Archive

Helping others


BoogieTerry’s last post got us on a Customer (NO) Service line of thinking, so I might as well stay on course.

The photo is of my best friend, Boogie. He’s a 12-year old black (with a lot of gray, like me) lab and the best damn dog in the world.  For years, from the time I got him, I worked from home and me and Boogie hung out together. He was my VP of Customer Relations. He thinks he is human, and sometimes I think he is.

Anyway, Boogie has slowed down a lot the last year or so. Had to quit walking 2 miles a day with me and the wife about a year and half ago. He was still making it a couple of blocks twice a day – morning and evening. He loves to walk. He had his annual checkup in October. We discussed his slowing down and how he seemed to be in a little pain. The Vet recommended Rimadyl. Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to help reduce pain. We tried it on Boogie and the difference in him was unbelievable. He is a new dog. The stuff worked on him. He’s back to walking about 1/4 mile in the morning and evening and he has his smile back. He is better!

Now his current Vet is his Vet by default. Boogie’s previous Vet was outstanding. Her name was Dr. Karen. He had her for many, many years. Due to highway construction, she lost her building. She opted to join a Vet practice outside Atlanta, where we live. We continued to go to her for a couple of years until last year, Dr. Karen opened another practice about 60 miles out of town – too far to drive for us. So we stayed with the practice she had joined. Now this Vet is OK but nothing like Dr. Karen. Boogie LOVED her – got excited when you said, “Let’s go see Dr. Karen.” He knew her name and he wanted to see her. How do they know? They just do.

Back to the Rimadyl. The new Vet OKs Boogie to stay on Rimadyl after some blood tests. We get the first prescription. The price floored us. About $2 a pill. Now, I don’t mind the $2 a pill if it makes Boogie feel better. But we checked with 1-800-PetMeds and found they had the same pills for about $1.10 a pill. So we tell the Vet. We would rather support your practice and buy the presription from you but your price on Rimadyl is a little high. The Vet won’t come off the price. So we ask for the prescription so we can send it to 1-800-PetMeds. The Vet did not like this request.  But a buck is a buck, right?

We make an order on 1-800-PetMeds. They call the Vet to verify the prescription. The Vet tells PetMeds they don’t deal with PetMeds and hang up the phone. PetMeds contacts us and says we must fax them the hard copy prescription. We get the prescription from the Vet and fax it in. PetMeds calls the Vet again yesterday and they refuse to verify the prescription – stupidology. Now, we have to mail the hard copy prescription in so we can get the Rimadyl from 1-800-PetMeds. How stupid is this?

The Vet, Dr. Greedy, just lost a steady, paying customer. If she had offered the pills at a reasonable markup, I would have paid for the convenience and to support her practice. But double the price? No way. And the way they refused to assist PetMeds in filling our subscription – which they had given to us – is absolutely wrong.

I am a business person and totally understand how to run a profitable business. I understand markup. I understand a reasonable profit. I don’t understand ripping people off and not being helpful to long-term customers, or any customer, for that matter.

Dr. Greedy doesn’t get it – life ain’t brain surgery. Being nice to people and being cooperative will get you further than being mean and greedy. Good-bye, Dr. Greedy. Rot in hell!

Richard 


Let me say up front … I am not against anyone coming to America legally and playing by the rules; which should include speaking English. I ran across the following AP story about some proposed changes to immigration law in Australia. To me, this is another clear sign that this immigration issue is not just about Americans becoming paranoid or something. People in civilized nations across the globe are giving this issue attention. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s about time. A civilized society does not operate well without rules and guidelines and laws. The people create laws for a reason. It ain’t brain surgery. And I suggest we Americans start enforcing our laws on the books.

Australian PM Announces Citizenship Test

SYDNEY, Australia —  Migrants who want to become Australian citizens will have to take English exams and prove their knowledge of local history and customs under new guidelines introduced Monday by Prime Minister John Howard.

Would-be citizens and permanent residents will also have to sign a statement saying they understand commonly held Australian values, such as respect for the law, religious and individual freedoms, and the equal rights of men and women.

Howard said the tests are not intended to exclude non-English-speaking migrants.

“It is not designed in any way to keep some people out … but it is designed to ensure that people understand and have a working capacity in the national language, which is English,” he told reporters.

Read the full AP story here.

Write letters to the editors of papers. Write your congress representatives (link at right). Let your opinions on this issue be heard. Don’t be the silent majority. Do something. It ain’t brain surgery to figure out things aren’t working at the moment.

Have an unbelievable day!

Richard


Back on October 18th, I wrote a post entitled Blinded By The Light. It was about using sunglasses and keeping your windshield clean – inside and out – so you reduce your odds of having a wreck (and maybe getting killed) and creating hassles in your life. And if you’ve ever had a car wreck in your life (the average is once every 7 years for most Americans), you know that it causes hassels in your life. And Terry and I are ALL about eliminating hassles. Now THAT ain’t brain surgery.

I want to bring something else to your attention that involves clean windshields. It’s about a simple and easy-to-use product on the market that you have probably never heard of before. It’s called Aquapel by PPG (you know, the paint and glass people). Disclaimer …. I have no connection to PPG or Aquapel – I just think it is way too cool and I use it and I tell everyone about it. Aquapel is a rain repellent glass treatment. And it works. For about a year. Then you do it again. Not brain surgery.

This from the Aquapel website:

Using technology innovated for the aviation industry, PPG’s Aquapel® Glass Treatment forms a chemical bond with the glass which increases water repellency, causing it to bead and easily shed off the glass. These fluorinated compounds apply in just minutes to a clean, dry windshield or any exterior glass surface, and last up to six times longer than silicon-based products.

Additionally, Aquapel® Glass Treatment remains highly effective after months of normal use, including driving in rain and snow, car washing, and glass cleaning.

Look, Terry and I work in and around the automotive aftermarket. When I discovered this product about three years ago, I tried to get body shops, mechanical shops, and windshield replacement people to take this product and create an added-value service to offer their customers. None did. Why? I don’t know – lazy I guess. They could get at least $19.95 per treatment for this. I know I would have gladly paid someone to do it if they had only asked at the QuickLube place or when I took my car in for service …. but “NO”. Once again, it ain’t brain surgery.

So, find Aquapel on your own. Visit the website. Buy it. You may have to go to your local professioanl shop supplier. Ask for it. They can get it. They may have to order it, but they can get it. PPG is a BIG company.

Apply it yourself. It is very easy. Takes no time. You won’t believe how well this stuff repels water and helps keep your windshield clean. For a clean windshield fanatic, it is awesome. Give it a try.

Richard

UPDATE: 14 Mar 07 … I have discovered you can purchase Aquapel on the Amazon store – just search Aquapel.


The typical picture painted of a “bubba” includes dirty overalls, a short haircut, work boots and a wad of tobacco firmly implanted in the left cheek. Everyone knows that a real bubba can chew tobacco and drink Budweiser beer with no danger of mixing the juice with the alcohol.

In the usual scenario bubba is probably driving a beat up Ford pickup truck with a decal on the window of a little boy taking a leak on his least favorite NASCAR vehicle number. The truck will always be equipped with a gun rack and if the owner is prosperous a spotlight will be attached for shining deer after dark. (For those un-indoctrinated to deer hunting, the spotlight is used to illuminate the deer and render the beast temporarily paralyzed so that bubba can get off a good shot). The practice is illegal and every October and November several bubbas are introduced to the fine dining available at their local country jail as a result of the “shining.”

The inside of Bubbas vehicle will be filled with a variety of snuff cans, beer cans, McDonald hamburger wrappers, empty potato chip bags and a couple of empty coke bottles. In addition the glove box will be filled with several rounds of ammunition and at least a 3 inch knife. The rear of the pickup will have the obligatory tool box and numerous tools and devices that Bubba may use in his day to day work activities. (Note: several of these tools will have broken handles). More likely than not their will also be a dog, usually a lab or pit bull, although the lineage of the dogs may be in question.

Now that we have painted the usual Hollywood or television picture of Bubba let me offer a more realistic description.

The typical southern bubba will be dressed in freshly laundered khakis or blue jeans accompanied by either a polo shirt or a pressed button down. His feet will be sporting either boat shoes or loafers and if it is Spring or Summer he may choose to be sans socks. Tobacco is a thing of his past and he has taken to drinking Miller Light or whatever import was on sale at the local Kroger or Wal-Mart.

Bubba is probably driving a truck more expensive than Volvo’s, 3 Series BMWs and even more than the new line of Mercedes.  (Mercedes has managed to join the league of inexpensive mass produced cars for the masses)  The truck will have a “W” sticker on the back and most likely the bumper tag from his University on the front or in a window decal on the back.

Bubba likes to go hunting occasionally just to get back to his roots. This hunting may be on leased property where he and his buddies have a deer camp. The camp is generally not used for hunting but rather for drinking and reminiscing about past conquests and plans for retirement. The thrill of sleeping in the woods in order to get in a good days hunting have long been overtaken by the desire to sleep in a warm bed with a good woman, so bubba will take his leave of the camp in the early afternoon and journey back home where he will share a good meal with his peer group and drink wine and Scotch rather than sit by a fire and swill beer with the boys.

The present day southern bubba works in a variety of occupations including the professional ranks. Some Northerners and a few individuals from the South confuse the term Bubba with redneck, good ole boy or some other commonly used derogatory term. I am here to tell you that bubba is nothing to be ashamed of. Bubbas were most likely Boy Scouts and members of the MYF or BSU and might have even gone to (God save us) Catholic School. Again, for those who are uninformed MFY is Methodist Youth Fellowship and BSU is the Baptist Student Union. Remember in the deep South you were most likely Methodist or Baptist because these were the two physical churches that dominated the most prominent landscape in any downtown region of most Southern Cities. The Catholic Church although prominent in some areas, Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans is of little consequence in the rural South.

Regardless of his outward demeanor and dress the usual Southern bubba served in some branch of the armed forces and although he is extremely loyal to the Stars and Stripes you most likely do not want to downplay the importance of the Confederate battle flag. A lot of second rate organizations attempt to use the Confederate flag as their own and hold rallies while waving the flag and speaking disparagingly about cultural changes in our country. Here again we have an incorrect stereotype concerning Southern heritage and the real meaning behind the Confederate flag. The whole concept of the Confederacy was not to deprive minorities of any rights, hell, the average Confederate soldier (Yankee soldiers too) was uneducated and fighting for his country, not because he was trying to maintain the practice of slavery. A vast majority of those fighting and consequently those killed did not own slaves and were not much better off than the slaves themselves. Bubba in 1860-1865 was fighting because he was loyal to the South, and NOT what the privileged land owners were afraid of loosing.

Bubba’s never have internal conflicts concerning the treatment of women, children, small animals or anyone who cannot defend or otherwise take care of themselves. The obligatory “can of whoop ass” will be opened on those who insist on mistreating anyone or thing that may fall in these categories. Simply put, bubba sees no excuse for anyone beating up on a woman, (although some women can damn sure whip most bubbas.) picking on a child in any derogatory manner, picking on those less fortunate either physically, mentally or financially and for damn sure never beat or kick bubba’s dog or his friends dogs or any dog he may know. Most dogs are one of God’s gentlest creatures and deserve a pat on the head and perhaps a good belly rub but definitely not a whipping or beating unless bubba sees fit to perform discipline.

All of us who recognize the term bubba as one of friendship and love also realize…..

Life ain’t brain surgery.

Bubba Terry


The mid-term elections are coming up next week and as recent trends suggest, voter turnout will be pathetic. Here in Georgia, the SOS office today predicted about a 40% turnout (why do they predict turnout? Does everyone think they are Jean Dixon?). I suspect the turnout in my state will be below that prediction. Seems people just don’t seem to care anymore. Too much trouble to vote, I reckon. Never has been to me, though. I like to complain about politicians and the state of government affairs so I figure if I vote, I get to complain whenever I wish – like this blog and this post.

One group of Americans that are voting less these days is young people. Voter turnout and interest in politics has declined among America’s youth since the early 1970s.  In presidential election years, for example, 18- to 20-year-old voter turnout has decreased from a high of 48 percent in 1972 to just 28 percent in 2000. In midterm congressional elections, turnout among the young is even worse, with only 20 percent of those younger than 25 bothering to show up at the polls. Compare these results with those for seniors, 65 percent of whom voted in 2000.

In 1960 almost 80 percent of Americans younger than 30 watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates, by 2000 less than 40 percent of this demographic tuned in to the first Bush-Gore debate. It seems the “political knowledge gap” between the young and old has been widening for almost two generations; indeed more and more of our youngest citizens are unaware of important political events and lack general political knowledge. And such knowledge is important for nurturing civic values and encouraging an active participation in politics. We need to teach our youth the important value of being politically engaged. Otherwise, we’re in trouble … and you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out.

We also need to make it more convenient to vote. Weekend voting would help. There are places that already do this and the turnout is better. Oregon only does voting by mail – seems like a great idea to me. Here in Gerogia (and I believe other states are doing this, too), any person can request an absentee ballot – no reason has to be given (I voted last week – cost me 2 stamps and saved me a lot of time). Plus, you can do early voting a week ahead of time – but you still have to go to the election office to do it – not such a great idea (IMHO). Why don’t politicians and legislators make it easier to vote? This ain’t brain surgery. Getting creative and coming up with new ways and means to improve systems is something the business community has been doing for centuries. Why don’t the decision makers at a national level get it? I think I know the answer. The less people who vote, the easier it is to manipulate the masses.

As Thomas Jefferson once stated:

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

 Go vote … it ain’t brain surgery.

Richard


Most of us hate to admit it but we all have a little “bubba” in us. By some definitions a bubba has qualities held to be characteristic of certain Southern white males, such as a relaxed or informal manner, strong loyalty to family and friends, and often an anti-intellectual bias and intolerant point of view. I am here to tell you that the anti intellectual bias is totally off base. For example I have friends who are PhD’s, physicians, business owners and attorneys who are bubbas. They are definitely loyal, they love Jesus (except those of the Jewish persuasion) and they are patriotic to the core. They are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and independents sharing a love of God and country and not afraid to state their thoughts in the field of public opinion. They (we) are often overshadowed by political correctness but true bubbas do not shy away from controversy or their beliefs.

Many of the bubbas I have known are truly characters and could fill many pages of manuscripts with their foolishness and their acts of kindness and their willingness to help those in need regardless of race or creed. Read on for a story of one bubba with a heart of gold.

Our story begins with one couple among a group of friends experiencing the birth of their first grandchild. This birth was the first grandchild in a group of 8 couples (most males in the group would identify with the term bubba) and was widely celebrated. What makes this event unique is the fact that the grandchild was born with Down Syndrome. This was not known prior to the birth and not expected by anyone. The group immediately took on the role of a support mechanism. Not expressing sorrow but celebrating the life of the child and performing numerous acts of kindness and love for the child, the new parents and grandparents. This support continues 7 years after the birth of the child and the child refers to all of these individuals as aunts and uncles. A bond never to be broken!

What does this have to do with being a bubba? Here is one example.

One bubba and his family were on vacation a few years after the aforementioned child was born. They were eating seafood in a coastal Florida restaurant when a couple was seated next to them. The couple had a child with Down Syndrome. Bubba remembering his friends decided to perform an act of kindness anonymously. He called the waitress over and gave her $100 bill and told her to use this to pay for the meal of the family who had been seated next to his table. He spoke to the family on the way out and mentioned that he had friends in a similar situation but never mentioned paying the bill. This is the same person who would go out of his way to assist anyone at any time and more stories will follow of his exploits.

I only wish more of us could be bubbas!

Bubba Terry