I've heard all about those door-to-door scammers who try to sell you terrible gas contracts. But I would never fall for a scam like that...or would I?
Loud knocking on the door. A woman flashes her badge and explains she's been sent to check my water heater from "National." I'm hesitant but she looks so official with a badge, clipboard, and pamphlets. I let her look in my furnace room. She clucks her tongue at our old heater, "clearly a money-sucker" she says. She explains that we definitely need a new hi-efficiency water heater to help us save money on our bill. Plus she notices we have BLACK PIPES which is extra terrible. They've been leaking CARBON MONOXIDE. My heart starts to race. OMG my family is going to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
She's hooked me. She quickly writes out a contract and asks me to sign, mentioning words like "free," "no charge," and "no problem." Did I mention that she was writing quickly?
Something started to bother me. Why am I signing a contract for such a big purchase so quickly? So I ask her to wait a minute while I call Enbridge Gas to make sure this is all on the up and up. She waits patiently. When I speak to a customer service rep at Enbridge, he doesn't yell SCAM. However, he does tell me that I may not actually need a new water heater and not to rush into anything. My spidey sense is awakened.
I put the phone down. She's waiting for me to sign. Instead I say no, that I will contact her once I confer with my husband. She responds with something like, "this offer is only good now while we're in your neighbourhood" or some other bullshit. I show her the door and actually break out in a sweat.
Holy Shit! I was thisclose to being scammed!
I tweeted out that had almost been scammed. And these are some of the responses I got:
So the moral of this story is that anyone can get scammed. Don't sign any contracts with someone breathing down your neck. Or call me! I'll talk you down! Power to the people.
Make sure you read this Consumer Alert on water heather rentals. You're welcome!
"But I didn't get dessert yet."
I cannot tell you how much it irks me when my daughter makes this excuse not to go to bed. It's not the bedtime ritual that bothers me. Rather, it's that sense of entitlement that she deserves to have dessert; that it's her "right" as a my daughter to be given sweets after dinner.
I semi-patiently explain the different between "need" and "want." Dessert is not something she needs (she disagrees with me on that), nor is it her right. It is a luxury and she is a lucky little girl to have access to almost everything her little heart desires.
This is a perfect teachable moment to go past our four walls and look at how this applies to kids around the world.
In 1948 the United Nations actually declared a long list of Universal Human Rights. If you read through this kid-friendly list, there is no mention of post-dinner sweets. But there are many rights my daughter, and probably your kids, take for granted every day.
Here are some questions you can raise with your kids to celebrate International Human Rights Day on December 10th.
What are some of the rights we take for granted that other children around the world wish they had?
More than 115 million children around the world are doing dirty, dangerous, and degrading work. Many industries use child labour—from farming to fishing, mining to manufacturing. Because of this, kids aren't free to go to school. They are forced to work and help their families.
What is the difference between household chores and child labour? Is doing the dishes child labour?
There is a big difference. Child labour is when a child's work interferes with their health, schooling or personal development. For example, if a nine-year-old girl is forced to work for 12 hours a day without pay and isn't given an opportunity to go to school then this is considered child labour. However, if a nine-year-old girl helps out around the house, but is still able to attend school and has time to play, this is not child labour.
There’s a big difference between chores and child labour. This boy in the Philippines helps out on his family’s seaweed farm after school, but this type of work doesn’t interfere with his health, schooling or personal development. His rights are protected, including the right to play.
What kinds of responsibilities do you have?
This is the time where I remind my daughter about some of the things she has agreed to do—like go to school and finish her homework, treat her friends with respect, put her plate away after dinner, keep her room clean. Easy peasy.
This is also a good time to talk about the responsibility to give back. My daughter is having an EchoAge birthday party this year—50% of each guest's gift is donated to my daughter's choice of charity. Since we sponsor a little girl named Grace in Malawi through World Vision, this is where her dollars will go. Also, for teachers' gifts, both my kids will pick relevant items from the World Vision catalogue like textbooks for students in other countries or protection for a child labourer.
Misra proudly shows her birth certificate which she has just received with assistance from World Vision. Everyone born in Canada has the right to a birth certificate, but this isn’t the case everywhere. Millions of babies worldwide never receive a birth certificate and are denied access to basic rights like health care and education. In many cases children who are trafficked don’t have any proof of who they are, so they can’t access education, healthcare or legal protection. They can’t prove who they are and where they’re from and be reunited with their families.
Little known fact: When I was a kid in camp, I was awarded Most Empathetic Camper (even though I really wanted the Drama Award). Teaching my kids generosity, empathy, and respect are priorities for me as a parent. I believe it's my responsibility to help grow little people who will make the world a better place. In this case, talk isn't cheap. It's sweet.
Want to know more?
Check out Erica's recent post about how dirty a child's work can get
Read this story from Debbie Wolfe to learn how you can make a difference just by choosing the products you buy
Learn about the sad state of children and human trafficking from Carleen McGuinty
Visit World Vision’s End Child Slavery campaign at endchildslavery.ca.
I am so incredibly proud that YummyMummyClub.ca won the award for Best in Digital Lifestyle Entertainment at the Digi Awards last night.
To be honest, I dreamed of a day when they would call out YMC's name and that sparkling statue would have our name on it, just like in the Academy Awards.
I'd rush up on stage, deliver my heart-wrenching, powerful thank you speech, and walk off on cloud nine.
That's not exactly what happened last night. Do you know how incredibly hard it is to keep your nerves in check, go on stage and pour your heartfelt thanks out in 140 characters in front of your peers? Let me tell you, it is next to impossible. Especially when you haven't prepared a speech because you didn't believe you would win.
Last night, when the presenter called out Yummy Mummy Club for Best in Lifestyle Entertainment, I guess I went into some kind of winner shock. I lost my ability to focus. I stood in front of the mic and mumbled something about awesome bloggers, amazing staff, sense of community and then I dropped the "f" word, grabbed my statue and stepped off stage, head swirling.
I crumbled under the pressure and excitement and wasted my speech.
So here's my re-do—What I wish I had said on stage.
I would begin with an elegant thanks to everyone at Achilles Media, especially Mark Greenspan, for this amazing opportunity. And of course, a shout out to the thousands of moms and dads for visiting YMC and making it come to life with their comments, stories and contest entries.
Then, I would thank Jen Charron and Ali Martell for helping me bring YMC to the next level with their vision, creativity, and unbelievable work ethic.
I'd thank Sharon DeVellis for not coming to the awards show (apparently guaranteeing we'd win), but more importantly for being there at the beginning and continuing to help me craft the voice and foundation of what YMC is all about.
Shout out to Karen Elliott, the very first person I nervously hired through Craigslist five years ago and Gwen Leron who has become such an integral part of the team.
Of course Eileen Fisher would get a huge verbal hug for being the Radar O'Reilly of Community Managers. My sister-in-law Susie, aka The Prize Queen, gets a big virtual kiss.
I smile out to Adina Moss and Jenn Howe, the quiet and steady force which keeps our engine going.
Ann Loo gets thanks for making my company's dollars make sense, while Evan Trestan and his team at Lifestyle Media gets a high five for being my talented TV production partner for all these years based on a handshake.
Mia Parnes, who designed our new logo and Mike, Cam and Matt at Razorbraille who helped us make the site innovative.
Next I would articulate my pride in working with so many talented, passionate writers who make up the tapestry of voices on YMC. Of course, I'm referring to the forty bloggers spread out around Canada who surprise me on a daily basis with their unique posts, expertise and for exposing their personal foibles fearlessly.
Segueing from bloggers, I would go on a bit of a rant about our newest writer, my mother Evelyn Hannon, and how she inspires me every day by being a role model both personally and professionally. I *may* wipe a tear at this point. Of course my dad would be thanked for instilling in me a taste for entrepreneurship and for being my business coach.
Of course, I would end up with a huge thank you to my husband Terry who supports me in every way. Without him, I wouldn't be the person I am today. He, my daughter Jessie and son Josh make me feel like the yummiest of mummies because of their unconditional love and acceptance. *Lips quiver but no tears. Just a look of pure joy*
Grabs statue and fist pumps the air in victory pose. Exit right. Cue the wine.
Thank you everyone for making this possible.