I’ve referred to gift shops as places that sell things you wouldn’t buy for yourself. Recently I had to clean out a house that included gifts like these that had become a burden. In fact, an entire cabinet was filled with candles received as gifts.
As I was filling (and hauling) boxes, I was not thinking nice things about the nice people in the nice gift shops selling those nice gifts. Quite the contrary, I thought about the people who wanted to do something nice by giving a friend or loved-one something they’d enjoy looking at, not realizing the recipient would eventually need to do something with it. It was also a wake-up call to me that I want to deal with my own clutter now rather than subjecting someone else to it later. Not only does it take up space, but clutter is unhealthy.
I knew I might be in trouble when I clicked on a Google search result and the page that opened was crawling with ads. Then the page clicked-over to a different site on its own: To an article in Vogue I believe. The article itself didn’t look especially threatening, but that’s not a site I visit – and most importantly, I hadn’t done anything to be taken there.
Everything seemed fine after that, but later I clicked the icon to open Microsoft Word and received a UAC (User Account Control) warning from Windows indicating that a program it didn’t trust was trying to start. Any time a Microsoft application isn’t recognized by a Microsoft operating system, something is clearly amiss. I’ve used Word zillions of times with no issue like this, which reinforced that something was wrong, so I didn’t allow it to start. The same thing happened later when I started Outlook, and then Java, underscoring that I had a serious problem.
This morning I was driving along, minding my own business, when I encountered a dozen or more enthusiastic young people waving home-made signs for their car wash. My car was due for a wash, and I do like to support folks who are willing to get out there and work for a cause, so they had my attention.
Then I spotted the sign: The one that said Make Mom Happy and Wash the Car
That was completely unfair – but effective. 🙂 In fact, far more effective than a hand-scrawled sign has any right to be. If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you’ve passed hand-written signs guaranteeing to refinance your home, offering a lucrative work-from-home job, or perhaps something else that might sound a little too good to be true. I don’t pay them any attention; do you? Their rough nature doesn’t instill confidence that the people who created the signs are really in the business of high finance or sophisticated marketing.