Wednesday open thread

We have an open thread all day.

Finn gave us a conversation starter:

Rise of the Robocall

What do you do when you get robocalled? Do you try to increase the cost to the robocaller?

My employer has a policy that we answer calls to our desk phones when we’re at our desks, so I’ve answered a bunch of robocalls. At first I’d just hang up as soon as I realized a call was a robocall. But shortly afterward, I started just putting the receiver down on my desk, then checking a couple minutes later and hanging up if the call had ended. Then I started pressing buttons to get a real person, then putting down the receiver.

122 thoughts on “Wednesday open thread

  1. The volume of robocalls has declined and the new “Scam Alert” warning helps as well. However, what is increasing replacing the robocall is the scam text message.

  2. A few months ago I had a plague of scam texts that I could not stop even by following Verizon’s recommendations to report them and then just ignoring them. The “unknown sender” filter did not catch them. Each used a different number. Then they stopped all of a sudden but in the past few days I’ve received some new spam texts so I hope I am not inundated again.

  3. I get spam calls regularly. I alternate between just hanging up and/or not answering unidentified calls. However, not answering means that I am missing calls from people I need to talk to.

    I haven’t found the scam alert to be very useful.

  4. I hardly ever answer my phone anymore…including my work phones. I have everything go to voicemail. The robocalls are always about my car warranty and the robotexts are always about weight loss diets.

    Scam Alerts help, but doesn’t make them all go away. I have an out of state number, so I can tell a call is robocall if it matches my area code. But they have haven’t smarther – I’m getting more and more calls with the local area codes.

  5. “However, what is increasing replacing the robocall is the scam text message.”

    YES! And I am getting tons of them on my work phone, which I never use for the phone/text feature. (I use Teams for phone calls on that phone.)

  6. We get them on the mobile phones now. Always did on the landline, which is the number all charities have, but we dont answer that, just check messages longer than 7 sec. They go in phases. We got the chinese ones for a while, but not recently. The hotel vacation ones, because they have mobile no from the apps. All the old people ones. Your Ss is compromised. The IRS wants you. We charged you to renew X, call to get your refund if this is unauthorized. Lower your credit card rate. I block the number if I answered. It has a delayed effect. I never bother the shlubs who are employed if it is a live call. They are just backroom folks.

  7. We get scam calls regularly. Both on cell phones and landines. If it’s not my area code I won’t answer my cell phone (anybody I remotely think I’ll talk to again I add to my contacts so names pop up) and, of course, the spoofs route thru this area code and sometimes they get me. Car warranty, visa/mastercard services, are the most common.

  8. @RMS- OMG, I’ve never really heard written this way before. I am an Ask, DH is an Ask. I cannot handle Guess culture.

    I take people at their word. If you say “please no gifts” I’m not bringing you a gift. If you say you don’t want to meet up to celebrate your birthday, I will respect that you don’t want to be the center of attention. If you say something at work is not a problem, I will believe you that it is not a problem. I do not have time to suss out people’s secret intentions behind pretending not to want things that they want.

    I can read the signs of good old-fashioned Midwestern passive-aggressive insults or damning praise. But I will not play games guessing what people really want me to do/not to do. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  9. p.s. I have decided my time is too valuable to talk to people if I get a real person doing this. It is bothersome to me, but I’d rather actually do other things.

  10. Ooooohhhh, great distinction, Rocky. My mom’s family is Guess Culture all the way, and the passive-aggressiveness drives me NUTS. DH’s family is just as strongly Ask Culture, and BOY was it jarring when we first married. But once I adjusted, it was very freeing for me — my natural state is to be more direct and blunt, so it was awesome to discover that it wasn’t actually rude to directly ask for something you want or say no to something you don’t want.

  11. This what RMS was talking about. It dates from 2007, but I have never heard of it. A great topic.

    On January 16, 2007, Andrea Donderi responded to an Ask MetaFilter post that dealt with a houseguest-related situation like the one described above. Donderi’s take on the situation is as elegant as it is provocative. Basically, she says, there are two types of people in the world:

    This is a classic case of Ask Culture meets Guess Culture. In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.

    In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won’t even have to make the request directly; you’ll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.

    Over the weekend, Oliver Burkeman wrote a column for The Guardian taking up Donderi’s dichotomy and asking, “Are you an Asker or a Guesser?” A number of bloggers took the bait, expanding into broader thoughts about the niceties of social etiquette. Here’s what they had to say:

    Contributes to Personal, Professional, International Tensions In his column for The Guardian, Burkeman notes that neither type’s approach is wrong per se, “but when an Asker meets a Guesser, unpleasantness results. An Asker won’t think it’s rude to request two weeks in your spare room, but a Guess culture person will hear it as presumptuous and resent the agony involved in saying no. Your boss, asking for a project to be finished early, may be an overdemanding boor – or just an Asker, who’s assuming you might decline. If you’re a Guesser, you’ll hear it as an expectation. This is a spectrum, not a dichotomy, and it explains cross-cultural awkwardnesses, too: Brits and Americans get discombobulated doing business in Japan, because it’s a Guess culture, yet experience Russians as rude, because they’re diehard Askers.”

    We Ask Strangers and Close Friends Libertarian blogger Julian Sanchez offers a sociological reading of Donderi’s theory that’s worth perusing in full. “The polite indirection of ‘Guess Culture’ is… often a way of preserving a deliberate ambiguity, which we generally want to do in social relationships where there’s an intermediate level of intimacy—whereas relationships at the poles, with either close friends or strangers, tend to be governed by more direct asks,” Sanchez writes. “We do this, I think, precisely because those intermediate relationships are ambiguous: We’re indirect because we’re negotiating just where on the gradient we fall … To ask too directly at that stage can seem rude because it effectively demands a binary verdict on a work in progress.”

    Actually, One of Them Is Wrong The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait takes a hard line. “This is actually pretty simple: Guessers are wrong, and Askers are right. Asking is how you actually determine what the Asker wants and the giver is willing to receive. Guessing culture is a recipe for frustration. What’s more, Guessers, who are usually trying to be nice and are holding themselves to a higher level of politeness, ruin things for the rest of us … Guessers are what forces people with poor social discernment, like me, to regard all kinds of interactions as a minefield of awkwardness.”

    It’s Not So Black and White The Incidental Economist’s Austin Frakt endorses a more situationally fluid approach. “The problem with assuming one way is better than another is that it ignores the obvious temporal heterogeneity in preferences. The ‘requester’ (whether of Asker or Guesser type) is in more in need of a ‘yes’ (or ‘no’) response from the ‘requestee’ (again, of either type) at some times than others. Likewise, a requestee is more likely to say ‘yes’ (or ‘no’) at some times than at others … Therefore, it is perfectly sensible to be an Asker for some things at some times and a Guesser for other things (or even the same things) at another.”

    What say you–does the Asker/Guesser model ring true? (Or, put another way: We’re not asking, but some people might want to leave comments, and perhaps you know someone who does…)

  12. Kind of related (on the Progressive ‘Am I Becoming My Parents’ theme):
    I have started to occasionally put one of the cordless landline phones on the end table next to me when I’m sitting on the couch watching tv and/or reading. I just don’t want to have to get up for what’s likely to be a scam call, which, yes, I know I could just let roll to voicemail.
    Doing this seems like an old person thing.
    I rationalize this by telling myself ‘I always have my cell with me, how is this any different?’

  13. I am also an Ask. A very good friend of mine just recently mentioned about visiting later this year. I know she is a Guess, and I had to specifically tell her that I can’t have her stay with us because the guest room is now an office (with murphy bed), but since she is visiting midweek we can’t accommodate her.

    I also take “Please No Gifts” at their word, and my kids have arrived at many birthday parties without a gift, only to see that half the crowd brought a gift.

  14. My cell phone’ ringer hasn’t worked in over a year which is a great way to not get disturbed by scam calls. Anyone who knows me knows not to try to call me, but to send email or text instead. And if the call is actually important, they will leave a voice message.

  15. @ Ivy + 1

    I am an Ask. And, a ‘no’ is water off a duck in most cases. Askers know when they’re asking a higher-order-than-normal thing. (Just like people who can ‘stand to lose a few pounds’ know that).

    IMO, it’s just so.much.easier.

  16. Comfortable Retiree Eff U status can turn anyone into an Asker. But when you Ask a guesser something, they often have no idea what to respond. They may actually have an answer, but the process of feeling out and negotiation is so vital to their type of social connection that they have to try indirection. Or if a guesser initiates, the asker quickly responds clearly and the guesser is frustrated because they didnt really mean, lets go to a movie, what do you want to see. They want a back and forth. In your family and close friends, you know what you have to do or put up with. In business you have to put up with stuff. But in casual situations, no mas.

  17. I generally say Ask, but that’s for things that you’re offering (would you like to spend an afternoon on the boat?) or mutual (would you like to meet for dinner?)

    I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever Ask to stay at someone’s house. My parents’ rich friends have a huge vacation house in Nantucket, and an apartment in Paris; maybe I should start with them. But seriously, I don’t see how people do that.

  18. “I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever Ask to stay at someone’s house.”

    I’m with you on that. Maybe it’s my upbringing, but I think when you’re asking something big — something that is outside the usual, something that would be an imposition — you need to be very careful to ask in a way that signals you know it’s a huge imposition and that they really can say no. I don’t see that as ask/guess as much as it is just being polite.

    (Note that my version of that is usually either (1) do everything possible to avoid having to ask, and (2) if I really really have to, just say directly, “I know this is a huge imposition, and you really can say no.” One major benefit of having money is that I am much more frequently able to stay in category (1).)

  19. I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever Ask to stay at someone’s house. I am planning a CA trip in a couple of months to see my mom. Also thinking of returning to Seattle to check in on my friend. For that, the mutual expectation is I’ll stay at his too-big-for-him-alone place. I’ll ask, just to be polite, but we both already know how that’s going to go.

    My parents’ rich friends have a huge vacation house in Nantucket, and an apartment in Paris; maybe I should start with them. But seriously, I don’t see how people do that. I agree with that.

    I might be able to muster the ask to use Rocky’s Santa Cruz place.

  20. I get at least 3 or 4 spam calls on my work phone every day. I get a few a week on my personal phone.

    I’m strongly in favor of Ask. My family has always been pretty blunt. And my dad always drilled into us, “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

  21. I might be able to muster the ask to use Rocky’s Santa Cruz place.

    Email me and let me know when you’re traveling!

    A whole bunch of the ask/guess thing depends on money, I think. I would never ask to stay at my DSS’s house, because it’s very small, two bedroom one bath, and it’s the two of them plus an active toddler. My DIL’s parents don’t stay there either, but my stepson’s mother always stays with them because she’s too broke to rent a place. My always-broke SIL and her various always-broke children frequently ask for money, a place to stay, etc. Once or twice, when one of the particularly-druggy/crazy adult children ask to stay with us, I will rent them a room somewhere else because I don’t want them in my house. They’ll steal stuff. And smoke in the bedroom. And possibly bring strange men back to the house. Ask me how I know.

  22. But wouldn’t being an Ask apply not just to big requests? Made up example – but I would definitely do this: I text a friend that lives in Chapel Hill – hey, we’re bringing DS to see campus next month and would love to stay with you for 2 nights. But if it’s not good timing we can easily get a hotel room.

    I think a guesser wouldn’t do that?

  23. “I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever Ask to stay at someone’s house.”

    I could see asking to rent it. Or if there was something they needed from me and it was a fair trade. But asking to use it without being in a position to offer something of equal value in return? No.

  24. “I think a guesser wouldn’t do that?”

    A guesser would say:

    “Hey, how are you? I can’t believe it’s been three years since we saw each other. We have to reconnect soon. I saw your vacation pictures on Facebook — so fun!!!! I can’t believe how big Ethan and Sofia have gotten!!! I hope you’re doing OK during all this craziness.

    We’re going to be in Chapel Hill in May to show Jackson the campus. Just trying to figure out which hotel to pick, it seems like they’re all different now- ugh!! We should get together for a drink so you can tell me about everything you’ve been up to!!”

  25. For big things like staying at people’s houses, I would ask or not ask depending on the relationship and item in question.

    What I would never do is hint around and hope they offer.

    And what *I* don’t do is read into people’s hints and then offer things, especially if I am lukewarm about it anyway.

  26. I do genuinely offer things to friends/family.

    The other guesser thing is to offer things to seem like you are being nice, but then really not want to do them and not be able to say no.

  27. I can see myself saying a simplified (less fake sounding?) version of what’s in the 11:58 comment if I was interested in getting an offer to stay at their home but also planning to get a hotel room and not really caring too much one way or the other. Otoh, if I really wanted to stay with them due to budget constraints or for other reasons I would ask. Maybe I’m a hybrid ask-guess type.

  28. “For big things like staying at people’s houses, I would ask or not ask depending on the relationship and item in question.”

    Same with me. I wouldn’t ask a lot of people to stay at their house, but neither would I expect or hope for an offer. And I never offer things unless I really mean it and truly want to do it or don’t mind doing it. I can see how this can really be problematic if you marry in to a family that is the other type. It would drive me crazy to have to deal with Guessers on a personal level.

  29. “I can see how this can really be problematic if you marry in to a family that is the other type.”

    We have all had problems with one IL, and this conversation makes it crystal clear to me that she is a Guesser and extremely frustrated with the Ask family. It is on both sides.

    The “taking a favor” side:
    Comes to town, I say “Let me know if you’d like me to babysit the kids, we’d be happy to any evening after 5 or on the weekend. Let me know your schedule.”
    Never asks or even hints blatantly enough for me to “get it” the entire time they are here.
    Two weeks later I find out she is pissed I didn’t babysit.
    I respond, “But you never asked? The ball was in your court to pick a time and set up plans!”

    The “giving a favor” side:
    Same person says at least a dozen times “You all need to come visit. Come visit us – you can stay with us. Please come visit – we have so much room.”
    Two sets of family members take trips there – ask if they can stay. Answer is yes.
    The entire time passive aggressive comments are made about how having visitors stay with them is such a burden.

    ARGH

  30. This makes me glad my in-laws have to coordinate through DH due to the language issues. I’m by temperament an Asker who landed in a world of Guessers. Work is easier for me.

  31. Off topic, did anyone see the WSJ article about Ivy acceptance rates? Dartmouth said 48% of its accepted students are BiPOC, which is a big shift from their recent history, if not their founding purpose.

    Are there any schools other than the UC system that are race-blind?

  32. I am an asker.
    The big thing culturally is the dropping of hints. If someone wants a ride, they mention that they are going the same direction as you. It’s left to you to ask them if they need a ride. The similar thing with invitations. Say you are going somewhere and considering asking people to join you, your friend wants to join but would say something like they always wanted to visit that same place. I also favor a firm response and a decision to be made in a reasonable period, so I can move on. I realize that others like to defer their “no” for as long as possible.

  33. In my example above, my guesser friend lives in an somewhat rural area, in a very large house. She also comes from a family that has extended family stay for long periods of time, so having good friends (that’s me!) come and stay for a few days is welcomed and enjoyed. Not a lot of close hotels to her, unless you count the Super8. In the past, she has stayed with us. So her guesser ask was more like “hey, are you in town the week of xyz? Great, we’d like to come visit and I know you are working from home, so we’d be out doing tourist things during the day and I’ll cook in the evenings.” In Before Times I would respond with “Great. As long as you don’t mind sleeping in the guest room in the basement, we’d love to have you.”

    I only have three friends that I would stay at their house. Funny thing, just today my neighbor asked if I wanted to join her family and another one to stay at this huge rental house on Lake Superior in a few weeks. I declined.

    Also, my dad is a guesser, and in the last year our relationship has been strained by him being a guesser and me being an asker.

  34. Lauren will say they are just for old people but I have to say Genesis makes a sturdy vehicle:

    Woods was traveling between 84 and 87 miles per hour in a 45 m.p.h. zone when he lost control, Villanueva said at a news conference Wednesday.

    After crossing over the median and hitting the curb on the opposite side of the road, Woods’s car was still traveling at an estimated speed of 75 m.p.h. when it struck a tree

  35. Rhett – I saw one in the wild the other day. It looked nice. I don’t know that any cars really stand out these days.

  36. There was a horrific car crash involving teenagers recently. High rate of speed, dip in the road, Honda Accord left the road and hit a crash. The Accord literally split in two. The pictures are horrific. It is amazing how different Tiger Wood’s car ended up.

  37. I don’t know that any cars really stand out these days.

    RS6 Avant?

    In terms of mainstream totebag priced vehicles ($55k) I’d say the Velar has always struck me as particularly attractive.

  38. “Woods was traveling between 84 and 87 miles per hour in a 45 m.p.h. zone when he lost control, Villanueva said at a news conference Wednesday.”

    Shoulda bought a 911. No problem with 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. ;-) (Not that I would have any reason to know that, no siree. . . .)

  39. I hate the way the Velar looks. It looks like someone dropped something really heavy on a Range Rover and flattened it.

  40. Last week in Sarasota I saw a newish Rolls Royce Phantom. That stood out.

  41. Hmmmm. I think I definitely have Guesser tendencies. I would say that I ask if I anticipate a yes, if I’m not sure, then I try to figure out what I can do to get to yes.

  42. “It looks like someone dropped something really heavy on a Range Rover and flattened it.”

    I thought the exact same thing.

  43. ““luxury” cars no longer stand out like they used to.”

    I’m with Milo — Rhett, those pics just look to me like nicer versions of generic SUVs. I wonder if that’s part of the reason that late-1960s-early-1970s American muscle cars have gotten so ridiculously popular. I mean, you can spend upwards of $175K on this:

    https://www.mbusa.com/en/vehicles/build/gt/coupe/gt63c4?category=summary

    But it still looks like any other sedan on the road. How are people supposed to know you have over 600 hp? Whereas if you buy this:

    https://www.hemmings.com/stories/2014/08/29/how-does-the-1970-dodge-hemi-challenger-stack-up-against-its-modern-equivalents

    Everyone knows you’ve got power.

  44. “But it still looks like any other sedan on the road.”

    Or, at the very least, like a Kia Stinger

  45. Everyone knows you’ve got power.

    It’s slower than a Camry. You’ll be smoked at a stop light by this:

  46. The Stinger is a very attractive vehicle as well. More so from the back though:

  47. Honda Jazz stands out. Which is cool if you want to look like you are driving a transformer.

  48. @Rhett- I can’t imagine offering to rent a friend’s place. DH hates dealing with money and friends and his attitude is contagious. (He would pick up the tab in college in order to avoid any discussion of how to split stuff).

  49. I can’t imagine offering to rent a friend’s place. DH hates dealing with money and friends and his attitude is contagious.

    I figure you’d offer to rent it and they would say, “I won’t hear of it. We won’t be there the week of August X. Make yourself at home.” And then you’d buy them a nice gift.

    If they lived here:

    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/63-W-Chester-St_Nantucket_MA_02554_M43023-38034

    Maybe go with a:

    https://www.manorhousecellar.com/spirits/Macallan-25-Year-Highland-Single-Malt-Scotch-w1283608pb

    Or a:

    https://www.totalwine.com/wine/red-wine/cabernet-sauvignon/screaming-eagle-cabernet-napa/p/164567750

  50. “I figure you’d offer to rent it and they would say, “I won’t hear of it. ”

    See, earlier when you said that you would offer to rent, I thought you actually intended to pay.

  51. Milo,

    If they rented it out I’d just rent it. I was just thinking that if you were close friends/relatives with someone who had a $5 million vacation home they didn’t rent out, the most likely response would either be “use it for free” or “no.” And if you got a $20k/week summer home for free you’d be on the hook for an expensive gift.

  52. Interesting, Rhett. I had wondered about the cruise-stop towns and how they were doing. Thinking of St. Maarten, they were very dependent, and very outwardly appreciative of ships dumping 5,000 passengers off at a time to spend money. I’ll watch his thing on Ketchikan later because I’ve been there. In college I rode a sub from Pearl to Alaska, and got dumped off in Ketchikan for a few days. I saw how the town transformed from silent — almost abandoned — to bustling festival when the ship pulled, and then totally silent again within 10 minutes after it was gone. It was incredible.

    On the longstanding topics of “how do you host” and the inherent differences between inviting friends to your beach house vs. your VRBO beach house…

    I wonder what it would be like inviting friends to join you in a cruise suite:

    https://thepointsguy.com/guide/royal-caribbean-cabins-suites/

    Personally, I think it would be an absolute blast, and if I were ever wealthy enough to not care too much about the cost, I’d be happy to actually invite and cover everything. But I would definitely want two real bedrooms — not that curtain thing around the bed in the loft. Which means it would certainly be a lot cheaper to have two cabins ,but then you’re actually paying for someone else’s cabin, which is not the same as hosting in yours.

  53. I would just like to live a life where the etiquette of inviting people to join me in my Royal Loft Suite is something I actually have to worry about.

  54. well, it’s all fantasy for now. but am I the only one who thinks it’d be fun? I know my mom would say it’d be a nightmare to be trapped in there, on a ship, with the same people for a week.

  55. “I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever Ask to stay at someone’s house. “

    I might if that offer had been made multiple times. I’d be even more inclined to if that person had stayed with me before, or even moreso if we had a history of staying with each other.

    There were more situations in which I’d ask when DW and I were DINKS and had lots of single/DINK friends, and even more when I was single and most of my friends were single.

    And as I’ve accumulated wealth and also loosened the purse strings, I’m more inclined to just stay at a hotel.

  56. “Are there any schools other than the UC system that are race-blind?”

    CalTech.

  57. “Dartmouth said 48% of its accepted students are BiPOC, which is a big shift from their recent history, if not their founding purpose.”

    Perhaps they’re trying to keep up. E.g., Harvard’s first majority minority class was a few years ago, and that was in keeping with a trend, not a big shift.

  58. “A guesser would say:

    “We’re going to be in Chapel Hill in May to show Jackson the campus. Just trying to figure out which hotel to pick, it seems like they’re all different now- ugh!! We should get together for a drink so you can tell me about everything you’ve been up to!!””

    To which the asker would respond, “Great, LMK your schedule so we can meet for that drink! Looking forward to seeing you!”

  59. IMO, guesser/asker and whether you’d ask to stay at someone’s home are two separate issues.

  60. “The big thing culturally is the dropping of hints. If someone wants a ride, they mention that they are going the same direction as you. It’s left to you to ask them if they need a ride.”

    Is it also left to you to decide to not offer them a ride?

    I think dropping hints like that is fine if the person dropping hints does not take offense at not being offered a ride.

  61. well, it’s all fantasy for now. but am I the only one who thinks it’d be fun?

    As long as everyone gets their own cabin, I think it would be great. About two years ago, my brothers and SILs and I all went on an Alaskan cruise. It was totally awesome. We were actively planning for another when the pandemic hit. DH isn’t completely convinced about how fun it would be, but he might come around.

    I think a cruise with a big group of people is the best way to do it. There were a bunch of different activities and everyone could find a partner for whatever they wanted to do. And then we would meet back for drinks or dinner and discuss the days adventures. One time, one of my brothers, SIL and I all saw a bear cub. We won that day.

    Of course, there are pitfalls. When your cross fit instructor says that it will be an easy hike, she is lying.

  62. “Are there any schools other than the UC system that are race-blind?”

    CalTech.

    And the California State Universities.

  63. “I saw how the town transformed from silent — almost abandoned — to bustling festival when the ship pulled, and then totally silent again within 10 minutes after it was gone. It was incredible.”

    A lot of people here would prefer that to what we had just before the pandemic, and what we’re apparently headed for again.

  64. “ and what we’re apparently headed for again.”

    Cass – I’m going to try to arrange a shorter, family one (get your own cabins) for my parents’ 50th anniversary. Shorter only because many family members are just not into traveling. I had to learn how to enjoy it from DW’s side.

  65. “am I the only one who thinks it’d be fun?”

    No, sounds like fun to me too, especially with separate cabins.

    As I’ve learned from introverts here, some people really need a place to retreat with privacy and solidarity.

    It sounds a lot like group trips I’ve been on, albeit not cruises, where families have their own hotel rooms but meet up for meals and to do things together. Those were fun.

  66. “Is HI locking down again?”

    No, we’ll probably be inundated with tourists again soon.

  67. “ especially with separate cabins”

    See, I was specifically asking about sharing a common suite with friends. I’m envisioning how the big shared balcony allows late night drinks and reminiscing. But I guess you can do that anywhere on the ship.

  68. “See, I was specifically asking about sharing a common suite with friends.”

    Ah, I see. I think it really depends on being able to retreat and recharge. For years, we rented a lakeside cabin and invited my BFF and her family to join us. I really enjoyed it. The cabin was big enough and there was a lake and so there were ways to separate and then come back for cocktails and snacks and games. DH and I rented the cabin and invited BFF and family as our guests. I liked that dynamic, we could be hosts….As it happened, the week that tended to work for us also included my birthday. So I got a weeklong vacation with friends for my birthday.

    The last year we did it was two years ago. The kids got older and busy with internships and young adult stuff…sigh…

  69. I could see the grand suite idea working. Those suites are conceirge level, so in addition to a grand multiple level suite, with huge verandah and maybe hot tub, you get access to semi private lounges and pools. You basically get a large section of the ship just for you and a small segment of other cruisers.

    We done a few multi generational trips and the cruise was by far the most pleasant for everyone. My sibling and DH’s sibling refuse to come along, so we don’t have a huge family reunion type cruises.

  70. “See, I was specifically asking about sharing a common suite with friends.”

    For me, that doesn’t sound like as much fun as separate cabins.

    Perhaps that’s the introvert in me, and DW may have some of that as well.

  71. “We done a few multi generational trips and the cruise was by far the most pleasant for everyone.”

    I’ve also heard that cruises can be great for multigenerational trips, especially when some family members have limitations, e.g., mobility, nap requirements, or more generally, a large diversity in ability and interest in various activities.

  72. The amenities and perks in a 2 br suite are huge. You can get additional regular state rooms for the additional younger couples or young adult kids, but have top quality meals served and full bar and at the top end private entertainment in your suite. We won’t be doing any more cruising. But maybe Jan 2022 we will fly to Saint Lucia and do a full luxe couple vacay half in the port city and half by the volcanoes. Private car service, too.

  73. @Milo – I would like a trip like that with my best girl friends. I would not like a trip like that with so much shared space with extended family or with couples.

  74. DH and I grew up in MN and still have friends there; we should rent a big cabin for a week and see if friends can join us (as guests) for a long weekend on either end of the stay.

    I also want to go to family language camp in 2022, but not sure if 7 yo DD will feel too old to hang with mom and dad (http://www.concordialanguagevillages.org/youth-languages/family-programs). I went to the kid only version of this for years. Has anyone here done the family program?

  75. Minca – I used to go to the kid version! I often thought that the family program would be awesome. However, my language of choice is not one I feel strongly about inflicting on the kids.

  76. I know families that have done the French, Swedish, and Norwegian camps. Also, the YMCA family camps are hugely popular. I haven’t met a person that didn’t like the family camps. We’d like to do one, but timing hasn’t worked. The Y is doing more year-round weekend family camps, so we may do that in the next year.

  77. Ada-I had thought about inflicting my language on the family, but LT made me think it might be more fun for all to do a camp where we have heritage (even if not useful) or be practical and jump start our Spanish. I would still wear my beret. And maybe an old etiquette if I have one in the memory box.

  78. meant to post here:
    Completely different topic.

    I can’t believe how inexpensive LED lightbulbs have become. I bought a 6-pack of 75watt equivalent R40s for the kitchen ceiling cans for $14.03 at Home Depot last night. Rated to last 11,000 hours which is ~10 years if they’re on 3hours/day.

  79. When never had a problem with quality when we purchased old fashion high bulbs, but we find the quality still varies with the LED bulbs. I hope this will continue to improve, but our experience hasn’t been consistent.

    We ordered the x5 yesterday. This is DD’s first lease so it was also his first credit application. He said that the credit app would go into the “con” column about leasing since he had to disclose a lot of personal info to our salesperson. I think he felt a little funny about pushing for a lower price during the negotiation and then and then an hour later disclosing his income level. I wish they would just have the buyers send the financial documents directly to the finance arm of the auto manufacturers vs. going through the salesperson and ultimately to the finance company.

  80. I meant to write this is the first lease for DH since DD has no income except for babysitting :)

  81. Congrats on the x5. DH usually handles the dealership, but several years ago I went along and I remember the sales guy and the finance gal were together as part of the process. She did most of the speaking, but then again, we had a employee discount pricing, so there may have been little the sales guy was in control of. I hate the whole process. It’s all so slimy.

  82. “I think he felt a little funny about pushing for a lower price during the negotiation and then and then an hour later disclosing his income level.”

    The dealership isn’t a charity. He has money in part because he knows how to negotiate.

  83. Lease paperwork is the worst! In 2015 we brought the kids along to sign the paperwork for my work car lease because we thought it would hurry the dealership up, but no such luck, still took HOURS.

  84. “I hate the whole process. It’s all so slimy.”

    +1. Best part of buying my current car was the lack of slime. Salesman was *very* good at figuring out ASAP that this was MY car and so addressed me, not DH (huge pet peeve). It was used and certified, so no stuff to upsell. We paid cash, so no financing stuff to worry about. And the trade-in offer was above what KBB/Edmunds suggested the car was worth (Exhibit A in “why you want to sell a convertible in spring”), so no lowball haggling.

    The part that has really amazed me is that he remembers me every time I go in for service. Definitely paying for the privilege, of course, but it’s nice. Particularly since there are a lot of places where you pay through the nose and still get treated like crap.

  85. Lauren – Congrats on the X5. My SIL loves hers (maybe a 2015-16?), drives it a lot, like 20k + miles/yr.

  86. When we bought a used Toyota at a Dealership, we still has to sit and watch the financing video, even though we were paying cash. We had 1 year old DS with us at the time. We were not happy with that process.

  87. “we still has to sit and watch the financing video”

    I would have so much rage!

    Several years ago we had DD2, who was throwing up with a stomach bug. We were only going in to do the final financing paperwork, which still would take forever. But with a sick child, we were in and out of the dealership so quick. After that, we learned that if the dealer really wants to sell us a vehicle they can work around our time limit demands.

  88. The car buying process really is slimy. I can’t believe there isn’t more of a push to modernize it. Sure, now you can negotiate some of it ahead of time, but then they still play all the games. I HATE IT. It’s not that I’m not comfortable negotiating or that I can’t handle a little sexism. It’s just all so slimy. And yeah – I also don’t love giving the sales person all my personal information – let me give that to the finance guy in the closed office.

  89. I got Pfizer #2 yesterday – currently about 24 hours out. I am feeling something less than 100%, but it’s not terrible. I just feel…slow. I slept an extra hour, and I’m just moving and thinking slow…like a fog. I’ll be fine for the conference calls and load of laundry that I have on the schedule for today as long as it doesn’t get worse. I went for a walk before work, but I don’t really feel up for a big workout. I had a mild headache (NOT a migraine), but that was easily knocked out by 400mg of Advil. It’s also high allergy season for me, so I’m congested on top of that. I could definitely see sneaking in a nap this afternoon. So far – no fever, no chills, nothing too bad.

  90. I can’t believe there isn’t more of a push to modernize it.

    Telsa is modernizing it. They don’t have dealerships in most states. You can go to a store for a test drive and then you order it online and the price is the price – no haggling. And due to the nature of an electric car they have found the vast majority of repairs can be done by their mobile vans. Which of course some to you rather than you going to the dealer.

  91. Oh and Moderna update from Tuesday. Some minor arm soreness and I was really tired for about 4 hours starting 4 hours after my shot. That was it.

  92. RMS,

    Saturns were sold through traditional GM dealers. Although they often had their own building. And negotiating was driven by dealers not manufacturers. They would prefer not to negotiate. If they need to move product they’d offer sales. And Tesla, with a few exceptions, has no dealers. So no one to press for price negotiating.

  93. “I can’t believe there isn’t more of a push to modernize it.”

    When I bought the accord, I went to two different Honda dealerships. The first was the traditional, slimy, what will it take to get you in this car today. The second was, here’s the car, do you want to drive it? I drove it, liked it, asked if they could take some money off. The sales guy asked the manager, manager said no. I wasn’t surprised, the price they offered the car at was the market price according to Kelly Blue Book, carfax, etc.

    I told him I’d buy the car. We filled out paperwork, had a nice conversation while I was doing that. No comments about husband, very pleasant experience.

    I don’t understand how the first dealership has a viable business model. The cars are essentially identical across brands, let alone within a brand.

  94. RMS,

    Keep in mind vehicles are floor planned by the manufacturer. They finance the purchase of the vehicle from the factory by the dealer. When a salesman drives a hard bargain that money goes to the dealer not the manufacturer as the car has already been sold to the dealer.

  95. “ “we still has to sit and watch the financing video””

    “ I would have so much rage!”

    It reminds me of the shaken baby syndrome video they make new parents watch in the hospital before you can take your baby home. But i suppose if you rage at THAT requirement, it will seem all the more necessary. ;)

  96. Tesla is changing the process and it is awesome. The price is the price. The sales people are not slimy. We visited two different Tesla places and I really hope this is the future for auto sales and leases. Volvo claims that they are going to the Tesla model in the future for their electric cars. I hope they do and that others will follow this model.

    We walked out of Acura when they insisted that we meet the finance guy even though we were paying cash. We purchased the MDX across the county because our Acura wasted our time. BTW, since our salesperson at BMW knows us, he didn’t make us come in or even out down a deposit. We were surprised, but finally a bit of good customer service since this is the third car that we leased with this guy.

  97. I like the gym for the variety of machines. Beyond just general “strength” stuff that can be done with your body weight, I’m sufficiently vain to want to try to keep some defined shape in the back of my jeans. I think that’s most efficiently maintained with the wide range of leg and glute resistance machines. But I understand that lunges are good for this, too.

    For me, it can be easier to go through the routine when you have somewhere to go for it.

    DW is subscribing to some Peloton Fitness thing that she does at home. We have a generic version of the Peloton bike, but this includes other stuff as well, maybe Pilates and yoga and that sort of thing.

  98. SBJ, IME Toyota is the absolute worst. Twice we’ve tried to look at Toyotas, and I swear, the salesmen swarm when you pull in the lot, and the whole experience is pushy. Both times we walked MUCH sooner than we would have otherwise. I cannot stand car dealers who act like they are doing YOU a favor by taking large sums of money off of you. As Cass said, there are just too many other comparable options out there.

  99. It became a tradition for my dad and me that I did all the car shopping with him, and my mom was happy to skip it. So I remember buying used cars in 1986, 1991, and 1994. And new cars in 1989 and 1993. (In 1986, that was a private party transaction on a 3-year-old Mercury station wagon, and the seller gave me a brownie from the tray that she had just baked.)

    Anyway, in 1993, the Ford dealership, post-sale, made us go through the whole coatings-and-warranties sales pitch, but the Subaru dealer four years earlier did not.

    When I bought my own new cars in 2003 and 2011, they never had anything like that, so I assumed the whole charade about “undercoating” was a bygone relic of the 20th century. While that may be true, on my most recent Honda purchase, which was from the same dealership as 2011, this time they directed me to an office of this woman who weirdly never explained what she was doing, but took a blank sheet of printer paper and started drawing X-Y plots of warranty coverage as a function of time, and showing some sort of hybrid-exponential and step decay.

    I’m trying to be polite, but it took me 15 minutes to figure out WTF she was going with this, and she’s just drawing away. Then she writes my monthly payment ($484) next to that graph, and asks what sort of monthly payment I can afford. “Ummm”

    Anyway, more graph drawings followed, each one with a higher accompanying payment, but more and more potential catastrophes covered farther out on the X-axis. It was like a half hour of saying “no thanks, not interested” before she believed me.

  100. When we bought our car last year, the guy was trying to upsell us on the fancy tire warranty. I can’t remember what else what covered, but he had this whole spiel, and we were trapped. He’s going on and on about how many nails are on the expressway and potholes and all that stuff. I must have had some kind of RBF on because finally he looks directly at me and says, “I can see that you aren’t interested, but I’m required to go through the whole brochure.” And I said, “Fine.” and he kept going. (I am not known to have RBF either – but I also don’t really take BS in the name of politeness.”

    Funny enough, within the first month, we got a leaky tire. And I was almost ready to say that I might have been wrong, but then Costco fixed it for $20.

  101. No extended warranty pitches from Tesla.

    All sales are online, Even if you go to the store to buy, they have some computers at the store and you go online to buy. No haggling, no upsell pressure (there is one big upsell available, the ‘self-driving’ option). We didn’t finance, and didn’t need to spend any time with any talk about financing.

  102. I bought the extended warranty for the Accord. It was $2500 for 140K + miles. I figure that the car is designed for travel solely on paved roads and has a lot of electronics.. I have a mile long dirt driveway.

    They also tried to sell me on the tire scuff protection….um no. Don’t most tire places patch tires if you buy the tires from them?

  103. @Rhett – LOL. Another guy – the extended warranty guy – was telling me all the things that could go wrong. And I said to him, “It sounds like you’re trying to talk me out of buying this car. You know I haven’t signed the paperwork yet.” And he got kinda pissed and passed us over to the tire guy. Come to think of it, he probably warned that guy that I was a b*tch and that’s why he snottily told me that he was required to go through the whole brochure. Honestly, the whole thing was so annoying that I’ve blocked out of my mind. I also almost walked at one point, but this dealer was the only one that had the exact car I wanted.

  104. I also almost walked at one point, but this dealer was the only one that had the exact car I wanted.

    Did you need a car at that moment? You can always order what you want.

  105. “Did you need a car at that moment? You can always order what you want.”

    Yeah, but you have to balance that against how bad the experience is and going through it again at another dealer, etc.

  106. They also tried to sell me on the tire scuff protection….um no. Don’t most tire places patch tires if you buy the tires from them?

    Sometimes they can’t be repaired.

  107. I *Hate* shopping for cars. I hate the up-sell and the waste of time.
    I love my BMW dealer. When I want a new vehicle, I email with the particulars. If I am trading my old one in I get an email quote on trade in (they know the vehicle because I have the service done there). In any event, when they find the version of the vehicle I want, I do all the paperwork via signed pdfs. They get the plate and insurance, drive it to my house and leave it in my driveway. I am a good customer and they provide awesome service.

  108. Around here, it’s pretty common when shopping for cars to see if you know someone who sells cars, or know someone who knows someone, or you ask family and friends who bought that make who their salespersons were. When you go to a particular salesperson based on a personal referral, a lot of that stuff gets bypassed.

    With the last car we bought from a dealership, we went down and asked for a guy I knew from HS. We looked at cars, test drove, went back home and decided on the one we liked, and did some price research. We called my guy, he gave us a price which seemed reasonable, and we went down to sign papers. He turned us over to another guy, and IIRC it took around half an hour or so. No pressure to upsell or buy an extended warranty.

    Perhaps Anon is getting similar treatment because of being a repeat customer to the point of personally knowing people there.

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