I closed comments on the previous post because the commenting was picking up steam and I'm currently on a Babymoon with Yoon before the little monster (the one that is neither orange tabby nor brown tabby) takes the scene and makes leisure activities less likely. I don't really have the energy or the patience to deal with free market advocates all whipped up into a frenzy in some cataclysmic defense of the stupidity of the unregulated market and its ability to free us all from the tyranny of insert half assed object of obsessive anger here. Rather than play semantic tennis or follow any horrible looking pingbacks up the rabbit hole, I'm just going to link the Buckeye Institute article that is apparently the source of this flood of poorly paraphrased crap and wave my hands in the air futilely.
For the record, I have never used short term loans. I've been too poor most of my life to really be eligible for any kind of loan and the short term loans (mainly offered, at the time I might have considered them, at check cashing places which are sketchy enough) have always seemed too much like a pitch from a military recruiter: are you desperate? we have a short term solution...
There is a frightening article at Reuters about the expansion of payday loan operations as the housing/mortgage crisis expands. No one has labored under the illusion that those paycheck loan places were there to help any one but given their rate of expansion in Ohio:
Bill Faith, executive director of COHHIO, an umbrella group representing some 600 nonprofit agencies in Ohio, said the state is home to some 1,650 pay day loan lenders -- more than all of Ohio's McDonald's, Burger Kings and Wendy's fast food franchises put together.
With outrageous interest rates they're a sure way to go from being broke to completely fucked forever in just a few short steps. I wonder how long it will take for companies like this to partner up with private prison companies to build debtor's prison equivalents and play both sides of the court. Chances are that the savings won't be passed on to you.
Or maybe everyone is just buying for their children and their angst ridden twenty-somethings all in a single dip. That does seem much less painful.
Excerpted from an email exchange with Dell customer support:
Please advised I see I would request you to return the tapes the place the order for the correct tapes with sales department.
Oh dear. I was hoping for an RMA number or the like or any indication or where I might send this box of useless tapes where they might be greeted with a credit and exchange instead of blank stares.
I like the idea that Circuit City is working with on making their stores less like sprawling nightmares and more like focused technology mini-marts because I hate hate hate the big box stores. Best Buy is nearly always a nightmare of dodging the bridge and tunnel crowd from the suburbs who are there to buy the largest television imaginable and hold aloft the saliva wetted finger to see if anything else looks like a likely target for more cash drop.
Unfortunately, this plan (and it is an issue of planning) makes visits for people who don't need a salesperson riding them like a bronco full of quarters and a loaner brain in order to procure something simple less like a simple stop and grab and more like a trip to an upper level of hell or purgatory where people drift aimlessly in and out of aisles to jab their pointing fingers at the big and shiny while simultaneously holding telephone conversations that slow their pace to something a bit north of glacial. The genuinely geeky are not the most patient and we will flee like the displaced that we feel like when soccer moms and fixit dads are blocking the most logical route between us and the shit we need. It's bad chemistry for everyone but the big item buyers.
I have little faith that Circuit City will actually pull something like this off successfully or that one will ever exist outside the same hellish strip malls that typically house the mini-big-boxers but I appreciate the fact that companies are getting a little wiser about the fire hose method of merchandising. There are precious few available slots in the brain of the suburban troglodyte and possibly only one open slot for each shopping genre so CC and others like it need to find some other way to keep the doors open. When confronted by choosing between a bunch of stores that have enough floor space to land commercial aircraft in and paying a couple bucks postage, I'm ordering that shit from NewEgg. I like the idea of having electronics convenience stores where you can scoop up the crap you need without wandering around in the stupefying Valhalla of consumer electronics or feeling like you're being felt up for indoctrination in some cult like Radio Shack is so fond of shamelessly doing when you're in need of a fifteen cent part. Is this the answer that I'm looking for? Probably not but I'd love to be able to snap up some part instantly without waiting for three days.
Some of the users I support (and I *heart* my lusers) pointed me in the direction of this Wall Street Journal article (old and dusty to many, I'm sure)talking about the horrific impact of video sites (and, gasp, high quality video becoming more readily available) on business networks. The rocket scientists in charge of small business networks are rapidly adopting blocking appliances and completely blocking access to sites like YouTube and MySpace after taking a perfunctory look at how much bandwidth those sites were drawing through their networks. I'm assuming that most of these beacons of networking knowledge are running Windows networks (as I sadly am) but cannot find the Google button in order to look up 'throttling' which can be implementing on the domain controller through some registry edits or by buying a piece of software.
The actual methods used are pretty immaterial though when compared with the atrocious attitude you'd inherently need towards your users in order to simply deny access to things that people like to use during their lunch hour (ie. that time that people are often sort of working when they really shouldn't be) and treat them like imbeciles. My guess (and I'm not sure how much of a stretch this really is) that most of the admins in question have no idea what the fuck they're doing and are simply reacting like most clueless bastards do by running around in 'the sky is falling mode' instead of doing a weensy bit of research and/or planning. I've been on the other side of this counter in the past where particularly clueless network security folks would completely block access to stuff like outbound IRC traffic because they read a bulletin about viruses using IRC networks. The same genius decided one day (albeit after an outbreak) that all ICMP traffic needed to be blocked. Combine this with a Windows admin who spent most of his time figuring out how to fit more workouts into the work day and you've got a whole lotta Windows 2000 users who can no longer log in to a domain. If you willfully refuse to understand protocols and how they interact with useful and legitimate network traffic you are doomed to have wrathful users working around all the blocking technology you try to strap on your network and I won't blame them at all.