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I recently got into a friendly debate about feminism, children, and how women these days are free to decide whether or not they want children. The OP mentioned in her journal that it's no longer an issue for women in 2010. I have to disagree. While women have a lot more choice these days, thanks to birth control and changing attitudes, the default assumption is that women who get married do so because they want kids. Women are still expected to have babies, and those of us who don't want to are seen as selfish, broken, or worse. We are still cajoled and pressured to become mothers, and sadly, some women do bow to that pressure, even if they don't want to. Some women aren't even given the choice at all. So no, I don't think the issue is resolved.

I am married, and we are childless by choice. But that doesn't stop people from trying to pressure us into having kids. (Actually, John doesn't get a lot of pressure in that regard, because it's more acceptable for men not to want to become fathers than it is for women not to want to become mothers.) I have ranted about this on LiveJournal before. About a year ago, a friend of mine posted a follow-up article to something she read in MacLean's Magazine. I sent her a comment with my thoughts, which she encouraged me to develop into an article to submit to the publication she writes for. My follow-up was ultimately rejected, but I held on to it with the intention of posting it here eventually.

I have included the links to the original articles. Both are still available to read on-line, if you're interested. But let's keep the comments here, please. Both of these articles are almost a year old. (And don't read the comments over at MacLean's, I beseech you. They are poison.)





#@%&!!

Dec. 18th, 2008 11:31 pm
syzygy_dw: (Default)
Christmas may be a time of Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Man and all that bullshit, but if I have to stay at work until 10:30pm sorting out cash problems ONE MORE TIME, I am going to go all Scrooge on someone's ass, and I don't care who gets caught in the path of my eggnog latte-fueled rage.

Ten. Fucking. Thirty. Nothing balanced, and my co-worker and her boyfriend (who does not work at the store, and had come to give his girlfriend a lift home) and I went over every single transaction to find the mistakes. In the end, we managed to get the credit and debit transactions sorted, but we were still over more than $50.00 in the cash. I have no idea what the hell happened. I swear, I almost cried.

Fun Fact #1: I don't get paid for the time spent counting the cash, so that hour and a half? GONE. Fun Fact #2: I start work at 9am tomorrow. It's almost midnight, and I am way too keyed up to go to sleep just yet.



syzygy_dw: (Default)
Here are a few things you should know that would make your bookstore experience more enjoyable. Mainly because you will be able to leave the store with all your limbs, and I won't have to go to jail. See? We all win.

  • I am standing here at the cash register, holding my hand out for that book you'd like to buy.  Acknowledge my presence by handing me the book. Don't ignore my hand completely and slap the book down on the counter, while my hand hovers uselessly beside it.  Even worse, though, is when you dump your books three feet from where I am standing. Look up. I'm over here.
  • I am very sorry I don't have that book you're looking for. But if I offer to order the book for you, do not then say, "Twenty-one dollars! Well, I can get it on Amazon.com for sixteen!" Because, seriously? That's just rude. Yes, I know the on-line retailers are cheaper and faster. But I work at an independent bookstore, and they are killing us. I won't tell you not to shop there (because I understand wanting to save the money), but you don't have to throw the fact that you are in my face. A "No, thank you," will do just fine.
  • I know that you are a long-time customer, and it's neat how we have conversations about things other than books. But the follow-up question to "How is the new condo?" is not "So, when are you going to fill it up with babies?" And when I (stupidly, in retrospect) say that I'm not planning to have kids, do not then go on and on about how I would make a great mother, and I should really reconsider, and aren't kids wonderful, and they'll look after you when you're old, and bla bla BLA. Because you know what? A) I decided quite some time ago that I wasn't cut out for motherhood, so you harping on it isn't going to change that;  B) You don't know me well enough to say whether or not I'd be a good mother, for all you know I could be an axe-murderer when I'm not at the store; and C) My reproductive choices are none of your business, and I don't have to justify them to you. And when I try to end this fucking inane conversation by saying that my husband doesn't want kids either, you DO NOT get to suggest that I leave him. 
Thanks, and goodnight.

B
syzygy_dw: (Default)
Over the summer, I was planning our store's Harry Potter party. I did most of the work from home, and went into the store very occasionally. I usually rode my bike in if I had to go to the store at all.

On June 6th, I had to go in on short notice to fax some stuff, so I hopped on a bus, flashed my pass, and went to sit down. The bus driver grabbed my arm, and demanded to see my pass again. Confused, I showed it to him. It turns out, my pass had expired, and I had forgotten to buy a new one. Silly me.

In Montreal, had this happened, the bus driver would have kicked me off the bus and told me to get a new pass. But this is Quebec City, where everything has to be twice as complicated. So instead of letting me go buy a new pass, the driver closed the door. He confiscated my pass and my transit ID card (because in QC, you have to get a photo ID, even if you use a general pass). He gave me a lecture about proper bus fare and trying to scam the bus company, took my name, address and phone number, and told me I could call the city to get my pass back. He then gave me a gave me a piece of paper with the transit company's rules, a transfer that was good until the end of the day (so I could get home) and told me to go sit down.

When I got to the store, I verbally abused the bus driver with my co-workers, and later I went out and bought a bunch of bus tickets. I figured it was all over, save the inconvenience of trying to get my transit ID back. In the end, I never bothered, since the other one was about to expire anyway. I just got myself a new one and forgot the whole thing.

Until today, when a registered letter came for me in the mail. Nothing good ever comes by registered mail.

It turns out that for this little infraction (which in Montreal, as I said before, would amount to a bus driver telling me to get off the bus and get a new buss pass) I now owe the city $166.00.

I'm contesting it, of course. When this happened back in June, I tried to explain and offered to get off the bus and buy a new pass, but the driver wouldn't let me. I think he was a little overzealous about the whole thing, since I think it was obvious that I wasn't trying to pull a fast one. I honestly forgot, and while he was in his rights to fine me, I think it's a little harsh, seeing as he could have just refused me access to the bus.

Given that it's April Fools' Day, I wanted to believe it was all an elaborate prank, like the time my best friend called me up pretending to be from the library and told me that I owed $200.00 in late fees. If this is a joke, it's NOT FUNNY.
syzygy_dw: (Default)
From Environment Canada:

SNOWFALL WARNING CONTINUED
BLOWING SNOW WARNING CONTINUED
WIND WARNING CONTINUED

Snow -9 °C

Observed at: Quebec Lesage Int'l Airport
Date: 3:00 PM EST Wednesday 5 March 2008
  • Condition: Snow
    Pressure: 100.0 kPa 
    Tendency: falling
    Visibility: 0.6 km
     
  • Temperature: -8.9°C
    Dewpoint: -11.7°C
    Humidity: 80 %
    Wind: ENE 37 gust 46 km/h
    Wind Chill: -19
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chicklet73 for the word "Snowpocalypse". It's my new favourite word, and it accurately describes the Weather Event that is raging outside. You know, Quebec City already has so much snow that we have run out of places to put it. We really don't need more, thanks.

  

That picture really doesn't do it justice. If you stand in my dining room and look out, you can't see to the end of the street. The house across the street is almost completely hidden by a giant snowbank.

The storm is so bad that my boss closed the store and sent everyone home early. I wasn't done, though. I took a cab to the CBC to record a book review thing, and then walked over to the Literary and Historical Society carrying two tote bags full of very heavy books that I had used for my review. (I had to drop off some promo stuff for an upcoming event.) It took about 20 minutes to get there from the CBC building, when it should have taken about five minutes. Then I trudged back through the snow to catch a bus. When I got there I had a 15 minute wait, so I went to a café for a hot chocolate. When I got back to the bus stop, my bus had been canceled, which sucked, because that bus would have dropped me off on the corner of my street, whereas the one I had to take drops me off about four blocks away. In the middle of a blizzard, four blocks feels like about ten miles.

When I got home, I met my husband on the stairs of our apartment building. He decided that now was the time to carry our air conditioner over to the new condo. Why? Because he is a freak.

Now I am wearing PJs and my face is finally warming up. I'm going to have a nap before book club. I suggested we cancel, but everyone else seems game, so it's still on. I'm getting a lift, thankfully!

(ETA: The current conditions in Bridgetown, Barbados:

Conditions for Bridgetown at 5:00 pm AST

Current Conditions:
Mostly Cloudy, 26 C

Bastards.)
syzygy_dw: (Default)
Dear Book-Buying Public,

Please stop asking why books in Canada are still so much more expensive than books in the US, even though our dollar is currently worth more. Moreover, stop giving the people behind the counter so much grief about it. There is nothing we can do. We do not set the price of books. Getting mad at us will change nothing.

Just about everything is still more expensive here than in the States. It's just more obvious with books, because the prices are printed on the cover. The Canadian dollar fluctuates too much for us to change the price of books to reflect it. We would have to change the price every day.

Books that are available now are more expensive because the price of the book was fixed long before it was printed. So when you see a book that has a US price of $7.99 and a Canadian price of $10.99, it's because when that book was priced, our dollar was still low. When the store bought that book, it paid the price as it was then. So if the Canadian price was $10.99 retail, that was the price that appeared on the store's invoice, even if the book was ordered last week.

We will not really see a big difference in the price of books until at least the new year, possibly later. The books that are being printed now for spring release will likely reflect the Canadian dollar as it is now, even if it goes down again by the time the book is released.

The rise of the Canadian dollar is not lining the pockets of your average independent bookseller. As a matter of fact, they are actually losing money. In response to customer complaints, small stores are giving out discounts they can't afford. They are making less money for books they paid for when the dollar was low. We are starting to see things change. Some distributors are starting to charge the stores less, meaning the store can charge you less than the price printed on the cover. This is still the exception to the rule. For the most part, if you are paying less than the price printed on the book, it's because the store is accepting the loss. 

Please understand that the people behind the counter share your anger over this. We are not just bookstore employees, we are also book lovers, and this price difference affects us as well.

Thank you,

A Bookstore Employee.

Boobie Zoo

Oct. 29th, 2007 11:15 pm
syzygy_dw: (Default)
We have accomplished amazing things in the 21st century. We have gene splicing and satellites and the internet. We have iPods and cellular phones (sometimes in the same device) and computers so small we can fit them in a tote bag. We've cured diseases and can perform complex surgeries from operating rooms half a world away. We even have robot vacuums and machines that will watch TV for us and find shows we like.

So why, with all these advances in science and technology, can't I get a BRA THAT FUCKING FITS???

This bra, this brand new bra that I bought the other day, fit perfectly in the dressing room at the store. And I tested it out, because I've had problems with bras in the past. I've got big bazooms. Girls like me can't just go with the first cute little lacy strappy thing they see. But this one-- I hunched my shoulders back and forth to see if the straps would fall down, I reached up above my head to see if I would pop out of the thing (a big problem I had with my last bra). I jumped up and down. I twisted. I shimmied. I practically did cartwheels to see if there were any flaws. None. It fit beautifully. The straps stayed put, there was lots of support, and it wasn't too tight or too loose. It made my boobs look fabulous, too, and didn't make my shirt do that peephole thing. It was, in fact, the perfect bra.

Until I wore it.

Today, the straps kept falling down, the band was too tight, and it was unbearably constricting. I felt like an idiot, fiddling with this thing all day.

It makes me crazy, this never-ending search for an adequate bra. I've been measured. I've done my research. I know what I need. So why can't I find it?


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