Weather Forecast


The Way I See It: One size must fit somebody

But one size hardly ever fits me. Have you noticed how “choice” has seemed to disappear from a whole lot of things that we buy? It’s almost down to having only a choice to buy or not to buy something, but there are a great number of things that have been decided for us long before we enter a store.

For instance, “One size fits most,” always leaves me out. I would not like to meet “most” in a dark alley. I don’t think I would like him very much because he has to outweigh me by at least 50 pounds and have a neck like a tree trunk and his knuckles must drag on the sidewalk.

When I buy pants at any normal retailer I have to buy them with a waist that is either 36 or 38 inches. One is too small and the other is too large. I have a choice of trying to slowly cut myself in half at the waist or cinch my belt up, creating an unsightly fold that I try to wiggle around my mid-section into several smaller and, therefore, unnoticeable folds.

That’s only half the problem.

Inseams come in even sizes and mine is not even, but it is a prime number for those with a mathematical bent. A two-inch difference results in being a “high-water Harry” or having frayed cuffs at the heel a week after I bought the pants. At least you can roll blue jeans up like I did when I was a teenager, but no one else seems to do that anymore except for me and some other old guys who have moved beyond caring what other people think about us

My only solution is online retailers who offer much greater choices, but not the same convenience. They seem to offer better quality, too, and their prices were competitive but are now exceeding the local options and my budget.

How do you like your TV setup? Out here in the hinterlands, you can have either cable or satellite since the open airways signals don’t quite reach us. A lot of cable companies offer package deals that include Internet, phone and cable. The basic package is ... well, basic. The next level up is expanded or premium or some other name and is incrementally more expensive and at some point involves a box that must be rented so you can actually receive that additional content and record it so you can choose not to watch it later instead of when it was originally broadcast.

The high end, high def, super movie and sports packages are only available for those who have a credit score that numerically approaches the national debt. I’m a basic user and my monthly package bill is more than my first house payment (including taxes and interest).

My other beef is someone else has decided what is included in the channel packages. There is no a la carte when it comes to cable. Take it or leave it, Mr. and Mrs. Consumer. I took it but I don’t like it.

On “60 Minutes” this past Sunday evening, they detailed how private companies are making it a big business to collect, correlate, analyze, package and oftentimes sell all the data they have amassed about you, me and millions of other Americans. And here you are worrying only about what your beneficent government has on you.

These folks track you on the Internet, on your phone, when you make a credit purchase, where you made the purchase and what you bought. They might even know whether you had a healthy meal, two martinis with lunch and how many times you went to the bathroom. They provide or sell your information to people who are trying to figure out how to market additional goods and services to you — thereby separating you from more of your hard-earned money.

I also read there was a hearing scheduled this past week at the State Capitol to discuss the mandatory collection of DNA from all newborns in Minnesota. Now just what are they going to do with that information? Sure seems to me like it fits right into another aspect of the 1984-ish Obamacare scheme.

And let’s think about consumer choice in the political realms, too. The two major parties are always trying to figure out ways to get you to vote for their candidate. I am convinced that neither party cares one whit for the “good of the American people.” Their actions sure seem to reflect their hunger for power for themselves above all.

The further away from the local level the office is, the smaller and smaller is the impact of anyone’s vote. The political information-gathering machines are so sophisticated, they almost know by precinct how to market a candidate to specific groups — men, women, minorities, gay or straight, religious or non-religious and any other way you care to slice and dice up the voters.

It’s not hopeless, but in case you missed Harold Kraus’ letter last week about one local city’s current political problems, we all need to be a heck of a lot more interested and knowledgeable about what is going on in government at all levels. Because if we don’t care about what we are buying or who we are electing, we have no one to blame but ourselves when it all goes down the porcelain convenience.

One size really doesn’t fit anyone; we’re just all used to making do with what we get.

Well, that’s the way I see it.