Category Archives: Safety

How To Handle Your Online Business In The Face of Personal Tragedy

Despair.

Despair.

These events unfolded in such a ridiculous way, my life is on hold until I can explain them. I looked for a guide to help me during this time and did not find one. This is not a typical blog post for me. Perhaps this can serve for someone in the future.

Despair. Ludicrous events. Unbelievable.

The customer service end of my online business is probably the most challenging. It can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to craft the proper response to a customer inquiry or complaint. It needs to be concise, very brief and to the point. Easier stated than crafted.

The beginning of this sounds like the segue for a joke: we just paid off our car a couple of days before and it wouldn’t start. It would start again if we left it alone for a few hours, sometimes overnight. I was convinced through my Googling that it had something to do with the car’s anti-theft system or electronic keys. As it was, the car couldn’t be trusted and, if it started, needed to be left on wherever it went – less than ideal. Since it was likely a security issue, it would need to be taken to the dealer. The dealer always means big bucks. We milked it until it stopped for good on Christmas Eve 2009.

Everything we were supposed to attend, forget it. We didn’t even have food in the house. The only thing there was to do was tweet. In my tweets, I did not want to bring others down, so barely mentioned my situation. We had to wait until Christmas was over to get the car into the dealer. And on December 26th, the car started to go to the dealer! Well, it saved us money for towing. It turned out to be the starter, something my husband could have fixed, instead it was over $400 at the dealer. While the car was in the dealer and during all of this, shipments were getting delayed and I got word that my father was in the hospital and it was pretty bad. I should find a way there. Shipments were delayed and stress was mounting.

The dealer remarked to my husband that the brakes were going to need work very soon and that we should plan on that or just get them done that day for an additional $1,200. He told them he would do them himself. We figured we had another month to get the parts and tools needed for that job. We were wrong. The brakes were quickly starting to fail and we had to consolidate shipping days.

I didn’t get to the hospital at all. That’s ok. It will be alright. Dad will be fine and I will get up there in a day or two.

By New Year’s Eve, the brakes failed completely. The car could not be driven at all. Both the front and rear brakes as well as the two rear wheel cylinders were out.

And we JUST paid the car off.

It was frigid in Michigan during this time, below zero with wind chills and in single digits without the help of the wind. We had blowing snow and no garage to shield the car or the man working on it who happened to be my husband.

I didn’t get to the hospital at all. No shipments were going out.

This process took days. And the days became longer and longer. There was little I could do to actually help. My husband literally walked a mile to the parts store to make sure he would get the right parts.

You’re probably wondering why someone didn’t drive us, etc. In Michigan, during the winter, people really do not see each other much. If we needed to ask for a favor, it better be a big favor. From what my sister said, that favor was going to need to be a ride 60 miles to the hospital. My husband assured me that I would not need to ask anyone for that favor. Shipments were delayed. I can still feel the stress.

I like to ship same to next day. I wanted to see my dad.

I began to realize that I was very behind and put my eBay and Etsy stores on vacation, putting the reasons in the space provided for notes to customers. I also noted my situation on my Me Page at eBay and tweeted it for good measure. I wasn’t sure anyone would see anything. Orders still came in, God Bless them.

Finally! On January 8th, 2010, we got to the hospital to see my dad, shipping just before going.

My dad was far worse than I imagined. He couldn’t even look at me, speak or anything except an almost imperceptible hand squeeze. I held his hand the whole time I was there. I wasn’t sure we should leave, but my husband had been under a car in horrific weather conditions for days. We needed to rest. The stress had been exhausting, too.

I never thought that would be the last time I would see my father alive.

The next day, January 9th, 2010, my dad let go at 6:30 am. I had been planning to go see him later that day, but he was already gone. Everyone said he held on to see me.

In this blur of emotion, this raw suffering, I still had to think about what to do with my business. I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew this would delay or further delay shipments and that I needed to address the public. I updated my vacation store status on eBay and Etsy, changed my Me Page and finally sent each person a copy and paste note about what was going on. It took a long time to write the note, but the copy and paste was therapeutic in some way. It was something I could manage in between helping with the funeral service and arrangements.

Talking to my friends was especially helpful during this time. Kelly (not on Twitter 😉 reminded me what I would do in a situation like this – I would contact everyone, of course. @PowerSellingMom listened to me and advised me on the morning of the funeral. She calmed me down for 20 minutes, allowing me to go over my checklist of things I needed to do for the business. I am eternally grateful to Danna for that time. She also suggested I do this blog post.

I made sure I emailed or messaged everyone personally. I gave the option in the note to simply request a refund. I think that was pivotal. Of all the orders, only one opted for a refund and I was able to do that swiftly and without any hard feelings. Here is the note:

Hi,
My father passed away yesterday after struggling through the holidays. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. All shipments are delayed. Please request a refund through eBay messaging if you cannot wait. Talk to you soon. Your patience is BEYOND appreciated.

Thank you again for your order.
Anita @ModelSupplies & DNAshopper

So far, no one has left me negative, neutral or nasty comment. My customers are truly the best.

It is my hope this information will be useful to someone during a time when they find it difficult to think. It may sound strange that I would be so worried about my business during such personal tragedy, but there is not much separation between my personal and business life and I love it that way. I am still grappling with the loss of my father and still get delayed a couple days here and there. I cannot predict when it will happen, but knowing my customers care for me like I care for them has kept me going. Grateful cannot begin to describe my feelings for you. Thank you so much for standing by me during this time.
x0x
Anita Nelson @ModelSupplies

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Keyless Entry is the Way to Go!

Here is our Schlage Keyless Entry Lock

Here is our Schlage Keyless Entry Lock

TweetIt from HubSpot

Time to do home winterizing! With the economy in dire straits, it’s a good idea to beef up security on your home for the winter, too. And in my case, we could no longer afford our homeowner’s insurance, so we really needed a better deadbolt. Locks have one flaw as pointed out in an episode of “Seinfeld” the door must be closed! Once the door is closed, there is the issue of “who has the key?” Not anymore! No juggling or struggling to fit the key in the lock with your arms filled with groceries or our dogs pulling. Now remembering a simple pin number will let you into your home! No one can “guess” your number because the unique numbers are provided with the lock. There are no dots to connect or codes to crack.

The lock comes in a variety of colors. Ours is Aged Bronze, very dark.

The lock comes in a variety of colors. Ours is "Aged Bronze", very dark.

Maybe the lock looks complicated to you? It did to me. I thought I better have my husband install it and set it up. But installation was super easy and only took about a half hour. I thought we needed to program it – NOPE! So we did have to take it back apart to reset the unit. That was a whopping 3 minutes that could have been avoided by paying attention. Schlage truly made this the easiest way for a homeowner to secure his/her home with the latest and most up to date technology. Keyless entry for a home is new to me, so it comforts me to have a key override in case anything should ever go wrong. Keyless entry brings our home into the 21st Century and raises the value a little, if you ask me. The locks are beautiful! Check out the assortment! It is very dark on my street, too, so the vibrant violet color that illuminates the keypad is a godsend at night!

If your home is worth $100,000 or more, shouldn’t you take extra care in choosing a lock to secure it? What about the safety of your family? The actual deadbolt part of the lock is longer than average, so no one can pry it open with a butter knife. The Schlage keyless entry system resembles a security alarm system and that doesn’t hurt when criminals profile neighborhoods. We have probably all seen the stickers for alarm systems in the windows of our neighbors. I live in the metro Detroit area, so I know a thing or two about avoiding crime.

My only criticism is with the packaging: this lock should have a GIANT STICKER on the package that says, “DO NOT REPROGRAM! Installation REALLY IS EXTREMELY EASY!”

Note, my husband, David, is a licensed, registered Locksmith and Residential Builder who really loves this lock.

Disclosure: Schlage supplied this product free of charge, but I was NOT obligated to blog about it. And we were NOT obligated to love it – but we do!

by Anita Nelson

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by Anita Nelson @ModelSupplies on Twitter – Follow me!

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Is The Universe Pruning Detroit for New Growth?

fire-aug27-2009

fire-aug27-2009


TweetIt from HubSpot

LIVE VIDEO FEED ~ WXYZ Detroit ABC

I am watching in horror as the sky fills again over Detroit with black, billowing chemical smoke. The source of the fire is the Sterling Oil & Chemical Co. that handles, stores and blends industrial lubricants including hydraulic oils, greases and petroleum products for companies such as Dow and Exxon-Mobil. The flames are threatening to ignite large towers of fuel.

Seen as far away as Ontario, the smoke is overtaking normal air as the cloud-covered area holds it in. Several factors are helpful: no real wind, wind direction is NE directed away from the fuel storage tanks and low temperatures today only 64 degrees F with rain possible. This is the 2nd chemical fire in a week. What’s going on? Petroleum distillate is the chemical that is burning, which is the ingredient in STP and other engine cleaning treatments. So this is quick to ignite and harsh burning. The fire looks the same, really worse, over an hour and a half into fighting it.

There is no word of the cause of this fire as of yet. Immediately, my mind goes to someone’s error whether intentional or accidental. There is no word whether anyone was hurt. The flames overtake the news. There is nothing else happening here. Evacuees interviewed on the news grabbed their families and left their homes out of instinct. No one needed to tell them to evacuate; they just did it. The nearby Amtrak rails are buckling from the intense heat. This fire forces another infrastructure repair for Detroit.

If Detroit is being pruned, what will the new growth be? Hopefully, it will not be more toxic chemicals. I call on my family, friends and neighbors to be inventive and help revive Detroit with new, less harmful industries.

Source: WXYZDetroit.com

BREAKING: Chemical Fire Forces Evacuations || WXYZ.com | WXYZ-TV / Detroit | Detroit News, Weather, Sports and More

Posted using ShareThis

by Anita Nelson

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Twitter Mafia Judge Bots – How to be Gangsta Spammy


TweetIt from HubSpot

The new Twitter Mafia is True Twit Validation Service. If you follow people on Twitter, you have no doubt received the following message in a Direct Message or DM:

truetwit

“Xxx  uses TrueTwit validation service. Please follow this link so Xxx can be sure you are a legitimate follower: http://truetwit.com/…

robots

Usually the person who sends this message to you doesn’t even follow you, so there is no way to reply to them! Here is a person who does not follow you, asking you to prove to them that you are a real person and not a bot! Are we a little carried away with this notion? There are far too many applications built to exploit and take advantage of this fear, including the TwitBlock.org site. (Please see my story on that fiasco!) After all, some bots are useful, too, but aside from that, this mobster tactic plays out just like in real life.

How to be Gangsta Spammy

mobjoin

Create fear: Fear that there is nothing but bots on Twitter and you must defend yourself from them.

Do something big or take advantage of a situation and use it for PR buzz: The recent denial of service attacks on Twitter has served as fodder for these sites.

Offer False Protection: Come into the Twitter community offering protection against bots and spam while really only creating MORE bots and spam!

Create Outsiders: Declare that anyone who does not use your product or service is spammy or a bot and not deserving of a follow!

Shake ‘em Down to reinforce fear: Collect a fee or sign in information, such as Twitter credentials and email addresses.

Create more problems to “protect” people from – next service from True Twit will be how to block True Twit DMs – you see?

True Twit has to go! This is a ridiculous service that offers NO PROTECTION and really no service whatsoever! If you want to do something for your Twitter community, sign up with @Jesse’s  SocialToo.com and use that service to stop auto DMs and list Twitter Ids you suspect are auto-Dming you and contributing to the REAL spam.

mafiainsurance

Don’t fall prey to this “mob or herd mentality” ~! You don’t need a bot to tell you who is a real person and who is a bot! If you are seriously in doubt, look at the page of the person, and see where their tweets originate. It says right on Twitter’s page “from web” or “from TweetDeck” or “from API”. There are a variety of services people can use to tweet. I use TweetVisor myself, and also an auto-feed for my blog “Twitter Feed” Sometimes I employ “HooteSuite” for a timed tweet. Occasionally, I have a lot of information to share and will use timed tweeting to keep me out of Twitter Jail~! (Twitter Jail is when you exceed the TPH or Tweet per hour, now set at a generous 150 up from 100 to accommodate applications.)

twitterlift

The use of these services does not necessarily mean someone is a bot! It may mean they are not at their computer at that time. If this truly offends you, you decide. Simply unfollow. Really, those are kind of nice, in my opinion, since if no one else is tweeting while you are standing in line at the drugstore reading Twitter, one of those feeds may say something just right, perhaps a joke or a quote to make your day. On the other hand, if you look at someone and all they do is tweet from an API or feed service and you do not like the content for reading and retweeting, then you may well unfollow based on that determining for yourself that this is a fully automated account that does not fit your needs.

twitnerd

Do you honestly believe any bot, like True Twit Validation can better gauge these things for you than you can for yourself? How automated is a person that needs to have a bot discern whether an account is worth following? Do you really believe that you are following a higher quality person because they were led into a mob mentality by this gangsta spammy service? I do not fault anyone who is using the service. It sounds like a good thing: reduce spam on Twitter, but the second you realize it is doing the exact opposite and CREATING spam on Twitter, please GET RID OF IT~! Drive it out of town as if it is running through the streets dumping paper everywhere! Thank you, Follow-Friends!

by Anita Nelson

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<script type="text/javascript" src="http://tweetmeme.com/i/scripts/button.js"></script>

Domestic Violence Takes Many Forms….

TweetIt from HubSpot

silenced

It can be when someone:

  • Puts you down, says mean things, yells, plays mind games
  • Blames you for their behavior
  • Threatens to leave or take the children away from you
  • Isolates you from your friends and family
  • Doesn’t let you have a job, controls money and bank accounts, refuses to pay bills or buy food
  • Takes away phone or car keys
  • Treats you like a servant, makes all decisions, makes you ask permission
  • Watches everything you do, jealous, checks car mileage
  • Hits, chokes, pushes, slaps, holds or ties you down
  • Threatens or does hurt you, the children or the pets
  • Destroys your property
  • Forceful or unwanted sex or sex acts
  • Won’t let you sleep

domesticviolence

Plan ahead for a quick and safer escape

  • Pack extra clothes and personal supplies for you and your children
  • Set aside an extra set of car keys, money and copies of important papers for you and the children: Birth certificates, social security numbers, financial papers, federal tax returns, health documents and insurance policies
  • Leave extra clothes, supplies and papers with someone you trust
  • Try to leave the house everyday at a set time, i.e. get mail, and walk the dog. When you are ready to leave, it won’t look suspicious
  • Plan where you will go, how you will get there. Rehearse your plan.

No one deserves to be hurt. It’s not your fault. Had enough apologies, promises or excuses?

abuse

Gather local resources to call and go for help of the following types:

  • 24 hour help
  • Crisis and support line
  • Counseling and therapy
  • Shelter for victims and children
  • Court and legal help
  • Intervention for batterers
  • Children’s services
  • Help with sexual assault

abuse2

Search for county resources

  • Police 911
  • Child Abuse/Neglect
  • Vulnerable Adult Abuse/Neglect
  • Sexual Assault Hotline
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline
  • Hospital Social Work

Please re-read 1st paragraph. If any of these things are happening to you, it is your responsibility to your self and your children and pets (if possible) to get you all out safe and sound whether you are male or female, no matter what your relationship status.

Source: Beaumont Hospitals, Michigan

ribbon-purp

Last Days of Leo

The last days of Leo and I thought my heart would break,

I’d love to run away from you if I could stay awake.

Please don’t ring the phone again, middle of the night

Apologies so secret, they’re at their best polite.

Even if I tell you it’s ok, you know it’s not.

We’re stuck in this together; fruits here will surely rot.

To see another summer, I know I have to go,

We can’t live together through another winter’s woe.

by Anita Nelson

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Save Your Semi Life By Driving Right

by daughter of a retired Teamster – This information has not been presented to the Teamsters and is not at all affiliated with that or any union. This article is submitted in good faith to promote better driving habits near semi trucks in light of the incident July 15th, 2009 at I-75 and 9 Mile Rd in Detroit where a car collided with a tanker truck and the subsequent explosion engulfed and devoured the 9 Mile I-75 overpass.

truck

It has been over 25 years since my Dad retired from the Teamsters. Teamsters Union requires drivers to stop at a much earlier age than any other profession: 59 years of age. My Dad did not want to retire and continued to drive cars until he was almost 80 years old and he’s still a backseat driver. This guide will be old school, so maybe newer truck drivers might scratch their heads at some of these, but I promise they will help drivers gain respect of truckers in the “long haul”.

semitruckmtn

1. Don’t pull on the tail wind, it’s dangerous and you can be sucked up like the undertow in the ocean. It’s an amazing idea when a new driver discovers they can save a smidge of gas by tailgating a semi-truck. What they may not know is that the same wind sucking their car along can suck their car under – even if they do not have clearance.

2. Tailgating is a no-no because your vehicle has little to no time to stop! You are automatically “at fault” if you rear-end another vehicle in most cases. If a semi truck is tailgating you, do your best to change lanes and let it pass. Why? It takes a LOT more to stop a semi truck than an average vehicle. I have been rear-ended by a semi and, believe me, you NEVER want to turn around and see the grill of a Mack truck in your backseat!

semi-mirror

3. Semi-trucks can have huge blind spots! This begins in the rear when a vehicle is too close, then on either side of the truck, there are long stretches where the truck driver could not possibly see another vehicle. Do not drive “next to” a truck. You could be trapping the truck in or worse yet, the driver may not be able to see you when he/she changes lanes.

semi-truck
4. Passing a semi should be approached with caution. Be aware that sometimes the trailer can swing independently from the tractor and this can happen spontaneously leaving you no reaction time. To pass when lawful, hang back and take left lane. NEVER pass on the right because it greatly reduces your visibility. Speed up and pass slightly faster than you were going in order to get out from the side of the truck. Go at least one and a half car lengths ahead of the truck before using your turn signal to indicate you are coming back into that lane in front of the truck.

5. If a truck driver has assisted you and you would like to quickly say “thank you”, you can tap your brakes twice (not to stop or slow, but just so the brake lights come on) when in front of them. That has always been appreciated and is sometimes not understood now, but a courtesy that should be reinstated. Those who know the code greatly appreciate it and you may get a beaming smile!

semi-night

6. When you are driving at night and have your “brights” on, you should ALWAYS click them down to normal beams as soon as you can see oncoming traffic. If you can see them, they can see you. Try to anticipate and be aware that you may blind someone to death, quite literally, if you are cavalier about this one.

7. Don’t flirt with truck drivers! That sounds a little like “don’t feed the animals” and it is meant in the same spirit – for your own protection on the road and also the protection of others including the truck driver!

8. Don’t be nervous when you’re around a semi truck. Nervous drivers have a tendency to overreact. Just hang back and either pass quickly or keep your distance so if something flies off the truck, you’ll have time to react.

For more Safe Driving Tips, visit: http://www.joesthreadsntreads.com

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Help! I Don’t Show Up In Twitter Search!

What It’s Like To Be #TwitterSuspended

5 “Get Followed Fast” Finds!
My Twitter Mosaic – Fabulous Tweeps!

Careful What You Tweet
How to Become Instantly RT-able (A Twitter Guide)

by Anita Nelson @ModelSupplies on Twitter – Follow me!

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