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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Best Buy Sucks

A recent bad experience at Best Buy has pushed me over the edge, and I refuse to shop there any more. My girlfriend purchased a television and after we lugged it to her home (27" CRT - heavy and bulky) we found that it would shut off for no apparent reason. We lugged the TV back to Best Buy for an exchange. The new TV seemed to work, until it started to do the same thing after about 30 days. The problem is that the warranty was only good for 30 days. After arguing with the Best Buy folks that the TV was clearly defective when purchased, they agreed to send a technician to repair the TV. The technician who came knew exactly what the problem was. "It's the flyback transformer. This TV has a problem with that. We get this all the time." Well, the problem did not go away after the technician's "repair", so we went back to Best Buy to return the TV. They did not want to take it. Even though they were knowingly selling a defective TV, they hid behind their warranty limitations and did not want to take it back. Finally the agreed to an exchange for another TV. We said "Hell no" since we don't trust Best Buy for TV's anymore. Ultimately the best we could do was get them to allow an exchange for other merchandise. They would not give us store credit (we had to do the exchange THAT day) and they would not refund our money.

The worst part of the story was the Store Manager said that it was not possible for him to give us store credit or a refund. That the "system" would not allow him to issue a credit/refund. If he was lying, shame on him. And that is reason enough to never shop at Best Buy again. If he was telling the truth, then nobody should ever buy anything at Best Buy. Any store that does not empower the store manager to deal with customers is not fit to be in business.

That really blows my fuse.

Rave: Opus Dei

With the impending release of the Da Vinci Code movie (based on the bestselling novel), it is not surprising that there would be some stir over the controversial religious themes in the (fictitious) story. The conservative religious group Opus Dei, who is depicted as the villain in the novel, has asked Sony Pictures for a disclaimer to accompany the movie . It is a rare thing for me to praise a religious group for their response to a controversial situation, but in this case I am inclined to praise Opus Dei for their stance. They are not shouting outrage or asking people not to see the movie. They simply want to be treated with respect and not judged by a work of fiction. I, for one, tip my hat to them for not going off the deep end, as many religious groups seem inclined to do.

That really makes my (Opus) Dei!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Class Action Lawsuits

There might be no bigger farce at the moment in our society than class action lawsuits. The concept is a reasonable one - have a company suffer punitive damages for a situation where they were negligent and caused injury or financial loss to their customers. But the system is a joke, and the upshot of these affairs seems to be millions paid to lawyers, nothing to the injured party, and a slap on the wrist to the corporation.

Here is how these typically work:
1. A company imposes a fraudulent fee of $4.95 to 12 million customers over a 5 year period.

2. A class action lawsuit is filed.

3. The way you happen to find out about this is when you see an advertisement in small print on page 55 of TV Guide that says "If you stayed at a Sheraton hotel between August 1993 and May 1998, paid an "Administrative" fee, and have all of your receipts, you might be entitled to participate in a settlement."

4. You spend 3 hours going to a website and/or calling a phone number to find out that no information is available, but you can mail a bunch of documents to 666 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY.

5. The final settlement is reached. Sheraton agrees to send coupons for 5% off a future stay to the 11 people who sent in the proper paperwork, and to pay the $1.6 million legal fees (leaving them a profit of $58 million on the fraudulent fees).

By the way, lest you think this is a hypothetical example, as part of one of these settlements I received a voucher last week from Starwood Hotels for $8 off of the rack rate at any of 12 named Starwood hotels in Florida and Texas, provided I call a special 800 number when making the advance reservation. You can now insert your own joke at my expense.

This action has no class.

My E-mail Friends

Here are nicknames for my 10 friends who haven't figured out yet in 2006 how to send e-mail.
  1. Old Subject Guy - Either doesn't know how or is too lazy to paste my address into a new e-mail, so he replies to something I sent him 6 months ago without changing the subject line
  2. Bottom Feeder - Replies to my e-mail and inexplicably adds his comments all the way at the bottom of the e-mail
  3. Thoughtful Idiot - Sends me the latest fake virus warning, but shows me how smart he is by adding "I know some of these are hoaxes, but better safe than sorry"
  4. Dr. Pepper - Peppers his responses to my e-mail throughout the original, so I can enjoy hunting around for his insightful comments
  5. Confucious - This person has a wonderfully thoughtful witticism in his signature. It grows more and more wonderful as I read the same quotation dozens of times in e-mail after e-mail.
  6. Mystery Attachment Guy - Nothing says he cares like the mystery attachment he sends with every e-mail entitled att00001.txt, along with his .vcf data file.
  7. Multimedia Dude - That e-mail he sends with the cute music and animation is not only hilarious for me, it was enjoyable to all of those around me.
  8. Mr. No AIM - He is never logged on to AIM, so conducts "old school" chat by sending me an e-mail that says "hey, what's up". 3 days and 10 e-mails later I find out that he wanted to go out for lunch.
  9. Important Dude - Flags every e-mail as "Important". Not sure why, seems like it is usually women who do this.
  10. The Space Saver - Deletes out my original message in his reply, so I get a response to something I sent a week ago that just says "sounds good". The Space Saver sleeps well knowing that he saved a tree in cyberspace.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why Didn't I Think of That?

A man was arrested in Miami for going door-to-door pretending to be a doctor and giving women free breast exams. It wasn't until one woman was asked to remove all her clothes and was given a purported genital exam (without rubber gloves) that she became suspicious. What is wrong with people? A doctor that makes house calls would make me immediately suspicious.

What a boob!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Atheism vs. Intelligent Design

I stumbled across an interesting website devoted to the defense of intelligent design (or more specifically Christianity) over atheism. This site is well developed in a sense that it includes a comprehensive list of questions/doubts an atheist might have about religion. The website attempts to use logical arguments for its cause, which is a refreshing change from arguments that use emotion or bible quotes. Unfortunately, I found many of the answers to the questions to be unsatisfactory and flawed.

I found this statement on "Absolute Proof of God's Existence" amusing...
No, God has not left His name etched onto the surface of planets. However, according to the Bible, you can get absolute proof of God's existence. One way to get proof is to die (which we will eventually all do). I do not recommend this method if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Take a look at this website and let me know what you think. I'd enjoy some comments!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Strong Security

They have now gone so far with the security verification that no human can decipher the letters either...