Your Opinion Matters

Internet shopping and reviews have gone hand in hand for some time now. Anyone who is considering spending money online to buy a product or service that they can’t see or try before they commit to it has no doubt done their research in other ways – usually by researching the feedback left by previous users.

EBay, Amazon and Trip Advisor are just three sites that have built their own reputation on encouraging third party reviews and now almost every e-commerce site you can think of will have some kind of review or rating system. We are so used to seeing a star rating system or a comment box that if a site doesn’t allow reviews we wonder why not.

When I shop on-line or off-line, I always check both expert and consumer reviews. Whether for a book, something for the home, or for a larger purchase, such as an automobile or furniture, reviews are essential.  How have other people enjoyed their purchase?  What is the good and the bad?  Ultimately it is your decision, but we want to make these decisions with as many facts as possible.  This has been going on forever, but now, with the world as connected as it is, we have become even more dependent on reviews.  Years ago we would  ask our parents, relatives or friends for their advice.  Today, we not only ask them, but we ask experts and people we do not know for their opinions.  Just the way it is.

Check out the statistics on opinions below:

review-of-reviews-peopleclaim

Thanks to the people at PeopleClam for putting this terrific infographic together. http://www.peopleclaim.com/

Tell it like it is.

Webman

A Long Day Today

Has been a difficult day for many today.  System challenges, e-mail jail, moving parts and the like.

But the sun is out and spring is just around the corner.

Here is my favorite video of the week – I am quite sure this will make you smile.

Take a look and enjoy.  I will be back on the blogosphere shortly.

Webman

The Bagel Dilemma

Everyone enjoys a good bagel.  They sure do taste good.

Bagels are a delicious food for any time of the day. They come in many varieties and flavors and taste great with a good number of toppings. Bagels were first introduced in 1693 as tribute to a Polish king. Since then they have crossed continents and become a mainstay in America. They’re sold in bakeries, grocery stores and coffee shops. Although bagels are good eats, the nutrition of bagels isn’t thought about unless you’re counting calories.

bagels

Bagels are a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein and fiber. Although they aren’t considered the healthiest of foods to eat, they do provide high amounts of fiber to keep you regular. Fiber lowers your chances of heart disease, diabetes and constipation.

We are lucky to have so many bagel choices – Onion, plain, poppy seed, sesame seed, cinnamon raisin, sourdough, sun dried tomato, salt, everything, chocolate, egg, spinach, marble, blueberry, rye, pumpernickel, multigrain and many many more.  We love bagels!

So when we place a bagel order, what criteria do we use:

  • How many do we need?
  • How many different types?
  • Do I remember what everyone likes?
  • Where is that list?
  • What happens if I only get one of each type?
  • Will people get what they want?
  • What do I want, forget everyone else? (Sorry, off road)
  • Should I have mine now so I get the one I want?

So many decisions just to purchase the bagels.  And that was the easy part.  Now, what about the cream cheese.

  • Based on the number of bagels, how many cream cheeses should I get?
  • What is the right ratio of cream cheese quantity to number of bagels?
  • Are they heavy or light spreaders?
  • Do they spread on both halves or only one and put them together?
  • Will they toast their bagel?  Does that matter?
  • Who likes onion?
  • I wonder how that cream cheese will go with a multi-grain bagel?
  • Look at all those choices – Geez, who is going to want what?

How did such a simple pleasure turn into this dilemma?  My doctor told me to watch the stress!  So many choices, how can I possibly get this right.

I am never buying the bagels again.  Excuse me miss “Can I have an everything bagel, toasted with smoked salmon cream cheese?” No do not put that one in the bag.  It is for me 🙂

Please feel free to share your thoughts and process for matching bagels to cream cheese below.

Webman

Hey, Where’s my Salad?

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.  In some cases, I may have changed some identifying characteristics and details such as physical properties, occupations and location of the refrigerators.

As she does everyday, Hope makes herself a very nutritious lunch at home and brings it to work.  This morning, she was especially excited because she had a really nice piece of sockeye salmon, left over from the grill last evening,  to add to her salad.  Yes, this was going to be a very special lunch day.  Amping it up for sure.  Look at how beautiful this salad is:

salad

That looks yummy!

So Hope makes the bed, gets the kids off to school and heads into the office.  Traffic is pretty bad today, and Hope is wondering if her delicious salad will stay cold enough to make it to the office.  Given that she is in New England in January, really nothing to worry about, but hey with a salad like that, who needs the risk.

She parks the car, gets the salad and begins her 1/4 mile walk to the office.  She takes her briefcase and her salad out of the back seat, closes and locks the door and heads for the elevator.

Once she enters the office, Hope heads straight for the refrigerators where many other employees keep their respective delicious lunches and other items, such as beer, actually mostly beer.  Now, if you have ever waited for your luggage at the airport, you know that many pieces of luggage look just like yours.  I have picked up the wrong bag many times, just to put it back on the carousel.  When you travel, you learn to put something distinguishing on your bag so that you can tell it apart from all other look a likes.  This phenomenon has not yet happened with lunch bags, glass bowls or brown paper bags, so sometimes it is difficult to know if you have the right lunch.  And of course, all of the refrigerators look the same as well.

refrigerators

Hope had a decent morning, the usual ups and downs.  Internal meetings, client calls, some whining, some complaining but overall not bad.  She is cranking out a few e-mails, hears her stomach rumbling a bit, checks her computer and alas, it is 12:00PM, or in this case, yummy salad time.

Hope walks over to the refrigerator to find her salad but she cannot find it.  She says to herself, “Hey, where is my salad?”  She looks in the other refrigerators as well (maybe I put it in a different place than I do everyday), but alas to no avail.  That delicious, yummy, sockeye salmon salad is missing.  Panic ensues…..

10 minutes earlier, Todd went over to that same refrigerator and took what he thought was his lunch.  He was having a very busy day and needed to eat his lunch quickly.  He walks over to the vending machine, pops some money in it and gets a nice cold bottle of water.  Moving fast, he heads quickly back to his desk.  He only has about 5 minutes to eat, so he is a bit rushed.  He opens the container, peers down and is just delighted to see this delicious sockeye salmon salad in front of him.  His wife packed his lunch today so he was unaware of the contents.  What a pleasant surprise!  This looks yummy.  He takes the first bite, rolls his eyes a bit because it is so delicious and proceeds to finish this culinary delight.  He pulls a sticky off the pad and writes – Buy wife flowers on way home.

Hope heads back to her desk and she is pissed.  “Where is my salad?”  Given that, she goes into action and compiles the following e-mail to her co-workers:

Subject Line – I Am Calling the Police!

“Hey, someone took my salad.  Do you know who did?  It was a good-looking salad. Put it on the top shelf this morning. Now it’s gone. Did you make an honest mistake and grab the wrong one? – maybe. Does that mean I should take your salad as retribution? – not according to my Mom. Pardon the interruption – but I’m really quite hungry.”

Working in his cubicle, Todd sees the e-mail and hears the buzz from his co-workers as this becomes big news and goes viral quickly.  All of a sudden, one of Todd’s co-workers asks, “Hey Todd, did you just finish a salad?”  Another co-worker posts the news on Twitter and Facebook and all hell breaks loose.  What is going on here, Todd thinks?  “Can I hide the fact that I ate Hope’s salad or should I just fess up now?  Geez, I have some data requests to fulfill and a damn salad is now dominating my life.  The salad was really good, but was it worth this.  No way!”

Todd was about to get back to his data requests and just move on, when one of his favorite co-workers says, “Hey Todd, why is your face all red?”.  He can feel the heat in his cheeks.  He is on fire right now.  And his co-worker knows the tell tale signs of guilt so evident on his rosy red face.  “Todd, you ate Hope’s salad, didn’t you?”  He bowed his head in shame and screamed “I did it, I did it.  After lunch I called my wife to thank her for the delicious salad and she said, “What salad?  I packed you a PBJ today.”

Having been caught red faced, Todd takes the long trip down the hall to Hope’s office.  She is now going through her desk drawers looking for her salad as desperation has set in. She notices Todd in the doorway, picks her head up slowly, acknowledging his presence.  Todd is standing there with the empty bowl in his hand and exclaims, “I am so sorry Hope.  I ate your delicious salad today.  What can I do to make it up to you?”

And then Hope woke up from her culinary nightmare. 🙂

Webman

Reclining Shoppers

With less than three weeks until Christmas, the majority of U.S. consumers (87 percent) plan to avoid crowded stores and malls and plan to cybershop from the comfort and convenience of home, according to a new survey by Verizon. – www.verizon.com

Of these stay-at-home shoppers seeking to check off holiday shopping lists while reducing stress, 21 percent plan to shop online while relaxing on their couch, 8 percent will shop while in bed, and 50 percent will do so while at their home-office desk.

Who is the Borderless Consumer?

borderless

When compared with all consumers, the preferences of digitally-savvy, borderless consumers are somewhat different.  More of them (31 percent) plan to make purchases while on their couch, or in bed (9 percent).  Slightly less (45 percent) will do so from their home-office desk.

borderless1

borderless2

Ho, ho, ho. Enjoy the shopping.

Webman

The Buck Stops…..

It just cannot be stretched any further……

Where does the money go?  With all prices seemingly going up and compensation levels remaining flat, how does a family do it?  One of my daughters goes to college and I just received notice that next years tuition increase of 3.5% has been approved by the board.  Oh really, what a surprise!  Let’s see, the board believes that every student should pay an additional $2,000.  Always easy to find a way to spend money, but has the quality of education risen?  Only you can decide.  These annual 3.5% increases are fully baked in and have been for some time.  For those of you with young children now, it means that annual tuition rates in about 10 years will be around $80,000 per year.  No end in sight to the continued escalation of the cost of education.  So much has been written about this being the next big disaster area in our economy and it is hard to disagree.

Which of course brings me to a song….

Money – Get away – You get a good job with good pay and you’re okay
Money – It’s a gas – Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream – Think I’ll buy me a football team

Money – Well, get back – I’m all right Jack -Keep your hands off of my stack
Money – It’s a hit – Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set – I think I need a Lear jet

Money – It’s a crime – Share it fairly – But don’t take a slice of my pie
Money – So they say – Is the root of all evil today

Money – Pink Floyd

Where does our money go today?  Certainly not to buying a football team!  I am still waiting for that Lear jet 🙂  I recently read a report on CPI (Consumer Price Index).  The report identifies the categories where money is being spent today.  Take a look at this chart and compare it to where you spend your money.

Take a look at your monthly budget and compare.  The full report can be found http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid1106.pdf

Have a great day.

Webman

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

“Here is a little song I wrote – You might want to sing it note for note – Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble – When you worry you make it double – Don’t worry, be happy
Ain’t got no place to lay your head – Somebody came and took your bed – Don’t worry, be happy
The land lord say your rent is late – He may have to litigate – Don’t worry, be happy
Look at me I am happy – Don’t worry, be happy – Here I give you my phone number
When you worry call me – I make you happy”  Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

Another one hit wonder 🙂

Are you happy?  Do you ever think about it?  What are the things that make you happy?  Your wife, husband, boy friend, girl friend, sports, your job, money, family, friends, weather, the ocean, traveling, yourself?  Doing the right things, helping people, being generous, allocating time for special causes?  There are so many things that can make us happy, but what is sustainable happiness?

Do you belief that if we just do the right thing, happiness will follow – that additional happiness will be doled out to us because we earned it?  Happiness is a consequence of the choices we make. So what can people do to increase their happiness? Their answer is surprisingly simple: spend your time wisely.

There has been little research on the relationship between the resource of time and happiness. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is another resource – money – that has been investigated much more thoroughly as a potential key to happiness. Yet, very little research corroborates the idea that more money leads to more happiness. Money can result in individuals being less likely to engage in behaviors linked to personal happiness, such as helping others, donating to charity, or socializing with friends and family.

Why might concentrating on time get us closer to our centuries-long search for happiness? One reason is because time spent doing something, especially when compared to owning something or spending money, is associated with personal meaning and evokes emotional memories. You might not recall how much money you had in your bank account when you were 20 years old, but most people remember their first kiss. Time also fosters interpersonal connections: the camaraderie that people get from attending a baseball game with friends, for example, would be more conducive to happiness than watching it alone in front of the television.

So here are the happiness headlines:

  • Spend time with the right people – People you love and admire
  • Spend time on the right activities – Do what you like
  • Enjoy experiences without spending time actually doing them – Just think and smile 🙂
  • Expand your time – Think about now and not then or when
  • Be aware that happiness changes over time – Younger = Excitement, Older = Feeling Peaceful

Can I get an Hallelujah?

Stop the madness.  Hang out with people you like/love and don’t work for anyone you do not like.  That sucks.  Life is way too short to tolerate idiocy, incompetency, insincerity and insecurity.

Have an awesome weekend!

Webman

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/onehitwonders/dontworrybehappylyrics.html

Life and Being a Daddy

Today‘s blog will be about my daughters and provide some insight into the challenges of fatherhood and the responsibilities of parenting.  It is a personal story that illustrates the joy and challenges of family, regardless of the love, support, guidance and environment that you provide.  As a father of three wonderful and beautiful daughters, and as a person/father that likes to “fix” any and all negative situations for them, I have been both amazed and humbled over the past couple of years by the challenges of teenage daughters and the rapidly changing technology enabled social world that can either be an incredible enabler of social success or a huge detriment.

Early in their lives I was a firm believer that they were “Born This Way” (A small Lady Gaga reference for the music lovers out there); that their respective constitutions were developed in the womb.   This of course is true; as we see them develop we can trace back many of their behaviors to when they were children.  Were they happy, pensive, calm, emotional; did they sleep well, did they enjoy other children, were they introverted or extroverted, did they walk early or later, did they speak early or later.  As parents, we remember many of these traits, especially as we see our children grow into young adults.  We can recognize many of their basic traits today and are easily reminded of their childhood.  However, until recently, I did not truly understand the impact of the family environment, the interactive between siblings and parents and how it can impact or influence a child’s behavior, attitude or personality.  Not that I fully understand this now, but my perspective has been radically altered.

I have an older daughter that is a junior in college and twin daughters that are high school sophomores.  Two of them are very much like me in their thoughts, perspectives, approach to life, stubbornness, attitude and opinions.  They are very strong willed and once they overcome their initial fears of a new situation, adapt and thrive.  My other daughter is wired differently; she is very sensitive, emotional, insecure and has a high level of anxiety. This coupled with being a twin, a teenage girl, being socially uncomfortable and lacking the belief and confidence in herself has unfortunately resulted in a current situation of depression and anxiety that precludes her from being the great person that she is.

I am learning as we go along but it is extremely difficult at times.  My constitution is one that, regardless of the situation, I get up to tackle it everyday and work as hard as possible to improve it.  My expectation is that if that is the way I do it, that is how it should be done (Pretty old school I guess).  Until recently I did not understand just how debilitating depression and anxiety can be.  Right now my wonderful daughter is struggling so much that she cannot take on the basic challenges of life.  She is unable to go to school; she interprets discussions as arguments; she is challenged to help herself; she must rest a good portion of the day as her anxiety is exhausting her.  She has become more secretive, at times her behavior is compulsive, she avoids any type of conflict and right now everyday is like walking on egg shells.  She is desperately seeking joy but right now it is not to be found.

When we reflect on the current situation it is now easy to understand when things began to change.  She is an excellent student, a strong athlete, creative, fun, witty and a pleasure to be with.  A couple of years ago, we started to see some changes in her behavior.  Individually they did not stand out, but upon reflection, collectively they were all a huge cry for help.  She stopped playing sports because she convinced herself that she only made teams because her twin sister did (Her sister is athletically gifted), she wanted to distance herself from her twin and establish her own life, no longer being compared.  She took it upon herself to apply to private school, to take the tests, complete the applications, interview and was accepted to one of the best private schools in New England.  Unfortunately because of her health situation, she was unable to attend. She became very focused on her older sister and did whatever she could to get as close to her as possible.  In hindsight, this was an indication of her own lack of confidence and her desire to bring joy to others, thinking that it would bring her joy.

She has a support network that is committed to helping her overcome these obstacles.  Depression is a disease that sucks the life out of people. I did not understand this but I do now.   I have learned that there is no easy answer and that it will take time to hopefully resolve so that she can live the great life she is supposed to lead.  As a father, it is just heartbreaking to see your daughter struggle with anything. As a fixer, all I want to do is fix it and I cannot.  I have tried many different approaches that in my logical mind should work.  But they did not.  Why, because their is nothing logical or rational about this.  We all believe in her; right now all we can do is love her more than ever, support her in every way possible, really listen to what she is saying and help her take small baby steps everyday on the road of life.

We are all here for you.  There will be a day very soon when you will say to me, “Daddy, I am very proud of myself and who I am.” I cannot wait for that day to come 🙂  Today will be a better day.  With all my love, support and understanding………

Thanks for listening.

Webman

We Are Disconnected!

Everyday we read how the world is flat, that we are all connected, that it is so easy to stay in touch with your friends and family through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube, Flickr, e-mail, text messages etc.  We need some reality here.  The world has never been more disconnected than it is today!

Don’t get me wrong; I love technology.  But we have replaced real people relationships with real time technology posts about us.  We have moved from a “we” society to a “me” society.  No wonder we have all of the ethical, integrity, leadership and lack of trust issues in our society.

We have become a back yard society, one that no longer spends any time sitting on the front porch taking care of each other, looking after the kids in the neighborhood, relating in a real way; like having a face to face, eye to eye real conversation with someone about a topic you both care about.  Think about it.  Everyday we are now moving so fast just to keep up with all of these alleged “discussions’ and ‘conversations’.  We are not keeping up, we are treading water.  We have become a society of sound bites; formulating our opinions rapidly because we have to formulate the next opinion about something new in the next six seconds.

When I was growing up people cared.  We lived in towns with friends and family that cared about you, unconditionally.  Parents knew all of the other parents because many of them went to school together.  As a child, when you went out to play, all of the parents (who were front porch people), took an interest in what you were doing, making sure that you were safe.  We all grew up together and we knew that if you ever needed anyone, they would all be there for you, to help you through the good times and the bad.  You spent time with multiple generations and multiple ethnicities, learning from the people that lived it everyday.

Not only has this significantly impacted our generation, but this will continue to impact all future generations because it is now the norm.  Our children go away to college, because supposedly this helps them to grow, experience life and become adults.  Why on earth do we as parents support this?  My daughter is away at college ; I wish she were home.  She could get a more holistic education locally, by remaining engaged with her family, supporting the local community, experiencing life, volunteering, getting involved in many more important activities.

We have lost sight of what is truly important – being connected with people who really care about us and learning from their incredible wisdom and experience.  As we enter the holiday season, find the time to reconnect with the people who love you; the people that really know you; the people that made a difference in your life; the people that have always been there for you.

Sit on the front porch.  Say hello to people walking by.  Connect in a meaningful way.  And turn your phones and computers off!!

If you like this blog, please let me know by providing feedback below.  If you have any topics you would like for me to cover, just let me know.

Webman