Story time: The office frat-boy

So, I work for a company filled with computer programmers and scientists. It’s actually a reality that’s quite similar to the Big Bang Theory if you’ve ever seen that show. Most people in the office put me to shame from an intelligence standpoint, but from a social skills standpoint, holding conversations with them is often quite hard.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re all extremely good people. Well, most of them are extremely good people. But they’re scientists and programmers, so they’re awkward. Awkward and hard to carry on conversations with.

Anyways, there’s one guy, Axel (cool name, I know…) who is one of the rare creatures in the office blessed with intelligence and social interaction skills. Axel has not one but TWO PhDs, and upon first glance can seem quite charismatic. The problem with Axel lies within going beyond what’s at the surface to realize that he’s a fucking asshole, and, surprisingly, a massive idiot for having two PhDs.

Axel has terrible luck with women. He doesn’t realize that the terrible luck that he has with women has to do with him being an idiot when it comes to anything that isn’t related to either of his PhDs, and also, the fact that he’s an asshole. So every morning we have to hear stories about how dating is so hard for him and how he understands why men just sleep around because women are so difficult.

Because, you know, respect and kindness is a whole lot to ask for from a man…

Anyways, we have this internal forum for our staff that serves a multitude of purposes, some work related, some not. It’s like a discord server but it was built by our programmers so it’s got a lot more functionality geared towards our company (several dozen people in offices in three different countries). For the purpose of this story, let’s just call it a discord. One of the functions that Axel likes to take advantage of on the discord is the blog.

He’s created this series called ‘Forever alone with Axel’ in which he makes blog posts all about his dating life. In these blog posts he goes into painstakingly stupid detail all about how awful his dating life is.

Keeping in mind that these posts are seen by dozens of employees from three different offices in three different countries, Axel tells stories about how he was afraid to call one girl back because he went to her house to hook up with her, got a sudden case of explosive diarrhea and made a mess of her bathroom then left without saying goodbye while she was laying naked in her room waiting for him. He also tells stories like a somewhat recent blog post he made in which he went on a date with a girl who he felt had bad breath. He asked if they could stop at the store on their way to where they were headed and he proceeded to go and buy mouth wash, give it to her in the car and say ‘A present for you! Don’t say that I never bought you anything’.

His most recent story is about how he took a girl on a date this past weekend and they went to a cafe and sat on the patio, socially distanced style. Whilst on this patio chatting a girl that he’s previously hooked up with was walking by and she stopped to exchange pleasantries. Axel invited her to stay and sit and chat with them (yes, he interrupted their date by inviting a girl to stay whom he’d previously had sex with). I’m 150% certain the way that he tells the story is not the reality of what happened, but either way, the girl who he was supposed to be on a date with went home. So, he took the girl he’d previously hooked up with home with him and hooked up with her. After sex, whilst he was asleep, she got up and left. And she’s been ghosting him since. So, when he couldn’t get in contact with her, he decided he was going to call the girl he originally went on a date with to ask if she wanted to go on a second date. The post goes on to explain that he doesn’t understand why the girl wouldn’t agree to a second date and that he also doesn’t understand why she was mad. At the end of the post he suggests that perhaps the hook-up who left him in the middle of the night is just busy and she plans on calling him back later this week, and that he hopes that’s the case because she is ‘amazing in the sack’.

Completely appropriate things to be sharing on a public forum for all of your coworkers to see, right?

Several times a week we hear remarks about how women are so difficult, smack dab in the middle of our meetings. Or he’ll ask passive aggressive questions to the females in the conversation asking us why we’re so difficult or why we make things so hard for men.

He needs an intervention.

  1. To tell him to stop sharing all of this information in a company forum for all of his coworkers to see because it’s both not appropriate and people don’t care about his shitty love life, or lack thereof. (I guess you could say that I do care based on this post and my admitting to reading it, but I would suggest that I read his posts because it’s a lot like a car accident… you don’t want to look but you can’t look away)
  2. To tell him that he’s a fucking idiot and if he tried common sense, respect, kindness, he’d probably have a lot more luck with the female gender.
  3. To tell him that we’re(females) not that hard to figure out so long as you’re not talking to us in the passive aggressive equivalent of a subtweet.
  4. To remind him that it really doesn’t matter how many PhDs he has, if he’s an asshole people aren’t going to like him.

He really may just end up being one of those men who is ‘forever alone’. I don’t mean that in the dramatic sense, I just mean that in the… ‘there comes a point in life when you have to realize you’re a fucking idiot’ sense, and I don’t know that he ever will. He’s this weird mix of overly-cocky, overly-intelligent, overly-social but completely inept at understanding social cues.

He’s a weird mixture of Sheldon, Howard and Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack from the Big Bang Theory. Intelligent, cocky and really fucking stupid.

lol

Someone from our Middle East office asked if he was living in a romantic comedy and he said ‘No. I can’t be. At least in the romantic comedy the guy ends up with the girl in the end. Me, I never get the girl’.

I wonder why…

It couldn’t be because you go on a date with a girl and take a completely different girl home that night to have sex with, could it?

Story time: The time I was spit on

A man spit in my face once. Actually, I shouldn’t really call him a man. He was 20, exceptionally immature and generally a disgusting human being. Calling him a man seems like a disservice to men in this world. Then again, calling him a boy seems like I’m making an excuse for his behaviour. There’s no excuse for spitting on people.

It was March 2018. I was having a discussion with my friend Rob about another crazy story from his work-life. Rob was the chief of police. Though he never told me anything that was confidential, I did hear some crazy stories from the man over the years that I knew him. We’d just grabbed some coffee and we were waiting for players to return from the intermission of the game we were watching. Rob was telling me a story about how a few nights prior he was working the graveyard shift and he found himself, at 2:00 in the morning, chasing a man in his tighty-whiteys yielding a machete high off some sort of illegal substance through the courtyard of city hall. He uh, well he has no fears.

Rob is tower of a human being. He stands at 6 feet 7 inches tall. He has an extremely intimidating presence. Had he not been married to one of my coworkers, I likely would have feared him just based on his presence. Nevertheless, I digress. Cop life was a fit for him.

So, the explanation of Rob is important to the story because Rob actually plays a pretty integral role into what came from the rest of that evening.

During the third period a fight broke out. This was a bad fight. One of the players actually attempted to use a piece of his equipment to inflict dangerous, physical harm that could disable another player for life during this fight.

Typically, though a player is going to be kicked out of the game for such actions, they’re put in the penalty box while the referee reviews the play, what happened and what lead to the dangerous actions to ensure they have everything correct for expulsion from the game because they will have to file a report after.

This player was minutes from being kicked out. He was mad. He got into the penalty box and started using his equipment to try and break the penalty box. Which… physically speaking isn’t possible. But, he was angry and being an idiot, trying to inflict damage and throwing around threats to anyone he laid his eyes on.

Rob being Rob, well he stepped in. He stood in front of this player, towering at least 6 or 7 inches over him, and told him to sit down and calm down. This player didn’t.

I needed to collect some information from this player for the incident report so I asked Rob to get it for me.

Ohhhhhh, let me just say no one was prepared for what happened next.

This player got mad. He got up and in his fit of fury decided he was going to come after me. Problem was, even with all of his equipment on, he was still a lot shorter and smaller than Rob and Rob was standing between him and I. Rob was literally holding this player back from trying to jump at me and swing punches as he hurled insults my direction and shouted some pretty vulgar things.

I’ve been around sports most of my life so hearing vulgar things doesn’t really phase me. I don’t like. I don’t think it’s acceptable. But, I also can’t control the things that people say, so, I don’t let it get to me when disgusting things are said to me. Especially if it’s coming from someone like a 20 year old brat with a bad temper, no social skills and clear anger issues.

What did phase me though, was that in that moment when the player couldn’t overpower Rob, he decided to spit on me. He knew that he couldn’t get past Rob so he hocked a loogie and spit directly into my face.

It was one of the most disgusting moments of my life.

I was shocked. I was embarrassed. I was immediately scared. This idiot’s saliva had just landed in my eye and on my face.

This player does not know that the man he’s been trying to overpower to come at me is actually the Chief of Police. No one ever really knew what Rob did because it wasn’t something that Rob broadcasted to anyone outside of his circles. He just did his job and lived his life.

Well, in the moment when he spit on me, everyone knew it. Largely because everyone heard him hocking a loogie and then because everyone heard me scream in terror when the spit hit my face.

Here in Canada spitting on someone is a form of assault. This player, not realizing that he’s just committed a form of assault in front of the city’s chief of police, kept on shouting vulgar things at me as I started to cry and pull off my jacket and sweatshirt and scrape away at my skin with said clothing because I felt disgusting due to their being spit on me.

I kid you not, Rob grabbed this player by the back of his neck, walked him out of the penalty box and down the hall to the dressing room. He didn’t ask the referees, he didn’t wait for anyone, he just walked him down the hall and put him in the dressing room.

He came back to check on me. I was crying at this point in time. It was just such a disgusting feeling. I felt like I needed a shower. I felt like I’d been violated in a sense. I just felt… unclean. People say that I completely overreacted when it happened, but I really don’t think that I did. Until you’ve been spit at, in the face, you really can’t understand just how disgusting it feels. And by a stranger… someone you don’t know. It’s just… it really does leave you with this sense of feeling like you want to crawl out of your skin.

Rob’s a cop. He’d just watched this entire thing unfold. He got on his phone and he called some cops, who were on duty, to come on down and help this get sorted out. He made a statement, he vouched about what happened on the ice, and then about what happened to me when I got spat on. Because the police were there, I had to make a statement about getting spit on.

The police were waiting for this player when he came out of the dressing room. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a good sight. So Rob stayed back next to me, and the two police officers that came waited for this player to walk out of the dressing room to inform him they’d been told of what happened. This player got angry again, screaming down the hall at Rob and myself ‘You called the fucking cops on me, you pieces of shit!’

At this point the player proceeded to walk past the cops saying that everything they were told was a lie and that they were wasting their time and should go back to the donut shop. (Classy, I know)

When the two on-duty police officers pointed out that they had statements from an off-duty police officer that he witnessed the player spit on someone and that’s a form of assault, the player got angry.

‘You’re a fucking pig?’ He yelled in our direction. Then he tried to run at us again. The two on-duty police officers held him back. Like, this player has a serious anger issue. So, the police officers were holding him back and he hit one of the police officers in the face, which is a form of assault against a police officer.

So, they handcuffed him and took him off to the station.

It took three months following, but this player was actually charged with three counts of assault.

  1. For using his equipment to inflict harm upon one of the players on the ice.
  2. For spitting on me.
  3. For hitting a police officer in the face.

The initial count of assault ended up being thrown out because, reviewing the video of the game, they could not prove intent to harm based on what the player had done. The crown prosecutor argued that he could have accidentally tried to use his skate blade to cut the other player’s neck. Which… was complete and utter bullshit, but whatever, I don’t control the justice system.

He was charged with assault for spitting on me and he was charged with assault for hitting the police officer when they were trying to hold him back from running at Rob and I after he learned that Rob was a police officer.

Nothing ended up going to trial. He admitted guilt. I think he realized he had no choice but to admit guilt because he knew that he spit on someone in front of the chief of police and proceed to hit a police officer in front of two other police officers and a crowd of people.

He was given a fine and probation and forced to take anger management classes.

In a weird twist of events, though the player pleaded guilty to two charges of assault, the league actually never punished him. The league said that we could not prove that the player intended to injure the other player his skate blade and that there was no video footage of me being spit on, so it could have been any one of the six people around at that moment who decided to spit on me.

The league took zero ownership of the incident that involved the police officer being hit because they said they cannot control the actions of said players once they leave the ice, and therefore he cannot be held accountable by the league for something that could’ve very well happened on a sidewalk anywhere in the city on any day of the week.

Rob kept working games after that.

I think it was good for him. He loves hockey and he has a commanding enough presence that, when players pull bullshit like what happened that night, he played an integral role in calming down situations.

I didn’t keep working games.

I wrote an angry letter to the league explaining that I went home wearing someone else’s clothing that evening because I was so disgusted and felt so unclean I couldn’t bear to wear my jacket and sweatshirt. I actually threw away that jacket and sweatshirt. I remember crying my eyes out in the arena bathroom trying to scrub my skin, to try and make myself feel clean. It wasn’t like a small spit wad. It was like… a mouth full of disgusting spit that hit my face and ran down my face onto my neck and my clothing because there was so much of it.

I told the league they shouldn’t expect people to be there if they cannot protect the people who are there. I told the league that if they don’t take hard stances on behaviour like that, they’re as culpable for the behaviour as the person who commits it. Yeah, behaviour might be learned, but that doesn’t mean it has to be accepted.

The league basically black-listed me. Which was fine. I wasn’t going back there again.

As for what happened to the player… in late 2018 he was arrested for pushing his pregnant girlfriend down a flight of stairs.

In 2019 he was arrested again for kidnapping his child causing a nation-wide amber alert to go out and ended up ‘on the run’ for just 48 hours before they police caught up with him.

Currently he’s serving a two year jail sentence. After he was arrested for kidnapping his baby, his girlfriend came forward with allegations of continued physical assault throughout the relationship that included statements like her saying she was punched so hard she actually lost two of her teeth.

In 2019 when he went to jail the league, who had allowed him to play all throughout his troubles with the law (spitting, hitting a police officer, pushing his girlfriend down the stairs), finally made a public statement about him.

It was your standard run of the mill PR Bullshit.

‘We’re so shocked to learn of the actions of [player’s name]. We’re sending our complete support to [his ex-girlfriend] and [his child] during this troubling time and we want everyone to know that we do not condone these actions, or domestic violence of any kind.’

Now, I’m not saying this night set off a chain reaction of events in his life that led to him pushing his pregnant girlfriend down the stairs and subsequently kidnapping his baby. He clearly has anger issues and has clearly had them for a lot longer than I’ve ever bared witness to. That being said, an arena full of people watched him take his skate off of his foot and use the blade to physically try and slice someone’s neck. The chief of police watched him spit directly into my face as a form of trying to intimidate me, and two police officers had to physically hold him back, one of which ended up getting punched in the process.

If a league isn’t willing to take a stance on that behaviour, why do they get to play the ‘we had no idea it was this bad’ after this player’s behaviour makes national news.

They knew what he was like. They made excuses for it. They continued to pay him and cover his actions, that continued to the point where a pregnant woman was pushed down a flight of stairs and a baby was kidnapped.

You know that saying ‘birds of a feather flock together’? I kind of feel like this applies to people. If you’re covering up someone’s shiteous actions for years, quite literally until it makes national news and you just can’t anymore, are you not culpable? I mean, you might not have committed the actions yourself but you knew what was happening you saw hard evidence as to what was happening and heard what was going on behind the scenes… hell WE ALL HEARD. Rather than giving the player ramifications for his actions, they covered them. They swept them under the rug. They kept paying him and making him feel as though his behaviour was okay.

Quite frankly I think he got off easy only getting two years. I really hope that his ex-girlfriend has taken their child and started over somewhere new. I hope she’s not waiting for him to get out. People like that… they need more help than any one person can provide. People like that, they will likely continue to be a part of ‘the system’ for the rest of their life. People like that never seem to think they have a problem.

Anyways, that’s the story of the time someone spit in my face.

People say I overreacted. I really don’t think I did. Some people think being spit on is not a big deal, I personally think it’s one of the most disrespectful and degrading things you can do to a person. Also, it’s disgusting. It is. It makes you feel unclean. It makes you feel gross and it makes you feel less than human.

Releasing thoughts from my brain so they don’t control the rest of my day.

Debt scares me.

When I was a kid my family did not have a lot of money. Often we barely had enough to get by. My parents always made sure that we had food to eat., but I do remember instances where I was wearing my shoes until they had holes in them, and then continuing to wear them past that point. I do remember my siblings and I having to go out on our bikes to the nearby recreation centres and ball parks to look for cans so that we could collect enough money to hopefully put five dollars worth of gas in the vehicle so my father could get to work. I do remember a few times when the collection of cans did not provide enough and my dad actually hitch-hiked to work.

Debt scares me. I don’t ever want to go back to that place.

Now that I’m an adult, I am really good at living within my means. I’m really good at not getting something unless I absolutely need it. I’m really good at going without. I know the difference between needs and wants and I know how to stretch a dollar. I’m very careful with what I purchase. I’m very careful with how I choose to live because debt scares me.

I want a plan.

I want to know that everything is going to be okay. I want safety and security in a world that can provide anything but.

A little bit of peace.

After months of infighting my uncle(F) has provided notice to our family that he will no longer continue contesting my uncle’s(K) will. He has let us know that he’s called off his lawyers and will allow the process to proceed without their trying to intervene.

The move comes after my dad made a visit to see my uncle(F) this long weekend. I’m not too sure what happened, but whatever my dad said it seems to have worked.

Hopefully this means the arguing, the name calling, the nasty emails, the nasty phone calls, the everything can stop.

Hopefully, fingers crossed, the lawyers can continue fulfilling my uncle’s(K) final wishes. Hopefully the only lawyers to be involved from here on out are the one’s trusted with fullfilling my uncle’s(K) final wishes. Hopefully there’s no more fighting. Hopefully people choose to remember my uncle(K) for the incredible man he was, rather than how much money he made.

YouTube is the ‘ultimate’ modern day MLM

That’s right, I went there.

Multilevel marketing (MLM) is a strategy that some direct sales companies use to encourage existing distributors to recruit new distributors. In MLM schemes, there can be hundreds or thousands of members worldwide (or in the case of YouTube, Instagram and the likes, millions upon millions), but relatively few earn meaningful incomes from their efforts, indicating a possible pyramid scheme. Multilevel marketing is also referred to as ‘referral marketing’.

The entire premise of multilevel marketing is that people make sales for a company without being actual employees of that company. The ‘consultants’ make a small commission for their work and those higher up at the company will always be the one’s making real money. While companies like LulaRoe, Amway, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Avon might be struggling in a pandemic-ridden 2020 due to the structure and nature of their corporate pyramid, YouTube has been reaping the rewards of their corporate pyramid one-hundred-fold over the past decade.

Before you roll your eyes, hear me out!

Content creators are not employees of YouTube. They’re consultants. They don’t get benefits. They don’t have taxes taken off of the money YouTube pays them. They don’t earn a regular income. They’re paid based on performance. And, if they so like, they can take some of that payment from YouTube and put it directly into the membership costs of belonging to a YouTube network that promises to help them grow their platform. Furthermore, YouTube relies on content creators to bring in new creators and grow the YouTube platform further and bring in more money. In the case of YouTube, content creators are selling advertisements.

Now, let’s compare YouTube to Mary Kay Cosmetics, a widely known MLM. Mary Kay Cosmetics does not hire employees, they instead opt for a company structure that sees consultants making sales for the business, and, bringing in new consultants. Consultants are not paid a regular income, instead they earn based on performance. The more they sell, the more they earn. Mary Kay Cosmetics consultants also have the option to take their earnings and put it towards a network that will allow them to grow their platforms, and (hopefully) in turn sell more makeup.

Sounds familiar, right?

YouTube operates monetization on a sliding scale. Content creators are required to meet certain thresholds with their channel in order to even become monetized in the first place. As an audience grows for a particular content creator, new opportunities open up for them on the platform, such as being able to live-stream, finally earning a portion of the adsense dollars that YouTube is already making from their videos, and eventually even being able to open up their own ‘Membership structure’ for their channel in which people can pay the content creator directly for things like shout outs or sneak peaks. The better you perform, the more chance you have to earn. But also, if you don’t perform at all, it does not hurt the company whatsoever.

Mary Kay also operates their pay structure on a sliding scale. Sales consultants are required to make an initial investment in the company and sell ‘x’ amount of dollars worth of product before they’re able to even earn a profit. Depending on the amount an individual is able to sell, Mary Kay opens the opportunity for said sales consultants to earn bonuses – these can be anything from extra commission to free trips to the chance to drive a pink, branded car. The better that you perform, the more chance that you have to earn. But also, if you don’t perform at all, it does not hurt the company whatsoever.

In both cases, networking is pretty key to finding any sort of moderate success.

Now, wait a minute, wait a minute. The initial investment into a company like Mary Kay Cosmetics is one that you pay directly to the company. What is the initial investment in YouTube?

I’m glad that you asked.

While the initial investment one must make to begin a YouTube channel is not paid directly to the platform itself, you are required to have some form of technology – be it a phone, camera or computer – that allows you to film, edit and post videos to the platform. No, you don’t buy those phones, cameras or computers directly from YouTube. But, what you do give YouTube is your time. And time is valuable. For reference, when you’re just getting started with video editing, it can take as much as thirty hours to edit a single ten minute video. For someone like myself, last year I worked for an economic development firm part-time. The hours weren’t regular, but when I was working, I was earning $20 an hour. If I spent 30 hours on a project, I would earn $600. For a new content creator on YouTube, until they reach 4,000 hours of watch time, 1,000 subscribers or more and compliance with YouTube’s community guidelines, they’re not earning a single cent. That’s 30 free hours of work they’re providing YouTube with, each time they upload a video.

Depending on the content creator, it can take a couple of months before earning monetization, or it can take a few years. This is why hustle culture on YouTube can, at times, be very toxic… which is not unlike the culture among any MLM company on earth. In YouTube, and in Mary Kay Cosmetics, the deck is stacked in favour of the bold, the beautiful and those who are the most ‘commercial friendly’. But, when you’re getting the tips and tricks of the trade from someone in the trenches, they’re not going to tell you that.

Someone with heavy investments into Mary Kay Cosmetics is definitely not going to tell you how hard it is for them to earn an income because they need you to sign up to help boost the income they’re struggling so hard to earn.

Someone with heavy investments (yes we’re counting time and money) into YouTube isn’t going to tell you the cost/value ratio of a single YouTube video because the minute they do, they’re going to lose out on opportunity for earning potential. Yeah, there’s a reason why YouTuber’s don’t comment about how much money they make. The moment they do, YouTube can flag their channel and decrease their earning potential. And, in an industry in which their money isn’t guaranteed, they don’t want to risk earning less if they don’t have to.

In a 2020 world, especially with the ongoing pandemic, marketers and large corporations have realized that there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about having regular folk advertise their products. What better way to do that then to enter every person’s home/life through the technology they already have. Advertisers pay YouTube to be able to run commercial campaigns during videos on the platform. In turn, YouTube promises advertisers that their ‘Consultants’ (Content Creators/Regular Folk) will bring enough people to the platform to bring a valuable return on investment in said advertisement. When you really stop to think about it, this isn’t that far removed from well known MLM companies that do the exact same thing through Instagram and, in a lot of cases, YouTube as well.

Somehow, though, YouTube has morphed itself into a ‘Legal’ pyramid scheme. One where those at the top get richer, and those, even in the upper echelon of the platform, still seek out sponsorships and affiliate codes/links to earn the majority of their income.

YouTube was estimated to earn more than 15 billion dollars in Ad Revenue in 2019. (From Business Insider) Only between 10-30 percent of that revnue is distributed to the content creators who are responsible for earning that income in the first place. That means that between millions of content creators who earned YouTube that 15 billion dollars, high-end estimations of that would suggest they shared 4.5 billion. And that’s being reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally generous.

Sure, a portion of 4.5 billion sounds great, right? Let’s say that there was 4.5 billion to go around and approximately one million channels on YouTube to split that among. That’s $4,500… for a year of work. Now take into account that those dollars aren’t being spread evenly. Those who performed better are going to be earning a larger piece of the Adsense pie. Realistically, the dollar amount a content creator could be making from YouTube could be absolutely abysmal compared to a regular nine-to-five job. This is why there are sponsored videos, affiliate links and free giveaways. But that’s a story for another day!

The pandemic has hit this world hard. People who work for companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics can’t just go do what they’ve always done because hosting a ‘Mary Kay Party’ to show off the merchandise isn’t exactly recommended when there’s a deadly disease sweeping the planet. They’ve taken to Instagram and YouTube and made some sponsored content of their own to try and keep their company afloat amidst all that is going on in the world. And, while the blow YouTube might be suffering due to the pandemic isn’t quite as large, they’re hurting too. It’s not easy for companies to produce advertisements for YouTube when their entire staff is/was working from home. For this reason, YouTube has recorded a loss in their second quarter profit earnings from ad revenue. That is also the reason why there are so many more ‘this video is sponsored by’ and ‘this product was gifted from’ videos circulating YouTube. In a work-from-home world, content creators are learning the already low revenue they were earning from adsense is going to be even less in 2020.

What really gets me, though, is when I’m watching a YouTube video and there’s an advertisement for an MLM company or product within the video itself. It’s become a bit like Russian Nesting Dolls… an MLM within an MLM, within an MLM. As the world continues to adapt to circumstances around us, these instances are only going to become more and more prevalent. Especially since YouTube won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

And, because I went ahead and called them the ultimate modern day MLMi in the title, I will add that where struggling MLMs require high investments for you to even test the product, all that is required to test YouTube is technology and boredom. Thus making them a far superior MLM to any other in existence right now.

One of “those women”…

There’s a local car dealership that’s been giving me the gears for over a month now. I wanted a new(to me) car, I can afford the new(to me) car, I applied to purchase the new(to me) car.

I applied on June 27.

This dealer, something about him just made my spidey senses tingle. I was approved for an auto loan so I waited patiently. I was told that the car was mine. I was told that it would be delivered in a matter of days. I was told A LOT of things. And this man, always had an excuse as to why today wasn’t the day and tomorrow wouldn’t be either.

I asked for the Carfax. He wouldn’t provide it to me. I asked for pictures. He wouldn’t provide them to me. I asked for warranty information. He couldn’t provide it to me.

He was… I’m not too sure what he was doing. I can speculate, but I can’t speak for certain about why he kept giving me the run around.

Fed up with waiting, I decided to write him a very vexing email on my lunch break Monday. I will say, there’s a reason why I work in Marketing/PR. When I really stop to think about my words and piece them together carefully, they’re bulletproof. When you piss me off, I’m definitely not going to yell and scream. I’m going to be frank, to the point and I’m going to remind you just how low of a tolerance I have for idiocy and lack of transparency.

Anyways… I guess I scared him?

He waited all fucking day to write me back. And when he did write me back, he offered to have a driver come and pick me up so that I could come down to his dealership to ‘talk it through’.

Because I needed to be ‘handled’. Heaven forbid a woman stand up for herself.

I kindly told him that unless there was a vehicle there, ready for me to drive off in, there was no point in me coming down to his dealership because speaking to him would be a waste of time, like it had seemingly been for the last month.

I think that made him mad.

He uhhh, well he referred to me as one of ‘those women’. He said ‘I’d be nothing but trouble’. He said ‘there’s no pleasing women like that’.

Dang. I’m happy to be one of those women. Because if standing up for myself makes me one of those women, I will choose to be one of those women each and every time.

Furthermore, if I (yes, little ole’ me) possess the ability to make the earth quake beneath his feet with a single email… if I have the ability to make him that scared with a single message, then I’m pretty damn proud. I didn’t call him names. I didn’t say a single mean thing in the email. I spoke the truth. And clearly from his reaction to my email, his customers really don’t do that often. So yeah, I am proud to have put him in his place.

Do I think it’ll stop him from pulling this bullshit on other customers? No. People like that really don’t change in life. But, I do take great pride in how much discomfort I was able to provide him. And, I’m going to be even happier to purchase my car from elsewhere now. Elsewhere that’ll treat ‘those women’ as valuable customers. Elsewhere that’ll value my time. Elsewhere that’ll give me a better deal.

Until then, well… it’s a good thing that my office is working from home for the time being.

Aspirations and dreams and whatnot…

Lately I’ve been really thinking that now’s a good time to start a business. I’m blessed enough to have this job that I love, that pays me well, and you know… maybe I ought to use some of that money towards starting a project that belongs to me, a business that I make the rules for, that I have control over, and that can supplement my income.

I’m not used to this feeling. I’m still getting accustomed to the idea that my dreams are attainable. That the possibilities just might be endless. I’m still having a hard time believing I deserve the good things in my life and that, dare I say, I could achieve even more.

I realize that I’m extremely blessed to be in the situation that I am in now, and I’m very thankful for where I find myself. Last year me never saw things turning out this well. Hell, this year me didn’t see things turning out this well. Things aren’t perfect but I know that I am very blessed. Blessed and grateful. I wish I could go back and tell my sad, depressed, anxious past self that it was all going to be okay. And, now that things are okay, I want to do more. I want to start a business. A side-hustle. A je ne sais quoi, so to speak.And, now that I don’t have to sell my personal belongings in order to pay for necessities to survive, I want to take advantage of the present. After all, they say there’s no time like the present. And if not now then when?

What does this business look like? I don’t quite know yet. I’ve got some skills. I’m not totally useless. I somewhat don’t suck at marketing for when I do get said business off the ground. And I happen to have a business partner who specializes in sales of everything that is difficult and seems impossible.

Maybe this year could mark the birth of something great? Or maybe I won’t get around to starting anything? I certainly hope it’s not the latter. Presently seeking clarity where it presents itself, because there’s no time like the present.

Eco-friendly items for the home

Hi. Hello. Good day! My name is Vee and I hate single-use items. I hate, hate, hate them with the fire of a thousand suns.

Today I want to share some of the reusable alternatives that I’ve implemented in my home and life. I believe each of these items are affordable and have the potential to eliminate a lot of waste from daily life. I’m sharing because there’s a huge misconception that leading a sustainable or eco-friendly lifestyle is expensive. It can be, if you choose that, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of really affordable alternatives out there that everyone can implement in their lives.

Disclaimer: I took these pictures at 9 pm whilst there was a giant rain-storm outside and a tornado warning. The light was going in and out and as a result, there’s a different variation of lighting in these pictures. Hopefully it’s not too distracting.

HAND-KNIT DISH CLOTHS/SCRUBBERS

There’s this saying: “You know you’re an adult when you get more excited for home items then anything else”. That’s me! That’s totally me. My mom makes these dish cloths/scrubbers with yarn that she finds at thrift stores. They rarely match, which makes them feel even more like a one-of-a-kind set, and they eliminate the need to purchase sponges, dish cloths and even paper towels (she makes various sizes for different needs around the home).

I highly recommend cloths knitted in this fashion, as they’re tough and can scrub any ‘caked-on’ mess made in the kitchen. They’re also great for cleaning, too! Just throw in your washer with towels and reuse.

These cloths can be purchased in varying sizes on Etsy. Or, if you’re really crafty, you can teach yourself how to make them! One ball of yarn can make 12 cloths, so they’re very cheap. One of the big bonuses to purchasing them from Etsy is that the platform has become a place for Grandma’s to sell their hand-made kintted goods. So, if you do buy them there’s a good chance you’re supporting a grandma through her retirement.

BEESWAX FOOD WRAPS

Beeswax wrap is an incredible alternative to plastic wrap. Made of beeswax, these items are completely biodegradable and cover your food in just the same way as plastic wrap. This alternative can be quite pricey, depending on where you buy it from. But, if you’re someone who keeps leftovers in your fridge often, they’re a great investment to make.

I’ve read studies online that say beeswax wrap keeps your food fresher longer than plastic wrap. I cannot prove this as it’s been several years since I’ve owned plastic wrap, but if it does, that’s a pretty cool bonus. And even if it doesn’t, you’re still eliminating single-use product waste.

REUSABLE FOOD-STORAGE BAGS

I hate Ziploc bags. I hate no-name single-use bags of any type. I really do. The entire premise of the product is that it carry something for you for, at times, just minutes before it gets trashed. With the average use of a Ziploc or no-name single-use bag being a half day, they are an extremely wasteful product.

I purchased the bags pictured for $12. They’re freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe and made from food-grade silicone. They’re leak-proof and an incredible alternative to to all single-use bags. Point of note – I actually stored spaghetti sauce in one of these bags last week and not only did it not leak, but it also didn’t stain.

I highly recommend a set of these if your budget allows it! They’re available online and are starting to pop up more and more at grocery stores, if you’re looking.

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES

Let’s remember that plastic is not the enemy. The eco-friendly movement is about eliminating or minimizing single-use plastics. The point is to purchase things intentionally so that they can be used over and over and not just trashed. While reusable water bottles can get quite expensive, depending on the type you buy (I’ve seen glass bottles cost $75) they don’t have to. The blender bottle of the left of this photo cost me $7.99 and I bought it four years ago. Reusable water bottles are an easy, cheap and eco-friendly way to keep single use plastics out of your home. Bonus points for the fact that it encourages you to drink more water… which everyone can benefit from.

Caveat: If you don’t have safe drinking water at your home, I realize that this product likely won’t be of any use to you. And yes, I do understand that not everyone in this world has safe drinking water at home.

STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS

Stainless steel straws are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cheap. So are reusable plastic straws, bamboo straws and glass straws. I realize that COVID has put a damper on being able use your own straws in a lot of restaurants and coffee shops, but you can absolutely still use them at home.

Single use plastic straws are too small to be recycled. Because of this, all disposable straws are winding up in landfills, or worse… in the ocean. For something that is used for just a few minutes at a time, and then trashed, purchasing a set of straws (which can be done for as little as four dollars depending on the type that you get) helps save our sea creatures and means that you’re always smoothie ready.

MAKEUP REMOVER PADS

Disposable cotton rounds have sat atop bathroom vanities across the world for decades. They’re easy to get, cheap as heck and you can buy them from virtually any drug store or grocery store. Most important, they’re easy to throw away, which I hate. I’m genuinely really proud of the fact that they seem to FINALLY be going out of style.

Reusable makeup remover pads/cotton rounds are exactly that, reusable. With it estimated that the average woman can possibly go through as many as 100 disposable cotton rounds in a single month, purchasing one package of reusable makeup remover pads can eliminate more than 1,200+ pieces of waste in a single year.

This particular set that I have was actually made by my mom. She used an old towel (because upcycling is cool) and sewed around the edges to ensure they wouldn’t fray. That being said, you can purchase a single set for as little as $10 for 20 online. In store, they tend to run more expensive.

If you don’t mind the stains, white is a pretty common colour. To me, the stains just remind me that they’ve been used. That being said, they do come in a variety of colours, including dark fabrics that will hide stains if that might bother you.

DRYER BALLS

Dryer balls are an eco-friendly and natural alternative to both dryer sheets and fabric softener. Whilst there are many types of dryer balls – wool, plastic, rubber, etc.. dryer balls made from wool are completely biodegradable.

Dryer balls work by retaining the heat they soak up when the dryer is turned on. Using that heat, they keep your laundry from clumping allowing the heat emitted from the dryer to be more evenly distributed through your laundry. These actions will help to cut your drying time considerably, and in turn, lower your electric bills. Wool dryer balls also work as a softener, helping smooth out wrinkles and keeping your clothes looking smooth and feeling cozy.

I bought a set of six for $15. It’s estimated dryer balls can last up to a year, depending on how much laundry your household does. When they have worn out and just aren’t fulfilling their purpose anymore (as they do deteriorate over time), you can literally just take it and drop it in your garden or compost, if you compost at home. (Plastic/Rubber dryer balls are obviously not biodegradable, this is a perk specific to wool balls)

TO CONCLUDE

It doesn’t have to be expensive to lead a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. Looking at this post, it might look expensive seeing everything together, but please keep in mind that all of these items were purchased or given to me at different times. A one time investment in every item together would be very costly and hard on the bank account. But, if you slowly implement meaningful, intentional changes over time, you’ll come to realize just how helpful it can be to have high-quality, reusable items in your home.

It’s a cliche statement, I know, but remember that you might not be able to do all of the good that this world needs, but the world needs all of the good that you can do. And minimizing, eliminating single-use disposable items and trash is a very good thing!

#MillennialLifeCrisis Shirts

A while back I mentioned that last year for my birthday I made #MillennialLifeCrisis shirts on Teespring. When I did that, I actually listed the shirts on my blog so that other people could buy one too if they so desired. A few people actually did make purchase of the shirt for themselves, two people actually showing me pictures of them in the shirt, which was very cool! I felt so proud when I saw someone who wasn’t me wearing the logo. Is that weird?

Anyways, there were two or three people who left comments on that post (it was a post about Teespring and using Teespring to monetize your blog) asking me what the shirts looked like. Since I haven’t yet purchased an iron for this house (it’s on the list, I’ll get one eventually…) please don’t judge me for the wrinkles. But, this is what the #MillennialLifeCrisis shirts look like. I also made/purchased them in crewneck form. I did that on blue though… and it didn’t look so good.

Teespring is a really great platform to create your own designs on different clothing articles. If you’ve ever considered putting your own designs on clothing, whether making it for yourself, or to sell to your WordPress readers, YouTube subscribers or others, I highly recommend checking out Teespring.

Benefits:
– It’s an extremely easy to platform to use. You don’t have to be a design expert to create trendy pieces, or (much like in my case) pieces that just make you happy!
– Quality control is A+. I have NEVER had an issue with an item I have purchased from Teespring.
– As a creator, you’re not required to purchase/carry inventory in hopes someone purchases. All items are made to order, when someone orders. The profit you can make off of a design depends on the price you list the item as.
– As a creator, if you want the item yourself, you purchase it at cost. There is no price increase. The shirt without your logo or design is $15 and the shirt with your logo or design is $15.

Drawbacks:
– Teespring uses American dollars or Euros. The exchange rate is not always kind for Canadians and well… anyone who lives in a country that doesn’t use Euros or American dollars.