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I'll Bet You've Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once

Did you know that you've very likely agreed to be forced to do something? Sounds confusing, I know. But it's actually pretty simple. You've probably given up more rights than you can even imagine — without knowing it.

I'll Bet You've Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once

Two words: forced arbitration.

Do you know what forced arbitration is? If not, you should. You've likely signed contracts with forced arbitration clauses. Basically, you agree to give up your right to sue the other party or to appeal the arbitrator's decision. If you're unhappy with something — like, say, the other party violating a law — the other party (usually a corporation much bigger than you with far deeper pockets than you) picks and pays an arbitrator. That's who decides who wins the case. That person is supposed to be a neutral decision-maker.


One word: unfair.

The system isn't really set up to allow a totally neutral person to serve as arbitrator, though. Does it sound like that person — again, who is selected and paid by the company you're unhappy with — is in a position to make a sound, fair decision?

Uhhh ... nope.

Two more words: one-sided.

If a company isn't happy with an arbitrator's decisions, do you think they'll hire that person again?

Uhhh ... probably not.

So common sense tells us that arbitrators juuusssst might not always be 100% neutral.

Wait, just how common is forced arbitration?

The good news: It's not your fault for signing agreements that contain forced arbitration clauses. You're not an idiot for failing to read the fine print. I went to law school. I don't sign anything without reading it carefully. And I still sign them all over the place, even though I know how crappy they are. It's not like we're going to tell the person who works for the cellphone company, "I'm sorry, I'm not cool with this forced arbitration clause. Can you take it out?"

'Cause we all know they're not taking it out.

And I pretty much need my cellphone. And my Internet access. And my car. And...

Yeah, they're everywhere. In fact, over 95% of all credit card debts are subject to forced arbitration. Almost all car sales, new or used, include a clause in the contract. Heck, over 90% of all nursing homes put forced arbitration clauses in their contracts. And an estimated 30-40% of American employees are subject to forced arbitration clauses.

Why's that so bad?

There's that old saying: "You can have all the justice you can afford." Well, when it comes to forced arbitration clauses, it really doesn't even matter what you can afford. The deck is that stacked against the party that didn't write the contract. Forced arbitration clauses can result in outcomes contrary to state and federal law. They can leave people who would otherwise be in the legal right financially (and emotionally) devastated. And they're becoming waaaay too prevalent.

These people were subject to forced arbitration ... and it didn't end well.

It all seems very abstract, but let's look at a handful of people who found out exactly how crappy forced arbitration clauses can be for the regular person. Watch this:

Speak out against forced arbitration!

If you're not down with being backed into a legal corner, start talking about forced arbitration. Companies are responding to public pressure. Congress is listening and is considering legislation. Consumer protection agencies are taking action. You can share this post to spread the word.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

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