Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Awhile ago I was having trouble with my cable.

Amazing don't you think?  Trouble with cable?  Who would imagine such a thing?

As usual I couldn't get any where when calling the general number.
Press 1 to continue in English.  English?  I live in the United States.  We speak English here.
How about press 1 to speak any other language there is but ENGLISH!

I digress a little.  Sorry folks.

Getting no where I went to the all reliable Google, and searched out the Corporate Headquarters of Time Warner Cable.  I was told the CEO's office was in Manhattan, and got a number for that.  I called and was asked my business and I told them I was a customer and needed help and wanted to speak to the CEO.  I was a very dissatisfied customer.

They switched me right back to the general number.  Press 1 press 2 press 3, please hold, someone will be with you shortly.


Back to the internet.  This time I found that the CEO was in Connecticut and got a number there.
I called and got a very nice lady who seemed concerned.  She worked out of the CEO's office for Customer Relations.  I asked the difference between the general Customer Relations and her.
It seems there are levels of this department and I just graduated to a new level.

After explaining my problem she offered me another number to call.  No recorded numbers and someone that actually will pick up the phone.

It really worked.  They were nice and worked with me.

We set up an appointment for a house call and it was within 4 hours not the usual 6.

To Be Continued....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hello Dr.? It Hurts When I Go Like This!

Don't go like that.

People are usually helpless when it comes to taking care of themselves.  Especially men.
If you don't feel well, do something about it.  Have a headache? Take something to relieve the pain.  And if nothing works, call your doctor.

We all put off going to the doctor because they may find something wrong with us.  But if you don't go, something may really be wrong and you won't know about it until it is to late.

I'm not a doctor and don't want to give medical advise, but just a little common sense.  The same common sense that I try to use for myself.

A friend of mine was complaining about having knee pain.  It was very painful and had to leave work early. His knee pain hadn't acted up for quite a while and he decided to call his doctor to find out what was going on.

This was good common sense.  Find out what the problem is.
I heard from him later in the day and asked how it went at the doctors office and the diagnosis.
The doctor said, "it was Bursitis on the knee', and he was to rest, ice it and take anti-inflammatory medication.

We talked for a while about this condition and he told me he didn't want to keep taking pills.
I asked if he had researched this ailment further, other than going to the doctor.  He had not.  So, I went on line and Googled Bursitis, and a long list of help appeared.  I clicked on one site, The Mayo Clinic.  I put in a search for Bursitis, and information came up.  There was a headline for Bursitis on the Knee, and clicked on that one.

It gave a lot of information on the subject,  but according to the site, there was more that could be done to relieve his pain and help prevent his Bursitis from flaring up again.

I participate in many sports like swimming, biking, running, etc. and  have had my share of injuries in the last 30 years of running.  Tendonitis, hamstring pulls and muscle pain for a start.
I learned a trick on how to use an ice bag. Most people put in chunks of ice and put it over the injured area.  Someone told me to fill the bag 2/3 full of alcohol and 1/3 with water.  This way it is always mushy, and can be formed to the area of the body needed and no chunks of ice to hurt even more.

And no, don't use vodka and water.  Save that for happy hour.

Never do anything without consulting your doctor first!

But this gave my friend other ideas on how to deal with his situation.
There are always other ideas to be found or discussed.  That is why many people go for second opinions before taking a course of action.

Use common sense!
Listen to your doctor!
Don't take everything the doctor says as gospel.
Ask questions!
Be your own medical advocate!
Knowledge is power it helps you understand makes your problem clearer.

Like I said earlier, I am not a doctor and don't pretend to be one.
But sometimes someone has to give you a little nudge and kick you in the tush to call your doctor if something is not right.

Stay healthy and be well.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I was fixing up my porch and wanted to make it look better.
It was built in the 1950's by my father. Time to "upgrade"
Clean the floor, clean the screens. Repair the holes, and patch.
Then I looked up at the ceiling. YUCK! Green and white vinyl strips connected with aluminum struts. What to do? I didn't want to use a brush and scrape and scrape.
So, I researched spray paints. You are saying, just get a can of Rustoleum. Nope. They don't have a product for vinyl and metal.

Krylon does! It is called Fusion. And, it is made exactly for what I want.
So, I went to Home Depot: all they had was Rustoleum, and it wasn't good for both surfaces, and they don't sell Krylon. I went to local hardware stores and no one carried this product. So, I looked them up on the internet and checked out their site.
I read about this Fusion spray paint and it sounded perfect. But, the stores that carried Krylon did not carry the color I needed. (What else is new). Can you order it, I asked? They could only order a case of the cans. I didn't want a case, only a few cans. The merchants said they could not sell the rest, so I had to buy the whole case. Needless to say, I was not very happy about this.

Hello, customer service?

Remember, always be nice, talk softly, never yell, don't curse. Explain the situation calmly, as my mother always said, "you more flies with honey than with vinegar".

After a few transfers I was spoke to a customer rep. and explained my frustration about purchasing their product.
After a little bit of conversation, and a little sweet talk and story telling. She offered me 3 cans of the paint for free. I never asked for anything free! She offered them to me.
At that point I just said, Thank You.
 Now that is customer service! I told her that I didn't want anything free and she didn't have to do that. I just didn't want to buy an entire case of paint.

She insisted and I thanked her profusely.

This experience with Krylon actually made me feel good. How refreshing that a company actually is interested in their customers.

Because of this, I will look to Krylon for all my painting needs first.

It doesn't always have to be a bad experience!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Cable Guy Truck Driver Knew Best

How many times have you called your cable company and:

1.Kept on hold for ever.
2.For English press 2
3.Even though you enter your phone number they all ways ask for it again, or
4.It doesn't match their records.
5.You get disconnected.
6.You try hitting 0 for the operator and the message says..."Goodbye"
7.You start all over again

They also tell you they must go to your house or apartment.
You are dealing with people that are just reading off a computer screen and have very little if any knowledge about Cable television or how to repair a problem.

Always ask for a Supervisor, and get that person's name and ID info.

One time I called about a problem. If you have ever seen a bar, about 3 inches wide gliding up your TV screen, it is called a 60 cycle hum bar. It is not an audio problem but a video one.

I called and after quite awhile I got a human to talk to me. I told her I wanted to speak to a technician at the "Plant" as they call it. She informed me that I had to let her solve the problem and she refused to pass me on.
I told her she would not know what the problem was and that it was not taught to her in Cable Customer Service school.
She didn't like that.
I told her I had a 60 cycle hum bar on my Television. Her reply was, "oh, you have an audio problem".

I asked her if she know what I was talking about. She firmly said yes, I was experiencing an audio problem with the cable system.
I tried to explain to her what it actually was and that I needed to speak to a technician.

It was now 20 minutes into this call, and I was getting nowhere.

I always try and do speak softly and slowly. If you yell and curse, you won't get anywhere.

Finally, I guess a light went on in her head and she said that she needed to transfer me to a technician.

He wasn't sure either.
So, they would have to get back to me and research it.
About 3 days later I get a call from the head of the "Plant".   He and a supervisor wanted to come to my home to see the problem. We set up a time and they all came over, the head of the "Plant", the Supervisor, some executive in a suit and the cable truck guy arrived.
No, I didn't serve cake and coffee.
I remained calm.

They checked the cable going into the apartment building, the line from the box on the corner. The great minds we confused.

Nothing was working.
Then the lowly truck driver/tech had an idea.
Why don't we upgrade the cable box?
A chorus of nooooo came out of the performers. That won't work.
I said, "why not?" you have no idea what's going on.

Well, guess what? Ta Daa, it worked.
The picture was clean and bright and everyone was embarassed.

I told them to give the truck guy the supervisors job.

Since then I have been given a number when I have had problems to call.
NOT, the general one.

Always ask for a supervisor.
Be firm in your requests. Research what may be the problem so that you have some idea of what is going on.
Google the problem, it really works!!

Other Cable Company stories to come.

Keep Those Receipts and Read the Warranties

It is so important to keep receipts. Obviously not every receipt in the world, but for basic things.
Example: TV, Stereo, i-pods, Sports Equipment, etc.

You may want to throw them away quickly: DON'T!
And, read the receipt and the warranty all the way through. Don't let a salesperson hurry you. If you are signing your name to something...READ IT!

Here is an example and what happened to me.
I had bought a bicycle computer (speed-distance-etc.) and after a number of years it just stopped working.

I went back the bike shop I bought it at and told them what happened and wanted it fixed or replaced.
Yea, right, sure you do, was the reply.
I informed him that it was covered under the limited warranty and would like it either fixed or replaced.

In a very sarcastic tone said I needed to have the original receipt.
"Oh, you mean this one?" I answered.
His face just dropped and he muttered a single word, s**t, you would have that.

Well, he said, it's old and they don't make that model anymore.
I then showed him the warranty that said if not available one of equal quality or value has to be provided.

He was not a happy guy. I'll have to get in touch with the manufacturer. About a week later I received a phone call that he had indeed found the same bike computer, bring in your bike and we'll install it at no charge.

I was happy.

Save those receipts and read, read, read.
And by the way...if renting something READ the conditions and take your time and ask questions if you need to and don't be afraid to ask for a change in something you don't like.

The worst thing is he or she will say no and you can take YOUR business somewhere else!

SONY is Baloney

Recently my 3 year old 40inch Sony Bravia died.
Just a green fuzzy screen appeared. I was quite upset seeing as though it was only 3 years old and a great set.

I called SONY to see what they could come up with. Customer service had me go through the usual steps. Unplug and replug the set...nothing. Reset the television...still nothing. The great mind on the other side of the phone said... "I think it's gone". They recommended that I call a certified Sony repair company to check it out. Sony Corp. could do no more.
I did call one company and they want to know if it was hanging on the wall or on a table. Why would that matter when all I wanted them to do was check out the set, and they wanted $145 for the home visit and $195 if ti was mounted to the wall. I called another company Sony suggested. They only wanted $107 and would count that toward the repair bill. That seemed better.

The repairman showed up a few days later and looked at the set. His response was.."that doesn't look good. Also it's the panel that's out and it's to expensive to repair". He got a price for the repair...hold on to your seats...$1,330. YIKES

At that point I was even madder, so I called SONY, and asked to Speak to the CEO Howard Stringer. You have to go through steps. 1.Do you have the original receipt? 2. Do you have the quote from the repair company? Yes to everything. I always do my homework.

I did get a call from the CEO office asking if I knew Mr. Stringer. I did work with him at CBS and hoped he would remember. But alas, I never got to speak with him.

I explained to someone who represented him that this was a 3 year old set. A SONY set. These things are supposed to last. I believe my research said the LCD should last 100,000 hours.

This is supposed to be a great set. At CBS these things run forever and ever. I am a life-long SONY consumer. Everything I own is SONY. The only thing they offered me was that they would pay for half the repair. $660.00. Yea right!

So much for quality of the SONY Product and how they care about their customers.
Those I know at CBS told me they they have all gotten away from SONY and even maintenance people told me they are not even close to what they used to be.

SONY was best to buy from. You bought a SONY and you knew you had quality. They stood behind what they sold. But no more. They are a company that does not care for the consumer. Their offer to me was baloney. They should have, at the least offered to pay for the repair. The set was only 3 years old!
Once it's out of the door, they could not care less. That is the problem with business today. They don't care! And we, as the consumers. must stand up and show them that we will not stand for their practices. The best way to do that is with our money. Don't buy from a company that has treated you badly. You have the power.
Many people ask me about electronic products. i.e. TV's, computers etc. I will never again recommend a SONY TV. EVER!
When I told a friend of my SONY problem, he said that was good enough for him and he bought a VISIO TV with me.

So, bye bye SONY. you are full of BALONEY!!!!!

I checked out the VISIO Product. Now this is a great deal. I'll tell more about that in another post.

You can see the funeral of my SONY :( No one came, no one mourned.