Archive for October, 2009

Dove and Walmart Remind You You’re Ugly

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Do you get these commercials where you live? A bunch of women are signing a song to the tune of "Do Your Ears Hang Low" (not sure what that's really the tune of), and they are going through a litany of physical characteristics that women traditionally may not like about themselves?

The words to this car wreck seem to be:

Do your eyes sit wide
Does your nose turn to the side
Do your elbows kind of crinkle
Do your knees sort of wrinkle
Does your chest tend to freckle
Do you have a crooked smile

Do your eyes sit wide

Do your ears sort of wiggle
Does your hair make you giggle
Does your neck grow long
Do your hips sing a song

Do your ears hang low

When this commercial comes on, I feel ugly and self-conscious. Are my eyes wider than I thought? Are my hips awful, but we're going to disguise that by saying they "sing a song"? Are my knees wrinkled?

And one should note that the women in this commercial, for the most part, are not traditionally attractive. Some were kind of ugly. Some looked OK. But the commercial seems to be about getting women to identify with unattractive women who don't seem to terribly mind that they're not so good looking.

Huh? Is that supposed to be empowering? And where is the message of this song? Where is the "Do you have a crooked smile but you're still beautiful and awesome?" The song is just a list of not-so-hot qualities without much of any other message.

Do you know what makes me feel beautiful? Thinking about the physical qualities I LIKE about myself, not singing about physical qualities I may not like about myself. I have nice eyes and nicely-shaped lips. My nose is a bit big, so I try to NOT bring attention to it. My ears stick out a little, so I tend to wear my hair long. My skin tone is uneven, but I have a nice butt and long legs for my short height. :)

So I focus on the good qualities! We all have good qualities. There should be a song about good qualities on average-looking people rather than a song about crappy, ugly qualities.

My sister always thought she had a crooked smile, and it seemed to drive her crazy. Every time a roll of film was developed or a school photo came back, she was not happy with her smile. I can't imagine her enjoying singing a song that asks her if she has a crooked smile, and seems to want to draw attention to that.

Dove and Walmart, you played this one wrong. If you want to celebrate the beauty in ugly or average-looking women, help us connect to our good qualities rather than having us sing along with some of the things that may make us self-conscious or feel unattractive.


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I’m Moving Back to Tucson

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Yeah, I'm moving back to Tucson. Say what? What's with Deb moving around so much? Well, first of all, I can. I own my businesses, I work for me, I work from home, and I'm single with a dog and cat. The cat is really cool about the car, and the dog knows, "New house." That means no kids to pull out of school or away from friends. So I can live wherever I like, whenever I like, and why not. Do it while you can, I say.

All my phone numbers will still work… no matter what area code and number you're dialing, it'll ring at my desk.

In March 2005, I finally escaped suburban New York to the promised land of Tucson. Yeah, Tucson is really that great. It's everything I wanted… beautiful, friendly, slow-moving, insanely low cost of living, great weather year-round, safer (well the part of town I live in), and populated enough that you can get most of your major stores (1 million people living over 900 square miles). I wanted the opposite of NYC and suburbs, and I sure got it.

It's the first place in my life that has ever felt like home. Where I grew up is not home. My parents' house is not home. Tucson is home, and I'm excited to go back. Most of my best friends are there, and I'm hoping that'll inspire me to stop working 100 hrs/week, and get out a bit more.

Tucson is home to some of the best spas and rehab centres in the country. You might laugh at that sentence, but the reality is that Tucson is a great place to change your life. It's inspiring. It changed mine for the better many times, and that's why I want to stay.

San Jose has been great. The Bay Area is lovely. Can't really say a bad word about it other than I'm not really a city girl, and never quite got back into the swing of how long it takes to drive somewhere "with traffic." We kinda don't get that in Tucson. Cost of living isn't great, but the trade-off is that there's plenty to do here, and the quality of life can be good.

San Jose also gave me some time to "be alone" to redefine my businesses, focus on those, and also grieve for a bad relationship that ended badly (and won't quite go away, but it'll have closure soon enough). I needed space to think about what went wrong and what I really want, and I've been able to make some great changes to some of my bad patterns.

Incredibly good things started happening to me basically from the minute I got to San Jose. I don't really think it was being "here," I think it was just being away from the life I'd been living, but also being in a nice place that supported what I do.

I will save roughly $1000/month living in one of the nicest luxury apartment communities in Tucson, and while the economy is still crappy, I think it's important to save that. So I get to live in paradise surrounded by the friends that have become my family, and save money doing it. Check, please!

My official moving day is in mid-November, and I can't wait. I'm coming home, and I know that I will be so happy that I will be able to take the great things that started happening to me as soon as I got to San Jose, and explode them exponentially. Thanks to everybody for your support.


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How Your Wish Your Staff Operated

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

I went into a local Greek place last week to order lunch to take home. It was after the lunch rush. Two tables had patrons, there was nobody behind the counter, and I didn't see a waitress.

I walked up to the counter, and a girl offered to take my order. I gave her my order. She got a guy out from the back, and had him put the order in.

I then noticed she didn't have an apron or anything, and asked if she really worked there. She said yes, but her shift just ended.

So she could have let me wait. Or she could have asked somebody to come deal with me. But she took my order. I found out her name is Nicole.

I watched her tell the guy behind that counter that a certain table was still waiting for his check. The guy printed out the check. She put it in the sleeve, and dropped it off at his table.

Another waitress then came out from the back.

You want all your staff to be like Nicole. She cared. She took action when she could have passed it off or waited for someone else. She could have walked to the back to ignore me. After all, her shift was over.

There are good staff out there. Even waitresses. :) You can find them, and then you should treat them well and reward them.


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Do NOT Bank with Citizens RSB Bank

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I have never had such a horrible experience, and want to make sure everybody knows what horrible fraud and ineptitude goes on at Citizens Bank.

I moved away from where Citizens has branches, and have been trying to close my account. I called in mid-Sept asking them to close my account. They said they couldn't until I brought the balance to zero. That turned out to not be true (as in not the only way to close my account), but that's what I was told. I told them to please close the account and cancel my debit card so that if I bring things down to zero, no vendor who might have my card down as the monthly billing source would be able to hit it. I want the account to get to zero, close it, and be done. If any vendors try to hit it, the card would be declined, I'd know which vendors those are since they'll contact me, and I can give them another card.

That was the plan. I got the $25 and change out of the account, and I emailed customer service asking for my account to be closed. I got an email back on 30 Sep saying my account was closed. Great!

I then got a letter saying my account was hundreds of dollars overdrawn. Huh? I logged into online banking to see that a bunch of charges went through on the debit card on that account. The bank ACCEPTED those charges, sent my account into overdraft, and is charging me fees EVERY DAY that it's overdrawn.

I called up to complain about this, and was told that this was my fault. I evidently was supposed to call every company that might have this debit card as the card on file, and have them change it. That's news to me. I've cancelled MANY bank and PayPal debit cards, and once I did that, NO charges went through. Zero. Declined.

But according to Citizen's, this is my fault. I should have known that they would allow charges to go through on a deactivated, cancelled card on a closed bank account with a zero balance. My fault! Of course.

They also told me that a debit card charge or check coming through on a CLOSED account can reopen the account. Huh? Then why bother closing it? I'm closing it to STOP those things. I'm closing it to NOT do any more business with your bank!

I asked to talk to a supervisor. They said one would call me back. Nobody did. I called back 2 days later. The guy I got told me again that this was all my fault, and that a supervisor won't help me. I asked him how to mark my account as fraud, hacked, compromised, and frozen so that nothing else can debit it, he made it sound like he couldn't do that, and it's my responsibility to figure out which vendors might hit that card, and change the cards on file. OK, even if I did that, it's imperfect. They might hit it anyway, I might miss one, etc… Meanwhile, the bank can just STOP the transactions from being approved, so this shouldn't be my guessing game!

I was passed to the "collections" department since now I'm in collections… I have an overdrawn account and I'm just incurring more and more fees. That department was able to freeze my account, and now, any check or debit MasterCard transaction WILL be declined.

WELL WHY THE HELL COULDN'T THEY SET THE ACCOUNT FOR THAT WHEN I CLOSED IT?!?!? Why would you possibly allow my closed account to accept charges and go into overdraft when you COULD just set this freeze on it when I closed it? They made it sound like well, what if you had charges coming in? WELL, I'D LIKE THEM DECLINED SO I CAN GIVE THEM ANOTHER CARD! Why would I want that charge to go through knowing it'll cost me HEAPS in overdraft fees? Any charge that comes in after I close the account is either a mistake or fraud!

So where am I now. Well, I had to file a fraud complaint with another department. The claim is that the debit card transactions that went through shouldn't have. Those charges were unauthorised because the card was cancelled, and I expected/tried to pay those vendors with other cards. That means the overdraft and service fees are being disputed as well. I'll have to fill out an affidavit in a few days (waiting for it in the mail), and send that in. This isn't a huge amount of money. It was about $100 in debit card charges and about $330 in overdraft fees and service charges. I may owe those companies the $100, but it shouldn't cost me $430 and all this time.

So now this is going to take heaps of my time to fight and deal with. All they had to do was really shut things off and really close them. It's easy. I've had MANY banks do that all the time. When I want a debit card shut off and an account closed, you know what? The card should be shut off and the account closed. Nothing else should hit it, debit it, etc… It's EASY for the bank.

Do yourself a favour. Next time you're closing a bank account, ask about this. Ask if any charges can still come through. Ask if the bank can re-open a closed account on their own without talking to you. Just double-check. It seems insane, but please learn from the crap I'm going through now.


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When a Customer Goes From Awkward to Abusive

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

When you sign onto inkFrog, you get some automatic emails during your trial. You get a welcome message from me. You get "your trial is going to expire" and "your trial expired" which still come from the CEO. But if you hit reply to any of these emails, they right now go to me. I help everybody I can. I don't have all the answers, but I do my best.

I got an email last week from a guy who was throwing around swear words, and complaining that nobody is responding to his emails. Well, I haven't seen an email from this guy, and now he's asking for the "fuckers" at inkFrog to help him with "shit," so I write him back that I evidently am the "fucker" he's looking for, and how can I help. I don't hear from him for days.

This morning, I get an angry email from the guy saying he wants to work directly with the CEO, and that I "copped an attitude after he cussed me out." He had more swear words for me, but said nothing about any of his issues. The guy seems to be angry that the form "trial will expire" email came from the CEO, but I wrote him back. So he keeps bringing up emails that say they're from Greg, but he's mad that he's hearing from me.

I feel that it's not only my job to help people, but in all honesty to act as a buffer for the CEO. While I'd like to see this customer get help, I don't need to connect him to the inkFrog CEO so this guy can just be abusive. So I tried again to tell him I'd help him, I don't have an attitude, and as his attitude won't fly with our CEO, I suggested he switch to decaf.

Yes, every customer is important, and sure, not every customer is going to be a match to inkFrog. Yes, we want to give good service, but you have to draw a line somewhere… especially when this is what you get back…

This is the email I got back from this guy, and I got his permission to
publish it. It's so fantastically horrible that people need to see it. You know that the tech issue wasn't a big deal or problem when THIS is the email I get after asking twice for him to tell me what his issues are. I guess he had some sort of duplicate listing issue, but that seems to pale in the light of everything else he's burning to say.

    Well Gee, that's what the email said, " I'm Greg," blah , blah, robot bullshit. I understand that your fielding all the messages. What YOU don't get is you have problems. So your minding the store? Must be since I can reply to YOU, Inkfrog .com or whatever, and YOU answer as usual, not with any constructive help, just the usual pissing match. THE ONLY TIME I EVER HEARD FROM YOU"RE COMPANY WAS AFTER I CUSSED YOU OUT! By then, it was TOO LATE! Were you even back there way back when? So I haven't SUBSCRIBED? Yes I did. Just one of the minor problems. And if I didn't why do I have a password? So I didn't subscribe? GOOD! DON'T TAKE THE MONEY! But I'm done with you. You are not intrerested in fixing anything. Just in keeping Your status quo going. I Dare you to show this to Greg. I know you won't because you're a chickenshit. I'm abusing you? You're the one that keeps contacting me. I DON'T WISH TO SPEAK WITH WITH YOU! I Don't need your site! YOU SUCK!! GOT IT? You're the reason I can't stand women in busiiness. You screw up everything. Why don't you get back to the kitchen were you belong? My attitude won't go over with Greg? I guess not since he'll probably never see the problems. NO one needs you. No matter how bad Auctiva or even EBay is, Your total lack of support until, gee, "the money's not there, What can we do?" PISS OFF!! Comprende'?" Then," Hi, I'm Greg." THAT"S not a Robot?

    Here, try this: Here's a non techie solution to one of your probs'; IF I was to give you the benefit of the doubt that you weren't just ignoring me when it counted, And IF the subscription hadn't gone through, ( why am I not surprised, since I had to LAUNCH each of my three auctions three times to get two to stick. One was a duplicate that had to be erased immediately off of ebay after it showed up at 3:30 in the morning. Glitchy.) But the autobots can send me a countdown on my supposedly non subscription everyday asking for my suggestions which if I reply to by ANY email addy somehow funnels down to, what? Your crap cell phone, Debbie? How about this: IF I were to believe you never got the original emails, And then the 'bots start sending the pat response, why not change the email response addy every time? Didn't hear from the consumer the 1st time? who knows why. We've all created such a techno monster, even the super geeks can't unravel it. Maybe if a swallow flys south from Pittsbugh it wipes out all east coast emails for a week. So the second + third times the bot goes off, maybe it could send that persons response TO A DIFFERENT ADDRESS EACH TIME. Maybe that way you'd get it.( getting to be a lot of ifs,) And there's plenty more. I DO NOT WISH TO DEAL WITH YOU,DEBBIE! DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN! YOU FAILED! Show this to Greg.

    Dare Ya,

    Lov, Mike

    P.S. : Are you as turned on as I am right now?

Well, no I'm not turned on. Not at all. Not even close.

I like to help people. If someone emails me, I answer them. I do my best to help them. inkFrog loves its customers, and wants to fix any issues people have. But this is an example of where customer service can only go so far when someone becomes abusive.


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Flash Forward Is My Life

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I have a bizarre, life-long history with dreams.

I have had dreams with friends in them, and when we compared notes, we had the same dreams, each from our points of view.

I have had dreams that gave me information that I couldn't have otherwise had, and the info ended up true.

I have had dreams that have come true. They normally come true within a couple of days of having the dream.

In March, I was working on getting one of my staff to come back, and she had promised to return to work after an absence. I dreamt that she didn't come back, and completely quit. Two days later, she emailed me that she wasn't coming back.

In December 2008, I had a dream that the pendant I was wearing snapped in half. I'd been wearing it just about every day since I got it in the summer of 1998. It seemed extremely unlikely. Later that day, I was packing boxes to move. In slow motion, my necklace got caught on something plastic I was moving, and the pendant snapped in half.

I remember having a terrible flu and bad fever in the 1990s. My family was going on vacation, and I was too sick to go. So they bought me some Chunky soups, and were leaving me home to recover on my own. I was hallucinating from the fever, and kept yelling, "Your plane is going to crash!" I don't remember saying that, but I remember them being scared that it was going to come true because I was so rarely wrong about random stuff. The plane didn't crash.

I like to joke that I'm the Christopher Walken psychic character in Saturday Night Live… he was able to foresee people's ice cream headaches, and really mundane things. I guess I mostly see mundane things. And then they come true. But when they do, I feel more prepared for them.

But last night was another thing altogether. And this isn't uncommon for me either.

I fell asleep early. Around 11pm, I started tossing and turning, and became aware of my dream. I was sitting across a restaurant table from a friend. It was dinner. The place was dark. Mostly candle-lit and dim lighting. I've never seen this place. In the dream, he wanted to know why I had been asking him so many times to hang out with me. He seemed unsure if I were trying to date him or just hang out as friends, and in the dream, he was asking me to explain myself.

The relevant back story would be that I moved to a new town about 5 months ago, and have wanted to hang out with this guy, who also lives in the area. Nothing had come together yet, but I hadn't stopped trying to coordinate something we could go out and do. Just as friends. So I've asked more than a few times to get together over the last 5 months. The most recent had been earlier in the day.

I tried to fall back asleep, but the dream was still going. I remember sitting at the table in the dream thinking OK, I need to explain this to this guy… that I'm not trying to ask him out, but I just want to hang out as friends. How do I explain this to him without it being really awkward, I'm asking myself in the dream.

I tossed and turned with this dream for about an hour because it kept replaying on a loop. Around midnight, I just decided I was awake, and I turned the internet on on my phone. Emails started pouring in. I checked my personal account first, and found a message from the guy in the dream. It said:

Just to avoid any misunderstanding, you don't have expectations of being more than good friends, right? Hope that's not weird to ask:/

Well, it wasn't weird to ask since it was in my head for the last hour. The email was marked as 10:36pm, about 24 minutes before I half-woke up to be conscious of my dream. Well, now the door was open, and I could email back that yes, I just wanted to be friends, and I wanted to hang out now that we live in the same area because I always have a good time with him when I run into him, etc… Awkward conversation had and out of the way.

Welcome to my world. 

And I hope my friend will hang out with me. He's a nice guy, and we'd have fun. Yes, just as friends. Everybody relax. :)

So the TV show Flash Forward is very interesting to me. I like the idea of people getting a glimpse of a future that seems to be coming true. I have no idea where they're going with the plot. But watching it reminds me of me in some small way. :)


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