Some thoughts I’ve had about companies that appear to be after my sanity:

The new wave of technology with cars is that they are “smart.” They have cars that can parallel park (because you know how bad we humans are at that), and that will apply the brakes for you if you’ve become too wrapped up in the latest Justin Bieber to notice that there is a semi stopped in front of you. Granted, these cars are probably safer, and some of the technology is cool, but there is a point when a car should just do what it is told.

For example, on a recent rainy day I needed to put some stuff in the back of our vehicle, which we call The Orange Toaster. I walked to where my keys were hanging in my house and clicked the “Unlock” button on the remote control twice. I saw the Orange Toaster flash its lights, indicating that it had agreed to my proposal and unlocked the hatch.

I spent a minute or two on my front porch, gathering the items that needed transport, and then hustled out the front door, into the rain, with my arms full. Just as I reached the Toaster, its lights flashed again and, lo and behold, the hatch was locked. I had not locked it, as my keys were still dangling peacefully in the house; and my wife was not home, so it wasn’t some practical joke.

Instead, Le Grille-Pain d’Orange had decided that it had been unlocked for quite long enough, thank you –and it had best button back up. This decision left me standing in the rain with my arms full, tugging vainly on the back latch while shouting words unworthy of print in this fine publication.

I’m sure that the “feature” was added with only the best intentions. Forgetting to lock the car is probably a common problem, and perhaps this auto-lock feature helps to prevent theft or vandalism. Maybe it prevents unwelcome visitors from entering the vehicle while you are stopped at a stop light. That is great, along with the rest of these new-fangled safety features, but they are most definitely moving us down the path from “driver” to “passenger.”

Please, just give me a car that knows the first rule of any tool – to obey…

…When I go to work in Cambridge, I sometimes stop for an iced coffee at a coffee and doughnut chain store (you know the one – they give kids tickets to seats in the nosebleed section of Fenway Park). There is usually a line, so I want to get in there, get my coffee, and get out. Yet, in my haste to escape, I have noticed that this company has an annoying policy: If they don’t give you a receipt with your purchase, then your purchase is free (or something along those lines).

Here’s the thing: I don’t want my receipt. I order the same thing every time (Large iced coffee with skim milk. “No sugar?” No, no sugar). I know how much it is. Getting a receipt means that I either have to stuff it into my pocket (where I will forget about it, and eventually throw it away at home – where I pay for trash stickers) or make a stop at the trash barrel and force the receipt through the remarkably resistant trash can door while people jostle past me on their way out of the shop.

It’s a small point, I know, and the big corporation is probably trying to do the right thing by making their customers know that they aren’t being overcharged. However, in this age of environmental awareness and rising trash sticker costs, shouldn’t receipts be printed only on demand in places like that?

When I go to the ATM next door to the bean grinders, the screen reminds me that receipts harm the environment (and, although the screen doesn’t say so, cost the bank money for paper). So, the idea is already in the neighborhood; now we just need the doughnut people on board – fewer useless scraps of paper for everyone!…

…Speaking of annoying business decisions, I was recently book shopping. Now, book shopping for me involves a couple of layers – I can either buy directly through my Kindle (which my wife bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago), or I can buy the physical book. I usually like to buy for the Kindle, because my bookshelves are already to the overflow point.

While checking out a book by James Miller and Tom Shales, called Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, I noticed that the price to download it onto my Kindle (sent through the internet, no printing, no binding, no shipping) was more expensive than it was to buy a hardcover version of the same book from the same company ($14.91 for the hardcover, $14.99 for the electronic version).

That, ladies and gentlemen, is ridiculous. I guess they were hoping that people just blindly buy books for their Kindles without looking at prices. Felt like I was being gouged. The whole point of the Kindle, for me, was that without all of the overhead costs the result would be cheaper books – and for a while, it did. But I have noticed the prices inching up over the past year or more, and now, well, it seems a bit ridiculous.

But, since I am nothing if not an idiot, I paid the higher price for the book on my Kindle anyway (unofficial review – much too long, boring at times, not as funny as I had hoped, but easy to read and somewhat interesting if you are an ESPN fan).

Today, when writing this column, I re-checked the prices and the Kindle version is now two dollars cheaper than the hardcover version – but, because common sense is apparently not rampant, the Kindle version is still 76 cents more expensive than the paperback version. At the very least, I feel like the company owes me two bucks, although I would gladly trade that for a sensible explanation that doesn’t involve “we are trying to gouge you.”

The lesson: Use the library.