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July 23, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Voices…strange little voices

Archie and Edith.1974 All in the Family.CBS/US

You know Archie, all the little voices can’t be wrong. (.1974 All in the Family.CBS/US

Inside voices.

But not sure if these are actually what was meant.

You can’t run far enough.

Stalking by any definition.

Some tune stuck in your head wasn’t enough, now there’s the irritation of talking objects.

Do you remember those freakish car alarms that admonished if you got too close?

“Step away from the car!” The car alarm would bark in it’s best Knight Rider voice.

“You are too close. Step away from the car.”

And it would continue to scream even as the baseball bat or tire tool bashed in its’ little hood or door.

People didn’t like getting yelled at by a car.

Owners might as well have painted a bull’s-eye on the car with a sign saying “Smash me!”

(And that was before people became rageaholics and prone to violence as they are today.)

Most owners figured it out pretty quickly and disabled the stupid thing.

So what are they thinking with these two new little voices?

Attempting to drive people completely over the edge, then haul away targeted individuals to the loony bin?

That’s one way to win an argument.

Knowing what’s best for you, the USDA is cheering a new way to encourage healthy eating!

Archie Bunker(O'Connor) All in the Family CBS series.1975/US PD:no cr marks/

You buying anything they’re selling? (1974.All in the Family CBS/US

Get ready for cheerful $30,000 talking grocery carts that will compliment you when you select food on they deem healthy.

 “Grocery stores to be forced to get high-tech carts so shoppers make better food choices?”

That should really help bring food prices down.

Especially if the stores have to follow the other suggestions of the 80 page USDA report that hopes to “Change the choice architecture of the food retail environment.”

  • Store employees will act as “ambassadors” and explain incentives and different reward programs for choosing certain foods. (One suggestion offers free movie tickets if healthy food purchases are made!)
  • Store visual displays, signs, ceiling banners, shelf talkers, and freezer door clings could point the way to healthy food choices.
  • Grocery stores could create “healthy aisles and place targeted foods in more visible retail space”.
  • USDA will recommend standards for how shelves should be stocked.
  • And of course stores must change healthy promotions every so often so shoppers do not “become bored” or ignore all the signs and stuff.
  • (Maybe the USDA will just open their own grocery stores. It’ll be optional to shop there. At first…if you like your grocery store….)

Now doesn’t this all sound like FUN!

The USDA seems to think those exhausted workers running in after work to pick up some groceries quickly will be amused and encouraged by game show techniques and scavenger hunts.

1976.All in the Family. Edith and Archie shopping/CBS/US

There was a little voice coming out of the shelf that said if I bought this, we’d get free baseball game tickets. (1976.All in the Family.CBS/US

So let’s see, considering the fate of those annoying car alarms….

You want the baseball bat or shall I attend to the cart?

I know, why risk shoulder injury when a shove into traffic is just as satisfying?

(Do you think the resourceful thieves will roll them to the pawn shops or straight to recycle-for-money places?)

Yes, we hear you….and they will,too – with Toyota’s help.

A new feature is making some noise in the 2015 Toyota Sienna minivans.

(Could also health related. Imagine that.)

2015 Toyota Sienna.(

Something unsettling about this car’s smile….(2015 Toyota Sienna/Image:

Understanding parents are so stressed and tired, Toyota has added some reinforcements.

With seatbelt mandates, the kids in the back know drivers can’t reach around and grab them like Homer Simpson does. Won’t risk a possible wreck.

Vocal cords can just strain so much. There’s a limit to how loud and how often parents can shout “Don’t make me come back there!”

Toyota’s answer is Driver Easy Speak.

There’s a built in microphone for the driver that delivers amplified threats and warnings to the little charmers through speakers in the back seats.

The company says no need to strain or raise your voice, but you know drivers will anyway. Habit.

Wonder a bit about that.

Any chance of busting ear drums with amplified shrieks? I’m sure they thought of that. Mom would feel horrid if a moment of frustration caused hearing loss…the kid would use that guilt trip FOREVER.

Any chance we’ll be seeing videos of some drunk high school/college kid in the back befuddled by voices coming out of nowhere? Bets?

Then there’s the horror show potential….Can hear the scripts being cut and pasted as we speak.

Toyota Driver Easy Speak option on dash.(Image:dailymail/Toyota)

Blue, such a soothing color. Other worldly. (Image: Daily Mail/

The best part is that it’s a one way system: the kids can’t scream back.

Not through the speaker system anyway.

But kids are creative…and have new issue lung power.

It’s a noisy world these days.

Noise pollution seems to be a growing concern.

Silence is golden. Especially with grocery carts and cars.

Don’t want to interrupt the music of choice.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Someone at the EPA needs to listen to those little voices of caution and commonsense in their heads.

“Dingell pokes EPA Kardashian tweet”

“EPA water office sorry for tweet about Kardashian app”

(Always knew they were playing games in Washington, DC.) 

Fairy tale characters.Little voices. Strange little voices (1904 poster. Us Lithograph/Russel-Morgan print.Yale/LoC/US PD.

Little voices. Save us from strange little voices (1904.US Lithograph/Russel-Morgan print.Yale/LoC/US PD.



  1. Ally Bean / Jul 23 2014 1:09 pm

    I’d last about 15 seconds with a talking grocery cart. If I couldn’t force it to be quiet, then I guess that I’d stop shopping at the grocery, which would cause me lose weight. So really, if these carts come into my world, I’m going to be thinner [and allegedly healthier] one way or another.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 1:15 pm

      Can you do water boarding with milk? Wonder how many jugs it would take to make it be quiet? Grocery shopping could become a lot more interesting..and not in a good way…Thanks for rolling a comment over


  2. katecrimmins / Jul 23 2014 1:18 pm

    I often wondered whatever happened to those stupid speakers that told me I was too close to the car. Ok, I admit it. One time (only once) I kicked a car that scared the bejesus our of my while I was loading my car. I would like a loudspeaker that would scream at other drivers but I would need guns mounted on the hood in this day and age. As for supermarkets, give me a cart with a calculator on it. I know what’s healthy.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 2:26 pm

      Everyone hated those talking car alarms (Never knew you could program them and change the languages) Wonder if the insurance companies that started out lowering rates if the car had an alarm system started charging more if you had one of those irritating talking ones due to curb rage attacks?
      No chatty carts, please. Non sticky ones would be nice, though. Thanks for stocking a comment on these shelves


      • katecrimmins / Jul 23 2014 3:26 pm

        Sticky? Our local grocery stores have those wipe its dispenser net to the carts. Life savers! Especially after some toddlers chewed on them.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 3:38 pm

          We have wet wipes, what would be nice is some dry sheets, too considering all the rain…which seems to create some sort of mysterious primal ooze on the carts at times. Can’t imagine plopping a kid in those seats (shiver)


  3. Carrie Rubin / Jul 23 2014 1:39 pm

    Although I’m not sure those USDA suggestions are worthwhile or practical, I’m all for coming up with new ways to get people to eat healthy. This nation is eating its way to disease. I might pass on the talking cart though. As an introvert, that just scares me. 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 2:36 pm

      We are in the wrong business…people got paid for those ideas! I don’t like food commercials where food talks and I don’t want carts and shelves trying to hold a conversation while I’m running through the grocery store – shopping is not entertainment for me.
      (Hey what if they started having old fashion recess in schools again? We had 15 min in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon in elementary school…some grades had the reverse. Not many fat kids, no kids on “focus” drugs, and higher test scores…even without AC. I see so many little kids in strollers and motorized “cars” when they should be walking – even though it’s annoying to parents the kids dawdle, ask questions, and look at every little thing…walking is much more developmental. Might be a start rather than using a cart…grocery or otherwise.)
      Thanks for ambling by


      • Carrie Rubin / Jul 23 2014 2:54 pm

        You’re spot on about recess. And it isn’t just the physical activity that’s beneficial. As you point out, getting outside and playing improves concentration and focus once they’re back inside. It’s too bad when common sense falls to the wayside.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 3:12 pm

          It’s so simple. Lots of research done….for years and years – all say the same thing: get up and go outside. Give the brain a shift of gears, time to sort/group/internalize new info, get fresh oxygen, blood moving, and even muscles get fatigued sitting. Why do they make it so difficult?
          Adults need downtime too for the same reason. Wouldn’t hurt if everything shut once week and phones/computers were turned off for 24 hrs. Might improve general attitudes, sleep patterns, and lower stress levels. Would be good for everyone and everything…except retail and earnings, so won’t happen…people being disposable. Sigh

          Liked by 1 person

        • Carrie Rubin / Jul 23 2014 4:49 pm

          Oh, hear hear. Love your idea of a 24-hour shut down. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. marthaschaefer / Jul 23 2014 4:06 pm

    Funny that “things” are talking more and people are talking less?


  5. Emma / Jul 23 2014 4:28 pm

    I’ll take the baseball bat please.


  6. easyweimaraner / Jul 23 2014 5:04 pm

    seems that Toyota is a ride for me… it says Easy Speak. I’m not a fan of a talking shopping carts… think silence is golden, you’re right… hope they would stop that lame music in the stores too. I would like to buy my potatoes and my bred while Alice sings “it’s poison” :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 5:17 pm

      Of course! A natural fit! Room to stretch out, too. Molly says she sees no problem with locating and removing the back speakers…window sills offer such little challenge these days. Thanks for rollin’ by, Easy


  7. PiedType / Jul 23 2014 6:47 pm

    I’m already sick to death of the government telling me what I should and shouldn’t eat. What you describe sounds like a scene from some dystopian movie.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 7:55 pm

      Everywhere we turn these days there’s some sign (paid by homeland/feds) blinking some behavioral message. Hey- we live here- we all know it’s hurricane season so stop blinking it every 15 seconds. Give it a rest and save electricity.
      It is getting to feel like a novel or movie.
      Do they still have baseball bats for general public to buy and use? Competitive games are so outdated. With all that dangerous playground equipment. (Does WP seem quirky today?…wonder what’s going on in the back office)
      Thanks for steering a comment this way


  8. Robin / Jul 23 2014 8:56 pm

    Oh my. What will they spend too much money on to come up with next? Big Brother is not only watching, it seems he’s speaking as well. I don’t think I could stand a talking grocery cart. They can’t even get the wheels to work right on some of those things. Imagine what the voice might sound like or the bad advice it might give because of a wobbly internal wheel in its talking program.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2014 9:07 pm

      If they yelled at their own dysfunctional wheels, that might be fun? Could customers sue if they had a smarty pants cart that advised them to buy the “wrong” foods? Will the carts call your mom if you are buying too much sugary cereal? Will they eventually give up coaxing and turn towards ridicule and loudly embarrass you if the cart doesn’t like your choices?
      Stuff of nightmares, for sure.
      Thanks for fretting along


  9. Unconfirmed Bachelorette / Jul 24 2014 2:11 am

    Oh for cryin’ out loud. They need to make a hand that comes out if the back of the seat and smacks the kid. And a robot that sits between the bickering siblings.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2014 2:18 pm

      I think they are working on the robots…
      “Project Robots Helping Kids” (“…The National Science Foundation has committed $10 million to build robots that will act as “personal trainers” for children, in an effort to influence their behavior and eating habits….”) ($2.15 million spent so far…$10 million budget)
      Totally nuts. People hungry and no place to call home. Wild fires and natural disasters. School buildings falling down. But hey this is a really cool project – go for it.
      (Will there be laws you have to seat belt the robot in the car to avoid them being tossed out the window? Just asking.)
      Thanks for wheeling that observation over


  10. Audrey Kalman / Jul 24 2014 2:35 am

    Two solutions come to mind for me: I will listen to my iPod while shopping to drown out the shopping cart voice; I will shop at the farmer’s market, where there are no shopping carts.

    As for the talking car, oy.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2014 2:27 pm

      Who wants a bossy shopping cart at the end of the day?
      Trip into Alice and Wonderland not requested. (What will they do with Farmer’s Markets? Hire some HaHa clown to follow along and “advise” customers? Maybe a talking cow or chicken or tomato)
      Next populous movement: “Vote for silence”?
      Thanks for stocking the comment shelf!


  11. Jay E. / Jul 24 2014 11:20 pm

    Good Lord. The last thing I need is some smart-mouthed shopping cart berating me for choosing Brand X Cheese over “Certified Organic” at 3x the cost.

    Will the voices never end?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2014 11:50 pm

      Ear plugs. Could really give online/grocery delivery companies a bit push if people start avoiding actual stores? (They can put voices/ads on computers, but you can turn the sound off and click choices really fast.) Not surrendering yet…my dog hates “little voices” and thinks they shouldn’t come out of devices – only TV and people’s mouths..she’ll locate and disarm those little speakers and chatters faster than you can blink. (Hey maybe she’s got a career opportunity there!)
      Thanks for dulling the noise with a comment


  12. csroth3 / Jul 25 2014 1:54 am

    That’s a fun one. I would go crazy if my shopping cart complemented every choice I make, which it would because I only eat healthy food. But what about those times when you just run in for a few goodies, treats for guests or bar-b-q food, birthday cake and ice cream? That would be really annoying.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 25 2014 2:28 pm

      Sometimes “perky” can be asking for trouble…like at the end of the day in the grocery store. Even worse you know you’d hear a whole chorus of the little chirpers throughout the store. (Would the squeaky wheel result in the final push over the edge?)
      Of course it might send people back to the peace and quiet of their own gardens. Thanks for shopping along


  13. EllaDee / Jul 25 2014 6:46 am

    Crazier and crazier this bid for our shopping dollars. The Corporates dress marketing up in the guise of caring. One of our big supermarket chains is proposing to put healthcare professionals in the supermarket aisles to assist shoppers make healthy choices. Puuulllllleeeeeeaasssse. Stop.
    Anyway, my food providers chat to me all the time, just one of the great things about farmers markets 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 25 2014 2:30 pm

      Gotta love the chicks and moooo-vers at a real market. (Can you imagine what might happen if tired shoppers were somehow trapped by dysfunctional exit doors of a store full of those carts?…typing up script now….giggles) Thanks for tossing a comment into this basket


  14. roughseasinthemed / Jul 25 2014 2:11 pm

    Now why did I know what this would be about?

    Of course my neighbour upstairs, the recipient of our free acorn squash, will need to be programmed.

    Here is your free food roughseas, garbanzos and pasta something, which he brought down the other night.

    Oh but can I accept it? Is it healthy? It looks to be freshly cooked. Mmm something could be dodgy. Perhaps I should send it away for testing until it comes back duly authorised


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 25 2014 2:37 pm

      Watch it – the underground foodies may be the next target…can’t trust people to use good instincts and commonsense. They must be “assisted” and “directed”. (Put those crutches down…call off the dogs….)
      But there all sort of horror movie possibilities with these….
      Thanks for stifling the sounds. (Whoo-hoo – below 80 this morning…extreme baking ahead though. Molly’s already been out for quite a run and belly up under the fan now. Post birthday waves to Snowy. Dignified paw wave to Pippa)


  15. shoreacres / Jul 27 2014 9:54 pm

    You know what? I’ve already gone to cash only and no use of those digitized cards that record your grocery store purchases. I’ve read too many articles about the use hospitals, health care providers and insurance companies already are making of the information they buy from the grocery stores. Think it’s urban myth? It’s not.

    It’s none of the government’s business what I eat. And, if I find out my doctor is passing along info, too, it will be time to go all Little House on the Prairie and rely on myself for healthcare, too. Live free or die is more than a slogan, though I’d rephrase it: live free, even if you have to die. At 68, I’ve had a good run, and I hope to extend it as long as possible. But the government can take a hike on this food business, and a good bit more.

    By. The. Way. I ate dinner today (noon dinner, country style) in a place packed with people, where there was NOT ONE electronic device anywhere in evidence. Not on the porch. Not in the kitchen. Not at the tables. Not at the cash register (well, they might have been swiping credit cards, but I didn’t see that, either. Nearly everyone was paying cash.)

    Best of all, there was a screen door and the woman at the cash register gave me her very own peach cobbler recipe. I know where heaven is! I’ll share later, but for now, try and take a guess. It was beyond the Houston SMSA. 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 28 2014 1:56 pm

      No screen doors. That’s probably why there’s so many problems these days. There used to be quite a variety of them – and you knew all their individual sounds. Maybe they still exist in places with less crime – I’d say heat, we always had the screen door locked and the front door open as kids.
      Data mining is a big deal. Exercise enthusiasts may be concerned with the new wrist device potential. Gotta read the fine print. Read this for fun and find out how vulnerable people can be without knowing. (LA TIMES)
      Thanks for shopping along


  16. jmmcdowell / Jul 30 2014 11:49 pm

    Talking grocery carts and shelves? There’s far too much non-stop chatter in the world as it is. I think I’d have to invest in noise-cancelling headphones and wear them in the store!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 1 2014 12:08 am

      Can hardly stand the chatty speech at the grocery store now telling you about the deli fresh or some special (Their out of state corp. office selected this horrid hick accent which must be what they think we talk here…it’s sending me more and more elsewhere. The overly perky canned music was bad enough, but that silly voice…..sadly Home Depot must have hired the same marketing company – only they stopped after so many fled the HeeHaw-ing.)
      Talking carts and shelves is just asking for trouble…
      Thanks for tossing a comment into the basket


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