Open Letter to the Cabbies in DC

7 Comments

Dear Cabbies -

I have used your services on many occasions… well, if you can call the malodorous, third-world careening through the streets of DC and Northern Virginia a “service.”

Yeah, I’m talking to you idiots, who can’t be bothered to use deodorant on a 100+ degree day, who drive around with the windows closed all day, blasting some savage ululation that passes for music in your world, and who take the longest way possible to get me where I’m going – whether because you want to charge me as much as possible, or you’re just too stupid to pull out your goddamn Google Maps on your phone. Yeah, I’m talking to you.

Today you decided that you would protest. You didn’t protest any infringement on your rights. You didn’t protest injustice.

No, you’re much more noxious and evil than that, you pernicious cockgobblers.

You protested innovation. You protested competition. You protested choice – the ability of your customers to choose the service that best suits their needs. You, in fact, protested freedom – the freedom your customers are entitled to – the freedom to choose with whom they want to do business.

You pitched a hissy fit, because you couldn’t compete with companies like Uber and Lyft. Your noxious, gag-inducing jalopies and your lack of knowledge of the environs, and your inability to abide by the traffic laws, which you apparently just take as nothing but suggestions, and your nauseating lack of regard for other drivers as you lurch in and out of traffic on the local roads, couldn’t possibly compete with the clean, polite, accommodating Uber, whose well-dressed, eloquent drivers are there within minutes, know the area, and get you where you need to go quickly and without drama.

So instead of improving your services, learning how to drive and taking a goddamn shower, you protest the very existence of the competition and try to destroy it.

taxi

And in the process you cause gridlock in what already is the most gridlocked city in the nation, you assholes!

You think that endears you to us?

You think that will make us, the customers, use your services – force us to conform to your mediocrity?

No. Ain’t happening.

You certainly will not hold us hostage to your pathetic inability to provide a quality service.

What you will do is piss us off and ensure we will never use you again. I, for one, will make damn sure that if I need a ride, I will call Uber or Lyft. I will make damn sure that none of you pernicious dickwaffles ever get my business again.

Others feel the same way I do, apparently.

You offer shitty, overpriced non-service. You stink. You drive like monkeys on meth. And instead of improving your service to compete with these other organizations, you union thugs want to hold us hostage by tying up traffic in what is arguably the most gridlocked city in the United States?

Screw you!

Here’s hoping  your worthless asses go broke.

If one of you worthless shitslurpers ever offers me a ride, all you will get is a big, fat finger.

Bushmaster CEO Speaks on Newtown

Comments Off

Six months ago, America was horrified by the wholesale slaughter of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a deranged loser names Adam Lanza. Lanza was, by all accounts, insane. He stole his mother’s guns. He stole her car. He drove to the school. He began shooting. No background check was going to stop him, and holding the manufacturer of the firearm responsible for the slaughter is no more logical than holding the manufacturer of the car that Lanza drove to the school accountable for enabling the massacre.

Despite these facts, some agenda-driven, hysterical hoplophobes and their compliant politician lapdogs insisted on blaming everyone from the firearms manufacturer to gun show “loopholes” (Dog only knows how the hell that works, since the guns were stolen from a citizen who legally purchased them) for the massacre.

The CEO of Bushmaster, the company that manufactured the AR-15-style, semi-automatic rifle Lanza used in Newtown, has kept silent, even as he was vilified and blamed for the bloodshed by the likes of Lawrence O’Donnell and the New York Timesuntil now.

“It’s very easy to blame an inanimate object. Any kind of instrument in the wrong hands can be put to evil use. This comes down to intent — criminal behavior, accountability and responsibility,” Mr. Kollitides said in an exclusive interview last week. The killer’s mother, Nancy Lanza, taught her son to shoot and is said to have given him access to the gun safes.

“He killed the gun’s owner, stole her car, stole her gun and then went to a school and killed innocent kids. No background checks could have prevented that. He illegally obtained the guns,” he told me in his small New York office. “Only two things could have potentially stopped him: his mother locking up her guns and an armed guard. Even then, he could have driven his stolen car into a playground full of kids. He was intent on killing, which we know is already illegal.

Enough is enough!

Blaming the implement is, indeed, easy.

The gun can’t speak back or defend itself.

Blaming the head of the company is easy as well. He’s vilified and demonized by so many, that it becomes almost gauche to fight back.  It’s easy to slap someone who is loath to slap back. It’s easy to slap someone who isn’t painted as a victim or simply as an ill person by mental health advocates. He makes a profit. His company makes a product that is in demand and sells it to those who have the means to purchase it. In today’s “profits are evil” environment, it’s difficult to speak up, and you’re expected – as the strong and able – to take the hit for everyone else.

The mentally ill are weak. They need help. It’s not their fault they’re mentally ill. It’s a sickness, and we should treat it as such.

Meanwhile heads of firearms companies are rich. They’re strong. They’re to be vilified.

To me, this is just another means to kick capitalism in the family jewels – to demonize those who make a profit, and who are strong and able enough to lead a company to success, manufacturing goods that are in demand, and for which others are willing to pay.

It seems less mean to demonize them than it is to point the blame where it belongs.

Emily Miller has the rest of the interview in the link above. Read it.

New York & Company – another company that doesn’t know the meaning of customer service

3 Comments

I’ve been a fan of New York & Company for a long time. I freely admit I probably bought several thousand dollars’ worth of clothes from this company – both online and in various stores. The clothes are fairly well made and inexpensive, as well as nicely suited for office wear.

That’s why I’m supremely disappointed to report that New York & Company will not see a penny more of my money. Ever. Again.

I don’t know what it is with modern companies that don’t understand the meaning of customer service, but as far as I’m concerned, this is getting old. My one resolution for the new year is to ensure that I only shop at places that understand and honor that concept, and that I expose every last crappy company that doesn’t.

New York & Company is one of those.

On Black Friday, Teeny and Redhead decided to head to New York & Company at Tyson’s Corner to pick up a few gifts. I won’t even get into the shitstorm this caused, as they decided to head out at 0300 hrs. without mentioning it to mom. Beside the point…

After having bought some Christmas gifts and unpacking their bags, they realized that not only had the New York & Company sales associate forgotten to remove a security tag from one of Teeny’s purchases, but also that a $50 gift card that they bought and paid for was completely missing from the bag.

They realized it was Black Friday at 3 am, and the sales person was obviously tired, as she had given them the wrong change as well at the time of the purchase, so they weren’t too upset.  They just figured they would stop by and get another card.

A couple of weeks later, we stopped by the store together. Teeny explained the situation and presented her receipt. The security tag was removed. However, it appeared that the manager either didn’t know how to trace the gift card, or just didn’t believe my daughter when she said she never received the card! She told her she would look into the situation and to contact her in two days.

It has now been more than a month, and she STILL hasn’t gotten a new card or her money back! How difficult is it to trace a gift card and see if it was used – especially since she has the receipt and knows exactly when the purchase was made??? She called the store and was informed that they have no other information for her.

Essentially, she lost that money thanks to a tired or incompetent sales clerk, and nothing has been done about it to date!

This is appalling in any case, but even more unconscionable in this one, since Teeny is a minor and has a part time job where she works very hard. This was the first time she was able to buy presents for her family with her own money – money that she has earned, and thanks to this incompetence, she essentially LOST $50!

I emailed the above story to customer service as well as the comments section on NY&C’s website.

I got two replies – one asking for the sales receipt number, transaction number, etc. - information that the incompetent manager at the store already had, because she allegedly photocopied Teeny’s receipt – and the following from their customer service monkeys:

On Dec 22, 2012, at 18:16, “Michael Z.” <service@nyandcompany.com> wrote:

Dear Nicki,

Thank you for contacting http://www.nyandcompany.com.

We greatly appreciate your feedback.  We strive to provide an excellent shopping experience for each customer and constantly look for ways to improve.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and have forwarded your concern to our Retail Customer Service Department.  If you prefer to talk to someone in that department, please call (800) 723-5333.  You will need to choose option 2, then option 2.

You’ll find we’re always adding new products and offers, so please stop by http://www.nyandcompany.com again soon.  We appreciate your patronage.

Sincerely,

JoHari

NY&CO Customer Service
1-800-961-9906

Yeah, I’m thinking your appreciation of my “patronage” ain’t all that hot after this fiasco, but I decided to wait and see. After a few days of complete inaction, I sent them this:

— Original Message —
From: Nicki Fellenzer <n****@comcast.net>
Received: 12/24/12 6:51:17 PM EST
To: “Michael Z.” <service@nyandcompany.com>
Subject: Re: gift card

Well. It’s Christmas tomorrow and my daughter had to go out and buy another gift card just to make up for this screw up. She lost $50 thanks to this, and all I’ve gotten so far is a runaround including having to give information I have already provided about the receipt, which the manager of the store supposedly made a photocopy of.

This is absolutely inexcusable!

All those thousands I’ve spent at your stores and online? They will be spent elsewhere. I’m absolutely disgusted with the lack of action on this.

The “customer service” monkeys are obviously illiterate, or are trained to reply to every mail in the same manner:

Dear Nicki,

Thank you for contacting http://www.nyandcompany.com.

We greatly appreciate your feedback.  We strive to provide an excellent shopping experience for each customer and constantly look for ways to improve.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and have forwarded your concern to our Retail Customer Service Department.  Please allow additional time for a response.

You’ll find we’re always adding new products and offers, so please stop by http://www.nyandcompany.com again soon.  We appreciate your patronage.

Sincerely,
Lakeya

NY&CO Customer Service
1-800-961-9906

You appreciate my patronage, eh? Well, if you do, you’ve just lost it jackasses. After allowing for “additional time,” my final response to them was the following today:

As of today, I still have not heard anything about this gift card.

This was the store’s mistake. They failed to put the card in the bag at the time of purchase, and that was just ONE of the errors that was committed that day!

And yet, I have to go through all this rigamarole just to get a new card?

I am done with you. I am done with your company. And I promise you I will ensure that everyone I know, as well as all my blog readers are made aware of this issue!

You have lost a loyal customer. I hope you’re happy.

So here’s my advice to you: Shop elsewhere. This company obviously doesn’t give a damn about its customers, and while $50 is probably not a whole lot to them, it’s quite a bit to my daughter, who earned it, and for the first time in her life was able to get gifts for her loved ones with money she earned herself.

I’m sure New York & Company won’t go bankrupt from my publicizing this sole incident, but I can certainly ensure that everyone I know makes an informed choice about where to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Lars Christiansen On The Danish Experience With Socialism

2 Comments

So, last Tuesday, I attended a very interesting lecture at the Heritage Foundation. It was given by a leading investment banker in Denmark, Lars Seier Christiansen. He is the founder of Saxo Bank. The bank still operates in Denmark, although Mr. Christiansen has since moved to Switzerland. More on that later. Yes, I know i should’ve posted this last week. I’m a blog slacker.

Morton Blackwell, one of the heroes of the fight at the Republican National Convention against Ben Ginsberg and the rest of Romney’s cronies, came out and gave a brief introduction of Lars, and told us that we were about to hear what socialism really does to a nation. He wasn’t kidding.

One of the first things Mr. Christiansen pointed out was that when you go so far as Denmark has down the path of socialism, it’s almost impossible to go back when so many become dependent on government handouts. Too many will be looking to get their ‘fair share’ of the loot, and will resist any real efforts to roll back the welfare state. He wryly obsetved that this was perhaps not the most friendly environment for an investment bank.

Next, he gave us a bit of background on his homeland of Denmark. It’s a monarchy, the oldest in Europe, with a standard Westminster-style parliament. If a party wins 2% or more, they are entitled to representation in the parliament. This creates a system where, much like many others of its type, minor parties can hold disproportionate power. There are eight parties that are represented in the parliament, so it is nearly always the case that a large coalition of parties is needed to build a majority. The worst news is that of these eight parties, only one could be described as right-wing in sense; the others express no interest in rolling back the welfare state at all.
Denmark had the highest taxes in the world, until recently being passed (barely) by Zimbabwe(!). The Danes also have the smallest private sector in the West, and one of the largest public sectors. Outstanding combination, no? As a consequence, even the most socialist politicians understand they need capitalists to generate revenue, but view them as very distasteful, sort of a regrettably necessary evil.
He also spoke about a very supervisory tone to Danish society. Hotlines where you can call and see if someone is cheating. Any payment above $1500 can’t be paid in cash. I am NOT making this up. Tax authorities wield exceedingly wide powers. For example, they can intern any kind of private property without court order,  and demand documents. This is not allowed to authorities imvestigating terrorism. Most Danes actually believe that anyone who is rich and successful cheated somehow. This is due in part to the makeup of the Danish parliament. It has almost no one with any appreciable amount of practical private sector experience. Many powerful goverment ministers are under 35, and very, very far left. Only 1.8 million of almost 6 million Danes are not dependent on the government. That’s staggering. And of course, everyone scraps for any entitlement they can get, due to the insane tax rates. Only 28,000 Danes make over a million krones ($150,000 or so). Massive envy and suspicion of these people.

Tax reform and government reform efforts are largely symbolic. “Tax reform” apparently means growing the PUBLIC sector. Six of the eight parties participated in this latest charade. The absolute furthest left party supports abolishing military and police and nationalizing the largest Danish companies, of which Maersk Shipping would be the most recognizable to Americans.

Politicians have walled themselves into having to promise more and more entitlements. Blue collar voters largely support “right” parties. This has all happened since 1960, when Denmark had a tax pressure lower than Switzerland, where Lars moved a few years ago, because of the insanely confiscatory and invasive Danish government. Since 1960, things have gone horribly wrong. No party has incentive to run on a small-government rollback platform,  so he doesn’t see how reforms will happen for a very,  very long time. They’re uncompetitive even with other socialist EU nations, due to high wages and lower productivity. Many young Danish people are leaving, and he figures they’re on the road to where Greece is now.

More fun facts: Property taxes average 3% of the full value of your home ANNUALLY. RIDICULOUS taxes across the board. Insane green taxes. Total tax pressure for upper middle class, he estimates at 80-85%. And he doesn’t see how it can be reformed, with everyone dependent on the government. He worries that we’re (the United States) headed in this direction. He emphasizes that it is NOT a system to emulate. He thinks it will collapse Europe-wide, bit by bit. Also, Euro politicians love the US going more socialist, so they can point it out when arguing against European pro-liberty advocates. He says we need to turn it around, before it’s too late. You can turn around freedom, but not democratic socialism. He believes it’s paramount to nurture free market values at home and in schools, and that may not be possible soon. He thinks European integration has been horrible due to mandates from Brussels, and erosion of national sovereignty, as evidenced by European politicians like van Rompuy.

So yeah, let’s not do that here. The man knows what he’s talking about.

Just what, exactly, IS an MFA in puppetry?

10 Comments

One has to wonder. A Master’s Degree takes a lot of work. I got mine a couple of years ago, and it was a harrowing experience. I stressed for months and months, studying for my comprehensive exams, and when I finally graduated cum laude with a 3.92 average, I couldn’t have been prouder! All the term papers and exams had finally paid off! And yes, I’m bragging. I drank my way through undergrad at Johns Hopkins, and didn’t even bother graduating with a 3.0.  As a matter of fact, there was one semester (freshman year – spring) that I didn’t even break a 1.0 GPA!  So yeah.  I feel all accomplished.

But my MA is in National Security Studies – it’s a subject with some substance and a lot of literature associated with it. It helped me get a terrific job that I love and a promotion I’d been seeking.

That’s why I just don’t get this guy.

A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion—puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand, he went looking for work at his old school. The intervening years had been brutal to the city’s school budgets—down about 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subject areas, arts included, and spending on art supplies in elementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006 and 2009. So even though Joe’s old principal was excited to have him back, she just couldn’t afford to hire a new full-time teacher. Instead, he’s working at his old school as a full-time “substitute”; he writes his own curriculum, holds regular classes and does everything a normal teacher does. “But sub pay is about 50 percent of a full-time salaried position,” he says, “so I’m working for half as much as I did four years ago, before grad school, and I don’t have health insurance…. It’s the best-paying job I could find.”

OK, let me understand this.

This tool left a teaching position that pays AT THE VERY LEAST $45,500 base salary for teacher with a Bachelor’s degree and no prior teaching experience (and that doesn’t even include salary steps and bonuses) to get a Masters of Fine Arts degree in…

Puppetry.

Yes, puppetry. An “art” in which you manipulate (he he *insert Beavis voice here* – she said “manipulate”) dolls with either strings attached to their limbs, or by sticking your hand up their… uh… skirts.

He has a degree – a Master’s Degree – in it!  Puppetry!

This douche spent $35,000 he didn’t have, as witnessed by the fact that he has $35,000 in student loans, to learn how to manipulate dolls, thinking this oh-so-useful skill would help him find a job.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t see a big demand for puppeteers. No help wanted ads in any newspaper I’ve ever read ask for guys with a degree in sticking their hands up dolls’ garments. I’m not even sure how this… um… “degree” would make him a better teacher!

So he left a good paying job, got a worthless degree that cost him thousands of dollars, and somehow expected to get hired right back… in this economy… after having spent $35,000 he didn’t have on an MFA in… puppetry.

And now he’s occupying Wall Street, and crying that his poor life choices somehow entitle him to have the rest of us subsidize him.

He’s occupying Wall Street, because he thought that hard work and education would afford him a measure of upward mobility.

Seriously? Hard work in puppetry?

He actually expected the NYC school system to hire him back with a nice $10,000 raise, because he got a Master’s Degree – no matter how useless the topic?

What is it that Joe studied?  What kind of classes did he take?

  • String length: effective techniques to make your puppets’ fist pump of anarchy even more potent;
  • Fingers: how far up is too far?
  • Manipulation techniques;
  • Dance, Puppet, Dance! Interpretive Movement Behind the Curtain;
  • Modern Geniuses: the Artistry of Jeff Dunham;
  • Hand vs. Shadow Puppets: pros and cons
  • The Joys of Puppet Erotica (None Dare Call it Porn!)

What were Joe’s comprehensive exams like?

“I’m sorry, Mr. Therrien, but I saw your fingers move suggestively over that puppet’s butt.  That’s 10 points off.”

Look – it may have been fun to borrow $35,000 to play with dolls, but I can’t imagine this guy actually thought this degree would bring him any kind of upward mobility!

It’s all well and good to make lousy economic decisions in your life. You’re entitled to your mistakes. You can’t blame capitalism, corporatism or anything else for your inability to find work with a degree in doll manipulation.

But don’t complain when faced with the logical consequences of your bad decisions.

 

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: