Music Is The New Religion

I’ve always noticed a connection between music and religion; they both try and explain the world around us, they both inspire us to be better, they both try to take us out of our heads. Kanye West literally featured God on Yeezus, solidifying my theory that he might actually need to go therapy and stop jerking his ego off so much.

Music is undoubtably art, but is religion? To me, art is anything that can make you feel something, and religion was called “the opiate of the masses.” Does that make religion art?

Those pastors at superchurches in Texas whip their crowds into a frenzy, and help them feel better about themselves, albeit for a fee. Are they not artists? Now, some of them might be con-artists, but I think the majority are just skilled public speakers who want to make a difference.

Let’s get back to music for a second. I’ve been on Twitter long enough to see some wild things, but the craziest of them all has to be “music Twitter”: where people debate who’s the best, who’s the worst, who makes them feel what emotions where, etc. This is where I started to realize the power these artists have, some of these people say that so-and-so’s music kept them alive, or helped them quit drugs, or acted as a safety blanket after a traumatic event. Isn’t that what religion does?

There are even some people who worship artists. I saw one person talk about Frank Ocean like he was a God amongst men, and attacked anyone who said any different. Is that any different than arguing about Bible interpretations or the Old vs. New Testament?

Almost everyone listens to music, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, and truthfully, I don’t think I’d trust someone who isn’t moved by anything in any genre. Even Charles Manson liked music. It helps people see the world from different perspectives, which is something the world desperately needs right now. It teaches lessons to people who won’t listen to anyone else. It entertains us and turns the volume down when we have a bad day.

Music has helped me immensely, when I have a really awful day, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to overeat, I just want to sit back and listen to my records and tune the rest of the world out.

People Are Weird

What the hell is with some people? I’ve been asked so many stupid questions that should’ve died inside the person’s head long before they vomited them out. Working food service has opened my eyes to an unpleasant truth: these people have jobs that effect things.

Whenever I see roadwork going on for months, I think about the construction worker who came in, asking if we could make him a pizza, operating heavy machinery. Now, I’m like 75% sure that these people are just momentarily frazzled, but there are some cases that are too blatent to ignore.

Today, a woman came in, looked at our menu for about 3 minutes, then asked what our soup of the day was. When I had to inform her that Dunkin Donuts does not make soup, she seemed shocked. Now, this wasn’t an old woman, or a foreign woman, just a regular ol’ lady wearing a Gucci jacket, with the matching bag.

This isn’t an isolated incident; so many people fail to use basic reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, and most important of all, their eyes. For example, I was locking the store up to leave, way past closing time, and a guy comes up and orders a coffee. Now, not only are the lights and sign off, there aren’t any other people in the store, there isn’t any coffee left, and I’m literally at the door about to leave. Sounds like a perfect time to order coffee, right?

Usually, I just ignore the urge to laugh, and provide the same excellent customer service that I always do, but today is different. Am I just an asshole, or have people slowly gotten dumber? I’m sure that stagnant education funding has had some effect on the average intelligence levels of our country, but if we keep going down this path, Idiocracy will turn into a documentary, which is something that terrifies me.

What The Fuck Am I Doing?

I’m not a functional person right now. I’m trying to fix that though. I just wish I could skip all the annoying middle parts and go straight to being awesome.

I always question the things I do, how do you ever know if you’re doing what’s best for you? I wish it was easier to figure out.

My ego loves the idea of muscling through adversity, but let’s be real here, there are millions of people who would kill for the life I’ve taken for granted. Life’s hard, but I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it by myself.

My parents are getting older, and the idea that they won’t be there every step of the way is terrifying. They’re the best people I know, and they mean the world to me. I hope we make some improvements in medicine so that my dad can live long enough to go to space, and that my mom can meet my kids, if I ever have any. I want them to enjoy the rest of their lives, they’ve done enough to be allowed to relax a bit.

I think this website will be one of those things I look back on in 10 years and groan about, like the “newspaper” I made in middle school, or the Applebees campaign I came up with last week. It’s helpful for me to write all this shit down though, so I can see it and realize how dumb most of my random thoughts are. Maybe all that embarrassing crap is important to who I am as a person now. Or maybe it’s just bullshit I should drink away. I’ve also been having these weird dreams where I die in super mundane ways, like slipping on soap in the shower, or getting hit by an asteroid. I’ve always liked the idea of having a vault of unreleased material discovered after you die, so maybe that’s why I keep having gnarly dreams about dying.

Does anyone’s life plan actually work out the same way they thought it would? Does it even make sense to plan things out, given the unpredictable nature of life? Fuck, man, I wish Google answered questions like that, instead of pointing me towards the closest Starbucks.

Another Day at Dunks

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I work at a gas station Dunkin Donuts, A.K.A Hell on Earth. I don’t say this lightly, but I’d rather wait at the RMV for 8 hours than go to work. It’s been an eventful day, so I figured I’d share it.

Immediately upon arrival, I could tell that it’s been a day. The thousand-yard stares from my co-workers told me that I was for a treat today. The store itself looked like it had been bombed, robbed, and abandoned for years, so I spent the first hour and a half making the store look presentable.

My first troublesome customer came in a whopping 45 minutes after I arrived, a new record. He came in lumbering over to my side of the store, incoherently hollering his order for God and the whole store to hear. As he came closer to the counter, I got a whiff of cheap whiskey and Marlboro Reds, the offical scent of assholes. I tried to make small talk with this man while his food cooked, and initially he had no interest, but after he got his food, he became a Chatty Kathy, talking about his asshole boss, his incompetent co-workers, and the Indian guy who owns the gas station across from me. He did not have nice, wholesome things to say about him. Now, the Indian guy, (who normally goes by “Raj”) is usually a gaping prolapsed anus, but in this case, he had a point. The customer was upset about the price of a Gatorade, which is a stupid thing to argue about, and decided to take out his frustration on an unsuspecting Dunkin Donuts employee. After nodding and smiling along as this man ranted and raved, I thank my lucky stars that I’m not as much of a trainwreck as that guy.

After the interesting afternoon, the day started to stagnate, so I turn on some tasty jams ( I’ve been getting into Jack Johnson lately) and begin to prep food for tomorrow. I get about halfway done when one of my regulars came in: a truly delightful nurse who always tips well and calls me “munchkin”. This is a much-needed recharge, as she always makes sure I’ve been drinking water and that I’ve had lunch. I try to hook her up as much as I can, because the world needs more people like her.

My day continued uneventfully until 4pm: which is usually the dinner bell for the crazies. The first one I got is the rarest type of crazy: the nice crazy. She came in, and from the look on her face, she’d either been doing Ecstasy all day, or she was on enough medication that the world seemed like a giant Wes Anderson movie. She came up to the counter, and ordered a small coffee with 18 creams, 6 sugars, and extra ice, which leaves maybe 4 sips of actual coffee. She got her coffee, took a sip, and then proceeded to sing about how she got her coffee.

The next customer that came in is an old woman who didn’t speak English, so now I had to play 20 questions to figure out what she wanted. After about 3 minutes of pointing to items on the menu, I make out one word “Decaf” which narrowed things down a bit. As I tried to figure out how this woman wanted her coffee, another regular showed up. This particular regular is another one of my favorites because he’s always stoned to the gills, to the level where he looks like the stony hippy from Half-Baked. He stood behind this woman with a look of glee on his face, knowing that he is only moments away from enjoying a sugary treat. The longer it takes for this woman to order her coffee, the more this wonderful hippy will begin to question his decision, so I know that I needed to speed the process up. After finally figuring out what this woman wanted, ol’ Smokey came to the counter. With a barely-contained smile, he ordered 3 donuts, and you would’ve thought Jesus Christ himself had made them the way he looked after he got them.

Remember how I said Raj was a gaping anal fissure? Well, here’s some proof; a woman’s car broke down at our store, which is located off a major road, and he wanted her to leave because she didn’t want to buy anything. She came in looking to use a phone, because her’s was dead, and he started yelling for her to leave. As you can probably guess, this woman’s car wasn’t really going anywhere, so Raj called a towtruck and towed her car away, with her yelling and pleading for him to just let her use a phone.

My day winded down with the usual hectic race to close, and looking back, today was better than yesterday, but let’s see what tomorrow brings.

How To Sell To Millennials

Ok, first thing’s first: some of you think “millennials” are just people who are younger than you. That’s wrong. Millennials are people who were born between the years of 1981 and 1996, so many of the people who blame millennials for their problems are actually millennials themselves. That being said, you need to learn how to deal with us, and I’ve got some tips.

Focus on Quality

This is a big one, there are so many companies pushing half-made crap on us, that in order to make any distinction between your company and the next, you have to actually be better than them. If you make your product as good as it can be, or you make dealing with your company smooth and uneventful, millennials will remember that, and you will be their first choice every time. If you can somehow make quality goods/ do quality work every time, you will see immediate results. Look at Dunkin, they were known for watery coffee and rude service, but now they have noticed that more millennials go to Starbucks because the coffee is better, and they won’t have to deal with angry customers messing up their day. Dunkin saw this, and realized they needed to do better, so now they are improving the quality of their food & beverages, and focusing on customer service. Be more like Dunkin.

Be Genuine

Millennials are constantly plugged into the internet, a vast majority spend hours a day on it, so when your company eventually does something ill-advised, steer into the skid. If you try and hide behind PR stunts and prepared apologies, millennials will tear you to shreds on social media, blogs, and maybe even real life. We care about genuine apologies, so if you plan on giving one, don’t write it with a lawyer present to save you from litigation, don’t pass it off to an intern, write it yourself. Case in point: BP. That apology is so well known, and such bullshit, that South Park parodied it. Do you want your company to be remembered as “the one with the bad apology no one believed”? I don’t think so.

Embrace Memes, But Don’t Make Them Yourself

Memes are widely-known internet jokes, usually in the form of pictures with text. These images are spread rapidly across the internet, and after a certain amount of time, retired. This is the mistake I see too many brands make: they overestimate the life of a meme and try to milk it past its expiration date. This makes them look out-of-touch, old, and uninformed. Don’t do that. My advice: find memes others have made about your brand and repost them, and give the creators credit. This makes your customers feel connected to your brand, and that you’re conscious of their needs.

Make Them Feel Connected

This is the million-dollar question: how do you make someone feel something? If your customers get something from using your product or service, they will keep using it. For example, if your company donates to a charity they’re passionate about, they will be more likely to support you. Other things you could do are 1) post pictures of things that make you laugh on your social media. This will humanize your company, and will hopefully make customers laugh too, which keeps them coming back. 2) Do your best to reward the loyalty of your customers, make a rewards program for your store or product; that way they keep coming back to get the reward, and feel good that they got something for their loyalty. 3) Make sure to treat your employees properly. If word gets out that your employees love going to work, and they love what they do, not only will more millennials try your product, your quality of life will go up due to high employer morale. Have Employee Appreciation Days where you bring in food and drinks, take some pictures or video, and post it on your social media and blog accounts. If your company is viewed as a fun place to work, and there is video evidence that doesn’t look staged, you will find millennials taking notice.