So this is funny, in a really sad way.

I talk to people all day long.  I help them figure out what’s wrong with their machines and there’s the added factor that these machines are part of life monitoring. 

Sometimes we replace parts, and we ask for the broken parts to be sent back so that they can be analyzed.  To facilitate this, we send all the packaging necessary for the client to send the broken bits back. Yes, we pay the shipping to their homes, and then pay to have the units shipped back to us. 

That’s the system anyway.

Sometimes the return label gets lost, or misplaced. 

This leads to the client calling us to request a replacement label.

Our usual procedure is to email the replacement label to the client and have them print it locally on their printer. This is fast efficient and cheap.

Which leads me to the funny, sad part of it.

I actually spoke with someone today who’d lost or never gotten their label.

I said, “No problem, I’ll email it to you and you can print it out.”

They said, “No, I shouldn’t have to waste my paper printing out your label. You must mail it to me.”

My brain rebooted.

I’d looked at the order, we’d sent this person almost 2K worth of equipment (approximately half of it un-necessary but this person had raised a stink and got their way.)  FOR FREE. They were sitting right at the end of their warranty and were clearly milking another year of stuff out of us.

I said, “Excuse me?”

They reiterated, “I shouldn’t have to waste my paper or toner, on your crappy product.”

Sensing this was a trap. I said, “Sure thing.” Then printed the label, folded it placed it in an envelope and put it in the outgoing mail. 

What I wanted to say to this person was, ” If you’re not happy with the product, why the hell do you keep having us replace old stuff with new stuff?” I wanted to call this person out on their being an ass. 

To do that would have demonstrated that I can also be an ass. So I’m glad I restrained myself. I’m trying to be a better version of myself.

Humans!

Capable of unbelievable kindness, creativity, compassion, and accomplishments that rival some of the legends of gods.

But there is an element of humanity, a subspecies if you will, that make me wonder if eugenics based breeding should be mandatory.

Honestly, If it had been up to me I’d have terminated this person’s account. Billed them retail for all the equipment, then made sure that they were never able to purchase anything from us again. None of these actions would have been harmful. The person would have survived just fine they simply wouldn’t have had convienience anymore.

Alas, such things are not up to me. Perhaps that’s for the best. Had I done this, it wouldn’t have demonstrated much compassion on my part.

I did send the return label, postage due,  by 5 cents. That’s the approximate cost of the paper this person saved.

Someone in the mail dept caught the postal discrepancy. Probably for the best too, I’m sure that the person would have demanded another label be mailed.

But I tried!

Companies need to stay out of national politics.

Starbucks Logo

Credit Suisse – Is reporting that the Starbucks Pledge to hire 10,000 Muslim refugees is hurting the Starbucks brand and their sales.

There is no doubt there are people who are saying that this at its root is because Americans are racist. 

I tend to think not.

We have thousands of Americans still out of work. I think, as I always have, that Americans should be the priority when it comes to hiring in this country.

Starbucks recently posted a letter saying that they loved and would hire Veterans too, in a half hearted attempt to reassure the public that they are a equal opportunity employer.

Apparently, the public isn’t buying it.

As I scanned the Credit Suisse report a couple of other things came to mind.

Would a muslim refugee serve me, my cafe mocha and my double bacon egg & cheese breakfast sandwich?

What happens when you get a Veteran and a Muslim Refugee in the same shift, and they start arguing? 

In a way I’m dealing with the latter problem where I work. We have a guy who identifies as Persian and a guy who is Pakistani (I think) sitting near me. The Persian guy is quite adamant about doing business ONLY with other Persians, and daily, finds something bad to say about America or Americans. 

The Pakistani guy literally will not shut up about how awful it is that Trump was elected and that Hillary or Obama should be the president.

For him this is a daily crisis and he’s said that the military should take Trump out and put Hillary in. When another coworker pointed out that our Pakistani coworker is talking about a coup d’état and that’s not the way we do things in America, The Pakistani replies that perhaps America should do things that way.

Against the trials of dealing with pissed off customers, the constant bitching about Trump makes going to work a significantly less pleasant experience. I wouldn’t call it a “Hostile” work environment but I would say it’s moving that direction.

Add to that the Canadian customers taking pot shots on the phone, (Because they know we have to take it) and some days it’s really tough to maintain equilibrium. 

Fortunately I manage to ignore it most of the time but for those of my coworkers sitting closer to these two it’s far more difficult to ignore.

I can’t imagine going to a Starbucks to have a cup of coffee and just take a break, and having to listen to people behind the counter or at other tables having similar conversations,  because that isn’t taking a break, it’s exhausting.

Starbucks took a hit when they banned firearms from their premises. Some stores went so far as to refuse service to police officers. Which is why if you want a police officer you go to any other coffee shop.

Starbucks also took another hit when they changed their rewards program, and when they  discontinued their clever older style holiday cups, and again when their baristas started writing little political messages on your cup.

My point is that American companies, ALL American companies need to remember that their duty is to their customers, and shareholders. No company needs to, or should insert themselves into politics. They, like Hollywood need to shut up, sell their products, and take the money. That is all that is required of them.

Black Rifle Logo

I’ve been watching with amusement, the Black Rifle Coffee company’s website. They came out after Starbucks made their refugee announcement, saying they’d hire Vets. I don’t think they should’ve entered the political arena anymore than Starbucks should have, but I must admit it was a marketing coup on Black Rifle’s part.

Black Rifle is now in the enviable position of having a two or three week backorder on most of their products.

They were smart enough to capitalize on Starbucks missteps. Including having legal open carry at one of their flagship stores. Black Rifle is obviously more in tune with the sentiment of the “average” American than Starbucks. 

Since Starbucks has entered the political fray, I’ve found that it is easier to avoid them and their products. I’ll grant you it’s not really a conscious choice it’s just that between the noise, expense, hipsters, and Starbucks politics, I’m more likely to head to any of the myriad other coffee shops that provide faster service, and are easier to get into and out of.

Nike Logo

At 4:30 in the morning I’d rather head somewhere that I can exchange pleasantries with law enforcement, instead of wondering if I’m going to get mugged in an empty Starbucks parking lot while some hipster barista looks on wondering what to do.

I haven’t gotten to the point that I’m willing to give up my Starbucks card on my phone but that day may well be around the corner.

Microsoft Logo

It’s not an “Active” boycott on my part, and I suspect that it wouldn’t be active on the part of most other people I think it would just be the worst thing a company can face. A “Meh” whatever, “Silent” boycott.

Compaq logo

Silent Boycotts are much harder to deal with. If suddenly people simply stop seeking your products with no explanation, a company can beat themselves to death trying to find a cause.

WordPerfect Logo

Companies start thrashing around looking for the problem; Is it Quality, Merchandising, Advertisement, Price, Logos, Saturation of the market place, Brand differentiation, Relevance?

Wordstar Logo

Companies spend millions on each of these areas and if suddenly, nothing is working and they can’t gain or maintain market share then the company will fade into irrelevance. 

Palm Logo

Remember Compaq? WordStar? WordPerfect? Novell? Palm? Each of these companies faded for various reasons. But bottom line is that folks just stopped buying their products.

It’s like going on the third date and then the other person just stops responding to messages. You have no idea what you did wrong and you never will. You’ll also never have the opportunity to fix the problem because you have no idea where to start.

Novell

Apple faced this problem in the 90’s just before Steve Jobs returned to the helm and reenergized the company. I vaguely recall Apple stock trading for some ridiculously low price and considering maxing out my credit card to buy as much as I could. I wish now that I’d done it, but it was unclear if Jobs was going to be able to turn the company around and I deemed the risk was too great. Had I maxed out that card on Apple stock… I’d be lying naked on a beach somewhere.

Apple Logos

Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, and other major corporations, should really take note, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a similar “Silent” boycott. 

Meanwhile companies like Black Rifle Coffee, will be waiting in the wings to fill the void.

I Don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Mds82td

Just  read a series of articles detailing the latest report from The Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC report talks about “Hate” groups increasing in the past year.

BLM is not listed. Although I personally think they should be.

But other groups are… Groups that I’m not sure I’d qualify as “Hate” groups per se.

Obviously the KKK is listed (the SLPC report says their numbers are dropping)

Some of the groups listed are simply groups that oppose illegal immigration. Does that merit the designation “Hate Group”?

Just because you disagree with and protest or vocally oppose illegal immigration does not automatically make you a hate group. Just because you’re in favor of accountability and vetting doesn’t mean you hate.

Ku klux klan anonymous mayor

Having a dislike for something does not mean you hate it. I don’t like lima beans, but that doesn’t mean I hate them, it means that if there is an option, I’ll choose the option. That’s not hate, that’s a preference. If there’s nothing but lima beans, I’ll smile and eat them grateful for the meal.

I don’t like street signs in my country being written in a language that I don’t read or understand. That’s not hate or racism, that’s reasonable expectation that the signs be in the language generally spoken by the vast majority of the country.

After all, I wouldn’t go to Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia to live, and expect the signs to be in English. That doesn’t mean that those people hate me, it means I’m a visitor to their country and they shouldn’t have to make accommodation to me. Rather, I should do my best to learn the language.

Hate is very different from disagreement, or lack of accommodation.

2880379928 0d57facaeb z

Asking that someone wait in line to enter a restaurant, religious edifice,airport, plane, theater, or Country is not hate, it is maintaining order. Asking a stranger what their intentions are before allowing them into your house is common sense. Why do we cast these rules to the wind when we talk about allowing people into the country, (by extension our home)?

How do we equate asking questions or expressing our concerns, to hate?

My definition of hate is quite possibly different from yours. In my world hate is dark. It drives dark hideous deeds and it requires a lot of energy. You have to want to hate and you have to constantly feed hate to keep it alive.

Here’s my poor attempt at defining it:

Hate is unreasoning. It’s harsh, and comes from a place of darkness. Hate is violent and terrifying.

Hate is what creates people in masks, who riot, destroy property, burn buildings or kill other people who are just trying to get through their day.

Hate is “hurt or KILL X, Y, or Z” because they are X, Y, or Z. Hate is “Make them (whoever they may be) pay for who they are or what they believe”.

Hate is Poll Taxes, crucifixions, burning people alive trapped in a cage, beheadings, knock out games, vengeance rape, rape in general, “kill the fags”, Zyclon B, forcing people to dig their own mass grave, then shooting them, bombing school busses… shopping centers… night clubs, harming children, brutalizing anyone and throwing them off a building, or hanging someone in their own front lawn. These are hateful things born in the darkest parts of human nature.

These are acts that are so heinous that instinctively we know they are wrong; no religion or belief structures are needed, we know these acts are inherently wrong.

We look away in disgust, and a little spark of something lights in our souls because we viscerally react to people who are so… wrong. Not only wrong in their actions, but wrong on such a fundamental level that our instincts for self preservation of our species wake up, demanding we excise the sickness from the gene pool.

Is that feeling hate, or instinctive self preservation?

Longlines

I believe that someone not liking me, or a Country telling me that I may visit but cannot live there is not hate.

I’d probably like very much living in Fiji, but the odds of me being allowed to become a permanent citizen are pretty low. Fijians probably don’t hate me, but they do understand limited resources.

The same goes for Australia, even though I have some talents that could earn me a living. I don’t have enough working years left to pay enough into their tax system that I wouldn’t be a burden on their society in my later years.

These are reasoned decisions, not hatred.

For our country to be expected to make any less reasoned decisions shouldn’t be construed as hate.

The word hate is bandied about all too frequently and the definition is too fluid in our culture.

Fiji

Were I to go to Fiji and overstay my visa (i.e. permission to visit) I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have their equivalent of ICE arrest me and put me on the first plane home. Would they call me an immigrant or a criminal?

Probably the latter. The odds are, I’d be blacklisted from ever returning. Even that wouldn’t be “hate” that would be enlightened self interest on the part of the Fujian government. After all, I’ve demonstrated that I can’t be trusted to obey their laws and therefore I won’t be allowed back, and thus will not be their problem.

The fluid nature of our culture and language and the slow methodical coercion of the media has led us to a place where words no longer have any real meaning.

Immigrant – can now mean illegal visitors and legal citizens.

Hate – is now used to describe anyone who disagrees with the perceived (or peddled) correct opinion.

Racist – now only describes white people, (as I’ve mentioned before it’s the new “N” word.)

I think it’s high time that we got back to using real words with real definitions in a consistent way so that all of us have the same understanding of a situation.

I’d like to see the SPLC review their “Hate Group” list and reconsider the groups on it and the reasons those groups are classified as a Hate Group.

Moreover I’d really like words and terms like racism, racist, immigrant and illegal immigrant to actually mean what Webster’s says they do.

It’s unlikely that’s going to happen; that doesn’t mean anyone hates me.

No interest in Watching Superbowl…

Super Bowl 2017 Top Five Upsets Of All Time

First time in years I haven’t been interested.

For many years, I’ve settled in Superbowl Sunday with beer, junk food and watched, relaxing and enjoying the entertainment.

This year, zero interest. 

I’m not even sure why.

I’ve been wondering if it was all the controversy over standing (or not) for the National Anthem.

Or was it that last years commercials were boring and Politically Correct to the point that no-one remembered them? 

Or that the half-time show was largely forgettable. 

Last Years game doesn’t stand out in my mind either.

I’m wondering if it’s just that I’m tired of endless controversies.

What used to be a fun diversion, and entertaining escape for 4 hours has become mediocre in it’s conformity.

Rather than watch something that I used to really enjoy, and be sad that it’s not the fun it used to be, I’ll spare myself the sadness and read a book.

Can of worms…

I’ve been watching with some amusement, the bathroom wars.

Images

This morning I found myself pondering the question raised by our willingness to accept and give people privileges based on what they identify as.

A man identifies as a woman, and even though he has “boy parts” decides he needs to use the womens bathroom.

Okay. Fine!

What do we do when someone identifies as Klingon? Or a Vampire? Or a Werewolf? Or Predator? 

Werewolf

Do we afford these people special status?

What happens when someone who identifies as a Klingon, and lives a life of Klingon honor and follows a warrior code, is insulted by someone and decides to settle the matter in a very Klingon way? 

How about followers of the old Norse religions? Odin took a dim view of people who insulted him. 

Klaa

What about followers of Poseidon, or Ares, or Zeus?

Will “I identify as X, Y, or Z” stand up in court?

We seem to be somewhat willing to bury Islamic honor killings as “Cultural”.

What happens when someone who identifies as Klingon to the core of their being, takes someone’s head off with a Bat’leth because they were insulted? How will we deal with the children of people who identify as Klingon? Will we permit them to carry knives in school? 

Odin

Would a “Klingon” honor killing, or trial by combat also be justified as “Cultural”? How about a Klingon rite of passage where a 16 year old was repeatedly shocked with cattle prods instead of painsticks by the adults in his or her family? Would that be classified as abuse of a minor, or Cultural acceptance, welcoming the child into adulthood?

Batleth

Klingons may indeed be fictitious beings, but given that there is a complete Klingon language, code of behavior, code of honor, and the typically swift justice of a warrior race. Would someone who completely gave themselves over to the Klingon ideal, in fact be a Klingon or just nuts?

I could make an equally strong case that ALL world religions and cultures are as made up as Klingons. This begs the question why would one belief structure be more valid than the next? Why would one group’s identity be more respected than then next?

Predator cp

If someone decides they identify as a member of the Predator species and begins hunting in the forests of our nation, when they rip out someone’s spine are they guilty of murder or just following their cultural imperative?

I guess my point is, once we start allowing “Identify as“ to dictate what we’re willing to accept or worse yet willing to take into account during adjudication  then we open a Pandora’s box of effects that must inevitably lead to anarchy.

Let’s close Pandora’s box.

Blind justice

Let’s focus on the problems at hand in our society, close ranks, and define what we as a society are, and are not willing to accept. We cannot be all things to all people and we shouldn’t try.

Let’s once again blindfold justice and apply all the rules equally to all the people.

If someone from a foreign culture or religion doesn’t like the way we do things… well there’s a whole wide world of other countries in which they can choose to live, and planes leave most airports every hour.

Ok I’m getting into it

There is nothing funnier than the look people give you when they say “Contact me on Facebook” and you tell them you don’t have a Facebook account.

Social Media

Or a LinkedIn account, Or Instagram, or Pinterest, or, or, or…

The inevitable reply is “But you’re in Technology.”

My response is “Yes, I am but I don’t have to engage in a bunch of time sucks, responding to friend requests, posting comments, liking what someone else said, or anything else. People who really know me can text or call but I have no desire to deal with people I don’t actually know in real life.”

Yeah, I’m old school.

I’ve got a smart phone and I like it, but I don’t want to be so into the unreality of the internet that I miss the reality around me, so I don’t have or want any of those “Services” that suck up my day offering little to nothing in return. I sure as hell don’t want to be so engrossed in my damn phone that I walk into a fountain, door, or a wall.

I read twitter sometimes, but don’t have a bunch of tweets. I browse the newsfeeds but am trying not to dwell on the crap that is going on around the world. I can’t do crap about it, and engaging in online discussions or “Causes” is rather pointless. I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll comment on a hashtag. #worstdateever or something similar is fun and good for a laugh. But none of this is an addiction anymore.

I’m over it, I’m trying to focus my attention on my life and what’s actually in front of me.

I have a new chapter opening in my life and I’ve wasted too many days and too much time to keep wasting it with something that is the height of unreality.

Ya want to meet me? Ya want to have a drink, or dinner? 

Call me, or text me.

I really do prefer, actually being in someone else’s presence. I find a real person is much more fulfilling than some “ghost from the net” sitting behind their phone of computer screen 10,000 miles away from me.

It may not be the right choice for you, but I think it’s going to work just fine for me.