Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

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rjbraun
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Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by rjbraun » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:21 pm

Experience with purchases in the past few weeks, of which these represent a decent percentage, i.e., I don't shop constantly.

1. Bed, Bath and Beyond online order was delivered in two shipments. The first package contained two picture frames that were, in essence, placed in a box with no additional packing material. One frame had some exterior packaging, the other one had absolutely nothing. The first frame arrived with shattered glass, the second one actually fared better, though there was a dent on the side which I suspect developed in shipping. Fwiw, the shipping box was "reused", so it wasn't very sturdy. Even if it were new, though, it hardly seems prudent to ship glass items with no protective padding.

2. Pottery Barn in-store purchase. While I bought 12 items, it was only after I returned home that I realized the clerk neglected to ring up one item (~$30 in value).

3. Photo reprint online order from Bay Photo Lab. Shipment was nicely packaged to protect the photo, but the image received was not at all what I ordered. No idea who the people were, though the order form showed the correct photo. After some back-and-forth Bay agreed to FedEx the replacement, though by the time it arrived I was no longer there to receive the package. The person who did informed me that the FedEx package was somewhat bent, and that resulted in the print itself having a slight bend. This was an issue as the 8"x10" reprint was intended for framing. Bay Photo agreed to issue a refund and even offered to send a complimentary print, just to try to provide resolution, which I appreciated. I was told that that the third image arrived fine.

4. Whole Foods, thankfully, agreed to issue me new gift cards due to fraudulent activity. I haven't used them yet, but the amounts indicated would be greater than what I was due. By a couple of hundred dollars. :shock: The amounts were written on the card by hand, so I'm wondering if the card value themselves are correct but maybe someone just wrote the incorrect amounts. Otherwise, this would be a costly error for the merchant (which I plan to notify them of, if that's indeed the case).

Not sure what to make of these experiences. One (Pottery Barn) involves old-fashioned human error/carelessness. Perhaps that's also the case with the Bed, Bath, and Beyond shipment. No idea how Bay Photo botched the reprint order. I guess the Whole Foods problem may also have been due to human error.

Have I just experienced a run of "flukes" over the past few weeks, or are people / merchants just incredibly careless and sloppy these days? To make this actionable, are there better places to shop online? For example, while I have had a handful of packing issues with Amazon, the merchant has resolved them very satisfactorily, in a timely fashion, and the frequency is small relative to how much I order.

I suppose for in-store purchases, the watchword would be to carefully check the purchase to make sure you are charged correctly. I normally do, but in the case of my Pottery Barn in-store purchase, I was preoccupied with ensuring that the clerk acceptably pack the goods. He pushed back some when I requested double-bagging -- for a dozen glass items that I would carry home by hand (this being NYC). To me, a reasonable request for a purchase totaling $300.

livesoft
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:23 pm

No, they have always exhibited about the same amount of carelessness my entire life.
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drawpoker
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by drawpoker » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:59 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:21 pm

...... FedEx the replacement, though by the time it arrived I was no longer there to receive the package. The person who did informed me that the FedEx package was somewhat bent........resulted in the print itself having a slight bend. This was an issue as the 8"x10" reprint was intended for framing.......Not sure what to make of these experiences...... are people / merchants just incredibly careless and sloppy these days? To make this actionable, are there better places to shop online?
FedEx package delivery is horrible. One of my regular online suppliers (chewy dot com) switched about a year and a half ago from UPS to FedEx. Since then I have had numerous damaged cartons, bags of cat litter split open and spilling out, cases of canned cat food dented so badly they had to be replaced. Chewy keeps telling me they have had so many complaints they will likely go back to UPS, but it hasn't happened yet. :(

One time the FedEx Bozo left me a carton that was actually soaked with brown liquid on the bottom, when I went to pick it up, the bottom collapsed from the moisture. Friskies Tasty Bits W/Extra Gravy! Clearly, that damage did not come from a careless driver, but a forklift operator at a FedEx transfer station flinging the shipments onto a concrete floor. Either from ineptitude or maybe just for amusement.

Apparently, after doing a little online research, learned that the FedEx drivers do not make nearly as much in wages as the UPS guys do :x :x
Whether that accounts for their bad work attitudes I do not know. My advice would be avoid online retailers who use FedEx instead of UPS.

staythecourse
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by staythecourse » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:06 pm

Just today I went to the major grocery store chain in our area and realized they rung up the same item twice. The clerk was neither surprised she made the mistake nor apologetic. After the incident I looked at my receipt and realized they rung up an extra soda bottle as well. Got it reversed before I left the store.

Made me realize not to trust ANY merchant now without looking at the receipt before I leave. Not sure if others are as careless as I am, but would warn all to do the same.

Good luck.
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mega317
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by mega317 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:17 pm

Someone who's ringing up thousands of items a day for crappy hourly wage doesn't have any reason, nor IMO moral responsibility, to be surprised nor apologetic for mistakes. Only to fix it.

Just today I was accidentally (?) disconnected while on hold, nearly crashed into at low speed when someone's view of right of way differed from mine, and was disappointed to find there were no snacks in the lounge which is supposed to be stocked Tuesday mornings. And my babysitter was 10 minutes late. People make mistakes by accident or because they don't and have no incentive to care or for a number of other reasons. Who cares? This thread is hilarious.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by Fallible » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:45 pm

Too careless, but probably not more. Human error is nothing new, never will be, but can in some cases be minimized and in fewer cases eliminated, for a time. What makes the mistakes of others more acceptable for me is when I remember my own. :(
Last edited by Fallible on Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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F150HD
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by F150HD » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:52 pm

ever get shipped a USED item? Frustrating. Seems to happen more w/ Ebay then other sites, but had it occur last week in fact.

staythecourse
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by staythecourse » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm

mega317 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:17 pm
Someone who's ringing up thousands of items a day for crappy hourly wage doesn't have any reason, nor IMO moral responsibility, to be surprised nor apologetic for mistakes. Only to fix it.

Just today I was accidentally (?) disconnected while on hold, nearly crashed into at low speed when someone's view of right of way differed from mine, and was disappointed to find there were no snacks in the lounge which is supposed to be stocked Tuesday mornings. And my babysitter was 10 minutes late. People make mistakes by accident or because they don't and have no incentive to care or for a number of other reasons. Who cares? This thread is hilarious.
Your opinion is your opinion, but to suggest someone do their job is not expecting much. If I asked them the random price of something is totally different. Not being able to pull x over a scanner only once is not difficult. Not having shame is one of the BIG negatives I have seen change in culture the last 20 years. No one has shame in being bad at something. Attitudes like yours is HOW this happens in the first place. Accepting deficient work is not acceptable in ANY line of work.

Good luck.
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mega317
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by mega317 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:08 pm

You should try doing the same menial task a thousand or two times a day. I'm guessing you won't be 100% either. Do you see, or expect to see, the cashier looking up at the screen after each beep to double check?

It's not that I don't expect them to do their job. And it's not about accepting deficient work, I said fix it. But to expect someone doing boring work for little money to CARE is expecting a lot. You are displaying a complete misunderstanding of human nature.

And I do apologize--I honestly did not intend to parody your comment by starting my own with "just today". That was an accident.

drawpoker
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by drawpoker » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:06 am

Oh?

IOW, just because workers are in jobs that pay minimum wage, the work is both repetitious and boring, and they display indifference/discourtesy to customers when a price is rung up wrong ---
The buying public should just overlook all this, write it off as this is just the way things are, and not complain to store management. Cuz we just "don't get human nature" Huh?

That is just plain nuts No wonder service keeps deteriorating in shopping experiences these days. Customers are being treated like doormats. And you seem to be encouraging that ?
Great. Things, already bad, are now sure to get just worse. Not better.

Is that what you want to see mega317?

mortfree
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by mortfree » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:55 am

Seems like excessive shopping in a short period of time for BH standards.

:mrgreen:

Valuethinker
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:46 am

The solution, of course, is for companies to pay more highly and get better people.

They fiercely resist this. Wage growth stays stuck at c. 2.5% and does not comfortably beat inflation. Real wages, especially at the bottom of the employment pyramid, are not rising - from memory they are just about where they were in 1977.

On the unemployment numbers, the US is at full employment. If you take participation in the work force, it is still below its 2000 peak, so there is an argument there.

But companies need to pay more. The corporate profits share of GDP has been rising pretty steadily since 1980. It may be it is now too high for sustainable operations.

If companies pay more companies will invest more in better systems and technology to increase productivity. Which will make the whole economy better off.

It's also an opportunity for retired people and other people who have exited the Labour Force to reenter it. Generally the older generations are more polite and conscientious (that's a massive simplification, but overall it's true in my experience) -- they make good employees.

As the population ages, and with more restrictions in immigration in developed countries (not only the USA) this is the future.

Welcome to the future.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:17 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:46 am
The solution, of course, is for companies to pay more highly and get better people.

They fiercely resist this. Wage growth stays stuck at c. 2.5% and does not comfortably beat inflation. Real wages, especially at the bottom of the employment pyramid, are not rising - from memory they are just about where they were in 1977.
Minimum wage in 1977: $2.65. In 2018 $s, that's $11.22 vs the current minimum wage which is $7.25.

1977 person: $11.22 x 40 x 52 = $23,337 /year
2018 person :$7.25 x 40 x 52 = $15,730 /year

Now if they purchased a $200,000 home...

1977 = 9% rate...payment would be $1,600/month or $19,200/year
2018 = 4% rate...payment would be $955/month or $11,460/year

1977 person = $23,337 salary - $19,200 mortgage = $4,137 left
2018 person = $15,730 salary - $15,730 mortgage = $4,270 left

2018 person comes out ahead. This doesn't included a vehicle loan that can be had today for 0%, which would be the same or great in 1977.

Valuethinker
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:27 am

ddurrett896 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:17 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:46 am
The solution, of course, is for companies to pay more highly and get better people.

They fiercely resist this. Wage growth stays stuck at c. 2.5% and does not comfortably beat inflation. Real wages, especially at the bottom of the employment pyramid, are not rising - from memory they are just about where they were in 1977.
Minimum wage in 1977: $2.65. In 2018 $s, that's $11.22 vs the current minimum wage which is $7.25.

1977 person: $11.22 x 40 x 52 = $23,337 /year
2018 person :$7.25 x 40 x 52 = $15,730 /year

Now if they purchased a $200,000 home...

1977 = 9% rate...payment would be $1,600/month or $19,200/year
2018 = 4% rate...payment would be $955/month or $11,460/year

1977 person = $23,337 salary - $19,200 mortgage = $4,137 left
2018 person = $15,730 salary - $15,730 mortgage = $4,270 left

2018 person comes out ahead. This doesn't included a vehicle loan that can be had today for 0%, which would be the same or great in 1977.
I believe in fact the people on the bottom of the income pyramid don't tend to be paid the minimum wage. The issue being that minimum wage earners are often part time, students, young people etc. It is probably more helpful to look at the household incomes of the bottom 20% of the income range.

Your numbers don't include Social Security taxes? Which are substantial?

Taking one item (houses, see below) as a proof/ disproof re real wages is not a good way of doing it-- there are relative shifts in the price of things which are not caught by picking any one, single item.

I doubt anyone on the minimum wage is buying a house. Not many people in any case.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:29 am

An interesting reply to my self is that companies are seeking to drive up productivity to reduce labour costs. Amazon is famous for this.

That pushes workers to work harder, and they make more mistakes. The equivalent of speeding up a car production line, where quality control is not measured.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:33 am

staythecourse wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:06 pm
Just today I went to the major grocery store chain in our area and realized they rung up the same item twice. The clerk was neither surprised she made the mistake nor apologetic. After the incident I looked at my receipt and realized they rung up an extra soda bottle as well. Got it reversed before I left the store.

Made me realize not to trust ANY merchant now without looking at the receipt before I leave. Not sure if others are as careless as I am, but would warn all to do the same.

Good luck.
That's happened to me more than once... except the person "ringing up" the items is always me. So now I'm definitely not surprised when I make that mistake, nor particularly apologetic to myself, just annoyed.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by Fallible » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:11 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:29 am
An interesting reply to my self is that companies are seeking to drive up productivity to reduce labour costs. Amazon is famous for this.

That pushes workers to work harder, and they make more mistakes. The equivalent of speeding up a car production line, where quality control is not measured.
Yes, harder AND faster AND in areas too often understaffed AND poorly managed due to inadequate management training. It's amazing more mistakes aren't made.
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rjbraun
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by rjbraun » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:50 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:29 am
An interesting reply to my self is that companies are seeking to drive up productivity to reduce labour costs. Amazon is famous for this.

That pushes workers to work harder, and they make more mistakes. The equivalent of speeding up a car production line, where quality control is not measured.
If Amazon seeks to increase productivity to reduce labor costs and this results in pushing workers to the point of more mistakes, that hasn't been my experience at all. I'm the OP and the recent purchases I highlighted have been in stark contrast to my Amazon shopping experience over a number of years which, for better or worse, represents a good amount of my non-food purchases. My Amazon orders are virtually all in good order and correct. They have been way more responsive when there was an issue than one of the retailers I mentioned in OP. The other online "problem retailer" I listed was responsive enough but took more time to get the order right. All this being said, I don't doubt that Amazon may be a difficult and stressful place to work, but on the receiving end of their services it's been pretty nice.

To keep this thread actionable, I guess my takeaways so far would be that when ordering online, be sure to leave extra time for order delays. At the risk of being overly enamored of Amazon, I think they've kind of spoiled me in terms of orders being delivered quickly and accurately.

I guess another takeaway would be that mistakes happen, so make the time to check that purchases are rung up correctly, especially pricier ones, in the case of in-store purchases. For online sales, open the package upon receipt to make sure the order was filled and shipped acceptably. As a reminder to myself at least, also try to confirm in a timely fashion that the merchandise functions properly, in case a return or replacement is necessary.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by rjbraun » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:53 am

mortfree wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:55 am
Seems like excessive shopping in a short period of time for BH standards.

:mrgreen:
Ha! You're right. Most of the shopping ties to a current photo project I happen to be working on. :)

mega317
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by mega317 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:05 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:06 am
....The buying public should just overlook all this, write it off as this is just the way things are, and not complain to store management. Cuz we just "don't get human nature" Huh?

That is just plain nuts No wonder service keeps deteriorating in shopping experiences these days. Customers are being treated like doormats. And you seem to be encouraging that ?
Great. Things, already bad, are now sure to get just worse. Not better.

Is that what you want to see mega317?
I didn't say you shouldn't complain--actually you probably should. Hopefully enough complaining or boycotting or whatever would increase wages and lead to better treatment of employees. The customers are not being treated like anything, and you can go to or avoid any store you want.
But if your hope is that complaining to management will lead to management yelling at the employees which will lead to better work or behavior, then you're just wrong.
drawpoker wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:16 pm
In fact, it is so bad here, our former governor, the late Willie Don Schaefer, referred to this part of the state as the "S*** House side of Maryland". And he wasn't far off in that.
Should I assume you do or do not know the subtext here?

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by DetroitRick » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:07 pm

I don't see any big difference in recent years. Not at all. Big box - online - small retail, it seems service is always a hit or miss thing. I try to patronize stores that give better service (again, physical or online), but there is so much day-to-day variation that it barely matters to me. At least the variation I experience runs from slightly annoying to stellar, and not catastrophically bad. Which I wouldn't ignore. I could easily have said the same thing 4 decades ago too.

Sometimes it comes down to product type - one place often does better with tech, another with clothing, etc. Even Amazon - I generally really like them, but there are some items I just won't buy from them. And sometimes their packing skills are hilarious. I've got to start taking pictures. Bought a $10 ice scraper last year that was packaged to go through a war zone (UPS guy even asked me why the giant box weighed nothing). Bought an expensive coffee-maker two months ago that came with no outer packaging. Haven't seen it lately, but there was once a website where people posted the goofiest Amazon packaging. So, again, it just varies.

It seems likes once a year or so I run into service that just sort of makes my day. I've even had it happen with an employee at retailer that otherwise sucks. So then I try to let an owner or manager know when that happens - employee did a super job and that it makes me want to return. Retail can be a pretty thankless job and I see customers being unnecessarily rude to employees more often than vice versa.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:17 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm
mega317 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:17 pm
Someone who's ringing up thousands of items a day for crappy hourly wage doesn't have any reason, nor IMO moral responsibility, to be surprised nor apologetic for mistakes. Only to fix it.

Just today I was accidentally (?) disconnected while on hold, nearly crashed into at low speed when someone's view of right of way differed from mine, and was disappointed to find there were no snacks in the lounge which is supposed to be stocked Tuesday mornings. And my babysitter was 10 minutes late. People make mistakes by accident or because they don't and have no incentive to care or for a number of other reasons. Who cares? This thread is hilarious.
Your opinion is your opinion, but to suggest someone do their job is not expecting much. If I asked them the random price of something is totally different. Not being able to pull x over a scanner only once is not difficult. Not having shame is one of the BIG negatives I have seen change in culture the last 20 years. No one has shame in being bad at something. Attitudes like yours is HOW this happens in the first place. Accepting deficient work is not acceptable in ANY line of work.

Good luck.
Lol, this reminds me of my dad. He expects fast food workers to deliver top notch quality food just like what he sees on the commercial and get his special orders correct (make my shake extra thick; as rare of roast beef as possible :confused :oops: ). I just nod my head now when he tells me all about how the quality at various places has become barely tolerable.

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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:30 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:17 pm
staythecourse wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm
mega317 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:17 pm
Someone who's ringing up thousands of items a day for crappy hourly wage doesn't have any reason, nor IMO moral responsibility, to be surprised nor apologetic for mistakes. Only to fix it.

Just today I was accidentally (?) disconnected while on hold, nearly crashed into at low speed when someone's view of right of way differed from mine, and was disappointed to find there were no snacks in the lounge which is supposed to be stocked Tuesday mornings. And my babysitter was 10 minutes late. People make mistakes by accident or because they don't and have no incentive to care or for a number of other reasons. Who cares? This thread is hilarious.
Your opinion is your opinion, but to suggest someone do their job is not expecting much. If I asked them the random price of something is totally different. Not being able to pull x over a scanner only once is not difficult. Not having shame is one of the BIG negatives I have seen change in culture the last 20 years. No one has shame in being bad at something. Attitudes like yours is HOW this happens in the first place. Accepting deficient work is not acceptable in ANY line of work.

Good luck.
Lol, this reminds me of my dad. He expects fast food workers to deliver top notch quality food just like what he sees on the commercial and get his special orders correct (make my shake extra thick; as rare of roast beef as possible :confused :oops: ). I just nod my head now when he tells me all about how the quality at various places has become barely tolerable.
Please use a correct analogy when criticizing. In your analogy, It would be the same as your Dad expecting to be charged $5.00 for a burger when the burger costs $5.00. That is a more accurate analogy. I'm assuming you are then okay paying $6.50 instead just because the worker added an order of fries with it by accident?

Good luck.
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Post by 123 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:35 pm

While I know mistakes can happen anywhere I've noticed that they are very rare with Amazon fullfillment and returns.
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Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

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