Ooh, I just want to add a key element here: this couple have never complained about not having a frying pan, let alone asked a guest to buy them one.
When guests do it, it's actually for ourselves because we'll be the ones using it. And this is an important element of a lot of "failed" schemes to "help" people: the people being "helped" haven't asked for that specific kind of help. It's all shaped by what the helper wants to do.
OK, I've really finished now. If you've read this far, thanks for your patience.
As far as I can tell, the reason is that they're making entirely understandable choices about this.
These days they mostly eat things like ready meals and sandwiches, so the lack of a frying pan doesn't impact their day-to-day lives at all. But their grandson is a big part of their lives. They love him, they'd do anything for him, he lives nearby and they see him a lot.
So of course it's rational that they'd see his immediate need for a frying pan as more important and valid than the need of a guest who isn't even there and won't be coming to stay again for, say, another three months.
Of course it's annoying to keep buying the same item only for it to vanish, but the phenomenon is not as maddeningly mysterious as it first looks. Nobody is acting irrationally here.
And I wonder: does this apply to other shortages, other schemes to help through giving that "mysteriously" fail? Other groups of people who "can't be helped" because of their "irrational" choices?
(End of thread!)
In this specific case, the problem is that every time this couple get a new frying pan, their grandson takes it. So presumably this is the reason why they don't buy a frying pan themselves.
Of course this brings up other questions. Why does the grandson need more than one frying pan? (Is there someone in his life who keeps taking *his* frying pans? Is that person doing it because someone else is taking *their* pans? How far back does this thing go???)
The boring answer is probably that he keeps burning them or something. But still more questions: why do this couple keep letting him take every frying pan they get? Why have they just accepted that they'll never own a frying pan for more than a few weeks?
We talk about "just throwing money at the problem" as if it's a bad thing, and clearly sometimes it is. But you'd think that the problem of not possessing a household item that is easily purchasable in exchange for money would be precisely the kind of problem you *can* throw money at. And yet it's not! Or these people would have a frying pan!
I'll give an example: I have elderly relatives who don't have a frying pan. This is annoying for family members who visit, because it's the guests who cook and to most people, a frying pan is a basic & necessary kitchen item.
So two other relatives bought them a frying pan. Put it in the cupboard.
Problem not solved.
Next time they visit, there's still no frying pan. Even though they bought one last time. So they bought another one and put it in the cupboard. Repeat. They bought three frying pans for these people last year and yet somehow the situation where these people don't own a frying pan has not changed.
I'm thinking (for no good reason) about how some people's houses never contain certain things.
And you think that if you give that person the thing, they will then have that thing in their house in future. And yet it doesn't work that way. Why does it so rarely work that way?
It feels like this is touching on something deeper that I can't quite articulate. About shortages in general and how the reasons for them are more complex than we think.
I can't decide whether to switch to the ethical current account that's a PITA to open, the one with a mainstream bank that has a joining bonus and actual counter service, or the digital-only one everyone keeps recommending.
So I stay with HSBC, an unethical bank with no counter service.
I get angry with the indicative votes system in Parliament because when nobody can decide on the exact perfect option then the default is to stay with the crappy status quo. But this is literally happening in my own brain too!
Every time someone mentions something I don't own or do, I casually say: "No, that's for Communists."
Putting the oven on anything other than 180 degrees?
Soap-holders you fix to the wall?
Doing a patch test before dyeing your hair?
I've been doing it for weeks, maybe months, and nobody has called me out on it yet, so I'm assuming the average person has a shaky grasp of what a Communist is? Or they think I'm just back on my bullshit?
I recently learned that New Zealand have expanded the range of indicators for how they measure their country's success. It's not just about the economy any more.
It's about current wellbeing, future wellbeing and their impact on other countries. That covers a huge range of stuff, including biodiversity, life expectancy, literacy, greenhouse gas emissions...everything from fish stocks to child poverty.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Feminists have long said that GDP is a patriarchal measure because it ignores the value of women's unpaid work. It's also useless in so many other ways. Well done to New Zealand for coming up with a better way of measuring how your country is doing.
They're not the only country doing this, but they're one of very few trailblazers.
Hmmmm, the local yoga studio that really annoys me is offering a deal: basically 12.5% off if you book six classes. Should I go for it or will I regret it when it starts annoying me again after, like, the second class?
This ISN'T the yoga place where the woman keeps burning joss-sticks that set off my asthma, but it IS the one where
a) the signpost for the building is always hidden behind a parked car so it's really hard to find, which is obviously not a problem if you've been there before but the disrespect to new people annoys me
b) at the end of the class they make everybody clean the mats with like a cleaning spray and a cloth
c) they store the mats high up on the walls so I always have to ask someone to put mine away for me.
Am I just too uptight for yoga?
My dad asked a guy to come and fix the broken window handle but the guy turned up early (OF COURSE) while he was still out. I said "My dad's not home yet but he won't be long" and made him a cuppa etc.
When my dad turned up, the repair guy said "As I told your wife, the hinges need replacing."
I turned 40 a couple of weeks ago. Please don't tell me this was the first of many similar misunderstandings and I'm going to be mistaken for a pensioner regularly from now on.
data on wasp stings (no pics or descriptions)
Yesterday I was inspired by a conversation with @kensanata to do a poll on birdsite about people's experiences of wasp stings.
62% of UK-based respondents (57% of total respondents) had been stung by a wasp at least once in their life.
What really surprised me was the 38% of UK-based respondents who've NEVER been stung by a wasp. I assumed almost everybody had, at some point in their lives.
The number of overseas respondents was probably too low to be meaningful. 5% of total respondents were overseas people who've been stung, 3% were overseas people who've never been stung.
Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.