In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How a customer became a sucker and then got mad

By Gina Barreca

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) "There's one born every minute." That's what they say about the pushovers and poor saps who fall for bait-and-switch deals. It's what they say about folks who believe they're being treated fairly by strangers who promise them amazing offers.

American showman P.T. Barnum said that there was "one born every minute." That person was a sucker. Or a customer.

My question is this: As far as major corporations are concerned, have the terms "sucker" and "customer" become synonymous?

For those working in the higher echelons of business, have "customer" and "sucker" become so entirely and inextricably linked, so conflated into one giant blob of a dithering, blithering, ignorant, unworthy client mass, that they can be treated with the kind of contempt historically held by snake-oil salesmen for the family just off the boat, or the ignorant poor, or the hayseed or the woman traveling alone?

It might explain why many of us now believe the phrase "customer service" is as much an oxymoron as the phrase "jumbo shrimp."

OK, so the minute I was born happened yesterday. I did a version of buying oceanfront property in Utah: I believed I could get a decent room at a reasonable price in New York City over a holiday weekend.

I know, right?

But I received an email ad from this big hotel chain where I'm a "preferred in-touch guest." The promo said it was time sensitive and so I stopped what I was doing, called our friends and made plans to take up an offer that looked too good to be true.

I was a sucker.

Naturally the hotel told me over the phone "Oh, sorry, the rates don't apply to those dates." I explained, "But your splashy campaign says 'Join Us For Our Unprecedented Holiday Celebration!"' They said, "I am sorry you are disappointed, but those dates are not available." I politely drew their attention to what was on my screen: "Your ad is entirely focused on those dates. You even mention the parade." My voice was starting to sound like Marge Simpson's, both childish and wheedling.

And then I heard: "You didn't read the fine print."

Ignore the graphics, the bold and italicized print, the date-specific photographs and the paragraph-long descriptions. The fine print says, in effect, "We were only kidding. C'mon, it's New York. You can't get a night here for under $468 even if you agree to sleep on top of the ice machine."

That's what makes me madder than P.T. Barnum seeing a two-headed sheep that wasn't for sale.

I'm originally from Brooklyn. I grew up around shady deals and fixed card games. But I thought that in legitimate corporate life, a person could escape con artists and jive smoke-and-mirror promises.


Look, I try never to lose sight of how privileged I am; I can get another room, away from the ice machine. Yet I remember all those years when I never would have even dared try. I was afraid to confront somebody about deceptive marketing or promotional sleight-of-hand.

I was intimidated.

Now I'm not.

I can write the vice president of special promotions, the head of marketing and the CEO; their names are on corporate rosters. After all, it's not the poor soul answering my call who created the copy; somebody on a "team" was paid big bucks to entice me to click through the ad.

When I make a point of letting the big shots know that I was treated shabbily, I'm doing for my younger self, the girl who was too nervous to speak up. I'm doing it for foreign-born mother, just off the boat and a woman traveling alone; I'm doing it for my hard-working students who don't yet realize they can challenge someone who treats them as if they don't matter even though their hard-earned cash certainly does; and I'm doing it for my sweeter friends who are too shy to make a stand when they're made to feel like fools by the simple act of believing what they were told and requesting what they were promised.

Even P.T. Barnum was in favor of giving value for money. There's nothing shameful in expecting it — and holding those who profit from misleading or poor business practices accountable.

Comment by clicking here.

Gina Barreca is a columnist for The Hartford Courant.


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