Sat, 28 Nov 2009

We're A Welcoming Society (to the Japanese, British and Thai People)

In this case, I'm speaking of our highway system.

This Thanksgiving I had the frustrating experience of driving on our American roadways during a busy holiday season. What I noticed, after trying to drive like a sane person, and noticing many, many signs (gladly ignored by my other fellow drivers) to "keep right, except to pass", that while the freeway lane going your opposite direction is to your left, the passing lane in the United States is on the right.

I hate tailgaters as much as you do. And while flashing your headlights in Europe is a reminder to a left-lane hugging driver that "oh crap, I'm being a total ass, sitting here in the left lane when there are two lanes to my right", here it apparently means "I'm the one that made you an orphan, that shivved your brother in prison, broke your sister's heart, and keyed your car in the parking lot".

So clearly, if flashing your headlights at the car ahead of you is a major faux pas (never mind driving at 60mph in a 70mph zone in the leftmost lane), and you refuse to tailgate, then what's a driver to do?

Well, imagine you're in Thailand, Japan, or the United Kingdom, and pass on the right.

On my recent trip to Portland and back on I-5, I punched in the cruise control at 75mph, 5 over the limit for approximately 10 minutes. I sat in the right lane, and aside from having to get into the middle lane to pass the occasional truck, I passed over two dozen vehicles cruising in the right lane. Only one car passed me on the left during this entire stretch of freeway.

So the thought that occurred to me was that this was remarkably like driving in the U.K. The only things out of place was the semis in the right lane, and the opposing lane of traffic on the left instead of the right.

Bottom line? U.S. drivers suck. They don't read road signs, or if they do, they don't understand them, or if they do, they ignore them.

Why am I venting about it here? Better here than on the road. And in the off chance that one of my readers is a "left lane sitter", I've just done the rest of us a favor by reminding them that they call it the "passing lane" for a reason.

Thu, 12 Nov 2009

Shouldn't Customer Feedback be Easier Than This?

I created this page for Amazon today because their automated system wouldn't allow commentary from the customer. They do allow the customer to send Amazon to a web page that documents the customers assertion that the catalog is incorrect... I wonder if my website will do the trick. (Their catalog update form showed all the proper data, but it doesn't change the fact that they're calling a 17" MacBook a 15.4" laptop)

Tue, 10 Nov 2009

Toyota to recall 250 million cars manufactured since 1972

Doors Slammed Shut on Infant Fingers Poses Amputation Risk

Toyota to take $1 Billion charge since idiotic parents slam doors when their children's fingers are in the jamb.

AP, Tokyo - Toyota today announced a voluntary recall of every vehicle they have manufactured since 1972 to repair a key design flaw in their vehicles. Prompted after dozens of complaints to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Toyota's voluntary recall takes effect immediately. A senior Toyota official, speaking on condition of anonymity admitted the flaw in their vehicles.

"When we designed these vehicles, we made the foolish choice of using what is called a 'hinge', made of steel, that allows the car door, also made of steel, to swing open and shut. What we didn't factor back at the time was that when such a steel hinge is operated, and soft tissue like children's fingers are placed in the jamb, an amputation risk exists. While it may seem evident now, one must remember that such consequences were not obvious at the time."

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, known for his relentless guardianship of consumer rights was critical of Toyota. "It's about time that Toyota came to acknowledge the design flaw in its doors, but they have stopped too short. I have been criticizing all automakers, including Toyota about the inherent safety flaws in their vehicles for years. Take, for example, that every car manufacturer ships their vehicles with what they call 'bumpers' made of steel and plastic. Clearly, from the name alone, these products were designed to protect the vehicle when it 'bumps' into objects, which occasionally include human beings. Consumers should not relent until all carmakers recall all vehicles on the road and remove every single object that may bump into another object from their vehicles. Alternatively, all vehicles should be shipped with immobilization devices that permanently prevent them from moving."

Toyota suggests that any consumers wishing to take part in the voluntary recall contact their local Toyota dealership.

(Editor's note: Satire contributed to this story. Similarity to a recall of a popular stroller brand is purely incidental)

Name/Blog: keith
Comment/Excerpt: Is this from the Onion? I thought you were serious. Please link the actual recall info.

Name/Blog: Link to Maclaren recall
Title: Recall Info
Comment/Excerpt: I wrote the satire. The link to the Maclaren recall is above.

Khan Klatt

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