Here's the Scoop: April 16, 2014

Here’s a tip for you...
As a columnist, it’s my job to periodically write about things appearing on the Internet that I find annoying. Actually, I could pretty much do this non-stop, but it would be depressing. Plus, I wouldn’t have time to look at the Internet.
On the other hand, sometimes this stuff just has to be written. Faithful readers already know that I’m more than a little sick of breathless accounts of stars’ “baby bumps.” The same goes for anything remotely related to that incredibly annoying family whose name begins with “K.”
Now, I have a new pet peeve — stories on Yahoo News that involve “tipping.” The first few of these stories were kind of entertaining. I’m sure you’ve seen them: waitperson gets stiffed and customer writes insult on receipt. The waitperson posts an image of offending words on Social Media and is flooded with money from sympathetic friends and strangers.

What a surprise
A variation of this whole theme is an unsuspecting waitperson (I’m not being sexist, but these stories seem to involve females) who is always cheerful, despite being down on her luck, receives a huge tip from a total stranger. Her life is made immensely better and she uses the funds to go back to college, study medicine and eventually develops a cure for some horrible disease. Well, I kind of embellished the last part, but it’s always a happy ending.
I’m not saying that good tips don’t happen — I once gave $2.50 on a $10 lunch bill — I imagine that brought a huge smile when it came time to count tipping proceeds. On the other hand, it feels like these tipping stories have become kind of a cottage industry. In fact, I have noticed a few stories that were followed up with accounts revealing that the “insulted” waitperson was actually the one who scribbled the “insult” in hopes of attracting sympathy on the Internet. And, cash contributions, naturally.

Personal hacking
To me, this is kind of like credit card hacking — without the computer savvy. The bottom line is that unsuspecting folks lose money in a scheme. At least they made a conscious decision to fork over the dough, but it still has to sting when the scam is unveiled. On the bright side, maybe it’s a charitable tax-deduction.
As more of these tall tales are revealed to be simple money-making ventures, I’m sure the frequency will slow down. Of course, the Next Big Thing to get people to part with hard-earned cash will already be in the works. In fact, I’m sure we’ll soon be reading about tons of schemes — in all likelihood, this has already started — I’m just not aware of them yet. Sometimes, I’m a bit slow to catch on to things.
Actually, I use myself as a barometer of trends. A trend-ometer, I sometimes refer to myself. Well, that last sentence was the first time I have used this term. Anyhow, I may keep using it. As a general rule, though, I don’t like to get caught up the “thing” of the day.
For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever used popular acronyms that have become part of today’s computer language. Because of this, I found it odd the other day when I was coordinating a job with someone and I referred to the “ETA” of the finished product. The recipient of my e-mail (who is older than I am) accused me of used Internet slang.
I was kind of shocked he didn’t know what ETA meant and he was embarrassed when I told him it was old-fashioned Estimated Time of Arrival. Still I couldn’t resist writing back that the delivery wasn’t guaranteed, it might arrive L8R.
— Brian Sweeney