How do you feel about self-check out?

This recent cartoon, really hit a nerve. I didn’t think it would affect people so much. It got thousands of shares an untold number of comments on social media.

Mostly people who work at Walmart were upset, thinking I was picking on them, but I just chose Walmart because I usually hear people complain about the check-outs at Walmart. Truth be told, I don’t remember the last time I was in a Walmart, I think it could be 10 years or more and it’s only because there are no near where I live, I think the closest is 10 to 12 miles away, which isn’t much, but why not go to closer stores, rather than drive 10 miles to get something?

If you didn’t realize, the lady in the cartoon has a Walmart logo on her vest.

And people seem to hate the self-check out, but is it mandatory in Walmart? Every place I have been that has them has them as a choice; they have the usual cashiers, as well.

I prefer the self-check out, I seek it out. I use it at Publix, Whole Foods, CVS, Home Depot and I’m sure whatever place I see it. I find it convenient, fast and I don’t have to speak to anyone.

I’m glad the cartoon made the rounds, it must have been seen by over a million people so far.

One site where it was shared, got so hot and heavy in the comments section, it almost came to blows, that they removed the cartoon! And it had hundreds of shares and almost as many comments!

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Google it

I have a friend who worked in an info booth in town for years. Whenever I wanted to go to lunch or whatever, I would say, “Put a sign on the booth and let’s go. Tell people to Google It!”

Actually, the city sort of did that. They removed the info booths and put in something like those LinkNYC things they have in NY, only they aren’t as sophisticated, you can’t go online or use the internet, it’s more of an advertising thing. I have another friend whose beautiful art is on the info link things as part of the City of Miami’s project, I would love to get some of my cartoons on them.

A few years back I was in New York and a Nor’easter was coming. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I asked the concierge about it, “What should I do Michael? Stay? Go home?” He told me he would let me know in the morning. I gave him my number and figured that being a concierge, he had some sort of in with the weather service.

I asked him, “How are you going to get the weather?” He said, “I’m going to Google it,” to which I laughed.

In the end, the airline contacted me and had me change my flight and I came home early because of the oncoming storm. Michael did contact me the next day about the weather, but I took an early flight and was already home in Miami by then.

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Stolen credit cards

Someone was using my credit card in NY the other day. VISA contacted me to tell me that someone tried to spend $1075.00 at a Versace store, but they stopped them and blocked the card. They knew it wasn’t me from my spending habits! Which is correct, I don’t wear Versace. I’m a t-shirt and jeans guy. Basically a slob.

The only reason I bring this up is that I find it interesting that our credit card companies know more about us than Google or Facebook. They know what we spend on everything these days – people use credit cards to buy a cup of coffee. If I drink coffee every day and order tea one day, will they see this as fraud?

A few months ago I wrote about having my card declined at a gas station which was a few miles from home – it was out of my usual buying pattern.

A few years back I was notified by American Express – they said someone was using my card fraudulently. I asked them how they knew – they said they were buying motorcycle parts – which was out of my buying pattern. The same week, VISA contacted me, again it was a case of fraud. How did they know? Someone was buying Avon – which was out of my buying pattern. So I guess my buying pattern is somewhere between motorcycles and Avon.

I’ve been extra careful with my credit cards, I keep them in special sleeves so they can’t be scanned, but I guess there is always a crook out there who knows a loophole or two. I’m glad that the credit card companies are stopping sales in their tracks and not letting them through. Still – it’s all about getting new cards and dealing with changing all that info on auto billing places.

Last month I had to change my American Express card – someone set up a fake account on Etsy and they were charging small sales to people. They charged me for four items at $62 each. I only noticed because I have this thing set up where they email me every time I use the card where the card is not present – mostly online. Even when I guy something they send me an email, which I like.

They don’t send out new cards overnight like they used to. What they do is give you the new number through secure means and you can use that number until you get the actual card. I already changed out my Apple Pay account with the new card info.

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The price of gas; and coffee

This cartoon from Friday really hit a nerve with people. It got so many shares, likes and comments, more than any other I think.

A lot of people were saying they didn’t like it because it made no sense – how can you compare one cup of coffee to gallons of gasoline? But the point of the cartoon is that if a guy buys a $5.00 cup of coffee, most likely he is doing it daily and most likely, he is doing it more than once a day, so for him to complain about the price of gas is disingenuous. Plus, anyone who buys $5.00 coffee really has no right to complain about the price of gas. It’s just a big metaphor. That’s all. Sort of like Elon Musk complaining about the price of a space rocket.

And yes, I know gas is more than $3.00. I was surprised to see some of the comments from Norway and other far away places where gas is $7.00 a gallon! But it was cleaner to read making it $3.00 a gallon rather than $3.79 a gallon or $3.99 a gallon or even $4.00 a gallon, since $4.00 was too close to the $5.00 amount of the coffee.

I was driving around my county the last few weeks and saw that gas in less populated areas is much less than popular and more upscale neighborhoods. Some differences as much as 50 cents a gallon and these places are harder to get to than popular neighborhoods and areas. So none of it makes sense other than supply and demand I guess.

And might I add that Shell gas stations are always more than any other station on any give day at any time of the year. I gave up buying Shell gas years ago. For spite I think they are higher in price. If one station is $1.99 a gallon, Shell, across the street is $2.29 a gallon. If gas is $3.79 at one station, at Shell across the street, it is $4.15 a gallon. I think they do it to see how many people are too lazy to drive across the street for the cheaper gas – and it’s not cheaper brands, it’s name brand gas that is cheaper than Shell. Always.

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