Tag: ink

Is the lowest price always your best option?

Is the lowest price always your best option?

 

From time to time, I share with you pearls of wisdom learned through the school of hard knocks.

We all do it.  We look for the best price on things from hotels to rental cars to stuff.  Consumables like food from reputable sources you might do better at a big box store.  When shopping for groceries, I pay attention to coupons vs., the added luxury of services that are offered.

Some stores are pushing the industry of shopping for groceries on-line. They do this by one checker open while ‘nudging’ you to take your selections to the self-checkout, which rarely work correctly.

Sam’s has probably one of the better systems. Using the bar code reader, one can efficiently facilitate their purchase, and I would add a giant asterisk to this statement.  I know few people who want to price, bag and pay for their things, only to be stalled exiting the building, waiting in a long line for some person to take forever to do an inventory of your items, and all of those people in front of you.   This, to me, is a bridge too far, especially when I already pay a membership fee.  All things considered, I will not renew.

While big-box stores killed the mom and pop businesses, so too will the likes of Amazon and other online services, kill bricks and mortar establishments?   The impetus for doing such things comes down to the P&L and morons seeking 15 dollars an hour salaries for entry-level jobs.  They obviously have stopped teaching economics in school, and they surely have stopped teaching critical thinking.

 

In my line of work, I provide several services.  One of them which is the reason for this blog is File Date Stamps.  I also offer other legacy products to municipalities and other businesses who use such things. I serve a dying industry, as we move to do everything electronically.

Leaving forensic computing and disaster recovery my next items to push, those two are also outsourced to other countries who can exploit people without unions and protestors to raise hell.

The Rapidprint and Widmer products have been around for well over thirty years.  Both are robust machines that serve many customers.  With minor attention to replacing ink ribbons and not knocking the things on the floor, they require little maintenance.  Some customers who use these hundreds of times a day, however, cause wear and tear that at some point needs to be addressed.

The year wheel last ten years and I have replaced year wheels in the same machines three-times and counting.  Where else can you purchase a machine that lasts over 30 years?

As a highly trained engineer, my company handles thousands of these clocks in a service capacity.  The catch is this.  Companies must make a profit, or we will not be around to service them.  I could teach someone how to repair them in hours, what takes decades is knowing from the very feel of the wheels if they are right or not.  From the look and sound of the imprint, I can tell you what is going on.  That expertize takes years.

I know of a customer through one of my vendors who purchased a machine online, at some cheap price.  The dealer is responsible for the warranty issues per our contract with the vendor.  That is part and parcel of how this all works.  They allow us a discount, and we must absorb the cost incurred with warranty issues… from the machines we sell!

This customer purchased this machine from some internet-only dealer and had an issue and was told to deal with the vendor.  Nope… not the way it works, and they were not happy.  I don’t blame them but… they looked for the lowest price and not reputation. Sending it to another vendor for repair, eating the cost, the machine broke once again sometime later.

Without going there to see if it is something they are doing, vs. a botched repair job, the vendor would have little way of knowing.  Offering to repair it for them at no charge, the customer balked at the cost of shipping it back to them.

Contacting me, who is in Texas, I told them I would provide the service at no charge, even though I did not sell the machine.  The idea behind that decision is to take care of the customer, and have that customer from then on.   Word of mouth is how I grow my business.  Can I do that for everyone… no?

Doubling down on the $20 shipping charge to get it to me, they are now in some stalemate.  The vendor offering to assist them did not sell it to them, and it is not even their brand of equipment. This vendor goes well out of their way to help customers with the same goal in mind, turn them into their customers.

The original seller is who they should be contacting, but of course, they don’t provide any service, so the customer’s ‘good deal’ has backfired, even though another vendor and I have offered to rescue them from their dilemma.

Is it wise to purchase a machine from some internet vendor that does not provide service?

“Do you feel lucky???”

A word about shipping…

Having intimate knowledge of the different carriers, your package, whether it is diapers or light bulbs, is dropped up to six feet several times during its voyage from the dealer to you.  The heavier the parcel, the more likely it is to be damaged.

As a rule, I insure packages sent by me.  I have had them crushed in the process.  One machine which was packaged in the factory shipping box, had the metal casting broken.  The problem is most customers are not aware of the claims process.

If you get a packaged that appears damaged, take pictures of everything before you open it, and then through the process.  If there is damage to the ‘item,’ you will need those pictures along with the original packaging to file a claim and get reimbursed.

On rare occasions, the jostling of the machine through the shipping process can cause internal damage.  If your new or repaired device does not function straight out of the box as intended, there is a good chance that in the process the ‘500-pound Gorilla’ got too exuberant.  Machines sent from my shop are bench tested for two weeks before they are shipped.  My percentage of warranted returns is less than 2%, and in every instance, it was due to shipping and handling issues.

In known bad areas of the country, I will double box the machine.  Please let us know if you suspect your postage, UPS or Fed X handlers employ the proverbial gorilla.  The cost of double-boxing is minimal, considering the frustration of getting a broken machine back from a sale or service.  We have all seen the video where the delivery person launches your package toward your door from over twenty feet away and leaves.  Those warehouses are hot or cold, and those people don’t have too much skin in the game.  Much like the baggage handlers at the airport, they don’t seem to care.

If you are in Louisiana, you probably remember this event from the picture above.

We very much enjoyed meeting those of you that were there and look forward to serving your needs without pestering you.

We are planning a tour of your state in the upcoming months.  Please take a look at my site for products and or services and let me know if you would like a visit.  www.timedok.com  Unlike most, I will not bother you if you don’t need what I offer.  As a businessman, I too have to screen calls and ignore the 866 numbers.

Most of my customer base is word of mouth, and that bodes well for what I do.  I will go the extra mile for my customers… If you would like that kind of service, check us out… It is DOK with a K!.

 

Cheers!

Ink or not to Ink, that is the question

 

Popular programs on TV and our “current culture” are glorifying the tattoo as a “must have accessory” much like a certain kind of purse or clothing item.

 

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The argument and dissention is that hiring managers might “judge” someone and not hire them because of their ink.  Another argument is that if someone is inked and it is visible, is it ok for someone to stare at it?

 

Let’s address the later first.  It is “never” ok to stare at someone.  I will admit that some of this “art” has caused me to do a double take but to be fair, I am an artist.  I have made conversation with the person before and then had them show me their tattoo if they were so inclined so it was now a “show and tell” and not some stranger staring at another person.  I think they call that “manners.”  Besides, it is a type of art so why not show it off?

 

Is it a good idea to get tattooed or pierced in visible places? 

  • Are you independently wealthy?
  • Is there a point in your future that you might need to find a job?
  • Do you mind being the “center of attention?”
  • Does living in the fringes of society bother you?

 

Fads are for Fools

 

Let’s say that you were offered a particular kind of clothing to wear for the rest of your life for free.  The conditions were that is all you could ever wear and once you made the decisions to agree, there was no turning back.

 

So, it’s the 70’s and the leisure suite is in vogue.  You agree and your closet is constantly re-stocked with leisure suites all the exact same size, color and style.  It is now 2014, how many leisure suites do you see?  One, that is right, the one that you are wearing!

 

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I know it may not seem like it right now but this too is a fad, and sooner or later it will pass.  The difference between the leisure suite and this is there is really no way to go back to “normal” once you go there.  Yes you can have it removed but will it ever be like it was never there?  If you have a piercing removed will there not be a scar?

 

It boggles my mind that so many alter their body in such ways because it “looks cool.”  What started out as a way to mark criminals has certainly taken on a life of its own.

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Why should one not get a tattoo in a visible place?

 

This job market is tough.  You might be the brightest person around but chances are good that you are not.  You must be competitive in every way and that includes not only your knowledge of your particular area of expertise but, it also includes the way that you look.

 

Hiring managers look at all sorts of things when they consider you for employment.

 

Me, personally I look for things like a manicure, if your shoes are shined, shirt ironed, shaved and hair well kept.  I look to see how well spoken you are. I look at your posture. I look to see if you exercise and if it is not obvious from your looks, I will ask about your hobbies looking for some sort of physical activity

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This of course is muddled into the conversation about the job. Is your personal life my business; only when it affects your performance at the job.  When you work for me, you represent me.  If I am a department head you represent the best that department has to offer.  There could be ten of you, and you each represent the best, “if I hired you.”

 

Truthfully a good HR department does this for me.  They go through the thousands of resumes and pick out the top 1%.  Then they go through those and weed out a few more by some of the things mentioned.

 

 

Now, what do you think happens if this walks into the door looking for work?

 

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What would you care to wager that these rocket scientist are living on the government tit, or still in the bedroom they grew up in?

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There are some good arguments for these but, I suspect that those that make them either themselves had or have tattoos, or know someone who does and are sympathetic for their decision.

 

Unlike the marine or other vet who is hurt or mutilated in some way fighting for your country, they did not choose to mutilate themselves.  You on the other hand for some reason whether it is out of some rebellious act, or drunken stupor, or cave to peer pressure, made a clear choice to do this.  Some would argue it is to “express oneself.”

 

Part of me wants to run for congress just to introduce and get passed legislation that would make in unlawful to mutilate someone like this.  The stupid people of this earth really need someone looking after them.

You want to express yourself, get a good job and buy a nice house, raise your 2.5 kids and drive a Lexus.  Go to the PTA and make the world a better place by setting a good example for those 2.5 kids. 

There was a movie in the 70’s with Neil Diamond.  The Jazz Singer, you may have seen it.  In the beginning of the movie Jess and Bubba get a chance to play at an all black club.  While playing, Jess “disguised as a black man” shows his white palms of his hands during the performance and all hell breaks loose.  His father bailing him out of prison says something rather profound. “It isn’t tough enough beink a Jew?”

Is the job market not tough enough? 

 

Now go do the right thing…

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Today

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As a hiring manager for the best part of the 90’s and well into the 2000’s I could not help but notice a difference in the candidates that would walk through my door.

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I would put on a suit and tie, make sure that my shoes were polished as well as the rest of the personal hygiene in check if I were interviewing. I was surprised by those who did not.  If they did not respect me or the company enough to try and look respectable, what would they look like and or act like if I were to hire them.  There is this whole etiquette thing involved in obtaining a job, and it starts with how you look.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.

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With Mom and Dad both having to work to make ends meet, generation “Y” was most likely raised by “Big Bird,” or an older brother or sister, or possibly some retired family member.  The TV with hundreds of channels made a great baby sitter; and then there was the “game boy.”  This generation is addicted to “screens.” While I appreciate “screens” as well, I also enjoy a good book, a walk in the park, watching the ocean, talking with friends and family on the front porch and going to a baseball game. There is nothing wrong with FaceBook or World of Warcraft, it is simply a matter of balance and not a way of life, or substitute thereof.

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While negative attention is better than no attention, I suspect that many who pushed the envelope did so for attention.  “Look Ma, I am doing drugs!  Don’t you care enough to even slow down to talk to me?”  From drugs they may turn to self-injury, or getting some sort of tattoo, or some of this wonderful body jewelry “through their nose.”

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They in fact must have never heard the words “self effacement.”  “I suspect that Hubris has taken the place Humility.”

We have shows on TV glorifying “INK.”  We have celebrities who have more ink than skin.  Our kid’s role models are broken people.  When your kids look up to “broken people” where do you think that will lead them? Your kids should be looking up to you, not Madonna!

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It is my opinion that many are drawn to “ink” and alike purely for the sake of attention.  If they cannot get the good attention they need at home; mutilating ones body will certainly draw a crowd at school, the mall, and of course with siblings. And it most certainly will draw that negative attention from your guardians or other authoritarian figures…

There is another school of thought; these folks are insecure and again “ink,” mutilate, or act out audaciously, in an effort to get people to leave them alone as “they are bad.”

I also think that there is a subset that does it, purely to spite their family or friends and peers either at work or school or what have you.  These are the folks that are so insecure that they are giving their-selves a rhinectomy.      “I will show you, I will cut off my nose!” In the end they are only really hurting themselves currently and in the future as well as some of these things are really quite permanent!

Once these folks are disfigured, they drastically limit their options for employment and possibly a choice in friends and or spouse.  If you present yourself for employment with visible body jewelry that is “out of the norm” there is a high probability that your “resume” will be trashed the second you hit the door.

I would guess that the same could be said for over the top tattoos.   My thinking and I am certain most hiring managers thinking would be, if they make these types of decisions for themselves, what kinds of decisions are they going to make for me?

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Unless your aspirations for employment are to work your way up to busboy, or maybe become a tattoo artist, I would strongly suggest keeping the ink under cover; at least from 8 to 5.

There is a group which I have not mentioned that may very well be so artistic that they want this “Art” on them to wear into perpetuity.   The problem with that my pet, is simply this; as we age we loose collagen.  Our young looking skin gets wrinkled and becomes thinner and pretty soon the artwork looks like a used painter’s pallet, instead of the masterpiece that you paid for.  Think about it this way, do you own an outfit that you would wear everyday, day in day out for the rest of your life?  I know of no clothing that I would want to wear everyday, and night; forever!

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If you make bad decisions with permanent outcomes in your youth; those will have an effect on you as you mature.  Some if these decisions lead to depression, and eventual suicide as they cannot live with what they have done, and the guilt overcomes them.  Addictions often end in self destruction as they practice the addiction and then deal with the guilt for what they have done.  To get rid of the guilt they do more of the addiction and spiral downward; until they either become outcast and wake up in the gutter or decide to end it all.  Very few “see the light” and decide to choose not to do what they have been doing.  Society tends to let these folks slip away which is probably normal programming.

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If one were to follow the lives of the “rich and famous” they would quickly discern that with their lifestyle comes a price.  When these people admit that they have been strung out on recreational chemistry, why are they not investigated criminally?  Dealers are so bold that they don’t even try to keep their deals under cover.  I was at the gas station the other day.  In the next lane there were two people in a car, motor running taking up one of the spots to purchase gas.  Before I finished a women pulled up behind them, got out and fussed at them for making here come “all the way over here.”  They transacted their business and then both were soon gone their separate ways.  I would imagine that the rich and famous get delivery, much like the Pizza guy delivers food and they don’t have to go to the gas station.

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This culture is invasive to our way of life.  Along with all of the other trappings that seem to come with this entitled generation, recreational chemistry seems to be one of the trimmings that not only effect the rich and famous, but the not so rich and famous.

All addictions are chemical.  What many fail to realize is that all addictions are chemical in nature.  When we smoke or drink, chemicals are released in the brain which we find appealing.  Recreational chemistry is not only externally chemically induced but also causes a release of chemistry in the brain so in fact, one might get a double dose of “feel good” chemistry.  I suspect that is why Cocaine is so addictive.  Pornography can be a chemical addiction just like chocolate or food.  If whatever you enjoy releases these chemicals, you can become addicted to it, and not know why or even know that you are.  One of the most common addictions is adrenalin.  We have rides at amusement parks which cause the release of this chemical as well as speeding or racing a friend, to even fighting in school.  If we were to really study the kleptomaniac, we might learn that is a chemical addiction as well and we might treat the condition differently than simply locking them up.  Other criminal endeavors like car jacking or what have you, may not only serve the purpose of obtaining money; but the perpetrator might very well enjoy the high from the release of adrenalin.  I suspect that many of the “crimes” that people do today like flashing, or being a peeping tom, or simply being an exhibitionist, might very well be because of the release of some hormone or endorphin.

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My guess would be that the BDSM community would also fall into this category.

Criminals are not the only people to enjoy this “high,” as I suspect firefighters, policemen, fighter pilots or even bull fighters might very well do this, because they are adrenalin junkies, and may not even know it.  If you have ever listened to the police scanner when there is a chase going on or perhaps the firefighters when they are fighting a fire, you can hear it in their voice.

If I were to guess why middle school is so tough, it would be that this is typically when (puberty) hormones are released in abundance and young people experience this and really don’t know what to do with it.  Male dominance may break out (and be manifested as fights) as young men try to establish their place as the “alpha” male.  Young ladies also have their chemistry issues and those manifest mostly as sniping, spreading rumors and trying to become the “queen B.”  We are not so different from the animal kingdom and those that think that we are simply are fooling themselves, as they don’t like the idea of being related to “animals.”

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Pain can be an addiction.  Endorphins are released with pain so cutting, burning or other forms of self-injury could not only be a cry for attention, but also feeding an addiction.

Extreme forms of chemical release are also practiced by some but, usually not for long as it kills them.  One form is autoerotic asphyxiation.  David Carradine was most certainly the victim of such an act.  I say victim because he was under the delusion that he could do this safely. There is no safe way to strangle one-self.  I cannot imagine what drove him to do this but I suspect like all drugs, it takes more and more to achieve the same “high.”

There is a saying among the pilot community that states, “There are old pilots and bold pilots, however; there are no old bold pilots.”  I suspect the same could be said with some exceptions for the “addicted among us.”    When a pilot gets into trouble such as flying into a cloud bank without the proper training, he is taught to get on the radio and confess what has happened, so air traffic control can assist him back to clear air.  Without proper training there is this condition called spatial disorientation.  Basically your eyes and senses do not believe the instruments, and more often than not the pilot will fly the plane right into the ground or “auger in.”  If you are reading this, and you happen to be addicted, get help before you too, auger in.  There are few people, if anyone that can handle an addiction without eventual self destruction. We witness this daily with our celebrities as well as their deaths from overdoses etc.  There is no “winning” with addictions.

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The other issue with Generation Y that puzzled me is “sagging,” tell me what the hell satisfaction one gets by wearing their jeans down to their crotch, walking around with one hand holding them up so they don’t fall down the rest of the way?  We all know where the trend started and somehow adopted and glorified by the hip-hop crowd but really, you think that we want to see your underwear?  I watched a young man run across the street to catch his bus.  He tripped over his pants that were falling down the rest of the way and did a face plant in the middle of the road in front of the bus that he was running to catch.  Either this kid was trying to prove that Darwin was correct or he was trying to prove how stupid it actually is to do that.  Does this trend bespeak of letting your peers know how cool you are or the rest of the world know how stupid you are? Had the bus driver had a little slower reaction time, those sagging pants would have cost that person their life. He quite literally would have been thrown-under-the-bus.

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Like “ink” I think that “sagging” is just one more way of young people expressing their objection or rebellion to the main-stream mores of the day.   Instead of getting an education and working to change the system to make it better, it is much easier and simpler to call people’s attention to you underwear.  The trouble here is that most people will not see past how lame you look, and that will be as far as it will go.  And ladies, we really don’t want to see your “wale tail” either..  Underwear is just that, clothing that stays under other clothing.  It can be audacious as you like, but keep it your secret, “really…”

Our youth is mesmerized by shows like American Idol.  Millions of people watch that show.  How many do you think imagine them-selves doing it, winning the top spot?  We have become so egocentric as a people, that narcissism seems to be a way of life.  “I made it through school, now where is my corner office and how much are you going to give me to sit here and look pretty?”  Not really exaggerating too much here.

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You can decide to be one of the leaders of tomorrow, or live in the shadows of society; it really is your choice.  Many will blame their circumstances on where they are in life, but if they were truthful with themselves, they would know and admit that their lot in life in most cases is their own doing.

There are too many rags to riches stories all through history.  Look up how they did it and see if you cannot apply some of their techniques.  Or, you can learn how to stay warm by using discarded newspapers as insulation; it really is up to you.  If you are reading this; you have at your fingertips all of the information that you could ever need to do anything that you want to do.  Any subject that has ever been invented is here.  Knowledge is power, and while that cliche may seem tired, trust me it is more salient today than ever before.

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Figure out where your talents lie, or what you are passionate about and than search through history and see how others that did what you want to do, managed to do it.

I would not have “win the lottery” as my retirement plan, I also would not put all of my eggs in the rock star basket, or country star, or movie star.  The odds are very much against you.

Before you spend your hard earned money on ink, or permanent jewelry, you may want to think about the future just a little bit.  The hiring manager will most probably not be sympathetic to facial jewelry or ink.  There are millions of folks looking for employment.  If you and another are equally qualified but the other person has adorned him or herself with accouterments, most likely you will get the job.  Is that fare?  Nope, life is not fare, get used to it and live with it.  The system is what it is, either work to modify it by legal and moral means, or adjust your way of life into the system.  Rebelling against it by wearing your pants around your ankles, or getting every inch of skin inked or pierced is your problem; and society will pass you by.

-Best to you and those that you care about.