My friend Ian Urbina from the New York Times recently wrote an excellent story about coping with life's annoyances that ran front page of the paper. Here is the story.
He is looking to collect more stories along the same lines, and would appreciate your help. Those with ideas, consider the following:
Life is full of little annoyances. We would like to hear what tactics - be they petty, passive aggressive or perhaps even mildly effective - that people use to deal with some of them. What is it that people do to swat at life's many mundane grievances? We prefer tactics that people have actually used and/or use on a sustained basis, and preferably ones that are neither illegal nor hurtful. Some examples of areas of interest are listed below. But if others come to mind, do tell.
1) ATM fees and any one of a million other reasons to want to lash out at your bank or the banking industry generally. There are plenty sane ways to deal with this frustration but what about the guy who makes a habit of throwing away the entire stack of deposit slips every time he enters a bank to get back at the systems annoying ATM fees? We want to hear from him.
2) Why must phone bills be so indecipherable - and ripe with mystery charges and obfuscating language. Since the letters they send are in gibberish, why not write them back in their native tongue? Anyone done this or something equally irrational but cathartic?
3) Stylized ringtones are all the rage. I wonder if anyone has invented an anti-ringtone ringtone. Or perhaps they've found some other way to lash out at this one.
4) Sure, you have the simple option of just clicking "never" and the function is turned off. Still, the automatic email verification mechanism (telling someone that youve read their email) is tedious. I wonder if anyone has done something more clever to deal with this scourge of modern communication.
5) Emails sent to the wrong person. It happens so easily and can be extremely embarrassing. Has anyone gone to extreme lengths to try to avoid the fallout after making this mistake? I've heard of a guy who mistakenly emailed out the payroll list to all the employees and when he realized his error, he pulled the building's fire alarm to buy himself time to track down the tech guy who could reverse the email. Anyone done anything similar?
6) Those misleadingly officious envelopes that say "Enforcement Division" and "Urgent", inteding to give the impression that you are getting audited or that you are in trouble with some government agency. You open them up nervously, and realize that it is yet another credit card solicitations home mortgage loan offer. Has anyone ever struck back at these folks?
7) People who use their carhorn as though it were a doorbell. Perhaps they pick up their fellow carpooler everyday in the early morning and don't care if they wake up the neighbors by tooting the horn rather than getting out and knocking on the door. Anyone ramped up a campaign or sustained tactic for one of these people?
8) Hitting them with your car is not an answer. More interesting would be any sustained and creative tactics/experiences for dealing with distracted drivers who have their cell phone stuck to their ear.
9) Has anyone employed a better tactic for getting back at the high prices for concessions at movie theaters. Sure you can sneak in your own box of Milk Duds but isn't there something more elaborate that can be done to get back at the theaters?
10) People who dont pick up after their dogs.
Please no more anti-spam, anti-telemarketer or anti-junk mail tactics. We're overflowing with them.
If you have any experiences or ideas about any of these items or any other stories about revenge in the face of mundane annoyances, email Ian