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Have the courts and lawyers taken us
to the point of absurdity?

dave allen
Dave Allen

September 2017

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the lawyers and courts have taken us on a path of revolving doors that only seem to help the law profession.
Let’s take a look at the fine print on the bottom of almost any TV, print or internet ad. It contains disclaimers originally designed to be a real protection
against misleading or dishonest headlines. We can certainly thank the lawyers for that. However, these same lawyers found a way around their own laws… make the type so small you cannot read it, or have it blend into the ad’s background making it unreadable.

You know the copy I am referring to: the paragraph that you could not possibly read without a magnifying glass and a Philadelphia lawyer present - which says that with “the special offer of 24 monthly payments of $12 each for a new horseless carriage also included indenturing my first born and several thousand dollars in ransom.”

This, of course, is followed up with a legal addendum to the contract you sign at Honest Horseless Carriages, Inc. saying you have read all the fine print in all the papers you are signing. OK, so this isn’t a news flash… and we all know that corporate management is now so paranoid about legal implications they cannot say or print anything without legal counsel. See how this goes around and around?

However a new line has begun to appear which convinces me the whole system has run amuck. It is the one that appears regularly on TV. It is for a product that seems to be a prescription drug that will make my skin look like a teenager’s (without the pimples, I trust). It is called XXXX (oops, lawyers again). The voice over provides all the standard possible reactions including some
we usually relate to someone living on the streets.

The final line of warning, and proof we have gone over the edge, is “Do not to take XXXX if you are allergic to XXXX”.


Terrific! We have now reached the point of no return. When do we say not to use a lawyer as you could be liable for legal decisions. I know you have seen these disclaimers and conditions. They appear across the bottom of the ad and are normally in soft grey type on a background of a similar color. The same system is used on junk emails to hide the possibility of unsubscribing.

I don’t know about you but I am almost afraid to try any new product for fear of a deadly reaction which, of course, was ‘covered’ in the products promotion.

It seems to me that the conditions of sale should be at least as obvious as the offers themselves.

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Sometimes the ordinary is really extraordinary

dave allen
Dave Allen

August 2017

A few weeks ago Marie and I had an opportunity to sit down with a delightful fellow who grew up in Port and now splits his time between Manhattan and Port. His story was about an ‘ordinary,’ yet fascinating family. The subject was Rose Trinchitella and a birthday party planned for her on August 12 at LaParma on
the Bay.

While we often hear about individuals in and from Port who make headlines and/or lots of money, it soon occurred to us that sometimes the ordinary folks who simply get married, work hard and raise a family also help make Port the a special community. Rose’s parents, Antonio and Maria, were married in 1910. Antonio moved from their home in Potenza, Italy to Port in 1912. Maria followed a year or so later. They had 10 children including Rose who was born in 1927 and the youngest daughter. Rose became the caregiver while her parents worked… and even today, she is known as the favorite aunt because of her consistent concern for everyone else.

Rose married Dominic in 1951. They first lived on West Shore Road and moved to 64 Wildwood
in 1944. They raised two children James and Daniel, who has two daughters, Sarah and Kathleen.
Dominic ran gas service stations in Port and New Hyde Park and the boys grew up working in the stations. Rose worked for the school district at the Main Street School. James worked for Leon Goldstein Fabric Store, had paper routes and a variety of other local jobs.

Dominic died a few years after their 50th anniversary. So, this month about 50 cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and friends of the family will celebrate Rose’s 90th birthday…A celebration and tribute to a hard working family whose parents emigrated here to work hard and live a special
dream. Marie and I thought this was special, we hope you do also. Cards and notes of good wishes should be sent to Rose Trinchitella at 32 Fairview, Port Washington NY 11050.

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Can it be that 2017 is half way to history?

dave allen
Dave Allen

July 2017

It seems that just yesterday we were all working on those new year’s resolutions. I do not know how you have done with yours but the only visible one I have
kept was to produce this column once a month – and if wasn’t for my partner, … well you know the rest.

Maybe this provides a clue to this annual ritual we call New Year’s Resolutions… we need a partner, a friend, spouse, brother or sister… someone who pushes us,
without offending.

They say that repeating a process 7 times can make it a habit. Maybe this July issue column will be that turning point.

But, back to 2017. It is hard to believe that Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and HarborFest, to name a few, are already In our rear view mirror. No, I am not lamenting the fact that half the year is gone. On the contrary the realization should encourage all of us to double up on our goals and effort to make this year all that we were looking for last December 31.

Here is one thought. If one of your goals was to get more involved with special organizations or events, maybe you could peruse this issue of the PW Calendar and find some organization or group that could use your expertise…. Like participating in the Twin Pines Charitable Community Thrift
Shop. The folks there could really use your help, and you will feel better for your involvement.

Have a great second half of 2017!

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The L.I.E. Driver Mantra

dave allen
Dave Allen

June 2017

Those of you who commute regularly on the Long Island Expressway know immediately what I mean when I say ‘the L.I.E.Driver Mantra’. … no matter what… do not make eye contact. Eye contact means acknowledging you are about to do something that is probably dangerous or, at least, inconsiderate.

Eye contact means acknowledging the other person exists. Of course that means you would be obligated to recognize them and, possibly, be nice in one way or another.

Well, it seems that the L.I.E. Mantra is spreading and I do not know which is more troubling.. the fact or the solution.

How many times have you stood at a doctor’s reception counter while people on the other side busy themselves, walking back and forth and discussing one thing or another? You know the feeling, they make no eye contact with you, they do not say ‘hello,’ or ‘someone will be with you in a minute.’ By not making eye contact they do not admit you exist, so they have no obligation to welcome you.

In the larger stores we dodge very busy, self important, clerks moving through the aisles with the attitude that their ability to put the cans of peas on the shelf is more important than the customers trying to purchase them.

Ok… the easy solution is to exhibit a bit of courtesy on all sides and local shopping would be a bit more pleasant.

However… as in all such situations, there are some shopkeepers (of all sizes) who have recognized the ‘problem’ early and developed a system to correct it.

Yep. I am referring to the practiced speech that says ‘welcome to our wonderful store and excellent help.’

I do not know how it sounds to you but the practiced line is just about as offensive as being ignored… and I’ll bet you.

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From The Publisher
A Perspective On Retail Closings,
or Is The Customer Always Wrong?

dave allen
Dave Allen

May 2017

Recently we came across a listing of retail chain store closings... the number were astounding even to a curmudgeon like myself. The list included Wal-Mart, Sears, JCPenney, CVS, Kmart and on and on. Of course the Ogre, the cause of this was easily identified as “THE INTERNET.”

That is probably correct, except we see a trend that is certainly working to speed up the transition from the shopping center or downtown hopping trip.

A key factor has to be the evolution from the customer is always right, to the customer is always wrong. The recent United Airlines and American Airline fiascos are the easy targets of this axiom. But there are more examples every day, and they are much more insidious than those big headline grabbers.

Just in the past few days we went shopping at the hardware store we often visit. We checked out with a friendly clerk, started to pay and then asked if she had given me my senior discount. “No,” she replied, “you are supposed to tell me first and I am not supposed to do this now” (she did so anyway).

Possibly there is a legal requirement that she is not allowed to ask if I am “old.” Or by setting up this “Tell me first” policy, the store is able to advertise the discount but avoid giving it. In any event I was “Wrong.”

Bouncing around in Long Island traffic is not the most relaxing interlude between customer and vendor visits. So, I stopped at a popular fast food chain and ordered an outrageous, calorie laden lunch last week. This was one of those places that have 2, 3 or 4 “windows” that may or may not be open depending on the time of day. I passed the first one as no one was there and the window was closed. Upon stopping at the next window a frantic person came running up (from the inside) berating me for not paying at the previous window. I suggested no one was there to which he replied, “you should have waited.” Wrong again.

I realize that neither of these places is in danger of my going to the internet for a few screws or sandwiches. However our last encounter proved that the internet is more customer friendly.

A major department store ad listed men’s shoes that I like at a very attractive price. The ad carefully pointed out that this price was available in stores or on the web. Nice.

We thought going to the store would insure getting the correct size and receiving the prized package instantly. Wrong again. After searching for the shoes and a salesperson, we asked to confirm the price listed in the ad. The salesperson was exceedingly honest... she had no idea of the price or the ad. All she could do in check them out on the register and see what came up. She did and the price was a good 20% higher than the ad. After shrugging off the discrepancy I heard “maybe it was a one day sale, I have no way of knowing.” But I could not be right about the price. Wrong again.

You guessed it... we went home, pulled up the website and ordered the shoes, at the sale price with free delivery.

Yes, I have heard the excuse that retail people are abused by customers and/or ill trained for their jobs, and that is why customers are so ill treated. Somewhere we need to get over the chicken and egg arguments and find a way back to customer service and polite customers, or the internet will become king and just as customer friendly as the Friendly Skies.

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Spring in Port Washington

dave allen
Dave Allen

April 2017

It’s such a good feeling to be in Port in the spring…the boats are quickly slipping into the bay, the snowbirds are returning from points south. Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day are all just around the corner.
While this past winter was not particularly difficult,

it made certain we did not get off completely free with the harshest weather hitting us hard in March. But, no matter: Spring is here and we are all happy to shed the overcoats, boots and hats.

We are even happy to begin the spring chores: clean ups, plantings, garage cleanouts, spring maintenance and all those other items delayed over the winter.

Your local merchants are key participants… They are stocked with products and staffed with smiling faces… take advantage of all the benefits of shopping local.

The feeling is good, the smells of spring are in the air, Port is smiling and looking for you to enjoy the world around you.

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An inconvenient convenience

dave allen
Dave Allen

March 2017

I guess we all get a little confused as we grow older. Here is my latest example… it is based on the new convenience that laws and rules are not necessarily adhered to…that is everyone seems to be able to exempt themselves from those rules and laws they find inconvenient; like stop signs and u turns. Our government leaders also find their own way to avoid following the laws they pass for the ‘benefit’ of the rest of us, like free and tax free lunches in Congress while the rest of us struggle with the business lunch IRS rules.

Now we have found another truth that isn’t: the concept of cash being the best payment for goods and services, or, as the dollar bill says “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.”

The TONH Department of Waste Management seems to have never read this or have simply decided that they do not have to follow this rule… I understand part of the reasoning, after all the cash from the dump drop off seemed to drop off and disappear. What isn’t understandable is the cure... just do not take cash… That might eliminate something called stealing.

At the same time it appears that the TONH has found another way to steal, or should I say “divert the funds from the crooks to the Town.” It was a great surprise the other Sunday when we dropped off a car full of the inevitable trash we all seem to collect. Yes the $5.00 minimum charge was still in effect. And cash was unacceptable.

Then came the real surprise on the bill – $5.00 for the drop off and a $1.95 “Convenience Fee.” A fee for paying with my credit card! Maybe a 2% or 2.5% credit card fee would be somewhat acceptable, but a “Convenience Fee” of almost 40%???

So the logic is to avoid internal theft, make us pay by credit card then charge 40% for
the convenience of paying by credit card… Maybe someone can explain the logic.

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From The Publisher
Beautiful Port Washington…

dave allen
Dave Allen

As we write this the election is still a week or so away. Obviously, we do not know who the winner, or loser, is we know there will still be a great divide among those who voted, and those who didn’t.

Even so we are going to stick our neck out and outline a couple of thoughts we trust all of us can agree upon.

Let’s start with what seems like an easy proposition: no elected body should be able to pass any legislation that exempts the members of that body for the legislations impact. If lunches are not tax deductable or chargeable to the recipient, then Congress and all the members should be subject to the same rules. If the Affordable Care Act is applicable to the citizens then it should be applicable to all members of Congress.

Simple, huh?

Of course this means that the NY/NJ Port authority personnel and board should have to pay tolls like the rest of us. Maybe it would also mean that the plethora of Courtesy Cards issued by the various police agencies, benevolent associations, etc. should declared illegal. And off duty police, fire and public officials would have to obey the same traffic laws as the rest of us. (Maybe the new $105 surcharge on tickets in Nassau would thus not be needed)

You can fill in a number of additional examples at your leisure.

My second proposal is equally simple. No legislation local, state or federal should be allowed to contain any amendment or clause that is not directly related to the primary subject of the legislation… no more hiding a special swimming pool in a groundwater protection act.

Thirdly, any member of a legislative office found guilty of a State of Federal offense should lose their position in that body and lose their pension or benefits.

That’s it… when I think of it; these three items may be a bird’s eye view of what this election was all about anyway.

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Important News
For New & Remodeled Businesses
Let us know your plans… When you expect to open or accomplish your remodeling. We will give you coverage in the Port Washington Calendar.

dave allen
Dave Allen

Another opening, another business, another look.

With all of the good things and good looks of Port, we are regularly reminded of the number of empty or underutilized commercial properties throughout our community.

While we would agree that there are few items that look worse than an empty storefront, we would have to say the opposite is also true… a new venture, a cleaned up or refurbished location is a great indication of a strong community… Beautiful!

We have been encouraged lately with a number of initiatives to assist and encourage merchants and property owners to improve the ambiance of their locations.

Yet, the most encouraging event is the implementation of a new look or a new opening. Recently, we have seen a number of these happenings.

Examples are The Music Store, Port Beer and Soda and Bareburger which opened recently, plus the BlueBird Café and the Craft Beer Cellar which are scheduled to open shortly. This is good news for locals who spend their money in the community. For visitors it adds to the attraction of Port, and for the rest of the merchant community it helps give a vibrant, growing and prosperous look to Port.

So, beginning with the August issue, the Port Washington Calendar will make every effort to identify and print information on upcoming openings and improvements… and other recent openings. We all have a stake in their success.

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