Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Another Brave New World “Benefit”

So this is charming: Amazon proposes that (for $250) you give them a key to your home and buy a two-way camera/monitoring device to put at the front door. In exchange, they will send their delivery people — who are side-giggers on a par with Uber drivers, from what I can see — into your home to set packages inside the door.

Well. In the age of package piracy, that sounds in theory like kind of a kewl idea.

But…

What about the dog? the cat? If some guy opened my front door today, Ruby would shoot outside and head for Yuma. No, she would not come back. No, she would not allow some stranger to catch her and put her back in the house. She would be gone. Permanently gone. Lost and gone forever, O my darlin’ Clementine.

If Amazon had owned a key to my front door when Anna the GerShep held forth, they would have had a contract deliveryman without a foot.

Hm. Whose liability would that be? Amazon’s, for coming up with such a dopey idea, or for at least not asking “do you have a dangerous dog laying around the house”? Or the homeowners’, for giving a key to some feckless delivery guy, knowing the dog would remove his foot if he tried to get in when they weren’t home?

Interesting legal question.

And…

Do you really want Amazon monitoring activities at your front door, or anywhere else around your house? Don’t we have enough Big Brother in our lives already?

My god, this stuff is amazing. Who would think Americans would be so hot on “convenience” and “kewl” that we would simply abdicate all pretense of privacy in our lives? It just goes on and on.

Brave new world? Weird new world.

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Author: funny

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8 Comments

  1. So Ruby is back home with you now?

    • Yeah, I gave up trying to foist her onto my son. He was unnerved when she climbed onto the table under the front window and sat there pining to be retrieved. {sigh} Besides, if he’s going to get another dog, he’d rather it be a large one, preferably another golden retriever.

      Meanwhile, it soon became evident that the wound on poor old Cassie’s face was NOT a dog bite. Now that she’s recovered from the dental surgery, she’s back to her Old Self and has no trouble holding her own against Ruby’s efforts to pre-empt her as Queen of the Universe. The corgis are getting along fine now.

  2. I was getting out of the shower one summer day when I heard someone moving about in the living room. No big deal, I thought. Just one of the kids. And I continued up front.

    Wrong. It was a delivery guy from a local flower shop, standing a few steps in front of the doorway and looking for a landing zone for a plant someone had sent me. “No one answered the door,” he said, “so I just came in.” When I asked if he always just walked into people’s houses if they didn’t come to the door, and he affirmed that he did.

    The worst of it was that he acted like this was perfectly normal, and I was the one being paranoid and weird. I ended up giving the plant away because I felt just a little weirded out every time I saw it sitting there.

    I admit, I hadn’t even thought about this program in light of package theft, which does make it make more sense. But no. Just no.

    • Heh heh heh…. Yeah, been there. Whenever I get home from this morning’s meeting, I’ll have to write up the story of Greta and the New Deliveryman….

    • Okay, so where were we…yeah: Greta and the Delivery Dude.

      So we’re living in the Encanto district, at the time a fast-gentrifying lawyers’ and doctors’ ghetto. We have a beautiful old house that we bought from a couple who fixed-&-flipped with a vengeance. And…we have inherited a neighbor’s dog, Greta the German Shepherd, who now lives quietly with us, her previous humans having divorced.

      Greta was an old-style Ger-shep. She was not bred to kill burglars or anyone else. She was your basic farm sheep herding dog: mellow, kindly, and alarmingly intelligent.

      I am a young and lithe thing with long flowing hippie-girl hair. In those days, too, I was afraid of nothing (read “alarmingly stupid”), and had given keys to an army of workmen who came and went on various schedules.

      This particular day, I decide to bathe and wash the long flowing hair, which was a project. So, I’m in the bathtub — in the middle bathroom — and my head is under water, the better to wash and rinse this vast mop of hair. The middle bathroom is tiled with little 1/2-inch-square 1930s black & white tiles, very authentic. Greta detests walking on tile.

      So there I am, lounging in the tub gazing up at the ceiling when what should glide into my field of view but Greta’s head.

      Greta. Head. Bathroom. Tile. Whattt????

      I surface and look at the dog, who stands there staring at me, quietly.

      Given to conversation with dogs, I say “What are YOU doing in here?”

      She does not move. Not surprisingly, she has no answer. Or rather: her answer is that she refuses to move.

      Dimly, I think “WTF”??????

      Only mildly alarmed by this — curious is probably le mot juste — I get up and wrap my nubile, richly endowed body with a towel. I start to walk into the front of the house; to do so I have to walk up a hall that runs from the dining room into the back of the house, where the bedrooms reside.

      When I get into the hall, Greta blocks my way. Literally: she positions herself perpendicular to my path and will NOT let me pass.

      I say, “What on EARTH is the matter with you.” She still does not answer.

      Then I hear a soft noise the living room and finally, belatedly think HOLY SHIT!

      I holler out there, “Is anyone there?”

      No answer. But by now the cause of Greta’s behavior is evident.

      I go, “Greta, GET’em! SIC’EM, GRETA! SIC’EM.

      She looks at me as though I were crazy, at which point a quavering voice emits from the living room:

      “C-C-Culligan Man!”

      When I get out there, I find a terrified little guy huddled behind his dolly and a big water filter cartridge.

      Turns out our Culligan guy, who had a key to the side door, was killed when some idiot T-boned his truck. In those days, delivery trucks had no doors on the driver’s side, and certainly no inefficient nuisances like seat belts. He died on the spot.

      His replacement looked like he thought he was going to die on the spot, too.

      The key opened all the doors in the house. He didn’t know he was supposed to roll the dolly up the west side and come in through the door to the service porch. So he’d just come on in the front. Of course, with my head underwater, I hadn’t heard the doorbell, so he thought no one was home.

      Greta knew this was not the regular Culligan Man. But astonishingly, she ALSO knew he was harmless. How she made that distinction — which she did on a regular basis — I cannot imagine. She knew, though.

      Greta is the same dog who, some years later, evicted the cat burglar who crept into the house at three in the morning: http://funny-about-money.com/urban-halloween-tales-the-burglar-who-is-still-running/

      LOL! An angry German shepherd is something to see. Once, in your lifetime. Preferably from quite a distance…

      • Wow! good dog, Greta!

        In his defense, the flower delivery guy was older, and we live in a small-town kind of area, and maybe people in the past didn’t mind someone just stepping in the door to drop something off. I can understand not leaving the plant on the porch in the summer sun. But for goodness’ sake, leave a tag or something and I’ll pick it up or schedule a time to redeliver!

  3. If someone walked into my house without an invitation I’d probably scream and throw the nearest heavy item at him, then run into a room with a lock on the door and call 911.

    Jeez, people are dumb.

    • Times, places, and customs sure have changed. Back in the Culligan Man day, Phoenix was really just a big small town. The atmosphere was small town. Even though we knew it was a city (of sorts…a bloated set of run-together bedroom communities, really), we didn’t feel afraid the way you would today. People thought nothing of giving a key to a regular delivery person or a cleaning lady. Today you just wouldn’t do that.

      Part of it, I think, has to do with changes in patterns of drug use. Back in the day, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine were ghetto drugs, and no one ever heard of meth. Drug use was class-stratified, and segregation and redlining insured that the drug of choice for a given social class stayed in that social class’s part of town. Now EVERY high school kid uses grass and coke. Homogeneously across the culture, a lot of middle-class Americans use heroin or, more likely these days, prescription meds. And meth is a serious danger, not just to users but to everyone around them.

      So there’s a lot more distrust — where before you could be pretty sure a panhandler or a bum was an alcoholic, today you just never know. And you never know about the guy in the car next to you on the road or the “shopper” wandering around the parking lot with you. And because drugs are expensive and a habit requires a pretty active criminal career to support, you feel a LOT more at risk, knowing that a large proportion of your fellow citizens are users.

      So…no. Today I wouldn’t dream of giving a Culligan Man — or an Amazon delivery guy — a key to my front door. Not. On. Your. Life. And anyone who walked in uninvited while I was here would find a projectile coming at him, but it wouldn’t weigh much…

      Yet, strangely, we think nothing of letting nosy megacorporations — insurance companies, Google, Facebook, Amazon — and the government probe our personal lives, sharing things that we would have kept strictly private 30 or 40 years ago. It’s weird. Just effin’ weird.