Archive for the ‘Decisions’ Category

Service of “You Choose”

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

Image by martynaszulist from Pixabay 

A friend was a talented interior designer. She would come to our home with a stack of fabric samples all of which were great choices. “Big deal,” you think. When it came to home décor, my husband and I had very different likes: He leaned to the formal and elaborate. I prefer the opposite. Yet she’d surmount that hurdle with ease and arrive with perfect color and pattern pitches for the pieces that needed upholstering. And we’d happily choose the finalists and the winner.

But you don’t expect that approach at a doctor’s office. Seems it’s a popular tactic these days. A few years ago my doctor, knowing I was going to visit a surgeon next, said, “I hope to goodness he doesn’t give you choices.” Sounded strange to me: I either needed a procedure or I didn’t.

Here are two examples in which the patient was asked to decide. In one, it involved which operation of several needed should take place first. The surgeon told the patient to choose. In the other, the same words were uttered about two powerful drugs. Neither patient is a physician. Without the background, how in the Sam Hill can a patient make the most judicious choice?

Had we made a bad selection of fabric the only damage would have been to our wallet. But a patient choosing door number one when it should have been door number three could be seriously up the creek.

There are exceptions. My dentist has warned me that a conservative approach and tricky fix for a dental crisis might not work and I’ve chosen to give it a whirl. Dr. Alan Jaslove is a spectacularly talented dentist and if anyone can carry out a challenging procedure, he can. I’m braced to tolerate the more costly alternative if he can’t pull off the difficult, less expensive one—he makes clear the risks.

And obviously there are countless examples of patients who refuse to take medicine the side effects of which are worse than the disease or who stop physical therapy or decline to follow suggested diets. But sometimes we need guidance from an expert.

I’m guessing that passing the buck to the patient approach is influenced by insurance companies in a litigious society. Can’t you hear it: Doctor to the judge: “Well Jeanne opted to do thus and such. I gave her the choice. I had nothing to do with her decision.”

Has a doctor—or anyone else, such as a builder–given you a choice you weren’t prepared or educated to make? Are the medicine and operation examples I described one-offs? Why do you think some doctors leave crucial decisions up to the patient without recommendation?

Image by Max from Pixabay

Service of If I Was In Their Shoes

Monday, October 3rd, 2022


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

After all the fires, floods and hurricanes in the news it’s hard not to think “what would I do?” if faced with an evacuation order.

I still can’t wipe from my memory the victim of hurricane Sandy–its 10th anniversary upcoming–who ignored such an order because he had lived in his 9 foot high bungalow adjoining a Staten Island, N.Y. beach since he was little and no storm had harmed him. He drowned because the unprecedented surge filled the bungalow with water to the ceiling.

When asked to evacuate some people don’t have the energy or physical ability or place to go or the money to move or they have pets that won’t be allowed in an evacuation center. In Florida 2,300 have been rescued so far with more to save.

And what about the others who won’t budge and have no excuse? They are the ones first responders rescue at risk of their own lives. Tragically some become victims of nature’s ferocity.

It’s easy for me to guess from the protection of the four walls of my apartment what I’d do but I think I’d clear out when ordered from a house so I could take a few precious belongings with me. Those wading through waist-deep water to escape homes flooded by Ian’s wrath are all empty handed.

Remember the scene in “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” where the couple continues to eat dinner alone, upstairs, at their Kansas City country club during a tornado? I’d be in the basement with the rest of the members who were there that night along with waitstaff.

Would you evacuate when asked or stick out/hunker down in a fire, flood, tornado or hurricane? When Sandy hit people in the building in which I now live–and all those south of 40th Street–they were without electricity for more than a week. It’s something for me to think about.


Image by Didier from Pixabay

Service of Congestion Pricing that is Giving Yellow Taxis the Flu

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

I tucked this horrible decision on the part of New York Governor Cuomo into an early December post, “Service of I Love New York… But Don’t Push It.”

It’s too important a move–a giant $2.50 surcharge on every ride in yellow taxis in Midtown Manhattan–big enough to fell an essential NYC industry.

A judge postponed the measure from January 1, which was the deadline when I originally wrote about the debilitating tax. It started last weekend. I’m appalled. As a result, I forecast the end of an industry that served me, my parents and grandparents so well. According to Google, it was the first Yellow Cabs that in mid-1880 knocked “less predictable” competitors out of the ring in the big apple.

Yellow cab owners have invested so much in their businesses, and NYC’s citizens whose cabs touch a toe below 96th Street and are slapped with the surcharge, don’t deserve this. Tossing a tax on the vulnerable to solve your financial difficulties in an allied but otherwise unrelated sector isn’t the way to go.

I’d written on December 6, 2018:

The January 1, 2019 $2.50 congestion pricing fee will help destroy the already limping yellow cab industry and hurt citizens of modest or microscopic means who rely on traditional cabs. Many can’t manage busses or subways, can’t afford limos or don’t have smartphones to hire car services like Uber or Lyft. The fee impacts “any yellow cab, e-hail or other for-hire vehicle trips that start, pass through or end in a designated ‘congestion zone’ below 96th Street in Manhattan,” Vincent Barone wrote in amny.com.

What’s the destination of the some $400 million the tax man anticipates collecting? According to Barone, it will help the Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA]  which is “financially strapped.”

Services like Lyft and Uber are charged a $2.75 fee but because they can fiddle with their basic price which yellow taxis can’t, they could make rides cheaper than traditional cabs—another stab to the financial heart of their competitor.

Barone reported: “‘The fact that it will cost $5.80 to step into a taxi cab now is going to be devastating for the taxi industry,’ TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said after a City Council oversight hearing on the surcharges, referencing the existing fees on taxi trips. ‘The other sectors … have more flexibility. They have to add $2.75 on but they’re not bound to a metered fare, so they can reduce the price of the trip so that the passenger doesn’t feel the effect of the $2.75.’”

I took [too] many yellow cabs last weekend between my current and future apartment filled with TJ Maxx bags holding my plants, food and other items movers don’t carry. My suitcase was embarrassingly heavy. Each driver was helpful, grateful and cheerful. Only one pointed out that drivers don’t benefit from a penny of the surcharge yet their volume will be impacted. “People don’t take us for short trips like they did before–look at the meter: $9 for a few blocks.”

Do you think that there is a chance for a rollback to a more reasonable surcharge such as 50 cents instead of $2.50? What impactful action might we take to put the brakes on this poorly conceived method of paying for the city’s subway system? Why does this city care more about bicyclists than about pedestrians or taxi drivers?

Service of Changing Your Mind III

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

I respect people who change their minds for good reasons. It takes guts especially if they are in the public eye. However in some cases when intelligent people know they are slamming a stick on a beehive, why do they chicken out when they must have anticipated they’d be stung?

This is what happened when David Remnick, whom I admire, The New Yorker Magazine’s editor in chief, invited and then disinvited Steve Bannon to speak at the magazine’s October festival which for 19 years has included political, art and literary figures.

Doha Madani with the Huffington Post, covered the reactions. He wrote that a New York Times article disclosed that the former White House chief strategist was to be a headliner. “The New Yorker’s readers and staffers accused Remnick of giving a platform to Bannon’s racism and white nationalist agenda after the Times article.” One columnist tweeted that she was “beyond appalled,” Madani wrote. Some of the speakers also protested.

Madani shared Bannon’s response to the withdrawn invitation, which he’d made in a statement to CNBC: “The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation. In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”

Madani continued “‘I don’t want well-meaning readers and staff members to think I’ve ignored their concerns,’ Remnick said in a statement Monday evening. ‘I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind.’ 

“Remnick said he ultimately decided that, while he would still interview Bannon for a journalistic piece, a festival was not the best forum for speaking to him. An additional reason for canceling Bannon’s appearance, Remnick said, was that the magazine would have paid him an honorarium, as well as for lodging and travel if Bannon spoke at the event, rather than for an article, which would be done without payment.”

I’ve produced countless industry events but the speakers were noncontroversial–and most approved by others–so I’ve not run into a situation like this. However I think that Remnick, who is used to looking controversy in the eye, should have kept Bannon on the lineup–though moved him to a lower position rather than that of headliner, if there was such a spot.

Do you think that Remnick should have stuck to his guns and not withdraw the  invitation to Bannon; thought twice before inviting Bannon to participate in his festival in any capacity or tested the water before doing so? Have you had to similarly backtrack due to pressure by others?

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