Keeping Scam-Free When Shopping Online

Staying Scam-Free While Shopping Online

Staying Scam-Free While Shopping Online

Online shopping is an absolutely invaluable resource for anyone interested in scoring easy deals from the comfort of their own home. Any business that wants to survive in this day and age has to have a presence online, and that fact alone has led to online shopping being far more vast and legitimate than it was in its infancy. There are many sites to shop completely legitimately, with comprehensive customer service and return policies in the event of dissatisfaction. However, even on legitimate sites, there are scammers that can lurk around, waiting for an opportunity to grab your cash and run. Luckily, there are common ways to spot them before they manage it.

Customer Reviews, and Why You’ve Got to Pay Attention to Them

Pay Attention To Customer Reviews

Pay Attention To Customer Reviews

Most sites that allow sellers to open up their own shops will have a section for customers to submit public feedback in the form of star rankings and text reviews. The section can either be an endorsement of the seller’s legitimacy, or a warning against them. New sellers without reviews should be approached carefully, and with the expectation that a scam might occur. Can these customer reviews be faked? While most auction sites like eBay have set up their systems in ways that faked reviews are difficult (one must have purchased an item from the seller before a review can be submitted), general sale sites like Amazon can have a tricky job of separating the real reviews from the fakes. Amazon permits free reviewing privileges on specific products being sold, and even encourages people who haven’t necessarily bought the product off the site to submit a review on the product’s quality. One needn’t even have an Amazon account, and signing up for an account to begin with is a very easy process. While this allows for a more comprehensive look at the product, it also opens the floodgates for a scammer to submit fake reviews with dozens of fake accounts. Watch out for reviews that have overly-samey writing styles and typing quirks, and watch out for reviewers who are mysteriously defending a seller or product from dozens of other reviewers deriding them. You’ll generally find that it’s just a seller trying to defend their bad service or bad products.

Spotting Fakes and Bad Quality from a Mile Away

Sat Away From Fakes And Bad Quality Products

Stay Away From Fakes And Bad Quality Products

Bootleg and poor-quality merchandise has always been a problem that a buyer might have to face, but when dealing with online purchases, it can often be more difficult to spot these issues. If a product picture isn’t outright faked, photo-edited, or stolen, it may simply have been subjected to a number of simple yet clever camera tricks designed to hide design flaws. To determine if a picture has been stolen from a more reputable seller, Google Reverse Image Search can be an invaluable resource, but isn’t the end-all. Don’t be afraid to grill a seller on specifics, or even a request for a current picture of the item. Steer clear if they don’t provide clear, prompt information and replies, or at least proceed with extreme caution.

3 Office Behaviors You Shouldn’t Encourage

Stay Positive  At The Office

Stay Positive At The Office

As the manager of a bustling office, you know it can be difficult to keep up with the ebb and flow of the workplace. Not only do you need to be making sure that work is getting done and projects are on schedule to meet their deadlines, but you’ve got to keep an ear out for the office gossip and a finger on the pulse of employee morale. An office that develops a toxic culture that people don’t enjoy working in can quickly fall behind schedule and really negatively affect your company’s progress. While you should be spending a lot of your time encouraging good behaviors and bolstering employee self-esteem, it’s a fact of life that you’re occasionally going to have to deal with some unprofessional behavior. If you’re managing an office, make sure that these three behavior problems don’t crop up amongst your employees.

Pessimism About the Work Being Done

Low morale is as dangerous to an office as it is to an army unit in the field. If the people working for you aren’t happy about the tasks they’re doing, or if they feel like the company is headed in a direction that they don’t agree, or especially if the company is struggling through difficult financial times, you’ll find that it is very hard to extract quality work from your staff. To that end, you should not tolerate pessimism in your workplace. One person who constantly speaks badly about the company, or who moans about their inability to complete tasks on time and conjectures that failure for the whole team is just around the corner, can completely undermine your workplace. Do not encourage negative behavior among your employees. Instead, you should be looking to foster an atmosphere of positive cooperation. Make it clear to your staff that you all have the ability to come together to complete your goals. Anything less is dangerous for your workplace.

Sexual Harassment is Completely Inexcusable

Sexual Harassment Creates A Bad Work Environment

Sexual Harassment Creates A Bad Work Environment

There’s nothing "politically correct" about being vigilant in guarding against sexual harassment in the workplace. Not only does it open your company up to legal liability if there are individuals harassing others in your office, it creates a hostile environment that will undermine your ability to function as a cohesive team. Make it clear that everyone is meant to work together with one another, and that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. Do not be afraid to discipline or even terminate someone’s employment as a punishment for harassing another coworker. Off-color jokes, lewd comments, and menacing behavior should all be stamped out with impunity. Don’t worry about being seen as a stick-in-the-mud by your employees. Communicate with them that your business is a place of respect, and they should expect to adhere to that rule.

The Office is Not a Social Club

Keep The Staff Focused And Effectively Working

Keep The Staff Focused And Effectively Working

Keeping your staff focused and on-task is one of the biggest responsibilities of your job. Without a directed focus towards finishing work, how will your company ever get ahead? You might spend a lot of time talking up being efficient with one’s time at work and always focusing on the task at hand, but it’s easy for people to become distracted throughout the workday. They could even become so distracted that you lose hours worth of work from all your employees if you aren’t being vigilant about keeping them in line. The workplace is not the school lunchroom or the cantina; it’s meant for working, and while some amount of chit-chat is acceptable, you should guard against allowing your office to become too relaxed. Discourage people from stopping at the desks of other employees to talk at length unless there is something work-related to be discussed. However, you should also encourage people to take scheduled breaks at the same time as one another, so that they can get their discussions out of the way all at once. You don’t want to be paying for a discussion about last night’s sports game when there’s work to be done!

3 Electronics You Shouldn’t Buy on Black Friday

Not All Is Good On Black Friday

Not All Is Good On Black Friday

Black Friday is a veritable treasure trove of sales and deals and it seems like some of the best deals offered every year by retailers and manufacturers alike are for electronics. Everything from laptops and desktop computers to video game consoles has some sort of sale and they can all seem very alluring at first. However, there are some things that shouldn’t be purchased on Black Friday no matter how good the deals seem or no matter how excited you’ve been to purchase that item.

DSLR Cameras

Although not as common as sales on brand name televisions, sales on DSLR cameras are often what pulls a lot of people into an electronics store on Black Friday. Because DSLR cameras are so expensive normally, having a discount of a few hundred dollars on one, or a seemingly attractive package deal (often including a case, additional lenses, or other bonuses) sways many people into buying them. However, this is usually just a ploy by a retailer to get your money and if you want to make a smarter purchase, you’re better off waiting a few more months if you can. At the beginning of the year, the new camera models will roll out and the previous year’s cameras will be considered “old” and will be offered at an extreme discount. This usually happens in February, so if you can wait an extra three months to purchase your DSLR, you’ll save more money in the long run.

Brand Name HDTVs

Be Careful With Those¨Too Good Too Be True¨ Deals

Be Careful With Those¨Too Good Too Be True¨ Deals

Most electronics sales offered on Black Friday are on TVs and you tend to find more “deals” listed in ads for these than anything else. Many people wait until Black Friday to purchase a new TV they’ve had their eye on, but if you’ve been doing that, you’ve been wasting your money! A better time to buy brand name HDTVs is late winter, shortly before the manufacturer ships out the next year of the latest and greatest in television technology. Retailers and manufacturers alike will be looking to get rid of last year’s stock and the deals offered will be incredible, usually even better than the prices they were offering on Black Friday. The biggest names in HDTVs will see their biggest discounts in late December, so wait until then to buy!

Game Consoles

Sometimes Its Best To Wait Until After Xmas

Sometimes Its Best To Wait Until After Xmas

Because they’re so often given as presents for the holidays, deals on game consoles on Black Friday are where retailers make a huge amount of their profit, however, savvy consumers recommend not purchasing a game console on Black Friday unless it’s included in a package deal. Sometimes the manufacturer will bundle the system and a game, like when the Wii came packaged with Super Mario Bros Wii in that really cool looking red box. Occasionally, retailers will offer a console bundled with a game of your choice fitting in a specific price range. This type of bonus makes buying a video game console on everyone’s favorite shopping day worth it, but if it isn’t offered with anything extra it’s best to stay away from the long lines waiting for it since it’s the same deal you’ll get later.

Easy-to-make Baked Veggie Snacks

Baked Veggie Snacks

Baked Veggie Snacks Made A Wonderful Treat

Not everyone likes vegetables, and that’s okay. Too many years of having vegetables shoved in your face can really burn you out of the things, after all. For most people, vegetables are an acquired taste and not everyone can acquire it just like that, so when it comes time to trying to eat healthy, you’re at a loss because the only snacks you like are high in sugar, or fat, or carbs. There are ways to spice up vegetables and make them something that even the pickiest eater might enjoy. You just have to know what to do with them to really get the most out of them.

Baked Kale

Okay, we know. Kale is probably at the very bottom of your list of possible vegetables to try. With that dark green color and its uncanny resemblance to spinach (not many people like that) it’s not something most people want to be adventurous enough to try. It’s worth it, though. Baked kale is an easy and inexpensive way to get not only your daily recommended dose of Vitamins A, C, and K but also the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorous. A head of kale makes enough chips for four servings, and with only a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sea salt and parmesan cheese to sprinkle on it for a little extra flavor, so it’s a great option for a healthy snack.

Vegetable Chips

Easy To Make Vegetable Chips

Easy To Make Vegetable Chips

If you love the crunch and flavor of a potato chip but are looking for a healthier option, trying out a few different types of vegetable chips is a great idea for you. Carrots and parsnips make great chip options, as do beets and sweet potatoes. With just a tiny bit of olive oil and some healthy and inventive seasonings, vegetable chips are a great healthy replacement for the high-fat potato chips that are so easily accessible in our society. Any vegetables need to be thinly sliced and the spices need to be added before baking the chips at anywhere from 325-400 degrees (go lower and the chips don’t crisp, higher, and they burn) but aside from these specifications, you can really do whatever you want with seasonings. Sea salt, paprika, chives, black pepper, crushed red pepper and grated parmesan cheese can make great toppings for any vegetable chips.

Zucchini Loaves

Eat Healthy.. Eat Veggies

Eat Healthy.. Eat Veggies

Zucchini or squash loaves can be made as part of a meal or as a snack depending on how much you eat and what you do with them. It’s easier than it looks. Cut the squash or zucchini in half, hollow out a small space in the center and sprinkle anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil to taste and sprinkle any seasonings you might want (small amounts of sea salt or garlic salt are always a good choice!) before baking at 350-375 degrees. You’ll end up with a warm accent to a meal or a snack to store for later, but either way the light seasoning is enough to augment the savory taste of the vegetables and give you something to eat that you might not have thought of before.

The Drawbacks of a Long Distance Relationship

Long Distance Relationships Have Some Benefits

Long Distance Relationships Have Some Benefits

If you and your significant other are considering a long distance relationship you’re going to have a lot of people saying that it’s worth it if you love each other. This is a lot of pressure to put on a relationship that may not be built to handle it. There are perks to a long distance relationship, and there are reasons to think that everything’s going to be okay, but are also a lot of downsides. Pretending that there aren’t isn’t going to help anyone, so here we have the major drawbacks to a long distance relationship. Read them over and think about how tough this would be, and then make your decision.

Ample Opportunities to Meet Other People

When you’re dating someone who lives far away you’re both going to have ample opportunities to meet people you’d like to date. You might like your significant other a lot, but they’re not the only person in the entire world you could get along with even a little. You’ll have sparks of attraction with others even if your partner was right there with you. The point is that they’re not. When your partner isn’t there, those sparks could long to become flames and a firestorm. You’re going to be meeting a lot of people and those things could really affect you. And it’s not just you. Your partner is going to be meeting new people too.

Drifting Apart in Interests and Experience

Make Everything You Can To Aviod Drifting Apart

Make Everything You Can To Aviod Drifting Apart

Part of what draws people together is shared experiences. When you and your partner don’t hang out all the time and don’t have the same social circle, you’re going to be making connections with people whom each other don’t know. You’re going to be drifting apart in terms of lived experiences. Your common pool of interests and references will stay the same size while the rest of your experiences increase. It’s going to be tough to keep in sync with each other when you’re hanging out with different people, watching different shows, and in general doing different things.

Having to Plan Your Life Around Moving

When you’re living in a long distance relationship the idea is, generally speaking, that it won’t always be this way. You’re going to finish school or get that promotion at work and then you’re going to move or they’re going to move and you’re going to wind up together someday. This means that you can’t make too long term plans in one area. You might not want to sign that two year lease on the nice apartment because you could be moving out of it by then. It’s hard to live your life thinking that everything is a temporary situation.

Everyone Will Question Your Relationship

Stay Strong

Stay Strong

You have to prepare yourself for the fact that even though everyone might be pushing for you to stay together now, by the time you’re actually in a long term, long distance relationship it will be the opposite. You’ll have people questioning your commitment and wanting to know if you’re jealous or uncomfortable because your significant other is so far away and could be doing who knows what. They’ll say that long distance never works out (it does) and that it’s so hard (it is.) If you’re not the kind of person who can take other people butting into your private life this is the wrong relationship arrangement for you.