Macy’s – Poor Customer Service Staff – Parking

Very disappointed.
Last weekend, we (customers) were told to take our store receipt to the 2nd floor validation machine to show proof of shopping at Macy’s in order to get a parking validation.
I was at one register (Macy’s @ Pentagon City, VA) when a Macy store cashier was telling her customer at the other register to do that process.
So, politely interrupting, I repeated it back. And she said yes.
Well, my wife and I and two other pairs of couples also showed up after being told the same thing. It did not work.
I called for assistance and the woman (mall parking assistance) said to take the receipt and parking receipt to the parking garage attendant to get it validated.
Well…. the parking garage attendant said we actually have to have the Macy store cashier “stamp” the parking receipt in order to get validation.
While at that attendants’ gate, I looked over at the next attendants’ gate and saw one of the same couples at the 2nd floor validation machine having the VERY SAME discussion with their garage gate attendant.
It appears WE ALL ENDED UP PAYING FOR OUR PARKING VALIDATION!!! Because we did not want to cause more mass confusion by backing up at the gate area to go back inside the store to have the Macy’s store cashiers PHYSICALLY STAMP the garage parking tickets.
What a very disappointing experience it turned out to be the others and myself. Not a good image.
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Microsoft Banning Speech & Pix in Multiple Microsoft Products You Buy (rent)

Well!  I was somewhat surprised to learn over the past couple of days that micr$soft (yep, I used a lower case ‘m’) is going to start banning speech (“offensive language” & pix) in their products.  Hmmm, it may not strictly hobble free speech but come on…!

Following are only two articles I took a look at.  Remember folks, go out and do your own research {and not at sites that delve into conspiracy plots} AND then do your own deep thinking, analysis of what you turn up.

Microsoft to ban ‘offensive language’ from Skype, Xbox, Office and other services

Microsoft will ban ‘offensive language’ and ‘inappropriate content’ from Skype, Xbox, Office and other services on May 1, claiming it has the right to go through your private data to ‘investigate.’

https://www.csoonline.com/article/3264658/privacy/microsoft-to-ban-offensive-language-from-skype-xbox-office-and-other-services.html

&

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs @ https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/28/microsoft_services_agreement_bars_offensive_language/

While I also use, ahhh, colorful language at time, I don’t use it as a frequent, ummm, addition to my soliloquies (talking from a soapbox) or conversational speech. But when the urge strikes me, I might include a somewhat salty comment to the sentences I use. I am not going to write or (should I ever need to) talk to my computing devices and have a censorship algorithm constantly ticking in the back of brain:

  • “Oh no, don’t use that word in your fu_ _ing, errr, freaking paper!”  or
  • “Wait, Wait! Don’t say that rather dastardly, distasteful phrase to the old lady sitting in her living room in her church outfit as she uses Skype!”   

 What is going on here? Is micr$soft starting to go beyond its social charter of trying to police the speech, written or spoken, across the globe for all the individuals who use any of the microsoft products…? Have we hit that breakpoint where we’re starting to be controlled by ‘big brother’?

It looks like two consenting adults, taking selfies (of a certain flavor and certain body parts) and attaching them to hotmail, ahhh, outlook live, could be banned from using micr$soft for the foreseeable future. Is this the start of a dystopian future where corporations, not government mind you, start forcing you to comply to using civil, puritanical, 1950’s speech patterns? Wait a second, someone at micr$soft might actually believe we are living in Mayberry (remember Andy Griffith, of course you do, right?) and requires the rest of us to use that kind of language gosh darn it!

Some of us cannot believe that we are at this point of when we get angry, umm, annoyed and curse out loud because someone cut us off in freeway traffic and the person who cut you off, did so with 2 inches of clearance. Of course, even the lil’ ole man in his suspender outfit with white socks in sandals is going to curse loud and large (if he doesn’t have a heart attack).

Is this going to stand? Are corporations going to legally be allowed to dictate what kind of language we use in software products and communication devices? Are couples not going to be able to take porno…., dang, adult video and share it online with other like minded adults?

And as in that CSO article, offensive language is vague depending on who you are talking to. Take the U.S. Marines (yes, I am a former Marine), are corporations going to ban the language they use in communication over software/communication products? That will be rather interesting as Marines have been using salty language since the mid 1770s (born in 1775).

In case you do not read the CSO article, here is another snippet from it: another portion states that Microsoft “may also block delivery of a communication (like email, file sharing or instant message) to or from the Services in an effort to enforce these Terms or we may remove or refuse to publish Your Content for any reason.”

 Now, you tell us, are you willing to risk any important communication you use not being delivered because you used some salty language (or attached a salacious pix to it for the other consenting party) in it…?

It may stem from: FOSTA (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) combined with SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act) but we do not yet know at this point exactly why.  So, go and read up on FOSTA/SESTA as well.

 

 

 

TurboTax – Time to Ditch It….? Useless…? Painful…?

Mar 31st update:

Well, as of today, still nothing from any kind of support from TurboTax about a simple issue of deleting a state form and starting a new state form.  

It is NOT to ‘remove’ a form or its data – quite a few people keep pitching the ‘remove data’ as a solution instead of deleting a form OR they “think” everyone is using the Online version when many of us are using the CD or downloaded version.  It seems ALL of the solutions refer to TurboTax Online only…

HR Block may become my new best friend for now… So, yes, low cost software = very, very little support from the company producing the software. Now I have to do the process I did not want to do – a) uninstall the software b) delete all Windows registry items referencing TurboTax c) reinstalling the software d) plugging back in the data… Such is life.

 

Hmmm, it might be time to ditch TurboTax for HRBlock and give them a shot.

We made a mistake in using the ‘included’ free state selection – erroneously got into that free state that comes with the deluxe version to see what it presents. We bought the CD version and not the Online version. NOTE: There is no clear or easy way to delete the incorrect state and get back to the proper state.

In trying to get help from folks, which is like being in a vicious cycle, on the ‘support‘ / ‘community‘ site, (link below) they seem to keep passing out this particular link as if EVERYONE is using that online version, even when the person with the question (including me) clearly stated they have the CD/download (Windows or Mac) version and basic or deluxe version of it.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1900608-how-do-i-delete-my-state-return-in-turbotax-online?jump_to=answer_3301384

When you get to that link, this is the content:

How do I delete my state return in TurboTax Online?

There’s an additional per state charge in TurboTax Online, including Free Edition, since the Absolute Zero promotion has ended.

You can delete your state return in TurboTax Online as long as you haven’t paid or registered yet:

You may notice how it indicates turbotax online, right… (the red is my highlighting)  It seems to be the ‘go to’ answer to solve everyone’s problem. Basically, when you need support, you’re somewhat on your own. For example, when you plug in your question to search for answers, you get several if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky and did not plug in the proper key search terms, the site wants you to go back and edit it and try again.

You cannot email anyone and you’re at the mercy of getting someone who knows the correct answer to assist you.

So, keep remembering that for the price you pay for that software, you may not get the support you need in comparison to other software. And over the years, I’ve tried to get support before, once, and it was painful. I will have to uninstall the software and delete all Windows registry entries concerning turbotax (if you do this, you had best know what you’re deleting).

Now, after using this software for some years, it looks like it is time to give the competition a go or go back to working with humans…

At the moment, I’m now ranking turbo tax in the lower digits of success…

Bogus reviews on Amazon – Be Aware, Be Very Aware of what you want to buy…

Just a reminder to all to beware of the bogus 5 star reviews, especially from individuals who are not “Verified Purchasers”.

I did not purchase the item I was looking at – 2 sellers on Amazon, it was a cassette to mp3 player, by WeaKoo and a “Protable USB Tape-to-MP3 Converter” via WiKoonot my typo – but it did get my curiosity up to dig a little more.

Lately, I’ve become very leery about multiple items on amazon, the WeaKoo had 415 reviews and 97% positive at 5 stars. WiKoo had 86 reviews at 5 stars. — It is possible some products do receive all 5 stars – but…

This is not something you see everyday.
So, I looked at some of the reviewer’s profiles. None of whom were verified purchasers but they all averaged around 5 – 15 reviews.  A large majority of them had no reviews made available to the community.  Whereas, if you go look at other items from other vendors, different categories and take a look at the “Verified Purchasers”, you can see that their reviews are almost all available. You will want to read the reviews from “Verified Purchasers.”

On the reviewers for WeaKoo and WiKoo, I found a few of them purchased, excuse me, ‘reviewed’ identical items, in nearly the exact same time frames. I mean, what are the odds that multiple guys in a couple of weeks time span (& one of them twice in three days) give 5 stars for VereBeauty Long Dual Magnetic False Eyelashes or HTC 10 Glass Screen Protectors. (No, there is nothing wrong with guys buying false eyelashes.)
My point here, be careful on some of these reviews, they may be fake (think fake news…), misleading ‘us’ to want to buy the product, such as the cassette to MP3 Converter.

My hope is that Amazon staff reviewers occasionally check out some of these ‘stellar’ 5-star reviews for bogus reviewers… Does Amazon even have a team that checks out some of these ‘reviews’ to pull them out and stop wasting our time in looking at what is supposedly a ‘hot’ item.

But, what I did do is, I stopped searching on the cassette to mp3 converters on Amazon, mostly all Chinese vendors (i.e. look up PiDiEN or Antoble or some of the others in a search engine) selling the same models with different skins/vendor names.

I wound up buying one through the Hammacher Schlemmer site… and hoping they did not buy a cheap chinese version (at least Hammacher Schlemmer also has a guarantee)

U.S. Naval Ship Collisions & Hearing Loss at U.S. Embassies in Cuba – Coincidences…?

Hmmm, a quick take on our U.S. Navy ships involved in collisions with fatalities as well as auditory damage (hearing loss) of U.S. and Canadian Embassy personnel from some kind of sonic sources.

We need more brain power on this because there may be something here.  Maybe.

Are both of these spheres of damage, covert intentional attacks, with intelligence and/or military aspects, on U.S. personnel and property? SpecOps…. Because if either of the following are occuring:

  • manipulating a naval ship’s computer systems or
  • aiming some kind of sonic weapon at someone from another country – well, these approaches are a definite attack.

Are all the naval collisions in that region, in this year, all coincidental due to “incompetence” and “poor leadership”?  I’m finding that rather difficult to swallow.  Who in the world aboard any ship is not able to spot large tankers at a distance and not be able to avoid contact in time…?

Are these growing instances of U.S. and Canadian embassy personnel losing their hearing stemming from some kind of natural phenomena that no one has seen or heard of (no pun) prior to now?  I also find this very hard to believe.

Are the sources possible Russian or Chinese covert agents?

Agents from Russia in order to cause destabilizing effects on U.S. personnel? To get back at the U.S. because of the:

  • U.S. and U.N. sanctions placed on Russia? 
  • U.S. Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian activities related to the current individual in the White House?

Are the sources from China to cause destabilization of U.S. forces in the South China Sea and to grow Chinese naval influence in that hemisphere?

More to follow as I chew on this more to produce somewhat more analytical thoughts.

 

The bit about the coincidence of naval ship incidents, I gleaned that from Medium where Omaid F. has posited that possibly the Chinese are testing their capabilities.  Because of my background, it also struck a nerve as a high possibility.  It seems highly plausible that the Chinese OR Russians could be doing just that.

(Omaid’s article on Medium: https://medium.com/@omaidfaizyar/did-china-hack-the-seventh-fleet-483f3f03d51b points to another article: https://rntfnd.org/2016/09/26/china-jamming-us-forces-gps/)

 

Kaiser Permanente’s website inaccuracies (BAD!) – Agree To Our Terms – Take It Or Not Use It…

Your only remedy if you are dissatisfied with the Kaiser Permanente site is to stop using it.

How crazy bad is that…???   Yes, that is what is listed, as of Jun 17, 2017, on a Health Care organizations’ web site, Kaiser Permanente…. I wanted to post this on the Facebook page of Kaiser Permanente but they make it somewhat difficult to post on their own facebook page.

Recently I signed in to Kaiser and saw they had a new set of:

Agree to our Terms and Conditions

Summary of our Terms and Conditions

So, I scanned through that one and a half page of content to see what was up. Towards the end, I was completely shocked to see that very first line of the post above. Here is what popped out at me:

THE SITE IS OFFERED “AS IS.” THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES OF THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE INFORMATION OR SERVICES PROVIDED ON THE SITE. Kaiser Permanente is not responsible for:

  • any damages you may incur
  • errors on this website
  • the content, security, or privacy of third-party websites that are accessed from this website

You use this site at your own risk and assume all responsibility for doing so. Your only remedy if you are dissatisfied with the site is to stop using it.

Right now, Kaiser is stating if there are inaccuracies –too bad.”  And if it results in loss of money, I’m sorry, I meant ‘damages’ – too bad.”

In order to see anything else of your medical content, you “have” to click on “I Agree” or else you will need to take your body down to the nearest Kaiser facility to get any info. And in doing so, you incur the time for:

  • travel to & from,
  • waiting on service and then 
  • waiting on record retrieval, pharmacy prescriptions, etc

Kaiser believes they have us all over a barrel because of this agreement – that is incorrect!!!

I’m not sure about other folks but soon as I change jobs, I will be choosing a different health care organization that “DOES” care about the website content and any inaccuracies that may appear, for the members using the site.

I am not aware of what other health care sites state but I’m gonna have to take my chances by denying any further monies leaving my bank account and going to Kaiser.

Yes, the organization wants to take care of its members, but the organization should also be very concerned about inaccuracies and security in members using their web site… It is a simple matter of due diligence.

I am highly surprised the Permanente lawyers and medical ethicists allowed this to go forward as is…

 

 

Part 2 – Donald Trump: Taking America Backwards & Laughing Stock…. Very Sad

Continued from Part 1 @ https://patrick642nu.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/part-1-donald-trump-taking-america-backwards-laughing-stock-very-sad/

 

Medical Care – Universal Health Care[1]

For decades, there have been individuals who wanted to put something like Universal Health Care (UHC) into play, people such as; Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt (1901-1909), FDR (1935 & 1939), Harry S. Truman in 1949 as part of the Fair Deal to our last president (Obama). You can also check Wikipedia[2] if you wish but do your own reading and thoughtful introspection.

So, what’s the big deal about UHC, our future – that is what is at stake? At stake is a future of healthier individuals, across the country. It is a future where costs will actually be lower because early care will preclude major medical disasters later and there will be no monstrous medical bills to be picked up by the families involved and tax payers due to an escalation of emergency room visits…

My thoughts on what these past presidents and current UHC (or Affordable Care) leaders thinking is that we need to cover everyone to bring down emergency room visits; to bring down the costs of catastrophic medical situations so that down the road, we Americans, will not have such significant numbers of people across the country without coverage. We would have in the future, a greatly reduced number of Americans without serious medical problems because the medical problems would have been caught very early in life and prevented. And the problems would have been prevented at a significantly fraction of the cost, instead of letting it go festering on for decades, with each year seeing more of that families (and tax payers – think emergency rooms) money going down the drain when it could have been prevented due to long-term thinkers who have been trying to get UHC instilled into the American psyche.

Just imagine more people:

  • With healthy looking teeth so they can go and gain better jobs instead of being automatically assigned as a person of low income and low intellect and passed over for someone else who simply looks better
  • Walking around on healthy legs or prostheses instead of a stump and a crutch(es) or obsolete decrepit wheel chair
  • With the ability to see rather than being blinded due to malnutrition or bad school lunch plans and more

Do you not believe UHC would better everyone? Okay, think about an event occurring where you lose your high paying job and you were the primary bread winner with a great insurance plan. Well, your plan is gone and you suddenly find yourself in a medical catastrophic situation and it is going to be hugely expensive. What are you going to do? Bemoan the fact that you have UHC at that point.

Grow up people, stop thinking about yourselves because you have a better life – think about others out there who are not as fortunate as you.

Wouldn’t you want to see:

  • Every American in this country reaping the benefits of great health care 10 years from now? {That 10 year number is only an educated guess as to we could start seeing better health care efficacy…}
  • A dramatic reduction of emergency room visits 10 years from now, while at the same time – a significant reduction of tax payers paying for so many unnecessary ER visits?
  • No more prohibitively expensive and labor sapping hospital visits 10 years from now because preventive UHC took care of problems before they exploded into the problems they are today?

We can do that!!!! But we have to agree to do this now, as a country. We cannot just provide UHC for the elite and better paid Americans and continue arguing and kicking this can down the road, EVERY SINGLE BLOODY YEAR as we are doing now!!!! We can change that paradigm!

 

Laughing Stock?

Back to the U.S. becoming the laughing stock country. Is that true, what do you think? Remember, do your own research and analysis; do not rely solely on news folks (TV or radio), or talk shows, or conspiracy theorists and only your inner circle – expand your horizons.

Why can’t the U.S. spend more money, evenly, on all levels of education to ratchet up the education and knowledge of American students? Why can’t the U.S. be like Canada, Great Britain and Germany[3]? Education goes a long way in making for a better citizenry… And we, the U.S., we need to do better if we want to be ‘the’ world leader – we need better education to get there. Check out a Pew article[4] for some info on where we stand.

 

What about international diplomacy? You too must think this is a laughing stock situation, right? Look at the current secretary of state, Tillerson – a person who does not grant interviews and press conferences. He wants to do mostly behind the scene affairs. Do you believe that is an open and transparent way to handle diplomacy, not sharing information with the country he represents?

Oh wait-a-minute that does not really matter. Our president and OMB person (Mick Mulvaney) want to cut the budget for State Department and USAID because we do not require or need this kind of effort around the world. Surely you believe this is laughable too… Right?

 

What about cleaner air, well, no? Apparently we not require or need this either. Our latest president and EPA head seem to believe their own knowledge on climate change and disregard what scientists who have been studying this for years. We should let companies dump waste in rivers and pollute the air, sure why not…? That is quite laughable, the president and EPA head that is, oh and include Bannon in that lot.

 

What about all the extraordinarily significant amount of time the U.S. is spending on the current president, his family, inner circle of administration officials and business cronies staying at Mar-a-Lago and at Trump Tower? Do you not believe this is laughable enough? Why yes, it is. The U.S. is spending far too much time on illicit activities, ummm – excuse me, alleged illicit activities. And we are spending far too much money on all of this as a result.

And the end result is that, most of the other hard stuff is not getting accomplished. Here are some of the things not getting done like; infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grid, water, etc.) across the country, all of which need attention. Then there is the tax reform; there is equality in the work place which needs more attention.

Take a look at the rampant, vitriolic, unvarnished display of outright racism being displayed across this once great nation. This is worse than when the last president was in office. And remember, that last president did not spew nonsense and idiotic content such as “knock ‘em out,” or “grab ‘em by the p_ _ _ y” or even using 7th grade language for that matter – sometimes, just sometimes, using ‘plain spoken language’ can mean talking down to someone and insult that person’s intelligence….

What is going on? What is happening to this once great country? Why are so many people willing to condone this current president? Why condone someone who continues to willingly lie to the country, to the world – on multiple topics? And many people were (and are still) willing to continue listening to and believe in this individual even though what this current president promised will never happen again (think coal and massive manual manufacturing)…

More people in this country need to start thinking of each other, no matter their race, religion, age, gender, sexual preferences or what part of the country they live in. We are all here together, right now.  Look at each other, deeply look at each other and consider the travels and hardship they may have endured to get to where they are now (of course I’m talking about honest, hard work and legal efforts). And remember that no matter whom you see in front of you, or whether they live 2,500 miles away, that other person may be smarter than you and have better cognitive skills than you. These are people who are walking around right now – with or without:

  • a college degree (that other person who ‘looks’ unintelligent may hold several degrees including a doctorate for all that you are aware)
  • a family trust fund
  • the best looks
  • the best smile or
  • the best speech abilities / speaking mannerisms.

So take note, that other person just may be a better person than you – rich or poor though they may be…

 

[1] “A Brief History: Universal Health Care Efforts in the US,” 1999, www.pnhp.org/facts/a-brief-history-universal-health-care-efforts-in-the-us

[2] “History of health care reform in the U.S.,” retrieved June 3, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_health_care_reform_in_the_United_States

[3] “Best Countries for Education,” March 7, 2017, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/best-education

[4] “U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries,” February 15, 2017, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/