Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Drive, The Giant

The Drive -
Happened today....went through the lands of: Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke, Westfield, Granville, Tolland, Sandisfield, New Marlborough, Southfield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee, Pittsfield, Lanesboro, Williamstown, North Adams, Florida, Peru, Charlemont, Shelburne Falls, Greenfield, Deerfield, Whately, Hatfield and back to Northampton. I'm sure I've left a couple towns out too....after 275 miles worth of driving. When my iphone, with it's faulty headphone jack and all, decided to work -music-playing-wise, the playlists via it's on-board ipod did take good care of me....otherwise I just rolled along the vibrant green streets with crystal clear sunlight cascading all around me on beautiful brand-new roads. (Because, as you all know, if you drive anywhere these days, there will be road construction.) Makes for a good ride....and a good ride makes for good thinking....about why I'm really doing things. And what I really want. Shit, it amazes me sometimes.......Mike Ditka was quoted once as saying, "You get what you tolerate". More about that later..


The Giant -
Is SEARS.
See, about a month and a half ago, Devo and I decided to buy an exercise bike. We did the research, found some good models, compared factors and debated whether to buy one online or in a retail store. We figured that, if we were to buy one online that the shipping/trying to install it would be the end of us. Anyway, the decision was to hit the dreaded retail market to get the bike we wanted. The store that happens to carry the model we desired is SEARS, retail giant. I say "dreaded retail market" because my thoughts about corporations, companies and businesses (retail and service oriented businesses alike) are to the effect that they will do, say, brand, convince, market, sales-pitch and provide overall comfort to you with warm advertisements of service and/or their life-enhancing products...and we all dream of the smiling person we'll become if we just buy those products and/or services. But we know they're full of shit.

Maybe it's not quite that drasctic? ....Or is it??

So, a month and a half ago we strolled into SEARS, with all our research done and drunk with power from our recent wave of action and decisiveness, we embarked on our journey to buy that bike. But it was rocky from the get-go. First, we had to find someone in the store to assist us in the purchase because for about 15 minutes no one even came to the "fitness" area of the store. Finally, a swaggering young retail clerk emerged and burned down the aisle towards us to help. He threw some smooth jokes, didn't back down from price negotiations and initiated the sale. At the register he got confused about a number of things --we were there for an hour(??) trying to buy this thing-- but!! He eventually broke down and summoned the store manager who figured it all out. We bought the installation ($99 extra clams), we bought the extended warranty (hey, we don't know how to fix this shit), and all-told, it was like $700. We got a delivery date set up and figured we'd be "good" despite the cantankerous retail exchange we had just endured.
Not quite.
The delivery team showed up, seemed less-than-excited about the prospect of having to set the bike up, and asked "So, do you guys want help setting this up?"
"ha ha", very cute guys --yes we fucking do. Because that's what we fucking paid for($99)!!!
Needless to say, the machine has had a "clunking in it's wheel since the start. We tried every little cure to get it "fixed" but it only got worse. You think the installation crew, who didn't want to set it up after being paid to do so (they even scowled at the $10 tip), may have done a lackluster job??? YEP.

Now check this out. I'm going to list the flow of events that occurred on Tuesday when I tried to set up a service appointment for this bike:

Called "customer care" -got a young man who listened to my story and quickly transferred me to "service and repair" department with the assurance that I'd be setting up a repair service.
Was transferred. Was hung up on.
Called "customer care" (#2 call) -A nice woman got on the line and I attempted to clarify why I was calling. She assured me that she could help me. I remarked that it was weird that SHE could but the rep I just spoke with said he couldn't (??)....I repeated my story of the faulty bike, she then informed me that she would have to transfer me to the "service and repair" department. Ok.....uumm sure......I was on hold and had to go through the various automated prompts --again. Finally a man answered, I told him my story and he said he "didn't really need to know all that....".....okaaay. He then said he would get me set up for service and then he put me on hold.

I held for awhile.....
After 10 minutes, give or take, the line got transferred to another series of prompts, now at the Nordictrack Corporation. After some time on hold and various messages of how important my call was to them, plugs for social media sites of theirs I could visit and more than one attempt to have me hang up with assurances that they'd call me back, a representative answered. I tell my story. He says he can't help me because SEARS installed it and SEARS will have to service it.

What the fuck?????
I try the "service and repair" line direct. It sends me to Nordictrack. I hang up.....now furious at the run-around I've gotten. But that was just the start readers, just the start. I call back and lace into an unfortunate "customer care" rep. who, after hearing my story, quickly moved to transfer me to, you guessed it, the "service and repair" department!!! I told him I needed a manager, he cockily assured me that he was transferring me to the "big boss"; "the top-of-the-ladder-manager" (actual quotes).....on hold.....on hold....bang!!! The "big boss" gets on the line. I tell my story --yet again. He, after hearing it, regrets to inform me that he's the loss prevention manager and he has nothing to do with that department. We both wondered why I was transferred to him??? He does get me the store manager named "Pam" (who even knows if these people use real names???)
"Pam" gets on the line. She seems to have no time for my shit. I tell my story and: SHE TELLS ME THAT I NEED TO CALL "SERVICE AND REPAIR" to set this up. I went fairly ballistic. She says she didn't think that department would get back to her this night (Tuesday) and that she is off the next day (Wednesday). She says she can call me Thursday to arrange the service. I ask for her direct number and get, "well, ...I have a phone in my office but I'm never in there.....you can try......leave me a message and I'll get back to you...."

WOW.

Devo and I pretty much assumed that we wouldn't be hearing from "Pam" anytime near Thursday. And we didn't. We're going to get a refund from SEARS now.....I thought about some of this on my 275 mile drive through beautiful Western Massachusetts today....I thought about "Pam" and SEARS and why the fuck I even bothered to "trust" things like: Installation service, warranties, repairs, retail sales pitches and SEARS in general. I mean, shit....I know they'll tell me anything and everything to get my/your/our money, but when they have the money in hand they will then make it an act of God to try and get service or "customer care" from that point. I just wish it wasn't so fucking predictable, and that every so often they'd stand by the bullshit they're pushing.

The lesson here? DON'T TRUST SEARS WHEN THEY SELL YOU SOMETHING, AND DON'T BUY THINGS FROM SEARS THAT INVOLVE SERVICE OR INSTALLATION.



~ZFJ

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Your money, their money, my money

This is going to be a rant...shit, I haven't even had time to write shit in the last month, and I'm pissed about it. The last few days have just really slapped me in the face with regards to things like money, financial services markets, bills and all sorts of other bullshit. Your bank makes an error in your favor. It is fixed in seconds. Your bank makes an error in their favor. It takes 14-30 days to reflect changes. Neat-o! Your cell phone bill -wildly overpriced as it is- comes out at $667 dollars (!!!!!!!WTF?!?!?) for 100 minutes over the call plan. Fucking wow on that one. Six hundred and sixty seven dollars. For. A. Fucking. Phone. YAY!! You get a hard lesson about financial services markets of the world, particularly pushed and perpetuated in America, and how there is zero, I mean zero, regard for the consumer/borrower. Instead, elaborate and confusing facades are developed, with many, many layers, to lead us all down the primrose path .....but it devastates some people along the way. Their defense? "You should have read what you were signing." They should change their efforts to reflect some manner of ethics, actually.,,,thankfully, some very active people in our state have initiated some changes. My iphone. I bought a Garageband app awhile ago. It's awesome. They notify me of an upgrade and I go to install it. Nope!!! It tells me I don't have enough "icloud storage" for this app. The app that I already paid for, was previously installed, and now has an available upgrade. I go buy more storage. Still can't load the upgrade for some fucking reason.....I'm sure there will be an opportunity to pay them more money so I can get the app installed that I already paid for. I swear to fucking God, if we all let them keep selling us stuff, they would take every last fucking penny we have...forcing smiles as they take the money, with "customer service" robots at-the-ready, to comfort us as they read from their canned fucking scripts when we call with a problem. The call may/will result in even more offers to buy services or items that will resolve our issues, surely. Insurance; Bullshit; Sinkholes; scams. You pay plenty of money to them but their entire function is to NOT pay. This is amazing to me. I just got hit with a cute loophole in my insurance that screwed me for a month. But, If I threw some money at them, I'm sure they could find a solution to resolve the issue (which has already been resolved as of this rant, thankfully). I just got sick over the realization that it will never stop. Companies do it all to get that money from our pockets. Then, they do more marketing/selling, to get more money from our pockets...then still more......I realize they're in business to make profit. I/we get that. Is there no end to it??? .....there has to come a time when they just service the fucking customer for what we've already fucking bought, with no sales pitches and red-taped terms of use/regulations. Just seems like I should have all my money go right to the various fucking services I've contracted for, direct deposit-style...THEY would be very happy with that. Anyway, I'm shopping for new services because I've had it.....I can't wait to hear the sales pitches they'll use to get my business.....and I can't wait to hear the ways I can spend even more money with them down-the-line. This fucking country of consumerism, wow....it just keeps a rollin'. ~ZFJ

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