Monthly Archives: December 2011

Customer Service, a Thing of the Past

This week, one of the funniest and at the same time most disturbing stories went viral. This is the short version of the story: N-Control is a company that creates gaming accessories, specifically an add-on for hand controls to increase the accuracy in games. The accessory itself has gotten a lot of attention in the gaming media and it had gotten a lot of preorders from anticipating gamers. One customer had preordered one product for himself, was charged for it, never received it on the date promised, and never got any notice about why or when it was going to arrive. He contacted the company via their costumer relations email address and what played out from that point is nothing less that astonishing. Paul Christoforo, a man who is the president of his own PR company called Ocean Marketing answered all the emails himself. The problem was that he was being incredibly rude, cursing, calling the costumer names, and just being as unprofessional as one person could be. He even threatened to take his order himself and sell it on Ebay. After trying in vain to go above Christoforo’s head, he decided to forward the email conversation to one of the biggest gaming website; Penny Arcade. One of the main people behind the site chimed into the conversation, and Christoforo continued to be abrasive, abusive, and simply rude. Meanwhile Penny Arcade published the whole email conversation on their website for millions of people to see, and the internet immediately fought back. During the course of two days Christoforo’s career was ruined, his inbox flooded, his phone number, address, wife’s name, criminal record, and steroid use were outed. He was ruined, and rightfully so.

READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE

This whole debacle reminded me of my own experience with incredibly bad customer service.

A few years back my partner and I bought a Polaroid TV during black Friday. The TV was great… for a few months, but then the problems started. The TV started to turn off by itself, and after a while stopped working all together. We called Polaroid and after a lot of fighting we had a technician come out to fix it. The problem was that when he fixed it he somehow screwed up the screen so that it was all blurry. Seeing how much trouble we had getting to the point of having a major problem fixed, we decided not to go any further with the screen problem. We lived with it for a few months, until the TV broke down in the same way again. It just wouldn’t turn on. At this point we were naturally quite frustrated that we had to deal with these people once again. After many phone calls and frustrating interactions Polaroid agreed to letting us send the TV to them and have it repaired. The problem was that we had to find a box big enough to fit the TV in ourselves, they would not send us one, or pay for one. We reluctantly did this and paid about $20 for the type of box we needed and sent the TV to them.

A few weeks passed and we never got the TV back, nor heard anything from them, so we started calling customer service time and time again to try and get an update. At this point Polaroid had just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and it was almost impossible to get someone on the phone. The few times we did get a hold of someone they had no answers about our TV, and could not authorize a refund. I went to Walmart where we bought the TV to try and get a refund and they pretty much laughed in my face. We finally got a number to one of the customer relations supervisors and she was the person we had contact with from that point on. The problem was that she had no answers either, and after about three phone calls , and a few voice mail messages to her, she informed us that if we did not stop calling she would file harassment charges on us. Funny, a customer representative filing a harassment charge on a customer that has been robbed on their product by the very company she represents. At this point we felt like we were never going to see the TV again nor receive a refund so we did the only thing we could do: we went to the press. I contacted our local news station and they were very interested in this story and decided to help us out. They contacted Polaroid directly to get an answer and when this was done we received a check in the mail within the matter of days, including the $20 we put down on a box to send the TV to them.

It is such a similar story to the whole Christoforo debacle simply because as soon as he got caught and outed to the public his whole tone changed. Apparently it’s ok to treat customers like shit as long as nobody else knows about it, but as soon as the public finds out these companies are apologetic and want to do the right thing. It’s disgusting and shows the incredible decline in customer service quality that so many companies show these days. These are two extreme examples, yes, but how many times have you been put on the phone with someone that barely speaks English? Or have no idea whatsoever what they are talking about? Or are just plain rude? It is time for all of us to out these people and show every company that it is not ok to treat their customers this way without any type of repercussion.

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I Plead the Fifth, Don’t Detain Me Bro

National Defense Authorization Act. Just taste those words for a moment.

Now that you’ve experienced what a pile of shit tastes like, let’s get down to business. For those of you who do not know what this act is, here is a small breakdown for you.

In 2001, immediately following the 9/11 attacks, an amendment to the (now) 48 year old NDAA was made. This amendment was called “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists”, or AUMF for short. What this amendment did to the NDAA was that it granted the President of the United States the authorization to use any force necessary against those who either planned, or was involved in the September 11 attacks. Under this act any terrorist suspect is allowed to be held indefinitely without a trial, this is why there are people in Guantanamo Bay that have never had a trial. Included in this bill was also the authorization to wirelessly wiretap any suspect at any time, whether inside or outside of the United States. Related to this, the USA PATRIOT Act (aka The Patriot Act) was also passed shortly after the attacks. This act granted law enforcement agencies the right to search any phone calls, any email, any communication whatsoever foreign and domestic, regulating financial transactions foreign and domestic, and it also expanded the definition of the word ‘terrorism’ to include domestic terrorism. Now, fast forward to December 15th 2011 where the US Senate approved an add-on bill to the NDAA that not only maintains the authority to hold a terror suspect indefinitely without a trial, but now also includes the little change that that said suspect can be an American citizen.

These are the exact words from the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

How anyone can say that the 2011 provision of the NDAA is not unconstitutional is beyond me. It’s right there: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury. 

The United States has also promised to keep up the treaties established by the Geneva Conventions, of which the third and forth branches talkes about “Grave Breaches” against the treaties. These Grave Breaches include: willfully depriving someone of their right to a fair trial if accused of a war crime, unlawful transfer, confinement and deportation. So not only is the United States breaking the laws of its own constitution, but it is also going against the treaties established by 149 countries during the Geneva Conventions with the passing of this bill.

I really shouldn’t have to say anything else beyond what I have said about this whole thing, but knowing how some people are going to defend this unbelievable infringement of freedom to the day they die, I think I need to say some more things. The main argument people have when defending this bill is the exact same argument that people had about the Patriot Act: “If you’re not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about”. Well, who is to say what is wrong and what is right? I think most people have a pretty basic understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong: Working is right, stealing for a living is wrong. Helping people is right, hurting people is wrong, etc. But what about the more murky subjects, such as protesting? Of course I’m talking about Occupy Wall Street as it is the biggest protesting movement out there. A lot of people seem to think that the OWS movement should not have the right to be out protesting and will do anything to stop it. However, probably an equal amount of people think that what they are doing is excellent and that they should keep the protesting up. In this case, who is to decide what is right or what is wrong? The answer is of course that the people with the power are the ones who decide, and I think most people know what they have decided. With that said, what is to say that an American protester is not all of a sudden considered a terrorist?

There are some horror stories coming from people being detained at OWS camps all over the country, police brutally beating them, hurting them, and then detaining them for the maximum allotted time a person can be detained for with just misdemeanor charges, without any chance of getting out regardless of bail having been posted or not. These stories are so unbelievable that it’s hard to believe that they are not coming from North Korea. Simply reading these stories makes me think that these peaceful OWS protesters are already considered as being terrorists and enemies of the state. What if that actually is the case? What if the government all of a sudden tells the protesters that they will be considered as being terrorists if they show up to protest? Will you still support this act that is already passed by the senate and signed by the president?

All of a sudden the term “I plead the fifth” has a whole other meaning.

Rick Perry Confuses Me…

So, Rick Perry has a new ad out in which he is extremely offensive to both the gay community and the military. What makes his ad even more reprehensible is that his staff managed to disable the comments section on youtube so that no one can voice their opinions about the ad. Luckily his staff forgot to disable the ratings functionality and with over 300,000 dislikes (compared to the ~8,000 likes), the public’s opinion on this ad is pretty clear. What confuses me about Rick Perry though is that while I feel like going to his house with the sole purpose of spitting in his face, I would most likely end up doing much dirtier things to his face as well.

Because, irregardless of his political views, Rick Perry is fucking hot to me. I’m a gay man and while I am merely 25 years old I am only attracted to men well above 40. Most people immediately make the assumption that it has something to do with money, believe me it does not. I just don’t find younger guys attractive at all. I like my men to be more mature, masculine, and preferably gray haired. It’s just my preference, and unfortunately Rick Perry fits that description to a T. I also have a thing for suits which only further increases my attraction to him. It’s like an internal battle between my big brain and my smaller brain. Luckily my big brain wins out because as excited as my penis gets whenever I see a picture of him, the minute he opens his mouth the excitement turns into anger. I guess there is such a thing as aggressive sex, but I generally prefer to be on the subordinate end on the aggression (TMI I know).

Anyway… To sum up: while I feel like punching the guy in the mouth, I also feel like putting my penis in there. I’m so confused…

Ps. In case you haven’t seen the ad, this is not it, but it’s funny: