Happy Holidays!


Ah, the holidays always bring out the “best” in everybody.

We made a quick stop at our local Dollar Tree for some stuff we needed. As usual, we ended up with more than we had come for and spent much more than the name of the store implies.

Anyway, at checkout, there was a guy arguing with the cashier about his lost receipt. Apparently he was trying to show her that he was overcharged for the Thanksgiving card he just bought.

At Dollar Tree. Three days after Thanksgiving.

The cashier continued to ring up the customer in front of us while she tried explaining the cost of the card, with tax, to the other guy. But he wasn’t hearing any of it, and he just kept arguing.

It was going nowhere and I had had enough.

“Hey man, if I give you $1, will you shut up?”

Mind. Blown. The dollar would have covered twice the cost of what he was arguing about. But he insisted on getting his proper discount. Not only that, he then got pissed that I got involved and called me an asshole in front of my family.

I smiled and turned to Ann.

“Reminds me of our neighbor — an angry drunk.” Then I looked at him, still smiling.

“Happy holidays, sir. And Happy Thanksgiving.” He didn’t know what to say and by then the manager had come over to smooth things out with him. And Thanksgiving had long passed, so in your face, Tipsy McStagger.

Look, I don’t normally get involved in petty shit like this but dude was being a complete jerk to the Dollar Tree employees, none of whom make diddly-squat at that job and none of whom should have to deal with bullshit from people like this any time of year.

But at the holidays, the number of idiots increases exponentially. Come on, dude. Dollar Tree. You’re arguing over a lost receipt and fifty cents at FREAKING DOLLAR TREE.

So I had to say something. And in the end, I didn’t offer him the dollar because that would be better spent elsewhere.

Like on these killer candles!

photo-nov-27-1-18-20-pm

So to all of the employees at my local Dollar Tree, I’m sorry you had to deal with the moron. But I’m not sorry for saying something in your defense.

Because I’ve been there. It’s not pretty.

And now you have a story to tell when you get home.

Advertisements

2013: My Year In Review


Since this is a personal blog, I figured that instead of writing a year-end review about other things, it would be better suited for me to give a year-end review of things that actually happened in my life. It’s much easier to do something like this now since chances are I captured those moments with my phone, giving me photographic proof of the events.

With all of that out of the way, here’s a month-by-month photo essay of how things went with me and the family in 2013, some of which was never mentioned here on the blog. Take a virtual trip of the things we did, places we saw, events that brought us happiness, triumph, and even sadness.

Got your scrollin’ finger ready? Good! Here we go!

Continue reading

What I Want for Christmas


If you were a baseball fan in the ’70s then chances are you know about Oscar Gamble. Back then, Gamble had one of the most blown-out afros you’ve ever seen. I mean, it was tremendously huge but don’t take my word for it. Just click here to get an idea.

Sure, there were others like Bake McBride (always loved that name)…

image

…but nobody came close to Gamble, whose afro has almost gained cult status. In fact I have a shirt from Old Navy that is similar to this one and while it doesn’t state a team or his name, the implication is obvious.

At any rate, I got to thinking which generally means nothing good will come from it. It’s Christmastime again and I’m getting bombarded with commercials for Chia Pets who now shamelessly peddle Duck Dynasty* varieties. Fine and well but not for me.

I need something more up my alley, something with substance that I would enjoy much more that watching a beard grow.

What I want for Christmas is…

Continue reading

Is Amazon Serious About Prime Air?


prime-air_high-resolution01I had to check my calendar when the story first broke yesterday.

Yes, it was the 1st of the month but alas, the month of December not April. Yet I still thought this was a joke.

In case you missed it, Amazon announced that it had tested a new form of package delivery they call PrimeAir which promises to have your package – maximum weight of 5 pounds – at your door within 30 minutes of ordering. Kind of like the Dominos Pizza of online merchandise delivery.

The difference is this: while Dominos relies on a driver’s high-mileage 1999 Toyota Echo to get your bland pizza to your door, Amazon plans to enlist the help of drones (see photo) to carry package. Here’s the video of how it would supposedly work.

And here’s where the problems begin. I’ll go over a list of five things that I immediately thought of when I heard of this gimmick.

Problem 1: Liabilities
Have you ever tried to fly one of these things? My neighbor’s son had an AR Drone and all I remember seeing that thing do was crash into things – and hard. Granted, the ones Amazon shows being used in the video are nothing like the aforementioned models but still, I would imagine controlling one of these things would require patience and a good amount of training in order to have them fly safely.

And take a look at the photo above. Do you see what I see? Something along the lines of exposed rotor blades? Remember that scene from Raiders of the Lost Art when Indy is fighting the guy near the plane? Perhaps things may not get that graphic but all I’ll say is kids and animals can be very curious.

Problem 2: Crazy People
Let’s face it, not everyone is as sane as you or me. So let’s say Amazon ultimately decides that this is a grand idea and rolls it out to a few test markets. Who’s to say that said crazy people wouldn’t take it upon themselves to try and bring the drone down by whatever means possible? Idiots still shine lasers at incoming passenger planes so why wouldn’t they roll the dice and try their luck with a mystery 5-pound package? It could be anything from an iPhone to Q-tips. Then again, the seriously crazy people wouldn’t care about the package as much as they would reeking havoc on a remote controlled flying gizmo. It would be like the head of a trophy buck to them.

Problem 3: Hacking
Like mostly everything these days, a drone is a computer. On top of that, it’s got wireless receivers and transmitters on-board. It’s possible that these things could be hacked and the package delivered to someone other than the intended recipient. While I’m sure GPS will play a huge part in tracking the devices, I’m also quite positive a hacker could make the drone forget where it was last.

Problem 4: Bombs Away
While there is a weight limit to the packages that the drones can deliver, things can still go wrong. Suppose the battery suddenly goes dead or is starting to die and the drone begins to lose its power, the same power that probably controls the arms that hold the package firmly in place. If those arms suddenly begin to grow weak then there goes the little orange box. Watch out below. And hey, who’s to say that the aforementioned hackers wouldn’t do this very thing just for fun? Or what if the drones encounter bad weather that blows them off-course? So, so much that could go wrong.

Problem 5: Is This Even Feasible?
I’m not sure how many distribution centers Amazon has or how many markets they plan to roll this out in but it just doesn’t seem to make economic sense to invest in these delivery drones. We’re talking about delivering packages weighing under 5 pounds here. If someone ordered something they needed in 30 minutes, you can bet it probably wasn’t anything of significant value – or could it be? Either way, it doesn’t make economic sense to me, and that’s not even factoring potential item returns into the equation.

So Amazon, you got us. Your little delivery “innovation” seems like nothing more than a pipe dream or, which is most likely the case with Christmas shopping in full swing, free publicity by generating a buzz that included your name. It could just be nothing more than a commercial for the online merchandising giant.

We’ll see what eventually goes down in a few years but as for me, I just don’t see it happening. And if it does, I’m buying a hardhat.

UPDATE 12/3/13: That didn’t take long. Now UPS is in on the action? When will FedEx and the others join?

When A Bargain Isn’t A Bargain


People love their bargains and we’re no exception.

We’ve used sites like Amazon Local and Groupon to snag some fantastic deals in the past and all of them were handled the way we expected them to be. And the deals are usually comprised of the same formula: get $[retail amount] of merchandise/services/food for $[discounted amount]. Easy.

Past deals I’ve bought have included $40 worth of Restaurant.com credits for $10, $30 towards the purchase of Dodgers tickets for $7, and $5 for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. No doubt they were fantastic deals. You pay a discounted price and get more in return. It’s not a difficult concept.

Then there was today.

Ann had purchased the following deal on some new discount site I’d never heard of called Double Take Deals. Look closely and tell me if it follows the same formula as the rest.

barcana

She figured hey, it’s nearing Christmas and this would be as good a time as any to refresh our decorations and at a bargain price. I mean, this seemed like a great offer so that’s why she bought it:

With this DoubleTake Deal, get festive with $50 of Christmas decorations including wreaths, greens, ornaments, figurines and more for only $25.

So if I read this right, we would get $50 worth of merchandise and only pay $25 for it. Am I right? It’s not that convoluted, is it?

After looking this Barcana place up online (and laughing at what seemed to be a Geocities-hosted website), we headed down there and looked around for a bit. It was our first time there and admittedly, they do have a great selection of decorations, so much so that we had trouble deciding what to buy. In the end, we decided that the tree would have a candy theme this year so we stocked up on candy-related decorations and placed them in the basket.

Once finished, we waited in line to pay and were pretty excited with all the stuff we had found. Ann started off by handing the cashier her Double Take Deals voucher which she would apply once she was done ringing everything up. Our total was $64.30 which, once our $50 was applied, would mean we owed only $14.30. Hey, we made out alright.

“So your new total is $39.30,” the cashier said.

Ann looked puzzled. She glanced over at me and I started to think, “That’s way too much.” Ann then asked her if the discount had been applied.

She went on to explain that the discount had been applied – all $25 of it, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why would I spend $25 on a voucher that I’m going to use myself to only get $25 credit in the store? Isn’t the point of getting such deals is to, well, get more for less? Otherwise, it’s like we just bought $25 in Disney Dollars. This is not how it works.

As we continued to try and explain things to the cashier, she defended her position. Another one even intervened, condescending attitude and all, and spoke to us like we had just fallen off of the turnip truck. This is not how it works.

Here’s a copy of our receipt:

PHOTO_20131124_124810

As you can see, the “check” amount is the applied Double Take Deals amount or the amount we paid for the deal. But as the deal stated on the website:

With this DoubleTake Deal, get festive with $50 of Christmas decorations including wreaths, greens, ornaments, figurines and more for only $25.

After not arguing with the Cashier with an Attitude (there’s no sense fighting with someone like that), I spoke with a man who appeared that he might know what he was doing. He said it was their first time doing this sort of offer and that Double Take Deals had the wording all wrong. I didn’t understand this since it seems as clear as day to me: get $50 for $25. Even the screenshot about reads “Savings 50%.”

So what did they not word properly? The only thing that I could think of is that we’d get $25 off with a minimum $50 purchase which this offer does not state either on the website or voucher nor is that a savings of 50%. This is not how it works.

We feel conned and totally ripped-off by what transpired. Our only recourse is to contact Double Take Deals on Monday and see what they have to say about the matter. I’ve already tweeted my dissatisfaction to them but being their Twitter account was last update in August 2012, I doubt I’ll get a reply.

tweets

If nothing gets done, then we’re out a hypothetical $25 and will never use them again. But even if they do resolve it and we get the extra $25 to spend at Barcana, it will be our last trip there. I have no time for cashiers talking to me as if I don’t understand what’s going on and talking to us like we were idiots. In this day and age of social media you’d think that people would be a little more courteous, otherwise those they were rude to might blog, tweet, Facebook, leave reviews on Fouraquare, etc.

Someone apparently hasn’t learned this lesson and what a huge disappointment this has been. Stay tuned for an update should anything change.

UPDATE 12/2/13: After a few days of emails between Ann and Double Take Deals, Ann was contacted by someone at Barcana who indeed told us that the deal was not done right. She has promised to make things right by issuing a $25 gift certificate.