When should I buy travel insurance?

When is travel insurance worth the added expense? I outline a few instances when you should consider buying a policy in my new USA Today video segment. By the way, my weekly live broadcast is on hiatus until I can find a fast enough Internet connection to accommodate the bandwidth requirements. (Warning: this video starts when you upload the page, and there isn’t a thing I can do to stop it. Yet it is worth watching, so please click on it.)
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4 unbelievably stupid things no customer should do

When the service is so awful that you feel like taking a swing at an employee, or falling to the ground and wailing, give yourself a little time-out and watch these videos.

These are real clips of customers behaving really badly.

They aren’t just examples of what not to do when you’re a customer. To some extent, they also help you adjust and manage your own expectations, ensuring that you won’t overreact when things don’t go your way.
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Caught on tape: customers who left their brains at home

I spend a fair amount of time criticizing companies for their anti-consumer behavior. And they usually deserve it.

But let’s face it: sometimes customers have it coming.

Not every person who darkens the door of a business is playing with a full deck, as they say.

Let’s go straight to the tape.
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Customer circus: 5 funniest customer “service” videos ever

Who ever said bad customer service isn’t funny?

Case in point: The following collection of videos, which are a must-see for anyone who works in a customer-service job or who has ever had a service problem with a company.

In other words, just about everyone.

The videos are more than humorous, though. They’re also instructive, offering broader lessons about becoming a better customer and avoiding truly awful (though sometimes laugh-out-loud funny) service.
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Pilot who posted security flaw video online is punished by the TSA

An airline pilot who posted a series of videos online that exposed shortcomings in airport security has been punished by the Transportation Security Administration, which included a visit to his home by federal agents and sheriff’s deputies.

Sound familiar? It does to me.

The videos, which have since been deleted, show that thousands of airport employees are allowed to skip security every day at San Francisco International Airport. Here’s the full report from the San Francisco ABC affiliate and the station that broke the story, News 10 in Sacramento.

The pilot, whose name was not given, had his gun confiscated and a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon. The pilot’s status as a Federal Flight Deck Officer, a volunteer position, is being reviewed, he was told.
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Disney turns to guests to promote theme parks

In one video, a little boy dances during a parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. In another, a young girl dressed as a princess embraces her father. And in a third, two women explore Cinderella Castle.

All are part of Disney’s new campaign called Let the Memories Begin — a promotion that relies on what the company refers to as “guest-generated” content.

“Let the Memories Begin is about real guests making real memories in our parks,” said Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president of global marketing for Disney Destinations.

“Disney guests have always loved sharing their vacation memories with us and each other. New technologies like YouTube and Facebook have made it easier and faster for our guests to share their memories, for Disney Parks to spotlight those memories on a larger scale, and for us to reinforce to our guests how important we think their memories are.”

Disney isn’t alone.

The travel industry — which for years considered videos as byproducts of a happy vacation, if not liabilities that occasionally found their way on to the Internet — has also had a change of heart.
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When customers attack: 5 videos you’ve gotta see

Bad customer service cuts both ways.

Companies can provoke their customers to do extraordinary things, from angrily confronting their employees to burning down a car dealership.

But sometimes, it doesn’t take much to set a consumer off.

Sometimes, they’re just having a bad day, and when they’re asked to wait or given a routine “no,” they snap.

Anyone who doubts there are bad customers should look no further than the data compiled by the National Retail Security Survey. American retail business, it found, lost $33.5 billion to what’s euphemistically called “shrinkage” last year – losses from shoplifting, internal theft and other types of criminal activity. But the news isn’t all bad: The number is down from $36.5 billion in 2008.

Which is why you need to watch these videos. They’re great examples of how not to behave when you’re a customer.
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