Edge City, with a phenomenon to which I can attest.
When I was in Maine, I covered two school districts, one in town, where, between the university and the hospital, there was an often-depressing abundance of helicopter parents, and the other up in the woods where most of the people were either loggers or farmers, tremendously devoted to their kids but disinclined to provide excuses when they did something silly.
Their respective school boards reflected the two communities, so that, when this conversation came up at a budget meeting of the more rural board, the conversation was probably about one-tenth the length it would have been down in town.
Looking at the cost of utilities, one board member asked why the school was always kept so warm. The principal replied that the kids refused to wear sweaters. A board member observed that he even saw them standing at the bus stops without coats and everyone agreed that this seemed to be the situation.
But like I said, it was a pretty short conversation. The consensus of the board was that they crank the heat down a couple of degrees and see if the kids still refused to wear sweaters.
Note: In the kids' defense, parsimonious school boards going cheap on school construction costs have led to shared lockers and half-lockers and even shared-half-lockers such that, once you've stuffed in 40 or 50 pounds of books, you don't really have room for winter coats. In this case, however, the rural economy meant that the school district was hemorrhaging young people at a rate which made lockers readily available for all.
Additional note: At least, since then, the fashion requirement that girls' shirts not be long enough to touch the top of their slacks appears to have faded. I was afraid that North Country girls would become identifiable at the beach in summer by the inch-wide strip of necrotized flesh from repeated frostbite.
Additional extra note: It is an odd world indeed that, as pre-teen fashions dictate tight-fitting peek-a-boo blouses and push-up bras for girls, their male counterparts dress in clothing so bulky and loose that you sometimes wonder if there's anyone inside at all.
Additional extra bonus note: Get off my lawn. See video, below.
And now, Edison Lee with yet another wide-eyed innocent exploration of the adult world.
Changes in banking laws in 2010 were supposed to control some of the abuses in the system relative to ATM and debit card transactions, notably banning the practice of re-ordering debits so that the big ones were processed first regardless of the order in which they arrived so that banks could draw down the account with big debits and then charge separate fees on each of the small ones, even if they had come in first.
But where there's a will, there's a way, and banks continue to make a profit for their stockholders at the expense (quite literally) of their depositors.
Writing checks does not seem to have changed and it seems to me, without doing a lot of research, that, if you're old-fashioned enough to still use paper checks on a regular basis, the law expects you to also be old-fashioned enough to watch your balance and avoid screwing up.
I once opened an account that promised "free checking," but which meant "we don't charge you an additional fee for each check" and not "free checking account." I put some money in and then was going to change out my direct deposit information at work, which I put off, during which time the bank burned through that small start-up deposit with fees and then began a cascade of overdraft charges.
By the time I noticed, I was severely in the hole and resolved it more or less as indicated above. If you are either loud enough or mention "consumer fraud" as if you know where to formally complain about it, you don't have to actually smack anybody with a lollipop bowl. I lost the money deposited but didn't pay the additional charges.
I now have two checking accounts at Bangor Savings despite not having lived in Maine for four years. They charge no service fees, there's no minimum balance requirement and my debit cards are good at any ATM in the world -- they rebate the non-customer fees. Another reason why I miss living in Maine, but one I haven't had to give up.
I do have a local bank, mostly to avoid mailing checks from non-electronic clients to Bangor for deposit. They also charge no fees and expect no minimum, but they don't offer the any-ATM service.
The main drawback to banking with them is that the dog has discovered that, if you go inside instead of using the ATM in the outer lobby, they give you doggie cookies. And they think it's cute and funny when you demonstrate that you are tall enough to stand with your front paws on the counter.
This not only slows down my banking, but also any trip that involves walking past the bank. Still, if you have not yet abandoned the creeping corporate meatball, you're missing out.
And speaking of those crazy young people in comics, Foxtrot may now be on a Sunday-only schedule, but Bill Amend retains his geek status for being hip enough to understand that Google Maps and Google Earth can't see you all the time.
There are way too many cartoons based on the idea that Google shows the world in real time. It's kind of sad to praise a strip simply for understanding the difference between Santa Claus and Google, but props to Amend on this one.
Plus having been on an airplane at the start of the week reminded me of when we used to stamp out messages in the snow on campus for the benefit of incoming airline passengers.