Welcome friends, grab yourself a ‘Cup of Joe’, pull up a chair and let’s chat for a while about Pet Peeves.
When I first moved into my Victoria Avenue home in 1999, I quickly became acquainted with my next-door neighbour’s golden Labrador Retriever named Peeve. I fell in love with that dog’s name. Not only could you describe their dog as their pet, Peeve, but you could also ask their permission to pet Peeve.
This will be the first in a number of blogs I will write on ‘pet peeves’. No, not pets with the name of Peeve, but pet peeves as those “things in life that especially annoy you”, as defined by The Cambridge English Dictionary.
We all have them. They are those little irritants that we experience on a frequent basis that cause a spike in our blood pressure and a gritting of our teeth. I’m sure that some of the pet peeves I will share with you will resonate with you and perhaps even be your pet peeves. I encourage you to share with me some of your pet peeves for future articles.
Pet peeve # one – people who discard their cigarette butts in public.
This drives me crazy. For the life of me I cannot understand how rational thinking human beings arrive at the conclusion that it is permissible to flick their cigarette butts from their car windows or drop them on municipal sidewalks and other properties. These same people would be outraged if they spotted someone discarding fast food containers and bags from car windows on city streets. What’s the difference? Do they believe that the cigarette butts are biodegradable? They are not.
Cigarette filters or butts are made from fibrous material (cellulose acetate – a material similar to rayon) that is designed to trap tar and other toxic chemicals before they reach the smoker’s lungs. The filters are made from and are coated with paper. Each butt contains the remnants of tobacco, paper and a filter.
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter in the world, as approximately 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year worldwide. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter, as an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown away every year worldwide Cigarette waste constitutes an estimated 30% of the total litter (by count) on US shorelines, waterways and on land.”
One of the most disgusting scenes you will see in Windsor is the downtown streets and sidewalks first thing early Sunday morning after a healthy bar crowd the night before. These areas are covered like a blanket with cigarette butts discarded by bar patrons who treat public property as if it was their own giant ashtray.
Fortunately, there is a volunteer group dedicated to cleaning up our downtown streets early on Sunday mornings because of these thoughtless individuals. I would like to see these cigarette butts returned to their rightful owners, perhaps dropped off on their front lawns for a Sunday morning wake-up call.
Municipal and provincial governments, through local bylaws and the Highway Traffic Act, need stronger enforcement of existing laws and amendments to these laws to provide greater deterrence to cigarette butt-head polluters.
Pet peeve # two – pesky telemarketers and the CRTC’s ‘Do Not Call List’ (DNCL).
We’ve all experienced sitting down at the dinner table with our families, only to have that time interrupted by the un-welcomed intrusion of telemarketers selling everything from trips and tours, to home security systems.
As Canadians, we are supposed to be protected from these type of calls with the establishment of the CRTC’s DNCL that was introduced December 13, 2004.
According to the CRTC website, “The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) introduces new responsibilities for Canada’s telemarketers. If you are a telemarketer you can use this Web site to register your business information, obtain and buy a subscription to the National DNCL, and download or query the National DNCL. You can also find out about subscription rates, file formats and other information in the Telemarketer section of this Web site.”
For ‘Joe Public’, persons like you and me, the CRTC website further states, “If you are a consumer you can choose to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive by registering your residential, wireless, fax or VoIP telephone number on the National DNCL. You can also check your registration, find out how to remove your number from the National DNCL, and file a complaint about telemarketing calls”.
Once registered, if you receive a call from a telemarketer, the noncompliant telemarketer can be reported by you, investigated by DNCL, and, if found guilty of violating the list, assessed a sizable fine. Yah, right …. From my personal experience, aside from a screen door for a submarine, few other ideas are as useless as the DNCL.
I have repeatedly registered my landline and cellular phone numbers with them and still receive telemarketers’ calls from the same organizations that I’ve previously reported to the DNCL. It should be no surprise then to realize that the DNCL has been described as a “disaster” by many, and a “success” by the government through their polling conducted for them by a telemarketer (All polling firms are telemarketers, by the definition of the Telecommunications Act, having specifically been listed as telemarketers which have been granted an exemption from the DNCL). You can put my name in the disaster category!
So, sometimes it behooves us to take matters into our own hands. After receiving repeated solicitations from a telemarketing firm on behalf of a local air duct cleaner, and after warning the telemarketing firm time and again that they were being reported to the DNCL for a violation of my rights, I finally came up with a solution to ending their endless calls.
When I received their last (and 16th) dinner time telephone call I told them that I wanted their services and made an appointment for them to come to my home to clean out my air ducts. Two weeks later this company showed up at the appointed time with their truck and the crew unloaded their equipment and rang my doorbell.
When I answered the door I explained to them that I really didn’t want my air ducts cleaned, but wanted to tell them face-to-face to quit calling me on the telephone, and for them to give this message to their boss. The poor workers looked stunned and confused. But since that day, almost 5 months later, I have not received another call from them.
Pet peeve # three – ‘speed of light’ voicemail messages.
My last of my pet peeves Vol. I will be relatively quick; ironically, it deals with an annoyance caused by excessive speed.
With my various vocational responsibilities as a wedding officiant, writer with Biz X magazine, on-air personality with TV Cogeco, actor with The Rum Runners and French Connection tours, etc., I receive many phone calls and voicemail messages. While the vast majority of people who leave messages do so in a manner that their message and phone number can easily be ascertained, there are those ‘Speedy Gonzales’ who defy the speed of light in leaving their message. And to make matters worse, they are the callers whose phone numbers show up as ‘private caller’ on my telephone call display.
The other day I had a voicemail message from a young lady looking for a wedding officiant, a message I needed to play and replay five to six times before I could finally capture her entire telephone number. I actually timed the portion of her message where she gave me her phone number with a stopwatch. Keeping in mind that the telephone number she left me has seven numbers, she spoke her number in 1.6 seconds. That is the equivalent of doing 180 km on the EC Row Expressway. Talk about frustration! Talk about a waste of my time.
Precisely because of calls like hers, whenever I leave someone a voicemail message along with my return telephone number, I do so in a deliberate and protracted manner. In fact, I timed the length of my spoken telephone number in a voicemail message and it times out at 3.8 seconds (3 times slower than the inquiring bride’s call to me).
But on top of that, I repeat my phone number a second time and, in repeating the number, I break it up into three or four segments – 519 / 252 / 83 / 98. It’s safe to assume that the recipient of my voicemail message will get my phone number correct in one hearing – provided they haven’t fallen asleep listening to it.
If you have any pet peeves you’d like to share with me, contact me at [email protected]#bizxmagazine.com