Dont Bring the Poop Home

dog_poopIn order to properly tell this story, let me first give you a visual. At our residence in Pennsylvania, there is a 1 mile loop around the development. Strategically placed approximately every third of a mile is a doggy waste disposal stand. These work out very handy when you’re walking your dog and need a convenient location to drop your poop. Ok, you all get the picture now.

So here’s the situation. Ideally it’s great that when you walk your dog and you pass a poop disposal stand prior to arriving home, you can make a deposit and move along. So what happens when you hit the point of no return, when you dog goes and it its closer to just go home. Do you double back to get rid of the poop or do you bring in home?
Now, I know we all don’t all have dogs and those of those of us that do might not have to deal with this situation, but the bottom line is every one of one us has to clean up poop occasionally. It can be poop at the office, poop from your kids or just the poop from life’s events. Not one of us can honestly say we don’t have to ever sometime clean up someone else’s poop.
We all deal with poop in different ways. For those of us that choose to “bring it home” this can have negative consequences. First, if you bring it home, you can’t hide it. Poop always has a way of showing its ugly head. It will affect your decision making, cause sadness and generally just get in the way of you functioning in a normal happy way. Is not always easy to find a place to put your poop. If you try to hide it, eventually it will be found. Someone can always smell when something isn’t right. Secondly you can choose to ignore it. This too is quite ineffective. It doesn’t go away on its own. Over time it will even become smellier. You might choose to pass it along to someone else and let them deal with the poop. Unfortunately this doesn’t work either. Somehow it always finds its way back to you and “poop payback” can even be worse.
So how does one deal with the daily poop from others? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could wave a magic wand and the poop would just go away? Not going to happen. Once you choose to deal with someone’s poop, you need a means to dispose of it. It’s not always as easy as just tossing it away and going on with your day. Many times it might require a little extra effort? In every case, the extra effort is a much better option than bringing it home. Many of us deal with poop better than others, and those individual seem to become poop magnets. What is there secret? In many cases they are good multitaskers. They are also usually capable of taking actions and making decisions quickly. These “poop experts” also have their own ways of not “internalizing”, they are usually busy people, but they have learned before you can take care of someone else’s poop you need to take care of yourself first.
I once read a Jerry Seinfeld quote that said something like; “If an alien watched two life forms and one of them cleaned up the others poop and carried it, who would you assume is in charge.” He does have a point. If we choose to carry someone’s poop then, we have made a conscious decision and it’s up to us to retake charge of the situation.
Hopefully this Blog will get you thinking on what to do with your next load of poop. My suggestion is always take the extra steps to get rid of the poop before you go home. No one really wants to share others poop that you decided to take on. On those days when you know you might be “knee deep” in extra poop, just bring another bag or two and just take that extra moment, and if necessary, double back. You will be glad you did and so will those around you.

Respectfully,

Steve Kohn

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Published in: on September 16, 2015 at 6:35 pm  Comments (1)  

New Jersey…… See YA

Well, today we leave the Garden State as residents and officially become “Snow Birds”.  Packing up our home of 23 years has been a challenging task and one that I hope not to repeat in the near future.   We will be spending the warm summer months in Palmyra, PA and the the balance of our time in Lake Worth FLA.   I thought I would take a moment of your time and present my “Top Five ” list of what I will miss and not miss about NJ. 

What I will “NOT” miss

1) Taxes –   in the 23 years we have owned our home we have seen our taxes quadruple and the services we receive for this fees just keeps getting less and less.   Seriously, there is no value by keeping a large home in NJ.  Totally ashame.

2) Traffic – Getting from point A to B is not that simple anymore.   Just to many vehicles on the roads.

3) Road conditions –  NJ streets, highways and bridges are just coming apart.  Construction that is getting done is slow and of poor quality.

4) Politics – see items 1, 2 and 3.   Enough said

5) The Weather –  Leaving winter behind is a wonderful thing.   Felt great to give away the snow blower and shovels.   Love posting beach shots in December to all our friends

What I will miss

1) Friends and family –  Have some great memories and will miss everyone, but we will keep in touch and our doors are always open for visitors.  KAMP KOHN NORTH is closing its door, but all are welcome to KAMP KOHN COUNTRYSIDE and CASA KAMP KOHN SOUTH.

2) Bike Rides –  The Sourland Mountains, the back roads of Franklin Park, Hillsborough, Manville, Mercer, Monmouth. Hunderdon, and Middlesex county have been an amazing experience.

3) Dining pleasures – Favorite places that I will miss  include:  Dusals, Stage House and Skylark Diner

4) Our Backyard – will certaintly miss our hot tub, garden pond, and large play area that have seen many days of our kids and grandkids enjoying playful times.   All our tented events are now great memories

5) Forrestal Village Fitness (Formly Cando Fitness)  –  The health club has been my morning experience for many years.  Will miss my spin classes, and boot camp workouts.   Golds Gym Hummelstown PA here I come

and also an Honorable mention of : The Jersey  shore. Belmar Beach……….


Respectfully,

Steve Kohn

Published in: on June 18, 2015 at 1:04 pm  Comments (3)  

Look Who’s Watching

watchingWell, I am approaching the six month mark of leaving behind the day to day operations of a Rental Business. During this time I have had the opportunity to visit many rental operations throughout the country, see several manufacturer reps, attend trade shows and catch up on reading  industrial publications. Being on the other side of the fence has given me a new perspective on issues that I once might have not given enough thought on.

First, we need to talk about big elaborate showrooms. Let’s face it, potential and existing customer habits have changed and evolved. Huge showrooms to display your wares are certainly impressive, but probably not necessary anymore. It’s a great feeling when I walk into elaborate showrooms, but after spending some time in them, you come to the conclusion of what is missing. Namely, CUSTOMERS.

In today’s fast pace world, clients have less time to visit brick and mortar establishments and are more than willing to accomplish task with the point and click method or just by picking up the phone. Although there are market where a showroom is a must, maybe it’s time to think about downsizing, or better yet investing in an outside sales force that can show your services and products almost anywhere.

Space is money. Are you better off filling that space with product that can be rented to produce revenue or display items that might draw a limited audience? I still agree there are those clients that need to come in and “kick the tires”, but that has to be balanced with the need for space.

More and more rental companies are opting for the Industrial complex model. Moving off major highways and high priced real estate locations to more cost effective properties that are still accessible but priced right. Usually these locations have better loading facilities and are much easier to layout efficiently. Showrooms are still present, but at a much reduced size.

Second, let’s review delivery vehicles. As I drive around, I have been paying special attention to the unique vehicles you all use. From 24’ box trucks, to Sprinters vans and flatbeds to tractor trailers. I have seen amazing body wraps and clever slogans painted on the sides. Delivery trucks are moving advertisements for you and then say a lot about your company.

What I have noticed in these vehicles will probably make your cringe. I have stopped at traffic lights and looked across or to the left or right and noticed in the cabs of these vehicles very visible through the front windshields, and noted the following items: The remains of a baloney sandwich from days gone by, piles of lottery scratch off tickets, risky magazines, empty soda cans, crumbled rental contracts, several days’ worth of t-shirts, jackets and caps. And assorted tent parts such as R-Pins and bungees.

I’m sure once these trucks return to base locations there are procedures to clean this up (hopefully), but is it really necessary that your trucks be treated like dorm rooms while your crews are on the road representing your company?

Third, I would like to mention trade shows. Walking around, I noticed that the manufacturers with the most traffic are the one that have the most new products and ideas. If you’re selling the same old thing, what is the draw to visit your booth? If you’re offering special pricing or discounts, that doesn’t require traveling. It can very easily be obtained via a phone order or internet sale, rather than attendees giving up their time to travel or  limiting there time to see other vendors that have new items worth their time.

Wake up manufacturers! Stop being content with what you have now. Survival will be based on how well you adapt to changing markets. New products are just one part of this. New markets must be opened and you must connect with today’s clients and their needs. Remember, as a manufacturer or vendor you have the ability and knowledge to shape markets and change customer needs and wants.

Finally, I would like to mention training. Many of you have employees that have been around awhile and are very set in there ways. When was the last time you updated or refreshed your customer service, telephone answering, computer knowledge and even CAD skills?

Your warehouse, delivery and back office people need training in safety, material handling, and driving and customer service as well. Don’t take this for granted. Training not only serves to make your company more competitive, it’s also a great motivator for employees. It shows your care enough about them and are willing to invest in their futures.

You can never go wrong with training. Its available, it’s generally economical and now is the perfect time of year when it’s quiet to do it.

Looking forward to visiting many more of you. Send me an email, be glad to come and say hello. We can do lunch or just hangout.

By the way, I have not mentioned any particular operations or vendors, but I do want to point out that everyone I have visited has rolled out the red carpet and made me proud to be part of the greatest industry on earth.

Until next issue, enjoy the holidays, stay warm and keep growing
I’ll be watching 

NOTE:  This Blog has also been published in the December issue of ARA of NJ RentalWorks

Published in: on December 9, 2014 at 7:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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Two Week Check In

Life is good

Life is good

Well, its been two weeks since XM Day (Exit Miller’s) and I have been getting so many questions from all my friends and family. So I thought I would take a moment and answer for all. Here are the the top five questions asked:
1) So how does it feel?,

2) Do you miss work?

3) What are you doing with yourself all day?

4) Are you and Linda enjoying each other 24/7.

5) What plans have you made.

First, the short answers for those of you that don’t have the time to read this whole Blog: 1) Great 2) No 3) Plenty 4) You bet 5) Lots

Now the detailed for those of you that really want to know the answers:

For the first couple of days I had this smile on my face that just would not go away. It was like a feeling of euphoria that over comes you. My friends said they have never seen me look like this, they couldn’t remember the last time they saw me so at peace with myself. The weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. All the work related things I worried about for so many years had finally been put to an end. Until you experience the situation where you wake up in the morning and realize that there is no rush to get to your office you won’t be able to grasp this feeling. My job had consumed me and my world revolved around that. Still hasn’t fully kicked in that this is all going to be different now. As close as I can describe, can you remember the last day of school in June when you were around 10 years old and that clock clicked 3:05PM and you knew that an entire summer of fun awaited you. This time summer is going to last for much longer.
Everyday since XM has brought me closer to who I can be and what possibilities the future can bring. Getting use to focusing on non work related issues and having the time to deal with them properly is a whole other world.  The simplest things in life which I neglected for so long are just amazing. The second cup of coffee on the back deck in the morning. Spending extra time with the grand children. Not checking email while sitting in the bathroom. Enjoying a trip to the supermarket and taking the time to actually see what’s in the aisles. Reading the WSJ while not sitting in traffic. I can just go on and on.
If I had to sum it up in one word it would be Freedom. I guess I didn’t realize how much running a company was making me a hostage from enjoying life. I’m sure eventually this sense of enjoyment of a new life I’m experiencing will eventually calm, but for now I’m going to ride it for as long as I can.
Do I miss work? This is an interesting question. Long before XM day, the sands of time began to empty for what I envisioned for my long and fulfilling career. There was a day when work was everything. It was actually enjoyable to run a company, interacting with clients, motivating employees, working on major events, purchasing new products and seeing so many special events transform from the drawing board to the finished product. But something happened along the way. The world changed and running a business became extremely difficult, excessive government rules and more taxes, rising health insurance, intellectually challenged competition, higher cost of fuel, lower profit margins and longer hours of work to stay ahead all contributed to my decision to eventually leave. All of his just was the buildup for the eventual departure. I will always miss my staff who were the greatest, but I know they respect my decision and only wish me the best. For the moment I’m enjoying this new found freedom and comfortable with the decision to depart. Going out on a high note was the right move.
Everyday has been filled with activities. I have not changed my morning routine of going to the gym at pre-dawn or have I cut my bike riding time. Been focusing on projects that have been neglected for a long time around the house and making the most of each day. Although everyday feels like Saturday, it doesn’t mean that Linda and I are sitting around. We plan each day together and we are having fun with fulfilling days and evening. Seems are schedules are busier now then they were when we were both working. Nice being able to enjoy time with not only Linda but with friends and family.
We have several trips planned this summer and are hoping for many more in the future. House shopping is a priority and we have schedules time in August to look at properties in South Florida. Spending another winter in NJ is not on our schedule. Just returned from the Bahamas with two of our grand daughters. We had a blast! So nice to have the time, energy and resources to do these trips. Heading to Mexico next for a vacation with friends.
To sum it up, so far all is going well. A couple adjustments along the way but all manageable.

Respectfully,

Steve Kohn

 

Published in: on July 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm  Comments (4)  

Nothing like a Morning Ride

PB020226wEach of us has stories to share about their week. We all have good days and bad. Some weeks are just ok, some are indifferent and others are amazing. For most of us the week is so busy we never stop. Just like little ever ready bunnies we keep going and going. Sometimes you feel like your on a schedule that never has a break. Picture a train pulling out of the station that has to be at the next stop at a scheduled time and then another stop and another stop and so on. When do we get off the train? When do we have time to think? to regroup? or just to reflect?
For me, each Saturday morning (with some exceptions) I gear up and go for a long bike ride. Doesn’t matter if is hot, cold, raining or windy, this is something I do for me that in the long run actually benefits everyone. Many say I’m crazy or obsessed, but the reality is I’m just driven by the fact that the ride helps clear my head, exercises not only my body but my mind and it also helps me appreciate that the simple things in life are sometimes the best. Becoming “one with nature” has a profound affect on me. Makes me appreciate that we live in a country where we can just get on a bicycle and go for a scenic ride (or walk, or run) and for the most part, feel safe and secure.
Each week brings a ride with a new adventure. The course may change but the goal remains constant, which is to unwind, forget about my troubles and get ready for the week ahead. There are plenty of weeks that squeezing in that ride can be challenging, but if you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it done. If it means getting up extra early or getting chores done the night before, you can make it happen.
So my advice to everyone would be to stop the train and get off and enjoy the land. Take advantage of all there is to see and do. You don’t have to get on a plane or take a long car ride, sometimes the best things to find are right out your front door. Our lives are short and before you know it we are to old to enjoy the simple things.
So I challenge you this week to take a long walk, a bike ride or a jog in the park. How about a hike to scenic location. Use that time to rediscover yourself and recharge your mind and body. I guarantee you will enjoy the experience. So no matter how your week turns out you will always have that experience to look back on.

Respectfully,

Steve Kohn

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Published in: on November 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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Mud throwing is not a team sport

Before we begin let’s take a look at some basic definitions.  First, what is MUD?  According to dictionary.com, MUD can be described as a wet soft earth or earthy matter, as on the ground after rain, at the bottom of a pond, or along the banks of a river.  I think we can all agree on that one.  They also suggest a more informal definition; “Scandalous or malicious assentation’s or information”.  An example of this might be,  “The opposition threw a lot of mud at the candidate”.

Secondly, what is a team? The simple definition (for the purpose of this article) can be stated as “A number of persons asmud throwingsociated in some joint action to perform a task”.  Many of us think of teams as related to sporting events. But teams can also be a group of individuals that are part of a group or organization that have a common goal or task to complete.  At your place of work you might refer to your coworkers as a team.  Other teams can be your study groups when taking college courses, or even members of clubs you belong to.   As a matter of fact, as members of the ARA of NJ, we can be considered a team.  We are all associated with each other and we do have common tasks, such as the success of our industry, promoting standards, educating our potential customers and future rental entrepreneurs.

Speaking of sports, I read in the Wall Street Journal recently an article comparing the careers of David Wright and Derek Jeter.  For those of you who are baseball fans, I’m sure you are aware of these two NY stars.   For those of you that are not, just bear with me for a moment.

If you look on paper at the statistics of these players they are pretty similar, but the big difference over their careers is that Derek Jeter has been a member of the very successful NY Yankees while David Wright has been a team player for the not so successful NY Mets.  Now what if the situation was reversed?  Do you think we might see each player a little differently?  The obvious answer is yes.  Although both players have great individual stats, the success of the entire team makes the difference.  Although you can be thought of as a great superstar, the bottom line is you will be judged and remembered favorably on the success of your team.

One common trait both these players share is they are representatives of their respective teams.  If you notice at press appearances they each play down their individual accomplishments and speak highly of their team accomplishments.  This, to me, is a sign of a “class act”.  You can be sure if either of these players started throwing MUD, (see informal definition above) the press and the fans would be all over them.   We can list many sports figures in various sports that have learned this the hard way.   How many athletes have had their careers cut short when they take up MUD throwing?   Although they might think it hurts the person they are aiming it at, in the long run, it will come back and only hurt the one throwing it.

I consider myself fortunate that I can work with many members of the ARA of NJ. I consider these people players on my team, not only on large events, but also for advice and suggestions on everything from products on the market to specifics on venues and events we all commonly do.  As team players, we respect each other and keep communication channels open.  Throwing MUD is not even an option.  Our respect for the rental industry and its success is the glue that binds us together.  Much like David Wright and Derek Jeter, we represent our Association and the Rental Industry.  For those of us that have been in the industry for many years, we have developed a bond that keeps us not only as friendly competition but as team members we can count on.

For those of us in this Industry and any other Industry or sport that think MUD throwing will make them a better person, I believe they should do some soul searching.  When the day is over, and you are alone each of us needs to look himself or herself in the mirror and say: “Am I proud of who I am and what I did today”.

There is no sport that I am aware of that tolerates MUD throwing or encourages it.  Even politicians have learned that it doesn’t get votes.  The most successful individuals and companies have learned that teamwork is the key to success.

Growing up, my grandfather told me often “If you have nothing nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all”.   Many family dinners and gatherings he was very quiet.   I assume he had his reasons.  The point though is well taken and understood.

We have all made choices in our lives and have chosen careers that suit us.  I would think that we should all respect each other not just for our own personal satisfaction but for the good of our industry.  The next time you feel like throwing some MUD, step back and think of the consequences.  Mud throwing is not a team sport. That is clear as day and NIGHT.

The Drive-Thru Theory

drive_inMy morning routine includes a stop at my local Starbucks on the way to work. Equipped with my Starbucks Stainless Steel reusable mug and App on my IPhone I am welcomed into the establishment each weekday morning by a cheerful well trained staff that truly understands that  customer satisfaction is everything.   I’m not just paying for a cup of coffee, even though it is the best coffee on the planet. What I am paying for is the Starbucks experience.

As I enter the establishment I notice that the drive-thru window is usually 8 to 12 cars deep. Even though there is nobody in the store the drive-thru is usually packed.   Makes you wonder, “What’s up with that”?  Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the drive thru supposed to be a convenience to make things easier and to save time.  Most of the time when I leave the store the line of 12 cars is down to 10.  So much for saving time!

According to Wikipedia, A drive-through, or drive-thru, is a type of service provided by a business that allows customers to purchase products without leaving their cars. The format was pioneered in the United States in the 1930s. Drive-thru’s are now found in the vast majority of modern American fast food chains.

Notice the key phrase in that definition is “purchase a product”. Nothing in that definition mentions a service or customer experience.  Now if I just wanted to purchase a product and didn’t want to get out of the car then I could go to McDonalds for a .99 cent cup of coffee. (FYI: that will never happen). If I’m going to spent $2.49 for a cup of Java then I want the whole customer experience and the service that goes with it. It’s all about the value.

Back in the 50’s a fast food establishment had what was called drive-ins.  This was where you parked your car and a car hop came out, sometimes on skates to greet you and take your order.  This was all part of the customer experience. Not only was your meal enjoyable (hopefully) it was a fun and pleasurable experience. With the exception of Sonic, this service is hardly ever seen anymore.

We basically have taken the Drive-in theory and completely destroyed it.  What remains is the Drive Thru, which has become more impersonal every day.  Many feature a wall with a voice that tries to  sounds human when you talk to place your orders (AKA, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s and Burger King just to name a few)

Honestly, how hard is it to park the car get a little fresh air, talk to real people, stretch your legs and probably save time?  I can understand if you are in a crowded city or its 30 below zero, but if you’re a suburbanite like most of us that are reading this piece, you really have no excuse.

This blog would not be complete if I didn’t mention the drive-thru experience at the bank.  Photo Feb 26, 8 19 48 AMNow we all know how wonderful that is. First question we need to ask, do we really even need local banks anymore?  Last time I checked we can make deposits with our smartphones, we can get cash at ATM’s and variety of stores. We can pay bills online and most banking forms can be downloaded.  When was the last time you had a friendly experience at a drive in teller?  Most look at you as an inconvenience. The concept of drive up tellers was a unique idea that worked probably in the 70’s 80’s and even the 90’s but for today’s consumer, something has to change.

Let’s not forget about the Drive-thru Pharmacy.  Does this sound familiar?

“Please ring the bell for assistance.  A pharmacist will be right with you. While you are waiting please enjoy this 3 hour movie, if you are dropping off a prescription please have your passport, voters registration, copy of your electric bill and 5 forms of identification.  If you are picking up a prescription please come back some other time. If you are really sick and need medication quickly we suggest you try mail order.”

Also gone are the days on the Drive-in Theater. It won’t be long before the actual movie theater fades as well.  More and more of us have gotten accustomed to streaming on our tablets and home entertainment setups. Why spend $40.00 for a night at the movies.  No need to even leave the house, much less get out of the car.

What does the future of Drive thru’s have in store for us? Can we foresee the drive thru Apple store?  You enter with an IPhone 5 and pull out with an IPhone 6.   Anyone for a drive thru hair salon? Can you picture it now, you stick your head out the window, these automated clippers come out and in minutes you have a new dew and drive off.

Call me old fashion, but I think I will just park the car and enter the brick and mortar establishment and experience reality. For everything else theirs Amazon.com….. But that’s another blog.

Published in: on February 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Biking, December, Really?

strong-windThis morning around 6:00AM I grabbed my coffee and took a peak out on the back deck. Plenty of items not belonging to us were scattered around the backyard. This was undoubtedly caused by the strong winds there were whipping around. According to the weather channel, the temperate was currently around 34 degrees with a wind chill factor it will feel like 20 degrees.

Now for those of you that know me, Saturday mornings are BIKING MORNINGS. I have been very regimented this season, very rarely missing a ride for the past eight months. Now the logical side of my brain was saying, “Look it’s cold out, its extremely windy, not good conditions for a ride. stay inside be safe”. But unfortunately the adventurous side of my brain had to put its two cents in as well, ” Wow, it’s Saturday, time for an awesome ride, whats a little wind and cold, what are you a WHIMP!, just get out there and do it.”

My usual rule of thumb is when its not freezing or snowing its definitely ride time. The wind thing has been more of a last second flip a coin type of decision. Technically when the wind is blowing North to South, I can plot a East to West and visa versa on the return trip. Today the “adventurous” side of the brain wins.

After gearing up with full winter wardrobe including hand and toe warmers, the wheels hit the pavement around 9:00AM. An immediate blast of winter hit quickly. Ten minutes into the ride I believe I heard the logical side of my brain smirking. Twenty minutes into the ride I seriously considered turning around. Even with a North South route heading to Monroe and Heightstown, the winds began to swirl in unpredictable patterns and just staying on the bike became a challenge.

For anyone who is not a seasoned rider this ride was absolutely not for you. It really took plenty of skill and perseverance just to stay the course. About 50 minutes into the ride I received a text from my wife, simply stating “Your an idiot”. From information I gathered later, apparently she went to walk the dog and got a taste of what the weather was like.

About 90 minutes into the ride, snow flurries where coming down. The weather channel only said a 20% chance of precipitation, so much for that prediction. Actually it was hard frozen hail that when it touched the small amount of skin unprotected on my face it stung. Obviously I was well past the point of no return so I just stayed the course.

I developed a pattern that seemed to work, when the wind calmed, I stood and pedaled fast, when the wind picked up steam and gusted, I crouched low and just pedaled enough to keep my balance and keep forward momentum. The biggest issues where cars that had no remorse for crazy riders. During cross winds the bike was blowing into the traffic from the left or right and many cars didn’t give amble space so nerves of steel where needed to keep going.

Two hours into the ride I knew it was enough. Home was in site and that was the smart move. The logical side of the brain eventually wins the debate. I did arrive home safely and managed to get in 33 miles in a pretty decent time.

For those of you that are asking, given the same conditions would I do it again.? In a word. ABSOLUTELY

One more weekend in 2012 coming up. Another ride? We will see.

I’ll see your charge and charge you this….

In the news this week is the airlines newest idea to collect additional fees by charging a premium to get off the plane quicker.   Do you believe this!  You will have to pay in order to get off the plane in a reasonable fashion.  So now we have additional charges for luggage, food, leg room, internet, movies and quicker boarding.   Where will it stop?  What will they think of next?   Well, I for one think it’s time that we as passengers start charging the airlines.

I have a list of my top five things we should charge the airlines for.  Let’s see what they have to say about these.

#1.  I want $5.00 for each kick I get in the back from the unruly children sitting behind me.   I feel after three warnings the meter should start running.  How much is it to ask parents to control their kids.   If they don’t behave in airplane seats there are other options.  They can drive, take a train, luggage compartment or how about airlines having separate areas of the plane reserved for families.  They can spend the whole flight kicking each other in the back.

#2. Personal hygiene should count.  If you’re going to spend the next 6 hours on a plane next to someone you don’t know wouldn’t you think a shower would be a good idea.   The next time I sit next to someone that’s “RIPE” I want a full refund for my ticket.   As passengers, we go through x-rays, pat downs and luggage searches, how hard would a little sniff test be.   You smell bad , take a bath. Please don’t get on a plane.

#3. Since the airlines started charging excessive prices for meals, passengers now have decided to bring their own meals with them.  So bring on all the smelly food you can find.   So what if we all have to smell it for the duration of the flight.   I love sitting next to the guy eating chili with onions.  Usually its the same guy that didn’t pass charge #2 above.   I would like a 50-% refund for my ticket if the person next to me is eating anything that smells like it’s been eaten already.

#4.  If the person sitting next to me is sufficiently large and takes up my his or her  seat and a portion of my seat as well I want credit for the percentage of my seat they are occupying.  It’s all about Real estate.  If the airline can charge additional fees for more leg room, why cant we charge for less.

#5.  I want airlines to use proper language.  How many times have I heard this.  “We are going to have to circle for a while due to FLOW CONTROL”.  What in the world is FLOW CONTROL.    Is the toilet backed up?  Does the pilot have a urinary track issue?  Why not just say we can’t land the f____king plane, there is no room on the ground.   I for one,  would feel a lot better.   I suggest that each time the airline either tries to confuse us or lie to us we get $50.00.   Let’s not beat around the bush.  Tell it like  it is.

I’m sure everyone of you have your list of situations that you feel the airlines should reimburse you for.   I would love to hear them.

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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When Technology crosses the line

Those of you that know me understand my quest for the latest and greatest gadgets.  New technology always excites me.  I always have to be the first to have the coolest new product or gizmo. But, even I have seen technology go too far.  I would like to point out several devices that, in my opinion, have little or no use or have just gone too far

First on my list is the automatic car wash, commonly referred to as an E-wash.  Last weekend I pulled into a new E-wash and was greeted by a machine.

This is how the conversation went:

E-wash: “Good afternoon. How can I help you today?”

Me:   “I would like my car washed.”

E-wash:  “Yes we can provide a Hot Wax”.

Me:  “I want a simple car wash.”

E-wash:  “Yes we can add an underbody wash.

Me:   “I just want a f____n’ car wash.

E-wash:  Thank you and have a nice day that will be $37.00

I agree, technology has improved our life in many fields including  medicine, finance and science but I don’t think I want my car wash to be included on that list.  I enjoy being greeted by a person. I enjoy getting out of the car and watching it go through the tunnel and I have great respect for the half dozen folks who are there drying and wiping the car down after the car comes through the system.   To me, a car wash is an American Icon, right up there with baseball, hotdogs and apple pie.    Trying to reason with a machine to wash my car was not an enjoyable experience that I will go through again.  I would rather wash the car myself.

Next on my list are public restrooms.   I believe somewhere in the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence there has to be a line that states, as Americans we have the right to flush a toilet wash  and dry our hands when we want.  I can’t imagine our forefathers envisioned that toilets would flush themselves and sinks would provide only seconds of water and paper towels were distributed in matchbox size pieces.  There is nothing more annoying than having a toilet flush when you’re not ready for it to flush, I’m perfectly capable of turning the lever when I’m done, I can only imagine what the guy in the next stall is thinking when my toilet flushes ten times consecutively.   When it comes to washing my hands, is it really necessary to have the water delivered in 5 second intervals?  It’s not that complicated to turn a faucet on and off.  As for paper towels, you can take those sensors and put those through the car E-wash, they are the biggest waste of time I have ever seen!

Another biggy on my list is Cable TV.   My cable bill is like having a second mortgage. The rent on my first apartment in 1980 was less than my cable bill.  I have over 400 channels and every possible option, including DVR, On Demand, and all the premium channels.  The other night I sat down to watch TV and there was nothing on. Go Figure!  I grew up with a zenith TV with six channels (2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11) and a dial. And there was always something amazing to watch.   Can someone tell me how we went from Gilligan’s Island to Survivor? Ginger and Maryann, where have you gone?   Reality TV was as simple as “Family Feud.”

Last but not least on my technical wonders list is airport security.  Each time I fly somewhere I’m amazed at all the new devices and gadgets that make us feel dehumanized and detest flying that much more. What makes it even more ridiculous is no matter what new gadget is added, such as x ray machines or scanners; items still get through that can potentially ruin your day.  Here’s a novel idea, how about no carry on at all.  Period. That’s it. No questions asked.  Don’t like it; don’t fly.  Consider all the money that would be saved on security, and  then maybe the airlines can give us back free movies and food to enjoy (I’d be happy with a bag of pretzels). Hey, maybe you can even have a conversation with the person next to you.

I’m all for technology when it makes our lives more enjoyable and productive, but there comes a point where it can become just over the top. Reading this article online with your electronic reader, now how cool is that?

Published in: on May 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm  Comments (1)  
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