Category Archives: Economics

Publishers Clearing House Scam

So, I just got a call from a possibly Kingston Jamaica number claiming to be Publisher’s Clearing House. The speaker was probably a computer because the inflections were very wrong. It sounded like it was the scam that wants you to say “Yes” so that they can steal stuff using your information. Unfortunately I said “Alright” to one question, but I don’t think that was enough because the call didn’t immediately end. When I asked who they were and they said Publishers Clearing House, I immediately knew it was a scam and said “No” to the next question they wanted an affirmative answer to. Then they said, “You doubt who I am?” And I just hung up on that one!

I just got my first smartphone and was disappointed to find that I couldn’t report that number as a scam directly from my phone. In a world that wants better ability to trace these people, you’d think reporting it as a scam immediately would be useful information.

Anyway, I then went tothe PCH website to alert them to the scam. Their Customer Service page even has a number designated for telling them there’s a PCH Scam! So, I called it. And I got a recording thanking me for my interest in working with them (?) and a reminder that their office hours are (whatever) M-F. And then the call ended on their end.

AGAIN! If the goal is to put scammers in prison, more information is necessary! I know that they can’t do anything with one report of one number, so I don’t mind that there wasn’t a live person to talk to. BUT THIS IS SUPPOSEDLY THEIR SCAM REPORTING LINE! You’d think they’d take a message!

This isn’t exactly rocket science.

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Britain’s Supreme Court rules bakery didn’t discriminate in ‘gay cake’ case | Fox News

https://www.foxnews.com/world/britains-supreme-court-rules-bakery-didnt-discriminate-in-gay-cake-case.amp

Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland refused to make the cake iced with the characters after the owners argued they shouldn’t’ be forced to put messages on their products at odds with their Christian beliefs. The high court agreed with the owners. The five justices on the court were “unanimous in their judgment,” the BBC reported.

“In a nutshell, the objection was to the message and not to any particular person or persons,” Judge Brenda Hale wrote in the decision. “It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics. But that is not what happened in this case.”

The message was Bert and Ernie characters “Support Gay Marriage”.
I’m not of the camp that thinks Bert and Ernie are a secretly gay couple, but I have watched enough Sesame Street that I know for certain that Bert and Ernie DO support gay marriage, so that characterization is correct.

As for discrimination, yeah, I think that the bakery discriminated against the message rather than the couple. But I find it difficult to believe that a bakery that wouldn’t make a Support Gay Marriage cake would make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Is gay marriage even legal in Northern Ireland yet? A commitment ceremony cake, then. Would the bakery make it? Probably not.

Or if they did make it, they’d bitch the whole time about government oversight and lack of religious liberty. They’d do the bare minimum and customer service would probably suck.

 I still think discrimination should be legal with the caviot that a sign be displayed saying exactly who isn’t welcome so that the people who are served can make an informed choice and shame anyone who shops somewhere where some people aren’t welcome. Unfortunately, antidiscrimination laws don’t change people’s hearts or minds. Just because people are served, it doesn’t mean that they are served well and people who are given good service have a hard time believing discrimination exists because they don’t experience it.

Walmart planning ‘net-connected trolley’ – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45809924

US retail giant Walmart has applied for a patent for a smart shopping trolley that can track a shopper’s heart rate, temperature, grip and walking speed.

Such a system would provide valuable information about how shoppers respond to different stores, it said.

 

I think this would go down better with shoppers if it automatically scanned items and had a running total of the expense so that checking out was just a matter of pushing a button, swiping a card, or stopping by a cashier for paying cash.

The Economy of a Timecard. Or: How to create 100,000+ jobs literally overnight.

So, I work at a small print shop. Print shops are a dying breed and as much as I love my job, I am not stupid enough to believe that I my job will exist when I reach retirement age in 40 years or so.

As I work, I like to think about the future of every job we do. Why is the Certain Bank ordering more and more paper bank statement blanks when people are constantly turning to electronic banking (I think they’re nuts, myself, but that’s another discussion that can’t be had publicly)? Is another company using more or less of their invoice blanks? Are the shipyards using more or less timecards?

It’s the timecards that I find the most fascinating because it seems like they’d save so much money if they switched to electronic payroll options. There are a lot of jobs associated with timecards:

There are the people who make the paper. The folks like me who print them (well, I do the bindery). And then there are the people in payroll who handle the information on those timecards. At least one of our customers uses DAILY timecards that gather information on the tasks performed as well as the times punched. That means that they probably need a half dozen people just to deal with the information on those cards everyday. That’s a lot of people who will be out of a job if the company decides to switch to electronic timecards.

So. If Donald Trump wants to miraculously create 100,000 jobs the day after his inauguration, all he has to do is mandate that all companies switch to paper timecards.

But, this isn’t a very PRODUCTIVE way to create jobs. And I don’t suggest that he do this! I think it’s a very stupid idea. But, as we think about the US economy, I think it’s important to consider the basic realities of the economy. Like, why are certain jobs disappearing? And is that okay?