10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Life On A Destroyer

 

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While the navy’s aircraft carriers get most of the media’s attention, they make up a small portion of America’s surface combatants. Destroyers, the fast, mobile, weapons-packed greyhounds of the fleet are the actual backbone of the nation’s maritime presence, constituting a large percentage of the navy’s warships. Weighing in at around 9000 tons, destroyers are just over 500 feet long and 59 feet across (150 m x 18 m) at their widest point. They are deployed around the world and are one of the most advanced killing machines ever devised.

Serving aboard a destroyer is considered in naval circles as serving in the “real navy.” With a crew of over 300 confined within the small dimensions of the ship, life can be entertaining, amazing, and frightening at the same time. Short clips of destroyers in film, television, and recruiting videos paint a pretty rosy life aboard the small but robust vessels, but they leave out some vital details. Here are ten facts of life aboard a destroyer (or any small surface combatant) revealed after peeling back the Hollywood veneer.

10You Will Get Seasick

The good news is that you will eventually become accustomed to the rocking and rolling of the ship’s movements, and it might even help you sleep better at night. But no matter how well you can stomach the carnival rides, once the ship leaves the harbor it will be in constant motion, and you will get sick.[1] It will pitch, roll, and yaw: sometimes violently. In heavy seas, the entire bow of the ship can disappear under water, and rolls side-to-side of 45 degrees are not unheard of. Seas can be so rough that it can be dangerous to cook, leaving cold cut sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The disheartening news is that, after you get your sea legs and can hold down breakfast, you will eventually hit a storm. The seas will get so rough that you have to experience the entire ordeal again. The only saving grace will be that even the crustiest of crewmembers will be hugging the toilet next to you. No matter how long a sailor has been at sea, the roughest of waters will reintroduce the queasiness you felt on your first days on the ocean.

9You Won’t Get Much Sleep

Studies indicate that workers need at least seven hours of sleep per day to function effectively, but only about a third of sailors have work schedules that accommodate that amount of rest.[2] That is navy wide and includes larger ships where crew size allows for more division of responsibility.

After a full work day of eight hours or more, expect to stand some sort of watch. That could include staring through a pair of binoculars, at a radar scope, or instrument gauges. It could also entail steering the ship or plotting navigation. Everyone has to stand after hours watch occasionally, some more than others. Then there are “special evolutions” like refueling from a tanker ship at sea, getting supplies from a helicopter, drills, and exercises . . . all of which the navy likes to conduct after hours.

The sailor’s worst enemy? A holiday at sea where you get to do nothing. The weekly schedule remains the same, only now the ship tries to pack seven days of drills and evolutions into six. Consider any day where you get four or five hours of continuous shut-eye a good day.

8Your Poop Will Be Everywhere

When you get 300+ people together, they eventually all have to go. And in the small space of a destroyer, the capacity to treat that amount of waste is minimal. The ships do have holding tanks, making it similar in some ways to a big RV at sea. Only RV owners have the opportunity to dump their sewage tanks at certified RV dump stations. Destroyers, that spend months on station, not so much.

Naval ships have a system known as Collection, Holding, and Transfer or CHT.[3] It takes the holding of the ship’s sewage tanks and grinds it into a putrid puree. In port, hoses are hooked up to the output valves and transferred to normal infrastructure sewage lines. At sea, as long as the ship is three miles (5 km) from the coast, it goes into the ocean, spewing your DNA all over the raging main. Think about that the next time you want to go for an open ocean swim.

7Your Accommodations Will Suck

If you watch many military movies, you would think that everyone is an officer and at worst shares a stateroom. It is true that officers do have staterooms, albeit far from as luxurious as you see in most Hollywood productions. Unfortunately for you, only about 20 percent of people in the navy are officers.[4] You, my friend, will be sleeping in the ship’s berthing compartments.

Think of the ship’s berthing as one big bunk room, with bunks (called racks in the navy) stacked three high. Then imagine these stacks of three packed tightly into a room that is probably 30 percent too small. All packed with 40 or 50 snoring, sleep talking, hygiene-challenged shipmates, all of who you will see naked within a few days of being on the ship. Then remember that either above you, below you, or to one side will be a fuel tank, an ammunition magazine, or the ocean; or all three. Sleep tight.

6You Will Have NO Privacy

Prisoners in cells are required to have 25 square feet of space; you will have less.[5] In addition to the previously mentioned sardine like conditions in your berthing compartment, the same sleeping area has rows of minuscule lockers to pack uniforms and whatever personal items you can shoehorn into the same. The space in your living area will make a jail cell seem spacious.

Leave your sleeping quarters for breakfast, and the mess decks, as they are called, will be packed with other sailors eating scrambled eggs. You start your day with a formation, standing close to others in your division. Then off to your work center with less, but still many, other sailors in your specialty rating. The closest you will have to any privacy will be the thin metal wall between you and the toilet stall next to you.

5Hunting Submarines Is Difficult

Destroyers are multi-warfare platforms. They can shoot down missiles and aircraft in the sky, sink other vessels on the surface, and submarines under the sea. The catch is that of all these warfare areas, destroying a sub is the hardest. Unlike the movies where ships go running about pinging their sonar attempting to get a sound echo off of the hull of the sub, it is more about listening.

Firstly, pinging the active sonar will broadcast your position to any submarine for miles around. Secondly, sound waves bend depending on the temperature and salinity of the water. Chances are you won’t find anything blaring out sound waves into the sea. Sonar operators rely on highly sensitive hydrophones to detect and analyze the noise a sub makes, and then motion analysis is used to determine its position. The navy’s passive sonar systems are state of the art and getting better all the time. The problem is that subs are getting quieter all the time. The acronym for Anti-Sub Warfare is ASW, but ask any sailor involved, and they will tell you it means Awfully Slow Warfare. Hunting subs is tedious, takes hours, and you often come up empty-handed. Just hope the enemy sub is having a hard time as well.[6]

4Shooting down Missiles Is Terrifying

While sub hunting is long and boring, Anti-Air Warfare is a fast and furious few minutes that can be mind numbingly terrifying. Sensors can detect aircraft flying at altitude hundreds of miles away. But most anti-ship cruise missiles hug the surface of the ocean, often screaming in at less than 100 feet (30 m) above the water. The curvature of the earth makes detection via radar limited to around 30 miles (48 km).[7] The most probable first clue that a missile is coming to put you on the bottom of the sea is the sound of the anti-ship cruise missile alarm.

With many types of anti-ship missiles flying in excess of twice the speed of sound, you will get about a minute to detect, track, and launch your missiles against the threat. It is the exact opposite of hunting submarines. Missile to missile engagements are over in minutes; minutes filled with stark terror.

3You Will Be “That Sailor”

Most youngsters join the navy with good intentions. They intend to be the nation’s best ambassador while visiting foreign ports, enjoying local cuisine, culture, and sights. No one thinks he or she will be the “drunken sailor” that everyone who has lived in a coastal port has stories about and causes mothers to keep their daughters locked inside. That would never be you, would it?

Now imagine that for well over a month you have been trapped on a 500-foot (150 m) long piece of steel with over 300 people. Eating crappy food, getting little sleep, and denied any sort of alcohol or the company of the opposite gender (while warships have mixed crews today, fraternization of any sort is strictly forbidden). Now your destroyer pulls into an exotic port for four days. One of those days you are on the duty roster and cannot leave the ship. You now have three days to blow off a month’s worth of steam. Now factor in that the average age of US Navy sailors is 20.[8] Many are younger. At some point during your tour, you will be “that sailor.”

2The Food Is Better Than You Think, but It Still Sucks

Navy chow has come a long way in the past decades. Previously, those that cook the meals were aptly called Mess Management Specialists (because cafeterias on ships are called mess decks), and the navy ran its own schools. After over a century of sailors complaining about shipboard food, the navy and other services joined forces and now operate a joint culinary school.[9]Mess Specialists even changed their name to Culinary Specialist. It worked. Shipboard food improved greatly.

Despite a marked increase in skills, the ship’s cooks can only work with what they have. Freezer and refrigerator space is limited, as is the ability to replenish supplies. Understandably, the navy often opts for canned or non-perishable goods over fresh. Fresh fruit and vegetables become in short supply after about a week at sea. As does real milk. You will quickly discover breakfast is the best meal of the day. It’s hard to screw up eggs, even powdered ones.

1Everyone Is a Firefighter

When your house is on fire it can be a harrowing experience. If the fire gets out of control, you will have to run outside and watch your home burn to the ground. On a destroyer at sea, if your house is on fire you have no place to run. Either you fight the fire and win, or you end up adrift in the ocean, in a lifeboat if you are lucky.

It is those circumstances that require all hands, from the captain to the lowest seaman, to become trained firefighters. Everyone stationed aboard a ship attends mandatory shipboard firefighting school where they learn how to use the ship’s damage control equipment.[10] Remembering that the entire ship is full of fuel and ammunition provides an extra incentive to pay attention in class.

Debt Reduction Advice That Really Works

 

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Locating good debt reduction advice may end up being somewhat confusing for you if you want to lower how much personal debt you have. Too much of the available info makes it seem like it’s nearly impossible. Then you have those places who pretend their advice will help you get out of debt, but it’s actually designed to make stay in debt longer. There are also those who expect you to live on practically nothing. While most of them mean well, the truth is that they may not be good options for your current situation. That being said, the following advice will be able to help you get out of debt, regardless of which specific method you end up using.

The first thing you need to do is find out exactly where you stand financially. Start a spreadsheet or get a sheet of paper and write down all of your debts. Include every company and person you owe money to, including car payments, mortgage, personal loans, credit card balances, student loans and any bills that are past due. Next to each creditor, write down the total amount you owe, the minimum monthly payment, and the interest rate you are being charged.

Once the list is done, add up the totals in all but the interest rate column. You will now see the total amount of debt you currently owe, as well as the total minimum monthly payments you’re expected to make. The totals will probably shock you, but it’s important debt reduction advice because it shows you a realistic picture of how much debt you have.

The next step is to figure out how much money you have coming in and how much you are spending. Make a list of all of the income you have coming in on a regular basis, as well as any money you could easily get your hands on if you had to (but don’t touch any retirement savings). This gives you a better idea of how much you will be able to apply toward your debt, but there’s one more step…

You need to also write down all of your expenses. Don’t leave anything out. The more honest and accurate you are, the better. Once you see where all the money is going, you can start to see areas where you should be able to cut expenses.

The final bit of debt reduction advice is to put all of this data together to start reducing your debt. Free up as much money as you can and apply as much of it as you can toward the debt with the smallest balance (while paying the minimum amount on all others). With luck, you may even be able to pay it off right away. Each time you move on to the next debt, rollover the amount you were paying on the previous one. Keep doing this and you will be out of debt faster than you can imagine.

Crimal Background Check-Feel Safe And Secure In Your Neighborhood

 

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What about that new single guy who has just moved to your neighborhood? He could possibly be a convicted sex offender who is not allowed within a certain distance from children. You will want to know this and be able to keep a close eye on your children when they are out playing.

Some of the things you can find out about a person when doing a search are:

1. Arrest records

2. Sexual offenses

3. Felony convictions

4. Outstanding warrants

5. Incarceration records

You could probably dig up a lot more information as well if you know where to look but for the time being this is quite enough to get a good picture of someone’s past criminal record.

Some may say that if someone has done the time for their crimes then they should be forgiven but even if they have paid their debt to society they could still have some lingering urges and it is worth it to know who they are and keep your home, yourself, and most importantly, your children safe from harm.

You can find out a lot of what you need to know about someone from doing an Internet search using one of the reputable “people search” websites but, if you need to search for criminal records you need to go through the state or county databases.

If the person you are considering hiring is going to work with children or the elderly or needs to have a high security clearance to deal with classified information you will need to search through a federal data base to get your information.

Also know that if you require a full report on someone and want it sent to you it may cost as much as one dollar a page to get.

Just for kicks, try doing a crimal background check on yourself just to see what comes up. You might just be surprised to find some incorrect information on you floating around out there. Then the next step is to get it removed from your record.

Costa Rica Coffee-Keep Up With The Growing Market Of Coffee

 

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If it’s been a while since you tried Costa Rica coffee, you may want to try it again. Changes in coffee production and an attempt to keep up with the growing market for coffee and gourmet coffee has caused some changes in the coffee coming out of this region. The growing trend of small coffee mills also gives coffees from this region an even larger variety of flavors and qualities, so it might be time to revisit this coffee.

If you already love Costa Rica coffee, no doubt it’s for the extremely mild, some say perfect, coffee flavor. Very mild with no bitterness, a very balanced flavor that’s worst criticism has always been its steadiness. Some have long considered coffee from this region to be fairly bland or boring. And some of the huge coffee-producing farms and mills did make an effort to produce a coffee that would please almost every coffee drinker.

These coffees were typically made from your average Arabica beans and produced on a mass scale. Today, smaller mills are becoming more and more popular in the region. The Costa Rica coffee produced on these smaller farms are carefully controlled by the mill owner and blended to produce a distinct flavor to set it apart from the other coffee in the area. Even on a small farm, different lots of coffee depending on soil drainage, elevation and other factors are found to have subtle taste differences. Combine that with different roasting temperatures and times, and the range of flavors can be huge.

How the coffee is processed has much to do with the quality and flavor, and each mill uses its own signature process or a combination to create different micro-brands of Costa Rica coffee. The region has been producing coffee since the late 18th century, with the first type of coffee grown there having come from Saudi Arabia?Arabica coffee. It wasn’t long before coffee became Costa Rica’s largest exported crop, outselling even tobacco, sugar and cacao.

The Costa Rica coffee designed to remain in the country rather than be exported is tinted to distinguish it, and falls under government price regulations so that it’s much cheaper than the coffee that’s exported to the rest of the world. Workers are typically immigrants from nearby countries like Nicaragua, and the best workers still only make between $12 and $18 per day, depending on how many baskets they pick. Given the other wages in the area and that the wages are governmentally set, in Costa Rica, a seasonal worker actually makes a decent living, comparable to other agricultural workers in the area.

Costa Rica coffee is still a valuable export crop the world over, especially now that the production has become refined and the variety of different types and flavors of coffee coming from the region is so vast. If you’re a big fan of Arabica and Arabica blends, you might find that your new favorite type of mild and well-balanced coffee is indeed Costa Rica coffee.

Backgroundcheck Org -Know What Your Rights Are

 

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If you are looking for information on what may or may not be included in a back ground check, you should go to backgroundcheck org.

This is a site that will tell you exactly what is or is not included when someone is looking you up in the case of being hired for a new position, or even becoming a volunteer.

9/11 had a big impact on how people view security in this country and in-depth back round checks have pretty much become the norm.

Backgroundcheck org is a wonderful resource for letting you know what your rights are and what must be disclosed to you as a result of the background check.

For instance, if the person or company doing the check wants to check your credit report they must first tell you they are going to do it and give you a summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

If they fail to do this, you could go after them for a grand total of $1,000. Most people do not know this, but now you do. If they check your credit and do not tell you, you can, and should, sue them for $1,000.

No one can do a background check on you with out you giving them your permission. If you are interviewing for a new job you must fill out a form allowing your new prospective employer the access to your information.

Other rights you have that you may not know about are:

If, during the background check, someone reports something negative about you that causes you to not get the position you have applied for, you must be told, and the identity, and source, of the negative information must be revealed to you. You should receive a copy of the report.

If the information in the report you are given is incorrect, you must be given the opportunity to contest it and then find a way to disprove the information included in the report.

It is everyone’s best interest to study up on the laws in your state regarding your personal information. Every state is different and you may be able to get some of your information removed from being accessible to the public by going to court and having it legally removed. Some things are simply no one else’s business.

Needing to find out about someones background is not just for employers. Any one can order a background check and if you need a new daycare provider for your children or are looking to hire someone to do some work for you like say, a remodel of your kitchen or a subcontractor to build you a new house, you should spend the money and get one done.

Go to backgroundcheck org (don’t forget the dot) and learn all you can about the whys and wherefores of why you might be subjected to a background check or why you may need to order one on someone else yourself. It could be the difference between a job well done by a reputable person or company or the nightmare of inviting someone into your home that you really do not want there.

Animals And Stress Relief Therapy

 

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There are many experts who tout the advantages of animals and stress relief. According to science the very act of petting a dog or a cat can actually lower your blood pressure. I have had animals my whole life and I have to say that I agree with that, most of the time!

I probably should not be writing this article today since my dog ate my phone 2 days ago, not exactly stress relief! So, aside from the occasional annoyance, animals and stress relief really do go hand in hand.

If you already have a pet you probably already know this. If you have a pet who is increasing your blood pressure because they misbehave, do yourself a favor and take them to a qualified professional and work on their behavior problems.

Don’t think that you can’t train cats or help them act better either, you can. This type of “intervention” is not just for our canine friends.

Don’t short yourself on the opportunity to have a healthy,loving and peaceful relationship with your pet just because of some bad habits. If you are willing to invest the time you can train your pet to overcome their bad habits and become a stress free and fun companion.

Animals really just want you to love them and for the most part they will try to do what you want them to do. With some training most animals will turn into civilized and gentle loving companions for you.

If you don’t currently have a pet there are many species of pet that can help you relax. Just take some time to realistically consider your lifestyle and how much time you have to spend with a pet.

Too many would be pet owners do not take these things into consideration and they get a pet that is not a good fit for them or their lifestyle. You do not want to do that. It will make your life and that of your pets very uncomfortable.

Once you adopt a pet they become part of your life, it isn’t fair to just get rid of them because it is no longer convenient for you, that is just really selfish on your part.

You can help eliminate the chance of that happening by carefully considering your personality and lifestyle and choosing the right type of pet for you.

Here are some things to consider:

1. If you are a really neat person and can’t stand a mess you might be better off with a cat or at least a non-shedding dog breed. But remember, every animal that has hair, including humans, will shed a little it’s just a matter of degree.

You may even want to get fish since they obviously won’t shed on the carpet or have to have their litter box cleaned though you will need to clean the tank weekly.

2. If you like peace and quiet a cat or a fish may be a good option as well. If you want a dog find a breed that is not overly nervous or “yappy”.

3. Consider how much time you spend at home. Animals, especially dogs, are social and they like companionship. If you do not spend much time at home getting a fish or maybe a cat will probably work out better for you than a dog.

Sometimes getting two dogs may work since they can provide companionship for each other but at the end of the day, your pets want to spend time with you.

4. If you are active and like the idea of having an active companion you can take with you on your adventures consider a bigger breed of dog. A golden retriever can be a great companion to take on your hikes or walks. They are also mild mannered and good natured. But, they like to be around you a lot and they do shed.

All in all, if you want to have a pet, make sure that you take your time, ask questions and find the best fit for you. All pets can provide companionship but just like with your human companions you will be more compatible with some than with others.

Animals and stress relief will provide you with more benefit if you choose the right pet for your personality and lifestyle. If you’ve never had a pet before, take your time to consider these factors first.

Adult Vacation Spots You Should Avoid While On Spring Break

 

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Spring break is a time of fun and a lot of drunken antics by the college communities out there. All those college students are heading to the warm beaches to play their hearts out and stretch their legs after a long winter. But this can be disruptive to the more adult crowd out there who are looking to do similar, albeit in a much more controlled fashion.

So if you are not some rowdy college student, what are you suppose to do during spring? Well there is no Adult Vacation spots you should avoid if on spring break. You should not have to go somewhere else and deprive yourself of the rest and relaxation you deserve. There are ways you can go about mitigating the annoyances caused by rowdy and drunken college students so that you can still enjoy these sunny vacation spots.

1: Look into adult hotels. What I mean by this, is that in the traditional hot spots like say, Cancun or Miami, a lot of hotels will have age restrictions. Nobody under the age of 25 can rent a room there.

This is because they not only want to forgo the hassle of dealing with a bunch of drunken college kids, but also understand that people like you want to have fun in the sun as well. This age restriction only applies to the person renting the room, though. So if you want to bring your family along you can.

2: Avoid the hot spots. There are a lot of specific areas that college kids like to congregate to. These are easily spotted simply by watching MTV. Some of these Adult Vacation spots you should avoid if on spring break can make all the difference. If you simply go places the college kids are not at, such as a quiet beach a little farther away, you can enjoy yourself much better without having to worry about all the ruckus.

3: Complain and complain often. Now a little disclaimer right off the bat, be aware that these kids are just there to have fun and do not mean you any harm or trouble, so do not go overboard. But if they are being so rowdy that they are disrupting your vacation, do not hesitate to complain to the manager. If you make your complaint known, they will often do something about it. Whether it be in the form of compensation, or moving you away from them or something.

While you should not go out of your way to ruin their vacation, you do not have to be a doormat and allow them to ruin yours. Moderation is key after all.

While there are a lot of Adult Vacation spots you should avoid if on spring break due to just how hectic it can get, you can also find ways around these problems. It may be a little bit of a hassle and may require some extra planning, but you have every right to have a nice time at a sunny beach resort so do what it takes to ensure you have a nice, fun, and relaxing vacation.

10 Ways To Relieve Stress

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Stress is not a very pleasant experience but unfortunately life throws situations full of incongruence at us that challenge our ability to remain calm. The reasons are endless from the noisy neighbor to the pizza boy whom keeps delivering a pepperoni pizza when I asked for a Hawaiian pizza with extra cheese and?..well, you get my drift.

The solution centers on focus and relaxation. These 10 ways to relieve stress will help you maintain a balance between keeping your blood pressure down and blowing a gasket at work, at home or during other social times.

1.Don?t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. Replace a negative thought with something positive like a funny moment recently or something personally enlightening e.g. birth of a baby.
2.If at work, change your seating position or go for a stroll around the office if stress is hitting you.
3.Try some yoga as this teaches you through exercise to focus on being calm.
4.Go for a walk in the park or go for a swim, activities like these help to relieve stress.
5.Get a head massage or do it yourself. Gentle rubbing of the scalp is a very effective way to put you at ease. Meditation and also massage techniques offer great therapy. A great way to meditate is to close your eyes and focus on one thing such as your controlled breathing.
6.Play a game (if allowed while at work) or do a crossword. Activities like these allow you to easily find at least 10 ways to relieve stress so shift your focus away from whatever is stressing you. It?s a known fact that computer game lovers enjoy obliterating aliens or whatever as a means to alleviate stress.
7.This is an issue at work though if you can, play some music. Perhaps your employer will allow headphones. Sound that invokes feelings of serenity such as sea waves or forests can act as an excellent reliever.
8.Perhaps, you have heard the song ?the drugs don?t work? from The Verve and it?s all true. Being lethargic or stressed should not mean reaching for the pharmaceutical cupboard. Stimulants cannot remove the problem or help to forget it. Grab a huge drink of water instead and enjoy the feeling of refreshment.
9.Try Humor! As part of this list explaining 10 ways to relieve stress, this is probably the most effective method. Laughing brings you into the brighter side of your daily life. Read some jokes, or tell them to colleagues.
10.Try to sleep for at least 7 or 8 hours every night. More early nights and a proper sleep pattern will allow you to feel more relaxed each day and less prone to procrastination and lethargic behavior.

Follow these 10 ways to relieve stress to start leading a healthy life and improve your ways of tackling daily stress to feel better each day.

Did you check your Spam Folder?

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While watching a recent episode of The Office, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. During a meeting, the character Andy says to his co-workers, “Ok, I have emailed you all the critical data so be sure to check your spam folder.”

Oh, if only I had a dime for everytime, we said to someone in our office, or to a customer, “Did you check your spam folder?”

It’s so much of an accepted problem now, companies anticipate that the information a customer requests may be filtered to spam. So in response, websites, sales material, new customer information and often telephone staff are briefed to include information on how to whiltelist, or mark email as acceptable.

For the most part we love our email don’t we? We rely on it to communicate with customers, family members, co-workers and conduct business. Email is better than voice mail, you can send it when convenient for you, from anywhere in the world. But will the person you are sending it to actually get it?

Maybe.

If you don’t know that someone sent you something, how will you know that you didn’t get it?

Despite the best efforts and money invested by ISP’s and Mail Service providers, the spam still gets through. You can’t find that important email from your customer, and you swear you never got the flight confirmation for your next trip. You check your email, then check again. Still nothing, but the “enhancement” emails still get through. Amazing!

It seems the spammers have won the war on junk email. Yes, some serial spammers have been caught, but take one look in your junk or spam email box and it’s busting with all kinds of offers and tidbits, malware, phishing schemes, and more. The simple task of opening an email attachment can unleash hell on your computer, harvest it and turn it into a Bot. Almost makes you want to watch The Terminator movie again. What was that Sarah Connor said about Skynet and self-aware computers taking over the human race?

I guess a positive way to look at it is this. The spammers, and the baddies of the Internet are helping to create jobs. As they release viruses and malware through email that infect computers it increases sales of Virus Protection Software, and increases calls to the Geek Squad at your local computer shop. The spammers keep the Internet police occupied and are contributing to economic recovery.

Most of us know to check our spam folder when an expected emailed does not arrive. Sometimes Email providers like Google’s Gmail, make it a little difficult to check for misdirected email. For some reason, Gmail, (which otherwise is a great program) has hidden the Spam folder under the MORE tab. Rather than having a very obvious folder called Spam that users can see clearly then check, instead users have to click on MORE, than on the Spam sub-folder. Only then can users see what legitimate email has been filtered unnecessarily. Some ISP’s block the spam before it even gets to your email box. This cuts down on spam but also means you may not get email that you actually DO want to receive, but your provider has deemed it not worthy for delivery or has blacklisted a domain.

Yes, spam is a fact if life. Just like we hate junk faxes, and telemarketers, and flyers in our mail boxes, we now we find our email boxes crammed with junk.

For most of us in an office environment we have come to accept junk email, as annoying but a part of life. The delete button is always a click away. It’s just not worth getting upset about.

** What do you think? Is spam the problem it once was? Submit a comment below we’d like to know what you think.

Sales Tip: Always Be Closing (ABC). The one simple rule that will help increase your sales.

 

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I don’t know who came up with the phrase, “Always Be Closing” but it’s brilliant. In sales circles it’s known more simply as ABC.

If you are in sales, this simple catchy phrase will help keep you on track to making sales.

Here’s some insight into sales and how to increase the number of sales YOU make.

Buyers like to get the sales person off track.

They like to ask questions, lots of questions.

They ask:

Does it come in blue?

What’s the guarantee?

Buyers like to stall, hedge, avoid.

They say:

I have to ask my wife.

I want to look around.

I think I can get a better deal somewhere else.

Buyers like to know that their business matters, that they are getting some personal attention to earn their business.

But sales people, know the ABC’s of sales – Always Be Closing.

Smart, successful sales people know that happy customers and good sales people go hand in hand.

They know that spending a little extra time with a serious buyer, or creating a personalized offer can be exactly what is needed to clinch a sale.

The buyer wants their questions answered so they can make the decision to buy. The smart salesperson wants to answer those questions and move the person ever closer to buying.

My colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Lant talks about the sales dance. He likens the sales process to a type of courtship. The sales person approaches, the buyer is shy, aloof. The sales person comes closer, offers the right words, and assurances. The buyer plays hard to get but shows interest. The sales person is more engaging, tries harder with a better offer, always moving toward the close.

ABC – Always be Closing means this:

Answering relevant questions, eliminating obstacles to the sale being made, helping with payment plans, reassuring the buyer, making special offers, sweetening the deal, whatever it takes to get the sale.

Closing the sale means finding out from the customer, what it will take to get them to buy NOW, not next week, or next month. The best sales people are listeners. They listen to what the buyer wants and they determine a way to get it for them so the sale is made, today. You can HEAR someone who wants to buy, if you stop talking long enough to listen.

ABC means doing your job right so the customer gets a great deal and you make a great sale!

Most of us have been on the receiving end of a poor sales person, and we also remember that warm happy feeling when you’ve made a purchase that you feel good about. We like to feel special, a good sales person can make that happen or alternatively with the wrong approach can make you walk away.

Happy customer’s who feel they got a good deal can be a repeat customer or a customer for life. Unhappy customers help you learn what you could perhaps be doing better. The right approach with an unhappy customer can convert them into a happy one! In fact, they may end up being your best customer because they see you actually cared and tried to make better a problem situation.

Got a sticky note? Write ABC on a sticky note, and post it on your computer. It will help remind you when you are talking to a customer, or answering an email, or sending a quote, or posting an offer, remember to Always Be Closing.

*** We invite your comments below.