For several years, every November and December, I experienced three-day work weeks thanks to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Due to the shortened workweeks, I had to be extremely focused, making efficient use of my limited time those weeks. I cut way back the amount of time devoted to watching adorable cat videos on YouTube.
With only three days to get everything done, I dutifully avoided sending our my normal two dozen humor emails a day with links to things like hilarious parody music videos on the Twelve Days of Christmas. I discovered that I accomplished so much in these shortened work weeks that it got me to thinking: Imagine how much more efficient workers would all be if we all had a three-day work week.
There are many companies – and even a few cities (El Paso, TX, Melbourne, FL) and at least one state (Utah) that are currently experimenting with a four-day work week. Instead of five 8-hour days, their employees work four 10-hour days, and they really get a lot of things done in these ten-hour days…well, in the first 8 hours anyway. Polls of workers who have shifted to a four-day work schedule indicate that 85% prefer it to the previous five-day schedule and an overwhelming 99% prefer it to the seven-day 80-hour work week with no time off for Christmas.
The advantages of a four-day work week are obvious:
- Reduced commuting time and reduced energy consumption by eliminating one day of commuting travel per week
- Improved energy efficiencies from reduced use of electricity and heating in offices and factories which are closed one more day each week
- You can get drunk on Thursday night and don’t have to make up transparent excuses for not showing up to work on Friday, like “I can’t make it into work today, boss because my four-year old Nate is sick with the measles again… Yeah, I know it’s the 7th time this year. He has a really crappy immune system…”
Continue reading “TGIT – Thank God It’s Tuesday” »
America is the greatest melting pot on earth, welcoming people of all backgrounds and beliefs. It does not matter if you’re black or white, Christian or Jew, tall or short, young or old, wealthy or poor. And all of these groups have something in common: None of them has any shortage of idiots.
Based on my extensive research on the explosive growth of knuckleheads in our country, I’ve concluded that our great nation leads the world in idiots per capita. If you don’t believe we live in a nation of nitwits, how else can you explain some of the warning labels our manufacturers feel compelled to put on their products?
For example, there is actually a warning label on an iPod shuffle that reads, and I quote: “Do not eat iPod Shuffle.” (Honest to God.) I, for one, am so glad they added that warning because, I was just about to spread jam on mine and eat it with scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.
In fairness, companies are only adding these product warning labels because they don’t want to get sued for millions in bogus liability lawsuits, as might happen if, say, a large gathering of people came together for an iPod Shuffle pot luck dinner party and failed to heed this important safety warning. God knows how many panicked trips to the emergency room this warning has helped to avoid over the last decade. I’m guessing zero (but I am just rounding).
The more research I’ve done on warning labels, the more I’ve become convinced that half the people in this country probably should not be allowed to use electrical appliances of any kind – or vote – or date my daughters. Here is a tiny sampling of actual warning labels for the American consumer (I swear I am not making any of this up):
On an iron: Caution: Do not iron while wearing article of clothing. I will remind my wife the next time she irons my dress shirt that she needs to do it in the nude – because I worry about her safety. (Why is my wife doing my ironing? That’s a blog for another day). Continue reading “WARNING: IMPROPER USE OF THIS PRODUCT COULD INDICATE YOU’RE AN IDIOT” »
Until this past July, for the previous four decades, I had always worked in business. I was routinely required to submit reports on my progress: Sales forecasts, pipeline analyses, business plans – you name the report, I made it up, er, I mean…. um …
My point is this: Just because I’ve recently retired and moved to an island home near an idyllic beach doesn’t mean I plan to stop submitting regular progress reports. Quite the contrary. I’m happy to report that I’ve continued this practice into retirement. The focus of those reports, however, has shifted slightly.
Here is my business report for the past week.
Sea Shell Inventory Forecast:
My collection of sea shells grew by an impressive 11% this past month, due in part to two unscheduled beach-combing field inspections. While sightings of scallop shells were up 14% year-over-year, unfortunately, the projected production of intact sand dollars is expected to be down 18 to 20% compared to the previous quarter, in part due to increased foreign competition (tourists from Japan) which is anticipated to grab significant market share. I plan to diversify my portfolio of shells by investing (my time) in conch shells, tibias and spiny oyster shells. I’m optimistic we will experience a net gain next quarter if beach market conditions continue on their downward tidal trend.
Continue reading “My Weekly Business Report – Retirement Edition” »
Years ago, I had this reckless notion that something was missing in my life which could only be filled by having kids. So we started a family – and got so much more: eight years of Raffi songs, 800 trips to sports practices (and the occasional trip to the ER), $6,000 in orthodontia bills, and a child-proofed house, every square inch of which perpetually resembled a FEMA disaster zone.
Don’t get me wrong – I love our daughters more than anything in the world – with the possible exception of bacon. But it didn’t take long to discover that despite the significant gap between my toddlers and me in earning potential, overall intelligence, and ability not to drool on everything with which I came into contact, I simply was no match for my kids. They routinely wore me out – usually by the time they dumped a bowl of Raisin Bran on each other – a daily 7am ritual.
As a parent of two boisterous young girls, I quickly came to two conclusions: First, the interior of the VCR makes an ideal place to hide daddy’s slice of apple pie; and second, being a parent was going to require Herculean levels of patience. Being a good parent means having the maturity to resist saying the first thing that pops into your prefrontal cortex when your eight-year-old microwaves your cell phone. You need to suppress the urge to blurt out, “Jesus Christ! What the hell were you thinking, spraying the cat with the purple paint, you little twerp?” Such an outburst could permanently damage your precious angel’s delicate self-esteem – much like my angel permanently damaged our precious leather couch with a stick figure etching of her daddy.
Shortly after our girls acquired rudimentary speech, I learned a valuable lesson: Never use foul language in front of young children. When my eldest was barely three, I caught her wielding my $500 Titleist driver into the trunk of our cherry tree, “just like George Washington, Daddy!” While she hadn’t yet mastered conjugating a sentence, she had, to my surprise, absolutely no difficulty reciting back to mommy the entirety of my panicked outburst – verbatim: “Mommy, Daddy said, ‘Holy shit. Look what you’ve done to my club!’ What does ‘shit’ mean, Mommy?”
Continue reading “What we WISH we could say to our kids” »
[Author’s note: I recently purchased a mattress from Sears. They were supposed to deliver it this past Thursday. But things did not quite go as planned. They sent me a customer feedback survey the following day. Below is the exact, unaltered response I sent back in my evaluation.]
Dear Sears Customer Service Team,
Thank you for your very prompt email survey asking about my recent purchase experience. I am pleased to report my online ordering experience went off without a hitch. No wait, there was actually one very minor hitch which I probably shouldn’t even bother mentioning, but since you were kind enough to ask, would you mind if I share it with you?
My fantastic customer experience started to go just slightly off track when it came to the DELIVERY of the mattress I purchased online. And for that, I take full responsibility. It was completely my fault to place my mattress order with Sears. Why I didn’t order it through Sleep Country USA is something I can’t explain.
You see, my delivery was scheduled for this past Thursday. The evening before, I received an automated call from Sears Customer Service informing me that my mattress would be delivered between 1:45 pm and 3:45 pm. And that presented a problem, as I had an important appointment which required me to leave by 2:00.
I immediately called your toll-free customer support number (1-800-PLZ-HOLD), and after waiting ten minutes, I reached a live person named Roger – at least I presume Roger was a live person. In retrospect, given that he kept spouting the same answer over and over, I’m wondering whether perhaps he was an automated phone bot with a highly developed user interface.
I told Roger / your phone bot that a delivery window of 1:45 pm to 3:45 pm would not work for me and asked if Sears could change the delivery to 7am to 10am, to which he kindly responded, “Please hold.” No more than eight minutes later, he came back on the line helpfully to inform me that a delivery window of 7 to 10 am was not available. “However, we can deliver your mattress tomorrow between 1:45 and 3:45”, he shared. That time sounded eerily familiar, in part because that was the precise time window I had called about to inform your team would not work for me.
I then asked whether it could be delivered between 10am and noon. This is when I suspected that Roger might be a highly advanced computer algorithm. Because after my second eight-minute wait on hold, he / it returned on the phone and repeated almost the identical message as before, informing me that a delivery window of 10 am to noon was not available, “However, we can deliver your mattress tomorrow between 1:45 and 3:45.”
Continue reading “Sears’ customer guarantee: Delivery between 1:45 – 3:45pm – No matter what!” »