Well Isn't that Annoying My list of those little things that happen daily in the retail and service industries, but shouldn't. Pre-Tipping: Hair Salons and Pizza Delivery Why is it that when paying with plastic, I need to tell you how much I would like to tip ahead of time? How about I get the product or service first, and then I can decide? I'm guessing these establishments have some sort of budget-model payment transaction system that does not allow for the usual "writing in" of the tip amount that a typical restaurant has. Here is an idea: If you expect your customers to tip, then purchase the equipment and/or service that allows your customers to give them. Fast Food Trays: They Serve Two Purposes Certain fast food establishments have recently implemented a most annoying procedure. Namely, they will have employees make rounds in the dining area and pick up the trays from the tables. While we're still eating, that is. I'm guessing management has concluded this somehow "cleans up" the appearance of the dining area, thereby improving the overall dining experience. What about the fact that I need to throw all of my family's trash away? Watch me while I stuff the drippy little ketchup packets into the greasy, still half-full french fry containers. And I suppose I can wad up the sandwich wrappers and fit them into the chicken strip boxes. Even with a carefully planned and executed refuse-packing strategy, I end up making more than one trip to the bin. And I always return with messy hands. Counting My Ketchup: Must I? While we're on the subject of drippy little ketchup packets, please don't ask me how many I would like. I don't know. Just give me a handful. I promise I won't throw away any unused packets. Do you really expect me to take a head count around the table and multiply by the average number of packets per person? Don't forget little Johnny doesn't like ketchup, so I need to subtract a couple on his behalf. But Frankie is an above-average-ketchup-consumer, so maybe I'll add Johnny's ration to Frankie's. Why can't you just leave the ketchup packet tub on the counter like in the good old days and let me clog my arteries without calculations. Ghetto Carts: Those Guttural Moans I used to think I had the worst cart-choosing skills. I've now come to the realization that every cart in every store is a beater. Go ahead, trade it in. See if the next one is any less of a bucket-o-bolts POS. Is there not something that can be done about the horrific sounds emanating from that one odd wheel? Every rotation has my aisle-mates staring in my direction and shielding their children behind their protective forearms. "Here comes the freaky-squeaky cart lady again. Why didn't she trade that one in? Can't she hear that gut-wrenching sound?" Yes, I can hear it. I'm just pretending that I can't. I tell myself it will go away if I add more grocery weight to mysteriously balance out the crappiness that is My Cart. Memorizing Our Dinner Order: Look Mom, No Hands! Why do many restaurants now have their wait-staff try to remember customers' orders? There is no logical explanation for this whatsoever. Were those little notepads too expensive? What about the cost of the do-over dinners? As someone who never orders her items unmodified- straight-off-the-menu, I have to send them back in record numbers. What part of "no mayonnaise" did you forget? Write it down; crisis averted. Cash Purchases: May I Have Your Zip Code Please? No, you may not. You may have my money, however, for the 6-pack of AA batteries and the Ding Dongs in my shopping basket. Yes, I know it is "only" for marketing purposes, but I still don't care. You don't need it. I'm not applying for a store credit card. I either live close to your store (so use your own darn zip code) or else I'm visiting from elsewhere. In which case you don't need to develop a marketing campaign to woo me or my dollars. Tell your marketing department that batteries saw stellar sales this week and the chocolate snack cake impulse-buy display next to the register seemed to test well with middle aged, overweight women.