What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Free gifts. As the amount of actual mail I need to send has plummeted, the number of organizations sending me “personalized address labels” as a “gift” has skyrocketed. It makes me wonder who’s running their marketing and fundraising department… and why they think this is a winning idea. I mean if you’re going to inundate me with junk mail, at least make it something that doesn’t stick to the blades of my shredder and give me an even worse impression of your organization.

2. Aggressive marketing of things I’ve already purchased. I bought a very nice marble urn for Winston. Since then I’ve been getting at least one email a week from the nice people at perfectmemorials.com offering me a wide range of other funerary items. This feels like another marketing fail to me. I mean urns aren’t exactly the kind of thing anyone need to purchase every week, right? I was very pleased with their service and the quality of the product I received and in time I would probably use them again as the need arose… but if they keep beating me about the head and neck with weekly messages in all likelihood I’ll go someone where else when the time comes.

3. Look at me-ism. There are few things I find more professionally unpleasant than people who demand attention for their ideas or presence in a room simply by virtue of position. Look, if I need a chief in the meeting, I’ll be the first one to invite them. More often, though, who I need is the person who actually does the work. If you need to be in a meeting just to feel important, maybe it’s time to check yourself.

A better place…

I don’t think I’ve ever really understood people who don’t like dogs. I understand people are allergic and that makes dogs somewhat problematic for them, but the ones who just downright don’t enjoy the company of a dog are an utter mystery to me. The one thing I don’t think these non-dog people fully understand is just how much individual personality these creatures have. I’m always a little surprised when I hear comments that “dogs do this” or “This breed behaves like that.” While of course there are certain shared characteristic of all dogs and other characteristics shared by a specific breed, like the stock market, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

What I’ve most recently been struck with is just how different my two are from one another. They’re the same basic age, have had the same basic life experiences, but there are decided differences that I’m not sure can be attributed to their type. Winston is my cat. He wants attention purely on his terms and otherwise is happy to find a comfy spot, preferably somewhere in the sun, and keep an eye on everything from a distance. Maggie, by contrast is my needful thing. While I’m getting ready for the day she is never more than three steps from me. Every morning – and I mean every single morning – when I sit down to pull on my shoes, she bounds back onto the bed and tucks herself under my left arm insisting on a few minutes of chin rubs and belly scratches before heading outside. It’s my absolute favorite part of the day and as much a part of my morning routine as the first cup of coffee. Winston on the other hand doesn’t seem to be interested in much else in the morning than getting outside, having breakfast, and then putting himself back to bed. Like I said, basically a cat.

For their differences I wouldn’t want either of them to be any different – and I certainly wouldn’t want them to be the same. If anything, I’d like to see the folks who don’t like dogs act a little more like the critters they try to avoid. I’m not going to offer them belly rubs, but I still think it would make the world a better place.