September 29, 2021
A month has gone by. Our site has been relatively dormant for a few weeks. Not much has been going on this week. Although we have some noteworthy news for the month.
- We remember the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 events.
After the events of September 11, 2001 nearly 20 years have gone by and a whole generation has grown up and we’re still experiencing the aftermath of the events from that day including increased screening and additional surveillance that was to prevent events like that from happening again.
- A new article on chimeric viruses has come out.
We have not decided to link to the articles, but if you do any search in a search engine and look for recent news as of September 2021 then you will see that there are some interesting articles from New York Post, The Intercept to The Telegraph. Quite interesting.
- Supply chains are having issues.
Right now there’s a supply chain issue happening. This includes computer chips for electronics, trucker labor shortages making gasoline hard to get. Costco for example is starting to put limits on toilet paper and cleaning supplies and water again. There are port delays and container shortages due to coronavirus related disruptions affecting the supply chain according to New York Times. This is also increasing labor costs amidst shortages in truck drivers. The supplies aren’t the problem like they were last year. There seems to be plenty of supplies on certain things this year, but more of a logistical problem and delay of getting supplies where they need to be. Thus many stores are ordering even more to keep up with potential bottlenecks before they happen.
According to MSN there may be shortages on paper and meats, kitchen items and gas as well as pet food. A lot of hints are pointing to try to keep the holiday rush to a minimum and get things you need now before you need them as the weather gets colder. Even things from chicken wings to food containers are hard to find or prices are skyrocketing. Things like soap and wipes were a few things that commonly had issues staying in stock. School lunches and other businesses are being affected by this supply chain issue. Perhaps its time to start buying in bulk to prepare for the next SHTF scenario.
- 4. Gov shutdown lurks and default on credit looms as debt ceiling issue is contemplated
If appropriation bills not adopted before start of the fiscal year of October 1 then a shutdown is likely. Mandatory spending programs would continue such as social security and Medicaid and Medicare, while public safety functions would still continue as well. Public safety can include law enforcement, power maintenance and air traffic control. We have not had a shutdown mid-pandemic before. And our previous shutdown lasted 35 days under a previous administration. A shutdown can affect the ability to get services and maintenance at a public park. It can create problems with mortgage loans since income transcripts are harder to obtain. It can cause problems with food safety inspections.
Not only that, the debt ceiling is again causing the U.S. to come perilously close to default on its debt and credit worthiness for the first time again.
- 5. Be careful of buying from third party sellers on big online platforms
There is a big online store that you might buy and get things shipped to you. It used to sell just books and then started concentrating on music, electronics and eventually got into food and started competing with everyone and even trying to go to space. The company is a multibillion dollar company. And it does a lot of business with dropshipping as well as inspiring other copycats or allowing small businesses to compete on the platform. They even promised free shipping on orders over $25 and also membership perks and voice activated assistant services and eBook reading devices. We won’t mention them by name since you can probably figure it out by now. However the biggest problem is that a lot of these platforms start having third party sellers that come on the platform and they have various quality products and services that can range from stellar to subpar to outright junk. This is not just for this platform but other platforms as well. A few years ago we had an experience with an auction site that was rife with problematic sellers and items that were defective, not exactly as described or less than wonderful condition.
The good thing is that there are methods to report these bad stores that pop up and you can often tell that something is suspicious. Here are a few tips:
- Shipping comes from someplace out of the country but takes an extraordinarily strange long time to arrive like 30 days or more.
- The wording in the product description has weird discrepancies, incongruities, mispellings or typos.
- The picture doesn’t look like an actual representation of the product or has been altered or is blurry.
- Another important one is that you have difficulty reaching the seller
- The tracking number provided says “Other” or is not mainstream.
- The seller tries to influence your review. Very big one, if you see this then I would question the ethics of the seller.
- The price doesn’t feel right for what is being sold.
- There are not a lot of reviews for the product or the reviews have a lot of negatives or seem to be copy and paste.
- There are a lot of similar postings for similar products or on the other end there’s not many similar products to the one you’re look at.
What can you do if you bought a bad item?
- Try to cancel the order before it gets shipped.
- Try to reach the seller and ask about it and any questions or issues with shipping before even ordering in the first place.
- If you get an order that you deem questionable as yourself some questions: is it lighter in weight than you expected? Is there a lot of tape or wrapping to protect it? Is it irregular in shape?
- Then take a picture of it before opening or video of you opening it and during opening to document.
- Next is the item as described and can you live with it? If it is clearly not as describe and for the function you needed such as clearly defective, damaged or in a nonworking state then reach out to the seller as soon as possible. Test the item to see if it turns on or functions as described or ask someone if you don’t understand what you’re doing wrong. But often your intuition is right.
- Wait for the seller to get back to you in about 3 days. If they don’t contact you in a reasonable amount of time you may need to go through filing a claim or dispute resolution.
Often most platforms have a dispute resolution or claim service you can go through to get a relative easy refund and these days it is easier as a buyer to do so.
Make sure you get as much in writing and copies of the chat text with your dispute representatives in case there’s a he said / she said situation. Get dates and names.
Then follow through and follow up. Don’t end up wasting money or getting ripped off. Often there are a lot of people that don’t know what to do and eating the mistake of the seller. The squeaky wheel gets the grease so don’t be afraid to let the person on the other end or the store know something is wrong so that the problem can be corrected. No one is a mind reader and they don’t know something is wrong if you don’t report it. The biggest cheerleader for yourself is you.
Make sure if you believe you have been scammed, phished or are being unethically influenced to report it. One big scam that has been going around is that people buy a product and then they might get a card in their product that asks for a tit for tat or almost quid pro quo type review. Basically “you give me a good review and I’ll send you a free gift product” or some similar arrangement. Most platforms don’t allow reviews to be influenced in any manner. Make sure you report bad behavior or bad products and defective sales. There have been quite a few times that we’ve ordered products from foreign markets especially in a certain country and they come defective or broken or boxes dented. Don’t let the platforms and sellers get away with this. The more it is reported the less likely others will be swindled this way so protect yourself.
As always, we’ll look for more stories of interest and bring them to you if we see them.
Keep safe and well.