Monday, November 28, 2005

Reference, Facts, News ... Free and Family-friendly Resources

Reference, Facts, News ... Free and Family-friendly Resources:

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.' - Charles Caleb Colton"

Friday, November 25, 2005

Retailers usher in holidays with deep discounts

Retailers usher in holidays with deep discounts

Shoppers begin heading to stores across the country on ‘Black Friday’

Updated: 7:27 a.m. ET Nov. 25, 2005

NEW YORK - Bargain shoppers woke up before dawn to head to the nation’s malls and stores Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season, hoping to snap up early bird specials on items, from toys to digital music players.

In an improving but still challenging economy, merchants are hoping for big crowds to set a positive tone for the entire holiday season.

read on...

 

I ask myself, what are the root causes of a "challenging" economy...I could come up with a miriad of speculative thoughts, as an economist, and still not hit the nail in the head. I know there are other economists out there, smarter, brighter, wealthier and better educated than I am asking themselves the same question...

As a behavioral science, Economics will never, in my estimate, be able to catch up with what the term full employment economies "should be" all about. Statistically, yes, we can achieve full employment provided we set the standard ourselvese: 4 percent, 5 percent unemployment rate, or what have you...

 SOMETHING IS STILL MISSING... But what is it? How do we bridge the gap?

 
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Thursday, November 24, 2005

8 Rules For Good Customer Service

I just had to blog this. These simple rules from Susan will not only let you go a long ways in business, but life in general...
8 Rules For Good Customer Service
Your Guide, Susan Ward From Susan Ward,
Your Guide to Small Business: Canada.
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Good Customer Service Made Simple
Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.
Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.
If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to customer service that determines whether or not you’ll ever be able to sell that person anything else. The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship that that individual customer feels that he would like to pursue.
How do you go about forming such a relationship? By remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.”

1) Answer your phone.
Get call forwarding. Or an answering service. Hire staff if you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business. (Notice I say “someone”. People who call want to talk to a live person, not a “fake recorded robot”.) For more on answering the phone, see Phone Answering Tips to Win Business.
2) Don’t make promises unless you WILL keep them.
Not plan to keep them. Will keep them. Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. If you say, “Your new bedroom furniture will be delivered on Tuesday”, make sure it is delivered on Tuesday. Otherwise, don’t say it. The same rule applies to client appointments, deadlines, etc.. Think before you give any promise – because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.
3) Listen to your customers.
Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again? From a customer’s point of view, I doubt it. Can the sales pitches and the product babble. Let your customer talk and show him that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem.
4) Deal with complaints.
No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time - and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.
5) Be helpful - even if there’s no immediate profit in it.
The other day I popped into a local watch shop because I had lost the small piece that clips the pieces of my watch band together. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said that he thought he might have one lying around. He found it, attached it to my watch band – and charged me nothing! Where do you think I’ll go when I need a new watch band or even a new watch? And how many people do you think I’ve told this story to?
6) Train your staff (if you have any) to be ALWAYS helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.
Do it yourself or hire someone to train them. Talk to them about good customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, “I don’t know, but so-and-so will be back at...”
7) Take the extra step.
For instance, if someone walks into your store and asks you to help them find something, don’t just say, “It’s in Aisle 3.” Lead the customer to the item. Better yet, wait and see if he has questions about it, or further needs. Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good customer service, take it. They may not say so to you, but people notice when people make an extra effort and will tell other people.
8) Throw in something extra.
Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And don’t think that a gesture has to be large to be effective. The local art framer that we use attaches a package of picture hangers to every picture he frames. A small thing, but so appreciated.
If you apply these eight simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good customer service. And the best part? The irony of good customer service is that over time it will bring in more new customers than promotions and price slashing ever did
 
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Monday, November 21, 2005

Saturday, November 19, 2005

There are no coincidences in life...

Calliope, Muse of epic poetry
You are 'Latin'. Even among obsolete skills, the
tongue of the ancient Romans is a real
anachronism. With its profusion of different
cases and conjugations, Latin is more than a
language; it is a whole different way of
thinking about things.

You are very classy, meaning that you value the
classics. You value old things, good things
which have stood the test of time. You value
things which have been proven worthy and
valuable, even if no one else these days sees
them that way. Your life is touched by a
certain 'pietas', or piety; perhaps you are
even a Stoic. Nonetheless, you have a certain
fascination with the grotesque and the profane.
Also, the modern world rejects you like a bad
transplant. Your problem is that Latin has
been obsolete for a long time.


What obsolete skill are you?
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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Immigrant Resource Center in a Bind

Immigrant Resource Center in a Bind
Saundra Amrhein
St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
November 11, 2005
Copyright 2005 Times Publishing Company

A school that offers free English classes to adults might shut down if it can't come up with the money to apply for a zoning change.
SEFFNER - In their countries, they were dentists and business people.
But here in this breezy yellow brick house off Parsons Avenue, they are students seeking a path out of manual labor.
At the Multicultural Resource Center, more than two dozen adult immigrant students gather four mornings a week to study English in a house turned into a language school and computer lab.
Another 80 are on a waiting list.
But the popular school, which was started in the late '90s, might be shut down next month unless directors come up with $3,500 to apply for a zoning change. The county sought the change after a neighbor complained.
For many with night jobs or schoolage children to care for, the free morning classes are like a salvation.
"My daughter is studying in school, and how can I help her?" asked Carmen Moncayo, 45, originally of Peru. Her daughter is 9. "How can I help her if I don't know English?"
Seated next to her, 62-year-old Elsa Icaza, a dentist in her native country of Ecuador, can't return to her profession until she learns English. She cares for her two grandchildren in the afternoons and evenings.
"If it weren't for this (morning) class," she said, "I couldn't study."

read more...






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Need a hand or two?

Need a hand or two?

It comes a time when things get kicked around a bit, and reevaluation follows. This post's aim is to let you know that I am ready willing and able to engage in practical and income generating ventures. If you like what you have read over the months here at Economics made simple and feel you could use my experiences, knowledge or just need an extra hand to handle whatever it is you or your company is in need of, drop me a line and let me know how I can help.
I can provide references, a resume or whatever complementary information you might need from me to engage in a fruitful and productive win-win relationship.
Thanks for reading.
Se habla EspaƱol tambien...



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Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Five O'Clock Club

On Gratitude
by Richard C. Bayer, Ph.D.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. -Mark Twain

We should all learn gratitude if we want to be genuinely happy. Gratitude is most certainly a virtue; and a virtue is a positive habit of character that helps one to act in a reasonable and constructive way.

The full exercise of this virtue involves three steps. One first recognizes the need for gratitude as a response to a favor; one then should express gratitude in word; finally one should express gratitude in deed. In this way gratitude comes to full fruition and brings no small amount of pleasure to all parties concerned!

Recognition of the Need for Gratitude

Humility is a virtue integral to gratitude. We cannot recognize the need for gratitude without it. People who are puffed up with their own accomplishments and who do not see how dependent they are on other people and (economic) systems which have favored them are rarely grateful. They are blind to the ways in which they have been favored, perhaps beyond what they deserve. Therefore, the vice of pride is the death of humility.

In his classic work The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, argues that people (even as economic agents) who don’t feel gratitude are cheating themselves out of happiness. “Failing to feel grateful to those who came before is such a corrosive notion, it must account at some level for part of our bad feelings about the present. The solution —a rebirth of thankfulness— is in our self-interest. … For us not to feel grateful is treacherous selfishness.”

Gratitude in Word

Gratitude is also a form of courtesy, which is mindful of how others have been helpful, and reciprocates in word. We have all felt the annoyance or even outright pain when people fail to verbalize gratitude for something significant we have done for them. This is not only ingratitude, it is also rudeness. Think about your friends or co-workers whom you have helped without receiving a word of gratitude for your good deeds. This is painful indeed. Also think about this: you can enhance the good reputation of those who do good deeds when you speak a kind word about them to others! Hence, expressions of gratitude bring further rewards.

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, argued that those who don’t feel gratitude are cheating themselves out of happiness.

Gratitude in Deed

Gratitude for things large and small should also be repaid by appropriate actions. There are many such occasions in the world of work. People who want to benefit from having a “team of advisors” —(a recommended technique for getting advice from those more senior than you to move along in your career) should be careful to express gratitude with deeds. Do you simply take from people? If you do not give back and show gratitude, even by helping those less fortunate than you, you risk proving Mark Twain right in his analysis of the difference between a dog and a man.

Gratitude for Life in General

According to gratitude guru Gregg Easterbrook, author of The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, “Those who describe themselves as being thankful to others, or to God, or to “Creation in general” have more vitality, suffer less stress and experience fewer episodes of clinical depression. Well, aren’t they the lucky ones? Grateful people are less materialistic, less concerned with status, less controlling and arrogant…than the population at large.”

Beyond gratitude for specific things, there is a second type of gratitude. Let’s call it gratitude for life in general. For those who believe in God, Allah, or some source of being itself, that deity, as the Source of life, is the object of this gratefulness. This is a personality trait characterized by happiness for gifts (s)he has received. It is a positive attitude that can produce a buoyant personality. The attitude is not simply grateful for some specific things, but for life in general.

This gratitude for being or reality in general can also mean being grateful for what one does not have! Since it assumes that that basic reality (or God) is essentially benevolent, it assumes there are good reasons for not having things as well.

Thankful people have more vitality, less stress, and fewer episodes of depression.

Gratitude for being also requires humility, since it recognizes the gifts given by God Him/Her self. Pride—here meaning the opposite of humility—makes the recognition of the gifts impossible. The self-made person does not understand the gifts he has received, and therefore is blind to the need for gratitude. In this context, gratitude is also often expressed in a special word, which is called prayer.

Gratitude for being also plays itself out in good deeds. It brings a person to do good deeds to others because of the sense of gratitude to God. The good things from God are passed on to another.
The five 0'clock club

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Thought

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

"Here lies in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

It is a fitting place and a focal point to honor American veterans, but as General George S. Patton, Jr., reminded us, "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." Indeed.







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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blogging on myself...

I was thinking about what could I possibly say of my own, at this my "Economics Made Simple" blog.
I thought and I thought and it did not take long before I came up with the idea that it is time to give credit, where credit is due.
First of all, if it would not have been for Blogger.com, I would not have been able to create not only this, but other few blogs I have expressed myself with.
The first one in the list is "Life and Living For Real". It is a blog basically about my thoughts, but it is also a blog to allow you, the reader to perhaps grab onto a post that you can relate with and perhaps help make your life a little better as a result of having come across it. I know, you say, but you just want to benefit your ego and yourself by writing about you. And my answer is, well, maybe that is the case, it was not my intention to create more value for my own ego than the intention of having you relate to my issues and causes and thereby make a friend or two in the process. Well, you could be right. I am selfish, selfcentered, and I want what I want when I want it. But my motives were not too different than the average blog writer. Please correct me if I am wrong... And, with what I have been reading lately, I hope I can move in the direction of focusing more on you, the reader.
Anyway, there are other blogs in the roster of blogger.com: Internet for People like Us, Asi es La Vida, Links for all, and my 2 newest ones: B+, which is a team blog, and Beach Blog.
I am grateful to Blogger.com, again and again, for allowing me to have been able to speak my mind so that not only I but you, the reader perhaps benefits from something I have posted, said in my own words or came across that has made an impact in my life and lifestyle. Of course, there are numerous other sites thatI have found worthy of my including them on each and everyone of those sites. All the sites are is not only the result of my thinking, but of th ethinking of numerous people to whom I have given, and still give them credit for where I am at in mind and spirit.
There is definitely a therapeutic value to writing and journaling, but that value is increased tenfold when I focus my efforts on your needs and wants.
I will be talking more about other sites and valuable insights I have gained as a result of the weblogging trends I have followed for the past few months...
Thank you for reading.



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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Getting better, day by day...


To all my fans, readers, subscribers, lurkers, enemies, and friends...
It is getting better day by day, as the title suggests, and I atribute the improvement to a variety of factors:
  1. God (the God of my understanding never ever gives up on me in spite of myself! LOL)
  2. My Wife... the closest thing I will ever experience to God on this earthly plane of existence
  3. My friends...Those afar and those near. Those at phone call length and those at email or comments length
  4. My Spiritual advisors
  5. My internal and external supports, ie, prayer, meditation, introspection, family and friends in general...
So, to all of you if you were included in the list above...

A BIG BIG THANK YOU, AND BLESSINGS TO ALL OF YOU!





Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Feeling about the same...


I had a rough one today!
I don't know...I think it is in the air...It is really catching up with me... Not that I am th eonly one, and not that things are not any more difficult for you. But today I am feeling the weeks and months of all this stress that we are all experiencing out there as a result of what is going on in the world. I just had the thought that, perhaps th eguy that wrote Revelation is not too wacked out, and that perhaps I ought to pay a little closer attention to that book to have some discernment.
I do trust God. I trust the God of my understanding. And somehow today I really can feel that I (or my household) don't want to be left behind...







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