Saturday, July 19, 2008

Congress says: Let's raise gas prices more!

This is unbelievable: everyone is complaining about gas prices, so we tell the government "DO SOMETHING!".

What's their solution? Raise federal gas taxes by 10 cents per gallon.

Yes, as unbelievable as that is, they want to raise the price of gas, not lower it.

And guess who is all for it? Barack Hussein Obama


".... lawmakers quietly are talking about raising fuel taxes by a dime from the current 18.4 cents a gallon on gasoline and 24.3 cents on diesel fuel....With gas prices setting records daily, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and former Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a 90-day suspension of the federal fuel tax.... Barack Obama, the likely Democratic nominee, opposed the idea from the beginning ...."

I couldn't make this up if I tried. And why on god's green earth do they want to raise gas prices you ask? Simple: more highway maintenance.

Highway workers average $43,000/yr in Illinois (for example), which is full of cheap housing (Median price of a IL House: $89,000) and they need more money? I'm tired of seeing people... oh I'm sorry, "highway maintenance workers"... stand on the side of the road holding a sign that says "SLOW" and they make $21/hr for that. How many years of school do you need to hold a sign that says slow? That's complete crap. They should make a dollar or two more than a McD's employee at most, but instead they make almost triple the starting McD's employee (assuming a McD employee starts at the IL minimum wage of $7.50/hr). But because we elected some idiots to Congress they keep getting pay raises.

I think instead we should stop the pork barrel spending. That page has many examples, like a government project to "combat "goth culture" in Blue Springs, Missouri ($270,000)." And I'm sorry, but spending $18 billion a year on NASA is a bit much. I love NASA, I think it's cool, but 18 billion? And what does NASA do for me personally? What am I getting from this 18 billion? And don't tell me "oh great inventions came from going to space!" If that was the case, why does NASA still need government money? Shouldn't they be rolling in the dough from all their patents?

Alright I'll stop, I went from "Congress raising gas prices!" to "Cut the space program", but it all comes down to one thing: our government is broken and needs to be fixed. Everytime I turn around they're finding a new way to screw the people with a new tax or increasing existing taxes. Did you know taxes didn't even exist 150 yrs ago? The first federal income tax started during the civil war to pay for the war, but even then it didn't become law until 1913. So 100 years ago there were no federal taxes and now the average family pays roughly 9% of their income to federal taxes. Doesn't sound like much but then you pay income taxes to the state. Then on top of those two taxes you're paying taxes every time you spend that money on bills or gas or food. And on top of those taxes you might be paying taxes on things you've already paid taxes on like cars and houses and land. It's called property taxes and it's charged every year in most states.

So let's see: Taxed by govt, taxed by state, taxed to buy things and taxed for property. It's tax on top of tax on top of tax on top of tax. I wouldn't doubt that when you add it all up the average american spends 50% of their income on taxes. It's amazing we don't revolt.

Friday, July 18, 2008

eBay no speaky english

I've had a bit of a problem with ebay lately: my account of 10 years has been suspended indefinitely by mistake.

This is what happened: I logged onto ebay using a shared PC that a suspended ebay member had been using earlier. After 10 years on ebay I've used many shared PCs and I've never had a problem, but this time within hours I recieved the following email:

Gasp! My 10 year account gone in the blink of an eye! So I did what anyone would do, I contacted tech support. One would imagine a company with 7.4 billion in sales could afford technical support right? Wrong: ebay does not have a 1-800 number, and when you contact "Live Help" this is the "help" you get:

Wow ebay, thanks for the help, that engrish really cleared things up.

Come on ebay what's the deal? Maybe if you spent one of those billions on creating a call center in America that ebayers can call and actually be helped you wouldn't have such a bad wrap.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fake employers? Great, what's next?

I recently responded to a craigslist ad for a job:

and got this in response:

So I'm thinking, ok, I'll click on the link. And I get this:

and everything looks official, looks like a real website looking to hire people, right? The text on the bottom of the page is too small on the photo above but it says:
"We value and support higher education. If you would like
information about educational opportunities in your field, choose below.

Well who would tell a future employer that you don't think you'd benefit from more education? If you click "I would like to receive information" you're brought to a page that says:

"We are delighted that you are interested in exploring additional educational opportunities. You will be directed to several pages of information regarding educational programs...."

Creepy isn't it? If you're not interested in further education you're brought to this page:

and if you search the site there is very little there, no jobs at all. If you google you'll find numerous complaints. So now spammers are preying on poor job-seekers?

What's next?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Customer isn't always right: When it's time to cancel a customer

We've all heard the old adage "The customer is always right". Although that sounds great in theory, it doesn't work in the real world. We'd all like to help customers as much as possible, but when you spend much more effort helping a customer than the profit you make from the product they're purchasing then it's time to cut your losses.

Cellphone companies have canceling customers down to an art:

You call Sprint too much with complaints and they'll cancel your service. Why doesn't everyone do this? Why keep a customer around that's just going to complain constantly and post messages online saying how much your service sucks? Isn't easier to just cancel the customer so they go online and post "OMG MY SERVICE CANCELED!" just to get a dozen responses of "Really? I've been with them for X years and never been canceled, what did you do?"

So please, all those companies out there who haven't been canceling customers, start doing so. It'll make life easier for everyone.