Got rage? Sometimes, going off on a rant—or just reading one—makes you feel a little better. So read. Enjoy. Laugh. Maybe get a little worked up. Or just be happy you’re not the only angry consumer out there. Then breathe and get on with your life.
RANT TARGET: Fashion Shows
RANTER: Simon Doonan, for Slate
All manner of random information is provided to we show attendees (and wee show attendees like petit moi) on the line sheets that adorn each seat: hairdresser credits, models’ names, arcane sources of inspiration, everything except the only tidbit which really matters: THE PRICE! Let’s face it, if that party frock retails for $650 it’s pretty groovy. At $4,678 it should be horribly ashamed of itself and screech its way back down the runway. Naughty frock!
Baby Neptune is a DVD that is supposed to make little ones appreciate the wonders of water. “Within a baby’s first year of life, new experiences can transform what might otherwise seem to be ordinary events into exciting opportunities for imaginative play,” claims its blurb.
Wait a sec. Within a baby’s first year of life, isn’t everything out of the ordinary, considering where they were recently hanging out? A bath, a puddle: They’re thrilling! Sitting still (and dry) in front of a video is actually the time when there is the least opportunity for imaginative play.
(Read: What Is the Most Useless Baby Product of All?)
RANT TARGET: “Personal Style”
RANTER: Gretchen Rubin, of the Happiness Project
Now I choose clothes that I like and that are appropriate. I don’t worry about whether they’re “me.” I want our apartment to be comfortable, attractive, and high-functioning. I don’t worry about whether it expresses “my unique style.” I stopped thinking much about my tastes, because it wasn’t a question that captured my interest.
RANT TARGET: Bottle and Can Redemption Laws
RANTER: Len Penzo
I find it much more practical to simply dispose of our recyclable bottles and cans each week by throwing them in the green, er, gray trash bin and let the city’s curbside collection service handle the recycling… In my case, each year our household ends up, well, “throwing away” more than $150 in redemption fees that we never get back — even though we recycle every can and bottle we use via our city’s curbside collection service. You don’t have to be on a tight budget to realize that’ll buy quite a few extra groceries every year.
RANT TARGET: Disney (specifically, its efforts to market baby goods to moms while still in the hospital after giving birth)
RANTER: The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
“It’s reprehensible for marketers to inject themselves into the relationship between a mother and her baby at birth,” said CCFC’s director Dr. Susan Linn. “Those amazing first moments of a newborn’s life should be one hundred percent commercial-free.”
RANT TARGET: Bank of America
RANTER: James Wronski, a homeowner so frustrated with efforts to refinance he painted a Worst Bank in America sign on his minivan
“I spoke to dozens of people, none really knowing what was going on, but all willing to send me to another department” he says. “I was told that I was qualified, then that I wasn’t qualified, numerous times.”
At one point, he says someone at B of A told him “You don’t make enough money for us to give you lower payments.” He also says he was told, “You’ve got to be behind on your payments to get our attention.”
Now I just feel annoyed, having spent $600 on a device that hasn’t done anything to improve my life. A salad spinner would have been a better investment, and I don’t even eat that much salad.
RANT TARGET: Downright cheap people
• order the cheapest thing on the menu with a glass of water, ask for all the free extras, and not leave a tip?
• take extra napkins, or packages of ketchup and sweetener to use them at home?
• buy gifts for friends and family from resale shops or garage sales?
• order a free sample and give it as a gift?
• split the 2-ply toilet tissues?
RANT TARGET: Penny auctions
RANTER: Justin Brown, for Bundle.com
A product with great value is put on an auction block with a criminally low starting price. When you bid on this item, you do not actually place a bid in terms of “here’s what I’m willing to pay for this item” — the act of bidding merely increases the product’s price by a small amount (preset by the site) and places your name as the high bidder. The kicker? Even if your bid turns out to NOT be the winning bid, you don’t get your bid money back. Basically, each bid is a tiny bet and the final price of the product depends entirely on how many people bet. See also: gambling.
RANT TARGET: The modern retail shopping experience
RANTER: Kentin Waits, for WiseBread
Eventually I make my way to the counter to pay (or rather, over-pay) for my item. Since I’ve now been greeted three times, the staff and I are practically old friends and the clerk asks me if I’d like to save 15% by signing up for store credit card. I imagine this pitch works more often than not (how can one resist the logic behind a one-time 15% discount for the privilege of charging future items at a permanent 21% interest rate?).