The block




May 24th, 2017|0 Comments

Too much customer service

For an example of shit customer service, may I refer you back to my experience with Life Pixel, whose response to my advising them that their website was broken was “it is working OK here”.

For an example of perhaps too much customer service, a response from eBay to Rick@Knees is worth a look.

Rick (a.k.a. Raymond), as a connoisseur of classic photographic equipment (a.k.a tat), and therefore spends many an hour trawling eBay, creating watch lists of junk he may wish to purchase. When his watch lists stopped working, he dropped a mail to eBay support, and in no time at all he had a response from Jessa P.

Jessa was initially concerned with his well-being:

Hello Raymond,

A pleasant day to you!

I hope you are doing well today while reading this email.

Thank you for contacting eBay Customer Service. I understand that you’re concerned because you’re unable to review the items in your watch list and you’re encountering error. I know how important it is for you to view the items you’ve added tor watch list. My name is Jessa and rest assured that I will check this oat for you.

Seems like she did check it oat, because the next paragraph advised:

Raymond, I did further investigation about your concern and I found out that the situation you are having right now is actually here within the eBay system. What we are experiencing right now is a technical glitch in our system that started a week ago.

At this point Raymond could take some comfort that the error was right now a known error; but then things became a little surreal:

Luis, you don’t have to worry though, I’d like to assure you that you’re not the only one experiencing this but other sellers as well and we are already aware of this and fixing the problem as we speak . Also, I have added your account as one of the affected members in this current issue that we have on our system so that we can prioritize your account.

Luis? Who the fuck is Luis? And Raymond is a buyer, not a seller; and maybe Jenna is two timing and doesn’t really care whether Raymond is doing well while reading this….

Still, moving on because Jenna is just getting started.

Rest assured that our dedicated Technical Team is working twice as much to make sure this issue will be resolved as soon as possible. I do not have a definite time frame but please give us enough time to resolve this. I appreciate your interest and understanding.

Hard to rest assured when your name may actually be Luis, and why is the Technical Team working twice as much; do they normally work half as hard as they could?

Jenna is getting into her stride now:

We want all of our members to enjoy the best possible experience on eBay, so keeping our website up and running and making sure all of our features are available is one our top priorities. Your business is important to us and we work our hardest to avoid any technical glitches, but occasionally these unfortunate situations do happen. I can assure you that when something does go wrong with the eBay website, we always work as quickly as possible to fix it. We apologize for any inconvenience that this issue may have caused you and hope that it does not affect your overall satisfaction with experience on eBay.

Your other top priority is charging exorbitant rates to sell stuff; but Jenna has no time for that:

Raymond, I would like to personally commend you for your initiative in getting this resolved despite the fact that you are experiencing this kind of issue. I admire your patience and professionalism in handling this issue. Please know that you, being a valued eBay member, are always our main priority.

I know Raymond, I would not describe patience as one of his strengths . Perhaps she is thinking of Luis? Still, being commended is nice, being personally commended is even better and Jenna is not done with the praise:

By the way Raymond, I would like to thank you for trusting us about your concern and for being a part of eBay community since September 2008. Your decision to be part of us is wonderful and we are grateful enough to have you

She then appears to be referring to an entirely different issue:

Trying to work things out with the seller this way is a good sign of a perfect buyer and that’s what we are looking for. Keep it up!

Yeah, keep it up, work it out with yourself Raymond.

Jenna is getting towards the end of her effusive praise stream of consciousness:

I’d also want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you today. Please let us know if you need additional help at any time as we’re here for you. Thank you very much for your time and trust in eBay as well as for your loyalty.

Lovely, trusting, loyal, patient, professional Raymond. Not the man I know.

Take care always Raymond, and I also wish you and your family the best of health.

Don’t take care occasionally Raymond, otherwise you might walk under a baht bus and we would lose your commission charges.

She’s almost done, but, like the best thrillers, Jenna has a twist in the story that she has kept until the end:

Thank you for choosing eBay. We value your business. May you have a happy and you have a wonderful week there in your beautiful country Brazil!


Jessa P.

eBay Customer Service

Methinks “Sincerely” may be stretching things. Still I would prefer an over the top response like this than that offered by Life Pixel who would respond to this issue with:

Raymond, Luis or whatever the fuck your name is. Yeah, it’s broken, has been for week, no idea when it will be fixed.

We will probably never know the reason for Jenna’s unnecessarily lengthy response. Drugs? Boredom? The Son has a theory that the support staff have pre-programmed buttons to press for automated responses to complaints; and instead of pressing one button, Jenna fell asleep on the keyboard after a long night with Luis, her Brazilian lover, and triggered all of them.

Well done Jenna! Keep it up!

May 22nd, 2017|0 Comments

Windows 10 can fuck off

Was enjoying my new computer, until a couple of days ago when I turned it on and, after a rather sluggish visit to the Bios screen, it sat aimlessly with a message informing me that it was attempting repairs. To what, you piece of shit? No response, but after some time it staggered to the replacement to the blue screen of death, “the light blue screen of many choices, none of which do anything”

I tried restarting, same screen.

I attempted to let it repair, same screen.

I tried to do a system image recovery and plugged in the disk whereupon lay my backed up system image; waiting for this very moment. Windows went into an endless loop looking for it and I had to switch it off.

After many restarts I was about to gather my ample loins and just reinstall the piece of crap, when it relented and presented me with the Windows log-in screen. I logged in.

Many hours had passed and it was time for dinner, and she who must be obeyed was looking forward to the TV shows I had downloaded for her from entirely legal sources, to the 120GB drive I had installed for that very purpose. Plugged in an external drive to copy over the entertainment, only to discover that the internal drive was not available.

Long story slightly shorter, the internal drive (one of three and not the boot drive) had, to use a technical term, crapped out; and it was this comparatively trivial problem that was causing my machine not to boot. Ripped out the dead drive (which was rather old and had been languishing in a drawer), turned on the machine again and it was presenting the Windows login screen faster than you could say “Windows 10, not exactly robust”.

But wait, there’s more.

I had set Windows Backup to save my personal files on the boot drive, plus all my files (photos and games) on the second drive, and the very legal downloaded media on the now dead drive. So I headed over to Windows Restore to recover my wife’s entertainment. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Fuck all. The backup page told me it was saving my boot, secondary and media drive data; but in fact it was only backing up the boot drive. All my photos, games and media were not backed up.

This is a known problem. In a supposedly refined and stable piece of software. Sigh.

Thirty minutes later I had installed Crashplan for free and now have 450GB of data safely backed up. No thank to Windows.

Windows 10 can fuck off.

May 21st, 2017|8 Comments

The power of the “I” word

A morning outing to “Index – The Living Mall”, where conversely I die inside a little every time I enter. She who must be obeyed is in search of some new chairs and a table to place on our tiny patio. The current offerings have fallen to pieces, not through usage because we rarely sit on them, but through weather abuse. It was no surprise that Index offered nothing suitable in the garden section, but of course we had to check everywhere else. As we wandered through bedroom furnishings, not normally noted for a selection of weatherproof chairs, I started to worry that the “I” word might be raised; and indeed, as we headed for office supplies, she uttered the feared phrase “perhaps we could have a trip to Ikea in Bangkok?”

“Good idea”, I lied as another small part of my soul departed my body. “But there is one more place we could try on the way home”, she offered as a possible reprieve.

So we stopped at a roadside outlet and I was lavish with praise at the somewhat overpriced plastic set of furniture that caught her eye and happily handed over the asking price. A trip to I*** has been averted; for now.

May 20th, 2017|1 Comment

Can’t sell




May 20th, 2017|0 Comments

The supreme leader

Mingling among Cosplay players was the feared and derided leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un.


He was accompanied by a sidekick who, as you might expect, was treated like dirt; and shouted at very loudly when he started clapping before being prompted by the supreme leader. Well done to the look-alike who stayed consistently in character for an hour or more.

May 15th, 2017|0 Comments

Tech trouble

I have known Ian for more than twenty years; and it is a measure of the difference in our interests that he probably still uses some of the tech that he owned when I first met him. His TV, for example, is a massive slab of a thing which no doubt has an extended start up time to allow the valves to warm. His phone, until recently, was heading for eleven years old; and only when it failed did he begrudgingly splash a couple of thousand baht on a replacement which could not be described as a “smart phone”; however far you stretched the definition.

This of course is entirely different to my approach to technology which is to throw my pension at every shiny object that wanders into my peripheral vision.

Our differences are exemplified by our attitude to computing. I have just “invested” a chunk of cash on a high-end gaming machine; Ian has been using a budget laptop that he reluctantly opened his wallet to buy several years ago. It was initially supplied with Windows 7, but he failed to turn off automatic updates; and when he wasn’t looking it installed Windows 10. He didn’t like that so took it down to Tuk Com where they installed a pirated copy of Windows 8. Eventually that has started acting up (surprise), so I received the rare call: he was considering a replacement. I duly reported for duty at Tuk Com and we headed for the hardware floor.

The world is moving towards mobile devices to meet their computing needs, and Tuk Com reflects that. The phone floor is buzzing with business, while the computer hardware floors languish, with many empty units and few customers. The exception is JIB, who service the requirement for higher end machines, increasingly the main market for PCs. Apart from JIB, the remaining stores sell crap accessories, or an assortment of laptops. It was to one of these stores we headed, not coincidentally the one where Ian bought his last machine. My five minute extensive market survey had indicated that the Acer E5 series offered good value for money, and after an hour or so of perusing, accompanied by much grumbling as to the impending expenditure, he chose his new machine. Then his piercing questions started.

Does it have Paint?
It’s part of Windows Ian.
Does it have Gmail.
You access that from the browser Ian.
Does it have Excel.
It’s not part of Windows Ian.
I want Excel.

The saleslady offered him a 400 baht discount, countered by an offer to install Excel and the rest of the Office suite, for a matching 400 baht. I had a suspicion that these would not be originals….

We went away for an hour and returned to collect his new toy. Back to his condo where he wanted clarification on the Gmail in a browser thing, so we plugged everything in and got him started.

The next morning I received a mail (presumably sent from Gmail on his browser on his old machine). It’s broken. Can’t get past the screensaver with the mouse buttons. Taking the whole thing back. Woe.

Turns out that the free mouse they had given him had failed buttons. Had he pressed a key on the keyboard he would have found his laptop was fine…..

I have impressed upon him the need to setup a log-in password and activating Windows Defender and learning about Windows 10 which is actually rather good once you understand it. But given his lack of tech-interest and the fact he has pirated Microsoft software sat on his machine, I am expecting the call to purchase a replacement, sometime in the next ten years.

May 14th, 2017|2 Comments

Fly the friendly skies

A wet day with no wind, what else to do but enjoy my new PC. Battlefield 1 was my game of choice and after spending some time being blown up in a tank, I fancied some fresh air and took to the skies. I soon discovered that I was as much good at flying a plane as I was at driving a tank; but the visuals (everything set on the highest possible quality), are extremely impressive (although processing for YouTube degrades things a bit). We’ve come a long way from Pacman.

My rear gunner seems unimpressed by my “if you can’t shoot them down, ram them” technique….

May 10th, 2017|0 Comments

Credit card conclusion

Got the call on Monday evening that the card was ready. To the bank yesterday where the supervisor on duty at the queuing ticket machine asked me what I wanted.

“I have come to collect my credit card” I explained, in a slow and measured voice.
She gives me the standard cashier queue ticket; I am ready for this.
“I have come to collect my credit card”, even slower and more measured.
“Yes, pay for credit card”
“No. New. Card. Collect. New. Card.”
“Oh, just sit over there” with no attempt to give me a correct queue ticket.

Fortunately they have just opened, and I my usual clerk recognises me, and is all smiles when she realises she who must be obeyed is not with me. I get my card, activate it, and now I am waiting to see what will go wrong next.

I remain cautiously pessimistic.

May 10th, 2017|2 Comments

Credit card chaos

On the 23rd March I described the tortuous process required to apply for a credit card from SCB. I concluded: “I am assured I will get my credit card in two weeks. I remain cautiously pessimistic.”

Six weeks on, my pessimism has been justified; because I still have no credit card.

Event 1
A week or so after the initial application I received a call from the branch. “You have already signed sufficient paper such that it could be lightly moistened and moulded into a battleship; but there is one more form you must sign. Please come to the bank.” I paraphrase of course, but the inference was that the whole package had been sent to HQ who sat on it for a week or so, and then noticed that the branch had failed to get my signature on form number 342. So I went back into town and signed the piece of paper, and was assured that they would try and get the card for me by “next week”.

Next week came and went, and the week after that; so decided to pop into the bank to see what was happening.

Event 2
I enter the bank and am greeted by the manager who is manning the queue ticket machine. “I have come to see about my credit card application” I explain, and she gives me a ticket. It’s a Saturday and it is busy and I am sat for fifteen minutes or so before it dawns that she has given me a ticket for the general cashier queue…

I collar a passing clerk and explain my predicament. She takes away the bit of paper with my account details on it and is gone for aeons. Eventually I am called to the counter and am told that my credit card had been sent out by post nine days ago and would I like the tracking number?

No, I would like my credit card at the branch to collect, as originally agreed; but I take the tracking number and sit with my phone trying to find it on the post office tracking system. It doesn’t exist. At this point she who must be obeyed arrives and takes charge. I am sat back down in front of the clerk and the assault begins.

“This tracking number is incorrect”, my wife states, with a hostile glare at both the clerk and me (in case I have written it down incorrectly). The clerk checks, the number is correct.
“Then why does it not show on the tracking page?”
“Because this is a special number which can’t be publicly tracked”

Which does beg the obvious question, why give me the bloody number in the first place; but my wife is off on another line of attack.

“It’s been ten days, registered items normally arrive the following day. It is lost, you need to cancel it”.

“You can’t cancel the card, it hasn’t been activated yet”. (the clerk really said that).

Things went downhill from there as my wife launched into one of her Thai tirades; it was not a pleasant. At the end of it, the cowed clerk agreed that the lost card would be cancelled and a fresh card issued that would be delivered to the branch. I intimated that, if it had not arrived by the following Friday (today), I would cancel the whole thing and take my money back.

Event 3
As part of the bank assault, I had been put on the phone to the head office and asked certain security questions, in order to confirm that my wishes, originally stated some weeks ago, had not changed. So it was not a pleasant surprise to receive another call from head office within five minutes of walking out of the branch, wanting to ask me the same security questions and wanting to confirm the same shit that I had just confirmed. This did not go down well, particularly as I was still fizzing with rage over the recently wasted one hour and fifteen minutes in the branch. So when one of the security questions was ” what type of credit card have you applied for”, the only possible answer was “I can’t remember, it’s been so bloody long since I applied for it”. Amazingly, this appeared to be the right answer.

Event 4
Yesterday evening, the day before the deadline, and we are sat watching the latest series of Fargo when my wife’s phone rings. It’s the clerk from the bank. A discussion ensues and I am told that I am required to attend the bank the following day so they can call head office, I can answer some security questions, and then confirm my requirements….

“So my card is not ready?”
“But I went through this process last week in the branch”.
“They need you to do it again”.
“Then I went through the process again when I left the bank.”
“They need you to do it again”.
“Perhaps I should just cancel and get my money back.”
“Then you would have to go through the same process at another bank.”
“I’l see them in the morning”.

Event 5
This morning I presented myself at the bank at 1100 and gave them the now cancelled credit card which had finally arrived after a two week journey to fuck knows where.

I tried to remain calm.

“Either re-activate this card, or get the new one delivered to the bank”.
She called head office.
“Your new card will arrive on Monday or Tuesday”
“So why did you call me here this morning?”

Her phone rang and she chatted to someone for a good ten minutes while I fumed almost silently. Her chat finished.

“So why did you call me here this morning?”
Several sentences were uttered which made no sense.
“So I am free to go, nothing to do?”

“Yes”, and then as an afterthought: “sorry”.

Event 6

The collection of the card next week. Allegedly.

I remain cautiously pessimistic.

May 5th, 2017|8 Comments