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Want to know the fastest way to piss me off? Advertise a buffet at your bar on New Year’s Eve and then, after I buy a $75 ticket for said night of promised eating and drinking, deny a buffet was ever included or mentioned. Really, The Anchor Bar in New York City? Then why does this webpage say that there will not only be a buffet, but a delectable buffet?
And that was only the beginning of the problems with The Anchor Bar in New York City, all of which were made worse by the fact that I and everyone else was starving all night, having assumed that our $75 investment would buy more than a few weak rum and Cokes.
In fact, The Anchor Bar in New York City was so bad that I’m determined to mention The Anchor Bar in New York City in at least two percent of this entry, so that it is search engine optimized and when someone searches for The Anchor Bar in New York City this article will come up and save them from the trouble of going.
What else was wrong with the place, other than the huge offense of telling people there would be food in the bar that we were being trapped in for seven hours?
For one, upon entering the bar, we decided to have a seat. Moments after sitting down, the manager came over and asked us if we were VIP. Since we were not, we were told that we couldn’t sit down all night, although he said, and I quote, “Maybe one of the VIP would let us sit on their ottoman.” Really, asshole manager? If one of the VIP doesn’t want to prop up his feet, I could sit where his feet usually go? That would be great. And since when is simply sitting considered the act of a very important person? Don’t they get back rooms and cocaine and plush collections of velvet cushions? Not at the Anchor Bar in New York City. There, the basic act of sitting down in a bar is a special service that you must pay extra for.
For two, the bar that we paid $75 for served almost nothing. My refrigerator has a much better selection of beers, and my refrigerator doesn’t have a good selection of beers. That’s the reason I like to go out somewhere sometimes, in order to choose from a wider selection of beers at an establishment such as a bar, which should specialize in having more than bottled Bud Light and Becks.
For three, the bar oversold tickets, cramming 275 people into a space half the size of my apartment. I’m assuming they were banking on the fact that the good people who uphold fire code laws were out doing more important things on New Years Eve. Good thing most people were forced to stand up, because that was the only way we were all going to fit. By the time we left (well before midnight), The Anchor Bar in New York City was very much like a clown car, if you replaced the clowns with guys wearing t-shirts paired with sports coats and girls who couldn’t seem to take a picture without sticking out their tongues — pictures which I’m guessing are being posted on their Facebook pages as we speak.
For four, The Anchor Bar in New York City’s women’s room lock broke about 20 minutes into the night. Women who needed to use the restroom got the titillating choice of either 1) not locking the door at all and getting walked in on with their pants down a few times or 2) locking the door, getting stuck in the bathroom, and then banging on the door and screaming frantically to be let out. Although the asshole manager said he was working on it, it seemed like he just spent the night working the problem over in his head. He didn’t even feel the need to, I don’t know, post a sign.
I could also mention the $4 coat check, the mean bartenders, and the terrible music, but this is going a bit long.
In any case, Ben and I left early. We bought a pizza and some wings, selected a fine beer from our refrigerator, and watched episodes of The Wire while sitting down in our spacious living room. At midnight, we kissed, petted the cat, clinked our non-Bud Light beers, and toasted to a Anchor Bar-free 2008, filled with sitting and food. Delectable food.
I very badly want to write an angry letter to the Anchor Bar in New York City about how they ruined my New Years, but I know that my letter will be read by someone like me, who hates her job and is in no way involved in the shitty service of The Anchor Bar. She’ll probably read it, reply with a form letter apology, and be just a tiny bit sadder than she was before. Instead, I’ll just entreat you to warn the people you know in New York City. The Anchor Bar lied about a buffet and profited from it – is there any greater offense?
I’ve heard a lot about how you shouldn’t take your game face off at the company Christmas party. You should act just as professional as you would inside of the office – remember: you are still surrounded by your coworkers, managers, and executives! Don’t drink too much wine, don’t take gross advantage of the buffet, and don’t giggle too much when someone tries to talk to you about a project! People will remember how you acted come Monday morning!
Well, I think it might be time for some different advice – advice for the people earning under $30,000 a year and with no company prospects. People like me. Personally, I see the holiday party as my one annual chance to eat and drink money away from my company – money that they are so stingy with when it comes to my paycheck. Sure, I might make $11 an hour – but you should see how many dollars worth of steak I can eat in an hour. Or how many $11 glasses of wine I can drink. I might not be very good at many things, but I am an expert passive-aggressive eater.
My own company holiday party is tomorrow afternoon. It’s one of those always-fun mandatory parties where you can either attend or stay at work and log hours, which I find always puts everyone in a festive mood. The mailroom people are never invited, and we’re never supposed to say anything about it. There will be a lunch buffet, and open bar, and a lot of forced smiling.
I’m especially mad because today I tried to mail a personal letter (a cable bill) at work and got called out for it in a company-wide email MARKED WITH A RED EXCLAMATION POINT! They really know how to push my buttons. They didn’t know who tried to do it and they are holding my cable bill hostage until I come forward and get a scarlet M pinned to my chest (The M in this case, would stand for Mailing personal letters at work). All for a 40 cent stamp!
I mean, they’re acting like not every single person here has mailed personal letters and packages from work. And if they think I’m going to come forward and confess just so that I can reclaim my unsent letter, they are so, so wrong. I’d rather wait for the next bill and pay a late fee. Instead, I’m going to go out of my way to eat an extra 40 cents of food tomorrow, even after I’m full.
Here’s the main point: you don’t have to act like you’re at work at your company holiday party. You don’t have to talk about work (it wastes precious time you could be chewing). Don’t hesitate to sample every dessert, maybe even without using the provided utensils. Giggle when the president pronounces Hanukah as if he were Jewish and also deaf and congested. Giggle loud – he should really know better. Most importantly, leave early.
I’ll let you know how things go tomorrow.
I have trouble with exclamation points in general – they’re very useful, but they lose their effectiveness if you break them out too often. This rule is doubly true for the Microsoft Outlook red exclamation point – the little symbol you can put next to the subject of your email that stands for urgency or high importance. My new boss has trouble with this concept to the point where I am not sure if she knows where the period is located on the keyboard or realizes that not all of her emails are highly important.
If you use the high importance red exclamation mark, say, twice a month, I’m going to understand the special pressing and critical nature of your request and treat the email accordingly. If you use it every single time you send me anything it’s going to start meaning less and less to me. In fact, I just might go to lunch before even opening your email in some sort of attempt to teach you a lesson.
What you’re telling me, with your dozens of red exclamation point emails, is that you think that everything you need is way more important than anything else I need to do for other people. It’s like cutting in line for no reason. I hate it so, so much.
In order to curb red exclamation point use, I have written a short two-example guide to help everyone understand when its usage is appropriate.
Subject: Book Order (!)
Could you order the below books for me??
Subject: Book Order (!)
Could you order the below books for me?? :)
Also, I am badly wounded and can’t stop the blood flow!!! I am typing this to you with the remainder of my strength. If you could call an ambulance or fashion a makeshift tourniquet for me out of office supplies, that would be great!!! Please hurry!!!
Now, I don’t want to get into a big pissing contest with anyone about whose job makes them feel the most worthless. But I do want to say this: I spent the morning frantically tracking down two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes for my boss.
Have you ever had to explain to a complete stranger that you don’t have a superhero/rodent fetish? Well, I’m getting paid approximately $11 an hour (after taxes) to do so.
Me: Hi, I’m looking to rent two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes. I have neither a rodent nor superhero fetish. It’s for a sales meeting.
Costume Shop Lady: A sales meeting?
Me: More specifically, it’s for a sales meeting I didn’t plan. They always have silly themes. No weird fetishes here.
Costume Shop Lady: Yes, we have one available – it includes the head, hands, cape, and spandex.
Me: I actually need two. I need Mighty MICE. And I swear to you on everything holy that the second one isn’t for my significant other. We just like holding hands and watching movies.
Costume Shop Lady: We only have one. Why in the world would we have two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes??
Me: Why would you even have ONE?? Freaks!!!
It doesn’t help that this task was given to me by my new boss – the one prone to marking all emails with the high-important red exclamation point regardless of their importance level. Here’s a timeless and fool-proof business tip for managers and bosses: if you have a new assistant and are trying to make her feel welcomed, useful, and like a human being with real hopes and dreams, do not ask her to track down two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes. Or any sort of other costume. For at least a couple of weeks.
Well, I have to go now and make some more important business calls and try to talk over the laughter of my cube mate while I ask questions like, “Is the spandex one size fits all?” and “What are the mouse hands made out of?” and “Didn’t I already explain that I’m not into weird mouse stuff?”
One of my favorite daydreams involves getting attacked by a cougar – it’s pieced together from cougar attack stories I read once in a book I found in a gas station on an Indian reservation, called True Cougar Attacks or something, which stated in the introduction that cougars rarely attack people, but when they do, it’s usually petite female joggers. I find the daydream really calming and satisfying for some reason.
In the daydream, I’m jogging along the Clark Fork river in Montana when I hear this clicking sound behind me. It’s strange enough that I stop running to check if there’s anyone behind me – but each time I turn around there’s nothing but the still grass and still trees and the slow-flowing river. Even though I don’t see anything, though, both my above-average perception that something’s amiss coupled with my almost-animal-like connection with Nature alert me to an unseen predator.
I jog on, a bit faster. This time when I hear the clicking, I whip around and see the cougar behind me – the clicking is the sound of his claws on the rocky beaten path. The beast – 110 pounds of muscle and sinew – springs at me through the air, and the moment lasts forever. NO – rather, the moment is timeless, something that is always happening somewhere and something that has happened for thousands of years past and that will happen for thousands of years in the future: the predator and its prey. Survival. The freaking circle of freaking life.
The cougar easily knocks me off my feet and – as they often did in the stories from the gas station Indian reservation true stories of cougar attacks book – bites down on the back of my head with its deadly fang-filled jaw. Like one woman in the book, I actually hear things in my head crushing and crunching.
But, on another, deeper level, everything is quiet. I hear a magpie in a nearby fir, rustling its feathery wings. I look down the sloping path to the river and see a pair of salmon silently slide by, perfectly in tandem with a gliding cloud reflected in the water’s surface. I see a caterpillar on the tip of a blade of grass, blindly reaching for the sky. I see a heavy branch a foot away, bleached and cracked, seemingly waiting.
I even see the beauty in the cougar – she smells of musk and earth and heat. She is beautiful! I am not terrified, even as my ear drum explodes and even as I feel her needle claws taking hold of my soft middle. Mostly, though, I am excited to test my physical and mental prowess out in the real world – away from artificiality of human civilization.
I proceed to reach up to the cougar’s face and gouge out her eyes. It’s enough for her to release my head and give me a chance to pick up the heavy branch that I had meditated on a moment before. I beat the cougar to death, and then rest curled next to her still-warm body. Perhaps – and this is only when I really milk the daydream – I can feel a bit of the cougar sprit enter my own as it leaves the shell of her former body.
Oh – and then I drag the cougar’s corpse into town. I’m all covered in crackled dried blood and missing an ear, maybe. Everyone is shocked, both at what they see and how at peace I am.
At the ensuing press conference, which takes place from my hospital bed, I try to explain my deep connection to Mother Nature to the reporters, though no one seems to understand, what with their fancy automobiles and frozen dinner lives. I try to explain that the animal was not evil, but merely driven mad by the growing human presence in her natural habitat. Much like the coach of a winning Superbowl team, I am very respectful toward the loser and her efforts.
“She was a beautiful creature,” I’d say, “Tough and wild and free like no other thing I have ever encountered. It killed me to gouge out her eyes, beat her to death, and drag her into town, but she and I both understood it had to happen. She and I both understood the importance of survival. I have kept her glorious pelt and will wear it always.”
Of course, in another manifestation of this daydream, I just turn to the closest news camera, my head stitched from my chin to my forehead, and say, “Fuck cougars.”
I suppose I should be having daydreams about helping people or being president or something. But I don’t know. I’m pretty happy with this one.
Writing about BOGO HOs and my new-albeit-imaginary ad campaign for Payless Shoes this morning got me thinking about hos in general.
This past summer, Ben and I took a long weekend to drive up the cost of New England, stopping in Boston to see my high school friends one night, camping on an island off the coast of Maine the next, and camping in rural Vermont the next. It was just about as idyllic as one might imagine – seafood was consumed, old friends were seen, rivers were swam in, drunk people were hollered at.
However, it involved a lot of car time – five to eight hours each day. And you can only have adult conversations and listen to mix CDs for so long before things start to deteriorate. Deep into the second day, a car game called The Ho Game was organically grown out of nothing but our boredom and the open road.
The game is simple. You ask a riddle that has an answer that describes a specific type of ho. And your answer must rhyme. As you might guess, they start pretty simple and get more complicated, until they don’t make much sense any more. For example:
- What do you call a late prostitute? A SLOW HO.
- What do you call the loose woman who towed away your car? A REPO HO.
- What do you call a promiscuous woman whose mother had trouble conceiving? AN IN VITRO HO.
- What do you call a slut who stays at home? A NO GO HO.
- What do you call a slut who enjoys cardio-boxing? A TAE BO HO.
- What do you call a New York City whore who lives south of Houston, west of Lafayette, north of Canal, and east of Varick? A SOHO.
- What do you call a loose woman with her hands on her hips? ARMS AKIMHO (also acceptable: ARMS AKIMBO HO).
- What do you call a whorish pirate? A YO-HO.
I’m not sure if these translate well onto paper. Or if they translate well spoken, either, now that I start to think about it. Oh well. Either way, it made the car trip fly by, especially after we started playing spin-off games. (The Whore Game: What do you call a ho characterized by coy shyness and reservation? A DEMURE WHORE, etc., etc.).
Even when we’re not on a car trip – like sometimes late at night, when we’re both awake but quiet, Ben will say, holding me tight, “Sarah, what do you call a trampy tramp?” And in my heart, I know exactly what I’d call her.
Please feel free to share your own additions.
Commercials and advertising campaigns are almost always annoying. But every once and a while there comes along a commercial or advertising idea that makes me want to kill everyone including myself, or even, God save us all, turn off my TV. For example, I’ve had a tough, ongoing struggle to live harmoniously in the same universe with the Arby’s talking oven mitt spokesperson.
But the oven mitt is not, as I long assumed, the essence of all that is wrong in the world. It’s Payless Shoes and their BOGO promotion.
I don’t have a problem with the Payless product. I like the idea of inexpensive shoes. However, a few times a year, perhaps once a season, they have a BOGO sale. What does that mean? It means that, during the BOGO promotion, you can buy a pair of shoes and get another pair of shoes, of equal or lesser value, for half price.
I know what you’re thinking: sounds like a pretty good deal…but why is it called BOGO? I’ll tell you. BOGO is an acronym for Buy One Get One Half Priced. Kind of. Maybe Payless is also paying less for their advertising people, who decided that, unlike most acronyms, their acronym would stop half way through what it actually stood for – cutting out the HALF OFF part of the message? Maybe Payless purchased their acronym during some sort of a Buy Half An Acronym promotion?
No, here’s what probably happened: the Payless advertising group was sitting around a conference room table – unshowered and eating cold Chinese takeout after days of tedious brainstorming. They were exhausted, desperate, and maybe even hallucinating a bit from sleep deprivation. How would they come up with something fresh and catchy for their Buy One Get One Half Priced sale? It was impossible, and the deadline was in an hour.
“Screw it,” the head advertising lady would have finally said, half-heartedly flinging her pen across the table. “Let’s drop the BOGOHP idea and just go with BOGO. I have a family. I have dreams. I am not the monster you see before you.”
And so it was. BOGO is just easier. Bogo could be the name of a cartoon dog that wears human clothes and enjoys puns and walking upright. Bogo could be the name of the exotic island where you took your honeymoon – somewhere with volcanic black sand beaches and swim-up bars. Bogo could be the name of the new wildly fun board game that brings the whole family together, if only for a few hours.
What is Bogohp, on the other hand? Bogohp could be the name of that exchange student your family had your senior year of high school that always picked his nose at the dinner table and at first you thought it was a cultural thing until you met another guy from the same vague Eastern Bloc country Bogoph was from, and he explained that no, they don’t pick their noses at the dinner table, they just drink Vodka.
Bogohp could be the name of the post-post modern art exhibit that you are forced to go see on a first date – and not even a first date with someone you like, but a first date you only agreed to for the combination of the self-esteem boost and the excuse to buy a new dress. It turns out Bogohpism, which all the big critics are calling “an innovative wave of abstract ideas that we totally understand better than laypeople,” looks kind of like that coffee table book you got for your birthday that’s filled with pictures painted by house cats.
Bogohp could be the noise the guy you are on the self-esteem new-dress first date with makes when he gets really excited and also the noise he makes when he blows his nose. A noise which causes you to leave early, maybe even before your free dinner, go to a theater by yourself to see the new romantic comedy/Hilary Duff vehicle, and then return home to sit in the silence of your studio apartment and reevaluate your life.
In short, the BOGO commercial makes me really angry every time it comes on. You can’t just pick and choose the letters you use for your acronym! Sure, you can drop a T for THE or an O for OF but you can’t drop two big, important words! It’s madness!
If I were the head of advertising at Payless Shoes, things would have gone very differently that day in the conference room. In just minutes, I would have erased the brainstorming whiteboard with huge arching swoops and written the acronym BOGOHO (Buy One Get One Half OFF).
And then I would describe my vision for the commercial – the 30-second primetime spot. It would show a high-powered career woman wearing a pair of beautiful high-heeled Payless Shoes, running to catch a taxi. She would turn to the camera and candidly say, “I’m a BOGO HO.” Then it would cut to a mother, wearing a pair of Payless sneakers, playing with her kids on a tire swing. “I’m a BOGO HO,” she would whisper to the camera, maybe winking a little. Then the camera would cut to a chic hipster in Payless flats, tripping along a path with a cute hipster guy. After laughing with the cute guy and kicking up her legs joyously, she looks into the camera and confesses, “I’m a BOGO HO.”
That would make me so much happier.
On the subway platform tonight I saw a woman with a bright, conspicuous, intricate tattoo that wrapped around her foot and leg all the up to her knee. It was of the M&M characters – the ones in the white gloves – huge, of all colors, holding hands and dancing.
Wow, I wonder how many six packs and crack vials went into that choice, I thought. Maybe some combination of an unfortunate life phase and a lost bet? Whatever mix of bad judgments and stupid ideas that created this perfect storm of permanent body modification, I’m sure she wakes every morning filled with remorse, the M&M men who once looked joyful now seeming to laugh mockingly in her face.
But then my eyes rose up from her tattooed leg and up to her face. There she was, eating an enormous bag of M&Ms as if they were the best and only true sustenance on earth. Each time she popped some in her mouth, her eyes would close – like seeing and tasting the delicious flavor explosions of the M&Ms at the same time was sensory overload. It was wonderful to watch: someone who really knew what they loved.
Life lesson: something about not judging people or assuming things. Or possibly something about eating more M&Ms.
We live in dark times. And nothing makes me more convinced of this than the escalating use and growing acceptance of smiley faces in correspondence.
My new boss, who I’ve decided to dislike even though I’ve never met or spoken to her, and who is probably a really nice person who I will never give a chance, can’t seem to send an email without several emoticons beaming out from between her sentences and gluttonous number of exclamation points. U R 2 NICE!!! she wrote in her first email to me, making me wonder how I could “B 2 NICE” when I was in fact 2 shocked 4 words.
Sure, I will pardon the stray or well-used emoticon. I will pardon emoticons that are produced by the very young or very old. I will even pardon emoticons in forum responses and short virtual notes. But emoticons are a slippery slope of weird facial expressions, and, like most indulgences in life, they should be used sparingly and thoughtfully.
One day you might find yourself adding a single smiley face to the end of an email in order to cement your tone. But the next day you might, like my new boss, be wholly unable to go three lines in an email without breaking out the super smiley or the winky-smiley, all garnished with splashes of exclamation points and ellipses. It will be mere days before you find yourself replacing words with numbers – like some1 and 2day – and mere days after that before you are a homeless heroin fiend, the kind of person who coughs without covering their mouth or doesn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste.
Is it really that hard to express yourself clearly with actual words? Must we rely on weird yellow hieroglyphs, which are totally so 5,000 years ago? There are lots of words in this language and — surprised emoticon! — many of them express emotion. In fact, words can even be strung together in certain sequences that imply very specific tones and shades of meaning. For example, do I need to put a here for your to understand how I feel on the subject? Or do you get it?
To prove my point further, let’s take a look at how a classic author has survived without using emoticons. Would timeless words from the past be even more powerful and moving with emoticons?
Let’s try the opening of A Tale of Two Cities:
“It was the best of times it was the worst of times it was the age of wisdom it was the age of foolishness it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity it was the season of Light it was the season of Darkness it was the spring of hope it was the winter of despair we had everything before us we had nothing before us we were all going direct to Heaven we were all going direct the other way “
(Hm. I have to admit even I’m a little surprised that there’s an emoticon for “incredulous.”)
Yes, you could argue that emoticons clarify tone, which is sometimes hard to convey over short business emails. But I still think that the vast majority of the time it’s a crutch that is for the most part repetitive. More than that, though, I think that they are often not used sincerely. Who knows, though, maybe my defense against my new boss should be to honestly use emoticons in my emails. They would look something like this:
Attached is the spreadsheet you requested.
No, U R 2 NICE!!!
If one thing has made me stop spending money on clothes, it’s been moving to New York City. In Montana, I would shop online for the newest trends, buy one or two things, and feel pretty plugged in and chic for a few years. I didn’t need a whole new wardrobe each season and I didn’t need to constantly be glancing around me to spot the next big thing.
But now, in the city, I see what a rat race fashion is. It’s expensive, to start. And most things go out of style faster than you can cut the tags off. Here, there are just plain too many women who care way more than me and who have trust funds. Think you’re the first person to be wearing these stupid boots? Sorry, but everyone already has them. Not only that, but they’ve already worn them once and donated them to the homeless, who quickly threw them into a trashcan fire.
But money and time aren’t the only two things keeping me from being the trendiest girl ever. I also have trouble with any piece of clothing that isn’t functional or comfortable. I’m not into really high heels or tube tops or synthetic fabrics – anything that doesn’t feel good or that I have to fiddle with or that doesn’t make much sense in the real world.
So you can imagine my horror at the newest trend that I’ve spotted around my workplace – in Madison Square Park, around Gramercy and Union Square. The short-sleeved coat.
I’ll let it sink in for a moment: the short-sleeved coat. A coat with short sleeves.
And they’re not light, breezy fun coats meant for spring or fall. They are thick wool double-breasted knee-length coats that, with the exception of their absence of sleeves, would keep someone warm in the coldest weather. I guess they’re cute in theory, but I don’t give a crap about theories when the wind starts ripping in from the East River and my arms are dumbly, fashionably exposed.
The only thing I like about these coats is, while the five-pounds-too-skinny, shop-out-of-boredom Fifth-Avenue short sleeve coat-wearers walk by, you can see in their faces that they are desperately trying to look plugged in and chic. But they just look miserably cold. And that makes me feel warm all over.