Car Crashes, Some Extremely Bad Driving and Road Rage

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pet Food Direct ... Or Directionless?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

OMG. My saga with the eejits at Pet Food Direct started on April 5 when I originally placed an internet order for about a hundred dollars in pet food and supplies. I had ordered from them before so I believed this would be a no brainer. Order and in about 5 days your order is at your door. Not to happen.

When I received my e-mailed invoice, I noted I was charged sales tax, although this is a Pennsylvania company and I had not been charged tax before. So I sent them an e-mail on April 10 asking why they charged tax in my state, if they had a physical presence here, and since I had not received a shipping notice, when was my order being shipped? Also who no free shipping even though they offer it and I had attempted to enter the code.
On April 11, I received this e-mail:
 We just recently moved our warehouse operations from Sparks, NV to Chino, CA so now the residents of CA will need to pay sales tax. Because of unanticipated issues with moving our product and receiving new orders from vendors in our new location some customers orders needed to be sent from PA so you still would get your items. Once we have our operations settled in we hope that these issues will be resolved. Please keep in mind that we offer the FreeShipping promotion (code: springfree) on all orders over $49.00. (the first 60lbs will ship free) just enter the code in the promotion box prior to checkout.

I responded the same day, April 11:
When I placed an order it refused free shipping so I attempted to cancel the order when it had not been shipped many days after ordering. I was told it may not be able to be stopped even though it had not been shipped. That's not good customer service! I can't wait for pet food when needed nor for slow high priced shipping. I am used to free, fast shipping and tried your company last time and had good service, this time not so much, eh?
Pet Food Direct Responded on April 13:

Our website will only allow the use of one promotion per order. (Nothing states this on their site that I could find...they bait you with a discount code to reorder and state Free Shipping at the top of the page) Your free shipping promo was rejected because the promo code Reorder17 was used. For this order the promotions were very close but in the future you may want to compare which promo code will give you the better savings. I am refunding the shipping cost on this order as well as issuing a $25.00 gift card due to the delays in shipping this order. I have sent an email to our warehouse requesting that they ship this order as soon as possible. Please bear with us as we hope to have our operations in the new facility running in our normal fashion soon.
My response on April 13:

The problem I have is that you charged my credit card immediately on April 5 for the full amount, yet you still have not shipped and here it is April 9PM PDST, almost April 14? And just when do you expect that shipment will actually be here? Your issues with shipping, moving and all the other problems are yours and not to be foisted upon me. I had to go out and purchase $100 in pet food and litter because you didn't act professionally and even notify me of a delay in shipping. I had to ask where my order was and why you were charging tax when you weren't even here or you would have just let the delay go on without a word. How damned unprofessional.
Just refund the order and we'll call it quits. I can also refute the charges with XXXX tomorrow (Monday) if needed. I have animals to feed and they can't wait on your companys non-performance. Your "one hour" cancellation time is useless when you don't ship for 9 days.
Unless you have shipped overnight, I'll be contacting XXXX tomorrow and you can argue with them. I believe they will agree your cancellation time is idiotic when you fail to ship.
Thanks for your "grand" gesture but hungry animals don't eat promises
From Pet Food Direct on April 15:
I really am sorry that our company did not provide the service you deserve. I understand your frustration as I am dealing with many angry customers on the West Coast. Please understand that I had sent the email to our warehouse, as I have done with many, to make sure this order gets shipped. If I do not get a response from them I assume that the order went out and there were no issues. They did not inform me that it would be delayed in shipping or with any reason why it wasn't shipped, so I do not find out these problems until you contact the Customer Service Center. Our company is aware of the problems and they are working on resolving them. I have noticed that this order has been canceled and refunded per your request but I would prefer to try to resolve this and keep you as a customer.
Now that I know you still have not received your order I will be reshipping out the order from the PA warehouse with NDA delivery at no charge. I really am sorry and I am hopeful that our warehouse issues on the west coast get resolved soon.

From Pet Food Direct on April 15:
I kept my eye on this order to ensure that it would get to you and I have provided the UPS tracking number. Your order should be there tomorrow. WTF??
Tracking# 1ZW764360310876375 (Not shipped that day per his e-mail as UPS had no info)

I received an e-mail shipping notice on April 16 that the order was shipped by UPS Ground and would be here on April 21. I called their main office and for the third time cancelled the order. They finally recalled the order and it appears it is now on the way back to them, Thank God and UPS that this saga is now done. Their “Gift Card” via e-mail went in the shredder. I would never do business with these people again.
Two phone calls to this company met with rather miserable customer service agents who seemed irritated that I was calling in and questioning where my order was and when it would be shipped. The e-mail CS agent was nice and did his best against the odds of not being able to get anything done in a warehouse he doesn’t control. Strangely enough, they finally shipped it on 4/16 and didn’t even have the courtesy to send it express or overnight so it would get here quickly, using UPS ground. They don’t give a damn about their customers it appears.
My animals deserve to eat, and using a company that foists their problems on their customers and never even notifies them of shipping delays and problems really sucks in my opinion. What do you think?
I’d suggest you try for your pet foods. They always ship free and have 2 day delivery. Mea culpa, why did I stray from my regular supplier!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Postal Service or is it Disservice?

The U.S. Postal Service spends what appears to be millions of dollars on commercials telling us how much better their service is now, with more frequent scanning of packages and the new two and three day Priority Mail service. It's so good, the two and three day service is printed right there on your label for all to see. Plus they now have spent untold dollars more to use Spiderman as a mascot in their website. Must be because his hands stick to the mail and slow it down, just like the slowness of many real USPS employees.

Well, hold on a moment. First of all, I have been informed that the two and three days labeling is no more than hype by the Postal Service. I guess something to soothe the public as they once again raised rates on their lackadaisical and lackluster service. The two and three day statement only means that they will attempt to get the package there in two or three days but it could take longer and there is absolutely no guarantee how long. Nor is there any recourse if the package take a week or more to arrive. The only guaranteed service is Express Mail which is now called Priority Mail Express, where it's delivered the next day overnight or you can fight to get your postage fees back.

Two or three days can mean 8 days as we found out in early December. Not wanting to chance late delivery, we shipped very early via Priority Mail with the "two day" statement on the labels. two packages to the same address. One arrived 4 business days later and one 8 days later. What happened to the two days? And why didn't they arrive the same day? First Class mail, which used to take one day within a city now takes two or three many times, and cross country flat envelopes can take several weeks, depending on the post office. I've had flats to New Hampshire swirling around and around for up to two weeks and finally had to call the local New Hampshire post office to see what was going on and have them track the piece of mail. No help but a few days later it was delivered.

Scanning is terrible. Mail is often picked up and never scanned until late in the day at the post office. The carrier is supposed to scan the packages at pickup but they often do not. Must we post a note on all packages to please scan at pickup to assure the packages get scanned?  Interim scanning is spotty at best. We have had packages that were never scanned at all until they were delivered. Sometimes they are not even scanned at delivery, and in the case of an item of value, have to rely on the recipients honesty, as if they state they never received it, we have no way to prove it was received. We're then out the money and the Postal Service can't track it either. Oh, did I mention the Postal Service doesn't consider anything "lost" until 30 days have passed?

Packages that end up on the wrong truck or in the wrong bin for delivery and re held up for days require a call to the Post Office as they will not find their mistake. We had a package that was out for delivery for two days and finally called to see what was going on. A supervisor stated it was in the wrong "bin" and we could come in and get it or he would place it in the correct bin for next day delivery. If we hadn't called, I wonder how many days it would have gone along on that cycle?

Sort Centers are another problem where mail can sit for days unless it is handled properly. But again, adequate supervision and getting rid of the dead wood at these stations would go a long way towards moving the mail more efficiently. 

The first class postage rate increase to 49 cents was noted to be temporary an is supposed to be reduced to 47 cents as soon as the Postal Service bails itself out of the current mess it is in. Fat chance! With the type service we are getting, we're starting to rely more heavily on other services that have more time defined delivery and better customer services,

Speaking of customer services, the USPS really sucks at that. They have a toll-free line that lets you sit on hold eternally because either they have so many complaints they can't handle them or they really don't want to know what you have to say. Send in a written or e-mail complaint and you get a response from your local post office even if the issue is not with them. Then they want all the specifics, so you need to scan and cut and paste and send it to the original place where you couldn't send it to in the first place. You know you don't get an e-mail for your local PO to do so.

So, when the Postal Service wonders why they're going bankrupt, it's simple. The service is really bad and getting worse. And customer service is bad. Been to a Post Office with 30 people in line and watched a clerk close his window because it's his time to go on break? While you stand in line even longer as nobody comes to open his window? That's difficult to explain to the customers who have businesses of their own or children crying or taking time from their jobs. I was informed that's the way it's run and the union rules. Break time comes and all else stops...screw the customers. If you ran your business they way, you wouldn't survive either.

So, people turn to e-mail, texting, paperless banking, paperless bill paying, FedEx, UPS, OnTrac, and all sorts of other alternatives to the Postal Service. For years, it was not cost effective to use FedEx for consumers shipping packages, but with the new ground services available, in many cases it's less costly than the Postal Service. With 5 day delivery, $100 of insurance included too.    

April 24, 2014:

Here's yet another view of the stellar service I receive. A package with "2 Day" service gets to San Diego, CA yesterday. Leaves that facility last night yet doesn't make it to my post office less than 35 miles away to be delivered today. Thus two day turns into three day at best. Why?

Postal Product: Priority Mail 2-Day

Features: $100 insurance included    USPS Tracking

Date & Time
Status of Item
April 23, 2014
Depart USPS Sort Facility
April 23, 2014 , 10:39 pm
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
April 22, 2014
Depart USPS Sort Facility
April 22, 2014 , 4:13 pm
Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility
April 22, 2014 , 2:58 pm
Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility
April 22, 2014
Electronic Shipping Info Received
NOTE: The $100 Insurance you actually pay for. I shipped three articles out Priority Mail and wanted to insure them for $100 and the USPS wanted me to pay an additional $2+ for the insurance over $50 which was free. So the "included" is a bunch of bull in my opinion.

Speaking of scanning, a piece of mail that required scanning went from my box with a NOTE on it requesting it be scanned (never was) to the Carlsbad 92011 Post Office (Never Scanned) to the San Diego Sort Center (Never Scanned) and God knows where else. The FIRST SCAN was 4 days later in Indianapolis where some conscientious person actually did their job and scanned it. Half way across the country and 4 days later before anyone scanned it. We presumed it may have been lost. Great service, eh?

Yet the Postal Service continues to advertise their wonderful services with pricey television commercials and thtat costly Spiderman theme. Why not spend that money on actually doing the job we pay them for. Privatize the whole damned thing and let the chips fall where they may. Dump the Postal Unions so they can get rid of the useless slackers who don't do their jobs. We must have a bunch of them locally because why else would the mail be in such a mess?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sears Revisited...for the last time

After about 50 some odd years, it's finally come time to sever all ties with what was once the greatest retail store on America, Sears Roebuck and Company, now simply known as Sears. Sadly, I attempted to make a large purchase last week and after hours of frustration and their bait and switch shopping cart tactics, I'd had enough. I bought the appliance from a Big Box store, something I have avoided in the past simply due to my long association with Sears.

The story: On September 6 I brought up the appliance sale and chose a Bosch dishwasher which was highly rated by Consumer Reports. It was on sale for $808, a large discount off the regular price of $999. Added installation, extra parts, haul away, etc. I didn't check out immediately as Sears will hold your purchase in your cart for several days, and the sale was good until Sept 8. I anted my spouse to look at the dishwasher to be sure it was the one she wanted. She agreed and when I went back to purchase the dishwasher, the price in the cart was now way over $1100. The dishwasher had reverted to the non-sale price.

Not to worry, I e-mailed customer service which is in India or the Philippines and here's their answer:

Dear Valued Member,

Thank you for contacting Please accept our apologies for the pricing error on the dishwasher you have found on our website. Let me look into this for you.

I want to make it right! It does appear that this item has an error in pricing and we have notified our web pricing team to correct it. The sale price listed on the item page is part of a promotion that has now ended. The price in the cart is the correct price.

The feedback that you have provided today will be taken into consideration as we continue to enhance our services to meet the needs of our customers going forward.

You have been an excellent customer to us and hope this experience does not deter your shopping interests from I appreciate you for your understanding and patience.


Alex A. (jambro3)
Sears Customer Care

Have you ever heard such a bunch of crap? They admit there is a pricing error but then tell me the price in the cart is correct? WTF? And "he wants to make it right"?

I wrote them back telling them they didn't understand the problem so here's their next idiotic response:

Thank you for contacting Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience that you are experiencing with the price of the item. Let me see what best I can do to get this resolved.

I have checked our available resources and I see that the current price of the item is $999.99. As we are unable to honor the sale price, you are valuable customer and we do value your time and business with us. We encourage you to place a new order for the item and reply to this email with your new order confirmation number, and we will gladly issue 10% refund for the item value. Please click here to place an order. We always want our customers to be happy.

I have found a similar item, please click here to view it. This Dishwasher is one of the top seller on our site.


Elizabeth G. (nganapa)
Sears Customer Care

These people are morons. The last time they promised to credit me anything it took a month and an act of congress to get it as they immediately develop amnesia and can't read nor remember who might have sent an e-mail offering a discount. No way would I believe this offshore call center person.

Then Sears home office gets involved, after I have already ordered a new dishwasher from the Big Box store. They want to honor the original price less 15% . No thanks. I let them know I am so done with Sears they could stick a fork in me. No more tools, no more appliances, no more At Home Services, not a damn thing from them or their affiliates. This was the final nail in the Sears coffin for me. And they can't understand why their profits are so bad. I can tell you. Using offshore call centers to handle their business. A bunch of assholes who keep saying they want to make the customer happy but just piss them off. And who keep their jobs by working for pennies on the dollar while taking work away from Americans here in the US who might actually be able to understand the problem without reading from a script board.

5 Brands Most Likely To Be Gone By 2015       FORBES CMO NETWORK

Prophet recently conducted a spot survey of some 5,000 U.S. consumers to see which brands they’d put on the deathwatch for anytime between now and 2015.
Anyone who even skims the news headlines will find their rankings no big surprise: Eastman Kodak topped the list with 27 percent of the group, with Netflix and the U.S. Post Office coming in with 19 percent and 18 percent of the vote. RIM (Blackberry) came as fourth most likely to fail (14 percent), and Sears came in fifth (11 percent).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Decisions by an Indecisive Man

Once again, the world finds us the laughing stock, as our president waffles in a decision to take care of business in Syria and help stop the genocide of the Syrian people by the current regime.

In just one day he says he has made a decision and shortly thereafter decides that he has not made a decision, but has rather made another decision to place that decision on the Congress of the US, so they can make the decision for him, so that he can then make the ultimate decision. Then if it doesn't work out just as planned, he can point fingers like a child and say "They made me do it."

I think most Americans would agree that using chemical warfare agents against ones own people is enough evidence to send in missiles to neutralize the potential of there being any repeat performances. Yet here we are, waiting days and perhaps weeks, while hundreds and thousands die because Mr. Obama can't make a decision. If I thought I was disappointed in this president before, it was nothing considering my disappointment with him now.

Imagine if there was a crisis in our own country of this nature. Obama would wait for positive tests and check with local leaders and go through all sorts of gyrations and never make a decision here either/ Because that's the kind of president he has been, one who sets tasks before others to do the dirty work and when they come up short, closes his eyes and knows nothing. Like Fast and Furious and a few other nasty screw ups that he and Mr. Holder blew off. Nixon had nothing on this guy at all. He's cut from a whole new cloth.

God forbid we are ever attacked by a foreign power. Our president will take eons to ponder what the right thing to do as our country is reduced to a nuclear waste pile. He isn't a man of action as long as we all have Obamacare. Oh wait, that's not working out very well right now, is it? What a sad commentary on what was once the most powerful and well respected country in the world.

Let me finish with this. I am against war. Been there and done that and it's not pretty. But you need to stop people who would gas innocent women and children in the name of political righteousness. I never want to see another boots on ground war, but some surgical precision strikes to destroy their stockpiles of weapons would be fine. Of course, with the weeks of advance notice, the word in the press is that it has all been moved to avoid destruction. Let's hope our intelligence gathering is smarter than our leader.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another Idiotic Snail Mail Oozes Into Your Mailbox

Here we go again. Just when we thought we were getting enough of a screwing from the shippers who advertised one type of shipping and then used another, we now have yet another contender in the ring for slow shipper of the year. DHL Global Mail.

First off it frosts me to see a merchant state they will ship my order by FedEx and have the FedEx logo emblazoned all over their site. Then find out after the order is shipped that it has gone out FedEx SmartPost which in reality should be named StupidPost since it can take ten days for a package to travel a relatively short distance that U.S. Mail alone could handle in a few days. It starts out with FedEx and eventually ends up in the hands of your postal carrier for delivery. You note I said eventually since sometimes it doesn't happen for a long, long time. I've had packages never show up and the services point fingers at each other as to who lost the item. In many cases this is not even "free shipping", so you end up paying for the slowness too.

UPS Mail Innovations is no better. Merchants advertise they will ship by UPS and then use this snail-like service. They have the same modus operandi where the package starts out with UPS and at some point is transferred to the USPS for further handling and then carriage to your home or post box. One of the HUGE glitches in both of these systems is that the package can sit in a postal distribution center for days before it is transferred to the local post office because the paperwork has not been sent electronically to the Post Office to match the package. Or, the electronic paperwork is there and the package has not arrived, so you have no idea where the package actually is, but it is "in transit."

Enter DHL Global Mail, the new kid on the block. Or maybe that should be the new kid on the blockade as merchants find cheaper ways to get our mail to us slower and slower. Frankly, you need to complain and complain loud if you find your order is being shipped this way. Be careful to look at your order and ask how it's being shipped. Tell merchants if they ship this way you won't do business with them.

One example is Amazon's "Super Saver Shipping" which is supposedly "free". A shipment costs $9.49 or about ten percent of the value of the item and that is deducted as "free shipping". However, my FedEx regular shipping would only take 5 days and would cost no more, so why ship via Smart Post and let the customer wait 8 days? Because the merchant let me think I was saving over nine bucks while they were probably paying four or five at best.

Holiday season will be coming, thousands will not receive their gifts on time to give them for the holiday and you can thank the merchants who use these snail trail oozing services for that. And yourself if you don't ask first. The bottom line is to just say no and spend a couple of extra dollars for Priority Mail or some service that gets you what you want when YOU want it! Or get a shipping account and make the merchant charge the shipping to you! That's a novel idea they don't like because they can't pad the shipping costs!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Respect for the Disabled...or Better Yet... Differently Abled

Both my son and I are disabled American Veterans and damned proud of it. My disabilities are internal and don't often show, so most people would never know unless they know me, or see that it's one of those days I use the disabled placard at the local shopping center. Pain is a silent and individual disability that takes your joy out of life slowly and insidiously, but some is always there, unless you want to become a slave to medications. I prefer not to become so.

My son's disability resulted in his voice changing and difficulty breathing due to a chemical inhalation accident while serving in the U.S. Army. As a result, he is required to take multiple medications and carries inhalers that may be needed to save his life if his breathing becomes in jeopardy. Perhaps his greatest disability is people...because his high pitched voice doesn't sound like it should come out of a good looking six foot man, one who doesn't seem to bear any outward marks of his challenges in life. And people think that's funny sometimes. Maybe they think he's making a joke. He isn't. If he had another voice, he would gladly We all thank God every day he has a voice and is with us, because he might not have made it. Any voice he has is a gift from God and we're just happy he can tell us he loves us, as we love him.

My son and I have worked, given back to our communities and maybe we're just differently enabled. Sure, they're called disabilities, but getting through the days, weeks, months and years is a whole new challenge that brings out your best. We've raised families and made a good life for them and deserve respect from those who might see us as any different from themselves. Sure. we're different. We've raised above those disabilities and lived a good, productive life. That makes us special! And it makes anyone with disabilities special who makes it through another day and on to the next with hope for a better day tomorrow.

You see, we were volunteers in the service of this country and proud to do so. Nobody made us go, we did it because we wanted to serve our country. No matter what anyone might think of the current administration, or the politicians in office, there is one thing for sure. America's service men and women are willing to place their lives on the line for not only every American, but for others to give them a chance at the freedom we so much enjoy.

So when you see, or hear, a person who has or might have a disability, be respectful. First of all, Thank God or whoever you pray to, that you don't have to bear the cross that person has to bear. Second, if that person is a veteran, Thank God again that there are people like him or her that will stand up for you and this country, so you can live how and where you do. And, yes, even defend your right to be a jackass and giggle or sneer or smirk if you find you have to. But maybe, before you do, take a trip to the local Veterans Hospital or Rehabilitation Center and look at some of the people there and imagine if they were you. How would you feel if the giggle or smirk or comment were pointed your way....huh?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chevy Volt...It should have been called the Chevy Dolt

Once again, GM sold the government a bill of goods on the Chevrolet Volt, the wonder car that would soon be flooding America;s streets with amazing fuel mileage and beating the crap out of the imports.

It didn't happen and it isn't going to happen. Reports released yesterday show the Volt will probably die from a terminal discharge sometime in the near future, unless GM can con the Obama administration to throw more  money at a sinking ship.

Here's the latest IBD Editorial:
August 7, 2013
Chevrolet's Electric Volt: Is Failure Within Its Range?
"Gone Green: Nearly a year ago General Motors was losing almost $50,000 for each Chevrolet Volt it built. Now GM's business model, driven by trendy environmentalism, calls for it to cut the price and lose even more money.

The green lobby wants more hybrids and plug-in electric cars on the roads. Therefore the president wants 1 million electrics humming around by 2015 — and the car makers have to ignore market reality under pressure to do what the environmentalist-political complex demands.

Even if it makes no sense.

In September of last year, we said "Obama's Government Motors needs to shut down the Volt line indefinitely" — not just for the month it planned to halt production — then restart the assembly lines only when it could make a profit on the car.

In May, we noted: "The market for electric cars is so weak that consumer costs are approaching almost nothing."

Here it is August, and the Volt, the car that USA Today calls the "supposed" star of General Motors' portfolio, is back in the news.

This time it's because the automaker is going to drop the price by $5,000. USA Today reports that with "a full $7,500 federal tax credit, the price is cut to $27,495," a figure that doesn't include some state tax credits.

Aside from those whose egos demand that they use their cars to scream out their moral superiority as environmentalists, and maybe a few enthusiasts who dabble in the technology, does anyone really want these electric cars? Their dismal sales numbers simply do not justify their existence.

Sales of the Volt, the most popular electric vehicle, were only a little more than half of the 45,000 that GM expected last year. Ford built 1,627 Focus Electrics in 2012 and sold only 685 of them.

Foreign makers fared no better. Mitsubishi could sell only 600 of its i-MiEVs while Nissan sold fewer than 800 of its Leafs last year. Sales in 2013 remained stagnant until Nissan cut the price by $6,400 early in the year.

Yes, Tesla seems to be doing well. But remember: It makes a luxury car that appeals to the wealthy who buy them as toys. It's an outlier.

Meanwhile, Chrysler has wisely decided to stay out of the EV market until "consumers are willing to step up and pay for the technology," Automotive News reported this week. That's the way it should be.

Government involvement invariably introduces inefficiency, improper incentives and, in the end, failure."

Well said. Government encouragement, money and lack of foresight and oversight equals squandered taxpayer dollars. All the while watching the economy go south as those sad cars plow the streets at way below the cost to make them, due to subsidies paid by the taxpayers.

Here's the story from The Blaze, dated yesterday, August 16, 2013:

More detailed info on how, in 2012, the government spun the losing proposition in to great political press:

How much money will the government throw at Green technology that fails? Just look at the record of the current administration and the back-room deals.