Rules for ordering?

Frustrated Tim Horton’s employees have created a Facebook group to give customers the rules for ordering:

"This is for everyone who gets fed up with people who don’t know what they want, and for workers who have to put up with this every day. If people would just listen to these rules when ordering, the world will be a better place," writes Janice Morgan, who identifies herself as the administrator of one group called Tim Hortons Rules of Ordering and More that has some 3,400 members.

The 80 or so rules spell out how to make your visit to Tim’s more efficient. "When you want a coffee with no sugar, do not say ‘no sugar.’ It sounds like you’re saying ‘one sugar.’ "

"If you don’t say you want anything in your coffee don’t expect to get anything in it, we can’t read your mind" and "Stop telling us to ‘stir it well’ there is no button on the cash register for that."

No button on the cash register for that?

It used to be that service companies like Tim Horton’s provided customer service. If they are looking for exact science from customers ordering coffee they are in the wrong business. And these employees aren’t exactly pleasant either, given rules like this one:

- ordering drinks so that you need more then one tray. Get off you butt and come in the store! If you are truly that lazy maybe you should make your own coffee at home.

Maybe they should make their own coffee at home and save the employees the trouble.Oh wait, isn’t that why they have jobs?

Why is it that Starbucks understands this so clearly that my every experience there is excellent, even without 80 rules?

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Think of the $5 as marketing cost.

Much like Radiohead, Trent Reznor offered a new album online as both a free version and a $5 higher quality version. Now he is upset that only 18.3% chose to pay for it.

Why is this surprising? He offered a free version. If the quality was acceptable then why not download that version?

Radiohead merely asked fans to pay what they felt the album was worth; they didn’t offer a free version.

Trent notes that nothing was spent on marketing:

Keep in mind not one cent was spent on marketing this record. The only marketing was Saul and myself talking as loudly as we could to anybody that would listen.

But that’s not true. The marketing cost is the $5 per copy for the 81.7% of the people who didn’t pay for it. They are listening to it – the basic equivalent of free radio airplay. If they like it they might buy more, or at least tell their friends about it. And they might pay to buy a ticket to a live performance. Isn’t that the real goal? And an 18.3% royalty dwarfs what a record company would have offered the artist.

By the way, I would have loved to comment on the CNet story about this, but I’m not going to register just to add my thoughts.

TechCrunch and Mathew Ingram have more on the music tax aspect of this story.

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The warmest year. Yet again.

According to Science Daily, 2008 is likely to be one of the top ten warmest years. So you would think it was going to be warmer, right? Not so fast:

These cyclical influences can mask underlying warming trends with Prof. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, saying: "The fact that 2008 is forecast to be cooler than any of the last seven years (and that 2007 did not break the record warmth set on 1998) does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007 with an average of 0.44 °C above the 1961-90 average was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000."

So why does this prediction sound so familiar? Ah yes, the BBC said pretty much the same thing last year about 2007:

An extended warming period, resulting from an El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean, will probably push up global temperatures, experts forecast.

They say there is a 60% chance that the average surface temperature will match or exceed the current record from 1998.

As the Boston Globe notes, that didn’t happen: Given the number of worldwide cold events, it is no surprise that 2007 didn’t turn out to be the warmest ever. In fact, 2007′s global temperature was essentially the same as that in 2006 – and 2005, and 2004, and every year back to 2001. The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate – it’s up about 4 percent since 1998 – the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change.

If you read too quickly you might have missed a key point though:

The fact that 2008 is forecast to be cooler than any of the last seven years (and that 2007 did not break the record warmth set on 1998) does not mean that global warming has gone away. [emphasis mine]

So while it may be one of the ten warmest years, 2008 will be cooler. But that headline wouldn’t leave the politically correct image I suppose.

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Britney Spears. Seriously.

Ok, I just can’t hold back any longer though I’m sure that you never thought that you’d be reading about Britney Spears here.

Honestly, is there nothing that family does that isn’t calculated for maximum media impact?

Let’s see… if you think your daughter might have a mental problem would you call a licensed psychiatrist… or a TV personality like Dr. Phil (though he does have a psychology degree)?I guess that depends on whether you want to solve her problem, or increase your media coverage.

And then you’re surprised when he releases a statement.

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Quote of the day.

I love this quote from Gizmodo:

Digital picture frames are the worst gadget out there, tacky garbage that I can’t imagine anyone would ever buy. But they do! These companies are all putting them out because you people are buying them by the truckload! They’re essentially little flat-panel TVs with no tuners and a crappy frame wrapped around them. They then sit there, sucking up energy 24 hours a day, ruining our environment and making your living room look like the Fox News studio on the slowest news day in history.

Hey, my pictures are just not that good. But at least I’m willing to admit it.

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Economists can’t predict recessions.

Economists can’t predict recessions.

From CNN:

Economic forecasters, in fact, are very bad at predicting recessions. At any given moment, they can’t tell you with much certainty whether a recession will begin next quarter, let alone next year. Right now, for instance, there’s abundant evidence that the economy is slowing down but no guarantee that it will achieve the so-called soft landing (a slowdown, with lower inflation, followed by renewed expansion) instead of slipping into recession. Hardly any forecasters warn of an imminent downturn, but the truth is that when the next one comes, they probably won’t see it until it has already begun. To work the weather analogy one last time, it’s as though weatherpersons could tell you whether it was going to rain only hours after the rain had started.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Because the U.S. economy is astonishingly complex and subject to many variables, economists can’t predict recessions. They can’t even say for certain one is under way until months after it has begun.

From the Huffington Post:

Economists can’t pinpoint recessions without the benefit of hindsight, and most usually start while economists are still predicting that we won’t have one.

So why do they insist on claiming that they can?

From the Financial Times:

Wall Street stocks retreated again on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs forecast that the US economy would fall into a recession this year, compounding investor concerns about the near-term outlook for equities.

From the CBC:

Canada’s economic growth will slow down this year, but will avoid a recession, top economists at Canada’s biggest banks agreed Wednesday.

I understand the point about indicators, but it’s all just a guess at best.

Though I wish someone could explain to me why even though 75% of Canada’s exports go to the US, Canada is completely unaffected by US recessions.

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Availability Entrepreneurs.

In the New York Times, John Tierney talks about "availability entrepreneurs", those people who selectively interpret some weather as evidence of global warming, yet ignore contradictory evidence:

Today’s interpreters of the weather are what social scientists call availability entrepreneurs: the activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels.

A year ago, British meteorologists made headlines predicting that the buildup of greenhouse gases would help make 2007 the hottest year on record. At year’s end, even though the British scientists reported the global temperature average was not a new record — it was actually lower than any year since 2001 — the BBC confidently proclaimed, “2007 Data Confirms Warming Trend.”

He provides several examples of this bias, all well worth a read.

Via Fighting for Taxpayers.

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argumentum ab hysteria.

Link Byfield of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy coins a new kind of logical argument:

Down the fading hallways of memory I recall from school that there are in logic several kinds of argument: argument by evidence (very good), argument by authority (weaker), argumentum ad hominem (attacking the man, completely invalid), etc.

To these I propose we add “argumentum ab hysteria.”

Argument by hysteria is all around us. “Unless we shut down free speech minorities will be attacked!” “Unless we pay a carbon tax the planet will die!” “Unless we ban every last trace of second-hand smoke in public, children could die!” “Unless we ban guns people will die!”

Never mind that the evidence for all these things ranges from sketchy to nil. It’s the induced fear – the pictures and self-righteous sermons – that clinch it.

Tip of the hat to Jason Hayes.

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A new logo.

I’ve noticed that both Russell Beattie and Mack D. Male are commenting on the new Xerox logo today.

Yes they are a $16 billion dollar company, but this is the company that owned the photocopier market and lost it. They created the mouse and the graphical user interface among numerous other things and failed to capitalize on them.

If you aren’t in the document printing – err, document management – market, then when was the last time you heard of Xerox?Is a new logo going to suddenly make them relevant again?

Can you even recall what the old logo looked like?

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Tax emissions or miss targets.

According to the Toronto Star:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will have to accept carbon taxes or other charges on greenhouse gases if his government is to have any hope of meeting its climate-change targets.

That is the main message from a blue-ribbon panel on the environment asked by the federal Conservatives to assess their long-term strategy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

I’ve never understood the correlation here.I suppose the thinking is that if industry has to pay through the nose they might cut back on carbon emissions.

Of course the truth is that they’ll just pass along the increased cost to consumers:

The report acknowledges there will be "pain" for Canadians as fossil fuels are slapped with a tax based on their carbon content. That could mean a 50 per cent increase in electricity costs, a 60 per cent jump in natural gas costs and a doubling of gas prices by 2050, the report predicts.

You can tax emissions all you want but I doubt that will reduce emissions one bit.

These reports are always quick to suggest raising taxes, yet never provide the slightest suggestion as to how much emissions will actually be reduced as a result. They’ll just shovel all that extra cash into new bureaucracies. And as if by magic Canadians will now voluntarily do what they wouldn’t do before:

And the report also makes clear that it expects higher costs to pressure Canadians to do more to conserve energy, by retrofitting homes and switching to more fuel-efficient cars. As a result, the report says overall energy costs could fall by 15 per cent for the average household, despite the higher prices.

small dead animals comments as well, and has a poll so that you can provide your thoughts.

Why is it that whenever a government agency studies a problem, the solution is always more taxes combined with hopes and prayers?

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