Service of Ghosting

May 16th, 2022

Categories: Airlines, Ghosting, Ghosts, Jobs, Pandemic, Restaurant


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Maybe I am excused for living in the dark, until recently, about the meaning of the expression “ghosting” because I wasn’t dating in the early 2000’s when it became a thing and my friends who do haven’t used the term. It has nothing to do with what New York City Mayor Adams accuses Gracie Mansion of containing: Ghosts. Nor is it related to a homemade, untraceable firearm–a ghost gun.

Wikipedia defines ghosting as “also known as simmering or icing, [it] is a colloquial term which describes the practice of ending all communication and contact with another person without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communication made by said person.”

A TV producer, in a recent email, apologized for not previously responding to my queries saying that she wasn’t ghosting me. Then I read The Wall Street Journal article “Hiring Is Hard Enough. Now New Workers Are Vanishing Before They Even Start. More companies find that people who accept offers are never heard from again; ‘It was just crickets.'” The reporters are Chip Cutter, Lauren Weber and Ray A. Smith.

They wrote: “The practice, often called ghosting, isn’t new. In the tight labor market that preceded the pandemic, employers reported that some staffers quit without giving notice or just stopped showing up for their shifts. The practice picked up its own shorthand: ‘no call, no show.'”


Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

They reported “Add another head-scratching new feature to the post-Covid employment landscape: A job isn’t filled until the new hire actually shows up for work.” The hardest hit in this regard, they wrote, were manufacturers, restaurants, airlines and cleaning companies. Never before have so many been no-shows after accepting a job.

“In posts on Twitter,” wrote Cutter, Weber and Smith, “workers offered all sorts of reasons for blowing off new jobs. They said they got better offers between when they were hired and when they were supposed to show up. They claimed they discovered the pay was lower or the hours or conditions different than what they were told. Some even complained that the hiring companies had previously ignored them after interviews or applications.”

Quoting Keith Wolf, managing director, Murray Resources in Houston: “We have a generation of professionals who grew up on dating apps, where ghosting has been accepted as an annoying, but common, phenomenon. I believe that is leaking into the professional world.”

The manager of a home cleaning service in Texas said that “80 percent of new hires eventually disappear without notice.”

Have you known employees who ghosted a business? Does this phenomenon explain why services you once depended on are no longer reliable? Can you think of reasons, short of death or sudden severe illness, that excuse a newly hired employee for not showing up without a word? What can we expect to be the next chapter on the spectrum of “I can’t believe this happens in the workplace?”


Image by LuckyLife11 from Pixabay

Service of the Art of People Thinking They Can Get Away with Things

May 12th, 2022

Categories: Art, Medicine, Museums, Scams, Theft

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I feel wonder when I read about a long-time super scammer and all the people bamboozled and harmed. And then there are those who think that they can whitewash dirty deeds with good ones. They’ve all been at work for centuries. How is it that each thinks they’ll be the ones to get away with their dastardly deeds?

Artful Theft
The incidence that triggered half this post involved a Canadian dealer who collected art on consignment or to appraise and instead of returning pictures or giving the original owner the sales proceeds he kept the money or a thousand works to the tune of tens of $millions, according to Jo Lawson-Tancred on artnet.com.

Police haven’t identified the thief, though he has been arrested and released. Lawson-Tancred postulates his name and his gallery based on other news sources.


Image by Kai Pilger from Pixabay

What a Pill
The Sackler family, whose marketing methods to promote painkiller Oxycontin for Purdue Pharma helped addict millions while making bucket loads of money, had for decades burnished the family name by supporting cultural institutions and initiatives here and abroad. Artist Nan Goldin, who once suffered from opioid addiction, founded an advocacy organization, Sackler P.A.I.N., to pressure museums to cut ties with them. As a result a few more have just erased the Sackler name from walls and websites according to Sarah Cascone, also with artnet.com.

She reported that although it took a while, The Guggenheim in NYC has finally removed Sackler from its Center for Arts Education and in London, the National Gallery made a similar move. About its Room 34 she wrote: “The name had been in place since 1993, when Mortimer and Theresa Sackler funded the renovation of the room, rehanging works by British masters in a space once dedicated to 18th-century Italian paintings, according to the London Times.”

Cascone further reported: “The latest draft of the bankruptcy settlement will allow institutions in the U.S. to remove the family name without penalty.” Yet there are a few dragging their feet. The Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics and Sackler Educational Laboratory remain in place at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A in London, “has been outspoken in his continued support of the family,” and its name remains on the Sackler Courtyard.

Artist Goldin told Cascone: “We hope that billionaires who shower institutions with their blood money watch the Sacklers’ cultural reckoning and take note that they can be next.”

Is the art world more vulnerable to scams than other industries? Have you heard about any skillful scammers of major proportions of late? Do you agree that the Sackler name and reminders of the family’s generosity from money made off opioid addiction should be removed from the museums it has supported?

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Service of Some Still Don’t Believe Americans Go Hungry

May 9th, 2022

Categories: Charity, Food, Hunger, Inflation, Prices

Miche at Bien Cuit bakery, $15.00

I was at a gathering, tables groaning with delicious goodies, at which I heard: “I don’t believe there is hunger in this country.” The speaker refused to be convinced otherwise.

The comment nagged at me so I looked online for recent articles about hunger in America, [not that this person would have read any of them], and found none on Google since 2020. At that time there were plenty of reports of how the pandemic had made a terrible situation–that had been getting better–worse for many, especially children.

The nokidhungry.org website reports today that “according to the latest estimates, as many as 13 million children in the United States live in ‘food insecure’ homes. That phrase may sound mild, but it means that those households don’t have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life.

$2.99 at Trader Joe’s

“The number of children living with hunger had fallen steadily over the past decade, but the coronavirus pandemic dealt a terrible blow to our progress as a nation – one that No Kid Hungry and other organizations will work to reverse during the long recovery ahead.”

So I changed my question to Google and wrote: “How has inflation impacted food banks?” I found a January 31, 2022 story on cbnews.com by Kate Gibson: “Inflation has more Americans counting on food banks to eat.”  It described the financial pressure that food banks are experiencing which, of course, impact those who depend on them.

I can’t believe I paid $1.99 for a grapefruit or $1.19 for a navel orange at Trader Joe’s. There are plenty of staples I buy there that haven’t increased in price such as a pound of penne rigate from Italy $.99; a pound of sweet Campari tomatoes, $2.99, [as much as $6 at other stores], or 16 ounces of plain Greek yogurt for $3.29. The last time I bought a butter substitute, Brummel & Brown, at a standard Manhattan grocery store, it cost $4-something. Last week I handed the cashier $5.00 and quickly realized that wasn’t enough: I paid $6+.  For the average family of four, that doesn’t have money left for food after paying rent and electricity, many of these items I buy regularly are luxuries.

Speaking of luxuries, I saw a stunning looking country bread at Bien Cuit in Grand Central Station for $15. I bet it’s tasty.

Do you know anyone who believes that there are no hungry people living in America? Are there many who think this? Can you share links to recent articles on hunger in America that I’ve missed? Are your grocery bills inching upwards or have you negotiated around the increases?

Trader Joe’s price: $.99.

Service of the Latest Fashion Accessory: A Book

May 5th, 2022

Categories: Uncategorized

Rachel Kramer Bussel’s New York Times article caught my eye: “Looking for a Wedding Favor? Try the Best-Seller List–At a time when they have become a popular accessory for celebrities to carry, books are also gaining appeal as a takeaway for wedding guests.”

The part about celebrities carrying books as accessories reminds me of a woman I knew as a child who invited me to see her redecorated home. There were exquisite antique leather-bound books in the living room and when I picked up one she said, “Yes, they go so well with the decor.”

So why my interest in an article about books? I’ve been knocking on media doors to announce this year’s Christopher Award winners–a dozen authors, 10 creators of TV/Cable and feature films and special award winner, the PBS series Masterpiece: All Creatures Great and Small, honored with the Christopher Spirit Award. They all exemplify the Christopher motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

Are all the winners Catholic? Nope. But they have a few things in common: They remind audiences/readers from tots to seniors, of all faiths and of no particular faith, of their worth, individuality and power to make a difference and positively impact and shape our world. They also affirm the highest values of the human spirit. Tony Rossi, Christophers’ director of communications said “After the hardships we’ve endured in the last two years, we need stories of hope, light, and unity to lift our spirits and guide us toward a brighter path.”

Just a few of the books:

  • On her website Amanda Ripley wrote this about High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out (Simon & Schuster): “When we are baffled by the insanity of the ‘other side’—in our politics, at work, or at home—it’s because we aren’t seeing how the conflict itself has taken over. That’s what ‘high conflict’ does. It’s the invisible hand of our time. It’s what happens when discord distills into a good-versus-evil kind of feud, the kind with an us and a them. In this state, the brain behaves differently. We feel increasingly certain of our own superiority and, at the same time, more and more mystified by the other side.”
  • If you don’t know about Ernie Barnes, you might want to take a gander at  Don Tate’s second Christopher Award for Pigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes, (Abrams Books for Young Readers), for children aged 8 and up. You’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a kid. As Ernie had two talents so does Tate: He’s both illustrator and author.
  • It didn’t happen often–and my school didn’t have a father/daughter dance–but when I danced with my dad, more than standing on his feet as he’d walk around the room, it was so special that I was drawn to Anitra Rowe Schulte and illustrator  Ziyue Chen’s Dancing with Daddy, (Two Lions), for children aged 6 and up.
  • Four time Christopher Award winner Father James Martin shares his wisdom in Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone (HarperOne/Harper Collins). His books have been translated into 22 languages and sold in 25+ countries. In his practical handbook, the Jesuit priest explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice. He wrote that there is not one secret formula, but like any relationship, each person can discover the best style for building an intimate relationship with God, regardless of religion or denomination.
  • The family of Australian author Eddie Jaku, who died recently at 101, was thrilled that his book was selected by the Christophers to win an Award in the young adults category for The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor, (Harper Collins), because of the importance that his message of love and positivity reach young people. In his memoir Jaku recalled his teenage years in a concentration camp and his subsequent commitment to living with gratitude and kindness to honor all those who died in the Holocaust. Born Abraham Jakubowicz in Leipzig, Germany, in WWII he was imprisoned in Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps, sent on a ‘death march’ in 1945 but escaped and finally was rescued by Allied soldiers.

The other books include Dorothy Wickenden’s The Agitators (Scribner/Simon & Schuster); Daniel James Brown’s Facing the Mountain (Viking/Penguin Random House); Retired New York City Fire Department Chief Joseph Pfeifer’s Ordinary Heroes (Portfolio/Penguin Random House); The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter, illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring (Preschool and up, Candlewick Press); 10 Hidden Heroes by Mark K. Shriver, illustrated by Laura Watson, (Kindergarten and up, Loyola Press) and The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan (ages 10 and up, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House).

Would you carry a book as a fashion statement or buy one because the cover coordinated with your decor?  What good books have you read lately?

Service of Two Sides of a Tennis Court

May 2nd, 2022

Categories: Competition, Politics, Sports, War


Image by Bessi from Pixabay

Wimbledon is off limits to Russian and Belarusian tennis players because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to NPR’s Rachel Treisman, “U.K. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said last month that ‘nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled’ to play in it.”

The players impacted are, as ranked by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the top two in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, as well as two other men in the top 30 as well as the 4th ranked woman, Aryna Sabalenka.

Last week I heard valid arguments pro and con from former sportscaster, now radio morning show host Len Berman, and guest Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Ethics.

Dr. Caplan said that we can’t let the players show up at Wimbledon or at any sports event and he hoped that the US Open follows suit. Russia has committed war crimes, shelled apartment buildings, leveled another country and given that we aren’t going to war we have only two potential weapons: financial and turning Putin into a pariah.

Len disagreed with Dr. C and in a rare show of solidarity his co-host at the WOR 710 morning radio show, Michael Riedel, agreed. Beman felt that it’s not right to take it out on [star] players who have nothing to do with the war.

Dr. Caplan responded that he fears that Putin et al will say “look at what our country can achieve–” He’ll make something of it.

What do you think? Should politics impact whether athletes compete in international competition?


Image by anais_anais29 from Pixabay

Service of a Fresh Crop of Spam & Cyber Threats

April 28th, 2022

Categories: Cyber Security, Scams, Theft, Uncategorized

It’s spring and with it comes a fresh crop of SPAM texts and emails–some annuals, others perennials–most of which contain links to potential cyber threats, bank and credit card invasions. We’ve come a long way from the days of “your friend has been robbed during a trip to Europe and has no money so please send some ASAP.”

So to begin: Did you know that my account was closed? What account, you ask? Good question. The email doesn’t say.

Citi wannabes text me frequently telling me that they’d limited my account due to “unusual activity.” That would be troubling except I don’t maintain an account at that bank, the action as described makes little sense and the sender is clearly a hoax [photo above].

I’m regularly asked to review my resume which I’d not sent anyone to edit.

A subject line in a recurring email is in response to my job application. Since I opened my agency 26 years ago I’ve not applied for a job. But so many have so what a nasty trick to get some to open an email.

Friends report getting the same announcement from the Geek Squad thanking for renewing a contract with them and saying they’ve charged my bank account $347. I get this periodically. Even though I count on a miracle-working IT man to sort out my computer woes, the first time I saw it I checked to confirm that my bank account was intact.

A relatively new unsolicited email sends me my payroll review. I’ve never subscribed to such a service so that’s another easy one to skip, [photo below].

Have you noticed an uptick in attempts to trip you up, pry into your private information or seen any new and clever scams?

Service of a Fickle Retail and Restaurant Landscape: What Should Go, Stay & Return?

April 25th, 2022

Categories: Out of Business, Restaurant, Retail

There are some businesses that deserve to close and it’s no surprise when they do. I thought about this on a walk in my old neighborhood when I saw that a once terrific restaurant that had gone severely downhill had finally closed. Supposedly serving French bistro fare, the last time I went the bread was stale. Impossible! When it first opened in a hole in the wall the food was scrumptious. It moved, gussied up and was never the same. It deserved to close long before the pandemic took it down.

I’ve previously written about the demise of Loehman’s the discount women’s fashion store, for decades one of my favorite haunts in its heyday. Long before it died it had lost one of its most ardent fans: Me. [Observing my devotion and purchase successes my father almost bought stock in the place.] Buyers for the chain suddenly acquired cheap and lousy clothing and where once it offered a magnificent choice of handsome coats and glorious evening wear, the options in its final years were paltry and the quality unacceptable.

On the other hand, the pandemic felled one of my favorite stores, Copenhagen-based Flying Tiger, erased from the US market. A quick visit would cheer the grumpiest person because of the variety store’s quirky, fun gifts and party favors at incredibly reasonable prices–stocking stuffer paradise all year ’round.

Jasmine, a pet Chinese restaurant on east 49th Street, NYC, didn’t make it through the pandemic either.

Can you identify businesses that lasted long after their sell dates and others that you mourn because they had to close while they were still so very much appreciated?

Service of Disappointment

April 21st, 2022

Categories: Customer Care, Customer Service, E-Commerce, E-tailing, Gifts, Insurance, Training

The saying “less is more,” may apply to interior design but I’m finding that more and more we get less for our money.

What Happened to “Neither Rain nor Snow….”

There is a postbox about four blocks from my apartment in a commercial neighborhood with pickups three times a day, the last at 5 p.m. When I went there this week the times had changed: Now its once a day at 11:00 a.m. not only there but in all the boxes I checked nearby. That early in the day might be a good time for postal workers perhaps but not so hot for customers.

Yes then No

A friend was scheduled for surgery which entailed three days in the hospital and a week at a rehab facility. She knew the drill from a previous operation and all was approved. The day before hospital discharge she learned that her insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of rehab. She lives alone. Don’t you love how insurance companies–not doctors–determine how we are treated?

Poor Training

I tried to buy a gift online and the system wouldn’t work so I called the 800 number and placed the order. I opted to pick up the item at the store, a short walk from home because its feather weight and tiny size didn’t warrant the $6.99 shipping fee. The customer service rep said they’d send it home, as it was easier, [not sure for whom], and he’d remove the shipping fee. Long story short, when I was charged the fee I called and customer service told me I had to work it out with my credit card company. This didn’t set well so I contacted headquarters and eventually it was sorted. No more online purchases for me from these folks. Customer care operators should be trained not to turn off customers.

Have you been disappointed by a service lately?

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Service of Making Friends When You’re of a Certain Age

April 18th, 2022

Categories: Blessing, Bravery, Courage, Death, Friends, Friendship


Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

You get to a certain age and you don’t expect to make new friends. When you do it’s a blessing. I have been so blessed.

One of my late-in-life friends died last week. She was extraordinarily generous of her time and treasure, ready to advise or cheer and support, often with creative surprises or thoughtful counsel. She was a courageous woman who suffered for years without telling anyone until she admitted the excruciating pain of an unrelenting many years-long headache. She nevertheless attended events, fund-raised and encouraged her friends, always asking about their families and work; wanting to know what books they were reading, movies or TV series she shouldn’t miss. Four of us spoke weekly for years which, especially during the pandemic, was healing for all.

She had access to the best medical care in the world and after agonizing tests and procedures always said that what was wrong with her “isn’t fatal, thank goodness, don’t worry” and when asked said that she was feeling a little better. I am convinced that her determination to stay alive was driven by her wish to see her beloved grandchildren and adored sons as long as possible. Her voice smiled when she mentioned them. Her willpower kept her on earth as long as it did. We are grateful.

Even though I hadn’t known this friend as long as some, I intensely mourn the loss, miss her and am thankful that I knew her. I trust you have been as lucky as I am to have found precious new friends throughout your life.


Image by Isa KARAKUS from Pixabay

Service of Crime and Quick Thinking

April 14th, 2022

Categories: Bravery, Holdup, Theft


Image by Azmi Talib from Pixabay

New York Police Department statistics showed an almost 59 percent increase in crime overall between this and last February with upticks in categories such as robbery–56 percent–grand larceny 79 percent and grand larceny auto, 104 percent. The good news: shootings decreased by 1.3 percent, although I suspect April, 2022 stats will sadly accelerate upwards.

New Yorkers speak about it among ourselves. I dropped by a family-owned butcher shop this week on 9th Avenue a few blocks from the Port Authority Bus terminal. It’s been in business for 90 years. The butcher told me how he has advised his daughter, an NYU student, to walk around the city. He came out from behind the counter to demonstrate–heads up, standing tall, not hunched over looking at the ground. And as all New Yorkers have always known: Be aware of your surroundings. [Me to everyone who walks and texts: Don’t. And lower the volume on your earbuds.]

Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

If a victim we can’t predict how we’ll react. A friend who is a longtime veteran of retail sales just recounted once being held up at gunpoint on the upper west side of Manhattan. This was years ago in the age of “knuckle busters,” early credit card imprinting devices. In those days a business needed to submit the receipts for payment. As she scrambled to hand over what was in the cash register she pleaded with the thief to leave behind the credit card receipts and checks. Imagine: Bargaining with a gun in your face.

My mother was that kind of unflappable person under stress. She was held up and asked the young man how much a fix was and asked him if she gave him that amount would he leave her alone. She said he looked scared and new at this–he was perspiring on a cold winter day and wore a nice coat. He could have easily knocked her over and grabbed her handbag–she used a cane–yet he accepted the money and ran.

Drugs have altered the outlook for victims of holdups. As a child brought up in NYC I was taught to give up whatever a person asked for and I wouldn’t be hurt. It was true then.  I wasn’t harmed the time I handed over to three kids my change from an errand at DiMaggio’s deli–all the money I had on me. They weren’t much older than I was. There was nobody else on the street. They took the money and ran. It was so long ago and I still remember the confrontation.

Have you been held up? Do you take precautions when walking in a city such as noticing if someone is following you for a suspicious number of blocks and if so, changing streets or ducking into a store to let them pass by?


Image by Eric Perlin from Pixabay

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