So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.
On Monday the Supreme Court Of The United Status (SCOTUS) rendered a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
What’s a “Burwell,” you ask? As the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time the decision was rendered*, Sylvia Burwell automatically became a footnote to history. Based on her position, as far as this case is concerned, she’s a proxy for the United States.
melt down (fat) – process (the carcass of an animal) in order to extract proteins, fats, and other usable parts.
At issue (per the Hobby Lobby website): The federal government mandating that “family businesses provide four specific potentially life-terminating drugs and devices through their employee health plan in conflict with their deeply held religious convictions.” Widely the issue is described as contraception. So what are these four drugs? “[T]wo kinds of emergency contraceptive or ‘morning after’ pills, and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.”
Which way did SCOTUS break? Let’s put it this way. I went to the official Hobby Lobby online store and clicked a menu option labeled “News Center.” I was whisked away from shopping to HobbyLobbyCase.com, a lavishly and gorgeously designed website which proudly proclaimed, “A VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.”
I guess that answers the question, “Will they keep it low key?” Obviously, hell no. Shout it from the mountain top Moses-style. Some can just naturally sense the appropriate amount of decorum. Is gloating one of the seven deadly sins?
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So, what do they want?
One example is something they want is atheists out of America. We know this through messages (called sermons) from official representatives of their organizations (called churches) led by official spokespersons (called preachers). Further, we know these messages are official because the membership (called congregations) has indicated support by voting (called money) for these representatives.
Another example (as if we needed more) is elected representatives (called Republicans) trying to control other human beings (called legislation) extending the “rights” of some to the detriment of others. These are the so-called Freedom of Conscience laws.
A few attempts have failed so far, including the one in Arizona just this week, but make no mistake about it. More are on the way. This will continue until one becomes the law of the land, at which point it will be appealed (at great expense) where it will finally be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Now, I know that this combative group isn’t representative of all religious, conservative, Republican folks out there. There are lots of good, sincere and well-intentioned people on both sides of most any issue. (Even if one side stubbornly refuses to admit it.) But these types are supported by enough people that their messages often have as much power as a gathering storm.
The Freedom Of Conscience strategy represents a shift from the time-honored traditions of “abomination” and “you’re going to Hell.” One thing about the Culture War: It never ends and scouts are always being dispatched to probe for weaknesses along enemy lines.
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Meanwhile, in 1964, the idea for a space exploration television series was already a glint in Gene Roddenberry’s eye. Who could have possibly guessed where this glint might lead? One night, early in 1970, a jackal howled at the moon and that glint was conceived as a new life form. A winning sperm penetrated a poor little ovum and nine months later, on October 12, 1970, Kirk Thomas Cameron popped onto the earthly plane.
Verily, I must go where the spirit moves me and today it has led me to Kirk Cameron. Ugh.
Far be it for me to question the motives of the Creator. Maybe he’s torturing me for a follow up to the Book of Job? The Book of Tom has a nice ring to it. Yeah, I’m willing to suffer a little for 15 minutes of Biblical fame. But not too much, okay?
Verily, like most incidents of torture in my life, it all started on Facebook…
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Strife of Lie
by Tom B. Taker
Never tell ’em up front how the story ends. I had a good movie-going experience. Oops. What? Yes, it’s true. In fact, I’d say it was literally the best movie going experience I’ve had in years. We’re off to quite the positive start, eh? Or are we?
The devices were turned off.
No one sat too close.
The theater was sparsely populated.
But it wasn’t perfect.
The young man who knocked on the door had dropped the name of Cliff Face. He was about to get booted from my porch, too. But that name! It gave me pause. For the moment the stranger had captivated my attention. Curiosity always got the better of me.
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The news came unbidden. I never asked. When the roulette wheel of life lands on “win” never trust it. I remember well, just like I was saying the other day, how negativity saved my life.
And you can, too.
So yeah, a not-so subtle Jedi mind trick recently came a huntin’ for my ass. And if I wasn’t careful, it was gonna be my bloody arm neatly severed and quivering on the cantina floor. And, just my luck, a revisionist George Lucas was nowhere in sight, so I couldn’t count on the scene being rewritten to make me the bad guy turned good. Or something like that.
Tom’s Law #42
Good news can be deadly.
Fortunately my negativity skills kicked in and saved my life.
Spoiler alert: Things all work out as they should in the end. My end.
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