Poetic Paper Clutter

Hello to all friendly readers near and far. I’ve mentioned this already, but for awhile now I’ve been getting daily e-mails from the FlyLady, with the idea that sometimes I may get serious about following her system. right now I’m working on the general monthly goals, and the goal this morning is to eliminate paper clutter.

She’d be delighted if she could see the big green garbage bag of papers I’ve already shredded this week — but most of that is years-old records hubby has been storing until recently. Now it’s time for me to dig into my own stash of scribbles, weed out and post various poetry and musings. Here’s one I did awhile ago about the COVID isolation:

No Customers

The merchant opens his door
to let the wind to rush in
and a masked young mom
with hurried, worried eyes.
Then a child wanting chips,
her eyes crinkling in smiles,
her mask Sleeping Beauty

She heads home to school;
he turns his sign to OPEN.
The wind flips it back.
What does it matter?
Few customers will come,
this Covid-tainted morning
where lock-down rules.

Chicanery

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CHICANERY

I’ve always thought of this as silly, naughty, or clever pranks, but I was wrong. Merriam-Websters says it means deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry: trickery.

So here’s my example:

Sales Man
With his suave manners, overblown promises and financial chicanery — he called it “creative accounting” —  he was able to convince a number of seniors to invest in his well camouflaged Ponzie scheme.

 

Disillusioned!

I’ve heard that you shouldn’t believe everything you read, so maybe this article isn’t true. Maybe this lady doesn’t really post five-star reviews on Amazon for stuff she’s never tried. The article is fiction — or at least distortion of the facts.

But maybe it is true. Maybe she does. And maybe there are dozens of others like her?

If today’s writing challenge were the word Dismayed, Dishonest, False, or even Phony, I’d have an easier time launching into this. But the Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is PASSAGE.

Well then, I’ve just made a swift passage from credulity to incredulity.

When I turn on my computer in the morning I get a selection of interesting news articles to choose from. This morning BuzzFeed News offered an intriguing headline about  someone who writes fake reviews of products and posts them on Amazon. READ IT HERE.

Those of us who write and have books listed on Amazon know how important reviews are. Potential readers scan the lists of books in their genre and decide — often based on reviews left by other readers — whether the book is worth their reading time. And I know there was a time when friends, relatives, and fans of this particular writer would load Amazon with glowing reviews. At times, having read the book myself, I’d shake my head and scroll down a page, where I’d see more honest reviews. “Poorly written,” “needs editing,” “grammar mistakes and typos,” “limp characters.”

Amazon has weeded out a lot of these reviews by ruling that only VERIFIED PURCHASERS may review and NO REVIEWS IN EXCHANGE FOR a free book or an equally glowing review of the other writer’s book. There was a time when small companies could make a profit by selling reviews to authors. Now the rule is NO PAID REVIEWS.

But I gather from the article I’ve just read that there are loopholes and some people are finding quite lucrative ones. Free products and even financial reimbursements from the advertiser, lots of freebies that make good gifts for friends.

While she may make some negative comments, the Reviewer in this article gives five-star reviews on all products, not matter what she actually thinks of them — or if she even tries them. But one day a co-worker asked about a product she’d reviewed and she admitted this is simply a way to get freebies and make a bit on the side. The coworker was disappointed that the review wasn’t honest.

“I definitely feel like I have to keep it a secret from people who have strong morals,” the Reviewer told the article writer.

She admits that for safety reasons she’s afraid to try some electrical devices from lands afar, but gives them a good review anyway. Her boyfriend’s a chemist and has discovered toxic ingredients in some skin care products, so she’s leery of trying them.

According to the article, a lot of her business is with small businesses in China—often claiming to be family-owned. Companies want to get their products taken seriously on Amazon and some are willing to cheat to do it, reimbursing purchasers and even paying a small fee. Sadly, where not-quite-honest people are looking for some small passage through the tangle of rules, they will find it somehow.

Oh, buyer beware!

Those Seasonal Sales

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is WRINKLE. Coupled with the inspiration from my recent shopping adventure, I’ve composed this poem. (You may call it a consumer rant if you wish. 😉 )

Seasonal Sales

In the blink of an eye,
the wrinkle of a brow,
another sale—limited time offer!—
kicks off with spectacular
savings you can’t miss.

First New Year’s sales, then Spring
with its end-of-winter-clearance,
followed by ready-for-Easter sales
with prices so low you have to
spend and stock up.

In the blink of an eye,
the wrinkle of a brow,
summer sale are upon us:
holidays, barbecues, cottages;
you need to buy all kinds of stuff!
Suntan lotion, insect repellent
by the gallon, at low, low price!

In the blink of an eye,
the wrinkle of a brow,
the back-to-school sales start
abutting nicely, while you’re there,
with end-of-summer clearances
that lawn mower you wanted
back in spring, now price-reduced
and ready for that fall clean-up.
Yes, you can spend—and save big time—
all in the blink of an eye.

Parents shopping for school books
are greeted by goblins, masks
and shelves of lanterns, because Halloween
is just around the corner. And fall’s the time
to plant those shrubs and bulbs
now on sale at half price.

In the blink of an eye,
the wrinkle of a brow,
Thanksgiving adds pumpkins, pilgrims
Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales
to keep the economy afloat.

Up go the calendar displays,
offering convenient gifts to please
those “impossible-to-buy-for”
bosses, uncles and aunts.
At the Super-Fall-Clearance table,
shoppers eye a book that offers to explain
how to reduce clutter and stress—
“Half price this week” —and sigh.

In the blink of an eye,
the wrinkle of a brow,
Christmas season’s upon us;
trees and lights go up and last year’s
decorations are on sale for a steal
and merchants pray for snow.
“Remember those folks on your lists,”
competes with “Jingle Bells”
to jingle tills, while shoppers
wander the aisles in a daze.

The first week in December
Boxing Day fliers arrive, awash
with after-Christmas bargains on
those gifts not bought, left-over
boxed cards and wrap, 60% off!

Eyes blinking, brows wrinkling,
and wallets seriously depleted,
consumers take a deep breath
and wait for the New Year
and the next onslaught of sales.