Black Friday

If you are up and about to read this post, it’s likely you are getting ready to take part in Black Friday. Back in 2011, I wrote about Black Friday. Things have changed in five years. Black Friday has moved online, but for some there’s still nothing like going out and shopping when it’s still dark. As a public service I offer this list of the times various stores open today. Check it out. You don’t want to be wasting time waiting for a store to open when you could be spending money somewhere else. 

Here are some tips from Consumer Reports for handling Black Friday. 

1. Start early. Ah, remember when Black Friday simply meant checking the ads in the Sunday circulars to see which local retailers had the best deals? Things sure have become more complicated. Not only has Black Friday morphed into a whole month of deals and savings, but online retailers also regularly update prices throughout the event.

If you oversleep on Friday, remember there is always Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials.

2. Do your homework.  Here’s some help: Dell’s electronics deals, plus TV sales at BJ’s, Kohl’s, and Sam’s Club.)

You’ll find tons of leaked ad scans on Black Friday-focused websites such as bfads.net, bestblackfriday.com, gottadeal.com, and theblackfriday.com. Some of these let you filter your searches by product category.

3. Compare prices. If you spot a great deal at one retailer, check out some of the comparison sites, which include FatWallet, PriceGrabber.com, PriceWatch.com, Shopping.com, and ShopZilla to make sure you can’t do better elsewhere. (Don’t forget Google Shopping and NexTag.com.) There are also a growing number of apps, such as ShopSavvy and BuyVia, that let you scan bar codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons from local retailers. (See tip No. 6, below, for additional shopping apps.)

Even Pinterest has price-drop alerts that will monitor items you’ve pinned on certain websites and email you with the price differences when they go on sale. But be forewarned: Direct comparison shopping isn’t always easy, or even possible. For instance, large retailers apply their deepest discounts to sets with a unique model number, which makes it hard to be sure that you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison.

4. Be loyal. Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Sign up for Black Friday shopping alerts about upcoming promotions, coupons, and discounts. In some cases, you can even learn whether products you want are in stock or eligible for a buy-online/pick-up-at-store option that saves you on shipping charges.

5. Get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Those retailers will often reward customers who “like” them or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And, of course, texts, tweets, and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping intel with your friends.

My best tip is to STAY HOME AND PULL OUT YOUR COMPUTER. It’s hard to beat what you can buy online. Just wait for delivery and stay in your PJs. Then you can spend Black Friday, munching on left overs and making turkey soup, and maybe rereading some of my old posts. 

 

Still a Tiger Fan, How ‘Bout You?

Taven Bryan

Photo by Tim Casey
The Florida defense smothers LSU tailback Derrius Guice on the goal line as time expires to preserve Saturday’s 16-10 win
 

Recently I proclaimed that I believed I was becoming a LSU Tiger football fan. Of course, I made clear at the time I was still, primarily a Florida Gator and UL Ragin Cajun. So I know you will forgive me if I have a brighter smile and a happier attitude than my LSU Tiger friends. 

I confess I didn’t watch the game yesterday. I was making a flower bed for my wife. I won’t deny that I listened to the last quarter while consuming a couple of cheese burgers at Judice Inn.  I stopped breathing for the last two plays of the game when the Tigers couldn’t score. I won’t deny I nearly wrecked as I was headed home when the game ended. I am, after all, a fan. 

I will be cheering loudly next weekend when the Tigers take on A and M. and in any bowl game they may play in.  I know most of you won’t care about Florida/Florida State Saturday night, but it’s a huge one for me. 

Admit it. Won’t you at least be silently hoping Florida pulls the upset of the year when we take on Alabama in the SEC championship game in two weeks? Come on. You can admit it. 

So forgive me if:

  1. I wear orange and blue to church today and often for the next couple of weeks.
  2. I don’t ever erase the DVR recording of yesterday’s game or watch Sport Center all day. 
  3. If I have a silly smile for quite a while.

I am, after all, a Gator first. Nobody’s perfect. 

Bumper Bummers

nicksiguradbumper

Got some bumper stickers recently to promote my law practice. Pretty classy, right? Informative, but not too flashy. No picture of me. That’s got to be a plus.

Then I realized I can’t just go out and stick them on random cars. Although my grandson volunteered to do just that. Got to love the enthusiasm of the young. Then I had an inspiration. With the election over (almost) there must be folks who backed the wrong candidates and now have embarrassing bumper stickers on their cars.  

Bumper stickers are like tatoos. What once seemed like a good idea, isn’t always.  Ever try to get a bumper sticker off? Now half of America supported Clinton. Some of those people must have slapped stickers on their vehicles in a moment of foolish passion. What if she ends up in jail? What are you going to do then? You could be an accessory, before and after the fact. 

Even if you supported Trump, you know he’s going to say something that’s going to make you want to lick his sticker off your bumper. You really want to lose sleep over that? 

We all have ideas that seem clever at the time and then later…not so much. Perhaps you got caught up in a cause and couldn’t control yourself. It’s usually too late when you realize that bumper stickers don’t come off easily. You think you are stuck with your past indiscretions, whether few or multiple. 

Should you have this problem, I think we can help each other. Send me your address and I will send you one of my bumper stickers post-paid and free of charge (I always wanted to say that.) Stick it over your past mistakes. You avoid embarrassment and I get free advertising. Okay, so it’s not a billboard or a television ad but it’s a start. 

If I were you I’d act quickly. People are talking about your bad taste in bumper stickers. I would like to say “supplies are limited” or “get yours before they are gone” but there’s enough false lawyer advertising out there. I’m trying to solve problems, not add to them.

No thanks necessary. It’s just what I do. 

 

Miracle…Really?

I was diagnosed with type II diabetes several years ago. Since then I have had medical exams and blood work about every six months. I have been on a variety of meds which have generally kept my disease under control. I would occasionally watch what I ate and rarely tested my blood. The medicine seemed to be working, so I was cool, no need to struggle with a diet or finally get on an exercise program. I remember a doctor (yes an actual doctor) saying regarding diet and exercise, why bother if there’s a drug for it. 

In the last few months  my blood sugar readings rose. My doc recommended a new medication, a weekly injection. He told me that Trulicity was a once a week self-injection. It had good success reducing A1C and I “might” even lose some weight. Science had come up with the latest miracle. The sound of “injection” wasn’t pleasant, but I knew something had to be done. The drug is incredibly expensive. $700 a month for 4 injections, but “what the heck” Medicare pays for all but $100. Six weeks later my fasting blood glucose is normal. I’ve lost over 10 pounds and I feel great and the “miracles” just keep on coming. 

Trulicity might be a miracle drug but maybe not. You see at the same time I started the injections. I finally studied up on what, as a diabetic,  I really should be eating. I started following a strict low carb diet and got serious about daily exercise.   Ads for diabetic medication always have tag lines like “along with diet and exercise.” How much is the drug…how much is diet and exercise? Some say diet and exercise can replace the drugs completely. 

Type II diabetes is epidemic. Check it out.  The cause is obvious. Too many of us are fat and lazy. We eat “crap” and our most vigorous exercise is getting out of the recliner and struggling to the refrigerator, while complaining about the high cost of health care and insurance. Some of us also grip about the “irresponsibles” who live on welfare, don’t have jobs and just need to “take some responsibility.” Irresponsibility is ugly, especially in a mirror. 

Maybe the high cost of medical care and insurance is due, at least in part, to each of us failing to take good care of ourselves and relying on miracle drugs to replace individual responsibility. 

Some of us think the latest election is a “miracle”, but I strongly suspect that if that “miracle” isn’t accompanied by some getting off the couch and personal effort to doing something to make America Great Again, the “miracle” will be short lived.

In all the battles of life, health, finances, and politics, personal responsibility is first line of defense as well as the best offense.

Honor Vets – It’s About Time

 

Tomorrow, November 11, 2016, is Veteran’s Day. I’m a veteran and finally proud of it. I wasn’t always so proud of my military service.  

Dad never talked about his service on Iwo Jima during World War II. He was at the base of the hill when the famous picture of the flag waving was taken. He never talked about it. For his generation, courage and service was the norm. Nothing to talk about, even though he was heroic. My service was not nearly heroic, yet I didn’t talk about my service because my generation neither appreciated or honored military service. 

When I returned from Vietnam on the U. S. S. Ranger we had garbage thrown on us from the heights of the Golden Gate Bridge entering into San Francisco Bay. Some crew members even joined the anti-war protests. Many of us often wore wigs on liberty in San Francisco to make it more difficult to be identified as military, considered by many more the enemy than the Viet Cong. It didn’t make me proud. It made me sad.

No longer. Recently I have taken to wearing a baseball cap proudly proclaiming my service. I have been encouraged by the response. I have been thanked numerous times for my service. I have been engaged in many wonderful conversations. Maybe things are changing.  I’m a veteran and, nearly fifty years later, I’m finally proud. 

This weekend take a moment to thank and honor vets. Here are some opportunities to learn why those who served should be honored.

Watch a movie. Hacksaw Ridge might give you an idea what real courage and service is all about. Not all who served killed or even carried guns. It’s playing this weekend. 

Read a book. Bill O’Reilly’s best seller Killing the House of the Rising Sun – How America Vanquished World War II Japan includes the story of Hacksaw Ridge and will give you a new appreciation of how this country, that so many aren’t proud of,  saved the world. 

Go to church. Sunday at 10 a.m. Progressive Baptist Church, here in Lafayette, hosts its annual salute to Vets. If you go you might see me, but don’t let that keep you away.

Carencro Veterans’ Day celebration: The City of Carencro is honoring local servicemen and women with a special Veterans Day Celebration, Nov. 11 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Carencro Veterans Memorial. Follow the Carencro Veterans Memorial on Facebook for more information.

HonorFest/ Veterans Day, 2016:  Country music star Trace Adkins will headline the event. HonorFest  be held Nov. 11 at Parc International, downtown Lafayette. Gates open at 5 p.m., show begins at 6 p.m.

 

Read a magazine. This month’s issue of Covenant Spotlight includes articles honoring our vets.  The magazine is free and available throughout Acadiana. You can also read it online. Check out my article on page 7.

Donald Trump says we are going to start honoring and taking care of our vets. I hope he means it because it’s about dam time. 

 

 

 

It’s Just a Comma

November 8, 2016 – It’s a big day. It’s election day. Today America will elect it’s least popular president ever and that will be true no matter who wins. For at least a while, the leader will be far less than the led.  It’s a big deal. We followers will have to recognize more than ever it’s in God we trust and not government. It’s a reality check most of us really need. 

But it’s not a period.  Americans, be sure that today is a big one in our history but it’s not the end. It’s not a period. It’s much more like a comma.  From my grammar school days, I recall that a period means “stop.” A comma means “pause.” Whatever happens today (or heaven forbid it’s like 2000 and it’s not decided today) we don’t stop. We don’t stop believing what we believe. If we are lovers, we don’t stop loving If we are doers, we don’t stop doing. If we are carers, caring doesn’t end. As followers we are called to be lovers, doers and those who care. 

We do pause. We stop putting one step in front of the other for the briefest of times. We take a deep breath. We look around. If we are followers of Jesus, we don’t pause long enough to let Him get ahead of us. For following is what we do; so we get back to it. We re-evaluate. Much of what we think is important, even essential, really isn’t. Maybe we aren’t following close enough. In fact, we can be sure we aren’t. We step up the pace. With distractions aside, we follow with more intensity, more passion, more hope, and, yes, more certainty. 

We are renewed.  A comma has a purpose. It serves to adjust our paths ever so slightly. It signifies a change of direction. We continue to follow but we recognize He who leads doesn’t change, but those of us who follow tend to become distracted and drift.  The path hasn’t changed, we’ve just wandered into the weeds. 

Eternally nothing has changed.  The comma doesn’t end the sentence. The walk continues. What may seem monumental, isn’t. God is still God. We still aren’t. 

If the comma does it’s job and causes us to pause, to be quiet and to listen, I think we will hear Him say, “Don’t be afraid, just follow me.”

Oh, no, I might be a tiger fan.

I think I might be becoming a LSU Tiger football fan. Such a dramatic change this late in life is disturbing. I went to Law School at the University of Florida so I’m a Florida Gator fan. I spent a couple of semesters at UL (then USL) before 12 years in the Navy so I’m a Cajun (and to a much less extent) a Navy fan.

I was born in Louisiana and have lived here since my military discharge in 1982. I have patiently endured living in a sea of purple and gold. In the past I have smiled (to my self) or even chuckled when LSU would lose. Things have changed.

First I admitted that I couldn’t pull for Satan, I mean Saban, when the Tigers face LSU tonight. That’s not really new. This time I’m really hoping LSU wins. I guess I have caught the Coach “O” fever. I suppose it’s hard not to at least inwardly hope that Fournette can “rush” his way back into Heisman trophy race. 

Frankly, it would be nice sometimes to be able to cheer along with all my tiger-loving off spring. I mean I’m never been a complete hater. I do have some tiger gear hidden way back in the dust-covered recesses of my closet, mostly gifts from well meaning, tiger loving relatives. I once went to Orlando to watch the ‘twin towers” lose in the first round of a the SEC basketball tournament only to spend the rest of the week at Walt Disney World. Ok, so that was a business trip and I had to go.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll never bleed purple and gold. I can’t picture myself fighting the mobs to tailgate in Baton Rouge or wear only LSU gear. I will at best be a secondary fan. I won’t be able to cheer for the tigers when the play Florida or, more rarely, UL. Most of my casual wear will still be vermilion or blue and orange. At my age, there is still some pleasure in shocking folks in public. There is, however,  joy in being caught up in the frenzy that sometimes surrounds but hasn’t possessed me when things look rosy at LSU. It’s certainly that kind of time now.

Let me just try it….”Goooooo Tigers.” That wasn’t so bad. At least they finally have a coach that doesn’t have an accent. God I hope they beat Alabama tonight. I wouldn’t want to have gone through this metamorphosis for nothing.

Why You Shouldn’t Hire the Lawyer You See Advertised All Over

The answer is – not much. 

Ordinary folks don’t think about attorneys until something stressful interferes with their lives. They look up and see a television ad or a billboard and dial the number. It’s what the advertising lawyers count on. The problem is that most people don’t really know what to look for when they need an attorney. And unfortunately, there are many reasons you probably shouldn’t hire that attorney you see advertised all over the place; I don’t want to step on any toes, but here are a few reasons why:

You may never talk to the lawyer you’re trying to contact.

Many times, the lawyer you see advertised is just a figurehead for a firm. The chances are pretty good that they are not trying cases, and the chances are also pretty good that they won’t ever see or work on your case. Realistically, a lawyer can only handle about 35 cases a year. If that lawyer on a billboard is getting 350 cases a year (or more), who is handling all of them and how well are they being handled?

Many times, people who hire a widely-advertised lawyer will never actually interact with an attorney. They will be forced to always talk to paralegals or, even worse, case managers who don’t have any real qualifications.

Many lawyers who advertise are simply looking for a large number of cases

If you crunch the numbers, the way to make the most money per hour as an injury lawyer is to get a lot of cases and settle all of them long before trial – even if it means settling for less than what clients deserve. For your average case, it takes far less time and effort to reach a quick, but small, settlement than it does to maximize the case value through hard work and preparation. Preparing an injury victim’s case for trial can take 200 hours and can last for years. If a lawyer doesn’t put in the time, work, and research necessary, they will be unprepared for trial and lose cases, which results in even lower settlements for clients since insurance companies know that lawyer doesn’t do their job well.

Don’t be fooled by the “No charge unless we collect” ad. Almost any lawyer will take a good case on contingency.

Often, the lawyers who are heavily advertising are just trying to get as many simple, cookie-cutter cases as possible so they can get the best return on their investment (by investing as little time as possible). They are not proactive as they plan a strategy for their clients to get them the settlement and compensation they deserve; instead, they react to developments in cases as they continually try to minimize the time they are involved in a case.

Handling a high quantity of cases doesn’t equate to being a higher quality lawyer

The simple truth is that the lawyers who get the best results – in settlements and in trials – are the ones who have a proven track record of actually trying cases. Those lawyers are the ones who are ready, willing, and able to put in the work, invest their time, and go to bat for their clients. Many attorneys, especially those who rely on a high volume of cases for their revenue, simply aren’t willing to do that.

Practicing law since 1981, I have made a lot of friends. Often I have done little legal favors for them for free or for a very small fee. More than once these friends ended up with major legal problems and called an advertising lawyer instead of talking to their friend. If you have the misfortune of having a real big legal problem, talk to a friend whether he is a lawyer or just happens to have had experience with a lawyer. In either case, you will be better off than calling the number on the billboard.

There. I got that off my chest.