Saturday, June 30, 2012

Restaurant Impossible/Business Impossible


In the TV series RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE, Chef Robert Irvine yells at the owner when diners have been waiting for 45 minutes and have still not been served. I'd like to yell, myself, when I e-mail some company as to why my order has not come in, and they fail to answer in 24 hours!

Several of my businesses have been built on fast response alone. (See SKIP COLLEGE: Go into business for yourself.)

If you are running a small business, don't make it a BUSINESS IMPOSSIBLE by failing to return phone calls fast, answering e-mails fast, and shipping fast.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What should you do if the DEA or the police break down your door?


Sadly, law enforcement officers have a nasty history of breaking into the wrong homes. The latest attack was just two days ago, in Aberdeen Washington. Here's the report, from various WA newspapers:

"Federal agents and officers broke down the door to the wrong home in Grays County during a series of drug raids. The resident told KBKW she was taking a shower when armed agents broke in and forced her outside in a bath robe. She later found out the search warrant had a different address than her home, where she lives with her 2-year-old daughter and mother."

At least she wasn't killed. In another case, police (using faulty information from a drug informant) raided an innocent couple in Lebanon, Tennessee.  When they pounded on door, the wife—fearing a home invasion—yelled to her husband, “Baby, get your gun!” Shots were exchanged and her husband was killed.

One danger is that the a search warrant itself may contain the wrong address. Another is that--such as the case in Aberdeen--the agents don't pay enough attention to the address. The third danger is that you may have an enemy who arranges for anonymous calls to the police, saying marijuana is being grown in your home even though this is totally untrue. So what's an innocent person to do?

ARRANGE FOR ADVANCE WARNING

This is outlined in my e-book Dirty Tricks for Savvy Checks. If you have a dog that barks, that will put you on the alert. If no dog, an electronic dog can be used for the same purpose. Movement beyond the front door sets off a series of barks. In addition, you need to have one or more long-throw deadbolts in place, backed up by a door-jammer brace. That way, the first blow from the agent's sledge hammer will NOT break the door in, giving you time to act.

WHAT DO DO WHEN THE ATTACK COMES

If you have a gun, keep it with you but hide under the bed or in a closet or safe-room until you determine who it is. If you decide it must be a raid by the DEA, hide the gun and wait to be found. But if masked men break into your bedroom and you are in fear of your life, act accordingly.

For more information about fortifying your home and using weapons, see Dirty Tricks for Savvy Chicks (Ages 18-88).

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to keep your pregnancy a secret (for a least a few months)


First, the answer:  If you wish to keep your pregnancy a secret, do not pay with a credit card when you shop.  Pay cash.

Now for the explanation, using Target as an example.

Target assigns every customer a Guest ID number, tied to their credit card, name, or email address that becomes a bucket that stores a history of everything they’ve bought and any demographic information Target has collected from them or bought from other sources.  See the article, “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did)

Target is not the only store that targets you. Suppose you buy substantial quantities of beer, wine or hard liquor, and pay by credit card. Don’t be surprised if this someday comes back to haunt you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Three reasons to keep kids under 13 off Facebook


1. Kids under 13 need time to be alone, to think and dream and play. Facebook robs them of this time.

2. Kids under 13 do not comprehend how Facebook can destroy their privacy. Years later, when they apply for their first job, they may be turned down because of an idiotic comment or a stupid picture they posted on Facebook.

3. Every hour on Facebook is an hour stolen from what could have been a priceless education. A single example: If your kids under 13 spend even one hour a day playing with children who speak another language, they will grow up bilingual in some language such as Russian, Arabic or Mandarin Chinese. Which would make you prouder? The dual language skills, or that they were hopelessly addicted to Facebook?
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Note:  We raised our three children in Spain, with no TV. They spoke only English at home, only Spanish in the streets at play, and only German in a private school for German children. Are both we and they happy that they speak three languages? Guess.