Monthly Archives: July 2006

punched in the face #2

I can’t decide exactly where this punch needs to be placed, but in these posts, I think I’ll prefer to be more inclusive than exclusive. So in this case, I’ll tag punch number two for both Verizon Wireless, and for people who answer technical support lines for a living (and let’s not forget about those people that designed said techinical support system).

Backstory: I needed to switch telephone service from Melissa’s old phone to a newer one that we bought via Ebay, because her old one’s hinge failed. So I called verizon to switch her line from her broken phone to the newer one.

First call: Five minutes on hold, answered by a woman. I explain what I want. She puts me on hold. Fifteen minutes later, a different woman answers, as though the first woman did not exist. I re-explain my problem to woman #2. She makes the whole thing entirely more complex than it needs to be, and refers me to another number I need to call to accomplish want I want (side note: I realize that these people are trained to speak to the lowest common denominator (ie – they can grunt and screech ape-speak), but perhaps *someone* out there in tech-support land would consider *my* level of expertiese before boiling everything down into soft, chewable language that isn’t correct?).

Second call: Spent about three minutes “talking” to an automated system, which could not help me. Then spent 20 minutes on hold, waiting for a person. Then I gave up and went to work.

Third call: Spent another fifteen minutes on hold (while I was working… Being on hold requires no attention), then talked to a dude. He swapped the service around for me in about five minutes, and I was done. I mentioned my problems to him, he promised to let his manager know (which I know is likely a fruitless exercise, but I tried) and that was it.

So there you have it. About 70 minutes spent on the phone for something that I should be able to do automatically from any touch-tone phone, in two minutes.

What do you think? Who deserves this punch in the face more? The tele-help system (which is designed to prevent customers from being helped?) or the first two slack-jawed Verizon employees that couldn’t accomplish this relatively minor task?

punched in the face #1

I’ve added a new category today: Punched in the Face. With this category, I intend to catalogue individuals and groups that need to be punched in the face. My first target? Whatever group or individual decided on the implementation of self-serve checkout lanes in grocery stores (and home improvement stores).

Who’s bright idea was it that there should be a scale for you to bag items in, in order to prevent theft? That’s moronic! I was trying to buy pvc fittings the other day. For those who aren’t aware, these things weigh maybe an ounce or two apiece. Orders of magnitude less than the mass of the scale mechanism itself, at the very least.

So it wants me to scan each fitting, then place it “in the bag” (which is stupid marketing-speak for “on the theft prevention scales”). Of course, I had to have the cashier/overseer press her magic button for each of the 12 fittings I was buying, because the machine could not register them.

Worst part of the whole thing? They didn’t have any checkout lanes open that were operated by human beings. Only the idiotic self-serve versions. Some times a human really is better than a machine, and this is one of those times.

Not a plumber

I’ve been wrestling with the air conditioning system lately. The drain pipe apparently clogged, and it had been dumping [a lot] of water on the floor for a few days before I found it. It’s been nothing but hassle getting it apart, getting replacement parts, etc.

Just to show you what it currently looks like, I offer you this image. Note the zip ties to keep the drips from following the housing back into the furnace, and the water bottle taped there to direct drips into the bucket.

Lest you doubt my rube goldbergian prowess, the air conditioning has indeed been running like this for almost 24 hours now, while I hunt down the right pvc fittings to fix the drain line (don’t get me started). In case you were wondering, that amounts to around 4 gallons of water collected and drained so far, in about 24 hours. I can’t imagine how much soaked into my sub-floor. ):


Hey all. In the off chance that anyone out there in web-land has a Treo 600 or 650 that they want to sell for any reason, let me know. I’m looking to get a smartphone to consolidate my gadget stash and because Melissa’s phone is dying so it needs replacement.

So yeah, if you have one of those phones and want to upgrade or some such, now is a good time, since I’ll give you cash for your old schtuff. (:

switch of the week

Bryan and I were discussing how much firefox crashes on us lately. For me, the main reason I still use it is for the tabs. We decided to devise a test. He’s going to try Maxthon, an IE derivative, for a week. I’ll be using Opera for that same week. Then we’ll swap. At the end of the week, we’ll write up our findings for all of you out there to enjoy.

Rut roh rorge!

As the husband of an aspiring and talented animal trainer, it’s important for me to understand the tools of her wiley trade. 😛