Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Elvis Presley song: return to seller

As a public service, I hereby present a handbook for the most important activity you can undertake this time of year.


Returning items to the store.


In Australia, they have a holiday devoted to returns. They call it Boxing Day.


Yes folks, I am a self-proclaimed expert.


Don't challenge me.


I have successfully returned used underwear for a cash refund.


Gross, but for those who appreciate a good return, inspiring.


Chapter One: attitude. Attitude is the key. Never appear overanxious. Clerks smell anxiety over returns like dogs smell fear.


Act nonchalant. The less important it seems to you, the more important it is to the store  to please you.


Chapter Two: appearance. Dress well. If you appear to have money, you are a future customer. You'll come back to spend again if you leave happy.


Chapter Three: charm. Make them like you. You are almost timid but with a big smile. Complimentary toward the friendly clerk in the beautiful store you've been shopping at for years. They'll fall over one another to help you.


Chapter Four: accept cash substitutes. Lifting greenbacks from the register is always painful. Accept store credits or gift cards. Believe me, you'll be back in that store sometime and that gift card is as good as cash.


Chapter Five: it was a gift. If asked, tell them it was a gift. No one likes to see a disappointed child who received the wrong size or the wrong color or just something that wasn't right for him. The store will wants to erase that disappointment. If you purchased the item for yourself, you're not lying: it was a gift you bought for yourself.


Chapter Six: use a bag from the store. Bring the item into the store using a bag with the store label. If you don't have one, go get one. There's something about walking into Kohl's with a Kohl's bag in hand. It lends authenticity to the whole transaction. In this same vein, return clothes neatly folded or in store hangers, if possible.


Chapter Seven: win over the manager. Most store managers are way too busy to argue with customers. They can say "no" quickly to an overbearing complainer or "yes" to a friendly, loyal customer who just can't say enough good things about this outstanding retailer. Managers have the power to take back anything so play it smart: make that manager click his heels over the chance to please you.


So there you have it. Seven rules that will allow you to return anything  without a receipt.


My track record goes back many years and is without blemish. It doesn't matter the age of the item, or the amount of use the item has received.


As you can see it all lies in your approach to the problem.


Use positive energy  when you approach that formica counter and give the clerk and the store manager the opportunity to do something that they've been instructed to do through months of training: please the customer.


Many happy returns of the day.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

lazy lawyers show indifference to their calling

Here's a chance to see inside the private professional world of lawyers.


You see, every attorney registered in the state of Ohio is required to attend 24 hours of continuing legal education(CLE) every 24 months.


Each lawyer can pick from among hundreds of  classes offered by various universities, law firms, government agencies, and Bar Association's.


The courses range from topics such as DUI prosecution to federal tax matters to estate planning.


The only mandatory courses are those that deal with professionalism, ethics, and substance abuse.


That last one, substance abuse, has become prominent as the stress of practicing law frequently drives some barristers to rely on drugs or alcohol to get themselves through the day.


The required courses in professionalism and ethics help  remind lawyers how to behave towards their clients, the courts, and other attorneys.


I attended one of these  instructionals the other day and  it was standing room only.



Here's my problem.


As you sit in these classes with your fellow lawyers, you need only look around the room to observe that only about 60% of the attorneys are actually paying attention to the professor.


The other 40% are reading a newspaper or magazine or checking their email on a laptop or an iPad.


I sat next to a woman who played solitaire throughout the entire class. The topic that afternoon was the subject of professionalism and ethics for lawyers.


I find it unethical and unprofessional for a lawyer to tell the Supreme Court which he has satisfied his  continuing legal education requirements when he was physically present for the lessons, but mentally completely absent.


If someone decides to tune out when the priest or minister is delivering a sermon, that little disconnect is between the worshiper and his God.


When a lawyer merely pretends to cooperate in the efforts of the Ohio Supreme Court to make sure lawyers remain competent and moral, something is wrong.


The disregard for the mandatory learning is blatant as the newspapers are rattled loudly by those catching up on the sports page.


Every lawyer in the state has seen this phenomena and it is growing at an alarming rate.


It's no wonder that recent polling ranks lawyers among the least respected of all professions.


We've done it to ourselves by making it seem that the almighty dollar reigns supreme above the concepts of  justice and truth.


The fact of the matter is that most lawyers are good, honorable people and most of them are sincerely attempting to participate in these required continuing legal education courses.


But those that are shirking this responsibility by merely going through the motions make me sick and I wish they would just go find another line of work.


The rest of us are trying to burnish the reputation of the legal profession and we don't need those who just don't care.


Lawyers, look up and learn.


Some of us resent your callous indifference to your responsibility.


Word is getting around.


Justice may be blind but she isn't stupid.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Man with the ears disses man of the year

Time magazine's selection of Pope Francis as Person of the Year demonstrates the importance of the Catholic Church in the world today.


In fact, the standard for selection of the annual Time Magazine award is based on the publication's standard that the Person of the Year must be someone who has had the most significant impact on the world.


Of course, it didn't hurt that Pope Francis has demonstrated a compassion  in keeping with the spirit of the original St. Francis.


What's  obvious  is that the Vicar of Christ occupies a position of immeasurable significance throughout the world.


Whenever there is an international incident or a major catastrophe, reporters turn to the leader of the Catholic Church for words of comfort and explanation.


It was no accident that two American presidents turned to the holy Pontiff in maintaining the kind of international pressure that  led to the collapse of the Berlin wall.


Lest you doubt the media's perception of the Holy Father, you should be reminded of the incredible gavel to gavel or should I say bell to bell coverage of the papal conclave.


Cameras perched high atop buildings throughout Rome were focused on the proceedings of papal succession. For weeks, time stood still as the world pondered who might ascend to the seat of St. Peter.


Which brings me to another goofy decision emanating from the Obama administration.


Last week, it was disclosed that the United States ambassador to the Holy See in Rome has been ordered to move from its own embassy building into the structure housing the American ambassador or to the country of Italy.


The State Department claims the decision is cost-saving and will enhance security.


There may be some truth in that.


But in this age where Catholic values and beliefs are discounted by an American government imposing mandatory health insurance guidelines that spit on the pro-life religious, this is a huge mistake.


Regardless of the stated rationale for this move, Catholics feel put upon by the Obama administration.


Just when the President is trying to convince the rest of the world that he respects the religious freedom of Catholics, he confirms the suspicions of those that criticize him by kicking the ambassador out of his freestanding digs  into a side room at the Italian Embassy.


The White House has been quick to point out that the ambassador to the Holy See will have a separate address, even though he's located within the Italian Embassy.


As if this somehow will make everyone feel better.


Whoever said perception is reality ought  to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the President.


Catholics perceive this maneuver as an attempt to diminish the role of the Catholic Church in the world.



Unfortunately, the President has developed a  bad reputation for saying one thing and then doing another.


"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period."


Mr. President,  Catholic views are important and the leader of the Catholic Church is  important.


Just ask Time Magazine.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Breezy Birthday suit inappropriate for receiving politicians

Another story ripped from the pages of  my former life in politics.

The first time I ran for Mayor, I focused my campaign  on the one thing I could afford to do.

Knock  on doors.

I met thousands of people on their doorsteps and it made a huge impact, despite the fact that I had no budget for fancy ads in newspapers(this was in 1987, before the age of the internet and dynamic websites).

One of the most memorable experiences involved a naked lady.

One hot Sunday afternoon in August  I came to  a home where the front door was wide open so I had to knock on the screen door. The sun was low in the sky and I can remember that the doorbell was broken.

Now some of the screen doors are made out of a soft plastic and you really have to rap hard with your knuckles to make enough noise to get someone's attention inside the house. I knocked very loudly and then peered in through the  screen.

On the La-Z-Boy recliner right in the front living room I could make out the figure of a beautiful brunette with very long hair and porcelain skin.

She must have wanted to cool off because she was lying down on the lounge chair with a fan blowing on her.


My banging on the door  so startled her that she leaned onto her side and fell right on to the floor. I guess she had been sleeping. She hit the floor with a bang and then sprang to her feet, not coming to the door, but instead darting across the room.


It was then that I noticed that this young lady was racing from her fall to another room so that she could put some clothes on. She was completely naked. I began to tip-toe down the steps of her porch to move on to the next house.


However, before I could do so she reemerged at the door wearing a robe and assuming that I had not seen a thing.


I of course acted like I hadn't observed anything and gave her my normal political pitch along with a piece of literature.


As I went up the walkway to the next house I started thinking about the way she had been looking at me while we were speaking. I could see in her face that she was wondering if I had actually seen anything. I think I concealed my observations pretty well but I remember telling my wife when I got home that there was an important lesson to be learned.


No matter how hot it is, close the front door before you lounge around naked in the living room.


Being seen naked by a stranger is usually not a good idea.


Especially when that stranger is  one of the lowest forms of life.


A politician.