Tuesday, June 18, 2019

California Plastic Laws: What You Need To Know

Even before plastic straw bans grew trendy, California was at the forefront of using less plastic and promoting more sustainable living... 
 California’s plastic straw ban law (Assembly Bill 1884) took effect this month and prohibits full-service restaurants from automatically providing single-use plastic straws unless said straws are specifically requested by the customer.
By the state’s definition, a “full-service restaurant” is an establishment with the primary business purpose of serving food, where food may be consumed on the premises. To define even further, at these restaurants, customers have to be escorted or assigned to a seating area, their orders have to be taken in that area, orders have to be brought to them and the check has to be delivered to the customer in the assigned eating area. Fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, and anywhere you’d receive a to-go cup aren’t included in the ban. The penalty for breaking the ban can cost restaurateurs up to $25 per infraction..
According to environmental group EcoCycle, Americans use an estimated 500 million disposable straws every day and straws were the seventh most common piece of trash picked up on beaches worldwide by volunteer cleanup crews associated with the marine conservation group Ocean Conservancy..
  • In its effectiveness study, San Jose found twice as many people opted not to take a bag post-ban.
  • San Jose also measured the number of plastic bags found in litter and creek cleanups, and saw decreases.
  • California Waste Solutions, which does the majority of recycling for San Jose, reported fewer plastic bags getting caught in recycling machines and a 35-50 percent reduction in downtime because of that.
  • Los Angeles County found its large stores gave away 2 million plastic bags and 196,000 paper bags annually before its ban. A year later, those stores handed out only 125,000 paper bags.
Local bans across the state already had cut down considerably on the plastic bag litter on beaches, but that figure dropped even further after passage of the statewide ban—and the straw ban is forecasted to do the same.
Clearly, California’s plastic bans are working and will likely be adopted elsewhere. In the meantime, how can you help? Start with the packaging you choose. By finding the right solution for every packaging need, nothing is wasted and products stay damage-free, reducing the returns that add up in fuel and energy costs to the environment.Read more here

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pets, pot and privacy: 10 new California laws that could affect you

When medical providers in California are disciplined for ethical violations like gross negligence, substance abuse, inappropriate prescribing or sexual misconduct, they can be placed on probation. It allows them to continue practicing for a period under restricted conditions. Starting in July 2019, your physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and osteopathic and naturopathic doctors will have to inform you if they are on probation before they can treat you.
If you have an old marijuana conviction, it may soon be eased. The Department of Justice will have until July 1, 2019, to review records and identify past convictions that may be eligible for recall or dismissal of a sentence.
The dog days are over. In a couple years, owners will have access to a comprehensive list of state park units or portions of units that allow dogs. The Department of Parks and Recreation must update its website and maintain real-time information on pet rules by July 1, 2020.
As the Trump administration ramps up its immigration enforcement efforts, California is attempting to bring street vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, out of the shadows. The state will now prohibit local governments from banning sidewalk sales of food and other merchandise, and require them to set up a licensing system if they want to regulate the practice. Violations of local rules can only be punished with citations or fines, not criminal charges, so as not to alert immigration authorities.
Whether or not to issue concealed weapons permits remains at the discretion of local sheriffs and police chiefs. But as of January, you will need to prove your proficiency in shooting and safe handling of your firearm if you want a license to carry it in public. The training requirement has also been raised to a minimum of eight hours.
The #MeToo movement is changing the way we talk about sexual harassment. California, which previously only mandated regular training for supervisors at large companies, will now require it for all workers at any business with at least five employees. You can expect to receive at least an hour of instruction on workplace sexual harassment within six months of being hired at a new job and every two years after that.
The California Consumer Privacy Act was a compromise reached between consumer privacy advocates and tech companies. In exchange for pulling an initiative from the ballot in June, this bill was signed into law and goes into effect starting in 2020. It allows consumers to know more about personal information companies collect on them and empowers them to request the data be deleted. If there is an unauthorized breach of your non-encrypted personal information, you can sue companies for up to $750. Still, the new law has its limits. Nothing in the law prohibits businesses from offering different prices for different levels of service, suggesting greater privacy could come at a higher cost. EAT UP:
Public schools in California are required to provide low-income students with one free or reduced-price meal per day that meets federal child nutrition requirements. The program is meant to help kids who might otherwise go hungry so that they can better focus in class. Beginning next academic year, the state is extending that rule to charter schools, which serve more than 340,000 low-income students of their own.
If you choose to vote by mail, you’ll no longer have to pay postage. The law works to ensure voting is free for all Californians by requiring elections officials include a return envelope with prepaid postage when delivering vote by mail ballots. Local agencies could ask the state to reimburse them for the new costs, which are estimated at $5.5 million.
Adults born to be wild will soon be able to go helmet-less while riding electric scooters on city streets. The new law, which goes into effect at the start of 2019, also raises the speed limit for scooters on streets from 25 mph to 35 mph.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How much money do you need to be wealthy in America?

A few million should do it. But for some, it’s not just about the cash—it’s what you do with it.
Many Americans cite leading a stress-free life and having “peace of mind” as their personal definition of wealth. That doesn’t sound too money-centric on the face of it—until you consider that money, or specifically the lack of it, is a major source of stress..
To be financially comfortable in America today requires an average of $1.4 million, up from $1.2 million a year ago, according to the survey. The net worth needed to be “wealthy”? That’s an average $2.4 million, the same as last year in the online survey of 1,000 Americans between age 21 and 75.
There were some heartening signs amid the numbers. While 18 percent defined wealth as being able to afford anything they desired, 17 percent said it was “loving relationships with family and friends.” That jibes with how Joe Duran, chief executive officer of money manager United Capital, said he likes to think of “wealth.” After building and selling his first company, “I realized that money is nothing more than fuel,” he said. “It is a resource that lets you have choices, but if you don’t think about what you are working for, you will die rich but not live rich.”.. Read more here

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tablet POS is a Smart Choice for Start-Up Establishments and Emerging Restaurants

Making the Switch to a Tablet-Based POS
..Mobile POS allows businesses to mount the iPad-based system at the front counter, but employees can use them throughout the food establishment or restaurant. This means an employee won't have to leave the customer to check prices or gather additional information. He or she can use the tablet to verify that information, such as the cost of the menu, to compare costs of different dishes, and answer additional questions on the spot. Customers have a more positive dining experience knowing that wait staff are always on hand to provide the information they need quickly and without fuss..
The POS Benefits Both the Environment and Business Strategy
A tablet POS is good for the environment for several reasons. The most obvious is the reduction in paper and printed material. In restaurants, servers can take orders electronically cutting down (or possibly out) the need for order pads. What's more, the orders can be sent directly to the kitchen terminal cutting down on incorrect orders and other expediting errors. Customers also have the option of receiving email copies of their receipts...Read more here

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

What Restaurants Need to Know about EMV Compliance

..We all witnessed the change from swiping to inserting our credit cards two years ago, but that transition is ongoing. Small businesses, and restaurants in particular, can be wary of adopting EMV technology for myriad reasons, including cost, process, and the pressures of adopting new technology. However, one concern stands out above the rest—security, and rightly so..
The Chip
..Whereas existing magnetic stripe technology continues to be prone to hacking, embedded chip cards are much safer, with near-impossible encryption to prevent against counterfeiting. Data is actually more secure than on a magnetic stripe card because EMV supports dynamic authentication. This means that the card has an ever-changing password of sorts encrypted within, making it vastly more difficult for hackers to access and copy the data. The United States is one of the last nations to adopt EMV technology, which is surprising considering how global credit card fraud has dropped significantly since worldwide implementation.
While the chip is the most visible change, many restaurateurs are also concerned about who the liability will fall to should there be fraudulent charges on their new EMV payments system.
Prior to EMV, credit card issuers were responsible for the liability in fraudulent chargebacks from customers. But, the liability ownership changed with the deadline for compliance. Now, should an EMV chip card be swiped as opposed to dipped, and concurrently a fraudulent chargeback is claimed, the business is liable for chargebacks above $25. If, however, you have an EMV reader, then the liability shifts back to the card issuer, and this remains true even if the chip is damaged.
Is the average check size above $25? – If a restaurant’s average check size is above $25, it should consider EMV more closely. For chargebacks above $25 when an EMV-enabled card is processed without an EMV reader, the liability shifts to the restaurant. In other words, without an EMV reader, a restaurant will likely be on the hook for most fraudulent chargebacks..
Stored Cardholder Data
..Traditional EMV processors will not effectively protect cardholder data at the point of sale, which means that the restaurant goers’ information is more susceptible. However, there are next generation POS solutions that utilize secure cloud processing technology to prevent this customer security risk. In other words, vulnerable cardholder data is stored in a way that denies access to third parties. Not even a data security expert at the POS providing company could access the data un-encrypted..Read more here

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Three Key POS Trends Driving Innovation in Retail

..While a primary focus of retailers is to create an engaging, positive and unique shopping experience for consumers, it’s critical that they understand the importance of big data and in-store analytics, adopting cloud-based solutions and unifying commerce. With the retail industry in the process of a massive digital transformation, here are three key POS trends that retailers and consumers need to know to be successful in this rapidly changing retail environment.
1. Usage of big data analytics will increase
In an effort to compete with e-commerce, retailers are increasingly turning to big data and in-store analytics to get a better understanding of what is happening inside stores. This year, we will continue to see an increase in big data and in-store analytics being applied to every stage of the retail process by determining retail trends, predicting where the demand will be for products, optimizing pricing for a competitive edge and identifying the consumers that will most likely be interested in purchasing those products..
2. Increased focus on a personalized in-store customer experience
Customers can no longer be treated as a segment by retailers. Retailers now need to provide personalization that singles out the individual shopper. This year, we will also continue to see more retailers adopting personalized technology solutions such as mobile, which will allow for an interactive consumer experience. Through the emergence of new mobile POS technology, retailers can now offer customers more choices to accommodate their shopping habits by letting them begin, modify or complete transactions anywhere in the store..
3. Cloud adoption will increase and outdated legacy systems will be replaced, creating new opportunities for future proofing
Legacy technology is becoming a roadblock for larger retailers when updating their current systems. As a result, retailers and consumers are continuing to look for solutions that are easily upgradable, have a future-proof design and continually meet their needs as technology requirements advance. This year, we will likely see an increase in the number of small- and medium-sized retailers adopting cloud-based solutions. Since these businesses are often nimbler and aren’t typically tied down to large, complicated legacy systems they are in a great position to switch to unified commerce technologies, further validating that cloud adoption is increasing.. Read more here

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Top 6 Tips to Avoid Getting Duped By Online Scams This Christmas

Before making any online purchases on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any time of year, employ these safety tactics to steer clear of crooked retailers:
Top 6 Online Safe Shopping Tips:
1) Check the Better Business Bureau rating.
Before making an online purchase, log onto the BBB website and type in the URL of the company. This rating is based on thirteen very important factors to consider when buying from an online retailer.
2) Shop from the real McCoy.
Go to the source site and make sure the website address (URL) is exactly accurate. Scammers will add one letter to the URL or create a similar name so you don't notice the difference. Note that unsecured websites will be missing the lock symbol to the left of the website address and the URL will not include an "s" after "http" in the web address.
3) Use a credit (not debit) card.
Use a credit card, not a debit card, for online purchases. In the event of a scam, with a credit card, the card issuer must fight to get its money back. With a debit card, you must fight to get your money back.
4) Verify that the company is still in business.
It's hard for some holiday-oriented businesses to stay afloat year 'round, so call the customer service line and send an email to see if you get a response.
5) Visit the company's Facebook page.
Spend a few minutes perusing the Facebook page. Read the reviews. Look at how recent the page posts are and send a message to them to see if they respond. A conscientious hands-on company will be very active on their Facebook page.
6) Shop early.
When you are rushing around, desperate to get that perfect gift ASAP, the pressure can prevent you from noticing tell-tale signs of shopping shenanigans. Start shopping before the rush. Take your time. Do the research. Read more here

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