Archive for the ‘Annoying people’ Category

Am I, or am I not?

I sent Comcast an email requesting that they put me on a “do not contact” list so that their salespeople would stop coming by to attempt to sell me cable tv. I explained very clearly and succinctly that I don’t want cable tv, and the salespeople, in addition to giving me incorrect information, are wasting my time.

Got a reply a few hours later, and I’m not quite sure whether I have been opted out, or not. You tell me.  (The highlighting is mine.)

Dear Barbara,

Thank you for contacting Comcast, home of the Triple Play. You have reached Xfinity TV email support. My name is Gerardo and I will do my best to assist you with your concern.

I understand that you would like to let us know about your request to put you on the list to OPT-OUT of sales people coming to your door to sell you cable TV. I know how important it is for you to get rid of these people coming to your door to sell something and I will be glad to assist and help to guide you to this information in a timely manner. I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

Rest assured that we, at Comcast, are dedicated to provide you quality service and will diligently work to resolve all issues in a timely manner. We need to hear about any unsatisfactory situations in order to correct them and to enhance our level of customer service. I am glad to assist you with this matter. Rest assured that I will provide you with the information regarding your feedback.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are continuously working to increase customer satisfaction and are putting a tremendous amount of resources into improving our customers’ experiences with us. We want to assure you that we do in fact recognize and acknowledge that we have room for improvement in our customer service, and that we are working diligently to ensure we can deliver a great experience to every customer, every time. Our goal is to deliver a positive experience to every customer we handle, every time.

We appreciate that you took the time to help us keep our commitment to quality customer care.

You may send your comments, suggestions, or any concerns that you might have by using the customer feedback form at the link below. Your feedback is important to us as we strive to improve our products, services, and overall customer experience.

http://www.comcast.com/customers/feedback/default.cspx

As part of our Comcast Customer Guarantee, you can always contact us at your convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-XFINITY (1-800-934-6489) or chatting with us online.

Thank you for choosing Comcast. We value your business and have a great day, Barbara.

Sincerely,
Gerardo
Comcast Customer Care Specialist

I really appreciate that Gerardo is “glad to assist and help to guide you to this information in a timely manner.” and that he is “glad to assist you with this matter. Rest assured that I will provide you with the information regarding your feedback.” What’s missing is the “information” he’s so happy to provide. Am I opted-out or not? I guess I’ll have to ask the next Comcast salesperson who shows up at my door.

I only need one!

I get crappy pitches from companies that want to pay me a few bucks to put crappy ads on my blog for their crappy clients. I never accept any of them because, well, they’re all crap, and could get my blog blacklisted. I’m on enough lists already, and having been 86’d from at least one bar in my lifetime, I like to be careful who I (on or off my blog) associate with.

Since they won’t leave me alone, and since sending them a photo of Wil Wheaton collating wasn’t exactly the correct response (since they actually claim they’ll pay me something), I decided a special email was just the ticket.

Hi Georgina,

I would love to reserve some space for your advertiser.

Since the site you requested is highly visible and valuable, and we’re very picky about who we let advertise with us, I’m willing to sell you space at a dollar per pixel (or character) per day, and set that up on an annual contract for you.

For example, a banner ad that is 125×125 pixels (our most popular size!) is just $15,625 per day, with one hyperlink included, absolutely free of charge.

Text ads are a real steal. For example, the average 255 word ad, at an average of 7 characters per word, run $1785 per day. Quite a savings over the image ad! Popular add-ons are larger fonts (an additional $250.00 set-up fee, and only $1 additional per pixel per character per day (PPPCPD), over the standard 10 pixel screen size) and bold (a great deal, at just $100 more per ad per day (PAPD), plus $1 per character per day (PCPD).)  Want to direct the site visitors to your
website quickly and easily? Add hyperlinks to your ad for just $150 per link per day (PLPD). Wire transfer discount applies on text ads, too!

All ads are subject to approval. The rate for review is calculated at 50% of the setup fee.

The standard setup fee for either a text or banner ad is equal to one day’s listing fee, paid in advance, with the remainder of the full contract due the day the ad goes live. If you use Wire Transfer (our preferred payment method), you’ll get a .5% discount!

We have other advertising options available. Let me know if you’d like the rates on ordering the full rate card. It comes in full-color PDF, and we offer a  .25% discount for multiple orders.

As you can see, we’re anxious to partner with you, and at these rates, you can’t lose!

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

I was really hoping Georgina would take me up on my offer, because I would be SET FOR LIFE, but unfortunately, she wrote back:

Thank you for your email. I regret to inform you though that the client we had approved for your site has now fulfilled their targets. I’m sorry we can no longer go ahead with our proposal.

However, we’re close to netting a few more clients. In line with this I’ve kept your site in my own database and should there be a new client that suits your website, I’ll immediately contact you.

Also, if you or anyone you know has any other sites registered that you would like us to consider for advertisement, then please don’t hesitate to recommend them to us. I would be keen to see if they would suit one of our clients.

Thanks again for taking the time to work with us. I appreciate your efforts. Here’s hoping we could do successful business soon.

Regards,
Georgina

I could write back and define “sarcasm” for Georgina, but I think there’s still a chance one of the new clients she “nets” could be my retirement plan, so I’ll let this roll.

HOWEVER, if you know any other sites that would like to advertise here, I’ll make them the same offer. And pay you a .05% finders fee for your trouble.

Die, Spammer, Die

With the white hot fury of a thousand suns, I hate spammers with every fiber of my being.

I do everything I can to keep spam out of my inbox. I have anti-spam resources on my server. I regularly blacklist domains that are used to send spam. I keep my private email account private. Because not everyone who has my email address can be trusted to treat it as respectfully as I do theirs, my email address ends up on spammer lists when they  “Send to all my contacts” the latest chain mail, or put my email address in the TO: field to set out a cat picture to everyone they’ve spoken to in their entire life, or they add my contact information to an online database because they get Points.

Normally, I just quietly blacklist the latest offender, but when I got the following email from Maria Bartell at NetProspex, it made me a more than a little crazy.
spam

They want to send me emails to introduce me to special offers, industry events, or invite me to participate in customer surveys, but, “before we begin sending you emails,” they say, “I want to be certain that our emails are welcome. If you do not want to receive these types of emails in the future, click here:”

In other words, they’re going to send spam, and claim I opted in, because I didn’t opt-out. Gaaaahhhhh.

I’ve added them to my blacklist, so I won’t hear any more from them. However, I have a little message for them:

I shouldn’t have to opt-out of your spam. You should request people to opt-in. Of course, you’d do that, if you weren’t a spammer.

But, as a spammer, you don’t care what I think. Or what any of us really want.

A slow, lingering death that starts with searing pain like a hot poker in your most private parts and radiates to the ends of your toenails, as your hair falls out in fiery patches, taking with it your rotting  flesh bit by mouldering bit, until there’s nothing left but your maggot-ridden remains as you lie in a gutter, praying for the final exit as buzzards peck at your skull, and rats tear away at any damp bits left inside of you, is too good an end for spammers like you.

Should I receive another email from you, I will take it as a personal challenge to call upon all the dark forces of the earth and beyond to make your life on earth more dreadful than Hell itself.

Die, spammer, die.

Update 03/01/11: It appears I’m not alone in my hatred of spammers. Since writing this post, I’ve discovered many other blog posts on this same theme. Here are three. Enjoy.

http://onemansblog.com/2009/05/01/i-still-hate-spammers-die-spammers-die/ – Explains why spam is such an expensive problem

http://www.soft.tahionic.com/download-die_spammer_die/anti-spam.html – Love their anti-spam tool!

http://highscalability.com/scaling-spam-eradication-using-purposeful-games-die-spammer-die

Spam is big business, and it costs all of us more money in hosting fees, management fees, and even internet connection fees because of the extreme load spam places on all servers. Spammers are the lowest of the low. They steal from us all.

Sayonara, Sheridan

Like a couple of little old ladies helping each other across an icy parking lot, our tired old Saturn, and our sparkly new Volkswagen, are both having some problems with mobility. The Saturn, bless her dear engine block, is falling to pieces. We’ve replaced just about every part on her but the engine, which I understand from our friendly neighborhood mechanic is the only solid thing about a Saturn. The latest thing on its way out is the transmission, which will cost more to replace than the car is worth, if we could find a transmission to put in there. Now another relic of the automotive industry, her future, probably sooner than later, is the scrap heap.

cow copWhile driving home from the dealership after entrusting the VW to their Service Department to replace a throttle body that, thank the dieties is under warranty, and engaging in no criminal or reckless activities whatsoever, (as if the Saturn had it in her) we were pulled over by a police officer in the itty bitty city of Sheridan. Apparently, at the tail end of the final block of a school zone, while driving downhill away from the school, husband crept over the speed limit. No one was even remotely in danger. Kids were all, or should have been, still in class. There was no other traffic on the road. The cop showed no mercy.

If you’re not familiar with Sheridan, Colorado, it’s a mere 2.2 square miles of property shoehorned in between Denver, Englewood, and Littleton. The average annual income of its residents is minimally $20,000 below the neighborhoods that surround it, and home values are 40% lower than the state median. With so little money in the city, they’ve gone to great efforts to get as much money as possible from the people who travel through it.

To pad their straining coffers (someone has to pay for the cop car), they flexed their muscles and ran a bunch of small businesses off a piece of land on their border in order to allow a developer to build a whole slew of retail establishments and restaurants on what was a former landfill. (EPA be damned!)

I’m guessing all the new sales tax revenues aren’t up to snuff, what with all the wonderful incentives they extended to the developer, new businesses, and all, so the police still have to do their part by panhandling issuing as many ridiculous tickets as possible.

Hence, the $200 surprise delivered through the window today, with an accompanying 4 points on husband’s license. The officer explained the ticket would be reduced to 2 points, if paid by a certain date.

Aren’t police supposed to be concerned with public safety? Shouldn’t fines be levied against people who put others at risk? The ticket issued today had nothing to do with public safety, or risky behavior. It has to do with money. Why else would points be reduced for quick payment? If the few miles over the limit was indeed as big a deal as the fine suggests, why on earth are points negotiable?

Thanks to their over-zealous fundraising, Sheridan has seen the last of me. In addition to the $200 donation to the Donut Fund (trust me, she’s had more than her share, thankyouverymuch – what? of course I’m being bitchy; can you blame me?), our insurance rates will likely increase. Every dollar I may have spent in one of the stores, restaurants, bars, or the new movie theater in their city, will be spent elsewhere. It will be no inconvenience in the least to avoid the half-dozen streets that go through Sheridan, and spend my money (and sales-tax dollars) in any of the other suburbs of Denver.

Some of the many Denver Metro cities where I will spend money:

  • sheridanLittleton
  • Lakewood
  • Arvada
  • Westminster
  • Englewood
  • Broomfield
  • Wheat Ridge
  • Aurora
  • Centennial
  • Edgewater
  • Highlands Ranch
  • Lone Tree
  • Thornton
  • Westminster
  • Denver (if I have to. I hate them for completely different reasons)

The one city that’s not getting another red cent:

  • Sheridan

Sayonara, Sheridan. Hope you enjoyed seeing my tail lights on my way out of your city. You’ll never see them again.

Ya Know

Not everyone can be Click and Clack from Car Talk, but that doesn’t stop auto mechanics from trying. I wouldn’t have a radio announcer rebuild my transmission, and he’d be smart enough to leave the job alone. Unfortunately, there’s at least one grease monkey who thinks his voice was made for radio. Uh, no. Seriously. Would you tune in and listen to this guy?


YouTube link

Okay, I take it back. He’s hilarious. But not for the reasons he’d like to think he is.

There was a perfectly good car show on KEZW. For some reason, the production director thought this one would be better. Better for whom? Not for the listeners who would rather hear Tom Collins, The Auto Answerman, a talented, real radio guy, running the show with the smooth precision that years of radio experience can afford. He fielded calls, gave car reviews, handed off questions to his guests and kept it interesting. And in all that time, I don’t think I heard him say, “Ya know,” once.

I doubt this car repair show will last long. No one can listen to that voice week after week and resist the impulse to stab themselves in the ear. So, they’ll tune out, the show will get no calls, and the advertisers will go somewhere else with their money.

I’ll be tuning around to find the new home of The Auto Answerman – a real radio show. I’ll let you know when I find it. Ya know?

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