Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Gift That's Never Returned


If you give me a gift card, prepare yourself for some looks that you normally would only see in films about samurais, because I hate gift cards and I always have. I lose a few months off my life each time I receive one and an angel dies each time I have to sell one. Yeah, you heard right! I'm part of the problem, and just when you thought I couldn't like them any less before it became my job to push them on people, you can't imagine how much additional hate has piled on since I’ve learned so much more about them. So here’s a handful of things I’ve learnt on my travels with gift cards.

Has something gone awry? Too bad!
Firstly, I'm not ignoring the fact that some people just have stones inside their heads and naturally those sorts of people can be tricked into buying dumb shit, like stones, but I can’t blame them entirely. I think there's an implication with gift cards, mainly due to their popularity, that no matter what happens everything will be fine. The problem there is that it won't.

When these cards fuck up, they fuck up good! What this means for the person is that they now need to start digging through receipts and invoices trying to prove that this money is theirs like some financial lawyer. It's ridiculous. I've never had to prove that I'm holding an invisible fifty dollar note, because those don't exist! But you see, you could very well be the proud owner of a piece of plastic that says fifty dollars but actually has no value; those do exist. And if that is the case and you don't have a receipt to prove it, I can tell you right now that you're never seeing that money again. All you are to us is some person with two things: a card that's empty and no way to prove that it shouldn't be. Of course, I could just say 'keep the receipt and everything will be hunky dory' - and you should - but if only life was really that simple.

Although on the upside, the glass isn’t always half empty with gift cards, because if I lose a gift card and I have a receipt, with some places I'd be able to get that money back, something I’d never be able to do if I lost real money. So in a way, putting aside the fact that the money needs to be spent before a certain time or it's lost anyway, you’re attaching an element of security to it, so that’s great. But on the other hand, glass half empty, gift cards unfortunately open up this opportunity for people to bitch and moan to people like me because of their own carelessness. For example, when you lose a note, it’s just gone because you lost it, there’s nothing you can do about it and people just accept that; it’s a very, very simple procedure. But with a gift card, it’s just a whole lot oooohs and ahhs and dealing with second and third parties and being recited terms & conditions, which is all a very big complicated waste of time when you consider the alternative if you ask me.

Just spend it, and spend it now, awright!

Secondly, there was this hilarious advertisement hanging around Westfield once that read 'gift cards, the gift that’s never returned' (left) and that's funny because you can't! Getting a refund on one of these things is like pulling teeth from a pack of rabid dogs, and you'd need a pretty extraordinary reason in order to get one. I trusted that this wasn’t just the case at my work, but I wanted to make sure just in case. So I called a few places under the guise of somebody who just found a gift card amongst a recently deceased family member’s possessions but didn’t feel right spending it. But even under my unfortunate feux-circumstances: Myer said no to a refund, Westfield said no, so did David Jones who explained that there’s actually no facility setup to process card refunds and Coles Myer Group said no as well, which covers eight stores in itself. So, forgive me for feeling a little uneasy about something that won’t can't be returned and also something that isn't very well regulated by the law.

On that note, there's been a lot of talk in the government these last few years about bringing in stronger and more elaborate laws, and the main argument is that money doesn’t have expiry dates so therefore neither should gift cards, and I'd have to agree with that. In fact, funnily enough, when I called Coles Myer Group, the dude said that they can’t refund gift cards on the grounds that they’re treated as if they are cash and you can’t refund cash, and I thought ‘well, isn’t that interesting logic.’ So, when it comes to using them wherever you want and putting expiry dates on them, they’re gift cards, but mention the word ‘refund’ and suddenly it’s just like cash! Very interesting.

To be honest, at first I was stumped as to why they would expire, because if the company already has your money and if the dollar appreciates with time making products relatively more expensive, then why would it matter? But then I realised that these companies don't want to take that risk. If there's no expiry then who's to say you won't be moving a cupboard in ten years time, find the card underneath it and use it. You never know, that company could be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy by then and you could be in one of their stores taking stock from the shelves without having to hand over any new money. It's unlikely, but not impossible, and that’s the problem, they would rather make it impossible, otherwise gift cards become loose-ends. You see, the number one drive behind the sale of gift cards is to make money for nothing. So they're counting on you to forget that you have twenty bucks still sitting on your card or to just not bother spending the twenty seven cents left over, so then the card can expire, they have your money and they don’t have to worry about you anymore.

You shop where I think you want to shop. Burn!
Thirdly, getting a gift card feels the same as what I would imagine being handed the keys to a house in China would feel like, you know, because you have no choices. I have to shop where you think I want to shop? Is that a joke? Here's an example, my mum got a five hundred dollar bonus from her work a few times over the years, but she didn't really get a bonus, instead she got five hundred dollar David Jones gift cards. Now I don't know if you've ever stepped into one of their stores, but if you have, you would know that five hundred dollars in the real world is only really about two hundred and fifty in David Jones’ world. Their prices are pretty bloated, like their prices just ate Brazilian barbeque-bloated. And that's just not nice. It's not nice that you have to use your bonus on something that's overpriced when you know that if they'd just given you cash like normal people do that you could get it at a cheaper or at least a reasonable price elsewhere. That’s just a nice gesture that they transformed into a shitty one.


Just to wrap this up. This post itself is a pretty good example of why people shouldn't buy them, because gift cards only serve to complicate something that’s simple. I could never have written this much on normal currency, because normal currency just works. You could simply hand me a fifty dollar note, but instead you've handed me a rigmarole of expiry date this and 'I can use it here but not here and only here if it's there' that. Blah! blah! blah! It’s all noise. I’ll give you this, gift cards are a lot nicer to look at than money. It also shows that you didn’t just pull something out of your wallet at the last minute. But at the end of the day, it’s not enough to excuse the homework assignment that comes attached. Whatever happened to money in a nice card? As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, I don’t know about yours, but money ain’t broke! So, if you're going to take anything away from this post, just remember to exercise some caution when purchasing a gift card; they're not as nice as you think.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wash Me, I’m Stoopid!

wash me

You know, a joke is usually never told quite as well as the first person that told it, and I’m reminded of that fact everyday by people who can’t come up with material of their own. I myself am a fan of credibility, so I’ll only ever borrow a joke if I know that it’s buried deep in obscurity, and I’ll return it after I’ve used it once or twice so I don’t get caught and end up looking like a twat. What bugs me are the jokes which once could have me folding over in laughter be strained into a trite ‘go to the same point of reference’ cliché by unimaginative knuckle-draggers. Here are a few examples I hand-picked.

“Something something Hookers and Kings Cross.” Hahaha!
Yeah, and grass is green. Contrary to what I trust a lot of people think, being able to draw a straight-line between prostitution and Kings Cross in Sydney is neither funny nor cunning. Each time the topic of prostitution comes up and somebody makes some quip about the Cross, I may seem calm on the outside, but really, the inner-Ryan is violently thrashing against the cage that stops me from lunging across the table and strangling a motherfucker. Why is it not funny, you ask? Because everybody knows that there are prostitutes there! It’s not an unknown fact and it’s no longer taboo. It’s called the naked mile for crying out loud! They made an Underbelly series about it! The joke’s clearly over!

Another thing that kills me is that people who I don’t think have even been there are making these references now; they’ve just built their entire opinion upon a humourous stab at hyperbole. As intentional exaggeration, it’s funny, but when people start saying it because they truly believe that Kings Cross is just whore-island and that’s it, it ceases being worthy of even acknowledgement, let alone amusement.

A couple of things people should know: one, Kings Cross maybe known for its ladies of the night, but it’s not the only place in Sydney that has them. Go to any industrial area after eleven at night and call me when you don’t see any walking around. Two, Kings Cross also has its fair-share of other things too; stuff that always seems to go unmentioned. For example, that place is virtually shoulder-to-shoulder clubs - strip-clubs, nightclubs, ‘gentlemen’s’ clubs. It’s not like the CBD where they’re all scattered. If you’re in one club and the tank-bouncer threw you through the wall because you touched the stripper’s boobies, you’d end up in the next one. What about the drugs? I’m sure you could find quite a few drugs circulating the naked mile at any one time. But you see, it’s hard to make jokes about those things when you haven't actually been there and especially when other people aren’t making jokes about it for you to copy.


I’m sick and tired of people saying that they want to go to Amsterdam, because before they even get to '–dan', I already know where the conversation is heading: marijuana.

Not funny!

I don’t think a month goes by where I don't hear somebody say that they want to move to or visit the Netherlands. Yeah okay, it is the ‘weed capital’, but people know that it’s only informally legal, right? It's accepted but not legal. But then again, why would you know about that when you're only source of information is other dipshits and Harold and Kumar? Also, drugs may be your main motivation, but Amsterdam is not just a park with smoke-able flora and fauna. It's also known for its bordellos and as the birthplace of van Gough and where he left all his shit after he died. But nope! It’s all just weed this and pot that. Fuckin’ retarded!.

This one’s an odd one too, because unlike most jokes, this one was never funny. It's probably because it's not as much a joke as it is some half-baked (pun intended) aspiration, so why say it then? I'm beginning to even wonder if these people are actually serious about the Amsterdam-weed thing, or is it meant to be a joke?…gah man! I need a rest after this.

Okay, okay, fine. If you don't care about things like reasonable taxes, not feeling cramped, being above sea-level during what is said to be global warming (see: dike) and minimal illegal immigration, then fine, the idea is not that stupid because it would seem that you've clearly thought it through, but if you're going there thinking that it's going to be exactly the same as Australia except with relaxed marijuana laws, then that explains why you're doing drugs in the first place...coz ur dum!


Can somebody please just nix the number '69' completely? Instead, we can replace it with 'eh'. It will go ‘67, 68, eh, 70’.

Okay, ha-ha, it means mutual oral sex and the number looks like it too, but is it really necessary to slip it in every place that requires you to input a numeric value. Phone numbers, vanity license plates, the 'age' field. Eh! Dath god have no mercy? Trust me, unless you end up being a Heffner or a De Niro, once you actually hit sixty nine years of age, no woman in your particular purview will be agile enough to straddle your face, so don’t even.


Sex: M/F/Yes, please
Step aside, comedic genius coming through! The form asked for his sex and he wrote down 'Yes, please.' SOMEBODY REMOVE MY STITCHES BEFORE I POP THEM!

It's not like it's a line from Austin Powers fifteen years ago and the millions whom copied it or anything.


My train was late. Theres trackwork. There aren't any seats. Worst train service in the world. Jesus, kill me. When I was a teenager, I adored Shityrail.info. It was a rich source of vitamin chuckles. The site hasn’t changed much since, but now it just reminds me of every drone that has made a quip about how CityRail are the ‘worst’ train service in the world because of normal stuff that would happen pretty much anywhere else.

A few things: Your train was late or cancelled? Call Shit Happens Magazine and tell them! I’ve heard that they’re very interested in printing stuff that just happens.

There’s trackwork on your line and you don’t like it? Call one of the eighty people who died in Granville because trackwork didn’t exist and tell them!

And you’re late to your shit job because of trackwork, go here and be more prepared!

Where ShityRail created the joke, people have basically stolen it and turned it into the Nickelback of Sydney that only trendy kids tease.


Smoking kills you, life kills yCOUGH!ou COUGH!
This line was clever, still is sort of, but it’s stale now, and not the sort of stale that you can just get rid of in the toaster. However, it is to the point, it's cocky, it's sort of true and it's a pragmatic way to escape fruitless discussions with anti-smokers like me, but it is over. It had a good run guys! It has become so overused that it's not just in the smoker's handbook, it's the title!

Smokers need to come up with some new material I think...or quit.


Spit with a side of Big Mac
Regardless of whether or not it disgusts me or not, I don't want to hear about how Dudz in the kitchen may have added a bodily fluid to my food. I'm perfectly in tune with that possibility, thank you! But the likelihood of it happening means that I don't give a fock! Also, other restaurants hire foreigners and ex-convicts too I'm sure, not just fast food, so what am I going to do, go through life armed and with a pocket full of seeds, hunting and growing my own food? No. So I just eat out with the expectation that my food has been through something resembling the bathroom in Saw and I do just fine, then it’s a nice little surprise when I don't spend the night burying my head in the toilet.

The only time I'll accept or even make this joke is when I haven't made nice with the help, then obviously the risk of an undesired ingredient increases and I find comfort and humour in self-deprecation.

Eating kills you? Semen kills you, that’s what I always say.


Autocorrect ‘Mistakes’
Like any joke, this was funny at first, but then the more I saw, the more I hated seeing screenshots of people ‘mistakenly’ disclosing sexual activity to their parents via text message. And that's all-it-ever-is! A message from a child to their parent about how good the sex they just had was, or vice versa. Be-ooooooring!

wash me im stoopid_autocorrectBut what's worse is that I'm a little skeptical about how many of these things are actually what the professionals would deem ‘mistakes’. Has anybody noticed how convenient some of them are? To me, it either wasn't really a mistake and the sender just set it up to look like one. Either that or somebody's been pulling shenanigans with that person's phone dictionary, which doesn't make it as much a mistake as it is a successful prank, and pranks are normally only funny when they happen to people you know.

On the plus side, if you’re texting somebody who has a phone where the dictionary automatically populates using the terms they’ve used in previous messages, then at least you know that they’ve been talking about blowjobs with somebody. I know you can’t see it, but I’m winking at you right now.


Any comparison of women from different eras
To say that women are less classy these days I think is purely just a matter of perspective. And as far as I can see, there is no way of proving it one way or another. Whenever it is attempted to prove that women are worse now, usually by foolishly optimistic people, it’s always a comparison between the best of the past era versus the worst of this one. And that’s pretty transparent, if you ask me.

Always Holly Golightly next to the bogan down my street back-to-back, with the caption ‘What happened?’ underneath. Well I tell you what happened, you were born dumb and somehow stumbled upon an internet connection - that’s what happened.

There are classy girls everywhere, dick.


FBI: Female Body Inspector
I used to work for the FBI, you know? Yeah. Fo sho!

Oh! You must of thought I meant the Federal Bureau of Investigations. No, no, no, no, no! A-ha! I was referring to my time with the Female Body Inspectors. Hardy-har-har!

I'm quite sure that the first time I saw one of these stupid shirts was back in the 90s, by that I mean, stop printing them and burn the one you own because in joke-years, this one is older than time itself!


Any quote that has something to do with Tom Cruise
You know, 'show me the money', 'you can’t handle the truth', him jumping on Oprah's couch or the Mission Impossible theme. SHOW ME A NEW JOKE!

I don't mean to toot my own horn in saying this, but I am fully aware that some people are just born stupid, but can they at least pretend that they aren’t by coming up with a thought of their own, or by not saying anything at all. Tip: you can't sound stupid if you don't open your mouth. I mean gees! I’ve indulged in listing the stupid shit that people say before, so you can go ahead and add this bunch of stupid shit to that list of stupid shit. But at least in that case it was their own stuff that I thought was stupid - I say stupid stuff all the time - imagine my surprise when people started repeating other people's dumb stuff, now that's just a whole other wavelength of dumb!


wash me2

Not sure which is funnier...