Guest Post By Gabby The Fall Festival

There was a Fall Festival at school today I first went to the sign that said
sandy candy.We got a tube and filled it with sand-like candy.It was differnt colors.Next, we went to a table with hair spray and tatoos.My hair was:red,
blue, and green.I had a candy corn tatoo that washed off like the rest did.
Now, we went to a sign that said bobbing for doughnuts.Gage bit into a plain
doughnut Ashley bit into a choclate doughnut and Hannah bit into a plain
doughnut and I bit into a choclate doughnut.We coud’nt use are hand and
they were hanging from strings.Now we went to a sign that said stuff a
scarecrow.There was a shirt, pants, and a sack that looked a face.We stuffed them with newspaper.Now, we went a table where we could make a
halloween sack.I put cat stamps all over mine.

Scam Calls From Card Services

I just got a phone call from a “private caller” (that is, with no caller ID information) and heard a recording from “Card Services”, who claimed that my credit card’s interest rate was about to go up and to press 9 if i wanted to lower it to 6.9%. Being bored, I pressed it.

Caller: Hi, would you like us to lower your interest rates?
Me: Who are you with?
Caller: Well, would you be interested?
Me: Who are you with?
Caller: We are Card Services.
Me: So, you’re not affiliated with my bank?
Caller: slams the phone down in my ear

I guess they weren’t.

So, if you also get a call from Card Services, remember that it’s 99.9% likely that they’re scammers and that it’s morally OK to mess with them. If you want to have fun and waste their time and otherwise abuse them, reply here to tell us what happened so we can all enjoy it.

Update on July 30, 2009:

By request of a letter from the Rubinis’ attorney, I have removed their home addresses from comments. Please do not re-post such information. Thanks.

Update on August 11, 2009:

The Rubinis issued this statement via their lawyer:

Clear Financial Solutions does not engage in or perform any telemarketing
activities. Any complaints or allegations to the contrary are false and
without merit.

I Guess I Do Really Hate Shopping At Wal Mart

Jen and I were in Kansas City for a convention when Jen decided to exchange some newborn-size diapers for a larger size. Unfortunately, we’d left the receipt at home (because we don’t make a habit of carrying around receipts for every bit of baby gear we take with us) and that completely flummoxed the Wal-Mart staff.

When all was said and done, I had to give them my driver’s license so that we could make the 26-cent swap between two unopened, undamaged packages of baby diapers. I gritted my teeth and managed not to say anything that would get me banned from the store, although I was so tense that I signed the exchange form hard enough to shred it.

And this is why I think that I probably now officially hate shopping at Wal-Mart. We weren’t trying to exchange a plasma TV or a box of donuts. We just wanted to trade up to a larger size of diapers, and this ended up requiring my driver’s license and a signature.

What I should have done – and what I’d love to see everyone doing – is to ask politely for a printed copy of their corporate privacy policy. After all, some stranger is entering my personal identification information into a computer for some unknown purpose, and I think I have the right to know why they’re doing it, how long they plan to keep it, and what their policy and mechanisms are for protecting it in the meantime.

Besides, even if I never read the thing, I’ll know that it cost Wal-Mart far more than $0.26 to print and hand-deliver the document to me. Sometimes just the satisfaction of knowing that their stupid, anti-customer policy costs them more than they made off the transaction makes it a little more tolerable.

Yam No More

Back in my Amiga-using days, I had an email program called YAM. It was excellent and ubiquitous; almost everyone used it. It had three unique features:

  1. You could configure it to embed small bits of personal information in outgoing emails, such as your birthday.
  2. When it saw these bits in email that other people sent to you, it could add the information to your address book.
  3. It had an option to automatically send a “happy birthday” email to everyone in your address book on their birthday.

I was active on a lot of mailing lists, so my address book was pretty full with people I’d hardly met. I sent them happy birthday emails each year, and on my birthday, it was fun to get flooded with a few hundred little messages from well-wishers I didn’t know except maybe from some obscure discussion group.

I had the sad realization a few days ago that for the first time ever since I started using YAM, I didn’t receive a single email from it this year. Not one of my old friends still does this. While it’s not very big in the scheme of this, it still marks the sad end to a happy era.

My Ecco Shoes Are Junk

I bought a nice looking pair of Ecco shoes a couple years ago. Actually, they were probably the nicest shoes I’ve bought before or since. I don’t have a reason to wear dress shoes often, but when I did, they looked nice and I was proud to have them.

About a year ago I noticed that the soles were starting to come apart. I wrote to Ecco to ask for advice, got a short reply along the lines of “we received your message and will get back to you soon”, then nothing. As of about a month ago, they finished literally rotting off – the soles were disintegrating in big, soft rubbery chunks – and my mother-in-law did me a favor by having them re-soled. I wrote again to Ecco to tell them what happened but this time I haven’t gotten a reply of any kind.

I will never buy their shoes again. They look great but were completely destroyed and unusable after wearing them perhaps 10 times to church, job interviews, and other extremely low-abuse situations. What’s worse is that they couldn’t be bothered to respond to customer concerns (although I admit that my second message to them wasn’t quite as polite and deferential as the first). I guess they just don’t really care about quality or customer satisfaction.

There is now a gallery of pictures of rotten Ecco shoes that have been sent in by readers.