Friday, February 15, 2008
Mr. Jobs, please help me. I know we don't agree on anything. You love Al Gore -- and by the way, I've got no problem with him now, but can you put me to somebody that can get this going, because I know it's gotta work for most people. What am I doing wrong? [My producer] said, "You don't understand it. Jobs has you tagged. He's making sure your computers don't work. If you put out this appeal to Steve Jobs and ask him to help, his reply is going to be, 'Mr. Limbaugh. Do us a favor and endorse Windows.'"Rush, how about you explain your problems online, where thousands of Apple fanboys will gladly resolve them? That seems easier.
That's exactly what happened to Kim Kossie, a single woman in Houston, Texas. Kossie joined an online Christian dating site after a friend recommended it. She thought she had met the man of her dreams ... an artist from London.
"He sent these wonderful pictures. This guy was quoting scripture. We were praying everyday," she says. "It was almost like a dream guy."
They talked on the phone several times a day, everyday. He was engaging. He gave great advice. He was even supposed to visit her parents in Houston. But then, he started asking for money, with promises to pay her back. In two months, Kossie wired him a total of $2,000. Not to mention the phone bill she was stuck with for $1,500. To this day she has not seen him -- or her money.
And sadly, Kossie isn't alone. Complaints against matchmaking services and online dating sites are at an all-time high according to a February report from the Better Business Bureau. In fact, complaints have risen 73 percent in 2006 from the previous year. This year complaints are on track to reach record breaking levels.
The Better Business Bureau tracked complaints from both matchmaking services and online dating sites. Matchmaking services are companies that promise to introduce people to local singles that meet certain criteria. The price tag can be thousands of dollars.
Not all complaints are as serious as Kossie. Complaint No. 1 about matchmaking is, well, bad matches. Singles were set up with were smokers, people who weren't religious or lived too far away. In some cases, matches were already married! Poor customer service and high pressure sales tactics also topped the list of complaints. People claimed they were yelled at, ignored or told they were "too picky." Sometimes it was just a matter of not setting customers up with a certain amount of promised dates.
Online dating sites also drew criticism from customers. Generally these dating services require that you sign a membership and pay a monthly fee. More than 63 percent of complaints were about accounts that were automatically renewed after a contract or trial period expired. Some people felt they were tricked into a subscription even if they just clicked on the trial option. Other common complaints include dissatisfaction with the company and its process
Granted, it may be no surprise that complaints are on the rise. After all, online dating sites have grown. It's projected there will be over 12 million online dating subscribers this year compared with 10 million subscribers two years ago according to Jupiter research, an online research group.
But before you go looking for virtual romance, there are some things you need to keep in mind.
First, don't get duped by the advertising. Stay away from claims like, "an exclusive network of people," or phrases like "beautiful singles just like you." Scrutinize the quality of potential matches instead being lured by gimmicks. And be wary of high pressure sales tactics. Sales associates may say the low price is a Valentine's Day special in order to get you to sign a contract immediately. Don't be rushed. Instead, take the contract home and read all the fine print. It's a good idea to sign up for a free trial, just to see what the service is all about. But make sure you know how to get out of that free trial in case it's not what you wanted.
And know what you're paying for. A lot of online sites automatically renew memberships. So, don't assume that you'll stop getting billed once the contract runs out. You may need to call the company to keep from getting billed again.
It's also a good idea to create a separate e-mail account to keep your dating mail. This will help you protect your identity and manage your messages.
To find out whether there are any complaints against the company you're dealing with, go to the Better Business Bureau's site at www.bbb.org. And to read reviews of these online dating sites from subscribers, check out www.eDateReview.com.
Remember, there is no law requiring dating sites verify the identity of members or to run criminal background checks on them. So you'll want to look into the dating service's policies regarding background checks or account suspensions for suspicious behavior. But take heart, there may be more legislation may be on the way. Last month New Jersey became the first state to enact a law that requires sites to disclose whether they do background checks on members.
What do you mean that today's already the 14th? Oh crap! Can you rush out during lunch hour and buy something? Yes, but what? Flowers and an erotic cake might be barely passable, and that's what you did last year, so you need to step it up. Go with a slightly more expensive gift. Still stumped? Good thing we've got a list of extremely last minute gadget gift ideas that may be for her, but are secretly for you. It's a win/win.
Boobies Mouse Pad
What you tell her: It's for you baby, to protect your wrists because of all that computer work you do.
Why it's for you: I love seeing you fondle another woman's boobs, even if it's a fake, rubberized woman.
What you tell her: I've seen you eyeing this phone for a while, and now you can finally use it! Just think, you don't have to carry around an iPod and your phone all the time! And we can text message each other so much!
Why it's for you: Give it a month for the newness to wear off and swap out her iPhone with some cheap phone. She won't care.
Why it's really for me: Because you can buy my iPhone book as well.
An electronic nail dryer
What you tell her: You always keep saying how your nails are awful, right? This will help you save money by not having to go out to have your nails done!
Why it's for you: It helps keep her occupied for an hour so you can finally get some gaming done.
The Evian Water Bra
What you tell her: You have to stay hydrated, right? Just drink directly from the bra. Plus, the water inside can help cool your breasts, which—as Travis Hudson of Gizmodo says—prevents "sweaty breastitis."
Why it's for you: Nobody likes a case of sweaty breastitis, except maybe Travis.
Electric Ice Cream MakerWhat you tell her: You love ice cream, I love ice cream, who doesn't like ice cream?
Why it's for you: I plan on impregnating you one day, better keep your body osteoporosis-free.
Why it's actually really for her after all: Impregnation is never a man's idea!
An Xbox 360
What you tell her: Because the...uhhh...ummm...uhhh...the HD DVD...errmm...DVD...ahhh...wireless controllers are neater...mmmm...I love you?
Why it's for you: This should be obvious.
A giant HDTV
What you tell her: You've always wanted a giant HDTV!
Why it's for you: She's never wanted a giant HDTV.
The FyreTV, a streaming on-demand porn for the living room boxWhat you tell her: Come on! When haven't you wanted to watch porn in the living room?!
Why it's for you: When haven't you wanted to watch porn in the living room?
What you tell her: It's for you to exercise! Stay healthy so we can grow old together!
Why it's for you: You're fat.
Got enough tips? Now get shopping! [Cupid outfit courtesy Buy Costumes]
By Nopporn Wong-Anan
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Alarmed by polls showing one in four Thai teens will celebrate St. Valentine's Day by having sex, police plan to swoop on motels, malls and parks to ensure youths behave themselves on the "Day of Love."
The annual campaign to ensure good behavior on February 14 will see city officials turn on all lights at public parks in the capital Bangkok, while parents are urged to make sure their teenagers come home early.
Police and "student inspectors" from the Education Ministry will be checking discrete "curtain" motels to make sure youths under the legal age of 18 are not using them for amorous interludes.
"We will send patrols to check out public parks, restaurants and shopping malls, which are the starting points for potential sexual activities that will be done at home or motels," Bangkok police spokesman Suporn Pansuea said.
Thailand's moral guardians are taking action after an Assumption University poll showed 27 percent of 2,400 Bangkok teenagers surveyed said they might have sex on Wednesday.
Despite Bangkok's reputation as one of the world's sex industry centers, predominately Buddhist Thailand is generally a conservative country.
This year's St Valentine's Day celebrations have been tempered by a sluggish economy after two years of political strife and a 2006 coup, and nationwide mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej's sister who died in January.
Rose vendors have complained about sagging sales because people have less disposable income.
"I don't think we'll have robust sales this Valentine's Day," Den Yarum, a florist at Bangkok's main flower market, told the Thai-language Daily News.
A number of annual high-profile events, such as weddings conducted on mountain cliffs, underwater or in hot-air balloons, have been cancelled or postponed due to the 100-day mourning period for Princess Galyani Vadhana.
Bangkok's "District of Love," a city office where superstitious couples flock to register their marriages on Valentine's Day, will be open for business, but the ceremonies will be low key.
"People are still mourning Princess Galyani Vadhana so the activities will be simple, with an emphasis on her love for the people," district chief Pravit Panviroj said.
(Editing by Darren Schuettler)
Why Nerds hate Valentines Day:
- You blow 300 bucks on a dinner, date, and a play that could have been put to better use by buying a shitload of gold on ebay for your WoW account.
- Having to wait in line for an extra 10 minutes to buy a Red Bull because of some douche-bag buying chocolate, and delaying your all-night gaming session.
- Not having a girlfriend is compounded by the fact that even your Second Life character can’t get any action.
- No hot girls show up to class
- Valentines Day candies give you cavities and make you break out with acne
Why Nerds love Valentines Day:
- Everyone in a relationship is out on the town resulting in faster internet connections
- You can watch porn in peace without being interrupted by your roommate and his girlfriend
- You can eavesdrop on your roommate making sweet Valentine’s Day love to his girlfriend later in the night
- If you have a girlfriend, you become “King of the Nerds” for a night
- You look forward to a Valentine’s day themed logo on the Google homepage