All Things Must Pass – Right?

Is it me, or are we stuck in a period of indecision and mini revolutions, with a weather system that has run a muck, with overtaxed and understaffed service providers, scandal-riddled presidential candidates and bug-riddled smartphones?

Hanging in the balance of this quagmire is the reputation of the country’s second biggest lender, the livelihoods of workers living pay-check-to-pay-check, our trust in public utilities, the integrity (or lack thereof) of presidential hopefuls, and a bad first impression for many first-time smartphone buyers.

Molly and Goliath

For 22-year-old D.C. resident, Molly Katchpole, the $5 fee Bank of America tried to impose on its debit card customers last month crossed the line.  Working two jobs and barely making ends meet, Ms. Katchpole was the spirited engine behind a 306,000 signature petition that ultimately forced Bank of America to rescind its plan for a new debit card fee for it customers.

Jeers to the Bank of America for trying to get away with the new fee in the first place.  The reputation of the financial services industry at-large is still very much in recovery – yet the bank tried to justify yet more fees to its customers.

Cheers to Molly Katchpole for instigating a mini-revolution and more importantly, for having the courage and the energy to see it through.

Mother Nature vs. Everyone

Here in the northeast, the only winners from this year’s Halloween Nor’easter were the snow plow guys.  Yes, it’s always easy to pick on big companies — especially big utilities like NSTAR and National Grid.   So that’s what I’m going to do.  Five-plus days after the storm and many New England residents (and many others along the east coast outside of New England) remain without power.  A friend, without power since Saturday night, told me yesterday that it was warmer outside than inside her house.  This is New England. It snows here.  So why does it seem like every time it does, the utility companies behave like they are unsure of what the white stuff is?

It didn’t help the utility industry’s reputation when one spokesperson said, “This is New England. It snows in New England,” as if we should expect power outages each time it does.

Now the state’s AG office is investigating why NSTAR and National Grid customers were left in the dark, and the cold, for so long.

It wouldn’t surprise me if power companies manufactured home generators too. Do they?

9-9-9 or 911

Presidential candidate Herman Cain is the first of this season’s crop of presidential candidates to be mired in a scandal big enough to kill his candidacy. Recent sexual harassment allegations (there are three now) have been handled poorly by Mr. Cain.  Every time he opens his mouth on the issue, he gets himself into more trouble.

For example, earlier this week Cain refused to take questions about the allegations from reporters in Virginia who were covering his speech on health care.   “Don’t even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, okay?  Don’t even bother.”  When reporters persisted, he added:  “What did I say?  Excuse me. Excuse me!”

Sorry Mr. Cain, you’re a presidential candidate — at least for the time being — and any question is fair game at any time.  To date, his response to the scandal is taking it from bad to worse and his reputation along with it.  Time to call 911.

For Apple, “battery life” has become an oxymoron

If I leave home without my iPhone charger, then I might as well leave my iPhone at home too.  And my smartphone is an iPhone 4, not the new 4S model which has consumers everywhere griping about exceedingly poor battery life.  For many first time iPhone buyers, the 4S could be their last.  What does this say about the power of a first impression?  Of course, if you’re already an Apple bigot, you’ll forgive the company for the glitch.  What does this say about the power of the halo effect?

What do you think?  Are we sort of bogged down in a quagmire?  Or is it just me?

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