..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

... just to remind myself why I'm doing this ...

Depending on our personalities, the world can be a crowded place or a very lonely one. For those who seek comfort in numbers, there is no shortage of hangers on, but for those who avoid that circus, keeping thier own counsel can leave them feeling quite alone and disengaged from the mad place we call home. Life is a trade off and most of us choose how we live it.

For me, I'd rather work things out as best I can, using my own thoughts and feelings to sort things out. Following the crowd has never been a temptation to me, but that has its price, one that I'm totally comfortable with every day I get to stand up and be the person I aspire to be. When I sometimes lose track of who that is, I come here to remember, to reconnect and to resume my quest.

These posts are a reflection of some of what matters to me and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to collect these thoughts as they form in my head, as they prepare the way for my life, as it evolves from one day to the next. They re-inspire me when things seem to be floating about, with no particular aim or purpose, and it does happen from time to time.

So, today I had these thoughts that I think are worth writing down for the future me to look back on when I need to ...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

praising the dead is so selfish ...it only replaces a lost opportunity to appreciate the living

Why is it ... that we have all kinds of "nice and wonderful" things to say about people AFTER they die but can't be bothered to tell them, or the rest of the world, what we think of them while they're around to appreciate the sentiments? I get sick and tired of all the posthumous praise and glory we gush at the passing of an acquaintance, at all the ramblings that are offered up by attention seekers which the media so liberally slathers all over, as if it were some sincere tribute. If any of it were sincere, it should have been directed at the individual who happens to be at the centre of all the adulation, while they were alive and moving among these "adulators".

If the person of interest was deserving of such an outpouring of praise, it would likely be widely known and we don't need a bunch of attention seekers to tell us that. If the praise was due, it should have been expressed directly to the individual where it would actually mean something, the most, and where it would enrich the life of the person who earned it. It does them no good after they are gone. It only serves to mollify the guilt of uncaring, unappreciative but living organisms that couldn't be bothered to take the time to say something when it would have been worthwhile. Shame on all of them.

Let's change this ridiculous behaviour. Let's do something to let the people who deserve our praise know they are appreciated and thank them for their contribution to our lives, the lives of others, and the world at large. If we do that we will have made a huge difference to so many deserving people and in doing so we will enhance the lives of everyone else at the same time. I believe this is a worthwhile objective, and I will personally pursue it at every opportunity that I recognize as one. If you agree, do something about it too.

Monday, April 15, 2013

customers who aren't

Why is it that people today have come to hold the attitude that, wherever they are a CUSTOMER, they are "entitled" to some higher level of recognition beyond the respect all individuals should enjoy equally as people? It seems that they put some extra store in the 'prestige' that, in their opinion, money should afford them. It's as if they cling to the old adage "the customer is always right" as a license to 'behave however they wish' or as an 'I'm entitled' ticket for them as opposed to what it really is, advice to the purveyor that the only route to success in purveying is to provide what is in demand and not what simply you may have to purvey.

Particularly those that are the most severe in this, tend to be the avowed 'internet shoppers', or "savvy shoppers" as they call themselves, and are the very ones that react oddly to various new strategies that are emerging at the bricks and mortar level. They see themselves as "victims". They berate retailers who set their prices and policies to protect their investment, to deal with the impact of internet selling, yet expect those retailers to offer their goods at the same or 'better' prices just to be "competitive".

"Competative" for what? Why should stores be "competitive" in that environment when even that won't assure that it will make a difference? The "victims" instinctively, if not consciously, realize that there is a unique value being provided by the bricks and mortar stores and don't want to lose access to that value while taking advantage of buying goods that are sold for less because they are not carrying the overhead that comes from providing the extra value.

Well I say to those "victims", you have the wherewithall to sustain the value that you want by paying a fair price for it. It's as simple as that. As avowed internet shoppers, you represent little, if any, significant potential for sales revenue to the 'street' retailer so why would those retailers actually concern themselves with your crumbs? You are insignificant to their everyday operations, contrary to your own delusion that you hold some influence in that sphere of business. Soon enough you, that "savvy shopper" will discover that, over time, you actually spend more for less due to all the extra costs that are so subtly inherent in your shopping activities. These are blunt words but they are meant to respond in kind to the attitude that is so prevalent in the internet-shoppers' world, and consequently I feel no need to make any apology for their harshness.

As some examples of the many not so obvious costs of internet shopping I would point to these factors. Access - the cost of internet services alone is a significant factor, add the cost of hardware such as computers, tablets, smart phones and whatever else you need and use, along with their maintenance and frequent upgrading or replacement costs. Risks associated with payment methods, shipping costs, exchange or return issues and associated costs, quality and damage issues, shipping errors, service charges. Then there are non-monetary factors that can affect prices such as time factors (a huge factor), tactile and sensory interaction with the products (try before you buy, etc.), experiential product information (something more than a 'like' or 'thumbs up' vote on a website),  and so on. It all adds up to more than what is readily apparent at the time of the transaction.

What's really odd is that the 'internet shoppers' get rankled by things that happen in the bricks and mortar world even though they avoid interacting with it, because of the contempt they hold for it. What's the point of disparaging that sector of commerce if it has no importance in their lives? I think it's because they simply just can't admit that they see value and that value is not accessible to them for 'free'. Too bad kids, but that's your own choice and has come about because of your choices up to now.

Just as the customer is not beholden to business, so business is not beholden to the customer. The relationship between the two HAS TO BE SYMBIOTIC for it to be successful for both and to be able to sustain itself; neither can hold the balance of power for it to survive. Internet shoppers don't accept that; they really want to hold that sway, the hammer, and if business doesn't respond to that threat, it will not survive. If it doesn't, the customer loses as well, so everybody loses. Internet shoppers have a distorted view of what business must cope with to survive, and it makes those internet shoppers look like spoiled children that can't have everything they want just the way and when they want it. The lessons of childhood were either not learned or already forgotten.

One of the most significant and important things to acknowledge is that everything has a price and that a price has to include everything that makes it possible to have access to those things, and the end user must be willing to pay that price to maintain sustained access. That's not blackmail, it's a fact of life. Putting it in terms that relate directly to the consumer themselves, consider a person's time and abilities as a commodity being offered on the market, the labour market to be specific. There is a price point at which it is not possible to sustain access to that commodity and so there is a minimum rate at which a person must be paid for their time and expertise if that person is to be able to live. When that point is not agreed upon by the consumer of the time and expertise (employer or contractor, etc.), the person offering their time chooses to withhold or withdraw access to it. This scenario is entirely parallel to the buyer/seller relationship in the business world at large. If it makes sense on a personal level, it certainly makes sense on the world-wide level.

The internet shopper represents the "strike-breaker" mentality that is intent on disrupting the balance needed to keep the system of commerce functioning in its dynamic balance. They are the antithesis of sustainability. They put short term interest far above the long term stability to which they claim entitlement without contributing to the intrinsic investment needed to realize that stability. That's one reason they're not important; they have no meaningful part in the overall survival or sustainability of the natural function of commerce that balances need with availability. They are fluid and unstructured in their practices. Their claim to fame is building the bubble-economy that has emerged to satisfy their selfishness. Who needs 'em? Bricks and mortar will prevail despite the vanity and delusion of self-importance which personifies the rabid internet shoppers. They are borne by the winds of change and their needs are transient, as is their impact. Time will render them as self-inflicted casualties in the global markets.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Corruption is omnipresent...and omnipotent

Corruption has many meanings and a multitude of levels, but it all has the same effect. It destroys its host. Cancer is a corruption of the growing and healing process,...and corruption is a cancer found everywhere, pure and simple.

Corruption can find its beginnings as subtly as abusing a parking space. After all, where's the harm in parking illegally, just for a few minutes, or when time seems to be at a premium? If nothing is said, it makes it that much more likely to be repeated, often under less compelling circumstances. Eventually, it's assumed to be alright, even a given, and then perhaps as an entitlement. That little journey can translate into larger issues and have an equally disturbing impact on how such behaviour eventually changes the mindset of the offender.

While it's definitely not limited to any particular demographic, it seems to have a more significant impact on those who see themselves as somewhere above the average Joes and Janes of the world. A greater sense of entitlement seems to be part of the psyche that drives these people. It is not easy for them to take 'NO' for an answer. This mindset is fertile ground for the seeds of corruption.

There's a notion that we have small 'c' and big 'C' corruption and that small 'c' is less offensive, more benign than its bigger sibling. That's an illusion; it all springs from the same seed - greed. But if we accept that the small c version actually is less offensive, we're far more likely to excuse it when we encounter it and even  succumb to it ourselves. It seems to be the "it's not hurting anyone" variety. We tend to rate corruption by a scale that's linked to the intended benefit.

Corruption knows neither guilt nor remorse.

One may say, "What if actions seen as corrupt are precipitated by coercion, blackmail or similar pressure from criminal forces upon the apparent offender?" That's actually flow-though corruption and is only corruption in its own right if there is a viable option to refuse capitulation. If there is no viable option to avoid abetting such intentions, it's not corruption, rather it's self-defense. The corruption label goes on the perpetrators of those actions.

Corruption is an absolute; there is no 'corruption-lite'. Something or someone is either corrupt or not. Any amount of tolerance means corruption is present and active. Religion calls it 'sin'. It tells us we're all sinners, hence we're all corrupt. That's a bitter pill to swallow for most of us. The risk of accepting that is that if we're all corrupt, why bother to even try to reject our innate tendency to accept corruption as a human weakness? The only answer I can offer for that is inner peace that one can garner from doing the best we can to reject personal corruption. If we were to all to do that, there would be no corruption to speak of in our human world.

If that's so hard to grasp, try pointing to corruption in the animal kingdom.