Category Archives: In a Material World

Traditional Balsam Wreath, $49.95

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Dear Dave,

The good – arrived very fast; smelt fabulous when the box was opened. The bad – I think the smell comes from a spray – it has completely gone now. The wreath is not round but “egg-shaped”! Decorations look cheap. Frankly, it looks ugly. It’s too late for me to return and get another (company arriving). I used to get much cheaper ones from the local chain store, at less than half the price, but thought I’d splurge this year. It will be back to the chain store next year!

Boston48, Boston, MA

Dear Boston48,

What is it with you people and your “wreaths”? People are not seasonal decorations! My dear readers, this is a good reminder to drive in your lane, punch at your weight class, or stay in your socio-economic comfort zone when looking for a partner. Look at what happens when you set your sights too high! Now you’re stuck with your “wreath” and your holiday party will certainly be ruined. Think of what your guests will say about the oval shape of your “purchase”. The thought of a smug LL Bean type is much better than the reality. Those decorations can’t hide the ugly truth once you get close and the perfume wears off. People are people, regardless of where you shop for them. That being said, consider a middle-of-the-road option. No need to drop down into Walmart territory. Avoid the temptation to go slumming for a “wreath” just to piss mom off at Christmas dinner.

Happy Holidays!

Dave

 

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Autumn Harvest Wreath, $149.95

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Dear Dave,

YUCK – ORANGE DRIPS STAINING MY DOORWAY

I have had this wreath for a few weeks on my front door, which is in a covered location due to our large front porch. The other day I noticed some orange droplets in the doorway which had stained the ground below the wreath – turns out my wreath is “bleeding” some weird orange drips onto the ground. The wreath is not wet, and I have no idea what would be making such dark orange drops come off it, but I am going to have to throw it out and am very disappointed.

Sally M, Seattle WA

Dear Sally,

A wreath? Come on! Wreaths don’t bleed. The reason the doorman is bleeding weird fluids onto your porch is because he’s dead! I know it’s hard to get good help to impress your many autumn visitors, but a few weeks on your front door? What did you do, nail him to the door like an ornament so he wouldn’t slouch? Did you even notice his coloring? You are careful to point out that your porch is covered and he was able to stay dry in rainy Seattle. Well, aren’t you are a compassionate lady of the people! My advice: lose the doorman and get a doorbell. Oh, and check your local laws on body disposal. Things are different now. You can’t just throw the body out like an old rug.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dave

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Therapeutic Dog Bed, $299.00

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar. Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

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Dear Dave,
I bought this bed to keep my hairy beast off the furniture, figuring it was cheaper than replacing the couch. She still prefers the couch, the kitchen floor, the bedroom rug, anything, to this bed. The cat, however, seems to like it. The Extra Large would have probably fit 2 St. Bernards- it’s really big. And it is very very difficult to put together. I’m afraid now to wash it in case I can’t figure out how to put it back together. I’m very sorry I incurred such an expense because it’s not being used.
Frustrated
Western NY

Dear Frustrated,

Married couples are sometimes like citizens in closed countries. Think North Korea. Or the Soviet Union. They have alternate realities. People live there, they walk around, go to work, stand in food lines, fear the police. They do many of the same things that all people do, just in a closed-off parallel world. The citizens don’t know how different they are because their contact with other countries is all rumor and whispers. They suspect there’s something more, but they don’t know what it is. That sounds a little like your marriage, Frustrated. In your marriage country it’s ok to refer to your wife as a dog or “hairy beast”. And maybe she does have quite a bit of hair. However, it sounds like she prefers the floor or the rug instead of the bed because she doesn’t want to sleep with you! Out here, in the wonderfulfilling™ world of internet content and consumerism, she could remove that hair and you could find a therapist for men’s issues. In fact, that’s my recommendation. Seek therapy before you end up married to the cat. On a side note, we also wash our bedding out here in the modern world. Despite our fears of getting the fitted sheet back on the bed.

Best,

Dave

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Downing Tote, $168.00

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar. Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

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Dear Dave,

I read over the description of this tote several times and didn’t realize there was no inside pocket. I was disappointed because the leather is so soft and the flat bottom makes this tote useful. There is an attached wallet but that is just too inconvenient for cellphones, etc. The strap length is good — can be easily put over shoulder but also comfy to carry with the handles over the arm. The quality is good. Just one pocket inside would make it perfect.

Love the leather

Louisiana, USA

Dear Love the Leather,

Guess what? Totes, (a strange word for boyfriends, but curiously accurate in many cases), do not always come as advertised. I know you love that so-soft leather. (We usually refer to that as skin.) Flat bottoms are nice, too. (You said “useful” but I’ll leave the utility of a flat bottom to the reader’s imagination.) You may be a little too interested in that attached wallet, however. Chasing the money is not always a good idea. Why do you want to keep your cellphone in his wallet anyway? You certainly have no problem with imagination, Love the Leather, and that’s why I chose your letter out of the thousands I receive. Imagination can be good. Or, not so good. Sometimes we need a mini-vacation from our daily lives in which imagination plays a vital role. I fully support those daily flights of fancy that rejuvenate a tired soul. Maybe a walk in the woods or some quiet time just sitting and daydreaming. Maybe even a little reverie in which our loved ones are our handbags. A little consumerish, maybe, but it’s your fantasy! So, your boyfriend is of good quality and easy to haul around but he won’t hold your cellphone, etc.? I suggest next time he’s draped on your arm to go shopping or see some vapid Rom-Com, you consider his imagination. He may be thinking of something supple with a good bottom as well. And, I guarantee you, strap length is not that important to him. My suggestion: direct your imagination to who he is and away from what he can carry. Oh, and men are not beach bags either. Or clutches. Before you go there.

Best,

Dave

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Pumping Heart Model, $39.99

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

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Dear Dave,

Please DO NOT Purchase this product for demonstrating pumping of blood in heart. You may use it just to show a 3D diagram of heart and lungs connection_ but the pumping model does not show the difference in oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood nor does it show how the blood is pumped from one chamber to another and then to the lungs and back accurately (not even remotely accurate). The simulated blood (red-colored water) just flows erratically with NO resemblance to how a heart pumps blood. I wonder who designed, tested and recommended this product!

Heartbroken, Edina, Minnesota

Dear Heart Broken,

Was she really that cold? Could she really have been that heartless? Is she nothing more than a 3D diagram? Methinks you are a bit too…empirical?  Relationships are not science experiments.  No one wants to talk about oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood. That’s a conversation killer, like comparing tree species, describing your school project on tapeworms, or championing the benefits of bleach. When we point the finger at someone, we are really pointing three back at ourselves. Annoying adage, yes. But go ahead and try it. Test that hypothesis. See?  Now, isn’t it YOUR blood that feels like red-colored water? Isn’t it YOUR blood that flows erratically? (Normally, I would assume you’re talking metaphorically, except for your letter. If it’s really flowing erratically then go to the hospital. Immediately.) As for who designed and tested that “product”. God did! Duh… Gotcha! Ha! You were ready to start in about evolution and apes and natural selection and Quest for Fire (your favorite movie) and the fertile crescent, weren’t you? Dude, you must lighten up. Here’s your assignment: Set a timer for 15 minutes then sit in a chair and put your hand over your heart. Keep it there and breath in and out slowly. Focus on breathing and the feeling of your heart beating beneath you hand. When thoughts occur, just observe them, and keep still. At the end of 15 minutes say out loud, “I am human. I am alive. And so are the others.”

Or just drink heavily once a week and go act out.  Good luck!

Best,

Dave

 

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simplehuman™ Rectangular Touch Bar Trash Can, $139.95

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

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Dear Dave,

The Lid Pops Open!

The concept behind this trash can is great: lightly touch the front bar and the lid opens. Gently push the lid down and it closes.
I received the can one week ago and it functioned well until the past few days when the lid has taken on a life of its own. Now nothing keeps the lid closed. Push the lid down and it almost instantly pops open. So I have an open trash can all the time–not exactly aesthetically appealing!

Trashed, Katonah, NY

Dear Trashed,

I feel like much of my time is spent helping people to manage expectations. Have you ever heard the common wisdom that serenity is inversely proportionate to expectations? That’s a clumsy way of saying, “Get a clue!”  That nice quiet girl, who kept her lid shut during those first dates, pretending to be interested in your fantasy football team or the sibling rivalry with your attorney brother, will naturally take on a life of her own once ensconced in your home. And, she should! It seems like you think she can be controlled with gentle touches, like the woman in your iPhone. Perhaps you were fooled by the “simplehuman” t-shirt she wore when you first met? That wasn’t a label! It was an ironic push-back against a complicated yet shallow world. Or, something like that. The point is, real people are complex and they have a lot to say, some of it, perhaps most if it, pure garbage. I’m not sure what her open lid has to do with aesthetic appeal. Perhaps she’s talking with her mouth full or chewing with her mouth open? Or, maybe she has really bad teeth. If that’s the case, then I would put her out on the curb on Wednesday, before 7:00AM, or you’ll be stuck with her until next week.

Best,

Dave

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Nespresso Gran Maestria Espresso Machine, $699.95

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

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Dear Dave,

Wanted to love the machine, but did not last.

I was in love. Everything I wanted in a single-serve machine. I looked forward to my morning cups of delight. Then little things started happening. The heating element on the side would work sometimes, but not every time. Not a big deal. But then it stopped taking the capsules. I would put one in, attempt to start, and it would do nothing. I would have to turn it off, turn back on again, raise the top, (then dig the capsule out) and put it back in. So sad.

Decaffeinated, Portland, OR

Dear Decaffeinated,

Many people spend their entire lives avoiding an inescapable fact about relationships, chasing an illusion into middle age and beyond.  There is a honeymoon period to new relationships!  It’s all hot, rich, and strong at the beginning.  Perfect crema on a wonderful body.  And, the energy!  Then it starts to feel like a dark grind, with an aftertaste.  That perfectly roasted espresso leaves us with the jitters and lying awake at night thinking that something’s wrong with the machine.  We try to buy time, ignoring the intermittent failure of the “heating element”.  It’s no big deal, we tell ourselves.  But, Decaffeinated, did you not bring this upon yourself?  What’s with the capsules?  Do you really think you could medicate your partner into being exactly what you want?  People are not single-serve machines, put on Earth for your exclusive pleasure!  Little things can and will happen, but we don’t start noticing until the honeymoon is over.  Then we must all come to terms with the coffee breath, the jack-hammer leg twitch, the inane caffeinated babble.  You can’t just turn people on and off!  If you can’t adjust to a nice sustaining mug from Mr. or Mrs. Coffee in the morning, then you are doomed to try and replicate that espresso surge for the rest of your life, eventually casting that Gran Maestria onto the growing pile of other disappointing “machines”.  So sad.

Best,

Dave

 

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