HANDSHAKES WILL DO

Joe Biden’s mistake is a mistake this entire culture has been making for too many decades now.

It is the mistake of informality and physicality which can be found in every workplace, meeting, greeting on the street and other forms of communication. We have become a society where the “bro-hug” has replaced the handshake; where people feel free to cry and express private emotions and thoughts in public; and where the word “love” is thrown around like so much confetti. 

We need a new level of formality, decorum and politeness in America, which starts with a return to … dare I say it … manners. 

The vice president should not have been so informal and touchy-feely with people, but then he is a product of a culture that has grown to be that way. This is a time when presidents cry at the drop of a hat, and everyone tells everyone how much they “love” them. It is not sexual assault or harassment to invade a person’s space in a time when so many people will hug people they have met for the first time, depending on the moment and gathering, but it is annoying, distasteful and it needs to stop. 

Democrats are upset at the way these accusations are being manipulated and exaggerated to the point of disgusting doctored videos of Biden with children, with implied suggestions that his actions are similar to Harvey Weinstein and Brett Kavanaugh. Frankly, many of us are upset that there is a clear political motivation to these attacks on Biden, and that they are coming from supporters of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. 

It is time for civility and intelligent discussion to return to the public square in America. It’s time to bring back the handshake and leave the hugs at home.

~  ERNESTO BARRERA

via email

E-WASTE OF TIME

California State Assembly Bill 161 (AB 161) is not just a solution in search of a real problem, but it will create substantial new headaches for every small business owner in the state.

AB 161 mandates — which is the legal term for “requires whether or not it makes sense for your business” — that every small business in California provide digital e-receipts on all transactions. The traditional paper receipt would only be available if the customer specifically requests it, and any business not in complete compliance with the new law would be subject to penalties — or worse, endless lawsuits. All that on top of backbreaking new costs for every business owner in order to be compliant.

Here is the menu of ways AB 161 hurts small businesses and our customers:

For starters, the out-of-pocket costs for business owners are enormous. The new system would require nearly every small business to replace their point-of-sale technology to comply with a mandated e-receipt. The estimated cost is $30,000-$45,000 per restaurant or store. That doesn’t even include the time and money to train and retrain employees. All of that adds up to increased costs for the business owner, which either means reduced hours for current workers, limitations on hiring or higher prices passed on to customers.

Now, the main course: Privacy. In order for a business to complete a mandated e-receipt transaction with a customer, the customer would have to provide some personally identifiable information. Consumer data management isn’t the arena people like me want to be in, and the recent passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) means that every small business owner would be forced to take on massive and scary new liability regarding data security. Pushed into the data-privacy business by AB 161, too many small businesses will face this liability and not survive.

Finally, there is the negative impact on customer experience — a critical component for any customer-facing business. Requiring consumer information like an email address or phone number will lead to confusing and even hostile interactions; increase wait times for people in line; negatively impact people who rely on paper receipts; and, worst of all, highlight and exacerbate the digital divide between the connected of California and the ones who are too young, too old, too digitally inexperienced, too nervous about government intrusion or simply prefer the convenience of paying cash without the requirement to provide yet another digital footprint.

We are small business owners that faithfully serve our local communities. We are not billion-dollar technology startups. We are not data-privacy security firms.

E-receipts are a fair choice for businesses that can afford to offer them and for consumers who choose to seek them out, but forcing small businesses to provide them will make it so much harder to successfully run our businesses, serve our customers and contribute to our communities.

~  JORGE A GUTIERREZ

VIA EMAIL

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