Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The return of "things I don't understand"

It's been months, but, don't worry, those months haven't gone by without me getting totally bewildered by people and places and things. So, here I am again with "things I don't understand."

1. Tourists who visit the Rocky Mountains.
Did you know that of the two million visitors Jasper gets each year, more than 90 per cent of them don't leave the town site? Yeah. That's a stat, and it's true. So, people pay a metric butt-tonne of money to fly and then drive here only to get out of the tour bus or car to snap a photo of the mountains—one horizontal and one vertical, of course—and then they hop back in and keep driving. They don't use the trails. They don't explore. They just stay on the highways and in town. It blows my mind. Literally, there are pieces of my brain scattered around this room as I think of how silly that is. Why come to a place with the best hiking and adventuring in the world if you're not going to hike or adventure!? Answer me that!

2. Opposition to gay marriage.

Yup. I'm about to get political and controversial on your ass. In my book, there isn't a single legitimate reason why a gay couple shouldn't be able to sign some paperwork, make their love official in the eyes of the government and in turn gain the same security and rights as a heterosexual couple. Love is love and no one has the right to tell you who you can or cannot love and who you can or cannot declare that love to. It's 2013, people, our laws should no longer revolve around religious discrimination.

3. Drinking light beer to get drunk.
While we were in Lake Louise, we went to the one and only bar to grab some drinks. Let me describe the scene for you: crooked picture frames screwed to the walls, Buck Hunter, a pool table, drunk lifties and even drunker "cowboys" from Calgary. Now, let me just say, I can handle a lot of BS, but drunk cowboys don't fall within that lot. No, they are basically the worst. But, what really got me about these douche bags was they were drinking Bud Light. Tell me, who drinks light beer to get drunk? Like, really? How many of those bottles did they have to drink before they got to the state of asshole they were in on Friday? Why not just speed up the process, save some money and get to bed earlier by drinking real beer? I just don't understand.

I know some of you out there are likely servers, and I know this rant is probably going to make you wish I'd visit your restaurant so you could spit in my food, but even so, I'm going to proceed anyway. Here's the deal: if you remove a bottle cap and hand me the bottle beneath it, I don't think you deserve a tip. If you ignore me, I don't think you deserve a tip... even if you're busy. If my water glass or my coffee cup or my beer mug sits empty for longer than a few minutes and that happens numerous times during my meal or evening, I'm sorry, but you just don't deserve a tip. On the other hand, if you are pleasant, funny, attentive and enjoyable, hell, I don't mind passing you a few extra bucks because I recognize that you made my dining experience that much more enjoyable. 

With that said, now let me move onto my real issue with tipping. The way I see it, the assumption that people will tip just allows employers to pay their staff poorly. That in turn makes me feel like a dick when I don't tip because I know that servers need that money. But, at the same time, I work hard for my money, as well, and I'm already paying an arm and a leg for my meal, so why is it fair for me—someone who doesn't get tips and works an equally thankless job—to spend more of my money to make up for an employers lack of respect for its employees? It just doesn't seem fair now does it?

5. Instagram photos of Starbucks coffee.
As someone who's new Instagram, I didn't know this phenomenon was a thing up until very recently, and oh my goodness do I wish I was still ignorant. I am so sick of seeing the Starbucks logo and identical photos of Starbucks coffee cups showing up in my feed. I would honestly rather see your cat—if you know me even a little bit, you know that's saying A LOT. I just don't understand what is it about a trip to Starbucks that everyone feels the need to document? Don't get me wrong, I love me a chai latte, but I don't know that that means I need to take a photo of it every time I order one. Guys, am I missing the boat on this one or does this grind your gears, too?

What would be on your list of things you don't understand?


  1. The townsite of Jasper is beautiful.... my husband and I love hanging out there... but, seriously, 90% don't leave.... we always try to leave at least once a day when we visit.

  2. I don't get tourists like that either. It's the same with most of them here in the south of Germany. And I totally agree with tipping, not tipping. And about Instagram, amen! xxx

  3. I'm huge on tipping but I 100% agree with you that it just allows places not to pay their waitstaff minimum wage. The entire issue would be solved by treating waitstaff as regular employees - if your service isn't up to par, you're in danger of being fired, just like any other employee anywhere else. Sigh.

  4. baha... was totally hoping this series was it today (thanks for not doing a quiz!! lol). You're a barrel of laughs and in-your-face frankness, but always sweet in the end ...just like the foam off a 'bucks latte. ;o)
    *The problem with indulging in 'social medias' is you get stuck with the good/bad/ugly of it all - Instagram!! etc.
    needle and nest

  5. Wow! Such interesting facts.

    90% never leave the townsite? That's just crazy. Really crazy.

  6. Could I add; Models used in sewing books/patterns/magazines. They look the exact opposite of people who are actually going to make this stuff. And are just down right awkward looking.

    Exhibit A:

    If they didnt look dumb enough, add a wind machine;
    Exhibit B:


  7. But Nicoooooooole, the world needs to see the drink my barista spent 30 seconds on!! My Starbucks barista has mastered the latte foam art of "circle"! Nobody sprinkles cinnamon like they do!!
    Yes. This. I love to see artful cups o' java, especially if it's a place in my city I've never been, but why people get so pumped for a fast food coffee is beyond me. Even for the price. And don't get me started there.

    I live in the historic tourist town of Niagara on the Lake, and not only do people visit and never leave the town, they never even bloody get off the main street!! It gets so horribly congested in the summers, that I much prefer to tour the equally gorgeous and historic house lined side streets. Why people come to this town and do nothing but shop at overpriced (and I might mention identically stocked) boutiques and souvenir shops is beyond me. Save your money, and just have a nice walk-about, people! Go visit the historic forts where the battle of 1812 was fought! And get the hell off my lawn!

    Predictions for the Past

  8. i have finally found something we disagree on. "tipping"

    here is my point of view on the subject (coming from a former waitress) i think that people who have been in the "service" industry, in general, are better tippers. we know what it takes to be a good waiter/waitress and how hard of a job it is. i think people that have never served a table before think its just this easy job. it's not. believe me it's not.

    that being said - i will tip lower and be annoyed if my water glass goes empty and i have to hunt you down to get more water..or wait for the bill when i see you just hanging out and not being busy. but if you are good and/or great you will get plenty of money from me. (even though i'm poor)

    it has nothing to do with the employers getting away with paying low wages, because there is a minimum wage for a service job, and thats what the job is- its based on tips. thats how we earn our living (well i used to anyway). i NEVER brought home an actual paycheck. my check was always zeros because all my pay from the employer would pay taxes. so not to make you feel guilty - but think about that the next time you want to tip poorly, that this is how they earn their living. I always factor in how much a tip will be when we go out to dinner - it's not an after thought - so if you only have enough money to cover the bill and not extra for a decent tip - maybe you shouldn't be going out, and should be staying in that night.

    now..those "tip jars" at places like sub shops and coffee shops- i can see why someone would be a little annoyed with them. because those people are already getting paid a fair wage and those jars just don't make sense to me - because like you said - i don't get financial tips when i do a good job at my current job. i get "good job" (if that) believe me i'd love to get tips, as we all would. but don't take your hared of tipping out on the poor servers just trying to get by.

  9. Yay! My favourite feature! I was just thinking about "Things I Don't Understand" everyday of my life! HA! We always get the heck out of town when we're in Jasper. Heck, we don't go to the Park to hang out in town! That's ridiculous!!

    Light beer is stupid. Nuff said.

    Tipping is...a touchy subject!

    I only take a photo of my Starbucks cup o joe if it tells another story. Like my celebratory date with Dude the other day, or my mental health day a few weeks back. A lot of Instagram photos are silly, that's just the pitfall of user-generated-content sites...people's lives kind of start to look the same. I don't know about you, but I like pictures of shipping fails, and gin, and bums in new bikinis...wink.

  10. Being European and all tipping is a mystery to me- we do it when the service was above and beyond what you expect so if you get a tip in the UK you did real good. Employers have to pay a minimum wage regardless of tips and that is the fairest way, surely! Come on Canada get European on the tip front!
    Starbucks and Instagram- hilarious! Oh and see also random sunsets and sunrises and every day elevator- really! Check this video out- you will love it!

  11. I'm with you on the tipping, I don't get it. My friends call me Mr. Pink when I start whining about tipping. I do it when my service is really good but if it's for something small I don't feel the need to do it.

  12. I grew up abroad so I also do not understand tipping. I worked a service job in Malaysia and I got about $1 tips a week... We only got tips if service was beyond exceptional, our customers were American, or people would leave change behind. I remember leaving my change behind the first time I ate out in the us because I had no idea! I just think the while way that tipping operates in n America is messed up. Now that I understand it I always tip and if service is shit ill leave a note or talk to the manager.

    Also, Starbucks photos are SOOO LAME. Especially living in Washington where every other coffee place in existence serves better coffee it just seems kind of insulting. Because Starbucks is gross.

  13. Mind boggling! I don't know about the mountains as I haven't experienced it but agree with the rest even the starbucks logo and all the comments of how brilliant it is... I don't get it! Still I've never in my life stepped in to starbucks so I don't know what I'm missing.

  14. Why no hiking: for me the only reason I do things like this is that I don't have a car. If there are hiking trails that start in town though, I'm on it like a car bonnet (that's a saying, I promise). See:


    I'm pretty adamant about tipping, and while it's absurd that companies use the tip system as an excuse not to pay their employees well, I've been on both sides of the coin. The most difficult jobs I've ever had were the retail jobs, the coffee shops, the service jobs -- all where I made chump change (plus tips!) and was usually miserable because I was usually exhausted. Jordan also works as a busser at a really busy brunch spot here, and it's absolutely horrifying the way that people treat those who work in service, food or otherwise -- and that can taint your entire shift... and even further, you can only take so much of that day by day before it starts to take a toll. Unless I see you spit in my food or you're downright rude, you get a tip. Sometimes I'll drop to 10/15% if it's been a kinda lousy experience, but it's rare that I don't tip anything. Quick things like coffee, I'll either tip the change or $1, but if it's a restaurant where I'm being waited on and served, I go in expecting to tack on 20%, no matter what.

    < / end rant! >

  16. This is seriously the best series ever! Haha. I totally don't understand the whole American tipping thing at all! Here in Australia waitstaff are paid the same as anyone in retail etc (minimum wage is quite reasonable) and no one expects a tip. I have worked in hospitality since I was 12 and Honestly, it is so lovely when you do get tipped, but in Australia if you want that extra couple of bucks you really have to go the extra mile - I mean never seeing an empty glass, laughing and conversing with your clients, going out of your way to make sure that they come back again because the service was just that great! I once earned $200 in tips in the one night at a mexican restaurant I worked at (pretty proud of that) but I had to absolutely work my butt off for eery cent! I knew the clients I had were wealthy and I did everything I could to make their dining experience the best it possibly could be and I got rewarded for it, and that is the way I think it should be :)

  17. I don't know about "lite" beer but I just fell in love with Tecate Michelada (I bought one a few days.) But then again I'm Mexican and I love anything with lime and chili.

    How you feel about tourists is kind of how I feel about people who actually live in my town (San Diego) and don't do anything my city has to offer. Weak. Why pay so much to live here?

  18. one of the main things i don't understand right now is just instagram photos of food in general. i don't have an instagram, so i guess i don't really get the hype about it & as a person who loves food way too much, why not just eat it? i don't see the point of having to share your meal with the world, or at least instagram community. you're pretty much letting it get cold right in front of you while you're choosing a filter.

    xoxo, Oleah

    1. Bahaha! So true. I am guilty of this every once in awhile. It is a silly trend.

      As someone new to Instagram, I'm endlessly surprised by the things people post.