Mini Rant Against Retailers

Headline on Yahoo! today:  Retailers Report Weak June Sales.

Well, duh.  Has anyone been to retail stores lately?  Especially clothing stores?  It’s like retailers think we are all rolling in dough or something.  And even if we were rolling in dough, the prices on shitty crap made in China are obscene, especially at stores that like to capitalize on brand names.  Most of the stuff is piteously and poorly made, but it has a label in it, so the store charges a small fortune.  T-shirts that are so thin they are see-through.  Clothes have seams where the threads are already coming out before the clothes have even been sold.  Then the retailers want $50 or $60 for them.  And it isn’t just clothes.  Bottles of plain lotion are $15.  Razor blades–razor blades! those little pieces of metal that cost about .20 cents–are 20 bucks a pack, just so people can have four in a row.  Cereal is $6 a box, when the cost to make cereal is lower than it has ever been. It’s insane.

Here’s a clue stores:  Want to sell more stuff?  Lower prices to an affordable and reasonable level.  Forty bucks for a t-shirt is too much, especially a crappy, see-through t-shirt.  Seventy bucks for pants is ridiculous, especially since you can’t seem to vary your sizes so that people can buy things that fit.  $100 or more for a purse is stupid, especially since, in my experience, the straps or buckles break within a couple of months.  Marking things as “on sale” with a higher MSRP is for fools.  You may have been able to sell your crap for ridiculous prices a couple of years ago, but times have changed (and people were probably buying all your crap on credit then anyway.  Now the bills are due and the job is gone and there isn’t anything left to spend with.).

A special note to Goodwill:  Your stuff is USED.  Trying to sell a suitcase with a hole in it for forty bucks is never going to make you a penny. I can go buy a NEW one for that price, without the hole!  Used clothes for $10 or $15 is too much.  And an old, ratty, smelly couch for $150 is TOO MUCH!  Your racks are FILLED with crap you will never sell because, guess what?  Your prices are too high for used junk.  There was a bunch of flack a couple of years ago about your CEO making too much money.  Stop charging too much and giving the money you do make to the CEO.  Start helping the people you put on your trucks and in your ads in your pitiful attempts to look like d0-gooders and actually charge prices these people could afford.

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Pregnancy Brain

I heard someone say or I read somewhere that “pregnant women are stupid.” I have to agree. Having gone from a person with so many thoughts running through my head I had to start a blog to deal with them all so I could focus on the other stuff I wanted to write, to someone who can barely compose a coherent sentence, let alone an entire blog piece, all in the span of just under 8 months, I have to agree.

The end of the first trimester and beginning of the second were the worst.  I look back at my blog posts from that time.  The number of posts start to dwindle.  The topics become more inane.  In fact I wrote about the fact that my brain seemed not to be functioning as it had previously.   And I just wrote about the concern, but there seemed to be no real pressing urge to change it.  I was sitting there muddled in a fog.

Gradually over the last few weeks I have started feeling somewhat clearer, but by brain in no way compares to how it was when I was not pregnant.  My energy levels certainly don’t.  I have always been the sort of person who has a list of 20 things to do and gets all of them done with time left over.  Now?  Now it’s a feat if I remember, oh yeah, I have that appointment today, and manage to dress and get to it on time.  Then that’s it.  I’m done for the day.  I also used to clean the house once a week.  Now it seems it takes seeing pink around the drain in the tub to remind me to clean mildew, or the dog chewing up a roll of toilet paper to force me to drag out the vacuum cleaner.  About the only thing I’ve remained regular on in the housecleaning department is keeping the kitchen clean.  Of course, our kitchen is so tiny, if it isn’t kept clean it’s a disaster within 2 days so the “mildew ring” shows up sooner, so to speak.

Words also used to flit off my tongue.  I had a thought and a response to everything.  Often these thoughts had some intelligence behind them, and I would analyze and think around all the angles.  Not anymore.  Now I don’t even have the thoughts, let alone intelligent ones.

I have some great writing projects I’m working on.  They are like cars with broken batteries.  I give them a jump.  I get them going for a bit.  Then they stop again and languish, waiting for AAA to come and jump them again.  Only AAA takes its own sweet time.  I took months completing and revising a short story I’m pretty pleased with.  I was at the query phase, ready to send letters to the magazines I had chosen.  Incidentally, choosing the magazines took weeks.  Then I started to write the query letter, but it didn’t roll off the fingers as such letters had in the past.  I had to write something saying what the story was about.  Stuck, I stopped for the day, then took a trip to Portland, and I still haven’t finished.  It’s on the list.

The list.  I’ve started making these because I forget things.  I was never much of a list maker in my personal life.  As an attorney, I had lists.  I had calendars.  I am extremely organized.  But I never had to in my personal life.  Now I do.  If I don’t make a list, even the stories and non-fiction pieces I’m working on are forgotten.

I realize pregnancy has hijacked my brain.  I realize at some point the thoughts will return.  However, I also realize that soon there will be a little baby to take my attention and getting these things done will be a practicality nightmare.  This realization is somewhat overwhelming.  Will it be years before I get my brain back?  Will the stories I have been working on be dated by then?  I feel the urge to complete these projects, but can’t seem to get them done.  However, I have stopped just lying in bed in the morning when I can’t sleep after I had to get up for the tenth time to pee.  I have started coming here and writing a little bit now and then.  So maybe there is hope.  I guess it will be obvious by the number of posts I make here.  Or not.