Thursday, December 26, 2013

Many Happy Returns

By The Big Guy
Senior Contributor

On this happy day after Christmas before you head one more time for the craziness at the mall consider this option. If you’re planning on returning yet another threadbare sweater you never wanted from a person you’re barely related to or a six-pack of Calvin Klein socks from some suck up at work, why not save yourself the trip? Donate that brand new clothing to the Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries or the religious institution of your choice. There are people out there who can get a lot more use out of those things than you can get out of a cash refund. Think about it.

My credit card was caught up in the Target fiasco. For those of you under a rock somebody in one of those countries ending in “stan” managed to swoop in and swoop up forty million or so credit card numbers and associated user names during a nineteen day period beginning the day before Thanksgiving. If you swiped a credit card at Target during that period consider your credit card compromised. For now I’m mad as hell at Target and for some period of time I’m going to find a way to buy things I buy there somewhere else. What real power of retribution do I have over them except to cut into their sales figures? There are two reasons that the “stan” boys were able to get hold of our information. First is the fact that credit card companies and the stores who accept them, which would include about every merchant on the planet, don’t seem to have much interest in pursuing the institution of a credit card that stores our information on a much more secure chip inside the card instead of a magnetic stripe on the back. Second is that merchants want to keep a copy of our magnetic stripe information for themselves to use in ways that will make them more money (although they claim it’s to improve our “shopping experience”). Once upon a time a credit card swipe sent a signal down a phone line to the mother ship which would verify back to the merchant that the card was good and the purchases were covered and then - poof! - the information went away. Nothing there to steal. Nothing for the “stan” boys to download from a server and sell to other bad guys. So while Target may tell us that they are doing their best to protect our information, the fact is that their practices and the practices of every other store chain out there say just the opposite. Thanks guys.

A few more day after Christmas thoughts for you. Most important for you to realize is that Do They Know It’s Christmas is NOT, NOT, NOT a Christmas song. It is a song written and performed in 1984 to raise money to reduce the number of children starving due to famine in Ethiopia. It doesn’t belong on one of those all Christmas music all the time radio stations sandwiched between Frosty the Snowman and Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

Next year there will again be just four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So watch for all those happy holiday things like stores open on Thanksgiving Day as well as stores open round the clock and fifty percent off sales in the final days before the holiday. Maybe we’ll even see after Christmas sales begin the evening of the 25th. Happy shopping. Just keep an eye on your credit cards.


Grumpy said...

Goodwill pays their disabled workers a pittance while their CEO takes home millions. Find another charity.

Soon, all our credit information will require a retina scan. Then the boys from "stan" will have to chop our heads off to get the info.

GMoney said...

If Christmas is in the title then it is a Christmas song, bro.