Monday, June 26, 2006
Ok, since I'm already ranting about customer service, let's add one more to the list. Applebees. We went to Applebees this weekend for lunch. Now I normally don't mind Applebees. Some of the food has gone downhill over the years (namely the meat and bland vegetables), but it's not bad.
So we went and Matt and I ordered an appetizer and our meal. And we waited, and waited. And then our meals came out. No appetizer. I stopped our waitress and asked her about our appetizer and her response was, "Oh, it hasn't come out yet?" You're our waitress. Shouldn't you know?
So she tells us it'll be 2 minutes and asks us if we still want it. Matt does, so we say yes. We eat our meals. I finish and Matt's just about finished when the appetizer comes out. Ok. Well, at least we got it, right?
Then when the waitress brings out our checks we notice that the appetizer isn't on the bill. So we thought, great, the waitress realized she made a mistake and didn't charge us for the appetizer. So we pay and the guys that are with us pay (on separate checks). We get back our receipts and we were both charged the exact same amount. Now when the bills came out they were two separate amounts, but sometime between when the waitress took our bills and came back their bill went up by about 6 or 7 dollars.
So they work that out with the waitress and she comes back and gives them the correct change. Then she produces a new bill for us and tells us that she forgot to charge us for the appetizer and that's why there was a bill mixup. Huh? So we had to tear up the bill we already paid and repay for the check with the appetizer. I'm pretty pissed and I let the waitress know it (she was snotty). Not because of the appetizer because ok, if you want to be technical we should pay for it and that's fine (but forget about a tip because the service was horrible), but her explanation made no sense. She obviously charged the same amount to both of us and it was a mistake. But instead of admitting she made a mistake she decided to charge us for the appetizer.
Anyway, the manager came by and to her credit she did try to make things up to us. But $10 off on the back of a card for a restaurant I don't want to go back to isn't much use to me or Matt.
Anyway, just so you think I'm never satisfied, here's a list of places that I think offer excellent customer service:
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Ok, yes, it can get worse.
The SA locked himself out of his account. The girl that's supposed to run the bridge line did show up, but since my app is the only one still unresolved, she doesn't have anything to do. I feel bad for that. She drove all the way back in (I didn't realize she was not already working.. the manager always made it seem like they're a call center) to get on the call. I feel like a total bitch over that, but it wasn't my call to have her come back on. I just pointed out that I didn't know if there were any other apps outstanding.
Anyway, then the manager gets on and he's a pain in the ass. He micromanages everything I do. I'm working with people in Brazil via email because they don't want to dial into an international toll number (don't blame them) from home. He wants them to call in and has a big blow-up because I don't want to make them. Then the SA dials in and the manager goes away. Even though he's the one that asked him to dial in.
Now I'm just waiting on the database startup and then we're going to contact the app owner to dial-in and test out the box and get sign-off. Then I could go to bed if I wasn't so wound up and could sleep.
Tomorrow I'll laugh about this, I'm sure. But um.. now.. I just feel the need for a neck to wring.
I had a server move last night, and yet I was up until almost 5:00 at my brother-in-laws hanging out and playing video games. I was going to call in, but I couldn't access my email address to get the dial-in number. I figured they had my cell phone if there were issues.
I called when I got home and everything was wrapping up. There was a small issue with a piece of hardware, but everything was good to go on the server I was told.
So I went to bed.
My phone range an hour later. Luckily I actually had it upstairs. I scrambled to answer it only to find the SA saying the bridge line was closed and he needed to update his status. Hmmm? I'm half asleep. I thought it was done. No, it's not and he needs me to call the DBA in Brazil.
So I tell him I'll take care of it and he goes back to bed. No access to dial Brazil from my home phone, so I have to use a calling card. The DBA says he'll login and start the database. Then I get an email that he's locked himself out of his account. Can it get worse?
I call the girl that's supposed to be manning the bridge line to see what's going on and she says that she was told it was ok to not call in because everything is done. I patiently explain to her that everything is done. She continues to claim everything is done. So I tell her that fine, I'll just let her client know that.
So I start up the bridge line. 90 minutes later I'm still waiting for the login issue to be resolved. I've been told the girl is supposed to take over the bridge line again, but she hasn't called in. Sleepy.. so sleepy.
I guess I should have stayed home like a good girl and stayed on the bridge line myself. I'm not supposed to have to. They don't like paying us for all of that time. But, it seems like I need to. Next time...
Friday, June 16, 2006
I've been playing the video game Civilization for years. The most recent Civ 4 allows mods. This has got to be one of the best mods I've seen:
For more info visit the Civilization Fanatics Forum.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I sent an email to B&N after writing my post earlier. They just responded that they canceled the order (it still hadn't updated to shipped). Yay for some sanity. I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the same item again with free 2 day shipping. It's guaranteed to get there by Friday. Now they may have the same problem with getting copies of the book. But at least they'll let me cancel if there's an issue.
I really am beginning to think that customer service is dead. If you haven't read Talk to the Hand, I highly recommend it. It has a lot to say about customer service, societal rudeness, and inconsiderate people in general.
Sorry, couldn't find a picture with a statue pulling her hair out.
But back to customer service. Yesterday morning I ordered a book as a gift before leaving for work. I got an email an hour later that it was scheduled to be shipped. So far so good. Last night after I went to bed I received another email that the shipping was delayed on it. Of course I didn't get that email until this morning. Since I wanted the gift to arrive this week I went to their site to cancel it.
Except the website wouldn't let me cancel it. It had it marked as being "prepared to be shipped". Ok, well, that's not shipped though. And I know how shipping works. "Prepared to be shipped" means it might be picked up by UPS late tonight. And three day shipping means that it probably won't get there until Monday.
So I called. The office was closed due to a holiday until 9:00. There was no mention of time zone. I have no idea what holiday there was yesterday or today. Maybe it's an international holiday. Maybe I should be celebrating more than I currently do.
I had already placed the same order with Amazon before trying to cancel, with the assumption that I could cancel. I tried to find a number to call Amazon, but there isn't one. You have to have them call you. Fortunately they call immediately. I got a lame menu. Matt tried for me again and I got through to a decent menu and eventually a person. I hate menus that make you say what you want. Give me a touchpad any day. I hate talking into the phone if I'm not talking to a real person. Nothing says loser than me in a public place saying "cancel an order" three or four times while the voice recognition software doesn't work.
But I did get through to someone and even though they had my order already in "packing" status, they canceled it for me.
Fast forward an hour when I can call B&N. I call. They tell me it cannot be canceled because it's on the floor being packed. I tell them about the email and my concern that the order won't be delivered in time. The guy says he'll talk to his supervisor. He comes back and says that there's nothing he can do. It's my fault I placed the order yesterday and it has a 24 hour until ship time. I point out that it's been more than 24 hours and the email said it could be 1-5 days. He said it'll be shipped today. I say I want a guarantee it'll get there by Friday or I want it canceled.
He doesn't offer to upgrade the shipping. He doesn't offer to do anything except argue with me that I am at fault and they are within their timeline (even though they aren't). I tell him they've lost my business. He seems surprised, tells me he's sorry, and hangs up.
It's silly. It's stupid. It still irritates me. What is so hard about canceling an order that can't be placed within the agreed upon timeline? Urgh.
I just checked and the status is "Not Yet Shipped" still.
I found out something interesting about myself last night (not really, that's sarcasm). I like Coke Blak. I was surprised. Matt bought one and put it in the refrigerator for me to try because he didn't like it. So I tentatively took a sip.. and it was good. It was the flavor I like in coffee without the bitterness.
I'm not a coffee connoisseur. I certainly don't know good coffee from bad coffee. But there's something nice in the taste of the drink.
I probably won't drink it often, if at all again. It's expensive and I know it won't be around forever. New products often disappear in six months so that they can bring out another "new" product for people to try.
Next up - Barnes & Noble customer service rant.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Ok, first a quick question. Isn't this little guy cute? A friend of mine tried to tell me he was ugly. But laying there sleeping, he looks adorable, I think.
Anyway, the topic for today is cars. Yes, cars. Matt bought a new car a few weeks ago. It's a 2007 Dodge Caliber. Since then I've noticed the number of cars like it on the road. It's a 4 door hatchback that looks suspiciously a lot like a station wagon. You know, those cars that were popular before SUVs, but no one wants to be caught dead driving anymore. Well, it seems they're making a comeback.
Our neighbor has a Toyota Matrix he purchased a few years ago that's the same color as Matt's. They don't look identical, but they look a lot alike. I've also noticed that the Pontiac Vibe is also very similar.
Also, three of these cars came out within the last 2 years. The Caliber is new for this year, replacing the Neon. Scion, a subsidiary of Toyota, came out with the xA last year, and Honda came out with the fit this year.
I remember years ago a friend of mine complaining that there weren't very many wagons available. I think Volvo has always had one, though it's been more expensive. And there have been SUVs, but they've also been in the more expensive category usually. Well, it looks like they're back in a slightly alterered form. None of these are as large as a traditional car was back when wagons were in, but cars in general have shrunk in size (even as SUVs have grown larger). Even though in a trimmer more stylish dressing, they've returned.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Today feels like one of these types of days. It's not fall, obviously, but the grass is just as green and it feels like it should be a cool, sunny day... even if it's cloudy and threatening rain. I like days like today. If only it weren't Monday.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I haven't written in a while because I've been writing. I started up a book that I've been wanting to write for a while. I don't know how it will turn out, but that's part of the fun. I've even outlined the story, which is something I always had trouble with before. Some of the details are a little vague, but I have time to flesh them out.
A friend of mine is writing a book and I've been helping him by reading drafts and sending back comments. It really made me think about my book and get my butt in gear. It feels good to be writing something more meaty.
I won't post the book on the writing blog I set up since it'd be too large, but I may post a chapter or part of a chapter once I get it in decent shape. Right now I've only written the prologue, first chapter, and part of the second. I still don't know how much I'll change by the time I complete the story.
I realized the a few days ago it's been almost 5 years since I had Lasik. I hated glasses because they gave me headaches, no matter how adjusted they were by the optomitrist. I wore contacts for a long time, but I thought they were causing damage to my eyes because my eyes would water a lot. Turns out it probably had nothing to do with the contacts, because they still do that sometiems. I peg it on allergies now.
Still, I couldn't wear the contacts half the time because my eyes would swell and the edges of the contacts would cut my lenses and cause an infection. Anyway, I wasn't sure I believed I could ever have perfect site. I started wearing glasses in third grade and poor vision runs in my family. But it's been great and I still see as clearly as I did after the surgery. I was nervous about the risks, but I feel now that everything will be ok.
I don't know what I'll do when I'm older and I have to wear reading glasses. I hope I can limit the amount of time I wear them or there's some miraculous new surgery by then. Perhaps a light pair of lenses won't bother me as much. And outside activities shouldn't require them anyway.
Work has picked up. I have 5 projects now. Two I'm still trying to get scope on. Three have been transferred to me from another PM. I'm still getting my arms around it all. But I think it'll be fun once I know exactly what needs to be done (I'm still trying to get all of the information together).