Feature Article
More Pet Peeves

December 1, 1997
By Scott Lewis

Last month I started writing about some of my pet peeves. That column actually turned out to be a CD price bashing. Basically it boils down to the fact that the music industry is ripping us off by charging 5 bucks more for a CD than a cassette, even though the cost to make them is virtually the same.

This month I will take the approach I had intended last month. That is, I will tell you about a bunch of my pet peeves. Hopefully a humorous approach to some of the silly things in life.

So here it goes, in no particular order:


I have had it with all these rebates for everything. It is, without a doubt, the worst with computer software, followed by computer hardware. I think it is ridiculous to offer a rebate as soon as a product comes out. Why? What's the point? I could almost understand manufacturers offering a rebate after some lagging sales. This way they don't have to reimburse the retail merchants for their current stock.

But more and more everything is priced with a rebate all the time. I cannot remember the last time I saw an ad for a Western Digital hard drive that didn't offer a $30 mail in rebate. Why not just lower the price. No, instead lower the price a little and keep the rebate forever. What a joke. Who are they kidding.

The two worst things about mail in rebates are taxes and time. It takes forever to get the rebate, and they never rebate your sales tax. What a rip off. The sales tax issue is worse for products that always have rebates, like Western Digital hard drives.

I have already boycotted rebates for software, unless it is a screaming deal. I just assume wait for the price to come down than go through the trouble. In fact I think Westwood still owes me 20 bucks for a rebate to Red Alert (it has been 11 months, but I mailed them the receipt. Oops)

Escalators and Elevators

Don't you just hate it when you get on an elevator, and at the last second someone jumps on and pushes the button for the floor before yours. The elevators were I work go from the basement to the 3rd floor. I work on the 3rd floor. I hate it when the elevator loads up at the basement, everyone going to the 3rd floor. Then it stops at the first floor for one person, and that person pushes the button for the second floor. It is times like this that I wish I took the escalator.

But the escalators are only one person wide, and sure enough I would get stuck behind some lazy butt that rides the escalator all 3 flights instead of walking. I understand riding the escalator at the mall, but not at work. Don't these people have work to do. I am too busy to stand around on an escalator. It is these same people that probably sit down for breakfast in the cafeteria, and then stay late to make up for the time. I hate overtime, and would do almost anything to avoid it.

And why don't people walk the escalator when going home. When the bell rings, all I want to do is get out of work as fast as possible.

Riding escalators is for malls. Walk the escalators at work, please.

Home Made Stuff In Restaurants

What does this mean? Did the owner make the stuff in his kitchen at home, and bring it in to work?

Large Shake Equals Medium Soda

This one is tricky. McDonald's large shakes come in the same cup as a medium soda. Why? Do they think we can't handle a large shake, or is there a pricing problem. Whataburger offers a large that is really a large. It costs more, which doesn't bother me since I get more. In fact, there is a new Whataburger that I can get to from my house without going through any traffic lights. Way cool for a late night snack.

Wendy's is almost as bad. A large Frosty comes in the large drink cup, but they don't offer a Biggie Frosty. I have finally found a Wendy's that will give you a Biggie Frosty if you ask for it, but it is not on their menu. At least this is acceptable. Sonic has reasonably large shakes, but they do not offer shakes in their Route 44 size. That would be cool.

Peanut Butter in the Jelly (and vice-a-versa)

I hate opening a jar of jelly to see traces of peanut butter from the last time it was used. Just wipe the knife or spoon off between each one.

Games That require the CD

I am getting very tired of computer games that require the CD in the drive for copy protection purposes. I understand the need to protect themselves, but that doesn't mean I like it any better. CD-R blanks are now cheap enough that vendors have to worry about the CD being copied. I have plenty of hard drive space, and always perform the full installs. I have cracks for a couple of games that let me run them without the CD. This helps a lot, especially when I have to share my computer with a 3 year old. I try to keep my CDs as far from his reach as possible.

CD-R Blanks and CD-RW blanks ($4 vs $27)

Speaking of CD-Rs being cheap enough, what is the deal with CD-RWs. These are the latest form of CD blanks that allow you to write, erase, and write again to the disc hundreds of times. I haven't seen these new discs prices below $25, for one. Yet CD-R's have drop to between $2 and $4. you can't tell me that it cost 6 to 10 time more to manufacture these discs.

2400 Baud Phone Lines

This one comes form my recent problems with my phone company. Phone Companies guarantee only 2400 baud performance over phone lines, yet advertise second phone lines for Internet access knowing that 2400 baud performance is totally unacceptable for access to the Internet. These same phone companies act as Internet Service Providers (ISP). How do they get away with offering Internet access on their own phone lines at a guaranteed rate of only 2400 baud?

Upgrade Offers In The Box

This one goes along with the rebate issue above. What is the deal with always offering rebates to existing users with a coupon in the box. This rebate coupon does not get you your sales tax back. More to the point, why bother registering software if they are not going to offer you a decent upgrade price directly though the mail. This could possibly eliminate sales tax, and actually give the customer a break. Even when I get an upgrade offer in the mail, it does beat the price I can get at most stores. Vendors should treat existing customers better.

System Requirements for 3Dfx based games

This one is a little puzzling. Why do some games have higher system requirements for the version that uses a graphics accelerator such as a 3Dfx based graphics card? Most recently I noticed this with Test Drive 4 from Accolade. Here are the system requirements for the game:

Test Drive 4 Standard (non-accelerator)

Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, Win 95, DirectX 5.0

Test Drive 4 with 3Dfx accelerator

Pentium 133, 16 MB RAM, Win 95, DirectX 5.0, 3Dfx card

Why does the version that supports 3Dfx require a faster computer. I thought graphics accelerator cards were supposed to take some of the load off the CPU for graphics processing. Time and time again, I hear that getting a good graphics accelerator card is better than a step up in CPU performance. From the looks of it, I will have to get a CPU upgrade (I have a Pentium 100) just to use a 3Dfx card. Damn! Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Internet Explorer

Here is a simple one. Is Internet Explorer part of the Windows operating system like Microsoft claims, or is it a separate product like the Justice Department claims? As far as Windows 95 is concerned, Internet Explorer is definitely a separate product. Just install Win95 without IE. See, it works.

But what about the near future. Is IE part of Win 98? Maybe. At least it is possible to make IE part of Win 98. But my Beta 2 of Win 98 (Memphis), says do not install IE 4 with the WIn 98 Beta 2. So if I install Win 98 Beta, but can't install IE, does that implies IE is a separate product. We will have to address this one when I get Win 98 up and running. Stay turned.

In the end, it is all a bunch of malarkey. IE is a separate product, it is just free. Netscape can go cry in its milk.


Well that about does it for griping. I had some fun telling these pet peeves. Hopefully you had some fun reading them. If you have any pet peeves of your own, let me know. I would love to hear a humorous tale of pet peeves.