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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Walmart and Made in the USA

I have never been a huge fan of Walmart because of their policy to supply the cheapest product that you as a consumer need regardless of where it is made.  We have all seen the numerous reports out how Walmart put one business after another out of business here in the USA by simply buying from China.  In China the business model is simple, make it cheap with cheap labor and if you still can't compete then the government of China makes sure you have the best prices.  You have seen the stories all over the internet and the news how the last widget company or wadget company is shutting its doors because the product can be made in China, shipped thousands of miles across an ocean and still sell cheaper.  And no, you don't get the same quality product but in everyone's checking account is a little devil saying "It will just have to do".

This past weekend I was in the need for some items for the new apartment and a cooler for a road trip to a friends wedding.  I was in the same plaza looking for some shoes and Walmart was right there.  Time after time I find myself shopping there pissed off that they are the only place that my low wage American job can afford me to shop at.  It's an evil loophole that I'm sure lobbyist in Washington or Benton, Arkansas created.  I am a Walmart zombie that wonders the aisles muttering "Bargains" instead of "Brains".  We needed those cheap plastic deck chairs that can be left out.  I found a nice pair and a matching table. If the girlfriend was with me I would have looked for the label stating where it was made and shouted out loud "Made in China, no shit?"

On to get some storage bins to organize my tools and solar gadgets and parts.  I found a nice three drawer, three foot wide, by one foot deep unit for a really decent price.  In the cart it went. On to looking for a lunch size box cooler.  Igloo coolers were on sale.  I picked up a nice one that can hold 13 cans in it?  Why thirteen I have no clue but I'm pretty sure that is what the label said.  It's made in China junk, am I supposed to expect them to have a brain and make it cheap too?

I push my overloaded cart to the checkout line in the garden center and this lovely elderly woman is checking me out.  Not checking me out in a perverted way but checking me out with all of my Walmart made in China crap so I can pay US Dollars for it.  Of course I have some additional impulse buying items like two bags of butter scotch candies and a huge 41 oz bag of Starburst.  I love Starburst.  Along with some toiletries (Kids have no idea what that word means... heehehehhe).  The bill came to $72 and I was pissed.  How can all this made in China crap cost so damn much.  I was fuming but swiped my debit card anyway.

On the ride home which is less than two miles I argued with myself about how I just helped the biggest enemy to small American business put even more of them out of work.  Times are tough, I used to have a good wage in a good American made industry.  Now I have a job at a crappy pay but it is a job at half of what I used to make.  It beats the hell out of not having a job.  We do what we have to do to get by.  But next time I'm going to an American made store.

Unpacking all my ill gotten cheap made in China crap I notice on the back of my new deck chairs that they are "MADE IN THE USA".  And yes I did say to myself out loud "No SHIT???".  Then I saw the same thing on the little table that went with the deck chairs.  "Made in the USA".  Repeat after me... NO SHIT???  I figured it was a fluke and moved on to my new three drawer storage unit.  I went to pull the tag off of it that they usually use super glue to affix to all plastic items and right there on the tag it said "Made in the USA".  Repeat after me, NO SHIT???  This had me puzzled.  That had me curious and I was sure as bears shit in the woods that the Igloo cooler was not made in the USA.  Right there on the front.  On the tag that Superman would have a hard time pulling off was "Made in the USA".

This little shopping trip that I deplored, detested, and hated to do was now having flags waving in the back of my brain, little parades of American workers marching to the assembly lines, and apple pies because I was hungry and had nothing to do with what I was thinking.  Anywho, during my next adventure to Walmart I will be inspecting the tags to see where my dollars are going.  As much as I don't trust the Walmart purchasing policy, I would rather keep my dollars here in America going into American workers pockets and not some political bureau half a world away that is going to buy New York at a tag sale because someone on Wall Street could broker a better deal than the Indians originally got.

So I suppose I need to revise my anti Walmart opinion in some respects but I will always be Born in the USA and look for Made in the USA labels.  I got your back Bruce.  Got your back.

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2012 White House Correspondents Association Diner

This is always fun to watch.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Solar Power Homeowner Association Conflict

Anyone that takes the steps to go green with solar panels to power their home should be encouraged.  Even the federal government will give you up to 30% in tax credits for the cost of the solar panels on your roof.  It is a win win for the homeowner and the environment.  Nobody loses.  Unless of course you are the person in charge of the homeowner association that your property is bound by.  Before you undertake any home renovations you should do your homework to see what is allowed by the homeowner association.  It would really suck for you if they stipulated when you bought your home that solar panels are not allowed because of the so called eye soar and you just cut a check for thousands of dollars for a new green energy system.

Then again, your solar energy product supplier should warn you in advance about all the possible hurtles that you may face when installing solar panels on your roof, solar heating panels for hot water or heat, a small wind turbine in your back yard, or even a mini hydro electric system if you are lucky enough to have a stream or river run through your property.  It's called customer service and treating your customer like you would a friend.  Thanks for your check, now your on your own is no way of doing business.

Then again, who are the retards in the homeowner association that see solar panels on someones roof that may bring the property values down?  Have you ever seen some of the homes with these panels on them.  Nine times out of ten they are the best looking house in the neighborhood because the actual HOMEOWNER can afford to keep the house and its operating expenses up.

Check this out from AJC...

 CUMMING, Ga. ā€” The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not.

It's a lesson Angel and David Dobs discovered when their homeowners association north of Atlanta denied their request to install solar panels on their roof. Neighborhood officials said the panels would look out of place and might lower home values in a community that regulates details as fine as the coloring of roof tiles, the planting of trees and the storage of trash cans.

"It's like living under communism ā€” someone gets to dictate every possible thing you do," David Dobs said.

Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice. A recent attempt in Georgia to expand the right to go solar had support from environmentalists and some Republican lawmakers concerned about private property rights but it succumbed to opposition from developers and real estate agents.

The bare bones comes down to knowing all the facts and limitations as a homeowner before you start any home improvement project.  If it is an addition to the outside of your home then there is a damn good chance that you or the company installing the green energy system is going to need to get a building permit.  If you are installing anything on your roof then you pretty much need a building permit.  Solar panels can take up a huge chunk of space on your roof so consider it almost like re-shingling your roof.  The next step is making sure that any contractor installing you system is fully insured to do so on your property before they step one foot on your property.  And you know why you need to know that info but just in case... if they get hurt on your property then you own their injuries etc, etc, etc.  Next step, is making sure you notify your homeowner insurance carrier of the upgrade to your property.  It would be a major suck fest if you pay ten grand to install a new solar panel system on your roof and the dog decides that licking an electrical socket is fun and your whole house burns down while you are at Walmart saving a few bucks on the grocery bill.

As for my opinion on homeowner associations that take the negative road to solar panels of any kind on someones roof, get a freakin' brain!  Solar panels are American independence from foreign imported oil.  These are the same people that said Edison was a moron and gas light would never change, the same people that said the internet and email would never replace writing a letter.  The same people that said that Henry Ford was a fool with his combustion engine contraption.  You get the picture.  The end result is that new technology is not a friend to old minds.


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Friday, April 20, 2012

AT&T Customer Serve Less

For the record, I have not dealt with AT&T to hook up our new internet and cable systems through AT&T.  My poor girlfriend has.  An AT&T customer for over five years or more.  She has the patients of Job but I am hiding the knives in the new apartment.  Three weeks and counting of nightmare calls continue to customer serve less at AT&T where you must go through twenty minutes of talking to an automated service before you get a human being that knows less than the machine you were just talking to about AT&T's service.  All that we wanted to do was to transfer the service at her mothers house to our new apartment one block away and activate a new account for internet and Direct TV satellite television at her mothers home.  That sounds simple enough does it not?

Week one of the nightmare of dealing with AT&T.  Calling to get a price for service.  She called one day and it was one price, the next call with another person was another price, and the third time was yet another price.  It gets worse.  One customer service operator said we couldn't get the same service in our area, the next one said we could but they didn't know if 6G internet was available in our area (Read on to Momma's service below), And they didn't take take the time to look it up.  They just didn't know.  Then the third customer serve less said we could have their service but not as good as the one she already had a stone's throw from our apartment at yet another different price.  Mind you, all the while that AT&T does bundle with Direct TV.  It's called bundling.  But you can't do that through AT&T or Direct TV???  Trust me, she called both.  "We can't do that for you."  That is a quote from both AT&T and Direct TV.  Not till we get our first bill then we have to call somebody on Saturn or was it URANUS to get them bundled.

Week two... Our service is on for the first of the month.  No problems other than having to reload the internet access information for our account several times.  AT&T just likes to make sure we are who we are I guess.  We could be facebook terrorists or something ya know.  I am, but my girlfriend is a saint.  Did I mention her patience?  We still need to clear up and set up Momma's account.  Calls to AT&T run through the gambit of automation till you get to someone that refuses to help you set up your 75 year old mothers phone, internet, and Direct TV.  All of the information to set up her account was good initially then AT&T transferred it to someone that hasn't lived in her mothers house for five years?  And customer serve less could not give any further information to fix Momma's service.  She finally managed to get Direct TV to Set up an appointment to give Momma an new box and a new remote and what have you but there was deception in the computer records so they never showed up.  Their records showed that there was already service at that address and the criminal flags and fraud warrants were issued.  The God Father gots nothing on my girl.  She's bad to the bone trying to pay for the same service twice.  More calls to AT&T who bundles for Momma but won't for us.  One block away.

Week three.. Called AT&T to fix Momma's service.  They couldn't talk to the girlfriend because she was not the person on the account?  Fixed that but AT&T didn't have a full record of the authorization.  Cleared that up by being lucky and having a customer service person ignore protocol.  We finally get Momma internet service even though she does not have a computer.  She wants to have it for when her son comes to visit once or twice a year.  Isn't that sweet?  I love that about her.  The good news is that she can have 6G internet service (SEE ABOVE where we can only have 3G).  Still reloading our internet access codes but everything else is cool.  Except when the girlfriend still has to call AT&T to get someone to come give momma a new box for her satellite service so she can ship her transferred receivers back to Direct TV.  Spent all day Friday at Momma's talking to customer serve less only to find out that the reason Momma could not get service was because we raised a "Fraud" flag by transferring one service to our apartment and trying to open a new service for Momma.  Apparently, AT&T didn't save our account information and didn't have our address.  To which the girlfriend told them... But you had someone come to the apartment and install the new dish on the roof!  I'm sure she will get parole after the strip search and ten year Guantanamo Bay detention when the police catch up to her.  I just love the rebellious side of her so much.  End of game is that I have to go to Momma's in the morning at the crack of dawn and take the box hooked up to her television so that the Direct TV installer can hand her the new remote control and receiver.  I'm praying that he hooks it up for her.  Being 75 he might show a little sympathy or something.  I'm not counting on it.

Summing up, the girlfriend said that she was not dealing with Charter before we began this little adventure of getting internet and satellite television.  I'm thinking it could not have been this bad.  Then again, who knows?  When I see the girlfriend on America's Most Wanted for paying for two service bills when she only wanted one, I'm ratting her ass out for the reward money.  Somebody has to pay those two bills at the same address.

Somebody at AT&T needs to find out what it means to be a customer and try their own service.  Or should I say serve less.  Take the challenge and try and get AT&T service Mr. CEO or Board of Directors!  See what your customers have to put up with.  Then try your competitors.

Note to AT&T: Get a playbook for all of your customer service people.  Have the same answers for the same questions.  And get a computer system that is nationwide.  Your service sucks and you customer serve less people are of no use till you win the lottery and get someone that actually cares.


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Republican War on Woman

Is the Republican War on Woman real? I'm thinking that they started a fight that they didn't think you ladies would step away from the sink or stove long enough to fight back. Dumb asses.

This is from Think Progress Justice section on Virginia House Speaker William Howell (R) on those big multiple syllable words that the females of the human race don't understand. Quote "I guess Iā€™m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand."

I'm going to get some popcorn and watch the Republican War on woman. I can't wait for the scene where she hits him upside the head with her frying pan and then wraps his dirty underwear around his neck.

And the best comment on this article is from Matt Jones "Mr. Howell appears to need an trans-rectal ultrasound to find his head."


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