Tough times make opportunities to step up. So some thumbs up are in order.
Thumbs Up: Political Showcase Division
Has there ever been a more Laurel and Hardyesque appearing duo than JB Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot? The rotund Governor and the tiny dynamo of a Mayor talk sense while neither downplaying the severity of the state's and city's situation or pushing us to panic. We may not need all those beds at McCormick Place now, we may wish it was filled with conventioneers instead of the Army Corps of Engineers, but there is some comfort in knowing the City that Works still works, and the state is right behind. Keep up the good work Governor, and we may forgive you for those ripped out toilets at the mansion.
Thumbs Up: Product Placement Divison
Remember our missing puzzle piece? The puzzle is a product of Ravensburger, a German company with a customer service division in New Jersey. We emailed them about our 99.9% puzzle, and a day later received a pleasant response from Asley, a customer service rep. We are being offered a choice of another copy of the same puzzle (no guarantee it won't have the same problem, she says) or a brand new puzzle of our choosing. All we have to do is mail in the barcode from the box with the defective puzzle and the name of any puzzle we would like in replacement. Our "code" is in the mail and while we know that puzzles are in a tight supply right now we look forward to one day receiving 1000 pieces of "Disney Vintage Posters" or "The Beatles: Albums."
Thumbs Up: Travel Division
Isn't it ironic? Last fall Barb and I booked a tour of China and Hong Kong for this May. At the time, my main concern was the student demonstrations in Hong Kong. We knew by February that we would not be making our trek around the world but wanted to see how our travel partners would handle the situation. The good guys? United Airlines sent an email yesterday, giving me the option of changing my flight or canceling at no cost. The United website couldn't handle the cancellation, but a call to customer service (minimal on-hold time) resolved the situation. No fees, no penalties, no remorse. Sometimes I'm glad United is our Hometown Airline.
Our other travel partner, tour originator Abercrombie & Kent, we are not so happy with. Even though the tour is canceled, they refuse to refund our deposit. Credit towards a future trip in the next year just isn't the same as having that money in our pockets. Bad PR for them and I wonder how many travel companies will survive. At least we were not on a cruise. Those poor people...
Thumbs Up: Internet Division
I'm not plugging any particular spot here. Just a thumbs up to the miracle of connectiveness. Through the wonders of technology, Barb can play Mahjong with her friends and have her book clubs, I can have virtual laboratory meetings and contribute answers to my team on Remote Pub Trivia Night (Weezer, Baja Men, and Brooke Shields were my winners this week,) and the family can anticipate our interactive virtual Seder next week. It's not quite being there--but it is still a blessing.
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