Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How Stupid People Are Ruining It for the Rest of Us

Have you ever realized how much stupid people are ruining things for the rest of us? Just the other day, I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, trying to get out with what few items I had. After a few minutes, I was relieved to see that the cart of the lady in front of me had been emptied and the last item had been scanned. Great! I thought, It's almost my turn! But unfortunately, the lady was a little short on cash. By "a little short", I mean she had brought $20 to spend at the store, but put $80 worth of groceries in her cart!

How did she handle it? Taking out a pack of chewing gum, she handed it to the cashier and said, "How much is it without this?". $79.50. Only $59.50 to go! Next, a tube of toothpaste, then another small ticket item, all chosen one by one after the lady had carefully sifted through everything to find that next item she could bear to part with. The really annoying thing was that she kept asking the same question after every little item, "How much is it without this?"

I wanted to scream at her, "Did you happen to notice the prices posted on the shelves?!"

Look, I know we've all been a little short at the register. At least, I have. Sometimes, I may have miscalculated by a dollar or two the final cost of everything while keeping a running total in my head. But I've never overshot my budget by $60! I mean, come on! That can only be achieved by completely giving up on the concept of Mathematics. "Screw it, I'm just going to throw a bunch of stuff in my cart and let the cashier figure it out."

If this were an isolated incident, I wouldn't attach much significance to it. But it's happened to me more than once. And every time it happens, I feel it just serves to prove my theory - Stupid people are conspiring to ruin my life.

I'll give you another example of how the intelligence-challenged among us are messing things up for everyone else: online auctions. I remember back, shortly after Al Gore invented the Internet, when online auction sites such as eBay were great places to find slightly used or surplus merchandise at bargain prices. But then, the stupid people found out about it. Now, it's mostly a place for suckers. Let me ask you, if an auction ends Thursday at 5:00pm, when is the best time to place your first bid? That would be 4:55 or as close as you can get before the auction ends, right? If you place a bid any time before then, you are just going to drive the price higher, which is exactly what happens to most popular items there now. A few years ago, I was shopping around on eBay for my first PDA. I found the exact kind I was looking for, too. Unfortunately, it had a cracked screen and some other damage. Yet, the high bid was already more than what you'd pay for a new one in the store! Even worse, there were still a couple of days left in the auction!

Reasonably intelligent people understand the concept of bidding late, but not stupid people. In fact, they often complain about others who place their first bids in the last few minutes! That's cheating! Yes, how dishonest of me to use such unfair advantages as common sense and logic to determine when to place my bid.

Another example is traffic jams, which are almost always caused by stupid people, especially when it's the result of an accident on the freeway. How do accidents happen on the freeway in the first place? I mean, if you want to avoid an accident there, all you have to do is follow two simple rules: 1) Don't hit the person in front of you. 2) If you want to switch to another lane, make sure no one is there already. That's it! Easy enough, isn't it? Not for stupid people!

But it's not just the people involved in the accident who are guilty. No, it's also all the stupid people who have to slow down to look at the accident, as if they've never seen one before. Sure, if you're in the lane next to the accident, by all means, slow down to avoid hitting anyone on the scene. But, please, someone explain to me why drivers three lanes over, on the other side of the road, have to slow down!

I remember one Thanksgiving weekend when I was trying to get back home from Memphis. At some point outside of Atlanta, traffic on the interstate slowed to a crawl. Traffic was backed up for miles and miles. It took us two hours to get to the end of it. The cause? A couple of cars had pulled over into the middle of the median between the north- and south-bound lanes. They hadn't wrecked. They weren't in anyone's way. They were just sitting there. But all the stupid people on the road that day had to slow down and look anyway, causing the rest of us major headaches.

Don't get me wrong. I don't really have anything against stupid people. Some of my closest friends are complete idiots (of course, if you're reading this and you happen to be my friend, you know I'm not talking about you). Besides, stupid people serve an important purpose in society. In fact, if not for the presence of stupid people, there are so many wonderful things the world would not have today, such as multi-level marketing and Jerry Bruckheimer movies. And what of all those poor professional wrestlers who would be without jobs and a means to support their families because there was no one to watch them on TV?

No, we need stupid people. I just wish they would leave me alone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005   Bookmark in Del.icio.us  | |   Digg Story  | |   Slashdot This Story