Category Archives: Commentary

An Unpleasant Customer – Think Twice, Post Once

Email correspondence with a less than pleasant potential purchaser:



I recently came across your site as I am needing to purchase Move Magic Screenwriting 6. I see that you beat other authorized online pricing. I almost purchased one on this site:
when I decided to do some comparison shopping. I see that yours is more expensive, but if you are truly able to beat that price, I will purchase from you instead. I would love to purchase this weekend to start a class Sunday night if possible and would appreciate a quick response. Thanks!



Hi, Maryann

Unfortunately, the 4th of July Sale ended yesterday on July 7th. You can see that is the end date on the web sit. They are the manufacturers and our reseller price depends on when they lower it for a sale. So prices went up today to us as well, so we can’t beat the expired sale price.



I emailed you yesterday [Saturday]when that price was still active.


The price wasn’t active yesterday [Saturday].  The sale ended on Friday.  The manufacturer just hadn’t taken the advertisement down yet, but the ad does state the end date of July 7.


Oh interesting. I didn’t realize they could falsly advertise a different price than they would process at checkout. (I got all the way through the checkout process last night except to confirm it with that listed price)

Is ok though, I can let our group know to be aware of this in the future.

Turns out we are going to be able to get the program for $90 anyway, so it all worked out in the end!

Thanks anyway.


Hi, Maryann.  I’m very glad you were able to get a good price!  Actually, please don’t let your disappointment at being able to take advantage of the sale make you think the manufacturer was falsely advertising.  We, for one thing, do not put the products on sale at all – always the same price – though we will beat other prices that are currently valid by the manufacturer or any other licensed reseller.

And as for the manufacturer – I went to college with these guys and they are honest as the day is long.  All that happened was that they put up a notice of a sale that specified that the end date was July 7 right in the text in a prominent place.  And since the sale ended Friday night and they aren’t open on the weekend, they just didn’t get around to taking down the notice – probably just an oversight, but they never falsely advertised.

So, with your comment, “Oh interesting.  I didn’t realize they could falsly advertise a different price…” as you see they didn’t advertise a different price.  I’m sorry you didn’t see the end date when you went to order.

Still, accusing my good life-long friends of falsely advertising does offend me, and I’m very sorry you felt the need to sling accusations.  Though I am still glad you found good price.



— Now normally I just accept the abuse some customers feel they need to dump on me, as if I wasn’t a real person and as if their disappointment, justified or not, is a valid reason for shedding their own unhappiness onto someone else and making them miserable.  Just the price of doing business I figure.

But THIS day, I’m sitting here watching a beautiful PBS documentary on the Pacific ocean, enjoying a Sunday dinner  of pot roast, potatoes, and of shallots and carrots we grew in our own garden.  I served it up on the very plates my beloved grandmother used to serve the very same meal for Sunday dinner hundreds of times in my life – very special.

And I am doing a little customer service on the computer to help any wayward purchasers, even though I’m technically closed for the weekend.  And this one person stomps into the middle of that with accusations against my friends and just a generally bad attitude.

It is moment like these that make we want to retire from selling products at all and just do it all through Amazon or just focus on my story consultation services.

But I suppose my main reason for posting this is to remind us all (me included) that even a casual snarky comment, in person, in email, or in a post on social media and throw a little bitterness into a beautiful moment, or worse, be the straw that broke the camel’s back for someone just barely managing to cope with a bad day.

To paraphrase a famous quote: “Think twice, post once.”

No Greater Gift

When they say, “There is no greater gift than to lay one’s life down for another” most people think they are talking about dying, as in sacrificing oneself in war. But I often thought that when we dedicate ourselves to others – family, friends, or a commitment to service – then we are, in a very real sense, laying down our lives for others – one moment at a time.

And which is the greater sacrifice – to have an instant of bravery in which one is not thinking about ceasing to exist and jumps almost instinctively in front of the bullet, the decision to stay behind to run the escape elevator, knowing you will slowly suffocate, or to choose everyday to lose your own life, dreams, even personality, for the benefit of those you love?

I personally believe that later choice is the most noble of all, for it is made alone, within oneself, over and over again each time you awaken.

Sure, we are able to pursue some of our interests to some degree, but the sacrifice is real as we watch the dreams that once drove us pale and fade into impossibility.

Still, the rewards are many – the smiling faces of our children, the peaceful face of our mate when he or she sleeps, the relief (expressed or simply exhibited) by those to whom we have been of service.

I believe we must come to realize that while we may wish our lives had evolved differently or that the choppy seas of fate might have cast us higher on the shore, life is not perfect nor is happiness a right, only the pursuit of it.

And, in the end, if we had chosen any other more self-oriented path we would find the sum total of our lives and the contentment of our hearts would be far less by a magnitude than it is by having laid it down for others instead.

We Pulled Out of Paris- WE did…

We are the United States. What our country does reflects on us. As a government, we move as a people, whether we individuals support it or not. There is an identity to being an American. That identity has now changed. When you identify yourself as an American now, in the rest of the world, you are the people that pulled out of Paris. We pulled out of Paris. WE did. Because we let it happen. And we must either stop what is happening, or stop calling ourselves Americans, because Americans did this.

Dr. Who vs. Donald Trump

This meme comes from an early Dr. Who episode in which a woman becomes PM in England and gets overcome with the love of power.  Dr. Who tells her he can bring her down with just six words.  She dares him to try.  He whispers something to her assistant, and in short order, word spreads and all the new agencies are reporting how she may not be up to the job.  Questions about her ability to govern are on every headline and every cable show.  Finally, the Dr. is asked what the three words are.  He replies, “Don’t you think she looks tired?”

Today’s Commentary from Dan Rather

President Barack Obama was mercilessly ridiculed by Republicans for his supposed strategy of “leading from behind.” There is a lot of legitimate criticism with which one can debate President Obama’s tenure in office, particularly his foreign policy. There are strong arguments to be made for and against his efforts and ultimately history will have to help us sort it out.

But as I watched President Trump stumble his way through his recent trip through Europe, I couldn’t help but think how hypocritical and hollow those criticisms were. Leading from behind? Tell that to the climate which President Trump and his GOP allies seem determined to pollute when almost every other nation on Earth is leading in the opposite direction. (Recent news shows how India is turning from coal to renewables, and China as well) Leading from behind? As Mr. Trump cozies up to Vladimir Putin it is up to France’s new president Emmanuel Macron to lay out the case for democracy and human rights, you know the kind of speeches that President Reagan used to make. Leading from behind? Our friends in Europe used to respect the United States and join us in strengthening a world order. Now Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany can’t trust us. And why should she? Most of Europe agrees with her.

Mr. Trump is praising murderous despots like Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, and literally pushing his way past the leaders of Europe as he preens on the world stage. Our enemies and allies are taking the mark of a man for whom they have little respect. So far, most of Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress seem to fiddle as our foreign policy burns.

Whatever you thought of the president of the United States in previous administrations, there was no doubt that he was the leader of the free world. But today there is a serious vacuum coming out of Washington – on both the leadership and the free world part. The world is rushing to figure out what this means. I think new leaders will rise in response to the challenge, both here and overseas. In the meantime we spin the wheel of fate without a moral or strategic compass guiding our ship of state.