Archive for August, 2021

Service of Here We Go Again: Phone Snubbing

Monday, August 30th, 2021


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

At lunch with three friends last week my phone pinged a few times signaling the arrival of a text. One pal repeatedly asked if it was my phone. It was, but I didn’t look. We were eating.

Dan Ariely just covered the subject of “Why We Ignore Friends to Look at Our Phones” in his Wall Street Journal advice column “Ask Ariely.” The subject falls in my “Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose” series. When mobile phones were new, some diners chatted incessantly even when facing a date or friend across a restaurant table, often disturbing neighboring diners while disrespecting their dinner companion.

Ariely responded to reader Alan who asked him why people “engage in such rude behavior,” that the columnist called phone snubbing or “phubbing” which he claimed could impact “the level of satisfaction in a friendship.” He attributed it not to lack of interest in the dialogue as much as to the personality of the phubber.

Ariely reported: “In a 2021 study of young adults, the authors found that depressed and socially anxious people are more likely to phub their friends. This is likely explained by the fact that people with social anxiety find online communication less uncomfortable than in-person conversations.”

He continued, “On the other hand, phubbing is less common among people who score high on ‘agreeableness,’ which psychologists define as striving to avoid conflict. Agreeable people make an effort to be polite and friendly in order to maintain social harmony.”

His suggestions for those who can’t stop looking at their phones is to disengage text and email message notices or to put the phone on airplane mode. That switches off the phone’s connection to Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

There are exceptions when being a phubber is legit but I think you should announce your reason when you sit down. If you’re expecting to hear from a client, customer, sick friend or relative or colleague about a deadline-driven project say so.

Do you care if your dining companion keeps checking his/her phone? Do you apologize if/when you do it?


Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

Service of the Best Way to Say ……

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

You don’t have good news to share and you want to say something positive but the bottom line is that there’s nothing upbeat or cheerful about the conversation. How do you best construct your words?

For example:

You accept a job with a dream position in the wings that finally comes through after a few weeks. How do you word your exit?

A longtime advisor at a prestigious company moves to a tiny unknown firm and you have solid reasons not to follow. What do you say to her/him?

The chef comes over to your table and asks “how is dinner?” and it’s barely OK. You smile and respond what?

A tech person at a doctor’s office is nice but subpar. How do you tell the doctor so that the person doesn’t retaliate the next time you go?

Can you add other scenarios in which you want to carefully choose you words? How would you address some of the ones in this post?


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Service of a Summer Saturday in New York

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

This door was open at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday
Cosmetic Market wasn’t open even though the sign says it should be

On a short walk this Saturday I found one door open–that hasn’t always been lately–and one closed, that shouldn’t have been; an empty space where there had been a building last I looked; a Swiss chocolatier with enormous slabs of candy and an outdoor restaurant that looked like it had been transplanted to Manhattan from Europe decades ago.

I don’t blame Cosmetic Market, [photo top left], for being closed until noon on a summer Saturday. Who is in the city anyway? However it might have noted the revised schedule on the website.

I’ve tried to drop in to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the afternoon during the week and its doors have been locked. As with Cosmetic Market, there is no information on the website or posted outside the cathedral about the hours it is open. However I could enter when I passed by two days ago and a security guard told me it shuts weekdays around 1:40 pm but should increase hours after Labor Day.

Läderach chocolatier

There’s a huge amount of construction going on in the city yet it’s always a surprise to come upon a cavernous hole on a major artery, this time on Fifth Avenue and 46th Street [photo bottom, left].

I’ve passed branches of Läderach chocolatier before. The slabs of sweets always catch my eye. I wonder if anyone buys an entire block, how it would be packaged and if they’d ever finish it.

I love walking past Avra Estiatorio restaurant on East 48th Street. The lush landscaping on both the restaurant and curb sides make it one of the most appealing sidewalk eateries I’ve seen. Management pays equal attention to the trees and flowers next to the street in view of diners as they do to the immediate surround. The sidewalk in between is immaculate.

In August folks expect to see photos of ocean, lake, or mountain views–all wonderful. My city escapades are fun too.

What has caught your eye this summer as you took a stroll or a ride either near home or on vacation?

Avra Estiatorio restaurant
Fifth Avenue and 46th Street where a building used to be

Service of Change

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

I passed a deli with signs on the door: “To Dine-in Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination Required.” It surprised me because the place didn’t look like a restaurant but there must be a few tables and chairs inside. This requirement is a change for New Yorkers who won’t fully feel the brunt until the winds of fall make outdoor dining less appealing. I signed up for an Excelsior Pass so that proof of my vaccines are accessible by clicking on an icon, with me when my phone is. In addition to my driver’s license, I’m set to enter any place proof is required.



Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

I get attached to people. A few months ago my hair stylist of years retired. I’m still adjusting though we’re in touch as friends. I envy women who are comfortable going to a range of hair salons. Not me.

My investment advisor also just retired. Wow! Will the roof fall in? No spring chicken, she was entitled years ago. But still: Couldn’t she hang on a little longer for me? A person’s doctor, accountant or lawyer can have the same impact when they leave the scene. Two years ago my eye doctor moved his practice out of NYC. Calamity! I miss him.

A friend suggested that Virgos don’t handle change well which is why, she explained, I find these changes disturbing. I’d be curious to know if others–born under other astrological signs–feel as I do over a change of doctor, hair stylist, stock broker, lawyer, accountant or other key person. Do you?

Service of Channeling Proust: Memories of Mom’s Cooking

Monday, August 16th, 2021

Marcel Proust wrote about how eating a madeleine triggered childhood memories in “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu,” (“In Search of Lost Time”). We all have our madeleine equivalents.

HW shared a loving memory of her Mom’s Sunday family chicken dinners. The poultry started in the oven, on the road to developing a characteristic golden hue, but then she’d add water, cover and cook it some more for a very long time. As a result the bird’s complexion turned gray. She did this so as not to poison the family with under-cooked chicken–her concern. Today HW’s cousins reminisce about those renowned dinners and her mom’s legendary gray chicken.

My mom could transform a disappointing, tasteless store-bought pound or other cake into a scrumptious trifle-like concoction or whip up floating island or enliven leftovers so they’d be toothsome. But I always think of her when I see “French toast” on a menu or on the rare occasion I make it for myself.

She would be surprised I chose her French toast for this post as in addition to the above her lamb chops and chocolate brownies and birthday cakes were also to die. I’m sure she thought that by the time I rescued and devoured it the French toast was within an inch of the garbage.

French toast was a Sunday morning staple in our home. Like many a teen, I lingered in bed long after I was asked to wake up and eat breakfast. To keep it warm mom left my portion on an extremely low flame. By the time I’d get to it, the toast was cooked through, not a smidgen of egg taste remained and it was cracker-hard–on the cusp of burnt. As a result, that’s the only way I’ll eat French toast! I cannot order it in a restaurant.

By the way, French toast in France is called le pain du pauvre–bread of the poor–or pain perdu, lost bread. Fresh bread was a crucial element in French homes. A cook gave day old bread another life by dipping it in egg and milk before cooking it.

When I was a kid my dad didn’t cook. Later he made a serious oil and vinegar salad dressing and cucumber salad.

What childhood foods do you remember?



Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Service of Always Buy from a Website Not a Social Media Advert Link

Thursday, August 12th, 2021



Image by Julien Tromeur from Pixabay

The kind of experiences I’m about to describe can’t be good for social media platform ad sales because it’s hard to tell the difference between the real ones and the scams. And if the brand is new to you, best check it out before buying so much as a toothpick.

I just found out that an order I’d placed with a reputable brand posting an ad on Facebook went, instead, to a thief as did my money. I was fooled by how the posting, models and clothes resembled the real thing and I didn’t take the step of getting off social media and on the Internet to find the website and order there. Credit card company notified–check–card cancelled–check–and lesson learned. I’ll never again attempt to buy anything from a commercial enterprise from a link on Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter or elsewhere.

At about the same time I checked out a product that interested me but did some research first. I found a Facebook entry from a burned customer which generated similar comments from countless others.

The man ordered fly strips for $21. He got a call from a woman saying the order didn’t go through asking again for his credit card number. She was aggressive in trying to sell him $79 worth of product and tossing all sorts of discounts at him.  He told her to cancel the entire order–he didn’t want anything.  By the next morning his PayPal account was nevertheless charged $101 and she’d put him on a recurring order plan.



Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Others responding to his comment warned that they never received anything from the company after months. One spent $300.

The PayPal rep told the writer to never give your phone number when placing an online order because it is usually linked to your bank account. I don’t know about that but I do know his first mistake was doing what I did: He bought product from a Facebook posting and in his case from an unknown vendor.

I am irritated at myself–as I am usually so careful–and hope that my bank catches the scoundrels. No wonder banks charge so much interest for their credit cards. It must cost a fortune to cover the money returned to their clients in the many instances they don’t catch and receive compensation from the culprits.

As I was about to publish this a young medical tech assistant told me his Apple pay digital wallet account was charged $8,000. He’d not spent a penny. Predators are out to get even the most savvy and wary.

Can you tell if a sponsored posting on a social media platform is real and/or if the company posting is reputable?


Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
E-Commerce | E-tailing | Scams | Social Media | Theft

Service of Sharing II

Monday, August 9th, 2021

Sharing makes me feel good to both do and observe.

When men’s Olympic high jumpers Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar agreed to share the gold medal they were elated–Tamberi jumped into Barshim’s arms and they hugged. Did you hear me cheering?

If you live alone, the closest thing to sharing at the most basic level is to give surprises.

It’s hard for some to share–the last cookie, piece of cake, slice of pizza–but Americans were generous with their treasure last year.

AP business writer Haleluya Hadero wrote “Galvanized by the racial justice protests and the coronavirus pandemic, charitable giving in the United States reached a record $471 billion in 2020, according to a report released Tuesday that offers a comprehensive look at American philanthropy.” She added that Giving USA reported: “Faced with greater needs, estates and foundations also opened up their pocketbooks at increased levels — resulting in a 5.1% spike in total giving from the $448 billion recorded for 2019, or a 3.8% jump when adjusted for inflation.”

Have you observed some splendid examples of sharing?

Service of it Makes No Sense

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

There’s a lot that makes no sense to me. Look around–common sense is exceptional.

Why would a well known brand make an upgrade that complicates rather than streamlines its service? Friends telling me I have trouble with the so-called improvement–upgrade being the epitome of a misnomer in my experience–because I’m over 19 or six doesn’t fly. I used the platform in question without a glitch for 13 years. A proponent of KISS, I resent having to take many more steps, many hard to find and clicks rather than one click away, to achieve the outcome achieved prior to the upgrade. Kudos to Apple: I had no trouble using a new iPhone or iPad.

I go to Staples for print cartridges that most often they don’t have in the store so the cashier orders the one I need. It comes in a large box. [Photo right]. There must be smaller boxes for such a tiny item.

On the subject of waste, the amount of plastic and tin I toss in just a few days is frightening. [Photo left for two days worth.]

I was staring at an envelope marked “Personal and Confidential” going up in the elevator and thought, “Those words would be the reason I’d zero in on this puppy if I was in the business of stealing mail.” [Photo below.]

I laughed as I passed the “Keep Door Locked” sign on the open door a few blocks from my apartment. [Photo top.]

Have you noticed things that make no sense these days?

Service of When Less is Perfect and When It’s Not at the Olympics

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There was a turning point for women in the PR business when they didn’t have to appear at every event with a new suit or dress which sure made it easier to pack for days-long business trips as well as on the wallet.

But it’s been different for most women in the public eye, until now, thanks to the First Lady. “Dr. Biden apparently wore only a single new garment during the entirety of her trip to Japan: the Ralph Lauren navy jacket and pants that were part of the official U.S. Olympic Team uniform, and that she wore in her role as official U.S. Olympic Team booster,” Vanessa Friedman wrote in The New York Times. “Other than that, her clothes were all recycled outfits from her closet. And not just at fun family getaways: At public events. Often very big, photo op-filled, recorded-for-history public events,” she wrote in “Jill Biden, Changing the Fashion Game.”

Friedman, the paper’s fashion director and chief fashion critic, acknowledged that a recycled wardrobe is crucial for “image-making, celebrities and their powerful political or entrepreneurial equivalents.”


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

She observed: “She is not rejecting fashion — each look she wore is part of the current New York Fashion Week story, each one from American brands both establishment and up and coming. She’s doing her part to promote local business on the global stage.” Friedman mentioned that Dr. Biden “reflects the climate-focused aspect of the Biden agenda,” while supporting the worth of the clothes, that they merit keeping.

Meanwhile in “The Sexualization Of Women In Sports Extends Even To What They Wear,” Sharon Pruitt-Young reported on npr.org: “The Norwegian women’s beach handball team is in a battle with the sport’s governing bodies to wear less-revealing uniforms. After the team’s repeated complaints about the required bikini bottoms were reportedly ignored, they wore shorts during a recent game in protest and were fined 150 euros (around $175) per player.”

According to Jenny Gross in The New York Times “Men, on the other hand, can wear shorts as long as four inches above their knees as long as they are ‘not too baggy.'”

Do you think a First Lady or celebrity should have new clothes every time she will be photographed? Should female athletes be forced to wear revealing uniforms to compete in the Olympics or in any sports event?

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