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'Tis the Season to be Shopping! 

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

'Tis the season to be shopping.  And quickly!  The day after Thanksgiving finds you on the slippery slope to Christmas.   By the time you've  disposed of the last of the turkey, you realize that there are no more shopping days until Christmas...

On top of all the usual stress that this time of year brings, can I add just a wee bit more?  Yes, the perfect gift is important,  BUT...it also matters where you buy it.  So, let's play a little game.   (That sounds less threatening than saying you're about to be given a quiz, doesn't it?)

HRC has published their seventh annual buying guide --- Buying for Equality 2009.  Yes, that would normally be a link and I'll get around to giving it to you, but I don't want you cheating on the quiz....er, game.  As you may be aware, HRC rates businesses with 500 or more U.S. employees on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors.  Scores range from abysmal treatment, 0,  to stellar, 100.  

The 2009 edition reports 259 businesses achieved a perfect score.  That's a one-third increase over last year's 195.  I know, that still doesn't sound like very many but to borrow a line from Angels in America, "the world only spins forward."  Doesn't always spin as fast as we would like but it's a lot more fun celebrating the progress than lamenting the distance. 

I don't have to tell you how important it is to support the businesses supporting us.  I wish it didn't have to be this way --- it bothers me that policies are determined by what is profitable rather than what is right.  But it would be foolish not to use the tools available to us.  Besides, a lot of people out there really want to do what's right but need to show boards and investors that what's right can also be good for their bottom line. 

Okay.....let's start with an easy one.  

Which of these general merchandise super retailers earned the best score?

      a) Wal-Mart     b) Target 

This one is so easy we're not even going to score it. Target went from a respectable 80 in the 2008 guide to a perfect 100 for 2009. Wal-Mart went from a pitiful 2008 score of 40 to ....... wait for it....... 40 in 2009.  

And that includes Sam's Club, which is a shame cause I like shopping there.  I don't go to Wal-Mart anyway, but it's for kind of a personal reason.  Has nothing to do with our game --- or even remotely on topic.  So, moving on. 

  1. Need to do a project around the house? Do you go to Home Depot or Lowe's?
  2. Someone on your list asking for the latest and greatest electronic gadget?  Best Buy or Radio Shack? 
  3. How about shopping from home?  Do you surf through the offerings on eBay or tune in to QVC? 
  4. Not exactly the time of year most of us shop for a new lawn tractor or riding mower but spring will eventually come around.  Make a note --- will it be a Craftsman from Sears or a cute little John Deere?  
  5. Funds are pretty tight this year so you might be doing some of your shopping with plastic.  What will you be pulling out of your wallet?  Cash back with the Discover Card or frequent flyer miles with your Visa from Chase? 
  6. Serious shopping requires a lot of running around so which shoes do you lace up? Are they Nike's or something else from the Foot Locker? 
  7. Okay, so some of us drive around instead of run from store to store. Do we crank up a Ford or a Nissan? 
  8. The obvious follow-up to the last question is where do you fill up the tank?  Shell or Exxon?  
  9. Break time!  Enough shopping for awhile.  Time to kick back in front of the TV.   But which provider do you choose to bring the signal into your home?  Cox Cable or Direct TV? 
  10. And, last but certainly not least, we can't happily relax without a beverage.  Is the fridge stocked with Coors or Coronas?

So, how do you think you did? Check your answers.

Some of the results may surprise you, and some may dismay you. Just last weekend I had lunch at a Cracker Barrel. I thought they were off "the list" and that they had cleaned up their act. 15 --- they scored 15 out of 100 on this survey! Too bad --- I really like Cracker Barrels. But I was thrilled to see that I can keep racking up miles with Continental, and it would have broken my heart to give up Barnes and Noble, but I don't have to cause all the book stores did very well.

Download your free copy of HRC's Buying for Equality 2009 and happy shopping!


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How'd you do? Want to share your score? Impress us with what an informed shopper you are at admin@onthegayhorizon.com .

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 Moving On....

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

I have to apologize up front. I thought I was over this election. I thought I'd moved on. But I think the magnitude of it approaches me still, like a slow-motion tsunami.  Obama won by 8.5 to 9 million votes!  That's too many folks to be simply voting against Strawberry Shortcake.  I have to believe that's 4 million more forward-looking people, voting FOR his ideas, not against something else.

Could it be folks want what Obama preaches? To end the culture wars?  To modernize our economy? Restore our reputation?   As Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler of Third Way write, "That sounds to us like the foundation of an ambitious reform agenda, the kind of ideas that could usher in a historic transformation of American politics."

Politics? How about a historic transformation of America?

I call it embracing the 21st century.  Take a closer look.

Experts estimate that between 3 to 8 percent of American adults are gay or lesbian. That means by 2030, roughly 4 million gay Americans will be over the age of 65.  With the largest gay generation ever to retire, same-sex couples are an issue.  The political and economic reverberations have only just begun.  Equal rights and marriage will help smooth the way for some financially.

But is anyone really planning for retirement?  As much as we'd like to think Obama will blaze the trail, it looks like he's got bigger fish to fry.  At least in his first term.

So back to this incredibly important question.  Whether you are 30 or 60, have you really given any thought to where you will be 8 years from now--at the end of Obama's second term?  Or 28 years from now?  Where would you like to be?

If you were thinking Castro district or West Village for all the right reasons, at the moment, the buy-in price is around $750,000.  Hmmm....  So are you in?  Or out?

Take a look at the retirement communities we've profiled at OTGH in our free report.  And watch for our workbook, Figuring Out The Next Move.  In the meantime, begin by taking the quiz at Prudential's--yes, the Rock's--website.  The Retirement Red Zone

(By the way, one of their Business Resource Groups is Employee Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders (EAGLES).  And their motto is:  Diversity:  The Power of People.   Karen and I gave them a 100...)


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