Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Gripes for a Sweltering Tuesday

How many times per year do you get a card or letter in the mail that opens with effusive greetings and thanks for your business, then continues something like this:

"...we want to clearly inform you of the $5.00 increase per month;" or,

"Due to our increased operating costs, we are raising your monthly rate to $___;" or simply,

"Your monthly rate will increase to $____, effective with your next statement."

Pretty often, eh? Yes, it seems that the easiest way for businesses to keep up revenue in a poor economy is to fall back on the old "our costs have increased, so we're passing them on to you" dodge. The only problem with that approach is that you, Dear Reader, are at the bottom of the economic food chain. Chances are, you can't walk into your boss's office and tell her that, "Due to my increased operating and sustainment costs, I am raising my salary requirement by 10%, effective the first of the coming month."

That would go over like a tank top in a madrassa, wouldn't it?

It seems like everybody is able to raise the prices they charge you with impunity when their costs go up, but who worries about your costs going up?

Think about that when you go to the polls in November, and remember who Bilbo is endorsing:

By the way, Kathy, I forgot to answer your question about this sign ... yes, it is available as a bumper sticker from CafePress.com - you can find this one and several other variations here.

New topic ... the word penultimate. Chances are good that you don't use this word very often, and if you do, chances are that you don't use it correctly. No, it doesn't mean "high-security prison" ... it actually means "next to last," but in the last few weeks I've seen it used three times in government documents by authors who seem to think it means "ultimate." For a linguist, this is the equivalent of fingernails drawn across a chalkboard.

That's all. My operating and sustainment costs are going up, and I have to go to work so that I can pay them.

Life is good. Expensive, but good.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Gilahi said...

I've always been amused by the fact that there's a word in the English language, antepenultimate, that means "before the next to the last." How often does that get used?

My latest gripe is when a novelist describes something as "building to a crescendo". You don't "build to a crescendo". A crescendo is the building. You can crescendo to a fortissimo, which is what I think they mean to say.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Yeah like every year when Highmark petitions the state insurance board for rate increases and they get them. How about someone telling them NO!

Raquel's World said...

Funny you mentioned this. I arrived at my tanning salon last week and there was a sign on the door that said "effective immediately all tanning packages will have a 10% increase...You can thank Obama" I was offended by that. When I griped to a wise friend he informed me that those increases are months out. Which led me to feel it was a convenient excuse for the business owner to raise costs. I also felt that it was inappropriate for her to post her political views on the front door but anyways I just thought of what my post today will be about.

Chrissy said...

You posted recently about nice-ness and society (i just did a terrible job of summing up your post didn't i?). And i want to add a question to my previous 'questions for bilbo' comment. Do you think you have to be mean to get things accomplished? hmmm....or...why do you think more gets accomplished when we act mean? I was going to list a few recent examples of this...but we all have our own examples of times when we literally HAD TO BE MEAN to get answers/actions. But i was wondering what your opinion was on the topic.

I like the 'Vote for Nobody' pic by the way!!

Mike said...

Unfortunatly voting for nobody can get you the worst worst instead of the least worst.

Bilbo said...

Gilahi - only you would know a word like "antepenultimate." We should have discussed words last night at happy hour, along with the Philosophers' World Cup and everything else!

Andrea - if I thought telling them "NO" would help, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Raquel - Can't wait to read YOUR post.

Chrissy - to answer your new question requires a full post...I'll get to it in a day or two.

Mike - true...but the sign does make me feel better.

allenwoodhaven said...

My "favorite" excuse: For your convenience we are....

It's ALWAYS for their convenience, not our own.

For a great cartoon on words, look up yesterday's Arlo and Janis.(available online in The Washington Post web comics section) I saw it and thought that it should be in your next cartoon saturday!

KathyA said...

'Penultimate' to you is what the misuse of 'myriad' is to this ex-English teacher!