On Dysfunctionality and Cheaper Than Dirt

By Don Curton

Growing up, my parents were very old school in that they never let us kids see them argue. I’m sure they had their moments, but maybe they just waited until my brothers and I were in school. We were taught to keep our mouths shut, to consider what we said and to respect others. I got my first taste of crazy visiting a friend’s house as a teenager. The whole gang would go over to “Bob’s” place because a) he was the only kid we knew that had his own TV in his bedroom, and b) he was the only one who had a brand spanking new Commodore 64. The rest of us had to be content to hook the old Pong console up to the family TV in the living room . . .

While there, something erupted between Bob and his mom that resulted in a screaming, yelling, crying, cussing argument the likes of which I had never seen before. I got nervous that something bad was going to happen and wanted to leave. The rest of the gang told me to relax, this shit went on all the time. Bob even paused in mid-expletive filled rant, turned to me and calmly told me not to worry, before turning back to his mom and finishing the fight.

Soon enough, it ended and Bob went back to the C64 just like it had never happened. Then his mom went into full nice mode and begin bringing in snacks, Cokes, etc. and asking if we wanted pizza later. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but Bob had all that, a nice car and got to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. His parents weren’t any richer than mine, they just prioritized differently.

I got another dose of crazy with my girlfriend’s family. Same basic story. Family gatherings where everything was all hugs-and-kisses right up to the until the youngest sister didn’t get her way on something. Then, holy hell, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. I thought Bob and his mom were bad, but this beat Bob’s house nine ways to Sunday.

I left somewhere in the middle of the “I hope you all die and go to hell” phase. But the very next day, everything was all hugs-and-kisses again. Kinda like Bob, the younger sister, still living at home, had new car, new TV and the very latest in designer clothing, etc. And I know that family wasn’t near the economic level of mine. Again, just a different family dynamic.

What has this to do with Cheaper Than Dirt? I’m getting there, be patient. I see this kind of basic dysfunctionality in action at various levels of society. From the perpetually aggrieved to the selected protected classes. Any time something happens that someone doesn’t like, all you have to do is go into full crazy mode — throw the biggest temper tantrum you can — then get your way and go back to lovey dovey again. Rinse and repeat.

Someone won’t vote a certain bill into law? Accuse them of wanting to kill baby kittens and poison the atmosphere. Get the vote you want, and praise opponents for their bipartisan support. Need money? Accuse a corporation of racism, threaten boycotts and demonstrations until they make a big donation, then pose for photo ops with the CEO with big smiles all around. Once the check has cleared, of course.

So…Cheaper Than Dirt? They did something we didn’t like and we went into hardcore crazy mode. Yelling, screaming (okay, posting and re-posting). We threatened (and carried out) a boycott to show our disapproval. And guess what? They caved. They came around to our way of thinking. They “saw the light” and gave us what we wanted. They are obviously actively trying to kiss our asses (and get our business back). So now what?

Face it, dysfunctionality works. Plain and simple. I don’t like it. I hardly understand it. But it does work. The left-leaning political class has perfected it, elevated it to an art form. They get what they want, over and over. And we play around the edges and screw things up royally. We went partial dysfunctional with CTD. We got right up to the “I hope you all die and go to hell” phase, but we just don’t know how to get back to the hugs and kisses part. The real question is, do we go all-in and get to the hugs and kisses stage, or do we continue to pout and lose one more round?

Better yet, do we accept this model of operation to get our way, or do we reject it as utterly inappropriate behavior?

I’m all for the second option. I don’t feel comfortable throwing fits and I fail to see it as an adult method of solving problems. I’d rather use logic and reason to explain to others how and why we’re right. I’d rather use my “inside voice” than scream and yell. But experience has shown that this takes a poor second place to the spoiled brats screaming about their “rights.”

So forgive CTD. Go full dysfunctional, then get back to the hugs and kisses. Hell, ask for a special TTAG discount. We’ll get it. Ask for special TTAG branded gear. We’ll get that too. Let’s complete the circle and finish this dance. We may wish for logic and reason next time, but this time we went dysfunctional and we may as well accept it.

More to the point, if we don’t forgive CTD, what incentive will any company have to cater to us once they cross the line? There has to be a path back to righteousness, or else we’ll end up boycotting everyone into irrelevance. And that’s not good for our side, either.