What in the World Are We Whining About? Pt. II


A little less than a year ago, Joanna and I were navigating the world of spit up, blow-outs, and insomnia as new parents to a one-month old. Our whine-o-meters were at full throttle, so we sat down and realized that despite the high volume of bodily fluids raining forth from our daughter, life was wonderful. Everything was amazing. And in that spirit of gratitude, we wrote a post about all of the incredible things we enjoy in the 21st century that we have absolutely no business complaining about.

We still find a lot to whine about. The bipolar 60-degree-today-30-and-snowy-tomorrow spring is our whineworthy subject of choice at the moment. So as a self-help treatment to quell our whining tendencies, we bring you our second installation of “What in the World Are We Whining About.”


“Why didn’t this stupid GPS tell me to turn right before the turn?!”
Well, it did… but you were too busy singing Ace of Base to hear it. The Global Positioning System — the soft-spoken navigator that plays villain to our every driving-related problem, despite the fact that many of us don’t even pay a dime to get this tech-wizardry on our phones. Remember printing off MapQuest directions 10 years ago? Or using an atlas 15 years ago? Or using a once-journeying pioneer’s skeleton as a sign to your wagon party that a U-turn is advisable? Whatever. We are well within our technological right to complain until our GPS finally adds a middle-aged female Australian voice option.


“I swear, if Unsolved Mysteries has one more commercial break…”
…then what? You’ll turn off the TV? And the free show you were watching? While I’m just as susceptible to criticizing commercials (as evidenced here and here), I have a hard time criticizing the business model. For one, I work in advertising and I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me. Second, I realize that without those 30 second blips of annoyance, we wouldn’t get to watch the Super Bowl, Lost, Full House, The Bachelor… ok, nevermind — die commercials!

And just as a reminder: some commercials are really good. Yeah, they’re still trying to sell something, but having worked in the industry, the goal is to marry art and commerce. Most of the time, clients scrap the art part. But other times, beautiful words and picture like this one are made:

Weather Forecasting

“I thought it was supposed to be sunny today! This weather app is the worst.”
That quote came directly from our mouths two hours ago. So the weather app isn’t perfect. Ok. But let’s just put it this way — on most days, weather forecasters and the folks who bring us those weather apps would have been accused, tried, and convicted of witchcraft in Salem a few hundred years ago. Now we feel entitled to know the temperature five days from now within a margin of error of three degrees. Man, us 21st century humans are the worst.

Meat, Dairy, Produce

“At the price we’re paying for a gallon of milk now, you’d think the cow’d come with it.”
On a monthly basis, the budget category that gives us the most grievance is food. But here’s the thing. No one’s stopping us from planting seeds in the earth and growing our own fruits and veggies for practically nothing. No one’s saying we can’t go and hunt animals. But thanks to those places called “grocery stores” we don’t have to do all that stuff unless we want to. People’s every waking moment used to be spent hunting and gathering. And now it’s all just nicely packaged, shelled, skinned, sliced, homogenized and what have you right down the street from us. It’s pretty incredible, and we just expect it and complain that the mini Cadbury eggs aren’t in stock.

Yes, we will probably start complaining about something five minutes after posting this. No, we will not stop looking for the best deal, despite the insignificance of the savings for the product/service we’re getting in return. But we’d all be well served to remember that we’re trading that green paper (or no paper) for some pretty amaze-balls stuff. *cue “The More You Know” jingle.*

What other modern day costs would 19th century folks want to slap us in the face for complaining about?

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  • Reply Kasey @ Debt Perception March 31, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Ahh, good ole GPS. I don’t know how I ever managed to get around by writing/printing directions off mapquest! I swear my GPS is bipolar. Some days, she gets to be rather vague, “Turn left. Turn right.”

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      Sometimes I just turn it on because it’s comforting to have someone talking to me in the car. Just kidding… mostly :).

  • Reply Carla March 31, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Nothing sets me on a rage quite like a GPS. I’m pretty sure Google Maps has it out for me…. I still check directions on the computer before I go most places, but it is nice to have along to find me when I inevitably get lost.

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      That’s how Apple maps is for me. I have been mislead more often than not. Thank goodness the pioneers who crossed the plains can’t hear us griping right now!

  • Reply Rob March 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Well 19th century dudes (and dudettes) wouldn’t know about this but one modern day cost that I will never whine too much about are my internet costs. Of course I carefully monitor my usage to ensure that I use the most efficient access plan available. To say that I’m a net addict would probably be an understatement! 🙂

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Amen to that. We have the whole world at our finger tips for just a few bucks a month. I think it’s safe to say Johnny and I are addicts as well… who isn’t these days? 🙂

  • Reply jane savers @ solving the money puzzle March 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    My natural gas supplier has just announced a 40% rise in rates. Everyone around me is furious and whining about the increase.

    Old timers would tell us that we are lucky that we don’t have to be the first one up in the morning to stoke the fire when the house is freezing cold. No hauling wood in from the shed in the middle of a snow storm either.

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      Yowza that seems like a big jump in price. But you’re smart to keep the perspective you have. I’m so glad we live in the day and age of self-heating homes!

  • Reply EcoCatLady March 31, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Oh my… well, y’all have managed to make me feel like a complete and total dinosaur once again. I still think Mapquest is an amazing invention, and yes… I still carry an atlas in my car. I can’t really complain about GPS because I’ve never used it.

    I still remember saying to CatMan about 20 years ago that if they could ever come up with a way of creating a system where you could just choose any movie you wanted and watch it instantly, I would feel like I’d died and gone to heaven. Well… hello Saint Peter, how’s your Netflix connection today? OK… full disclosure, I have on occasion complained about my connection speed, but seriously folks, we’re pretty much livin’ the dream here, aren’t we?

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      It’s probably safe to say that your Mapquest directions work better than our GPS most days, so calling it an “amazing invention” is still pretty spot on.

      Netflix is a real good one… I still remember how innovative it seemed when it first came out. And now here I am already complaining sometimes if it doesn’t have enough new movies :).

  • Reply Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life March 31, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    There are days where I’ll be complaining about how slow my iPhone is working, and then realizing how amazing an invention it is. That without it, many of my bus rides would have been completely and utterly boring. It’s easy to forget that a lot of everyday things make our lives so easy and allow us to enjoy living that much more.

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Totally. Imagine how our kids will be! At least we can kind of appreciate the iPhone since we remember a life before it. They won’t know anything differently. Can’t wait to hear what Sally finds complain-worthy when she gets older :).

  • Reply Tabitha March 31, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Just have to add a side note about the cost of milk, I dislike the rise in cost for it as much as the next guy don’t get me wrong, but really if we were to actually pay what’s it worth we should technically be forking over $7-8 greenbacks per gallon, it’s only our benevolent government with the farm bill and it’s subsidies that dairymen can make a living while we buy milk at the lovely price of $3-4 a gallon. But anyway 🙂 I’ll just step down from this box that used to hold soap…. A great blog post with a good reminder – we are blessed and really have no reason to complain. Now if the weather would just stop being so bi-polar…..

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      That’s pretty crazy! We didn’t know that… we really shouldn’t be complaining then! And all soap boxes are welcome on this here blog :).

  • Reply Meghan March 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    I have a couple: the price of childbirth or any hospital stay (anesthesia, pain killers, and antibiotics anyone?) and the cost of electricity.

    • Reply Johnny April 7, 2014 at 12:27 am

      Hah. I remember being tempted to complain about our hospital bill for Sally’s birth (until I remembered our insurance was going to cover it 100% HALLELUJAH!), but we’d probably realize how stupid we’d sound if we took a look at a chart that shows mortality rates and complications at birth now vs. 1900 or even a few decades ago.

  • Reply Linda April 1, 2014 at 5:45 am

    The one that I often think of – boiling hot water from the tap, (almost) endless amounts, and crystal clear, clean and drinkable. But the hubby keeps on using up all the hot water!! And electricity is so expensive!!

    I don’t think I could live without my hot shower, but as short a time ago as my Mom’s childhood, her family had to warm up water on the coal stove (they lived in a then rural area of South Africa). Then they got fancy and installed a water heating system – hot tank above the coal stove!

    Or how about my grandfather’s farm house, where a tank collects rain water, and it’s heated above an outside fire – hot water on tap yes, but it tastes bad and you have to go outside and make a fire!

    Something similar to this, our family used to go on holiday at the old farmhouse – it had no electricity, but it did have an outhouse, and this fire-heated hot water. Tons of fun as a kid, what an experience! I didn’t have to deal with the fire though, that probably was a hassle.

    • Reply Johnny April 7, 2014 at 12:30 am

      Woah! Those are some incredible (and labor intensive) ways to get hot water. Makes you realize how good we’ve got it. Part of me wishes that every American should have to complete an involuntary year of “service” on a farm off the grid. Something to remind us of our roots and instill a manual labor-based work ethic. It would do a lot of us (including me) wonders.

  • Reply Little House April 1, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I think I”m still a bit stuck in the 20th century. I still like to print out a map or jot down directions before going to an unknown location (though I have been known to use my GPS in a pinch – though I look at the entire directions before using the voice activated ones). However, I use NOAA for my weather since it’s much more accurate, but do get annoyed when it doesn’t predict with 100% accuracy the day’s weather! If I had to pick some current issues to whine about, it would probably be the cost of groceries and the cost of rent! Of course, I could just move. 😉

    • Reply Johnny April 7, 2014 at 12:32 am

      I have been known to print off maps before trips. I just like to see the full picture, which is tricky on most GPS’. I’ll have to check out NOAA. AccuWeather and the default Weather app (Yahoo’s service, I think) have been especially terrible of late. There I go again with my whining…. 🙂

  • Reply Miranda April 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    To loosely quote Louis C.K….. “The crappiest cell phone in the world is still a miracle…”

    • Reply Johnny April 7, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Haha. He’s hilarious. His SNL skits from last week were probably the best of the entire season.

  • Reply Laura at Making Baby Provence April 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    My husband and I like to call these First World Problems. 🙂

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