Friday, September 29, 2006

Tech Support

As you guys know part of what I used to do was support at my last job. Dare I call it tech support but we had to answer questions of that nature sometimes. What fits what, will this work, things like that. We had canned responses for most of them that we were required to say...and we ever never allowed to say "this is company policy" even though it was. I answered a lot of e-mails as that was my primary job. So from time to time I'd e-mail another similar company with a question that we get just to see what they'd say, or they responded and if it was any better or worse than what I did. Keep in mind I answered 90 e-mails a day during the busy season. That's a lot of e-mails to look up stuff for and make a genuine response. I didn't believe in copied and pasted responses or just saying something to make them go away. If they had taken time to send us an e-mail, they were considering us over other brands so that was our chance to give them the needed information to buy from us. Some times there were ones I had to call because the management that monitored my e-mail didn't want some of that stuff in writing. I thought that was dumb, but what I did was considered to be only slightly above janitorial work in the minds of the management. The Internet was not a useful resource and was typically a waste of time. Anyway...I'm going off on a tangent.

Recently my Dad has been spending his retirement years helping a friend build a car much like mine. Well, this guy did some things differently and a company now makes a fuel injection for these 30 year old beasts. This particular company is known for extremely bad tech support. I've e-mailed them before my last job and during with a few legitimate questions and they were absolutely worthless. I could have just as easily asked a class of second graders and gotten a better response than what these ass clowns call tech support. So, they have this shiney new fuel injection that costs about $3500 once all is said and done. Not only did he wait over a year from the time he ordered one to receive it, it now doesn't work. The car cranks and runs, and drives but not very well. It has some flat spots where the car doesn't all. The car has been this way for a year and the company knows it because he's called and called and called...and you get the idea. As bad as this car is running he's still driving it to shows because he likes the reaction people give when they see this $3500 fuel injection kit on a 30 year old car. These people also get to see it smoke like a diesel because it's running like crap. So I e-mailed said company and said I saw this car at a show in Huntsville and the problems it was having with their equipment and wanted to know what it was. They of course denied that their products had any problems and didn't know who I was referring to. So I e-mailed them his name. Suddenly they changed their tone. Then they admitted that HE had some problems getting it tuned and it was likely his fault, and then went as far as to say the product is not broken, the customer is broken. Even Mike will tell you that indeed this customer is a dumbass, but in this case the company is at fault. They've now sent out hundreds of these units with the same problem, and now they've found that 70 percent of them are defective. Are they recalling them? No. They're making customers wait for the promise of new parts, or making up other excuses. They've now decided that all his problems are in the engine and he needs to disassemble the engine to make sure it's put together properly. What they should really do is either fix what they've sent him, no excuses, or refund his money because what they've sent is $3500 worth of junk.

I realize that not many of you are care enthusiasts but I thought I could rant a little about tech support and how worthless product support has become lately. I'm not sure why companies don't take responsibility for products that they sell being crap, but they don't. Kinda makes you scared to buy any big ticket items like that doesn't it?


So the day of reckoning is coming for the Motorola V60. Sunday we'll probably make a trip out to get new phones and if all goes well Monday or Tuesday will lead to the mass destruction of the current phone. The neighbor works out of town and just happens to drive by a large fireworks stand. Last weekend I sent him a text that read "Don't forget to pick up WMCD's on your way home for a trial run." The response was a simple "OK." What are WMCD's? Weapons of Mass Cell Phone Destruction. In this case C's weapon of choice was an M150. They're not bad...once you take all the sound deading and destruction dampening cases off of it, they seem like they might just do the trick.

In other news the hard top is on the Jeep but I haven't given in and started wearing jeans yet. That day will come soon I know, but for now I still enjoy wearing shorts and t-shirts.

I actually had something of purpose to blog about today but I forgot what it was. Now you're just stuck with the ramblings of a rummed out bookstore owner. Ahh rum. I hope this weekend is full of it, but we will see. Looks to be busy again as I'm helping some friends move, doing a car show with my Dad and cousins on Saturday, and Sunday I was hoping to put the new radio in the Jeep but that looks unlikely at this point. College football is out for the weekend because Auburn beat South Carolina last night. Barely, and certainly nothing to brag about, but it's a win and keeps us undefeated for now. Could be a long season. We'll see.

That's it from the bookstore for now. Have a good weekend!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Speeding tickets, Odd Fish, and Man Pizza

I'm a little overdue on my speeding ticket post and I'm sure both of you are dying to know what happened. Last weekend the RumRunners (three of us less my hot wife) were headed out to The Fresh Market to get some sides and beef for an afternoon of grilling. We took the wifes Crustang because something about bringing fresh raw meat home in a Jeep just doesn't sound right...and it needed gas. Anyway. Upon leaving the gas station we get stuck behind a BMW X5 and some lady talking on her cell phone. It's only natural that since we're on a time line here and need to be back ASAP that she's driving as slow as humanly possible. So on the entrance ramp two out of three of us decide it's a good idea to pass her like she's tied to a tree. Note once again that my wife was not present or we would have been met with a huge opposing force to this idea. I do, and I come up to speed. Then I notice she's trying to pass, just to prove a point I guess. So, I end this. I crank the Crustang to a good solid 90 for a mile, then coast back down to an even 80. A quick check in the rear view shows the BMW is closing fast...very fast. Let me pause and offer up a couple of details here. I wouldn't have this problem were it anything but a BMW. I hate BMW's and wish nothing but ill fate on them. Nine times out of ten when I have road rage it's because of some ass clown in a BMW that either wants to race, tries to race, loses a race and doesn't realize it, or is driving slow talking on their cell phone. I wish they all had their high priced BMW's stuck in their high priced asses. The only other small detail I've left out so far is that all this is happening in a construction zone where the speed limit is 45. Back to the story. Beemer is closing fast, I figure like any other BMW owner she's going to pass no matter what so she can tell her friends she outran something that cost half as much as her overpriced polished shit box on wheels. I thought once we got out of the construction zone I'd have some fun with her. Then a quick check back out the front window shows a state patrol officer running radar. Panic sets in. Panic turns to loud profanity and my mind is wondering how the hell am I going to explain to my wife that I just got a ticket for doing 80 in a 45? I knew, I was fucked. So here he comes, Beemer bitch just passed us like I knew she would. Cell phone in hand she looked down on me like she was winning and wanted to go "See, I can outrun your domestic piece of junk." Here comes the state patrol pig, lights sirens, the whole shabang. I've slowed down, moved over, and started to think of all the ways I could say I honestly didn't know I was going double the speed limit. The pigmachine flys right by us, and we look at each other and say "Man, wouldn't it be funny if he pulled over that stupid ass BMW?" He did. We laughed so hard inside that car I almost had to pull over. My neighbors wife wasn't quite as amused as we were, but I'm pretty sure when we drove by the newest invite to the policemans ball she heard us laughing. That is how you almost get a speeding ticket that you totally deserved. We took a different route home just in case a state patrol officer was lurking and waiting for a Black Rustang.

The trip to the store was a success. We grilled Filet Kabobs, Pork Chops, Steak, Chicken...and Shark. I've got pictures of the shark on the grille that I'll post on the photo blog. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. I figure it was cool that we grilled it and cool that we tried it, but we probably won't do it again. When the neighbors went to Savanah, GA he went shark fishing. I had this great idea that maybe if he brought one back and fileted it, we'd grille it up because that would just be cool. Everything but the actual eating of the shark was cool. Again, it wasn't bad, but it's not something we'll do again.

Finally, the Man Pizza. What makes a pizza gender specific you ask? Well let's see, start with some tomato sauce, add some Montreal Steak seasoning, Jack Daniels Barbecue sauce, then stir. Taste and brainstorm. Then add Guiness, Jack Daniels, stir, then add more of both just because it's cool that you can say your pizza sauce has Guiness and Jack Daniels in it. Select any pizza crust you like because crusts aren't gender specific. Add the sauce, grilled Cheddar cheese Bratwursts, carmelized onions, and a blend of mexican style cheeses and cover pizza until it's a half inch thick or more. Once you think the pizza is ready, find something else that might just make it more manly. Sticky Fingers Rib Rub. Yes, that's the perfect addition to a Man Pizza. Add liberally. If it's good on ribs, it's got to be good on Pizza. Then grille this badboy because Man Pizza's of this caliber just don't go in the oven. If you don't have a ZaGrille, or an outdoor grill of any sort you need one. What back deck is complete without a grille? Exactly. Serve the Man Pizza with a side of Captain and Coke...accept no substitutes. We did grille a chic pizza as well. The wife pizza had a sauce of Lindeman's Pinot Noir, garlic, italian, and sun dried tomato seasonings. Topped with a cheese blend of Parmesan, Mozarella, and Feta with turkey pepperoni, zuccini, and green bell peppers. Given putting this one together wasn't near as much fun as the man pizza, but it was still fun...and the wives enjoyed it.

This weekend we're painting the front door to our house. I can't see anything as exciting as Man Pizza and near speeding tickets on the horizon but you just never know.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Movie Review - The Illusionist

Odds are if your nickname isn't Hooters, you haven't heard of this movie. I saw the preview, and I urge you to go to here and do the same before you read this review. The preview looks cool. Sure, it's a love story. But, it's a love story with Jessica Biel and Ed Norton. They're such an unlikely couple, but both good actors. I think they pull off the movie just fine, but it's slow. A little boring, and a little predictable. Me and the Hot Wife went to see it with Mia Wallace and Silent M. I really wanted to see it, but I can tell you not to waste your time. The movie sucked a steaming bowl of elephant piss. Picture a little bit of Romeo and Juliet with some David Copperfield type tricks, and of course....Yeah...I'm a fan. My personal favorite Biel movie would have to be Blade: Trinity because is. She's pretty hot in that movie. This one she stays mostly covered up. Trust me, had she been at least a little naked, I would have told you to see this movie. Pretty much everyone involved has done better flicks. For Biel, it's a step up from Stealth (I think we all remember what a steaming pile of shit that was), and for Norton and Giamatti it's a step down from any of their works. In short, see something else. Not Crank, but something else.

In other news, I almost got a speeding ticket this weekend that I totally deserved, grilled some odd fish with the neighbors (and no rum was involved believe it or not), and saw a few more movies. I'll update with all that later this week, and hopefully plans for the weekend. I hope everyone else's weekend was as good as mine.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bookrush coming to a close

Wow. What a week. I think I'm finally figuring this thing out. I was a little understocked for fall, but I had a better mix of books than I've ever had so I was still pretty confident we'd do well. In this company's 15 year history, this was the best month by a long shot. We had a few problems, ran out of a few too many books but I guess that's how it goes. I may never hit it perfect but I'll get closer I think. The new help worked out well and all of them confirmed they'd be back next semester. This semester we had some new neighbors move in next door. I'm glad to have neighbors because another business just draws more business and people know where you are and know where they are. It's a good fit. The new neighbors are a bookstore. Not a college bookstore, but a bookstore none the less. They do new and used and serve coffee and snacks, but they agreed when they moved in they wouldn't touch college books. That's fine, I agreed not to mess with their type of books. We even did a joint mailer to increase their awareness. They decided to put a coupon on their half for buy two get one free on used books. Can you guess how many people came in wanting to use that here? I would show you the ad, but that might give too much away and I'm not sure how my neighbors would feel about being on my blog. So all semester we've dealt with the usual retards, and now we have a new kind. The kind that says "Can I check your prices, then go check your neighbors prices?" After most of that I finally just said "Sure. They'd love to see you." Every one of them came back and bought books from us or sold their books to us. Seriously, how dumb would it be to open up two identical businesses side by side? How dumb would it be to have two stores for a campus with less than 5,000 students? No one seems to get that, and I had a couple of people threaten to go next door if I didn't give them a discount. I know I need all the business I can get, but seriously? You're going to threaten to go to a place that doesn't sell college books if I don't lower my price? Am I not already 10-15 percent under the campus store? I know college books are expensive, and I can assure you not all college stores mark up books to the point that they're no longer affordable, but I never thought in college that I could stand there and negotiate the price of a book. That's just crazy. Anyway, so the new neighbors are cool for now. When they start buying and selling college books we'll have a problem but for now they're okay. That's about it from the bookstore for now.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back from Iowa

So it's been a few weeks since my last post, and if you didn't go see Snakes on a Plane, you should. I've seen it twice. Anyway, so a quick review of what's happened and what is to come.

My hot wife left last week for Iowa for her first cousins wedding. The original plan involved meeting Chris on the way to or from, but he was out of town so that plan was out. My wife went up a week early and my father-in-law and I flew up on Thursday night. Nothing like a good solid day of bonding with your father-in-law to last at least a year. Don't get me wrong, I get along great with my in-laws. Condsidering some of the girls I've dated and their families, I couldn't really get much better in-laws. I'm sure anyone would agree, a day with the in-laws is fine but not an experience you'll be looking forward to repeating soon after. After flying from Chattanooga to Des Moines we were charged with driving two hours south to where the rest of the family lived. Needless to say I was pretty beat when we finally got to a bed. The trip was good, we had good food, good time spent with the family, I even have a cousin that drinks just as much rum as I do so over two nights we split a large bottle of Captain Morgan's Tattoo. No better way to make your inlaws tolerable than sailing with the Captain I can assure you. The big excitement was the tornado chasing we did. My hot wifes Uncle is a firefighther and keeps a pager on since he's always on call. We were out looking at some farm land and he got a call about a tornado sighting when they gave the location her aunt screams "HOLY SHIT WE WERE JUST THERE!!!" Sure enough, we'd just crossed over the interstate and were about two miles from it. A quick turnaround and we spotted it. It was just a cold funnel so it never touched the ground, but I'll post a picture of it later this week. At the time it was pretty exciting. We broke the trip home in to two days since it was about 14 hours. Two days in a car with the in-laws and I'm again good to go on quality time with the in-laws for a while.

Now for things to come. Not much exciting going on here. Our neighbors are celebrating their third wedding anniversary today so congrats to them. Currently, the other rum runner and I are planning to blow up my old cell phone. Verizon has been nice enough to agree that my current phone is a steaming pile of shit, but won't allow us to purchase new phones at a reasonable price. I tried to buy a new razor last month and they informed me that I had to wait until September 31st to get a new phone, but I was welcome to buy that razor for $600. The unleashing of profanity was hard to withhold from them for such an offer but I managed to since the wife was with so I refrained. Anyway, a proper send off is in the works for this sad excuse for a phone. My current plan involves Rum, a potato gun, the neighbor (with likely a lit cigarette), explosives such as cherry bombs or something comparible, ether, and more rum. Needless to say the countdown is on (see left) to the mass destruction of the cell phone. Don't worry, we'll document it the best we can with pictures and videos as best we can. I'd hate for anyone to miss the opportunity to see destruction of a cell phone on this level. Currently, the plans are drawn out on some poster board much like Wiley E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner. This will take some serious planning and a few trial runs, but I think we can make it happen.

Sorry for the long post, that's all that is new here. I hope everyone else is still alive and well and I'll try to keep blogging a little more regular now that work has slowed down a bit.