Archive for the ‘Stingy’ Category

Service of I Won’t Pay for That: I’m Not My Neighbor’s Keeper

Monday, February 27th, 2023

Natural disaster
Image by Barroa from Pixabay 

As it should be the taxes of parents who send their children to private school cover the cost of public school. Citizens who never call the fire department pay the freight for those who must. Those cared for in private hospitals pay for public ones.

When 50+ inches of snow fell in Buffalo, NY last December, and not a flake hit the streets of NYC, nobody squawked at the cost of helping with the cleanup. And on a national level, do citizens in Hawaii whine about FEMA funds sent to hurricane victims in Florida or Louisiana?

Subway cars
Image by RGY23 from Pixabay 

Yet, according to Ben Brachfeld of amny.com, “A group of suburban lawmakers are urging their Albany colleagues to restrict proposed payroll tax increases, meant to shore up the finances of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to businesses in the city — arguing the suburbs are already subject to ‘onerous’ taxes without service levels equivalent to residents of the five boroughs.” The tax, proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul, would be 0.5% from 0.34%.

According to Brachfeld, “In their letter, the suburban legislators suggest that municipalities outside the city should be exempted not only from the tax increase, but from the tax writ large, since it would post a levy on public funds used to run such municipalities. They also say community colleges and hospitals should be exempt from the payroll tax.”

Brachfeld reported that the levy impacts businesses in NYC’s five boroughs, two LI counties, five upstate counties that Metro-North serves. It has irritated the legislators in these places since  2009 when the tax was ratified. According to Brachfeld, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said on WCBS radio, “It [the tax] would only apply to the biggest employers. Only 5% of all businesses would be subjected to this little incremental payroll mobility tax.”

Mayor Adams isn’t a fan either. “He says the city, not the suburbs, are getting shafted, as the Big Apple is the state’s only municipality being asked to contribute new annual subsidies to the MTA, to the tune of over $500 million per year, in addition to the payroll tax increase and fare hike,” according to Brachfeld.

I envision a child’s game of hot potato: Who will end up footing the bill when the music ends? Should suburban municipalities or their constituents who may use the MTA’s buses and subways when they work or visit NYC also pay for some?  Shouldn’t we be proud of the legacy in this country of helping those who need it when disaster strikes even if we are not directly impacted by the emergency?


Image by RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay 

Service of What You Think of When You Walk Alone

Monday, September 21st, 2020

I was on a quick 20 block walk on Friday and jotted down a few of the things I thought of on my way.

Does the UN clean the flags outside?

As I passed the flags outside the UN I noticed that they looked shabby and needed to be cleaned. The UN General Assembly, in its 75th year, is largely virtual this September which may be one reason. Staff is no doubt busy cleaning the inside of the building to meet pandemic standards for those who are at work and will be attending meetings in person.

When I got home I Googled the question and while I didn’t learn the answer I saw that there are 193 flags arranged alphabetically–Afghanistan to Zimbabwe–from North to South and that staff raises and lowers them Monday through Friday at 8 am and 4 pm respectively.

Remembering automatic things

Waiting in line to enter Trader Joe’s earlier in the day I struck up a conversation with the woman ahead of me who said she couldn’t believe that she’d left her apartment without her mask. She was so lucky, she said, because a store across the street from TJ’s sold them. She’d forgotten three times, she said. I suggested she carry an extra as I do.

I’ve had trouble remembering whether I’ve fulfilled routine actions as long as I can remember. As a child I’d sometime get a sinking feeling if I was the last one out of the family apartment when I’d think, “Did I double lock the front door?” It was something I’d done countless times without focusing.

Restaurants open at 4 pm in Manhattan

As I passed by restaurants on First Avenue it took me a second to realize why so many serious ones are open from 4 pm-9 pm during the week: They must not attract a sufficient lunchtime crowd to pay for a second shift of wait and kitchen staff. We continue to have only outdoor dining in NYC.

Some affluent people are stingy and some of modest means are generous

I think about this a few times a year and haven’t found a valid explanation. What triggered my thoughts last Friday was how a friend said he’d donated to political candidates through ActBlue well over 100 times since the political campaigns began last June.  I know people who work hard and do well but are not affluent–they carefully pick and choose where they spend their money–yet they are munificent in their donations to charities and causes. Others with deep pockets, who donate neither time nor treasure, spend plenty on themselves but not others. They would time donations only if theirs was loudly acknowledged.

What do you think about when alone running errands, taking a walk or out and about in the car? Do you know how often the UN cleans or changes its flags? How do you ensure you’ve satisfied actions you should make automatically? Are the restaurants–not takeout–where you live open for lunch and dinner during the week? What’s the deal about stingy wealthy people and generous people of modest means?

Service of Receiving a Flawed Shipped Gift: Whom to Tell?

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Retailers—traditional and e—make it increasingly easier to send wonderful gifts. But what if the gift arrives damaged? Does the recipient tell the gift giver, the vendor, both or none?

According to family legend my great Aunt Frieda called a fancy food purveyor—one of the best in NYC in the day–to ask them to remove a brace of over-ripe, too-long dead pheasants gifted her by well-meaning friends. I remember hearing that they smelled horrific but I don’t recall if she ever told the friends about the rancid poultry or merely thanked them.

More recently, Erica sent her newly widowed aunt armloads of spring flowers. Her aunt lives in Minnesota. The delivery man left the blossoms in the [very] cold outside her front door where they froze therefore hurrying them to their demise. Erica’s mom urged her aunt to tell her. Aunt hesitated as she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She wrote: “I think they would be very lovely if they were not frozen. Your Mom asked me to send you a photo. Love.” Erica immediately called ProFlowers—that never before had disappointed her—and sent them this photo [above] as evidence.

A florist doing business in Minnesota should know to call–especially in winter–before delivering to a house to ensure that someone is home to accept the fragile package.

Sometimes it’s not the fault of the vendor. My father told a story of a stingy millionaire who visited a well known Paris boutique and chose, for a wedding gift, an important porcelain piece by a manufacturer of luxury brands. He found it on a clearance shelf, broken. Its condition was reflected in the price. Not wanting its reputation tarnished or to be left holding the bag by having to replace an object that might appear to have been broken in transit, boutique staff carefully wrapped each of the broken pieces separately and placed each shard, with Monsieur Stingy’s card, in the boutique’s distinctive gift box. I love this story. I don’t know if it really happened or if he was sharing a lesson about what can happen to the tightfisted.

Have you received a shipped gift that was somehow flawed? Did you notify the vendor, the giver or both? Under what, if any, circumstances would you NOT tell the giver? How did you feel when someone reported a problem with a gift you sent? Would you have preferred that they notify the vendor and keep you out of it?

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