A Slowly Fading Marque?

With Americans having to adjust their budgets now more than ever to modestly harmonize with their incoming cash flow, cutting costs for entertainment expenses is indeed on most everyone’s agenda. Those who enjoy watching movies have had to lay this form of entertainment on the budget chopping block as well, but thanks to mediums such as Netflix and Video On Demand, movies can still be enjoyed for a reasonable price that can easily fit into modest budget. The average cost of going to the cinema is roughly around $25 per person, which includes tickets, snacks, drinks, and other refreshments sold at the concession stands. According to the results of an online survey conducted by “Harris Poll®” in December 2013, 57% of Americans favored watching movies at home as opposed to the 21% of Americans who preferred to go to the cinema. With approximately a little over one-half of American moviegoers faithfully visiting the cinemas, will this amount be enough to keep the cinemas alive within the next few years?

The participants who were surveyed in the aforementioned poll were also asked to give their opinions about the pros and cons of going to the cinema to watch movies verses watching movies using another medium. Being able to experience a movie in 3-D and in digitally mastered sound quality seemed to win the majority of votes on the pros’ list despite the fact that “rude moviegoers” was the number one reason on the cons’ list for why the participants would prefer to watch movies from home. The high cost of refreshments sold at the concession stand was another major turn-off for 62% of those surveyed, and an overwhelming 69% felt theaters take advantage of showing 3-D movies as an excuse to charge outrageously higher prices to view them.

With tablets and smartphones gaining more and more popularity for their video-playing capabilities, a majority of the moviegoers who are constantly on-the-go have converted their medium of viewing pleasure from going to the cinema into indulging in Netflix for downloading movies to their portable device. If the cinemas can come up with an idea that tops this convenience along with figuring out a way to offer lower prices for tickets and refreshments, then the cinema might have a fighting chance to stay alive.

©2014 Learus Ohnine

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The Plastic Plague

Outrageous. Abominable. Stupefying. Unbelievable…

These are just a few words that blatantly describes the catastrophe bestowed upon possibly as many as 110 million credit and debit card owners between the months of November and December in 2013. With Target being one of the top-selling leading retailers during the busy holiday shopping season, their announcement of a data breach of confidential information left millions to question whether or not the retail chain was capable of adhering to quality security policies to protect their customers’ information. Hackers reportedly have gained access to approximately 70 million names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses as well as email addresses with little to no further confirmation as to what or not other information was obtained during this invasion of privacy.

But this outlandish activity does not stop there…

Neiman Marcus, another high-end retail store, has recently announced a similar breach of security to its system. On January 1, 2014, evidence of a cyber-security intrusion has result in an investigation that has yet to determine just how many Neiman Marcus customers have been affected. While there is no confirmed statement of this breach being linked to the same Target scandal at this time, the most impertinent suspicious factor of evidence points to both malicious breaches of security being originally discovered approximately at the same time – mid December.

So what does it all mean for consumers? In a nutshell, having the pleasure of enjoying one’s in-store shopping experience without the added nuisance of carrying large amounts of cash around is not only a convenience – it is a luxury. Being able to make purchases from the comfort of your own home via the internet is a convenient luxury in its own right, yet lately the risks involved seem to inadvertently outweigh its advantages.

The main question is this: is there simple solution to protect consumers from the vile acts of privacy invasion? At the moment, the only feasible and seemingly safest way consumers can do their shopping is by carrying lump sums of cash on them at all times. For the banks, this solution spells financial troubles. For the retailers, this should not have any substantial affect on their sales revenue although their accounts receivable department may have less or more work cut out for them. In the end, all that really matters is regaining that trust bond between consumer and retailer once again, and with the rate things have been going lately, there is no current equitable solution to this being offered by retailers… except to advise all shoppers to shop at their own risk.

©2014 Learus Ohnine

Woman’s Work Is Never Done

For decades on end, woman have been fighting for their equality to be recognized, in one form or another, within the workforce. Former President John F. Kennedy endorsed it – President Barack Obama ensues to enforce it. The Equal Pay Act, signed by Kennedy in June 1963, was the latest attempt to put an end to gender discrimination pertaining to unequal wages earned by women versus men who are employed in identical positions that are of equal job content. President Obama sponsors John F. Kennedy’s Equal Pay Act (or EPA) for gender wage equality with the Paycheck Fairness Act (or PFA), a legislation to end the approximate 77% difference in compensated wages earned by women when compared to that of men. This bill was approved in January 2009 by the House of Representatives, however, the United States Senate fell short of 2 votes for the 60 votes needed in order to move the bill forward. The bill was presented again for a second time in June 2012. Consequently, the United States Senate only acquired 52 votes in favor of proceeding the bill to its final consideration. Why?

Republican Senators, of whom comprise the small minority of congressional voters opposing the PFA, believe that the bill could adversely affect small businesses by making it easier for female employees to file litigation suits in regards to wage discrimination. Ironically, out of the number of Republican Senators who blocked the bill, five of them were women: Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Senator Susan Collins, also of Maine.

In a statement made by Senate Republican Susan Collins on June 5, 2012, she believes the existing workforce laws are already sufficient: “We already have on the books the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Act in which I support, and I believe that they provide adequate protections. I think this bill would impose a real burden, particularly on small businesses.” In a similar statement made by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky supporting Collins’ viewpoint, McConnell states “We don’t think America suffers from a lack of litigation.” In another statement made by Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, he makes it clear that he does not support pay discrimination within the workforce based on gender, but instead focuses on the issue of workforce inequality in itself: “The question is, will the Paycheck Fairness Act actually address workplace inequality? And the simple answer is no.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act, in comparison to the Equal Pay Act, would provide remedies for the loopholes found within the act signed by former President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The bill would require wages to be paid based on education, training, and/or experience, not sex-based. This bill would also protect employees from retribution from their employers should they happen to discuss their wages for the purposes of evaluating whether or not a gender differential exists. Although American women have come a long way when it comes to putting an end to being shortchanged within their professions, it is still evident that women will have to continue fight even harder for their right to be heard and understood. As the old cliché goes: “Men work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.”

©2013 Learus Ohnine

When You Are In A Relationship… (part 2)

“When you are in a relationship with someone who is periodically displaying extremely disgruntled reactions to petty matters followed by an unwillingness to discuss and resolve them, it is a sign they are hiding something detrimental to the relationship itself.”

Watch out for this, especially in a romantic relationship where the person has a history of cheating. What appears to be a trivial matter to you (and it probably really is trivial) is actually really seriously important to them because they do not want to expose themselves. More than likely, what they want to cover up is something you really need to know, especially if it changes the whole dynamics of the relationship’s fate, and they will try to throw as much confusion your way as best as they possibly can in order to make sure you never find out what is really going on behind your back. For example: the guy who is cheating on his girlfriend might demand (not ask) her to make certain moves and/or actions, that do not make any sense at all pertaining to the circumstances, however, it makes all the sense in the world to him because it is part of his plan. When he explains his logic behind his requests, and that’s IF he explains it, what he says makes no sense at all whatsoever. What she does affects his secrets, so he tries to discreetly control her actions so as to not mess up his plans he is intends to carry out behind her back.

I once knew a middle-aged guy who used women to survive. He preyed on women he thought were naïve, simple-minded, and gullible even if those traits were in no way apart of their character. As long as he believed in this idealization he created of these women in his head, to him it was a reality, and he would treat all these women according to his idealizations.  By living in his head this way, it gave him the confidence to approach each of his “victims”, and the stupidity to create a fictitious image of himself no matter how preposterous he ending up looking to all of them, thinking he could never be exposed. Even if he did land himself a good woman, his mouth was forever filled with complaints that sounded like they originated from the mind of a child.  He never had any real logical complaints about his woman, although he wanted it to appear that way to her as a way to hide the truth. In actuality, his petty complaints were all excuses to create distance between them while he worked on seducing another woman. Once he figured he had the other woman totally sold on him, he would create just enough distance between him and the other woman in order to buy him some time to make amends with his own woman. As confusing as all this sounds, the reason for this ridiculous merry-go-round of dubious behavior was because he had a bizarre personality disorder; the kind that no therapy or drug could cure, with one of his symptoms being a distorted sense of self. He knew this, and although a lot of effort and behavior modification could have improved his life quite tremendously, he chose to make a mess of it anyway. He cared less about the string of devastated yet enlightened women he left behind him because the part of the human brain that processes human emotions was missing in his. Simply put, he had no conscious. He could not feel yet he knew what he was doing. In the end, he reaped exactly what he sowed—nothing. He ended up alone anyway.

(Think about it: if your mate tends to overreact so strongly to minor problems, how do you think they will react when something major pops up?)

 

“When you are in a relationship where the other person constantly speaks in first person, chances are they think in first person, too.”

Take note of the person who frequently uses the terms “I” and “me”, even when discussing things that include the both of you or includes others in general relating to the business. Note how many times they use the term “we” when there are others involved. I will tell you why this is so extremely important…

Suppose this is a romantic relationship. Your significant other refers to the things you do together when describing them to others in phrases like “I went to see a movie” or “I went to the beach”, even though the both of you went to see the movie and went to the beach together. They have verbally excluded you out of the scenario. While the two of you may have very well been there as a couple, the person has also mentally excluded you out of it as if you were not really there with them at all, and more than likely experienced it in the same way; you just happened to be an “accessory”.  This person thinks in terms of themselves in everything they do; everything they do is all about them. The person does not see the activities you two share together as doing them as a couple.

Now suppose this is a business relationship. Your partner discusses company plans in terms of “I created a plan” when in fact the plan was created by the inputs of the entire group, not just one individual. More than likely, everything involving the company is expressed in terms of “I” and “me” by this partner. This partner does not give full credit to all of his or her partners involved in any of the brainstorming processes that results in a successful outcome. However, if any plans were to fail, notice how your partner will suddenly change his or her vocabulary to “they” or “them” instead of “I” or “me”.

Although both the romantic and business individual may be surrounded by others, they actually view the world in terms as if they are the only ones in it and the world revolves around them. The term “selfishness” comes to mine. Chances are, their selfishness shows in other areas of their life as well. In a relationship, selfishness hinders closeness. In a business partnership, selfishness steals credit from where credit is due. All in all, there is usually a lack of respect for any other individual outside of their worlds and their cooperation skills are extremely poor.

 

(to be continued…)

 

© 2013 Learus Ohnine

When You Are In A Relationship…

No matter what type of relationship it is, professional or personal, it is still considered a relationship. Some key facts to remember are:

“When you are in a relationship with a person who takes more than they are willing to give, what appears to be fair to you is just an illusion.”

Self-serving people do not believe in equality.  They do not practice fairness.  They feel like the world owes them and it should be grateful they are here. Actually, they live in a different world than ours, where everything is given to them with little or no effort or gratitude, and that is the way it should be in their mind. They will put in great efforts to make this fictitious world of theirs a reality. We all have to put in a degree of effort to achieve balance in our lives. The truth is, in the real world, it would require too much work for self-serving people to earn what they desire. It is much easier for them to walk around living a lie and telling a lie than it is for them to face the truth.

Dependability is not an important factor for the person who is self-serving in a relationship. You may not recognize so in the beginning, because they are trying to gain your trust by imitating the kind of person whom you are attracted to. They are also inspired by their idea of gaining what they want if they pretend to be someone they are not. After a while, you will start to see flaws in their behavior when it comes to them being dependable. You will notice more and more excuses for why they cannot do the things they did in the beginning. This is because they feel they have you wrapped around their little finger. You will also start to see them lacking on their part for what they are supposed to be contributing, hoping you will pick up their slack. The whole idea is for you to be the one who winds up doing all the giving while they do nothing but reap the benefits.

Do not waste time trying to save someone that does not want to be saved. The best thing you can do for that person is to be supportive, but not at the expense of becoming their savior, judge, or prosecutor. If you associate yourself long enough around someone who refuses to do better, either one of two things will happen: either they will have you thinking like them or they will drag you down with them. Remember: misery loves company, and you are no exception.

“When you are in a relationship with a person who hates explaining themselves, chances are they can’t remember all of their lies.”

Think about it. If someone asks you to tell the truth, it takes no effort at all to recall all the facts. If you told a lie, you will have to concentrate on what you have already said in order for it to make sense with what you are asked to explain at the present time. This is too much work, and too risky. The liar is bound to be exposed once they start trying to explain what they want you to think is the truth.

“When you are in a relationship with a person who cannot control their emotions, it is a sign of immaturity.”

Immature people do not make good partners. Have you ever tried to console a child when they are having a temper tantrum? It is nearly impossible.  They want what they want and will go to no ends to get what they want. Period. There is no negotiating until they get all that screaming and carrying on out of their system. Now, apply that same concept to an adult. With a child, the fear of being punished by their parents for their behavior keeps them somewhat under control. With an adult, they have no fear of that because it does not apply. If an immature person does not want to be held responsible, they won’t.  In fact, they avoid responsibility at all costs. You now have an out-of-control adult with no limits as to how far they will go to get what they want.

(to be continued)

© 2013 Learus Ohnine