Moderator: Let me introduce this month’s guest, Tom Reynolds. Tom has practiced consumer law for more than fifteen years and currently has his own law firm. We’ve invited him here today to talk to us about our rights as consumers. So, Tom, welcome to our Roses and Thorns discussion group.
Tom: Thank you, Marcia. You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my fifteen years of helping consumers help themselves, it’s—
Moderator: Sorry to interrupt, Tom. Hey, what’s that, Lavender? You can hear, but you’re not getting any image? [Muttering.] Hold on. Don’t get upset. Just shut down Zoom and come back in. Okay? [Long pause.] Okay, Tom, please go ahead.
Tom: Where was I? Right, what I’ve learned. You see, a lot of people—I’d say most people—don’t realize how much power they have. All you have to do to understand this is—
Moderator: Lavender, I see you’re back. What’s that? Still no image. I don’t know what to suggest. Any ideas anyone?
Unidentified voice: Make sure “Video on” is checked.
Moderator: Lavender, did you hear that? Look through all the settings there on Zoom. One is a checkbox for “Video on.” Something like that. Yes. Right. Keep looking, Lavender. Sorry, Tom. Please go ahead.
Tom: Is this a Zoom training session? I thought I was here to answer consumer questions.
Moderator: My apologies. Please go ahead.
Tom: Well, okay. Like I was saying, consumers need to recognize the ginormous power they have. All it takes to sink a local business, like a restaurant or hair salon, is a few negative reviews on Yelp. Now, you don’t want to overuse this weapon. I’m just saying—
Moderator: Really, Lavender. It’s there. I can’t look for it right now because we’re in the middle of the session. But Fred’s right. I remember checking that box once. Please, go ahead, Tom.
Tom: Hm. Okay, Yelp. You always want to try to resolve your problem directly with the company before going nuclear on them. Your meal wasn’t served hot? Tell them. They might even give you a freebie. They cut off your toe when manicuring your nails? Well, that’s a little more serious, but still. Head for the emergency room, get it reattached, then go back to the nail salon because they’re sure to cover your expenses. Just—
Moderator: Fred, any other ideas? Lavender says the checkbox is checked. Is that what you’re telling me, Lavender?
Fred: She says she has the audio. Maybe she could just sit back and listen. After all, this is a talk.
Moderator: Lavender, did you hear that? What’s that? You want to see what Tom looks like? Tell you what, when this is over, I’ll ask him to send me a photo, or maybe I’ll find one by Googling. Yes? Great. Then let’s proceed. Tom, back to you.
Tom, clearing throat: I’ve lost my train of thought.
Unidentified voice: You were telling us what happens when a nail salon cuts off your toe. Do you get lots of people coming into your office with missing toes?
Tom: So many, you wouldn’t believe. I’m thinking of proposing legislation to penalize nail salons that cut off more than five people’s toes. I mean, one accident is understandable. Unless, of course, [laughs] it’s your toe.
Same unidentified voice: That’s what I was getting at. That’s pretty serious stuff you’re alleging.
Tom: Yeah, it’s serious all—
Moderator: Yes, Lavender, I’m sure you’d like to see Tom’s expression just now. He looks—how shall I put it?—amused. I’ll tell you about it afterwards. Sorry, Tom, please go ahead.
Tom: Another pernicious practice I’ve observed is people constantly interrupting speakers at public events. It’s even worse on Zoom. Imagine you’re the speaker. You’re just getting going when someone chimes in with an irrelevant comment or some problem they’re having with the technology. Then you get going again, only to be interrupted again. I’m considering proposing legislation that would impose fines on—
Moderator: Again, Tom, I apologize for the interruptions. Lavender is one of our most loyal participants, and she’s been eager all month to see you in action. She tells me she’s read about you.
Tom: Well, I’m flattered.
Moderator: Please go ahead.
Tom: But not so flattered that I want to continue. Like I said, my train of thought got totally derailed. I wish all of you a beautiful day and happy consuming.
Moderator: Looks like he’s gone. Yep, it says, “Thomas Reynolds has left the meeting.”
Lavender, for the first time in her own voice: Can you hear me?
Moderator: Loud and clear.
Lavender: You were going to tell me about his expression.