I bought something online last week. And paid for it, as required. The item arrived, so I posted smiley face feedback. I thought that might be the end of the matter.
Then I was given the most effusive paragraph of praise in return. It could have been a book blurb. It was as if the shop I'd bought from was a travel writer, and I was a particularly sunny, undiscovered part of Italy. Top Gear has done less detailed reviews of sports cars.
In truth, all I'd done was the bare minimum as a purchaser: I paid for it. I didn't pay extra, in some flamboyant display of online tipping. I didn't pay in fragments of gold; or scented, healing spices from the East. If I'd done any less, it would be called browsing.
Have online shops been so maltreated, that basic, minimum payment comes across like rescuing a hostage from a basement?
Maybe it only strikes me as odd, because I'm not thankful enough.
When I Uber, I confess it takes a lot to get a five-star review out of me. I think of all the movies Steven Spielberg made which didn't win any Academy Awards. Films which snarky reviewers only gave two stars. And that's Spielberg. So, was this Uber ride the equivalent of Raiders of the Lost Ark or that sequel with Shia LaBeouf?
(I'm tempted to say to the Uber driver: "Yeah, it was a five-star review, but four of the stars were black holes, so you couldn't see them. Too much gravity for light to escape.")
A five-star review should be for an experience you want to talk about. But if an Uber journey becomes an anecdote, somebody's in traction, or trying to delete video from the internet.
Oh yeah - butter. Just when dairy farmers are coming under public pressure, butter's at a record high price. When butter's doing well, living in New Zealand is like living in the Apple factory but still having to pay full retail on an iPhone. Show me the butter!
Surely there should be some amount of universal butter allowance - so we could really smear that butter all over, like Saudis swimming in a petrol jacuzzi. I don't even eat butter - being one of those people who enjoys being difficult when I order food - but still, it seems odd to cheer for a staple becoming more expensive.
Does butter trickle down? I suppose it does if the climate makes it melt.
Early voting has begun. It's quite tempting to get it done early for a change. But the pace of intrigue in this election is so nutso, it'd be like watching a whodunnit, and before the title sequence is over, calling the culprit. There's nine days to go. For all we know, we haven't met all the party leaders yet.
The media don't even have to fluff this one. It's genuinely suspenseful.
What about that poll? What's the margin of error on the margin of error? Who's even responding to these polls? It must be hard for pollsters to catch people with landlines, who still have hearing.
What would make it interesting is if the Electoral Commission released daily results of early voting. Now that would be a juicy opinion poll. Why don't they? They must feel some voters would be influenced by how the election is going, and either not bother to front, or vote just to be on the winning side. Humans, huh?
In a throwaway remark on-air, one of TV3's breakfast hosts revealed that he supported National. For some reason he's come under attack. I think it's laudable. If every news presenter, reporter and editor revealed how they voted in the past election or two, we'd all be better able to assess what they say. ("Riiiight. You would say that."). Imagine if those banners on the screen didn't just display the host's name, but also the logo of the party they voted for last time.
I suppose it'd create an incentive for media people not to vote - or to say they didn't - so they could claim to be impartial. But the reality - that all of us in the media are blobs of emotion, and fiercely tribal, and self-justifying - needs to be pointed out.
I'd say I've made my decision. As it happens, it'll be exactly what I did last time. In other words, nothing in three years has had any impact whatsoever. 2015, 2016, three-quarters of 2017: I might as well have been in a coma. Five stars.