What a Waste

Now that the Christmas is over, some of you might have gifts that you don’t want. If so, you might be thinking about returning an unwanted holiday gift back to the store. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your holiday returns will end up in a landfill. Each year, consumers return a lot of goods, a significant portion of which are processed during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, only some of returns make it back to shop shelves.

Once a product is returned, the retailer has to deal with the cost of assessing the item and repackaging it. Sadly, especially with low value items, often it is cheaper for the retailer to throw out returned goods rather than trying to resell them. On top of the sorting and repackaging problems, there’s also the time limit to get certain products resold. Returned electronics, for example, can lose much of their value in just a few months. This is why many returns are sold for pennies to liquidators and discounters before ending up at regional wholesalers, who send the goods to pawn shops, dollar stores or out of the country. Retailers have worked out logistics how to get goods from the place of manufacture to the shop shelves. Reverse logistics (getting good from customers back to the shops) are severely lacking. [Read more…]

Defining Violence

Whenever people start to passionately argue about proper word definitions, it’s probably because somebody wants to get away with verbally hurting other people. Either that, or they are super excited about linguistics, and let’s be realistic—majority of people have no interest in philology. I say this as a person who has a master’s degree in German philology—whenever I try to tell people about how languages are really exciting, they instead find excuses how to change the conversation topic.

But what does “getting away with verbal abuse” even mean? If I dislike some person and I call them an “asshole,” I might get called out for it. Somebody can say, “This was rude and offensive, moreover, you hurt this person’s feelings.” If I wanted to emulate the typical behavior of a bigoted person, at this point I could argue that “asshole” isn’t a rude word, instead it’s a perfectly neutral description of who this person is; after all, I cannot be rude if I merely state things as they are. This is how some people try to insist that calling trans women “men in dresses” cannot be an insult, because it merely describes the reality as it is. On top of that, the person who said this transphobic phrase will argue that they aren’t even a TERF or a transphobe, instead they are “gender critical.” Just like people with racial prejudices are not racists but “race realists.” And mass murders of entire populations aren’t “genocides,” but some other euphemism du jour. [Read more…]

Snowy White Christmas Fluffy

Where I live, right now the weather is rainy, temperature hovers at about +4°C. We had some snow back in November, but now all of it has long melted. This year, there will be no snowy white Christmas for me. This means, it’s time to dig up some photos from my old archives. These images are taken two years ago (in March, actually).

Pomeranian Dog

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Always Read the Fine Print

Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always examine the packaging of any food I consider purchasing, and I specifically look for the information that is written in the fine print. I expect sellers to lie and to attempt to cheat me. Personally, I don’t care about counting calories (I am perfectly happy with my weight). Instead, I am looking at the ingredient lists. Once you start to examine the ingredient list of every food you contemplate purchasing, you will notice a certain interesting trend, namely, people who make food want to rip you off. [Read more…]

Various Shades of Sexism and Transphobia

We live in a cisnormative and sexist society, which tries to force traditional gender roles upon everybody, including people who don’t like said roles and don’t want to follow them. There are countless ways how a bigot can try to force traditional gender roles upon another person. Some of these “strategies” are very blatant and hostile, others are subtle and barely noticeable. In this article I will share my observations of various tactics that bigots use in their attempts to maintain the status quo, namely, a sexist and transphobic society with prescriptive gender roles. I will also talk about how male bigots differ from female bigots. [Read more…]

Why Gender-Specific Christmas Gifts Are Terrible

Giving other people Christmas gifts that are bound to land directly in the landfill without being used, appreciated, and cherished is a waste of money, and it also causes unnecessary harm for the environment. If we, as a society, have collectively decided that Christmas gifts are obligatory, then we should at least strive to give other people something they will like or at least find useful. Therefore: Don’t just give gifts to other people based on their gender. It can terribly backfire. [Read more…]

Holiday Gifts and the Christmas Shopping Spree

Holidays used to be about spending a few work-free days with your loved ones. So far so good, that’s all nice. Unfortunately, nowadays instead people are coerced to participate in a stressful shopping frenzy instead. People are reminded to buy some gift for everybody they know, otherwise they are somehow guilty of failing to show love. As if giving a weird-looking acrylic sweater to your 2nd cousin proved that you love them. As if failing to give some gift demonstrated that you don’t love some person. As if love could be reduced to stuff that you buy in a shop. As if love could be measured in how expensive some gift is. [Read more…]

Female Only Spaces

Female only spaces, the oh so precious thing that TERFs want to protect at all costs from a certain subset of women. Yet for me female only spaces are the bane of my existence. I routinely get shoveled into these places against my will because of how my body looks like. The end result always is a miserable experience for everybody. It’s not just that I hate it—all the women don’t want my company in these places either. [Read more…]