Bare minimum Mondays

Have you heard about “Bare Minimum Mondays?” They’re sort of a sister to Quiet Quitting and Casual Friday.

I work for myself, so I can admit I’ve sort of lived Bare Minimum Mondays for years. As the lady in this Insider article, she does Bare Minimum Mondays, to beat the Sunday Scaries, which I get.

That was my solution to hating Mondays – I would do little work and go to the beach. I would make it a habit to go to the beach every Monday. It eased me into the week. Again, I work for myself, so that’s an easy thing to do.

I used to be the president of the board at our condo. Back then I really needed Bare Minimum Mondays. I told someone once that every Sunday night felt like the night before the first day of school each Monday because it was it was a lot of pressure and not enjoyable, not to mention stressful. He laughed at that until he became the condo prez, then he got it.

For many years I printed school newspapers and other publications and during the summer months – June, July and August, I didn’t have any money coming in, so on the first day of school, which wasn’t a Monday, but usually a Wednesday, I would celebrate business starting back up by going to the beach. It was sort of like Bare Minimum Monday, but it was better. Since everyone was dealing with the first day of school – parents and kids – I had that day to myself.

But then again, during the school and business year, I would manage to take Bare Minimum Mondays, to ease my way into the week. It was a mini-vacation.

When there is a holiday on a Monday, it is sort of like Bare Minimum Monday for everyone. For some reason, the week goes so much faster – it’s Tuesday before you know it, then it’s Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – it goes by so fast. That sounds like that Seinfeld episode (shown below), but it’s true.

So anyway, I think Bare Minimum Mondays or any day you choose during the week, is a great thing for your sanity. It’s a day you can look forward to. I know there is lots of talk these days about a four day work, but even then I think we need a Bare Minimum day to ease the work week, no matter how many days it is.

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All you gotta do is answer the phone

Years ago, maybe 20 years ago, I asked a neighbor how she worked in New Hampshire and Miami – she and her husband, both lawyers, went back and forth between the two places. She told me, “Tom, all you have to do is answer the phone, the client/customer doesn’t have to know where you are, they are just happy that you answered the phone.” And I’ve always remembered that.

It’s so easy these days with all the digital things we have – iphones, ipads, etc. I’ve worked on planes, trains and at the beach.

Years ago, I think I mentioned, I was a printing broker and I handled school newspapers. I literally worked an hour or two a day. I picked up the newspaper ready for print at the schools and dropped them off at the printer and that was it. In between, I stopped at the office, but by 10 am, I was usually free the rest of the day. And this was before cell phones.

I was unreachable after 10 am. I don’t know how I managed to do this for 20 years, but I ran a very good business like this. Teachers occasionally would leave me voice messages on my home answering machine, but basically, that was it. I was free from 10 am until 8 am the next day. No fuss, no muss.

When cell phones came into play and websites and things like that, I seemed to be more tied to the office than when I was a printing brokers with no way of reaching me.

It’s always amazing to think and wonder how things got done in the past without being tied to our cell things 24/7.

I blogged about this one time – the fact that I would meet up with friends while traveling and we would just meet up at the appointed time and place without being able to text back and forth 100 times to arrange it all. I would tell friends I would be in NY on such and such date and if they happened to be there visiting, too, we would arrange to meet.

But how did we do it? I don’t remember. Did we say on such and such date at such and such time we would meet in front of this place and that was it? We always managed to meet up and we were always there at the appointed date and time.

Sometimes life was much easier and less stressful when we weren’t tied to wifi all day and night.

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I wanna quit the newspaper

I got this crazy note from my newspaper carrier. No joke.

I only bring this up now because I see the FTC is trying to make it easier to cancel subscriptions to everything. Right now you have to jump through hoops to cancel any subscription and that’s what happened here.

I called the paper to cancel my subscription and rather than just canceling it, they questioned me as if I was on the stand. Why did I want to cancel? “Well,” I said, “I never really read it.

You don’t read it? “Well no, like today. I didn’t read it.”

Why didn’t you read it today? “Well, to be honest, it wasn’t delivered today and I didn’t even miss it.”

It wasn’t delivered? “Well, no, that happens a lot . . . “

And then on and on, I go . . . “A lot of time it’s left out front where people pick it up off the street, other times, it just doesn’t come. It’s late, it’s this it’s that,” and I go on and on.

At the end of the conversation, I asked them to please not use my name and don’t say anything to the carrier, but of course they did, and I got the above note.

After the subscription was finally stopped, I got non-stop calls from the paper asking me to re-subscribe.

One day I was standing out front, very early in the morning, it was still dark out, I was waiting for an Uber to pick me up to take me to the airport.

Up comes a car, I think it’s Uber. It comes right up to me on the front lawn – right up on the grass. It’s the delivery girl! She has her usual music blasting and she hands me the newspapers for the whole condo, says, “Good morning,” backs up into the street and is off.

Since then I’ve resubscribed, but only to the digital version, not the printed paper. But I forget to read the digital paper and occasionally use it to read the tv listings only. I once read up to seven newspapers a day (no really), now I read none. I can read the comics online, which I do, I can get all the news online from social media, where all the stories are posted and I hate to not support the local papers. So maybe I’ll go back to print, soon.

By the way, about showing this letter to her boss. I know her boss, he lives next door to one of my best friends. I have his number in my phone and if I really had a complaint, I most likely would text him, not go through the subscription service.

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There’s no personal service anymore

There’s a lot of talk about AI (artificial intelligence) and things like that lately. And it all seems interesting. I’ve always been pro-technology. I build websites, I draw digitally, rather than with pen and paper, for 15 years I published our local news online, and I’ve run an online business for years, so I’m all up for that, but lately, a couple of things have bothered me.

I had a doctor’s appointment recently and it was all done digitally, except for the doctor’s appointment, which now that I think about it, could have been through Zoom. But what I mean is I had to make the appointment online, then they texted me things and emailed me forms. I had to fill out forms online before showing up for the appointment, then I had to fill in insurance forms online and and answer questions, personal things, including what religion I am.

Then weeks before the appointment, they either emailed me, texted me or called me daily. And I mean one of those three options daily! When I have a doctor’s appointment, I like to not think about it until the day of the appointment, not be reminded about it every day until the day of the appointment.

When I showed up for the appointment, I had to check in myself on a computer. And then a wrist band came out of the machine which I had to wear, you know the type you would get if you were in a hospital? And it was all mechanized and I felt like a number from there on.

The other day I saw a condo online that I am interested in. It’s in a building I lived in some years back. I rented back then and now I have the opportunity to purchase. I love the area and love the building and I decided to make an appointment to see the unit, I think it’s to mostly get it out of my system, rather than possibly buy it, but who knows. I have a friend who is my realtor, but since I don’t want to waste his time, I thought meeting with the listing agent for the first time would be best.

But I can’t get a live listing agent on the phone, so . . . .

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Freaking out over the new tipping systems

People are freaking out about the new Starbucks tipping system, but it isn’t just Starbucks.

The freak out is about the awkwardness of it all. At the airport recently I came upon this where when you pay with a credit card, you have to go through a process of tipping or not tipping before you scan your card.

This is now a thing everywhere – in person at the register and also on apps where you order food or drink.

I’ve seen this at ice cream stores, sub shops, fast take-away places and of course sit down restaurants. You order and then when it’s time to pay, the tip portion comes up. And you’re not even in the store when you order on apps and you are tipping before you even receive service, or even enter the store at most instances. Tip first, ask questions later.

And a new thing at many restaurants is where they use this new scanning device at the table; they don’t take the credit card away to process it anymore, which is a good thing, but the waitstaff now stands over you waiting for you to tip and pay for the order, You don’t really have time to think.

Last week I split a bill with a friend, we both gave a credit card and split it in half and we both tipped 20% and left. We didn’t get a receipt and we asked each other, “Do you even know how much the bill was?” Neither of us did.

In NYC recently I was at a diner with another friend, an expensive diner (diner, not dinner), and the waiter was quite pushy. He was an older guy and I guess worked as a waiter most of his life, so he knew the ins and outs.

He handed me the black box to pay and then said, “Put your card in this way,” and “Here is the tip section, I’ll push the 20% button for you here,” and he did. He pushed the tip button himself.

One thing about that tip thing – I think they are losing out because I usually give more than 20% tip and most times I’ll round up the tip to a higher figure. Like if the tip is $17 or $18, I make it $20. So if their 20% button gives them $17.25, if they left me to my own devices, I would have left them $20.00 and sometimes even more if I liked the waiter or waitress, or if I know them personally.

There is one Starbucks I frequent in NYC daily, it’s a convenient location for me. But they are terrible. They are slow, they ignore orders placed on the app, they once made me break a $20 bill for a 5 cent bag (they charge you for shopping bags in all NY stores now) and they are not tip-worthy. But if you don’t leave the tip ahead of time when placing the order, you worry about the treatment you will get. But now that I think about it, could it be any worse than the service you get now?

At the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was staying home, I used Instacart and had things delivered from the supermarket. You would tip in advance there, too. I usually gave $5, but at that time, they were so overwhelmed, they literally would take up to four days to deliver the products. Now it’s two hours, but then it literally was days, they would tell you on the app, “We’ll be there next Thursday, between 2 and 4 pm.” It was a mess.

But I read that if you gave a big tip, you would get faster delivery times, so I started giving $20 and it worked; I was prioritized and received my delivery on the same day. So it seems as if on these apps and such we are now paying to get a fast and decent order before we even get the fast and decent orders and it’s almost a bribe to get the fast and decent order.

I heard that people don’t tip Uber drivers much. I always do. I used to give them a cash tip, but now I put it on the app. It’s easier. As I exit the car I tell them, “I’ll put the tip on the app.” I don’t know if they believe me, but I always do add it later.

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Informed delivery

I get this thing called “informed delivery” from the post office. Every morning, around 9 am, I get an email with photos of my mail that is being delivered that day.

I got it because I travel often, and sometimes I get important business stuff in the mail, so this way if I see anything that needs to be attended to, I can ask my neighbor, who takes my mail in for me when I’m away, if she can open it and let me know what it says.

Truth be told, that has never happened. It’s been about 10 years that I have this service and I don’t think I’ve ever had to have something opened because it was important and couldn’t wait until I get home.

I try not to look at it daily because my mail comes late – sometimes 6 pm and if I see something that I question or concerns me, I worry about it all day. Like yesterday – this happened yesterday.

I saw a notice/letter from the IRS. All day I worried about it. Do I owe them money? Are they going to audit me? What is it?

Finally, about 6 pm, I went to the mailbox, got the mail and know what it was? A pin code that I requested a week before. Apparently to get into your IRS account online, you need a pin code, which they send via snail mail.

This happened not long ago. I saw an IRS notice and freaked out and when I ended up opening it, it was a letter telling me they were adding interest to a refund they owed me. Since they were late sending out the refund, they added interest.

I’m thinking of getting rid of “informed delivery” or at least not looking at it when it arrives in my email.

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Overpriced concert tickets

I wasn’t sure if people would get this cartoon, but they sure have. It’s hit a nerve with so many people. On social media people are letting loose with their comments. With this new “dynamic ticket” pricing, it’s saving all the good seats for those who can afford it, raising the price to thousands of dollars. Ticketmaster allegedly is scalping the scalpers.

I am surprised though at so many people who don’t like Bruce Springsteen, according to their comments anyway.

The last time I saw Springsteen in person was 1985! At the Orange Bowl in Miami. For years I’ve been thinking it was 1984, but this news article says it was 1985.

My mother even went! No, we didn’t need her to chaperone, she just loved Springsteen, too, so she was a fan!

My mom had eclectic tastes, she loved Springsteen, AC/DC, Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac and it’s no secret that her favorite song was Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns ‘N Roses, but she also loved Frank Sinatra and Elvis, Tom Jones and basically everything!

There was a period where I went to a lot of concerts and I would get the best seats possible. I remember about 10 or 15 years ago sitting mere feet from Stevie Nicks at a Fleetwood Mac concert, she was just a few rows up and my friends and I were dead center. And I’m sure we didn’t overpay for the tickets.

Now the ticket prices are out of sight. Like gas, groceries and everything these days. I’m surprised no one has blamed President Biden for the cost of concert tickets yet.

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Van Go Moving and Storage

Today’s comic made me think of the real thing. What if there was a moving company called “Van Go” and and all of the movers looked like Vincent Van Gogh? We’ve all seen people in real life who look like Van Gogh, right?

But I guess it would be hard to gather a bunch together and have them work as movers, right? But it’s an interesting idea.

Or another idea I had was a arts and antiques moving company that used people dressed as or look-alike artists or art subjects. Like for instance you had the Mona Lisa delivering a painting you won at auction or Monet delivering a vase you got at a tag sale.

I remember years ago there was a restaurant in town that gave you famous names as you walked in along with your table buzzer. When your table was ready they would call out, “Marilyn Monroe, table for two!” “Clark Gable, table for four,” etc.

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Stolen credit cards

Someone was using my credit card in NY the other day. VISA contacted me to tell me that someone tried to spend $1075.00 at a Versace store, but they stopped them and blocked the card. They knew it wasn’t me from my spending habits! Which is correct, I don’t wear Versace. I’m a t-shirt and jeans guy. Basically a slob.

The only reason I bring this up is that I find it interesting that our credit card companies know more about us than Google or Facebook. They know what we spend on everything these days – people use credit cards to buy a cup of coffee. If I drink coffee every day and order tea one day, will they see this as fraud?

A few months ago I wrote about having my card declined at a gas station which was a few miles from home – it was out of my usual buying pattern.

A few years back I was notified by American Express – they said someone was using my card fraudulently. I asked them how they knew – they said they were buying motorcycle parts – which was out of my buying pattern. The same week, VISA contacted me, again it was a case of fraud. How did they know? Someone was buying Avon – which was out of my buying pattern. So I guess my buying pattern is somewhere between motorcycles and Avon.

I’ve been extra careful with my credit cards, I keep them in special sleeves so they can’t be scanned, but I guess there is always a crook out there who knows a loophole or two. I’m glad that the credit card companies are stopping sales in their tracks and not letting them through. Still – it’s all about getting new cards and dealing with changing all that info on auto billing places.

Last month I had to change my American Express card – someone set up a fake account on Etsy and they were charging small sales to people. They charged me for four items at $62 each. I only noticed because I have this thing set up where they email me every time I use the card where the card is not present – mostly online. Even when I guy something they send me an email, which I like.

They don’t send out new cards overnight like they used to. What they do is give you the new number through secure means and you can use that number until you get the actual card. I already changed out my Apple Pay account with the new card info.

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The price of gas; and coffee

This cartoon from Friday really hit a nerve with people. It got so many shares, likes and comments, more than any other I think.

A lot of people were saying they didn’t like it because it made no sense – how can you compare one cup of coffee to gallons of gasoline? But the point of the cartoon is that if a guy buys a $5.00 cup of coffee, most likely he is doing it daily and most likely, he is doing it more than once a day, so for him to complain about the price of gas is disingenuous. Plus, anyone who buys $5.00 coffee really has no right to complain about the price of gas. It’s just a big metaphor. That’s all. Sort of like Elon Musk complaining about the price of a space rocket.

And yes, I know gas is more than $3.00. I was surprised to see some of the comments from Norway and other far away places where gas is $7.00 a gallon! But it was cleaner to read making it $3.00 a gallon rather than $3.79 a gallon or $3.99 a gallon or even $4.00 a gallon, since $4.00 was too close to the $5.00 amount of the coffee.

I was driving around my county the last few weeks and saw that gas in less populated areas is much less than popular and more upscale neighborhoods. Some differences as much as 50 cents a gallon and these places are harder to get to than popular neighborhoods and areas. So none of it makes sense other than supply and demand I guess.

And might I add that Shell gas stations are always more than any other station on any give day at any time of the year. I gave up buying Shell gas years ago. For spite I think they are higher in price. If one station is $1.99 a gallon, Shell, across the street is $2.29 a gallon. If gas is $3.79 at one station, at Shell across the street, it is $4.15 a gallon. I think they do it to see how many people are too lazy to drive across the street for the cheaper gas – and it’s not cheaper brands, it’s name brand gas that is cheaper than Shell. Always.

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