Month: October 2020

Santa not as customer-friendly as he used to be

first_imgCategories: Editorial, Opinion‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,were caches of presentsbought by clicking a mouse.”With apologies to Clement Moore, this admittedly substandard attempt at mock poetry does rather accurately sum up the buying method of choice for millions during this and recent Holiday seasons.  It’s easy to understand why. It saves travel to several stores seeking the best deal, avoids having to deal with crowds, traffic, salespeople and — when it works — can be accomplished in seconds rather than hours.When it works.They say that the best stories come from personal experience. The tale that follows will test that axiom. See if it strikes a responsive chord with you. BUYING ONLINEToday’s shopper finds that many items that used to be available in quantity locally are no longer held in stock. So it is with the rechargeable batteries this shopper found only online for a classic radio he favors using.Offered in packages of eight by a California distributor, an order was placed through eBay, promptly paid for via PayPal and shipped.  In the majority of cases, items so ordered arrive as described intact and without incident.This was not one of those times. Four batteries arrived in a parcel that bore signs of brutal handling.SEEKING REDRESSEBay suggests first contacting the seller directly to work out the problem. Via the online form provided, the buyer requested the seller either to send four more batteries or refund half the amount paid.The seller responded that it would work to process a return of the shipment through eBay for a refund, ignoring the fact that this was impossible since the entire shipment never arrived and returning half the order made no sense. The buyer would be left without any of the batteries he needed; the seller would have fewer batteries than it claims it sent. The buyer informed eBay that he didn’t understand why a return process was initiated in the first place, did not want to return items he needed, and saw the entire incident as a miscommunication. He again tried to contact the seller directly to work things out.  The seller once more was referred to the eBay return process and informed that its customer service department might take “several days” to make a determination.When the buyer didn’t return the items by eBay’s deadline, eBay summarily dismissed the buyer’s claim.  TRUST THE RATINGS?The first time a buyer talks to a live person is when he initiates the eBay appeal process. That yielded only another reiteration of eBay’s returns process with an “apology” that there was nothing further that could be done.The supposed hallmark of online commerce is the rating that those on each end give one another about a transaction.In theory, this system builds a reputation for trustworthiness (or not) and thereby serves the best interests of future buyers and sellers.The now frustrated buyer decided to give the seller an accurate negative rating on eBay’s web site based on his personal experience. Instantaneously an e-mail came from eBay rejecting the buyer’s rating — effectively and summarily putting a huge thumb on the scale in favor of the seller.center_img In response, a second-level appeals process was offered with a toll-free phone number, a case number to cite, and assurances that an “eBay team member” would promptly answer “within 1 minute.” (It took four but let’s not quibble.)After considerable discussion and an apparent conversation with the seller, the “team member” stated that the seller wanted return of the items because it doubted the buyer’s veracity.  Now incredulous, the buyer asked how returning half the order could possibly confirm his account of things. The “team member” responded with an “apology” that she could help the buyer no further and offered to e-mail him the seller’s contact number, since eBay policy dictated it couldn’t be done verbally.  That e-mail has never come and the buyer’s customer service department has never responded.The end …?John Figliozzi is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Parade a small price to honor our veterans

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI was disturbed and very angry over an article I read in the New York Times trashing President Trump’s desire to have a parade to honor our great and brave veterans.I am always mindful of the fact that their bravery and courage have allowed me to write this article in English. This country borrows $1 million per minute to pay the interest on our debt of trillions of dollars.Ten to 30 minutes for our veterans is a very small price to pay for their sacrifices.Aram AtashianSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusSchenectady NAACP calls for school layoff freeze, reinstatement of positionsSchenectady police reform sessions pivot to onlineSchenectady’s Lucas Rodriguez forging his own path in dance, theater, musiclast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, Dec. 22

first_imgYounger and newer is not always betterYour recent editorial on LIFO states: “The practice, […] not only deprives students of the best teachers, but also prevents districts from maximizing savings by forcing them to keep underperforming higher-paid teachers at the expense of newer teachers who generally earn less pay and benefits.”This editorial drips with the assumption that younger and newer is better than older and experienced. I have crossed paths with a few teachers in my life, pretty much daily, and I know you are wrong.Imagine I placed you in a classroom with 25 rambunctious 5-year-old kindergartners and then left you on your own. No problem, right? Because you are the newer, younger model. If you have any problems, perhaps the teacher next door with 30 years of experience might give you a tip or two.James FogartyNiskayunaLook closer at flaws of socialist policiesFor historical context Mr. Ruddiman, regarding his Dec. 13 letter (“Socialist ideals are helping Americans“), needs to understand that Stalin’s form of governance was an absolute failure.Citizens starved and froze under the inability to find the funds to provide for, as Stalin termed, “all citizens.”The politically connected never suffered for the 40-plus years of Socialist ruling.After the Berlin Wall was removed, the majority of socialists citizens couldn’t wait to head west.This may be the future Mr. Ruddiman has in mind for the United States, but I am sure he is in the minority.Maybe he should read about the state of the Russian economy today as compared to ours.Like his hero Stalin, Bernie Sanders became a millionaire while employed by the government, not in the private sector.Michael SheedySchenectadyHonor the rule of law, not one political partyWe learned as children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands.The flag also stands for the Constitution, the governing document for the country. The Constitution establishes checks and balances among the three branches of government. No branch is infallible or free of being observed and examined by the other branches or by the people of the nation as a whole.In our complicated system, allegations can be presented, examined, investigated and, when necessary, presented for trial, appeals and review under the law. One branch, the executive, is claiming powers and privileges beyond anything seen before. The chief executive is asserting freedom from due oversight by the other branches, not only for himself but also for departments and agencies, under his authority as he chooses.The political party controlling part of one branch, the Senate, has the power to confirm judges.That branch has made its highest priority to fill the third branch, the judiciary, with persons handpicked committed to rule in favor of the policies of one party. Thus, the entire system of checks and balances is being systematically degraded by a plutocratic oligarchy.Our representatives pledge an oath to support and defend the Constitution. The pledge is to the country and Constitution, not a political party or a man.We the people should expect our representatives to honor their pledge to the country and Constitution and the rule of law.Paul ZawistowskiBroadalbin More from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionDemocrats must stop wasting Trump’s timeI see that the Democrat/liberals are determined to create more wasted time for our president. They are concerned that his amazing success in recovering from the mess that they made must be stopped.This man who is fighting to bring us back to honesty, decency and fairness must be reversed, and he must be punished.Nevermind that he has helped more folks get back to work (lowest unemployed many have ever seen).  “CNBC’s Cramer On Jobs Report: “These are the best numbers of our lives.” He is too dangerous to be allowed to continue.All the silliness that Nancy Pelosi and her liberal majority are accusing him of have been done before on a regular basis by his predecessors including her favorite, Obama.Of course, that was OK; he was a Democrat.Pelosi should be stopped. She should be told to get back to work and let the Congress be more productive. She is wasting our money on her personal vendetta.Wake up friends. Tell the world that we won’t allow this any longer.Don KnuthBallston SpaTalk is cheap. Take  action to get changeOn Dec. 17, Schenectady expected to get up to six inches of snow.The following day,  people were no doubt complaining all over the city about the lack of proper snow removal.However, except for approximately six of those people, not one has the right to complain. Why, you might ask? Because on Dec. 9, that is how many people exercised their right to speak at the City Council meeting. Full disclosure, as I was battling the flu, I was unable to attend myself. But thanks to Councilman Vincent Riggi for making sure my comments were put on the record. I host a YouTube show and my sign-off is always the same “Don’t just comment, act.”The people of Schenectady sadly do not.We have horrendous participation both at meetings and the ballot box. If you want change, then you must demand it of your leaders.Time to put up or shut up. Don’t just comment. Act.Edward SmithSchenectadylast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Jan. 25

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSchool task: Teach, keep students safe Work harder to make  pensioners wholeThe state of New York and St. Clare’s Corp. (aka Albany Catholic Diocese) agreed to the closure of St. Clare’s Hospital in 2007 with a promise to make our pensions whole. The promise was broken, and we are not looking for a handout.Fiduciaries made some serious miscalculations for the amount needed to make our pensions whole, and St. Clare’s pensioners are paying the price for this enormous mistake by facing a bleak financial future — and as a result having to sell our homes and inability to stay afloat paying bills.As directed by the state in 2007, The Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century (known as the Berger Commission) mandated closure of Bellevue Hospital and consolidation of Ellis and St. Clare’s Hospitals; this mandate never happened. Instead, Ellis Hospital took over St. Clare’s Hospital, Bellevue remained open, and an agreement was made by the state and St. Clare’s Corporation/Albany Catholic Diocese to make St. Clare’s Pensions whole; this never transpired.In the last 14 months, we have tirelessly made strong efforts to have our voices heard by telling our personal stories; appearing in TV interviews; received support from local newspapers, politicians, AARP and TV stations; held meetings; attended rallies and court appearances; had numerous meetings with Bishop Edward Scharfenberger and politicians, and many other efforts.Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Bishop Scharfenberger — let’s work together to make our pensions whole so we can have some dignity and security in our retirement.Patricia PangburnSchenectadyThe writer is a St. Clare’s pensioner. Criticism of Polimeni a sign of hypocrisyRegarding the Jan. 15 Gazette article “NAACP calls for city to employ diversity training:” It is beyond ridiculous that Schenectady City Councilman John Polimeni’s minor speech gaffe caused such a stir.Mr. Polimeni nearly used the term “colored” before immediately correcting his own wording. But his message was that the council is “very fortunate” to have diversity of race and gender.Why would he make this statement if he was racially biased?Several meeting attendees called for city officials to receive “diversity training,” despite diversity being the very thing Mr. Polimeni praised.Members of Schenectady NAACP addressing city officials by reading the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is completely illogical, as Dr. King’s agenda was the exact opposite of today’s “tolerant” left.If meeting attendees strictly followed Dr. King’s vision of abolishing recognition of race, the word in question wouldn’t have even come up, let alone the controversy that followed.The most blatant hypocrisy of all comes in the fact that the word “colored” is right in the name of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The term under scrutiny is used prominently by the organization scrutinizing it.Mr. Polimeni’s intentions were clear, but intentions no longer count for anything on the political left.David NosekGlenvilleSenators should have to explain voteThe impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the United States Senate is not about whether he held back military aid to the Ukraine for “dirt” on Joe Biden.The trial is not about whether he prevented key witnesses to the event from testifying.The overwhelming evidence indicates that he did both.Rather, the trial is about whether his actions, either one or both, meet the constitutional criteria for impeachment.Each senator has taken a sworn oath to being impartial. An impartial informed decision requires all the evidence to be examined.It’s a travesty of justice to deny new discoveries from being introduced.To make the trial result even more legitimate and accepted, every senator, not on a tribal basis but on an individual basis, should explain the reason for their vote on impeachment.Charles RiellyAltamontPoliticians must put end to sex traffickingNew York City is a major sex trafficking destination in the world.When will politicians stand up and put an end to this?Question: What sort of ‘man’ enjoys sex with a ‘girl’ (or could be a boy) who was gang-raped as part of the ‘on the job training?’Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Paul Tonko, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are AWOL on this matter. Republicans do not exist on this issue either. They are spineless.Silence is golden for politicians on the sex trafficking matter. Why?Pride without honor exemplifies politicians in Washington and Albany. Congress turns a blind eye toward sex trafficking.They do have time to schedule hearings on cheating in professional sports while Albany worries about plastic bags. Silence of the lambs is how some ‘live.’Edmond DayRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: No chickens in city without strong regsEDITORIAL: Don’t repeal bail reform law; Fix it the right wayEDITORIAL: No more extensions on vehicle inspectionsHIGH NOTES: PPEs, fighting hunger, backpacks and supplies for kidsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationcenter_img The efforts to keep our schools safe came one step closer to home, as reported by the Jan. 12 Gazette (“Parents voice school safety fears.”) It is a given that that parents, teachers and school administrators have the responsibility to make student safety a number one priority, not just part of an agenda and paying it only lip service, as public concerns were aired in a December school board meeting.While attempting to solve this dilemma, parents, teachers and school administrators had to endure pernicious twaddle from self-styled student “activists” who have never been in front of a class nor understood the dynamics of teaching, who prattle on with such useless advice as, “If you teach our children that they are valued, that they are people, that they are human beings, and that we love them, they will show up to be loved.”I was an educator and I deeply resent the inference that I was a nanny as well.I suggest that I was charged to teach young people; loving them was never part of my job description.Today’s “children” do not suffer from a lack of love.Rather, they suffer from a lack of discipline, which at one time came from the home, and have no need for any more excuses, no matter how eloquent, mitigating their behavior.The school’s task is to keep children safe.When we have successfully completed this task and the children feel safe, it stands to reason that they will learn.Michael G. DeckerSchenectadyThe writer is a retired Schenectady High School teacher.Is Congress worthy of your mountain?In the Bible, Psalm 15 starts with a question: “Lord, who may live on your holy mountain?”As I read it, I was struck by how much we would be blessed if those we elect to serve on our own Capitol Hill might be possessed of those same qualities.Katie FinneganMiddle GroveStart investing now to secure your futureI graduated high school in 1969.I bought myself a red convertible for $2,000.Had I instead invested that $2,000 in a total stock market fund and added just $2.50 per day, that little pile would now be worth over $1 million today.The moral of the story is simple. To accumulate large sums of money, one must start early, save steadily and let time and compounding do the magic for you.For those who feel the market is risky, I assure you that saving money in a lock box is much riskier.Instead of $1 million, your coffee can, lock box, mattress, whatever, would have just over $50,000. The other $950,000 in compounded earnings would be lost to you forever.Albert Einstein once said compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. He said it is the eighth wonder of the world. It is something you should know about early in life.Don’t wake up 50 years from now and wish you did.James PavoldiDuanesburglast_img read more

Grosvenor heads queue for BP’s Berkeley Square Estate

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‘We’re still land-hungry’

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Coppergate plan opposed by watchdog

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Battle begins as Warner tries to enforce town centre monopoly

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Australia’s John Ritblat

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Finance: identifying property investment vehicles

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