Too right it’s Black Friday: our relentless consumption is trashing the planet | George Monbiot

Growth must go on and its destroying the Earth. But theres no way of greening it. So we need a new system, writes Guardian columnist George Monbiot

Everyone wants everything how is that going to work? The promise of economic growth is that the poor can live like the rich and the rich can live like the oligarchs. But already we are bursting through the physical limits of the planet that sustains us. Climate breakdown, soil loss, the collapse of habitats and species, the sea of plastic, insectageddon: all are driven by rising consumption. The promise of private luxury for everyone cannot be met: neither the physical nor the ecological space exists.

But growth must go on: this is everywhere the political imperative. And we must adjust our tastes accordingly. In the name of autonomy and choice, marketing uses the latest findings in neuroscience to break down our defences. Those who seek to resist must, like the Simple Lifers in Brave New World, be silenced in this case by the media.

With every generation, the baseline of normalised consumption shifts. Thirty years ago, it was ridiculous to buy bottled water, where tap water is clean and abundant. Today, worldwide, we use a million plastic bottles a minute.

Every Friday is a Black Friday, every Christmas a more garish festival of destruction. Among the snow saunas, portable watermelon coolers and smartphones for dogs with which we are urged to fill our lives, my #extremecivilisation prize now goes tothe PancakeBot: a 3D batter printer that allows you to eat the Mona Lisa, theTaj Mahal, or your dogs bottom every morning. In practice, it will clog up your kitchen for a week until you decide you dont have room for it. For junk like this, were trashing the living planet, and our own prospects ofsurvival. Everything must go.

The ancillary promise is that, through green consumerism, we can reconcile perpetual growth with planetary survival. But a series of research papers reveal there is no significant difference between the ecological footprints of people who care and people who dont. One recent article, published in the journal Environment and Behaviour, says those who identify themselves as conscious consumers use more energy and carbon than those who do not.

Why? Because environmental awareness tends to be higher among wealthy people. It is not attitudes that govern our impact on the planet but income. The richer we are, the bigger our footprint, regardless of our good intentions. Those who see themselves as green consumers, the research found, mainly focused on behaviours that had relatively small benefits.

I know people who recycle meticulously, save their plastic bags, carefully measure the water in their kettles, then take their holidays in the Caribbean, cancelling any environmental savings ahundredfold. Ive come to believe thatthe recycling licences their long-haul flights. It persuades people theyvegone green, enabling them to overlook their greater impacts.

None of this means that we should not try to reduce our footprint, but we should be aware of the limits of the exercise. Our behaviour within the system cannot change the outcomes ofthe system. It is the system itself thatneedsto change.

Research by Oxfam suggests that the worlds richest 1% (if your household has an income of 70,000 or more, this means you) produce about 175 times as much carbon as the poorest 10%. How, in a world in which everyone is supposed to aspire to high incomes, can we avoid turning the Earth, on which all prosperity depends, into a dust ball?

By decoupling, the economists tell us: detaching economic growth from our use of materials. So how well is this going? A paper in the journal PlosOne finds that while, in some countries, relative decoupling has occurred, no country has achieved absolute decoupling during the past 50 years. What this means is that the amount of materials and energy associated with each increment of GDP might decline but, as growth outpaces efficiency, the total use of resources keeps rising. More important, the paper reveals that, in the long term, both absolute and relative decoupling from the use of essential resources is impossible, because of the physical limits of efficiency.

A global growth rate of 3% means thatthe size of the world economy doubles every 24 years. This is why environmental crises are accelerating at such a rate. Yet the plan is to ensure that it doubles and doubles again, and keeps doubling in perpetuity. In seeking to defend the living world from the maelstrom of destruction, we might believe we are fighting corporations and governments and the general foolishness of humankind. But they are all proxies for the real issue: perpetual growth on a planet that is not growing.

Those who justify this system insist that economic growth is essential for the relief of poverty. But a paper in the World Economic Review finds that the poorest 60% of the worlds people receive only 5% of the additional income generated by rising GDP. As a result, $111 (84) of growth is required for every $1 reduction in poverty. This is why, on current trends, it would take 200 years to ensure that everyone receives $5 a day. By this point, average per capita income will have reached $1m a year, and the economy will be 175 times bigger than it is today. This is not a formula for poverty relief. It is a formula for the destruction of everything and everyone.

When you hear that something makes economic sense, this means it makes the opposite of common sense. Those sensible men and women who run the worlds treasuries and central banks, who see an indefinite rise in consumption as normal and necessary, are beserkers: smashing through the wonders of the living world, destroying the prosperity of future generations to sustain a set of figures that bear ever lessrelation to general welfare.

Green consumerism, material decoupling, sustainable growth: all areillusions, designed to justify an economic model that is driving us to catastrophe. The current system, basedon private luxury and public squalor, will immiserate us all: under this model, luxury and deprivation areone beast with two heads.

We need a different system, rootednot in economic abstractions butin physical realities, that establishthe parameters by which we judgeits health. We need to build a world in which growth is unnecessary, aworld of private sufficiency and publicluxury. And we must do it beforecatastrophe forces our hand.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/22/black-friday-consumption-killing-planet-growth

20+ Dirty Business Tactics That You May Not Know Exist

Business is business; it’s not kind, forgiving, or even fair sometimes. That being said, there are some businesspeople out there who are so shrewd, so sharply focused on making that extra buck, they’re willing to put their very integrity on the line to make it happen – even if it means bending a few laws. The good people of Reddit were recently asked what shady business tactics they’ve seen used, and the answers they gave may shock and disturb you. Whether you’re in business yourself and have seen it all, or you’re a regular customer who’s curious about where your money is going, you need to be aware of these dirty tricks in order to avoid them. Scroll down to see them all, and let us know which ones you’ve seen go down under the table in the comments.

“Every month” and “every 4 weeks” sound similar, but are different. Paying every month gets you 12 payments, every 4 weeks gets you 13

TL;DR: Planned obsolescence and all the different types, with examples.
Planned obsolescence. Basically, products are designed by manufacturers to “wear out” after a certain period of time or amount of use. This is done to force consumers to re-purchase products or purchase new versions of products.
There are a few types of planned obsolescence. First is contrived durability, which means a product is designed to deteriorate quickly. A great example is how disposable razor blades wear out so quickly.
The second type is prevention of repairs, which means a product is designed in such a way that it is either made to be a single-use item (like disposable cameras), or in a way that uses proprietary hardware to prevent repairs and even damage the products if repairs are attempted. Apple is guilty of this with the majority of their product line-up, even seeking legislation to make it illegal to provide the difficult repairs.
The third is perceived obsolescence, which means a manufacturer frequently releases new “versions” of a product to make consumers feel as if the old product is far inferior. This is incredibly common, and in the grand scheme of things, fairly harmless. This type of planned obsolescence doesn’t force a consumer to purchase a new product, but rather coerces them to, as do many other marketing campaigns. Common examples include new cars, phones, televisions, apparel, etc. for which new versions are released frequently.
Fourth is systemic obsolescence, which is when a manufacturer deliberately attempts to make a product obsolete by altering the system to make regular use difficult. Many people, including myself, accuse Apple of this when they release a new iPhone. Many people find that their old iPhone begins to run slowly after the latest iOS update following the release of the new iPhone model.
Last is programmed obsolescence, which is when a product contains a mechanical or electrical system that limits the amount of uses the product has. One notable example is printer cartiriges which use software to limit the amount of pages they will print, regardless of the actual ink level. Hewlett Packard was sued on allegations that their ink cartridges would “expire” on a certain date.
Altogether, these practices create an abundance of waste and unethically force consumers to buy more “stuff”. This is a great way to make money hand-over-fist, and it is far more common than most people may think. People often complain that “things just don’t last as long as they used to,” which, excluding survivorship bias, is true because they are built not to.

Not sure if this fits, but if you are offered a raise for taking on new responsibilities, get it in writing. Just learned that the hard way.

I waited tables in a restaurant and one time I decided to pour a cup of soup into an empty bowl (a bowl of soup costs a good bit more than a cup of soup at the restaurant). The cup filled up the bowl to the top.

Mattress stores that have the “find it anywhere else for cheaper, you get your money back!” deal contract with the manufacturer to make the exact same model of bed, but with a model name specific to that store, so nobody can ever cash in on that deal.

I know a guy who does pest control who specializes in raccoon removal. He takes the raccoons from one house in one neighborhood, then takes and releases it in another neighborhood then waits for the people there to reach out to him to remove the raccoon from their home.

I was a waitress at a family-owned restaurant that paid me $0.10 more than the minimum wage. They were able to require me to turn over all tips that I never saw again because they paid me over minimum wage. I think this is technically legal, but sleazy nonetheless. I made really great tips and it was hard turning the money over. It’s also pretty deceptive to the customer, who thinks their money is going to the wait staff, not the restaurant.

When I was in the process of moving into my current home I transferred the title of my old home and land to my sister because she was buying it and moving in when I left. Within the next few weeks she started getting all the “welcome to the neighborhood” coupons and flyers. She didn’t even change her address, so I assume companies track title changes with the register of deeds. The sketchiest was a pest control company claiming to have an existing account on the property and recommending she continue to use their services. They detailed dates and changes; referenced termites. It was all lies. All the dates shown were while I owned the property and I never even heard of this company before she received that letter.

If you’re buying a used car and it’s parked over a puddle – they don’t want you to look underneath.

I worked in the collections department of Discover Card for a while. One thing they did (maybe still do), to lure customers to them is offer 0% APR for the first year. People would jump on this and transfer all their debt onto their new Discover Card, and then the company would “conveniently” not send the first month’s bill. In the fine print of the agreement, it states that if you miss even one payment in that first year, your APR will jump to 29.95%. Half of my calls were to these new customers who would then proceed to throw a fit, because they didn’t ever get the bill, and I had to explain to them that it was their job to know when the bill was due, and sending one was just a courtesy extended by the company. I hated hated hated that job. It ate away at my soul.

Many companies claim to be environmentally friendly by putting made up certifications on their products. Like a frog in a circle that says “rainforest friendly.” There are very few legitimate environmental certifications. It’s called “green washing.”

When finding a home for your elderly parents, set up an appointment but come in a few minutes early and say (don’t ask) if you can walk around for a quick look. The receptionist likely wont refuse you, and the sales person won’t be ready for you. These places like to show you only the stuff they want you to see when being led around by a sales person. Chat with a resident or a staff member, they’ll be the most honest with you.

The higher priced items like prime rib and seafood is typically at the end of the buffet line and cheaper more filling options like bread and mashed potatoes are at the front. They hope you fill up your plate space/stomach space by the time you get to the high ticket items.

Some stores increase the price of a product and then put it “on sale” by a percentage of the fake higher price.

The “closing down” sale in the shop that never closes down. It’s just in closing down sale mode continuously.
I’m amazed shops are allowed to get away with this.

In France it’s hard to fire or lay off people, so when big companies need to clean house a bit, they move the office to a new location quite distant from the current one. In the process they reduce the office size from 50,000 seats to 30,000 because they’ve estimated that amount of people will resign rather than endure a 4 hours commute… But officially “totally you still have your job if you want, we are not laying you off, but I need you in the office everyday… Or you could resign if you don’t like the new location…”

Making you pay more for printing your own damn tickets at home.
StubHub, ticketmaster etc.

I bought a swimming pool several years ago. The slime-ball sales guy was using all the tactics. Last few days of sale, need to put money down today. Yada, yada. This was a major purchase and it irked me the way he was trying to pressure the sale.
I ended up going to another branch of the same pool store and buying the pool. It came out to a few hundred dollars difference.
I had an occasion to stop in the first store as the install was happening. Needed some sort of part or chemical. The original sales guy recognises me and ask about the pending sale. I said “I bought it off the other store because you said the sale was ending. I figured maybe they where running the sale longer” His eyes about blew out of his head. The girl at the register was giggling the whole time. As he stormed off she said” Now that was funny” I just smiled back and walked out the door.

“We have many more clients interested in this limited offer.”

When I was working in sales this is what they taught me to psychologically trick people into buying whatever shit we were selling. Strap in, this could be long.
First up, everything I learnt in sales worked through what they called ‘impulse’ selling, which means playing on people’s tendencies to make a decision based on their current state of emotion. Salesmen will build your level of ‘impulse’, and then ‘close’ you. The ‘close’ is the point at which they seal the deal, and you give them your money in exchange for whatever they have convinced you that you need.
There are five basic ways that salesmen will ‘impulse’ you. The acronym they taught us was G.I.F.T.S.
The first was ‘Greed’. People are naturally greedy. By which I mean they want more for their money. They want a good deal. If people think they can make or save money, they are more inclined to buy. An example of this is basic ‘half price’ or ‘buy X, get Y free’ sales.
I stands for ‘Indifference’. People can smell desperation. If they sense that you have a motive for wanting them to do something (like buy) they will be more wary, and want to know your reasons. Therefore, a salesman will try to make it seem as though they do not care whether or not you buy (even if they are on commission). After all, they are only offering you this amazing deal for your own benefit.. They have nothing to gain..
Third was ‘Fear of Loss’. Causing people to worry that they will miss out if they don’t buy. This can be exploited by making people think that this is their one and only opportunity to purchase at a ‘reduced rate’, or used in conjunction with ‘Greed’, for example ‘buy in the next 60 minutes and get X free!’.
T, ‘The Jones’ Theory’. If your community is getting on-board with an idea, there is no reason that you shouldn’t too. It’s safe. ‘It’s all the rage’. ‘Everybody’s doing it’. ‘Don’t miss out’. This also ties in with ‘Fear of Loss’.
The last one is ‘Sense of Urgency’. Can be used in similar ways as ‘Fear of Loss’, i.e. ‘buy in the next 60 minutes or else X’, or as subtly as a salesman saying that they have other appointments and won’t be able to come back and offer you this deal for a too-long period of time. A sense of urgency causes people to buy more impulsively, especially when coupled with a fear of loss.
Once salesmen have ‘impulsed’ you enough, they will try to ‘close’ you. I was also taught a number techniques to ‘close’.
The first was the ‘assumptive close’. This is basically assuming that the person will buy and filling out the paperwork. A common example of this is a salesman simply asking for your your name, and the proceeding with the sale. They will fill out an entire form and then just ask you to sign at the end.
This is often assisted by the ‘trial close’, where a salesman will slowly push you over the line, while at the same time testing you to see if you are ‘impulsed’ enough to buy. They will do this by asking you closed questions, aimed at steering you down a conversational track which leads to a sale. Charity workers do this a lot when they ask ‘Do you like dolphins?’ (yes), ‘Do you think dolphin’s habitats should be protected?’ (yes), ‘How much do you spend on beer / tea / coffee a week?’ ($5-$50), ‘Do think you could put $X towards saving the dolphins?’ (umm, well, I guess you got me there..)
Another powerful close is the ‘alternative close’, where salesmen will offer you one of two choices, both of which result in a sale. ‘So would you like the regular option or the slique-deluxe?’. Often presented assumptively (see ‘assumptive close’).
The last was the ‘silent close’. Harder to use, but effective with indecisive buyers or people that pull back when pressured. Basically presenting the overwhelming positives with the easily countered negatives, and then shifting control of the conversation to the buyer, and forcing them to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Obviously, the salesman has presented the information in such a way that you would be stupid to say ‘no’. After building tension and excitement for the product, they let you come to the decision themselves.
Almost every person who sells goods or services has been taught something along these lines, and the most successful salesmen have this information at the forefront of their minds when they are selling to you. Never forget it. These people just want your money, they honestly do not generally care what you get out of it.

Some companies on Amazon will offer to refund your purchase of their item on paypal if you give them a good review. That way it still looks like a varified purchase through Amazon.

If you’re buying a used car – or any car for that matter, the check engine light should temporarily come on when you start the vehicle. If it doesn’t, the dash has been tampered with to mask a potential issue

Made “from” or “with” 100% something
Just because something is made with 100% of something doesn’t mean that the thing itself is 100% that thing.

It’s not dirty as it’s legal but there is a reason that stores ask you to donate some amount to a charity or fund. They can use your donation to help them get a tax write off.

The “You won a TV / $5,000 / bass boat!” scams at car dealerships.
Generally, you get a flyer in the mail that says “scratch off x to see if you won!”
You always “win” the biggest prize but when you read the fine print, you actually only win the right to spin some wheel or put your name in a box for a drawing.
The employees’ friends and family always actually get the boat / TV / cash. Your “win” is just a tactic to get you into the dealership.
A fun thing to do is waste the manager’s time.
Go to the dealership, “prize” flyer in hand. Find an nice car. One with all of the options. Ask for every dealer add on they offer and tell them you don’t want to waste time negotiating, you have cash. Talk to the manager, and keep going back to him/her. Insist on a test drive with the manager. Convince them you want to buy the car, and get to the paperwork phase.
Then, just before you sign, inform them that they haven’t sold you a car. They’ve sold you on the idea of buying a car. Get the manager’s card and tell them you’ll be dropping their card in a hat with other dealership manager’s cards. A card will be selected at random and that dealership manager will be notified by mail in 4 to 6 weeks. Let them know that the actual car you buy may not be the one used in your “promotion.”

Giving someone a promotion just to get them back on a probationary period so they can be fired without cause or repercussion.
Happened to my wife recently. They were able to twist some information to make her look bad enough to can, and with no risk of legal recourse because she was on probation with her new position. Wife said they did the exact same thing to someone within the past year; guy won employee or the year, was promoted and promptly fired.

Add to that labelling things like “0% cholesterol!” or “Free from saturated fats!” on foods that would never normally contain or be expected to contain those things. Bonus points if it’s something really unhealthy like boiled sweets.

Worked in a family owned pharmacy for a few years. Find yourself a family owned pharmacy if you a) don’t want to go through your insurance b) don’t have insurance or c) you’d like to support the working class and not walmart or CVS. People would call us and ask for a cash price for their medication. We would be hundreds of dollars cheaper than walmart on almost every prescription. I remember quoting someone a 90 day medication at $20 and they said walmart was going to charge $250. The reason I said the things about not going through insurance is because insurance companies tell the pharmacy how much to charge you and tell the pharmacy how much the medications cost. Shit, add insurance companies to this list. Family owned pharmacies are losing so much money because of the way insurance companies work.

Offering insurance on anything that does not have the potential to be financially debilitating. “Want to insure your DVD rental?” Fuck off.

My good friends job at a Medical insurance company was to evaluate existing accounts and do risk assessments and cost analysis. Take over the cost sucking accounts and find a way to eliminate them.
He cut a costly account off and argued for a month with the primary holder because he found some weird rule in their terms the family Violated. My friend got a bigger monthly bonus and he got a call two months later from the dad thanking him because his 10 year old son died.

Watch the ever changing price of pre-packaged food goods at most grocery stores. One day the price ‘may’ seem to go down, but if you checked the weight, it has also gone down. Snack foods do this constantly.

When I worked at H&M we used to do some sneaky stuff with setting up the mannequins/displays. Whenever we had a supply of shirts that were really ugly, and weren’t selling well. We’d put the ugly item on the mannequin, and it would sell out very quickly.
This isn’t necessarily the dirtiest trick, but it worked pretty well for pushing really ugly clothes.

When my grandmother was in the hospital, her landscaper and handyman both contacted me to tell me she hadn’t paid them and they’d been trying to to reach her and on and on. I’d already paid both bills from her account and when I questioned them, they remembered real quick.

some telemarketers will ask if you can hear or understand them. if you say yes, they’ll call back and say that you ordered their product with a recording of you saying yes.

In restaurants, the daily special or the ‘chef’s choice’ option for things like cheese plates and desserts means ‘the stuff that will expire tonight.’
In the US food laws are stringent, and most of those things won’t hurt you, but you will not get the best the restaurant has to offer.

I worked in the Oil and Gas industry for a brand marketing internship in college. This company owned a franchised brand and an in-house brand. They would target “New Americans” which were mostly pakistanis or people who smoke limited english and sell them on the idea of owning their own business. Franchising for the company was much cheaper than investing in building their in-house brand. A benefit in the in house brand however was since they had more control over the costs via vertical integration they were able to undercut competitors on gasoline prices.
So the brand marketers would target new Americans and have them invest their own money in opening up a gas station. If the gas station did well this would be a “market test” for the viability of the in house brand. The in house brand would then find a spot typically across the street from the franchise and build their own station. If the franchise didn’t do what the in-house brand wanted they would begin undercutting the station on gasoline prices until they were run out of business due to not being able to shoulder the burden of cost like the in-house brand could.
Once the station was gone, prices would rise again and the in-house brand would benefit from not splitting traffic like before.
I figured this out about half way through my internship and essentially just checked out, I was paid well but it was the worst I’ve ever felt as an employee.

Saturation competition. A way for bigger, richer Corps to kill smaller local businesses.
Open so many Starbucks (or whatever store) in the area that noone can make money, since there’s just way too few customers to go around.
Soak up the loses for a few years with your deep pockets until all the local stores have gone out of business.
Shut down excess stores once you’re the only player in town.

When my friends and I rented our first house in college, the landlord told us that he had three different groups of people walking through the house the next couple of days, essentially getting us to sign the lease as quickly as we could. We were excited, so we didn’t think much about it.
Fast forward to two years later. A group of college guys were walking through the rental with the landlord. I pulled one aside and chatted with him a bit about the downsides of the property that I felt I couldn’t say in front of the landlord. It came up in conversation that there were ‘three other groups walking through in the next couple of days’. There weren’t (the landlord was obligated to tell us about people walking through).
The bastard tried to take advantage of them the same way that he did with us two years prior.

Take pics of any existing damage to a rental as soon as you move in and email it to the landlord/leasing office. I did this after a landlord told us he took the last tenant’s entire security deposit for damage (to be fair, it sounded like the tenant really messed shit up). I took that as a flag, and sent him a very detailed email of every hint of damage I could find. 12 months later, after we moved out he emailed me to say he was going to deduct $100 from our security for damage. I reminded him of the email I sent him, and never heard from the f*cker again.

A company having a business model that relies on charging fees for breaking its own rules without justification for them.
Looking at you CreditOne.
*Has a late payment fee but refuses to add any kind of auto-payment. In 2017.
*Takes 5 days to clear a normal payment. Pay 4 days before your bill is due? That’s a late payment fee. Want your payment to clear earlier to avoid that fee? Pay an express payment fee! Its the same fee amount? Lordy! What a coincidence!

A car dealership (this list exists for them) is advertising an old truck for $2,500. I go there to check it out and hear a looooong story about…
How perfect it is, how much the previous owner hated to trade it in after so many years of faithful service, how he’s loved it and taken such great care of it, how well it has always run for the owner and the dealership (they’ve only had to change the oil filter on it and it still runs perfectly!) and how it’s just taking up space in their parking lot and they need to get rid of it.
Great! We take it for a test drive, no problems. Great! We’ll have it!
So we sit down to make the purchase…It’s over $5,000, doubled in price! On top of the $2,500 car, there’s…
$850 in tax, tag and title fees
(Actual state tax + state fees are around $300)
$650 in maintenance and repairs
“I thought it didn’t need any work…you only had to change the oil filter?”
“Yeah….well, uh…….we have to wash it, too!”
$600 shipping/delivery charge
“This was a trade in! It literally landed on your doorstep! “
$500 dealership fee
“It’s just been sitting in the parking lot. Since this is separate from the maintenance fee, I assume this is just paying you and the sales people directly, but you’re only making this transaction harder for me.”

At the end, I paid $2,500 because they know the rest of the charges are more lies than the truck can haul.

In Nova Scotia Canada severance pay is paid on the average of your last 30 days of pay. This means that some companies will actually reduce your hours to minimum your last month with them if they are going to lay you off. Happened to me wife. She worked for this company for 5 years, worked 35+ hours per week, suddenly she wasn’t getting shifts. BOOM, layoff notice. Happened to other folks too.

I worked at a Nissan dealership as a car salesman and it was made abundantly clear to us that all of the advertised prices and sticker prices where 100% bull shit. I even remember one of the managers telling us a new commercial went out and referred to it as “a bunch of lies that are going to get people in the door”.

Stop pre-ordering unfinished games that stay in beta indefinitely

Receipts with “disappearing ink”. You know, the ones that scribe with heat, and then completely fade away in a couple of months.
Any receipt of significant value gets scanned as soon as i bring it home. (This includes warranties and other long-term documentation. )

Nominal weights and measures that don’t match actual weights and measures. My company sells by the each but each item has a nominal weight. We intentionally produce our product approximately 10% light to save raw material costs.

Whole Wheat Breads. Double check the ingredients list. If bleached flour is listed at all, put it the f*ck back.
Sara-Lee is noturious for this. Most of their Whole Wheat products are actually just molasses make the bread darker.

Pet stores will lie to convince you that their pets come from responsible breeders. They never do, a responsible breeder will always want to screen potential buyers themselves. They would NEVER trust a petstore to find a suitable home for their puppies.
Also their prices are usually more expensive than a purebred dog from a reputable breeder who does health tests to insure the genetic health and physical health of the dog (even if its invisible to a naked eye). A vet check is NOT a health check, theyre more advanced, including xrays of parents, having the parents seen by board certified opthamologists etc.

Yelp and their blocking off web reviews and photos if you’re browsing from a phone. Oh, you want to read this review? DOWNLOAD OUR APP. F*ck that.

My grandfather used to keep doves in his balcony and then sell them on Sunday market. Later the same doves would fly back to him.

Signing people up for shit as addons to an existing bill and hoping they don’t notice the extra charges.

Literally anything a corporation does that they can be fined for is taken into account as a business expense. If it’s cheaper to pay an illegal dumping fine than it is to change the way they process waste nothing will be done to stop the illegal dumping.

An older fellow I know had a bodega and he’d put a can of cream corn on the counter by the register. This was some time ago so the van had a price tag of $.17. He sold that can of cream corn to everyone who bought anything there. If they realized they were paying to much he’d just say he thought that was their can of corn. Most people didn’t notice though and he sold that same can of cream corn maybe twenty times a day.

Placing the most profitable items at eye level (worst deal for you) and the best value for money items in hard to reach places
Making you walk past all the items in the store due to design

Real estate gurus who sell their courses online in downloadable digital format and say that we must buy now since they “only have a few courses remaining and when they’re gone, they’re gone!”. How the f*ck do they run out of digital, downloadable courses? Do their computers run out of binary 1’s and 0’s after so many downloads? Sounds stupid but people fall for this ploy regularly.

Fake reviews.
I worked for a startup that had a sleezy CEO and got most, if not all, of their business by fake Yelp, Google, Glassdoor and other review sites in our industry. CEO was a compulsive liar and had no morals.
It is easy to see fake reviews now since they are usually a bit more eccentric and polished and I have lost all faith in them.

Buying a car from a “buy here, pay here” dealership. You put $500 or $1000 down they say you are approved and you drive the car home. Two days later the dealership calls and says that they couldn’t get you financed at that down payment and interest rate so we need an additional $2500 down and your interest rate doubles. If you don’t have the extra money they take the car and your original down payment. This is in AZ.

Many nursing home communities require a massive deposit to move in, mid-6-figures. They earn interest on that deposit, but that’s not the dirty part. The dirty part is in the fine print:
Marketing staff will tell you that the deposit is returned once the leased unit is relinquished. And that’s technically true. But what they don’t tell you is that the contract defines “relinquishment” as “whenever the marketing staff fills that unit again.”
So if Grandma dies or moves out, and her apartment is vacated, marketing staff will intentionally not fill that unit again for years at a time, to keep earning interest on the deposit. This results in countless retirees and their surviving families becoming financially destitute as they wait for some leasing agent to feel like giving them back their money.

Bottled water. Much of the water is from public sources and is marked up hundreds of times over. I just bought some after a flight and paid more for a liter than I would for a gallon of gas.

Debt collectors will have “detectives” call you from a number that appears to be a legitimate law enforcement agency when you Google it. It’s actually a spoofed caller ID using a legitimate agency’s fax number. The “detective” will threaten arrest and throw around names of local judges. The debt collector will claim to not know the “detective” who left the message, but will be willing to take care of your debt.

If you’re in the UK, working for an agency or temp work for a company, you will accrue holiday pay. However, the company or agency is not obliged to tell you that.
After a certain period, if you haven’t claimed it, the agency gets to keep it so often they’ll ‘forget’ to tell you about it.
They are obliged to payout if you’ve requested it in writing, though.

Dish Network’s door-to-door salesmen will tell you that’s it’s fine to use your parent’s name and Social Security Number for your account if your credit prevents you from getting service. This is not ok, it’s identity theft.

If you ever get a demonstration of a service from a company they will always use their very best, most experienced staff but once you’ve signed up you might find you’ve got the dregs that they couldn’t foist on anyone else working for you.

Online shopping: Don’t trust product reviews and things like amazon best sellers.
Companies have started to put a lot of marketing effort to get their products good reviews and on top of best seller lists.

Try to make it seem like you’re going to get some form of extra special deal out of it.
E.g “2 for £10!!” offers on products that are £5 each anyway.

Whatever your employer says is not true if you can’t prove it.
My employer started putting random clauses into my contract verbally. They didn’t exist in writing.

People give no f*cks about your luggage or parcel, they get dropped, thrown around everyday behind the close door, especially heavy items.

A local lawn maintenance business takes advantage of unsuspecting customers in 3 ways:
On monthly bills, they double the state tax (instead of being, say, 6%, it’ll actually be 12%, if you check the math).
Without discussing it with homeowners, they charge double for “double-cuts” when the grass is a little taller in areas than usual. So, if you had agreed to pay $50 per mowing, the monthly bill says $100 for each visit. They never ask – they just do it and charge double (in most cases, it’s just a small “patch” of the yard that has taller grass, not the entire thing).
They’re supposed to mow once per week. But without telling customers first, they start mowing every 5 days – which means they get to charge for more mowing visits per month than necessary.

Maybe not dirty, but incompetent contractors will often way underbid jobs. So if you request a bunch of quotes, and all the bids are relatively close except for one that’s way lower, there’s roughly a 100% chance that guy will screw it up and you’ll have a nightmare on your hands. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Not sure if this counts but at my local store they have packets of candy that’s often on sale as 2 for $4, but they always make sure to cover up the original price… which is $2 each

Before moving in you should take pictures of areas that show existing damage and note that in their form during your walk-thru. Even though they signed off on the form which I stated the existing damage, they still tried to charge for things like water damage to window sills and cupboards that were already there. Also it’d be wise to take a black light through the place before move-in. They tried to charge me for a urine stain they missed from a previous owner who had pets. And lastly, they tried to charge for cleaning the oven.. Except I cleaned the oven. But I forgot to take out the aluminum foil I put in the bottom to catch drips, and they wanted $50, the price of a full cleaning, to remove it.

Places that change your oil put a sticker on your wind shield to remind you to get it changed again after 3000 miles. In reality you could go at least double that distance and it will probably be fine

Rental companies, specifically for vacation. They will say a certain condo/house is available on their website but then when you call, they’ll say it is now unavailable or just got booked very recently. Then they’ll try and show you a different place which is like $50 more a night, banking on the desperation of the tourists to just say “f*ck it” and rent it.

When you go to buy a used car some dealers will have unrealistically low prices for some of their cars that’s lower than their actual value. This is to attract you in, and then once they have you in and you’re considering buying the car, they’ll add what is called a “dealer prep fee” that will range around 500 dollars. This is just a fake fee they will use in order to make up for lost profit for putting the attention grabbing low sticker price.

Customer wants Product X from a European Manufacturer.
But Product X from Europe is too expensive. Profit margins will be low.
So we just buy Product X from some no name Chinese Manufacturer and switch labels.
These are high volume products that contractors send out tenders for. It’s an open secret anyways. The contractor person in charge knows all the shit. Everyone vying for the order are ready to hand the person a cut (a bribe basically) for the order. So ultimately the client is the one getting screwed, but even he knows what shit goes around, because he ends up saving big time by paying Chinese prices for “European” products, which he goes on to sell to individual customers.
And honestly, every European manufacturer has a factory in China. Even if you get a legit European product, it’s from China.

Try, try, try to stay sober enough to successfully challenge any erroneous charges on your drink tab. Sometimes if a bartender or server is dealing with a drunk/heavily buzzed customer, they’ll charge them for more drinks than they actually consumed. Unfortunately, few people excel at doing math when they’re drunk/heavily buzzed.

Roadside assistance through your car insurance can be reported as a claim. You have no way to argue against it.

Sellers targetting retired people. To them, retirement means “old” so potentially easy to trick. They send offer for “retired only” by mail or phone. You’re supposed to have win a coffee machin or toaster. You come to the shop to take your prize and thay make you try couch, wine or else, using all their technics to make you think it is a good deal, proposing staggering plan with high interest rate to people would answer them they can affort to buy their stuff. And that shop disappears after few weeks before too many kids come to complain that their parents got swindle.

In high end IT, vendors will often “go dark” in the months before a service contract renewal or infrastructure refresh is needed. The idea behind this is that the customer is forced to come to them, or they can come to the customer with little enough time to complete the refresh that they are either forced to make a purchase on bad footing for price negotiations or renew service agreements for an additional year at a higher rate while migrating to new gear.

At home depot and lowes there are cacti with plastic flowers glued on to them.

Getting solar panels on your house by lease or “power purchase agreement” is a horrible deal for a homeowner. You save a small amount on your bill, but are tied to the agreement for 20+ years while the company that actually owns them retains all of the tax benefits.

Mechanics and other car servicing places will often put many additional tasks/replacements on your bill or imply that you should do things immediately. While many of their recommendations are things to keep in mind, often the tasks they are talking about are not immediately necessary and can be put off for a while before there is an issue. (This in no means is me saying that you shouldn’t regularly take your car for servicing)

I work with a lot of different body shops, and in my area the big thing to do is to enhance the damage to customers cars. I don’t mean they try and negotiate harder, I mean they actively create more damage to previously undamaged panels, usually in ways that don’t affect the function and are hidden to the customer, in order to get the insurance company to pay them more money. In my area, while not every shop does this, I would say the honest ones are the minority.
And it screws the customer over in the long run. The shop might promise that they will “save you your deductible”, but in the end you end up with a car that has unrepaired damage or you have to pay out of pocket if the insurance company catches the shop enhancing. And the sad thing is there is almost no way to know which shops do this when you pick a shop.

Jacking google business pages. Basically if a google business listing isn’t claimed and controlled by a company, a competing company can weasel their way in and direct people to their business by, say, changing the phone number.
There was an article recently about how drug counselors in the Philadelphia area had it happen to them. Their listing phone number was changed to an 800 number, which directed callers to an inpatient rehab facility in Florida. It was discovered when one of these counselors started noticing his patients suddenly not showing up. He called one of them and found out he was at this facility in florida.

At theatres the price of medium cup of popcorn is usually very close to the price of the large popcorn making people more likely to buy the larger one.

Offering a great deal over the phone to get you to buy or upgrade, then refusing to acknowledge the deal later on because there’s nothing in writing.

I recently paid for a riverboat dinner cruise, the cruise was cancelled cuz the boat broke and they wouldn’t refund my money citing “they told me so” when I paid for them. There is a clause that if they have to cancel they’ll do the event in the dock…

Automatic renewal/evergreen clauses in equipment leases where the service/maintenance payment is bundled in with the equipment payment. Terms are normally 90-day advance notice with annual renewal. Lessor has to enforce the annual renewal – to amortize the residual cost of the equipment, and give sales leverage to the servicing dealer. Usually by this time in a five-year lease the service portion has increased incrementally due to automatic increase clauses in the lease contract. Lessee: I want to return my equipment. Lessor: You cannot, unless you pay 12 months of rental+service, and then ship back the gear at your own expense. But the dealer can sell you a new machine that we can finance for a much lower payment! Total fucking scam and I was responsible for enforcing those terms for many years. Left with an indelible stain on my soul.

Making an “expansion pass” and only including 2 of your 4 DLC in it.

When moving out of a rental apartment/house make sure to take lots of pictures and ask the owner/landlord to do a walkthrough with you. Video the walk through. That way if they do not give you all your deposit back you have something to take to court VS a he said he said which you generally lose.
When you turn in cable/internet equipment make sure to get a FULL receipt showing what they took in and the date it was received. Scan this and e-mail to a couple different e-mail accounts. Comcast and others are bad about “losing” the equipment a couple years later, after you forget, and then billing you. CYA!!!

Petco will sell you non-aquatic plants specifically for your aquarium that will poison everything in the tank.

Know the difference between a gigabit and a gigabyte. One gigabit/megabit/kilobit is only equal to 0.125 gigabyte/megabyte/kilobytes. A lot of services (like Verizon) advertise their data caps and data speeds in gigabits so as to confuse customers who don’t know the difference. If your plan has a 8 gigabit data cap, then you can only really use 1 gigabyte of data. Likewise, your 100mbit/s internet speed only has a peak download of 12.5 megabytes per second.

Best Buy: With an HDTV like this you’re going to want these gold plated HDMI cables which are rated for 720Hz ($80) and you’ll want a router that can take advantage of full 360° panoramic WiFi too.

Offering people in debt credit cards with incredibly low initial interest rates for the first year and then raising the rate dramatically to keep them paying off new interest debt forever

I’ve seen many videos of cops pull drivers over, put them in handcuffs and sit them on the curb “for their safety,” and then ask for their keys so they can get their registration. You know, to get the stop over with so they can get out of the handcuffs and go on their way.
This is how cops legally obtain permission to search your vehicle. Any time you are compelled out of your car, lock the car, put the keys in your pocket, and don’t hand them over under any circumstances.

If political campaigns are calling you, they never actually remove you from the list when you get asked to be removed. Most of the time the refused option needs to be selected multiple times in your database profile to actually be removed.

If you go anywhere to get your oil changed, check what your interval is first. Some will insist on an oil change every time you go in, which you do not always need. Toyotas are a good example. They have a 10k synthetic oil and need to be changed every other service appointment (5k service intervals).

Any food that has garlic added to them, contains spoiled food. If you ever see a garlic shrimp special, it is unsafe to eat.

Garlic is there to hide the flavour of spoilt food.

http://www.boredpanda.com/unethical-illegal-business-tricks/

Harvey Weinstein had secret hitlist of names to quash sex scandal

Producer hired team to investigate 91 film industry figures in attempt to stop harassment claims going public

The Observer has gained access to a secret hitlist of almost 100 prominent individuals targeted by Harvey Weinstein in an extraordinary attempt to discover what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him and whether they were intending to go public.

The previously undisclosed list contains a total of 91 actors, publicists, producers, financiers and others working in the film industry, all of whom Weinstein allegedly identified as part of a strategy to prevent accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him.

The names, apparently drawn up by Weinstein himself, were distributed to a team hired by the film producer to suppress claims that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women.

An
An extract from Harvey Weinsteins hitlist.

The document was compiled in early 2017, around nine months before the storm that blew up on 5 October when the New York Times published a series of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein.

Individuals named on the list were to be targeted by investigators who would covertly extract and accumulate information from those who might know of claims or who might come forward with allegations against the film producer. Feedback was then to be relayed to Weinstein and his lawyers.

The size of the list 85 names appear on one document, with an addendum identifying another six individuals appears to corroborate claims that sexual misconduct allegations against the 65-year-old were an open secret throughout Hollywood.

Prominent stars were among the first tranche of individuals on the list to testify publicly against Weinstein. Among those named were the actress Rose McGowan, who days after speaking out accused the producer of raping her. Another was Laura Madden, who told how Weinstein pestered her for massages at hotels in Dublin and London, beginning in 1991. McGowan and Madden were among the first to speak out against Weinstein last month.

Rose
Rose McGowan
Photograph: Richard Shotwell/AP

A typed note on the document appears to suggest that by February 2016, Madden had already been targeted by one of Weinsteins hired investigators. Her view of the producer is, says the note, very bitter.

Another name is Zelda Perkins, a London-based production assistant for Weinsteins Miramax film company, who left the firms London offices on Brewer Street in Soho in 1998 after, she says, enduring years of sexual harassment by her boss. Last month Perkins revealed that she had broken a confidentiality agreement to describe alleged sexual harassment by the Hollywood producer.

Also on the list is the English actress Sophie Dix, who has described how her career trajectory was massively cut down after an alleged sexual assault by Weinstein in a London hotel and who was among the first to come forward.

Although at least 10 individuals are based in London, the majority live in New York, with others from Los Angeles. They include individuals working in acquisitions, marketing and distribution, along with producers, publicists and human resources staff, as well as actors. Forty-three men are named and 48 women.

Weinstein, the list confirms, was aware that the New York Times was gathering testimony from his victims long before it first ran the story. A public relations professional is named alongside a note stating that HW [Harvey Weinstein] in contact w/him. Friends w/Jodi Kantor. Kantor is the New York Times journalist who broke the story that immediately engulfed the producer and the film production company he co-founded with his brother.

Sophie
Sophie Dix Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

More than 50 of the names have been coloured red to highlight those who should be prioritised by investigators individuals Weinstein most keenly wanted to target. The names of the actresses McGowan, Dix and Madden are all coloured red.

Following an initial list of 85 names, another six individuals were identified during August 2017, including the actress Annabella Sciorra, who two months later publicly alleged she was raped by Weinstein after he barged into her apartment in the 1990s.

Also named on the later list is the US actress Katherine Kendall. Weeks later she revealed how a naked Weinstein literally chased her around his New York apartment in 1993.

Another is a former Weinstein employee, Lauren OConnor, who documented several allegations against the producer in a 2015 memo in which she described a toxic environment for women at Miramax.

Interestingly, the document includes the filmmaker Brett Ratner, who has been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct by six women in the wake of the Weinstein allegations.

Annabella
Annabella Sciorra Photograph: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

It is unclear whether Weinstein intended subsequently to approach any of the individuals on the list with a non-disclosure agreement. Evidence has emerged which shows that over the past three decades Weinstein reached at least eight settlements with women, according to two company officials speaking on condition of anonymity, after he was confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.

Not surprisingly, considering the psychological abuse and bullying allegations emerging from his former film studio Miramax, more of the film studio employees are also named. Among them is Kathy DeClesis, former assistant to Weinsteins brother Bob, who has revealed that she told him about Harvey sexually harassing women over a period of 25 years.

So far, more than 50 women have come forward with allegations of rape, harassment and inappropriate behaviour, prompting police investigations in the US and UK.

Weinstein unequivocally denies all claims of non-consensual sex, a spokesman for the producer has said. The spokesman dismissed reports that the producer hired spies to stop claims, saying: It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.

The producers alleged targets were often young, aspiring actresses. Among the high-profile names who have spoken out against Weinstein are Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne and Kate Beckinsale.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/nov/18/harvey-weinstein-secret-hitlist-sex-scandal

Romania shrugs off label of Europes poor man as economy booms

Since it joined the EU in 2007, government economic measures and communist-era educational excellence have spurred rapid growth

At a sleek new office in the heart of Bucharest, Fitbit co-founder and chief executive James Park explains why the smartwear giant is rapidly expanding its operations in Romania and following the lead of a host of multinationals. The tech talent here is amazing. Romania and other countries in central and eastern Europe have great existing talent, and also great universities, he says.

The US company, which bought Romanian smartwatch brand Vector Watches for a reported $15m (11.4m) late last year, and has tripled its staff in Romania since, has just opened its largest research and development centre outside the US, in the Romanian capital. Its not alone: in recent years, major global companies such as Siemens, Ford and Bosch have set up or expanded operations in Romania, boosting an economy thats already growing at speed.

While many see Romania as a country of migrants flocking abroad to find work, back home the economy is booming. The services sector is expanding at pace, along with exports and manufacturing. Meanwhile, private consumption from clothes to furniture and cars hit a nine-year high in 2016, and increased a further 8% in the first half of this year.

The economy grew 5.7% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017, the fastest rate in the EU, where the average growth rate was 2.4%. This was on the back of a GDP rise of 4.8% in 2016 and 3.9% in 2015; during the same period the UK economy grew by a more placid 1.8% and 2.2%. According to the International Monetary Fund, Romanias economy is expected to grow by 5.5% for the whole of 2017.

The tech sector, in particular, is expanding fast, built on a communist-era legacy of excellence in science, mathematics and technical education, as well as Romanias strong language skills, which have long made it a hub for IT outsourcing. While the Romanian languages Latin roots have helped explained the countrys linguistic skills, some suggest it was a decision to subtitle rather than dub foreign programming on television that boosted foreign language exposure and proficiency.

According to industry insiders, the tech sector which employs about 150,000 people is expected to double its share of GDP to 12% by 2025, aided by one of the fastest broadband internet speeds in the world (behind only Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Iceland).

Elsewhere, Ford has announced plans to hire almost 1,000 workers for its plant in Craiova, 180km west of the capital, adding to its current workforce of 2,715. The automotive giant has invested more than 1.2bn (1.1bn) in its Romanian manufacturing operations since 2008. Renault-owned Dacia, a former communist state-owned giant, remains the countrys largest company based on revenue, with a turnover of 4.1bn in 2016. Joining the EU in 2007 clearly had an impact, while more recent government measures have also boosted the economy.

The government in 2015 decided to cut taxation for consumption, says Ionut Dumitru, chief economist at Raiffeisen Bank Romania and chairman of Romanias fiscal council. They cut VAT from 24% to 20%, and now 19%, and extended the reduced VAT rate for food and some other items. This was a very strong stimulus for consumption.

The government has also doubled the minimum wage in four years. And its not only the minimum wage that has increased a lot, but also public sector wages.

Wages in Romania remain far below the EU average, making it an enticing option for outsourcing; the minimum monthly wage is currently around 283 only Bulgarias is lower within the EU.

However, lower wages have stopped many Romanians returning home, leaving companies short of workers in 2016, the unemployment rate dropped to an historic low of 5.9% compared with an EU average of 8.6%, amid predictions it will drop to 5.4% this year.

Uncertainty over Brexit is having an impact, with companies looking at alternatives within the EU in case the UK pursues an exit that restricts trade.

Were getting inquiries from UK companies on a weekly basis since the referendum, says Shajjad Rizvi, the director of the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce in the northern city of Cluj, one of the largest tech centres in central and eastern Europe.

We are seeing global companies hedging their bets, in case tariffs are not favourable or something else, and Romania is one of the choices they are looking at, he adds. Software companies, a lot are doubling or tripling their workforces in Romania, and a lot of those jobs are coming from the UK. Whole departments: marketing, PR, HR; they are being closed down in the UK and moved out here.

But there are also serious challenges. Romania has long been considered one of the most corrupt nations in the EU. Despite progress, there are still major concerns. In February, the country experienced the largest protests in decades after the government pushed through legislation that would have effectively decriminalised low-level corruption. The government backed down, but has yet to regain public trust.

Transportation infrastructure is also poor. Romania came 128 out of 138 countries for the quality of its road infrastructure in the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report; the railway system, which is old and slow, came in slightly better at 79. There are only 747km of motorway in the whole country.

There is also concern about the rising deficit. In 2016 the government deficit the gap between state income and spending rose to 3% of GDP, up from 0.8% in 2015, due to increased spending and tax cuts. The main concern for the economy is the fiscal situation, says Raiffeisens Dumitru. The deficit is under pressure.

Even so, Romanias economy looks set to continue to expand in the near future. Its hard to sustain more than 5% growth, says Dumitru. Most analysts are predicting closer to 4% for next year. But even 4% will probably be one of the highest growth rates in Europe, so its not bad at all.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/romania-economy-booming

Dove apologises for ad showing black woman turning into white one

Brand says it missed mark after being accused of racism in campaign promoting body lotion

Dove has apologised after publishing an advert on its Facebook page which showed a black woman turning into a white woman.

The brand was accused of racism over the online advertising campaign and it later admitted it had missed the mark with an image posted on Facebook.

The advert showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman underneath supposedly after using Dove body lotion.

Habeeb Akande (@Habeeb_Akande)

Dove apologised for ‘racist’ Facebook advert showing a black woman turning white after using @Dove lotion. pic.twitter.com/NGXyhnGuBZ

October 8, 2017

The campaign has since been removed from Facebook but was shared by Naomi Blake, an American makeup artist who goes by the name Naythemua.

So Im scrolling through Facebook and this is the #dove ad that comes up ok so what am I looking at, she wrote as the caption.

Under the post, she was asked if people would be offended if the white woman had turned into a black woman. She said: Nope, we wouldnt and thats the whole point. What does America tell black people? That we are judged by the color of our skin and that includes what is considered beautiful in this country.

She added that Doves marketing team should have known better and said the tone deafness in these companies makes no sense.

Following the removal of the advert, Dove, which is owned by Unilever, tweeted: An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offence it caused.

In a further statement Dove said: As a part of a campaign for Dove body wash, a three-second video clip was posted to the US Facebook page.

This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened.

We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologise deeply and sincerely for the offence that it has caused.

However the damage was done and the nearly 3,000 comments below the tweet were almost exclusively negative. Many social media users called for a boycott of Doves products.

A Soldier of the Art (@SelinaNBrown)

ENOUGH!
IS ENOUGH!@Dove Needs to be an example of black boycott worldwide!!!
They need to see the power of the black and brown money power

October 7, 2017

Ava DuVernay, the director of the film Selma, was one of many prominent people to criticise both the advert and the apology. She said on Twitter: You can do better than missed the mark. Flip + diminishing. Deepens your offence. You do good work. Have been for years. Do better here.

The trans model Munroe Bergdorf, who recently was at the centre of a racism row with LOreal, tweeted to say: Diversity is viewed as a buzzword or a trend. An opportunity to sell product to women of colour. Dove Do better.

Others pointed out this was not the first time the company has been accused of racism. In 2011 Doves before-and-after advert charted the transition of a black woman to a white woman after using its body wash.

Keith Boykin (@keithboykin)

Okay, Dove…
One racist ad makes you suspect.
Two racist ads makes you kinda guilty. pic.twitter.com/hAwNCN84h2

October 8, 2017

At the time, Dove said in a statement: All three women are intended to demonstrate the after product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/08/dove-apologises-for-ad-showing-black-woman-turning-into-white-one

HSBC’s man in Monaco arrested

Banker to the famous faces charges over alleged siphoning of $10m from celebrities including Michael Schumacher.

A senior British banker who worked for the private banking arm of HSBC in Monaco has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of $10m (6.8m) from the accounts of rich and famous customers, including champion racing driver Michael Schumacher.

Stephen Troth was arrested by Monaco police last week and is being held in a local jail. He faces charges relating to the alleged siphoning off of the money from some of the bank’s highest profile customers.

As well as Michael Schumacher, who is one of the highest paid sportsmen in the world, cash is also understood to have disappeared from the account of Nigel Robertson, a 38-year-old businessman who co-founded Scoot.com.

Now based in Monaco, Mr Robertson has an estimated fortune of 75m and runs a sports marketing agency representing names including golfers Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.

HSBC is understood to have paid compensation to all clients who have lost money.

Mr Troth worked for HSBC Republic, the British bank’s worldwide private banking arm, which targets high-earning celebrities offering “tailor-made services to suit their lifestyle”. It is understood that he was the highest-earning member of staff in the Monaco branch.

He is still listed on the bank’s website as the Monaco contact for the group’s “global media practice”, which invites “actors, composers, designers, musicians, sportspeople and writers as well as their agents, producers and directors” to take advantage of a “refined service”.

The affair is a huge embarrassment for HSBC. It has poured millions of pounds into building its Republic operation in an effort to win a significant share of the highly lucrative private banking business.

Secrecy and security are regarded as of paramount importance to its success, and the disappearance of millions of pounds is bound to undermine the bank’s reputation.

Mr Troth, who is in his early 40s, was arrested as he returned from a holiday. It is understood that he left his job at HSBC Republic at the end of July, shortly after the bank discovered that cash had gone missing. He told colleagues he wanted “to pursue other interests”.

A spokesman for HSBC said: “Mr Troth no longer works for us. The matter is in the hands of the police and we cannot comment. There is also the matter of client confidentiality here.”

The bank first became aware that something was amiss when several clients called in to query their account balances. An investigation is understood to have uncovered widespread discrepancies in the accounts of many of the bank’s most valued customers.

At first the losses were blamed on computer errors, but police are now investigating allegations that the money was transferred from those accounts into other numbered accounts linked to Mr Troth.

One account holder said: “It sounds ridiculous but when you’ve got so much money its very easy not to notice that a few thousand pounds are missing.”

Mr Troth was based in the same building where billionaire banker Edmund Safra died in a fire in December 1999. His death came weeks after he agreed the $10bn sale of his Republic banking groups to HSBC.

The ornate, turn of the century mansion overlooks Monte Carlo harbour and is a short stroll from the principality’s exclusive Casino and Hotel de Paris.

The six-storey building is frequented by many of Monaco’s most wealthy residents who value the bank’s discretion and advice. It boasts about 5,000 clients and is run by Gerard Cohen.

Stephen Troth had one of the best jobs in banking – living in Monte Carlo and rubbing shoulders with some of the principality’s most successful and flamboyant businessmen.

He is well known to many members of the so-called “Monaco Mob” of rich and mostly young entrepreneurs who trade the London market from their Riviera bases. Most are tax exiles who flit in and out of Britain completing deals.

Mr Troth was highly regarded by HSBC Republic for his ability to attract wealthy account holders and was spearheading a drive to pull in more wealthy celebrity clients. HSBC’s marketing material for the new venture says: “It concerns personalities in the film entertainment, music, publishing and sports industries and has been poorly served by the financial services institutions worldwide. Until now!”

He is understood to have spent his career in banking and had worked for Republic for more than five years before his abrupt departure in July.

He is described as unassuming and mild mannered, and his arrest was a shock to those acquainted with him. One businessman who knows him socially said: “He’s quiet, wears glasses and looks like a boring old banker in a grey suit and a tie. He was very discreet.”

In his private life he enjoys the luxuries that his position as a top private banker has provided. Clients frequently recommended him to wealthy friends. “The number of times people enthused about him was amazing,” said one.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2001/sep/13/3

Big tobacco still sees big business in America’s poor

The US is pegged as an exciting market, but this growth disproportionately affects the poor including the industrys growers and laborers

Wheeling his oxygen tank in behind him, Leslie E Adams shuffled into the lung doctors exam room, and let out a long string of rattling coughs. He tried to catch his breath, and coughed some more. He is 63, but looks a decade older.

I got stage three black lung. There aint no stage four. Im on my way out, said Adams. Now, I am slowly going down the mountain.

The American smoking rate has plummeted since the mid-20th century. Yet somehow the US remains a growth market. That is partly because the proportion of smokers has fallen, but the population is rising.

Add a nation bedeviled by inequality and those public health gains, while significant, have simply not reached every corner of the country.

With low taxes on cigarettes, intermittent regulations and tobacco-friendly politicians, many US states still mirror conditions around the developing world where tobacco companies see potential.

West Virginia arguablyhas the highest smoking rate in the nation. In places such as Logan County, where retired coal miner Adams is from, the smoking rate was 37% in 2015. The last time the national average matched that was 1974.

I smoked Winston, I smoked Viceroy. I dont know what I was smoking last, I couldnt tell you, said Adams, about brands that once belonged to Reynolds and British American Tobacco (BAT). I just smoked anything. If it blowed smoke, I smoked it. Adams is disabled with stage three pneumoconiosis, better known as black lung.

Adams will tell you he quit, but the truth is, after seven days in the hospital on a ventilator, he still tried smoke three times. I smoked about a half a one, and it just I mean your lungs it just takes all the oxygen out of them.

Despite smoking bans, hundred-billion-dollar settlements and a smaller proportion of the American public smoking, Reynolds longtime ally BAT sees the US as an exciting opportunity for long-term growth.

Through the years, as the population rose, the proportion of Americans who smoke shrank, but their raw numbers stayed the same at around 45 million smokers. Further, since the 1990s, the threat of tobacco litigation diminished and regulations proved less costly than feared, leaving tobacco companies room to increase the price of a pack. In America, where cigarettes are still relatively cheap, BAT will only need to sell two packs of cigarettes to make the same profit as selling six in other markets.

America is highly attractive and the worlds largest tobacco profit pool outside of China, BAT chief executive Nicandro Durante said, as he described a $49bn deal to buy Reynolds American in January. The deal will make BAT the largest listed tobacco company in the world.

It also means revenue from eight out of 10 cigarettes sold in the US will be pocketed by BAT and a rival group of companies Altria Group, a US Philip Morris company. Not since Theodore Roosevelts presidency in the first decade of the 20th century has tobacco been so consolidated.

Mergers and acquisitions have allowed tobacco companies to squeeze profits from customers and the supply chain. Companies charge more for cigarettes, while union organizers say poverty wages keep families on the ropes. Both are trends seen worldwide.

At the same time, the typical profile of smokers has changed radically. In 50 years, smoking moved from glamorous to common. Wealthy Americans have the lowest smoking rates, and the middle class has increasingly quit; instead smoking became a burden of the poor, less educated and marginalized.

The $49bn merger between BAT and Reynolds, expected within weeks, is the most recent act of faith by tobacco companies that selling cigarettes to Americans will remain profitable long into the future, even if the Americans who buy them cant afford it.

As a young man, Adams worked in mines so tight he laid on his belly to dig. He dug his own hole to piss in. When he learned mine owners handed out dust masks that didnt work, he sued.

Adams lives in the Appalachian mountains, in a valley between two green hills affectionately called a holler. He and his wife had two daughters and a son, and those children had eight of their own.

He started smoking at eight, sneaking beside the creek to puff corn silk. He smoked cigarettes for 40 years. Now, after one son died of a drug overdose, unable to chase after his grandkids and still craving cigarettes, Adams questioned whether cigarettes should be legal at all.

Leslie
Leslie E Adams, 63, said he wishes cigarettes could be outlawed. Photograph: Billy Wolfe for the Guardian

They got so many drugs in there you couldnt quit if you wanted to. I still crave them. If I had one right now, and Id go to sleep, youd hold it, Id smoke it in my sleep, he said. Thats how bad you crave them.

Dr Tom Takubo sees more than 30 patients like Adams each day at his clinic in Charleston. His is the largest pulmonology office in West Virginia. Set in the capital of a rural state in a rural region, Takubo sees patients from as far away as northern Kentucky and southern Ohio.

Even if smoking dropped off today, I would probably be going for the rest of my career, said Takubo.

No one is allowed to smoke in his office, but even so, the air smells faintly of cigarettes. Takubos patients carry the scent of the smokes they prefer. Former miners, shop owners and factory workers waiting for their appointments named L&Ms (by Altria) or Salems (by Reynolds) as their go-to. One woman admitted she smoked whatever was cheapest, and called them floor sweepings.

Takubo estimates 80% of his patients see him for smoking-related diseases. Cancer, acute bronchitis, flare-ups of their asthma, he said, naming a few.

The national adult smoking rate dropped from 42.4% in 1965 to 16.8% in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But in West Virginia, the smoking rate in 2014 was still 26%, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. One researcher with RWJF called the rate extraordinarily high.

When he is not seeing patients, Takubo has another role. He is also a Republican state senator in West Virginia, putting him in the unique position of treating the same people whose cigarette taxes he hopes to raise. He is occasionally told by a patient: Now doc, dont raise the price of my cigarettes.

Its really hard for me, because you hear people argue for financial reasons, for freedom of choice, Takubo said about his fellow legislators, shaking his head. This year, inspired by a patient, Takubo introduced a bill that would have fined adults for smoking in the car with a child.

I have a patient thats lost about half of her lung function. Shes never smoked a day in her life, he said. Instead, her father smoked in the car. If she complained about it, he would roll the window up to teach her a lesson. She remembers even getting in the floorboard of the car because she couldnt breath.

But the bill was not successful. Takubos fellow Republicans voted it down.

Dr
Dr Tom Takubo points to an X-ray of a patient suffering from a severe case of coal workers pneumoconiosis, also known as CWP or black lung. Photograph: Billy Wolfe for the Guardian

West Virginia is also the epicenter of Americas drug overdose epidemic, but lung and throat cancer have proven far deadlier than opioids.

Drug overdoses killed 41 people for every 100,000 in West Virginia in 2015. The same year, lung and throat cancer killed tripled that number in south-western counties, such as Calhoun. There, those two disease alone killed 123 people for every 100,000, according to the states health department.

The same year, 46% of adults in Calhoun smoked, RWJF found. The West Virginia department of health estimates that one in five deaths of people over 35 are due to smoking.

West Virginia scores badly on every imaginable indicator of poverty and inequality. Takubo has also argued increased tobacco taxes could bring the state significant financial relief. A $1 tax would have generated $100m in revenue for a state that had a $380m shortfall in 2016, and which spends $277m annually on smoking-related diseases. That too failed, although Takubo did help get a 65-cent tobacco tax passed.

Now, fearing Republicans in Washington will pass a healthcare reform bill that could severely cut Medicaid, a public health program for the poor, Takubo said simply: That would kill us.

State of the nation

In Washington DC, things have also changed in the halls of Congress. People who still smoke stand out, and perhaps for a good reason Congress is mostly well educated and wealthy. Every single US senator has a college degree, and just 5% of the House of Representatives lack one. Most members of Congress are millionaires.

Today, someone with a high school equivalency diploma is nine times more likely to smoke (34.1%) than someone with a graduate degree (3.6%). A poll found Americans who earn between $6,000 and $11,999 are more than twice as likely to smoke as someone who earns more than $90,000.

Even 10 years ago, the offensive and very strong odor of a cigar prompted an aide in Democrat Keith Ellisons office to call the Capitol police on a congressman. Last year, Republican House speaker Paul Ryan took pains to detoxify his predecessors office, a suite held by former speaker John Boehner. Boehner is a Camel smoker. He now sits on Reynolds board.

Tobacco companies dont spend as much money lobbying Congress as they once did. They spent $72m trying to persuade lawmakers to see their perspective in 1998, compared to $19m in 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But they have not abandoned political spending. They have shifted strategies.

Last year, Altria and RJ Reynolds spent $71.3m in California trying beat back a cigarette tax hike referendum. They failed there, but succeeded elsewhere. In North Dakota, tobacco companies spent more than $5 for every man, woman and child in the state, $4m altogether, and convinced voters to reject the tax. They also succeeded in Colorado, where they spent $7m.

States were awarded billions in damages from tobacco companies in recognition of the public health consequences. Yet they largely fail to spend the money they were awarded to prevent smoking. States collected $26.6bn from tobacco settlements in 2016, but spent only 1.8% on smoking prevention, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Tobacco companies, by comparison, spend $9.1bn a year on marketing, or $1m an hour, according to an analysis of Federal Trade Commission data.

North Carolina, Americas dominant tobacco-producing state, receives $139m annually from such tobacco settlements. Initially, the state set up three trust funds to spend that money: one to prevent smoking, one to help rural communities hit by a decline in smoking and one to help tobacco farmers.

The fund to prevent smoking was dismantled in 2011; all of that money was sucked into the states general fund. However, lawmakers allowed the settlement to continue to fund tobacco growing efforts.

Between 2000 and 2004, another $41m of North Carolinas tobacco settlement went to retrofit tobacco curing barns, a move that researchers called arguably counterproductive to tobacco control, and which some farmers believed was at the behest of tobacco manufacturers.

From our very first day there was a constant struggle with the legislature, said Vandana Shah, the first person to head the tobacco use prevention fund in North Carolina. She now works for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Id be doing the rounds of begging and pleading that they dont take our money away, and explaining the value of the program.

Winston-Salem, AKA Camel City

Reynolds Americans hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has developed a relatively strict tobacco policy. Smoking an after-dinner cigarette in Camel City will need to be done outside, and finding a hotel room to smoke in will be a task.

The regulations are reflective of how cities have handled smoking in recent years. Even Reynolds employees who smoke must use smoking lounges away from their colleagues.

Tobacco companies, said Gayle Anderson, the head of the Winston-Salem chamber of commerce, really didnt fight these laws at all There just didnt seem to be that kind of pushback. She worked for Reynolds from 1976 to 1987.

Once North Carolinas largest city, Winston-Salem enjoyed a golden era on Reynolds wealth. The moneyed families that ran the factories and mills shared their wealth with the community, endowing it with high schools, auditoriums, hospitals, stadiums, parks and recreational facilities bearing their names, the local history From Tobacco to Technology said about the 1930s. Their executives chaired the charities and the capital campaigns to raise money needed to achieve the communitys objections, be it a new terminal at the airport, an arts council for the city or assistance in relocating a college to the city.

Reynolds still employs about 5,000 people in Winston-Salem, according to Anderson. For many years the notion was: If you could get in at Reynolds, you were set for life, she said.

Reynolds recently donated a 70,000 sq ft, immaculately maintained research facility to the town for redevelopment. Reynolds, Anderson said, is still probably the single largest philanthropic company.

I cant imagine how many hundreds of millions of dollars thats worth, said Anderson. Theyre benevolent and care a lot about the community, but its more like a partnership. If Reynolds were to ever leave, it would be a real blow to our ego, for sure.

Tobacco
Tobacco grows on state highway 222/111 outside Dudley, North Carolina. Photograph: Justin Cook for the Guardian


Were down here getting sick, going hungry

If the company is seen by some as benevolent, that does not necessarily translate to automatic financial security for farmers and their workers. One twentysomething farmer stood by a running tractor as he described the start of each tobacco season in eastern North Carolina. It begins, he said, with a loan from the bank that you dont know if youre gonna pay back.

He started cutting tobacco in a friends field when he was about eight years old, the farmer said. As he smoked a Camel menthol, he acknowledged: I shouldnt, as much shit as I spray on it.

For farmers, the tobacco system has changed considerably since the 1990s. Auctions are obsolete. Now, farmers contract directly with cigarette manufacturers or leaf buyers. This farmers entire crop is contracted to Alliance One, one of two major leaf companies.

Labor disputes are common here. Farmers can face cash shortfalls mid-season, making it difficult to pay workers on time. Farm laborers have no collective bargaining rights in the US, and child labor is legal on farms. Children as young as 12 can start working unlimited hours outside of school, and children of any age can work on a family-owned tobacco farm.

With only a handful of companies left to sell to Philip Morris International, Altria, BAT, Japan Tobacco International and two leaf buyers who serve the same companies farmers feel at the behest of tobacco companies, those interviewed by the Guardian said. This year, some tobacco buyers didnt offer farmers formal contracts until spring, when tobacco was already growing in greenhouses.

Nevertheless, after a long fight with the Mount Olive Pickle Company, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (Floc) secured a collective bargaining agreement with farmers in the North Carolina Growers Association. Several tobacco companies used farmers in the association, thus some tobacco workers were also covered. Last year alone, Floc handled around 500 total labor complaints, often for wage violations. But their influence is small: the union represents just 7% of North Carolinas 100,000 workers.

The group has asked BAT to recognize a right to organize for all farm workers worldwide, and blames low pay for frequent disputes.

I think they should pay more, said Sintia Castillo, a labor organizer for Floc, whose accent reflects her heritage. Some words come out North Carolina country, others with a snap of second-generation Spanish. Youre rolling in money at the top, and were down here getting sick, going hungry.

Castillo has six brothers and sisters, and started working in the fields with her family at age seven. She moved to tobacco around 13 and into packing houses at 18. Now shes 24, a woman whose work has acquainted her with the paradox of organizing people without rights.

Theres been times I fire people up, and then they get fired, she said.

Catherine
Catherine Crowe, 23, and Sintia Castillo, 24, who work with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (Floc). Photograph: Justin Cook for the Guardian

She tells a story about Brent Jackson, a state senator and tobacco farmer. Jackson was forced to repay several thousand dollars in back wages after he was sued in federal court by migrant workers. The union then alleged he blacklisted the seven farmworkers. Jackson pulled out of the growers association.

Last week, he sponsored a bill to make it illegal for farmers to deduct union dues from paychecks, or for growers to end a dispute with farmworkers by signing a union contract. The bill is currently on the governors desk. Campaign finance records show Jackson received $9,400 in donations from tobacco companies.

Child labor exists because of poverty wages. Theres no way that a family can live off of $7.25 per hour, said Catherine Crowe, an organizer with Floc. Forcing children not to work without increasing wages, the union contends, would only leave struggling families worse off.

Philip Morris International and Alliance One have said they do not buy tobacco from farms that employ children under 18 for most tasks and, in general, tobacco companies have said growers are not our employees. Nevertheless, tobacco company audits have identified many instances of child labor in the supply chain.

In the past, Crowe and Castillo said, BAT has shown more willingness to work with the organizing committee, promising to encourage Reynolds to listen to union demands. As for how the unified company will act in the future: That, said Crowe, is the question.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/13/tobacco-industry-america-poor-west-virginia-north-carolina

Inside the murky world of Nairobi’s smoking zones

The Kenyan government has cracked down on cigarettes with a ban on advertising and smoking in public, driving the habit into the shadows

There is a wooden shed in the middle of Nairobi city centre, dark, full of fumes, crowded and deliberately built beside the public toilets. It feels like a place of shame.

Jairus Masumba, Nairobi countys deputy director of public health, calls it in jest the gazebo. Its the public smoking place, created by his department. It is claustrophobic and filled with smoke, some of which drifts out through slats, but most of which hangs heavily in the fugged air inside.

Those who enter have to be desperate and theyre usually men. A 27-year-old woman, who comes from the south of Kenya, is a rarity. She is heavily made-up and stands in the doorway. She smokes seven to 10 cigarettes a day. Its bad for you, no? she says several times, though she knows the answer.

The men inside, barely visible as you enter because of the darkness and the fug, are smoking hard, standing up like a football crowd, all facing the same way though there is nothing to look at except the wooden slats of the far side of the shed. Music blares but nobody is dancing. They are grim faced, doing what they have to do. A young man, high probably on khat and cigarette in hand, chases some of the butts and the ash out with a broom, seeking money from the other smokers for cleaning up. He says he has a diploma in business marketing and another diploma in substance abuse counselling.

A
A woman stands at a smoking zone in Nairobi, Kenya. Smoking openly on the street can incur a hefty fine. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

At the door are two cigarette sellers, doing a busy trade. Its rare for anyone to buy whole packets. Packs of cigarettes in Kenya are broken up and sold by vendors as single sticks. That makes them cheap for women, children and the poor, despite manufacturers being banned from producing packets of less than 10. One of the two sellers sitting passively inhaling smoke is a woman who taps a packet of 20 and shakes them deftly out, one at a time, exchanging them for small coins. Men buy one, sometimes a couple, sometimes three. They will not all be smoked here. The sellers sit at the large red wooden boxes, with open lids that become the display cabinet. Most popular and cheapest is Sportsman at 100 shillings a pack (75p, 97 cents) or 5 shillings (less than 4p, 5 cents) for a single. Smokers buy sweets too, to take away the smell of tobacco when the worker goes back to the office.

Tobacco: a deadly business

The shed is vile, but few dare smoke even on the pavement outside in the cleaner air in the knowledge that the plain clothed official public health enforcers will be circling, ready to impose fines on anyone they catch. Nairobi city has got tough on smoking. The Kenyan government has banned advertising and marketing and smoking in public places, but it is up to the individual counties to interpret and enforce that and they all do it differently. Nairobi county has cracked down hard. Lighting up on the open street in the city centre can result in a stiff fine of 50,000 shillings (374, $485) or even arrest. But its not so everywhere, or even outside of the city centre.

deaths

Yusef, 58 and from Kenyas second city Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast, says people smoke openly in Mombasa. He has been smoking since the 1970s. His 28 year-old daughter died recently from colon cancer. That gives him a different perspective. Im more worried about GM foods, he says.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/12/nairobi-kenya-smoking-zones-cigarette-crackdown

Uber’s scandals, blunders and PR disasters: the full list

The company has had a seemingly never-ending string of missteps, from its controversial CEO to questionable tactics and sexual harassment claims

Uber has been rocked by a steady stream of scandals and negative publicity in recent years, including revelations of questionable spy programs, a high-stakes technology lawsuit, claims of sexual harassment and discrimination and embarrassing leaks about executive conduct.

The PR disasters culminated in CEO Travis Kalanick taking an indefinite leave of absence this week and promises of bold reform that largely ignored the ride-hailing companys strained relationship with drivers.

Here is a timeline of some of the most consequential controversies.

Boob-er backlash, February 2014

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick faced backlash for a sexist joke about his increasing desirability, telling an Esquire reporter: We call that Boob-er.

Targeting the competitor, August 2014

Uber faced accusations that it booked thousands of fake rides from its competitor Lyft in an effort to cut into its profits and services. Uber recruiters also allegedly spammed Lyft drivers in an effort to recruit them away from the rival.

The God View scandal, November 2014

Uber executive Emil Michael suggested digging up dirt on journalists and spreading personal information of a female reporter who was critical of the company. He later apologized. It was also revealed that Uber has a so-called God View technology that allows the company to track users locations, raising privacy concerns. One manager had accessed the profile of a reporter without her permission.

Spying on Beyonc, December 2016

A former forensic investigator for Uber testified that employees regularly spied on politicians, exes and celebrities, including Beyonc.

Self-driving pilot failure, December 2016

Regulators in California ordered Uber to remove self-driving vehicles from the road after the company launched a pilot without permits. On the first day of the program, the vehicles were caught running red lights, and cycling advocates in San Francisco also raised concerns about the cars creating hazards in bike lanes. The company blamed red-light issues on human error, but the New York Times later claimed that the companys statements were false and that the autonomous technology failed.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/18/uber-travis-kalanick-scandal-pr-disaster-timeline

Uber silent on CEOs future as it adopts Holder proposals

Taxi app service tight-lipped on Travis Kalanic leave of absence as it responds to accusations of culture of harassment

Ubers board of directors has adopted a series of recommendations about the companys corporate culture from former US attorney general Eric Holder, but it was silent late on Sunday on whether it would approve a leave of absence for the taxi-hailing app services embattled CEO.

A spokesman confirmed that the board met Holder and Tammy Albarrn, both partners with Covington & Burling LLP, a law firm hired to investigate complaints of widespread sexual harassment and other deep-seeded cultural problems at Uber.

Board members voted unanimously to adopt all of the firms recommendations, which were to be released to employees on Tuesday, the spokesman said.

He would not comment on any further actions taken by the board, including whether it discussed the future of the CEO, Travis Kalanick. Multiple media outlets reported on Sunday that the board was considering a leave of absence for Kalanick.

Uber has been rocked by accusations that its management has fostered a workplace environment where harassment, discrimination and bullying are left unchecked.

Uber announced last week that it fired 20 employees for harassment problems after a separate investigation by a different law firm.

Under Kalanick, Uber has shaken up the taxi industry in hundreds of cities and turned the San Francisco-based company into the worlds most valuable startup. Ubers valuation has climbed to nearly $70bn (55bn).

However, Kalanick has acknowledged his management style needs improvement. The 40-year-old CEO said earlier this year he needed to fundamentally change and grow up.

In February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote on a blog that she had been propositioned by her boss in a series of messages on her first day of work and that superiors ignored her complaints. Uber set up a hotline for complaints after that and hired the law firm of Perkins Coie to investigate.

That firm checked into 215 complaints, with 57 still under investigation.

Uber has been plagued by more than sexual harassment complaints in recent months. It has been threatened by boycotts, sued and subject to a federal investigation that it used a fake version of its app to thwart authorities looking into whether it was breaking local laws.

Kalanick lost his temper earlier this year in an argument with an Uber driver who was complaining about pay, with Kalanicks profanity-laced comments caught on video.

Travis Kalanick argues with his Uber driver

In a March conference call with reporters following that incident, board member Arianna Huffington expressed confidence that Kalanick would evolve into a better leader. But Huffington, a founder of Huffington Post, suggested time might be running out.

Hes a scrappy entrepreneur, she said during the call, but one who needed to bring changes in himself and in the way he leads.

The board meeting follows a personal tragedy for Kalanick. His mother was killed in late May after the boat she and her husband were riding in hit a rock. Kalanicks father suffered moderate injuries.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the chief business officer, Emil Michael, was planning to resign as soon as Monday.

The company has faced high turnover in its top ranks. In March, Ubers president, Jeff Jones, resigned after less than a year on the job. He said his beliefs and approach to leadership were inconsistent with those of the company.

In addition to firing 20 employees, Uber said on Tuesday it was hiring an Apple marketing executive, Bozoma Saint John, to help improve its tarnished brand. Saint John was most recently head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/12/uber-silent-travis-kalanick-future-adopts-holder-proposals