Monday, March 7, 2016
When I was at UT I took a marketing class from a very popular professor who used Discount Tire as a model for how to do good business. For years I respected them and went to them to buy new tires as needed. I have sent many of my friends there and told them what I learned at UT about how they do business. I told people how they always greet you the moment you walk in the door and make you feel important. No matter how many people are ahead of you, you don’t mind waiting because you can tell they value each person’s time and presence. I told people how quick and efficient their service is. I told people how they give sound recommendations that meet your needs adequately and appropriately. I told people how they will change a flat tire for free in order to generate good will and customer loyalty. I have bought many a tire at Discount Tire. But not any more.
Friday morning a light on my dash board told me that the air in one of my tires was low. I pulled over and sure enough there was a dry wall nail in the center of my tire causing a slow leak. Within ten miles of noticing that I had a problem a very nice gentleman offered to help me change the flat. The tire wasn’t even completely out of air yet. I then drove to Discount Tire on my funky little spare to let them fix the flat. Much to my surprise they said it couldn't be repaired and proceeded to bombard me with a high pressure sales pitch and tell me how bad all of my tires were. They recommended that I buy an entire set of new tires. They even offered to finance them and let me make payments.
First of all, I did not believe my flat tire could not be repaired and I am not going to buy a bag of beans from a liar. Second of all, my set of tires doesn't even have 28K miles on them yet. And they are Michelins. The remaining tires on my car should be good for quite a while longer, even if Discount Tire was right about the flat not being repairable. To me it made a whole lot more sense to buy a used tire with the same amount of tread as the other three. Eventually I got fed up with the high pressure sales tactics and had a stomping yelling hissy fit to make the guy back off. He kept coming after me over and over with the intention of wearing me down until I finally yelled at him. “What is it about NO that you can’t understand? I am NOT going to buy a set of new tires from you! I don't even believe the flat I brought in can't be fixed! Now give me back my tire so I can leave!” I said this in the showroom in front of the other customers and they all took note. When he finally realized that he wasn't going to get anywhere with me, he stopped hounding me and gave me my flat tire back. The intense high pressure sales tactic reminded me of the way some men bulldoze women for sex. It was disgusting.
I put my flat tire and rim back in the trunk and drove to a used tire store. I told them I had a flat and Discount Tire told me it couldn't be fixed and I'd like to have a second opinion. The used tire technician took a look at the tire and told me he could definitely fix it. I asked him if he thought it might be dangerous, and whether I could possibly have a blow out. He didn't think there was any reason for me to be concerned about that. He ran his fingers inside the tire and we both had a good look at it. Since he didn't think there was anything to worry about, I decided to drive slow and take my chances instead of buying a new used tire. I got my flat fixed for $15 and tipped him $5. On my way home I drove very slowly at first and had no problems. After driving for a few more miles I finally had the courage to go 65 MPH. Still no blow out. If I ever do have a blow out on this tire you will all be the first to know, and I will apologize to Discount Tire. But as it stands, I am inclined to think corporate greed has infiltrated their ethics and they are scamming to sell tires to people who don’t really need them.
Even if my flat tire had really been ruined and unfixable, Discount Tire could have let me make my own fully-informed legitimate decision instead of trying to cram their opinion of what I should do down my throat. They could have said there are three ways to handle a situation like that. 1) I could go buy a used tired with about the same amount of tread on it as the other three, 2) I could just buy one new tire, with a whole lot more tread on it than the other three, which could result in the need for frequent balancing and rotation, or 3) I could invest in a whole new set of tires and save myself the time and trouble of having to come back and replace the other three when they are finally worn out. But to claim that a tire cannot be fixed, and that I also need to get three more, and put high pressure on me to go into debt to buy them seems a little unethical to me.
Gone are the days when you could count on companies like Discount Tire to let you know what all your options are and make your own decision about whether saving money or time is the most important to you. Gone are the days when you can just get a flat tire fixed at a place that sells new tires. Gone are the days when customers had a choice and the right to know the truth. These days people have to fight for fairness, fight for justice, and fight to make sure the people charging money are not just scamming you. Corporate America doesn't even remember how to deal with someone who isn't a willing member of the walking talking tell me what to do zombie tribe. If you think for yourself they are shocked and offended. Even the lower echelons will resent you because their bosses will whip them for failing to respect the wishes of supply side economics.
It has now been nearly six months since Discount Tire told me the flat could not be fixed and I took it to the used tire store to get it fixed. And it is still working just fine. I have been driving daily ever since.
Posted by Gayle Michaels at 12:56 PM
I am very sad that Tracy Elise has been convicted of prostitution and racketeering. It seems rather odd to me that society will allow orthodox Jewish parents to give permission for Hasidic Moyle's to suck the penises of their new born baby boys during a circumcision ritual, and adult pagans are not allowed to accept donations for sharing their bodies intimately. Whose body is it anyway? Does it really belong to the jury and the government? Something is not right about that.
It also seems odd to me that secret societies worshipping satan can gather in the woods to worship and conduct sacrificial blood rituals, but grown women do not have the right to willingly have sex with someone for a price. It is even more strange that men can hire dominatrixes to whip them, torture them, and even draw blood. All of that is perfectly legal. But if I teach someone how to be a better lover and allow him to practice what he has learned on me and give him constructive feed back, I have to limit how far he can go with me, or I am at risk of getting arrested. I am absolutely certain that is why the divorce rate is so high.
I find it extremely disheartening that a jury would choose to impose topsy turvy unconstitutional moral laws on a person who has done no harm, regardless of how unconventional her religious practices are. Was there a victim in this case? Who is the government trying to protect when they make an arrest like this? Who is the jury protecting? What harm has been done? Did any of these questions come up in the trial?
How odd to live in a world where men can see each other from a distance in XXX book stores, go into little booths the size of outhouses, stick their dicks in glory holes, and suck each other off for as long as they keep putting quarters in the machine to keep the videos playing. How sad that grown men and women can be arrested for showing compassion toward one other sexually if any money exchanges hands. Is there any wonder why unusual sexual practices are flourishing in this country while normalcy is going by the wayside?
The laws against prostitution are without a doubt unconstitutionally vague, broad, and over-reaching. They violate the right to pursue happiness that is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. What two consenting adults do behind closed doors in private, which harms nobody, is none of the government's business. It seems to me the legality of making such an arrest should have been challenged on constitutional grounds.
With regard to the question of whether it was a church or a brothel, sexuality and spirituality have always been intimately entwined by virtue of the concept of holy matrimony. That sex is a sacred act is an inherent truth that cannot be denied. The jury has denied this truth. Claiming religious exemption from paying taxes on money earned by accepting donations for intimacy services could mean the difference between probation and a prison sentence for Tracy Elise. I wonder if Hasidic Rabbi's allow the family to make a donation to the temple after performing a brit milah?
The photos of Reverend Elise's establishment appear to be relatively discrete. She did not have XXX painted on the side of the building. I hope she appeals the case, and she is released from jail on appeal. A higher court needs to resolve some of the constitutional issues this case raises. But I am sure she would have to rely on logic instead of ritual to get that far. She would also have much better luck getting a favorable ruling on constitutional grounds if she had paid taxes instead of claiming a religious exemption, regardless of how sincere her religious beliefs are.
If Tracy were to appeal and lose, it would be a strangely ironic twist of fate if she were then to receive probation and be released on the condition that she pay her taxes and court fees. She would, of course, have to commit prostitution in order to earn that kind of money. Much stranger things are going on in this world. Arresting consenting adults for having sex and accepting donations is one of them. If only she could seek political asylum in a country where religion and politics do not conspire to undermine personal liberties. If only there was one. Of course fantasies of a more just outcome are less powerful than the prayers this woman needs.
A favorable ruling in a case like this would have far-reaching implications that are unimaginable. Every escort service in the nation would file for non-profit status, become a church, and start requiring the ladies to show up on Sunday mornings to pray. Customers would be invited to sing in the choir. Many of them would probably be praying to Satan and the demons tattooed on the pimp's bodies.
To win a case like this, the issue would have to be extremely narrow and clearly defined. There is a huge gap that will have to be bridged for prostitution to be decriminalized. On one hand, I wouldn't want to see ladies in lingerie standing on the street corners holding up signs that say, "Get your Blow Jobs here for $50!" On the other hand, forbidding anyone from using their own body to earn a living discretely behind closed doors in private seems like a human rights violation to me.
It would be nice if society would begin to assume more responsibility by relying less on written rules and regulations, and start to utilize committees instead of sending in government gangs to harass and punish questionable activities. If a panel made up of experts in the field, members of the community affected, professional colleagues and peers cannot come forward and clearly identify the victim and/or potential future victims in any alleged crime, then perhaps there was no crime actually committed and it is just a matter of attempted social engineering.
To make an example of someone for not paying taxes when the person clearly honestly believes they do not owe any, instead of providing the opportunity to pay is cruel and unusual punishment in my humble opinion. And it will cost the taxpayers money to support a woman who has done no harm instead of putting money in the government's coffers. There has to be a better way. \
Please sign the petition circulating on Tracy's behalf if you care about personal freedom: PETITION
Posted by Gayle Michaels at 8:56 AM