Scott Hardie | September 15, 2023
What common rule, regulation, or societal convention do you often hear advice to ignore that you actually agree with?

I'm of a strong opinion about mine: "Use by" and "best by" and similar dates on food packaging really do matter. I frequently hear advice about how "they're only guidelines!" and you can safely eat food after them. I'm sure that's true for some food somewhere, but on the several occasions when I've ignored recently-passed dates and trusted the food because it smelled fine and looked fine, I've gotten violently ill. The last time, I swore it'd never happen again. Maybe I'm just more prone to food poisoning than other people, but I'm militant about those dates and won't eat food beyond them; I'd rather waste the food than spend another two painful days restricted to my bed and bathroom. Grocery stores work hard to avoid selling expired food but mistakes happen, so keep checking those dates. There's talk of standardizing the dates, which is fine with me as long as they're not artificially extended just to reduce waste.

What often-ignored rules do you think are worth following?

Matthew Preston | September 18, 2023
DANGER: Electrical Shock Hazard

Working with electricity can be basic work sometimes, but by all means, respect it! I am often shocked (pun intended) by the number of professionals I see that don't take basic precautions when working in areas with these signs. One mistake means your life and/or the life of others around you.

Steve West | September 18, 2023
One of the hardest tasks for new drivers is merging onto a highway. I always treat the first lane as a 'merge' lane and rarely a 'drive' lane. It drives me insane seeing people being discourteous by not allowing an easy merge for others, especially new drivers.

Scott Hardie | September 18, 2023
Matthew: I'm disappointed but not surprised, I guess. The Internet is full of footage of people not taking safety seriously. Whenever I see one of those, I can't help but wonder whether it was mandated by an unscrupulous boss or whether the employees really just don't care, but it never fails to remind me of the saying, "Safety regulations are written in blood."

Steve: See, I'm a slow driver, so I'm often told by fast drivers in my social circle that they hate drivers like me and wish that we'd stay all the way over to the right, so I try to oblige... when traffic levels are low. Once the highway starts to get busy, I feel like staying to the right isn't a viable option, because there's just too much changing of lanes back and forth. :-\ I have never stopped feeling guilty for an incident in the 2000s when the three-lane highway was clear and I stayed in the far-right lane to pass a guy working on his broken-down car. I could hear his angry "Oh, come on!" inside my car, and Kelly admonished me for disobeying the law and basic civil decency by not getting over to give him some room. I'll never again pass that close to someone on the shoulder unless changing lanes is impossible, in which case I'll drastically slow down.

Samir Mehta | September 21, 2023
Expiration dates on products that I don’t believe expire.

I’m a regular blood donor and I don’t ever follow “don’t exercise for twenty four hours”

Scott Hardie | September 23, 2023
I can't donate blood, and it's shamefully rare that I exercise, so I had no idea that you're not supposed to do the latter after the former, but I guess it makes sense. It sounds like one of those overzealous precautions that exist more for the sake of their liability than your safety. I have been getting infusions lately, and they make me sit around afterwards for 30 minutes to make sure that i don't have an allergic reaction, which makes less and less sense each time after the first.

To me, another rule worth following is a recipe, as opposed to cooking by guessing the portions and times. Sure, at the end of a hard day, there's value in being lazy, and we've all had countless "good enough" dinners made by approximation. But if you want a really good meal, in my experience cooking, it's best to stick to the precise measurements that someone already went to a lot of trouble to figure out for you by testing through many iterations, and so I'm surprised to have met so many people who disagree and see no difference. (To be clear, I'm not talking about intentional deviations from a recipe to put your own spin on a dish. I mean trying to replicate an existing dish without taking the time to be precise about it.)

Samir Mehta | September 25, 2023
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