Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nickel & Diming - Forced Spending

After that rant about unspending I awoke this morning remembering my incredulousness -- almost wordlessness -- yesterday. Another post office experience of enforced helplesnness. [I see I'm into a lot of essences here! Hmm]

I had a letter to Australia which included a few poems that were help together with a paper clip -- I have some neat ones shaped like stars and musical clef and hands and those poems needed a touch of whimsy. The plastic gloved clerk fingered my envelope as if she were a medical technician palpating my breast, pre-mammogram, looking for lumps. She found the paper clip lump and demanding to know "what do you have in there?" Then told me that that made the envelope a package and not a letter and the charge was different [higher, of course]. I protested such a rule was posted nowhere visible and I visit the P.O. often. With great magnanimousness she deigned to "let it go this time." Of course I thanked her profusely. I really wanted to tell her, in case she was wearing those plastic gloves to avoid the threat of anthrax, that the Mad Mailer has been named and committed suicide. But maybe it was some ordinary germs she thought I had included with the paper clip that she was avoiding.

Upon reading the business section of The Times on the subway home, I saw an article about airlines. We all know they are no longer serving food and that on many flights the attendants peddle overpriced snacks and sandwiches. This article said that many American carriers are now viewing passengers as "retailing opportunities" [some consultant came up with that cute concept] and will begin charging also for juice and coffee and of course the little free bags with 15 peanuts in them will disappear and we passengers will be able to purchase for maybe $3, bags with 30 peanuts in them. The once glamourouse job of airline attendant becomes much more like the hotdog seller on the corner -- or his higher pricec colleague at baseball games.

Smart people, of course, will arrive with food in their carry ons [will a charge be instituted for BYO? I wouldn't be surprised] and then there may also be a charge for disposal of your plastic wrap and used water bottles. I'm so old I remember when air travel was something to look forward to -- which rumors and ads tell me it still is if you are rich enough to fly business or first class, especially transcontinentally and most especialy to the Arab Emirates on their new luxury Airbuses.

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