Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day: Idiocies and Gleanings

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet

glean} verb (used with object)

1. to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.
2. to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.
3. to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly.
verb (used without object)
4. to collect or gather anything little by little or slowly.
5. to gather what is left by reapers.

gleaning} noun

the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.

According to the Deuteronomic Code of the Torah, farmers should leave the corners of their fields unharvested, and they should not attempt to harvest any left-overs that had been forgotten when they had harvested the majority of a field.

idiocy} noun

something notably stupid or foolish

Boxing Day} noun (proper)

The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

Boxing Day

Today being the day after Christmas, I plan to do a bit of cleaning and a lot of paperwork. In the United States, where Boxing Day isn't normally celebrated, one finds one element of Boxing Day supreme. Folks go shopping to return gifts are used Christmas monies and gift cards to buy things for themselves. Since I was forced to go out this morning (see below) I ended up in the midst of this shopping idiocy.


Idiocy #1 

I had not planned to go further than the mailboxes today. When I went out around 7 AM and found rain mixed with sleet falling and the windshield of my automobile covered with  sleet, I almost went back inside the apartment. However, since I had not picked up the mail since last Saturday, I decided to at least do that.

Going for the mail was my first idiocy and opening a letter from my bank informed me of a another more idiotic idiocy. On December 3 I had mailed a deposit to my online bank, capital one. Since I learned from previous experience that capital one does not accept check or cash deposits, I turned my $40 deposit into a postal money order. I have been wondering for several days while the deposit as not shown up in my account. This morning I learned the reason.

In today's mail I found a letter from capital one that included my money order being returned to me. The little envelope also enclosed a form that checked off an item that read "capital one does not accept money orders for deposit." So how in the name of all that is crazy does one make deposits to a capital one account? I have sent an email to capital one asking that question.

Idiocy #2

Since I do need $40 the feed myself and the Kitty kids until my pension check arrives on January 2, I drove to Kroger to cash the check because the roads were slippery from the sleet and Kroger is much closer than the post office. Unfortunately, when I tried to cash the check I was told that Kroger only caches money order checks sold by Kroger.

Idiocy #3

Therefore, I made the drive to Meijer where the post office from which I purchased the money order is located and there got the money order. I also decided to do the shopping I had planned to do at Kroger while at Meijer.

Shopping went well even though there were a surprising number of people in the store for the early hour. Since I saw numerous people in line to return or exchange merchandise as well as quite a few people with shopping carts filled to the brim that the reason for the large number of shoppers was that today is the day after Christmas.

When I completed my shopping and drove my electric cart to the checkout line I found only one basket in front of me. The basket was filled to overflowing dam there was no shopper with it. I put my merchandise – including four packages of Kitty cat treats – on the checkout thingy and waited.

Finally a young woman dressed in Arab-type clothing came to the basket caring and items she had evidently changed. The checkout was completed unfortunately the woman could not find her money are credit card in her huge purse. The clerk even helped her look. The woman said that she needed the merchandise and asked the clerk to keep it in the basket until she could return and pay for it. She then tried to leave, but her umbrella was stuck in the basket.

I watched this comedy for about 20 minutes as I awaited checkout. I was not watching my items and did not realize that the clerk and completed my check out until she said that I owed just over five dollars. I was surprised and asked, "Five dollars for all of that?" 

Then I looked in my bag and the only thing in it was the four packages of Kitty cat treats; everything else, including two medications I needed, were not there. I have no idea what happened to them unless the clerk checked them out and into the basket of the woman who was already have me.

I considered going back and picking up the items I needed so that I could purchase them; however, by this time the battery of my portable oxygen concentrator was speaking a warning that it was very low. I returned the phone without the items I needed and barely made it through the door before the concentrator stopped working.


I have used the work gleaning for many years to identify those bits of information that I pick up here and there usually unexpectedly. Today I have some new gleanings:

  • It is not a good idea to go shopping on the day after Christmas even more so than the day after Thanksgiving. One encounters too many people can too much craziness.
  • Do not trust one's bank not to make changes in its policies. Contact the bank prior to making future deposits.
  • Do not depend on one's primary grocery to make things easy for one.
  • Watch one's items on the checkout counter instead of the drama taking place in front of the checkout counter. 
  • Always take a means to charge one's oxygen concentrator even if one expects to be using it for only a few minutes.


  1. Sounds like a normal day to me, Rev. Saint. I hope your tomorrow is less interesting.

  2. I hope you have encountered no more idiocies or idiots, SSN!