Portland the Hipster

It is just odd, this need for trend and flavor and aren’t we all tony, sipping our lattes, carrying our shopping baskets over an arm, wandering the aisles of the grocery store listening to live jazz.  I find it so bizarre.  Grocery stores have gone from little boxes with rows of shelves lit by small bulbs and windows and no music, to giant rows of shelves lit by fluorescent lights and muzak over the sound system, to monoliths with shelves arranged at angles lit by attractively placed track lighting and live music playing in the corner.  It’s grocery shopping as social experience with strangers.  You are going out to buy your food anyway, why not hang out and look cool doing it?  Plus if we cover everything in pretty packaging, not only will you not realize you are being sold to, but we can charge you 80 times more for everything you buy because we have you convinced we are such honest corporate citizens bent on saving the planet.  Yuck.

I suppose something I have noticed upon returning to Portland is how damn hard it tries to be cool.  As much as I recoiled from the slick corporate touch of Hawaii, I realize the version in Portland is just as calculated.  Some tres chic advertising agencies and publicists have put their touches on liberal communities to ensure the corporate touch is more obscure.  They sell to those of us who think we are too cool to be sold to.  How better to do it than to fill the grocery store with plants, smelly candles, attractive lighting accents, live music, and a sign in the corner telling us it doesn’t exploit third-world farmers and that our veggies have no chemicals (we’ll ignore the fact it took untold hours and gallons of oil to get it all here).  The sad thing is how well it works.

A Pox on Advantage Rent A Car and First Hawaiian Bank

Oh we are so small and insignificant.  Oh the corporations in this world are so large and monopolistic.  They are all the same.  There are too many willing to put up with their business practices, too many willing to put up and shut up, that telling them we will not do business with them is meaningless.  All I have is this damn blog and any articles I ever manage to publish.  I am using this blog and this opportunity to tell anyone who cares or has a choice about my experience with Advantage RentaCar and First Hawaiian Bank.

I have nothing good to say about Advantage RentaCar.  I rented a car from them.  I paid them for a full tank of gas. They have this deal where you pay them like .30c a gallon less than what is on the street, then you can bring the car back empty and they don’t care.  Well, I start out on the road after a LONG flight, made longer by the fact the airplane was broken and we had to sit on it for 2 hours before it went anywhere.  Halfway down the freeway to where we were staying I realized the car had less than half a tank.  Nice.  I rented this car for a week.  I brought it back a day early because I purchased a car that gets much better gas mileage.  Upon arrival at Advantage, I was informed that the car would cost twice as much because I was returning it early.  Excuse me?  They have the car available to rent to someone else and they want me to pay them twice as much?  They would not make it right.  I had to take the car and I will have to bring it back tomorrow if I want to keep the additional $170.  The airport is not near my house.  The rental company is not easily accessible.  I wasted almost two hours there and back today.  I will have to waste more time tomorrow.  I will never rent an Advantage RentaCar again, even if it costs me ten or twenty or even a hundred dollars more to rent somewhere else.  If they wanted to charge me more to bring the car back early, they should have mentioned this would be the case, thereby eliminating my wasting my time going there today.  Again, I will never do business with Advantage RentaCar again.

First Hawaiian Bank.  Not only do they think I’m a lying terrorist who forged my driver’s license and social security card, not only will they not tell me what is on my credit report that makes them think I’m a lying terrorist (claiming it is a violation of privacy–HAH), now they will not return my forty thousand dollars until it has cleared my bank. Rather than just giving me my check back and returning all documents with my signatures, the greedy bastards took my money and are holding it until my bank clears the check.  This could take up to ten days.  I will never do business with First Hawaiian Bank.  I urge others not to do business with them either.

Citizens, we have to stop putting up with this.  The only way we will ever change anything is if enough of us say no.  A few here and there will never make a dent.  We have to fight for change. Every day our rights are eroded further.  Every day we have fewer freedoms.  The movement is miniscule on a day by day basis, so we do not notice that over time, we are so far away from anything resembling freedom in any sense of the word.  This will only change if we stop putting up with all of the bureaucratic chaos we are forced to endure every day.  We will only change corporations if enough of us hit their bottom line.  This is important.  I urge you to resist requirements pushed on you by businesses who are not interested in customer service.  I urge you to stop doing business with companies who treat you poorly and then let them know why.  Only then will we ever create real change.

Song of the Day

Also known as proof that corporate mind takeovers really do work.

I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner,
That is what I’d truly like to be.
‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer weiner,
Then everyone would be in love with me.

Isn’t that special? I know that song because I heard it on television as a child. I spent a lot of time watching television. See how I turned out? Yikes. I’m the poster child for why you shouldn’t let your children watch television or be loners. I’m so Generation X, it’s boring.