Category Archives: economy

A Rant I Forgot Yesterday

So I got so worked up complaining about Fox and their coverage yesterday that I totally forgot to complain about Wal-mart. While I’m already against shopping there for various reasons, I have a new reason to greatly dislike them. It’s only November 4th and they’re already advertising for Christmas.

I thought we had an unwritten understanding with retailers that they wouldn’t start this nonsense until after Thanksgiving.  When did the day after Halloween become the start of the Christmas season?? I’m making a vow to not shop for Christmas before Thanksgiving and to shun retailers that try to shove it down my throat before then.

If we don’t stop this now, they’ll be trying to advertising Christmas the Tuesday after Labor Day in ten years.

Where’s My Bonus?

So, just a brief post on the bonus fiasco.  While I wish I could get a bonus for being the worst employee or executive ever, I’m worried about the knee-jerk reaction we’re having.  These bonuses, for better or worse, are contractual.  That means they are subject to the law.  Instead of reacting, shouldn’t Congress have told these companies that in order to pay out bailout money, they would need to change their bonus structure or at least renegotiate it?

At the end of the day, I worry that all of this hand wringing and suggestions of suicide (one Congressman told execs to consider suicide… CLASSY) will lead to the government or other parties ripping up binding agreements or laws just because they’re pissed off.  If I were to follow that logic, there should be a lot I should get to do because I get pissed off a lot, including:

  • Not pay restaurant bills because the waitress was too slow
  • Pay less for products at department stores because I think they’re ripping me off
  • Round up slow, fat people at the mall and send them to fat camps
  • Outlaw the Boston Red Sox, Washington Redskins, and New York Islanders
  • Throw eggs at Matt Lauer while he is tied naked to a post in a public square
  • Prank call the Octomom constantly when I know the Octo-kids have just dozed off

See, allowing controlled chaos because you’re pissed might not always work out too well.

The Economy

So the other day I started writing a rant about generations and the economy and what was wrong with the world.  Overall, I think the biggest point to make is that many of my Gen X friends have done ok for themselves in this economy.  They never overspent, didn’t buy houses 8 times more expensive than they should have, and lived within their means.  That being said, at this point they’re worried about the economy imploding and hurting them, but they haven’t done anything to put themselves in a bad situation.

That being said, I realized what might help fix the housing crisis.  The 50 year mortgage.  Those who are in over their heads should be allowed to refinance their mortgage at a fair rate (maybe 7%) for 50 years.  It would likely significantly lower their payments and let them stay in their homes until values stabilize.  They may never make 3x profits in a short time frame, but it might let them stay in their house now.  Additionally it avoids putting more and more homes in foreclosure.  That protects the value of my home.

Another benefit is that no one is rewarded for bad behavior.  Those who bought houses that are too big still need to pay them off.  The banks who wrote bad loans in the first place have to sit with them.  In the long run, maybe it brings some sobriety back to the out of control spending of the last few years.  You get to keep your home but not continue spending money you don’t have on $300 jeans, big screen televisions, new cars every two years, etc.

Happy 2009

Personally, I had a lot to enjoy in 2008 but I can understand why people are happy to see it go.  Let’s hope that 2009 is a great year…  A few of my hopes for the new year:

  • Sarah Palin’s name becomes as forgettable as Lloyd Benson
  • The Yankees win #27
  • I get around to blogging more 
  • Obama lives up to the hype (or is at least given a chance to fail as well as succeed)
  • That I’m able to read more books and listen to more music
  • That the media stops being so yellow

Hmm, I think that’s enough for now.  A few are unrealistic, but hope springs eternal doesn’t it? Happy New Year.

Update: More Good Customer Service

So there was a happy ending with bad customer service for a change.  Last week I wrote about a bad experience with a promotion from online photo printer MOO. In response to their note, I wrote:

Are you serious? Every other web site I’ve ever used has retroactively applied promotions that start within a few days of an order. While I think your products are cool, I basically placed my Christmas order and then got the free shipping e-mail the day my order shipped. 

I’d like to say that I’ll remember this the next time I order from you, but considering the state of the economy and this lack of customer service, I’m not sure I’ll order from you again.

 
This morning I’m happy to report that I opened my e-mail and was told they’d honor the promotion! Good going MOO! I’ve never said this before, but I retract my claim of bad customer service and have removed you from my list of merchants I’ll never use again. Wow.

More Bad Customer Service

There was a happy ending to this story, check it out here. I’m always happy to see companies follow through for their customers. Good stuff MOO!

So by now if you read this blog with any regularity you know that bad customer service will set me off in a heartbeat. Recently, I placed a sizable order with the photo printing company MOO. While they make cool stuff, I’m not sure I’ll be ordering from them again. Why? Because I missed a promotion by two days.

They recently started a promotion that waived shipping costs for orders over $100. When I wrote to ask for it on my order (and I was very nice), this is the e-mail I received:

Thank you for getting in touch with the MOO Team.
I’m so sorry I;m afraid we can;t retroactively apply promotions. They begin upon receipt and not before. Feel free to place another order to take advantage. Sorry about that

That’s it?  Sorry about that, place another order?  I just made an order for over $100, given the state of the economy I’m not going to do it again a few days later!  Companies have to realize that most customers won’t ask for a refund like I will.  But those that do ask should be rewarded.  It’s another example of where a company could have a customer for life, but because of their cookie-cutter attitude toward customer service they run the risk of losing a customer.

As for me?  While I really like MOO and what it does, I’m going to think twice before I order from them again. As it’s custom printing, it’s not like I can cancel my order and then re-order to take advantage of the promotion.  It’s also not like I wrote a month later asking for it (though many companies will honor their promotions for 30 days).

My Dog Ate My Homework

Does anyone else get the feeling that John McCain’s call to delay Friday night’s debate is akin to a 10 year old trying to squirm his way out of a test because it snowed, he has a stomach ache, his dog ate his homework, etc? I totally understand the desire to go fix the economy, but how about having a discussion as to your plan should you be elected? I believe that We the People deserve to hear the two men attempting to win the election discuss the merits of their economic plans.

This country is in the middle of an economic crisis, however that doesn’t mean we need to stop the electoral process. We’ve had elections during wars, depressions, social upheaval, etc. The whole point of a stable democracy is that it all carries on (including the debate) despite whatever else may be happening. I’m not suggesting that McCain is trying to put off the election, but I do think he’s trying to hide how unprepared he is to debate on the economy or any other issue.