Here are some of your responses to Mike's last column.

Ron F. writes: Stop whining! Step up to the plate and take responsibility for your stupidity! You didn't shop "downtown" to help some "mom and pop" establishments, you went to them for prices and location instead of driving out to suburbia. Don't try to make us believe that you were doing anything else. Not all of your readers are stupid!

Shari H. writes: As to the parking ticket grrr: Don't you own a watch? Do you know how to tell time? Can't you go back outside and deposit a few coins and return to the store? Is that so hard? My goodness, grrr'ing when it is TOTALLY your fault is most unbecoming! Time to mature, Mike.

Neal K. writes: Hey Mike, I love what you wrote about being charged to death for every little
infraction. I have a similar situation where my wife was in a car accident about six months ago. The accident was her fault, but that aside, our glorious North Shore Fire Dept. was called to the scene. Now there was no fire and now one's life was in danger (no one went to the hospital). What the fireman did do was essentially sweep the street of broken glass and plastic and put down kitty litter to absorb the anti-freeze. Six months after the fact we get a letter from a collection agency that claims we owe the NSFD $500! We called the fire department to see if this was so and sure enough we were charged $500 for having them sweep the street. It's a @#%&ing government service for crying out loud! Am I going to have my checkbook with me when they come to my house to put out a fire? By the way we live in the City of Glendale and our city is a member of a "consortium" that pays these guys a huge yearly service fee. And what really irked me was that I had just written a donation check to another fire department before we got the NSFD charge! Next time those guys in red call me to support their fire education causes, I'm going to tell them that I am paid up for the next 10 years and don't bother calling me anymore. Try to have a good one and hang in there.

Denise writes: So Mike, you are no longer going to patronize your local “Mom and Pop” stores because you are unable to keep track of the time and you got a parking ticket? What a whiner you have turned out to be. I’m sure you have a Rolex on your wrist and you could have easily checked the time every so often in order NOT to get the ticket you obviously have no financial trouble paying. Quitcherbitchin’, grow up and learn to tell time! Don’t penalize small businesses for your lack of punctuality!

Dewey writes: Re: Marsha — Wow, after reading your "hopes" for Mike I cannot believe you had the audacity to finish your letter with "Good luck and may the laws of karma be with you." Hey pot meet kettle.

Brian writes: Hey Mike, I love your column, it always gets my day off to a good start. I just have a comment on your “Blue Monday.” First off the $543 permit fee is outrageous, but that’s a direct byproduct of where you live. Like almost every other "blue" state, especially the ones in the Northeast, New Jersey finds every single way to support its secular progressive government by dumping every little conceivable fee or penalty on you. I deal with permit fees everyday, and what you paid is almost three times more than what I pay contractors here in Jacksonville. As far as your parking ticket goes, I’ve received 10 parking tickets or so in my life, guess where I was living/working at that time, yep, you got it beautiful Jersey City, N.J. I used to park on one of the streets in front of my complex where all cars had to be gone by 7 a.m. Every now and then I would be running 10 minutes late, and almost each time I would find the most “courteous” Jersey City cop plastering a $65 ticket to my car. My point in all of this is before you go complaining about things, take a look at your surroundings. Maybe your surroundings are the reason why you have so much more to complain about than the average guy in most areas of this great country we live in. Keep up the good work.

Davis writes: RE: Marsha. The fact that you would wish harm on someone else appalls me, you seriously must have a screw loose in your warped mind to sincerely think this way, I quote:
"My hope for you is that you hit a pole with your car, and hurt only yourself. I hope you lose 25 percent capacity to think, 25 percent loss of fine motor skills and 50 percent of your capacity to speak. Then you will feel as these disabled kids feel. You will have enough limited capacity to not be able to function normally, but you will have the mental capacity to feel hurt, humiliated and shamed by your incapacity to function normally. Good luck and may the laws of karma be with you." You are a degenerate lowlife scum and may the laws of morals be with you! Excuse my language but you are a piece of $$@#! May god never allow you to have children and teach them this kind of [junk] ... you are what's wrong with America's society today... .

Julie writes: Oh Mike. I understand you for being upset about your parking ticket. BUT please
don't "retaliate" by shopping Home Depot etc. instead of your local retailers and shops. You are setting a bad example for your town. Shopping local helps your community in many many ways, you must understand this. It is up to you to set a good example for others in your town, especially since you have such a vocal venue to express your opinions and ideas. You appear to be young and relatively fit. You do wear a watch I presume. Yes it would be inconvenient but you might have slipped back out to the meter and put more money in if it was a metered spot. Or moved your car. Perhaps you can park on the perimeter of the shopping area where perhaps the spots are not metered or timed and consider yourself lucky that you are able to walk. Again I understand your frustration but I encourage you to rise above this and continue to shop locally!!!

Sunny writes: Mike, I normally love your column. But reading this one, I just had to speak up
about your bad day. First of all the parking ticket: you KNEW you had an hour time limit. Why punish the mom-and-pop store by going to Wal-Mart when it’s your fault and you know it? It would have been worth it to just go outside and move your car. I know for me that little inconvenience is worth the good feeling I get knowing I supported a local business instead of a chain (and my husband works for Wal-Mart!) Don’t get mad at the ticket writer for catching you in your gamble. On the building permit, as a homeowner, you are ultimately responsible for making sure you follow the rules. Don’t blame your contractor or the city unless said contractor explicitly told you the fees were included. Even then, read your copy of the contract. And the credit card, be glad they waited until the second time you were late to up your interest. Some do it the second you are late the first time. And yes, be grateful they adjusted your rate. In your terms and conditions, I’m sure you were told how these situations are handled. Seems like you had your idiot day, we’re all entitled to them once in a while, but make sure you place the blame right on top of your own head, where it belongs.

Nick G. writes: Hi Mike. I love your reading your GRRs. Mainly because 99 percent of the time I feel the same way. Speaking of a lawsuit crazy society, my 17-year-old daughter got into an accident early this month when the driver of a minivan decided to slam on his brakes and caused my daughter to slam into the back of him. Immediately after impact, the driver and his three female occupants exited the vehicle (which had no noticeable damage) and ran to see if she was OK. My daughter's car was totaled. Here it is three weeks later and they've retained an attorney for personal injury. So not only did my daughter lose her car, but to add insult to no injury, they're going after my insurance company. GRRRRR!! Keep up the good work, Mike. If you ever start an anti-Obliviot army, I'll be the first to sign up. Thanks for your time.

Kelly N. writes: Hi Mike, Read your column on fees, tickets, etc. Got a few of my own. How about paying Taco Bell .79 cents to use your debit card for a .99 cent burrito? Or the Chinese food restaurant that charges you $1.80 for a glass of Coke in a six ounce glass with five ounces of ice? And of course, no re-fills. Actually, the price of soda alone in most restaurants Grrrrs me. It's one of the cheapest things to serve and yet costs the most. For my family of five to have a soda at a restaurant costs us an extra $9 on our $30 tab (we're not talking fine dining here). Thanks for your column.

Joseph writes: What a child you are wanting and intending to punish small merchants because
you are to lazy to watch the time or feed the meter. Were I those merchants, I would not want
either your business or you in my store.

As to your fee complaint perhaps you should read contacts before you sign them, and as to the
increased late fee, ever hear of paying by online banking? And why are you complaining when you got the charge reversed? I agree most people would not call and try to have it lowered. So why not spend your time and effort in educating people as to what they should try in certain situations? And to think you are paid for these childish ravings. Very truly yours!

Molly writes: Whoa Mike, did you do some harm to Marsha in a former life?! On another note, maybe if you didn't spend $13,000 on an AC unit, you wouldn't have been late on your credit card payment! LOL! Love your column, keep up the good work!

Jacob W. writes: As a former credit card customer service rep, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell people that “they can call the manager and get that 33 percent finance charge lowered.” That is actually very rare. You probably have very good credit (hence an 8 percent APR to start with, that’s below prime). If it’s safe to assume that the average person has average credit, they are not going to be able to call and get the APR lowered. I take probably 30 calls per day on the issue, and maybe one or two actually get it lowered. And of those, maybe one a week goes back to the original rate. The rest will be put somewhere in the middle. Thanks.

Jeff writes: Mr. Straka, I just finished reading your column regarding the parking ticket/AC construction/credit card fiasco. Try this out for size. Monday afternoon, master bathroom catches fire. Guts the bathroom and part of the master bedroom (everyone fine, including the dog) $500 deductible. Wednesday, just before another round of insurance inspectors, I get a call at my house from my boss informing me that it's very important I attend a meeting at 11 o'clock. Three guesses on what the meeting was about. If you guessed layoff, give yourself a round of applause. My last day is March 2. Thursday (ah Thursday, usually so good to me) while driving to work I stop a 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee, when I get back in my truck and drive away the transmission will not shift out of first gear. So I drive over to AAMCO in first gear all the way, and was informed the tranny was toast — cost $2,500. And now Friday, nothing bad so far, but we'll see.

This is not a "woe is me" tale, nor is it a contest of the worst day/week, it's more of a "what the hell" venting. If one more person says "that which does not kill us, only makes us stronger" I might snap. End of rant.

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