Monthly Archives: November 2006

I Just Wanna Watch TV (part 29)

My mom always said, “Patience is a virtue.” If that’s the case I’m way too virtuous, I guess.

I haven’t bothered giving updates for a while, because the situation wasn’t changing. I’d check in with the local repair center, they’d say that they still hadn’t gotten the right authorization. Then I’d check in with Best Buy and give them the whole sad story again, and they’d assure me that everything would be right in 24 hours.

Then I gave it a shot last Friday again. Strangely, the required authorization amount at the local installer dropped from $350 to $235. After confirming that they didn’t have the needed authorization, they hung up on me before I could ask why the amount changed.

Ok, the authorization was under the $250 authorization that they had been sending previously. So, let me make sure Best Buy knows that. Called them up, got the same story I’ve heard so many times before. But the tech put me on hold and said he was going to call the local service center. Based on the history, I didn’t think that would be all that productive. He came back in a few minutes and said the authorization amount had changed and that he would resend the authorization for the umpteenth time. Whatever, looks like another round beginning.

I know that the transfer of authorization stuff takes a while (don’t know why, considering all these new fangled computers and such), so I made sure that I waited out the full the 24 hours they claim it takes to make it to the service center. I called in late yesterday. Here’s my case number, is there any chance the proper authorization is there. I’m sorry sir, blah blah blah.

“Wait a second. The authorization amount is $235, right? Can you tell me why that changed?”

Dead air…

“Ok, since you’ve already seen about 10 authorizations for $250 (when you were requesting $350), why do you need to wait around for another authorization?”

Dead air, then,

“That’s a good point. Let me schedule someone to come out and look at your TV…”

I nearly dropped the phone at that point. He went on to say that they were very busy and it would 2 weeks before some one could make it out. I politely told him that after waiting 6 weeks to make it this far, that really didn’t matter to me. Maybe things’ll be right by Christmas.

Sad but true, in the interim, I got annoyed at trying to watch a 10″ tv from across the room and plugged the defunct TV back in. Surprisingly, it kicked on the first try. Great.

We’ve been using pretty it successfully since then, but its still giving impending doom flashes on the status LED. Sometimes, it takes a few clicks of the power button to get it to kick over. So, I guess it still really needs a repair.

Panera Crispani, Thumbs Up.

Been meaning to try Panera Bread’s new Crispani pizzas. Picked a couple on the way home from work last night. I had the sausage/apple, it was very good. Sandy had the roasted mushroom. I had a bite of hers and that was also dynamite as well. Size-wise, they’re comparable to a personal flatbread from unos. 2 pizzas was $19.42. Thumbs up.

I was kinda bummed when they said it would be a 20 minute wait. But, they give you an order marker and have you take a seat at a table. I was wishing I brought something to read. I used the time to get acquainted with the gmail mobile client on my phone a proceeded to get caught up on some mail stuff. 15 minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised when someone came out with my pizzas and I was on my way.

I also saw they offer free WiFi. Looking forward to whiling away some weekend time there with my laptop in the near future.

Jingle Bell Run 2k6

The Arthritis Foundations’ Jingle Bell Run was Sunday. Took a look outside about 11am and it looked pretty ok outside. I left for Onondaga Lake Park at about noon. Hmm, drizzle all the way down. Wait a second, that’s not just drizzle, there’s some snow mixed in.

I was planning on wearing shorts and a long sleeve running shirt (over a short sleeve running shirt.) But after hanging out pre-race, I decided that shorts weren’t gonna cut it and switched to tights. As race time drew closer, the drizzle picked up a bit. Teeth chattering, I decided that I was also gonna keep the windbreaker that I planned to shed.

I was pretty glad I kept all the layers. For almost the first half, I still had trouble getting warm enough to feel comfortable. Need to get some friction on the shoes to get them to soften up. My toes also felt a little numb for a while.

After firing past some slower traffic out of the gate, I was able to get a comfortable stride dialed in. A head wind breeze made the drizzly snow kind of annoying. Felt like my lips were freezing up a bit. I was worried that I’d start drooling uncontrollably. Thankfully, that didn’t seem to happen.

I worked my way to the half passing a few folks here and there. Then I found my challenger for the second half, right before the turn around. She was moving a long a pretty good clip, just a little faster than I was comfortable with. So the race back to home base on.

Right after the turn around, my car key (have to run with it my hand, can’t that the flopping around of having it a pocket) slipped a bit in my hand. I adjusted my grip and somehow it pop out of hand. Doh, that’s gonna hurt. I slammed on the brakes and back peddled a few steps to grab the key. My challenger got about another 10 paces out.

The way back was a little more pleasant without the head wind. I could feel face again and it felt like I was building up a little heat. Keeping one eye on my challenger and the other on other passing targets, I worked my way back up. There was some traffic from the 5k race to work through, but nothing too bad.

On the final 90 degree turn off the main trail by the Salt Museum, I caught up to my challenger. Unfortunately, I was pretty much spent at that point. She took off in the last 100 yards, I gave chase for about 75 of those yards, to catch up. She squeaked through the gate about 2 steps ahead of me.

This was the first race I’ve done that used disposable timing tags. There’s an RFID laminated to the back of the race number. As far as I can tell it worked fine, except at the end you have to deal with race crew tagging you with a ping pong paddle shaped device after you pass through the gate. I was little scared about running one of these taggers over, because they were only about 10 feet beyond the gate. Kinda hard to stop all my flubber that fast.

So, how’d I do? 47:37. Not a 10k personal best, but a best for the Jingle Bell. I’m pretty pleased. It was good for 40/133 overall, and 4th in my age group (sadly, there were only 5 in my age group). Full results are here.

I Just Wanna Watch TV (part 28)

Quick update. So much for we’ll get that authorization right out. I called the local repair place yesterday afternoon and they hadn’t gotten anything new from Best Buy. Crud.

The person said that they had been in contact to with N.E.W. to work out a few other cases during the day and they would try to work out my case too. I thanked them and told them that I’d be keeping my fingers crossed.

I’m off from work today. I gonna plan to spend some quality time on with Best Buy and get this crap resolved today, whatever that takes.

I Just Wanna Watch TV (part 27)

Week 5 began with me checking in my local repair shop. I first asked if they per chance had heard anything from Best Buy. Of course, they hadn’t. So, I asked them to describe exactly what they need so I could try to beat it out Best Buy. They said they need an authorization of $350 from N.E.W. before they can move on. I thanked them for their time and said I’d try to get things rolling.

Monday night, I called up Best Buy again. I’ve pretty much got the phone tree down at this point and easily rattle off my Warranty ID Number. After a short wait, I’m talking to someone whose start the old confirm all my information shtick. I cut ’em off as usual and tell them the story so far. Of course, they’re so sorry I’ve had all this trouble. They put me on hold for a minutes. They came back and said that they worked with their supervisor and would fax out the appropriate authorization immediately. They sounded really urgent about it, anyway. They said that the local repair shop would call me back the next day. Like that was really under their control. By the way, have these people ever heard of email?

Almost needless to say, I was not surprised when I got no calls.

I called the local repair shop on the off chance that they were just back logged and hadn’t gotten around to calling me yet. I have to admit these guys have their act together. I gave them my case number and they exactly where things were. They said that they did get another repair request, but it again was missing the proper authorization. Great!

That brings things up to today. I called Best Buy support yet again, during regular business hours. My intention was to get Best Buy to call the local repair shop in conference call fashion to work out this elusive authorization. I mash my way through the phone tree and cut off the tech as they start their confirmation spiel.

“Ok, here’s the story. I’ve been trying to get my TV fixed for 5 weeks now. I’m beyond frustrated. You guys keep sending my local repair shop the wrong authorization. Can you guys call them with me on the line and work out exactly what you need?”

“We’re so sorry…” Blah blah blah.

“We can try your plan, sir, but let me put you on hold for a second to review your file.”

Ok, whatever.

After a lengthy pause, she returned to the line.

“Sir, I think I’ve spotted a problem. Your local repair shop needs a $350 authorization. That is higher than the $250 authorization that they’re contracted to us for.”

Geez, I hope this isn’t going where I think its going.

“So, what does that mean?”

“Oh, its no problem. I just need to get clearance from our authorization department to raise the limit on your request to $350.”

Authorization department? ok, whatever.

“Alright, that sounds like progress. How long will that take?”

“It should only be a day or so before they clear it.”

“Ok, I’ve heard this day or so time frame a million times before. Can I get this task escalated?”

“What do you mean by escalated? Do you want to talk to a supervisor?”

“Nah, I’ll wait until tomorrow and nothing has changed, I guess. Actually, can you have the person in the Authorization Department give me a ring when they ship the authorization out?”

“Sure, I can have them do that. Thank you for your patie….”

“Wait a second, please confirm my phone number. I just wanna make sure you have the cell number on file.”

Every time they confirm my number its always the house number. I want to talk them in real time, so I wanna make sure they hit the cell.

“Ok, the number we have is XXX XXXX-XXXX”.

“Ok, that’s fine. Thank you.”

Man, I’m so sick of this ordeal. Enough of this crap for today.

Crap, they’re not done with me yet for today… Right after dinner my cell phone rings. I almost blew off the call because there is no caller ID and my phone (which gives you the locale of number by area code when there’s no caller ID) says the call is from Montana. I said what the hell and picked up.

“Hello Sir, this is Best Buy Service. Is this Jason?”

At first, I thought this was a followup feedback call. I was twitching with anticipation to tell them what a fine job they’ve been doing.

“Yep, this is Jason”

“Great, I’m just calling to tell you that we found a local repair center to repair your television. Have you heard of United Radio?”

“Yeah, that’s not news to me. I’ve been waiting for you guys to authorize them for the correct amount to actually get the repair order you guys sent over a weeks ago so they’ll come out and see me.”

“We’re so sorry…” blah blah blah. “Well, I’ve sent them the proper authorization?”

“Ok, the problem was that the previously sent authorizations were for $250. They need an authorization for $350. Is that the amount you sent?”

A long uncomfortable silence…

“Sorry, we just sent the authorization for $250…”

That whistling sound that she heard next was the steam blowing out of my ears.

“Hmm, that isn’t gonna help anything. Can you please amend that to $350?”

“Yes, sir, we’ll send out another authorization for $350 right now.”

I wanted to ask her just what the tech I talked to an hour before said. I would have thought the part about the authorization amount being wrong would have been more apparent. Guess not.

So, with any luck, maybe tomorrow will be the day that my local shop lets me schedule an appointment.

PS- I’ve added a new tag called BestBuySucks for you to more easily track this saga. Enjoy.

I Just Wanna Watch TV (part 26)

Ok, this is getting ridiculous. I’ve been waiting for Best Buy to provide the proper authorization for United Radio to make an appointment to come out and look at my tv. After another week with no movement, I waded in again to try figure out what the hold up is.

While stumbling around on the United Radio website, I found that they have a tool for checking your repair status. Kinda handy; sure, at the moment it says order on hold, waiting on authorization. But, at least I didn’t have to spend 20 minutes on hold just find that out. It also had an email address for the service department.

So I drafted up an email asking if they’d heard anything back on the missing authorization. I was sure to get the point across that I understand that its not really their problem. After a day or so, they got back to me and said that the authorization hadn’t shown up yet. They also said that they faxed N.E.W. again for the correct authorization.

Hmm, who or what is N.E.W.? I sent back another email to ask. Turns out that is the actual extended warranty provider, the National Electric Warranty Company (which I think are these guys). Oh, freaking wonderful; another layer of abstraction.

What a train wreck. Not quite sure what I’m gonna try next. Options:

  1. Tell Best Buy I’m sick of this crap. If I don’t have someone fix my tv in the next 7 business days, they’ll be getting a call from my lawyer. I’d prefer not go this route because it means even more hassle for me, but I honestly think not much else will motivate them.
  2. Tell Best Buy that I’m sicking of waiting and that I’ll cover the cost of the repair so I can get it fixed now and then submit the bill to them for reimbursement. The trick with this is trying to work out a way not to get screwed. I’m pretty sure any of those Best Buy service techs will nod me along with this plan and then deny it all when I come back with the bill.

Gonna set these options on background processing for now. Will probably do something after work or tomorrow. Maybe this fiasco will wrap up someday so I can work on my other neglected projects.

300% More Super Mario Bros. Influence

Post headers, footers, and the sidebar headers now have nifty Super Mario Bros. flavor courtesy of the Super Modena Bros. free Icon Delivery from Icon Buffet. I think they perk up the design nicely.

The icons are hooked up as CSS background images. This allows them to be change easily from the external style sheet file without having to change the HTML at all. Handy!

I also changed the goomba in the masthead to use this trick. Previously it was a plain old image. I looked and worked fine, but when Google indexed the page, it grabbed the text in the ALT attribute. So, my search result was “goomba Jason Crowther’s Blog · Flipped the Switch…” Hopefully, the new formatting should fix that.

In an effort to push past $0.00 in ad revenue, I hooked my adsense again. Maybe someone will click one someday.

Flipped the Switch…

A while back on my former pivot blog, I said I was migrating to wordpress. After that, I pretty much gave up on the old site. I was planning on doing a fancy schmancy site overhaul to coincide with the blog engine cut over, but I can never seem to find the time to work on it.

None-the-less, I’ve been blogging all along, so if you’ve only been watching my old site, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by a bunch of new posts. Please take a second to update your rss feed reader to point my new feed.

Some of the sections from the old site have been replaced by 3rd part sites (ie, pictures are on flickr, links are on del.icio.us.) Some sections have yet to be moved (running log and poetry.) Hopefully, over the next few weekends I’ll get all that stuff cleaned.

If this is the first time you’ve seen the new look and feel, please let me know what you think!