The Worst of 2022

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It’s the last week of 2022, and we’ve already compiled the best albums, art, food and other beautiful things. It’s time for some good ol’ grousing about the worst stuff.

Yes, we know there were legitimately worse things this year. Those we leave to the experts. Here, instead, are our pet peeves, minor inconveniences and other petty grievances from 2022.

The End of the Choco Taco, a Perfect Ice Cream Novelty

I’m still holding out hope that this is a Taco Bell-Mexican Pizza situation, where manufactured scarcity eventually results in a joyous reunion in 2023 of Choco Taco and my mouth — plus millions in profit. But frankly, I don’t know if Klondike is that savvy. We might be burying Choco Tacos in the food graveyard next to Halfsies and Waffle Crisp. —Gabe Meline

Bipping

In case you’re new to the Bay Area or are blissfully ignorant, this year has seen a rise in bipping: when a car window gets smashed in order to steal goods from inside. It’s an epidemic that has led to cities like San Francisco earning the nickname “Bip City” — a slogan you can buy on shirts and hats.

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Nowadays, getting bipped feels as inevitable as Elon Musk’s destruction of Twitter. Bipping has become a sport for window smashers. In one case, my homie from East Oakland who works as a public educator had his windows bipped — and the culprit didn’t even take his new Jordans from the vehicle’s exposed trunk.

I’m tired of it. Seeing shattered glass on the street where a helpless car was parked the night before. Observing a vehicle on the freeway with a flapping piece of plastic covering the gap where a window once happily existed. And though it’s a reflection of the harsh economic disparity in our society — the result of having folks who make billions of dollars parking their Teslas in neighborhoods where others are forced to live on the streets — it needs to stop.

It’s time for the bippers to bip off in 2023. —Alan Chazaro

a white woman in a rhinestone dress with red lipstick on a red carpet

Being a Grown-Ass Woman Who Can’t Afford to See Taylor Swift

When I was in my teens in the early-’90s, I could afford to go and see big artists like Tina Turner and Michael Jackson when they came through town because it cost about $30 per ticket. According to the online inflation calculator, that means tickets today for similarly big shows should cost about $75. Instead, we’ve got Bruce Springsteen tickets over here going for $5,000 and Taylor Swift tickets going for $20,000. With a part-time job and pocket money I used to be able to see the greatest pop stars of the day, but now a night out would put me in credit card debt. Ticketmaster is the devil. —Rae Alexandra

John Fisher

Please, man. Just sell the A’s to the City of Oakland. —GM

QR-Code Parking

In order to validate my parking during a recent trip to the local multiplex (at the East Bay shopping plaza whose name rhymes with “Stray Feet”), I:

1. Scanned a QR code while inside the parking garage in order to download an app onto my phone — an app whose sole purpose is to allow people to park at this one shopping plaza.

2. Created an account on said app, setting a unique eight-character alphanumeric password.

3. Learned that I already had an existing account on the app.

4. Entered my cell phone number so that the app could text me a one-time password since I had of course long ago forgotten the one I’d originally picked.

5. Finally logged onto the app so that I could enter my parking spot, license plate and credit card number — all in a desperate scramble while holding up the line to enter the movie theater.

6. Found out that in order to receive the discounted parking rate I had to scan yet another QR code that had now popped up on my phone, using a special QR scanner at some undisclosed location. Sent my child to circle the movie theater looking for said scanner (while I waited in line to buy popcorn).

7. Finally scanned the code. Received a $2 discount on my parking fee.

Look, I get it: QR codes are one of the new realities of these pandemic times, and I’m not even usually that much of a hater. But it does take a special kind of arrogance to install a (completely unnecessary) QR parking system so confusing and convoluted that it requires four different signs explaining it, all located within a few feet of each other. At least in this case, the codes aren’t taking away all of the human jobs: During a separate visit, so many would-be shoppers were bewildered by the new parking setup that the mall had posted an employee in the garage to field everyone’s questions and complaints. —Luke Tsai

Three women in colorful, stylist outfits stand together in a line, one shocked, one smiling, one distracted.

Everything About ‘And Just Like That...’

It was like watching a ten-episode satire about a group of wealthy white idiots who don’t understand Gen Z, POC, or anything LGBTQ+. They also don’t understand comedy. Or podcasts. Or cell phones. Or grief. Or hearing loss. Or Sex and the City, the show that this dumpster fire was based on. Astoundingly, there will be a Season 2 of And Just Like That... in 2023 and I — along with everyone else who despised the first season — will inevitably hate-watch the whole thing. It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me. —RA

Box Elder Bugs Crawling Inside Your Ear

I’m not saying this is common, or specific to 2022. But it happened to my wife a few months ago and lemme tell you, it’s just as horrifying as you think. (Since you’re wondering: it turns out the way to get an insect out of one’s ear is to fill it with vegetable oil. The more you know!) —GM

Voice Prompts on Hinge

To hate something, you kind of have to love it too. When Hinge introduced the voice prompt feature in October, it was an exciting time. Suddenly, you could hear someone answer a question, like a real-life conversation! Sometimes it presented a dealbreaker situation: you’d scroll through someone’s profile, slowly becoming intrigued, only to be completely put off by their voice. Or, in a less common scenario, their voice pulled you in.

I’ve heard countless terrible jokes, unhinged vocalizations and just ... off-putting sounds. Worst of all (or best) are the men who try to deepen their voices to a slow, sexy drawl but end up unintelligibly croaking. Of course, the best-worst ones are often shared amongst friends, leading to late-night sessions where we recount the terrible and hilarious things we’ve heard and then laugh until our sides ache. The voice prompts can be awful, but I hope they never go away — they’re quite vulnerable, really. They reveal how someone hopes to be perceived in the world. And isn’t that what dating’s all about? —Kristie Song

That Whole Julia Fox and Kanye West Thing

Just gross on every single conceivable level. —RA

Refusing to Provide Paper Menus

I hate this new ritual with the fire of a thousand suns: the struggle to get your phone’s camera to lock onto a low-res QR code taped to a dimly lit table, only to be taken to ONE GIANT PAGE of available items (starters to desserts, an endless scroll; also here’s our lengthy brunch menu at 8 p.m. — just in case!) and no means of comparing said items with any ease.

Restaurant and bar people, I have found you a handy laminator that you can purchase on the internet for just $33! Working printers show up as free stuff on Craigslist every gosh darn day! Want to upcharge me for the cost of paper? I WILL PAY FOR THAT. Just please, please, let me peruse an unmediated menu with friends, order some of your delicious things and leave a nice big tip. —Sarah Hotchkiss

Using the Term ‘Exclusive’ in a Headline for an Article Which is in No Way Exclusive

You know who you are. This is just embarrassing for all involved. —GM

The Double Play Fire

You might think we public media types at KQED sit quietly in our cubicles sipping organic fair trade green tea, but we love a double shot of bourbon with branch water at our neighborhood bar as much as the next shoe-leather reporter. We’ve lost a few of ’em over the past few years (RIP Mission Hill), but seeing the Double Play in cinders hurt like a fastball to the elbow. The last vestige of Seals Stadium, which once stood grandly across the street, the no-nonsense joint with A-1 bartenders made a mean burger and a stiff vodka tonic. To paraphrase the journalist Pete Hammill, we had a million laughs there, and we have forgotten them all. —GM

Teslas

Before 2022, Tesla cars felt largely theoretical. They operated outside of regular people’s field of vision, like scabies. This was the year, however, that Tesla unleashed itself on the mainstream; a shiny tsunami of self-satisfaction whose very existence reminds us that Elon Musk is real.

I’m not in the habit of badmouthing electric vehicles, but the smugness inherent in Tesla design is impossible to ignore. Those giant computer screens! Those stupid pop-out door handles! The means of exiting a Tesla is even worse: a single small button inside the car door that’s easily confused with a window opener. It’s a button you must hold down to get it to work; a button that screams: “In an emergency, you won’t be able to get out of here.”

About a month ago, I started paying attention to who exactly was driving Teslas in the Bay Area. It took me three whole weeks to see a woman driving one — a reflection of how the opposite sex views Tesla’s CEO, I suppose. And that’s part of the problem. I try extremely hard in my daily life to not think about Elon Musk. This new plethora of Teslas is making that goal nearly impossible. —RA

Telling Women They ‘Still’ Look Good

On multiple occasions when I went out this year, I revealed during small talk with strangers that I’m not a recent college graduate. “You still look so good for your age!” they’d respond. Are women in their 30s supposed to be shriveled husks? The recent viral tweet about Hillary Duff — the one that marveled at how she ‘still’ looks good at 35 — solidified for me that this is an assumption we need to break up with, stat. —Nastia Voynovskaya

Ziploc-Top Packaging in General but Especially for Brown Sugar

I don’t know what’s wrong with rubber bands and clothespins as bag-closing tools, but the world seems intent on killing them off. Ziploc-top packaging got more prevalent in 2022, but it’s gotta go. If you do your job as a consumer and rip the sealed top off correctly, then both sides are equal and it’s impossible to dip your thumb in there and open the thing again without employing a SWAT team to separate the two sides. I always have to get some scissors afterward and cut one side lower than the other, so I can grasp each side properly. On top of that, if you’re dealing with a Ziploc opening on a bag of brown sugar, forget it — the sugar chunks gum up the ziploc grooves, so it never seals anyway! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?! —GM

The New Margarita Situation at Zeitgeist

I have spent the last 20 years sending people to Zeitgeist with a single purpose: Go and drink the greatest margaritas in the whole wide world. I’ve told new and old friends, far and wide. I have told non-drinking friends on the off-chance they one day start drinking again. Refreshing, tart and strong enough to knock down a bear, these margs were everything I ever wanted from an alcoholic beverage.

I say “were” because midway through 2022, Zeitgeist stopped making their margaritas to order and started serving them from (*sobs*) a keg. I tried to make the best of it, as I have with all of Zeitgeist’s recent changes. But the keg margaritas are the thing that have finally put me at my limit. Overly sweet and practically alcohol-free, these new margaritas are an affront to the perfect ones Zeitgeist used to serve.

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I’ve been informed by one of the bartenders that this new keg margarita is “the same recipe” they’ve always served. Okay, cool, but it doesn’t taste like it. The problem with keg cocktails is that all the alcohol sinks to the bottom. The ratios get thrown off. Whatever comes out of the tap is a crapshoot and in all likelihood the crapshoot is going to taste like, well, crap. —RA