Monday, November 27, 2006

Dell Customer Care

I am looking to buy a laptop as a present for someone. I want to make sure that I can return it if that person doesn't like it. I just "chatted" with customer care at Dell* to get the 411 on their return policy.

This is our conversation, copy and pasted from the chat window thing. (I did delete some time stamps and names to make it easier to read). It is kinda silly. As you may know, Dell outsources all of their customer care to India. I made sure to use some local dialect and make generally confusing and non-sequitur remarks so I could see him squirm. unfortunatly, he was very professional and polite.


Inital Question: what is your return policy?

BE_Rep_Laarni has joined this session!

Connected with BE_Rep_Laarni

Laarni:Welcome to Dell Sales Chat. My name is Laarni, I'll be your personal sales agent today. Give me a moment to review your concern. Please don't go away.

Laarni:hi Tim.


ME:i won't go away.

(long pause)

ME:feel free to chat at anytime guy.

Laarni:Consumer and EPP Customers with systems invoicing between November 25th to December 25th will be allowed to return their product any time up to January 15th.

ME:is the return shipping on my nickel?

Laarni:January 15th is 21 days past December 25th.

ME:or dime?

Laarni:what do you mean?

ME:Do i have to pay return shipping?

(long pause)

ME:anytime is fine.

Laarni:All other Return Restrictions still apply (Restocking Fee, troubleshooting if applicable, etc…)

Laarni:Customers will still be responsible for restocking fee and freight.

ME:can you be more specific?

ME:how much is the restocking fee?

ME:and freight.


ME:can I take it back at my local Wal-mart?

ME:They have everything.

Laarni:ok regarding that you may need to contact our customer care chat or phone.

ME:I thought that you were customer care chat.

Laarni:oh im in sales chat.

ME:If you had to guess, would Wal-mart take my computer in as a return?


ME:but one time they let me take something back there, and they didn't even carry it!

(extremely long pause)

Laarni:was I able to address your concern?

ME:I think I will go to Wal-Mart right now!

ME:have a fab day. I'll tell cooper hello for you.


* BTW, I pretty well hate Dell. I am not sure why I called at all. I guess I wanted to see what the most popular computer maker's return policy is so I can better judge their competion. I do not condone buying a computer from them at all. If you are getting a computer, do yourself a fav and do not get a Dell. (try best buy) While the hardware is of good quality and cheap, their customer care is total horseshit. after you buy one you are treated like crap.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Judge Judy or Mrs. Clause?

I just read that Nancy Pelosi's approval rating is less than 30%. Since she isn't (presumably) going to be majority leader until January of 07, I am not sure on what criterion this was measured, but if it is even close to the real public opinion then that is pretty sad. How can she be this popular when she really just entered the picture?

At this risk of being unpopular, I will go ahead and chalk her immediate unpopularity up to one single thing. She is a woman*. She hasn't done enough things yet to really be judged on anything else. When women climb that high they have to be assertive and that intimidates a lot of men. Even if they don't admit it, most men want women to be motherly and nice, or at the very least, not assertive. I am speculating here, but I think if I took 100 men off the street and took a survey that just simply said "check one: Judge Judy or Mrs. Clause" it would be 99 to 1 in favor of Mrs. Clause**.

And that is why if Hillary Clinton wins the Primaries then it will be a landslide for the republicans in 08'. Best of luck though Hillary.

BTW, I just heard Mayor Giuliani speak last Sunday night. It was good to hear someone who could potentially be the next president speak eloquently and get through a topic without appearing as though he kept losing and re-gaining his train of thought. Sometimes when Bush speaks it seems like as though someone is talking to him while he is trying to watch TV. Giuliani also has that sweet lisp which I think gives him some character. I don't think he has formally announced his candidacy, but I hope to God he runs.

McCain seems like a good pick as well. That guy has a lot of integrity and he seems brave enough to go against the grain for things he believes in. Good for you sir! I like that and may vote for him for just these reasons, even if he supports some kind of kitty-eating bill.

Bayh also seems good, although I think I am biased because he is a Indiana man.
I dunno. It is a long way off and I will make an opinion as things converge.

*If you think I am being sexist then you are trying to hard. I am just making (fair) observations about the public. These views do not necessarly represent the views of the station.
** maybe this isn't fair, because we all know Judge Judy is an android created by Lucifer.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

$7000 dentistry

My mouth is a landfill of fillings, tooth decay, and gingavitus. There is also currently some cheetoe detritus but I just ate lunch.

I have multiple fillings in all of my molars and bicuspids. Since I was about 10 I have had to have a filing every time I went to the dentist (up until the last 2 visits). Once when I was 13 I had to have an enormous filling done and there was so little tooth left that the denist had to give up and make me a prostetic tooth. Here is a picture that captures what happend:

He had to drill out a filling that was already there to make room for this crater in my mouth, and then gave up and just made a new tooth. He took some pictures of it. I asked him if it was so he could show off this disaster to his Dentist buddies. He said it was for a textbook but I could tell he was lying. This was a low point in my life. So later that week I burned up some of the crap in my sister's yard (but didn't use her composting toilet) .

It is very frustrating because I make tremendous use of my toothbrush, and try to floss at least once-every-other day. I am told my train-wreck of decaying teeth are genetic. I would be in great shape if teeth grew out like fingernails and you just had to trim them. (something to keep in mind when I start genetically engineering my own hybrid unicorn-cyborg-hobbit superbreed)

Last year I made two monumental dental hygine mistakes:

1) I went to a new dentist because I found a coupon in the mail
2) I went to a dentist that had “cosmologist dentist” on the outside of his building.

This guy’s plan was to charge me over $250 for digital x-rays of my teeth, show them to me, tell me how my current life situation is on account of all the decay in my mouth, and give me some preposterous treatment plan that included taking out all of my old fillings and crowing every tooth (8) to the tune of $7000. WTF!?

It didn’t occur to me that this guy was trying to rip me off. I didn’t know dentist were similar to auto mechanics in that they can easily suck you dry by telling you everything is a mess. I guess I assumed they had more dignity than that. whoopsie-daisey.

For the next week I was pretty depressed and I even asked a HR guy about the dental plan for a job I was interviewing for. This was one of my most famously idiotic ideas while job-hunting. That is how concerned I was. How was I going to come up with $7000?

I got a second opinion from a dentist I trusted* in Louisville a few months later and she basically told me everything was as pretty-as-a-picture. There was some trouble areas but she said we should just “watch it”. Sweet!

So I went from a $7000 overall to everything is peachy. It was crazy. I had no idea that there was such discrepancy in diagnosing dental work.

So, that was a revelation to me. I know this was a boring blog but I am mostly warning you guys out there to make sure that you can find a dentist you can trust. Other life lessons are make sure you have some sensible shoes that you can dress up or down and don't let your coworkers know about all of the food that you steal from them**.

*Karen Seymour @ "Seymour and Sims",4600 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40218
** another blog on this coming soon

Friday, November 10, 2006

Halloween extensiton

Here is a masterpiece carved by someone very close to me around Halloween 04:

This is basically the worst carving job i have ever seen in my entire life. That includes my childhood. It looks like maybe it was done by a confused 3rd grader or possibly a foreigner that has never carved a pumpkin before. Borat could have easily carved this pumpkin.

My favorite parts are the single tooth, the mouth that extends past the eye one side, and the overbite. If this face is supposted to represent something, it is a man that has been in a terrible accident and has been horribly misfigured.

anyway, i hope you get a kick out of it like I did.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

liquor cabinet

I have built a bragable 4 peices of furniture in the past 6 years. It is something I enjoy doing as a hobby, and the quality is superior to what you find in stores. I can also build something for a fraction of the store cost. In fact, we have been so po' in the past few years, I am sure we would have never went out and bought that kind of stuff. So building my own furniture it is a cheap alternative, and it keeps me from laying around on the weekends and eating pudgey pies.

I have built a large (3'x5' desktop!) computer desk (hardwood plywood and veneer), a lingere dresser (walnut), a king-size head board (walnut), and a bookshelf (oak) . Someday I will post them all so everyone will be reminded of how talented I am when they open up my blog.

I found out that I think I am going to try hard to build this fetching liquor cabinet this over the 2 weeks I am taking off in Decemeber. It will look really good with the rest of our furnature in our storage garage. I won't be able to finish it, but I should be able to get alot done. I can finish it up on the weekends after that.

This one is oak, but I am building mine out of cherry. It should be as regal as Coop is glamerous. Hopefully I won't cut a rabbet in my finger this time. (a story for another day)

More Work Stories

Today I had a funny conversation with someone at work. She is one of my favorites because she is one of the only people here that I can joke around with. I didn't hold back on my sarcasm.

Me: How are you gals doing today? (talking to her and another nearby ‘gal’)
Her: (dejected) Oh, I am at work, you know.
Me: Oh! That is an okay attitude to have… I guess… Best of luck in life with that attitude.
Her: You could make me feel better buy buying one of those wreathes (points to catalog). That would not only make my day, but my entire life.
Me: Your entire life? I am not sure it is worth it.
Her: You are probably right.
Me: No, seriously, I will look at them later. Although my wife usually handles wreathes.
Her: Make sure to tell her they are real…
Me: Real how?
Her: Made of live material.
Me: So they are useless next year?
Her: (blank look) …. Yeah.
Me: I’ll make sure to tell her that.
Her: (irritated look)
Me: No, I am kidding, I will buy one for each window.

This reminds me of one of my favorite interactions with coworkers here. I was opening a door to a stairwell and as I opened it, I saw two of my coworkers, both of which I didn’t know that well. One was hunched-over vomiting (girl my age). The other (older man) was patting her back. I think on most days, I would have asked if I could help, immediately gotten paper towels and such... I am a helpful, take-charge kinda guy. I could have at least asked, “Are you okay?” which is only a mild commitment to the event and at least acknowledges that there is someone voiding their stomach in plain sight. Instead, without taking a moment to consider the events, I did a 180 and closed to the door behind me and took the elevator.

Later, I was thinking how I deftly dodged the bullet of having to clean up vomit, and witnessing the shame that coincides with vomiting in public. I wrote an email to my friend Mike a couple days shortly after:

Did I tell you the story about the girl throwing up in the stairwell?
There was a grad student throwing up in the stairwell, and one of the PhDs patting her on the back in a “there-there” way. Instead of helping, (paper towels and the like), I turned around and just went away.
She just came to my desk. I hope she knows that she is forever the throwing-up girl in my mind
You should say something to her about it to embarrass her.

If I had some cookies, I could say “do you want me to toss a cookie?”
Or I could say “hurl me that pen”

The last 3 places I have worked have always had an ample supply of free snacks. The place I work now has as much quality candy (Take 5s and Reese’s cups), pretzels, and animal crackers as I want. The last place I worked at was always stocked up on Klondike bars. The place before that didn’t have an abundance of free snacks, but they had an awful lot of hot dogs floating around. I am eager to see what the next place is going to be like. If this trend continues I am due for free lunches. Every time I go to the office to get a candy bar I act surprised that there is free candy bars. I usually let out a fake gasp or joyful squeal. This is my way of making the secretary who buys this shit feel special. I am waiting for her to say something, but she hasn’t yet. I think she tries to ignore me as much as possible. I think in her case that is a good policy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Coop's first outfit

Some of you have been asking for a glamerous update about Cooper. I thought I would share the first outfit that Cooper designed. He made it when he was a puppy, and he would probably be really mad if he knew I was sharing it with you. (not his best work)

He was going to some kind of Hollywood benefit and it had a "Cowboys and Indians" theme. Everyone had to wear a Cowboy or Indian outfit to get in the door. I think it was to save some kind of endangered species. he said it was a fingernail mite or something. He isn't good with names.

He was just going to be seen anyhow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Costume 2006

Bean had a pretty sweet Halloween party last weekend. I went. It was fun.

What was my costume you ask?

I am not sure. I was going to ask you.

I think I was some kind of 70's era dirtball.

Sincere Pose

Party pose

Caught off-guard pose

One thing is for sure, my costumes always require moose-taches:
Sabotage guy -05
Dangle from Reno 911 -04

My darling wife was one of those unnessessary-surgery nurses. You know... a nurse that.... uhhh... kills... their patients?

That reminds me to buy some Shout.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween 2006


Halloween was Tuesday night. I love Halloween. I even took Tuesday off of work. Of course, these days I take off work for just about anything. I almost called in yesterday too because I jabbed the back of my mouth with my toothbrush when I woke up.

This year’s Halloween was extra-special because I spent it at my parent’s house. I took the time to set up the infamous Mr. Death (below), but found out that he wasn’t working they way I had hoped. Last year I cleverly put in a motion detector that was so insensitive that it actually became a knock-sensor (when taped to the door). This sensor turned on a motor that jerked up his head and turned on some ghostly laughing. It was pretty sweet.

Mr. Death: "The camara adds 10 pounds"

This year, however, I accidentally ruined the sensor and burned up a relay, so I just set him up on the porch with nothing but his creepy LED-lit eyes. It was a real shame. I vow to do something extravagant for Halloween 2007. I will have to consult Bean for some ideas, who really had his place decked-out for his Halloween party.

One of these days, I will have to post some pictures and videos of how my brother and I used to do Halloween night when I was in high school. The neighbors still talk about my parent’s house. We really went crazy with the robots and actuators and such. Flailing life-sized witches, real-life talking Mr. Deaths , doors that open by their self, computer-controlled audio, the whole niner. I remember one year we video-taped all the kids’ reactions to Mr. Death’s spookyness and at least 4 different groups of kids turned around and ran once they saw him. No candy for them!

One of my favs was when my brother acted like he was a fake leaf-stuffed zombie in the front yard and when kiddies would walk by he would jump out and get them. Tee hee! What a clever ruse.

Then there was the kid who got lit on fire due to our negligence. Those cheap vampire capes are flammable! It was like it was impregnated with lighter fluid or something. I tried not to break character and upset the spirit of our front porch, but this kid had a lawsuit look to him.

We did carve some bitchin’ pumpkins. Guess which one is mine (hint: mine doesn't have kitty ears).

"scary" and "horned"pumpkin

YEEEOUCH! That smarts!

Closeup, including pumpkin-gut as pumpkin blood (look closely)

This year we also had a lovable bean with us. Look how cute this little quacky duck is:

Cuteness modifier +2d6

We scooted her around the neighborhood and even ran into some kind of Halloween psychopath:

There we were, my wife, my daughter, and I, walking on the sidewalk, when a SUV comes around the corner at a blinding 5 mph. The car must have been about to explode, because it was making sounds that I have never heard a car make before. Due to the sounds and speed of the car, I remarked to my wife that I thought it was in the process of breaking down.

But! The guy slowly drives up next to us, rolls down the window, and uttered some kind of unintelligible gibberish. He literally talked as though he had marbles in his mouth. All syllables ran together and there was no real enunciation. I immediatly decided this man was a terrific alcoholic. So I asked him to clarify and approached him. He said another fantastic string of mush-mouth horsemarm. So again, I asked him to clarify, and even gave him some suggestions. I thought he might be trying to give me something, so I said,
“do you want to give me some candy?”

and He was like, (make sure to hold your tounge while saying this aloud)
“No! wewasonthewayhome and Ijustboughtthecandy… so Iwasjustgoingtogiveittoyou now”

As far as I could tell, this guy was shit-faced and had maybe had some candy lying around in his car, so he did what any logical person would do on Halloween, he handed out from his dying SUV on the way home.

So, he gave me some candy, I thanked him, and he went on his way.

I sure hope he gets reunited with that crazy lady from wal-mart that I met.

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