31 January 2011

"You don't care" --Leona Lewis

This is a long one. You may want to get some RingDings.

Barnes & Noble
is acting like it's my obnoxious teenager. You know, the one that proposes doing chores for money and gets the money and then only does a half-assed job delivering until you say "Give me back my money." And, then, they're all "What? I'm doing the chores!"

Here's the back story: Late December, I received a B&N gift card. Nice! I promptly got online and ordered up some old favorite movies: The Four Seasons (funny, well acted, and you have to love the Vivaldi soundtrack), Eye of the Needle (a well crafted adaptation of Follett's WWII spy thriller), Bagdad Cafe (I love everything about this quirky friendship movie), Sex, Lies & Videotape (an interesting little story of, well, sex, lies and videotape, and have I mentioned my thing for James Spader? My, my, my. No, not bloated, Shatner-wannabe, Boston Legal James Spader now:

I'm talking about James Spader then:

Le sigh.)

1) On December 27th, I place my order. B&N confirms. ("Mom, thanks for saying you'll pay me if I shovel the walk! Can I get that money up front?")

2) I get three of the four movies promptly. ("Look, Mom! I shoveled three quarters of the walk!")

3) On January 19th I get a message from B&N saying there's a delay in sending Eye of the Needle but they'll ship it within 5 business days. ("But, Mom, I'm in the middle of a game here. I'll finish shoveling the walk after, I swear.")

4) I sit down to enjoy the eye candy--er, quality flicks I've received.

*calendar pages flutter by*

5) On January 25th, I get a message saying EotN has been further delayed and it could take another 30 days and do I still want it? ("Mom, I'm busy. Stop nagging me!")

6) So, I think about this. Do I want to wait two months for what should be a simple DVD burn? No. I'll get it elsewhere. I click the link and cancel the order. I try to log on to the B&N account to confirm that I've gotten a credit but it won't let me log in. I hit the "send password" request and get... NOTHING. No email. (*puts earbuds in and rolls eyes*)

But I know they have my email address because they send me messages and I know I've typed it in correctly and this should be an automated thing to send me my password, yes? I go back on the site and find the customer service page. I send a message to them basically explaining that I used a gift card and now I've canceled the order and I can't get my password sent to me so I can log on and check that I've got the credit. Can they help?

7) On Jan. 26, customer service sends me the following form email:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Barnes & Noble.

When you place an order through our website, your credit card is
authorized for the amount of the order, which puts the funds on reserve.
The charges are not made until the order ships. If your order is
cancelled for any reason prior to shipment, we immediately release the
authorization. However, depending on the bank that issues your card, it
may take 2 to 5 days for the funds to be unreserved, a process over
which BarnesandNoble.com has no control. Please accept our apology for
any confusion or inconvenience in this matter.


Customer Service Representative
Barnes & Noble

("I already did my homework. And you might want to rethink that hairstyle. Just sayin...")

Huh? Notice there's no mention of a gift card credit or a password being sent.

I respond with "Please read the message I sent so your response will be appropriate. Thank you."

8) On Jan. 28, I dig until I find a B&N Customer Service phone number. I call them during standard business hours. I go through the automated phone tree. I get put on hold and told that they are experiencing extended wait times. ("Mom, I'm in the bathroom. We'll talk about it later.") I can wait. After waiting on hold for a while I suddenly get switched to a message that says what their holiday hours are and then disconnects. (*climbs out bathroom window*) Holiday hours? On January 27th? Is it Feast of St. Smithens or something? An online check tells me it is "National Chocolate Cake Day". Really, B&N? REALLY?*

9) I am at a loss. Email strike 1 and 2. Phone strike 3. And then...

10) On Jan. 29, I get an email from B&N telling me "Your B&N Order is on its way!" They claim they have shipped EotN. They make no mention of my cancellation of said order or my email messages. ("I did the effing walk, Mom. Are you happy now? Cheeze! I'm going over to Boner's house." *slam*)

So, maybe, just maybe I'll get the 4th DVD I ordered. If I don't, I 'm going down to B&N Headquarters and camp out. With chocolate cake. And a James Spader movie.

Question #1: How is it possible that B&N is running Borders into bankruptcy?

Question #2: Can customer service get any worse?

Question #3: Chocolate cake deserves its own national holiday.**

* In the interest of full disclosure, I would happily celebrate this holiday by taking off work and devouring chocolate cake with wild abandon, maybe while watching young James Spader, if I'd only been made aware.

** Okay, that wasn't a question. It's a fact.

20 January 2011

"Nothin from nothin leaves nothin" --Billy Preston

I can distinctly remember, when I was in my 20s, standing in Rumors, telling a guy that I wasn't going to go out with him. Why? Because he lived with his folks and he didn't have a car.

You just called me a snob, didn't you? Wow. It's like that, is it?

Here was my thinking at the time. It wasn't this huge deal that he lived with his folks or that he didn't have a car but it was a deal-breaker. I appreciated that he had a plan to eventually move out of his folks' place/buy a car. And I hoped that he wound up very successful. I understood that not everyone had the same advantages as I had and I didn't think less of him. I just didn't want to start something with him.

I was gainfully employed (back when most people were), living on my own, in possession of my own car (well, me and the bank) and I wasn't going to waste my time with someone who wasn't in the same financial position as me. He wasn't interested in being my friend. I wasn't interested in dating someone who couldn't afford the same activities/interests as me. It wasn't going to work. Brutal? Maybe.

I wasn't looking for a sugar daddy. Just someone who didn't pull his pocket linings out when we'd be out doing something.

I don't believe you have to make the same amount of money as your partner. I DO believe it helps if you are on roughly equal footing, though. Am I a nut case? A jerk? A bourgeois elitist?

Question du jour: Would you rather be on equal financial footing, the other person make more, or you make more?

10 January 2011

"Head, shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes)" --Learning Station

It being January and all, and in my continuing quest to be the best darn lemming I can be, I have invested in new exercise DVDs and equipment.* This time I have jumped on the kettlebell craze. I am already reaping the benefits. The main benefit being that I can now say the word "kettlebell" indiscriminately and with vigor. And I do!


See? I guess I could have all along, but now--now--it feels like I have purpose!

I say it a good 20-30 times a day. Kettlebell. It's fun! Try it! Kettlebell. I've even taken to calling the husband "Kettlebell", which he seems to think is a nice change up from what I was calling him since our last flight, two weeks ago: "Hammacher Schlemmer...with extra schlemmer."**

Questions du jour: Do you exercise more in January? Would you consider "Kettlebell" a term of endearment?

* *Casually sidles left, blocking view of older, dust-topped equipment*

** Who buys from Sky Mall? Who? Who says, "Yes! On the ground I was bogged down with silly concerns but now that I'm 30,000 feet up, it makes perfect sense to order the voice activated R2D2 for a mere $199.95!"***

***Available from Hammacher Schlemmer. ****

**** Extra schlemmer not included. *****

***** Kettlebell.

06 January 2011

"That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up four wheel drive" -- Carrie Underwood

Elizabeth Edwards leaves husband John out of will

John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – The will Elizabeth Edwards signed days before her death last month makes no mention of her estranged husband and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Thursday that Elizabeth Edwards left all her possessions to her three surviving children.

Her last will and testament names as the executor of her estate her eldest child, lawyer Cate Edwards.

Elizabeth Edwards died Dec. 7, six days after she signed the will filed in Orange County Superior Court in North Carolina.

The Edwardses separated early last year after 32 years of marriage. John Edwards admitted he fathered a child during an affair with a former campaign worker.

Is it wrong that when I heard this story this morning on the radio, I smiled?

03 January 2011

"Oh, I don't want a lot for Christmas" --Mariah Carey

For the holidays, Hubby received a book he didn't want. Luckily, the gift receipt was pressed between the pages of the book. As there were plenty of books he did want, he high-tailed it over to the book-selling chain to return the book. The cashier took one look at the book and gift receipt and apologized that she could not honor the return. The receipt, and the book, were two years old. Shocked, he looked more closely at the receipt. Sure enough, it was dated 2008!

It put me in mind of another awkward but true gift situation: Years ago, a girlfriend gave me a cheese board. It was one of those boards with a wire cutter device to neatly slice the cheese. It looked something like this: I opened the present and was delighted. I love cheese and all cheese-related gewgaws. Here my friend was, inviting me to cut the cheese in new and exciting ways! Then, I pulled the board out of the generic looking box and lifted the wire to check out the cutting motion. There were bits of cheese on the wire. Cheddar, by the looks of it. After an awkward pause, girlfriend said "I tried it out to make sure it worked."

Um, yeah. Or you bought it at a yard sale and didn't bother to check if it was clean.

Now, I've re-gifted but I hope I've never hit these kinds of lows.

Questions du jour: Ever receive an OBVIOUS re-gift? Is re-gifting a smart thing or a tacky thing?