Category Archives: Integrity

IT’S FREE!!!!

Most of the people I know are of above average intellect, and are more successful than the average, yet, nontheless, are drawn to aggressive advertising and often exhibit a level of naivety which is extraordinary.

Just to be clear, NOTHING is FREE.

YOU are the product.

My biggest bug a boo is DNA testing. It is being touted as super cool to find out about your family history. The Government and Insurance Companies have been trying to find a way to obtain this information forever …Information is POWER.

Yet, here you are, thinking just how COOL you are giving away your DNA, to these organizations, touting the COOLNESS of knowing your family tree.
Little tidbits are sent along, always requesting more information, please send along the name of your maternal grandfather, children, uncles, cousins…

Let me be VERY CLEAR, you have just GIVEN away your familial DNA without the express consent of ANY current and future family member.

If, for example, there are genetic illnesses in your family, such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Cancer, etc, and you are helping build a family tree, with NO ONE’s
Consent, have you not considered that members of your family could find themselves being hit with huge health and life insurance bills unknowlingly??

Some Insurance Companies are now insisting on DNA screening, others, the wearing of Fitbits, others, placing Black Boxes in your car to monitor
Your driving habits. By virtue of accepting to use one, you are also sharing your GPS being captured, so that they see EVERYWHERE you go.

“send us your Insurance application and we will look for the best rates for free’ !! are you really that guillable?? They have just shopped ALL your
Confidential information to 30 companies….WITH your consent…..

Do you STILL think it is free???

Let me repeat, YOU are the Product.

“Let us monitor your credit score””……..another one which makes my skin crawl…..

Wonder why you are being inundated with pre-approved credit card applications, financial service companies and car salesmen???

Your CONFIDENTIAL information has been SOLD, and you approved it.

“”TRY our matress for free””…

YUK ! YUK !!! YUKKK!!!

Does that mean if you do not keep it, the next poor sucker gets a used matress??

It is NOT free…… it is USED…..

“”Use OUR App to find the best Real Estate Agent in your neighbourhood””….
It is NOT free, the agents are paying to have their names there…..
SOO……are they the best, or only the ones who have paid???

“””Use OUR App to find the best Home Repair Specialist!!

See above….moreover, you have just GIVEN away your home address, and budget for home repairs….
When salesmen start knocking on your door offering their services, DO NOT be surprised…….

You GAVE away your information……

Do I have your attention yet??!!

Let me repeat, YOU are the PRODUCT!!

Looking for a mortgage??? Let US find you the best rates, just fill in OUR online application…. Listing ALL your assets and liabilities….. to a company
Offering to shop and find you the best rates…..guess what, ALL your confidential financial information is NO LONGER CONFIDENTIAL, they have
Shopped it to 30 companies who are now in possession of it. They are SELLING IT, ALL OF IT.

Just an additional thought, in that application, you listed all your possessions of value such as art and jewellery, and you GAVE THAT INFORMATION WAY.
Helloooo!!!

People are giving the government permission to take a facial scan for facial recognition, IRIS scans, fingerprints and now DNA….and you still do not think
You are being surveilled??

Does this not sound vaguely familiar…..???

The Government knows where you bank, and how you spend your money, and can close you down in an instant…..should they think you are cheating…..

YOU are the PRODUCT.

Start exercising your power and just say NO.

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Musings and Observations of Seriously BAD Behaviour

Bringing a seriously cheap bottle of wine to an event in someone’s home, digging in their closed cupboards to retrieve a fine vintage wine, slinking into a corner, opening the bottle and consuming it by yourself.

Yes, you did see this posted recently in the BLOG entitled ‘On being Selfish’, however, the outpouring of people calling and writing about this issue was extraordinary. Some of your examples absolutely hysterical, but at the same time, so very sad, as so many people are treating their hosts in such a greedy and callous manner.

You are absolutely welcome to share this BLOG, with the hopes that maybe one person recognizes their disgusting behaviour and changes it.

Arriving at the home of an extremely generous hostess empty handed, grazing your way through the most expensive food and drink, then having the audacity to ask the servers to prepare a plate for you to bring home.

Sneaking food home from a cocktail party. I have seen people filling endless napkins with huge Tiger Shrimp and other delectables, one rude wag actually would go into a corner and slip food into a large baggie, then go back for more. This event was NOT billed as TAKE OUT, it was in a private home, nor was it a fundraiser where the guests were expected to pay for a ticket.

Being invited to dinner then spending the entire evening texting on your phone, and not participating. If you didn’t want to come, next time, stay home.

Imposing your children on others They are simply NOT that cute or that special, and we do NOT want to hear about them or see their pictures.

Going to any Birthday Party empty handed, even if someone is hosting it for you.

Going to a Cocktail, Dinner , or Anniversary party empty handed.

Not sending a Thank You note. (see above)

Not sending flowers, or a gift to the hostess. (see above)

Aggressively asking someone for their assistance, then abruptly telling them that they are no longer required, as you have found another solution.

Telling everyone over a period of several months about your impending nuptials, claiming it will be ‘high society’, ( if YOU have to say it, then clearly it is NOT….) cheating with everything that walks on your soon to be wife, bragging endlessly to your male friends about your conquests, …some of whom told some of us…….

Sending invitations to your wedding to only some of the people to which you have been ranting endlessly over the past few months, filling the church with the guests who arrived all dressed up for this ‘fabulous’ occasion, having first sent expensive gifts to the home of the couple…..After the ceremony, the couple walked down the aisle, got into a few cars, including a couple of Rolls Royces driven by friends, and driving off into the sunset.
The guests naively thinking the wedding party was simply going to take pictures, found themselves standing around the church until they were rudely ushered out, and the church door loudly locked behind them.
Well over 100 people found themselves asking just WHAT exactly had happened, unfed, left behind, and utterly horrified. After a whle, some just wandered off, others went to a couple of restaurants for dinner, in complete and utter horror.

The wedding party, meanwhile, went to a private club for a very small, intimate dinner.

To say that my phone rang for weeks over this one, is an understatement.
NO ONE, let me repeat, NO ONE, had ever heard of, much less experienced anything as classless as this before, nor since.

Insisting on wearing your boots, shoes or whatever else footwear into a shoe free home. If you are told repeatedly NOT to wear shoes in the house, that is NOT an invitation to bring slippers or other footwear. NO shoes means NO shoes. It is the height of bad manners. If wearing your filthy footwear is more important than respecting the wishes of the hostess, please do us all a favour, and STAY home.

Going into a shop, having a shop clerk running around finding things for you to try on for over an hour, then leaving everything in a heap on the floor as if it was trash, and walking out without as much as a Thank You, or, making a purchase. That person is on commission, you just treated them worse than your personal servant, you stole an hour of their time for which they were not compensated, and worse, all the garments now look used and must be tidied and hung up.

Going to a soiree in a high end fashion store, drinking copious quantities of alcohol, eating everything in sight, taking endless selfies with both expensive merchandise and guests who are utterly unaware they are being photographed, and not purchasing a thing.
YES….they DID see you, and YES, they are talking about it…….guess how I found out about it!!!!!

Telling someone , “ we MUST do lunch repeatedly, I miss you SO MUCH….” Then never calling……

Walking up to a celebrity at a Fund Raiser, interrupting them, foisting your business card into their hand, and loudly exclaiming so that half the room hear you speaking…….”I would LOVE to get together with you for lunch……You MUST call me…….”…..pretending to be their best friend, when they DO NOT HAVE the SLIGHTEST CLUE who you are, nor, are they remotely interested in finding out. Their horrified facial expression just told it all……and YES, we saw it all……..

Turning upn at a fancy ball in a low cut, flouncy chiffon dress and carrying on like you are the Belle of the Ball. PLEASE take a serious look at yourself in the mirror. PLEASE repeat. …. Maybe, once more, just to be sure……

You are NOT a 16 year old, 100 pound anorexic model, nor are you a rock star. Exposing it ALL is just plain VULGAR.

Going to the aforementioned Ball, walking up to total strangers, interrupting their conversation mid sentence, and ingratiating yourself into their group. They do NOT know who you are, and after your incredibly rude pushy behaviour, have no interest whatsoever in finding out who you are.

Paying a PR to organize a reception in your Store – Art Gallery…..then spending the evening fussing over the shiny new faces you have never seen before and totally ignoring those individuals who have been paying your bills for years….. You DO realize that we have an abundance of choices of where to shop, do you not???

Fussing over the pretentious millenial who has 10 handbags spread all over the counter which she is photographing, and totally ignoring the quiet discreet individual who is actually dressed in high end designer clothes…..if someone is wearing a huge diamond ring, a large Vuitton purse, Hermes shoes, scarf and belt, they can probably afford to buy something else……..do you REALLY think the 20 year old has the cash?? Attitude is NOT cash.

Posting rude, beligerent comments on the Facebook pages of strangers just because you do not agree with them. You DO realize that you can be found, do you not???

…..and then there are the Drama Queens……..why is it that some people just will NOT stop posting and carrying on endlessly whenever there is some incident in their lives?? Are we supposed to run to your side to support you in your milisecond of need?? Give you money?? Take you out for dinner to console you??? Pity you??? … For a few, the feelings towards them has now run to utter disgust. Reposting endlessly on the anniversary of your mother’s death, her birthday, your dead friend, sending emails and sharing them with your friends to share so that your ‘sorrow’ is amplified a thousand times?? Stressing how we MUST all get together to support poor, sad you??

Seriously???!!!

What about the rest of us ??? We have ALL experienced loss, some of us have lived through absolutely horrific life events, yet, nary a call.
But then, we were elegant, quiet, discreet. We did not tell anyone, We did not post and repost and amplify, tweet or whine.

Walking into a grocery store with large reusable bags, filling them in the trolley, then arriving at the cash and paying for just a few items.
This new, absolutely INSANE trend of forcing us to bring our own bags in order to shop has generated a level of theft which has exploded.
People, we are ALL PAYING for this.
Some of us have brought it to the attention of store managers, but it is now so extreme that it is an epidemic. PLEASE do something …the cost of YOUR groceries will double if you do not.

Making a big deal about inviting someone to lunch to celebrate their birthday. Ordering cocktails and endless dishes that ‘you MUST try,” making absolutely sure that EVERYONE in the restaurant hears and sees you carrying on, then sticking the birthday boy with the total bill for several hundred dollars, who, just to be totally clear, ordered ONE plate of food and NO alcohol.

Truly, real life is more outrageous than make believe………

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On Being selfish

We have all met them, it could be a friend, family member, work associate, but it is ALWAYS about them. Their image, their birthday, their finances, their needs. But what happened to the rest of us??

Manners are considered to be the social grease. Perhaps not the most elegant choice of words, however, having good manners at the very base, is having consideration for others. 

Not doing to others what one does not wish to have done to oneself.

Selfishness rears its ugly head in a myriad of ways, it can be cloaked in jealousy, arrogance, or just the total lack of empathy or consideration of others.

From those who post endlessly on Facebook, and want us to ‘like’ and ‘share’ their beliefs, events, and successes, but would never consider doing the same for others.

Those who only promote or help those who they think can advance their own cause. 

Those who argue their beliefs but are utterly unwilling to allow that others may have a totally different opinion. Our life experiences are all different,  the best part about meeting and conversing with people is that one can actually learn, and sometimes from the most unlikely people. 

Not responding to an RSVP in a timely and considerate way, waiting until the last  possible moment in case something better turns up, but ignoring the fact that the person extending the invitation has to plan and purchase food and drink accordingly, as well as planning for the number of wait staff if it is a large event.

Turning up at an event with an unexpected guest or guests, and not warning the host prior to your arrival, forcing them to scramble trying to set extra places at the table, and figure out just HOW to extend the allocated food to feed the extra mouths, given the meal was planned for a lesser number of guests.

Not sharing information in a business setting in order to appear more important than they are. This works for a while, but inevitably backfires, as once people catch on, they will actually cease inviting the hoarder to meetings. 

Not considering that other people actually have feelings, and your words are harsh and hurtful.

Always turining up at a Dinner Table or Cocktail party empty handed, regardless the event. Have you ever considered just how much work it is to entertain, and just how much it costs??

Expecting fabulous gifts for your birthday, wedding, Christmas……and receiving amazing thoughtful gifts, but never reciprocating?? Regardless of whether it is your family or best friend, it is simply arrogant and rude.  Just like you love the excitement of unwrapping an amazing gift or gifts, so do they.

Please do not insult our intelligence by stating that you did not have time or that money is tight, but then sit and talk about all the posh restaurants and bars you have visited, the new shoes and purse, trip, car… you just purchased, the fun events you have been to, as you chow down on our food and drink. You knew about the event well in advance and had ample time to arrange something. If you are really that clueless about what to purchase for someone, PICK UP THE PHONE and ask someone.

I had one friend who actually was generous, however her constant borrowing of money and complaining about being broke at the same time as showing off another $4000 handbag or another trip to Europe simply became too much. Just making a feeble attempt to pay back SOMETHING would have been an amazing gesture, but it never came. 

People wanting your professional advice in business, yet always telling you that they can’t provide any assistance for whatever reason  when you need something in return…..hellooo??

People in Vintage and Antique stores selling you something and exclaiming how fabulous it is until you have paid for it, but if, heaven forbid, you wish to sell it at a later date telling you that it is worthless after they have insulted it for 5 minutes….

Can you really hear yourself??  And WHY on earth would I EVER buy from you again??   

We live in interesting times. 

A little consideration and generosity goes a long way.

We DO remember.

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What to do when the head hunter calls….

We have been in a market expansion for a number of years, and millennial’s have been extraordinarily fortunate to have never lived through a major market meltdown, never lived through high double digit interest rates or massive layoffs.

This has brought a level of arrogance which most employers find extraordinary. Candidates are approached for positions and their responses are often arrogant beyond belief, Granted, many are being approached by a panoply of individuals, however, being rude or simply not returning phone calls is NOT the answer. We are ALL being approached, regardless of our level or title, often by rude, low level clerks in agencies who have absolutely no clue about our industry. Yes, being called by an idiotic 19 year old with 3 weeks of work experience is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but we are not all created equally. Some of us actually have more industry experience than you have, so being flippant, condescending and downright rude, is not appreciated.

When the market ultimately crashes and thousands lose their cushy jobs with free food and sleep rooms, we will remember those who were mind numbingly rude. Yes, we actually do keep notes, and we actually are known to share.

If you are asked to something by a Senior Head Hunter, from changes on your resume to providing documents, do it immediately. If you are asked a second or third time, you are simply proving that your career advancement is not that important to you. If you say you will call on a particular day, do it, or follow up with a note or call to apologize, and schedule your next call. Life throws us all situations where we are not able to deliver on a promise, but calling to apologize immediately is the best response.

Do NOT tell the Head Hunter you are too busy or worse, too important. They may have the opportunity of a life time, and you just convinced them that you are not the ideal candidate.
The last individual who told me that missed out on an amazing opportunity. The candidate who took the position was promoted after several months and is earning over twice the salary, not to mention extraordinary benefits, than one of the individuals who told me he was a ‘very busy, important man”…..yup, he is still at his old employer earning a fraction of the lucky candidate. Guess he is not so important after all. NO, he will never be called again.

Do NOT tell Senior Head Hunters you know better than them, you would be surprised at the mandates we receive. Some executive somewhere is paying us to find the best. To presume that you know better, is to essentially say that the Senior Executive who gave us the mandate is stupid. Do you really want to do that???

Our Consultancy is actually just that, a High End IT Consultancy, we all have over 25 years of actual IT experience. Some more technical than others. Never did we plan on doing Search, but after being lied to and scammed by several agencies in the past, we ascertained that there HAD to be a better way, our clients agreed. We started in Search with more mandates than we could ever possibly fill.

Just because you feel some sense of importance having received several calls for new positions, do NOT become arrogant. People speak, even competitors. High End Head Hunters also speak with their clients and will give names of individuals to ‘KEEP OFF’.

Our database literally has hundreds of names marked with the notation , KEEP OFF’.

People who were rude, chauvinistic, arrogant, do not return phone calls, did not deliver on promises, have bad references, were fired repeatedly, have fake degrees, fake job titles, have resumes on Linkedin which bear NO resemblance to the 5 we currently have on file, or are on the take.
It is easy to be arrogant when the market is booming, but it always crashes, and many of the rudest people are the ones who call back like they are your ‘NEW BEST FRIEND’ …do you really think we are remotely interested in helping them??? If they are rude to us, just how rude are they within the companies where they work??

If a Senior Head Hunter gives you advice on anything from dressing, etiquette, hygiene, comportment, listen to them. A Senior Executive is paying for their expertise, and you are NOT the only person out there.

For those of us who have survived numerous recessions and even depressions, our clients come to us for a reason, and they are paying for our expertise. We actually do understand the mandate and are seeking the brightest, best out there, and manners figure very loudly into that equation. And YES, we are paying attention. If your behaviour is rude or arrogant, how can we possibly trust you to work within the client environment??
Taking yourself too seriously will have us running to find someone with a sense of humour and humility.
Yes, I absolutely used the word humility. Don’t have any, don’t call us.

Wake up people.
You are just NOT THAT SPECIAL.

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Views on Aging

Life comes with an automatic death sentence. No matter how rich or famous, successful or not, death is an absolute. Life is to be lived and embraced. It is an opportunity to live, travel, taste, see, and experience all the amazing sights in this world, to meet extraordinary people in extraordinary places. I have been extremely fortunate in my life, and have met some unbelievably incredible people from every part of the globe. How you view life and appreciate the time you have goes very much along the lines of whether the glass is half full or half empty.

In both my Professional and Personal life, I meet an inordinate number of people from every corner of the globe, and love the fact that everyone has stories to share. It is an amazing way to learn. Similarly, I am absolutely mesmerized at meeting individuals in their 20’s who are obsessing about their retirement, and have not considered the option of living their lives on a daily basis, at the same time as meeting others who embrace life in the fullest, and will not stop moving forward. From the 80 year old who decided and succeeded in becoming an artist, and has had a couple of solo exhibits in art galleries, travels extensively, including a jaunt to Hong Kong to meet up with an old friend.
How do you have an intelligent conversation with a 20 something who refuses to learn another language, has been nowhere, done nothing with their life, has no hobbies to speak of, no accomplishments, no enthusiasm, no curiosity, and tells you that once they retire they might actually consider doing something?? With that TOTAL lack of drive, it is questionable whether they will actually survive long enough to retire, being old and boring at 20.

Some people are born whiners, others develop into whiners to elicit attention, every little incident intensified as though it was a major crisis of epic proportions, yet others experience horrific experiences in their lives and quietly, stoically, push on silently.

Since last fall, I have once again had to face my friends dying monthly, some months, more than one. Some young, some old. It is very difficult to say goodbye to so many people. But at the same time, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have known them and shared some small part of their lives. Some funerals, like people, are dismal and depressing, others joyful, a celebration of a life well lived. What is it that defines your view on living?? Are you joyous? Engaging? Entertaining? …or one of those people, who, as in some of the cartoon characters, are walking through life with a gray cloud over your head.
What is it about some people who are such whiners, negative, depressing, demanding, exhausting, who experience no joy, yet they have faced no hardships, when others who have lived through so much worse endure silently.

Facebook and social media present an incredible window on social behaviour. I am truly blown away by some of the things posted by certain individuals, and the depths to which they will sink to garner attention. There are so many toxic people bringing darkness instead of joy. I prefer to purge the darkness and embrace the light, if that means fewer friends, but joyful friends who bring laughter, then I am more than prepared to live with that. I would rather live with laughter and joy than darkness. It is sunny outside, I will go soak up the sunshine alone, breathe in its heat and joy, and banish those to darkness, and celebrate my extraordinary luck in having shared my life with extraordinary people, many gone too soon.

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A Reality Check

Poor fragile snowflakes endlessly complaining that they are being harshly targeted and derided, their fragile egos suffering, unfortunately much of the criticism is absolutely real.

We recently contracted the services of a company, and were told, in no uncertain terms, that we not only had to leave a substantial deposit but that we had to pay IN FULL at least one week prior to someone coming to do the work. WHAT??!!??

After demanding a proper explanation, as we had never experienced this before, the Manager was brought into the office to explain the reasoning behind this. We have both owned homes for a very long time, in my case, I totally restored, not renovated, every inch of a 100 year old house in Westmount. Never, had I been told to pay first.

The Manager was extremely polite and explained the progression of their business practices, and how the business world has changed, just within his short career, and he is, admittedly, a millennial himself.

No longer the ability to do business with a handshake,
No longer having clients respect the contracts they sign.

It is every man for himself.

He explained that most of his friends live lives that grotesquely exceed their incomes. Big fancy homes, pools, fancy cars, posh vacations, ALL on credit. Many have 5-6 credit cards, ALL maxed out, yet they continue to live well above their means, and zero cash in their pockets, no consideration whatsoever what will happen if their lose their jobs, or how they will ever repay their escalating debts. As many have not lived through a recession, they live like it can’t ever happen to them.

When he first started working in this company, he found himself doing phone collections as he is even tempered, and bilingual. He was utterly shocked at the names and addresses of those he had to chase. Over the next couple of years, the volume multiplied exponentially, prompting him to seriously review his own behaviour towards credit, as well as participating in creating new policies and procedures for his employer. He discovered that their cost of collections was rapidly exceeding the profit margins on some of their contracts. Obviously, like everything else, there are some millennials who are hardworking and fiscally responsible, and I certainly know many of them. They are living well within their means, not eating in posh restaurants, wearing flashy designer clothes, instead they are concentrating on their careers and their futures over the immediate 10 second gratification of a selfie!! Their view is long term, with certain goals to be met along the way.

However, walk down any main street, look into fancy restaurants, high end designer shops, art galleries, and see people more focused on the phones in their hands than their surroundings. Image, for them, is everything, and it is managed practically down to the nanosecond. As discussed in previous blogs, one has to wonder as to how long term friendships can possibly be made, as everything is superficial and only about the instant image. How many ‘friendships’ will endure the endless hardships and mishaps that come with life?? From job loss, health issues, family problems…….financial problems…….who will remain??

What started as a polite explanation of their business practices evolved into a 40 minute discussion of millennials and their extraordinary sense of entitlement. Feeling that it is acceptable not paying others for their time and services, at the same time as over valuing their own contributions.

In our business, we unfortunately encounter this arrogance on a daily basis, the extraordinary lack of courtesy and respect. Like every industry, there are individuals and companies who have made it difficult through their bad behaviour, however, new trends like ghosting employers, brings bad behaviour to a new level, never before seen. Not responding to phone calls or emails, they have not yet learned that people running business actually do speak to one another, and names of offenders are shared, sometimes even between competitors.

Call someone with over 20 years of experience, you usually get a call back within a short period of time, if some time elapses, one usually receives an apology for the delay. Call the President of a Fortune 500 company, they usually call back within an hour. Call someone with under 10 years of experience, expect utter silence, or total condescension and incredible arrogance… I frankly have a hard time with some of the things I have heard over the phone…….from strangers, who have no clue who they are speaking to, but feel that they are superior,and untouchable. My contact lists are exploding with notes against people’s names describing their rudeness, and whatever the industry, the behaviour is a constant. Having friends and acquaintances in every possible industry imaginable, it is a common theme.

SO, return calls, return emails, be gracious, you never know who is watching, or more importantly, what you could be missing. Some of the people I have called have missed out on opportunities where they could DOUBLE their salaries and work for extraordinary companies. They will never know. I will NEVER contact them again, EVER. From shops to galleries, restaurants, their names are increasingly on lists, and increasingly, they are being shared. There is never an excuse for seriously bad behaviour.

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Whatever Happened to Discretion??

There was a time when people of a certain class were proud to keep their private lives out of the public eye. Your name was in the newspaper at birth, marriage and at death, and every effort was made to keep it out for the balance of their lives.

Today, with Social Media, you are considered a loser if you don’t have thousands or even millions of followers on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin filled with endless selfies, delivered almost every millisecond to ensure maximum exposure.

Bragging has become the lexicon for success and visibility. Life is measured and appraised by following the so-called ‘influencers’ on Instagram, snapping images of every facet of their lives, ostensibly to deliver instantaneous views, the rhetoric defining their lives, questionable, as to whether all this actually delivers quantifiable results beyond ego enhancement.

It is a pernicious, dangerous path, for when life and one’s popularity are measured in micro-moments, how can you develop real, honest, and not simply imagined friends??

Is it a real life or a fictitious, staged existence for a fickle, imagined audience, living vicariously through the imagined lives of the various individuals they follow?? Poses in luxurious surroundings, shows of extravagance, beautiful possessions, often staged in shops or in borrowed clothes and homes of friends or acquaintances for long enough to take a selfie.
These same people, dropped equally fast when someone new and more fabulous emerges into view.

Whatever happened to NOT bragging about one’s wealth, popularity or success?? About being gracious, discreet, elegant, kind??

Some people have hundreds of birthday greetings with gushing adoration from their followers, yet spend the actual day totally alone.

Certain individuals have their PR Maven’s on speed-dial racing to ring up newspapers or posting endlessly on Social Media the staged fabulousness of their clients, be it their so-called social lives or business successes.
Appearances at cocktails, balls, gallery openings, conferences, meticulously posted with the requisite photograph to promote their fabulousness. But what do they truly have to offer beyond their staged, fake lives?? Are they educated?? Travelled?? Sophisticated?? Elegant?? Interesting?? Well Spoken?? Have they actually done ANYTHING beyond actually showing up?? Can one actually have an interesting conversation about something other than themselves??

It is extremely unfortunate that in today’s world, being on Social Media is no longer a choice but a necessity, driven by the impression that with no media presence either you or your company do not exist. That most of the most extraordinary websites are for companies that barely exist, and many of the truly successful ones, barely have a social presence. They actually provide a product or service which is in demand within their industry, and do not wish to be inundated with spam.

People do business with people. People make friends with people. People DO NOT do business with Social Media. Some people actually value discretion.

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WHO are you??

Perception is everything, or is it??
Do you really know who someone truly is??

Some people are awesome at self-promotion, to the extent that they will engage the services of a PR to develop their ‘brand’ or public personae, and it is amazing just who pays for it. There are innumerable socialites and business people who pay for the proper introductions, and invitations to sparkly events so they can meet the ‘right’ people.

Different people may perceive the same person in totally different ways, one may be excited to be their ‘friend’ , in newspeak, ‘honoured’ to be their acquaintance, when another may see them as a total fraud. Who is right??
Obviously, there is context, as well as personal experience and judgement.
Add to that, the fact that some view the world through pink lenses, and always believe what they are told. So, if they were introduced to someone and told the individual is super successful, the new associate will obviously identify with them in a positive manner.
Issues include context, social, business, timing, physical chemistry, jealousy, as well as something as simple as having a good or bad day. Some people are gullible, and are totally swayed by those who are able self promoters, they truly WANT to believe. The art of self-aggrandizement, particularly today with the volume and nature of social media, as well as many people feeling socially inferior, are apt to grasp on to the person who appears to have a large, fabulous life, as they hope that, by extension, they will be a part of it.
The question which must be asked is, how much is real?? Are you a follower, a believer or a doubter??
Admittedly, I am a doubter, If something or someone appears too good to be true, and I have never either heard of them, or been under a totally different perception, I tend to investigate to establish whether my perceptions and at times physical reaction to someone is accurate.
I know for a fact that I am the epitome of the wrong first impression, most women who judge me and know nothing about me are virtually ALWAYS wrong, and I mean TOTALLY wrong, not just a little, and this is the basis point for this discussion.

The younger generation are obsessed with following movie stars and bloggers and their perceived ‘fabulous lives’, but how much is true?? We know that you can actually BUY friends and ‘clicks’ today, so, do they really have 1 million followers, or is it really 50,000 and a lot of buying power??
If you are trying to associate with someone simply because you believe them to be successful, shouldn’t you ask the question as to why they would actually want to associate with YOU??? What is it they are seeking? Friends?? Sycophants?? Or is it more of the façade……? Do they feel so insecure that they need to have someone with them at all times??

Actions speak louder than words, so follow the actions and not the rhetoric. The reality may be far from what you perceive……….

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George Orwell’s 1984 has arrived with a vengeance

Let me begin by saying that I have spent most of my career working within the Advanced Technology Industry, with some of the most gifted individuals in the industry.
It has been extraordinarily exciting to see the development of new ground-breaking technologies, but at the same time, the utter erosion of our privacy is extremely concerning, and most people blindly GIVE everything away, with absolutely NO thought as to their actions.

If you continually provide your confidential information willingly, and sign your rights away, as well as your ability to pursue legal action, do not be surprised to know that the government has more information on you and your movements than ever before.

NSA monitors over 20 BILLION conversations and messages every 24 hours.

Airport Security is increasingly demanding both IRIS scans and Fingerprints depending upon your country of origin.

Facebook sold the confidential information of 87 MILLION users to Cambridge Analytica, as well as that of their contacts, without their knowledge or consent.
Equifax lost the confidential credit information on over 15 MILLION people, and have the audacity to aggressively promote online credit scoring and verification, FOR A FEE, as if they could possibly be trusted.
Saks, Lord & Taylor just lost credit data on 5 MILLION clients.
TJX lost 45.7 MILLION
UBER lost 57 MILLION.
And the list goes on and on…….

Today nearly all mobile phones contain GPS, as well as the majority of new vehicles.

Should I go on???

There is a company advertising endlessly that you should send them your credit information and they will choose the best credit cards for your needs.
‘Send us your DNA” to check your ancestry
“send us your DNA’ to check if you have colon cancer…

Submit your income tax returns online using our software…..
Send us your confidential financial information so that we can source the best mortgage, home re-financing, student loan re-financing, life insurance, health insurance, investment opportunities……..the list goes on and on……
All I can say, is DO NOT DO IT.

You have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER who is receiving your confidential information, or what they are actually doing with it. So, when your identity is lost, where do you look??…. by providing the information willingly, and agreeing to the terms of use, you have signed away all your rights. YOU are the product, and you have given these companies free reign to do as they wish with your data.

The latest scam is companies offering to do a ‘dark web scan’ for a fee, seriously??? … it is laughable, as there is NO SUCH THING. The dark web is not indexed, so it is a fraudulent offer…….

Are you afraid yet?? Every time you do a quiz or survey on line you are giving away more of your information.

Consider the increasing use of facial recognition in airports, parking lots, on the street, stores, and businesses. It is being used to follow people, watch their behaviour, and increasingly target them for store offers……
There are an increasing number of companies monitoring the phone calls and emails of their employees, some with knowledge and approval, others not.

Most people have never considered privacy or encryption, or the retention of their private information.

It is YOURS, it is worth guarding. Be vigil.

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Customer Appreciation

If you are a regular reader of this BLOG, you will know that I tend to be all over the place, and visit an astounding cross section of shops and restaurants from some of the most exquisite in the world to absolute dumps, and everything in between, including Hawker Stalls where one stands in public to eat. Absolutely NOT what I was brought up to do, however in between an abundance of Chinese friends and a Japanese husband, one enhances one’s life experiences appropriately, and obviously with a sense of adventure.

YES, I have eaten in some incredibly exquisite places, the most notable being in a Restaurant in a Private Home in Japan. It was a massive traditional Japanese structure dating back over 500 years, obviously Tatami, where the entire second floor of the house has actually been a restaurant for over 500 years. This is one of the many secrets one discovers travelling throughout Asia, as there is no way an outsider could know this exists. No advertising, ever. Simply upon personal recommendation.

The huge antique lacquer table was incredible, the lacquer hand rubbed to a brilliant gloss. The art work in the alcove and throughout, of museum quality, and as is traditional with fine Japanese dining, the dishes were all antique, appropriate to the season, as was the food which was presented. Each changed with each of the 18??? Courses which were served over a period of several hours. Everything was absolutely delicious. A total feast for all the senses.

It was difficult to be elegant and discreet however, when my brother in law started peeling off 100, 000 Yen notes endlessly, I absolutely shudder to think what this cost, but it was in the thousands of dollars. An opportunity of a lifetime. It was an amazing experience from start to finish.

From London to Paris, Amsterdam to Monte Carlo, Tokyo and Hong Kong, I have been fortunate in my life to experience some of the best dining there is to be had. Concurrently, eating in Asian Restaurants where the majority of my white friends would not EVER set foot.

The best Hawker Stalls, undoubtedly in Singapore. Government regulated, no worry about the possibility of getting sick, and the choices are endless. Singapore is a wonderfully diverse place, so there is everything from Thai to Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, and more. ….incredible fresh fruit treats from the tastiest freshest fruits ever, smoothies and freshly made ice creams, and fabulous Asian desserts…….

With the New Year, comes the closing of several well known shops and restaurants. One of which was extraordinarily disappointing as I have known the owner since he arrived from Japan. No notice whatsoever to any regular customers or friends. Just a public notice to announce that they have closed, and thank you. It would have been fitting to contact people such as myself who brought them a constant stream of new clients to advise us so that we could come one or two more times before it closed, but it was not to be.
A Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown which used to be my ‘go to’ spot, gone, but admittedly I have not gone there for years as the waiters became rude and arrogant, as they say, familiarity breeds contempt.
A bakery which was part of Westmount’s landscape, and a meeting place, closed surreptitiously, not surprisingly however, as the staff were arrogant and refused to speak English to the clients. The store across the street increasingly stocking a cornucopia of breads and cakes for significantly less cost, and slowly rendering them redundant.

With the closing of my favourite Dim Sum Restaurant in Chinatown a few years ago, I was excited to learn about a new restaurant, so I visited a new Dim Sum Restaurant in Chinatown this week, touted as typical Hong Kong, and it was certainly not the case. Having stuffed my face all over Hong Kong and Kowloon, it fell seriously short in presentation and taste. The food was served luke warm, mediocre in taste, and it was not overly friendly.The head waitress made 2 condescending remarks to me which were highly inappropriate. The first was to bring me tea and make a point of stressing that it is free in Chinese Restaurants. Then, after seeing me eat using Chopsticks and a bowl, NOT A FORK AND PLATE, stopped by to make another condescending comment about whether or not this was the first time I was eating Dim Sum. Seriously??? I have been eating real Chinese Food for twice as long as her, and arguably in more Chinese Restaurants in Chinatowns all over the world.
To make matters worse, they have been spamming me endlessly on Facebook, and none of the dishes even vaguely resembled what they presented on line.
NO, I will not go back.

Several other major closings of restaurants and shops which have been around for a while and quietly disappeared just after the holidays. Is it that the new generation are fickle?? Well, that is one explanation, as they tend to follow whatever trend or spot which is trending on social media, or is it simply that NONE of them have the vaguest concept of CUSTOMER RECOGNITION??

During the same period I visited a high end shop mid week to look for a very particular new belt. I was seeking a particular shade of pink. Sorry to disappoint, but every year or so it is obvious that I am a chick!!! And Pink it is!! I have been chasing this elusive belt for a few years, and had hard cash in my pocket. Do you know how HARD it is to spend your money?? In 3 high end boutiques I was totally ignored while the staff pretended to be busy. Did I mention I was the ONLY client??? Yes. Just moi. So in each case, I looked around and walked out. In the most expensive of the group I was actually acknowledged by the Assistant Manager who told me he continues to seek a pink or purple belt for me, but so far, no joy. Only boring, traditional colours, brown, black……

So, out of frustration, I returned to one of the other boutiques where I had been ignored to be finally served, and advised that the belt on the counter was the only one in my size. The lady actually went into the back-store to check, and let me know there was nothing. They were waiting for the new shipment. So, this elegant,, polite, French (read from France) lady made a sale. The original shop clerk who had ignored me hovered in the background. Did she EVER acknowledge me during my first visit?? Absolutely not.

It is easy to blame technology and the disruption it is causing in a rapidly evolving world, but whatever happened to doing something simple like actually THANKING your long term customers and show some sign of appreciation?? The ones which survive have learned that you can’t always just take, take, take, and sometimes just a small token of appreciation goes a long way.
If you NEVER thank people for being faithful long term clients, at some point they will take their custom and drift away, no advanced technology required. Just 2 words:

THANK YOU.

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