Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bigotry & Stone

Seems a local Granite company, Southern Style Granite, down in Baton Rouge (you know, the kind of company that supplies counter tops and things to interior decorators?) doesn't want to do business with "our kind".

They even seem rather enthused about making their distaste for LGBT folks rather clear.

Fortunately, while things could always turn around, things like that don't play so well anymore.

My good friend and shooting buddy, Ambulance Driver, was gracious enough to make me aware of this little faux pas and suggest that sharing on Facebook and other social networks might be a fine thing. Perhaps even Digg might be a worthwhile forum for exploring this topic.

The story has gone national, with the oft-reviled Dan Savage of The Stranger picking it up on the SLOG, TOTWTYTR has jumped in, Southern Style Granite's homophobic antics find mention over at Adventures of a Drama Filled Mom, Southern Style Granite finds similar mention over at Care2, the story pops up on Reddit, again over at Void Where Prohibited, at FreeTalkLive, at LazyCircle, and Bullet Points posts a most excellent analysis.

Just what did the kids at Southern Style Granite do to earn this ire? Well, it seems (according to Kevin Serrin, Chairman of the Capitol City Alliance) a gay couple was patronizing Southern Style Granite when one of the owners rushed over and asked if they were a couple. Upon an affirmative response, the couple was informed that Southern Style Granite "does not do business with your kind."

Serrin tells us he and his partner then independently verified this with their own visit to Southern Style Granite.

Now, as a gay libertarianish semi-conservative (fiscally conservative, socially moderate) gun-owning former (hopefully) activist this gripes me more than a bit. That such bigotry still exists saddens, but does not surprise me.

That these morons will be used as a feces-laden stick to smear everyone to the right of Mao as homophobic bigots just downright pisses me off at both both those who would stoop to such tactics and the jerks at Southern Style Granite that by their bigotry and stupidity made it possible.

May digestion of both the owners of Southern Style Granite and those who would use them as a tool for ad hominem attacks shift into a high velocity reverse mode such that they live a long miserable life hoovering up barbed wire and sharp objects.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

gPal, let me count the ways

I wanted to like gPal. I really did. And I'd heard good things, not least of which was that "they aren't those anti-gun @#$^@#$% over at PayPal".

Then my experience started going south. I have set-up a blegcan here on the blog, a number of work-related links on a different account, and finally (as most of you know, I'm running for public office this time around) an online campaign donation system.

The campaign donation system is a *failure*. Not because of the interface - but because the mechanism they use to validate a bank account for transfer (send tiny amount of money account, have user report that back to gPal, and then the account is "validated" for further transfers) is broken - and they consistently refuse to implement alternative measures to validate. A good interface is fairly useless if it doesn't move funds.

I'm stuck with an interface that can't accept or transfer campaign donation funds. And this morning I find the Customer Service number has a neat-o "auto-hangup" feature that kicks in about 20 seconds in. Makes it hard to resolve issues.

I've been busy enough, however, to have that on my back burner. So why the sudden attention?

I heard I was not alone, and read gPal tale of woe and ineptness told by RobbAllen over at Sharp as a Marble. This persuaded me that all was not lovely in gPal-land. I'm now actively considering alternatives for the campaign, for my workplace, and for the bleg-box on this blog...

I like to keep my money and my business in the communities I support, and by preference with vendors in those communities whose hand I've shaken and with whom I can at least delude myself that I have a relationship upon which some trust can be based.

I looking for a trustworthy hoplophiliac and LGBT-friendly vendor that can "just make it work" while not going all weird (yes, I mean you, PayPal) and randomly confiscating funds that they whimsically deem to be derived from or benefiting issues or causes they get a wild hair to condemn. A company may have the *right* to engage in such whimsical behavior, but I have the right to choose to do business with someone consistent and trustworthy.

Anyone have any ideas?

I'd still *like* to like gPal, and they seem nice enough people. But failure to notify and refusal to set up alternative mechanisms for validation has really undermined my confidence.