“approachable,” ellen de generes

Saw Zorianna today, my hair stylist. As is commonplace among stylists and their customers, we chatted about this, that, and the other thing. I told her what happened when I clicked onto Ellen de Generes‘ website. How I was excited, though flummoxed, at winning a grand prize of $1,000 gift cards for Wal Mart or Best Buy, or an IPad. And then how I thought I might be scammed if I followed through on the contest, by having to pay $9.99 a month for some cell phone product.

Our conversation led to our commiserating that Ellen seemed a genuinely nice person, approachable, unlike other celebrities. There’s no knowing for sure. But she hugs as many normal people as she does famous ones. Audience members, contestant winners, guests who are not widely known, all get the same treatment from Ellen. Her smiles are huge, her words are reassuring, her laughter infectious, and her hugs, real. No “air kisses” from this down-to-earth Hollywood personality.

Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.

Image via Wikipedia

Ellen’s shows are fun, upbeat. Even an elder stateswoman like me “gets” her humor. Don’t know if I’d play her games. They can be high energy, scream fests. I mightn’t have the energy, but my screams would be heard all around LA. Falling through a hole carved out of a prop that stands 6 feet above the stage is not how I’d want to end my life. And believe me, I’d have a heart attack going down.

One of my favorite segments of Ellen’s show is the giveaway. Fans write in with stories of their misfortunes, and Ellen gifts them with what it is they might need. The segments I’ve seen involved people whose cars were ready for the junk yard. Of course, they were thrilled to be the recipients of brand, new cars donated by local dealerships. It is usually accompanied by a $10,000 check to take care of other problems. Today’s giveaway was to a single mom of 17 years, who raised 2 teenage daughters wonderfully. The girls seemed a tribute to their mom’s upbringing. These moments always bring tears to my eyes.

helping one person at a time…hugs for…hugmamma.

“news trivia,” wall street journal

“david vs. goliath”………..Corporate giant Wal-Mart got a “stone between the eyes” when historical preservation groups united, using their “slingshot” to stop the world’s largest retailer from building on a 52-acre site bordering Wilderness Battlefield. It was here that “Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee clashed for the first time in battle in 1864.” Evidently there were 30,000 casualties with neither side winning the battle conclusively. But it looks like the “little man” went nine rounds and won this time. Yayyy for “David!!!”  (Wall Street Journal, 1/27/11-“Retailer Retreats From Civil War Battlefield”)

“protestors to have front row seats at royal wedding”………Looks like 62-year-old Brian Haw has had his ticket to William and Kate’s April 29th wedding since June 2001. Did he know something the rest of the world only learned recently? No. It seems Haw has been a long-time “resident” of Parliament Square, a small grassy park, that sits across the street from famed Westminster Abbey.

As a peace campaigner protesting sanctions imposed upon Iran, Haw gained entrée into “a very, very beautiful part of town,” according to Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster City Council. Spending most nights there in tents, Haw and his associates, seem able to invoke squatter’s rights because “The court of appeal made an exception for Mr. Haw, partly because he has been protesting so long, allowing him to continue to camp while his case is reviewed by the high court.”

So while 7 foot-tall metal barriers were erected around Parliament Square, per orders from London Mayor Boris Johnson, space was made for Haw’s 5 tents. Protestors for a variety of other causes who followed Haw’s example over the years, moved their encampments “to the adjacent pavement, which technically doesn’t fall under Mr. Johnson’s order, but rather the Westminster City Council. Hoping to close that loophole, the government last November proposed to outlaw tents in and around the square. But the law is unlikely to be passed in time for the big wedding.”

Once Haw pitched his tent in 2001, didn’t the politicians foresee that he was setting a precedent? I’m sure they weren’t naive enough to think he was just going to go away. Why would he give up prime real estate once he “dug in his heels?” (Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11-“Westminster Squatters Just Aren’t On Wills and Kate’s Guest List”)

“still overpaid, but why ?”……… The L.A. Angels hired Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells for “a $23 million salary in 2011.” In doing so the team is guaranteed to have baseball’s “most expensive outfield–one that actually costs more than the entire payroll of several teams.” Fellow outfielders Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu will make $18 million and $9 million, respectively.  Meanwhile the Angels are “still on the hook for the remaining $11 million on Gary Matthews Jr.,” who was sent packing in early 2010. The total payout costs the team “43% more than the next priciest group.” Unfortunately, this outfielder foursome “combined for 9.7 Wins Above Replacement–a metric that measures a player’s total value over a Triple-A call-up.” The Red Sox quartet scored roughly the same, but the foursome, Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, and Jacoby Ellsbury, are earning almost $22 million less than their counterparts in Anaheim. “Even the much-maligned Chicago Cubs outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Marlon Byrd produced more value for significantly less money.” I may not know baseball, but I know when money’s being flushed down the toilet…big time! I continue to maintain what I posted in “a hand up,” on 7/27/10. Millionaire athletes should consider investing a portion of their mega bucks into helping the careers of athletes, like ballet dancers who are as talented, but are paid “peanuts” by comparison. (Wall Street Journal,1/26/11-“The Absurdly Expensive Angels Outfield)

and the world goes round and round, sometimes spinning upside down…hugmamma.

 

 

 

buyer beware, “best buy”

Wanted to share some valuable information about retailer BEST BUY. Perhaps you are already aware of their return/refund/restocking policy, but in case you aren’t, perhaps you’d be as surprised as I was to learn what it is.

At most other retailers, like Wal-Mart, Sears and Target, when you return an item with the receipt, you will get a refund, cash if that’s how you originally paid, or credit if you made the purchase with a credit card. Unlike these stores, Best Buy’s return policy boggles the mind. The following anecdotal story demonstrates just how bizarre it really is.

A customer bought a GPS for his car, a Tom Tom XL.S. Returns must be made within 14 days of purchase, so the gentleman was well within the time limits when he returned the GPS after 4 days. He painstakingly repackaged the product exactly as it had been upon purchase, presenting it to the “Returns” desk with his receipt. The customer explained that he wasn’t satisfied with the item because it was unable to locate store names. Unbeknownst to the man, the clerk informed him that he would have to pay a 15% restocking fee, or $45. Querying her further, he asked if he’d returned a $2,000 computer, would he be expected to pay a $300 restocking fee. The woman replied in the affirmative. The customer agreed to pay the fee, asking that she deduct it from his refund. But, he was informed, because the amount exceeded $200, the clerk was unable to return his money. Instead he would receive a check in the mail from Best Buy’s corporate offices within 7 to 10 days. Evidently this information was printed on the back of the receipt. (Who wants to wait to be informed of such details until a purchase has already been made? Wouldn’t being informed ahead of time make more sense? Hmmm.)

Explaining the situation to a manager, the customer confirmed that no one had explained the return policy before he made the purchase. In reply, the manager suggested the gentleman contact Corporate. Their response was to offer a $45 gift card to be used at Best Buy. Suffice it to say, the customer metaphorically told Corporate, “You know what you can do with the your card!” My words not his. His retort was that “they could keep their gift card.” But he did give them a “piece of his mind.”

long story short, best not buy from “best buy”…hugmamma.