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Snow Moon over North Hill by Cindy Schreiner

Wiser’s Wramblings-Flummoxed by Fluctuations


Labor Day thoughts, the high cost of good living, “scanner chatter,”, and a poem

By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

I’m going to Wramble right on into the Labor Day Weekend and beyond, for this week’s offerings. I hope I can find all the scraps of paper that I make notes on and stuff into my pockets. If you should ever pass by a car pulled over to the shoulder of the road, with blinker on of course, bearing the plate as illustrated, it’s me. I’m likely pulled over to jot down a note for a future topic. Needless to say, I have received numerous comments regarding this vanity plate, and they are not always flattering. I fully understand and don’t always live up to the implication of the plate anyway. Just ask my wife. One of the more memorable comments, overheard through my slightly opened window while passing through a State Police checkpoint, was: “I’ll bet he isn’t.” I had attempted several different, less boastful “play on word” variations of my name on the vanity plate, but they were already taken.

This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer with the Labor Day Weekend. Labor Day was always special as we traveled to the Grandparent’s farmhouse between Rushford and Centerville after attending the parade in downtown Rushford. I have fond memories of that farm, which was later taken/purchased by the State, and became a State Forestry area. This was also a bittersweet holiday, as it was always followed by the return to school, summer vacation having ended.

Today’s titillating title was a hint of the coming discussion regarding the fluctuations of area gas prices. The good news is that the prices are steadily declining. What puzzles me is the lack of any rhyme or reason as to which stations, in which areas, have set their gas prices as they have. Price matching is common within a certain town, but area to area fluctuation is considerable. One day last week I ventured out to the Rochester area. Leaving our neck of the woods $4.29 was the prevalent price. As I hit Nunda the price dropped to $4.13. Gas at BJ’s in Henrietta was $3.86 but that “Wholesale Club” typically features lower prices, but not so significantly at the Olean BJ’s. This past Sunday I played in a golf tourney at the Bath Country Club. I paid $4.09 at the Pilot station at the Kanona Truck Stop. I have been putting plenty of miles on my car over the past few weeks running around between Olean and Scio for various reasons. My gas purchases have happened more frequently. Walmart Wednesday came to be, due to the 5¢ off “gas sale” day at the “Reservation” near Cuba Lake. The gas prices are usually significantly lower anyway, but even more so with the sale. I started my latest shopping excursion traveling in a circular pattern by heading first to Olean and then tracking back home through Cuba. As I left Olean I first headed to Portville/Obi as I wanted to check out some gas burning free standing fireplaces. The automobile gas price at the East Olean stations was $4.13. When I got to the Reservation in Cuba, I was stunned to see that, even with the gas sale, the price for a gallon of gasoline was $4.04. Normally the reduced price at the Reservation would have been between 20¢ and 30¢ lower than any of the area gas stations. With the tax savings they “enjoy”, that seems to be a rip-off.

For a couple of years now I have switched my “fluids intake” from a beverage created from hops and/or barley, to one professed to be as bad or worse for you as it uses a sugar substitute as a sweetener.

I do not like water. I’m sorry, but I don’t like the taste of water unless it is disguised as coffee, beer, or soda/pop. I guess it goes to the less than appealing flavor of the plain water as it varies from town to town or source to source, as it does in the Bolivar/Allentown/Richburg area with their oil well heritage. Over the past couple of years or so the price for a six pack of 16-ounce soda has skyrocketed to $7.99 each. There is a caveat to that however as there are frequent multiple quantity sales of as much as “Buy 2 Get 5 Free” (B2G5). That is when I stock up. Sadly, the flavor of my choice seems to be a least favorite of at least one “chain” of stores as they frequently do not have enough quantity on the shelf to fulfill the sale option. Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi is my flavor choice, but for some reason there will only be one or two six packs on the shelf, if any, at one store and a sufficient quantity in another store within the same local chain. I sometimes suspect it is the distributor’s route person that is creating the discrepancy and have spoken to store managers regarding the situation. When they offer the “yeah but” excuse, I suggest that they are the only ones that can fix the problem with the distributor, if in fact that is where the problem exists.

Continuing with the store pricing and policy’s theme, it seems that if a store advertises a sale that starts on Sunday, and that store opens at 8 AM that coming Sunday, they should have the sale prices in their system. They should not have to be notified or reminded of the sale price, by you, when you check out and it doesn’t ring up correctly. That previously mentioned product, if available in the first place, sells out quickly. To take advantage of that sale, and get the product of choice, I generally get to the store between 8:30 and 9:00 AM. In addition to not having the current pricing in the system, they have not removed the sale signs from the previous week’s sale. This past week I benefitted from the Diet Coke having previously been marked and advertised as “B2G2”. I took four six packs thru the checkout and that’s the price I paid despite the cashier telling me that was last week’s sale price.

There is a term “Captive Part” known to anyone trying to buy a small, fairly inexpensive automotive part like a wheel bearing, that you cannot buy by itself. You must purchase the entire front wheel strut assembly as the bearing is not sold separately, and you cannot find a match anywhere else. My pellet stove has one such part. The Controls circuit board “buttons” are contacted by pressing the face of a thin plastic panel attached to the outside of the stove wall. The cover plate is not attached directly to the circuit board. The cover plate, if sold would be worth “a couple of bucks.” The “MX 2 Control Board sells for anywhere from $230 on Ebay to $600 from a Stove supplier. The “cover plate” is a captive part as you cannot, now, buy it separately. I have exhausted my extensive Google and Amazon Silk Browser “browsing” in frustration as I cannot find the small part anywhere.I know that there are likely dozens of those cover plates lying around out there as the circuit boards have likely been defective and replaced many times, with the associated parts set aside or discarded.

Enough from the “Customer Complaint” department and now I will offer an observation, and hopefully, a helpful solution. Have you ever experienced difficulty seeing the sign, or the person holding the Slow/Stop sign, when driving the rural roads and come upon a work zone? Despite slowing as you approach the work zone, especially if it occurs in a standard 55 mph speed limit area, it is sometimes very difficult to see the flag person much less the sign they are holding and whether it is telling you to just slow down or stop. Often, these flag people will be in a shaded area in the work zone, or their safety apparel is dulled and doesn’t stand out.

Here’s my suggestion. Attach small LED lights around the periphery of the sign they are holding. Lights could be yellow or amber and even be flashing or pulsating. These will call attention to, and add visibility to, the sign. Getting creative, they could even be yellow on the “slow” facing side and red on the “stop” facing side.

Auto Correct/Suggest can be a helpful word processing tool. Not sure about other “processing” programs but “Office Word” can be both useful but also annoying. I review the suggestions as I go along and make the noted “corrections.” I routinely “proofread and edit” my work when done and pick up on the highlighted correction suggestions when I agree with them. The algorithm used to detect errors and make “grammatical suggestions” doesn’t seem to like adjectives and suggests that they be omitted to make reading easier. I don’t always accept their suggestion, and  agree to “ignore” them and leave them in place. Here’s an example of my original phrase or wording “flagged by the MS Grammar Police” and their suggestion.

“Have you ever experienced difficulty seeing…” They flagged: “experienced difficulty” and suggested that I change it to: “had trouble”, noting that: “More concise language would be clearer for your reader”. Maybe it would, but that isn’t the way I thought it, nor written it.

Scanner Chatter:

  • Officer calling dispatch for the “S & R’s” (Specials and Restrictions or Reports if I recall) on a driver pulled over commented that the subject “Miraculously recalled her date of birth.”
  • Another call while describing a suspect that was being sought as “having an Australian sounding accent and brown “poofy” hair.”
  • Call to dispatcher reporting erratic driver, unable to maintain lane is being followed. Caller has “video evidence” if they need it.
  • Call from Trooper monitoring I86 traffic…Motorcycle passed his checkpoint clocked at 87 miles per hour. As the trooper gave chase the motorcycle had increased its speed to 127 miles per hour when he lost sight of him. If I heard correctly, they were able to intercept the vehicle a couple of stops west on I86, without incident.

I would like to “SHOUT out” an achievement and acknowledgement of excellence in professional service by Scio native Keven Habberfield Esq. as reported and advertised recently. Quoting from a company announcement: “All attorneys at Black, Lyle & Habberfield, LLP selected to the 29th Edition of US News & World Report-Best Lawyers in America.” Kevin was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” in Buffalo for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Good Job Kevin!

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