From time to time I get the urge to gripe. I don’t know where the urge comes from. My friends say it’s because of my rapidly advancing years. Others have a different opinion “Why don’t you just admit it, Mike,” they say. “You’re just a cranky old fart.”

I like this moniker. It fits. I think I’ll print up a tasteful sign warning all the participants in my fitness classes to . . .



Everyone should be glad that I’m a cranky old fart, because I have at least three forums to vent my spleen – my web site, my newspaper column in the Fisherman, and my fitness classes. I can get the word out. People pay attention, and I can prove it with volumes of e-mail responses, hate mail, and telephone calls encouraging me to get a life.

Another reason everyone should be happy to have a cranky old fart is that sometimes things deserve a gripe. Misdeeds need pointing out, and the culprits and scoundrels held to public ridicule. I’ve had a good deal of experience holding culprits and scoundrels to ridicule, and I intend to continue as I build a new career as a professional cranky old fart.

Besides – it’s my web site, and I can write what I want, and the culprit this week is none other than my arch enemy – Canada Safeway. Readers of PUMPED will recall that I battled Safeway before – especially when they issued me a parking ticket for parking in their lot that advertised free parking. This time, my gripe concerns another sinister plot they concocted tor make money, alienate their customers, and dehumanize their employees, and piss me off.

I refer, of course, to their Club Cards – a program that saves its member money by offering discounts on selected items. It’s to the customer’s advantage to become a “member” and use the club card, as the savings are significant.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Cranky Old Fart, if the savings are so good, how does the store make money? They’d be giving all their profits to the customers in savings.”

I’m glad you asked me this. The cards list your name, address and telephone number. This means they have a list of all the club card “members.” Lists fetch a good price on the open market of network marketing vitamin and vacuum cleaner salespeople. I know this. I once cornered a vitamin network marketer who paid $.25 for my name off the Provincial aerobics instructors’ registry.

They also use it for their internal research. Each purchase made by the “member” gets recorded – along with time of day, weather information, wind direction, phase of the moon, and any other piece of information that can be digitalized.

“But Cranky Old Fart,” you ask. “How does this alienate the customers?”

Customers are forced to use the “membership” system to make their purchases, but they aren’t treated like members. They all remember that in Grade 6 they had to join the Canadian Red Cross, and as such, they had meetings and collected money to send to war-torn countries. They also got to vote. I doubt Canada Safeway lets its “members” vote.

“I see where you get your name, Cranky Old Fart, but how does the Club Card dehumanize Canada Safeway’s employees?”

Cashiers have to call the customers by their last names. There’s nothing more dehumanizing than forcing an employee to make believe that he or she is the customer’s best friend – as if you could get a date from shopping. It sounds phoney because it is phoney. Customers aren’t fooled. They see the iron law of store policy staring down over the teller’s shoulder as they struggle with that last name – a name that is mispronounced nine times out of ten.

“You make some good points, Cranky Old Fart, but why are you so pissed off at the Club Card?”

Because they keep mispronouncing my name. They keep saying, “Here you go, Mr..Franky Old Cart, and thank you for shopping at Safeway.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive

You can reach him at home at or at re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all the above, he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia


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