Archive for September, 2022

Service of What a Difference One Person Can Make

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

If you’ve become dependent on your smartphone, as I am, should it crash, you panic.

I made the wrong decision when this happened to me, bought a new phone from untrained, irresponsible employees at a reputable company–Verizon Wireless–and was saved by a young man at Apple. He stepped out of the routine–he could have palmed me off to someone else, making me wait, but he sensed my distress and sprang into action.

As Paul Harvey used to say, and now the rest of the story.

AJ Rosario at the Grand Central Terminal Apple store rescued me last week. I thought that Verizon Wireless had sold me a damaged iPhone 13. He assessed my mood and quickly put an end to the drama.

Verizon staff did not know how to download my apps and programs from the cloud, which was clear after two days, and its staff washed its hands of the lifeless device they had sold me by ignoring me. Fortunately, the Apple store is in the same building. Once I realized I was persona non grata, simply warming a seat, I dashed to the Apple store.

AJ was at the top of the stairs crowded with people, the first employee I saw. He was as kind, understanding and reassuring as he was expert. He whisked me to a table and rolled up his sleeves. Quickly my thousands of contacts appeared in my address book as did my emails and texts and eventually the apps–and my sanity returned too. The new phone came to life in his hands.

As AJ worked on my iPhone I texted a friend from my iPad. I told her that a guardian angel at Apple was helping me. I told AJ what I’d just written. He whispered that he’s known by AJ at work but his name is Angel–“and don’t tell anyone.”

Do you share my anxiety when purchasing new electronic devices because like me you’re at the mercy of people who know their way around them–or maybe they don’t? Have you had exceptional service–good and bad–of late?

Image by Stefan Kuhn from Pixabay

Service of Home or Hotel for Vacation

Monday, September 26th, 2022

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Long before Airbnb existed my dream was to rent a Paris apartment for a few days so I could play house, buy amazing breakfast and lunch goodies at the local grocery store, say “bonjour Madame” to the concierge and pretend I lived there.

An acquaintance rents one of her homes in season and charges for maid service which worked perfectly for years until this particular guest visited. The tenant’s family trashed the house which resulted in additional hours for the cleanup crew to restore it for next guests. They also ruined a carpet. You wonder how some people live. The tenants will not see a penny of their deposit nor this house again

Which brings me to Preetika Rana’s Wall Street Journal article,  “Welcome to Your Airbnb, the Cleaning Fees Are $143 and You’ll Still Have to Wash the Linens–Growing to-do lists despite soaring charges stress travelers; ‘This kind of changes the whole vibe’”

The reporter wrote about one frequent participant who became anxious about the list of “to do’s” she faced on the last day. For starters they went from laundering sheets and vacuuming to washing the dishes. Her Airbnb “had an exhaustive list of cleaning requirements and she wasn’t going to let her guest rating dip over it……’You don’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. to do chores when you’re on vacation,'” said the guest. She found it all “stressful.”

As a result Rana reported, “Some are switching back to hotels to avoid the hassle and the clean-up fees that can be hundreds of dollars.” Because there was no trash pickup, one guest had to take hers with her when she left. I want to know: What would you do with the garbage if you’d flown to the destination and rented a car?

How does Airbnb suggest that hosts handle maintenance? “‘Would you like guests to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher or strip the bed linen before checkout? If so, consider charging a very minimal cleaning dishwasher fee—or no fee at all.’”

One Airbnb host, according to Rana, doesn’t approve of the lists of chores as he feels it pushes potential guests to hotels.

In addition to respecting the furniture and fixtures of a home or apartment you’re renting–which would be true of furniture and fixtures at any hotel as well–how much cleanup are you willing to do while on vacation?

Image by Peggy from Pixabay

Service of Surprises Found in Remodeling Projects

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

Image by gurlwithapen from Pixabay

I often peek into the giant holes in sidewalks and streets made by Con Ed’s or other workers and ask the construction men and women if they’ve found any treasures. I’ve not lived in old enough homes or apartments to expect to find anything behind walls or floors when making changes or additions or when digging in the garden. It happens in films where characters find bodies or guns and sometimes a stash of bills.

According to Google, in 2012, “researchers and archaeologists found a skeleton under a car park in the city of Leicester. The remains were believed to be Richard III, the Plantagenet king who was killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.”

Image by Tim C. Gundert from Pixabay

Sarah Cascone wrote in “What’s hidden beneath your floorboards? For one anonymous U.K. couple, it was a trove of 264 gold coins that is now set to sell at auction for as much as £250,000 ($288,000).” Originally they were worth between £50 and £100.

The homeowners live in North Yorkshire in an 18th century home. They “hit what they thought was an electrical cable beneath the concrete. Instead, it was the secret hoard, tightly packed inside a salt-glazed earthenware cup, about the size of a soda can, buried beneath the home, ITV News reported.”

The well-used coins are from 1610-1727. “The collection originally belonged to Joseph and Sarah Fernley-Maisters, a couple from an influential mercantile family, who married in 1694 and died in 1725 and 1745, respectively. The family made their money trading in iron ore, timber, and coal.”

The coins are up for auction at Spink and Son on October 7. A representative said “I cannot recall a similar discovery in living memory.” They describe the coins as “one of the biggest coin finds in British archaeological history.”

Have you found anything while excavating your backyard or remodeling your home or have you known of anyone who has?

Image from Pixabay

Service of Too Much of a Good Thing or When the Cure Adds Another Challenge

Monday, September 19th, 2022

So often a solution brings other problems.

Bag it!

In ridding the world of plastic bags–they are no longer permitted for use by retailers in many states–we create another problem.

People are piling up the reusable plastic totes especially if they order grocery deliveries. The producer of an early morning NYC metro radio program admitted she had a garage full. New Jersey’s problem with the tossed bigger bags took up a segment on NPR along with an interview with Senator Bob Smith who wants to amend his state’s single use bag ban. He suggests that delivery services use paper bags, currently forbidden, or the cardboard boxes food is shipped in.

I can’t stand it

We were told that sitting all day is as unhealthy as smoking and a few years ago companies began ordering special desks so employees could stand as they worked at computers.

But standing all day isn’t so good either. According to New York Post reporter Zach Williams: “Research shows prolonged periods of standing can cause health problems big and small from tired feet to cardiovascular problems, according to a legislative memo accompanying the so-called ‘Standing is Tiring (SIT) Act.'” Assemblywoman Karines Reyes (D-Bronx) and NY state Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) are sponsoring the bill. Reyes is an RN.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

Williams wrote: “Albany Democrats have introduced legislation to allow some foot-weary working New Yorkers to sit on the job.” He continued: “Supermarket cashiers, bodega clerks and those with jobs requiring lots of screen time are examples of people who Reyes says her legislation might help while workers in other jobs, like prowling security guards, might have to stay on their feet.” I’d add doormen and doorwomen to the list.

The prick that saves

What about reactions to lifesaving vaccines? We voluntarily submit our bodies and some of us become extremely ill with nasty reactions. The repercussion is better than the disease so….

Fizzy or still

Those of us who prefer seltzer or sparkling water to tap do potential damage to our teeth. But fizzy is better than no water at all. And use a straw.

Let the Sun Shine In

What about glorious suntans? We need Vitamin D that the sun provides and what looks better than a tan?  But some suffer consequences of too much such as wrinkles and worse.

With the exception of vaccines, moderation and/or planning ahead is the answer to averting new challenges brought on by cures.


  • You toss reusable grocery bags?
  • You stand while you work at your computer or get up from your chair and walk around?
  • Potential reactions keep you from getting vaccines?
  • You use straws to bypass your teeth when you drink seltzer?
  • You protect yourself if you’re a sun lover?

Service of Flowers and Candles to Console, Cheer and Celebrate

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Birthday bouquet

There have been too many occasions for flowers lately between Queen Elizabeth’s death and commemorating those who perished on 9/11. News reports mentioned that candles, marmalade sandwiches and Paddington bears joined the blossoms honoring the Queen. We also see flowers, candles and stuffed animals outside schools after deadly shootings.

Second Aveinue memorial

At 57th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan there’s a memorial for someone who died July 2021. It was his birthday according to one of the notes, hence the new bouquets I photographed this week [image right].

Friends sent flowers when dear ones died and I loved them.

I send donations in someone’s memory either to their favorite charity or to one that reflects their interest–as in wildlife or books–or supports research into the disease they suffered from. It would be discourteous for the firm to post notices on fences to ask mourners to please send the money you’d spend on flowers to your favorite charity or some of the Queens’.

I love fresh flowers in the living room when I have company. I associate them with happy times like weddings and anniversaries. I received a magnificent bouquet from my nephew on my recent birthday [photo above] and I remember a giant bouquet of wild flowers my then future husband cut and gave me on arriving for a date early on. One year a huge box of lilacs in three colors came from my stepdaughter’s garden. These blossoms and many others may be long gone but are hard to forget.

People are desperate to do something to honor a deceased person and to cheer survivors. Flowers are gorgeous. It makes sense. In addition to flowers, candles, and stuffed animals are there other symbols that celebrate both sad and happy occasions? Although fabulous flowers are memorable, do you prefer to donate money to charity in a person’s memory?

Firehouse East 40th Street 9/11, 2022

Service of Who Cares II

Monday, September 12th, 2022

I’m not the only one who has noticed a surge of overt indifference by retail employees lately and it’s not been exclusively in NYC where I start.

At a Manhattan branch of T.J.Maxx I heard a lively conversation of what turned out to be three sales associates hovering in housewares. I interrupted them to learn whether the store carried an item I needed. I was surprised they were so bold to turn the sales floor into a catch-up-around-a-water-cooler-like scene for such a long time.

At Home Depot, also in Manhattan, where I’ve always been treated courteously by sales associates, a guard on street level, seated in a wheelchair meant for customers, was slumped over his phone oblivious to his surroundings. My grocery cart accidentally slammed to the cement floor, the handle making an alarming clatter, and he neither budged nor looked up.

Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

The same week I heard from EAM who shared examples of apathy towards customers during a trip to California. She visited Gumps, a favorite haunt of her parents. It was 4:40 pm, she wrote, and the store closed at 5 pm. She was looking at jewelry and “they started pulling it from the cases, one man throwing velvet covers over some, putting the jewelry onto trays as well.”  While this was going on, one salesman was attentive and answered her questions. She continued: “Overall, I was appalled by this experience–that a high-end store would treat people so rudely. One saleswoman had made an assessment, based on my appearance, that I wasn’t a serious customer. In fact, my parents, over the years, had made some significant purchases.” 

That same week EAM reported on a booth selling art glass vases in the $200+ range at a craft show. “To ask a question my sister literally had to interrupt the four salespeople in the booth huddled in conversation. They seemed clueless about their dismissive sales approach. She returned to check out the vases before purchasing one and was so turned off by their lackluster attitude towards her that she left. They lost a sale.”

Is something in the air? Are we all exhausted? Were these interactions coincidental? Is it because businesses are shorthanded and have lowered their hiring standards? Have you noticed similar lack of enthusiasm at retail?

Service of the Impact of Being Deep-Sixed: A Forecast

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Hold on to your hats: Here’s a forecast of a few changes that will cut off some from access to crucial services and might put others out of business.

On the Road Again

Was NYC always so discriminatory?

I’m happy with my MetroCard that New Yorkers use for bus and subway rides. It’s easy to add money and is featherweight.

By the end of next year it will be extinct Anna Rahmanan reported in We’ll all be using OMNY vending machines that take money from a swipe of a smart device or a contactless chip credit or debit card. OMNY stands for One Metro New York.

This sounds great if you own the proper device and welcome a link between your smartphone, smartwatch or fitbit and your credit card or bank account. No such links for me. By next year I assume that all credit cards will be updated with a contactless chip.

Will the OMNY machine know who is eligible for half priced fares? What about those who don’t want to use their credit and debit cards for this purpose or don’t own the devices or cards? Does NYC have a contingency plan for them? One can only hope.

Attending to Business

Alex Harring predicted in The Wall Street Journal that traditional business cards are being replaced by QR codes, jewelry with business details or implanted chips. He calls the traditional cards germ swappers.

He reported that “The technology chief at Boingo Wireless Inc. had a chip inserted, between his left thumb and index finger, that carries his contact information. New acquaintances can use their phones to download the details.” If the recipient doesn’t have the app installed on their phone the technology doesn’t work. Oops.

Harring continued that some use “physical cards with QR codes, scannable digital cards or chips embedded in physical items that allow people to share contact details with a tap.”

The technology had best be flawless and operational wherever people network. Maybe a person should carry a few germ swappers just in case–yes?

What Did You Say?

What’s going to happen to the audiology business now that the FDA has approved over the counter hearing aids?

Woof and Meow

As soon as New York Governor Kathy Hochul signs the anti puppy mill bill there will be no more pet store sales of dogs, cats and rabbits here. Future pet parents are to go to breeders. According to, “‘The Puppy Mill Pipeline legislation would allow retail stores to partner with area shelters like Bideawee and like ACC and rescues to adopt animals,’ Bideawee CEO and President Leslie Granger said.” Full disclosure, all my pets have come from animal welfare agencies and shelters except one who was rescued by a friend from an abusive home. Are legitimate pet store owners in New York State expected to close the door and walk away from their investment of time and treasure?

The questions for this post are highlighted in each section.

Service of I Had it Hard Therefore So Should You–or Not: The Student Loan Forgiveness Initiative

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I first noticed the approach that inspired this topic when a frighteningly tough high school history teacher told us:”You should have seen how hard we had it! This is nothing.”

Clients or customers who put vendors through the mill because they can are cut from similar cloth.

The student loan forgiveness initiative is generating comparable reactions that sing similar choruses: “I had to pay back my loan so you should as well. It’s not fair.” I empathize. But who said life is fair? Bank executives in the 80’s made a fraction of what they do now. So what can you do if that’s when you were at the top?

One argument in favor of loan forgiveness is that colleges cost more today than ever before and tuition loans stifle and crush a graduate’s life for years.That’s for sure.

Sidebar: While in the day my parents paid a fraction of what tuition, room and board costs today, to put their expenditure in perspective they could have bought two new basic cars with the check they wrote for one year at the private New England college I attended.

But I digress.

If people are paying off college loans they aren’t buying other things like homes and what goes in them which cramps the economy. The forgiveness becomes a win-win.

I heard a supporter of the program cite the aphorism “A rising tide lifts all boats.” My husband’s grandfather told him–loose translation–that like bread, as a boss, you’ll rise as you help your reports do their jobs well and succeed.

I bet many who complain the loudest were happy to see their unemployment insurance extended during the pandemic. They didn’t turn back their stimulus checks either. Do they write their elected representatives when they read that major corporations wiggle out of paying a penny of federal tax.

What about the amount of the forgiveness, $10,000 or $20,000: Too much or too little?

I used to fund raise for student scholarships. Most were for $10,000. An acquaintance commented at how insignificant that was. To offset $70,000/year it is. But what about this: The Federal hourly minimum wage is $7.25 though many states have increased it to $15. That equals–before taxes–1,379 or 666 hours respectively of work that a barista or worker at a fast food place doesn’t have to do.

Forgiveness of $10,000–or $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients–seems a drop in the bucket to some and too grand a gesture to others. Where do you stand?

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

Service of When Over the Top Marketing Blows Back

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

‘Tis the season which the following note illustrates. The email arrived at my inbox recently.

Image by Grégory ROOSE from Pixabay

A contributor wrote: “I’m bombarded by both [political] sides and they cry disaster in order to coax $$ out of one’s pocket.  I think I could recite all of their ploys, which include  ‘weeping’ ‘last request’ (yeah right) ‘losing’ ‘packing our bags’ ad nauseam!  One request started by trumpeting that I am an ’embarrassment.’  I liked that one so much that I pressed the unsubscribe button.  Don’t count on those ads to relay real news — their motif is not fact, but enrichment.”

If you’re reading this post I bet you receive such missives especially if you’ve ever sent a politician even just a few dollars. They must sell donor contact info.

It’s not just political campaigns. I’m a former subscriber to a magazine whose publisher sends countless emails with drastic discount offers. Make sure, if you fall for one, that you’re signing up for more than just a few issues. These offers culminate with “this is your last chance.” For today maybe or until next month or perhaps in celebration of St. Swithin’s Day [July 15].

Clothing brands with dedicated stores and e-commerce operations use the same ploy. “Some discounts as large as 70 percent!” “Sale ends tonight.””Add another 40 percent reduction!” You can be certain that the cashmere sweater you coveted was sold out in every size and color two sales ago.

Were this approach not profitable we wouldn’t be bombarded. I suspect the cry wolf sales approach–“there will never be another deal or opportunity like this” or “without your money we’re doomed”–works for some while it irritates others. Where do you fall? Have you succumbed to the pressure of “now or never” or “Your $10 will make all the difference”?

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Clicky Web Analytics