damnum absque injuria

February 20, 2007

Ending the Protectionist Racket

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:37 pm

Arizona is considering amending its rules to allow lawyers from other states to be admitted on motion. It’s about time. Shorter con argument: California, Nevada and New Mexico want to jump off a bridge, so dammit, we should, too!

And no, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t see myself moving to Arizona anytime soon (though I can certainly think of worse places to live), and even if I did, I wouldn’t need the new rule since I’m admitted there already, the old-fashioned way.

February 17, 2007

Chutzpah in Marketing

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:44 am

A popular example of chutzpah is the boy who murdered his parents and asked the court for leniency because he is an orphan. Personally, my favorite is the marketer who adopts a policy purely out of self-interest, to the detriment of his customers, but manages to dupe the customers into thinking it’s a good thing for them. Saturn and every other car dealer that advertises “no-haggle” prices is a prime example of this, as “no-haggle” is simply industry slang for “get out the vaseline.” Does anyone seriously doubt that any car dealer would be delighted to sell you his cars at sticker price without haggling? The only difference between a yes-haggle and a no-haggle price is that under the former scenario, you may be able to negotiate a better price for yourself if you are so inclined, while under the latter, you can’t. And yet, they’ve sold how many gazillions of cars by advertising the fact that you must pay sticker price no matter what?

A more recent example of marketing chutzpah is a two-bit e-tailer called FuturePowerPC, which I recently had the misfortune of encountering through PriceGrabber. You may recall from a prior post the order they held up for me based on specious concerns about fraud. Apparently, it’s S.O.P. for them to treat almost every customer as a potential swindler, yet for some reason, their average customer ratings are high. Why, you might ask? In no small part, because they’ve managed to hoodwink a number of their victims into thinking that FuturePowerPC’s paranoia regarding its customers is somehow good for them. Take, for example, this comment by their new customer johnandria:

Placed order and recieved [sic] an email to call them, this was to confirm credit card info (good thing). Order was shipped same day and recieved [sic] 3 days later. EXCELLANT [sic]

Note that he doesn’t elaborate as to why a retailer’s paranoia about his credit card information is a good thing – he simply adds that conclusion in parentheses. I supposed that’s understandable, as anyone who hasn’t been in school long enough to know how to spell such basic English words as “receive” or “excellent” probably also doesn’t know that credit card holders are not generally liable for fraudulent use of their cards, or that calls to a phone number with the area code 516 aren’t free. (They actually do have an 800 number, but unhelpfully do not provide it when they hound you with emails asking you to call them to prove you aren’t a crook.) Then again, it sounds like they got a hold of him right away, so the paranoia policy didn’t result in any delays in his instance, so I suppose it’s too much to ask that he recognize that the same policy may well result in such delays for others.

Here’s another gem from a *&^ me harder customer named Marek:

Works great – they verify order on the phone – it’s very good from security standpoint. Very fast shipping – Great shopping experience – suggested for everyone. Product works great so far !

Thanks, Pollyanna, I’m thrilled to know that they have a practice that is very good from the standpoint of them protecting their own security. Here’s one more just for good measure, from a guy named Chenkh in NJ:

I purchased a TomTom 910. Great price. Fast shipping. Good reviews. Liked the security confirmation call, but probably slowed the shipping by 1 day. Still received the item in 2 business days. Would buy again.

Liked the security call?! Is this guy lonely or what? Note that he even recognizes that this paranoid call probably caused him to receive his GPS a day later than he otherwise would have, yet still “liked” it. Then again, it’s probably unrealistica to expect better from anyone who cites other people’s “good reviews” as a reason for providing one himself.

These aren’t exactly the only three customers, aside from myself, who’ve gotten the “prove to us you aren’t a crook and then we might grace you with our business” treatment from FuturePowerPC. In fact, they aren’t even the only ones on the front page, which lists only the last 25 reviews out of more than 1,000. They’re just the three among the most recent 25 who, upon getting the shaft, rewarded FuturePowerPC with a five-star rating, a thank you sir, and a polite request for another.

Bottom line: never trust a good average rating from an e-tailer. Read the negative comments first, however few, and find out why some customers didn’t like this seller. Then read a series of positive comments defensively to see if the bad experiences of the few were an aberration, or if the only real aberration was for a few clueful customers to see through a scam that wowed everyone else.

February 13, 2007

Morons in the News

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:15 pm

Moron Central, a national bank commonly known by the first two letters of the alphabet (and they couldn’t even get the order of those two letters right), has a new policy of issuing credit cards to illegal aliens. Of course the Ass. Press calls them “undocumented,” but how many documents do you have to have to give an illegal alien before he’s no longer “undocumented,” just illegal?

Meanwhile, three sociology researchers recently released a study purporting to show that straight adoptive couples are better parents than natural parents, from which they somehow manage to conclude that gay adoptions must be better, too. While the underlying data tells us nothing about adoptions by gay couples, that doesn’t stop the “researchers” from brilliantly concluding that:

Ironically, the same social context that creates struggles for these alternative families may also set the stage for them to excel in some measures of parenting.

Translation: no one needs a lady mom to protest too much. Two daddy-moms can protest even more, and let’s face it, that’s all we really needed moms for, anyway.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin isn’t pleased by B of A’s latest moronicity, either.

Of Mouseturds, Pandegonium, A-Man-Duh-Hating Martyrcottes and the Edwards Campaign

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:04 pm

A number of bloggers, including some right-wingers like Patterico and some alleged right-wingers like Prof. Bainbridge, are concerned that the Edwards campaign’s apparent firing of Amanda Marcotte – one of only two bomb-throwing moonbats it never should have hired in the first place – may have repercussions for the blogosphere as a whole. I think this concern is valid, but in this case, misplaced. It’s never (well, almost never) a good thing when a blogger loses a job unrelated to blogging on account of something he said on his blog, but in Marcotte’s case, the offending blog was the raison d’être* of her job. If it turns out that Marcotte quit a lucrative job in order to join the campaign, and now can’t get her old job back, then the Edwards campaign should pay her unemployment check for a while. Otherwise, while Edwards’s ill-conceived decision to hire her and his healthily-conceived decision to “resign” her two weeks later may speak volumes about the incompetency of the campaign, and may even tell us something unflattering about Edwards himself, when it comes to their impacts on Marcotte and the blogosphere, they largely cancel each other out. Most of us will never get a new job because of our blogging. In the end, neither did Marcotte. And now I’m supposed to feel sorry for her … why, exactly?

Quote of the day (from Patterico commenter Biwah): I wonder how she will manage, with all that mouth to feed.

*My apologies for the gratuitous French, which is there for the benefit of Ann “The 2008 Election is Only 21 Months Away, So Anyone Who Isn’t Squarely in Giuliani’s Camp By Now Is A Girlyman, and Probably French, Too** Althouse. Apparently, only wimps object to grabbing guns, promoting abortion, stifling dissent, publicly humiliating innocent businessmen with nifongesque charges, placing the emergency response center right smack dab in the city’s No. 1 terrorist target, or any of the issues raised in Chapman’s article.

**No, that isn’t a fair summary of her post. It is, however, an order of magnitude fairer to her than her post was to Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman, whose point she accidentally-on-purpose missed completely by focusing on a single, arguably gratuitous adverb that was only tangentially related to one of his many points, and completely unrelated to the rest of the article.

February 8, 2007

One Less Moron?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:53 am

If you live in Los Angeles County and are as disgusted as I am by Judge Gibson Lee’s non-sentencing of nine racist gangbangers who beat three innocent white women senseless – and damn near killed two of them – simply for being white, there isn’t a damned thing you can do about the sentence itself, but there is something you can do about the idiot judge who rendered him. Recall the bastard now, before he turns even more vicious criminals free like he’s been doing for decades.

February 7, 2007

Moronblogging, Part Duh

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:12 am

Morons appear to be in season right now. While a plurality of the morons I’ve recently encountered work for Bank of America, not all do. Also warranting dishonorable mention:

  • Last Friday, Gibson W. Lee, an idiot judge in Long Beach, sentenced four vicious monsters who beat three innocent women without provocation, two within inches of their lives, on Halloween. All four were convicted of a hate crime, an alleged sentence enhancement, but the idiot judge sentenced all of them, even the most violent ringleader, who also took the stand and perjured himself beyond recognition, to probation. Yes, you heard right: probation, the most lenient sentence he could have given them without the alleged sentence enhancement. [They also got a bogus 60 day "house arrest," which according to one of the victims' families consists of an order not to leave home without mommy and daddy's permission.] One of the victims understandably cried at the verdict. Another could not, as a result of massive reconstructive surgery necessitated by the crime in question. The idiot judge obviously didn’t learn anything from the incident, however, as he proceeded to sentence the rest to the same non-punishment [sans phony house arrest, in one case] just the other day.
  • Also in California, some idiot legislator wants to ban spanking. You probably knew that already, as it has gotten the national ridicule it deserves.
  • Also in California, another idiot legislator wants to ban incandescent bulbs so we can all look equally ugly. You may not have known about that, as it has gotten much less national coverage.
  • Last Saturday, some idiot on I-110 drove a service truck with an unsecured ladder on the back, which predictably fell out and bounced across the freeway. Don’t know if it caused an accident or not, but easily could have.
  • This past Monday, some other idiot on I-210 drove a semi with an unsecured … um … who the hell knows what it was? All I know is that whatever it was, it was a large metal object that emitted enough sparks to make it look like a flare, while it banged its way across the lanes at night.
  • This past Sunday, I saw more retarded commercials than I had previously recalled seeing in my entire life. In particular, Garmin ran a Superbowl ad so bad it managed to make a brilliant product look retarded.
  • Fortunately for Garmin, I ordered their brilliant product for Sr. Xrlq (no, he can’t drive, but others visiting from out of town can) on Thursday night, two and half days before I could be dissuaded by that retarded commercial. I searched the best price on PriceGrabber, and was directed to a business called Future Power PC. I placed the order, listing myself as the name for the profile, and Sr. Xrlq as both the billing contact and the shipping address. I also included my own cell phone, with a number based in Richmond, VA, as a contact. On Friday, at around 2:15 p.m. PST, I received an email from Future Power PC asking me to call their non-800 number between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays – i.e., within 45 minutes. I called the number immediately and got no answer. I later learned he’d left a message with Mrs. X in Virginia, and with Sr. X’s home phone in L.A., which I would not hear until long after 3:00 p.m. due to my unusual condition of having a … like … job. I finally got a hold of the nutjob on Monday, who started demanding I reiterate everything over the phone that I had previously supplied online, telling me that the transaction had been flagged for suspicion of fraud. I asked on what basis he suspected fraud, and he told me it was because Sr. X’s house and phone number are in one state, and my house and phone are in another. According to this genius, if you and your father live in two separate states, you are a fraud ring. Betcha didn’t know that.
  • Methodist Hospital, the second of four hospitals Sr. Xrlq has graced with his presence since the accident that made him a temporary quadriplegic, repeatedly did not check on him throughout the night because … hello … he didn’t ring the nurse’s bell. They also didn’t monitor his lungs, despite knowing of his difficulties breathing and coughing, for pneumonia. Instead, after only two days they rushed him off to a rehab hospital in Pomona, where he lasted one night before being rushed to a nearby ER when he could barely breathe.
  • The hospital with the ER, Pomona Valley Hospital, kept Sr. X in the ER for a few hours, and then the ICU for about a week. For the first couple of days in ICU, the nurse repeatedly contacted my 17-year old sister with all updates instead of contacting me. On third day I spoke to the nurse directly and reminded her that I was listed as the primary contact. She said she knew that, but called my sister instead because none of my numbers worked. I double-checked them all, and yup, they did work – but only if you dial 1 before an area code. Imagine that.
  • Just yesterday, we learned that Lite-Brite terrorists Peter Berdovsky and filmed the cops handling the non-bomb but did nothing to alert them to the fact that it was just a harmless Lite-Brite. Allah, unsurprisingly, believes this is a reason to throw the book at both Berdovsky and his partner in non-crime, Sean Stevens. It’s certainly a reason to throw the book at somebody, the question is who. Berdovsky’s attorney says that upon learning that the police were investigating his handiwork rather than a real bomb, he contacted his employer and was assured his employer would handle the matter. If he’s lying, throw the book at him. But if he’s telling the truth, and he really did alert his employer and receive an assurance they would do the right thing, the question is whether they did that or not. If they didn’t, throw the book at them. But if they did, and the Boston P.D. simply ignored their information because they were already operating in full-blown idiot mode, then the blame rightly lies with them. There’s definitely an idiot in there somewhere, I’m just not sure we know who.

Low-Tech Copy Protection

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:11 am

Insty has a brilliant solution for Hollywood – or more accurately, he identifies a brilliant solution they’re already employing now. No need for digital rights restriction management, just make movies so crappy no one will want to pirate them!

February 4, 2007

Hospiblogging, or B of A = Bunch of A-Holes

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 2:25 pm

Two weeks ago my father, a.k.a. Sr. Xrlq, was seriously injured in a bicycling accident, causing spinal compression that leaves him as a quadriplegic for the time being. His long-term prognosis is not too bad, but it’s a slow process. My brother, Bubba Xrlq, flew out to California the next day to help manage things around the house in his absence. I flew out a week later to relieve him of his duties for a couple of weeks until my aunt takes over next week. It’s hard enough dealing with someone else’s family matters when everyone cooperates. It’s much worse when other actively compete against your efforts. That’s where Bank of America comes in.

(more…)

February 1, 2007

Allah’s Surreal, Moronic Blog Post

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:18 pm

Allah joins the global war on Lite-Brites, denouncing innocent marketers as “hoaxsters” and demanding an apology from them for their innocent marketing stunt, rather than from the Governor of Massachusetts, the mayor of Boston and the Boston PD for being dumber than a metric ton of retard concentrate.

Next up: calls for apologies from Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Kiefer Sutherland and the Fox network for laying the groundwork for this non-hoax with a TV show that implies all devices with wires (including the one in yours hands if you can read this) are bombs.

UPDATE: Allah has removed the reference to “hoaxers.” Apparently, my failure to update this post accordingly in real time constitutes a greenwald in Allah’s book. Whatever, dude.

UPDATE x2: Et tu, Ace. And unlike Allah, Ace hasn’t even gotten rid of the libelous reference to these two Kucher wannabes as “hoaxers,” despite his own admission that they haven’t hoaxed anyone. Jeebus. Is there some aspect to this story that just isn’t getting covered on the West Coast (where I’m visiting at the moment – more on that later), or did everything but California finally fall into the ocean?

UPDATE x3: Time to update the Lite-Brite jingle. My recommendation: “Lite Brite, a cheap gift from your mom. Outtasite, some dumbshits think it’s a bomb.”

 

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