Dishonesty From The Start Is a Poor Sales Practice

Last year I spent a week in Virginia for work. I ended up being able to get an ocean front suite in Virginia Beach within what I could be reimbursed for, so I brought the family with me. While we were there, we of course got invited to a timeshare presentation. We figured we'd eat the free breakfast, take the tour, listen to the pitch, then fight like heck to get out of there.

Yes, I am uncomfortable with taking free breakfasts and other gifts when I have no intention of buying. We like VA Beach, so we were intersested in what they had to say although we figured it would be priced out of reality for us. Somehow, it wasn't. They had a unit within a reasonable price, and it includes a deed, so my wife was interested and we bought in.

We're currently on our first exchange to Williamsburg, VA. The resort we're staying at wants us to have a free meal, then take a tour of a model and then take a survey. As usual, they claim there will be no pressure. I'm not sure. I read in some reviews of this resort that even if you already own a unit somewhere else, they will try very hard to get us to switch to a unit here. That won't happen. At least as we understand things, a VA Beach unit gives us some power in exchanges. We also like VA Beach, so we're not giving that up.

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Customer Service Failures:Does It Matter to Businesses That They Could Lose a Customer?

In 2003, my wife and I had to replace 10 windows and the sliding glass door in our house. We opted to use Window Wizards. The sales process and installation went well enough, but getting service has been a nightmare. Nobody seems to bother to check the voice mail on the service line. I’ve tried to call sales to get service, and still be given the voice mail. I’ve had service calls get canceled after taking a day off and sitting around. I’ve had repeated problems with some parts, and by the way, a “lifetime” warranty isn’t a lifetime warranty.

My wife recently started pointing out to me that I’m going to have to call Window Wizards again. The vinyl on the back of our sliding door is cracked again, and the door is hard to open and close. We have a window that needs to be adjusted because it won’t stay open, and the wheels on our screen door rusted out, rendering the door useless.

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Verizon FAIL: No Customer Service for my In-laws

I hope the word FAIL isn't too contrived. Since discovering Failblog, it's working it's way into my daily vocabulary. I think it's appropriate here.

I was with Verizon for several years. I don't miss them. You can use the Google search box to the right to search for all of my rantings over the years about Verizon DSL. You could not PAY me to go back on DSL, and every time a friend gets DSL, after asking me if they should and I say no and they get it anyway and I have to help them with a Verizon DSL problem, I'm reminded of how much I hate dealing with Verizon.

In the days when I had a Verizon land line, it was little more than an open conduit for telemarketers. Despite paying for Call Intercept, which was supposed to prevent "unavailable" calls from getting through, they continued to get through. All my land line was good for was for people I didn't want to talk to to get through to me about every 20 minutes all day long. My wife and I switched to AT&T cell phones and haven't looked back. Our AT&T lines haven't been without problems over the years, but for the most part, when I call AT&T, they don't jerk me around. They try to deal with the problem and I'm gratetful for that. I do have a Verizon BlackBerry that's provided by work. For the most part, it does a decent job. Every now and again when I have to tether it, I'll get cut off and go through up to a half hour of "The Remote Computer is not responding", but my company is paying for it so what can I do? During a period when my wife's line wasn't working very well, I tried to threaten AT&T with leaving for Verizon, but now that I have my iPhone, I'm not giving it up for anything. AT&T it is.

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Lottery Budget: Dave Ramsey Nails It!

Apparently, one of Dave Ramsey’s callers asked if he should set aside a budget for buying lottery tickets. I’ve long since (independently) come to the conclusion that the lottery tax is merely a voluntary tax on greed, misplaced hope, and a poor mindset. Then I actually did some research on lottery winners, and was more than convinced that I’ve been right to stay out the the whole thing for most of my life.

I haven’t listened to the call. I’m sure when I get home and sync my iPhone,that podcast with sync across for me and I can listen to it then.

You can use the Google Search box to the right to look for the posts I’ve written over the years about the lottery. I have no use for it.

Will the Declining Home Size Trend Continue After the “Recession”?

I’ve been reading lately about people downsizing their homes. Just like how home sizes kept getting larger during “good times”, now they’re getting smaller during “bad times”. I’m fine with that. It makes perfect sense.

What drives me nuts are predictions that this will continue. After home sizes supposedly peaked, suddenly mankind has reached a new awareness that too big a home isn’t necessary and even if the “recession” ended tomorrow and prosperity returned, some people claim the trend will continue.

In the Navy, we had what we called a “BS” flag. We actually said the entire term, but I won’t here. I’d like to raise the BS flag on this one. I highly doubt that if tomorrow the entire nation woke up prosperous, we’d continue to downsize our homes. I’m sure people would go right back to borrowing too darn much and living in too large of houses and driving more car than they need just because everybody else is doing it.

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Cool DARPA Project of the Day: Biodog

Check out this link. Watch the video. This thing is cool. It’s a robot with 4 legs that can run, climb steep terrain, and carry a heavy load. I assume it can do all three at once. The video shows it taking on a variety of obstacles, from a steep hill in the woods, to a swift kick in the sides, to a pile of cement blocks, to ice, to a snowdrift. It’s also featured carrying a 400 pound load, and running and jumping. It looks strangely life-like in many ways. The legs almost look like spider legs.

I’m not joking when I say I look forward to concepts like bio-horse and bio-camel. I think there is a lot that can be done with this.

I’m not entirely convinced that artificial intelligence will ever achieve any likeness to a human soul or spirit, but I do get excited by robots that perform valuable service roles. We only have one room in our downstairs with carpet, so a Roomba is out, but we have talked about getting a Scooba robot to keep the floors clean. Yes, I know it requires maintenance and service.

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Things That Don’t Suck About New Jersey

When I met my wife, she had The Bloodhound Gang’s CD. It listed a track as something like “10 Things That Don’t Suck About New Jersey”. I’m not sure about the exact wording, but when you sequence the CD to the track, it’s about 10 seconds of silence.

I can be very hard on New Jersey in my talking and writing. I got out of the Navy in 1998 in San Diego and started working as an alarm installer, which was the first job I managed to get after 2 weeks of not having an income. It was fun while it lasted, and I appreciate the time I had on that job and the men I worked with. In 1999, I got a job offer to move to New Jersey to work at a development site. This job was to be more inline with my training and experience from my time in the Navy.

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