Do people really pay these prices on Craigslist?

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Advertised as “Roof Metal with Patina”, what I call rusty tin. They want to sell it for $1.65 per linear foot and have 7 and 12 foot sheets. A quick check on Lowe’s and there you can get new tin sheets for less than $1.35 per linear foot.

It seems that everything I see on Craigslist that I might be interested in is priced above the cost of new equipment. There are a few bargains on Craigslist but you have to look through a lot of items to find them. I have bought a few items through the list, but that is over the period of a year and looking almost everyday to see what is new.

Do people usually haggle over the price? The two items that I have bought the people were firm on their price, but at the same time their price was actually a good price. The concept of Craigslist is good but people need to be a little realistic about what their items are worth. If I am going to pay new prices for tools then I am going to the store and buy new tools with a warranty, not slightly used tools that are still in good shape.

 

False Headlines

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It seems like everyone is using blatantly false headlines to grab peoples attention. I got an email from AARP with the featured story “There’s a Problem With the New Chip Credit Cards“. So I immediately read the article. Does it come out and say there is a problem? NO. Does it even imply that there is a problem with the cards? NO. Instead the article is that credit card fraud has not been reduced as much as expected. Mainly because so many merchants haven’t adapted to the new technology.

I eat at my local Cracker Barrel often and they have had chip readers for over a year and they still do not work. After about a year they finally inserted a plastic card into the chip reader that has “Please swipe your card”. That isn’t really the solution to the problem.

But enough of Chip cards, back to the Headline issue. For the past six to twelve months you have people on Facebook sharing articles with Headlines to grab your attention. Again you read the article and there is no substance in the article to even remotely support the headline. It has reached the point on Facebook that I have started blocking contain from pages. Along with that most of the time that I see a headline claiming something drastic, I just keep scrolling and don’t bother to read what I know is a slanted useless article.

Has Twitter converted out nation to where we only read a single sentence like the headline and do no investigation to see the facts. I don’t know how many articles I saw before the election with titles like “Once people see this Hilliary is done” and Once people see this Trump is finished”. It would be nice to find a location that you could get actual factual news.

Is Truth a Thing of the Past

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For the past several months I have been seeing trash like this on Facebook. It comes from both parties. Prior to the election that headline was something like “Once everyone sees this Hillary or Trump will be finished” depending on which party was pushing the post.

Ran across this article a couple of days ago. “BREAKING! Ben Carson Just EXPOSED Who Is Really Elizabeth Warren – SPEECHLESS! Ben Carson on Thursday in the Senate committee literally destroy Elizabeth Warren. In fact, he was questioned about his ability to lead the department of Housing and Urban Development.” Since I am interested in the vetting process for Trumps cabinet appointees I read the article and listened to the recording of the event.

There is no way possible to tie the headline to what actually transpired. It was pretty much just boring questions and talking around the question without answering the actual question. I have reached the position that am not sure if Facebook is good or bad. It is good in that it allows fact to reach a larger portion of the population. It is very bad that people read the headlines, assume it to be factual, and share or repost spreading the falsehoods. It seems almost no one of Facebook ever fact checks anything. I have even had people in conversations quote something they saw on Facebook to prove that it is true. My experience is that less that half the stuff I see on Facebook is close to being factual.

Cellular Phone Service

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One would think that as long as cell phones have been available that the cellular carriers would have some idea about what was required. My cell phone service was with Sprint when I lived in Pittsburgh. After moving to North Alabama I found that almost everywhere that I go is a dead zone. I could tell it to use WiFi when available so it worked at home and a few other places that I go. However, the middle of December my contract ran out and I decided it was time to switch to Verizon that has the best service in North Alabama.

Before making the switch I did an online chat with a Verizon representative to see what all was required and was told nothing that my phone would just need a new SIM card. I specifically ask if it was required for the phone to be unlocked first and he told me no. So Friday Tom and I go to the Verizon store to get the phones switched over. After all of the paper work was done and they tried to insert the SIM card they discovered that the phone was still locked and that I would have to call Sprint and have it unlocked. Would have been nice if I had been told that when I ask.

I had an appointment to get my Wheelchair lift repaired after leaving the Verizon store so while I waited I called Sprint customer service on my cell phone. In the middle of talking to a service rep I turned a little bit and the phone dropped the call. So I tried again, this time when I got a service rep they kept telling me that I was breaking up and they couldn’t hear me.I really wanted to tell them it was breaking up because of the Sprint service, instead I just finally hung up.

When I got home I called again on a land line. This time I had to give them the MEID number of both phones even though the number is in their records and this is after providing the PIN to access my account. I though that we were through and then when I got a fast busy indicating they had disconnected I also hung. They told be it could take up to 72 hours. It has been over 72 hours and my phone is still locked.

So I called back again today and was on the phone for about 20 minutes, 15 of that talking to the rep. He kept telling me to hold on that it was taking a long time to come back. Finally he did something and disconnected the call, one would think if someone spends most of their time on the phone they would know how to use the phone system. It was time to go eat so we left for dinner.

After returning I dialed their number again. During the opening spiel they mentioned online chat and I thought that sounded like a good idea. Harder to hang up on me and easier to read than to understand what they are saying. They must be overloaded because the chat icon is not on the screen where they said it would be so it was back to the phone. This time I got to someone who actually finished up and supplied me with a ticket number for each phone that was being unlocked. However, I was told again that it could take up to 48 hours.

Now it is wait some more and see how long it is before I get switched and have phone service that actually works. In the midst of all of this Sprint send me an email offering me $300.00 per line to reconnect. They would be better served to upgrade their service and maybe they wouldn’t be losing customers.

How Good are Warranties?

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Lowes has a line of tools labeled as Kobalt and are generally a little cheaper than other brands and carry a longer warranty. Several years back I bought a multi piece kit containing reciprocating saw, drill, light, skill saw, two batteries, and a charger in a nice bag with a 5 year warranty. About the only two things we every used was the reciprocating saw and the light. Several months back the reciprocating saw locked up and would not work.

Carried it to our local Lowes store in Hartselle. There we were ask if it was bought in a kit or as a standalone item. Told them that it was in a kit and we were told they would have to swap out the entire kit. Did not make sense to me but if that is what they wanted it was fine with me since I would be getting new batteries in the deal. However, it turns out that they did not have the kit in stock but they checked and found that the Decatur store had several in stock.

Since I didn’t have the kit with me I took the reciprocating saw back home and we packed up the kit with all of the items and went to the Decatur store. Explained the problem that the saw was locked up, they checked the saw out and went to get a replacement. What they returned with was just the reciprocating saw. That was fine with me. But it seems that Lowes does not have a consistent policy with warranty exchanges, meaning the customer never knows what to expect from one store to another.

Last night I bought a 1/4 inch ratchet kit, 3″ extension, and a 5/16″ deep well socket. The ratchet did not look quite right as the little lever that reverses the direction did not seem to go fully in either direction. It was packaged in plastic that kept it from moving freely and I wrongfully assumed that was why. When I got home and got the ratchet out I quickly discovered that was not the case as the ratchet would turn freely in both directions regardless of the position of the lever.

This kit was advertised as a lifetime warranty so I figure no problem and carry the ratchet back for replacement. Once again I am ask if it was part of a kit. Replied yes and was told that I would have to switch out the entire kit (which I did not have with me). To this I told them they had no other kits as I got the last one displayed. According to their records they still had two in stock, thus the tool department manager spent 10 minutes looking for them to no avail. Then they took the ratchet number and looked it up and told me that it showed none in stock, to which I replied that they had two hanging on the display board.

In the midst of this they ask about receipt which I did have with me, although I don’t understand why a receipt is needed if it has a life warranty and is obviously defective. That is the one thing that I really liked about Craftsman tools from Sears. There you take in a defective tool and they swap it for a new one no questions asks and no paperwork, what every paperwork is required they do after you leave. After 30 minutes and talking to the tool department manager (who wanted to just swap the ratchet but couldn’t because of procedures), the assistant store manager, and the cashier I finally had a ratchet that worked although it required purchasing the new ratchet and then returning the old ratchet (which required showing my drivers license).

Lowes desperately needs to get their act together on how warranty replacements are handled. It is bad enough to get a defective tool without it requiring 30 minutes and 3 store employees to handle the transaction.

It will certainly make me think twice about buying any more Kobalt tools from Lowes.

Things Don’t Always Work as Expected

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Back in May I had a credit card that was compromised. The good thing is that I have text alerts set up and got a text message as soon as the card number was used. I called the credit card company and reported the issue. They cancelled that card, declined the charges attempted on the card, and issued me a new card. Of course it takes about a week to get the new card and then I have to go update all the places that have that card number. Needless to say that any time a credit card gets compromised it takes a lot of work.

I have some vendors that were using that card number to make monthly recurring charges. I was under the assumption that if a vendor submitted a charge to that number it would be declined and I would be notified of that. Then here in September I get a notification from a wireless vendor that a charge has been denied. I log on to that account and see that the credit card number shown is the one that was cancelled in May. Then I go and look at the billing history and see that charges for June, July, and August were successful. This led me to believe that somehow the wireless vendor restored the old card number.

In talking to the vendor today they could not tell me the last time the credit card number was changed. What they could tell me was the last four digits of the credit card number that was used for the previous three months payments. They all showed the old cancelled number. I updated the wireless vendor with the new credit card number and then called the credit card company. It seems that recurring charges are handled differently from other charges and the vendor was able to use the cancelled number for three months before being declined. So it seems that cancelled is not always cancelled.

If the charge had been denied the very first month after the card was cancelled it would not have been nearly as confusing.

The one thing that I have learned from this is that everyone should take advantage of the credit cards companies ability to send alerts about charges. This is what allowed me to detect a fraudulent charge almost immediately. For cards that I rarely use they are set up to send me a text for every time they are used. This process is fast, when I shop at Sam’s Club and check out I often get the text for the charge before the receipt prints. For cards that are used frequently I have them set up to send texts for any internet charge and for charges over a certain dollar amount. I have been thinking about setting them all to send alerts for any charge, after all it doesn’t take much effort to delete text messages. Plus I have a Pebble watch that connects to my phone and I can see the text on my watch without having to retrieve my phone to view the message.

Be Careful of What You Wish For

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Let me start this blog off with the statement that I am a firm believer in the separation of Church and State. The people who wrote our Constitution were pretty intelligent people and tried to fill in all of the loop holes that they could.

A marriage license is a government issued document allowing two people to get married. Who a person marries is non of the Churches business unless the couple on a ceremony at a particular church. Then it is up to that Church to either allow or not allow, after all Churches are not suppose to be businesses. The difference being if you are in the business of Weddings for the public, such as a Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, then you should be required to marry anyone with a legitimate marriage license.

I am always hearing people campaigning to have prayer brought back to our schools. These are usually bigots that have no idea what they are asking. Here is an example from an excerpt (in blue) from “The Des Moines Register”, while not a school it is a public forum.

The Fort Des Moines Church of Christ created controversy in 2012 when it had an illuminated sign displayed outside the church with the message, “Gay is not okay.” The explanation at the time was that the sign was meant to advertise that the week’s sermon was about homosexuality. About 100 protesters gathered outside the church in response, carrying rainbow flags and other banners.

Pastor Mike Demastus told the Register that he was targeting homosexuality, but not homosexuals specifically. He subsequently replaced the word “gay’” with “adultery” after the sign was vandalized.

Last year (April 9, 2015),  Demastus organized a group of Christians who prayed at the Iowa Capitol when the Iowa House began its day with a modern pagan blessing by a Wiccan priestess from Cedar Rapids. Demastus said he didn’t dispute the woman’s constitutional right to pray as she wishes, but he would rather have legislators hearing lessons from the God of the Bible.

In essence what Demastus is saying is it is alright for someone from his religion to pray to open the day of the Iowa House, but not necessarily for other religions to have the same right. This is why we need a greater separation of Church and State. I will assure you that if the bigots in a state get a law passed to allow public prayer in schools then they will be the first up in arms when some religion they don’t approve of does a public prayer there. People need to stop being so emotional and try thinking logically about what they are saying.

I am constantly deluged with post on Facebook with someone who is disabled, sick or some other similar situation with the request to respond Amen. Amen is generally said at the end of prayer and means “so be it”. Are these people so callous that they are posting someone with cancer and saying “so be it”. I don’t think so they don’t know what it means and they are just lemmings following the crowd. Similar to the story of a preacher who near the end of his sermon ask how many people wanted to go to heaven. The majority of the congregation raised their hand, yet the preacher thought he could do better. Preached a little longer and ask the question again and all of the congregation raised their hand except for a gentlemen about half way to the back. So the preacher tried several more times and everyone except the same gentlemen raised their hand. The preacher was get exasperated and finally just singled the man out and ask why he didn’t want to go to heaven. The man replied, “Oh, I thought you were getting up a load to go tonight.”.

You keep hearing the so called “Religious Right” (which often is neither) complaining that Christians are being persecuted. That they are being forced to have marriage ceremony for someone they disapprove, this is not true they are not forced to perform any marriage ceremony. They complain that allowing homosexuals to get married is destroying the sanctity of marriage. I believe that adultery and divorce have already got that covered. As I have always said that if you are opposed to Gay Marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex. They think that their religious beliefs should extend to their business. No businesses are entities that fall under the laws of the city, state, and federal jurisdictions. Allowing Hobby Lobby to exclude certain insurance coverage was just wrong. Too many Christians want to legislate morality based on their religions beliefs. Anyone that wants to know what I do in the privacy of my bedroom are just perverted individuals, that is why we have laws against Peeping Toms.

More Christians should pay attention to the statement from Jesus where he said, let you who is without sin cast the first stone. I get tired of hearing Christians quoting scripture from Leviticus about perceived homosexuality and then ignoring everything else that you are warned not to do.

Longer post than I intended but I get upset about peoples intolerance.

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