Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let's just resort back to trading arrowheads.

If you buy something at the Bookstore, you have four ways of paying: cash, credit card, debt card or Bookstore charge account. Simple enough, right? Apparently not.

Gaffe #1: To charge or not to charge.

ATM cards are a modern convenience that has spared many trees from being made into paper checks and made it much easier to spend lots of money without really feeling the burn (until you later log on to your bank's online personal banking site). The cards can be used in ATM machines to draw money from your checking or savings accounts, but they also can be used right at the checkout register. Users have the option of using the ATM card as a credit or debit card. This is where things get, apparently, confusing.

My mom once told me that that when you choose to charge purchases, you are indeed withdrawing funds from your checking account but the withdraw is delayed, usually for about three days. This would come in handy if you wanted to buy something the day before you were getting paid and didn’t have all the money at that very moment, but would given a day or two. (photo credit)

Choosing debit would pull right out of your checking account, but it costs the account holder a fee with each transaction, somewhere in the ballpark of $1 to $2. So sure, you might know exactly how much is in your bank account at that very moment, but is it really worth a few bucks? Those dollars add up fast, and most online banking shows your credit charges in the account summary even though they haven’t been processed, so you still have any idea of how much dough you’re rolling in.

So kids, when you tell me you “don’t care whether it’s credit or debit,” I almost feel obligated to debit you.

Gaffe #2: Can I use my card? You tell me, Einstein.

Syracuse University allows parents to set up credit cards on their kids’ I.D. cards. It's a pretty good way to make sure your kids are spending your money on overpriced school supplies and junk food, which I guess is a step up just giving them cash that would most likely go towards stocking their dorm room’s secret liquor closet.

Biggest flaw? Those freshmen with SU charge accounts don't know what the hell it is or where they can use it (a: only in the bookstore, hence it's name, Bookstore charge account). (photo credit)

It acts like a credit card. Have you heard of those before? You buy something and then receive a bill later. So many kids ask how much money is left on their card. It’s not a gift certificate or allowance. You charge as much as you want, and suffer the wrath of angry parents later.

Gaffe #3: May I see you card?

I came into work this past Sunday and my manager told me that they’ve started to crack down on card use and the main branch is requiring all Bookstore cashiers to look at cards, check the name and look at their signatures.

In the six hours I have worked since they have instated the new policy I have never experienced more blank stares, bad attitudes and rolled eyes.

"Is everything okay?"

Yes, everything is fine. Nothing is wrong with your card. I promise you'll be able to make it through the 5 seconds it will take for me to look at your picture and confirm you are the cardholder. Read the piece of paper taped to the signature deck: “Please hand your student charge card or credit card to the cashier; if you are paying a credit card and it is not signed or unreadable you will have to provide the cashier with a photo id.” (photo credit)
The thing people don’t understand is that this procedure is in their best interest. I’m making sure that you are using your account, not some random person or thief. I fail to see any inconvenience about handing your card over for one second.

I’m really not in the mood to deal with people tonight. Is it that obvious?

Update: Two minutes after I finished this blog, a girl came in and said "Can I buy something with this card?" as she held up her i.d. card. I explained that she could if her parents had set up a charge account. She just looked at me. She wandered about for a minute or two. She came back to me. "So is there ANY way I can buy something with this card?" Am I speaking English? Is this a bad joke? Sadly, she was serious and I proceeded to once again explain what is a Bookstore charge. I really hope she's just visiting a friend and wasn't actually admitted/enrolled at SU.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Men aren't pigs, but they might be a weird breed of werewolf

My girlfriends and I are convinced that men have undergone a change this fall. If it was February, we might reason that love is in the air. Since it's Halloween, I'm going for a more sinister rationale.

Everyone is familiar with the legend of werewolves, whether it be from a scary story shared fireside or a viewing of the 1985 Michael J. Fox classic Teen Wolf. Man turns into beast: nails become claws, teeth become fangs, body becomes covered in a ridiculous amount of hair. (sidenote: there's apparently a Teen Wolf drinking game. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you rent it, gather friends and enjoy the beauty that is Fox with some cheap wine.) (photo compliments of impawards.com)

After some research there appears to be a real condition where people truly believe they are werewolves called Lyncathropic Disorder. I've learned a bit about it from a Nancy Drew computer game, but nothing too in depth. I found a website that outlines the elements associated with the disorder and I'll attempt to prove the boys on Syracuse University's campus have turned into a special breed of werewolf: the woman-hungry.

Man to Beast
I haven't run into any guys with fangs. Some guys are hairy, but nothing too disturbing. Paul did maul my neck a few weeks back that might be comprible to an animal bite, it healed and I don't feel posessed in any way, so I think I'm in the clear.

Werewolves can initate transformation, but they can always be affected by moon phases, like the infamous full moon. Sounds like howling can also conjurge up a man's inner beast.

The woman-hungry male most recently identifies with involuntary werewolve transformation. Who conciously wants to become needy? Like werewolves, It is mostly with nightfall (and drinking) that the guys transform, becoming overwhelmed with the desire to meet up with prospective mates, or texting multiple messages despite receiving no response or sign of interest after any of them.

Mind of a Werewolf
Werewolves do not lose all sanity as beast. They still the ability to recognize people and avoid traps, but they have a tendancy to act instinctually like a real wolf.

The woman-hungry tap into their natural physical urges too, but almost too much. Granted, the average boy typically can be (and often is) an aggressive speciman, the woman-hungry has an odd presence of companionship to their otherwise normal sexual advances. The use of pet names is increased, attention given almost to a suffocating degree and cheesiest in all senses of the word embraced.

Don't get me wrong. I like attention, I want signs that you dig me and want to hang out. But too much too soon is a turn off. And if you don't get a response after your third attempt, it doesn't look like a future together is in the cards. And if there was, it's gone now.

Symptoms of Werewolfry
My girls and I have concluded, from experiences with many subjects, that guys have undergone a personality change unlike anything we've witnessed before. Awkward and mixed signals, we don't even know what to make of your advances and we doubt you know either. You're woman-hungry. You've lost most rationale. You're making impulsive decisions, which you later regret and attempt to remedy but just add to the vicious cycle of mixed signals. You text and act really interested at one moment, and then don't seem interested, and then 15 minutes really interested again.

Werewolves symptoms pretty much fall under the umbrella-term of bizarre behavior. I can't think of a better adjective to describe a guy's unwarranted assumption that you're now dating, even though you've only hung out once.

I mean there are some good things about guys this fall. It seems like they've become more aggressive, more willing to lay the cards on the table and see how things play out. It's honestly just a game of balance: how to show interest in a girl, but not go overboard and turn woman-hungry. It's the mixed signals that are the downer. But hey, if he looks like Michael J. Fox, I might be more willing to deal with it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

of me and men

I've never been your typical girl.

Label me as a tomboy, maybe, but I don't think it's quite that clear cut. I don't think I could throw punches (or take them) and I'm not fond of bugs. I sometimes have a tendency to gravitate towards men though.

It's gotten me in trouble in the past (and present). Boyfriends get jealous. Girls get pissed. My friend Sam tried to explain that if I come across a girl that dislikes me, for what seems like no reason, it's most likely because I'm a "big flirt."

Flirt? I've been around legitimate flirts, and I'd rather not be grouped with them. If anything I'm the antithesis of a flirt; I'd like to think I embrace the knowledge that I have rather than bury it under a "dumb-helpless-girl" act.

For whatever reason, I'm not really intimidated by guys. Sure, I have my moments, but for the most part, I feel like my interests span a broad enough spectrum that I can interact well with any one-- male or female. And I like the fact I'm comfortable with the opposite sex, but it makes things that much more complicated.

Guys are easily led on to think I like them when I'm really just interacting with them as I would with any person. I do call all my friends endearing terms: boo, booface, sweetheart, lovebug, love, etc. I think more girls are less open and outgoing with the opposite sex, so I think the normal guy might interpret my signals as if he was talking a a typical girl.

But it's not just tricky for guys, it's hard for me too. If I'm into a guy, I don't know really how to show him. I'll most-likely treat him like other guys, but attempt to convey a little more interest. But guys can't read minds and I can't be more outgoing.

So the debacle persists; but I'm not really worried about it. It's a two-way street. If a guy is interested in me, he'll make moves too. And then I'll know I can more boldly show interest, with a lesser chance of rejection. But let's be real, senior year is for fun and friends.