Paula Deen's fall from grace? HARDLY! Ms. Deen's saving grace comes in the form of her devoted fans who have started their grassroots campaign. It's time for the "pot to call the kettle black."
With her latest book "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up" pulled from Amazon shelves by her "former" publisher, Ballantine Books, what is this 66 year old, ranked 4th on Forbes top celebrity chef earners, to do?
Ms. Deen's "troubles" did not start with her admission of using the "N-word" in a legal deposition. It was the result of poor planning and a lack lustre response to the media firestorm that followed afterwards.
Perhaps going on YouTube was not the "SMARTest" approach to address the issue. The worst strategic blunder was to be interviewed by Matt Lauer of the Today Show. Mr. Lauer is no "Prince Charming," with recent baggage stemming from the unceremonial dismissal of the much admired Anne Curry.
The "N-word" itself is a demeaning characteristic of a sub-culture of a certain race. It should never be used, however, often times it is used in rap lyrics and in sub-cultural reference by the very race that found it so abhorrent. For "white" people and all other sub-cultures and races, the "N-word" is "off limits," of course!
The greatest detriment to Ms. Deen is her "blunt" honesty. As a society, we strive to teach our children the value of telling the truth. Unfortunately, MOST "Can't handle the truth." It would be one thing if Ms. Deen killed someone such as ex-Pat, Aaron Hernandez or; exhibited depraved indifference such as Michael Vick. (dog fighting). Her only blunder was her poor choice of words. But does this make her racist?
Well, Ms. Deen, don't fret about the loss of revenue for these "turn coat" companies. Let's set the record straight. The companies that dropped you themselves were accused of far reaching human rights violations to ethics lawsuits. It was not what they said, but what they "practiced" in their every day business life! The bottom line with ALL these companies, of course is M-O-N-E-Y.
1. Smithfield and Walmart have a history of the WORST human rights violations against their own employees. A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the 2006 National Labor Boards ruling, condemning Smithfield's "intimidation and abuse of employees." Walmart has been criticized by numerous groups and individuals, including customers and employees, of racial and gender discrimination.
2..Target has issues with "Plus size" consumers, labeling a dress "Dark Heather Grey" for smaller sizes whilst calling the same dress, "Manatee Grey" for Plus size consumers.
3. Home Depot says they are "military friendly," but the 2012 complaint filed by the U. S. Justice Department on behalf of a California based Army National Guard soldier says otherwise. According to the complaint, Home Depot violated the employment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA).
4. JC Penney was hit with the "HItler tea kettle" controversy this year. This "lack" of savvy judgement is nothing new. Take the Board of Directors hiring of former CEO Ron Johnson to turnaround this floundering retailer. They gave him a $50M sign on bonus. He spent lavishly to build up a "brick and motar" business, when he should have concentrated on a stronger on line presence. He should have looked toward Amazon for guidance, NOT Walmart! J.C. Penney was also caught "fake pricing" or anchoring prices to make the sale more appealing. They thought customers were SUCKERS!
5. Caesars Entertainment is operating at a loss every year! You are lucky to get off this sinking ship! They might just break even in six years!
6. Walgreens was considered "an imminent danger to public safety" by the DEA. The Agency cited, Walgreens "failed to maintain proper controls to ensure it didn't dispense drugs to addicts and drug dealers." Walgreen was ordered to pay $80M under the agreement reached with the DEA and Department of Justice.
7. Novo Nordisk was named in the Omnicare kick back law suit that alleged that the company "switched senior citizens from one prescription to a competing brand in return for cash, discounts or rebates." Talk about lack of ethics!
8. Ballantine Books and Random House merger caused the ouster of Ann Godoff, the highly regarded president, publisher and editor in chief of Random House Trade Group. According to published reports, Ms. Godoff was completely surprised by the move. She was fired the same day. So, they already had a history of "unceremoniously" dumping their own.
9. Food Network had been moving full steam ahead into "reality" TV and game show programming such as "Food Network Stars" and "Next Iron Chef." Gone are the days when they supported celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse. They have a much bigger headache with Anthony Bourdain, who called FN's Sandra Lee, "pure evil."
Times Square is a tourist mecca and on any given day, usually during tourist season, the characters are out in droves. One particular character, however, got arrested over the weekend and arraigned for shoving a 2 year old child and demanding money from the parent. These characters could get testy when not fed.
Street performers are familiar sights in and around town. They add flavour to city life and entertainment for visitors and residences alike. They are prevalent where the tourists hang out including Times Square and Union Square. MOST, however, do not accost tourists for funds.. albeit tourists visiting any metropolitan city should be vigilant of those that gang up for photo ops and/or funds.
The most prevalent city for a "gang" up grope or snatch and grab is Rome, Italy. European cities are notorious for Gypsy style thievery of gullible tourists. Yet, visitors to these historic places are constant victims, with generational benefits for those doing the perpetrating.
THE CASE WITH COOKIE MONSTER
What is different about the New York City incident was the involvement of a child. Cookie Monster was arrested and arraigned because he "endangering the welfare of a child." This phrase weighs more heavily in court instead of "groping of an adult," which occurred with another character, Super Mario Brother again in Times Square. The child went on record stating that Cookie Monster gave him a "boo boo." Cookie Monster got belligerent when the parent refused to pay. He yelled obscenities at the family.
NO tourists visiting New York City is obligated to pay for ANY street performers whether in character, playing an instrument or even dancing. PERIOD!
HOW TO SAFE GUARD YOUR VISIT:
1. Protect your cash. When visiting a large Metropolitan area. be ready for an assault. Crowds are thick and opportunities rampant. If you are a visitor, keep your cash and valuables separate. Use a passport purse that goes around your neck and could be hidden underneath clothing or an outer jacket..
2. Avoid gangs. Time Square is notorious for attracting gangs, even if they are in costume. They can aggressively approach you for a photo op in multiples then demand money. Just walk away and avoid them when they yell out.
3. NOT obligated to pay. As a visitor to any metropolitan city, you are NOT obligated to pay to see street performances. take pictures, make videos, capture the moment and walk away. You are also "free" to give a donation, if you want.
4. FREE Photo ops. As a visitor, you are NOT obligated to pay for solicited street photos. You may provide a donation if you would like, but you can just walk away after the photo is taken. Photos are taken using your camera.
5. Police presence. If you encounter any incident whilst visiting New York city, please approach one of our finest! In Times Square, a small police office is directly across from Starbuck's, near ABC's Good Morning America. centre. As a visitor you have rights! New York city has ZERO tolerance.
Yahoo was in the news again for ALL the wrong reasons. Marissa Mayer, the new CEO called back employees from their "virtual" offices to once again occupy their "physical" cubicles, ending the flexible work programme.
MOMS ON THE WARPATH
As a direct result of this policy change at the struggling internet company, many moms and die hard critics took to their blogs and airwaves to voice their distaste for this "Executive" decision.
These same moms felt slighted that Ms. Mayer also built a nursery so her baby could be with her in the office. This anger was not abated albeit Ms. Mayer used her own money to do this. They believed she should have built ONE nursery for everyone.
YAHOO'S REAL ISSUES
The issue with Yahoo is NOT their flexible work programme, it is their identity. They were once the power house of internet search engines but lost considerable shares to Google and Facebook. They have to get back to what they did best; importantly, what they were known for, and do it better than anyone else. Hopefully, with Ms. Mayer's technical background, they will do just that.
Internet based entities derive their revenue from advertisers. Once content driven, these companies must now be the vehicle where consumers can build their own content. They achieve this by creating viable social networking and mobile services that drive users and importantly, more advertisers.
If a company is looking to reduce overhead, look first at your real estate. Yahoo has a massive, five-story, 820,000 square ft campus with a three-story parking garage. The cost to build it was just under $300 million. The cost to run it? We can only imagine. More than 200 employees telecommute. That is a lot of empty cubicles!
As a proponent of the "virtual" company, we favour telecommuting as a viable option for workers. But then, we do not have the overhead Yahoo has in physical space planning.
BALANCE IS KEY
With any HR related programme that effects workers, there has to be balance. This implies workers being able to negotiate the terms. Instead of committing all workers to a 40 hour work week, the company might offer a part time stay at home option instead. This might lessen the degree of "culture shock" that comes from impulse decision.
As Confucius says, "It is better to turn up the heat with the frog already in the water, than to plop the poor frog in when the water is already boiling. OK, not Confucius, but you get the point.
There is no bad intention here. Therefore, the firestorm that followed Ms. Mayer's decision, was a bit misguided. We live in such a reactionary society. Everything it up for negotiation. Then there is always the exit strategy.
BEST BUY FOLLOWS SUIT
Following suit is retail giant Best Buy who had lost considerable revenue shares and was on a free fall in 2012 with almost 50% stock drop.
They are on board with a new CEO, Hubert Joly who took over from Brain Dunn. Hopefully Mr. Joly could do something about the lacklustre customer service experiences at local Best Buy. Remember Circuit City?
BEST BUY REAL ISSUES
Best Buy might follow suit, but getting rid of their Results-Only work environment (ROWE) programme is not the answer. Best Buys was an early proponent of the flexible work schedule giving their corporate employees an opportunity to control when they worked and where they worked. This programme did not apply to store employees.
BEST BUY @BEST
The company was an early innovator. It started out as a "mom and pop" style small business. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions and venture partnerships, and a name change, it grew into a multinational consumer electronics retailer.
As Best Buy grew and diversified., it recognized the need to service customers and build revenue. It found a viable entity in The Geek Squad, an independent company, that merged to become a subsidiary.
The Geek Squad services expanded beyond computers to include all electronics such as TVs, printers and cameras. Their Black Tie Protection and other warranty and technical programmes provided in-store services. The days of sending laptops out to the manufacturer was over.
In addition, the Geek Squad offered 24 hours of service including remote support for computer issues. If you had their warranty and your hardware could not be fixed, it was replaced...free of charge.
Even IF the retail giant offered a price match for products found on Amazon. the latter still offered free shipping and no taxes in most instances.
BEST BUY @WORST
The problem with Best Buy is their local store's "non-existent" customer service base. The following is a list of deficiencies we have experienced OR noted to us:
1. No one in the department.
2. No acknowledgement of presence by any employee.
3. Service desk wait time 27 minutes without notice
4. 45 degree angle stance of employees when talking.
5. Lack of knowledge of products and services.
6. Gaggle of employees when customers are waiting.
7. ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE Less than ideal.
8. No sense of urgency.
These were some of the deficiencies noted. It is true that the store employees do not work on commission. Maybe they should,. so they could "work for it."
HOW TO CREATE A STRONGER CUSTOMER BASE:
Keep It Simple (KIS)
The foundation for good health starts with a viable nutrition plan and a consistent exercise regiment.
DISSECTING THE PROBLEM
Unfortunately a "simple" idea to get healthy and fit has exploded into a landmine of confusion and chaos. There are so many diet plans out there and equally daunting ways to exercise the pounds off. Who do you believe? Where do you start? How are you going to get this goal accomplished?
We are so bombarded with information, we have become comatose to the fact that we already know what to do. We just don't do it. The BEST way to get started it to just get started.
NO ONE should dictate your pace. Do it on your own terms. If it takes you 12 months instead of 6 months, then let the 12 months be your best months ever. It took months to gain the weight, so allow your body that time to take it all off. It really is that simple.
MIND YOUR PLATEAU
During this process. your mind will be your greatest ally because your body, often times, will betray you.
Depending on your starting weight. you might rapidly lose the several pounds the first week or within a few short weeks. You see this on shows like the Biggest Loser. At some point, if you are a woman, you will also experience water bloating. Then there is the dreaded "plateau."
Please keep things in perspective when thinking about the plateau.. It is NOT a wall but a biological condition that naturally occurs in your body. It really is that simple.
When you start to lose weight and the fat storage starts to decrease, so does metabolism. Your body needs fat reserves to function and It will fight hard to keep it.
Think of your body as a stubborn child or a disagreeable relative We all have them in our life. The technique of persuasion is to make them think it was their idea. Keep doing what you were doing. Keep up the exercise regiment, BUT slowly decrease your caloric intake. Your body needs less calories when it is doing less work.
SMALL FRAME VS. LARGE FRAME LOGIC
A smaller frame uses less energy than a larger frame. Therefore, when you were at the "worst," say 230 lbs, your body has to work harder. When you lose most of your excess and you are almost at your ideal weight, say 142 lbs, your body starts to work SMARTER, using less energy. It is really that simple.
It appears there are several hundred ways to lose weight, to be happy, to build confidence, to be mindful, to build a relationship and to manage personal finance.
I extend an invitation for you to visit your neighbourhood book store to explore the myriad of ways you too can "help yourself."
The problem is that society is not getting better, it is getting worse. Type-2 diabetes has become a health crisis, especially for young women. They are hospitalized more often than their male counterparts. Heart disease is the number one killer among American women. It is also a contributing factor to stroke.
Childhood Obesity has not abated but continues to balloon out of control. Type-2 diabetes has shown up in children as young as 2 years old! If this trend continues, this generation will be the FIRST to NOT outlive their parents.
The gentle society as we knew it has given way to rudeness and a bully mentality. More young people have committed suicide because they have been taunted, shamed and bullied on social media sites for NO APPARENT reason.
Sexting, talking and texting whilst driving and; road rage have replaced common sense and personal etiquette. People walk and text, bumping into other people and sometimes falling into fountains. Vehicles are seen swerving because the driver is too busy looking down at his/her phone rather than the road. Whatever is sent out in cyberspace, kids, stays there. Think twice before sending a boob or two to your BFF.
Family oriented shows have been replaced by nonsense "noise" of reality television. Shows such as "Honey Boo Boo" are promoted by the likes of Anderson Cooper (Ref: Anderson Cooper show with guest host, Suze Orman). When asked by Ms. Orman what was the appeal, Mr. Cooper responded, 'She knows how to save money.' He referenced the "fact" they shop at Walmart. Obviously Mr. Cooper does not realize that Walmart is one of the biggest American business scams (Ref: Walmart, the High cost of low prices). Maybe ignorance is bliss?
Unfortunately, the weapon of choice for those who "snap" is a 15 round clip magazine that has no business being sold ANYWHERE! As a seasoned military personnel, I do not find any viable or convincing argument to have such a weapon in civilian life. PERIOD!
When it comes to personal finance, I get real heated. Whilst there are SO many "self help" books out there including some of the best of Jean Chatsky, David Bach and Suze Orman, society is STILL NOT onboard. Just like Jillian Michael's plead, "What will it take for you to get started?" I wonder the same thing. The housing debacle coupled with unemployment has nearly crippled our economy.
When you peel back the onion, most EVERY "self help" book has the exact same message. They might present it differently. I have rarely found any original thought, albeit at times, I do surprise myself by discovering material that has a fresh spin. I do like Suze Orman's "Can I Afford it" segment on her hit CNBC show. It is raw and in your face. Some of the viewer "wants" is so FAR FETCHED and not realistic compared to their earnings to debt ratio. I feel like saying, "C'mon! Are you kidding me???" Really???
Help yourself by doing the following:
Whether you have an online store, a listing on Craigslist or Ebay, be prepared to be visited by a Scammer, especially if you have a high priced item.
You might receive an email that is unassuming and honest. This person wants to pay you by check or money order and could arrange for their own shipping. Wow! This could save you money and time. All you have to do is supply this person with your contact information including name and address for the pickup. RED FLAG! This is a classic scam in the making.
By now, most of us are in the know about the internet scams from Nigeria (Nigerian 419 scam), or the wire transfer scams on Ebay, but do you know there is a mail order check fraud scam from Ohio?
HOW THE SCAM WORKS
The check fraud scam starts by you accepting this buyer's offer to receive a check or money order for the product. Their email address looks legitimate.. They may be in the guise of a woman who lives in Ohio. They also make an offer to pickup the product at their own expense. Your contact information is required for this to be completed.
Checks and money orders go through the regular banking system BUT, they do not always clear right away. However, you are still entitled to a portion of the funds before it actually clears. Everything may "appear" legitimate when you make the deposit. You contact the buyer once the check or money order is deposited and no red flags are issued by the bank.
Your product is picked up. You think you got paid...BUT INSTEAD, you GOT SCAMMED! Your bank bounces back the check or money order. Any money you withdrew on the portion of the deposit is now OWED BACK to the bank. The Scammer has your product, your contact information and you have NOTHING!
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
Banks do not clear out of state checks right away. A portion of whatever you deposited is available for immediate use or withdrawal. The Scammer is betting on the fact that you do not suspect anything foul. Even if the bank checks the routing and account number, it could be a legitimate check.
TIME is on the Scammer's side. They take the opportunity from the "lag time" for the check to clear to perpetrate the fraud. Sometimes, it is NOT about the product but about obtaining your personal information. Either way, you are screwed!
HOW TO OUT-SMART A SCAMMER
Legitimate sellers have become a growing target. For this reason, it is better never to go outside a selling system such as Ebay, PayPal or Amazon. On Craigslist, the scams are more prevalent with very little protection provided for the seller. Most transactions are completed in person but do you really want a stranger to know where you live?
If you have an ECommerce store, create a safer purchase transaction environment by adding a Google or PayPal shopping cart to your site. Both Google and PayPal provide safety measures for BOTH the seller and buyer, thus limiting the scams that could be potentially damaging.
Be safe in 2013 through awareness:
Verification and validation are major flaws that prevent perfectly intelligent entrepreneurs from taking flight.
Capitalizing on this need to be validated, the "Self Help" industry has seen an influx of mediocre "experts" flood the marketplace with equally substandard products.
Validation is a key component in human connectivity. Verification and validation is the process of products and services meeting the needs of its users. This is also known as recognition in the context of Human Resources. Award shows such as the Golden Globes, The Oscars and the Grammy's cater to this process of recognizing a job well done.
For most of the workforce, verification and validation of a job well done comes in the form of promotions and bonuses. Service awards are presented for milestones, achievements and accomplishments.
For the entrepreneur, it is all about the numbers game. This could be defined by monetary gain, Tweeter followers, likes on Facebook and the number of comments posted on social media sites. The numbers game is critical for the psyche of the entrepreneur. It is verification, validation and recognition that they have arrived. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle continues to keep up with the "lie" since Social Media is a "False/Positive."
Social Media is a forum for self expression. It is not a physical realm, yet most well-intended entrepreneurs are trapped there instead of working their business. Unless you are Mari Smith whose business IS social media, majority of time should be spent doing "real work" in the "real world."
The backlash to this is the argument that social media is great marketing and reaches a broader audience. Point well taken. However, "Where attention goes, energy flows, results show." Greatness requires enormous time. Genius takes work. In Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The OUtliers," he offers up the 10,000 hours rule for highly successful people. He cites Bill Gates, the Beatles and Robert Oppenheimer.
Entrepreneurs spend a great deal of time looking for answers when, in fact, they already have the answers. The "Self Help" industry and the so-called "Experts" who hunt for prey do more harm than good. They offer "false hope" landing pages, give away freebies borrowed from other sites, and create "Halo-effect" testimonials. Do not fall into their traps!
HAPPY 2013! This is the year to change habits...yet AGAIN. Every year, we see the same resolutions...BUT WHY??? Why do we have a habit of complicating life? Where does this need to create hardship in one's existent come from?
We all have the will to change who we are and what we are, yet why don't we? Instead of looking within, we expense for "experts" to bail us out and to give our life meaning...BUT WHY?
In 2002, the Dali Lama visited UCLA. One member of the audience asked, "Sir, what is the meaning of life?" The Dali Lama reflected and with all his wisdom and humour, responded with a smile, "How should I know?"
The point here is no one has the answers, but we keep searching. Society has made the "Self help" industry VERY rich with estimated sales in excess of $1 billion.
We exhaust monetary resources on luncheons, seminars and workshops that help little to move ideas forward. A few months later, that clock is restarted. Did the message change? NO! But how many times have you tuned in to the same information, over and over and over again? Is it not time to stop the vicious cycle?
There is nothing wrong with collecting useful information as resources and good reads. At Gabrielle Bourne Productions (GBP), we enjoy business, technology, innovation and finance. Others might like cooking, pets and biographies. Maybe DIY is your thing.
In 2013, TAP your own resources...unlock your brain, find your passion and create purpose.
Here is our "Secret" to life:
All Algorithm Amazon Andrew M Slavitt Android Anthony Bourdain Apple Askgbp Ballantine Books Bank Fraud Best Buy Bill Cunningham Brett Kavanaugh Caesars Entertainment @CDCGov CGI Characters Check Fraud Cheryl R Campbell Christine Blasey Ford Class Acton Lawsuit CNBC CNN Cookie Monster Credit Customers Data Breach David Bradford Entrepreneurs Facebook Federal Exchange FilterBubbles Food Network Genova Technology Google Gypsy Health Home Depot IPO IPO Launch IRS Jack Dorsey JC Penney John Lau Kathleen Sebelius Kim Kardashian Kis Principle LL Bean Marissa Mayer Microsoft Mitre Motivation National Government Services New York City Nigerian Fraud Novo Nordisk Nutrition NYSE Obamacare Ohio Scam Online Store Security Paula Deen Personal Finance Police Quality Software Services Refund Resolutions Samsung Self Help Senate Intelligence Committee Senate Judiciary Committee Serco Sheryl Sandberg Small Business Smithfield Social Security Statista Street Performers Target Tax ID Terremark Twitter TWTR Validation Verification @verified Verizon Visors Walgreens Walmart Weight Loss Wellness Yahoo
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