did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Guest Post - Air Scam&Scam

1

I've never used Airbnb. The concept kind of weirds me out. I haven't used Uber or Lyft in a couple of years, mostly because I haven't needed them, but also because I figure it's nice to avoid if I can.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:23 AM
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Maybe I should take a Lyft occasionally so I have a rating if I ever need one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:26 AM
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Some Amazon links:

WSJ on marketplace sellers

Alphaville (free registration) on "fulfilled by Amazon" and inventory commingling

Alphaville on commingling part two.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:28 AM
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The Amazon delivery driver fell on my steps this Saturday. She said I should have a railing, but I think Amazon just set her quota too high that she was moving too fast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:39 AM
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Or maybe somebody should have thought about other people before he had a cob house delivered.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:41 AM
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The thing about Amazon delivery people not wearing any distinctive vests or official hat just seems awful to me, because it's setting them up to be harassed or shot by someone who thinks they're being robbed because the delivery person is a black man or whatever.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:52 AM
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She was wearing a vest. Anyway, all the people who want to shoot people are in the suburbs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:57 AM
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I guess it was just a reflective vest for visibility, not identification.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:02 AM
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The definitive put-paid to this fantasy in the internet age was Silk Road, no? Avowed libertarian tries to set up a decentralized marketplace kept honest via rating software, ends up trying to hire an assassin to root out cheaters.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:14 AM
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AIUI there are plenty of crypto-bros who still think Silk Road was great and unfairly taken down by the perfidious state.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:17 AM
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4: When we purchased our house we were told we had to put up a railing so we could get a FHA loan. There have been numerous times that I've been very happy it's there (when my mother and mother-in law visited, most especially), but I it never occurred to me that we needed to have it for the package delivery people.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:18 AM
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Asshole.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:19 AM
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I googled and apparently I am supposed to have a rail. Who knew?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:32 AM
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Maybe I can order one from Amazon?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:36 AM
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13: My real estate agent.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:36 AM
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If it weren't for perfidious workplace safety laws the market signals would have told you.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:36 AM
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None of my neighbors have a railing except the one who is a real estate agent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:59 AM
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market signals = paying for body disposal from your property, after a hapless delivery driver without healthcare or an ambulance contract died there from gangrene after breaking a leg and failing to reach the phone in their truck before the battery died.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:04 AM
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Exactly. You'd remember an experience like that. The smell might linger for years.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:08 AM
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She rang the doorbell before she fell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:11 AM
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9, 10: Right. Why is the government interfering with commerce between assassins and their clients?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:15 AM
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I seem to recall the assassin cheated DPR, as well.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:25 AM
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AIUI there are plenty of crypto-bros who still think Silk Road was great and unfairly taken down by the perfidious state.

It was a fine place to buy grey-market prescription asthma meds for cheaper than the copay. Also, after I did that I had a bitcoin left over and accidentally made $600.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:30 AM
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AIHMHB we've used it extensively for traveling and made significant money renting out our own place, both when we lived elsewhere for a year and for occasional weekends since we've been back. But the company is clearly pushing to be a grey-market hotel chain rather than the original philosophy of people renting out their place when it would be empty anyway (another example of the "sharing economy" being complete bullshit.)
Earlier this year they changed the ratings system to encourage things like flexibility on cancellations that aren't compatible with renting an actually lived-in place. If you don't agree to those terms you are down-ranked in search results. They also encourage high volume rentals- for example, this year we targeted less than 14 nights to avoid paying federal and newly implemented local taxes. Airbnb refuses to abide by this and collects tax from renters of our place anyway, even though it's not owed to the state (and almost certainly Airbnb will pocket it once they realize this.). They have some bullshit language in their recent terms stating that, "If a host believes applicable laws exempt the host form collecting a tax that Airbnb collects and remits in the host's behalf, the host has agreed that, by accepting the reservation, the host is waiving that exemption." I'm pretty sure I don't waive rights vis a vis the government by taking some action with a commercial entity.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:48 AM
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That talk of the incentive structure reminds me of the last Uber I tried to take. At about 5 am, I asked for a ride downtown (about six miles) so I could catch a bus to the airport. The guy accepts, then calls and asks if I want him to take me to the airport and asks me to cancel when I say I'm only looking for a ride downtown because he's too far from me to make a short trip worth it. I get that it would have been unprofitable for him to drive ten miles to drive me six, but I listed my destination in the call.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:57 AM
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I think he figured I was going to the airport and that he could guilt me into taking Uber instead of the bus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 10:59 AM
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25, 26: So what did you end up doing?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:02 AM
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He sledded downtown on the twitching remains of a deliveryperson he found on his porch.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:04 AM
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I cancelled Uber and took another bus downtown to catch the bus to the airport. I didn't want to do that because it put me at the airport only 45 minutes before my flight.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:04 AM
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The "sharing economy" was such obvious bullshit as soon as VC money got involved that I'm honestly a bit surprised the media gave it as much non-cynical credence as they didn't the time.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:09 AM
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The next phase of Unfogged will be an opinion-sharing marketplace, AihMHB.com.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:23 AM
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I did an Airbnb reservation a few months ago. The owner contacted me later (by which time other choices were nonexistent), claiming they just discovered their mother in law was coming. They asked me to cancel the reservation. I refused because I would have forfeited my deposit. They insisted, so I contacted Airbnb who told me to cancel and I would get a full refund because the owner had contacted them to arrange the cancellation. They had me go through this circle jerk because when the renter cancels they cannot post a review on the property. So the owners screwed up my vacation and Airbnb prevented me from warning other potential renters. I don't trust those fuckers anymore.


Posted by: lumpkin | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:32 AM
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32: yeah. there was a brief period where it kind of made sense to look at airbnb options but I've heard enough stories like this now to probably no bother unless it's a place I had been before.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:35 AM
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I think they were trying to scam you. A host can cancel but they get dinged on their status (I think even one cancellation ruins superhost status) and they would have had to pay a fee. If you had canceled as you note they would have kept your deposit as free money without ever needing to rent anything. Some scammers probably do this without ever actually having a real place to rent.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:40 AM
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Airbnb used to try to keep you in their system with warnings that if you made separate arrangements you were at risk of a scam. I feel like the opposite is true now, you're more likely to be scammed on Airbnb than if you know someone you've stayed with before and can set up directly with them. We did this at a place we stayed the last two summers, the first we used Airbnb but then when we went back we just directly rented.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:43 AM
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That sounds like a good idea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:43 AM
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37

Much less work than the one in the OP.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:45 AM
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36 to 34.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:45 AM
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39

Lyft apparently no longer tells the driver where you're going until after they pick you up, presumably to keep drivers from refusing trips that are unprofitable for them. This is great for passengers but obviously awful for drivers, to the extent that I wonder how sustainable this whole business model is ultimately going to be.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:57 AM
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40

It was definitely Uber. I remember because I tried Lyft first and nobody was driving for them in the area at the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:58 AM
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41

I was told recently by a driver that Lyft does allow "filtering", e.g., you can say "I want to limit my options to rides that take me to this part of town."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 11:59 AM
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I think the model is wildly unsustainable, and depends almost entirely on drivers not understanding how vehicle depreciation works.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:01 PM
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I suspect 42 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:02 PM
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42: That's my understanding too. They would have to pay a lot more if they were held to minimum wage after fairly calculated vehicle costs. (Like the IRS rate of 58 cents per mile all-inclusive.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:05 PM
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Even more broadly true than 42: Imagine you could start a cab company but not pay for : vehicle depreciation, vehicle maintenance, commercial insurance, payroll entitlements, minimum wages, anything I've missed - you could offer some pretty cheap rides. That was essentially the initial proposition of Uber et. al. - all else is smoke & mirrors and attempting to hold to as close as those initial lines as possible. "Sharing economy" my ass - that was a marketing creation.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:10 PM
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46

My ass was developed organically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:11 PM
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Artisanally, even.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:11 PM
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48

I don't do enough time on the stairmaster to say that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:13 PM
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Relatedly, having already reinvented the taxi, ride share companies are now causing airports to reinvent the taxi stand.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:19 PM
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I think Danny Devito has a job.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:28 PM
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TNCs seem to be worse than taxis as far as airport curb management because they can't be made to wait their turn in an orderly manner, requiring more space.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:29 PM
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45: Yes, and then after working that out, they apparently determined it wasn't enough and they had to offer the rides at significantly below their already exploitatively low costs to make people dependent on them.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:30 PM
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52: right, with the plan to jack them back up (plus some) as soon as there was no meaningful competition.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:33 PM
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I think that's how Rockefeller worked with oil.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:43 PM
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He had to change his name to Exxon because of the shame.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:44 PM
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||
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/01/undercover-reporter-reveals-life-in-a-polish-troll-farm
|\>


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:44 PM
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54/55: it's as American as apple pie.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 12:55 PM
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We used to do AirBnB when we were out of town and it helped us bring down some debt. So that worked for us. These days, though, getting it clean enough to rent takes me a full workday, so my decision is more like, do I want to be forced to do a deep clean in addition to the couple hundred dollars.

One recent fun thing is that a boot company contacted me through AirBnB to rent our place for a photoshoot. I'm pretty vain about the house and I did want to be forced to clean up, so we said yes. The pics in the colorful house/porch here are at our house. We often sit around on our counters or in our tub, excited about our pretty curly hair and our boots.

The person who contacted me said that they wanted a colorful background for their retro-70's line of colorful boots. The colors in the house aren't 70's at all, but that didn't seem to be relevant.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 1:03 PM
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If what I'm looking at is the right picture, I love your front window. With the diamond-shaped panes?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 1:11 PM
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Yeah, that's the one. Purple porch. That's not one of our skateboards, though. Most of the rest is really the house.

I painted the interiors myself, then it was finally time to paint the exterior. I regret that dark purple. I like the color fine, but going from a white house to a dark-colored house warmed the interior by about ten degrees on a hot day.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 1:16 PM
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I'm not sure those are my favorite boots. They look like UGGs without the originality.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 1:51 PM
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I cannot vouch for the boots.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 1:55 PM
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What a great place! I like your kitchen and bathroom color choices.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 1:55 PM
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Thanks. I haven't gotten tired of the color. I thought I might age out of it, and my dad suggested that most interiors are only good for a decade or so, but I still like it when I'm in it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:07 PM
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||
Amb Yovanovitch warned *by the Ukrainians* to watch her back against her own president.
|>


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:09 PM
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They're good people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:10 PM
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Better Americans than the Americans.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:17 PM
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Plus, way nicer than Russians.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:22 PM
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45: And yet, still losing $2bn/month.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:25 PM
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60: 'cause scaling - and taking the oxygen out of the room re: 52.

good plan as long as you can get other people to pay for it and we still get our bonuses.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:32 PM
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Which assumes the demand will still be there once prices are raised to profitability. Which the history of the taxi industry suggests it won't.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:38 PM
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I regret that dark purple. I like the color fine, but going from a white house to a dark-colored house warmed the interior by about ten degrees on a hot day.

I too have a dark purple house but New England, so the extra heat isn't minded so much.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 2:44 PM
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I haven't been back this way in a long time, and now I'm coming back presidential, but I need to vent.

I just blew all my political capital at the college where I teach on a proposal to allow some of the adjunct faculty access to full-time one-year contracts with health insurance.

Our proposal, which started with adjunct faculty, was voted down because it would "create inequity" and "create a two track system."

OUR PROPOSAL WOULD NOT CREATE A TWO TRACK SYSTEM. THE TWO TRACK SYSTEM ALREADY EXISTS.

|>


Posted by: President Lincoln | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 7:43 PM
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I think a per-word tax on contracts would be a real political winner and a big benefit on the 'make life less complex' front


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 7:58 PM
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Not boots I would buy but they look like UGG's crossed with moonboots, which is 50% better than UGGs.

"I regret that dark purple. I like the color fine, but going from a white house to a dark-colored house warmed the interior by about ten degrees on a hot day."
Having never owned a house, this is very interesting because I have always wondered why houses in 90% of the country (pretty much everywhere but the PNW) 99% of houses run the gammut of white, tan, grey, or taupe. Nice color.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:07 PM
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partner and I have been staying in airbnbs or other shortterm rentals most of the last 2 years, mostly in 3 or 6 month increments. No horror stories except for once using VRBO, but that was 100% that our roommate was a mix of crazypants and unemployed and getting desperate for money.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:10 PM
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I think the pigment is cheaper. Like, basically chalk. But I'm probably wrong about that.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:16 PM
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73: It would create a three-track system.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:21 PM
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Bright colors fade quicker. You could start out with a nice rosy red and after a few years it turns into puke salmon.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:48 PM
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73: Hey, Abe, I haven't been a grad student in a while but will gladly share in your ALL CAPS RAGE. Do you think the down-voters were being disingenuous or were actually that clueless?


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 8:51 PM
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73: De jure recognition of our de facto two-tier system would force us to acknowledge some embarrassing and uncomfortable structural inequities in our current system, and we'd rather not have to be held to account on that score at this particular point in time...

Good for you, President Lincoln, for making the attempt.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:02 PM
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Another incursion against public justice, in a different and much sadder direction. https://features.propublica.org/medical-debt/when-medical-debt-collectors-decide-who-gets-arrested-coffeyville-kansas/


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 4-19 9:37 PM
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A much more cheering story : Euro cops break the security on a shitty Dutch dark market drug site "Wall Street Market". But instead of rushing in and busting WSM, they (or possibly the Ukrainians, or Joe Biden, who knows, but people are saying it's weird) ddossed Dream Market, its much better functioning and more secure rival for three months, until that had been driven out of business and most of the customers had moved to the one the cops owned.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 12:27 AM
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At which point the owners of the shitty site ran an exit scam. The story does not say whether the money they stole was recovered.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 2:46 AM
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There's no reason not to run an exit scam in that situation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 7:03 AM
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||
Advice requested- a friend/former coworker is having a milestone birthday and wants to have a party that's a coworker reunion. Discussing by text, they suggested a restaurant and date. I said sounds good, then subsequent text they asked who's organizing? I said I would since I'm local and they're going to be visiting the area during the birthday. So I got together list of about 30 former coworker emails, ran it by them for approval, and I'll send out an invite with details. But how do I handle money? If it were an informal gathering over beers we'd just split the bill and cover the birthday person's part. But since it's a planned dinner I'm not sure if people will assume it's being covered by someone else. The restaurant is not cheap, entrees $20-30, or they have a four hour event 3 course menu for $62/person plus drinks tax and tip (if it were only a couple hundred I might cover it as a gift, but we're talking $1500 or so depending on how many people come.) Do I put in the invite that we'll split the bill? If so do I need to provide an estimate to make sure people can afford it? Do I just hope people offer to pay their part at the restaurant and I'll cover any deadbeats?
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 10:40 AM
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Just ask the waiter to split the check 30 ways. Wait until after dinner to ask.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 10:47 AM
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86: I would definitely get the expectations out there up front. And I would talk to the restaurant, as that's a big party. They may give you a bit of a break on the 3 course. Tip is likely to be fixed with a party that size and they will like some advanced notice.

I did something similar sized and ended up with a fixed price 4 course with a modest wine order (plus pre-arranged tip), which was around $80/head - and the restaurant separate billed any other drinks people wanted. Worked out ok and I got most of the money before the day. The place was ok with +- a few people on head count until last minute.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 10:50 AM
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alternatively, 87 would be fun.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 10:55 AM
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You could say something like, "Menu is a little pricey - check it out [here] if you want to avoid sticker shock." Or something more eloquent than that.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-19 11:24 AM
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