October 20, 2013

Don't be that guy 3

Don’t be that guy: The Awkward Wallpaper guy

Have you noticed that there are a lot of people who have "hot" pictures of models and actresses as desktop wallpapers? What's the deal with them? I understand if they are teenage students first time away from home and got a new computer in a Boys' Hostel but a mid-twenties guy with wallpapers like that on his work PC? What is the school of thought behind that?

Some guys even put a slideshow so that they don’t have to stare at the same picture all the time. It doesn't matter if it is early in the morning, late afternoon, just after dinner or past midnight, they just want to see cleavage all the time. Now they even have them on their phones. I find that fascinating.

At one level, I am impressed with their commitment and their perseverance but I always wonder, what exactly are they trying to tell the world with those wallpapers? That they are horny all the time? Or is it a subtle message to their parents that it is time for them to search for a suitable "traditional girl with modern outlook"?

Don’t be that guy: Consumer Loyalty Activist

Let me ask you a question. Do you really think Pantene shampoo has a unique pro-V formula that nourishes and protects your hair from deep within the roots? No? Then why do you think business people mean it when they say, “Customer is King”?

“Thank you for being a loyal customer” is typically the kind of bullshit they tell you when they are trick you into spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need. You shouldn’t have believed it in the first place. Common sense.

Besides why are you investing your loyalty on a corporation? Corporations don’t have ethics. They have mission statements and their objective is to make as much money as possible in whatever way possible without ever compromising on the bottom line (look it up). By definition they don’t give a shit about your loyalty, your rights, your safety, your health, your happiness or your general wellbeing. The only reason they say they do is because they are legally required to say that they do. Common sense again.

And did you just say consumer rights? What the hell are you talking about dude? You live in a country where Human Rights activists are whacked off by the police, where RTI activists routinely die in road “accidents”, where artists singing songs about songs about child malnutrition are arrested for “allegedly aiding and abetting Naxal activities”, where speaking out against superstitions can get you shot in the head by unidentified gun men and you want justice for a dispute over an online order consisting of a ballpoint pen with an LED flashlight cap? Which parallel universe are you from? Just walk across the street, stand in the queue and pay with cash like everyone else.

Don’t be the guy who uses ‘common’ when he means ‘come on’

Come on people, you shouldn't be making such common mistakes.

Don’t be that woman: The disruptive shopper

Don’t be that woman who goes shopping, makes the salesperson unfold 74 pieces of clothing before deciding that she didn't like any of them and moving on to the next section. I am probably entering dangerous territory here but why do you have to look at so many clothes, especially when you weren't even planning to buy anything in the first place?

I know window shopping is fun but what about the poor guy who has to fold all those things back?

Yes, it's his job but that doesn't mean you go to his workplace during office hours and give him more work. How would you feel if a stranger walks into your office and makes you sit through two hours of extra meetings for no reason?

Don’t be that guy who thinks he is saving the environment by taking notes on an iPad

An iPad requires about 15 kg of various raw minerals and 300 liters of water as raw material. An iPad weighs about 650g and the rest of the material goes to a landfill as toxic waste. Most of our gadgets require trace amounts of rare metals like Tantalum, Tin and Tungsten which is fueling a deadly war and genocide in Congo. The manufacturing process overall releases 15,000 liters of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Shipping is not free, so include the amount of fossil fuels burned to move the iPad from China to US and then to India through a cousin who is coming for the holidays.

Finally when Apple releases the next version, you "upgrade" yourselves by dumping it somewhere and it eventually makes its way to a slum near Delhi where the electronic trash is dismantled by hand by slum dwellers, often children, who are exposed to a range of toxic substances and we have no idea about the long term effects on their health for cleaning up the mess for us. And we'll never know because we don’t fund hospitals and researchers to study those kinds of things that happen to those kinds of people (unless they die in sufficiently large numbers for the media to milk a story on a slow news day).

But hey, the product comes neatly packed in a cardboard box that is made entirely of recyclable (but never recycled) materials. It even has a green colored picture of a tree on it. So we're cool!
Comic by Andy Singer
*All numbers from: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/04/opinion/04opchart.html?_r=0

[This is a public service announcement]

Don’t be that relative: The Wedding Small Talker

Don’t be that relative whose first (and only) question to any twenty-something year old woman is, “When are you getting married?”

I understand that you ask about her marriage with only the best intentions in mind. I know you want her to get married, settle down in the US, give birth to US, give them Anglicized Sanskrit names, invite the baby’s grandparents for babysitting, and live happily ever after but not all women believe in that American dream.

People these days tend to have different career trajectories, personal ambitions, education loans, childhood dreams, office shit, relationship stuff and a lot of other things to deal with before they can “settle down”. You really have no idea what is actually happening in her life, so you have no right to put peer pressure on her parents to marry her off before some imaginary Sravana Maasam based deadline. Such questions serve no purpose except causing extra stress for everyone.

You are basically the reason unmarried people don't like attending their cousins' weddings. The next time you run into a twenty-something-yet-to-be-married girl at a wedding, just compliment on her saree, inquire about her grandparents’ health and move on to the next person. If you want to extend the small talk further, you can discuss the weather, other relatives, your childhood stories, Telangana and something else.

[End of public service announcement]


  1. Are you running out of ideas? When did regular shopping became 'disruptive shopping'? (In well-run shops, folding is given to assistants learning to be salespersons. It is commission-based sales that sucks. Otherwise, what does it matter if your spend two hours showing clothes or folding them? You get paid for work-hours. Two hours of unpaid meetings will bother me. Otherwise, why does it matter if it is two hours of useless meetings or two hours of useless email sorting?)

    Did you ever buy vegetables from road vendor?

    Did you stop them and looked through their vegetables and refuse buying if they are not good? (especially at rs.100/kg or whatever) Or is it going to be disruptive shopping for wasting their selling time by asking to see their wares if you are the only person who stopped them?

    The truly "disruptive" ones are those who don't read rules at ticket lines or bill payment lines and instead start talking to the window guy to be lenient. This is truly "extra hours of work for nothing" to rest of people in line and the window guy. Or the guy who bangs on ATMs since they can't remember their passwords.

    Now you "don't be that guy" who belittles everything they don't approve or understand. :)

  2. I don't have a problem with checking out or unfolding as such. My problem is with the number. How many is too much? 74, I believe is on the higher side if you're not serious about buying and "just checking out"... maybe if you're just checking out, you should probably stop at 20-something clothes is what I was trying to say. Same thing with ice cream tasting. Technically you can taste all the 32 flavors on display but you should probably stop at 4 or something.

  3. I am loathe to enter someone else's debate - but have suffered myself from the 74 syndrome. It is not that none of the 74 are good, in fact all of them are very good (quality wise). It is the taste that is not clear. (S)he who is getting them all down does not know what (s)he likes. And that is inexcusable.
    And the point about commission sales also needs to be clarified - I have myself seen, both at Nalli and Rangachary in Chennai, salesmen being given a gawd awful dressing down by the manager / owner's chamcha as to why after even 2 hours, he is not able to close a sale and if he continues like this, he should rather go and sweep roads (unquote).
    The point being made is whether we who are educated, earning well enough top 1% of India and are generally not bad people, are mindful of these (supposedly small and unharmful) things that we are doing which make life difficult to others.
    Though all these are quite common-sensical, the very fact that we are having a debate on this shows that the blogger added value by mentioning them.

  4. First things first- Excellent piece.
    Even more worse than a 'wedding small talker relative' is the 'Advise giving- panic spreading relative'. These people don't just ask twenty somethings guys/girls about their marriage, they immediately go and talk with twenty somethings parents about marriage and how tough it is these days to find good groom/bride so they have to start searching as soon as possible. Unfortunately they don't stop there they start telling of how some twenty something guy/girl they know ( how closely doesn't matter, could be friend's friends sister's relative's acquaintance who introduced her to bank for account's son/daughter, still they know and will judge quite freely) married a girl/guy outside their community and how parents are now suffering because they didn't marry off their kid in quickly!

  5. I can't speak for your experience, but some of the owners I know don't mind being shown. Word of mouth is a good publicity and people like me who loathe to shop always ask those kinds of 74-things persons on where to find what or in-season.

    And, some of the stores have senior salesman replaced by junior after judicious of judgement of "buying kind" or "seeing kind". Life is always going to be difficult no matter what you do. I leave after 2 mins and same managers shout at salesman for letting a customer go. (once a manager personally came out to find out if I am leaving due to poor customer service).

    Point is, we can't be "not be that guy" no matter what we do. We can't write only those things we don't like seem as "harmful".

  6. But then, after 74 you have seriously gained knowledge of the inventory. Some want to do that for later shopping. (especially for big purchases like weddings, themselves or for others).

    Why stop at any number except for awkwardness? If a person likes 32nd flavour and visits 50 times for that flavour afterwards, would you call it even? :)

  7. Been there, and FYI it happens to the single "Ladies" too..

  8. God bless you for such a mastery in prose and such a choice of context and subjects - life as seen by a telugu guy born and brought up in Andhra. Keep going strong.

  9. That's not possible. Single ladies wield more power than married ones. Nobody talks to them unless talked to, and the space they occupy is theirs, irrespective of whether they have paid for it or not. I have experienced it first hand.

  10. The best part is, when you can relate to these stories.

  11. Vikatakavi! Surely all those tweets had to lead to something more laugh worthy and slice of lifeish :) Adbhutam! Missed the part villainous part hillarious role played by TTEs in the episode, though.

  12. Rayalaseema greenery is best around October. Some Cacti even manage to flower.

    I am curious to know if the lady in question is in a saree or chudidhar. It would be mildly surprising if she managed the support using "ladies" while in chudidhar. OTOH, climbing the side upper ladder in a saree isn't something you wish on your worst train enemy, right?

  13. g2, you are just awesome.. i have been reading your posts and must say there are brilliant!!! keep writing! say hi to c2 :)


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