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Opinion Editorials

Who Says I Don’t Deserve 6%?



As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate

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  1. Benn Rosales

    October 20, 2007 at 2:11 am

    maybe you should go for the hybrid afterall?

  2. Thomas Johnson

    October 20, 2007 at 3:51 am

    Benn- I drive 50,000 miles/year for business. In 2 years, I would have to buy new batteries $2k-$5k. At $5 a gallon I’ll be sending all that battery lead into the landfill.

    Until then, most of my clients here in Houston pay my commissions with petro dollars. Just rosin up that bow and set your cowboy hat on straight.

    This is the silly category, right?

  3. Vicki Moore

    October 20, 2007 at 4:49 am

    That’s not even the most expensive I’ve seen lately. That station happened to be on my route today.

  4. Joe Zekas

    October 20, 2007 at 6:53 am

    OK. I’ll step up. You don’t “deserve” anything.

    You may earn 6% – that’s another question. But deserve it, no.

  5. Vicki Moore

    October 20, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Oh thank you, Father. Can I earn it? Really?

  6. Benn Rosales

    October 20, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    fun with semantics…

  7. Joe Zekas

    October 20, 2007 at 8:31 pm


    You might think your sarcasm is cute. I was just wondering what the price of gas has to do with the value of your services.

    If gas goes to $2 a gallon do you deserve 4%?

  8. Vicki Moore

    October 20, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    There was no question contained in your rudeness.

    You have no reason to be nasty to me.

    Your point is invalid. If you earn something you deserve it. You’re talking about entitlement. I’m talking about earning a living.

    What we earn is impacted by the cost of living.

  9. Jonathan Jordan

    October 21, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Are you kidding, do you really think the price of gas is justification for your 6%????

    Paying for gas, is just one part of the cost of doing business. Yes factor it in, but charge according to what you do.

    How is that you can continue to justify and somehow think you deserve 6% regardless of the ACTUAL work you do in selling a listing.

    You make me sick.

    Knd regards


  10. Vicki Moore

    October 21, 2007 at 5:13 am

    Thank you for your kind regards. It’s unfortunate that you haven’t read any of my prior posts and know that they always contain a bit of irony and a lot of humor.

  11. Jonathan Jordan

    October 21, 2007 at 7:18 am

    Just as I have always figured, Americans don’t get irony. Your post would have been ironic had you taken all those excessive comissions that you make at 6% and had invested most of it in Chevron shares only to see the price of gas rise. Now tht would have been funny, and ironic.

    Kind regards


  12. Joe Zekas

    October 21, 2007 at 1:39 pm


    It’s a real stretch to interpret my comment as being “nasty” to you. What you see as “rudeness” was a simple attempt to make a point that you declare “invalid” but that many will agree with.

    Fairly read, your original post reflected only a bald sense of entitlement.

    If Jonathan has, in fact, not read any of your other posts you might consider whether this one has turned him off to reading them. It certainly turned me off. And I have no doubt it’s turned off a number of potential customers.

  13. Benn Rosales

    October 21, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    The real reality when listing anything, you’re really listing at 3%. In my opinion that’s a fair commission if you’re actually busting your butt in a tough market to set one home apart from another 7k and still get as close to full price as possible. I do agree however that in some markets where the avg med price on a home is maybe 5 or 600k there is room to negotiate, but like in my market where you’re talking the average home is from 150k to 225k, there really isn’t that much room and even the big discounters agree- the commission flexibility tightens.

    If by some way you manage to bring a buyer that same price point applies in the liability and the cost but almost any agent in the Texas market and many others discount the buy side so the average commission ends up discounted anyway below 6%.

    What Vicki has pointed out in her previous posts on her own site is the carrying cost. The upfront working with no pay, the cost of her time, marketing materials, etc is on her dime, if the sellers change minds and pull the home off the market, shes out the cost and effort. That is worth something, even to me, I’m not the richest guy in the world, I may not have the cash to pay a discounter up front. This doesn’t make Vicki a bad person, it makes her one option to me that may fit my needs.

    I really think that being disgusted over commissions is a moot point anymore. Even Redfin below a certain dollar amount gives very little to nothing back to a seller or buyer. Who has 3 grand to plop down to a broker upfront? The fact is, even the discounters admitt it costs money- I see no one name calling them.

    Jordan, you mentioned the cost of doing business, and that is exactly what a commission is, a cost. If that cost does not suit you, so be it, but I know I work one on one with my clients and will do just about anything to help them, including working with them on commissions- and so does Vicki I’m sure.

    Vicki doesn’t need me to defend her, and I’m not, but what I am saying is that making broad statemens about commissions when even the discounters acknowledge that at a certain price point they can no longer discount, you have to almost certainly acknowledge that there is a certain small segment of the market where commissions are tripple what they are in the midwest, and we in the midwest feel rather attacked when you generalize, especially when we’ve never even seen a bubble.

    So here’s my thought- lets talk about specifics here. Broad based general jabs is no fun. I understand what all of you are saying, but the fact is, if you’re generalizing statements, no one will ever make a valid point in any of this and I for one only have time for a true debate.

  14. Vicki Moore

    October 21, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks Benn. I always need defending with a well-spoken, thoughtful comment. And since I seem to have hit a nerve, it’s likely I will again.

    I certainly never thought that one picture and a title that I still think is funny would create such a personal attack.

    I can debate my position until I’m blue in the face.

    Just one example is the one you mentioned regarding listing a house, the seller then determines that the market is not favorable to them so they pull the listing.

    I neither am a wealthy realtor as so many think we all are. I spent well over 3k (that’s cash, not including the time investment.) to market a listing that was then pulled. A risk I knowingly took that did not pay off. I still have to buy gas.

  15. the baglady

    October 22, 2007 at 5:48 am

    Hey Vicki,

    I live in San Mateo, too, and I think last year I was paying about $3.67 per gallon and my Honda Accord took $50 to fill up. The point is that we’re all paying these gas prices in addition to the ridiculous home prices around here. That doesn’t mean the consumer wants to pay those prices and it doesn’t mean that you deserve anything. If you provide a great service then I would be willing to pay you a fair commission, but saying that you deserve 6% just because things are expensive here is kind of rude. Just my 2 cents.

  16. Vicki Moore

    October 22, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Sorry, Baglady, that you were a little late for the flogging. I think through my previous postings and the well-written post by Benn, the issue has been thoroughly explained and beat like a dead horse.

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Opinion Editorials

7 ways to carve out me time while working from home

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.



Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, and taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need down time, me-time, self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health, but also our productivity at work, will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our body untenses, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well rested, and well treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article, because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keeps us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal, and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters. It’s a bit different in 2020, as most of us aren’t sure when we will be able to go, but even deciding where you want to go when we are free to travel again can put a positive spin on things.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

Why robots freak us out, and what it means for the future of AI

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Robots and humans have a long way to go before the social divide disappears, but research is giving us insight on how to cross the uncanny valley.



Close of R2D2 toy, an example of robots that we root for, but why?

We hate robots. Ok, wait, back up. We at least think they are more evil than good. Try it yourself – “are robots” in Google nets you evil before good. Megatron has higher SEO than Optimus Prime, and it’s not just because he’s so much cooler. It cuz he evil, cuz. It do be like that.

It’s not even a compliment to call someone robotic; society connotes this to emotionless preprogrammed shells of hideous nothing, empty clankbags that walk and talk and not much else. So, me at a party. Or if you’re a nerd, you’re a robot. (Me at a party once again.)

Let’s start by assuming robots as human-like bipedal machines that are designed with some amount of artificial intelligence, generally designed to fulfill a job to free up humanity from drudgery. All sounds good so far. So why do they creep us out?

There’s a litany of reasons why, best summed up with the concept of the uncanny valley, first coined by roboticist Masahiro Mori (Wow he’s still alive! The robots have not yet won) in 1970. Essentially, we know what a human is and how it looks and behaves against the greater backdrop of life and physics. When this is translated to a synthetic being, we are ok with making a robot look and act like us to a point, where we then notice all the irregularities and differences.

Most of these are minor – unnaturally smooth or rigid movements, light not scattering properly on a surface, eyes that don’t sync up quite right when they blink, and several other tiny details. Lots of theories take over at this point about why this creeps us out. But a blanket way to think about it is that our expectation doesn’t match what we are seeing; the reality we’re presented with is off just enough and this makes us uncomfortable .

Ever stream a show and the audio is a half second off? Makes you really annoyed. Magnify that feeling by a thousand and you’re smack in the middle of the uncanny valley. It’s that unnerving. One possible term for this is abjection, which is what happens the moment before we begin to fear something. Our minds – sensing incompatibility with robots – know this is something else, something other , and faced with no way to categorize this, we crash.

This is why they make good villains in movies – something we don’t understand and given free will and autonomy, potentially imbued with the bias of a creator or capable of forming terrifying conclusions all on its own (humans are a virus). But they also make good heroes, especially if they are cute or funny. Who doesn’t love C3PO? That surprise that they are good delights us. Build in enough appeal to a robot, and we root for them and feel empathy when they are faced with hardships. Do robots dream of electric sheep? Do robots have binary souls? Bits and zeros and ones?

Professor Jaime Banks (Texas Tech University’s College of Media & Communication) spends a lot of time thinking about how we perceive robots. It’s a complex and multifaceted topic that covers anthropomorphism, artificial intelligence, robot roles within society, trust, inherently measuring virtue versus evil, preconceived notions from entertainment, and numerous topics that cover human-robot interactions.

The world is approaching a future where robots may become commonplace; there are already robot bears in Japan working in the healthcare field. Dressing them up with cute faces and smiles may help, but one jerky movement later and we’ve dropped all suspension.

At some point, we have to make peace with the idea that they will be all over the place. Skynet, GLaDOS in Portal, the trope of your evil twin being a robot that your significant will have to shoot in the middle of your fight, that episode of Futurama where everything was a robot and they rose up against their human masters with wargod washing machines and killer greeting cards, the other Futurama episode where they go to a planet full of human hating murderous robots… We’ve all got some good reasons to fear robots and their coded minds.

But as technology advances, it makes sense to have robots take over menial tasks, perform duties for the needy and sick, and otherwise benefit humanity at large. And so the question we face is how to build that relationship now to help us in the future.

There’s a fine line between making them too humanlike versus too mechanical. Pixar solved the issue of unnerving humanoids in their movies by designing them stylistically – we know they are human and accept that the figure would look odd in real life. We can do the same with robots – enough familiarity to develop an appeal, but not enough to erase the divide between humanity and robot. It may just be a question of time and new generations growing up with robots becoming fixtures of everyday life. I’m down for cyborgs too.

Fearing them might not even be bad, as Banks points out: “…a certain amount of fear can be a useful thing. Fear can make us think critically and carefully and be thoughtful about our interactions, and that would likely help us productively engage a world where robots are key players.”

Also, check out Robot Carnival if you get the chance – specifically the Presence episode of the anthology.

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Opinion Editorials

4 simple tips to ease friction with your boss while working remotely

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Find it challenging to get along with your boss while working from home? Here are a few things you can try to ease the tension.



Woman stressed over laptop in remote work.

Most people probably feel like their relationship with their boss is fine. If you’re encountering friction with your boss for any reason, though, remote work will often exacerbate it—this is one instance where distance doesn’t necessarily make the heart grow fonder. Here are a few ways to remove some of that friction without adding to your boss’ overflowing plate.

According to CNN, determining the problem that exists between you and your boss should be your first step. There’s one caveat to consider, however: Your boss’ boundaries. Problem-solving on your own time is fine, but demanding more of your boss’ time—especially when you’re supposed to be working—may compound the issue.

An easy way around this is a low-impact communique—e.g., an email—sent at the beginning or end of the workday. Since that’s a more passive communication style that takes only a minute or two out of your day, it’s less likely to frustrate your boss further.

If ironing out the issue isn’t your prerogative for now, examining your boss’ parameters for success is another place to start. Does your boss prefer to receive multiple updates throughout the day, or do they want one summative report each morning? Do you respect your boss’ preferred communication styles? These are important questions to ask during remote work. If you find yourself reaching out more than necessary, for example, it may be time to cut back.

It can also be difficult to satiate your boss if you don’t know their expectations. If you’re able to speak to them about the expectations regarding a project or task, do it; clarifying the parameters around your work will always help both of you. It is worth noting that some supervisors may expect that you know your way around some types of responsibilities, though, so err on the side of complementing that knowledge rather than asking for comprehensive instructions.

Finally, keep in mind that some bosses simply don’t communicate the same way you do. I’ve personally been blessed with a bevy of nurturing, enthusiastic supervisors, but we’ve all had superiors who refuse to acknowledge our successes and instead focus on our failures. That can be a really tough mentality to work with during remote periods, but knowing that they have a specific communication style that hampers their sociability can help dampen the effects.

As always, communication is key—even if that means doing it a little bit less than you’d like.

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