Fast food restaurants that hear me say “no mustard” and interpret it as “instead of mustard, add extra ketchup.” Having worked in one of these places in college, I know the employees are used to the routine, and maybe this is corporate policy. If so, knock it off. If I wanted extra ketchup, I’d ask for it. I’d say, “Please give me a hamburger that is guaranteed to squirt ketchup onto my shirt as soon as I bite into it.”
Hotel rooms where the air conditioning vent is specifically located above and pointed at the bed. Thus, whoever is in that bed gets cold air blowing directly on them all night long. Either point the louvers upwards, or make them movable, or figure out a way to run the duct work around to the other side of the room. And while you’re at it, instruct your housekeeping staff to stop cranking the thermostat down. It takes us several hours to get the temperature back to a reasonable level, and then they reset it every day so low that the road company of “March Of The Penguins” would catch cold.
Cars that don’t have the gas tank on the left side. Why is this not standard yet? It took a few decades to get rid of the behind-the-license-plate position, now it’s time to get rid of the right-side fill-up. That would eliminate the weird game of gas station chicken when two cars end up face to face at the pumps. It would also relieve the anxiety everyone who has ever rented a car feels when filling up the strange vehicle they’ve been driving — which side is it on? You figure you have a 50/50 shot, but you’re never right.
Cell phones that can download ring tones, but not phonebooks. I want to be able to enter all of my contact information online and then have it transferred to my phone. I know I could do this if I bought a Treo or a Palm-ready phone, but it should be available on all cell phones by now. That way, I can look someone up online, add them to my phone book from anywhere, manage the list and other contact info, and have that info in my phone within seconds. This would be much more valuable than having a camera built in that I rarely use.
When driving west late in the afternoon, you will not hit the sun. Yet every day, as the sun gets low in the sky, traffic headed uphill in that direction inevitably slows down because someone’s been surprised by the big orange thing in the sky. You’d think they’d be used to it, but no. Here’s the rule: if it was safe to do 60mph down the hill, it’ll be safe to do 60mph up the hill. If my math is correct, at that rate, you won’t collide with El Sol for approximately 177 years.