Friday, January 18, 2008

If this is 30...

I went snowboarding on Jan 4 while vacationing in Utah and wound up hurting myself pretty seriously. I'm not a very good snowboarder - I think I've only been boarding for 4 years and then only about 3-4 times per season - just now attempting to change from heel to toe and vice versa without stopping; definitely a beginner. Well, I'm riding down the hill mid-day, going probably faster than I should because I've had a successful day up to that point and I'm feeling a bit too confident, and I wind up catching this wicked edge.

I belly-flop so hard that the wind is knocked clean out of me. There is such a lengthy pause before I can start breathing again that I'm actually able to comprehend my imminent death. When I am finally able to inhale it is with so much effort that I debate whether or not to just give up trying. After a few minutes of writhing on the ground, I'm able to collect myself enough to begin to assess the damage. I'm thinking I may have at least one broken rib.

Very cautiously, I'm finally able to make my way down the rest of the mountain and hobble towards Mike and my BFF Luis. Luis is typically unconcerned with my general welfare but Mike can tell right away that I'm in terrible pain. We both decide that I probably don't have any broken bones and that maybe some food might make me feel better. After about an hour of resting and nourishment, we take to the mountain again.

My ribs are still as sensitive as they were prior to lunch but now my shoulder has suddenly stopped working and my right arm has the range of motion of John McCain's. I'm miserable. Now, here it is 2 weeks later and there is almost no improvement. My ribs are just as sensitive and my shoulder has recovered a little bit but I still require Mike's assistance with ponytails, etc.

Everyone is telling me my injury is so bad because I'm turning 30 and apparently 30 is when your body changes. Well, if this is 30 then I'm against it. When I was younger an injury like this wouldn't have slowed me down for more than a couple of days. What the Hell?!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best Buy Sucks!

Earlier last year I read an article on msn.com about Home Depot once being a favorite stop for couples but not anymore because they have turned into Time Stealers - where their customer service and store is set-up in a way that steals time from their customers; not very efficient, in other words. Well, Best Buy did that to me and I am no longer a customer of theirs.

Mike & I wanted Guitar Hero III but it was sold out everywhere we went. We decided to purchase it online at BestBuy.com and pick it up at the store (saves us time going from store to store looking for it and no shipping fee). The gift certificate we had didn't cover the entire cost so we put the rest on our debit card. The whole transaction went rather smoothly.

When we get the game home and begin playing it we discover that the guitar in the bundle is broken. It's too late to go to the store to exchange it so we have go to bed without getting to enjoy the genius of GH III.  The next morning we head over to the same Best Buy from the previous day and here's where the anger starts.

Rather than simply exchanging the game for a new one Best Buy does a complete return/refund on the broken game and then a completely new purchase for the new game. During this process I find out that my debit card has been charged the full purchase amount rather than copying the split transaction from the day before, which was clearly represented on the receipt.

Apparently, according to the guy behind the counter, the system in the store is not compatible with the website's system and it is not possible for them to simply duplicate the transaction. Thus, the whole cost is applied to my debit card and the prior amount is credited back to the gift card.  However, the guy behind the counter hadn't been trained to advise his customers of this critical detail because Best Buy apparently doesn't think this type of inconvenience is worth highlighting..

The guy behind the counter said our gift card had been credited with the amount from the original purchase which I had discarded the night before after depleting its value.  When I brought this information to the guy's attention he said that I could call the phone number listed at the top of the receipt and request a new gift card and they would mail me a replacement. Seriously?!

All I had to do was call this number, most likely wait on hold for a long time, perhaps repeat this story several times to different people before a duplicate gift card is mailed to me, most likely taking at least 7-10 business days before I receive it.

Moral: Best Buy does not value the time of its customers.  Best Buy is a Time Stealer.

There were several ways in which this could've been handled better, without making me angry or feeling completely devalued.  For instance, the guy behind the counter could have just given me a new game without processing the exchange in the system; he could have called the number for me; he could have handed me a new gift card right there; he could've told me all of this information prior to the transaction so I could've exchanged the game at Game Stop or Game Spot or Game Crazy or anywhere else where I would not have had this problem.

Instead, Best Buy thought nothing of wasting my time nor inconveniencing me not once but twice and three times if you remember that it was their broken game that I was returning in the first place. I hate Best Buy and will never buy anything from them again. I cannot tolerate businesses that forget about customer satisfaction or customer convenience.. Bastards!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

We rarely do anything these days to celebrate New Year's. We don't go out because we don't want to be killed by any drunk drivers; we don't go to parties because all our friends are old like us and no one wants to throw them any more; we don't watch fireworks, either in person - due to crowds, which we hate - or on TV - because fireworks cannot be captured correctly on TV. But, this year we're trying something different.

We've made 9PM dinner reservations at La Medusa in Columbia City. It's within walking distance from our house so we're not terribly concerned about the drunk driver issue and with reservations we're not too worried about crowds and the 9PM reservation will allow us to be home at a reasonable hour so we won't have to deal with post-New Year's revelers.

We tried this dinner reservation thing for Christmas dinner and it went rather nicely. We dined at Six Seven at The Edgewater Hotel. The only trick was that the restaurant was a whole lot more crowded than we ever thought a restaurant would be on Christmas day. The hostess, who was also surprised by the crowd, told us that they were turning away patrons without reservations because they were so full. Eating out was really nice and probably a tradition we'll maintain though not necessarily at that restaurant. Nice place and reasonable price for prix fixe ($65) but we didn't really like the menu or the food that much.

Of course, we can't post on New Year's Eve without mentioning our New Year's resolutions. We really only have one: start renovating the house...again. We've been on hiatus for a number of years now, though the house desperately needs some help. We had good momentum at the beginning of 2007 but we had issues with finding a reliable electrician.  So, rather than persevere we decided to just give up.

We're also just paralyzed by the amount of work that needs to be done. To combat this paralysis we've decided to ask for help by way of hiring a general contractor.  Our plan is to list everything we want to do to the house and have the GC prioritize and recommend sub-contractors so we can get some shit done! We have even identified a couple general contractors that we're going to approach thanks to Seattle Magazine's recent special section "Best of Home Repair."

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
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