Superstitions & Cribs

When I first became a mother in 1978, times were hard and dollars were in short supply.  I had been married for over 6 years and we hadn’t prevented pregnancy, it just didn’t happen!  I got so darn sick, so fast even the doctor I saw believed it was the flu.  The only one who knew differently was my mother, and she shared that information with everyone but me. When I did find out, I had no one to tell.  My mother had already told them weeks before.

My mother claimed to be the seventh child of the seventh generation.  That designation we were told gave her insight into many things. Obviously knowing someone else was pregnant was one of them.  She often said she just knew things before they happened.  She was also a very lucky person.  However, it wasn’t until one of my sisters gave me a crib for my expected baby that we put one of her superstitions to the test.

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Cybercrime – Was PT Barnum Right?

Cybercrime is rampant – but was P.T. Barnum right when he reputedly said there was a sucker born every minute?  I see examples of attempts at tricking people out of their information and merchandise cross my desk and screen every day.  These cyber criminals are crafty and tricky.  You get to really believe that they are whom they say they are – and comply with their requests.   Only to ~  a few minutes later realize it was a trick.  Then you scramble to try and cut your losses, if at all possible.

I have inner radar for such things – and am thankful for it, not everyone does.  I know that while I may have missed one or two opportunities in my lifetime, I am sure that I have saved myself from thousands.  Thousands you say…. and yes, I mean thousands.   Each and every day in my email or by phone, there are at least 10 different scam attempts.  For me erring on the side of caution is much better than the alternative. Listen or read very carefully – there is usually a tip-off in their communication.

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Who cares about honesty, integrity and ethics?

Did you ever get the feeling you might be the only one who cares about honesty, integrity and ethics?  I do. I really believe and always have that there is nothing to replace those characteristics – in business and in my personal life.

As I read the newspapers, watch the TV news, or even scan the headlines online, I see more and more of these values being exchanged for money and power, and occasionally other things.    When did the money and power become the driving force in the universe, and why? Is it because with money and power you no longer have to deal honestly, show your integrity, or function ethically?Honesty Ethics Integrity Trashed

Our Congress and Senate leaders including those people who are running for offices in this country have to be running for a reason.  To get elected, they will spend millions of dollars (many times, millions of their own money), and lay out their life for all to examine for a job that pays $174,000 to $223,500 a year. There has got to be more to it.  Even if they possess the moral necessities as I see them, they are overpowered and out-voted by those who don’t.  They cannot vote their heart and conscience or push to enact the promises they made on the campaign trail, because they are heavily pressured by the lobbyists and special interest groups externally and other members internally.  Many, too many times, they compromise and I believe it is because they have no choice.  Any of us, who has never been in any of those positions, can’t speak to the actual “why” of this, but I have seen it happen over and over and over again!

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Being Aware of Extra Fees – Part Two

There are some businesses, and I am not pointing a finger at a specific one, that I truly believe try to find something “extra” to charge for each time you make a purchase.  There are some who want to sell you additional things like warranties and the like, but here I am taking about things you don’t want and didn’t approve.  They just add it on and hope you won’t notice and just pay it.  Sometimes they make a mistake with these charges, but it’s so blatantly wrong — I tend to believe it’s not a mistake.  Not enough people check over their receipts and invoices.  Not enough people refuse to pay the extra charges.  Even for some who do, it’s just impossible to fix and they get stuck with them anyway.

Just the other day, Christmas Eve, I got hit with a surprise $5.00 charge on my receipt, at a local sporting goods store. It was for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, but I didn’t approve it, or even know about it till I found it on the receipt and then the cashier had the nerve to ask my husband if he did it.  First,  there was no way he could have done that, and second we both knew it likely was some kind of a contest to see who could rack up the most dollars for St. Jude’s that day — Christmas Eve — long lines, busy customers, rushing, waiting in Get Your Extra Feesline… hurrying on – just put it on their bill and hope they won’t come back to the store to have it fixed.  It was after all a great time to hit people up for $5.00 to a charity, but because I didn’t approve it first, not a legitimate one.   By the way, on that same receipt, I found a second problem before I left the store that netted me an additional $7.35 off.  This one involved filling a sales table with a sign and price that didn’t apply to the items on the table.  I basically demanded they take the sign down immediately or honor the price.  They honored the price for me, but were having no problem charging everyone else $7.35 more for those items than what the sign indicated.  But enough of that, let’s get into our list.

Common Carriers – You know these companies as UPS, Federal Express, DHL, the United States Post Office and others that carry your goods from place to place simply because you can’t.  I think they provide a valuable service to all of us, but I still hate the extra fee’s they tack on.   Why?  Many times I find out about the additional costs after I have shipped my goods, billed my customer, or otherwise finished with the transaction.  Their software which should (in my opinion) figure out your entire cost in one fell swoop – doesn’t do it all the time correctly.   The carriers get around that by making you “agree” that their invoice is only an estimate of the costs and actual billed costs could be different.  Over the years there have been class action suits against these types of carriers for blatant errors in charging clients.  I have personally been billed for “oversized” packages that we measured,  entered with their actual measurements in their software, only to find they revised my measurements to add a few inches here and there – and lots of extra shipping dollars.  That part is bad enough, but when they “fight” you when you call them on their error, that is when it really gets annoying.

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Being Aware of Extra Fees ~ Part One

If you haven’t considered following this blog – you might want to do it now.  Not only would I appreciate it, but I am going to try and hit every industry in the next few articles and make you aware of some of those annoying extra fees you might find each time you try to buy something.  

As I said in previous articles, I look over my receipts.  I am totally annoyed by all the extra fees that companies keeping adding to my totals.  Who came up with this method of charging for things anyway?  What happened to the one price method?  These added fees and charges always pop up after I buy something and especially when I have no choice to opt out,  go elsewhere for my items, or even negotiate it away.It's a revenue stream for me

Any commodity or item, you use for convenience or out of  necessity can  have these fees tacked on.  My opinion is that it started with sales tax.  Almost all of the states have it and, I believe they all thought charging everyone a little extra on everything would help them fill their coffers.   No one in the check out line ever said, you know I don’t think I’ll pay the sales tax today.  Basically, they couldn’t –  the states didn’t alloy anyone to  have a choice.  It’s pay the tax or you don’t get the item.  Sure, we can all run off to Delaware (currently they don’t have a sales tax) but even Delaware would be full before long and they’d likely need to implement a sales tax to deal with all those extra residents.

Ultimately scores of businesses jumped on the bandwagon with the states and decided to add “additional fees” whether you like it, want them, use them or need them.  These added fees are on almost everything.  This phenomenon has prolifierated  into just about every industry.  Here’s a few that particularly annoy me.  Remember everything I write is based on my own opinion and experiences and no one paid me to write these articles.

Phone Service:  On most phone bills there are a myriad of charges like the access fees, 911 fees, sales tax, goverment fees, and  line charges that even the phone company has a hard time explaining.  Recently on my phone bill from a known carrier I had a new charge.  This one is called a prop tax schg/fed reg fee and carrier universal service charge.  These charges are NOT taxes or amounts required by law.  They are charges which this company chooses to charge each user in order to collect and administer the “required” taxes and fees which ARE required by law.  Really?   Previously, when I checked this charge from this came company it said the extra fees were to recoup operation costs and real estate tax increases.  Really?  So any part of their business which needs an influx of cash that month?  Because let’s face it people, those are not, in my opinion, legitimate extra costs to be passed on, those are straight forward operating costs which are supposed to be already built into their base price (and likely are).

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