Monday, November 29, 2010

"Sorry, we don't accept cash"

"Sorry, we don't accept cash"

That's not a phrase that you hear often. It is certainly not a phrase that you hear when you are at a store trying to purchase a good or service. I certainly had not encountered a situation like it until today. I tried to buy gas from a Sam's Club gas station today but the attendant told me they did not accept cash. I couldn't believe it at the time. Luckily there is a Shell station right across the street so I just went there and got gas from there.

For those of you don't know, Sam's Club is a wholesale retailer (similar to Costco and BJs) owned by Walmart. Sam's Club gas, like pretty much everything at Walmart is significantly cheaper then the other brands. A customer buying gas across the street at the Shell station pays on average 10-15 cents more per gallon then a Sam's Club customer. As gas prices have gone higher a lot of companies have started posting two separate prices for gas. One for customers paying cash and one (usually anywhere from 5 to 15 cents per gallon more expensive) for credit card customers.

I thought about the words printed on every American bill that say "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" but, there is no federal law that requires businesses to accept cash as a form of payment. The following is from the Federal Reserve website,

However, no federal law mandates that a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services not yet provided. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills.
Some movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations as a matter of policy may refuse to accept currency of a large denomination, such as notes above $20, and as long as notice is posted and a transaction giving rise to a debt has not already been completed, these organizations have not violated the legal tender law

 I checked with a friend who works for a State Senator and she told me that the State of New Jersey does not have a law requiring merchants to accepts cash as payment.  In some ways it does make sense. Not accepting cash certainly eliminates the possibility of the attendants working at the gas stations getting robbed. People like me take shots at Walmart quiet frequently for their practices but this is actually something they should be applauded for, unless of course there is a sinister motive that we just can't currently figure out. Like I mentioned earlier, I pay by credit card most of time I get gas so I likely won't be affected by this in the future.

Have you ever encountered something similar?

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

State of Rutgers Football

As a very disappointing season comes to a close I just want to take a moment to think about where the Rutgers Football program stands at the moment.

There is no way around it. The program did take a step back this year but it is not the end of the world. The last 2 home games there was a lot of talk at the stadium about the need to fire Head Coach Greg Schiano but I couldn't agree less with that sentiment. The recruiting classes are consistently getting better. The players at the skill positions are not the problem. Hopefully the problems with the offensive line are fixed next year. Next to injuries it was the biggest issue that plagued the team with the departure of a solid line from last year that also included the first round pick for the San Franciso 49ers, Anthony Davis.

The fan base is part of the problem right now too. This team hasn't had a home field advantage (except for Thursday night games). There are just too many people coming to the games who hopped on the bandwagon in 2006 and just haven't gotten off of it yet. There are way too many people coming to the games who just aren't real fans. I can't even begin to count the amount of times in the last few years that the crowd has left early despite what the final score ends up being. The West Virginia game last year really annoyed me. The team went down 21-3 early and half the crowd early to watch the Yankees/Angels playoff game. The game ended up going down to the wire but less than half the crowd was there to watch the finish.

As crazy as it sounds there are just too many people at these games who have no idea how to react to game situations. It drives me crazy when Rutgers is facing a key 3rd down play on the offense and a certain portion of the crowd just starts getting loud as the offense gets to the line and tries to listen to signals from the quarterback yet the same people are completely quiet when the team faces a big 3rd down play while on defense.

Schiano spoke to the media today about his message to the fan base,

Well, certainly I feel their frustration because there’s no one on the planet that’s more frustrated than I am. So can I feel their frustration? 50 times over. Because they’re frustrated, but then they go do a job or they go back to their family or they do something; my frustration doesn’t end. So yes, I feel their frustration. Sure, I do.
I can tell you this, though: I’m betting that the Rutgers people — the real Rutgers fans — are going to stick with this football team and this coaching staff because we’re going to get this fixed. This isn’t the end of the world. It’s disappointing, it’s sad that it had to happen. But this program is built, as I said in the beginning, on a rock-solid foundation. This storm won’t knock us off that foundation. And we’ll come back stronger.
So that’s what I say to our fans — we’ll be back. Our true fans will stick with us. The bandwagon fans will be there when we win again. And that’s life. I don’t have any ill feelings towards that. I’m in a profession that’s a very competitive profession. It’s entertainment. And when it doesn’t go well, people aren’t entertained. I understand that.
We’re in a big-time market. It’s great when you’re doing well and it’s tough when you’re not. I don’t wish that away. I enjoy that
It is a sad reality that is not just a problem at Rutgers but around the sporting world. As ticket prices go up, the real fan is getting priced out of the stadiums and arenas around the country. There are too many people at sporting events who are only there because they got tickets through work because the company they work for is a sponsor  or just happens to have seats. These people couldn't care less about the game.

I don't understand the people who continue to criticize the stadium expansion that happened before the 2009 story. Every blog post, tweet and conversation mentions that Rutgers didn't sell out any games this year but I haven't yet seen one mention that for all but one (an 11 AM kickoff on a Friday) game this year the team sold more tickets then the old capacity. Same was true last year. The expansion was needed because of the amount of people that were on the waiting list. Stadium will fill up again and do so very soon. The same people who are complaining now would have complained had the team expanded in phases instead of just adding the 10,000 seats in one spring.

There is a good read today from Dave D'Alessandro saying that the Rutgers season ended when Eric LeGrand got hurt. It is hard to argue against that. Yes, the team had some major weaknesses that were exposed early but the fact that they haven't been even a half way decent team down the stretch definitely has something to do with LeGrand going down. That is one of the big reasons why I haven't been as hard on this team as I probably would have been with the Bowl streak coming to an end. These are just kids. Just out of High School and they were on the field as one of their own got paralyzed and has been fighting an uphill battle ever since. By the way, please consider donating to the "Eric LeGrand Believe Fund". For every one Reggie Bush (or Cam Newton if this story goes the way it looks like it will) there are thousands of college athletes who go out there and risk their health because they love the game. The medical bills will be very high and it has been good to see the sports community do their part.
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Rutgers Scarlet Knights #6 Red Football Jersey By Nike (XL=48)Nike Rutgers Scarlet Knights #88 Scarlet Replica Football Jersey (X-Large)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tiger Woods

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Tiger Woods saga. Has your view of Tiger Woods changed in the past year? Has he already been forgiven by the court of public opinion? I figured I'd share three of my posts from the past year on this topic.

4/7/2010   - Nike Commercial starring the voice of Earl Woods
2/19/2010 - His return speech
12/2/2009 - Tiger Woods only has himself to blame

Doug Ferguson of NBC Sports has an interesting article on the topic.
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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 His Father's Son: Earl and Tiger WoodsHow I Play Golf

Obama needs 12 stitches after being hit in lip

I've written about Barack Obama's love for basketball in the past. He squeezes in a couple of hours of basketball on a fairly regular basis. While playing today he got elbowed in the face and received 12 stitches as a result of it. 

The White House released a statement today from the man who elbowed him. Rey Decerega, who works for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute said, 
"I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport. I enjoyed playing basketball with him this morning. I'm sure he'll be back out on the court again soon." 

The injury should make for interesting late night fodder in the next week. What is the over/under on the number of comedians and pundits who will question if Mr. Decerega is a Republican? Obama himself will surely make a joke about this when he meets Congressional Republicans next week.  

The Associated Press posted a picture of Obama putting a ice pack on his lips

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fake doctor saw ER patients for weeks -

Fake doctor saw ER patients for weeks - Health - Health care -

As if the state of health care in this country wasn't already screwed up. How did he go weeks before someone actually noticed that he didn't have ID? I mean, what kind of workplace is this if they just let a new guy in without HR having introduced him? How is it possible that not one person thought to ask who this new guy that is following us around?

This reminds me of those Holiday Inn Express commercials.

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AUDIO: Sarah Palin: “We Gotta Stand With Our North Korean Allies” « Oliver Willis

AUDIO: Sarah Palin: “We Gotta Stand With Our North Korean Allies” « Oliver Willis

Great find from a friend of this blog Oliver Willis. You can also find him on twitter under the name @owillis.

As Chris Hayes said last night, be thankful Sarah Palin does not receive those 3 AM phone calls. 

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.

Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity BookAmerica by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and FlagGoing Rogue: An American Life

The White House Turkey

Earlier today Barack Obama carried on a Thanksgiving tradition at the White House with the "pardon" of a turkey in the Rose Garden. In case you were wondering about the origin of this practice, the San Francisco Chronicle did some digging,
So, exactly where and when did this odd tradition originate? As the story goes, each year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board have gifted a turkey (and an "alternate") to the President of the United States at a White House ceremony right around Thanksgiving.
Since then, presidents have been more likely to call the turkey dinner than give it a reprieve. But a notable exception occurred in 1963, when President Kennedy, referring to the turkey given to him, said, "Let's just keep him." It wasn't until 1989, during the first Thanksgiving of President George H.W. Bush, that a turkey was officially pardoned.
CBS News also did a piece on it this week.

Barack Obama had some fun with the event. Here is part of his remarks,
Before everybody heads home for Thanksgiving, there is one official duty I am sworn to uphold as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth.  Today, I have the awesome responsibility of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys.  Now, for the record, let me say that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November. 
You can watch the event right here. The full transcript of his remarks are also available.

White House also has the video from the pardon ceremony from last year.

At some point this weekend take a weekend to relive these classic scenes from the West Wing (FYI, there is never a bad time to slip in a West Wing reference).

I still find myself looking up West Wing clips on YouTube or pulling out the DVD set anytime I see something on the news that also happened on the West Wing. What a great show it was.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Friday

What's on your list of things to buy this year? Are you actually one of those people that gets up early to go shop....or even worse, someone who stands in line the night before (or for that matter 4 nights before)?

I've worked in the retail industry and always loved working Black Friday just because of how busy the work day was and how fast paced it was. Yet, I can never picture myself as someone who would go out to shop that early.

Going out to shop early in the morning is almost become an unnecessary. Stores are opening earlier and earlier each year (just saw a Kohl's commercial advertising that they are opening at 3 AM) to try and create an event. Retailers are putting up deals online earlier and earlier each year. Amazon has some great deals starting today on DVDsGPS, ToysTVs, Video Games and much more.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.

September 10th 2001

Do you remember what was dominating the headlines in the US on September 10th 2001? Do you remember what America was talking about leading up to 9/11? Do you remember what was dominating the headlines on TV and in the newspapers? Do you remember Congressman Gary Condit taking the 5th?

There was a guilty verdict today in the Chandra Levy case. Remember her? She was the Washington intern romantically tied to Congressman Gary Condit who went missing until her body was discovered a year later. 

That got me thinking, what else was in the news at the time here in the US and around the world? 

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Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder MysteryABC News Primetime Gary Condit

Brad Childress fired by the Vikings

The cancer that infected the Vikings the moment they began their courtship of Brett Favre has finally struck. Brad Childress is out as the Vikings Head Coach. What a shame. Brett Favre is the problem on this team and yet he gets a total pass from everyone involved in the National Football League. Will all teams learn the lesson  that if you bring an over the hill cancerous figure like Brett Favre on to your team it usually doesn't end well.

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Nike Southern Miss Golden Eagles #4 Brett Favre Black Greats and Glory Throwback Replica Football JerseyBrett Favre Jersey: Reebok Purple Replica #4 Minnesota Vikings Jersey

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TSA - Now strip searching young boys.

Really TSA? This is providing security? Perverts and more specifically child molesters around the country are currently trying to get a job with the TSA.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

John McCain vs John McCain

Remember way back in 2000 when John McCain was actually a respected war veteran and senator? Remember the "Straight Talk Express"? Remember the support he had from the left? Do you remember the McCain as Kerry's Vice President talk?

A lot has changed in the past 10 years, and yes, that does include John McCain's stance on post policy issues. I have said in the past that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a politician changing his position on a given subject as more information becomes available. I think there are a lot of American politicians who could sure use the trait. I thought that in 2004 and I still believe that today. What does bother me though is when a politician changes their position on EVERYTHING. John McCain has become that politician. What makes his actions even worse is that he has done it repeatedly for personal benefit. We all know he was treated horribly in the 2000 GOP Presidential primaries but just 8 years later he went to embrace the same people in the hopes of becoming President.

I saw two great clips related to McCain this week so I will share it with you.

The first one is from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
It Gets Worse PSA
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

This second one is from this past Monday on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Rachel Maddow's blog also points out a similar report Keith Olbermann did during the 2008 election cycle.

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Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a LifetimeWorth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired HimCharacter Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (Modern Library Classics)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rachel Maddow interviews Jon Stewart

Rachel Maddow and MSNBC have been hyping up this interview all week. It is finally here.  Earlier today the blog mentioned that Jon Stewart had asked them to upload the entire interview online unedited. Rachel Maddow did of course agree to do that. The full interview is embedded below. I'll have more thoughts on it once I watch the full version.

Rachel Maddow also appeared on "Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" to discuss the interview.

If you haven't seen Rachel Maddow's two appearances on The Daily Show here they are.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rachel Maddow
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rachel Maddow
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.

Rachel Maddow Mind Over Chatter T-Shirt, MediumThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race
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