Get Your Hands Off Of Me

People are upset with United Airlines for dragging a customer up the aisle to evict him, but we’re “dragged up the aisle” every day by banks that are charging nickel and dime nuisance fees, airlines charging for baggage (they made $4 billion on this last year, a charge that didn’t exist several years ago), and health care copays. Why are we only upset when it’s egregious? Dragging is dragging….

Client Service 601

We’ve all been exposed to what I call Client Service 101, an amateurish training provided by inexpensive firms to equip phone representatives to better deal with outraged customers, that outrage being caused by deficient products, services, and/or delivery procedures. It goes like this: • I know how frustrated you must feel. • This must be very difficult for you. • I’ve experienced this in my dealings with companies myself. • I don’t blame you for being so upset. It’s like …

Ha, ha, an epidemic, ha, ha

I’m in Mill Valley outside of San Francisco, and in the early morning there is a news show on KRON4. It resembles the traditional “happy talk” news, but it’s actually “stupid talk” news. The female anchor laughs and giggles through everything, trying to be humorous despite the context. At one point she laughed right into the next story on an infant’s death. She also announced that a woman had pled guilty to several felonies, stopped, stared at the teleprompter, and …

More Stupid Stuff on Facebook

Just when you think it cannot get any stupider, a woman posts a couple of days ago that she’s refusing to accept credit cards any more in her business, because the banks charging a percentage on them is unfair, and there should be no charges. This is all part of a banking conspiracy, and if we all stopped using credit cards the economy would improve greatly. Is it possible to study ignorance in school? How does she feed herself?

I’m Crossing My Arms Here

The Boston Globe reported this morning that they’ve consulted with “body language experts” to decipher the meeting between Trump and Putin. I’m looking forward to their piece on “astrology experts” followed by “Loch Ness Monster experts.” Whenever someone says they’re reading my body language, I cross my arms. I understand that a body language profanity, right? (Trigger warning, this article may upset you. Oops, was that supposed to be at the top?)


People make decisions about spending money as if it’s a finite resource and they’ll never see it again. I’m shocked when people want to wait to invest in order to hold onto their money a little loner. Buy the car. Attend the program. Take the vacation. Fix the sink. Yet, they think nothing about throwing their time away—which they will truly never see again—one, for example, social media banality and mindless TV shows. And they want to advise others?

Dear Friend, Send Money

I just read a Facebook post by a guy who said his new book is coming out in a few months, but if you send him $20 now he’ll send a digital copy, an autographed copy, and will include the purchaser’s name in the “acknowledgements” as a “friend and patron”! In other words, any stranger with $20 is acknowledged in the book. I wonder how much would buy co-authorship?

A Case for A SWAT Team?

On the outskirts of Providence, right next to Interstate 95, is a giant blue bug on the roof of an exterminating company. It’s a termite, 427,000 times larger than life. (I am not making this up.) The company which was once called something like “New England Exterminating”  officially changed its name to Big Blue Bug Exterminating. Traffic reporters use it as a landmark (congestion around the Big Blue Bug) and when Interstate 195 was rerouted at a cost of tens …

The Pain of the Dentist

I visit every four months. I haven’t had a cavity in ten years, my gums are in good shape, and thanks to the wonders of cosmetic dentistry, I have very straight, white teeth, which my parents couldn’t afford to provide way back when. Yet, there apparently is no business input into dental office management or experiences.   The receptionist doesn’t greet you kindly, simply says, “Okay, take a seat.” The appointment starts slightly late, no one apologizes or acknowledges it. …

Brother, Can You Spare A Fix?

A man in old but neat clothing walks up to us in New York as we exit Katz’s Deli. “Can you spare a few dollars?” he asks. A woman with me says, “I can’t give you any money, but I can offer this half of a $40 sandwich which is untouched and terrific.” “Oh, I don’t want any food,” he says, and approaches someone else. I’ve seen this many times in many cities. We enable drug and alcohol dependency every …