Thursday, May 27, 2010


Dear PayPal,

Could you make it more difficult to change the address and phone number on an account?  Look, I understand that you're trying to keep my information secure, so I'm willing to jump through a few hoops.  However, now we've gotten to the ridiculous stage.

The primary address and phone number on my account are old.  I no longer live there.  To add a phone number, I had to call a PayPal automated line.  OK, that's not a problem, and it was pretty simple to do this.  The new address and phone number appeared on my account immediately.

Seeing as how I no longer live at the address/phone you're calling my primary contact, I need to make this new address and phone my primary contact.  When I tried to do that, I got this page:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

So I followed instructions and sent the a message, explaining what I was trying to do.  I got this message in return:

Subject: AutoResponse-Email Returned - SARA (KMM171834623I96L0KM) :ppk1

Hello Jill Jaracz,

We want to help you but we're not able to respond directly to emails
sent to this address.

If you have a question about your account, please contact us through our
website. Here's how:

1. Go to the PayPal website and log in to your account.
2. Click "Contact Us" at the bottom of any page.
3. Click "Contact Customer Service," and ask your question.

One of our Customer Service agents will reply to your question.

We value your business and want to provide you with the best customer



This email is sent to you by the contracting entity to your User
Agreement, either PayPal Inc, PayPal Pte. Ltd or PayPal (Europe) S.à
r.l. & Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions, Registered Office:
5th Floor 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118

Um, so if you can't respond from that address, why in the heck did you want me to e-mail it in the first place?

Sigh.  I'm putting this project on the backburner and am considering canceling my PayPal account.  I don't know about you, but I just don't have hours to devote to this administrative task.  You know what would be helpful though?  A little sticky note on each account editing page letting the user know about how long it'll take to finish what they're trying to do.  I would never have started in on trying to change my address if I knew it would be such a friggin' hassle.

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yo, Masshole!

Dear Short Female Masshole Driver in the Silver Saturn,

Listen.  When somebody's in front of you stopped at an intersection, waiting for traffic to clear in order to make a safe left turn, don't honk.  I know what I'm doing.

At the crazy intersection I was stuck at, most everybody coming towards me didn't put on their turn signal until right before they hit the intersection, so I had no idea whether or not it was safe for me to turn.  I didn't feel like getting in an accident today, so I wasn't turning until I deemed it safe enough.

Because you honked at me though, I made sure to cruise down the next portion of the street at Sunday Driving Speed.  Just to piss you off.

Then when we got to Rt. 2, you zipped by me and gave that little pissed off honk, squeezing yourself into the fast lane like you had a death wish.

Except that within two miles, you had to squeeze back into the right lane so that you could get onto the parking lot known as I-95.  Why you were in such a hurry to get into bumper-to-bumper traffic, I don't know.  Maybe next time you'll enjoy the ride a little more, since you're not getting anywhere anytime soon.

Your pal,

P.S.--I can take you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Dear Tropicana,

The Boy and I noticed that your refrigerated orange juice is no longer purely Floridian.  Yep, you've hopped on the Brazilian bandwagon, and now the orange juice you sell is a blend of North and South American juices.

Since you're combatting the small Floridian orange crop with a decreased package size (same price for less), the use of Brazilian fruit has to be a different decision.  Is it really cheaper for you to haul juice up from Brazil?  Your product is still not from concentrate.  Juice is heavy.  You're a smart company--I know you've had to have analyzed the costs in all of this.  But did you also analyze the possible consumer backlash?

Maybe nobody really notices (maybe that's what you hope).  But the Boy did, and his reaction to it was something akin to how I feel about race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi not drinking the milk after winning the Indy 500 so that he could drink orange juice and promote his orange groves (my blood still boils about this.  I can't be alone in feeling this way):  We're not buying Tropicana Pure Premium as long as it contains Brazilian orange juice.

Luckily, we've got Florida's Natural to take your place.  Not that you'll miss us.  We're just a couple of average consumers.  Just not yours anymore.

Your pal,

Monday, May 24, 2010

X Marks the Spot

Dear Douglas Coupland,

Come on--you can tell me:  Don't you ever geek out once in a while over the fact that you managed to name an entire generation?  And even though our generation may be smaller than the Baby Boomers or the Millennials (or Gen Y, if you want to call them that, though I think that's copycatting), and we still tend to get totally ignored, isn't Generation X the coolest generation name ever?  All thanks to you!

Keep on rockin'!

Your pal,

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Fitting Prayer

Dear God,

I understand that Sunday's a busy day for You.  You're getting prayer requests from Christians all around the world all day long, and I can't help but think that it's a lot to keep track of.  Oh, I know You're omnipotent and everything, but still, it's a busy day for You.  I thought maybe I'd shoot You a little prayer of thanks today, on the off chance that You needed a slight break from sending healing energy to all the sick and injured around the world who need it.  So here goes:

Thanks for letting my pants fit yesterday.

I realize I've not been treating my body like the temple it should be (actually, my body is starting to feel more like one of those churches that have to close because they don't have enough members to keep it going and then the building gets turned into luxury condos).  I know I've gained back a fair amount of the weight I lost a couple of years ago.  I'm having a hard time fitting into some of my skinnier pants, and rightly so.  Still, when I was able to work my way into my nice Ann Taylor pants and button and zip them up yesterday morning so that I could look somewhat decent at church, I thought that was nothing short of a miracle.  When I could sit down without splitting any seams, I knew it was one.

I'm back on the bandwagon and am trying to work out more and eat fewer, better calories so that I lose the weight again and am not forced to buy clothes in a larger size.  I don't want to have to ask for this miracle again, but I appreciate You making it happen yesterday.

Your pal,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Found: Duran Duran Scrapbook #3

Dear Grainne Cleare,

I have your Duran Duran Scrapbook #3, which spans the years 1983-1987, with an additional article from 1990.  If you remember (and you obviously have to rely on your memory, since I'm holding your scrapbook), this period includes Simon's big boating accident and Simon and John's "most wonderful haircut" according to you.  You still like Roger, but you've drawn in a mustache on one of Andy's pictures. And apparently you got to see them live in concert on Wednesday 22 April 1987 at RDS Simmonscourt Dublin, because you've got a full set list and a ticket stub--12 pounds 50!  I can't imagine one of their tickets going that cheap today--what a deal!

How did it wind up on my bookshelf?  It was a gift, and there's a much longer story behind that, but mostly, it was a gift.  I've tried to be careful with this book since I took possession of it, although the articles and pictures are taped or glued onto the pages, so they tend to stick together a little bit.  Nothing's ripped though--everything is still in decent shape, including the end pages where you calculated how much you'd spent on Duran Duran-related purchases.  I also want to applaud you on noting the dates on most of the articles and  pictures--after all, you do want to know when Simon snuck those beauties into the yacht club.

Still, as much fun as this book is (and as a fellow Duranie, I have truly enjoyed it.), I feel a little guilty having it in my possession, especially since it's part of a series.  I mean, you still have books 1 and 2, right?  And perhaps you've kept up with them?  Your volume 3 needs to be part of the set!  I'd feel awful if there's a small hole in your heart because you don't know where this is.  Please drop me a line with your address, and I'll ship it to you (jilljaracz AT yahoo).

Saving a prayer,
Your pal,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zoom Out!

Dear Directors/Editors of Workout Shows/Videos,

As a woman who's watched years of workout tapes, DVDs, and shows, I think I speak for many women when I ask, Do you ever actually watch the show you put together?  If so, what's up with showing close-ups of the instructor just as she/he's changing up the moves?

Almost every day I tune into a show on Fit TV or pop on a video, and it never fails:  The camera zooms in on one of the cast, the instructor yells out a move change that makes no sense to me, and I end up spending a couple of beats pausing while I figure out what the hell to do with my feet.  It throws me off, and I spend the next several seconds muttering and feeling frustrated that I'm off, and, more importantly, not burning the calories I sorely need to burn.  And I'm fairly adept at picking up choreography!  I can't imagine what people who have problems picking up steps do to compensate for bad camerawork and editing.

I understand the need to focus in on a person to demonstrate proper form, but you also know the workout, right?  Can't you figure out better timing on when to actually edit in the zoom?  Or maybe put in a split screen?  There's got to be a better way to put together the workouts so that everyone doing them only has to suffer through the pain of not working out, not the pain of a bad edit job.

Do that, and fitness show fans around the world will sing your praises.


Your pal,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cool Tools

Dear Duluth Trading Company,

I love your gimlets!  I'm not talking cocktails here (though some people would agree that I like a good gimlet from time to time), of course, I'm talking about your hand-powered drills.

The Boy had been wanting a set for quite some time, and I finally broke down and got him a set for Christmas (he's the type that will go into a hardware store and announce, "I need one (of everything)").

Best gift ever!

We've used them so much, and I actually prefer them to electric drills.  Why bother hauling out a drill and finding a plug--and probably an extension cord--when you can just quickly whip out a gimlet and make a screwhole in a few seconds?

But you know how cool they are.  However, maybe you should think about marketing these babies as "drills for chicks."  Why?  As a woman who doesn't use tools all that often, I tend to freak out around electric drills.  Yeah, a power tool is cool, but I'm more afraid of drilling a hole too deep--going right through a door, or something like that.  With the gimlet, I have a lot more control over what I'm doing with the tool, and I can make a hole perfectly, without any fear.  How awesome is that?!

Anyway, thanks for having this item in your catalog.  I think it may become my next favorite gift.

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Dear Watertown Savings Bank,

In our quest to find a new bank, the Boy and I wanted to go with a smaller player.  We didn't want to get sucked into the impersonal service that only a big bank can deliver, even if they give bonuses when you open an account.  We wanted a little more attention, and boy, are we getting it from you!

Opening an account was a breeze, changing PIN numbers was no problem, and everyone we've encountered at your bank has been friendly and helpful.  Plus, we got a thank you letter when we opened our accounts.  Wowza!  Would Chase or Bank of America bother with that?

But you know what's really awesome about you?

Fives and tens in the ATMs.

I haven't been able to get a five dollar bill out of an ATM since I was in college--in the mid 90s.  Our former bank used to have a machine that allowed for ten dollars bills, but they discontinued that a few years ago (a sad, sad day).  When I went to one of your ATMs for the first time, I about fell over when the machine displayed that it could dispense five, ten, and twenty dollar bills.  I didn't know that option was still possible!

It's so nice to have the ability to get a bill smaller than a twenty.  It helps me make change, and I don't have to expect a store to break a large bill for a small purchase.  What a convenience!

Thanks for going above and beyond.  I know I've only been a customer for a month or so, but I am one happy camper when it comes to banking with you.

Your pal,