respect for old glory?

I remember when I was young flags would not be flown in inclement weather like today in the rain.

Flags would be lowered at dusk and they would be flown again at dawn.

I get that most flags today are made of nylon or weatherproof material, but what I don’t get is Old Glory respected the same?

This photo represents but one flag I saw today when my husband and I were driving around. I saw lots of flags flying in the rain. And I think even if flags are made of more all weather material these days the respect for the flag should still mean something.

I guess it’s just one of those things I’ve noticed where it used to be once in a while in bad weather you would still see a flag flying. Today if it’s bad weather? They’re all still flying for the most part.

I guess I simply feel that our flag is a symbol of our country and what it means to be American. The flag is a symbol worth respecting and revering, so I guess I’m asking if people are going to fly the flag can’t you bring it in when you know it’s going to rain? Can’t you bring it in at dusk?

I presume that like many other things in this world, flag etiquette has changed. I think that’s kind of sad.

Stay safe and dry today.

why we change banks, or reaffirming why finally leaving pnc was the right move.

pizap

In 2015 I wrote  two posts about PNC Bank.  I also wrote about them in 2012 and 2013.

Human nature dictates we are creatures of habit and it took until this year to actually divorce and leave them.  Yes, I stayed in an abusive banking relationship for far too long.

I had been a customer for close to 30 years, if not more than 30.  I knew how their website worked, I knew my account numbers, and for years I even knew my tellers and branch managers.

Then I moved.  New branches and new tellers and unpleasant experiences like trying to open a business checking account at a purported “full service branch” only to be told I had to come back another day because they weren’t really full service even if ON THE WALL it said “full service”.

Then there were other things like spite finance charges after I closed and paid off a credit card.

Soon it became if I used a teller I would get charged so just use the machines they said.  Well, sometimes you just need to go to a branch and interact with someone face to face.  I came out of banking and finance, and there is absolutely NO substitution for face to face customer service. Unless you bank at PNC of course.

When you need help in person at PNC they always try to UPSELL you to products you don’t need or want.  Every time I went into a branch physically the past few years it was the hard sell for something. Every time. And when you tell them NO I don’t want any additional services it is like they are robots reading from a script, because they just launch into the upsell spiel anyway.

Then there were the nickel and diming fees that always felt like a moving target.  It’s like you are punished for being a small customer not represented in the top 2% in this country.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back was this summer when I had to go into a branch in Exton because their ATM machine was half broken and it would not let you make an ATM machine deposit.

So I went inside the branch and the bobblehead playing teller proceeded to quiz me (loudly) on why I hadn’t moved everything into my married name from my maiden name.  In front of other customers who were then staring at this entire exchange. How about because it is none of your f-ing business, lady? It was like a public shaming for still using my maiden name on things.

That was it.  I took my banking elsewhere.  When I opened and seeded my new accounts at another bank, I began the process of winding down my PNC accounts.

I had an excruciating call with a customer service representative on the phone during this closing process. She wanted to know exactly WHY I was closing my accounts so I told her except it should be “We are sorry to lose you as a customer and I am happy to assist you.”

During this conversation I asked questions like could I get copies of all of my 2019 statements year to date mailed or e-mailed to me since I am paperless as well as physical statements mailed to me at year end for tax purposes. I was told TWO separate things. I was told I could just log into my old closed accounts and download statements.  I was also told alternately that all I had to do was call customer service.

This afternoon I had time and I wanted to reconcile my closed accounts and make sure I did not miss anything.  So I went to retrieve my statements.  Only because I closed my accounts, in spite of what I was told by PNC customer service representatives I can’t actually access my records. So I called PNC customer service this afternoon.

Another stellar experience.  A real service turd.  Customer Service Turd said because my account was closed I could not access my statements online.  So I asked if they could please MAIL or e-mail me statements, including year end statements. The answer was….NO.

If I want anything, I have to go into a branch.

I don’t want to go into a branch.  I have proven my identity and all I am asking for are statements mailed to the address of record they have on file for me.

NO says the Customer Service Turd again.

I mean WTF? I am debating taking this to the Pennsylvania State Banking Commission. These accounts have been closed about 30 days. Not 30 months. Not 30 years.

Of course calling corporate PNC is nigh on impossible.

Here are the contacts I found:

Michelle Neidhardt
Customer Experience Director/EVP
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
412-762-0454
Michelle.neidhardt@pnc.com

Karen L. Larrimer
Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking & Chief Customer Officer
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
karen.larrimer@pnc.com

Chief Executive
William S. Demchak
CEO
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
william.s.demchak@pnc.com

PNC Media Relations
(412) 762-4550
media.relations@pnc.com
INVESTOR RELATIONS- 412-768-4143

PNC Executive Office Phone Numbers:

877-762-5555412-803-1294

1377035_541697082573166_1631774160_nI will send the PNC executives this post.  I want my statements and I should NOT have to practically give blood to get them. But this is a good reminder as to why I left PNC.   Except really, I have to wonder does old fashioned customer service and old school neighborhood banking exist any longer or are we all lost to giant conglomerates, offshore call centers and unless we are worth millions to banks we are worthless?

Things to ponder Corporate America and dear readers, things to ponder.

My final word is my new bank doesn’t know me from Adam’s House Cat but whether online, in person, or on the phone they treat me with professionalism and respect.  Thank you Citizen’s Bank. It makes a difference.

 

 

don’t gild the chili lily

Loved the West Chester Chili Cook Off. I won tickets from County Lines Magazine.

It was a beautiful day and it was a very pleasant crowd. Lots of kids with really amazing face painting from the kids’ activity corner….and although everywhere it said “no pets” there were….pets. Not that I minded because as a dog lover I saw some really beautiful and happy pooches.

About four of the chilis were outstanding, but a lot of the others just weren’t. Some for example, were just sweet. As in sweeter than a sloppy Joe sweet. And one chili would have been amazing if they left out the chocolate.

I cast my votes for three chilis I really liked. I don’t know who won. But as someone who cooks and who has been guilty of adding one ingredient too many to a recipe, I think with chili while you can get creative, you have to stay traditional.

Another ingredient too many in one chili today was kielbasa. The nicest people made it, but I had to throw it out – kielbasa is just the wrong flavor profile.

This was my first time attending this event and I will attend again! A super nice day!

the business of thug politics

It’s October. The leaves are starting to fall from the trees, we finally had a crisply cool night, the political attack ads are starting, parties are fighting duels to the death…yes, dear readers election season has arrived in Chester County.

Ready or not, here they come.

Both parties have issues. Both parties have problem children…even as candidates. Neither party has a straight slate anywhere you can vote for, unless you choose to cast your vote with a blindfold on. Personally I find that unadvisable, but it’s the choice of the individual to be an informed voter.

On a county and local level, politics should be more about the individual and less about the Washington political machines. Washington DC isn’t just a political swamp, it’s a political cesspool, so do yourselves a favor and learn to tune out DC and look at local and state candidates as individuals.

Elections have consequences. In many municipalities in Chester County, residents are bitching about managers and solicitors and so on. Ummm HELLO? Who do you think HIRES these people? Politicians. Elected officials. And when it comes to managers especially, they also direct them on how to act on certain things and don’t kid yourselves otherwise. Solicitors march to the beat of a different drummer, like the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. That outdated tome is the work product of state elected officials isn’t it?

So what’s the point here? Elections have consequences so do your damn homework so you know whom to blame for what. Don’t just say it’s so and so’s fault. That is YOU in the voting booth casting your vote so do your homework! Learn what the candidates stand for, who they are, and to whom they are beholden. Don’t just vote a straight ticket because someone told you that is how you are supposed to vote. And don’t say that doesn’t happen because I literally heard a poll volunteer in another county long, long ago escorting an elderly person to the poll and they said “Ignore these people. You just vote the way we told you to.”

Yes seriously. And don’t act so surprised that it happened. It happens all of the time. If people volunteering for elections or who are committee people can’t be the way they should be, why listen? I have to tell you with a few notable exceptions I have liked most committee people from both parties over the years.

To vote is a privilege and a right in this country, use it wisely.

But election season also means thug politics. I was an attempted victim again yesterday. Someone just didn’t have a conversation with me, it was an attempt to bully or even worse depending upon how you interpret it. And it wasn’t the first one this season. There have been several unpleasant encounters.

If you are a blogger, thug politics is nothing new. By our very DNA most politicians and bloggers will not get along all of the time or even some of the time. It’s just the way we’re made and that’s ok. But to try to stomp all over someone’s First Amendment rights for not agreeing with you like a nodding bobble head doll? Oh come on and oh hell no.

Politicians even on a local level are public figures. Even former politicians because they used to hold office. Look at past U.S. Presidents as an example. Think of how long some of them have been out of office and still people talk about them. It’s still the nature of the beast.

Politics is an ugly business. That’s probably why I talk about it sometimes. I just don’t think it should be. Yet here we are.

Chester County needs political balance in my opinion. I don’t think that exists. And both political parties need to get their damn houses in order. When the infighting of each party becomes apparent to even the average and mostly uninterested Joe on the street, it’s a problem. And it’s not an attack the residents and bloggers and reporters kind of a problem. It’s a get your political house in order kind of problem.

Once upon a time I thought city politics was the nastiest and worst out there. I am beginning to think it’s not. We don’t live in the land of Stepford, people. We are NOT all supposed to think alike. It’s WHY this country was founded wasn’t it? For political freedom and doesn’t that include the right to be an individual and not a bobble headed Stepford dweller?

Whatever happened to the theory of the worthy opposition? Whatever happened to actual public service? Why is everything starting to seem agenda driven?

As residents of whatever political party we should want better for where we live. We should resist Washington politics taking over on a most local level. We need balance and fairness. And when politics gets nasty and thug-like we aren’t getting balance or fairness are we?

As the voting plurality, we deserve better. We deserve independent thinkers and people who epitomize public service. We deserve elected officials who answer to all of us equally, not just select factions.

I don’t have the answers and I am not telling all of you how to vote, just to use your vote wisely and do your homework.

enough

Yesterday was a day.

It started extremely happily as I was doing something I really love to do. I had a wonderful time… until sadly I didn’t.

I encountered a woman, a total stranger, who upset me enough that I just stopped what I was doing and decided to go home. That doesn’t generally happen.

On the way home I saw something that made me smile. It was something happy that reminded me of what’s important and what’s lovely about life.

It was a group of boys, obviously good buddies, all clumped together on a public street corner hanging out as boys are wont to do. Of course, they are modern boys, so they were all clumped together each one staring at their smartphones. And they were standing next to a very important historic sign marker.

It was a moment. Frozen in time. It made me smile and I took the photo.

There was no malice. I captured a moment on a public street that made me smile. And shared it.

But oh no, because of the world we allow ourselves to live in, my happy moment caught in an image where you couldn’t even see the boys’ faces, was twisted and made ugly.

All of a sudden, a man I don’t know is leaving comments that I am a “sick person” and a “pedophile”. That I was a “twisted voyeur of children” unfit to live in my own community and that (and I quote) “you get banned all around Malvern and now you leer on kids.”

I have, among other things, never been banned from anywhere.

I took the comments as what they were, threats, and sent them in native format to the police in case something happened to me.

That is not something I regularly do, but I took those comments as the threats they were intended to be. I am a woman. And when a man is that viscerally verbally abusive in comments, I am not necessarily going to just say “well that’s ok”.

As a matter of fact I am NOT going to say any of this is ok any longer.

Whenever it is something to do with me, because I am the local blogger, people all over social media, including in community groups I am not part of, pile on. Comment after comment after comment.

It’s enough to make you puke because these groups all have “statements of community” after a fashion and how they are all about love, and family, and community and neighbors…unless it’s me or anyone else who will never be a cookie cutter version of them.

Whether it’s me or anyone else who isn’t in their limited circle of life or school car rider line, it’s just fine to tear everyone apart. We don’t have feelings. We’re not like you. We don’t matter.

And you people wonder why some of your kids are called out in school for being bullies or having behavioral issues? Where do you actually think they learn the behavior?

Last night, the day thankfully changed yet again. I was with friends for a surprise party for another friend.

I belonged there. I felt loved and safe there. I was with people who actually, truly, really know me. They all reminded me again of what is important in this world. And what’s not important are the people who want to turn lovely days ugly and dirty. What’s not important are those of you (some with extraordinarily flawed and messed up lives, I might add) sitting in judgement of me or anyone else you find suspicious for not being exactly like you.

PSA: I am done with the BS. I am over being judged, maligned, defamed, harassed, harangued, bullied….yet when some want something done I am the one they seek out?

Can’t have it both ways.

I am not a bad person and I don’t have to defend my existence to any of the shlubs who wish to sit in judgement of me, my blogging, my opinions, and what I choose to photograph on public streets. Or bars and restaurants I choose to review. Or for writing about what’s important to me.

I have been threatened, harassed, you name it. And for what? Because I am not some freaking Nouveau Stepford Wife or I didn’t grow up in Malvern when dinosaurs roamed the earth?

Get over yourselves.

Those who know me, know me to be loyal to a fault. Those who cross me know I don’t suffer fools lightly.