Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Customer Disservice

As many of you readers know, I shop for a living.  Before that I worked retail at a lot of different stores.  So I presume to know a thing or three about retail.  I also worked at Discover Card which is the best company on the planet.  It is designed in every way to cut through crap.  So the bar on my expectations is set really high.   The following companies don't even come remotely close to touching that bar.  Like if my bar is in New York, their bar isn't somewhere on the Jersey Shore, but waaaay over in like, Taos, New Mexico.

Kimball Roofing.  We had the great fortune of getting a roof replacement negotiated into the contract when buying this house.  It's against code to put shingles on a flat roof.  No one does tar and gravel anymore and that left us with one other option.  Bitumous Membrane.  It's like having really, really thick/wide duct tape rolled over your roof.  Kimball said they could do it.  The guys show up to do the job, a guy Kimball hired out and his dudes.  The guy's three non-English speaking workers are SUPER nice and helpful.  But.  His guys leave cigarette butts all over the place, don't clean up the tar and gravel from demolition and put the membrane on crooked.  I corner him about it.  He says they are workers not artists.  I say it doesn't take an artist to snap a friggin chalk line.  He draws for me a very elaborate wooden veneer that he could build for me for a few thousand dollars that would cover up his shoddy work nicely.  Yeah, that happened.  I was VERY upset.  It's just the beginning.  Days later I notice the swamp cooler is blowing luke warm air.  Brett keeps telling me it's working, but I'm not on board. (Sorry honey)  So I get a free estimate on replacement.  The guy tells me the actual unit is not the problem that it's been totally disconnected and asks if anyone has been on the roof lately.  Kimball.  He tells me that they are required to hook it back up for free, for sure.  So I call them.  It is many moons before I can get a guy to just call me back.  Many more to get a guy to come over.  We set up an appointment finally.  Minutes before he is supposed to be here he asks if he can come back another day because someone took the ladder out of his truck.  I'm hot and angry.  I tell him to GET OVER HERE and I'll find him a friggin ladder.  So he comes over, then doesn't leave.  It takes him TWO DAYS to work on it.  Now this was a while ago and the details are fuzzy but I do remember that because he spent two days at our house, noon and night, at some point I decide to shower.  And I am in my bedroom which across from the hall swamp cooler switch.  That's right.  It's the one time he walks into our house with no verbal announcement.  I defied all laws of the universe to fly through the air and shut the door so this old dude could not get a glimpse of the goods.  I do not think I was successful.  He finally, FINALLY, finishes and leaves me with a cracked switched plate and a slightly dirty feeling.  Next day...it's still blowing warm.  I call Kimball and tell them everything.  They don't care.  The owner of the company is there, he won't take my call.  They totally blow me off and won't send another guy to fix my air or anything.  If I remember correctly we finally went through our home owners warranty and they sent a guy who did it for like 50 bucks.  He ended up fixing it in like an hour and he laughed the whole time about how all the lines were crossed and the water not turned on and the power cable actually severed.  OMG.

Gold's Gym.  Both times I have made the mistake of getting a membership here I have spent moths on the phone trying to fix it.  Both times it went back to the person signing me up. First time the lady took 10 seconds to go over my actual contract and one hour to tell me about her divorce.  The second time he took the hour on my contract, because every time I had a question he had to get up and ask someone the answer.  I hate Gold's gym so much I don't go on principle.  I have a 14 month pass with daycare included up for sale cheap if anyone wants it.  I want to go back to 24 Hour Fitness.

Sprint.  For those of you that know Brett's blog I will not waste your time going over this in massive detail, again.  Needless to say an employee put insurance on Brett's phone and not mine by accident.  And my phone broke.  Then they wouldn't fix my phone or switch the insurance.  I went to a bunch of stores and finally talked to some regional higher up who STILL wouldn't do anything about their employee's mistake.  At store #5 some guy hatches a plan.  To "solve" the problem I will buy a new phone I can use, he will switch the insurance to my account, and he will send in my old phone.  Since it only takes a few days to get my phone fixed, he will just return the phone he sells me.  I hear nothing for over a month.  A guy calls me and tells me my phone is in.  I'm on set for two days, I can't bring it in.  Day three, my dog eats the "new" phone.  Chews it all to hell.  I tell them it's my fault, sure, but they made me buy a phone and it took over a month.  And I should have insurance on my account now because this guy fixed it, right?  Nope.  Still on the WRONG ACCOUNT!  I go back in and I ask the guy if he thinks this is his idea of good customer service and how exactly he thought any of this plan was actually going to be helping the customer.  He rolls his eyes and says, "Ok.  One more time so you get what we did.  You came in with your phone and we gave you a new phone.  Then we sent your phone in to corporate..." He does this over and over.  I am trying to get him to see big picture, how is this helping me.  He and a fake customer pretending to look at phones and another worker all get into this by snickering at everything I say and whispering and rolling their eyes at me and disrespect me...in front of my children.  They made me cry, those big awesome guys at Sprint on the corner of State and Center in Orem.  It's cool to roll your eyes and laugh at a stupid Mom with her stupid kids. My kids tried to comfort me in the car on the drive back home.  Saying, "It's OK Mommy, don't cry.  They weren't nice, Mommy."  Yeah, that happened.  That was just the beginning of a six month tour through Hell with them to finally fix this.  Our service was turned off twice in error.  Our phones don't get reception in our own house and no one knows why.  It's over 400 bucks to get out of our contract.  We are stuck with them until April.

KrispyKreme.  Did you know they don't take 50 or 100 dollar bills?  Me either.  And you don't find out until after you and your kids watch the conveyor for twenty minutes, stand in line for another twenty, finally pick out and box your doughnuts.  They don't tell you until you have done all of this and are standing at the register with two happy drooling little kids that are there being rewarded because they behaved themselves.  And no the manager won't make an exception.  And no I don't have a credit or debit card.  I have actual cash.  But...BUT...they will provide you with cups so you can have a water.  Two crying little kids don't care about having a cup of water when their doughnuts have just been LITERALLY taken from their hands.  'Cause they are better off being in the trash.  Hot light wasn't on I guess?  When we drive by Aidan still says, "Our money isn't good there, huh Mom."

Racelinedirect.com.  I had to buy thousands of dollars of NASCAR merchandise for a shoot.  We didn't have the models picked out yet so we over-bought due to time restraints, in hopes something would fit.  When it came down to the day of the shoot the agency didn't want to overload on Nascar clothes, understandably.  We used a little bit from many sources.  The one ladies T shirt everyone agreed on was from Raceline.  It's in every shot.  We used two of this style shirt.  We return every other piece from there.  It's a big return.  On their website it has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  It states their policy which I abide by to the letter.   Merchandise in original bags, unopened, with receipt, returned well under the 60 day limit.  But they won't return it.  At first I'm told there will be a fee.  No one can say how much.  They ask the owner, he says he won't return any of it.  I go nuclear.  They tell me to ask Michelle who is in charge of returns who I placed my order with.  She won't call me back.  I get the run around for the third day in a row, and while on hold I get to listen to a recording repeat over and over about their 100% satisfaction guarantee and happy and polite customer service. I finally reach Michelle in the early morning, this morning in fact.  She won't help me and says to talk to the owner.  I tell her how he told me to talk to her.  Nice.  Put him on.  He says there will be a 40% restocking fee.  If I pay 40% of the retail price for the merchandise, I covered his cost of the product and then this Jackass gets to re-sell the merchandise and makes double keystone in profit.  Am I supposed to be dumb?  I say that is UNACCEPTABLE!  Not going to happen.  I agree to 20%.  And I don't even feel it's totally right to pay that under the circumstances.  He tells me that I am not his regular customer.  I faunch.  I say, so it's ok to not honor your word with me because I'm outside your demographic?  I am a professional shopper, I'm the last person you want to piss off.  He tells me it sounds like I'm a professional returner.  I say, whether or not we used your stuff is inconsequential.  It just happened that way.  I bought from you because you guarantee 100% satisfaction and 60 days to return for full money back.  If it had read otherwise I would have not even bothered.  I passed up other NASCAR web sites for less.  I tell him he needs to honor his word.  He tells me he will bring it down to 25%.  I tell him to send me and invoice with the exact totals of the return amount minus the 25% fee.  He sends me a return invoice, with the wrong return amount.  It's short 71.00.  I call to talk to him about it.  I tell him I know it's short.  He says it's not.  I tell him it is and I will call him back in a second.  I calculate with a calculator, Brett calculates even, and it's short.  I call him back.  He left for the day.  That big feathery chicken butt.  I want this man's head.  A shirt from his company was agreed upon by art directors from one of the most elite ad agencies in the entire country,Saatchi and Saatchi X.  It was shot by one of the best photographers, Lori Adamski-Peek, for Sports Illustrated.  And it was chosen by who?  Me.  He gets free publicity in Sports Illustrated thanks to who?  Me.  Instead of being grateful for any of this, he is being utterly dis.respect.ful.  I think he's so busy thinking of how he's getting "screwed" he will never even think to use the fact he got into SI to push his business.  The tard ass.

Timpanogos Temple.  I know that cute little old people volunteer their time to work there but the church would maybe do well to have some sort of training.  I made multiple calls to the Temple to make an appointment to be married and sealed.  They gave me a list of papers I needed to have.  One being a letter confirming Temple Divorcement.  I told them it was over ten years ago and I didn't think I had it.  I asked if it could be requested from Headquarters or whatever.  She didn't know but someone would call me.  A guy we'll call Brother Jensen calls me and tells me to call him.  I actually FIND the letter.  I call him back and say it's all fine, I found it and not to worry and we'd see him there!  Brother Jensen says, no.  That there was more.  My son's Dad couldn't just agree verbally, we had to have it in writing.  My bishop said they were wrong that verbal was good.  I call again to make a date, and they connect me to Brother Jensen again who says there is a note telling him I need to get ONLY written permission and not to let me in.  I tell him I don't have time to discuss it now but I will just get the paper, if there is any question about it at all.  He keeps explaining to me that I NEED this letter, and does so for SO LONG that I hang up on him.  HANG UP!  I asked Ty if he'd agree in writing and said that would be fine, whatever.  Meanwhile Brother Jensen is leaving me messages about how I really need to get this letter and he was sorry we got disconnected.  I steel myself and call him back and explain why I hung up.  Brother Jensen says he can't hear me through our bad connection and says to call back when I am getting better service.  Which will be sometime after April.  We get a home line.  I call back and they tell me...they tell me...that my son is born under the covenant of my first marriage and does not need to be sealed to us.  Because the date on the divorce confirmation letter is three months after he was born, he is somehow "born under the covenant".  I can not speak.  I hand the phone to Brett.  I love this man.  When I can no longer deal because I'm too emotional, which is not often, Brett goes into this place.  This killer protect the flock space and God help the people on the other end of the line.  In this case that's already the Temple so I guess God help us.  Brett talks to this guy and then calls our Bishop.  I tell them both, I just want to get this done.  We're worthy people who love one another and had the miraculous experience of finding each other, having an adoption finalized and an ex that once said, "Over my dead body", change his mind and allow his son to be sealed.  All of these things were perfectly aligned so we could have this singular experience.  

We are so close and yet so far away.  Like New Jersey and New York.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back to the Future.

I guess it goes back to the day we moved here.  The actual day we moved in is unclear because it was a process to actually get into the house after the renters took 10 days to move their stuff out and two more to come and get their dog.  But in the beginning days of this house we met our new neighbors who turned out to be my old friends from High School.  We all stood out in the street and laughed our butts off for over an hour.  It was like I never left his place.  Now all my frequent Timp High flashbacks have given way to acceptance.  I just live here now.

But last night I was on Facebook waaay too late as usual and I saw my friend Shawn's photos from his High School days in CA.  They are golden 80's evidence.  He has the best bleached out Mohawk ever.  There is one where a crazy looking redhead in a sailor hat strangles a monkey in some jungle themed Sadie Hawkins portrait.   If you have access, you gotta check these out.  I woke up this morning and went right for the Year Books I had just put into our new bookshelves.  I can't put down the one from 1987, my freshman year. 

I am looking at people I haven't in years.  Like Lincoln Sheranian.  Was he gay?  He was so pretty and had lots of gorgeous girl-friends.  Not that I care to know, I'm just speculating.  I still swear in 1995 when I was in London I saw him on the tube.  Patti Bennion was hilarious and fearless what ever happened to her?   And didn't we all used to looove Josh Forrest?  Heidi Hall looks like she wants to Columbine the lot of us.  Who was Stacie Jacobsen?  She looks like a total rocker.  Lisa Harward was so beautiful and she and Stephanie Whitlock used to ask to see my clothing sketches and were really complimentary about them.  I adored her.  I heard she died in a car wreck in the canyon after she graduated.  Ohhh, Sean Peterson.  I was in love with him forever!  First day of 7th grade I was sliding along the wall to class.  You know, walking with my shoulder to the bricks.  I came around the corner and nearly ran into him.  He said, "Hi Amy" and I honestly nearly threw up.  I could barely say hi back and couldn't get out of there fast enough.  And then hated myself every day for years for not being cooler.  Jon Callister liked me in 8th and his friends told me I just had to like him back.  I heard Sean liked me then, too.  One time I dropped Jon off after taking him around on my scooter and ran into Sean by his house.  I took him for a ride and finally talked to him.  And I was so bummed after all of those years of liking him so much that I was kind of "with" another boy and couldn't like him back.  Jon totally lost interest and liked Melody Warner which I didn't blame him for.  She was cute and cool.  And it didn't occur to me to even try and see if Sean liked me still.  I just was sure that ship had sailed.  I had similar issues with Andy Buckles.  I was just sure that ship had sailed because he dated one of my good friends.  But how cute was he?  I should have hit that.

There is an actual picture of Rod Ash at the Homecoming dance.  This dance was such a big deal to me.  I had met Rod's best friend Don at the cemetery the summer before High School started.  He was a grave digger.  Don the grave digger we called him and my girl friends and I used to think he was such an anomaly.  We would go up there looking for him.  I remember consciously thinking that I didn't care about being cool in school if I could be friends with interesting people like Don.  Don found me at the Homecoming Game and introduced me to his friend Rod.  It didn't take long to see that no one was as unanimously considered popular as Rod, not in our school or any other.  At that Homecoming dance, the first dance of the year, the first song, Rod came over to me and said, "Howdy Sailor wanna dance?"  And the girls I was with almost passed out.  Rod was my first date.  Years later at AUM rush we had to make a swim suit out of like six inches of fabric with no needle and thread and then we had to walk into a room full of Rush Masters and Sigma Tau (Frat brother) leaders with spray bottles.  They would ask you questions and you got soaked if they didn't like the answer.  They asked me who was my first date and other things, but someone asked me where I was when I first kissed Rod Ash, if he was a good kisser.  And I said I didn't ever kiss Rod Ash.  Or Don Terry.  And everyone just sat there stunned and confused.  They ushered me out pretty dry.

At AUM I became friends with Heather Heileson.  There was not a girl in school cooler then Heather and I'll tell you why.  Someone had started a landslide of public negativity about Heather that lasted all four years.  She knew about it for the most part, but she sort of existed on a whole other level.  She was so funny and so smart.  I admired and respected and adored her.  She became a doctor and married a man that thought she hung the moon.  I hope with my whole heart she is happy.

In the Seniors there is DC Wright who I would have married had he formally asked me after his mission and Mike Butterfield who should have kissed me when we were drunk in the rain at Hyde Park in '95 but wisely refrained.  And James.  James William Connelly.  Jukes Bapaloosa.  He looks so handsome.  I haven't seen his face in years and years.  I tore up or burned every picture I had of him.  I had to.  I don't think there ever was a boy more sweet and kind to a girl then James was to me.  And I don't think a girl was ever more devoted then I was to him.  I can still break wide open if I think about it too long.  After we broke up, Malcolm Moody, Eric Larson and Jim Melo were there to pick up the pieces and talk for hours, take me biking and climbing and are still among my dearest and most loved friends. 

All of these years spent with these people.  I know that the consensus is that if High School was the best time of your life you must be a giant loser.  I guess I'm a total has been then.  It was the best time of my life.  Without question.  And I'm seeing that now that I'm home.  I think it was God's plan for me to have a blessed social experience because everything at home was an absolute train wreck from the time I was born.  I'm grateful for these people and that they are still around and I still know them and I'm back here.  It's a big reminder that God wants things to be fun and easy for us.  I hope my kids have the same beautiful crazy messed up moments I had.  I hope Aidan is friends with the Rod of his school and Bella makes Homecoming Queen by three votes.  I hope Aidan sneaks out to meet his friends at Denny's and Bella makes out with a crazy older boy at a Halloween party in front of everyone.  These moments make us smile through paying the bills, the nights cleaning up toddler barf and filing insurance claims after wrecking the car.  At least, they do for me.  

Who the heck is Martha Chadwick?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spring 09. the "A"s.

It takes a long time to go through fashion shows on the internet after Fashion Week in NYC. I have only just made it through the A's. I will give you the highlights according to me. It should save you time and frustration, not having to hit the "next" arrow over and over and over and ov...

So let's start with a newbie. I am not so far familiar with the work of Amanda Wakeley. But I found her things to be pretty, wearable, and clean looking. She should stay away from swim, though. But almost everything else was lovely and she used a color I love that my mum and I call Monkey Vomit Green. It's like an olive drab. And everything she showed made sense, which is a huge must for me. I have a real problem with designers that have a show that makes it look like they sketched the first three looks after watching a Tarrantino film and then the next following a gypsy wedding and the last bunch while visiting an Aunt in Winnimucka. I like it when someone has a cohesive plan to their show and knows what they want and goes for it.

I could recant all of these comments in the case of the Antoni and Alison show. I think they got high and watched Dirty Dancing. So they knew what they wanted and had a cohesive theme and boy howdy they went for it. But in this case that's unfortunate. The stills show unhappy, nearly embarrassed girls in ugly hawaiian catastrophes holding fruit and ukeleles on a yellow stage decorated with a left over drop from the local community production of South Pacific. I am sure this was all kitschy and intentional. And that's even worse.

I also hope to never see a show by Armand Basi ever again. If you like dressing like a Goth/Punk 80's pop Genie, he's your guy.

Anna Sui. I have a soft spot for her. I always have. Even for a while there when she seemed to have lost her way, when she thought that boho was never coming back and she had better succumb or lose her business. I love those years for her because as soon as she saw the light at the end of the repression tunnel she got out her pen and drew up the best stuff. Those boots she's been showing lately are fierce. This season she has some similar boots again and also the cutest ankle ruffle shoes on the planet. I heart them in white. It wasn't all perfection though. She lost her way a few times from the rocker indian theme and tried an outright spanish bullfighter bolero look with a lace stacked hat and all. Ugh! And the snoods were spread waaaaay too liberally around. I thought they worked on two girls with the most 30's inspired looks and no where else. She had in my opinion the BEST models and the BEST hair and make-up hands down, though. So even on the looks that seemed too contrived I found I didn't care so much having the pretty faces to look at instead. This is why she's genius. She didn't forget that's the whole point of the model. Her shows are blissful.

Then there are design houses like Abaete that I don't at all enjoy. And I know they have a following, but I am no part of it. Some people really like severity, or Alexandra Kotur wouldn't have clothes to wear. I kid. Sorta. But I think stark really is for a limited audience. Not many women want to look like a cubist painting. And if they do it's a mood they soon get over. Like Proenza Schuler. It seems like a fun idea once and then you wear it and wonder why you just feel...off. But never do in Temperley. Because at the end of the day most of us just really want to look like pretty girls. I think it's why Rachel Zoe resonates with women and her girls do, too. Fashion has been stuck for too long without the breezy sexiness of the LA influence. And it is needed. New York is the fashion capital of the world but it's not the breezy/fun capitol. And it shows in what it bleeds out of it's designers a lot of the time.

Bless the girls that bring the fashion sunshine. And now off to the B's...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Latest Issues.

So what happened to the last three posts you may be asking yourself?  I deleted them about an hour ago.   A month ago I went through and I took care of a post and some comments I left behind, Sopranos style.  I do this.  I kill my darlings.  Why?  Because I have raging insecurity when it comes to blogging about myself.  I write stuff and then later in a weird moment I decide people will think I sound smug, or full of myself or self obsessed or self righteous.  I am afraid I am about to anger/frustrate/offend someone I can not see.  So I stick to reading a lot and saying little.  Out of fear.

I think fear is self obsessive, self indulgent and smug.  Being afraid of what people will think and trying to control it is futile.  Besides, even if I have ten people I can't see judging me for the things I say "wrong" I can count at least three people I now consider friends that I have met through this blog.  And those people are a part of my day now and I really enjoy them and they don't seem to be easily offended.  Which is a great trait in a friend.

And really, I like blogs about people.  I read one tonight about a girl who lives in NYC and is a Mormon actress.  Her blog was like, momoninmanhattan.blogspot.com  I think.  And she is just lovely and she talks about herself and the people she works with but I never thought she should just shut up and stop talking about herself!  Isn't that the point of a personal blog?  

I think it may be interesting to people who know and don't know me to hear about my job, about the fights I get into or out of, teehee, and if I am acting a little full of myself or sound a little self interested couldn't someone big just forgive me that little foible?  Sure they could.  Right?  I dunno.  But I am awfully tired of trying to keep my trap shut all the time just out of fear.  Aren't you?