Archive | September, 2012

Could Increases in Safety Measures Make Us Risk Takers?

27 Sep

If you were to stand in the pit lane at Las Vegas Motorspeedway on October 16th, 2011 and ask Dan Wheldon if he felt safe in a car he would tell you yes. However, I’m sure he would also be aware that his life could be at risk, but it wasn’t a fear. That lack of fear allowed Dan to be one of the fastest IndyCar drivers on an oval, winning the Indianapolis 500 twice. It’s also the lack of fear and the increase in feeling safe that causes millions of Americans to drive without a seatbelt, speed, text and drive, and even take risks that they normally wouldn’t. These risks, and the increase in safety measure in everything have led us to this lack of concern.

The SUV

Remember when the Jeep was a super popular car? I do, my mom even owned one for a short time. Do you remember the big issue at the time? Rollover. Jeep’s were very prone to rolling over due to their higher center of gravity. They were top-heavy, and if you went a little to fast around a corner you were bound to tip the thing. How did we overcome this? We drove slower around corners, we were more cautious to our surroundings and tried to not put ourselves in a position to flip. 

But the car manufacturers and government wasn’t ok with just that, they began lowering the weight so that there was a better balance allowing drivers to take corners at faster speeds in an SUV. Has it led to a mass amount of rollovers? No, but it has created a generation of drivers who don’t worry about the rollover issue as much as we did a decade and a half ago. 

They’ve become so safe, in a 2011 CNN article, they said a person driving a 2009 model car was twice as likely to die in an even of a rollover than a person driving a 2009 SUV. Does this mean we drive more cautious than we used to, or does this mean people in cars drive harder? I’m not sure, but becoming more safe will likely cause us to driver harder than before. 

Sports

Sporting leagues, teams, and youth organizations around the world are always looking for ways to make a sport safer. Little League Baseball banned most of the larger negative weighted bats. They increased the size of the protection in the helmets, and began requiring all coaches to wear them on field (even though most still don’t). The NFL has increased padding, began using revolutionary helmets with military technology in them, and have been forced to make rules to protect players. That last part, that’s due to the safety. Players aren’t afraid of getting hurt so they’ll tackle head first, they’ll dive straight into someone with their heads. Bob Costas was on HBO last week talking about how playing football would be safer if they took the helmets away. 

While the number of deaths are low in these sports, the long-term health risks can be extreme. Serious injuries can occur during acceptable play. However, increased rules have led players to playing with less risk and concern for one another. Physical play has become more common in sports like soccer and basketball, sports once known for their finesse. 

Racing

Ask any race car driver, they’ll tell you that there are serious risk involved and that each of them could potentially be killed on the track. That never made them stop racing though. With the improvements in safety it made a lot of them drive even harder. Look at the INDYCAR Series. There had not been a death during a race since 1999. Sure there have been deaths in practice or in testing (Paul Dana and Tony Renna) recently. This gave many of the drivers a feeling that even if they did wreck they would be a little beat up, but they would survive. Many of them drove fast, risky, and often made moves that they shouldn’t have. 

Just Youtube an old IRL race from the early-2000’s. You’ll see flat-out racing with drivers interchanging lanes, blocking, running 3-4 wide all while being a few feet, or inches, away from one another. It was exciting TV and a great product to watch, but the risk it ran was extreme and scary, but the safety was advancing so fast that the drivers got crazier. They wanted to win, it was all about getting the big money. Introductions of the HANS device, the SAFER barrier, and increased front and side collision safety allowed drivers to push the limit even further. As the years went by with fewer deaths and accidents, we began to see drivers with less respect for one another. Winning became even more import due to the lack of sponsorship dollars. Teams were straining to find funding and began dropping like flies. If you wanted to remain in the series, you had to find a way to be faster and better than everyone else, even if that meant pushing the limit too far. 

Over the years the series began to realize it was getting more risky and the dangers were rising. Their response was to have Honda and other engine companies de-stress the engine and allow it to hit max speed at lower RPM’s. They also lowered the amount of horsepower an engine could have. Thus the speeds were lower and doing so was to increase safety  and lower the risk. All this did was create bigger packs where cars couldn’t pass each other and ran closer. Even though the races of the early to mid 2000’s were dangerous and close, the packs were often spread out and ran in 5-6 car packs. We saw in 2010 and 2011 what size packs we could run in, and they sometimes would be 8-10 car packs. 

This all culminated in the season finale at Las Vegas in 2011 when Indy 500 Champion Dan Wheldon was killed in a multi-car accident on lap 13. The race was one of the most dicey I had seen in years, and was the first time I was enjoying an oval race again. But it wasn’t safe, the cars were 2-3 feet apart in speeds in excess of 210 mph. Drivers were switching lines like it was no big deal, and cars were all flat-out. All of this took place because these were the measures in which the INDYCAR Series deemed to be the safest.

Every Day Life

Today everything is safer, they tell us what is healthy for us and what is not. Cars are equipped with state of the art safety features including side-airbags and seats that support head and neck. They have crash ratings that allow the vehicle to absorb the energy of the crash rather than your body. Those safety features have led us to fewer traffic accidents resulting in death. However, people driver harder than they did before. From my experience on the road people are more risky, they have a tendency to cut you off, speed, and often do so in a dangerous manner. In the past year I have avoided countless accidents through pure luck. Between people on their cell phone switching lanes, or people running red lights and stop signs, I have had several close calls. 

I’ve been driving for a decade now, I feel less safe driving today than I did in the past. Not because of the vehicles, but because of the increase in safety. I feel like I could drive 100 and cut corners if I wanted to because my car has a racing suspension. It’s a Mazda, it feels extremely safe in and I could get away with a lot of dumb things and be ok. 

That’s the philosophy a lot of people have. I read an interview at the end of the book SuperFreakonomics. The writers of the book host a podcast in which they had Glenn Beck on. Now I’m not a huge fan of Glenn Beck because I think he mostly blows smoke. However, in this transcript they spoke about him buying a new car. Beck said the car salesperson was telling him how safe the car was and that if he pressed a button he could take corners like a racecar driver and it had a feature that helped prevent rollovers. I don’t remember the entirety of the interview and everything he said, but the just of it was that the increase of safety gave him and a lot of other people this feeling of invincibility.  

What Can Be Done?

For a lot of us safety is the number one concern for us. We have families, or we are planning to, and we want them to be safe in a vehicle. We want our children to be safe in sports, or behind the wheel when they begin to drive. We want to keep guns and weapons out of buildings for our safety. We want everything to be safe so we don’t have to worry, but does not worrying mean we put our guard down and stop having concern for everyone else? 

Sure safety is an amazing thing and is very important, but sometimes the safest idea isn’t really the safest. Maybe the NFL should reduce the helmet safety measures a bit. A few instances of injuries that are severe will teach players to back off so that we don’t hurt ourselves. Racing series need to increase speeds while maintaining the overall car safety. If cars go faster and drivers have to drive the cars, they won’t be so close to each other.

The INDYCAR Series did a fantastic job with that this year. They stopped using dependable tires and made the downforce less of a factor. This forced drivers to drive the car, they couldn’t control it if they stayed flat-out and raced like maniacs. After the death of Wheldon, this was the only way the series could race ovals. The drivers were scared, cautious, and smart about how they raced. 

The same thing goes for everyday cars. Stop telling us how safe they are before we start driving like a bunch of racers. Make the cars safe, but don’t throw it in our face. The increase of safety often gives people the thought of invincibility.

There’s no fix to any of these issues, but if we can take anything away from this is that the increase of safety has allowed us to live more dangerously. We feel safe, we feel like we don’t need to worry that we’re protected. We’ve put our guard down. Some say that we have begun to de-evolve as a species. That’s a whole new discussion, but maybe this has something to do with it. We evolve (if you believe in evolution, I myself do) to survive and become stronger than our fellow humans. If we take that process of figuring out on our own how to survive and keep us safe, we’ll never try to overcome issues, we’ll just be glad we’re safe. 

The NFL Can’t Replace the Replacements

25 Sep

So by now I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Debacle in Seattle”. If you haven’t, then here’s a quick synopsis of what happened. In a last minute heave from Seattle QB Russel Wilson a ball was caught be a Green Bay DB in the endzone. As the Defensive Back fell to the ground Seattle Wide Receiver Golden Tate grabbed the ball. The ruling on the field was a Touchdown, although one referee signaled an interception.

If you haven’t heard of it, I don’t know how. It’s been the only thing on ESPN all day and has had spotlights on all sorts of media outlets. Which brings me to the point, the NFL can’t let these guys go, and they can’t agree to terms with the old refs. Not because the old refs were bad or I believe the NFL is better without them, but because this is the most publicity an organization could ask for. There’s an old saying, “bad publicity is good publicity”. Basically you always have to pay for what little time you get, and most organizations would be dying for this type of publicity.

But This Isn’t Ok

From a coach, player, and fan perspective this sucks. This is the worst feeling to have. You never want a game to be decided by the referee. In any sport you never want to be the officiating to be the main talking point after a game. Look at the INDYCAR Series. Last fall they had a debacle at Loudon when then race steward Brian Barnhart decided to restart as it was raining on an oval. At that time current points leader was sitting in a position to finish in the top 5. However he spun out on the slick track and crashed. At the time he was set to finish a lap down and be out of the points. After the race though the officials decided to overturn the results and return to the lap previous putting him back in the points.

I’m sure many of you Packers fans are hoping for a similar result. However, you won’t be getting it as the NFL released a statement this afternoon saying they support the ruling on the field and will not overturn the call. The final is 14-12 Seahawks win.

Why The NFL Won’t Do Anything

Sorry in advance, but if you’re a major fan of the NFL get used to this. They won’t be changing any calls anytime soon. Nor will they be working to come to terms with the main NFL Officials. The reason is simple, the officiating may tarnish the respect for the game, or the impressions that it gives, but it won’t change the product. The NFL is the only major professional football league, and the market share it possesses is so large that they won’t care to lose a few people. It also won’t reverse the call because they don’t want to give negotiating power to the NFL Officials Union. You admit the replacements messed up, and the original referee’s will use that against the NFL in meetings. With everything going the way it is, I just don’t see the NFL changing anything around anytime soon. I also don’t see the NFL agreeing with the Officials Union anytime soon. If they do, good, but if they don’t then don’t be surprised.

Plus you can’t blame the NFL for not changing it. Outside of missing the Pass Interference call, the Packers purely screwed up. Sure they outplayed Seattle but they also allowed 8 sacks and on a hail-mary the first thing they teach a defender is to “knock the ball down”. If M.D. Jennings swats the ball downward the catch never happens. We shouldn’t even be talking about this right now, but Jennings wanted the spotlight and wanted the pick.

You Think You Can Fix It

Sure you can, the fans are the one group of people who can push the settlement between officials and the NFL. Simple things like making the NFL lose money by not buying jersey’s or memorabilia. Upset the owners by not going to games or buying souvenirs, Trent Dilfer said it this morning on EPSN, he said upsetting the owners by spending less at the stadium or just not going will be a sure fire way to upset the NFL, the owners, and eventually push the two to negotiate with the Officials Union.

If you can’t fix it, get used to this. It’ll be like this for awhile because the NFL has no reason to fix this problem. The publicity is amazing, they won’t stop talking about it, and why would the NFL admit something is wrong and allow the officials to negotiate with this in their favor.

Blood Thirsty Poli-Ticks

24 Sep

Blood suckers, thirsty…thirsty blood suckers. Not vampires, and no not the disease infected citizens of the Walking Dead, but the nasty money hungry, blood thirsty people who run as politicians in this country. That’s the best way for me to describe them. They attack the weak, go after peoples failures, and when they smell blood…they attack. Take for instance the recent gafs of Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney decided it was a good idea to say that 47% of the American people didn’t matter to him……what an idiot. I understand that the speech was intended to show how he needed to approach the election, but still. The first key to an effective political campaign is to not give your opponent any “bulletin board” material. Yet Mitt Romney continues to practically hand the Democrats the material.

I’ve never seen this happen in a political race, let alone a Presidential race. You’d have to be the dumbest person to give your opponent all of this fuel, and you’d have to be an idiot to not use what was handed to you. Which leads me to Obama. Where is that old fashioned political attacks? Why hasn’t he really ran with that material and shoved it in our faces? The Republicans would in a heart beat. They attack Obama for his healthcare policy and say it screws the doctors. Not because it does, but because the American people respond to negativity.

This is where the blood-suckers survive, and this is where the negative attack ads thrive. Politicians love to be in control, they love the power, and you know they love the spotlight. So, negative or not, this is the way for them to shine. It’s disgusting really. I hear politicians from both parties say different laws do horrific things. I’ve hear Republicans say Obama sympathizes with terrorist, I’ve heard Democrats say Republicans want to kill off poor people  .  Ok, I’ve never heard Democrats talk crap about Republicans. What…the…heck? No wonder Democrats get made looking like the little girl in pre-school who lost her lunch to the bully. They are surprised, scared, and appear to be awe struck instead of angry and ready to fight back.

So why is it the Democrats are such softies? Maybe it’s because a lot of them believe in working together and striving to achieve a common goal for the people. Or maybe because deep down all they care about is money. When the Republican politicians in the US began to attack workers rights, workers unions, and welfare programs the Democrats barely even said a thing. Most of the time they were mum on the issue, or in some instances they walked out of their individual state houses only to sit in a local state’s hotel and speak to little watched media outlets. Heck, the local news won’t even cover the issue. The only place I ever heard those politicians talk were on the Ed Show on MSNBC.

Is that the reason? Does no one really give a crap about the Democrats, or are we really over politics. We hardly ever hear both sides of the story, because the group in control tend to run everything, but then again whoever has the money controls everything. Just look at Republican candidates. They spend almost 3x’s as much as the Democrats do on campaigns. But then again look at who supports the candidates the most. Typically Wall Street donates the most to Republicans, although lately they’ve been supportive of both groups. Goldman Sach’s loves the Democrats. They were one of Obama’s top donors. They practically control all of the financial policies in Washington. They were the most powerful during Clinton’s administration and are responsible for a lot of the financial fiasco’s during the Bush Administration.

Fact is, both parties are parties of money that support corporate groups but they do so in different shades of grey. Republican’s want to give the money to the top earning people as a big “Thank You”. Democrats like to more to the lower earners while giving bigger corporate breaks. Some people like to say that’s considered “welfare”. Truth is, everything the country does can be considered welfare. Giving corporate tax-breaks are welfare, giving social security is welfare, and giving tax-breaks to the middles class is welfare. But what is the government to do when it’s becoming harder to live, and inflation continues to push prices to all-time highs. Gas is around $4 a gallon. A gallon of milk is twice as expensive as it was 2 years ago, and with the drought it’s surely to go up.

We are surely going to suffer even greater hardships financially as long as things stay the way they are. Hopefully come election time we pick a candidate that best suits our future. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to matter. Because these politicians could care less. They are out to take what they want, get where they want, and to control who they want. It’s about money, and whoever has the most will get the most power. Whoever has the most power is bound to control this country for a long time. Until we get away from the Blood Thirsty Poli-Ticks, we’ll be stuck in this inevitable circle. It’s frankly scary, and I hope that we open our eyes as a country and realize what’s not just best for us, but best for all of us. These qualities will surely help us, and this is what I believe is the best for this country:

1. An all encompassing leader. Not just someone who cares about one social or economical group more than the other.

2. A politician who drops the Religious card and begins to only care about doing the right things for everyone. No moral compass is powerful enough to help everyone. Denying someone else something because it’s not within your moral boundaries is unfair and poor leadership.

3. Someone who believe money isn’t important to themselves yet understands that fiscal responsibility is vital for the country as a whole. Someone who stops giving tax breaks to different individuals and learns how to manage what’s wrong. Cuts funding to non-essential programs, but funds and invests in programs that will help the country become stronger and more stable. Infrastructure is a good start and is an essential part of our economy and country.

4. A politician who stops kissing big business’ behind. It’s time the consumer take control of the market again. If you read my last blog you’ll understand how much I hate big business and their lack of respect for their customers. The market should be controlled by the consumer, and pricing should be again controlled by supply and demand and not by gamblers on Wall Street.

5. Healthcare is essential to the well being of our county. Without it, millions of people would die from simple diseases and infections. By continually making it tougher for people to get medical attention and by forcing our people to buy health insurance is a quick way to make our country collapse. A proper health care plan would have made drugs cheaper, increased the number of clinics for individuals needing preventative care, and would have allowed a tax-based health insurance plan.

6. Someone who forces the global economy come home. There’s no reason why Ford or Chevy should build our cars in Japan or Mexico. Nor should our normal retail goods be made in similar countries. Nothing is American made anymore, except for Honda’s and Toyota’s. No, that’s not a joke, my parents Honda Civic was built in the US, yet my dad’s Dodge was built in Canada. Whether we focus on using tax incentives to bring them back, or punish them for leaving, something needs to be done to bring back jobs and products.

7. Farm-bills and other supplemental bills that give money to organizations need to stop. As a country we shouldn’t burn hundreds or thousands of pounds of food. We burn cheese, corn, and other produce so that we can keep prices down. This is not only a waste of work, but also could be given to local food pantry’s or donated to non-profits that take food oversees.

8. Abortion and birth control debates are not important for a Presidential candidate. Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit, there are always just as many people on the other side. Stop focusing on this matter and begin to focus on ways to prevent the need for these things. Stop worrying about abstinence only programs and teach people to properly protect themselves. Teenage sex isn’t going away, neither is unprotected sex. People want to feel good, and people want to enjoy what they are doing. Dogs don’t hump people because it’s boring, so why would people stop having sex?

9. Look for a candidate that believes in equality and giving everyone that chance to live the American dream. Just because you are already rich doesn’t mean you should be the only one allowed to be rich. Everyone deserves a fair chance, albeit it shouldn’t be a handout. You still need to work for it.

10. Look for the candidate who wants to fix welfare, not just kill it or expand it. Welfare should be a kickstarter, not a constant stream of cash and help. You need to work your way out, and our government needs to force you to work your way out. The longer you’re in it, the harder it is to get out of it. A generation that grows up in poverty is more likely to stay in poverty. Yet if we don’t fix our economy there’s going to be a lot more people in this group. It’s about time the government start pushing the people in it to get out, and if you don’t get out then you don’t get help. You’ve got to work for it just like everyone else. Because frankly, if pride wasn’t a factor who wouldn’t want to be on welfare? You don’t have to work, you just do some classes and job fairs occasionally and get money to live on as well as housing. It’s a joke, and it’s not fair to the middle class people like myself who had to pay for college and everything else I wanted.

These things are the things I believe are a solid foundation to a great candidate. Our future is very important and it’s time we stop neglecting our future. Stop pushing teachers over the brink with absurd amounts of testing. Start pushing children to learn things that matter, and not pushing for the highest math and science scores. That doesn’t prove anything, employees in the future want well-rounded individuals that can do everything. Because that’s how the global economy works. We need to re-brand high school. It should become the new college to save our future generations money and increase the financial stability of young adults entering the workforce. If we can skip spending thousands of dollars on public and private universities, we could begin working and spending money in our economy much sooner.

After all, we are in it together. If America falls, we all fall. So disconnect the moral connections, the financial connections, and begin searching for a politician that actually gives a crap about us all, and not just the rich or the poor. It’s all of us or none of us. Don’t look for the power America, look for someone who cares.

Customer Disservice

20 Sep

I hate businesses anymore. Yeah, I said that. I hate them. For the most part they could care less about their customers. They believe keeping prices low is enough to keep us satisfied. But to me it’s not. It’s about the little things. Like that overused business saying “Going the Extra Mile” or to “WOW” the customer. Yeah, that’s a bunch of lies. No business goes the extra mile anymore. And rarely do they try to WOW me. These tactics aren’t even for retaining customers anyways. It’s to make new ones. Hey, NEWS FLASH!….it’s harder to make new customers than it is to keep the ones you have.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m getting at, and let me start with an example of a store that I deal with fairly regular. Fact is for the longest time I loved this store and was dying for them to come to my local area. They finally did, and as I became a frequenter of the business I realized how awful they are at customer service. When you walk in to the store you are hardly ever greeted, you can wonder through an entire area of the store for an hour plus without a single employee asking for help, and don’t call the store…they won’t answer it because they have one phone for everyone to reach. That’s not even the worst part. They offer In-Store Pickup for online orders, but good luck with that. Most of the time they don’t have your product ready when you get there, so they have to go search for it. What is the point of ordering it online to not deal with the hassle of the store if you aren’t going to have my product ready? I could have walked in the store, grabbed what I wanted, and checked out in the time it took me to do a store pickup. You offer in-store pickup to save time, so don’t waste my time not having my stuff ready. And I know it’s not the store managers fault, I’ve read plenty of articles and blogs referring to this store’s awful in-store pickup options. It’s awful, and half the time they won’t even let you ship it to your own store to pick it up, they force you to go way out of your way to get something.  Why can’t I ship it from the other store? Isn’t a part of business to find a buyer for a good. If you can’t sell it at Store A, then why not ship it to Store B to sell the product? Not to mention you get free shipping between stores, so it cost the individual stores nothing to get rid of a product. Your online portion of your business sucks. Please rethink what you do.

Who Dunnit? 

So what is this store I’m talking about? It’s not Walmart if you’re thinking that. Quite frankly Walmart is a fairly good model of customer service. It isn’t great, but it’s better than half of the other stores. Walmart won’t bother asking you a million questions about if you want things you don’t want. They’ll just help you, but as of late, they’ve put those damn DirectTV sales reps in the electronics to annoy the crap out of me. Which leads me back to my main complaint, the store in question is Best Buy. The same store where those annoying DirectTV in-store sales reps started to become popular.

Best Buy is my go-to electronic store, it has been for a long time. I’ve bought my TV and computer from their, and I buy most of my video games there. It’s usually because they have the better deals, and are a little better about matching deals. But lately, I’d rather spend more money just to go somewhere that I feel like I matter. I know business is all about making the bottom line and increasing revenue. But you can’t do either if you’re unable to satisfy your more regular shoppers.

I recently was in the process of purchasing The Muppets on Blu-Ray when I noticed they had extra Steelbook cases sitting on the shelf. The steelbook collectors case were a preorder promotion. You put $7.50 down, get the fancy case and when the movie comes out they deduct $7.50 from your total. So, I figured I’d grab it, what’s the worse that could happen they tell me I can’t have it? Yeah, that wouldn’t have been as bad as what they wanted me to do. They wanted me to buy it. Yeah, buy it outright as an additional purchase to the movie. So the now $19.99 Blu-Ray plus the case was $30 after taxes. When you force me to buy a preorder promo after release of a movie just because you want to make extra money you’re on crack. I refused to buy it, and I walked out of the store without it. I’d rather have been told it wasn’t available and that it was misplaced on the shelf than be forced to purchase it if I wanted it. It was a preorder special for Christ sake. You don’t make any money off of the thing in the first place. It was a promotional product. Talk about a greed driven move. Mind you those cases have been on the shelf since March, the 6 that have been there since the movie release are still there today. I know this because I’ve counted them every time I go in there. Not because I’m weird, but to prove a point. No one in the right mind will buy your promotional case. So suck on that Best Buy.

My Suggestions

It’s time for customers to be appreciated again. I remember in years past major stores doing customer appreciation sales. I don’t hear that term thrown around much. It’s always Back-to-School Sales, or Black Friday, or some other holiday or seasonal sale. Isn’t it time to throw one in there to tell the customers thanks? If I were Best Buy I’d worry about streamlining their stores. Combine their online and brick and mortar stores. There’s too many inconsistencies and issues between the two stores. I understand you separated them in case your brick and mortar sales bankrupt you. Then you’ll still have the online to fall back on. You don’t want to turn into Circuit City right? Then why did you buy all of their assets? Yeah, that’s true. Even Best Buy’s Credit Card is a product of Circuit City. The Circuit City Credit Card turned into Best Buy’s.

Secondly, stop trying to make every penny you possibly can. If you can take care of customers, you’ll make everything you need. Stop buying into this ridiculous promotions to bring new customers in. You don’t need exclusive cases or DLC for games either. Just stop. Stop trying to compete with Gamestop. Stop trying to outdo Walmart and just do you. You aren’t a game store, nor are you a department or superstore. You’re an electronics store. I shouldn’t see checkout lanes that you don’t use full of candy and beverages. That’s just a waste of money. Redesign your stores too. They are boring, they aren’t catchy and the important stuff is too far away. Every Best Buy I’ve ever been in is similar. The appliances like Washers, Dryers, and such are at the front somewhere. Then they have TV’s near the back or off to the side. Movies are smack dab in the middle as are CD’s. Games are off on the side or in the corner.

Start by dwindling down your in store products. Put most of it online and allow the consumer to order what they want. More people shop online now. And for people Like me it’s a 30 minute drive to go to the store. This will allow you to downsize the stores, eliminating expenses and shipping cost to the stores. You don’t need 500+ movies in store. You won’t sale them, they’ll sit there forever. Put them online and make it so that I can look for what I want and ship it to any store I desire.  Move your used games section away from the New Games Section. Make your TV section smaller. Most people don’t buy a lot of TV’s. You know they buy Cellphones, PC’s and tablets, and Games. Those sell a lot. Those are your biggest products. Make them your highlights.

Also start placing dedicated staff in each section. Stop making TV’s and gaming share staff, and stop leaving your staff so small that the customers outnumber staff 10-1 at times. You won’t make sells if customers can’t find what they want. This also goes with my downsize and shrink store sizes. I tend to buy more from stores that carry less product. Why? Because what I want is easier to find. I don’t need an employee to find it for me, I can see it plain as day. I also spend less time digging and more time looking at other buys.

Departmentalize better. Your stores are crowded, the traffic flow is awful and it’s easy to get disoriented. Make signage that better labels store areas.  Designate employees by areas as well. Don’t hire people for the whole store, people want to work at Best Buy for a general reason. Give them the chance to do what they are good at. I was stuck with a girl once who didn’t wan’t to learn anything about the area she was in, but that’s where they put her. She was awful, and didn’t help anyone. If you put employees in things they enjoy they’ll be better at what they do and your customers will be much more satisfied.

Lastly streamline your website. Put the major categories on the top bar. Let me choose Movies, Music, Games, or Accessories. Don’t make me choose drop down menus to get where I want. Combine your in-store supply with your .com store. Let me ship between stores, because if I’m a buyer of a product you can’t sell somewhere else, then give it to me. If it’s about making money you’re doing it wrong. If it’s just to be lazy, you’re doing wonderful. I hear that you are streamlining your site, or at least overhauling it come holiday season, but your old site was better than your current site so where you’re going doesn’t look good.

Also, every person involved with the company needs to be familiar with the Forbes.com article that led me to begin noticing more issues at Best Buy. They were spot on. The store is massively beginning to fail, and if you don’t start doing better at your customer service, you won’t have anything left. You’ll be another dinosaur.

And to the other stores out there I didn’t talk about, start worrying about your customers. Do things to please them, don’t worry about the money. If customers are happy they’ll be buying from you, and you can find great success. Also start trying to master one product. Be a specialty store, and master it. If you’re an electronics store, be great at it and don’t try selling food. If you’re a clothing store, don’t sell electronics. If you master your service, your customers will reward you.

The Double Standards

12 Sep

Our world is full of double standards, from the differences of women and men, to the differences of how much money certain careers make. They always say that guys can sleep with as many women as they want and they are awesome, and yet if a girl sleeps with a bunch of guys she’s a whore. Well, I can kind of get that as I’ve always said girls control who’s sleeping with them. Guys just try to convince girls to sleep with them. But that’s not the point of this blog.

This is my complaint about money. Why is it okay for an athlete to may millions of dollars, but a teacher or the likes is supposed to get paid hardly nothing? And don’t argue with me that teachers who make a national average of near $50,000 is too much for their job. It’s a tough job, and while there aren’t a lot of physical challenges the mental demands are extremely high.

For those of you who are arguing with me, take a day to go into a classroom. Maybe you should substitute teach, or just ask to sit in a random classroom. It’s not easy for anyone to just jump in and control the classroom. You can have anywhere from 15-30 different personalities, and just the same amount of maturity levels in a room. Controlling the classroom behavior is one of the easier parts actually, but by the time you figure out how to control everyone you’ve got to begin teaching these kids from a set list of standards given by the state. Oh, and mind you, you won’t have much time to try and experiment with new ideas or teaching kids things that really matter. This is where the job become monotonous and boring.

If you were a teacher you probably decided to join the profession because you loved to work with kids and you wanted to use your knowledge of the world and life to help kids follow the right path. I know most teachers did that, and I’m sure most of you are still teaching for that reason. It’s never because of the money, the paycheck, or the financial benefits. It’s all about the kids, and for people to say it’s not are out of their minds.

Sure, just like any career there are individuals out there for different reasons. Some athletes play a sport because they love what they do and are passionate about it, while there are some out there trying to find a way to get rich. Isn’t it a part of the American dream to get rich off of something you love to do everyday, and be good at what you do? Do I want to be rich? Of course I do, but I’d rather just have something I can do that I love and make a decent living doing it so that I can support a family.

I just turned 26 and I can’t wait to finally have a family, but with little signs of a job on a horizon and barely able to make a living doing what I currently am doing I need to find a new way to pursue those goals. I’ve been through a series of interviews for a position, and I truly hope something comes of it. It’s not my dream job as I have to do a lot of traveling, but it’s a decent job with decent benefits. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t but I’m going to start doing more blogging and more writing. I love to do it, and I love to talk about a lot of different topics. I’ve got another blog that focuses on gaming, you can find it here on WordPress at backloggedgaming.wordpress.com. This blog will focus more on the things that effect my life, things such as politics, technology, and the economy. I’ll speak on social issues, moral issues from time to time, and I’ll speak whatever crosses my mind that day.

But back to my original topic of double standards. Isn’t it time that the world stop fighting against teachers? They work really hard in order for them to teach tests that a few non-teachers designed. Test that are to measure students progress. But how do we measure the progress of people, people progress at different rates. Certain individuals progress faster, certain individuals never grasp a topic and get left in the dust.

Oh, and about that, teachers don’t have time to slow down and work with the kids that are behind because they are too busy trying to keep up with the standards that the state set. And if they do slow down, then they leave the other kids bored and unwilling to cooperate. Doesn’t this sound like so much fun? It could be, but due to the continual cuts to education classrooms are too big for teachers. 25-30 students in class to one teacher is a very unbalanced ratio. If we really want our students to learn we need to pay more money for teachers, not just to individual teachers. If we increase the budgets for education we could make classes smaller. Wouldn’t children be better off if there were only 10-15 students per teacher. Or even better if there were 5-10 students per teacher. Imagine the one-to-one time your child would get, imagine all of the extra learning that could be pursued.

The possibilities are incredible and I hope that we as a society begin to realize the facts. The fact is there’s not a lot of money placed into education, teachers don’t get paid much either. Maybe we can start increasing there salaries, allow them to actually get more money the harder they work. Having one base salary that never changes is absurd. No other career in the world does that to their employees. Even working at McDonald’s will get you a raise if you work hard enough and long enough there. And truth is if you work full-time for McDonald’s you’ll make nearly $20,000 as a Manager. A local school corporation starts their teachers off around $22,000. That’s a little more than McDonald’s with more responsibilities, more stress, and higher expectations of the position. Keep working at McDonald’s and you’ll surpass that salary quickly. Work as a teacher for a few years and your salary is still the same, plus the potential bonuses you may receive if you score high enough on your evaluations. If you don’t score high enough you’ll keep the same salary and eventually you probably won’t teach anymore.

If you’re wondering where I’m at that this is going on, this is what’s happening in Indiana. In Indiana teachers are thought of as the elite. Teachers are seen as the enemy. Parents complain about teachers, the state complains about teachers, students say teachers suck. Teachers aren’t allowed to teach, they are forced to follow stupid guidelines so that the state can “track” their progress. On top of all of that, the state is slowly trying to PRIVATIZE schools. They don’t want to pay for it anymore, and corporations see it as a way to get rich quick. There’s a lot of money to be made by schools, and if the state stops paying for it, parents will be responsible to pay for their child’s education. This is easy to make money for these corporations, and frankly I can’t blame them. But they need to realize they are only screwing our future up, not theirs. When are children aren’t being educated properly and suffering from overcrowded classrooms, don’t blame me. I sat right here and told you that we need help, we need to quit our double standards, and it’s time we start putting some faith in our teachers. Teachers have been teaching for years, a lot of the teachers that taught you are still teachers today. Don’t you think you learned pretty well? Don’t you feel like how you got to where you are in life has something to do with them? I credit a few of my teachers for being there for me. I credit my family a lot for my education, but guess what? That’s right my mother is a teacher. So I guess if I learned something from here, other people will learn from here as well.

I Don’t Reflect, I Move Forward

11 Sep

Truth is, I don’t like to look backwards. No, not because I’m an evil person with a lack of a heart, but because I’m the type of person that believes the only true way to honor the past is to make the future the best it can be.

Like many of you today, I remember what happened 11 years ago on the beautiful bright blue skied day in September. Honestly, as I look outside today the day seems pretty similar. No clouds in the sky, it’s warm, but not too hot. I woke up that morning early, the earliest I had in a while as a couple of my soccer teammates picked me up for breakfast at a local mom and pop cafe. It’s not there anymore, and as a matter of fact that was the last time I ever ate there. Not that it had anything to do with the events of that day, but because I was always too lazy to wake up that early.

We had a soccer game that day, much like they do tonight (I help coach my high school team). The world was progressing and beginning to grow even larger than it had been, and currently if you look at the economy it’s beginning to grow bigger than it has been for the past 8 years. We were in the first year of the Bush Administration, and we’re in the last year of the Obama Administration’s first term.

Other than those seemingly similar things, the days are very different. 11 years ago we were not afraid of the world, today millions of American’s still fear another similar attack. This is where my thinking steps in. Is it proper for us to continue to fear the past, did American’s fear the Japanese years after World War II or did we get over it. I can’t speak for that generation of Americans, but I can say we rebuilt Japan after dropping an Atom Bomb on them. You can thank us for the success of Mazda and other successful Japanese companies that were located in Hiroshima and surrounding areas. Yes, that’s right, we rebuilt that whole area and helped them regrow. I don’t see us doing that post 9/11. We aren’t the same country we were before, and that’s mainly because we are living a life of Fear.

In the years following 9/11 we were afraid of everything. The bad guys in movies went from being Russian or Serbian as they began being Muslim or Arab. Muslim American’s were targeted as traitors and spies, even within the past year politicians (Namely Michelle Bachmann) has accused certain members of Congress as being a part of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. These members were to be investigated and spied on, they were to be made out to be bad people to guarantee they wouldn’t be re-elected. The sad thing is it worked, for 11 years now we’ve been scared to death of Muslim people.

Now, that’s not true for everyone. Some of us aren’t afraid of Muslim’s or Arab’s. I for one don’t single them out and don’t believe they are anymore evil or good than any particular group of people. American’s, European’s, Muslim’s, Japanese, Chinese, Russian’s, and any other culture can be just as evil as the other. I’m not worried about any of them, if things happen it happens, there’s no need to single them out and blame them on everything.

The world’s changed a lot in 11 years. We’ve gone from a successful economic country to one struggling to survive and continually in debt to foreign countries. That’s not to say those countries are doing better than us, as most of Europe has been in an downhill spiral for awhile now. But add in the fact that we spent money on two unneeded wars and Europe helped us out, you begin to realize how our fear of another major attack put us in this issue. It’s not the only issue, but it’s been a major issue for America.

I’ve been happy that over the past 4 years we’ve begun to remove the language of fear in our government. The Obama Administration has removed the color-coded “threat level” system. They’ve put Bin Laden to rest, and they’ve stopped talking about the Taliban in every press conference. They’ve also begun to bring troops home from overseas, while still assisting those countries in rebuilding themselves. Our current political campaigns aren’t about the wars anymore, but about jobs.

There’s a lot of other things I remember about 11 years ago, I accused the Bush Administration as being involved in it while being in my High School Spanish class as the events took place. My reasoning was that the Bush Administration had openly been seeking a way to go to war with Iraq.  This was not because I was brain washed by people, but because I grew up watching George H. W. Bush try and take down Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government. I listened to Dubya say over and over that people like Saddam were evil and had to be dealt with. It was all but obvious, and unfortunately it seems like it was true. As the CIA and other government agencies have come out in years past to say they knew about the attacks and warned the Bush Administration. We went to war with Iraq, and it was the first place we went, even though most of the attackers of 9/11 were from Afghanistan or other countries.

I’m not sorry for what I’ve just said, I’m sorry that our government failed us in this instance. How do you know of such tragic event’s possibly happening and do nothing about it. I hope what we know about this is everything we can know. I don’t want to find out in 30 years that our government had a bigger hand in it, I don’t want to learn that they could have been behind all of it and been responsible for American lives. So to those out there trying to prove the government did it, either do it quickly or stop. Eventually the American people don’t need to know anymore. Eventually you need to move on like the rest of us.

It’s time for America to work together again. The plan of the attacks were to cause us to destroy ourselves. Little did they know the American spirit would be at it’s highest following the attacks. It was a good 4 to 5 years before we collapsed, and we only collapsed due to failed government leadership. We failed because of our extreme American spirit and pride. We allowed our government to have the keys to the car without checking the fluid levels. It’s time we take back the pink slip to our car, and it’s time to remember how we failed, not how the events of 9/11 ruined our country. I’m sorry for those who lost someone in the events, and I hope that you’ve been able to move forward in your life and do fantastic things in the honor of those loved ones lost.

Hello world!

11 Sep

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

%d bloggers like this: