Facets of Lucy

Looking at the various side of a life


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Targeted!

I am one of approximately 110,000,000 people in the US “Targeted” this Christmas season.  That is, hackers installed malware and were able to get card information and more personal information such as addresses and such.  Anyone who shopped at Target roughly between November 15 and December 15 was violated the same way unless they paid cash.

Bullseye

This isn’t the first time its happened to me.  Years ago, BJ’s Warehouse was hit and then more recently, the chain that owns TJ Max, Marshalls and Home Goods was hit.  Both made me leery of those particular stores for awhile but I gradually came back.

It feels different this time.  The fact that I’m one of so many makes it worse not better.  We’ve also heard that customers at Neiman Marcus were “Marked” as well.  Large companies are not the ones I expect to have insufficient security on their systems.  I hold them responsible.  I have heard that there are class action suits filed already and I wish them well.  Its not that Target hasn’t tried to make amends.  They had discount days, they’ve offered account protection services, lots of emails and website postings have appeared.  Everything short of the CEO calling me to apologize has been tried.

I feel very vulnerable. One swipe of a credit or debit card to make any purchase puts my whole identity at risk.  Anywhere possible, I’ve been using cash since this happened.  I have found two pluses from using cash.  One, there are less receipts that I need to enter in Quicken to balance my checkbook (yeah, I still do that).  And, two, I spend less because I’m aware of how much money is in my wallet.  There are far less impulse buys or purchase of things  that I “will” need.  For now, I’m content to get them when they’re really needed.

Maybe the US will change credit cards to be more like the EU with the digital chips encoded in them.  Of course, by then hackers may have figured a way around those, too.

In the meantime, there’s a dichotomy between businesses and government who want us to do everything online and a nation that can’t protect us when we do.

I may be the only one in America who was shaken by this security breach.  I may, in time, break down and go back to trusting my cards.  Maybe I’ll even go back to Target (someone pointed out that they may be the safest place to shop at this point).  But for now, my greenbacks and I are making do.

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Today’s Gripe: Hotels

I am so proud of my son who will graduate this May from a well-respected state university.  My husband and I are looking forward to going to the ceremony. It’s been a happy four years for us and for our Engineer.  But we have run into something that drives me crazy..  All the hotels in town and for a 20 minute drive in any direction have jacked their room rates up and added two- or three-night minimums.  That means that your basic Quality Inn, for example, is $300/night for two nights, plus a hefty room tax that the city imposes .   This is not unique to this town.  When our Engineer’s oldest sister graduated from another school in the same state, we had to stay in a hotel 20 minutes away, premium rates at a hotel which did not deserve them.  And it’s not just graduation;.  When one of our biggest football schools has home games, the hotels for 30 minutes around jack up the prices and stick to the minimum stays.

Why do they do it?  Because they can.  Because they know that there are fewer of them than us.  When another of our children went to a large out-of-state university, we expected the same at his graduation.  No, that didn’t happen there.  It turns out a much greater percentage of their student bodies are in-state and close enough for families to drive for the day. It was busier in town, to be sure, but not in the hotel business.

I’m not looking for any regulation or government interference.  We have more of that these days than ever before.  But there are families having a hard time finding a place to stay to attend their child’s graduation, hiking up the rates just makes it all the harder.  The locality a hotel is in provides them with their business.  I wish they showed some gratitude by NOT trying to take every last dollar out of our pockets.

We’ve looked at renting homes that people make available for such occasions in the area but none were available.  We’ve networked with our children’s friends to see if any off-campus apartments will be available since classes will be out before graduation but it didn’t pan out.  Is this unique to our area?  Have you experienced this price inflation?  Do you have any ideas to get around it?

Hotel

We just want a place to rest our heads.


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Appalled – Just My Honest Opinion

Last night, my husband and I sat down to watch some TV.  A new show was on, entitled “Stars Earn Stripes” on NBC.  We lasted about 15 minutes and switched the channel.  They have made war a reality show!!  Maybe it’s instead that they have made a reality show about war.  I think its  more the latter but doesn’t this make the former a real risk?

I know soldiers personally and I know families who have sons/daughters serving currently for our country.  These people don’t need a TV show.  They live with the reality of war every day.  Moms, dads, friends and family hold their breath every time they hear of casualties until they hear their loved ones are okay.

A show featuring an actual respected retired general, Wesley Clark, members of the military and “celebrities”, in which the “celebs” are trained and compete in military-type situations , distorts why our servicemen and women do what they do (and having one celebrity tear up because this experience has made them really appreciate the armed forces doesn’t balance that).  This whole concept is disgusting.  I read today that some Nobel Peace Prize winners have come out against the show.  I applaud them and agree that war should not be entertainment.  Those that say the show is to honor what the military does aren’t being sincere .  There are many actual ways to honor them that don’t bring in advertising dollars for the network or cheapen the military’s duties. Try those instead. I hope the show is short-lived.