Service of Pet Peeves III

February 22nd, 2021

Categories: Buzzwords, Conspiracy Theory, Dogs, Driving, Etiquette, Euphemism, Jargon, Pet Peeves, Pets, Promises, Retail, Social Media, Tips, Traffic, Waste

Photo: writingcooperative.com

I wrote the first two Pet Peeve posts in 2010 and 2011, summarized below as my feelings about them are unchanged. And although they’re not earmarked as such, many posts over years focus on irritating situations that fall in the peeve category, such as the recent ones about bait and switch sales tactics and euphemisms like “food insecurity” for hunger.

NOW

Hard to believe I have so many new ones.

Photo: posportal.com

I recently paid by credit card for bread in a bakery and dinner from a takeout-only Chinese place. In both instances an automatic tip request popped up on the tablet’s screen. Why should I give a tip to someone for putting a loaf of bread in a bag? I gave a tip for the Chinese takeout, even though I picked up my order, but friends who tip generously said they wouldn’t.

I don’t answer when surveys ask me what my income is and don’t believe that they should ask.

TV news producers: Stop showing close-ups of injecting vaccines into arms. For the squeamish who aren’t planning to get the vaccine it’s a turnoff and deterrent.

Train your vicious dog or give it away particularly if you live in an apartment house.

Respond to personal texts within 24 hours–especially if the sender infrequently reaches out and/or if they pose an important question.

Photo: dogexpert.com

If I never hear from you for months and we are personal acquaintances send me something more than a link to an article.

If I consistently “like” your Facebook postings, every once a quarter please “like” one of mine.

THEN

I’m surprised at how many of the oldie peeves are pandemic-proof. The exception might be how miffed I feel when my hands are full and someone near a door doesn’t hold it open. These days some might be afraid of getting too close. Another that irritated me 10 years ago was someone borrowing my pen and not returning it. I wouldn’t want it back now.

Otherwise, here are many of the oldie but still valid:

You call at a scheduled time and are told “Call me in 20 minutes.” The person who changes the time should make the second call.

Repetition of misinformation so it becomes true to some.

Photo: zero2turbo.com

Drivers who don’t use their signal lights. It’s as handy a communication tool for pedestrians crossing city streets and avenues as it is for drivers.

Waste by government and corporations.

Buzzwords and jargon.

Tell me privately something that impacts me–don’t first announce it in public and if you want to give away something of mine, don’t ask me if it is OK in front of the potential recipient so I feel forced to say “yes.”

Don’t:

  • roll your eyes if I ask a question
  • offer to do something you know you won’t do
  • pull out on me causing me to slam on my brakes

Lack of traffic lights or signs at dangerous intersections drive me nuts.

 

Have your peeves stayed the same over years? Any new ones? Do people close to you know your peeves or do you keep them close to the vest?

Photo: newslit.org

 

 

Service of Fear III

February 18th, 2021

Categories: Fear, Pandemic, Restaurant, Subway, Travel

Photo: theconversation.com

How do you determine when to be afraid? Has your fear gauge changed over the years?

In 1972 we were booked for a week in St. Croix. A few days before we left eight people were gunned down at the Fountain Valley Golf Club in what turned out to be the worst murder in the history of the Virgin Islands. We thought, “We live in Brooklyn. Are we going to let a few murders stand in our way?” Nobody else felt as we did: Our hotel was empty and there were few tourists on the island. Did we take a chance?

These days the incidence of murders, stabbings and injuries on New York City subways has increased so much that 600 additional policemen and women are being assigned underground. In a New York Times article Andy Newman, Edgar Sandoval and Téa Kvetenadze reported “Even though the subways have only a fraction of the ridership they had before the pandemic, violent crimes have persisted and at times increased. For 2020 through mid-November, there were more incidents of felony assault, rape, homicide and robbery in the subways than during the same period in 2019.” Meanwhile ridership is down 70 percent.

Photo: curbed.ny.com

Because of Covid-19 I’ve not been in a subway since March 2020 and didn’t plan on using it soon. The latest information isn’t going to accelerate my return to a convenience I’ve counted on for decades. I’ll wait for the all clear.

A server in a Brooklyn restaurant who worried that the vaccine might impact her fertility or her future child, should she become pregnant, was fired because she refused to get a vaccine. Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney and professor Dorit Reiss, University of California Hastings College of Law say that private businesses have this right according to MacKenzie Sigalos on cnbc.com. There are exceptions such as when an employee is allergic to vaccine components or when a union has negotiated other rules.

Has the pandemic–or life experience–changed or impacted your fears? Does it make a difference if there are others to pick up the pieces should something happen to you? Are you generally fear-free? Do you hesitate before taking a subway? Should employers force employees to be vaccinated? Would you be more comfortable entering a business where you expect to stay for a time if it claimed all its employees are vaccinated?

Photo: rewards.com

 

Service of Come on Over Sometime for Dinner or the Weekend–Just Not Soon

February 15th, 2021

Categories: Entertaining, Friends, Guests, Pandemic

Photo: jetsetter.com

I declined tempting invitations to visit friends for a weekend in the country last fall, family at Thanksgiving and Christmas and dinner at a friend’s apartment yesterday so when I saw Ronda Kaysen’s New York Times article, “When Can I Be a House Guest Again?” I stopped everything to read it hoping for a free pass.

She quoted Doctors Ashish K. Jha and Ingrid Katz of Brown University’s School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School respectively. They’d chimed in throughout the piece which ended: “So what happens if two adults are vaccinated? Can they get together without masks? Can they rent a house for the weekend? The answer to those questions, according to Dr. Jha and Dr. Katz, is a tentative yes, assuming everyone is at a low risk for severe illness and the community spread is low.”

Photo: popsugar.com

Translation for me: I’m not packing my bags or buying a bottle of wine to bring to my friend’s place just yet even though I have an appointment to get my second vaccine.

I’m way behind others in socializing yet I’m still not ready to invite anyone inside my apartment for a glass of wine or pot luck. Not entertaining impacts what’s happening in my apartment. There’s a pile of shoes by the front door [supposedly keeping the virus off my floors but that’s not happening because inevitably after I’ve put them on to go out I realize I forgot something and walk all around the apartment to fetch it.] I used to keep a pin-perfect place should someone drop by and because I liked returning from the office to a neat home. I go out for short bits now but not long enough to require a welcome home to a perfect place.

But I digress.

What are you planning to do about weekend visits and entertaining indoors? What if your friends or family members refuse to be vaccinated? With my approach will I have a friend in the world by the time the pandemic is under control? Is your home as neat as it used to be?

Photo: southernliving.com

Service of How to Discourage Me From Opening My Checkbook for Your Charity

February 11th, 2021

Categories: Charity, Mistakes, Sloppy

Photo: thelifeyoucansave.com

I’ve covered charity here 28 times. Today I’m writing about how an organization that might seek my support can turn me off.

Each bullet refers to a bone I’ve picked with a different organization.

I would ask a charity to please:

  • charitynavigator.org

    Respond to my request to delete my deceased husband’s name from their database especially when I’ve included a donation with the change of name information. This isn’t a tiny, struggling organization but a gargantuan one that mails printed pitches every quarter. My mother had the same issue with a different organization deaf to her similar requests in the mid-1980s and eventually she stopped donating. Clearly topnotch computer programs haven’t helped.

  • Improve your profile on charitynavigator.com. Don’t pay your chief executive officer over $700,000 and spend 25 percent of your budget on marketing. I missed a bullet when I checked out this well known organization that dealt with a friend’s interest. It was to be his birthday gift.
  • Allow me, on your website donation form, to dedicate a donation either in celebration of or in memory of a friend or relative.
  • Confirm that you have notified the friend or family member I’ve asked you to alert that a donation was made in their or their loved one’s name.  So many people don’t acknowledge gifts and it’s awkward to ask if they’ve been informed.

Have you encountered irritations when selecting or dealing with a charity? Which are your favorites?

Photo: canadahelps.org

Service of Good Things that Happen When Nature Obliges

February 8th, 2021

Categories: New York City, Pandemic, Photography, Post Office, Social Distancing

I shake a finger at nature after a destructive hurricane, tornado or fire started by lightning. But at times good things happen when she intervenes–even as a result of a murdering pandemic.

Photo: staradvertiser.com

As I stood in line at the post office, six feet from the man in front and woman behind me, I thought, “Social distancing during the pandemic discourages pickpockets.”

Speaking of discouraging, jaywalkers are also out of business in NYC after a big snowstorm. The photo, above, of Third Avenue between 41st and 42nd, taken a few days after last week’s snowstorm, illustrates the point.

As I ran an errand on a very cold morning my mask kept my face warm. Imagine that–something else to thank the pandemic for!

Last, I welcome the photos taken in backyards or around the world that I see online or that friends send of extraordinary landscapes and animals, [such as the shot pictured below].

Even as the pandemic rages and more snow descends on the Midwest and temperatures drop below zero in North Dakota and Minnesota, nature smiles. Can you think of more examples?

 

Service of Billions in Limbo–Not in Recipient’s Pockets

February 4th, 2021

Categories: Bank, Banking, Death, Estate, Gift Cards, Laws, Lawyers

Photo: wired.com

Are you accessing all the money due you? Banks and businesses have pots of money left behind.

We’ve heard of gift cards with unused balances that reside in wallets, bureau and desk drawers. “At any given time, 10% to 19% of gift card balances remain unredeemed — and around 6% of gift cards are never even used,” wrote Zachary Crockett in thehustle.com. In 2019, Americans bought some $171 billion worth.

And what about the cards themselves? Crockett reported that 70 percent of gift cards are redeemed within six months but after a year, almost 80 percent aren’t. That’s a tidy sum for the issuers in addition to the fees many charge while they also make money on the interest.

Photo: wikihow.com

It’s not just gift card balances that are unclaimed. Without proper documentation or an estate bank account, checks made out to an estate cannot be deposited in a widow, widower or other beneficiary’s retail bank account even if they are named executor in the will. For some, the cost to pay a lawyer to acquire documentation may represent more than the lost money. A friend said that each of several checks for interest on an investment made to her husband’s estate were for less than $100. The issuer of the checks kept the money because two banks in her town refused to cash or deposit them.  Long after the checks had expired someone said she could have helped her retrieve the money.

Another friend got a check from a bank made out to his wife’s estate for well over $3,000. It had a life of 180 days. The issuer said that no other check could be cut after that and it could not write a check to his name. Predicament was solved because a proactive customer service person figured out a solution. Otherwise, if the lawyer hadn’t open an estate account in time this money would have remained in bank coffers unclaimed.

This must happen to the bereaved countless times a year.

Do you use gift cards immediately? If you’ve not spent the entire amount, do you remember to use the remainder? Do you prefer gift cards from a business or ones  like American Express? Have you forfeited money because you weren’t able to cash a check in time for any reason?

Photo: fairyblooms.com

 

Service of Armchair Travel

February 1st, 2021

Categories: Pandemic, Travel, Travel Warning

Photo: news.un.org

Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that this isn’t the time for air travel, vaccine or no. She was on a CNN Global Town Hall on January 27 with Dr. Anthony Fauci hosted by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Right after she’d said this we saw a videotaped question from a grandmother who was about to get her second vaccine. She wanted to know when she’d be safe to fly to see her grandchildren. Even though the benefit of the vaccine would kick in seven to 10 days after the injection, Dr. Walensky stuck to her guns: Unless an emergency she didn’t recommend air travel.

Photo: vikingrivercruises.com

The Viking cruise commercials always intrigued me and I like Rick Steves’ travel tidbits on PBS. Some of the Netflix series I enjoy–The Crown, Call My Agent, Lupin, Broadchurch, Marcella, Bloodline–take me to favorite or unknown places here and abroad. Traveling the Internet are extraordinary photographs of places I love or will never see.

Tourism and business travel are lifelines to survival of so many countries and cities. Businesses are crushed as a result of the stoppage from restaurants, hotels, boutiques and tourist sites to souvenir vendors.

The CDC orders travelers to wear masks. In future will they need to show proof of vaccination before being allowed on board planes trains and buses?  Hospitals and businesses can ask employees to get a flu shot but they cannot be forced to do so. Given the seriousness of the pandemic, will the Supreme Court make covid-19 vaccination a passport to public venues from theaters, sports stadiums and concert venues to cruises?

How are you satisfying your wanderlust? Are you planning to take a plane once you have been vaccinated or are you waiting for the all-clear?

Photo: theguardian.com

Service of Mourning: Remember

January 28th, 2021

Categories: Death, Memory, Mourning, Remembering

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

President Biden led the mourners honoring the 400,000 who have died of Covid-19. On the eve of the inauguration he stood by the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., silhouetted by 400 lights, and said: “To heal we must remember.” The next day the President prayed at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington Cemetery. Again he led the nation in remembering.

Yesterday in a White House statement, he said: “Today, we join together with people from nations around the world to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day by remembering the 6 million Jews, as well as the Roma and Sinti, Slavs, disabled persons, LGBTQ+ individuals, and many others, who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Shoah. ….”

“Death is natural,” my husband would say as he hugged me through my grief when parents, relatives and friends died. When he died I remembered his healing hugs.

Photo: en.unesco.org

Homer’s approach, while sensible and accurate, doesn’t mitigate the feelings of loss that loved ones experience. It must be worse when death doesn’t seem natural: Those left behind when the lives of Covid-19 patients have been cut short–whether children or the elderly. Without the virus thousands would have celebrated many other birthdays and holidays. Holocaust survivors and loved ones of victims of violence must feel the same.

It’s true that the departed live on in your heart and mind. Keepsakes help. I put my hands on my father’s and husband’s leather gloves that are on a table for easy access. The main character, Assane Diop, played by Omar Sy in the Netflix series “Lupin,” holds dear his dead father’s gloves as well.

When others remember one of my loved ones it’s momentous. It might make me teary but then so much does–it shouldn’t discourage them from sharing their memories. In what ways do you remember?  Or is it too painful?

Service of Respect

January 25th, 2021

Categories: Collaboration, Disrespect, Respect, Work, Workplace Disputes

Photo: lean.org

I pluck a vital quote from last week that I hope will be imitated by organizations and companies around the land:

I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No if, ands, or buts.” —President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Zoom at the swearing-in ceremony for staffers of his new administration on Inauguration Day.

Photo:eskill.com

I’ve worked at companies that set one employee against the other–not a fit for me. I’m plenty competitive but I work best in collaborative environments. I’ve also worked for magazines or agencies at which bullying and nastiness didn’t exist because management didn’t practice or tolerate it.

For every personality there’s a management style that inspires. To do their jobs some need to be prodded which feels like abuse to me because I know what’s expected and when and try to deliver before deadline. Others do best if they respect–not fear–their clients or boss.

Do you think the administration staffers got President Biden’s message and will abide by it? Was he micromanaging? Are there situations in which such an approach wouldn’t work? In what environment do you excel?

Photo: proofhub.com

Service of Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose–Redux II

January 21st, 2021

Categories: Cheating, Medical Care, Pandemic

I interrupt my planned post for today to write this morning about a serious state of affairs regarding Corona-19 vaccine distribution: money can put you at the head of the line. I heard about it this morning.

Money impacted Vietnam War deferments. Sons of the wealthy who sought them got them. That was nothing new: deep enough pockets to hire the canniest lawyers have always plucked scoundrels off the hook for crimes committed.

How naive I was to think this wasn’t the case for today’s crisis. Here’s why:

NYC Housing Authority Photo: nyulangone.org

Thousands of New York City Housing Authority development residents have been given the vaccine so for once, while I and my computer-savvy friends are struggling to wangle an appointment online, some with few resources or ability to do this were being served first. I was glad.

I admit that my requirements restrict my chances. I want to walk to my appointment–5 miles my limit–and a trip, alone, to dodgy neighborhoods, as many friends have suggested, is out of the question.

Dr. Arthur Caplan. Photo: twitter

Simultaneously thousands of appointments have been cancelled in NYC this week for lack of vaccine. On his weekly segment on the WOR morning show today Arthur L. Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, reported to hosts Len Berman and Michael Riedel that people were paying to jump the line. I hadn’t heard this before.

What’s worse: There are no punishments to thwart them he said. Dr. Caplan warned Len, who has a vaccine appointment for next week, not to count on it. He cautioned that it might take a month to sort out the clog in the system. The three men shared anecdotes of people–even from Canada–flying to Florida or lying about their ages to be vaccinated.

To make matters worse, the outgoing administration left no plan with which the current one might run to help sort things out at local levels nationwide.

Do you feel all’s fair in an emergency and people with money deserve to go first because they’ve earned the right? Can you think of additional instances where money overrides first come first served?

Photo: nih.gov

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