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Three Random Stories (and Personal Finance Links)

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I thought about not posting the last two stories, but I figured they were entertaining and the kind of thing that I would to read if I were someone else. Not too much personal finance after the first story, so if that's your interest, just jump straight down to the links and enjoy.

Story 1 - Small Business Stimulus Package
You have a small business and need a boost in this economy? This is your lucky day. Ben at Money Smart Life is giving away a Small Business Stimulus Package. You can win $250 in cash and/or various web consulting services.

Story 2 - The Drive-In
I need people's thoughts on this one. Let me know if I'm a jerk here or not. I'm at the McDonalds Drive-Thru the other day (probably a once-a-month thing and I typically get a double cheeseburger and move on). This drive-thru is a little weird. It actually splits the line into two for ordering and then re-merges them. I guess it's faster that way because they two people ordering at the same time and can process the food faster. Cool idea, I just don't know how they manage to give people the right food with the merge. If one side takes 15 minutes and I'm ordering just a double cheeseburger, well you can see how one side could move much faster than the other at times.

I'm done ordering and looking to merge back into the single line. I let one car go from the other side (the car that was before me when I entered the split to order). However, another car is trailing it, probably 18 inches of space between them. I'm waiting for them to stop and let me in (typical zipper merge), but they just keep driving. Finally I honk my horn to let them know that I'm there and waiting and have as much right as they do (there is no yield) to get my food. Probably more because if they mess up the merge, who knows if they'll get my order right? This is a drive-thru so you know it's already a high risk even before you add this merge twist.

So I honk my horn and the other car stops. They roll down my window and they are a 70 year old couple (just a guess). I ask them if they were going to let me merge (in not the most polite tone). They called me a name back and finally told me to go ahead. So here's the thing... am I the biggest jerk in the world for being angry at my elders? Do they get a free pass to be rude because they are older? In the end I decided that all things being equal, all people deserve to be treated equally. It doesn't matter if you are old, young, blue, purple, or some third gender that scientists just discovered last week.

Story 3 - The Football Game
I went to the Oakland Raiders game with my wife yesterday. Longtime readers know that I'm a big Patriots fan, so I was putting myself in enemy territory in one of the dangerous stadiums in the US. There were signs and public announcements everywhere reminding fans of conduct rules. In fact they have a SMS number where you can just pre-type in your section and row, so if there's a problem, you hit send and the police are there. I wish I were making that last sentence up.

If that last point wasn't strong, my wife may have had the quote of the day, "I don't have a lot of rules in life, but one of them is that if you have a jacket covered in skulls, you get to get on the escalator ahead of me. You know, generally speaking."

Towards the end of the game, the 100 Oakland fans (starting down 21-0 before you get a first down and losing big in 3 hours of rain will eliminate most fans) gathered around the Patriots bench to taunt them with chants of 18-1 referring to the Patriots record last year. I really don't understand this chant. Roughly translated I take it to mean, "You just had as many wins as any team in the National Football League in a season. Also you had a higher winning percentage than anyone has achieved in any of the four major sports in the US (outside of the other two teams that I think accomplished the same feat). On the other hand, my Oakland Raiders have managed to win 18 games in the 5 years - combined." I wish I had video of it, so I could put it on Failblog.org.

A finally football thought: The Patriots could go 11-5 winning approximately 69% of the games they play this season and not make the playoffs. Another team, Denver Broncos or San Deigo Chargers, depending tie-brakers, could go 8-8, just 50% of their games, and make the playoffs. By the way winning 69% of your games would have made you the fourth best NBA team last year and the best baseball team by a mile. Sure a lot has to do with a small sample size of the NFL, but that's amazing. If someone has some extra time on their hands, I would love to read the highest winning percentage a team has had and not made the playoffs in any sport. I don't know how hockey does winning percentage with it's ties (so I'll leave that to a hockey fan).

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Posted on December 15, 2008.

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22 Responses to “Three Random Stories (and Personal Finance Links)”

  1. kosmo says:

    @$$holes get old, too. I’m quite respective of my elders, but it’s a fantasy to suggest that 100% of them are nice, sweet people. the guys who give wedgies in high school eventually get to be 70 year olds – some of them change their ways, but not all (although they probably ease up on the wedgies at some point)

    As for the playoffs questions … your definition of “playoffs” could make this interesting – I assume that you’re limiting this to major US sports. I’d assume that it’s a pre-merger NFL or AFL team that maybe lost 1 game and missed the playoffs (there was maybe 1 round of playoffs in those days – just a championship game?)

  2. Becky says:

    Funny, I was thinking the same thing about our “elders” the other day. She didn’t say “oh were you in line” or anything, just cut right in front of me. I really think people believe it is their “right” once they get older to do as they please. I hope I don’t forget my manners when I get older!

  3. Lazy Man says:

    Kosmo, yes I meant the four major US sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). I had that in a previous edit, but it seems to I edited it out with another change.

    I don’t know the about the pre-merger NFL and AFL teams, but let’s roughly define it as any major US sport with a playoff system of at least two rounds. I was going to put a wild-card requirement in, but I’m not sure too many baseball teams won 108 or so games and didn’t make the playoffs. I went back and looked at basketball as far as 1980 and it seems like some 2nd and 3rd place teams made the playoffs.

  4. HisMoney says:

    I don’t think you were out of line at McDonalds at all. Some people just don’t pay attention or think they can do whatever they want. It’s a good thing to remind them or make them aware that what they’re doing is wrong.

  5. PT Money says:

    Honking at old people? Lazy Man, you’ve reached a new low. ;)

  6. katy says:

    geezers can be jerks too!

  7. Austin says:

    Haha! Seems like the experience with cranky elderly people isn’t that rare. I think we need to keep in mind that if a person lives long enough, then he or she will probably become really jaded. At some point, people stop caring what other people think.

    Hey I remember a time when I was in line at the post office. When I got to the front, a guy cut in front of me. I politely said, “Excuse me?” He turns around, shoves a handicap placard in my face, and shouts “OKAY?!?”

    Sigh. Would I be justified for punching the person in the face? Just kidding.

  8. Mike says:

    The 18-1 chant isn’t lost on me. I’d cheer it up with them. Of course I’m a Giants fan who’s lived in New England for most of his life. =)

  9. kosmo says:

    (sigh)

    you just know I’m going to (eventually) dig up the answer for you …

    It almost has to be football. Even a baseball team with 108 wins (162 game schedule) would only be .670. I’m betting there’s an 11-3 (.786) team from the old 14 games schedule that missed the (smaller) playoffs – or at the very least, a 10-4 team (.714). With the larger sample sizes in the other sports, I would find it difficult to believe that a .700+ team missed the playoffs, since .700 is very rare in those spots.

  10. Michele says:

    I can really relate to the old people thing. Years ago, I took my kids to a Sizzler Buffet. My son, who was about 9 at the time, went up to the salad bar and was reaching for the last fresh strawberry in a bowl. An old lady who was standing beside him elbowed him in the face, knocked the strawberry out of his fingers and shouted “respect your elders” as she snatched the strawberry away. I went to the management to ask them to call the police, but just then, a server came out with a huge bowl of fresh strawberries and let my son have first pick. He wasn’t hurt, just kinda shocked. But from that time it was very clear that there is a disconnect that happens when you become elderly that you can do pretty much anything and get away with it.

  11. Leah says:

    I have to tell you, I have dealt with more rude old people than rude anyone else. Respect your elders to a point, but just because they’re old doesn’t mean they deserve special treatment. They should have manners just like us young whippersnappers. Hmph.

    I watched the Oakland/New England game on Sunday and just laughed most of the time. I’ve been a lifelong Pats fan (born on a Pats Super Bowl, thankyouverymuch), and these past few years have been tons of fun. Have you seen the Boston.com rundown of how the playoff scenarios might work? Way too complicated for me, but here it is if you’re interested: http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/wilbur/2008/12/15/settling_the_scenarios/ Sometimes a blowout victory is all you need for that energy/morale boost!

  12. kosmo says:

    The 1967 Baltimore Colts were 11-1-2 – tied for the best record in the NFL – and did not make the playoffs. Only the 4 NFL division winners made the playoffs that year. The tiebreaker procedures was head to head. The Colts and LA Rams played twice that year. They tied one game, and then the Rams beat the Colts in the final regular season game to win the head-to-head tiebreaker.

    1967 standings -> http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/1967/

    Backgroun -> http://miamimigraine.blogspot.com/2007/05/1967-baltimore-colts.html

  13. kosmo says:

    To expand this a bit:

    In the era of 1 wild card, there were 5 teams with 10-4 records that did not make the playoffs (all in 1975-1977, I believe)

    In the dual wild card era (16 games), I think the 1985 Broncos were the only 11-5 team to miss the playoffs.

    Also of note, the Broncos are -40 in point differential. In theory, they could finish with 10 wins and have a negative point differential.

  14. brittdreams says:

    The new McDonald’s system actually takes a picture of the car (taken while you’re ordering), and stores it for all of about 10 minutes. The touch-screen the drive-thru cashier has actually shows pictures of cars and they tap the car, which brings up your order. So, assuming that store has the latest system, it actually wouldn’t have mattered if you let the car go in front of you. Did they ask, “Did you order a Big Mac?” at the window, then they probably don’t have the latest system.

  15. Slacker says:

    LazyMan,

    I’ve struggled with this on occasion as well. Do elderly people deserve more forgiveness/perks/privileges simply for being old? In your situation, I would’ve just cut them off if I could’ve, but I tend not to honk unless it is a potentially life threatening or dangerous situation (like somebody going the wrong way on the road).

    That being said, I think we should have one set of rules for all people. We may talk differently, or say things in a different way, but what’s wrong is wrong no matter how many times in your life you’ve had chances to experience those wrongs. Maybe as elders, they should lead by example, but I’m not going to treat people any differently because they have more or less time on this earth than I do.

    – Slacker
    http://www.theslackermethod.com

  16. kosmo says:

    I do tend to be a bit more lenient with the elderly. Not so much due to time left on earth, but due to the fact that they might have physical limitations that can make certain actions difficult/painful. In general, if I can prevent someone else from having an unpleasant experience without a whole lot of effort on my part, I’ll do it. This might come from the fact that my parents were older (my dad was 50+ when I was born).

    Britt – So, if I want to mess with McDs, I line up identical twins, put them in indentical cars and send them through the drive through? :)

    That does sound like a good system, actually.

  17. Jim says:

    The elderly should not get a free pass for being rude. But I agree to being more forgiving of their behaviour in other ways. Like if they didn’t realize it was a merge system cause they were oblivious to there being 2 lanes then I would forgive that or excuse them there. But if they respond with name calling then theres no call for that however old they were.

    Jim

  18. Michelle says:

    I noticed older people are often rude to younger people regardless. How many parents treat their young children with half as much respect as they treat their spouse? The kids grow up to think kids aren’t worthy of respect and that they finally get their turn to be the evil dictator. While simultaneously wondering why kids don’t show them any respect.

  19. Lynnie says:

    They were out of line – but so were you. Rudeness has no excuse, and I really hope you don’t think that 1 minute delay to your cheeseburger was worth A)The time it took to write the post; B) the energy you’ve put into thinking about it since; C) anything more than a “Note to self: Do not be rude when older”.

  20. Lazy Man says:

    I wasn’t really concerned about the delay for my food. I was slightly concerned that I’d get the wrong food because the merge was messed up (didn’t know about the video camera system). The biggest thing was the principle. If someone is being rude, I don’t think you should accept the behavior and do nothing. It just encourages more rudeness for the next person.

    I try to make the world a better place to live each day and thought this was the best course of action to accomplish that.

  21. Michael says:

    That’s pretty funny. You did the right thing at the drive-through.

    The problem at our local McDonalds is that while the drive-through lane wraps around the building like a U, there’s an entrance close to the halfway point. Too often, someone comes in that entrance and thinks they can cut into line instead of going around. I never let them, even if it means a game of chicken. One memorable lady in a minivan floored the gas, darted around me and tried to order at the window. They must not have let her because she floored it again and fled the scene. Hilarious.

  22. Michael says:

    Also, may I say that I enjoy the feel of this site. Much less pretentious than say, Trent S. at The Simple Dollar.

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