Say NO to EBay Global Shipping Program! Unless you can wait extra two weeks. 

GSP basically means eBay contracted Pitney Bowes to act as the distribution centre for their sellers. Yes, it’s as inefficient as it sounds. 

It doesn’t save shipping cost, and it doesn’t make it ship faster. GSP is simply a way for the seller to conceal something. Like their address, their name, who knows. The shipper may think they are saving time, but they could do the documentation themselves with automated tools or couriers like DHL who’d do the same and save time they currently spend replying to all the buyer messages complaining about the delays and stalls in the shipment. 

As a buyer,  the GSP experience is a slow torture with a nasty punchline. 

Your seller ships the item to GSP. This process is pretty fast. Day 1. Shipment is created (the seller printed the waybills).Day 2. Parcel is picked up. Day 3-4 (maybe 3-5). In transit and delivered to the global shipping centre. Then it sits there for a couple three days waiting for GSP to get to it. When we are used to items moving through efficiently in the modern systems like DHL and USPS, this is surprisingly excruciating. Then it goes out again, which you can track through Pitney Bowes tracking site, goes through the customs into your cointry, and handed over to your domestic postal/courier service. The domestic service gives it a new tracking number and tracks till it gets to you. 

If the item loses tracking or doesn’t arrive on time, you can call eBay, but GSP will not respond to you for 48 to 72 hours. I don’t even know how long after that for them to actually act on it even if all you need from them is for them to submit an issue ticket to your local postal service. This, with sellers who ship directly, is typically done within a business day or two. 

I live in the area with one of the world’s most sophisticated sorting centre and fastest postal service. Seldom ever parcels get lost or delayed. Case in point, eBay purchases that is sent to me directly usually gets to me before the earliest expected delivery date. But once it goes through GSP, not one item has arrived within the expected delivery date. Just today, the last day in the expected delivery window eBay “commits” to, I ended up devastating a 5-year-old. Yes, I should have known better based on my knowledge of their performance. That’s why I’m writing this to avoid it happening to a first timer, buying things for graduation, birthdays, and anniversaries. 

I totally so use GSP. Like I’m replenishing office supplies locker in advance, ordering toner replacements a month ahead, new socks, etc. 

I avoid GSP (and eBay) like the plague if it’s something that should arrive within a reasonable amount of time. Answer: Amazon or experienced eBay sellers that ship directly. I am willing to pay at least 10 % extra. 

Do not teach your children that they are beautiful just the way they are. Teach them how to ignore those who tell them they aren’t, including yourself.

There is a strong impulse in all of us to try and protect children from hurt. I imagine that’s why I’ve seen many guardians, parents, older siblings tell a child how inadequate s/he is. Yes, it’s true. The same people who validate, affirm, and cherish the children for already being perfect just the way they are would also have the urge to prevent the child from becoming “high on themselves.”

Because I see this every single day being done to me.

Overtly or covertly, they tell me I’m inadequate. The same people would tell me, if I were an inconfident person, that I just need to love myself more.

 

Where does fentanyl come from?

The first rule of any trade is to expand the customer base, not kill it. So who’s mixing fentanyl into the street drug?

Just had a thought. The only guys that profit from this are the ones making and selling prescription opioids. I wouldn’t put it past them myself. I call for a major audit for fentanyl manufacturers. 

Anyway. This is where we forget vendetta and do the right thing by legalizing prescribed opioids for addiction maintenance. 

the white people guilt

The Caucasians in north america speak about cultural competencies and multiculturalism with such guilt. They always preface “Well, I’m from the dominant culture, so I’m only really guessing…”

This is a really good etiquette that shows respect for the minorities go through. And, at the same time, I wonder if it is giving the people of the dominant culture an inappropriate sense of completion and satisfaction.

If you’re aware that you’re from the dominant culture but want to speak about multiculturalism and about being a minority in an academic context, sure, go ahead. But if you are aware, and if you want to speculate on the experience of a minority, this is not good enough.

The experience of being a minority, by which I really mean the “discriminated groups,” is available to anyone. Tell everyone you’re gay and wear a rainbow pin. If you’re already attached, tell people you are bisexual or transgender. Take it back a month or year later once you feel satisfied with your exposure to that experience. If you live in the area where being gay is a threat to your safety, try wearing outfits that are drastically different than others, like dress like a homeless person or the Finnish curling team. Or shave your head. Or wear a uniform of an occupation that is not generally treated well in your areas.

How did it feel in your body when you thought of doing this?

Did you feel motivated to do it? Did you feel anxious? Did you feel like you’d be stooping to some “low” level by doing it?

That reflects exactly how you feel about your belonging to the dominant culture and if that includes a feeling of superiority. I think many of you shocked yourself.

That’s ok. Belonging to the dominant culture gives you a sense of safety that others don’t have, which in itself should give you a bit of superiority feelings. That’s nothing you have to feel guilty about. Now, where would you go with that newly acquired piece of information?

Managers who don’t know how to manage

In big small cities, a very large “small company,” and branch offices of a large company, this problem is rampant. It goes like this.

Someone is an excellent, skilled worker in the profession they do. Let’s say engineering. On the merit of being a good engineer, they ascend through the ranks and eventually becomes a manager.

Now, having it written out like this, most of you probably spotted the mistake. This assumes that engineering and managing require the same qualifications. They don’t. But it is the norm for all but one of my previous work experiences. You hear a lot about micromanaging managers? You hear about managers who undermine you? Sets you up to fail just so customers come running to them and they can be the good guy?

I was working for a manager-scientist. Her tech slammed a truck door on my leg. I reported this behaviour. I, not the other tech, was unemployed next month. I found out later that they were friends.

I was working as an inspector. My inspector-turned-manager boss told me to overlook violations. I said the job he hired me for specifically doesn’t allow me to do that. I was demoted within 3 months and unemployed within 6.

I was working in another type of inspection. A bunch of good, skilled, experienced guys were quitting, and I heard it was because of lack of support from the management. One day, I reported a violation, and the management overturned my decision without even talking to me. This wasn’t just lack of support. It was a clear violation of the guidelines. Next time I communicate a violation to a client, they’ll just laugh at me.

Why didn’t I report these violations to the governing authorities of these programs? Because someone told me they’d make sure I’d never work in this county again if I upset them.

A manager needs to have the skills and temperament of a manager. This can be accomplished by:

  • give high salary, authority, and status to the non-managing positions so that those who aren’t competent will not make it a goal.
  • if the managerial position does not require a professional designation in the industry, clearly define the manager’s responsibilities and authorities so that the manager cannot interfere with, impede, or override a professional decision.
  • if the managing position requires a certain professional designation (e.g. P.Eng.), consider creating a specific requirement for a manager training program (e.g. in-house, MBA).
  • create reporting channels and a whistle-blower protection program and make sure it works.

We use friends in crisis for our own benefit.

When our friends are down and come to us for support, sometimes, or just some of us, get this surge of… for the lack of a better word, joy. We justify that feeling by saying “I’m just so happy to get the opportunity to help.

No matter what we say to justify it, one thing is very clear – it’s odd. Your friend is down and out and burnt-out, and you’re happy because of something about you. Being joyful about an opportunity to help is not about them; it’s legitimately categorically about you. It’s about how we feel useful, worthy, valued, valuable, important, authoritative, and selected.

And, in that moment of our friend’s need, our mind goes to what would make us feel more useful, valuable, and impressive by trying to resolve the issue for them. We try to tell the friend solutions. We tell our friends to look on the bright side. This friend, clearly with autonomy and capability, probably has thought of everything you can come up with in 2 minutes. They have probably even tried everything. They might come to you seeking answers, but deep down they know you don’t have the answers. (if they get angry at you for not having the answer, it might be a displaced anger about the situation they are in. So we are not free to use it as our reason for offering solutions.)

So, what is the answer… what do we do when our friends come to us, looking for support, help, answers?

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carl W. Buechener

We really listen to them. They are actually telling us what they want from us. Often, it is to be listened to, validated, supported, and act as a sounding board for their thoughts in coming up with their own solutions. But we can’t assume that either. We need to listen, really listen, to know what they are looking for.

Now, when we are really listening to someone and giving that person what they want, we are relinquishing control of the scene, of our friend, and of ourselves. This is extremely uncomfortable, or even threatening, for some people. All of us have at least a little bit of it, so we have to be aware of it. One of my close friends struggles with a strong affliction of it. It is my belief that she can’t handle the emotions for whatever reason. It’s just there is something preventing her from going there. My stories are usually cut off and changed to a conversation about an “object,” not about experience, after a sentence or so. It doesn’t make her evil or any less caring. It is that there are limits to all of us, and some of us this is the limit. In that case, many of us with this dilemma would switch the topic from our friend and their emotional distress to an object, such as a solution, a coping method, or an inspirational quote like “tomorrow is another day.”

We have to know these limits and choose to make that moment all about our friend. It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes great sacrifices. And we have to do it as a friend. If we can’t, if our limits are too great, we need to send them to another friend of theirs who can support them in that way if we really truly care about them.

Individual Honour Codes

When I say things like “oh I don’t lie” or “I don’t like being late,” very many people jump to defend doing so. “Oh sometimes you just have to lie.” “You can’t anticiate every traffic accident.” “Oh they will forgive you if you do. It’s really no big deal. Everyone does it.”

I thought it was about making me feel less burdened.

I still felt like it was a very weird situation that, under the guise of making me feel better, they are directly discrediting my values. 

Recently I was explaining what I call my honour code, and it occurred to me… what if it wasn’t about me at all? What if they lie or are perpetually late, and they were defending themselves when they felt inferior to the values I’d just described as mine?