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Saturday, December 08, 2007


So how are you doing with that Christmas shopping? I happen not to be fond of shopping at any time of the year, but particularly now. If he didn't live 800 miles away in Louisville, I'd probably hire Eddie to do my shopping for me, assuming he worked cheaply enough.

It doesn't help that after watching The Story of Stuff!, a down-to-earth story of production, consumption and our future on the planet, I'm wary of buying much of anything.

1. What percentage of your shopping is done? Mine's about 45% finished.

2. Where do you shop?

In box stores? Well, not in THE big box store, and generally I tend to avoid big stores like the plague.

At the mall? Rarely at Colonie Center. Never at the Pyramid Corporation's Crossgates, even before this debacle that briefly made the national news:
The first Crossgates Mall Peace Walk was in 2002 when a group of folks from various groups entered the mall wearing shirts that said: Drop Toys Not Bombs, Don't Attack Iraq and Peace on Earth! They were rounded up and escorted off the property under threat of arrest. Steve and Roger Downs heard about this and went into the mall to see if it could possibly be true. The rest is history. From Wikipedia: "At the dawn of the Iraq War in March 2003, the mall (Crossgates) became the center of a free speech controversy when Selkirk resident Stephen Downs was arrested refusing to take off an anti-war t-shirt that he had purchased in the mall. After many objections, the mall dropped the charges. Shortly thereafter, a large protest was held at the mall where many people came wearing anti-war attire."
BTW: this year's WEAR YOUR PEACE TEE SHIRTS Crossgates event will be Thursday, December 20
5:15 pm - press conference in the parking lot of the Cinema 18
5:45 pm - in the food court to hook up and to to meander and "shop"
6:15 pm - converge at the food court again to sing

I'll go to the non-chains - in this area, today is Buy Local Day.

But I'm generally inclined to use mail order.

3. Are you spending more or less than last year? I think I'll end up spending slightly less, but I'm not sure yet.
I called to get my renewed credit card authorized using the automated system yesterday morning. After approving it, it asked if I wanted a PIN number - OK. But then it told me I couldn't get a pin number at that time and that I needed to speak to a customer service rep. I gave my name to the human. THEN he tried to sell me some damn service I didn't want. I told him that I needed to catch a bus in eight minutes, which happened to be true. Grrr!!
Getting into the holiday spirit.
From the Shake That Brain! Newsletter


I recently took out $100 from my bank's cash machine. Only when I got home I discovered that my cash card was missing. I called the bank and they explained that the cash machine had taken it back.
Taken it BACK???
Turns out that the bank was having problems with people using fraudulent bank cards. So they rigged the system to keep the card for 60 seconds while the inside optics scanned it for authenticity. Great solution? No. Because that same machine is designed to spit out your cash in less than 30 seconds. So what happens to a lot of people? They take their cash and leave their card behind -- like me.
"No warning bell? No buzzer to let you know to not leave without your card?"
"Why would anyone need that? People know to wait for their cards."
"Tell me: How many cards does each machine 'take back' on a daily basis?"
"Two or three."
"So you solved the problem of fraudulent cash cards?"
"And that other problem your solution created?"
"What problem is that?"
LESSON NOT LEARNED? When you "solve" a problem make sure your solution doesn't leave a NEW problem in its place. In the case of my former bank, this is the difference between: "It's all about me" and "It's all about our customers."


1 comment:

Scott said...

My wife and I were about 90% done with our shopping before Thanksgiving. We like getting an early start and not fighting crowds. Though a lot of what we get can be found at Amazon.Com, so we avoid even going to the store in the first place.