Tag: Gift

What did Apple do wrong with U2 album?

What did Apple do wrong with U2 album?

horse mouth photoI have read a few complaints about Apple giving away the U2 album Songs of Innocence. I don’t understand the outrage. I had ignored the ruckus until I read an article in one of my favorite blogs, Successful Workplace.

What did Apple do to incur this outrage? All the company did was give away an album that was going to be widely popular anyway. But instead people have come out against Apple for their generosity.

You may not love U2, but a lot of people do. Apple spent a reported $100 million dollars to give a gift to a lot of people.

Some are upset that Apple chose the new U2 album instead a new album by some other band that was struggling and trying to make ends meet. I am sorry, but these people that are complaining must surely be Democrats – complaining because they didn’t get to choose the free gift. In some cases, it is the bands themselves that are are yelling, “Unfair!” They feel jilted simply because they did not get paid a check that they didn’t deserve. If Apple had put some obscure band on my phone, I would be very frustrated since they would then be pushing their weird choices on many people.

Instead, they chose the new U2 album. U2 is arguably, the most widely purchased and honored band on the planet that is still actively making new music and drawing huge crowds. Sure, I would have loved it if they gave me a new cool album by Rolling Stones or The Beatles but the last I checked those bands aren’t putting out great music anymore.

The other major sin from Apple is they have created a service that allows convenience to consumers. They created the ability to have your music downloaded to your device whenever it becomes available. This is a great feature of the iTunes music service. It means that when you purchase a newly released album in advance of its release date, that album is downloaded to your device. This is true even if someone (like Apple) purchases the new album (like the new U2 album) for you. You can easily turn this feature off if you don’t like the convenience, but the number of downloads implies that the users wanted this to happen or didn’t understand their phone well enough to turn the feature off.

What happened to the days when people said thank you when given a gift? It used to be that if somebody gave you something you didn’t complain. My mother taught me that even if the gift was not perfect, I should be thankful for the thought. So Apple has given a gift that cost them millions of dollars. Now people are complaining about that gift.

I have a better suggestion. Why don’t we just say, “Thank you.” If you don’t like the gift of the new U2 album, don’t whine and complain about it. Delete it and get on with your life.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The new U2 album is free. If you don’t like the album, don’t listen to it, and listen to something else.


As I have explained, the U2 album should be considered a gift. That is exactly how Apple describes it in their ad they just sent out via email.

U2 from iTunes is a gift


Photo by tanakawho

No gifts to bloggers

No gifts to bloggers

The FTC has released new guidelines for advertisers. One of those guidelines is that advertisers of diet products cannot have a famous (and formerly fat) person stand there and tell you that they lost 48 pounds in 48 days and you can to if you will just give them $480. Most people understand that they only thing that will lose weight in those schemes is your wallet. It is good for the FTC to demand a bit of realism there.

The FTC also says they will restrict bloggers from talking about products where they received the product or service as a gift in order to elicit the blogger’s review (favorable or unfavorable). There are some services out there that will help you get free products as long as you talk about them on your blog. I think these sites and services will be out of business soon.

For the record, I have never received a gift or any compensation for any product that I have discussed on this site.  I will regularly complain about or rave about my iPhone and its various apps. I will also complain or rave about other products and services. I have never been compensated for these products or have any relationship with the vendor.

All that being said, if Apple would like to give me a new iPhone 3GS, I would be happy to blog about it. I would include the disclaimer that Apple gave it to me for review. If Apple wants to do this, they can contact me and we will work out a deal.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Yes, I am aware that the government regulation on gifts to bloggers was only that the blogger must declare the gift in the process of the review. I implied above that the gifts were no longer allowed, which doesn’t appear to be the case.

My secret for Mother’s Day buying

My secret for Mother’s Day buying

Actually my secret is gift giving in general for my wife of over 2 decades.

While I love her dearly, the sad fact is that after this much time and gravity (and her birthing 3 wonderful kids), neither of us can fit into the clothes that we wore on the big day in 1985.

I also suck at picking out clothes for her as gifts!

So what am i to do?  Simple, I have never stopped buying my bride of many years the same sizes that she wore on our first honeymoon.  That way, even though I know she hates the color and style of the blouse that I just bought her, she has a great reason to return it.  She also thinks that I compliment her on her size.  When she says “You know I can’t wear that size anymore”, I simply reply “But you have been working out and dieting. It looked like you were back to your old size again!”

She isn’t a dumb woman.  I am sure that she totally gets that I am doing this.  It still is a great way to save face for all of us and and I always get an appreciative thank you at the end.

P.S. The corrollary to all of this is NEVER give your wife the wrong size TOO large!  The first time you are dumb enough to make that mistake, you will adopt my strategy for life.  Even rummaging through her closet for sizes doesn’t work due to the different cuts and she just may have dropped a size and you didn’t realize it.  Play safe – go small.  And if you have given your wife the wrong size that is too large:

How is it sleeping on the couch?

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Too politically correct

Too politically correct

I have had enough with being politically correct!  I just don’t get it.  When 96 percent of African-Americans obviously chose to vote for a man because of his color, the rest of the world has the right to comment on his color.  I do not begrudge the man appealing to the minority group that he belongs to.  That is exactly what happens in a representative government.  It is why in some voting districts a person that was a Jew or a Catholic or woman cannot win.  Frankly, it is why in some districts a Republican or a Democrat can’t win.

Stories that Walgreens is putting the spike on “Chia Obama” get my gander up.  After all, a chia pet is almost always a gag gift.  Why can’t it be a gag gift about a particular person?

Of course, perhaps the two NYC chicken joints are going over some proverbial line by actually making it look like President Obama is the owner of or is sanctioning a fried chicken establishment.  Using a man’s name to imply the he is an owner when he isn’t is not really in good taste (sorry for the bad pun).

In general though, Clint Eastwood was right that our political correctness is taking all the fun out of society and we are spending too much time on trying not to offend others.  We need to relax a bit.  Laugh at ourselves and our nationalities.  I am of Irish descent and the comments that I receive around March 17 are all in good fun and I never take offense besides…

…St. Patrick’s day is when everyone wishes they were Irish!

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RANT! Be careful buying iPod Touch from BestBuy

RANT! Be careful buying iPod Touch from BestBuy

My 3 teenagers have all purchased the iPod Touch from BestBuy.  Actually, the youngest one just received his as a birthday gift and that is what is prompting this rant.

There are a variety of gadget sites that talk about the deals available at BestBuy (see here and here). The forums are split as to buying the warranty (here and here) but Apple doesn’t have a great track record on iPods and the BestBuy warranty has replaced 3 separate iPods for my family over the years so we think it is a good deal.

So when my youngest son wanted a new iPod Touch to replace his nano, it was natural for us to go to BestBuy. He was ecstatic when he opened the gift and it was plugged into the family computer within minutes.  Imagine his disappointment when his brand new Touch had pre-2.0 software on it and iTunes wanted him to upgrade for only $9.95!  This OS upgrade was announced almost a year ago.

I wouldn’t have been too upset except for four issues:

  1. this same thing happened when my daughter bought her iPod Touch 9 months ago and we had to fight BestBuy for a resolution
  2. if we had bought the unit from Apple, it would have had the latest software (according to the Apple customer support person when we dealt with this issue on my daughter’s iPod)
  3. because of the experience with my daughter’s iPod, we had asked the BestBuy sales person upon purchase if it had the latest OS and was assured that it did (I am not sure why I trust a young man that still is suffering from teenage acne though)
  4. the rude treatment that I received on the BestBuy support call

I have already written to BestBuy complaining about their support call as well as their shady service.  But they don’t get off that easy.  I am also going to complain here.

I have no quibbles about the software not being up to date for a product that is shrinkwrapped and unopened.  I fully understand that BestBuy is buying their Apple products by the truckload (or container load) and that some of these may sit on the shelf past an upgrade.  However, they should be clearly marked as having the old OS and there should be an automatic coupon printed at the time of purchase to allow the consumer to upgrade the unit. The unsuspecting consumer should not be penalized for BestBuy getting a great deal from Apple because they bought a million iPods at once.

I almost wonder if this is a plan by Apple and BestBuy to lure some unsuspecting consumers to pay for the upgrade to the new OS even though they are legally entitled to that upgrade for free.

So what was the resolution?  The same as it was for my daughter’s iPod.  I called BestBuy, complained, and told them we would be returning the unit if they didn’t make this right.  After a bit of grief that was inexcusable for customer service rep, they promised to send me a $10 BestBuy card to cover the out of pocket cost for the upgrade.


Lesson learned for any readers out there: check the OS on your iPod Touch that was recently purchased from BestBuy. If you need to upgrade to a current OS then call BestBuy for a gift card to cover the cost.  Don’t pay for the upgrade yourself!

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RANT! What do we do with Social Security – 3 of 3

RANT! What do we do with Social Security – 3 of 3

For the last 2 posts, I have explained that social security is in real trouble and should be euthanized. Now I will explain how to do it in the most fair and compassionate way possible.

Our current generation of retirees (and soon-to-be retirees) needs to be protected in this whole process. Therefore my plan doesn’t require them to make any sacrifices. They had a contract with the US government and we need to keep that contract. So the first step of the process is that anyone 58 and over receives all of the benefits that they are currently supposed to receive.

The second step of the process is that since everyone that is 57 today has ten years to prepare for the change, they will receive 10% less than what they were supposed to receive as of today. They need to start saving to prepare for that day and stop looking to the government for a complete handout that is not going to happen. Besides, 10% is not that big of a sacrifice.

The third step is to reduce the gift each year by 2% times each additional year under 57. So, as I said above, 57 year old people are eligible in 2017 and they receive 10% less. Then everyone that will be 67 in 2018 will receive 12% less than today’s standard. 2019 retirees will receive 14%, 2020 retirees will receive 16% less, and so on.

This means that by 2062, Social Security will be gone. Good riddance. RIP! FDR should be proud, he created a system that took almost a century and a half to kill. Think about that – how many institutions today were started at the time of the US Civil War?

The fourth step is probably the most important. For every dollar that American’s pay into the Social Security system until it it has enough money to survive until 2062 (by my estimate that will be until about 2025, maybe 2030), we will be able to set aside another dollar into a specially declared savings account that can’t be touched until we are 67 and the principle and the interest will never be taxed. That savings program will continue and hopefully become the new 3rd rail that politicians can’t touch.


BTW, I will be 100 years old when SS is dead! I hope that I can live that long and I will do a jig if I am still able. If I do live that long, you can be confident that I will adequately prepare my finances so that I am not a burden on my children or society.

I am done with this topic for now but I reserve the right to rant more on it someday.

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