politics


The elections have me thinking about promises and politics and how it applies to the small business owner and customer relationships.

The past few weeks I’ve had a few customers call and express outrage that we charge for delivery.  I’ve been so mystified by their anger that I haven’t really known how to respond. I really can’t understand how someone would expect me to insist my delivery driver work for FREE,  or insist that I pay him at the expense of my company being able to make a profit.  Delivery does have expenses associated with it,  things like  gas, insurance & repairs. I guess I could give FREE delivery and just absorb the costs, or I could give FREE delivery and hide the costs in the price!  Neither option seems very smart to me.

Now that I’ve  had a little time to think about it,  a few questions come to my mind.  I Hope you don’t mind if I share the questions with you and I really hope someone will give me a little feedback and share their thoughts.

1. If you see the word FREE,  do you automatically want to buy the advertised item just because it is FREE?

2.  If you see two advertisements, does the one that says FREE make you want to buy it more than one that doesn’t say FREE?

3.  Do you think FREE  is really FREE or do you think promotions  have  some strings attached to it?

FREE  is a VERY good price, and it will always bring people in to get the FREE  item. The problem is, just getting people in the door no matter what it costs is not why we’re in business.

We do need customers, but we also need to make a profit on those customers. Our ultimate job as a business owner is to make some money,  give superior  service and give our customers more than they expect!

I’m wondering if at some point this FREE  kind of marketing devalues the product in our customer’s eyes. Why should you pay $5 for this item today when it’s going to be FREE tomorrow? If a company offers a FREE  promotion for any length of time, then don’t you as the  customer grow to always  expect it?  Will you become angry when we decide it’s time to stop offering the promotion? Just wondering about the reasoning behind some business owners and their marketing schemes..it’s just makes no sense to me.  Am I missing out on something grand here?
I really believe that people value paying a fair price for a good product!

Absolutely Free

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It’s time to vote for your favorite project! The deadline is October 8th!  I was a little surprised that you don’t really get to vote for some of your actual favorite ideas and projects, but it appears to be more about concepts.   One of my favorites was about alternative energy that Chad Maglaque submitted which you can read about http://www.clariantechnologies.com/

I have to admit that I had a tough time deciding when I was reading through the voting choices & criteria.  All of the choices are important social  issues and crucial to our well being and future development. Some of them were a bit too political for me.  Politics are important but I tend to  get sick of hearing and talking about the subject because nothing ever changes and I as an individual feel like I have no impact on the outcome and this frustrates  me.

Many of the options stood out to me as great ideas!  I read them all and studied them & we had some big discussions about each category.  I was drawn to quite a few of them, but the more I thought about it & as much as I was touched by each category I still kept coming back to education.  I really feel like everything would be possible if you had access to education.  Education is expensive and at what point do we decide that education should be more accessible so that we can improve society overall?  Wouldn’t we would all benefit from this?  I remember having coffee with a local philanthropist, and he made a comment that stunned me!  He said ” I can take care of my son just fine, but what happens when I send him out into a society of uneducated people?”  He made the point that if his son was the only educated one,  it would be of no good to society.

One of the Google project choices involves Africa, which I am also passionate about because of the extreme poverty, but when we discussed it with our group we still came back to education.   There are other choices about government transparency, which are good too, but I wonder just how much better our life would be if we know more about the systems that we  still  have no control or voice  about ?  So I not sure about that vote either.

I was looking for an option about energy alternatives which I feel pretty compassionate about, but I didn’t really find that option to vote for,  other than the mass transit idea.  Of course we would all like to have mass transit, but are we willing to pay for it? I think we are all too stressed financially to even think about paying more for mass transit.  I think  were all under the illusion that this was what our tax dollars were going for already.  Sorry, but government and banking are not on my most favored list right now.

I really love the idea about science and engineering, as this is about our future infrastructure.  This is funny for me as a floral designer to say, but my whole industry has a foundation in science .  I think science is really important, but there again it came back to education for me.

The only other category that I remember thinking about and discussing was health data, and considering the recent swine flu outbreaks and the future talks about pandemics, it is also very crucial to our world!

But when we really thought about it, we decided that it really all came down to education, and making it available to everyone at no cost!  It will be through education that we all become stronger and better.  I think education could be the salvation of the world!

No matter what your opinion is, please go and vote on the google 10th to the 100th project, because it is through ideas and visions  that our future becomes a new reality.

We were having a great discussion this evening and it all revolved around these two words….. “could be”…..

If you really stop and think about it, those two words could apply to any and everything you would like to consider.

I’m not sure this is a good thing, but it appears to be the answer to all the problems and issues around the world.Go ahead and test the theory by asking yourself or anyone a direct question, see if those two words work as the answer. It will give you a laugh, because it works… so have fun with it.

S.2753 Credit Card Reform Act… is the Credit Card Reform Act of 2008 good or bad for consumers?

The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a well-respected nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress. GovTrack did not write and has no control over these summaries.

GovTrack.us. S. 2753–110th Congress (2008): Credit Card Reform Act of 2008, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation) <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-2753&tab=summary&gt; (accessed Dec 30, 2008)

03/12/2008–Introduced.

Credit Card Reform Act of 2008 – Amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to permit a consumer reporting agency to furnish a consumer report in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer only if the report indicates that the consumer is age 21 or older. Allows 18-year olds to elect to have their name and address included in any agency list.
Amends the Truth in Lending Act to prohibit a credit card issuer from changing the terms of a credit card under an open end consumer credit plan: (1) before the scheduled contract expiration or renewal date; and (2) until the issuer has published all contract changes in any mandatory disclosures.
Establishes a cardholder right to repay all existing balances on a terminated or expired credit card account under the terms of the account in effect before the termination or expiration.
Imposes limits upon increases of interest rates and finance charges on a credit card account before its scheduled renewal date.
Permits an increase in the annual percentage rate (APR) as a penalty only for specific, material contract violations of a consumer directly related to the account that are specified in the contract as grounds for an increase.
Bans retroactive rate increases.
Prohibits a credit card issuer from imposing adverse consequences for late payment if the cardholder’s payment is postmarked or initiated by electronic funds transfer on or before the required postmark date.
Requires a credit card issuer to verify, when the account is opened or the credit limit increased, that the consumer will be able to make the scheduled payments, based on a consideration of current and expected income, current obligations, and employment status.

My thoughts:

Credit card debt is up, housing is down, and so Congress decides to go after the evil credit card companies? I’ve heard it said that the responsibility lies with the consumer who spends every dime he makes plus another 30% or so and I actually agree with this.

So the question is should fraudulent and deceptive practices of the banking industry be targeted? It’s a tough question.
In this crazy financial upheaval,  I have talked to so many people,  all with the same stories, the banks calling their lines of credit & loans due, credit card companies raising the interest from  9% to 32 % , the list goes on & on. I own a small business, and I extend credit to all of many of my clients, but in order to do so, I have a line of credit and I depend upon it.

For example, I have to purchase and place my Valentines order for roses in December, I have to pay up front, look into my crystal ball, & guess how much I am going to sell, and prepay for it in December, it amounts to many thousands of dollars in purchases, all on an estimate of how many roses I think my customers are going to buy.It requires credit to keep the ebb & flow going, which doesn’t necessarily mean DEBT, it just means managing accounts receivable against payables. I won’t get that money back until March 1st, at the earliest. And I do have to continue to eat! 🙂

When the banking industry suddenly has a crisis and decides to call due all of the lines of credit it’s a bit difficult. I understand, and I don’t have a problem with it, except that it makes it tough all the way down the chain. What I do have a problem with is the credit card company that decides to raise their interest from 9% to 32% for no reason other than the fact that they can!

I personally don’t think this is any different than extortion, and this could be the reasoning behind this new credit card act now in the senate. I’m sure that it is like everything else in government, it will have a bad side to it, but I think something needs to be done to stop these bad practices.

My New Years wish….I wish for someone to give me a million dollars with no strings attached, except to take care of myself and make myself richer.  🙂 Hey it worked for the bankers, why can’t it work for me? I’m only asking for a tiny million and it never hurts to ask right?

I read this article with great interest http://www.eastafricaforum.net/2008/07/15/flower-producer-sher-to-go-into-food-production/ because I buy flowers from all over the world, I am interested in world production.  I have always been concerned with how the farms treat the land and the workers.  Without getting to political here, I am happy to see that this producer is going into food production.  The subject of buying African flowers has always been a mixed thing for me.  I have a hard time buying flowers from a country that can’t even provide food and water for their own people, it just didn’t seem right to use water to grow flowers when they don’t have water to drink or food to eat. I know it is a difficult subject, and one that has many pros & cons. There has been a lot of discussion in our industry regarding this, and I think I am in the minority with refusing to buy Africa flowers.

At first glance I thought it was a good thing, giving the people an industry and a way to take care of themselves, but like many good things gone bad, the reality of the actual production left me feeling bad, so I made a choice to forgo buying flowers until I could see the benefit to the people.  This article points to good positive steps in the right direction. So I am excited to see this taking place.