I've been through this! When I was living in a crappy, recently-crappily-redone apartment in France, my shower drain got completely clogged with hair. Apparently, Parisians' solutions to clogged drains are: a. pour one of many caustic chemical solutions down the drain or b. hire a plumber. The crappy shower drain cover wouldn't twist off, leading me to believe it was permanently affixed there. I tried baking soda bombs and non-toxic drain cleaners to no avail. Being Parisian, my landlords were kind but incompetent at fixing anything, and "helped" by dumping extra-strength chemicals down the drain. I was prepared to call a plumber and then plead with my bank's insurance to pay for it when I accidentally fixed the problem myself. My weird wire snake accidentally popped the drain cover lid off, at which point I realized that there was a plastic cup right underneath it that was supposed to catch hair but had really just made a hair barrier. My landlady had basically dumped the chemicals into the cup. I then sent triumphant photos of the hairball to my dad. TL;DR: Sometimes the stupid drain cover just needs to be levered off. Also, Drano is terrifying.
@Beaks I have heard that those are amazing, BUT when I was dealing with a clogged shower drain, my dad warned me that he once had one break down in the pipe and get stuck there, further clogging the train (and angering my mother).
Yeah, that sounds a little expensive, but not insanely so. A lot of places automatically shine whatever they repair and charge you for that, too. I bought a pair of used wooden-heeled oxfords at a thrift store last year, and I think I paid about $20 for them to just re-sole the heels and file the wood down a bit. They told me that I had to resole them then, since any more wear on the bare wood would mean reheeling them, which was much more expensive. Shoe repair is expensive! I just paid $30 to get the heels on a pair of wedge flats resoled and the shoes shined after the previous re-soleing job fell apart. When I taught at a tiny town in France, the old-timey cobbler resoled my boot heels, sewed new leather to the lining, and shined the boots all for 42 euro. I miss him. While we're talking about shoe care, do not let your shoes get soaked through with snow! The same cobbler told me that snow is even worse for unprotected leather shoes than rain, especially when mixed with salt. I almost ruined those boots by trudging through snow in them.
Ugh. I have a friend who's a fine artist in a medium that's not very profitable, and until she switched to other paid work, doing this type of product design was how she made a liveable income. (Baubles for large companies and gift shops and the like.) Urban Outfitters is also pretty infamous for this type of theft, which is ironic considering the artsy/fight the man image they try to cultivate.
On Locked Out
@astauff This is bringing back panicky memories from when I locked myself out of my sublet in Paris. Not only was it Sunday night, it was Sunday night before a national holiday, when everything, and I mean everything, shuts in France. And on top of that, my friend was visiting from Germany and had a train back the next morning. I called one of the friend's numbers my sublettor had left me, and he just to be happened passing by on his way home. He spent at least two hours trying to get an X-ray he could slide under the bolt (apparently this works on some French doors!) and then trying to use it. Everyone we talked to in the building said that getting a locksmith at that hour before a holiday would cost close to a thousand euros. I knew that the sublettor, who was vacationing in a different country, had her keys with her and had no phone service. Her friend emailed her telling her on the situation, just in case. The sublettor (now my friend, somehow!) later told me that she was about to go out for the night and randomly decided to check her email. Just as we were giving up hope and making complicated contingency plans (reschedule the train, overnight the keys), she emailed her friend and said that an acquaintance had a third set of keys in Neuilly-sur-Seine. It was basically a miracle, though marred somewhat when that acquaintance scolded me for locking myself out and told me how lucky I was. I think I knew that by then! Luckily, the door of my next apartment was almost impossible to shut from the outside without a key.
I so needed this today. I graduated from a good college with pretty good work experience, but most of my heartfelt cover letters to places in DC have gone unanswered. Meanwhile, a number of my classmates from college got hired almost immediately to be "experts" of some sort at impressive-sounding places in DC. At age 22! I had the opportunity to meet with a high-level woman at a big nonprofit in DC, and when I told her that I couldn't afford to move there and work for free, especially after two dead-end internships elsewhere, she said, "Well, you might just have to."
@CubeRootOfPi I used to have a crappy old BlackBerry that could do nothing. I had a 200mb/month data plan, but I never used it because my phone could do nothing. I now have a fancier phone and still don't use/have much data, but having GPS/GoogleMaps is AMAZING. I am so directionally-challenged that I still sometimes get lost, but now I can actually find my way back! Being able to get/access email on the fly is great, too.
This isn't surprising. A few years ago, the well-known and not-cheap Jose Garces set of restaurants in Philly posted an ad on Craigslist for an unpaid intern. The intern would be doing edifying things like unloading trucks and organizing things on shelves. The Philly Metro has a post mocking it, but I think the ad I saw was for even more menial labor.
@OllyOlly Agreed. I did this once. In my case, I realized as soon as I hit pay and immediately changed my address and messaged the seller. I assume that they were too high-volume to notice. I think I eventually went to my old address and got the thing in person, since I knew the residents. I think I dinged the seller a tiny bit in my feedback, but I still considered it my fault and would never have asked for my money back.
Some person I'm chatting with asks what I do, and when I tell them my field and lack of job, they go, "You seem wonderful! We have a well-paying full-time job with health benefits opening at my organization, and you'll be perfect." And I don't have to write any more cover letters or try to impress anyone. I guess the nerd's version of being discovered waiting tables or something. Also, Logan, have you been watching lots of Parks and Recreation?