Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Stores Need To Do More To Stop Shoplifting

Today I was at a grocery store sitting in a chair by the pharmacy when I noticed a woman put a set of air fresheners back on an end shelf where they did not belong. This is a pet peeve of mine so in my head I am already disapproving of what this person just did.

Shortly after, someone who she was with joins her. The first woman points to the air fresheners and says something about them having a security alarm on them, and she proceeded to leave them on the shelf. That raised a red flag and immediately I was on high alert.

I saw the 2 walk back down the isle and stop by the air fresheners again. They were just out of view so I could not see exactly what they were doing, but after about 30 seconds they left.

Out of curiosity I walked down to where they were standing. Right when I got there, I saw the exact same kind of air fresheners, out of place again, only this time it was opened up with one of the air fresheners missing. Now technically I did not see it happen, but based on all the clues, it is pretty obvious who took it.

There was an employee stocking shelves nearby so I told her there was an opened package with something missing and I think someone just took it. She was just kind of like, “Yeah we see this kind of thing all the time.” I was like, “There are cameras here (pointing above). Can they check it?” And she was just kind of like “Yeah people watch the cameras”, but it was clear she was not going to do anything about it.

On my way out, I stopped by customer service to let them know what happened. I asked if I could talk with security to fill them in, but the customer service person basically said, even if someone did steal the air freshener, they are not going to do anything about it. She went on to say how the work and time involved would not be worth it for them.

This was pretty discouraging to hear. The customer service is basically saying people can just take whatever they want and walk out without paying and they won't do anything about it. What kind of message is this sending?

I understand her reasoning and how it would take time and work to pursue something like this and for a small item it might not be worth the trouble on an individual basis, but by allowing this kind of thing to happen, they are setting a bad precedent that will encourage more behavior like this.

When this person is able to steal an item and not have any consequence whatsoever, the message they are walking away with is that this is something they can do and nothing will happen to them. As word spreads about cases like this where shoplifters are not pursued by the stores, it can certainly encourage more of the same behavior.

There has to be more of an effort made to stop people from stealing, or at least pursue a case against them if they do steal. Yes, it might cost more in the short term, but in the long term it has to be better if it can reduce the likelihood of things being stolen from the store.

We have rules and laws for a reason. If they are not enforced, they are meaningless. Stores and security need to step up and put a stop to this kind of thing.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Andrew Tate may be the most misunderstood person on the planet - The problem with media and misinformation

One of the most talked about and controversial figures, Andrew Tate continues to make headlines and while on the surface it seems like he has a lot of haters, he also has a lot of supporters. So why is this the case?

I first heard of him probably about a year ago. I saw some video of him and immediately thought, who is this guy? Upon first impression you see what looks like an arrogant guy with a lot of money saying controversial things.

Upon doing some searching, you will find a lot of articles painting him in a negative light. You will also find a lot of comments from people expressing their dislike for him. So when you see things like this, it's easy to see how people would jump to the conclusion immediately and decide they don't like him.

I will admit, at first I didn't like him just based on those first impressions, but he was interesting enough for me to dig deeper and start looking into more of his videos and particularly his long form interviews with respected hosts.

When you actually give him a chance and watch some of these interviews, you start to realize he is actually a very smart individual with interesting views on many topics. He is able to address any criticism that is thrown at him. In most cases, he has to defend himself again false allegations or soundbites of himself that have been taken out of context in an effort to try to slander him.

Andrew is able to pretty much answer any question that is thrown at him and he does so in a brilliant way. What's interesting about this, is often his views are very different from the norm. He expresses values that sometimes go against what most people think, but when he explains his reasoning, it usually makes sense even if you still disagree with it.

After having done a fair amount of research and having watched many of his hour long + interviews, I have come away with a favorable impression of Andrew Tate. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says or does, but I do think he is generally a good guy and is an important voice in our society today.

One thing you will notice after watching a lot of his interviews is he actually has a sense of humor and will often say things in a way that he knows will get a rise out of people. He is one of the most searched people of recent times for a reason. It's because he knows how to get people's attention. Being boring and following the script does not get attention. Saying controversial things does get attention and he knows this and takes full advantage of it.

Once realizing this, you kind of have to take everything he says with a grain of salt. Yes, he means what he says, but often he will say it in a way that he knows is going to get people worked up and talking about it, even if he has to exaggerate what he actually thinks about a certain topic.

So back to the question posed earlier about why there are so many people that seem to dislike him. I think it comes down to a couple reasons. One, the higher-ups in media and those with power see him becoming very influential and they don't like it so they have made efforts to try to bring him down. This is done by publishing negative articles about him online and in social media as well as pushing to get him banned from various platforms.

It's become clear that these days we can't really believe what we see on the internet. Basically if the media wants to push a certain agenda, they will, and when it reaches enough people, it becomes accepted as truth even if it is not.

You can see examples of this in politics depending on if you visit a conservative or a liberal news group. There can be a news event in politics and you will get a completely different view point for it depending on which news source you are getting it from.

In Andrew's case, the majority took the side of trying to make him out to be the villain. So when people start hearing about him and they go to look him up, they are presented with headlines and clips that make him out to be a bad guy.

Like myself, most people are going to go off their first impressions and maybe a quick Google search and immediately decide they don't like him. They will then go to the comments and social media and express this, even though they really don't know much about him. It snowballs like this and suddenly everyone doesn't like him, but not because they did their research on who he is and what he actually believes, but because of a first impression and a few headlines or clips that were designed to get clicks.

So why am I writing this article in the first place? Andrew Tate doesn't need my help. He is doing just fine on his own. My main issue is with people taking strong opinions on matters and then posting them out to the world when they really don't know what they are talking about.

There is so much misinformation out there and with social media, anyone can say anything, and that word will spread. We know you shouldn't believe everything you see out there, but unfortunately people do anyway. If they see a post by someone they follow on social media chances are they are going to be influenced by it whether it is true or not. If they see a news article headline sensationalizing an event in order to get people to click on it, chances are people will just go by that headline without even reading into the article.

The overall message here is that you really have to be careful about what you believe these days. Before spreading comments or opinions on a matter, make sure you have researched it thoroughly enough to have a good understanding about it. There is enough misinformation out there from sources we consider to be credible. Make sure you decide for yourself what you want to think about an issue, not what others want you to think about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Sonoma - Ronan 2 Shoe Review - First Impressions

Sonoma Ronan 2 Shoes
Recently I was looking for a replacement for a business casual shoe; something that looks nice and somewhat dressy, but is also comfortable and sporty enough for everyday wear. I have worn Rockport's for a long time with the Eureka and World Tour models, both of which are great for this kind of shoe, but unfortunately in recent years, they seem to be too narrow for my foot.

I noticed at Kohls they had a pretty good selection of shoes so I decided to try a few of them out. One that caught my eye was the Sonoma Ronan 2 oxford sneakers. They are kind of like a hybrid of a formal and casual shoe.

The upper material has a woven style for the forefoot which gives it a modern look and also good comfort and breathability. Then it has suede overlays for the midfoot and heel as well as leather highlights on the heel and tongue. Around the ankle it is finished off with a neoprene-like material. The midsole is white and the outsole is a gum rubber color which gives it a sporty and classy look.

I tried them on in store and they were surprisingly comfortable. Often when you try on different shoes, they don't fit well, but these seemed to be good right off the bat. The sizing definitely runs big. I usually wear a 9 or a 9.5 for most shoes, but in these I had to go down to an 8.5 and they are still pretty roomy. I even tried an 8 which was ok, but a little snug so I figured 8.5 would be the best.

One thing that really drew me to this shoe was the price. Retail was listed at $54.99 but they were on sale and had a coupon code option which brought the price down to $39.99! In a time where everything seems to be getting more expensive and name brand shoes like this can easily get up over $100, it's nice to see there are still some reasonably priced footwear options available.

I noticed the Sonoma Goods for Life brand seems to be a Kohls specific brand as they are not available in other stores. This might be one of the reasons they can keep the costs lower. I don't mind if it is a house brand, in fact I like how it does not have logos on it like most companies tend to do with their shoes. Given the style, price, and comfort, I couldn't pass these up, so I decided to buy them.

At home I tried them out some more. They are very comfortable and roomy in the forefoot. The heel height is noticeably higher than the forefoot. I would prefer a more level footbed, but it's not a big deal. Cushioning is ok and about what you would expect from a business casual shoe.

Even though the toe is a woven material, it does have some structure on the inside which keeps the shape and gives protection to the toes. The sole is stable and has a smooth transition from heel to toe. The bottom of the outsole is pretty flat with minimal tread depth so they are probably best on dry surfaces. Overall I was pleased with the build quality of the shoe.

Given the style of the shoe, it is probably best for warmer seasons such as Spring, Summer, or Fall. I would not recommend wearing them in snow or wet conditions based on the woven material and the smooth outsole.

I will update this review over time as I get more wear out of these shoes, but for now, I am impressed with them. They look good, they are comfortable, and the price is very reasonable. If you are looking for a shoe like this, I recommend trying them out!





Friday, December 9, 2022

Youtube Shorts Have Ruined Youtube

Youtube Shorts were introduced last year and since, then they have slowly made Youtube worse. In the past, most Youtube videos were at least a few minutes long and creators would put effort into making them. Youtube Shorts on the other hand tend to be low effort videos that in my opinion usually are not even worth watching.

These days when I log in to see my subscriptions feed, about half of the videos are Shorts. I find myself skipping most of these as they are usually just clips from longer videos, or they are just something that is not worth even clicking on based on the title.

I get that Youtube introduced Shorts to compete with other streaming video companies, and I get that Shorts are geared towards mobile devices rather than computers. I can see how they might be easier for people to create and post using their phone.

The main issue is that they are mixed in with the regular Youtube videos. The Shorts should be separate or at least have an option to opt-out of seeing them or having them in your subscription feed.

There are a few reasons why I don't like Shorts. One, there is no time stamp to see how long they are. Two, you can't control the playback when they are playing such as going forward or back in the video. Three, they play on a loop. No one needs a video to replay immediately after it has finished. Four, the vertical video. I know its better for phones, but not for computers.

I say Youtube Shorts are ruining Youtube because it seems they are making creators lazy as well as making viewers lazy. Creators who are just going for views would probably rather just record a quick minute of themselves talking rather than take the time to sit down and record and edit a quality video that is several minutes long. Viewers may also start losing their attention span by getting in the habit of scrolling through these quick videos rather than watching the longer length videos.

Overall I think Youtube Shorts are ok as a separate format. I just think they should not be mixed in with traditional Youtube videos because they are bringing down the quality as a whole. What are your thoughts on Youtube Shorts? Are they the future of Youtube videos or are they the downfall of Youtube?

Thursday, December 1, 2022

My Terrible Experience with CIT Bank 11 Month No Penalty CD

Over the past few months the interest rates for CDs have been going up so I started looking into some options for opening up a new account. I wanted a “No Penalty CD” which allows you to withdraw the money whenever you want as opposed to traditional CDs where you are expected to keep the money in the account for a certain period of time.

After researching the rates, one of the best I found was from CIT Bank so I decided to give them a try and open up a new account. Setting up and funding the account was ok. It wasn't until a few weeks later that there started to become some issues.

A few weeks after funding the account I began to look for the withdraw option just so I would know what to do if I wanted to take the money out. On the website, it has a “Transfer Money” section where supposedly you are able to transfer money. The problem is, it doesn't actually let you transfer money. Every time I clicked on it, it would just say I had to call them at their customer service number.

They have an option to send them a secure message on the website so I tried that first. I emailed them asking how to withdraw the money. Many days went by and I did not receive a reply so I decided to call them.

The first time I called, it said there was a 56 minute wait time. It had the option to call me back instead of waiting on hold, so I did that. When it finally called me back and said I was next in line, it disconnected the call before I even got to talk to someone.

I tried calling back the next day and waited about 25 minutes before I was connected to a representative. I told them I wanted to withdraw the money back to my account, but they said they could not do that by phone. They said I had to send a message to request it. I told them I did already and never got a reply. The representative said they would check on it. A few minutes later the call was disconnected.

I sent a 2nd email directly requesting the transfer. After 2 days I still did not receive a reply. At this point I was starting to get worried. I had money in this account and so far 3 different attempts to get it back had failed.

I looked into what other options I had at this point and one was to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is a government company that keeps an eye on financial institutions and helps with issues like this. So I filed a complaint with them and waited for a response.

2 weeks after sending my first message asking how to withdraw funds, they finally replied back and said I had to provide the routing numbers for the bank in order to do the transfer. I found this odd considering my account was already connected and on file, but I provided the information again anyway.

Another 2 weeks went by before I finally got a response saying that they would transfer the money back to my account.

In the end it took a full month to withdraw the money back to my account after first requesting it. Keep in mind, this was a no penalty CD which is supposed to allow you to withdraw the money at any time.

Overall it was a terrible experience and I am relieved to have been able to get my money out of that account.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

My Experience Copying a Key: Minute Key vs KeyMe vs Key Hero

I needed to make a copy of a house key so I looked for a local place to get it done. I saw there were some self-serve kiosk options so I decided to try it out since I figured it would be pretty easy.

Minute Key:
First I tried Minute Key which was located in a Walmart. I started here because they seemed to have a lot of locations and I thought I might be able to use a promo code and maybe even get a free key.

So I find the machine in the Walmart and the screen is messed up. It was blurry so you couldn't read it. I tried to use it anyway but it ended up getting stuck halfway through the process. My key was stuck in the machine and nothing was working to cancel it.

I called over customer service but they were not much help. After about 5 minutes it was able to cancel and release the key so that was a relief, but overall bad experience and I was not able to make a copy of the key.

KeyMe:
There was a Menards nearby and I saw they have a kiosk called KeyMe so I decided to try it out. This one seemed to work ok, the only problem was it said my key was uncommon so they would have to ship it to me. This was really disappointing because my key was as basic as they get.

I needed the key that day so I was not going to wait around for it to be shipped. So far 0 for 2.

Key Hero:
I decided to try one more, a kiosk called Key Hero which was in Home Depot. I go to the machine to start and immediately it says I need to call over an employee to do it. Again very disappointing. The whole point of the kiosk is so you can do it yourself and you don't have to find someone to do it for you.

After about 5 minutes I was able to get someone to help. I gave them the key and they were able to copy it. It was not that quick but they got it done. Also it was confirmed that it was a common key so I'm not sure why the other machine at Menards said it wasn't.

Conclusion:
After trying Minute Key, KeyMe, and Key Hero, I was let down by all of them. I'm surprised that this seems to be such a difficult task. Maybe I just had some bad luck with the machines, but overall the experience was difficult and I had to go to 3 different stores just to make 1 copy of a basic house key.

If you are looking to make a duplicate of a key, you can try them out if you want to, but you might be better off just asking someone at the local hardware store to make a copy for you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Undateables - Show Recommendation

The Undateables is a documentary style show about people with disabilities and their search for finding love. These individuals usually have a condition that makes it difficult for them to find dates or get into relationships so this show helps them by matching them with others who may be compatible.

I am a fan of these kinds of shows, for example “Love on the Spectrum” and “Born This Way” so I was definitely look forward to watching The Undateables because it is very similar. The show is based in the UK and is currently available for streaming on Discovery+.

There are 11 seasons, each with about 5 episodes. I just finished the series and I loved it! There is a wide variety of participants and they very likable and memorable. It's great when there is a good match and they really hit it off and develop a long term relationship. I like how they also feature many of the cast members over several episodes and seasons as they continue their quest for love.

After finishing the series and looking for updates on what there are up to now, I was pleased to see many of them are still in relationships with the people they met on the show. Overall I highly recommend The Undateables. I hope they continue to make more seasons!