Columns Old

Just another WordPress site

Archive for January, 2016

without comments

sad, the woman

Little Saigon neighborhood of Westminster and Garden Grove

So the three of them have been living in a Mazda Miata…  Wow.  Try to find a car in L.A.

The one, the castration guy, has been held for almost a year and a half with no bail or trial?


Next story.

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Constables in Pennsylvania.

First, I think it is another one of those stories where everyone knew.  And it wasn’t even an emergency–an eviction notice.  This man was known to have some problems.

I think it shows poor judgement by the constable.  Drop the eviction notice and run.

More.  Prosecutors shouldn’t just list/charge everything and hope something will stick.  I think murder is too much.  The constable is distraught because he (too) acted wrongly.

Stop with the lethal force.

I couldn’t find much on the family.  The mother was there too.  What really was going on?

Written by admin

January 29th, 2016 at 7:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized


without comments

Must write eBay part 3.  Interesting, this original note to the seller does not divulge the product; you had to be there.  In the meantime:

I’m not one to rate sellers or come here for social interaction, for some reason this just struck me and…

This is one of those things I don’t know why people are selling* and I can only thank eBay for making it possible. These things are so cool. Arrived in 2 days. I have bought maybe 100 cables, connectors, light bulbs etc. from, usually, China. One or two really crummy items, but never, ever a problem. Correction, a few times, absolute and immediate solution per the eBay way. Anyway, these were here in a couple of days.

Really cool product, works great. I’ll keep you informed on performance… Just kidding. I’m going to buy more. I hope you are small enough to realize the same buyer and at least save $$$ on shipping. If I order a bunch and you throw in a free one–no dickering here because you need to make something–you will make my day!

And the light, I’m going to use them to illuminate my front walk. Kidding again.

More clues…  It is a package of 5.  Sent Monday from NY arrived Wednesday in Colorado.  Perfect label and package and bigger and better than expected.  Total price, $4.11.

Last hint:  no, they are not Viagra pills.

*  I can kind of understand $1/free shipping items from China–it must be subsidized and is maybe it is not great way to grow the economy long term–but I don’t really know why people in the U.S. do it.  This had to be around $3 postage, plus a shipping envelope and label, and the product(s).  I admit, I did do it myself at one time–great deals on computer monitors!–mostly to learn the system.

Written by admin

January 27th, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

bellco (small b)

without comments

I think it is ego.  “Our call center.”  Even the uninitiated will learn there are things that cannot be handled this way or that way.  They have no idea how sacred these communications are; that, a blunder that big, cannot be undone.  But we are big enough to do it this way.  We insist on doing it this way.  That is ego.

You should live and work in the South…   I’m sorry, that is a personal digression.  It relates to doing things in a personal way.

I have seen some blunders by bellco, but this has to be the clincher.  Maybe there is a part of their business that works with this type of set-up–what they have done is try to divert customer service to some who knows what or where group.  That is only part of it, but that is the main part that affects me.  I think even the biggest and best financial institutions have people and branches and personal service; that is the thing about banks, investments, loans, and money, loan sharks and bailbonds notwithstanding, there is often an extra level of trust and service required.  Tell me people in the industry don’t know this.

Second, I don’t think you can separate the specifics of your business–loans, interest, credit cards, mortgages–and the people who work on them and this unskilled/outsourced/work at home customer service solution.  Again, maybe there is a niche or significant market, and you have products/services that work that way, but I don’t see it.

Third, as I mentioned to another bank, “I don’t understand how you do business that way.  Suppose I wanted to buy a car and wanted a car loan?”  I tried calling several bellco branches too.  There was no way to reach them, save for disconnections, hold times, and a (DELETE disparaging adjectives) work force.  Maybe there is a way to fight through it and befriend someone.  I don’t see that either.

EDIT:  I don’t know what bellco’s strategy or goals are and that is the problem with armchair quarterbacking.  I have a free checking account and almost everything is free.  I like it because I also have a rather large line of credit, which I pay quite a bit for.  I can see a little logic in this kind of an approach depending on your market and products.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by admin

January 27th, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

eCommerce arbitrage

without comments

No one calls it e-commerce anymore because it is just commerce.  These things are popping-up.

Amazon started it with their marketplace.  They’ve changed, because now they are in the warehouse business, but they were always a marketplace in a slightly obscured way.

Electronics items are the products I am most familiar with.  (EDIT:  It doesn’t matter.)  Sometimes you see particular items and they are available several places.  Sometimes the seller (e.g., Green PC) tries to sell them themselves.  Very often they will sell on eBay too.  You can’t blame someone for wanting to copy eBay but that is hard…*  There are all kinds of creative attempts and efforts.

Wayfair seems to do nothing but act as a hub.  Try it sometime–take one of their items and see if you can find it elsewhere.  You will enter the land of the copycats.

Tanga apparently started with an expertise in, and garage full of, board games.

Selling used, refurbished, or NEW computers…  I have several large spaces full of them.  You could maybe spend a day refurbishing a Windows 7 computer and it might be worth $50.  Of course there are lots of variations and upgrades.  Suffice it to say that there really isn’t any money in reselling or wholeselling either.  Add in shipping, packaging, eBay fees, etc. too.

It is interesting because you really have to cross your t’s and dot your i’s, first of all from an ad, picture, and description perspective.  Then, any number of SNAFUs can turn the sale from a low-margin win to a loss.  Your business is now doing what it does and losing money.  And then there is that giant, every-present bugaboo of consumer expectation; technical example here, but if you say display port, what exactly does that mean?  Finally, there are credit cards.

Credit cards are huge.  They’ve built the category by saying trust us.  Recently I made a purchase similar to this without a credit card and it is very different.  I did it for the story!  ($100)

Ebay has revolutionized this process.  Revolutionized is a cliche’ and a bad word (okay, Castro); they have changed it.  Expectations, followers, match the competition…  Basically, if it is not as described it very likely could be free.  Same goes for shipping, payment, etc. too.

How far, really, do you push?  Or, to be really nasty, when does it become free?  At what point does it cost more in shipping, service, refunds, and associated costs?

This one, a desktop computer, was $80.  It was a good deal.  I bought it for my household.

Tanga–I really don’t know anything about them; I find their ‘we’re so great and growing’ mantra off-putting–has taken this a step further.  Their business model appears to be ‘we’re so great at finding bargains we’re going to build a large business out of it.’

So, back to the transaction.

* There are many, many reasons.  The one I was really thinking about here is they have support staff and sometimes they are really good and will step in.

Yikes.  Doesn’t matter, I’m protected.  I wonder what an actual email address is for Tanga?  Google knows better.  I was not looking to call.  I am covered in writing and without it.  But this isn’t a good look.  You’re going to get blasted on the internet and that is enough.  There’s a bit of a trend toward no phones but it isn’t going to work for a legit business.  Trying to hide is really bad.  (The complete opposite, the owner/ceo’s name and email would be much better.  Really want to position yourself?  Much better.)


Sorry, just in the mood.  This sent today to Tanga.


I don’t know what I am going to do here, but I feel I am going to wind up with a refund.  The computer, after a few days of use, is starting to make considerable noise.  Moving it or tapping gently helps.  Also, the cabinet is severely scratched (unlike images and “grade”).  Also, the thing with processing, creating shipping label, delaying–until my inquiry–and changing the delivery date (Tanga website) was just bad.  A reply to my concern took 2 1/2 days.

I called Green PC (sorry, not their name).  The purchase comes with a year warranty.  I was just curious about the whole thing.  And I was honest with them too–I told them the computer I received actually has a pretty significant upgrade.  That was a bad experience too–the person I spoke with lied to me about the DisplayPort (that is a poorly promoted/misleading feature too) and connected me with an unanswered-by service department.

Now I notice more Targa fine print–an item “damaged in shipping,” restocking fees, buyer pays shipping, and nowhere did I see detail on not working properly, not as described, poor service, etc.  It doesn’t matter, I’m protected by my credit card.

Written by admin

January 27th, 2016 at 10:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

back again?

without comments

This is a test of LibreOffice word processing.

I have been obsessed with customer satisfaction lately.

I don’t like shopping at my local Safeway anymore and last Friday I let them know it. There are seldom enough checker or baggers and the woman at self-checkout is snarly (an employee complained about her too), and that usually doesn’t operate at full capacity either. So just leave me alone, it is a good company with good products and prices, and I’ll be fine…

It almost never works that way. Some of the items or specials you can’t just scan as they have coupons or codes or something, so an actual person helps. But the biggest problem is things ringing up wrong, and it almost never happens in a customer-favorable way. Usually they are items with significant savings and I have more than one. The bad/undependable checkout staffing means, maybe half the time, I don’t notice it. Even if I do, I am tired of the arguments. If I don’t notice it immediately, I have to go back, first I have to re-check the shelf, then go and wait and argue… There is never anyone staffed there. Maybe I have to wait while they go check the shelf.

And then something is supposed to be free or credited, no? What, for the store/manager, is the incentive to correct it otherwise? And for the customer/me, this was all so I could get it at the displayed price anyway? It is so common it could be called intentional, or allowed.

(A bit more on the if it rings up wrong it is free thing. I heard that from employees at this store before, until they were corrected. Stores do it and customers expect it. Preach.)

Unemployment is down… At one point, maybe two or three months ago, they had a big sign saying they’re trying to hire. It is a company-owned store and Denver is big and growing. It appears that, overall, it is just not a big enough concern.

“You can pick it up next time you are in the store,” the manager said. It does make me think about the community presence and the assumption that I’ll be back. Me too. I do not enjoy berating these women—they are all women—who are the same people I often see in the store. Now I am known as “the grape juice guy.”

I also do not like not having control over what goes on my credit cards.

So maybe it is not a nice place to work. What did the assistant manager say, they are “minus 17.”  Perhaps it is a bit of a tough labor market, but I bet there are people at Safeway who know how to staff a store. I think it is like a lot of things—you have to find people who want to do it.

Next, the scam internet seller. Bank of America. Tanga. I heart consumer behavior!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by admin

January 25th, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


without comments

Those who know me know I am a student of gender roles.

This is one of the most amazing phenomena I have seen.  How one can screen out terrorists or anyone who could commit such an act is probably the most obvious problem associated with it.  The refugee situation in Europe is going to blow up.

There is a severe and growing rape problem.  New Year’s eve in particular, hundreds of women were groped or otherwise accosted by gangs, Muslims, or refugees.  Certain (Scandanavian/Norway) countries are providing “lessons” on how to treat women.

There is a culture clash over the treatment of women by these younger males.  There are contributing issues, such as the make-up of the immigrants (80% male), shelter, treatment, etc.

There is even an undercurrent to cover it up.  All the tough decisions on the refugees, Muslims, and terrorists could be revisited.  Individuals too, who want to be tolerant, could be in a bind while others will certainly fight back.

The events in Cologne are stunning.

Now it is turning to, and it may become about, crime.  Crime.  You just can’t defend it.

Written by admin

January 9th, 2016 at 7:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Spotlight, 2015

without comments

“Golfing is not a verb.”

Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Crudup are excellent.

Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton (stage name!) are a little contorted playing Bostonians; Rachel McAdams’ character is a cliche’; there’s the colleague who is the family guy; the church boosters are predictable too.

It is a massive story (albeit one that is slightly old).  The movie speaks a bit to the role and responsibility of major newspapers but that too is dated.  Still, the role of a muckraker…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by admin

January 7th, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized