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Jim's Jottings

Time for a session of 'What's bothering me'

August 18, 2010 - Throughout most of my adult life, and that's over 50 years, I've had good thoughts about Michigan's utility companies.

They've been good at what they do - supply communications, fuel and electricity.

Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison and AT&T.

They've been almost like family, there when we need them. I've never met a utility worker, those guys we see every day, who wasn't friendly and cooperative.

While that part has stayed the same, management has taken another route.

They've become hucksters, giving little or no thought and consideration to their customers.

The thing that prompted this writing was a phone call at 7:09 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7.

A weekend evening to relax and ponder.

The call was from AT&T wanting to sign me up for faster and more varied television.

With such calls I try to remember the caller is trying to make a living, making calls via a contract and not direct management. I try to be civil.

And, that's hard for me, because I'm instantly mad. I want to yell, "My television is fine. Now, get the hell off the line!"

The Consumer's Energy call earlier in the week was to sell me insurance in case my oven quit.

Detroit Edison wants to provide different, or new, or something in their after-hour call. I loudly hung up, but of course they couldn't hear me.

Here are these legislatively so-called "controlled" utilities, with practically no competition, becoming hucksters, and by my definition that's insulting, overbearing and unacceptable

They are especially unwelcome late evenings, weekends and during news hours. If they have to call, may I suggest, make it during Oprah, Glenn Beck or soccer games.

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My second 'bother' of the week is the growing number of retailers of men's clothing who falsely advertise 'big and tall' departments.

Our closest Kmart has such a sign over its menswear section. When I shopped there recently, the biggest in their waistline selection was a 42-incher.

Since I was looking for some replacement golfing shorts to finish the season, I went to Carl's Golfland. It's a major outlet for golf associated things.

They, like Kmart, stock nothing larger in shorts than 42-inchers.

On my next visit to a golf course (I visit four days a week) I looked at male golfers' waists, then I looked at what they're using as a waistline.

No wonder Big 'n Tall Stores are closing. Men no longer wear their belts on their hips, around their midsection.

There's a whole lot of men wearing 42-inch waistline shorts with 48-inch waistlines. Many of these guys wear x-large golf shirts, not for width, but for length to stretch below their bellies.

I asked one of these golfers one day, "Why don't you pull up your pants?"

He said, "Because it hurts!"

Ah so! The pants/shorts makers are shortening the 'rise.' In other words, if these guys pull up their pants it makes them rise.

I found my size at a Salvation Army store.

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All is not negative this week. Playing Sugarbush golf course recently, we found ourselves being followed by young foxes, kits.

First one, then two holes later there were four.

Tame and cute.

At home later that day, I looked out to see a doe and triplet fawns frolicking in our yard.

Things like that continue to warm an old heart.

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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