?  It's not Brown Sugar Goodness - it's Strawberry!  I could (at this point) settle for the fruit-filled pastry if it was all there was but noooo.  There, immediately behind the Strawberry concoction, is my real craving - Brown Sugar and Cinnamon - followed by another Strawberry and another Brown Sugar. . . you get the point.  It's taunting me and I don't appreciate it.  I, again, have come to a crossroads.  Do I want the Brown Sugar bad enough to buy a pack of Strawberry as well and save it for a later date?  Sidenote: please keep in mind that this would require another trip down said stairs to try and dig out more nickels from my desk drawer since the first round nearly left me bone dry to start with.  Do I make camp next to the vending machine and try to coerce the next patron who likely won't buy anything with me standing there because vending machine food is "gross" to purchase the in-the-way Strawberry pastry?  Or do I settle and pray that sheer vending machine embarrassment, though it haunts me currently, will allow me access to the better part tomorrow since nobody eats this stuff anyway.

The point is this, bad vending machine loader man:

First, don't replace the steadfast.  If you come and all of the (insert candy of choice) here are gone, it's probably because that's what people eat so don't replace it with fruit snacks; no, it's not the same.  No.  It's not.  Stop buying the Bit-O-Crappy candy bars that still occupy a full slot in the machine and only buy the good stuff.

Second, don't alternate flavors.  There are very distinct audiences for these types of food.  Regular M&M people aren't the same as Peanut Butter who aren't the same as Pretzel.  You can't ask them to cross over.  You are messing with nature.  'Tis better that you just don't HAVE one option than alternate options in a line in the machine.  That's just cruel.

The only time either of these replacements are acceptable is if there is CLEARLY a better alternative.  Food is really subjective so this is hard to prove.  You may (in my book) only do some sort of vending machine replacement if you are a) replacing my flavor-changing-agony with a $5 bill or b) replacing it with a breakfast burrito that is fresh and warm.  No exceptions.

I know most of you are thinking that I can put a stop to this charade by just not eating out of the vending machine or by bringing my own delicious snacks to my desk.  You're probably right.  But I'm also not likely to win 'pregnant lady of the month' at anytime soon and I'm coping with both realities.

PS - if your husband or brother or nephew loads vending machines for a living, please don't send me a PDF on 'Vending Machine Etiquitte' and why they do what they do.  I'm sure there are reasons. . . they are just impossible to explain to my taste buds.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear Mr President. . .

President Obama is going into a LinkedIn Forum on Monday and they are allowing users to submit questions for him to answer.  I figured it was my duty (and a snowballs chance) to get my question in front of him.  I would hope more people do the same.  Here are my thoughts for the P-Rez.  Don't get mad. . . it's my blog!

"Mr President - We spend a lot of time talking out how to solve the issues of outlying groups: the extremely wealthy, the extremely poor, those that are in foreclosure and those without residency.  What about me?  I go to work every day and pay my taxes in full but I don't own a jet or a fleet of them for that matter.  I pay for health insurance for my family on my own dime and have never burdened the system.  I bought a house that was within my budget and have never been late on a payment; I've never 'needed' a bailout.  I vote, I serve and I try to be a productive member of my community yet it seems to be harder and harder for me to keep living the 'American Dream' these days.  Gas is expensive, milk is expensive, health care is expensive.  What are you doing for me?  How can you make life just a bit easier on me like you're trying to for all of these extraneous groups?  When do I get your focus?"

Sounds selfish, yes?  Please know that all of the "I's" and "Me's" in this statement are meant to represent a lot of Americans. . . and I know they exist because they are my friends and family.  It's like being the kid in school that ALWAYS got good grades - hundreds of kids get help and recognition for improvement every term when they go from Ds to Cs but what if you didn't need improvement?!?  What if you were doing what you were supposed WITHOUT promise for reward? 

Short blog, my story.  What would YOU ask the President if you had 2 minutes?