Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

I don’t think I’d be tapping into ancient history if I asked you to think back to the UPS ad campaign that featured the question, “What can brown do for you?” I feel just a little bad because I have been on both the shipping and receiving end of brown’s services many times, but I’ve never really stopped to consider even thinking about reciprocating. So today, it’s all about what I can do for brown.

You see, recently, we ordered a crib from an online retailer and were told it would be coming via UPS. We liked this prospect because the lab I order my prints from always ships via UPS and they’ve proven themselves very reliable and careful with my precious cargo.

Once the order was processed and updated in the retailer’s database, they sent us an email with tracking information and a link to UPS’s website. The tracking information indicated that our crib would be arriving on the 7th, which was not totally unexpected, but still a bit longer than we would like. However, since we only paid 97 cents for shipping, I guess we got what we paid for.

We clicked through to the UPS site, just to check and see where it was coming from, more out of curiosity than because of some actual need to know, and discovered that it was coming from Hodgkins, IL–basically from Chicago. That’s good news because we know that it’s only about an 8-hour drive (or so) from here to there. Best of all, UPS indicated that it would actually deliver on the 6th. Hey, great surprise! Brown comes through for us again!

As time drew closer to the actual arrival of the crib, on the 5th, I believe, we went back to check on our (big) little package’s progress, and were a bit surprised by what we had seen:


(Okay, no laughing about the “delivered” bit…I didn’t capture this until after the fact).

What, you don’t understand? Let me show you.

The package left Hodgkins, IL, and traveled to Kansas City, KS. No problem.

From there, it went to Salina, KS. Feel free to click the images if you need extra help with visualizing this.


It left Salina and went to Lenexa, KS.


From Lenexa, it took a trip to Manhattan. See the problem yet?


From Manhattan, they finally decided they could take it out to us, after making a grand total of THREE trips past our home.

Here’s the way Google breaks it down:

  • Hodgkins, IL, to Wamego, KS: 625 miles, 9 hours and 34 minutes
  • Hodgkins, IL, to Kansas City, KS, to Salina, KS, to Lenexa, KS, to Manhattan, KS, to Wamego, KS: 1011 miles, 15 hours and 48 minutes.

That means UPS went 386 miles out of its way, which should’ve added an extra 6 hours and 14 minutes. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that the way that UPS did it actually added over 77 hours to the trip.

I guess Google doesn’t account for bathroom breaks and fast-food stops.

So, because I don’t want UPS to think that I never did anything for them, here‘s what I can do for brown.

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Michelle: Young lady, if you don’t (insert desired behavior here) right now, I’m calling Santa. I can still tell him not to bring you any presents!

Chloe: That’s ok, Mom. I don’t need presents; Christmas isn’t about presents.

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Do phrases like “mortgage-backed securities,” “credit default swaps,” or “naked short-selling” make your mind spin? Trying to decide if you like the idea of a $700 billion bailout of the people that caused the problem to begin with?

Back in May (I believe), the fine folks over at This American Life (a really interesting show that I highly recommend) did an entire hour-long episode devoted to explaining the housing bubble burst and how we all got in so much trouble to begin with. The episode was so popular, due to its crystal clear, jargon-free explanations of the financial mechanisms that are bringing this country to its knees that the producer, Alex Blumberg, and the NPR correspondent that he put that show together with, Adam Davidson, decided to start their own daily podcast covering the ever evolving nature of the crisis from a neutral, still jargon-free perspective. They call it Planet Money.

They’ve got a blog, a podcast, and a twitter feed, too, all of which have really illuminated my understanding of what is going on.

Just this past week, as the bailout plan was passed through Congress, they teamed up with This American Life again to do another hour-long show about the economy, which is currently available, free to download, through Sunday, October 12th, here. After that, don’t complain to me when you have to cough up a whole $0.95 to download it; I’ll just tell you to stream it free from their website.

So, go check them out, and let me know what you think.

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I received a very enlightening phone call on my cell today while I was at work. “Gavin,” from American Shopping Center, taught me about all sorts of things that I just didn’t understand before. For example, “Gavin” is pronounced “Gay-vin” when you are trying to adopt an American name while living in India. Here are all the other things I learned from “Gay-vin”:

  1. I have never heard of American Shopping Center, even though it is a major brand-building company that works with all the major brands in the United States.
  2. American Shopping Center uses voice recognition software to record a vocal authorization allowing them to charge my credit card.
  3. This vocal authorization allows them to only charge my credit card $3.95.
  4. There is nothing wrong with this.
  5. It’s the same as giving my credit card information to Amazon.
  6. The $3.95 charge covers the cost of shipping me my free digital camera and 3 day, 2 night stay at any hotel in America.
  7. Oh, and there’s also a $40 gas card good at any gas station in the United States.
  8. American Shopping Center wants to do this for my benefit.
  9. American Shopping Center will send this to me because I have been a valued customer of a major U.S. brand in the recent past and they want to show their appreciation.
  10. American Shopping Center cannot, however, tell me which brand appreciates and values my patronage because they represent over 1500 brands and it would take too long to tell me all of them.
  11. There is nothing wrong with this.
  12. When I give them my credit card information, they will only charge $3.95 for the shipping.
  13. That is all they can charge, according to my vocally recorded authorization.
  14. The $3.95 charge will appear on my monthly credit card statement.
  15. American Shopping Center cannot take my credit card information to buy something on Amazon because you need authorization to do this.
  16. You need more than just a credit card number to buy something on Amazon: you must have authorization to use the credit card number.
  17. No really, you idiot, you can’t buy anything on Amazon unless you have a credit card number and authorization.
  18. I have never purchased anything on Amazon.
  19. I don’t know how Amazon works.
  20. There is nothing wrong with this.
  21. American Shopping Center has to send me this package.
  22. American Shopping Center is a reputable company.
  23. American Shopping Center is a reputable company with a website.
  24. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S.
  25. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S., but can’t afford a decent web designer.
  26. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S., can’t afford a decent web designer, and can’t afford it’s own email domain (lvpremiums@aol.com).
  27. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S., can’t afford a decent web designer or it’s own email domain (lvpremiums@aol.com), and only hires non-native speakers of English who have bad manners, interrupt people when they are talking, insinuate that the people they are speaking to are idiots who know nothing of how financial institutions work.
  28. There is nothing wrong with this, because all the major brand names in America are represented by American Shopping Center.
  29. American Shopping Center will not take “No thanks” for an answer.
  30. American Shopping Center must send me this package for my benefit.
  31. American Shopping Center will continue to insist that they must send me this package, even after I repeatedly tell them that a) I do not want it, thank you, b) I will never give out my credit card information to anyone who calls me asking for it, no matter what they say or how reputable they are or who they represent or how much they are going to charge it, c) I do not want them to continue to call at 9:30 pm or any other hour of the day for a week at a time, or d) I am hanging up now, so please have a nice day.
  32. American Shopping Center wants me to go to hell.
  33. There is nothing wrong with this.

There is just one thing that I understand very, very well: Never, under any circumstances, give your credit card or banking information to anyone who calls you. Period. They will take that information and drain your accounts dry. Even if you only vocally authorize them to charge the account for $3.95.

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No, we didn’t die on vacation. Or join a cult. Or get sucked into a black hole. I’ve just been a bit busy since we got back.Now that I’m back at work, though, I’ve got more time on my hands for things like blogging. Go figure.

So, this is the beginning of the rundown of the major events from our Christmas vacation, including lots of pictures. This first post is rather long in particular because we have lots of things to say about the trip there. Consider yourselves duly warned.

So, on with the show.


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I just finished talking to Michelle and I think she needs some help. I’m stuck at work, so I’m looking for someone who can rush off to her rescue.

Just so you know what you’d be up against, so far today she’s had to handle 2 different poop episodes, 1 pee incident, and 2 preschoolers. And before you say something about how all moms have to deal with that stuff–yes, you’re right, they do–I should point out that most moms only have to deal with the above items when they are produced by blood relatives. None of the above mentioned things have actually been the result of members of our family. The poop, for example, came from two different animals: one cat and one unidentified, possibly tree dwelling creature with a big appetite and loose bowels that likes to hang out above her car. And she got it on her hands both times.


Oh, and we’re having guests for dinner tonight.

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Men are rarely subjected to this kind of tampered image of beauty, but women face it beginning when they are quite young, and it follows them until the day they can finally convince themselves that it’s fake and not worth the stress (which may or may not happen in their lifetime).

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