Sunday, March 27, 2022

Signs o' The Times...

"If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half of the "fuck you" signs in the world. It is impossible." -- J.D. Salinger, "Catcher in the Rye"

Last week, I told you that I was passing a local pawn shop that had a "going out of business" sign in the window (right above the vintage Harley flathead and the Indian prominently displayed in same window), and a bunch of related signs has recently gone up all over my little patch of Hell.

"Related" in the sense that these signs, too, are indicators of the current economic doldrums currently infecting Sodom-on-Hudson, and most of America, I reckon, to judge from the noise coming from the idiot box.

Business must be bad. Then again, I happen to know from painful experience -- I got my taxes "done" Friday -- that business has been bad for a while now.

Like from two years ago...

About the only people making money these days are the Welfare Queens and the people who exist in government to serve them.

And what a variety of "bad business" signs, they are, too! When they aren't outright sad, they're somewhat maddening.

"This location will no longer accept EBT cards" signs are springing up in every Mom-and-Pop. The bagel stores, the pizzerias, the delis. When you inquire as to why (I did twice, at two different locations), the answer varies and comes in multiple parts, but the really big reason seems to be rampant fraud.

Because COVID, half the United States must be on some form of public assistance, these days (and there should be a lesson in all of this, which most-likely will never be learned by politicians and bureaucrats, who get paid whether they succeed or fail) that perhaps the next time we find ourselves confronted by a "pandemic" (this will be, by my count, the third or fourth in my lifetime) that we're perhaps better off letting the fucking thing run its course without interference from "experts".

For while the Welfare State expanded exponentially, so too did the enforcement state; there are so many people who have scammed "COVID relief" that the states are actively policing it with fervor, and if a store owner has -- innocently -- accepted an EBT transaction from one of the scammers, HE'S THE ONE WHO GETS INVESTIGATED.

Which means The Government pores over the business owner's receipts and his bank accounts and probably checks his stools for undigested corn, if they don't shut him down!, in the quest to catch that villain who bought a pound of American cheese and a loaf of bread with stolen money, never to be caught.

Proving once again that American government -- at all levels -- is run by rhesus monkeys and employs the dumbest fucking people on Earth.

So that now the truly needy, like my elderly neighbors, who might have been driven to food stamps and supplemental funding, can't use their neighborhood stores to buy (literally) their daily bread, but have to go out of their way -- often a long way out of their way -- to use the supermarkets which are not exactly plentiful in these parts.

"Surcharges" - These signs announce that there will be a ___% surcharge on all purchases made with a debit or credit card. The contrivances where the hip youngins used to just press their "smart" phone to an electronic device have disappeared. We're back to "swiping" cards.

And because of how these cards operate -- the credit card company or bank charges a fee for the store owner to offer the service -- the owners no longer want, nor can afford, to pay it. So all this electronic whizbangery that was "supposed to make life easier -- because you did not have to carry, nor deal with the inconvenience of obtaining cash from a bank -- has instead made cash king, again.

Some stores are refusing to take debit or credit, at all.

So, for all of you who one day dream of a cashless society, given the recent examples of Canada, Ukraine and the inability to use your debit card in the drive-through at the local McDonald's, you're fucked. This "Digital Dollar" nonsense that is coming down the pike, the "cryptocurrency revolution" wherein people invest in things that don't exist and "earn" profits via Ponzi scheme, are DOA.

(Government has decided these things "need to be regulated", you see)

Oh, there will be stalwarts who will keep trying to push it, but good luck with that. We've all seen the alacrity -- and ruthlessness -- by which government will readily cut people out of the monetary system for whatever reason they can claim is "an emergency", and we're all familiar by now by corporate America's willingness to refuse electronic business of any kind to "the wrong sort", read: those who aren't woke or sufficiently subservient to the either the democratic party (small 'd' intentional) or the all-encompassing bureaucracy.

The street runs two ways, boys: if you can sever an American citizens' access to the finance system because they won't wear a mask or worship at the altar of "Diversity", then the American citizen can cut you out of the transaction, altogether, by refusing to use or accept your products...or by making them more-expensive to use.

Wait to see how this one turns out.

"Full Service" - something of a dirty trick being pulled by the local Diversity form the Sub-Continent is the new practice of hanging -- hidden-and-very-hard-to-see -- "Full Service" signs at the local gas stations.

The unwary customer pulls up to the pump and the greasy coolie lying in wait jumps out of his hiding space and starts pumping gas before you can say "What the fuck are you doing"?

And he then points to the "Full Service" sign.

Which is next to the sign with the price of unleaded regular or diesel on it, which is 75-cents-to-a-dollar higher than the price listed on the neon sign at the station's verge. And clever little brown bastards that they are, they ensure that once you have pulled up to this particular pump that you can't get out for the parked cars awaiting service in the garage.

(No wonder their kids dominate spelling bees).

The really good ones change the location of the minefield pumps on a daily basis, so that your first task upon pulling into the station is to note the location of the parked cars, the cones, the garbage cans, or other obstacles that have been strategically-placed so as to trap you before you get some gas.

I haven't seen a "Full Serve" gas station in New York City for nearly 40 years, but all of a sudden, everyplace is offering it.

And, you figure, since the Gunga Din of Gasoline is going to rip you off with this "Full Service" scam, you might as well go full hog and demand "Full Service", which in my day meant that Mowgli washed your windows and sideviews, checked the air pressure in your tires, popped the hood to check the oil and other fluids. If you're going to charge me a higher price I demand higher service, after all.

No dice.

Not only does today's pump jockey not know how to do these things, assuming he's motivated to do them at all, you get the distinct impression from the crossed eyes, missing teeth, and awful smell that you'd probably be better off if the Guy From Life of Pi or Slumdog Millionaire left your vehicle alone, before it ends up being used as part of the obstacle course that traps the next poor sucker.

"We Do Not Have ____" - due to "supply chain problems" a long list of usually easy-to-obtain items are suddenly out of stock. It is happening so frequently to the small businesses in this area that some have taken to placing a whiteboard on the front door to list on a daily basis all the products they are currently out of.

Today it may be bread, laundry detergent, fresh fruit. Tomorrow coffee, sugar, or eggs.

The supermarkets have these things, though supplies can be spotty, as they were yesterday when I went looking for cookies for Mrs. Overlord and had to hit four stores to find a simple bag of Chips Ahoy, but you can get all the Banana/Mint/Vanilla/Toffee Crunch/Hazelnut/Birthday Cake/Marshmallow/Lemon Oreos you want. Shelves are absolutely lousy with them, which is something never seen before.

Previously, if you wanted those flavors, you had to order them on Amazon, because they otherwise would not be on the shelves in even small quantities here.

One bright spot in all of this is that in order to get something even close to what you may be looking for -- as an example, root beer -- you may find your favorite brand AWOL, but there's another brand you've never heard of in abundance, and you're forced to buy it or go without, only to be pleasantly surprised at the quality of this off-name or anonymous, often-considerably-cheaper brand.

The downside is, if you do find one of these hidden gems, you'd better buy in bulk because chances are good it, too, will disappear within a week, never to be seen again.

The saddest sign of all, sez me, is the "No More Than _____ People Allowed in Store".

The shoplifting has gotten so outrageously out-of-hand that stores are limiting the number of people who may enter, and in some cases, limiting the amount of time that you can stay inside.

And everyone gets watched like they were prey on the Serengeti Plain.

The Gestapo didn't watch prisoners this intently, or with this much suspicion.

Of course, there are some signs that give one hope:

The "Let's Go Brandon" and "Fuck Joe Biden" signs are also multiplying. Whether they are indicative of mere frustration or a true rejection of the political left and the Managerialist form of government, remains to be seen.

All I can say is that at this time of year, with an election coming up in a few months, the front-yard political sign that both endorses a candidate or implies political leaning is typically a staple -- things that bloom in abundance with the Return of Spring --  but they're curiously missing this year. Especially the ones endorsing democrats who've learned a long time ago not to actually put their political/party affiliation on the sign, even eschewing the traditional Blue or Red, in an effort to mislead you about who they are.

If the Left can't be immediately eradicated, at least they've been driven underground...probably by fear and embarrassment.

For the time being, at least.


mtness said...

Hi Mr. Ovrlord,
sounds a lot like the times bygone in East Germany !

Yeah - cash is king an will always be.
How do you want to pay when there is no electricity anymore.
(Or can't afford it)

The state of affairs in Sodom-on-Hudson sound a lot like stories from East Germany.
So, this, too, shall pass. It depends on how much destruction will happen until then...

Fun fact aside - the phrase "cash is king" is called "nur Bares is wahres" in germann,
which translates to "only cash is truth/real" .

This will again prove true.

Best regards and have a nice sunday,

GMay said...

Thank the Good Lord In Whom I Do Not Believe that I haven't noticed it being anywhere near this bad out here in flyover country.

As to the EBT, I wrote the whole thing off as a sick joke when I lived in Florida and the local ice cream truck rolled into the neighborhood with a prominent sign on all sides of the vehicle letting the local chilluns know that they accepted EBT. Gotta get those staples like freezer-burned ice cream sammiches because of "food deserts" that were created by local politics.

Style note: "Gunga Din" got a solid chuckle.

Phil said...

I'm thinking things are going to get downright vicious before the end of Summer.