March Madness: The Worst of Philadelphia

I’m a big fan of Brian Haddad’s “Piece of Garbage Madness,” an annual celebration of America’s worst offerings. Sludge rolls out his POG bracket every March to coincide with the NCAA tournament.

Last year’s winner was ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who triumphed over President Donald Trump in the Final Four before defeating Chip Kelly to become the biggest piece of garbage on this side of the Mississippi, or the other side, too, if you count his visits to Dallas to slink around in Jerry Jones’ luxury box.

Haddad’s bracket has a Philly slant but includes national themes also. For instance, there’s a phenomenal 8/9 matchup this year between social justice warriors and Skip Bayless. In my bracket, I had SJWs advancing to the Elite 8, where they would ultimately be eliminated by the Soda Tax. It’s the strongest field we’ve seen in years. There might even be parity.

Inspired by the concept, I decided to do a Philly-only spinoff, but out of respect to the originator, I didn’t include any of the local items that made it into Brian’s bracket. And since I didn’t get around to this last week, I decided to just do a Sweet 16 of Philadelphia’s most atrocious things, though we could certainly think of 64 entries, or even 68.

Here’s what I came up with:


Looks like a stacked bracket.

A bit of background on this year’s competitors:

#1 Seeds

Shouldn’t require much explanation here. I think we’ve all been victimized by the bloated and corrupt Philadelphia Parking Authority, a vile abomination of a government agency that I’ve designated the #1 overall seed.

Other entries are the wonderfully efficient SEPTA, the 3.8907% Philadelphia city wage tax, and the Schuylkill “Expressway,” a four-lane death trap of a highway built between a cliff face and a river.

#2 Seeds

I think Comcast “customer service” is a dark horse to make a Final Four run, and when I say “customer service,” I mean you sit on the phone for 45 minutes without actually talking to a human being.

But don’t count out the inflatable rat, a big blow up doll that union bosses roll out when their members won’t get their lazy asses back to work:

Philly Mag race baiting speaks for itself. I think we all know what they’re trying to do in 2018.

And a #2 seed that could very well have been a #1 seed is the parking spot saver, that selfish South Philly resident who will shovel out a space, throw down an orange cone or folding chair, and then get pissed off if someone else tries to park there.

Never mind the fact that it’s illegal per Philadelphia law, it’s just kind of douchey in general. Today or tomorrow, whenever the latest bomb cyclone finally goes away, I’ll probably go shovel my neighbor’s section of the sidewalk, then do the corner so people can cross the street. Nothing says “Brotherly Love” like able-bodied residents shoveling out only a spot for themselves, then acting like an asshole when someone tries to park their car there. Or, God forbid, an elderly neighbor could actually use 10 minutes of your time to clear their stairs or walkway.

#3 Seeds

In my opinion, we’ve got a really strong offering here.

Let’s start with “cash only restaurants with a $3 ATM charge.”

This is a Fishtown epidemic. Every spot in this part of Philly has an ATM in the back, but it’s one of those shitty Triton machines or whatever where you have to pay a ridiculous service charge. You either have to hit up Wawa before you come or pay $2.50 or even three whole dollars just for the ability to patronize the restaurant. And when you’re a Fishtown hipster, $3 goes a long way towards your next thrift store or vape lounge purchase.

I understand the issue with processing fees, but some of these places aren’t little mom and pop shops, there are a lot of long-standing businesses that do quite well for themselves and pass the cost to their customers by refusing to take credit cards. It’s an outrage.

“Trash everywhere” speaks for itself, as does the bridge toll. Nothing like paying $5 to LEAVE New Jersey.

And we’ve been around the block with sports radio callers. Whether it’s Levi or Bernie from Broomall or Mike from the Northeast or whatever, it usually goes something like this:

Host: Joe from Mayfair you’re up.

Joe: Hello?

Host: You’re up.

Joe: Can you hear me?

Host: Yea.

Joe: This is Joe from Mayfair.

Host: We’ve got you Joe.

Joe: Okay. Just wanted to say I’m a big fan of the show.

Host: Thanks Joe, what’s your point.

Joe: Yea, I wanna talk about Nick Foles.

Host: Go ahead Joe.

#4 Seeds

Ever see the police direct traffic at the stadium complex? Didn’t think so.

Ever visit the Aramingo Avenue Wawa? Don’t.

Ever sit on I-95 anywhere between Cottman Avenue and the Navy Yard? Probably.

As for the panhandling, I’m sympathetic to the folks who need help, but we’ve got to get them off the street and keep them out of dangerous areas, like the exit ramps coming off the highways. We’re just asking for someone to get hit by a car. It’s actually happened a bunch of times in the past ten or so years, but thankfully no deaths. We’ve got to “do a better job” with this, as Andy Reid once said.

Beyond that, we’ve got people walking up and down the street trying to sell bottles of water and crusty punks at 2nd and South who harass you when you try to go into the Wawa or just walk down the street. I guess the former isn’t “panhandling,” but we’ll just include solicitation and harassment in this category.

Other than all of the things I listed above, Philadelphia is a great place to live.


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31 Responses

  1. This is lame. Even for you, Kinker. You and Adair are now equals. And he doesn’t even “blog” anymore. Weak. FWIW: “Men who lack testicles and drive Audi A4’s” is easily a 2-seed

  2. “podcasts billed as groundbreaking but they actually cover the same exact topics as local sports talk radio”

  3. I got stopped at the light after the Ben Franklin bridge once and someone with a big cup of change came up to my window. I ignored him until he actually started banging on my window. Startled and caught off guard, I handed over some change. The guy then rolled his eyes, shook his head and walked away like he was owed something. In retrospect I wish I had told him to fuck off. Fuck panhandlers.

  4. Comeon get with it!

    This is the lame ‘rat’.
    You should have gotten a shot of the rat wearing the crown, pinky ring,
    smoking a cigar and choking the union guy wearing a hard hat.

  5. Kinker is now the bell cow for the CB offense, and has been for a while. Some advice, never put sludge in a positive light

  6. Spoken like a true sheltered suburbanite afraid of the population and culture of a major metropolitan city. Stick to Bucks Country, Whitey.

    Let me break down this “bracket” and attempt at comedy since I have nothing better to do running out the clock at work.

    1 seeds
    PPA – The PPA stinks but if you haven’t figured out how and where to park by now there’s no hope for you.
    SEPTA – Take a look at the mess in New York with the subway if you want a sense for how public trans works in a major city in a country with a crumbling infrastructure. SEPTA employees aren’t paid enough to care. There isn’t enough money or room to service the millions that need it. It goes beyond this city or the guy working behind the counter being unhelpful.
    City Wage Tax – Taxes are a good thing you R-e-p-u-b-l-i-c-a-n loser.
    76 – I take 76 everyday and can confirm it’s horrible but it’s not like this is some breaking news.

    2 seeds
    Comcast – A terrible company but it has nothing to do with the city. It’s based here but it’s a private company. You can use Verizon, you know.
    Parking Spots – Parking is impossible in many areas. Be respectful of the people that live on that block.
    Inflatable Rat – This is cool.
    Philly Mag Race Baiting – Philly Mag does a lot of good stuff and sometimes has bad columns. Crossing Broad does a lot of bad stuff and sometimes has good columns.

    3 seeds
    Trash – Should be the #1 overall seed. Massive issue. Makes me mad. Not funny. Very sad.
    Sports Radio Callers – Idiots no matter where you go.
    Cash Restaurants – Do some research before you go to a place and be prepared. Not difficult.
    $5 Toll – Your fault for going to the armpit of America that is New Jersey.

    4 seeds
    95 Construction – This is rather annoying but it seems to mostly affect 95 North from 676 to around Cottman, but that winds up backing up all of 676. There’s no real workaround with this.
    Aramingo Ave Wawa – Never been but fine sure whatever I’m sure it’s just THE WORST.
    Police Traffic – Take the subway to the game? I don’t know dude it’s a small confined area with 20,000 people or 65,000 people. You’re not going to get out of there in 5 seconds.
    Panhandling – Oh poor baby, some homeless man come up to you and asked for money. The horror! Your life must be so difficult.

    I’m sure there’s a Panera Bread or a Strip Mall filled with Nissan Centra’s you can frequent if Philly isn’t your speed.

      1. Helpful Hint: If you are wading into the Crossing Broad comment section, you have already lost.

      2. Long time first time here. Thanks for making CB great again, Kevin.

          1. Ignore this guy, Kevin. He’s just jealous of the knockoff t-shirt racket we have going.

    1. Right on. Thank god Trump is fixing our infrastructure. Hillary would have used that money to confiscate guns and help Muslims.

  7. He evaluates the lame, blog writing of guys with patchy beards/mustaches and body wave perm hairstyles…. what do you do when you’re not “blogging”? Or is that your retirement plan?

  8. Comcast doesn’t belong. Have you tried calling lately? Actually you don’t need to anymore because you can use their app to fix some issues or schedule your own call. Last time I called got through in 3 minutes. Fair is fair…

  9. Hello?
    Is this posted?
    Can anyone see this?
    First time, long time.
    Thank you for letting me put up a comment.
    I wanted to put up a post to comment on this, about Philadelphia.

  10. The union rat is the opposite of what you have stated. Union employees use it at sites using non-union workers, or at places where they are striking. How do you really not know this?

  11. The Methadone Clinic at 928 Market and the sleazeball addicts that hang around there and the nearby 7-11. It’s a gauntlet you have to face everyday exiting the 8th and Market transit stop as you walk up Market

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