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Archive for October 2014

Crime Does Pay

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Crime does pay

Crime does pay

This is a true story and has a good ending – the good guy wins. I am the good guy.  It is a story about standing up for what is right and not being intimidated by a big company with a team of lawyers.  The story also has a bad ending in that the moral of the story is: crime DOES pay.  This is my story.

Several months ago I signed a contract with a large national company for internet and phone service for my business. I have a digitally signed copy of the contract in pdf format.  It is only a 4 page contract.  My most recent bill arrived and I noticed that there was an increase in the amount so I scanned the bill to see what had gone up.  I quickly discovered it was a $3 increase for the modem lease plus various taxes which amounted to an additional $3.18 – for the next 20 months I supposed.

Step one was to review the contract which I did and did not see any language that allowed for an increase. Step two was to email the local rep who handled the agreement.    I emailed him and got a quick reply that stated; “That is an increase that has happened across the board. It is the only price that can change.  Charges for service will not change.  I believe there is a line in the agreement stating such.  Let me know if you have any questions.”

Step three was to ask the rep where that line in the agreement was since I could not find it. That email was met with no reply and after about a week I moved to Step four.  Call the customer service 800 number.  I was not looking forward to that one bit.

When I called the 800 number I got the run around and was transferred to the contract department when I would not accept his vague assurances that the language was indeed in the contract. So step five was transferring me to the contract department.

At step five I was nearing the end of the line, and was greeted by a person in the contract department. She asked me my account number which is ridiculous since I already entered it on the key pad of my phone before I spoke to any human being and again when I talked to the customer service rep. After I gave her my account number and she pulled up my account, she tried to stiff arm me by telling me it was on page four and I called her on that because the line she referred to did not mention anything about an allowable increase.  She then put me on hold and after about a minute came back and said I was right and that she would credit my account.

After eighteen minutes on the phone (which is not really as bad as I thought it would be) I moved to step six – celebration. I just hope that I don’t have to make the call again when I see the charge magically re-appear on the next bill.  The moral of the story is; crime does pay because I don’t think that many people would notice an increase and if they did would they press on each time after getting the stiff arm from the company?  If they have a million customers how many would take the time to cross the finish line?  I doubt many would so that is roughly an extra $3 million of revenue each month.

I hope you enjoyed my story and have learned something. Have a great week standing up for your principles.

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Written by pacelinebiz

October 27, 2014 at 8:01 am

Why I Love Autumn

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Typical Fall View Out Any Window

Typical Fall View Out Any Window

I don’t love autumn and summer is my favorite time of year.  Now that I got that out-of-the-way, let me tell you why I really am fond of autumn – especially now that I live in Georgia.  When October rolls around, the cooler temperatures are welcomed.  Okay, maybe it is still in the 70’s but after a summer that starts in mid-April and continues through September I am actually ready to transition into the off-season of bicycle riding.  Maybe just 2 or 3 days a week is enough bicycle riding time for a while.  With the extra time I can introduce myself to that lady that lives in my house.  People keep referring to her as my wife.  She seems really nice and I DO think she is cute.

So what else about autumn do I like?  The change in color of the leaves is nice, the grass stops growing and turns brown and I don’t have to cut it.  That might be my favorite thing about autumn.  The Bermuda grass that is popular here goes dormant from about mid-October to mid-April – what a bonus.  It usually is not very cold even into late autumn a sweater of long-sleeved shirt is enough to stay warm.  I have a lot of warm weather clothes that I only need for about 3 months a year so it is nice to wear something different.  If I am not working, I wear shorts from April until the end of October.  It is a little bit strange wearing blue jeans after eight months in shorts.

I also like the subtle change in foods we eat.  We typically eat more food like stew, soup or chili once it cools down.  We also use the oven more often so we can have roasted turkey or chicken.  If we are doing that, I can have a baked potato which I really like and don’t get very often when it is warmer.  We also might have hot chocolate or spiced apple cider. Of course, that brings to mind pumpkin pie with a nice scoop of ice cream and a coffee chaser.

The thing I like the most about autumn is the slower pace that life tends to take.  This is because I have more idle time since I am not on the bicycle as much or cutting the grass and doing yard work.   The shorter days keep me inside doing different things which are typically more cerebral and less physical and that contributes to the slower pace.  Get the thought of me sitting in the study in my smoking jacket holding a snifter of diet coke out of your head.

Well, that is the best case I can make for my fondness of the autumn season.  I hope you can enjoy the season this week.

Written by pacelinebiz

October 20, 2014 at 8:01 am

If You Are Going To Do It, Do It Well

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Always Give 100%

Always Give 100%

This topic came about during a discussion I had at a meeting in which someone was giving a presentation to a smaller than expected audience.  I commented to someone after the meeting that the presenter did a very good job and gave his A+ effort even though the crowd was light.  From that comment we both decided that the best rule to follow is to always give your A+ effort.

To take this one step further I related it to working on a new customer that is smaller in terms of your sales revenue. I was speaking with a financial planner and suggested that if a new client had a modest $5,000 amount of money to invest it would be in the planner’s best interest to give it 100% despite the smaller amount. I thought it could be a test to see if they are capable to handle a larger amount or to see if there is good chemistry in the relationship.  Another reason to give 100% effort is it could result in a referral that could be of a significant size.  This applies to anyone no matter the field.  It may be hard to get excited to put forth your best effort at all times but when you are tempted to “mail it in” remember you might be auditioning for a larger amount.

This is basic stuff but we need to keep this in mind so we don’t blow our chance at a big score by doing less than our best when we think our new customer is small potatoes. I know I will try to reflect back to this conversation the next time I see a “small fry” coming my way.

Have a great week, doing it well no matter how big or small it is.

 

 

Written by pacelinebiz

October 13, 2014 at 8:01 am

Ten Threats To The NFL And The Sport Of Football

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Ignore me at your peril

Ignore me at your peril

If the NFL, NCAA and other stakeholders of the football empire can’t figure out very soon how to make the game safer, improve their reputation and on-field product while addressing threats from other sports I believe it could disappear.  Below are my reasons why (in no particular order):

  1. High schools and then colleges will drop the sport due to increase in liability insurance costs and the pipeline for talent will dry up.
  2. Popularity of other sports such as soccer – the original “football”.
  3. Bad publicity from concussions and aging stars suffering with brain trauma.
  4. Changes made to make the game safer will lessen its popularity and it will no longer resemble the sport that was once so popular. People will not spend billions on two-hand touch football – people want to see wrecks at auto races and football players getting “blown up”.
  5. Greed will reach a tipping point making it unaffordable to the masses to attend games in person and a pay per view model will also hasten the end.
  6. Bad publicity from actions of 20-year-old millionaires behaving like spoiled, entitled 20-year-old millionaires will alienate the fans who face an uncertain job market and prospects for a better life. Resentment will surely follow.
  7. An inevitable gambling scandal will further alienate fans.
  8. Continued perception of arrogance by the commissioner’s office, owners and players will also alienate the fan base.
  9. Increased commercials and the proliferation of advertising on the field, uniforms and anywhere else imaginable will further ruin the fan experience.
  10. Baseball, the true national pastime will surge in popularity as the level of play from more countries supplying talent will increase.  The technology will soon arrive to better umpire games which will speed up games to a more desirable pace of play. Did you think I was going to name 10 threats and not mention baseball?

Perhaps, I am wrong in my assessment. Time will tell. Have a great week enjoying post season baseball.