Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Our older son graduated from college two years ago.  He's living in Atlanta, working as a self-employed film maker.  What that means is he doesn't make a lot of money. I'm guessing he made about $15,000 last year.  Anyhow, he's been living without a credit card since he graduated college. When he came home for Christmas the wife and I decided we would co-sign for a credit card in his name.  We were concerned that living without a credit card had to be difficult since there are situations where you simply have to have a card to pay for something; plus he was not generating any kind of credit history which could be problematic later on his life. 

With that in mind, and knowing he would not be able to qualify for a card on his own, as a Christmas/Birthday gift we applied for a card in his name.  We went to the local credit union we belong to (I'll keep the entity's name private).  Literally fifteen minutes later we were standing with a friendly credit union employee answering a series of questions on income, debt, etc.  The nice credit union employee typed all of the answers into her computer and five minutes later told my son he qualified for a card with a credit limit of ... get ready for this ..........................  $25,000.   I was so dumbfounded I asked the lady to repeat the number.  What in the world !!!  Absolutely not.  First off, my credit limit is only $15,000.  I make 100 times more money than my 24 year old.  I've had a credit card for thirty years; never missed a payment, and have a credit rating that is stellar.  My limit is $10,000 less than what my marginally employed son was just offered?   

After I got over my initial shock I asked the credit union employee how do I decline the $25,000 limit and set it lower?   Much, much lower.  She seemed puzzled by the question.  Apparently that request doesn't come up very often.  In fact, many people ask how they can increase their credit limit.  After a series of phone calls and emails, she told us it could be done.  We settled on a $1,500 limit.  When I explained I had not interest in being personally liable for $25,000 of debit, she seemed to get it.  So there were were.  After 20 minutes my kid has a credit card and a responsible debit limit.

Anyhow, I think I'm starting to understand why so many folks get into financial trouble so early in life ...   $25,000 credit limit.   That's about double what my kid made last year.  What in the world ?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Santa was surprisingly nice to my family.  He was also unexpectedly nice to me given I ended up on so many naughty lists.

Among the things I got were:
- Our older son Matt came up from Atlanta to join us for a couple of days
- a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (don't get that treat very often)
- several nice books on neon signs and other collectables
- a couple of nice '60s and '70s soul record albums (showing that I'm either really old, or suddenly really cool)
- a nifty Larry Morris sculpture.  The Morris sculpture entitled "Flying Kites" is something I've always said I'd buy when I won the lottery, so I guess I won the lottery early.

Thanks Santa.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Both on the personal and professional levels 2014 was a busy year and I really didn't spend much time on the BadCatRecords hobby.  Still I managed to listen to dozens of albums over the last twelve months.  Here are the ten (and one bonus effort), that I found the most enjoyable. They're not in any particular order.

1973 John Entwistle "Whistle Rhymes"
1972 Joe Simon :Drowning In a Sea of Love"
1983 Mark Knopfler "Local Hero"
1969 The Fantastic Four "The Best of the Fantastic Four"
1972 The Patterson Singers "The Patterson Singers"
1972 Rufus Thomas "Did You Heard Me"
1977 Rory Gallagher "Against the Grain"
1969 The Mirettes "Whirlpool"
1968 The Easybeats "Falling Off the Edge of the World"
1973 Caston and Majors "Caston and Majors"
1987 The Bears "The Bears"

So what can I deduce from this list?  Well, I'm obsolete in terms of current music.  While I actually bought lots of current music, not one of those purchase made my top-ten list.  In fact, the most "recent" release on my top-10 list was a 1987 obscurity from Ohio "The Bears".  My comfort zone is clearly late '60s and '70s music.  Most of what I like appears to be moderately commercial in that most of these acts got at least some commercial recognition.  The other big surprise ... how much I love soul.  Six of the ten selections can be categorized as soul.

And if you want to see the reviews, you can go to the BadCatRecords site -

Mom needs a night out

Nobody wanted to cook on a Friday evening so I took the family out for dinner at a local restaurant.  It was fairly crowded, but I couldn;t help but notice when they sat a couple with two young children next to us.  One of the kids was about four and busy playing with mom or dad's cell phone.  The other little boy couldn't have been more than one and, much to the dismay of the waiter, was busy tearing apart animal crackers and scattering them across the table and the floor. The mom looked on with kind of a sad look of helplessness, while the dad went to the restroom.   I guess my attention was focused on the flying cloud of cracker dust, but I couldn;t help but notice mom didn;t even wait for dad to get back before ordering the mega sized beer.  When it showed up she managed to gulp about a quarter of the glass in less than a minute. 

Mom's have a tough life ... hope the rest of her evening got better

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I sell records as a hobby and to make a little extra money.  It isn't a career
for me and I don't need to squeeze ever last cent I can out of buyers.   I try
to treat customers with courtesy and respect.  Repeat customers frequently get a
healthy discount.  I've even occasionally been willing to break a cardinal rule
and accept trades.  The result is that I have stellar customer feedback on
various online selling cites.  

A normal transaction is someone finds something they want to buy.  They submit
and order.   If I still have it, I'll send them an invoice.  They pay.  I mail.  
Start-to-finish the process usually takes me 10 - 15 minutes of dedicated time.

And then occasionally it turns bizarre.

- A customer orders two dozen albums.
- I offer the person a 10% discount on the order since it is fairly large.
- The customer then spends two weeks literally making dozens of changes via
never-ending emails and phone calls.   It gets so convoluted I have to set up a
spreadsheet to try to keep track of the changes.
- The customer insists on getting trade-in value for albums I have no interest in.
- The customer decides to reduce the size and value of the order and I elect to
reduce the discount and reject the trade-in LP.
- The customer repeatedly insists they have finalized their list and wants to
know if the albums can be sent in advance of payment
- Even after I pack the order (being told the selections have been finalized),
changes come in.  Having packed the order, at this point I simply refuse to make
any more changes.
- I get a personal check for payment (which doesn't actually cover the full cost
of the order - they promise a post-dated check for the remainer), and whereas I
would normally wait for it to clear, agree to send the order out in advance of
it clearing.
- Customer gets the order and tells me one LP is in poor shape; one LP is
missing (amazing given changes continued  until the very end), and one of the
LPs is missing an insert.   Customer says they are 85% happy with the order.
- The LPs are guaranteed so there's no problem returning a $10 item.   I find the
missing LP and the missing insert; pack them, and am ready to ship them out the
next day.
- Customer starts berating me for mis-representing LPs; mis-grading LPs, and
various other sins.   
- Customer DEMANDS I send a series of high priced replacement albums to make up
for the LPs that are flawed ad the ones they don't like (including a couple
they'd previously told me were priority buys for them).  The fact those albums
cost more than the ones to be returned doesn't seem to be an issue.   It's a
life or death issue for them.
- When I respond "not happening" I am told they want to return the whole order.

At this point I've already invested countless hours answering emails,  pulling
LPs, re-shelving LPs when the list changes, packing the material, taking it to
the post office, deleting LPs from on-line listings,  etc.      I've reached a
point where I'm simply happy to take my losses and move on.   The outcome is I'm
a little smarter in terms of what I'm willing to do with respect to this hobby
and I now have my first "banned" customer.