Nordstrom Rack’s Roving Cashiers Are Exactly What We Want

Photo by mphillips007/iStock

C’mon, admit it: You hate people like I do, right? OK, maybe not hate hate — but the fewer of them around, the better. Well, here’s a secret the next time you go shopping.

At the Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut Street, you don’t have to wait in line with other annoying people to purchase an item any longer. You can if you want. But instead, just find a store employee on the floor and ask to checkout. Chances are that the floor employee will be able to ring up your purchases and take your credit card with a smartphone that they’re now carrying around. They’ve only been doing this for about a month. Unfortunately for the employees at Nordstrom, this will ultimately result in fewer cashier jobs. That’s bad for them. But it’s reality. And it’s our fault. Read more »

Actually, There’s a Very Simple Way to Protect Yourself From Ransomware

Image by Chesky_W/iStock

So, now you know what ransomware really is.

For the past year, I’ve been talking to my clients about it. I’ve been speaking and writing about it. I’ve watched it turn into an enormous, profitable, underworld industry. Now you’ve seen the effects. You read the reports over the weekend about how the WannaCry virus found a flaw in Windows XP and infected something like 10,000 organizations and 200,000 individuals in more 150 countries, even risking lives by shutting down Britain’s National Health System. You now know how real (and dangerous) it is. Read more »

If Pennsylvania’s Drinking Age Were Lower, Timothy Piazza Would Be Alive

Penn State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

I have a niece who is British. A couple of years ago she visited and stayed with my daughter, who attends a large out-of-state university. Both had a great time together. But when I asked my niece what she thought of the social scene at my daughter’s college, her response wasn’t as great — in fact, she was kind of shocked. “The Americans drink way too much,” she told me. “It’s like their whole life revolves around alcohol.” My niece was 19 years old at the time.

Setting aside some Muslim countries where drinking isn’t allowed at all, the drinking age in the United States is, at 21, among the highest in the world. It wasn’t always like this. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a push to reduce the drinking age to 18 to coincide with the draft age and the recently lowered voting age. Those were the days of Vietnam, and the sentiment was Hey, if you’re old enough to risk your life in a firefight, you’re old enough to have a beer afterward. Read more »

This Is Why You Should Respect the People Who Voted for Trump

Photo by ginosphotos/iStock

Photo by ginosphotos/iStock

“The first 100 days used to be a honeymoon period for presidents, but not for him. Everybody’s hammering him, especially the news media, but he’s doing the best he can.”

That was said by Jack Bednarksi in this recent Philly.com article. Bednarski is a small-business owner in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. I don’t know him. But I’m going to bet, like most people, he’s a pretty good guy. And yes, for Pete’s sake, he’s a Trump supporter.

Can you still respect him? Of course you can. Read more »

Bill O’Reilly’s Firing Wasn’t “Capitalism at Work”

Photo via Fox News

Photo via Fox News

Capitalism: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. — Merriam-Webster

Ellen Gray, who is an excellent TV critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a commentary last week in which she said that Fox News’s recent dismissal of Bill O’Reilly was just “capitalism at work.”

“Make enough money for a company, and allowances get made,” she wrote. “Threaten the bottom line, and even the most understanding bosses get antsy.”

From a business owner’s perspective, I really don’t agree. O’Reilly’s firing had nothing to do with capitalism. Read more »

Excited About Tax Reform? Don’t Be.

Photo by NoDerog/iStock

Photo by NoDerog/iStock

It’s tax deadline time, and regardless of whether we’re receiving a refund or we owe money, most of us usually take a moment to look at our returns and reflect and on just how much we’re paying to the government. Sure, we know that taxes are a necessity and we’re all willing to pay our fair share. In fact, a Gallup poll released last week found that 61 percent of us believe our federal income tax is fair. But that same poll also concluded that more than half of us still feel that our taxes are too high. So if we could pay a little less, that would be nice too.

That’s what the Republican party believes. Which is why tax reform is such a high priority on their agenda. The Trump administration and congressional leaders feel that making the system less complex and — most important — lowering tax rates for both individuals and businesses will spur economic growth and investment. That’s the reason behind their push for tax reform. Read more »

This Organization Is Implanting Chips in Its Employees … and They Love It!

Photo by vetkit/iStock

Photo by vetkit/iStock

Imagine if your employer wanted to implant you with a microchip. What would you say? According to a CNBC report, workers at Epicenter, a Swedish startup hub that’s home to more than 100 companies and 2,000 workers, are saying “Yes, please!”

Epicenter employees are being given the option to have the implant, which is the size of a grain of rice, placed between the thumb and forefinger on one of their hands. It’s reportedly a painless and bloodless procedure. Read more »

Why Trump’s Attack on Sanctuary Cities Is a Good Thing

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Mrs. Hernandez: “I saw that man steal a loaf of bread from the store and run down the street, and I can identify him in court.”

Police Officer: “Thank you for the information, Mrs. Hernandez. That is very helpful.”

Mrs. Hernandez: “You are welcome.”

Police Officer: “Now, before you go, just a few more questions. Do you think Vanessa deserved to win on The Bachelor? Should McDonald’s tinker with the Big Mac? Can dogs can understand us? Oh, and given that your name sounds Spanish … are you an illegal immigrant?”

First of all, everyone knows that Raven was a better choice for Nick, but I guess that’s irrelevant now. Aren’t the other questions irrelevant, too? The Trump administration doesn’t think so. Read more »

Jim Kenney Owes Seth Williams an Apology

Seth Williams (Matt Rourke/AP) and Jim Kenney (Jeff Fusco).

Seth Williams (Matt Rourke/AP) and Jim Kenney (Jeff Fusco).

Back in 2015, Alex Capasso — then the chef and a partner at The Crow and Pitcher, a little restaurant off Rittenhouse Square — was arrested and charged with one count of distribution of child pornography by the U.S. District Attorney. That’s some pretty bad stuff, right? His friends and co-workers were “shocked and disgusted.” His partners threw him out of the business, with a representative saying publicly that it would “be a blessing to the innocent partners and staff if his infamy did not take them all down in flames.” The restaurant changed its name and, at the time of this writing, Capasso sits in federal custody awaiting trial. The evidence against him looks pretty solid and, if guilty, he deserves, of course, to spend a long time in jail.

But here’s the thing: Capasso is not guilty. So far, he’s been accused of a crime. He hasn’t had his day in court. He has his side of the story to tell. Still, the guy’s life has been ruined. Which brings me to Seth Williams … and Jim Kenney. Read more »

Six Sure-Fire Ways to Climb the Career Ladder

(Ollyy/Shutterstock

(Ollyy/Shutterstock)

Welcome to the new workplace. You’re smart. You’re hardworking. You’re an asset. And that’s great. Except it’s not enough. It’s 2015, and there are a lot of smart, hardworking people competing for the same jobs as you. The rules have changed since I took my first job in Philadelphia in the mid-1980s. Unfortunately, the world is a much more uncertain place. The opportunities are still there, but success takes a different approach. You’re no longer just an employee. You don’t just collect a paycheck. Today, if you really want a successful career, you have to combine the qualities of a good employee with those of an entrepreneur. You have to be an employee-treneur. And here’s the way the ones I hire think. Read more »

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