Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The mean ole' gas monopoly

Is there a way that word of mouth can effect irresponsible merchants when they aren't competing for your business? Here's hoping:

Our gas company--Laclede Gas of St. Louis--ignored our request to cancel service at our old apartment and over-billed as a result. After paying more than the portion we owed and spending more than four hours on the phone and writing letters explaining our case they just sent us a very rude final collection notice for the remainder of the illicit bill. Since I don't have time to fight them, I have to just pay it.

I'd like to change to a competitor but the only way to do that would be to change out all our appliances for electric; highly impractical and I know from other people's experiences that the electric company is no better.

It seems that on some level, though, negative public sentiment towards irresponsible utility monopolies must have an effect on the company--but does it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Joel Salatin at Webster U.

I got to hear Joel Salatin (of Polyface Farm) speak at Webster University on Monday night. It was an amazing experience. His insights seem so right on, and his presentation style is masterful. Salatin uses his passion for the topic to energize the audience. He is a good speech constructor (His speech followed the Polyface Farm's work cycle as an organizing principle to move through the topics he wanted to address). But the magic is that he can say whatever he wants because he’s doing what he does so well. For example: he described his operation as a land-healing “ministry” (by which it was clear he meant it was a religious action), talked about the ecosystem as God-designed, spoke of the importance of moral philosophy over science, etc. in a very diverse context and received outburst after outburst of spontaneous applause. The audience giving those ovations ranged from the very conservative homeschool family I stood beside in the book line, to the feminist professor of sexuality I passed in the lobby, to the Mennonite family I walked to my car behind, to the tie-dye clad, throw-back hippie students I sat beside during the talk. His style works because he himself is living proof of what he's saying. He isn't just suggesting theories, he's proving his method rigorously, practically and holistically (by which I mean the opposite of simplistically). People want to hear what he has to say, and will take whatever it is and however it challenges their paradigm and offer a standing ovation because he is doing it well!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

This sounds like a very cool company (and a very cool product). They're holding a special - link to their site, and click on the link, and you get entered in their contest to win an urban utility bike given away every week! (so yes, this link counts as my entry, even though you could say my bicycle "quiver is full" - it's just such a cool concept!)