I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cheaper than Hell

There is nothing wrong with being frugal.  There is a difference, however, between being frugal and being cheap.  As someone who manages a paint desk, I see both types of people, especially when it comes to selling a home.  A frugal person will choose the paint which is going to give the best coverage at the lowest price possible.  The cheap individual buys cheap paint and hopes the potential buyer doesn't notice.  I see many more of the latter.  Yesterday I saw three of them.  There was the gentleman (and I use that word loosely) who bought fence stain for a deck.  I told him the product was only meant for vertical surfaces.  His reply?  I'm selling the house, the deck only needs to look good for 3 - 4 months.  Hopefully his house will not sell for 6 or 7 months and he will need to stain it again.  Spend a little more money and give the customer a good deal.  In the end, he may end up spending more then the $40 dollars he's saving by cheaping it out.  So, if you're buying an existing home and it has a deck, you may not want to put in a bid the first day it's on the market.

Then there was the couple who wanted cheap paint that would give them on coat coverage.  It seems her mother passed away and they were going to sell the house.  I explained that one coat coverage was going to cost them.  She didn't want to hear this.  She said (and this is a quote) "If I spend that money, I'm not going to get it back, and that doesn't count the time it's going to take me to paint."  And I'm thinking, hey, you're selling house.  When that sale goes through you're going to be getting money.  Why are you dicking around about an extra $100 in paint?  Of course, she doesn't see it that way.  All she sees it the fact that she's going to have to spend money her own money in order to sell that house.

And finally, there was the young woman who purchased an Glidden tester with an eggshell finish to patch up a semi-gloss wall.  Eggshell on Semi?  When I told her the difference in finishes was going to very obvious she said "it's in the basement, they'll never notice."  Actually, a good real estate agent is going to notice and she'll either have to repaint, or drop her price.

If you're making the investment of buying a home, you want to know you're going to be getting the biggest bang for your buck. The last thing you want is close the deal and find out you've been scammed by some cheapskate.  And not everybody is like these three.  Most of the customers I see are honorable.  Not everybody is cheaper then hell.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Decorate This

I always do my reading in the morning, which consists of the NYT, news websites and blogs.  This morning Sean, one of the bloggers I read, was talking about a current project he was working on, a very labor intensive update of his family room.  He had a line about meeting with a decorator which I found intriguing.  You see I manage the paint department for a high volume, home improvement store.  Last year my sales were over $2.2 million, that's a lot of paint.  As such I get to deal with a lot of "decorators," (notice the quotation marks.)  I will leave the decorator stories for him.  This is mostly my gripe about the shitty schedules I get, you'd think with that type of money coming in they cut me a break.  How crappy are they?  Yesterday I started an 8 day stretch, that's right, I get to work 8 days in a row before I get another day off.  And it's not as though the next 8 days are going to be a cakewalk.  Yesterday I was in a 5:30 AM, today I'm in a 2 in the afternoon staying until 10:30 PM, and then I get to back to work 11 hours later.  That's right, I get 11 hours off before going back for another 9 hours.

What makes this just a bit saltier is the fact that I'm supposed to be participating in a Health Challenge in order to maintain a $50 monthly deduction from my Health Insurance.  One of the questions you're supposed to answer daily is "did you get 7 hours of sleep last night?"  And the answer is... no.  I have dogs and their routine is to get up around 5:30 in the morning (I get them up at 3:30 when I need to be there by 5:30).  Rare are the nights I get a good 7 hours of sleep, mostly it's between 5 and 6.  On the 7th and 8th days of this stretch I have to be at the store by 5:30 in the morning, so those will be early days for the girls.

Of course, with this Health Challenge, you're also supposed to be working out on a regular basis.  Now that's a laugh.  Talk to any personal trainer and they'll tell you one of the most important thing you can do is to set up a routine:  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are weight training, Tuesdays and Thursdays are Cardio.  It doesn't need to be those specific days, but you need a routine to follow on a regular basis.  This is how we create habits.  My schedule precludes any such routine or any kind of regime.  In case you are wondering, I am not alone.  All full-time associates deal with this nightmare.  This is the horror of retail scheduling.  You have no idea how often I would like to call corporate and tell them to just Decorate This.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Thin Blade of Truth

When I was young, two of the things I most wanted when I reached adulthood were 1. to be at least 6 feet tall, well, I missed it by a half inch; 2. to be able to grow a beard.  Did I tell you I grew to be 5 feet 11 1/2 inches in my stocking feet?  Now, I have had a mustache for years, and can grow a goatee in a couple of days flat. The hair follicles on my cheeks, however, are quite challenged.  I have hair growing on my chest, on my back, arms, legs.  I have hair on my toes and growing out my nose.  This doesn't mean I don't have hair growing on my cheeks, I do, but there are holes and gaps.  When I was younger I could go for almost a month at a time without shaving.  Not any more.  It grows faster, now-a-days, just not thicker.  As a result, I need to shave, usually every other day.

While I do have Braun rechargeable I plug in every now and then, mostly I use a razor.  My weapon of choice for the past year has been the Gillette Power Fusion (it vibrates).  The only real problem is that the blades are expensive as hell, $19.99 for 4.  The one saving grace is that with my beard, or lack there of, a pack of four will easily last me 9 to 10 months.  Unfortunately that positive doesn't dampen the negative feeling I get every time I need to buy a new pack.

These make the skin on my face as smooth as a baby's ass

So, last week while I was strolling the aisles of my local Giant Supermarket, I paused to check out my options in the blade department.  This is what happens when moments of cheapness descend upon me.  I start to rationalize. My eyes kept going back to a package of Gillette Custom Plus.  Sure, they had plastic handles, but there were 10 razors for $8.49...and they pivoted.  Holy Crap, they even came in a resealable packaged, as if there were a chance they might lose their freshness.  The logical part of my brain kept whispering "this is too good to be true," however the cheap part of my brain won out.  When I went through self-checkout I had a package of the Gillette Custom Plus nestled in the bottom of my shopping bag.  Big mistake.

The latest trend in torture devices

The first shave went well enough... until I realized the blade had failed to shave away even a single hair.  So, I shaved again, applying a little more pressure, clean shaven, though not the finest shave I'd ever had.  Still, I told myself, remember, they were cheap.  My third shave resulted in razor burn.  All day, while I was waiting on customers at work, and my cheeks were tingling, and not in a good way.  The last time I had razor burn I was 16 years old and had shaved 5 times in one day.  You see a friend had told me shaving stimulates beard growth.  Two of the truths in my life are: my friend lied, and these razors are shit.  All blades are not the same.  In the end I didn't save anything.  I need to shave because I can't grow a beard.  Since I need to shave, I went out and bought the more expensive blades.  The thin blade of truth slices both ways.    

Monday, July 21, 2014

Are you ready for some Karma?

Just about everybody has heard of Karma, not everybody gets a chance to experience it.  I have.  Four and a half years ago I had a nice, cushy accounting job with a company called xpedx (all lower case letters), the distribution subsidiary for International Paper.  On February 5, 2010 a north east region Buyer position was posted.  I applied, as did one other person.  On February 17, I and 34 others learned out jobs were being eliminated here in the United States, our work was to be handled by a team in Krakow, Poland.  On February 19 the job posting came down.  On February 23, 2010, a woman with a slight disability (she uses a cane) applied for the job.  Guess who got the job?  This was after I had been unofficially notified that I had the position.  The person who makes the ID badges called to tell me my new badge would be arriving Friday, the day the announcement was to be made official.  On Thursday, my day off, this woman filed a complaint with HR saying I'd made sexist comments to her.  They never detailed what it was I was supposed to have said except for one comment.  She claimed that I had said if she gets the job it's because she's pretty.  Looking at a severance date 5 months down the road and certain I was being screwed out of a job, I filed a complaint with International Paper.  An investigation was by the Regional HR as this woman started her new job.  Numerous witnesses were called into the office.  After two months a decision was made.  Management does not make mistakes.  She was going to keep the job.  I was going to be severed.  But things had changed.  I was told my severance date was going to stay the same, I just didn't have to report to the office anymore.  Oh, and the HR manager who'd accepted this woman's application, and also her complaint, suddenly retired two weeks later.

So, are you ready for some Karma?

On my last day at xpedx one of my friends asked if I was worried.  My response?  Nah.  I said if I don't get a job within 5 months then I might start to worry.  What I did do was go to France.  And I bought my first Boxer, Gertie, and worked my part-time cashier job at Home Depot.  Five months and 2 days after my last day at xpedx a new position was posted by the time clock.  The position was for an Associate Support Department Supervisor, which handles some of the HR responsibilities but isn't considered HR.  I applied.  Seven days later I had a new full-time position with a better salary then I'd been getting at xpedx.  

As for xpedx?  It not longer exists.  After years of outsourcing more and more positions, International Paper allowed it to merge with Unisource.  The combined company is now Veritec.  Stress levels in the old xpedx office are nearly unbearable.  They are all waiting for the ax to fall, even the woman who got the purchasing job.  You know what they say, "what goes around comes around."  And as for me?  My life is good.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Putin's Nipple Tease

The shooting down of MH17 in the Ukraine has presented Vladimir Putin with a royal, cow flop patty sandwich, hasn't it?  And it's getting worse.  An hour doesn't pass when new articles aren't being published damning both he and the Separatists who allegedly shot down the passenger liner.  One article which caught my attention, claimed the Separatists were stacking the personal possessions into piles.  The first thought through my head was "oh, hell, they're treating them like war trophies."  You know what they say "to the victor go the spoils."  Of course, this isn't really a victory, is it?  One would have thought that while training them how to use their new, old Russian missile launchers, Vlad would have also taught them not to shoot down civilian airliners.  To be honest, I don't think he cares who they shoot down.  His sole interest seems to be for them to suckle, once again, on Mother Russia's teat.  Maybe that's why he runs around with his shirt off so often, to offer them a little nipple tease.

Leftsies or Rightsies?

Putin has laid the blame on the Ukraine, rather then his toy Separatists.  Of course, if that were true the OSCE would have complete access to the crash site, all 16 square miles of it.  But they don't.  I guess someone is afraid they might find something, like a bit of missile casing.  So, who could be so afraid?  Maybe Putin.  The best way to keep a direct link hidden is to bury it deeply, or cart it off to some obscure location.  I suspect quite a lot of the debris will simply disappear.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they've already begun to quietly haul it away in the dark of night.  Supposedly a number of bodies have already been taken, supposedly to be autopsied.  Will they every be seen again?  Who knows. 

As for Putin?  I don't really think he's going to eat that shit sandwich unless forced to by an angry world.  The last I heard the world is pretty pissed.  There were a lot of people from different nationalities on that plane and old Vlad is beginning to lose face.  The real question is whether he wants to look like a dumb ass and continue to back his puppets, or will he throw some of them to the wolves?  And, if he does throw some to the wolves, will the Separatist movement survive?  Just think, he might have been doing all of that nipple teasing for nothing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blog Roll

Holy Crap!  Looks like I've finally gotten around to setting up a blog roll.  For those interested, I do have a bit of a selection process; I'm not going to blindly link to everybody I read.  You will not find links to bloggers who are attempting to be a centralized blog.  You know what I'm talking about, those individuals who cherry pick bits and pieces from someone else's work; don't give me a list of bullet points for articles someone else posted first.  Nor will you find links to bloggers who keep begging to be followed on Twitter, or Tumblr, on Instagram; I don't call that blogging.  If I list you it's because your blog is original and interest.  Getting listed is also a 'thank you' for providing an interesting perspective on life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jury Duty - my unday in court

I have always wanted to be called for jury duty, so when my summons came from Cumberland County I was more then a little excited.  When I told people, I was surprised by those who told me it was going to be boring and how much I'd dislike the experience.  There were several who gave me suggestions on how to get out of it.  But, being a contrary sort of person, I waited for July 14 with anticipation.  It was a learning experience.
My summons was for Civil Court not Criminal Court, so I was going to witness the process of people suing people.  Lucky me, I got to be in the jury pool for two different cases.  In the first the plaintiff was suing the Williams Grove Speedway - it's expected to last for at least 7 days.  I did not get selected, not that I considered this to be a possibility.  You see, I wasn't what they were looking for: I don't race motorcycles, or jet skis, or bungi jump, play paint ball or laser tag, or use a zip-line.  I am not a thrill seeker, at least not one who fit their criteria.  As a result my name was not called and I was excused from that trial.  As I left the court room, I looked back and saw that most of the jurors selected were male, and had admitted to participating in the "sports" I tend to avoid.  Both the plaintiff's and the defendant's attorneys had loaded the jury with those they felt most likely to give them the verdict they desired.  So much for a fair and unbiased jury.

Here are some of the potential jurors

The second case was an even bigger eye opener.  Back in 2008 a middle-aged woman drove her van into a "Five Guys" fast food restaurant.  A couple, who had been in the establishment at the time, were suing her, the restaurant, and the small shopping center in which it's located.  The plaintiff's attorney began questioning us first.  Things were going normally until he asked "have any of you been in an automobile accident?" Nine people stood up.  The first question he asked to the first woman standing was "did that accident involve any lower back injuries requiring physical therapy?"  At which point the judge shut him down abruptly.  "I will not have you polluting this juror pool!  That is an improper question! You can not pursue this!"  So he asked a different question, however he'd already seen which of us reacted and which of us didn't.  Not more then 5 minutes later one of the plaintiffs moved in her chair, put her hand on the table and lifted her right side ever so slightly... and winced.  And every potential juror saw her do this.  I turned to the woman sitting to my left and said "They're going to pick the jury they can manipulate the most."  They did, and I was not one of them.  This one was mostly women, many of whom had stood when asked if any one of us had been in an automobile accident.

My badge of courage

While I'm sure my lack of responses to the questions for the first case played a large roll in my not being selected, I think what truly doomed my chances of being a juror was one of my responses on the questionnaire we all had to fill out.  They asked for your current position, mine is retail.  They asked for your previous position, mine was accounting.  That's right, for quite a number of years I was a number's guy, until International Paper chose to make a business decision and send my job to Poland.  These cases were all Civil cases.  All the plaintiffs were seeking monetary settlement.  The last thing any decent attorney wants is a number's guy on the jury.  They don't want someone who's going to be saying "Holy Shit!  Do you have any idea how much money you're talking about!"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Purell & the Gates of Hell

I stopped by my local Giant supermarket this morning to pick up some blueberries and a couple of asagio bagels.  While waiting at the U-Scan to check myself out, I notice one of the gentlemen ahead of me had covered the handle of his shopping car with Purell sanitary wipes.  The first thing which went through my mind was that maybe he suffers from some sort of immune deficiency.  But then I thought of an article I'd read in the Washington Post.  More and more people do seem to be developing a fear of germs.  Occasionally I have seen people using Purell wipes to clean off the handles of shopping carts and for the life of me I can't understand why.  It's not like you're going to catch Ebola, at least not yet, and not in this country.  So you might come down with a sniffle.  Sure, you may be a little uncomfortable for a couple of days, but it will pass.  What's really happening is that your immune system gets a little workout, a little P90X where it gets to jump around and make noises.  This is why you have an immune system.  Given the choice I'd rather mine was strong and studly rather then flabby and fat.  No one will come right out and say so, but I tend to believe that porky immune systems react slower.  It's important to mention that I rarely get sick.  For me, the worst symptom I get from a cold might be a runny nose for a couple of hours, and then it's gone.  I can't ever remember catching the flu.

Hell in a wipe

Now this might mean that I have a super-hero immune system.  I doubt it.  I just haven't bought into the continuous hype broadcast  in every audio / visual medium possible.  True, nobody wants to get sick, but it happens.  Deal with it.  I thought the bit of the article on asthma really interesting since so many people I know seem to have received that diagnosis from their family doctor.  And every one of them is on some form of medication.  Not that Purell Sanitizer is completely responsible.  Might it not be a wolf in sheep's clothing, however?  Leading you off the path?  Just think of the gentleman at Giant this morning.  Can you imagine what his medicine cabinet must look like?  Does his OTC drug expense need to be figured into his family's budget?  Do Purell sanitizing wipes disguise the gates of hell?  Or are the just the beginning of an even greater addiction?     

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Declutter this

Like many corporations these days, the one I work for offers several ways in which associates can reduce the amount they pay for their health care.  For example, non-smokers receive a $20 incentive every month tacked onto their paycheck.  Unfortunately they don't go that extra step to verify you are a non-smoker, most likely because it would require a pee test.  I suspect it's because the cost of having those non-smokers dribble a few drops in a little vile in order to verify their veracity isn't worth the logistical expense.  Pee may not be as cheap as we think.

In the past, they have also given an additional $50 per month incentive if you participated in a "hidden health screening," where they do some blood work to check you cholesterol, triglycerides, and sugar. I always pass because, as my personal physician says, I have good genes.  Translate this to read "I can eat a gallon of real ice cream every week without having adverse effects."  The only thing I have to worry about is the weight, and if I worked out more I wouldn't have to worry about that.  This year, however, to get that extra moola in your check you also need to participate in a Health Challenge.  There is no way to option out.  So, being the cheapy I am, I signed up.

The challenge is broken down into 3 areas: exercise, diet, and stress reduction.  Starting July 10 I will need to sign in and provide answers to questions in order to earn points.  Of course there is no real tracking here.  There is no audit process for those taking the challenge.  Oh, and the questions are rather simplistic.

Which BMI would you prefer?

I can't make note that I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia this afternoon, but I can click the button recording the fact that I ate 6 helpings of fruits and vegetables.  I can report that I did at least 30 minutes of "moderate exercise," but I can't let them know I did 45 minutes on the elliptical followed by 20 minutes of free weights.  The "stress reduction" bit is more then a little amusing with questions like:  "Did you simplify you finances?" and "Did you take 15 minutes to declutter?"  Usually I declutter every morning, before I take a shower.

The 'challenge' runs for two months.  In order to continue to receive the incentive you need to participate for at least 3 weeks.  Since they are doing it from the privacy of their own homes, associates can be as honest or dishonest as they like.  I'll bet a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream many of them will fudge it.  Me?  I'll give them the facts as best as I am able.  Do you think they really care if, right after I publish this, I'm going to chow down on a large pepperoni pizza?  Nah.  Most likely those in charge are gambling that many of those participating will fail and the corporation will end up saving some money.  Hey, maybe they could use the money they save to pay for a pee test.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Painting by the numbers

This is my first day off since last week and so far I've been enjoying it.  For a change the weather has been rather nice and as a result the paint desk has been busy.  These are the times that go fast, unlike the doldrums of winter when no one paints anything.  Of course this means we also get to deal with many more issues, some customers get irate, some demonstrate an ignorance of color, and others fail to grasp the concept of light.  There are those customers who let you explain and then there are those who feel that they need to explain to you, especially when there is a problem.

Now we don't make a lot of money off of the paint we sell, we make money from the attachments, like the roller covers and brushes and drop clothes, etc.  This is why "tinted paint" is non-returnable, we lose money when we take it back.  A good paint associate will qualify the customer in attempt to avoid complaints.  Still, they happen.  Take the couple who showed up at the paint desk on Saturday.  She looked like she'd had some work done in an attempt to maintain her youthful presence, however her work was no long working.  He, in his blue stripped button down shirt, looked as though he'd come straight from the office.  They were returning paint because the color did not co-ordinate with the Honey Brown color of the home's exterior.  One of my very good tenured associates worked with them.  They didn't want him to work with the paint they had already purchased, that just wouldn't do for them.  He could, however, spend 20 minutes going over the numerous colors we can tint in order to find that one, perfect color which would "pop" next to their Honey Gold exterior.  They left the paint desk pleased as punch, with a brand new gallon of paint.  The next day I found it in the Returns Cart. We took a hit because they made a mistake, and of course they didn't really care.  To them it's part of their prerogative; if you don't like it you return it.

Buying paint is not like buying shoes, but a lot of people don't understand that, in fact it's not like buying most things.  When you buy paint the product is changed in order to meet the customer's preference.  When was the last time you bought a shirt and they put on different buttons because you wanted something else?  Or changed the heel on a pair of shoes because you want to be a little taller?  Have you ever bought a pair of pants, and then went back and asked the clerk to lighten them because they were too dark?  The problem is that people don't want to take responsibility for the decisions they make.  The couple who were trying to co-ordinate to a Honey Gold?  No one held a gun to their head and forced them to pick the color they chose.  In fact, they could have taken paint chips home, or even bought a tester, had they wanted.  That would have been the smart thing to do.  Instead they ended up returning 2 gallons of paint.  I wasn't there when they returned the second, but I wonder if he was wearing a button down, long sleeve shirt.  I don't have to worry about her, there's no way on earth she's going to get rid of her Phantom of the Opera nostrils.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Uncelebrating the 4th

I read a number of blogs and this morning one blogger asked what people's plans were for the 4th of July.  I commented with the same comment I post every time a blogger asks this question on a holiday.  My response?  Working.  I'm in retail.  Years ago that meant having most holidays off, not any more.  American Capitalism has changed the way retail looks at holidays.  They are now a time to run SALES, the reasoning being that every American wants to run out and buy a new refrigerator on the 4th of July.  Wait, no, that's not true.  Being open on a holiday does not send a store's receipts through the roof.  On the contrary, while there may be shoppers during the morning hours tomorrow, they will begin to thin out as the afternoon approaches.  Unless your appliance breaks, you're probably not going to in the market to purchase one.  In fact, the customers you tend to see, at least in this area of the country, are foreigners who aren't used to celebrating Independence Day.

I have to admit that I always wonder about those who do venture in on a holiday.  Is this what they do for entertainment?  For fun?  Even if I didn't have plans, I can honestly admit I would never set foot in a Home Improvement Store on a holiday.  There are still better things to do.  I can think of a number of ways in which I can waste time and not one of them involves walking the aisles, pushing a shopping cart, and looking at drill bits and saws.  Unless you have a thing for fittings there is absolutely nothing of interest in our plumbing aisle.  And those fancy out door cushions for your patio furniture?  Surprise, the sale price isn't going to disappear over night.  I can't even begin to imagine what kind of boring life someone might have in shopping on a holiday is a highlight.  If you're bored and that's the best thing you can think of doing, you're not very creative.

This is where I'd like to be.  Of course I know this has to be either New Years or Bastille Day since France doesn't celebrate our Independence Day.  But then being in Paris is fun anytime.  Still, I know that tomorrow morning someone, will wake up with an urge to go out and buy a drill.  Am I the only one who thinks that shopping turns a holiday into an uncelebration?  And, if that's what you do to celebrate, maybe you should re-evaluate your priorities in life because there are so many other times when you can go shopping.  Don't make me work because you have nothing better to do. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dimon's moral dilemma

I saw yesterday that Jamie Dimon revealed he has throat cancer.  In a way I feel bad for the man, my Dad died of cancer and I realized how truly bad chemo and radiation can be.  However, I also have to be perfectly honest, and though it's sad to admit, I don't really feel sorry at all.  Jamie is the CEO for JP Morgan, one of the largest banking institutions in the world.  Last year he was paid $20 million.  That's right, $20,000,000.00  Wow, isn't that a lot of zeroes?  I won't earn that much money in my entire life, in fact I won't earn that much in 8 lifetimes.  To me he is just a number and nothing more, just as I am to him.  I can say that because one of my 401k's is held by JP Morgan.  They seem to have done a decent job.  It's making money for me.  While I may look at my slowing accumulating dollars and nod, my balance is not nearly enough for Mr. Dimon to sniff at.  I am part of the business.  Nothing more. I am one of millions of other peasants who have investments with JP Morgan.  Do you think they care about us?  In fact, if I and several thousand others pulled our dollars out tomorrow, JP Morgan wouldn't even notice.  That's the sad truth.

That 20 million dollar smile

If I were to be diagnosed with throat cancer do think Mr. Dimon would care?  Of course not.  I'm not worth his attention, which, if you think about it, is a terrible thing to say.  Everybody deserves to have worth.  This is not to say in Mr. Dimon's eyes I am worthless, I'm just not worth enough to  be divvied any consideration.  To be of any value to Jamie my investments would have to be far greater.  They are not now and never will be.  This doesn't really bother me because, no matter Mr. Dimon's net worth is, he's just not worthy of my consideration.  It is a shame that he's going to have to go through chemo and radiation therapy, but doesn't that normalize him in some way.  He's going to have to endure some of the same suffering the general public feels.  Will he empathize with the average person fighting cancer?  Some how I doubt it, which is a moral dilemma for Jamie.