Thursday, May 1, 2014

If it is too good to be true, then it isn't.

Here is a word of warning for any of you who are answering those silly, funny and entertaining, 'What animal are you, or some other such thing.' Se have all had a lot of fun on FB with these 'surveys.' I have taken part in heaps of them and shared then results. What happens is that you will eventually receive an email saying you have won a 'dream holiday,' worth US$3000 or more.
I did!. Was I ecstatic?---NO!. I am becoming a cynical old bugger re such 'wins,' but as I was filling in time, waiting until I was ready to take Perdy for her walk and visit to friends, I decided to explore the 'offer.' I had four minutes to make the contact, via an Auckland number that transferred me to an Orlando (supposedly) number.
Wow---the sales pitch began as they informed me about my wonderful win that entailed me taking three people to a series of events and destinations that had me dreaming. I asked the question that is already going through your less than sympathetic minds---'what's the catch?' Yip---they were ready for that and it transpired that the usual lecture re  'time share' was involved. They went through all the details, despite me telling them that I had to honestly say that I wouldn't  be signing on any line re buying such 'services,' so why continue? That didn't bother then lovely lady at all. She continued to give me sign in details ton the site and that then only cost was the airfares from NZ and a departure tax from the short cruise to the Bahamas. I had 18 months to take the trip. 'OK,' I said, 'I shall talk to the three adults so that I could make up my mind.'
By this stage I had been transferred to another lady, further up the food chain, I suspect, who started to put in the hard sell about paying upfront about NZ$1000 to secure the 'sale.' Now the pressure real came ion and her voice kind of changed as she tired to carefully draw me in. I could of course get back ton her and pay $4000 at  a later date---it was over to me. I said that I had no intention of paying anything without consulting my travelling companions. Her voice took on a little tint of desperation. DING ding ding in my head! Guess what---she sort of just disappeared from the line. I am not sure it was a total hang up or what but it certainly became less friendly.
OK-----some of you will receive similar offers. Share them on FB like I am so we can get a picture of what is happening. At the very least it is an offer to view a timeshare and we get those for NZ destinations so that's nothing new. I am NOT saying this is a scam, but I am saying that it is a clever (or not so cleaver) sales pitch. Sure In would love to take three special people with me for less than NZ20  a day plus spending money and airfares, but I am not prepared to spend NZ$1000 upfront before ZI have even talked to my friends. That is when it all entered that world of---'scam or just too much pressure.'
So my friends, be aware and don't get carried away, only to regret your impulsive decision. For once In didn't make one and even if I have missed out on a nice trip, by not acting immediately, at least I am not out of pocket. What a nice way of spending 30 minutes.

Ukraine begins military conscription.

I hope that the announcement by the 'interim Government ' of Ukraine is not a sign that things have progressed to the point that all else has failed re the resolution of the crisis in that country. Whilst it is obvious to most that events in the east and south of Ukraine are tantamount to a rebellion against--what----? an elected Government? NO. Until there is an election and/or a referendum to determine the 'borders of Ukraine and for there to be a 'legitimate' government based on a fair and open process, then anything else is just adding to the difficulty on the region, fed no doubt by historic  Russian fears of being surrounded by less than friendly powers.
Now that Ukraine has called up it's men  (and women?) to arms, then the step towards all-out war is that much closer. If they think that the USA, EU and others will respond in kind, they are forgetting an important geopolitical fact: The aforementioned countries will not commit to a war, simply because Ukraine does not posses the oil and other economic necessities that they require for their economies. At best Ukraine is a conduit for Russian fuel and that can be bypassed if necessary. Sure the 'West' will make all the sounds re democratic and political solidarity but no one expects there to be a war on behalf of Ukraine. At best, there will be increased economic sanctions and it those that may make a difference.
In the meantime, Ukraine is going to need to make an assessment off where the borders of that country truly lie, in conjunction with real dialogue between Russia, the inhabitants of the regions in question and the EU/UN. Unfortunately there are forces and personal ambitions held by various 'players' that supersede such honest discourse.