Placation

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I am not sure if that is the right word or not. Generally, I am not at a loss for words but the definition for placation kind of fits but doesn’t at the same time.

The definition means that there is some sort of concession or giving of ground. But what if that isn’t really the case? What if someone has just told you something, like “Let’s discuss this at a later date,” but has not intention of actually following through with their statement. They just said it to shut you up.

Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, I don’t like being treated that way either. Whatever word is appropriate to be used for that situation. Appeasement? Maybe, but again it implies that something was given up by the other party. Concession? No, that’s not it. Patronize? Yeah, maybe that’s it.

I don’t know. I just know I don’t like being treated like that.

 

Price gouging?

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What do you guys thing? Could this instance be considered price gouging or just market demand?

New Years Eve plans weren’t set in stone yet, so going to the movie theater was determined to be a good idea. Killing a few hours at a movie would help get the evening along and help me make it to the new year (instead of being an old, grumpy person – er, like every other day).

Anyway, we only have one movie theater that is local so to the AMC we went. During the ticket purchasing process it was discovered that the normally $5+ tickets at the theater were just the normal price of $11+. Huh? What’s going on here? Discount Tuesday has been a thing for years and this last year has been no different, so why suddenly are prices not the normally discounted price?

Come to find out, because both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve are the night before a holiday, the theater suspended the special price to take advantage of the fact that maybe more people would want to go see movies. Really? They’re going to jack the normally low price up for two days just so they can take advantage of their customers?

To me, it smacks of “price gouging,” because it is taking advantage of an abnormal situation to make more money. The official definition doesn’t say anything about a “state of emergency” or “disaster,” but if you look at legal definitions it tends to lean in that direction.

I guess it probably isn’t really price gouging, but it feels really shady when you are standing in line to buy tickets with your kids and what would have been a $25 night at the movies turns into $60 (before you even buy popcorn or snacks) because you have no choice at that point. I watched family after family be surprised by the unique “price adjustment” and the unspoken visual debate between husband and wife take place via their eyes. There were some who just turned around and left, but not very many. As parents, it’s hard to turn around and leave when you have all those eyes staring at you in expectation. So, they break the budget to make it happen.

Real shady, AMC. Real shady.

Teams

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Transition is hard. Lots of people hate change and resist it when it happens. I am not really one for change for change’s sake and I don’t really fear it, but sometimes change just isn’t necessary. – especially when you have something that serves the purpose fine the way it is.

Software changes should make your life better (either more convenient, streamlined, or all encompassing). At the very least, it should make your life less complicated right off the top. At work, we are going in the wrong direction for ease and internal communication.

We are switching from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither until now.

I am just learning about this new software and how to use it, but so far I am not all that impressed. It seems to have taken the social media approach to business communication. Teams doesn’t integrate Outlook with it, so not only do I have to have Teams open but I also have to have a separate program open for my calendar and email. How is that really streamlining things? It’s not. At least not yet.

Guess you could say I am not feeling much like a Teams player…

**Thank you, thank you…I’ll be here all week…**

False Advertising

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It’s really nice when a store advertises an item will be on sale and then when you go to the store to buy they don’t actually have it.

I went to Costco over the weekend to get an item that was in their sales flier that was good on items between Dec. 13-24th. It’s an item they have nearly all the time and its not an item that is in high demand – Wahl Clippers. I don’t believe there are that many people out there chomping at the bit to buy a set of these things (there are a bunch of long haired men running around these days, so I mean, come on…)

Anyway, I go to the usual place they are at the store and they are nowhere to be found. What I can find, however, is eight different types of electric toothbrushes and replacement heads and three different items for women’s hair styling. I check all the usual places for the clippers and I even check where they have a couple of men’s items on the end cap of the aisle. Nothing. Not anywhere.

Hmmm.

I ask. “We don’t have any in stock right now.” REALLY? You advertise it and then don’t have any? You normally have the item and you don’t have any? Something is fishy here!

I need a haircut and I am not about to pay to have someone buzz my hair for me. I keep it short. Like real short. It is probably about at 1/8th of an inch right now and that is too long!

Looks like I’ll be ordering from Amazon.

fitbit – one last chance

This is a love/hate story. I can’t think of anything else to say about what you are going to read. I love the idea of the product, but the execution of said product hasn’t been great, nor good. Thus, I find myself loving the product and hating it at the same time.

Bear with me here. This is a long, complicated story with lots of history. I’ll do my best to condense it to a cohesive, frustratingly loud, “Aarg!” and head shake.

It all started with the fitbit Charge. It was small enough to wear comfortably but large enough to be helpful and readable. It had features I liked and it was convenient enough to wear. Then the troubles started…

The bands on the Charge were not holding to the molded plastic inside and the rubber started peeling away from the unit. Eventually the band would just wear out and would need to be replaced. I wore it as long as I could. Luckily the warranty from the store it was purchased from hadn’t expired yet. They replaced it free of charge. But, it didn’t last long and they were again going to have to replace it because of the same issue. This time I decided to pay the difference and upgrade to the Charge HR.

This time the band on the unit seemed to be much better and lasted longer. But, after about a year, the display screen started having issues and it got hard to read. I made it last as long as I could until is just up and died (at least the screen did).

I missed having it on my wrist and they had a new version of the Charge out, the Charge 3, so I bought it off of Amazon. I was happy with it. Bands were good. It had more functions than I had previously. All was going good until…about eight months into it the display screen started to do strange things. At first, it started loosing lines of pixels. As more and more started to drop off, then the screen turned almost a light white color – like someone had turned the contrast up and it no longer had much.

I contacted customer support after doing some research and seeing that other users were having similar issues. I took pictures (sorry don’t have those any longer) and they walked me through some reset functions and finally determined the screen was bad and since it was under warranty they sent me a new unit. I got the replacement, put the bands from the old one on it and off I went.

Less than four months later, I am contacting customer service, again. This replacement unit, which I highly suspect was a refurbished Charge 3, was beginning to display the same issues as the one it had replaced (see top of photo below). There were lines forming in the display again and it was losing pixels. We of course go through the whole process of “Did you try this? Or this? How about that?”

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Now, I am starting to get irritated. Look, you have a bad product, parts, design, something. I want my money back. I don’t want another replacement of this product. The best they will do for me is replace it or give me a 50% discount on another product. As if my confidence isn’t already worn down, “OK, whatever. I’ll give you one more shot.”

So, I took my 50% discount to their products page and purchased the fitbit Versa 2. With the discount it was actually less expensive to buy it now than with any of the Black Friday specials the stores were offering. So, I’ll jump in cautiously.

Product arrives and I open it up to set it up. Immediately I am met with this thought as I go to charge the unit, “Who was the designer of the charger and how did this idiot get it approved for production?” Seriously, my confidence is already not real high on your product and then you send me this?

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fitbit, you’re really gonna have a large faced product that will sit sideways on a surface so that it can’t be seen or used while it is charging? REALLY? 

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I was a little wary of getting a large faced product since that is the reason I don’t really like wearing watches, but so far the larger screen isn’t the issue. Design. Design is the issue, at least for the charger. Not a good start, or first impression. My confidence isn’t high in this product but we’ll see where it goes. This may be the final product I ever purchase from them.

I was already eyeing the Apple Watch, so it may not be far off in my future.

Savings

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Anyone else notice that banks, the place that needs money more than anyone to do the business of money, does nothing to encourage savings? I mean, well, they do give it lip service but that doesn’t really count.

A bank is a place to put money, to store it or save it. That’s what they were originally created for. It was safer to have it stored in one place where they could keep it safe and then when people needed it they could go there to get it out.

As time went along, the banks figured out they could make money by loaning out the money people deposited with them and then charging interest on the loan, thus making it a profitable venture to store money.

As banks increased the amount they loaned out, they needed more and more people to “invest” with them and they used the new capital to loan more money out. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, but it makes sense for all involved until…

…until it didn’t make sense to put money in the bank any more.

The interest rate you get from the bank on the money you put in the bank is almost nil. Like far all intents and purposes, it is ZERO. So, what is the benefit of putting money in the bank? Sure, there is the convenience of not carrying around piles of cash or pounds of coins, but is that all?

Banks need capital. You think they’d do something to encourage people to put there money there. I actually deposited a rather large amount of money in a bank that was giving an outstanding rate on CDs (Certificates of Deposit). That’s how a bank should generate capital.

They seem to take for granted that they are just guaranteed business, which maybe they are. Maybe consumers pay no attention at all to the fees or benefits they get from bank to bank, but it does pay to shop around and give business to banks that actually benefit you rather than just use you as an endless supply of currency to feed off of.

We need to be better consumers and actually cause the banks to fight for our money. Let’s bring the competition back and make them beg for our money instead of letting them tell us what we can do with our own money. Make sense?

Who’s with me on this?