Saturday, October 4, 2008

This Sucks

"Things ain't what they used to be."

A word of caution. Uttering the above phrase is one of the signs of old age. I can't tell you how many times I've rolled my eyes as some old-timer used those words to launch into a spiel about his old '64 Ford that lasted 27 years and three hundred thousand miles.

Sure those old cars and trucks were made out of actual metal. Sure they could survive numerous fender benders that nowadays total the plastic and fiberglass vehicles we drive. But those old jalopies also got 7 miles to the gallon and had the maneuverability of a fat kid playing dodgeball.

however this post isn't about fat kids or cars for that matter. Rather it's about my own bitch and gripe about things not being what they used to be.

But I'm not railing about cars, electronics, or some other shoddy merchandise offered in this modern time. I'm griping about something that really sucks these days ... straws.

The decline in quality straws is the plague of fast food establishments. Remember when McDonalds had those really thick straws? The ones that would collapse no matter how hard you sucked on that shake? Nowadays you're damn lucky if you can get your straw out of its thin paper wrapper without bending and breaking it.

Taco Bell is the worse. The other day it took me three tries to find a straw that didn't already have a slit in the side. Come one people I can survive on hamburger patties so thin you can read through them, I can even tolerate stale tortillas and runny hot sauce, but I don't wanna have to daintily sip my Dr. Pepper through a straw so thin that Trojan should start making their prophylactics out of it. Ultra-sensitive condoms I get, but a straw doesn't require the same level of feeling.

I'm pleading with you straw makers. Bring back the quality control. Thicker really is better.

I'm sure all of you think I've lost my mind and probably I have. And while I am getting crotchety and acting more like an old man all the time I do remember one time when the great straw crisis (as only I am calling it) was even worse than today's. When was that you ask?

Elementary school.

Of all the stupid notions in the world none is dumber than the concept of paper straws. Remember those? Really they were like paper mache straws. Not quite cardboard but a bit thicker than regular paper. Nevertheless they would be all soggy and limp before you finished your carton of milk. (good thing I didn't use the condom analogy here) Did other schools in other parts of the country have those straws? do you know what I'm talking about. Heck you couldn't even use them to shoot a good spitball.

Back when I was in elementary school the only thing worse than the straw was the tiny little scraps of square toilet paper. It took about a jillion to do any good and while they were as thin as tissue paper they were as rough as as a sixty year old barmaids voice.

Yes, this post has turned into a general rant, but I'm still a bit grouchy after my crappy week.

Anybody else having trouble with straws. Got any bad memories of elementary school? Other products that ain't what they used to be?

35 comments:

Patti said...

i am with you on this. just last week i went to sonic, the bastion of the thick straw (i think they are related to mcdonalds) and i immediately noticed they had changed to a flimsy straw. how am i supposed to suck a large strawberry through that as i try to enjoy a lemon-berry slush?! how???

~shaking old lady fist at 'em~

Kristen Painter said...

I just had a really nice straw the other day. I think it was from Steak-n-Shake.

Georgie B said...

Excellent rant.

Other products not like what they used to be?

How about the food quality in fast food restaurants?

Why is it that in order to decent food quality at fast food restaurants, you have pay through the nose for it? If I want food that fills a basic meal need, I got to Burger King or something like that. But if I want quality, I have to go to Wendy's or Arby's, or even my local grinder shop, and pay about double the price.

David said...

Ya know what's worst of all?

My body's not what it used to be.

Charles Gramlich said...

Man you've said a mouthful here. I can't ever get more than a few sucks through a straw before they collapse. They need to make 'em out of hose material.

Stephen Parrish said...

I miss service with a smile rather than a grunt, but if you want something material, consider the micro-thin plastic bags you get nowadays that won't hold air let alone groceries.

Design Goddess said...

I went to a Catholic grade school and we didn't even GET straws! We had to just drink the milk right from the carton. Talk about messy! In fact, just getting the stinking carton OPEN was a feat in and of itself!

As an adult, I do agree that the straws of today lack a certain rigidity their predecessors had. I tap one on the counter to open it and it bends like Gumby! Are you kidding me?! Bring back the sturdy straws no matter HOW toxic the plastic is to make them!

Design Goddess said...

GREAT! Now, I'M mad about straws!!!!!!!

preTzel said...

As if I don't have enough to worry about now I'm going to have to worry about my straw!

This made me say "EWWW" outloud and 10yo Baby asking me "What is 'EWWW' mom?" I'm sending him to your house for you to explain this:

Nevertheless they would be all soggy and limp before you finished your carton of milk. (good thing I didn't use the condom analogy here)

The thought of a person's nether regions being "soggy and limp" had me going EWW!

Travis Erwin said...

We used to say they made the paper straws out of the toilet paper.

Who knew toilet paper straws.

I work at a catholic elem. school and we do not have straws either.
I think it is straws or teacher salaries? It is about the same, but I like my meager pay check. (you teach at a catholic school for the love...) but I went to the same school district as old Traviola so know all about the hideous straws

Travis' wife said...

oops sorry that was Travis' wife up above...sorry.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I'd rather have today's crummy cheap straws than the Lunch Lady's Mystery Meat Surprise. *shudder*

Barbara Martin said...

In grade school there was an influx of children registered in certain school districts, so the school board decided to build room extensions. These were square buildings set apart from the main school (we called them "chicken coops"), and if you needed to use the facilities, you had to put your coat, boots and other winter gear on to trudge across the snow covered yard. There were some who didn't make it in time and were sent home to change their clothes. Often they never returned for the afternoon or the remainder of the day.

But straws? There are still clear plastic straws here. Though I remember the cardboard waxed straws from childhood where you had to slurp your chocolate milk back in a hurry before the bottom collapsed in the carton. Then things got messy.

lyzzydee said...

Well at my infant and junior school we used to have mini glass bottles of milk served with a waxed straw. The scraws were always soggy by the time you actually got to the bottom of the milk, but that was the least of our problems, the worse bit was actually having to drink the 'warm' milk that had been left standing in the sun until break time, that was really pukey. I have also been disappointed by the non stick ability of the said staws. One of the all time best kids program here in England was called Blue Peter, not really a was becasue it still is. Anyway this show was on twice a week and made all sorts of really useful things that as kids we aspired to make, it took me until I was 25 to realise that these magnificent creations were made by an army of back stage men who had far more equipment at their disposal that us mere kids,One show had us all collecting our waxed straws which we were supposed to flatten and then roll up until they looked like a button. You were supposed to stick them with glue and then mount them on drawing pins so that you could use them as draughts on your freshly made draugh board. What they failed to tell us twas that to stick waxed straws you need some industrial strength glue which at the time simply hadn't been invented. I can't tell you how disappointed I was not to bve able to make that draught set. In fact it has scarred me for the rest of my life. Rant over and Travis I want you to know that your post has traumatised me!!!!!

Junosmom said...

Travis,
I'm all confused, man. You say straws today suck, but then you say that the straws of your childhood (paper ones, which I do remember but just barely :-) also sucked. So, I'm trying to think, which is always a risky proposition, if things are better nowadays or worse?

Robin said...

Hmmm, Juno brought up a good point, "straws suck"? Is it like, the cigarette smokes...I'm just the sucker?

The straw is fine...you are the sucker! (Try draining a waterbed with a soaker hose and you'll feel my pain!)

I remember those straws well and I'm just bitchy enough to get pretty p.o.'ed! With all quality going to hell in a handbasket we can no longer even depend on straws?

OMG!!! How spoiled are we?!

"I trudged up hill, 5 miles to school, in the snow...both ways. Had to slop the hogs, draw water from the well, and break out 5 acres with an old mule...before sunset..but ahhhh the straws...now they were something!"

Too funny and yes, I am bitchy too, and yes, you are allowed to drive down and beat the crap out of someone!

yellowdog granny said...

wow, a bitch i can get behind...i hated those paper straws when I was in school..and hate the thin ones that are so limp if you suck on them they close up and you get a head ache from sucking...

Josh said...

here here! I remember back when the straws were so sturdy they could be used as weapons. These ones now a days break if you look at them wrong.

And I have heard about Alice in Wonderland with Depp as the Hatter. No matter who that casted I was looking forward to it. A nice dark movie :)

the walking man said...

The good thing about the paper straws was if you came with a custom McDonald's straw they were already pre-moistened for use as spitball ammunition.

lyzzydee said...

Travis, you have stirred up a whole under current of emotions, I think I may have to take to my bed with the trauma of it all!!

Hilary said...

I must not hit the fast-food places often enough. I had no idea there were straw issues! I DO remember the waxed paper straws of yesteryear. Once one end got soggy, you'd have to rip the soggy bit off and start over - however many times that was required - and hope you finished your drink before the straw became too short to reach the bottom of the drink.

Miladysa said...

You have plastic straws over there?

Wow!

;-d

Skiingred said...

Now, I went to the same school and Design G and I distinctly remember straws at some point... I remember having paper straws (pwtthwwthhh), and I know towards our JR High years, we had thin plastic ones.
I know this because we would take them (on occasion, a whole box a time) and "pop" them on the bus.

One person would wrap the unwrapped straw around the two index fingers, just so, and another would flick the straw making a loud pop and a good split in the straw.

yup... things aren't what they used to be!

Josephine Damian said...

My old Maytag clothes washer last 13 years, my current Maytag washer lasted 4 years - still haven't bothered to see if it can be fixed or get a new - not sure how "brand loyal" I am anymore.

Ashley said...

I have a friend who swears that the decline of proper English usage and other good things around here started in 1986, when they started using crappy plastic to make Transformers toys.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

I read this blog post to my husband, and we both really got a kick out of it.

This morning we were eating breakfast at our local Dairy Queen. Just as I was taking a bite of my sausage&egg biscuit, he asked me, "How's your straw?"

I literally spit food out of my mouth laughing. Not cool. :-)

Ree said...

What about the paper ones from elementary school that disintegrated while you were drinking your chocolate milk???

;-)

ChrisEldin said...

I'm noticing portion sizes are getting a bit smaller. And I'm pissed. Dammit.

:-)

debra said...

My daughter just got a straw with a hole in it. Now that really sucks (or doesn't :-/

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Travis,

At my age, nothing is what it used to be. I just wrote my MTM post for tomorrow about an entire town that is not what it once was. Better? Worse? Who knows, but it is different.

You are not old. You are just a realist.

Terrie

tiggysmum70 said...

Thanks for the shout out... Could you link my page from yours.... I am trying to get my message out there....

HUGS
Melanie

Lana Gramlich said...

Don't even get me STARTED Travis! For the slightest taste of "things ain't what they used to be," pop over to http://www.mouseprint.org for a gander. Heck, I still remember when medical insurance would actually pay medical bills, instead of just saying "no."
I'm old, crotchety & PROUD.

Monnik said...

hahaha. this was a funny rant. the best kind.

you crack me up.

Aaron said...

Speaking of QC... hire me to be your editor. You need some on your blog. I think you meant to say, "The ones that would NOT collapse no matter how hard you sucked on that shake?"

Marla said...

I am getting old. Suck!