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Jason Kitchen

Jason Kitchen

Posted: October 15, 2010 04:10 PM

There was a time when the Yahoo! website was primarily a search engine (either the poor-man's Google or Google's quasi-predecessor, depending on your perception). Today, however, the site provides opportunities for everything from getting a date, to finding a job, to checking one's horoscope. It's one-stop shopping for a particular demographic, and it shows no sign of reaching complacency in terms of the vast array of information provided.

One popular aspect of the site is what might be considered "info-tainment" articles--penned specifically for Yahoo!--featuring regular commentary on anything from parenting and life management to the exact specifications of either Lindsay Lohan's jail cell or the contents of Paris Hilton's purse. It's not exactly investigative journalism, but they certainly aren't afraid to examine some deep and often profound topics.

Take, for instance, a recent article entitled "Checking out of the grocery store faster...and with more of your paycheck in hand".

Said article provided insight and factoids on everything from choosing a lane (apparently the "express lane" can be more expedient, and something to consider utilizing when only purchasing a few items) to loading the conveyor belt (items such as eggs can be fragile, while plastic bags tend to be flimsy and might need to be "double-bagged" if transporting heavier items long distances). Additionally, you might consider loading products that could be bagged together next to one another on the conveyor belt to save time in a "bag-your-own" situation (whatever-the-hell that means).

In all honesty, since having the privilege of being exposed to such an invaluable life lesson, I feel one step closer to discovering the meaning of life. And I continue to stay up nights, mouth gaping whilst staring at the ceiling in sheer astonishment, attempting to ponder how on earth I managed to exist (I'd say 'survive' but in the philosophical sense, one is actually simply existing without obtaining such knowledge early in life) into my late-twenties prior to obtaining such pearls of wisdom, all courtesy of a neatly-packaged article via Yahoo!). Truly, somebody needs to post this stuff on everything from billboards to buses (and perhaps even urinal cakes) and post-haste.

When Common Sense Becomes Uncommon:

When grocery shopping at my local establishment, I tend to choose a checkout lane based on the particular cashier. As a frequent patron of a particular establishment, I've become acquainted with the majority of the cashiers and their overall passion for and talent in their specific line of work. While I'm sure they are all exceptional cashiers with talent galore, some tend to be less motivated than others (to the extent that one can see a pattern developing). This, in addition to factoring in the overall length of the checkout line (longer lines with larger orders, in my experience, tend to take more time than, say, shorter lines) is my personal method for determining a selection that might ensure I'm able to get in, and out, and on with my life in as short a period of time as possible. However, I don't feel this particular bit of information deserves to be featured on a well-publicized article on the Yahoo! website (no need to point out the irony in this particular statement).

If an adult needs to be educated on the particulars of selecting a checkout lane at the grocery store, perhaps they ought to hand their shopping list to an acquaintance and proceed to a mental institution in due course. Grocery store lane selection, it seems, is only the beginning of their issues, and perhaps ought not be viewed as the primary concern, as a more insidious ailment might be at work (a learning disability, brain wound or mental defect seems plausible). The same is true for those who need a how-to guide to determine whether a pair of jeans fit.

Yahoo! recently provided an earth-shattering expose on this very topic, thereby alerting the masses to the fact that because a portion of their asses were hanging out of their jeans, they didn't technically fit appropriately according to scientifically-based international standards. While I didn't have the pleasure of reading the article, due in large part to the fact that life is indeed too short, I have a sneaking suspicion regarding the overall premise.

It stands to reason that if putting on a pair of jeans causes one to experience any sort of asphyxiation, they might not fit properly. Moreover, cutting off the circulation to any part of the body and leaving (hopefully) temporary indentations to the skin is another dead giveaway. And don't fool yourself, if putting on or taking off a pair of jeans requires an elaborate production that includes lying down and holding one's breath or the wielding of any type of power tools, it's time to put on a pair of sweatpants and do some shopping at the GAP.

Finally, if you haven't yet experienced enlightenment overload, you might want to consider perusing the Yahoo! article entitled "What not to say when pulled over by a cop."

Surprisingly, referring to the officer as 'pig' and playfully inquiring as to whether "that gun is real" or "you've ever shot someone" isn't the recommended method for beginning a conversation. Astounding, I know, but if Yahoo! says it, it has to be true.

Applying Such Wisdom to Everyday Life:

Instead of dissecting what even one's second grade teacher would likely consider a "stupid question," Yahoo! might consider providing insight into brain-busters such as the following, all coincidentally and conveniently related to the grocery shopping experience:

Counterfeit Cash:

In keeping with the grocery store theme, it would be helpful if Yahoo! could determine why every cashier (certainly in the New York City area, if not nationwide) feels it necessary to thoroughly examine anything greater than a five dollar bill as potentially counterfeit. There was a time when cashiers would only pay attention to hundred dollar bills. Eventually, they graduated to fifties and shortly thereafter, twenties. Today they find no shame in examining a ten dollar bill, holding it up to the light, marking it with their government-issued sharpie, folding and placing it inches away from their eyeball, only to issue a final decree that they will indeed accept such currency as legitimate.

As stated previously, cashiers possess an immense amount of talent and ingenuity. But do they truly have any idea what differentiates a counterfeit bill from a genuine? Have they attended training seminars with the FBI to be educated on said subject? Or is this whole song-and-dance a charade to discourage me from printing ten dollar bills in my apartment? Considering that whenever I make a payment in cash (be it a ten or a hundred) and jest by alerting the cashier that "I just printed that this afternoon," they display a perplexed look upon their face as if I've spoken Portuguese, the latter might seem more probable. Regardless, it's debit or credit from this point forward.

Oscar Meyer's Invention:

Secondly, Yahoo! needs to uncover one of life's greatest mysteries related to lunchmeat. Specifically, how does Oscar Meyer get the pimentos and pickles into the olive loaf? There's not much more to be said on this particular topic. But it would be nice to gain some insight into this, as opposed to whether a 200 pound man attempting to fit into a size 32 pair of jeans is technically proper according to the world of fashion.

Multiple Uses for the Lane Divider:

Finally, please Yahoo!, explain to me why the woman behind me in the grocery store line insists on tapping my shoulder each time the line moves forward a matter of inches, asking me to "please move ahead"? And confirm if my assumption is true, and that the order-dividing stick contraption on the side of the conveyor-belt is not necessarily made available to ensure I don't accidentally purchase one of her items, but rather to allow me quick access to a blunt object with which I may proceed to bludgeon her to death, right there in the middle of the checkout lane, and later blame it all on the fact that she had 13 items in a clearly-defined 12 item "express" lane.

These are the sort of questions the world is thirsting for, and it is your duty to provide more than simply useless trivia. So dig deep and provide such philosophical wisdom to your army of clueless readers.


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