Balancing Your Checkbook

Keeping your checkbook balanced is very important. A skill few people know how to do correctly or at all for that matter. (To be honest I couldn’t even tell you where my check register is. Just check my online account every couple of days against what I purchased to make sure everything is kosher.) However, doing so at the register is not the place to do it. Take your receipt place it in your check book and deal with it later. Do it in your vehicle if it something that will bother you that much or better yet wait until you are in the comfort of your own home and can file away receipts in a timely manner.

If you are the only person at the register I honestly don’t care, but when there is someone waiting or multiple people for that matter common courtesy dictates you get the hell out of the way. Whomever is running the register is most likely not going to ask you to move. (No one wants the negative customer service review.) It is just easier to let the person(s) behind them shame them into moving.

This all ties into a couple of things I have mentioned in the past. First, the post about keeping your head on a swivel. Using checks is a time consuming process. Wherever you are using them is most likely going to be busy so get it together and get out of other customers way and stop tying up the person running the register. They most likely have three other tasks running through their head that they know need to be completed yet have to wait for you to hammer out a check.

Secondly, I have pontificated about how checks are an archaic form of payment. There are just way to many other payment methods that exist in which your bill can be settled up with. Most of which are safer and easier.





Epinephrine Pens

For those of you Facebook hero’s that have discovered how cheap epinephrine is by the ampule is now touting that everyone should be asking their doctor for a script of that and for a syringe please stop. I applaud your good intentions, but it truly isn’t a viable option. Pull up a seat and I will explain.

Yes, it is a cheaper….a lot cheaper. However, there is a trade off here and it’s time….that when it comes to the need to use epinephrine to counter act an anaphylaxis reaction there is precious little of. You see when opening an ampule of anything you first need to sterilize the top with an alcohol swab and then essentially crack the top off. (Each ampule does have an etched line around the neck to help with breaking it off) Even in an ideal setting you don’t always get a clean snap. (Since were talking about an emergency situation use you can most likely throw any semblance of a clean break out the window.)

Now that the vial is open remember to sterilize the top again. You must also make sure that before drawing any of the solution out of the ampule that you are using a filter tip needle on the syringe. Don’t want to draw up any glass shards. You may keep the person from suffocating, but failing to use the filter tip may result in micro pieces of glass being injected into a person. This could result in internal micro cuts throughout the body causing internal bleeding and/or high susceptibility to infection.

Let’s assume that you have done everything correctly to this point. (Did you draw up the correct amount of liquid?) Now you need to switch needle tips. (The filter tip doesn’t trap the glass, it just keeps it from contaminating the epinephrine in the syringe.) With the tip now changed you are ready to administer.

My point here is that again although this is a cheaper alternative it is not a viable alternative. It is a time consuming process in order to ensure the safety of the person receiving the medication. Which is why the brand name Epipen comes in the preset pens. Unless beyond the shadow of a doubt you know you can safely transport and maintain the integrity of the ampules, syringe, and needle tips don’t. You also have to ask yourself are you the kind of person that can maintain their cool to help administer the correct needed dose to save someone.

I’m sorry, but it is a much better idea to pony up the money from the pens than it is to try and quickly get through that process. Since I’m already on my soap box and I have everyone’s attention let me enlighten you to something that the manufacturer of Epipen doesn’t want you to know. THERE IS A GENERIC ON THE MARKET.

That’s right boys and girls there is a generic to Epipen on the market. It is significantly cheaper. (By a couple of hundred dollars.) The problem is that there aren’t enough studies out to prove that it’s an “AB” rated generic. To translate there isn’t enough data that allows for pharmacies to just change it to the generic that exists. When getting a prescription from your doctor for an epinephrine pen ask them to write it for just that. Saves time and money.

That way you don’t have to wait for congress to legislate something and you could start hitting the manufacturer in the bank account. Instead just lean on your legislature to start making inquiries into why the FDA is dragging their feet on getting the “AB” rating studies done.





And Your Grand Total Is…

If you remember that part from Supermarket Sweep then you most likely had an awesome childhood like me and enjoyed watching that game show. Give yourself a bro five and keep reading.

When your at the register I’m going to assume you are in a hurry much like the person manning the register wants to get you the hell out of there because there is either a line of people or there are a bakers dozen of other tasks to complete before the shift is over. However, please wait to be told your total before trying to give a form of payment.

Firstly, despite how advanced some of the cash registers are they are still computers and depending on the network they are hooked up to it may take a beat or two before the payment part of the transaction can be completed. Please don’t try and swipe, tap, or insert your credit/debit card mid transaction. In most instances there is going to be something that undoes or prevents the actual processing of the card. Just have it ready in your hand and then use when instructed/prompted to.

Second, please don’t try and hand us cash while we trying to get to the point where we can take it and put said money in the register. Again, wait for the total to be announced. Please get your money out and ready to hand over when asked for it, especially if you know you are going to have to dig for it, but standing there with the money essentially being shoved at us isn’t going to make the register close the transaction any quicker or the draw pop open any sooner for that manner. When it is done to me in the pharmacy I will take and promptly place money on the counter because I am not ready to receive it. (I have had a couple people pick it back and try to hand it to me again at which point they are informed I wasn’t ready to take it and need to wait for the register.)

Again, all parties involved are generally interested in completing the sale quickly, but most of us running the register want it done correctly as well too. At my location we do have the best touch screen register available, but even they can be overly sensitive. So yes, we are going to take an extra couple of seconds to avoid a headache. Just take those extra couple of seconds to ponder the meaning of life.

Convience Fee’s

These are just an excuse for a business to charge you extra money. You can tell me that its to help cover the cost of insurance for an event or the transportation of an item that isn’t found in the area readily available at the end of the day its still bullshit. I could see charging an extra buck maybe two on top of the normal retail price to help cover some of the extra overhead but some of the prices being charged under the guise of an added convenience fee it bullshit.

My first example is the local outdoor concert venue was charging 11.00 for a domestic can of beer. I’m not talking about the tall boy cans either I am speaking of the standard 12 ounce cans that you can pick a sixer for around 9 dollars. Upon further investigation I found out that part of the 11 dollars was a pouring fee. BULLSHIT! Hand me the can and cup I am a god damn adult I can do it myself. This is just one of many reasons I stopped going to concerts at this particular venue.

Another example of convince fees being charged is the up-pricing of food in transportation centers. Why does anyone think that its ok to charge an extra 3 or more dollars for mediocre fried food in an airport. Your not providing better food or service and in a lot of instances it actually worse. I will happily pack my own food, leave the terminal and find something, or suck it up till I get to my destination. My only exception here is when I am traveling on the company dime then Ill go top shelf everything.

I may just be howling into the wind on this one people, but I hate price gouging. I’ve fought against my own company hierarchy a couple of times.

It’s All About The Benjamin’s Baby

If you are going to pay for goods and/or services with large bills, 100’s, 50’s & 20’s to a certain extent, there a few things to consider. Please be aware that you are most likely going to screw the cashier because of the amount of change that they are going to have to hand to you. Especially if we are talking about the weekend as well.

Yes, I know businesses should be able to calculate correctly for larger bills, but lets be honest here. Businesses aren’t banks and shouldn’t be expected to break your large bills for you. It is with this in mind that I have come up with some rules or general social conventions that I believe should be followed.

First off, let me reiterate any given business is not a bank, unless it happens to be a bank, and the expectation that we should break a large bill is not realistic. I know I mentioned 20’s earlier and the reason I bring it up is because of the jack offs the use a 20 to pay for something that costs 58 cents. In most instances this shouldn’t cause an issue, but if you hit that magical time of day where there mostly 20’s, 1’s, and change in the draw and one of the managers hasn’t had the chance to do a bank break yet. That’s where it gets you.

Second, if you are going to use a large value bill for your purchase your total should be at least half of what the bills value is. That way you won’t zap the drawer of all its change. Let’s be honest here, if you hand me a 50 for a $1.73 total you have earned the stink eye.

Finally, it will not cost you anything to ask if the large bill can be broken. (Normally the answer will be yes and we will just call to the office for change.) Whose the bigger asshole if you hand over the large bill to the cashier and they just say no. Like I said before, there is a sweet spot in the daily grind of things where there just won’t be enough change to go around.

Minimum Wage Increase

So one of my friends sent me a news article with a title that without reading the article will elicit a very inflammatory response. In my case it did, but I put my initial response in check until I was able to sit, read, and digest the article in whole.

Basically, what has happened is that New York states governor has taken the advice of his three member panel of fast-food restaurant workers and agreed to pass legislation to make specifically the minimum wage of fast food workers be raised to $15.00. Before I tear down this decision lets be clear that minimum wage needs to be increased end of story.

The article goes on to compare that the entry level fast-food worker will be on the same starting scale as a paramedic. I can’t wrap my head around that at all even of the fact of how many other skilled jobs whose starting salary is on pace with that or lower. I don’t know any other way to say this, but no, in fact, Hell no.

I have worked in a fast food restaurant. Most of the work is unskilled or minimal skill labor. Granted I was only a teenager at the time, but I still recall a lot of what I did and it didn’t require a lot of training or knowledge. Do you work hard? Yes, but nothing to the effect that would warrant such a increase in wages.

I am acutely aware that it may be the only job that some people have or are capable of holding, but that does not sway my opinion. There are tons of job training programs out there a lot of which is free or at a reduced cost. Take advantage of said programs and better yourself. For the people who aren’t capable of more than a fast-food job or similarly low skill job that’s fine. First I’m glad they are being contributing members of society, but there are other programs and agencies out there to help said people support themselves. Really didn’t know how to word that last part without sounding like a total asshole, but eh.

Here’s the compromise I’m willing to make. If you are going to raise the minimum wage of one set of workers you must raise it for everyone. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I also demand that the wage scales of other jobs be raised appropriately as well.

Delayed Gratificaton

Today while eating lunch I treated myself to some chocolate milk as my beverage and was inspired. Even after I have consumed all of the beverage there will be residue of the milk covering my cup on most sides. If I just let it sit for a minute or two it will run down to the bottom and enough will normally collect for one last hit of chocolaty goodness. (I may have a chocolate milk problem, but THERE WILL BE NO JUDGING HERE.)

I used this simple example to express a greater point of the need for delayed gratification. The society in which a chunk of the worlds population lives in expects immediate gratification. Unfortunately, there are many circumstances in which  don’t allow for that with safety, rate of use, and technological ability being at the top of the list.

Let me hit you with a couple more examples.

When teaching, especially younger students, sometimes the drive to get the answer correct is so great that it skews the learning process. There is the occasional student that just looks at something or just needs a basic gist of a concept and just like flicking the light switch to on gets it. Except for when they don’t and then it turns into an epic fight. Sorry kids, not everything will be that easy. As concepts get more abstract or if its designed to make a learning stretch not everything will be easy. You will have to learn to go through the motions.

At the pharmacy the classic example is. “I need this now”. Great, fantastic, its still going to take us 15 minutes because of other patients, safety checks, and filling protocol. There is  no such thing as slapping a label on it and giving it to you even though in the filling process that may be all we are doing. My favorite is the patient who hands us the prescription that is dated from three weeks ago and needs it now because they have a procedure in 30 minutes.

I think mentioning financial instant gratification is worth mentioning. The ability to get a credit card is extremely easy as long as you don’t mind paying a ridiculous APR .( Shop the credit companies people. No sense in getting hosed anymore than necessary.) We are long removed from the “If you don’t have the cash then you can’t get it society”. I have seen people put themselves in finical ruin with credit cards and loans for shit they should not have purchased. I can also give you several examples of how people have established an excellent credit rating with appropriate use of credit cards, myself included.

My ultimate message here is to learn to take that extra minute. Sometimes the reward is a little extra sweet.