Tag Archives: Starbucks

($ ÷ Gallon) x (Miles ÷ Gallon) = LA Gasoline Anxiety

Here's the gas prices at the station closest to my home. Aaaahhhh!!!

With the astronomical price of gas these days, I start to have an anxiety attack each moment my odometer clicks another tenth of a digit. I quickly do the math in my head: if my 15-year old minivan gets 16 miles per gallon of gas and I pay $4.50 for each gallon, I am coughing up over 28 cents for every tenth of a mile. It now costs twice as much in gas to deliver my daughter’s forgotten brown bag lunch than to just make her buy lunch at the school cafeteria. What a dilemma!

When I got my driver’s license in 1978, I remember paying just 64 cents for a gallon of gas. I say this and I feel like the old geezers who complain how when they were kids they used to walk to school uphill both ways. Suddenly I’m older than dirt.

Today, as I near a hundred bucks a pop, each time I fill up my tank I feel like I just lost the kids’ college fund – that is if I was wealthy enough to actually have a decent kids’ college fund. My head pounds, I feel emotionally sick, and I am suddenly terrified of the future of both my family and America as a whole.

With such an adverse reaction, you would think that my work commute must be an enormous trek and I am suddenly spending a fortune in gas.

Wrong.

Actually, my commute distance is exactly 13-1/2 inches and takes about a nanosecond, so it costs exactly no dollars and zero cents in gas to drive to work.

Jealous? I don’t blame you.

My editing system sits on a desk near the foot of my bed and I am able to upload and download my session via the Internet. I work a 48.6 hour week (blame my union for this obscure number) and I can do it all in my pajamas.

I can’t image how I’d afford gas if I still commuted from the home in Chino I sold in 1992. It’s a 90 mile round trip to Burbank, so at 16 miles per gallon I’d be spending over $550 in gas each month. Plus I’d be wasting about 15-20 hours each week staring at lame bumper stickers and the rear ends of all those SUVs that have stick figure drawings with family member names underneath, all the while sucking up thousands of Verizon minutes yacking with people who’d certainly be tired of talking to me after the first ten minutes.

Thank you God for telecommuting.

I do have to drive a mile and a half each way every week (84¢) to drop off and pick up my external hard drive from my assistant/right hand man Eddie. I also travel four miles ($2.25 round trip) to the Disney lot and swing by the dub stage, mostly to keep my chops primed in having three-minute conversations with actual adults who work in post-production sound. In real life, the majority of my conversations consist of telling my 5-year old to stop squirming and keep his finger out of his nose, so the last thing I want to do is instinctively bark these orders at the dedicated mixers of Once Upon a Time.

So if I’m not paying up the wazoo in my work commute, where does all the gas money go?

Jake’s school is three blocks away, and since he’s a pokey walker, we drive. I figure the trip there and back costs a little less than 20 cents a day. In a week I spend less than the price the ice cream man charges for a SpongeBob on a stick. Such a bargain!

I’m the afternoon carpool mom for Mary’s school which is three miles away, and I drive about six miles on the way home dropping off the other middle school kids. That gas bill adds up to about $2.53 each day. In a week, I spend more in gas than I would in buying a half dozen Red Bulls – which I recently cut out of my budget because they’re now a luxury I can’t afford. Please don’t tell my insurance agent this if I happen to fall asleep at the wheel.

Emily attends Cleveland Humanities Magnet which is a 28-mile round trip and would cost nearly $40 a week in gas. I have all you Los Angeles property owners to thank for generously donating your tax dollars. So far LAUSD has not completely cut funding for Magnet School buses, so for me, Emily is a freebie.

I don’t have the luxury of time on my hands, yet I will still drive six miles and wait for 20 minutes in line to fill up at the Costco gas station to save a few cents.  Actually, it’s more than a few cents. Yesterday Costco gas was $4.21 a gallon, but the closest gas station to my home was $4.75. They have the audacity to charge $4.99 for premium, and at that price “premium” should mean “with complimentary foot rub.” Don’t even get me started on the three-millimeter sized “9/10” at the end of every gas price. Is there any other product that charges an extra nine-tenths of a cent?

Even with my Costco membership, it now costs more time and money to buy a gallon of gasoline than it does to get a Starbucks Venti Frappuccino. It’s too bad my minivan doesn’t run on iced coffee. Especially since I make my own cup a Joe. After all the money we spend on gas these days, who can afford to buy anything from Starbucks?

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Filed under Anxiety, Career, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Parenting, Public Education, Public Schools, Teenagers

Top 10 List of Stores With Really Stupid Names

There’s an urban legend that Sav-On Drug Stores (now CVS) changed their name to Osco, then just as quickly changed it back to Sav-On when they realized that asco in Spanish (pronounced oskoh) means disgusting, nauseous and filthy. Snopes and Wikipedia claim that the rumor wasn’t true, but it’s a good place to start my:

Top 10 List of Stores With Really Stupid Names

1. Smart & Final: I agree it was smart to shop there before they started raising their prices a couple of years ago, but what do they mean by final? If that ten-pound bag of spuds turns out to by moldy before I get it home will they refuse to exchange it? What if I find rat turds in my Cocoa Pebbles or a booger in my relish? They’re really going to tell me to get a lawyer rather than refund my three bucks?

2. Quiznos: I can understand why Subway came up with its name since it sells subway AKA submarine sandwiches. Quiznos also sells submarine sandwiches but their name sounds like a failed SAT test. It’s not even Quizknows or Quizyes, which might be slightly more favorable, but it still has nothing to do with sandwiches. Maybe the quiz is trying to figure out how many fewer carbs you’ll have to burn by ordering their flat bread.

3. Ralphs: Supermarkets are often named after their founders and called by either their first name (Jon’s), last name (Vons, Albertsons, Smiths) or even both names (Fred Meyer). It seems logical that Ralphs was founded by someone named Ralph, but he really should have called his store by another name. Ralph is a slang term for throw up, or vomit, as in: I wandered around Ralph’s meat aisle and it made me want to ralph. Unless you’re bulimic, it’s really not the best name when shopping for food.

4. Starbucks: It’s now a household name, synonymous with coffee the way Kleenex is with bathroom tissue. They’re more ubiquitous than public restrooms, and in fact, Starbucks probably have the only public restrooms that people are actually welcome to use. The name breaks down to star and bucks, which is no surprise since every supermarket tabloid features a celebrity popping in there for a half cap or Frappuccino and paying about ten times more than if they had made it at home. By in there, I assume you know I mean Starbucks, and not the Starbucks restroom. There’s a whole different aisle of magazines for those celebrity photos.

5. Kmart: Mart is a place where people come together to buy and sell goods, but what’s going on with the K? Is it short for OK? If so, do you really want to shop at a store that is just ok? If they wanted to keep it short, I could see AAA Mart, but that might be mistaken for either AAA insurance, or one A more drunk than Alcoholics Anonymous. The founder’s name probably started with the letter K, just as the founder of Walmart’s name probably starts with Walking Away From American Manufacturing Jobs.

6. Robinsons-May: When I heard that May Company was merging with Robinson’s, it seemed like the obvious choice for the new name would be May Robinson. There might have even been some real May Robinsons out there who could have participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony. But instead, it became a backwards mouthful, like some formal roll call as in: Flynn, Cathy. It would be like Wienerschnitzel merging with Carl’s Jr. and calling itself Wienerschnitzel Carl instead of Carl Wienerschnitzel. The backwards name was short lived, and now replaced by Macy’s, which can be used as a first (Macy Gray) or last name (William H. Macy). A coincidence? I don’t think so.

7. Jack in the Box: What the flock does this antiquated toy have to do with fast food? You crank a handle on a small box while an annoying tune plays for about ten seconds, then out pops a wiggly clown. It gives small children nightmares and elderly adults a heart attack. Do the great minds at Jack in the Box Corporate realize that jack is another word for nothing? Do you really want to get stuck in that long drive thru line just to get jack (nothing) in your box? Don’t even get me started on the urban slang term for box.

8. Big Lots: This store, which is one step up from a swap meet, used to be called Pic ‘N’ Save (another ridiculous store name). The establishments are not big. If they were, they would be called Costco. I assume that they use the word lot as in a portion of something rather than lots as in a heap of stuff. Even with a valid entomological explanation, Big Lots still sounds like loads of large as translated by one of those scam emailers whose first language is definitely not English.

9. Forever 21: How many of you really want to be stuck on 21 for the rest of your lives? You’re finally able to get legally s#$tfaced and lose your paycheck on the roulette wheel. Are these your truly memorable moments? Frankly, whenever I go into Forever 21, the only customers I see are the tweens and their moms, and they’ve already been around that 21-year old block twice. It’s a little sad when you see those mothers getting a thing or two for themselves as well, wondering if they should instead use the money for that second face lift, another botox session, or to have a couple of ribs removed.

10. McDonald’s: As the most famous franchise until that expensive celebrity coffee took the world by storm, everyone knows your food is from the land of the Golden Arches as long as you tack Mc on the front (McNuggets, McMuffin, McRib, McFlurry). Yet it doesn’t seem to have much in common with the other famous McDonald, as in ee-i-ee-i-oh! – particularly since their fast food hardens the arteries so quickly there’s no way the farmer would ever reach old age by eating it. I know some of you will try to point out that the elderly agriculturalist spells his name MacDonald, but it all sounds the same if you’re singing it. When your kids are eagerly chanting “and a moo moo here” or a “cluck cluck there,” you can tell them that their Happy Meal gives them two treats for their mouth – an entertaining song, as well as a cheap, tasty and terribly unhealthy meal. Fortunately, there’s very little actual meat in McDonald’s food, so it’s almost like your tyke is eating vegetarian.

These are my top 10. Can you suggest any others? Or was my list so crass that you need to race for the nearest Osco because you’re feeling a little asco?

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Filed under Humor, Parenting, Top 10 List