Archive for December, 2010

Return Fraud – a telling tale of today’s thinking

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I was listening to the news a few nights ago and was disgusted at a story about return fraud. I had never heard of it but was shocked at how easy it is to do.

More shocking was the amount of money retailers say is lost because of return fraud: $14billion.

That is a LOT of money.

In this post it says it is between $9.6 billion and $16 billion.

Of course, we are paying for that in higher prices on what we buy, the cost of more security, audits, consultants, etc.

But how sad is it that there is this underground industry to steal from stores (and from people who shop there)?

Sad… of course, and not uncommon.

But $14B?

That is about 700,000 $20 shirts.  Or 350,000 $40 pairs of jeans.

What a disgusting story that tells.  This type of thinking is exactly what will lead to the demise of any society.

The Miracle Van – Goodbye

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Almost five years ago I got laid off.  My wife was pregnant with our fourth child and we had to change from our car (Toyota Avalon, which is like harnessing heaven on four wheels!) to a minivan.

It was hard to give up the Avalon but the story of how we got our van is a very cool story, and why we call it The Miracle Van.  Even with it’s bumps and bruises, we really appreciated the van because we got it in a time of desperation, and it represented the goodness of humanity (many people where involved in helping us get it, since there was no money to pay for it at the time).

Two weeks ago I had just started a two week trip with about a dozen speaking engagements.  I was in California at the time when I got the dreaded call from my FIL:

“First, everyone is okay….”

When he said that I thought ... “okay, I think that’s not the statement I want to hear when I first answer the phone… is he going to tell me something bad happened?”

My wife was in an accident that could have been very, very bad, but fortunately she, and our two youngest kids, where okay.

An accident is not good for anyone… but events leading up to this accident where, as we recognized, tender mercies.

For example:

  • I had lost my car keys a couple of years earlier, so we only had one set (has a chip in it and we never got around to getting a spare). Days earlier, my wife found the lost key in a coat she hadn’t worn for a long time.
  • Her dad was in town on a really strange errand, right when it happened, and was able to be at the accident and help until she got home and was okay.

In memoriam, here’s a picture of the van, post-accident… note the numbers (explanations below):

  1. There used to be something here.  Now there is nothing but a void.
  2. This tire used to face a completely different direction.
  3. This is about where my wife’s legs were at the time of the accident.  Fortunately nothing happened to her body, except from bruises and bumps.  Sooooo close to something more dangerous :s
  4. This is one of two mirrors, and the only mirror that was intact.  Our other mirror had a few bouts with the side of the garage door, and was proudly bandaged up in shiny duct tape.  Never got around to fixing that.
  5. This is where our 18 month old baby was.  Thank goodness the impact was just a few feet in front of him, instead of where he was.

Shopping for a new vehicle isn’t fun, in general, but we’ve had some great experiences, which I hope to blog about on the JibberJobber blog.

Seth Ahonen: Amazing Artist

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I had a meeting in a coffee shop today and saw someone Seth Ahonen drawing.


He had a picture of a baby and was recreating it with pencil (I’m sure there’s a cooler, more technical way to say that).  It really was amazing to watch (since I have no artistic ability).

Here’s his website – check out his portfolio.

I didn’t see a picture of any of the portraits that he draws (from a picture), but I found a great portfolio of his breadth – really quite fascinating. I am thinking of a picture I can send to him to have him draw it – really, really awesome.