It’s Tuesday & The Topic Of The Day Is Pettiness

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I WAS LISTENING to this episode, Confessions of a Late-Blooming Gen-X Weirdo, on a podcast for women over 40 called, Everything is Fine.

The hosts, Kim [her blog here] & Jennifer, got off on a tangent, which I believe is where the best stuff is on podcasts, and started discussing how petty they were.

I was charmed because it was funny.

But I was also flummoxed because for the life of me I couldn’t decide if I was petty, at least occasionally. Seems like I’ve the potential to be petty, focusing on details like I do and having preferences, but I’D NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT BEFORE.

Weird, huh?

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SO I DID what I do when I don’t understand something, I researched the topic. I first referred to the dictionary and got meself a definition of *petty* [an adjective] which is related to *pettiness* [a noun].

I also did cursory research on the concept of pettiness and learned that it has nothing in particular to do with intelligence, but is often correlated with people who are argumentative, inflexible, or lacking impulse control.

To be petty means you want people to do things the way you do things and you’ll judge someone negatively if they don’t, vowing to remember what you’d describe as a transgression.

Resentment and vindication can nudge someone to be petty. Plus being petty might not be good for your immortal soul.  So there’s that to consider.

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HOWEVER DESPITE MY research I still don’t seem to be able to nail down what it really means to be petty.

➡️ Is pettiness an instance of taking the saying “this is the hill I’ll die on” to an extreme wherein you assert the moral high ground because you know you’re right?

➡️ Or is pettiness more like the embodiment of the passive-aggressive Southern saying “well bless your heart” wherein you voice your disapproval while pretending to be cordial?

➡️ Or is pettiness more like admitting you’re “a stick in the mud”about something that is out-of-date yet your crotchety old self refuses to bow to modernity?

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you consider yourself to be petty? Have you thought about this? Care to share an example of when you were petty?  

Do you think I’m petty and just don’t know it or have forgotten about it? I’m human so I must be petty, right?

When stumbling over something you don’t understand do you, like me, turn to the the dictionary to begin your research?

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SOURCES:

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237 thoughts on “It’s Tuesday & The Topic Of The Day Is Pettiness

  1. Yes, I definitely turn to the dictionary, both English and German. Haha! Your post made me think, and I’m quite unsure how to universally define petty, since valence is inherently subjective, isn’t it? What is petty for me may not be petty for you and vv. So I guess that means we will just have to pout and cross our arms over different things and that is okay.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Markus + Micah, yes, yes. I agree. I couldn’t come to a conclusion about what it definitely means to be petty. I like your last sentence: “… we will just have to pout and cross our arms over different things and that is okay.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • I, too, like to go to the definition of things when I’m unsure where to start. And so I’m going to respond using definition #1 on your list. Years and years ago, when I was in school and tried my hand at one of the more advanced math classes, we (the students) quickly noticed the professor’s habit of saying “that’s a trivial transition” and skipping over how he served the next line. One time, at the beginning of a class, one of the students stopped him and died him to expand on this trivial transition. The student didn’t back down despite a few sarcastic and biting remarks from the professor, who then labored over the rest of the 2 hour class to explain the “trivial transition”…

      My point? Maybe we sometimes call pettiness that which we’d rather not address, as in your option 2 for the discussion. Maybe there’s something to be said for a certain degree of “pettiness”? 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always look up that of which I am unsure! Even when I participate in a word challenge, I look it up to see if there are more definitions than I am aware of. As to pettiness, I like to think I am not. That doesn’t mean it isn’t so, of course. As Markus + Micah said above, petty is one thing for one person and not for another.
    I will consider someone petty if they won’t let go of something that slows down a project and which, in the grand scheme of said project, doesn’t have a big effect. Of course, I have just re-read my sentence and I’m trying to come up with an example and coming up blank… bravo, Dale, way to debate…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. We all have our moments but for me anyway, it’s something I grew out of. Kids are petty most of the time. As you grow and learn to let go of the small stuff, you find that there aren’t a lot of hills you’re willing to die on. At least this is the hope. It doesn’t mean not having principles. It just means making sure they count.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Bitchy After 60, well reasoned. “I’m not petty, it’s you who is petty!” There’s a truth to that. I start with the dictionary but inevitably find myself going down a rabbit hole of research online. Case in point, the sources I listed above. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “To be petty means you want people to do things the way you do things and you’ll judge someone negatively if they don’t”….but, Ally, I DO usually (always?)know what’s best. Everyone should do things the way I do them, or they are just plain wrong. Right? Thanks for the thought-provoking post, my friend!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Okay, I can be ‘picky’ but not ‘petty’. I’m not saying this as anything ‘holier than thou’ but petty really has a ‘judgmental’ attitude that isn’t part of my makeup – and I’m not saying that as anything ‘boastful’ just where I’m at right now.
    And yes, the dictionary is a whole resource that rivals google IMHO…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My sister and I frequently say, “Okay, I know it’s petty, but…” and then one of us vents about the woman in our book club who never hosts or the fact that while we refuse to let our retired Ex-Stepmother pay for anything, another sibling mooches off of her. I think it’s a way of acknowledging, especially after a conversation involving climate change or the overturning of Roe v. Wade, that the concern is comparatively trivial. And so we give each other permission to have our petty irritations validated, just like our existential crises.

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  7. Hmmm, good question Ally. I’m sure I’ve been petty (more than once, I suspect) and yet I cannot come up with an example. I think – for me – it’s often a reaction to something or (most likely) someone who’s behaviour or attitude makes me feel out of sorts.

    I imagine most human beings *can* be petty from time-to-time, but only a few make pettiness a way of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, the podcast tangent about pettiness got me thinking, and I found it odd that I couldn’t instantly remember a time when I was petty. But I think you’ve explained it well, I’m occasionally petty [I must be] BUT I don’t make it a way of life. That’d be way too much work for slacker me. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh I can be VERY petty towards certain people and it’s usually when I am feeling resentful or unseen. That person can now do no right in my eyes and these eyes are always watching for their trangressions.

    The older I get, the less petty I’ve become though. I started learning to speak up for myself in more direct ways, and have far less reason to be resentful.

    And yes…always researching when I’m lost. I especially love the etymology of words. Where they came from and how they have been used in the past really helps shed light on meaning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michelle, I get what you’re saying. People suck sometimes– and *maybe* deserve to be held accountable in the way you mention. It’s petty but it is also establishing personal boundaries.

      I also have gotten much better at stating my truth, speaking up for myself, so that might be why I don’t feel petty.

      I like learning about the etymology of words, too. I’m a word nerd. There’s often a historical hint as to why we use a word today in the way we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi ally – at first I thought an “r” was missing on accident and the podcasters were talking about how “pretty” they were – lol
    But then I quickly saw the second mention of ‘petty’
    And then of course the break down if the word and your fun exploring! ((And combo on prettiness would not be petty as much as it would be cocky and a put off – lol)
    -/
    Anyhow – my FIL came to mind right away because he had a “mood disorder” and I think he was petty –
    And Larry Crabb (Christian psychologist from Denver) wrote some long and boring books that pained me to read (like the guy but his writing was like sludge – was that petty to say?)
    But a number one takeaway from him was how after decades of being a therapist –
    He said the number one problem he saw with folks who struggled and the most misery – they had the problem of “demandingness”–
    And so to me – a petty spirit is someone who might be inflexible and too demanding for their own good.

    I wrestled with understanding my role with this a while back – – for example – I realized I wasn’t being petty when I told the hubs and teens to stop defrosting neat in the counter all day – seemed like a nag but it was a health think and after I explained the “why” (and threatened we’d all sit down and watch OSHA videos) the meat defrosting changed to in the fridge or in water – )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yvette, you know when I wrote the title of this post I thought about the word pretty, too. So close letter-wise, so totally different meaning-wise.

      Interesting connection between pettiness and mental health. I hadn’t stopped to think of that, but I’m sure that “demandingness” [great word] is the kernel of pettiness and many other mood disorders that I feel fortunate to not suffer with.

      I would say that asking family members to handle food SAFELY isn’t being petty. It is being healthy and shows I concern for everyone’s betterment. Of course they need to thaw the frozen meat in the refrigerator or by using cold water properly. That’s good sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi ally – the last 5 years we spent with FIL (before he passed away) were special years (he spent his last five years in our town after being mostly absent or distant for 20+ years) and the success of it related to helping him see more of the “mood disorder” symptoms – to identity behaviors related to it and helped him “try to see” the filters and behavioral patterns -he had (this had to be done in increments and I am only a part time counselor – but in some strange beautiful way I had some practical tips and ideas for him that got though (that was rewarding) – and I drew boundaries to not burn out —
        for a short while we made a little (slight) progress towards minor improvements – ally – It is powerful what accurate and honest self awareness can do –and he was “open” (I do believe God was at work and the Holy Spirit was lifting “blinders” from his eyes)
        Anyone – The small progress we made with him – reminded me that people are never too old to make small self improvements –
        The FIL needed CBT and basic awareness about his hurt, his conditioned responses, sloppy living, abundance, etc
        Sadly he didn’t get this in any of the earlier decades of his life – instead / his counseling experiences were limited and banal – and the people in his life never confronted him (because he was ingratiating and had a charm in some roles but was petty and miserable in personal life) and people either avoided him, left him – or drank and partied with him – or the friends he still had excused his many flaws or accepted/tolerated – and this never helped him grow –
        If that makes sense

        Okay – sorry for a long reply but I think it can be helpful to share – as you so well know -!! Which is why you bring up these points to ponder!
        🌸🙏

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your FIL sounds like he was typical for his era. Many older men didn’t believe in mental health therapy or didn’t have access to it. Plus the way in which people, family in particular, indulged them, and still do now, the *quirkiness* of father figures is a constant in our society. You’re right that many flaws were/are accepted or tolerated when it comes to some people– and it helps no one.

          This post is definitely of the “points to ponder” variety. I like that way of describing it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I love how you worded your comment – that was exactly what I was trying to say – and you summed it up so well

            And I wonder if some of the younger generation is now feeling too much compared to his era where they “soldiered on” and drank -/

            Well thanks for a fun post today –
            Enjoyed it

            Liked by 1 person

  10. I think of petty as taking too much interest in the small things ..sort of like being pedantic. It’s pushing your opinion to an almost unreasonable degree. I can totally be petty, but I think sometimes you need to be …there are certain people who bring it out in me, and others I would never be petty around

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The definition of petty that resonates with me is “ungenerous.” As in getting caught up in whether or not your friend returns the tupperware in which you send leftovers home with him instead of focusing on the many years of friendship you’ve had. To me, it’s a loss of perspective so we paddle around in the shallow end of grace and understanding.

    And I don’t know you all that well or actually at all in person, but from that definition, I highly doubt that you are ever petty, Ally! What an interesting post!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A few things:
    1) Thank you for linking to that podcast and blog! I am going to check it out today. I love a good podcast.
    2) My personal thought about pettiness is that if a person is petty, they get all riled up about tiny little things that are meaningless in the long run. I think we all have done that in our lifetimes, but a Petty Person would be one whose life would be run by such small things. To me there is a difference in being briefly petty or Having A Petty Moment, as opposed to being a Petty Person.
    3) I also think pettiness can come out in thinking that only one way is correct, and everything else is incorrect, and being judgemental about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nicole, I only recently found the podcast, but the few episodes I’ve listened to I enjoyed. There is *language,* but you’re a big girl and I’m sure you’ll take it in stride. 😉

      Yes, yes, you said it: “… they get all riled up about tiny little things that are meaningless in the long run.” That’s how I think of being petty so I try to never be like that. Or as you said, only have a Petty Moment, not make it a lifestyle.

      Yep, people who cling to rigid ways of living are often petty. In my experience. And somehow no matter what I do, I am wrong.

      Like

  13. I often research when I don’t know the meaning of a word or phrase. I think of petty as being stuck on something that really has no importance, or as someone above mentioned about their pettiness at a book club. But I see the definition is much more broad than I thought. So I guess I need to do some research 😊 Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maggie, I was amazed once I started researching what pettiness meant because like you I had in my mind a narrow idea of what it meant. There are nuances to it, but I tend to still think it’s making a big deal out of something that in the long run won’t matter.

      Like

  14. Urban Dictionary defines petty as “making things, events, or actions normal people dismiss as trivial or insignificant into excuses to be upset, uncooperative, childish, or stubborn.”

    “OMG! They didn’t invite ME to their grandmother’s birthday party.”
    “So? Do you even want to go?”
    “No. Of course not. But I still want to be invited.”
    “Shake it off. Let it go.”
    “No. I’m not going to let it go. I know I’m being petty but . . . ”

    This article might shed additional light on it, Ally:
    https://www.govloop.com/community/blog/dont-be-petty/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nancy, I’m laughing here. The definition you found on Urban Dictionary is sweeter than the one I linked to in my Sources listed above. Both are correct, of course. Just depends on the mood you’re in and how you want to say things.

      Your example of petty behavior is spot on. I read the article you linked to. Thanks. I liked this idea: “Look for ways to help others succeed, to make them shine, and get them where they want to go. Celebrate with others when they celebrate, and empathize with their frustrations.”

      That’s my approach to life, so maybe I’m not petty after all!

      Like

  15. Pettiness to me is being selfish in a way. It’s ranking yourself above others. I think at some point in time we’ve all done such a thing. Reading something and thinking “I could have done better” or not reading because you think you’re better. Seeing someone on the street and thinking “I wouldn’t wear THAT in public” and so on…

    Liked by 2 people

    • LaShelle, yes I agree. There’s an element of selfishness in petty behavior. You just *know* you’re better than this inferior human being in front of you, so you want to make that clear. Astute observation

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  16. I’ve definitely been petty at times in life when I was hurt by someone I cared about or when people didn’t do chores in my way. I also remember that I’ve regretted being petty because it’s such an impulsive emotion and I’m not proud of my behaviour whenever I’ve made a mountain of a molehill out of my pettiness.

    Interestingly, I do have mild anxiety so I tend to catastrophize small events often. I recognise I can be petty when I’m low on energy levels or when I’m expecting something terrible to happen but nobody is helping me prevent it.

    A well written post. Made me reflect on my emotions which is always a good practice. ☺️

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    • Anaida, you summed it up nicely: “I’ve regretted being petty because it’s such an impulsive emotion…” I get that and realize that I, too, have acted in that way. Although lately, maybe courtesy of the pandemic lifestyle we all went through, I’m less inclined to feel impulsive. I’m pretty much go with the flow, and less petty in the process.

      Like

  17. I don’t think you’re petty. In addition, if you’re self-aware enough to even ask the question, I think you’re fine as far as human beings go. I only add that qualifier because, well, let’s face it, you’re not a dog. Cats are petty. “You didn’t feed me on time” – “I no longer like the chicken variety” – “I haven’t been brushed in ages…” Dogs would give yo a thank you kiss in all three situations.

    Seems I’m off on a tangent. If you noticed, please don’t be petty about it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Can pettiness carry over into a need for revenge- or is that verging into a stalkerish situation? I am not asking for myself you realize! I’m sure I’ve had my moments- probably in work situations and I can hold a grudge if I let myself but that seems to be associated with family issues…so yes I will admit to being petty over the years. I hope I’ve learned to let most things go now. I often have a fear that I’m not using a word correctly so I often confirm with the dictionary just how far off the mark I might be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, good question. I don’t know if being petty is the gateway to revenge/stalkerish behavior, but it well could be, I suppose. I imagine there’s a whole body of mental health studies that address that idea.

      You’re right about how letting go of work pettiness is one thing but letting go of familial pettiness is something different. I can let the former slide but the latter… well, that takes more generosity of spirit.

      I use a dictionary for the same reason you do. I think I know what a word means, but am surprised by what I find. Word meanings change over time, especially when they slide into slang. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I give a thumbs up to the Urban Dictionary definition you linked to here. I think that one nails it.

    I think we all have petty thoughts, and some of us have more than others. I think it’s what we do with them that matters. Do we utter them to others? Do we act on them in some way? Are we aware that we’re being petty? Blowing off steam by venting my pettiness to someone who is not the object of my rant and who will accept my pettiness without judgement (because they know I’m just getting rid of an emotion) is a gift that keeps me from being petty–as opposed to just feeling petty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rita, well you know I rather like that definition too, but this is a PG-13 blog so I didn’t use it directly.

      Yes, it’s important to be able to rant about things that make you feel pettiness so having someone who understands you and gets what you’re doing is important. That’s an excellent observation.

      I think there’s a big difference between feeling pettiness and acting on it. The former is to be a real person who doesn’t have your head buried in the sand, while the latter is to be a person who can usually invoke their better nature.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As a teacher for many years, I had many (MANY) opportunities to practice invoking my better nature. 🙂 Nothing like a bunch of teen-agers to teach you how to control pettiness. And that most people’s actions are really not so much about you as them, an understanding that makes it easier to let things roll off you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I can see how being around teenagers could make a person less petty. Once I accepted the idea that people do things for their own reasons, I became a mellower, more mature, or maybe indifferent, person.

          Like

  20. I don’t know if I am petty but I don’t want to be one. The world with networking is becoming small and you see all kinds of people and all kinds of things. We need to accept as a whole everything. So hopefully not a petty person .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marian, you raise a great point. Time is limited so why indulge in pettiness? I, too, like the “well, bless your heart” saying and have had it said to me. Of course I can only assume there was some pettiness going on, but I let it slide.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. When I don’t recognize a word, or it seems out of context I go to the dictionary. But if it’s a word I think I know, I won’t go look it up. So I wouldn’t go to the dictionary for a concept like this, because in my mind I know what petty is. Until I read the definitions you found and then I realize that I’m probably being petty when I refuse to look something up that I think I know.

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  22. Morning, Ally! Oh….crap! You had me with this: “is pettiness more like the embodiment of the passive-aggressive Southern saying “well bless your heart” wherein you voice your disapproval while pretending to be cordial?’
    I felt a sizeable twinge of recognition when I read that…bless your heart, indeed. I know for sure I’ve played that card. Shame on me. Petty, for sure, but I try to keep a lid on it.
    As for you? Echoing Wynne, I don’t know that I know you well enough to have an opinion, so for now I declare you NOT petty. But pretty funny. 😉😉😉

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  23. I’ve nothing to say about pettiness, I’m sure I’m capable of it and have exhibited it in the past and will do so again in the future. Words that I question my understanding of their meaning and usage sends me directly to the dictionary – often several of them – as our last exchange is an example of.

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    • Grace, dictionaries are our friends. And with the www at our fingertips, we have access to many of them which sometimes trips me up because I get lost in them as opposed to getting on with my writing. Still, there are worse vices…

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Interesting Ally Bean and the comments as well. I can see when someone is being petty minded or small minded over something that barely seems worth the candle – but, seeing it in someone else means that I recognise it which means I own some of that quality. Thus, I can consciously witness it, be aware of my projection and therefore withdraw it. Complicated huh. Hopefully with a smudge of maturity we become less pukey picky petty. Yep, I love my dictionaries, theasaurus (?sp?) etc –

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    • Susan, yours is a wonderful evaluation of how pettiness manifests within us, thus we recognize it in others because we know we can be petty, too. I like this explanation, complicated or not. I feel that the smudge of maturity [and wouldn’t that make a wonderful blog name?] has mellowed me. I like my thesaurus too. I have one from 1937 that is a hoot to use. Sayings have changed.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I think I am internally petty, but I never let it get to being external. My inside voice discusses the petty thoughts I have from time to time, but my outside voice remains silent. That being said, I have found others being actively petty from time to time, which makes me all the more determined to keep any petty thoughts I may have to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • walkingoffthechessboard, I like your take on this subject. I strive to do as you do, never letting my inner voice shout out the pettiness to the person/people I see in front of me. I’m successful most of the time, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. When I don’t know what a word means, I Google it these days.
    There is a bit of spite in being petty, I think – different from being particular where you have preferences or believe things should be a certain way. But insisting or demanding that your way is the only right way. I think our former president is a perfect example of being petty in the worst way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ellen D, you are wise. There is spite in petty behavior that may be the genesis of the pettiness to begin with. I have my preferences but not because I’m spiteful but because I’m discerning. And YES The Donald is a perfect example of pettiness writ large and seemingly incapable of going away. 😒

      Like

  27. I admit, I’m also confused on what it really means. I looked at your additional sources and I certainly FEEL petty about the memes that say it’s okay to feel petty in those instances. It’s just that I would not do or say anything because I dislike confrontation, so I’m never argumentative.

    Do small things bother me? Sometimes. Other times, I can let it roll off my back, but I still probably notice them.

    Clear as mud?

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    • Bijoux, your “clear as mud” resonates with me. I started out assuming I knew what petty meant, then ended up confused because it encompassed so much more that I thought it would. I’m like you, small things can annoy me BUT most of the time I don’t care enough to call them out. Am I petty, then? I dunno

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  28. Ally,

    Wonderful post today. Research, gotta love it. I tend to research and take it to enth degree. Actually I call it ‘taking yet another trip down the rabbit hole.’ One of my quirks is wanting to know the origin of words and other things. Like you Ally, I looked for the definition of petty and eventually found what I was looking for. Etymonline is site that seems tailored to me.

    Oh well, that’s a rabbit hole for another day. Thank you for some fun reading as I enjoy my morning coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johnny2Toes, thanks for the compliment and the website called Etymonline. I’m not familiar with it, but a fast glance over there and I can see how I’m going to like it. It’s a rabbit hole meant for me.

      Like

  29. I think I can be a little petty sometimes – I do like things the way I like things – but then I read Laura’s comment, so maybe I’m less petty and more picky. I try to keep my mouth shut though – unity and peace in the family matters. As to research – Alexa is my friend, but Google is also my friend, and she knows more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol, it sounds like you’re picky which is perfectly acceptable, not at all like petty. Unity and peace are admirable goals, as long as you don’t get run over in the process. I don’t use Alexa often for research but I do like online search engines. Fun to learn about things

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  30. I think it’s on a spectrum. All of us can be petty in minor, temporary ways, I think. Some people are much worse and in those cases likely come with a collection of other issues that constitute a personality disorder. I recently had to deal with someone at work who is extremely petty but this characteristic was accompanied by a number of other, more severe qualities that lead to a serious workplace breakdown. This person no longer works for us but I’m still dealing with the fallout.

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  31. I enjoy tangents since I am prone to them. 😂
    Thank you for the new blog to follow; I’m already enjoying it.
    My emotional intelligence test is just a quarter of the way through. I’m taking a break for lunch and will get back to you with the results.
    I like the 15 petty examples, and I agree with a lot of them. Especially the one about not answering the phone but instead scrolling through social media.

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    • Kari, I say life is in the details and aren’t tangents just details in search of a blog post? I think so! I’m not a phone person either, so if I can scroll [or text] I’m all for it. Does that make me petty? Well, so be it.

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  32. I think everyone has some pettiness in them, kind of a need to be right about certain topics we each think we know better than others—sometimes justifiable so like the grammar police who spent their whole careers editing manuscripts. They just cant let it go when they see even complete strangers put commas in the wrong place. But other times people just get stuck in a mindset that their way is the right way even when there are not rules that say so like with grammar. Pettiness to me it not the thought but the acting on a thought that you just can’t let go of the impulse to snark or correct something that in the grand scheme of life really won’t make a difference if you just let it go.

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    • Jean, you make a sound distinction between having the petty thought and then acting on it. I see many grammar mistakes, sometimes even on things I wrote a long time ago, and I never point them out [unless it’s a very close friend who I know would want me to]. People do get stuck in their ways, I’m seeing that the older I get. There are many kinds of petty, but as long as you keep your mouth shut no one except you knows your petty thoughts.

      Like

  33. I don’t know if I would judge anyone to be petty. I think we all have to be more open to letting people express themselves without fear of being judged on whether their concern is ‘petty’! There are far worse things than pettiness!

    I found this quote on a site that gave examples of being petty. I don’t know if this was auto-generated and no one checked it, or if someone thought this was a very funny spelling mistake (I did): “Gatorland features animal encounters with alligators and crocodiles, plus a free-flight aviary and petty zoo. — Dewayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel, 29 Aug. 2022-“

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margy, I love it. The spelling mistake makes the quote wonderfully weird yet it still kind of makes sense, sort of.

      Good point about being less judgmental in general of all people. So true that there are worse things than pettiness… spelling mistakes perhaps? NO, wait, that’d be wrong to point out. 😉

      Like

  34. I suspect we become petty in order to have control over something. There’s so much out of control in our lives, and so many really big things that we can barely influence, so we plant a flag for what kind of cheese to put on the hamburgers or which Beatle was cuter (sharp cheddar and George, of course). The more control we feel, the less we need to sweat the small stuff. And certainly, Ally, neither you nor I are petty. Not today, at least. (Ally, this comment may appear twice, as WordPress seems to have eaten it the first time I posted … gotta love ’em)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donna, HA! Obviously you’re a confused woman, the answer is Swiss and Paul. However I’ll overlook it in order to keep the harmony in this comment section. To do otherwise would be petty of me.

      Thanks for posting your comment twice. I don’t know why some longtime commenters leave comments that go right through while other longtime commenters have comments held in moderation. Another mystery of life that I just accept because I’M NOT A PETTY PERSON.

      Like

  35. I haven’t really thought about it, and I think other people close to you are the ones who probably make that determination. I’m sure my husband thinks I’m petty about how I organize my kitchen drawers, well, all my kitchen stuff. And bathroom stuff. And the laundry room. I just like to know where things are so I don’t have to go searching for them. I think messy people probably think neat people area bit petty.
    One of my favorite sayings was a sign at the gym: Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things either!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dorothy, I don’t know if being organized is an example of being petty or not? I suppose taken to an OCD extreme it could be petty, but I consider household organization practical. A way to stay healthy and be frugal. 🤔

      I like that saying. Seems like sound advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I see I’m not the only one who thought the topic was prettiness only to find out it was pettiness. What a difference one letter makes! For instance, leave out “r” in “friend” and suddenly you have a “fiend.” (Might by another topic of conversation.) But I digress.

    I always thought of petty as taking your stand on something that is completely trivial to you even if it might matter to someone else or possibly because it does matter to the other person. Perhaps you insist on the family going to see something that you know your sister/brother really doesn’t want to see just because your parents said you could choose. I sometimes like to look up synonyms to get a better feel for a word. Narrow-minded or ungenerous, especially in trifling matters might be closest to what I think of petty being.

    Really enjoyed the thought-provoking comments your topic generated today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet, gotta watch those letters, they are devious little characters!

      I understand your definition of being petty and your example is a good one. I like ‘ungenerous’ too as a synonym for petty as it seems to fit being petty in all situations.

      I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how people have shared their insightful takes on pettiness. I feel like I’m getting a better handle on how to think about it.

      Like

  37. I do jump into research when I want to figure something out but usually on the internet. I don’t react to trifles that people do or say, so in that respect I’m not petty. However, I do get annoyed by some people’s comments on news articles and the Next Door app. There is nothing I can do about that so working myself up over their ridiculous opinions seems petty. However, I don’t take any action on it thus am I passively petty?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margaret, I usually start my research with a dictionary and then move on from there when I have the opportunity to go more in-depth with search engines. I know what you mean about some of the comments on news articles. I’ll read something and wonder how a person could be that daft, but like you I don’t act on my assessment so passively petty it is.

      Like

  38. I originally misread the title of your post and thought you were discussing “prettiness” so I thought it was quite interesting two podcast hosts were discussing how “pretty” they were.

    Hmmm. I’ve never thought of myself as petty and since I already have enough personality hang-ups and foibles, I’m going to leave my self-reflection at that! That said, aren’t we all petty on some level?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elisabeth, a couple of other commenters have said they misread the title, too. Kind of funny, wasn’t intentional on my part to mislead.

      I agree that we all have some petty aspects to our thinking, so I must be petty but I cannot think of an instance. I’m not always the 😇 you see in blogland.

      Like

  39. Interesting. I always thought of petty as Tom. Haha. Just joking. Actually, I always thought petty meant that small or insignificant things bother someone. But yeah, I guess it’s unclear as to what type of small or insignificant things. The definitions you shared sound more like a judgmental or stubborn person. I’m not sure what types of things would be petty. Maybe a tiny flaw in a piece of furniture or a speck on a wall. When I was a kid, my mom used to freak out if our fingertips touched the walls. We weren’t allowed to touch the walls at all. Could something like that be petty? Or more like OCD? 😏🤷‍♀️
    Thanks for brain stimulation. Now it’s time to go eat lunch. 🍔

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Another thought provoking post. Yes, I always look up words and meanings and all kinds of other stuff just because I want to know. Do I remember it all, heck no. 🙂 My issue is being particular – I rip seams out, I dig plants up, I do things over. I guess I fix things if they aren’t right. I had this saying given to me years ago that I’ve never forgotten – if you’re going to do it, do it well. So, I’ve probably been petty when I’ve wanted something done right and Hubs thinks it is okay the way it is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy, I understand your need to do things right. I’m the same way when it comes to houses and gardens and getting to the airport in plenty of time. I don’t know if that’s being petty OR if it’s being conscientious which I think of as a different concept, one that has to do with sanity not judgement. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Hmm, I don’t think I am petty – at least not usually. I do get my nose out of joint when the families I babysit for behave badly. So, is that petty? I feel like this is exactly what I take issue with when it comes to my sisters, especailly pertaining to when they talk behind my back (or anyone’s back). So – am I petty for getting upset by their pettiness? It feels like a riddle. My sisters are inflexible and judgemental in general. Funny, I often feel at a loss for words on how to describe them. Perhaps it is PETTY – the missing word.

    No I don’t think you are petty. We all have our moments though, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ernie, I’d say that describing people who behave badly in a truthful way isn’t being petty, it’s reporting the facts. So when your sisters are petty and you call it out I don’t think of that as being petty. You’re being real.

      And yes, I agree that we are all petty sometimes, but when it’s all the time, then it’s a problem. Like your sisters maybe? But, of course, I’m doing the riddle thing too as I try to say you aren’t petty.

      Like

  42. Ally, based on your unruffled responses to some very inpertinent remarks to which you’ve been subjected over the years (and I’m going by some of your posts here) you are not a petty person. A petty person would have slapped these individuals or put them in their place so severely, they would think twice about saying anything else rude to anyone. And the fact that you had to wonder whether you were petty is proof enough for me. I definitely know that i am petty. I stopped sending Christmas cards to people who didn’t send cards to me! I have engaged in road rage. My sarcasm has a knife edge. I am petty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • L. Marie, oh my goodness you’ve made my day with this comment. Thanks. You’re right I’ve had my share of rude people say dismissive things to me, for reasons unclear. All I can figure is that I bring out the demons in some people. Not on purpose, of course. It just happens.

      My mother was mild mannered, BUT my dad was the exact opposite so I can, IF I WANT TO, channel his influence and stop people in their mean-spirited tracks. And it sounds like you can, too. I respect that in you. We all have to do what keeps us sane and safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. I just read L. Marie’s comment and realized, “Good grief, I am petty!” But I’d argue (oops!) that I’m petty in a passive-aggressive way, such as not sending birthday or Christmas cards to people who do not reciprocate (exceptions being my teenage grandnephews and grandniece). However, I definitely was much more petty when I was younger. I strive now to curb my pettiness and shrug off when things are not done the way I want. And I don’t try to “win” arguments as much as just share my perspective and let the rest go.

    You, my dear woman, are not petty; at least, not that I’ve seen in your blog. In fact, I would say you are a judicious person and open to new and different ideas.

    And, yes, I do turn to the dictionary when beginning research. Sometimes I fall down a rabbit hole when I do, but I always learn something 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  44. I think of petty as being when one complains to one’s spouse about some trivial annoyance as if it’s the end of the freakin’ world. We are both guilty of same in this household. The person on the receiving end of the petty complaint usually laughs, further kissing off the complaining party.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Hmm, I will have to ponder this deep question on pettiness. Yes, as humans I believe the impulse is there; but the question is: Do we act on it? Rarely? Often? Never?

    Most of us (hopefully) as we grow and learn, try to rise above petty; well, at least that’s the way it SHOULD be. (Is that being petty? Oh the horror!) 😉

    The dictionary (not the physical copy) is my best friend. I love to be reading something and come across a word I either don’t know or am unsure of (usually the context gives me an idea but still…I want the actual definition) and will whip out my phone mid-sentence and plug it into Merriam-Webster to get my answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gigi, you’re onto the essence of the conundrum. Are you petty by having the thought or are you petty by acting on your thought and saying it out loud? You’d hope we could rise above pettiness, but maybe in incremental ways?

      I dunno. I just ask the questions. 🤓

      I like the M-W app on my phone, too. It’s fun to be sure what a word means.

      Like

  46. I feel like pettiness and nit-pickin’ go together, meaning someone harps on a rather insignificant issue and won’t let it go. And they tend to do pay-backs to get even with people who don’t share their enthusiasm for the issue. Am I petty? I’ll never tell!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gwenthinks, you said it. Some people won’t let any small thing go and that is an example of being petty. I think revenge plays into as well. I believe you when you say you won’t confirm or deny if you’re petty… and is that alone indication of pettiness? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  47. I don’ think of myself as petty. When I read the comment about the former Prez who embodies pettiness, I realized I really am not petty. I am moody and quiet, a loner and a dreamer, but I tend not to be petty. Interesting question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, you understand yourself and who you are. When I heard the conversation about being petty I was momentarily taken aback thinking about myself, but I don’t think I’m petty either. The Donald is definitely petty and has been his whole life from what I can tell. Don’t be like The Donald, eh?

      Like

  48. Um……I think a details minded person, such as myself, could be construed as being petty, when really we’re just more aware of the smaller things because we pay more attention especially if we speak up about them. Whether these smaller things are considered significant or not I suppose is a matter of opinion. Does that make sense? For example when I was at MacDonald’s the other day, ordering a fish-fillet for my mother as a treat, I said, could you make sure the cheese and the tartar sauce is on the bun. I mean how hard can it be to put a half a piece of cheese and a dollop of sauce in the middle of the square of fish. 9 times out of 10 it’s hanging off the side of the bun, making a mess. But I finally spoke up and the cashier said, yes, I know what you exactly mean. It’s a production line back there, but sometimes there’s no attention to detail. Does that make me an evil person for asking? I know this is really a first world problem. The next time I went back there and did Not say anything, there’s the sauce hanging off the side again….and the coffee was cold too…..so I guess that makes me petty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni, I don’t know that asking for what you did makes you petty as much as it proves you’re aware of what’s going on around you. You’re paying for the food, so to have it prepared to your satisfaction seems reasonable. But of course I can argue the other side of the coin from the production line workers point of view. They might consider your request petty.

      With this example you’ve gotten to the heart of why I ended up confused about whether I’m petty or not. One person’s petty seems to be another person’s normal. It’s all in how you define it, as they say. No truer words when it comes to pettiness– and understanding it.

      Liked by 1 person

  49. I don’t think of myself as petty, but honestly, I can be pretty anal about things. I realize they’re two separate things, but they may be in the same family. I’m a stickler for accuracy, and sometimes I know this quality drives my wife crazy.

    I think of pettiness as an inability to let the most trivial things go, despite evidence to the contrary. I know of petty people, but I prefer to hang with more even-tempered people who avoid drama instead of looking for ways to insert themselves into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete, we are two peas in a pod. I attend to details and require accuracy, but I consider that being a competent adult who wants to be healthy and sane. I don’t think of that as petty.

      I also avoid drama and like to hang with people who are even-tempered, preferably with good senses of humor. Not to be petty and mock/correct other people, but to rise about the mundane.

      Yep, we have it going on, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  50. The easiest question first: Yes, like you, when I don’t understand something, I immediately turn to the dictionary–not only for a definition, but also sometimes to see where that word or concept came from.

    I may be silently petty. I tend to let people do whatever they want to do. Even my children. I gave them general advice and then just trusted them to make good choices. And since I had a husband who grew up in China, we could have had lots of arguments if we wanted everything done our own way. But I think neither of us were petty. But I notice myself being silently petty with things like people who should know better using bad English. That’s a petty complaint. If I tried hard, I’m sure I could think of other examples.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nicki, I’m the same with my use of the dictionary, and as Susan mentioned, the thesaurus.

      Yes, yes. That’s a perfect way to think of it: silently petty. I understand how you and your husband would have been approaching childrearing from different points of view, so it sounds like you found a way to make it work without getting petty. Good on you.

      I see grammar mistakes, I make them, too. They used to bother me a lot, but now I make note of the mistake then shrug. I don’t know if it’s getting older or what, but I cannot call people out on them. I’m getting mellower about people as I go along.

      Like

  51. Love the image, to me in itself is worth liking.

    Dictionaries are definitely a good place to start though, it’d be incredibly embarrassing to do all that research only to find our basic sense of its meaning is off and find yourself talking about something else entirely.

    Your thoughts on pettiness also remind me of how difficult it is even for psychologists to agree on what love means, so I wouldn’t put it past you or myself if we still didn’t get it after all that research 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strangely Irid, I like that image, too. Made me burst out laughing instantly when I saw it. The truth… and all that.

      You’ve described what happened when I started down this rabbit hole of research about pettiness. I thought I knew exactly what it meant, but I’ve come to realize that it’s a more nuanced concept than I realized. It’s open to interpretation and what one person thinks is petty behavior another person shrugs off as being… conscientious or organized or determined or staying safe or whatever.

      No real conclusions here, just an interesting topic of conversation. Thanks for joining in.

      Like

  52. As a reforming Control Freak, you’d think it’s in my nature to be petty, but honestly, I’d say I’m not. I recognize that Control, Order, and Overall Order are my issues and not other people’s. Once in a while, however, I do get an overwhelming urge to vent, and I’ll actually say to my husband or whomever, “I’m going to be terrible and petty right now for a moment and then I’m going to be over it.” And then I’ll go on a mini-rant about the neighbor who parks in their front lawn or the fact that Mariah Carey wore stirrup leggings, a long-sleeved tee shirt, and high heels to Cedar Point amusement park.

    I get it all out and it really is Over. Do those things truly affect my life? Oh gosh, no. But they offend my sensibilities, and I cannot help but file them away. I’m a work in progress, and I’m way better than I was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nance, I applaud you on the progress you’ve made concerning your control freak nature. It’s not easy to overcome an inherent desire to MAKE THINGS RIGHT when other people aren’t doing it your way. Still, you progress onward like the trouper you are.

      As for Mariah Carey wearing stirrup leggings, a long-sleeved tee shirt, and high heels to Cedar Point, THAT is wrong, of course. And weird. And needs to be acknowledged as such. After all she is a public figure who could take the opportunity to wear something sensible to an amusement park. *sheesh*

      Like

  53. I giggled at the Petty Tweet, which made me remember that I don’t fully understand Twitter or see its allure.
    I’ve been around petty people, and I like to say to them: Don’t be (tom) Petty!

    I truly believe being petty is also immature. Right? That’s the way we behaved as children.

    That being said: The only time you’ll find me being petty is when someone is riding my tail when I’m already doing the speed limit or more on my 30mph street, and they are using my road as a cut-through. I’ll proudly slow down to 30 just as an F U.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suz, I laughed out loud when I read that petty tweet. So honest, yet so… petty. I love people who are without pretense.

      EXCELLENT point about pettiness being an example of immaturity. That is true and could well be the underlying reason for it all. Every time.

      I don’t think that you slowing down traffic on your street is being petty. It’s being safe, which seems like the opposite of pettiness to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  54. This was fun to ponder. I agree that the definitions of pettiness don’t quite seem to hit the mark… I guess when I think of pettiness, I think of a combination of your two questions: maybe a passive aggressive display of “this is my hill to die on.” Like when I left a half-empty glass of juice on the coffee table for days because it wasn’t my juice to clean up. That feels a little petty. (Also quite gross, and I lost that battle and eventually cleaned it up.) (Sigh.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzanne, I can understand why you did what you did with the juice glass– and in theory it should have worked, but that’s the thing with petty behavior, it can backfire. I like the idea of petty being a passive aggressive way to demonstrate the hill you’ll die on.

      Like

  55. I never think of you as petty, Ally. The fact that you had to do research to try and figure it out means you are too self-aware to be in that house.
    As for me, I only get petty if I am not served the biggest piece of chocolate cake in the restaurant. Take it back! Try again! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  56. How clever of you to write about my ex-wife, Ally. And you don’t even know her! Of your three examples, I’d say the “hill to die on” fits most of the situations I’ve seen or experienced with pettiness. I think I tend to be petty when it comes to donating money: I’m pretty generous with organizations which are committed to feeding the hungry; yet I’ll rarely give anything to someone on the street. I’m not sure exactly why that is. In regard to you, I think I’ve forgotten if you are or not. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marty, funny how some people immediately come to mind when the topic of pettiness comes up. I take your point about the “hill to die on” aspect of pettiness. I don’t give to panhandlers either, now that you mention it– but donate to the food bank. I wonder why we think like this? Don’t bother explaining, you know I’ll forget it almost instantly.

      Like

  57. I don’t think of myself as being petty but, like most people, I’m sure I have the potential to be. I had to chuckle when I read the “blunt definition” of petty; it was the perfect description of my late mother-in-law. (The only thing missing was her picture.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • butimbeautiful, good point about the regret involved with being petty. If you know you shouldn’t be petty then you’re regretful, but my guess is that the people who don’t know they’re petty never feel regret. 🤨

      Like

  58. I had a good laugh over the blunt definition of petty listed in your sources. By that definition I’m not petty. I can be very picky over small preferences but I don’t make a big deal over it when I don’t have a choice. Yes, the dictionary is always the first step. My father and I both loved to discuss the meanings and origins of words. I miss doing that with him.

    Like

    • Barbara, I included that definition as a link because while it’s perfect, it’s not really appropriate for this PG-13 blog. I’m like you in that I have preferences but unless there’s a health issue involved, I won’t be petty about things.

      I’m finding that many commenters go to the dictionary first thing when starting to understand something. I can understand why you miss your father, talking about words would wonderful. Sorry he’s gone.

      Liked by 1 person

  59. I think we’re all petty at times, as in making a mountain out of a mole hill. I listen to a YouTube channel sometimes with a fellow mostly telling stories about Karens. His definition of petty varies wildly from day to day and he appears to label both the Karen and himself as petty. I take them with a grain of snark.

    Like

    • Zazzy, I hadn’t thought of the whole *Karen* thing when contemplating what it means to be petty. Yep, that lends itself to this topic immediately. Sounds like you have the right snarky attitude when listening to that show. Take it all too seriously and what’ll you have? Pettiness 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  60. Like most things, we probably all have a little pettiness inside that comes out once in a while (hopefully just once in a while), but I also think the older I get, the less petty I am – comes with the wisdom you gain just by existing for an ever longer period of time. Although I haven’t personally experienced this, I think pettiness might have a tendency to come out when someone dies and the heirs come together to divvy up the spoils.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes, Travel Architect. I feel like I’m less petty now than I was even 5 years ago. Excellent example of a scenario when pettiness could reign supreme. I’ve been an heir a few times, but no one seemed petty about anything. We all were happy to be remembered, I guess. But I’ve heard stories…

      Liked by 1 person

  61. This one made me chuckle because my husband will use this very word to describe me… “you are SO petty!” He says this not in a mean-spirited way so kind of in a joking manner but it really irks me because I don’t see it that way (I definitely am a petty person but when he calls me petty in certain situations, I see it as him reading the situation wrong). FOR EXAMPLE, we do a lot of play-fighting. He will (out of nowhere) throw a sock at my face just “to be funny” and I, naturally, will want to get him back.. tit for tat… but he sees my motivation to get him back as “petty” whereas I describe it as “consequences” and the “effect” of his cause lol… THAT BEING SAID, oh I am definitely petty! LOL I am all those things you listed as possible petty behaviour lol… I think petty ppl know they are petty so if you don’t know, I would better a lot of money you aren’t a petty person 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn, oh yes you’re not being petty, you are demonstrating there are consequences for his actions. OBVIOUSLY. But as long as he’s joking around it sounds like it’s all good. I know that I can be *fussy,* but I don’t consider that petty [although some would I suppose]. I think of it as being perceptive and nuanced– which isn’t pettiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  62. Ally, I don’t think I am petty, especially these days when there is so much dissension in this nation and the world about everything, so being petty will make it worse. People pick, pick, pick at one another like picking at a scab until it falls off then “look what you’ve done” and sometimes it is too late. Every word coming out of one’s mouth, or written these days, must be measured and thought out to avoid offending people’s feelings and raising their hackles. I think it is a sad world we live in to be honest.

    Yes, I do research things I don’t understand and often words I read or use too (and you know how we’ve discussed using a word and double-checking the slang dictionary to find out that word/phrase has a whole ‘nother meaning than what you used it for) Google is my sidekick. In fact Google asked me a quick survey the other day about how secure I feel using Google and I decided not to be petty and said “very” – a little white lie never hurt anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, you’re right that people are getting touchier every day. No doubt that contributes to petty behavior. I don’t take much of anything personally so that might be why I don’t think I’m petty too often.

      I adore how you lied to Google about how much you like it. I know Alexa asks me to rate purchases we’ve made using Amazon and I always say the highest score, 5 out of 5. I fear if I don’t appear thrilled she’ll keep questioning me and I don’t want to go through that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do the same thing with Amazon, especially the driver review. I love when they say they handed it to me when I never got notice it was here until a half-hour later. Or, their tracking doesn’t work and the driver leaves the package and I’m still checking how many more stops in the ‘hood he/she has. I give them a 5 out of 5 just to keep the peace.

        Liked by 1 person

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