Bad Service

I got the idea for this post from reading entries on the Livejournal community bad_service.  I thought I’d share my experience with the exercise bike we purchased from Sears.

On February 22nd, we purchased a new exercise bike because our old one was giving us problems (the pedal arm kept falling off) and we were tired of fighting with it every time we used it.  So we took a drive south to a larger town where there was an Academy Sports, in addition to a Sears.  Academy didn’t really have much selection in store, so we went over to Sears to have a look.

At Sears, we found the Schwinn 270/Journey 2.5 recumbent bike.  It looks like this:

bike

The bike that has given me nothing but problems since we bought it.

Looks like a nice bike, doesn’t it?  We thought so too, and decided to give it a try, since in the past we’ve purchased Pro Form/Nordic Track bikes and they just don’t hold up to regular use.  (Our previous bike, a Nordic Track, had a pedal arm that wouldn’t stay on.  We’d been using the bike less than a year.  Doesn’t say much about the quality, does it?)  So we decided to give a different company a chance.

If only we’d known what we were getting ourselves into.

After two weeks of use, we noticed that buttons on the control console would randomly stop working.  The Programs button seemed to be the main one affected, although the fan button was also not responding.  So on March 10th, I called up Sears and spoke to one of their Warranty Service people who declared that the power cord that came with the bike was the problem.  The included power cord apparently didn’t supply enough power to consistently run the control console.  Great!  Problem solved.  Send me a new power cord.

I was told that I would get an email confirmation of the part being ordered, and another with tracking info when it shipped.  After a few days, I called back and learned that the cord had shipped on March 11th.  Since I was aware that it would take 5-7 days for the part to arrive, I wasn’t too concerned.  I did reach out via Twitter to find out why I never got the promised emails.  Someone was supposed to look into it and call me, but no one ever did.

After a week of using the bike with the new, improved power cord, it was obvious that there was something wrong with the console.  It was still acting as goofy as it had previously, with added quirks like the fan not wanting to shut off and not letting us switch between profiles.

So I called again on March 24th and all the customer service rep wanted to do was send a technician out – in three weeks!  I told him I didn’t need a service technician to tell me that the console was the problem.  He hemmed and hawed a bit, claimed he couldn’t locate the part (the console) in the computer, so he couldn’t say whether or not it was possible to order me a replacement.  He also said that since I was past the thirty day return policy, if I wanted to return the bike, I’d have to clear it with the store manager first.  Are you kidding me?!  The goddamn bike is under warranty – electronic parts for one year, mechanical parts for two years, the frame for ten years.  I’d say this qualifies as an electrical problem, wouldn’t you?  Needless to say, I was pissed off.  I let him make the service appointment for today, April 17th.

I stewed on his incompetence for a little while.  Since part of the problem was that he couldn’t locate the part in the system (and I couldn’t give him the model number of the bike, just the name), I got on Schwinn’s website, located the bike and got the model number.  Armed with this information, I called back and got a much more helpful CSR this time around.  I explained the situation, gave him the model number, and he found the part I needed.  Only it was on back order.  With no anticipated availability date.  Of course.  Nothing about this was going to be easy.

At any rate, the helpful CSR ordered a console, tied it to my service appointment and told me that as soon as one was available, it would ship directly to me.

Two weeks passed with no word from Sears about the console.  So I called again on April 1st to find out what the status of the part was.  Still on back order.  The customer service rep did send a message to the Parts Department requesting them to contact me with a time frame for the part.  A few days later, I got an email from Sears saying they’ve opened a case on my order.  I called to find out what the hell that meant.  According to the girl I talked to, since the part is on back order, they are tracking the situation in order make sure that this is resolved to my satisfaction.  At this point, I think I had called and complained via Twitter an equal number of times.

Then yesterday, I get a phone call from Sears asking if I’ve received my part as they’re showing it was delivered.  I checked my front porch and finally!  The console had come in.  The fact that it showed up when it did was a total fluke though, because the Parts Department was showing it wouldn’t be available until mid-May at the earliest.  I think if we’d had to wait another month, the bike would have been returned and we’d have bought something else, somewhere else.

The service technician came today and put the new console on.  He agreed with my assessment that the console was buggy from the get-go and that not having the proper power supply just made the problem worse, to the point that it fried the console.  He checked the new one out and it’s working the way it should, so maybe this is finally over.

At this point, I’m less than impressed with both Schwinn (because of their product) and Sears (because of their ineffective methods of dealing with the problem).  But at least my bike is fixed.

 

 

I’m on tv! (Well, my tweets are, at any rate.)

From Mountain Monsters: Uncaged, "Wampus Beast"

From Mountain Monsters: Uncaged, the “Wampus Beast” episode. (photo by me)

Also from the "Wampus Beast" episode.

Also from the “Wampus Beast” episode. (photo by me)

Last night was the premiere of the second season of Mountain Monsters on Destination America.  Prior to the premiere at 9 PM, Destination America was airing reworked episodes from the first season with additional footage, production notes, and viewer tweets.

We didn’t watch any of those episodes (being aired under the title Mountain Monsters: Uncaged) because we watched the original episodes when they aired last year.  Instead, we watched the network shows we always watch on Fridays: Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods.  We were dvr-ing the season premiere since it was on at the same time as Blue Bloods and I wasn’t going to miss Blue Bloods.

After Blue Bloods went off, we pulled up Mountain Monsters on the dvr and started watching.  Occasionally, I would tweet something about the episode, but mostly I was watching the action as the boys hunted for the Kentucky Hell Hound.  The episode was almost over when I started getting tweets asking me things like “how do you tweet on the show?” and “did you know your tweets are the only ones getting on tv?”  I thought maybe the premiere was being rebroadcast with viewer tweets or something, so when the Hell Hound episode ended, I told my husband about the comments I was getting.  We flipped the channel to Destination America just in time to see one of my tweets flash on the screen during an episode of Mountain Monsters: Uncaged.  I’m not sure which episode it was, but the tweet read: “These guys are country as a truckload of goats.”

Turns out, my tweets were popular with the Mountain Monsters folks.  Maybe because I tweet silly/funny comments for the most part, I don’t really know.  Or maybe because there weren’t many people watching it the first season, my tweets stood out?  I have no idea.  At any rate, I recorded three episodes of Uncaged that aired later that night (“Wampus Beast”, “Devil Dog”, and “Wolf Man”) and watched them this morning to see if any of my tweets made it on air.

The “Wampus Beast” episode featured two of my tweets, pictures of which are posted above.  I’ve got my dvr set to record episodes of Uncaged so I can see how many more of my tweets made it into the show.

I’ve got a feeling that more of my tweets could end up in future episodes of Uncaged, since the Mountain Monsters twitter account (@DesAmericaMM) favorited a handful of my tweets from last night.

My advice for those with aspirations to get a tweet aired?  First, keep it clean.  Tweets with foul language/curse words can’t be aired.  Second, make it relevant.  If you’ve had an experience with a weird creature, tweet it!  I know I saw at least one tweet from someone who said it was like seeing their childhood experience come to life.  Tweets about how much you enjoy the show are always good too.  I saw several of those during the three episodes I recorded.  Third, hashtag it.  The network follows the #MountainMonsters hashtag on Twitter.  If you want to better your chances of your tweet being seen, use the official hashtag for any tweets about the show.

I’ll be tweeting about Mountain Monsters again either next Friday night starting at 10 PM or Saturday afternoon.  To follow the insanity, follow me on Twitter at @courtney_bolton.

Supernatural: Nevermore

I wrote this review ages ago, but thought I’d share it here on the blog since I don’t have anything worth publishing at the moment.

nevermoreI don’t think Keith DeCandido did as much research on the show as he claims he did in his author’s notes in the back of the book. He shows a decided lack of insight into the personalities of both Sam and Dean, in particular, Dean. Hell, he couldn’t even get their physical descriptions right! All we get are vague descriptions that could be anybody. Or maybe he just assumed we would know who he was talking about from a few brief lines of text?

The inconsistencies abound in this book. For starters, Dean rarely surrenders the keys to the Impala to anyone, even Sam. And Dean get lost? Yeah, right. Also, while Sam can be a major pain in Dean’s ass, the Sam in this book doesn’t compute with the Sam we know from the series. Both characters lack a personality, which as followers of the series know, both boys have in spades.

Too many pages are wasted on descriptions of the Bronx and its environs, pages that could have been used for character development instead. The supporting players in this novel are weak at best and definitely poorly developed. I have to agree with one Amazon reviewer who stated that if John Winchester had really known the Poe expert Pym, he’d have shot the guy just because he’s so freaking annoying! And the female cop, McBain? Nobody gets away with talking to Dean the way she does in this crappy book. Hell, even Hendrickson got over that pretty quick once he realized the way things really are in the season 3 episode, “Jus in Bello”.

Don’t get me started on the two “cases” presented in this book. For one thing, Sam and Dean don’t even fully resolve the case of Manfred’s haunting by a former girlfriend of one of his fellow bandmembers. Stupid, for one thing, and NOT something that Sam and Dean would do, for another. These two don’t believe in leaving loose ends. They always resolve the cases they take on, one way or another.

The whole Edgar Allan Poe case was just silly. It was obvious who the “villain” was, so there was no suspense and no real payoff in the end. It also bugged me that for someone supposedly intelligent, the villainous professor was a total idiot. Someone who is an academic would have done more research on the so-called resurrection ritual and quickly realized that it was something that a charlatan pulled out of his ass.

Unfortunately, it seems that those who write fan fiction based on Supernatural have a better grasp of the characters, their personalities and the mythology of the show than Mr. DeCandido does. I sincerely hope that Mr. DeCandido did a lot more research on the series before writing Bone Key, his second Supernatural tie-in novel.

What is something that bugs you?

There’s no way I could name just one thing.  So here’s a list, in no particular order:

  • Stupid people.  Especially the ones who think they’re smart when they so are NOT.
  • Dogs running loose.  Because not everyone enjoys being chased/jumped on by your dog.  If you don’t have a fenced yard, why do you even have a dog?  I hate people who care so little about not only their dog, but other people.
  • Rude people.  This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
  • Idiotic product reviews that don’t address why you didn’t like the product.  Seriously, tell me what’s wrong with it.  Don’t post some stupid review that the item never showed up or was the wrong color or some such nonsense.  That’s seller feedback, not a product review.  Two totally different things.
  • Street maintenance workers who tear up a street intending to repave it, only instead they leave it torn up for months.  Meanwhile, the condition of the road is deteriorating.  The road in front of the public library in town has been torn up for months and it’s just getting worse.  No amount of complaining to the road maintenance people does any good, as the road is still a mess.
  • Anyone who can’t follow simple instructions.  I’ve quit a couple of different dry cleaners because they couldn’t seem to grasp the meaning of heavy starch.  When I tell you I want the items starched to the point where they will stand up on their own, don’t do light starch and think I’m not going to notice.  I will make you redo the items until they’re done right.  So you’re costing yourself money by not doing it right the first time.  Get your shit together, people.
  • People who resort to name-calling and acting like other people’s opinions are stupid just because they don’t agree with theirs.  And when you do it in a group that I maintain and you’re being snide to me with regards to comments I made?  You can bet your ass I’m going to call you out in front of everyone.  I don’t play that shit and I will not tolerate it.
  • Drivers who think that a lane closure doesn’t apply to them.  We’ve all experienced this.  You’re driving down the interstate and you see a sign that says “Right Lane Closed Ahead”.  So you get over into the left lane, because you don’t want to wait until the last minute.  Meanwhile, the other drivers in the right lane ignore this logic and continue on in the right lane like the lane closure doesn’t apply to them.  They wait until the last minute, then try to shoehorn their way into the left lane.  It’s freaking rude and impedes the flow of traffic.  If you can’t pay attention to the road and the traffic signs/signals, then you don’t need to be driving.  And stop cutting me off just because you weren’t paying attention to the four “Lane Closed Ahead” signs we passed!
  • Mail from organizations addressed to Mr. Courtney [My Last Name] instead of Mrs. or Ms.  If you don’t know the sex of the person you’re sending something to, err on the side of caution and don’t put a honorific on it.  It’s a minor thing, but it bugs me.  If you send me something addressing me as “Mister”, I’m going to chuck it in the trash.

These are a few of the things that bug me.  What are some of yours?