Where Do I Live?

Kevin Drum at Moth­er Jones has a blog post up about the “vot­er fraud” that South Car­oli­na is try­ing to fight with I.D. require­ments. It turns out that there is no evi­dence of the claimed fraud. Dis­crep­an­cies are invari­ably the result of sim­ple cler­i­cal error (although one dead per­son did man­age to vote by cast­ing his or her bal­lot ear­ly and then sneak­i­ly dying before elec­tion day.)

This leads Kevin to:

Despite Newt Gin­grich’s infat­u­a­tion with hav­ing Mas­ter­Card run our coun­try’s immi­gra­tion pro­gram, any­one who’s ever worked in the pri­vate sec­tor knows that keep­ing cus­tomer and prospect mail­ing lists clean is a huge pain in the ass. If you man­age to stay even 95% accu­rate, you’re a genius. That’s dou­bly true for vot­er reg­is­tra­tion rolls, which are a night­mare of peo­ple mov­ing, dying, get­ting mar­ried, reg­is­ter­ing twice by mis­take, pro­vid­ing incor­rect address­es, and so forth. After any elec­tion, you can always find thou­sands of dis­crep­an­cies if you look hard enough.

Twen­ty years ago I met my wife and moved in with her. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, we nev­er stopped get­ting mail for her ex. But it was weird when my ex start­ed get­ting mail there! Two years ago we moved to anoth­er city an hour away. I do not believe that we have received any mail from my ex here, but we have received mail for my wife’s ex.

The White Pages Neigh­bors site (a cool or fright­en­ing site depend­ing on one’s per­spec­tive) lists as res­i­dents in our home my wife, her son and her ex. I’m not list­ed. This is despite the fact that the phone num­ber is in my name.

You Can Leave But You Cannot Check Out

Hav­ing moved to Fort Wayne, we no longer need our pre­vi­ous isp. We kept it for awhile so we could get the email. Yes­ter­day I went by the Mar­i­on cable office to return the modem and set­tle up. I gave the woman the modem and told her to shut it off we have moved. She asked for our new address. I almost protest­ed that they had no need for the new address, but I was lazy and gave it to her.

She told me the amount I owed and I hand­ed over the bills while she fur­ther explained that the amount was only an esti­mate and that we would be sent a bill after the sys­tem fin­ished cal­cu­lat­ing the final bill.


I told her (with a smile on my face) that any sys­tem that could not come up with the final bill right here and now was an ef’ed up sys­tem (that’s how I said it).

And I walked away laughing.

The famed effi­cien­cy of the pri­vate sector.

Meijer comes to town

Mei­jer opened a loca­tion in Mar­i­on a cou­ple of months ago. With the great coupon we received in the mail, I was there shop­ping the first week. Upon enter­ing the store, there was the pan­el that held the map of the store lay­out. I could imme­di­ate­ly see that this store had a dra­mat­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent lay­out than any such store I’d been in before.

As I shopped, it became clear that the lay­out was indeed dif­fer­ent and I had a very dif­fi­cult time find­ing the frozen foods/​dairy sec­tion (sur­round­ed on all sides by non-food mer­chan­dise. The few peo­ple I know who have been to the store have the same reac­tion to the lay­out: what the @#%@! (not in so many words).

On the way home today, I stopped at Mei­jer to take a pic­ture of the store map for the pur­pos­es of this post. I walked through the store and could not find it.

I spent a few min­utes look­ing for a map online, but I am not that per­sis­tent when search­ing the net and I did­n’t find one. I did find a cou­ple of pages that extol the new Mei­jer store lay­out: “Prod­ucts are locat­ed in a much more ergonom­ic fash­ion, designed to make the shop­ping expe­ri­ence more effi­cient and enjoy­able for our cus­tomers.” That’s talk­ing about the Gay­lord, Michi­gan store, but what descrip­tion it gives of the lay­out also applies to the Mar­i­on store.

Also, “the store will be much more user friend­ly in its lay­out”, which is dis­cussing the Mar­i­on store.

On the way home today, I first stopped at Wal­mart to buy a few gro­ceries (yes, I know, shop­ping at Wal­mart is an issue unto itself). Wal­mart being a large cor­po­ra­tion, is not like­ly to just ignore the open­ing of Mei­jer just down the street. Sure enough, there is a reac­tion. Wal­mart is reor­ga­niz­ing the lay­out of the gro­cery sec­tion (at least). Now, I’m not say­ing the pre­vi­ous lay­out was the final answer for super­mar­ket lay­out, but it was­n’t bad. The ear­ly out­look for the new lay­out isn’t promising.

So, some­one at Mei­jer was paid mon­ey to devise a store lay­out that forces some­one look­ing for a frozen piz­za and a gal­lon of milk to walk though the cloth­ing area.

And some­one at Wal­mart was paid mon­ey to decide that in response to this com­peti­tor with the absurd lay­out, Wal­mart should screw with their own lay­out. How does this make sense?

And this is the vaunt­ed pri­vate sector.