Tag: travel

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A Short Stay in Long Beach

My niece, Lynnae, is in Long Beach—her first trip to California and the West Coast. We visited last evening and breakfasted this morning, when I used iPhone 7 Plus to capture a portrait. Her family lives on a 7-acre “homestead” in Vermont, where she works part-time for a local company but also operates her own small business—making (and selling) fresh, natural cosmetics from her own recipes; eh, formulas.

Lynnae’s energy, geniality, and clarity are irresistibly endearing. She’s a social butterfly, too. After looking around the Hyatt for a place to eat, and finding nothing appealing to either of us, I suggested dining at the hotel. About an hour earlier, Lynnae told me about trying to beat back jet lag the previous night, her first; she snacked and sipped at the restaurant pub. Ha! The woman makes friends easily. She could have been a regular for years judging from the hand waves and by-name greetings received as we walked in together. 

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Fly the Unfriendly Skies

Spanning most of my career, whether working as analyst or journalist, I have repeatedly railed against how U.S. law treats businesses—essentially as people. Reason: Moral dichotomy, where the ethical priorities of publicly-traded companies vastly differ from—and often contradict with—values of the people founding, running, or working for them. Keyword is value, where one usage refers to beliefs and another to money; meaning stock price and proceeds returned to shareholders.

My first, best articulation of this concept came during an April 2006 radio interview—I believe for NPR marketplace—when discussing major U.S. search providers Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo censoring results in China, at the government’s insistence. Behind the action there loomed censorship’s morality, such as restricting search terms like “democracy”. I expressed that there is no moral high ground in business. The high ground is quagmire, because all public companies share a single, moral objective: Make profits for stockholders. Plain, pure, and simple. Sadly, that moral agenda explains why United Airline’s PR week from Hell is Heaven for shareholders. Overbooking means the carrier fills seats; operations are lean and mean (quite literally, the latter). 

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I Don’t Trust Travelocity, Should You?

On June 29, 2015, I received email from Travelocity thanking me for creating an account. I did no such thing—or, wait, did I have an account already? Sure enough, I set up one in 2006, according to my archived emails. Why this notification now? I wrongly assumed the thank-you message was a mistake, or even a marketing ploy, to get me to sign into the account. But who remembers a password from 9 years ago? So I clicked the forgot password link and had a new one sent.

I wouldn’t understand until later that someone in Florida created a new account using my email address. But Travelocity never sent confirmation to verify that the email address was valid or belonged to the person who signed up for the service. As such, by resetting the password, I had access to someone else’s account, which, fortunately, contained no personal information (like credit card numbers). But I didn’t understand this circumstance until later, when, in a routine check of my online accounts. I discovered an itinerary for a hotel stay that had just passed.