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Several Stocks I’m Interested In

Disclaimer, I have positions in the following stocks. (at the time this was written)

  1. Starbucks  – Have you been to Europe?  Starbucks is very popular there. I can think of 5 starbucks that I have seen in the city of Frankfurt and I bet there are more than that.  Know what?  Three of them have huge lines frequently.   People are lined up to buy Starbucks coffee and other products.   People STAND IN LINE when there are tons of other places to get coffee that are not so busy and crowded.   What is Starbucks doing that the others are not?    I have no idea.  I don’t understand it.  But, the fact remains American Starbuck coffee houses are busy in foreign countries – for whatever reason.  I’ve read they are popular in China too.  This is nearly a world wide company and is still growing.  That’s why I like them.

2.      Casey’s General Store –  Have you tried their pizza?   A lot of people like it.  Cookies, check.   Coffee – It’s ok – good enough.   The thing is, Casey’s has money and they are growing.  They have bought out some other businesses.  They plan to buy more, from what I understand, when gas gets more expensive.   They are in a handful of states and there is plenty of room to grow.

3. Under Armour – They’ve been around for about 19 years or so.  They sell athletic wear and they worth about 17 billion dollars.  They are poised to grow and may have the ability to move into the spaces where Nike and Adidas operate.   If they can pull it off, they have a lot of room for growth.  UA shirts sell well on Amazon.

I have more but that’s enough to get the discussion going.  Which stocks do you like?   What do you think about the one’s I mentioned?   Which stocks do you own or are planning to own?   Sound off below.

*This post is NOT investment advice.  I have an interest in these stocks because I currently own them.  Do your own research and contact your own professional advisors before investing in anything.

 

 

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Scarcity Tactic Use In Marketing May Be A Bad Sign For That Product or Service You Want

Limited Time Only.001

Use of Scarcity Tactics On The Internet May Be A Bad Sign For the Product You Want To Buy

Scarcity is just a tactic to get people to buy something.  It is based on a deep seated psychological principle / problem that seems to exist in the minds of human beings.  That is: Fear of Loss!

Whenever we fear we might miss out on that ‘opportunity’ ‘ forever’ we get scared.  Often times that feeling is enough to make us reach into your wallets and fork over our cash to someone else.

Marketers know about this ‘loophole’ in your brain and psyche and they seek to exploit it for profit frequently.  You should be aware of this and be on your guard.   You’ll see it everywhere once you start looking for it.

Next Time This Happens To You

Resist the temptation long enough to take a rational look at the situation.  Ask yourself:  If this product is so great why are they putting a time based limit on its availability?  Wouldn’t people want to buy it all of the time if it had such great value?

In fact, when it comes to digital / downloadable products, how could there be a ‘limited time’ in the first place?  The whole concept of digital means you can make ‘unlimited’ copies at the click of a button.  So, how could there be a legitimate limit?  How could there be a ‘limited supply’?   “Limited Time Only” for digital stuff means they are using the scarcity tactic.

Physical products, on the other hand, actually could have a ‘limited supply’.  But even then, there may be many cases where the marketer or company can get more or have more made.   But at least they have currently run out – or at least that is what they say.   They could also limit the sale to certain number, etc.

But, with digital products, how can someone say they ‘ran out of stock’?

Software

The use of scarcity in the sale of software is an even bigger warning sign.  In order for a piece of software to function in the future it will need constant development.   In a few years, if no one is keeping up with its development, that software may be completely worthless.  It might not even take years for that to happen.

If the marketing of that software is stopping soon, that means there is no incentive for the ‘maker’ of that software to improve it.  Once the ‘sale’ is over, he takes the money and has no reason to update or improve the software.  After all, he won’t be adding new customers.   Of course, they can ‘reopen’ a popular sale later.   However, this lack of incentive on development should make you worry about buying any software in which the marketing involves ‘scarcity’.  This is usually called ‘abandonware’ in stead of ‘software’.

I have, unfortunately purchased abandonware in the past.   It’s disappointing to realize that software you spent $100 bucks on isn’t working a year later when you finally go to use it!

You should question the real value of any product when scarcity is used.   Can’t the product stand on it’s own merits without the use of scarcity?  Why not?

What Are Your Thoughts On Marketing and The Scarcity Tactic?

Sound off in the comments below.  Website links will usually be removed unless you are a frequent comment maker on this site.

 

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International Flight Delay Compensation And How You Might Get It

I was recently delayed on a flight from Europe to the United States.  The delay was over 3 hours.  The fault was definitely with the airline as this was a mechanical issue.  The problem was so bad that they had to bring in another airplane.  Hence the delay was over 3 hours.

So, about 3 AM I get a call from the airline telling me 10:30 AM flight was going to be delayed.   They wanted to know if I would accept the new flight.  So I called because I wasn’t interested in being delayed.   Well, apparently there were no other options to choose from.   So, I it is perplexing as to why they would ask me to accept something when there were no other options available!

While I was on the phone, I asked for compensation.   “Oh, you have to ask customer relations about that.  Maybe you could get a voucher since it is over 3 hours.”

So, when I got to my destination I attempted to contact customer relations.  Well, guess what, there is no phone number to reach them at.  There is no chat and there is no email address.  You have to fill out a web form.

I did that.  I told them the flight number, my record locator number and all the other information they requested.  So, there is no way they could have looked up the wrong flight.  I explained that my flight had been delayed by more than 3 hours and I would like some compensation for this delay.

I had to wait at least 2 days for a reply.  It might have been more.  When I got the reply, it said something like this:   We are sorry for your inconvenience.  We are sorry that your flight was delayed due to weather.   We can’t help that.  I hope that this will not change your opinion of xxxx airline.

Right then and there, I understood that this was an avoidance tactic.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with the weather.

I tried to respond back to the same email address that I received this message from.  Guess what?   It was an email address that ‘wasn’t monitored’.    That is not good customer service and on top of that they were trying to avoid providing any compensation.   I would have been happy with a flight voucher.   But not even that…  Instead, some obvious attempt to deflect me.

I was frustrated to say the least.  I didn’t feel like spending another 30 minutes finding their customer portal and inputting all that information again.  It was clear that my first message was not handled with care and that the response was designed to push me away from getting any type of compensation.

I did a little searching and I came upon a company called AirHelp.  They specialize in getting you monetary compensation (not vouchers).  I would have been fine with a voucher but the airline didn’t seem to be willing to provide this level of customer service.  In fact, just the opposite.  It was the old game of frustrating you to the point that you give up.

This is not respectable behavior in my opinion.  They need to serve their customers properly.

I decided to give AirHelp a chance.   It was founded by a guy who had a similar problem.  The airline also tried to deny him.   He made them pay.  There are laws that govern this type of thing and the airlines know it.  But they hope you DON’T know and that you will never find out.

I submitted my claim to AirHelp.  They say I may be eligible for the equivalent of over $700 in compensation.  For their part they will take 25% and possibly 50% if it goes to court.   Well, I’ll take $350 if they are successful.   And the airline will hopefully learn a lesson.  They can’t get away with these avoidance tactics.

Airhelp as processed tens of millions of dollars in claims – according to an article on wired.com .   So, I may have to wait a few months or even longer for my compensation.  But if it comes through I will have saved time and frustration and if it works, I think AirHelp deserves their share.

I want to let people know about this experience.  I hope it helps you.  Please leave a comment if you have experiences to share about delayed flights and compensation.

You know, the truth is, this article points out my shortcomings.  I should be a better person, let them keep the money, suffer the loss, and move on.

Next:  Checkout these:  Smart Travel Accessories

-David

 

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Where Can I Get Wisdom Training?

where is wisdom

Background Thoughts On Wisdom

I’m no expert on wisdom. I want to make that clear from the start of this article.  In fact, I don’t know a whole lot.

I’ve lived several decades on this planet and it is clear to me that I’m still very ignorant about a great many things.

So, now that we have cleared up that I in no way am claiming to be a wise person, in fact, just the opposite, we can move forward.

A World Full Of Problems Demonstrates the Lack of Wisdom Of Our Human Existence.

I don’t need to tell you how messed up the world is.  You can simply turn the news on and see it for yourself.   Clearly, mainstream media is not reporting everything.  They severely under report the persecution of Falun Gong – for one instance.

Some of the worlds problems include murder, hate, violence etc.   I think you would agree that these problems are not easily solved.   In my opinion, and it is just an opinion, the root cause of these problems is at least two fold.

The first part is that we are very ignorant creatures.  We are born into this world with blank minds.  We don’t know anything.  It takes years and years before we ‘think’ we know things.   Yet, most human beings today are not living very long.   Some of the oldest people are like 120 something.  But that is rare.   Even so, I would suggest that 120 years is still not long enough to learn much – assuming one’s mental faculties remain intact and undiluted.

If you accept the idea that even 120 years isn’t very long, it’s easy to agree that human beings are woefully ignorant.   I think that is part of why there are so many problems.

The other part is selfishness.  We want, want and want some more.  Children naturally ‘want’.  “I want this…  I want that…  Gimme this… or that…”   etc.   I only point this out to show that our starting point in this world is also problematic.   It seems to me that adults are not too far away from the state of children on the one hand.  We are still selfish, we just hide it slightly more.

The human race, as a whole, doesn’t seem to progress very far.   They say human history repeats itself over and over again.   If true, isn’t that really saying that human nature hasn’t changed much at all?  We are kind of stuck in a narrow range somehow.

It seems to me that only individuals can rise above.  The whole of the human race, just isn’t going to do that – at least that is what I think.

There Are So Many Strange Things That Just Don’t Make Sense

I was watching a documentary the other day about a couple of dozen of people who died in an accident 40 years ago.   It was a tragic accident and very sad.   I definitely sympathize with the pain of the tragedy and I feel sorry for the loved ones who coped for decades to come to grips with what happened.

Yet, there is a fact that is overlooked. Approximately  150,000 people die every day currently.  That’s a lot of people!  Is it very unlikely that every day there are a couple of dozen people out of that 150,000 that might have died as tragically as those in the documentary I just mentioned?  It’s probably not unreasonable to believe there could be people like that EVERY DAY!

For many of those people, the story never gets told.   We remain unaware of their plight.

Again, I’m not making light of anything or anyone or any tragedy that befalls people.  What I’m pointing out is that it’s strange that we can have a documentary on an event that happened 40 years ago that affected a couple of dozen people and yet it’s likely that something as bad or worse is befalling at least some of the 150,000 that are dying every day.

Why is it this way?   Well, quite simply it stems from our lack of awareness.

For example, I’m sitting in this room right now and I’m writing this article.  Yet, I have no idea what the neighbors are doing right now.  I’m not even sure they are home – any of them!

Now, expand that concept a little further.  If we move a few blocks over – in any direction – I don’t even know who those people are or who lives in those houses – let alone what happens to them on a daily basis.   There are approximately 7 billion human beings living on planet Earth currently.  I have no idea what they are doing, how they are suffering or what they are going through.

I just have no perception that gives me that kind of insight!   Yet approximately 150,000 people die every day and about twice that are born every day!   I have no insight or knowledge into the vast majority of those lives.  I only know my tiny range of existence, comparatively speaking.

One of the biggest questions I think about is: “Why is my knowledge and perception so limited”.  I don’t know most of what is happening on this planet and there are billions of other planets and stars out there.  It’s mind boggling!   Yet, we all seem to focus on our narrow range of awareness that is our own lives.   Isn’t this strange to you?   It’s strange to me.   And it makes me wonder: “What’s going on?”  – I mean that both literally and figuratively.

Reliance on Experts

Another strange thing to me is our willingness to believe so called ‘experts’.  There are so many scandals and deceptions that have been perpetrated in this world.  Many of them, intentionally or not, were facilitated by “experts”.

In my opinion, almost everything is subject to being questioned.  Experts also make mistakes.   The scientists of 400 years ago certainly didn’t understand the laws of physics as well as some understand them today, right?  Maybe that’s not so true after all – I don’t know! I’m relatively ignorant.  How could I possibly know what people were thinking 400 years ago?  I don’t really know what most people are thinking today, right now!

So again, perceptions, understandings and human knowledge is very, very limited.  It just is.  There is no real arguing against that truth.

Where or How Do You Find Wisdom Then?

As I mentioned before, I’m an ignorant person.  I don’t claim to have much wisdom.  Sure, I have a few understandings about things.  Most people do.  Maybe I have one or two that others don’t think about or consider and it might very well be true for all of us. Most or even every person may have a little insight that others don’t.   But do any single one of us hold all or even most of the answers?   Who sees and knows everything that is going on with the world’s 7 billion people?  Not me.  Probably not you, if you are reading this.

So, I can only point you to somewhere else where I think wisdom can be found.

It’s in a book that you can read.  That book is called Zhuan Falun   and you can get a FREE copy (download) at  http://FalunDafa.org in the language of your choice.   Perhaps, if you are one who seeks wisdom, you will find it there.

-David for AllThingsPondered.com

PS:. please do share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.