Saturday 11 February 2017

Me vs The Heat Death of the Universe or "July"

Pretty, but in an evil, Mean Girls kind of way
As an adult, I've decided that I really don't like snow. It's cold, which I hate, it's slippery, which makes it shit to drive in, and shovelling it has caused me to severely injure my back.

It's because of that back injury that I'm sitting here now in front of the computer, and not out doing something more fun. Movement is not a thing I'm currently doing a lot of, so in order to distract myself from both the pain, and the insipid snowy landscape out my window, I'm going to write about a heat wave. 

It was July of 2009 and I was 8 months pregnant. This, for those of you who haven't experienced the miracle, meant that I was fucking miserable.  I was massive, everything hurt, and I was lucky enough to experience raging morning sickness throughout the entire affair.  I had trouble sitting because the little parasite would jab me in the ribs causing eventual nerve damage, I couldn't stand because my back was being kind of a dick about that activity, and lying down made my calves irrationally fly into charlie horsed knots.  It was super fun. I'm astounded we ever had a second kid. 

Up until that point, I hadn't thought being pregnant couldn't get worse, and then it did, because as I mentioned, it was July. And it got punishingly hot. 

One of my rare not-actively-puking
When I wasn't sobbing hysterically at the Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial, or a reveal on Extreme Home Makeover, I was floating in a cold bath contemplating the pros and cons of adding ice cubes. I was melting. Our little condo was an oven. It was 1000 square feet taken directly out of the burning fires of hell, and it was making me crazy. 

And then one afternoon, the heat broke me. Husband came home from work to this insane woman, mad with desire. I wanted an air conditioner. NOW!  

He tried to tell me that buying an air conditioner in a heat wave was going to be next to impossible. Our condo's strata rules didn't allow us to put window mounted units in, so we would have to get a stand alone version, and that wasn't going to be easy.  Challenge accepted. 

Our battle ground was Home Despot; the air conditioner section a post apocalyptic waste land of left over units too small to be useful to anyone. There was absolutely nothing left that would meet our needs. 

And then I spotted it. She was beautiful. Tall, sleek, black and silver, out of her box and set up like the sexy vixen she was. I wanted her.  I waddled my way over to the returns desk where her previous owner was returning her. I looked at him and point blank asked him why he was returning such a beautiful thing? Apparently she was a bit loud, and he didn't like her. I bluntly turned to the woman at the returns desk and said I wanted her (the air conditioner, not the returns lady...though she was fetching). She seemed a bit confused for a moment, and then said that was fine, but I'd have to take it down to the checkout counter at the other end of the store, as she could do returns but not sales.   

Onlookers would likely have described a pregnant Gollum-like figure waddling down the aisle screeching My Precious at anyone in her way, while hugging a ridiculously large air conditioning unit. It was the fastest I'd moved in months. If I could have, I would have skipped. 

One guy even had the audacity to ask if I was buying it....could he have it? He wanted My Precious! But she was mine. I wanted to run over his foot. 

To this day, I'm not really sure how much we paid for the air conditioner, and I don't care. She was the big and beautiful, and made my existence almost tolerable for the remaining weeks of pregnancy. To this day she cools down a room like a boss, and I don't regret bringing her home for a minute. 

So now this snow can go the fuck's time to bring My Precious
out for the summer!

Friday 3 February 2017

Me vs The Vacuous Ineptitude of Major Companies Poorly Leveraging the Power of the Internet

My baby is growing up. He's quite happy, in fact, to inform you that he's now a grown up. At 3 years old, he feels it's time to get out there into the workforce and become a dump truck. Or a crane. Basically he would like to be a piece of construction equipment. And he also wants his big boy bed.

So, like any good shopper who lives on the fringes of civilization, the internet has become my ally. A plethora of deals at my fingertips, just waiting for me to click send. But this doesn't always work. Sometimes it crashes and burns with the incendiary power of a thousand suns.

After comparing prices, delivery options, and other reasonable shit you compare when looking for big ticket items, I landed on a mattress set sold by a company which we'll call "Sires" in order to protect the guilty.

After spending almost an hour on the phone with their customer service, I rage-cancelled my rather large order with them. Apparently, it's a totally legit Sires business practice to sell you something online, bill you for it, and then simply never send it to you. Ever.

After waiting the better part of a week past the selected delivery date, I finally got through to a real person and asked (very nicely at this point) where my mattress was, given that I had a confirmation email, a delivery date, and a charge on my credit card. Well, as "Edmond" so kindly informed me, it was out of stock, and not getting restocked. I was....unhappy.

Me: Edmond, I'm not really happy about this. I feel like at the time of purchase, your website should have flagged that as an out of stock item so, you know, I didn't buy it.

Ed: Um, well that was the old system, we're on the new system now.

Me: That seems like something of a bug in your system that you all may want to address. When will it be in?

Ed: It looks like it's permanently out of stock.

***I actually put Ed on hold for a minute while I gathered myself so I didn't say something I would later regret***

Me: Ed, you mean to tell me your company charged me for a product you no longer even carry?

Ed: Well it's complicated

Me: No, it really isn't

Ed: Well, big items are held in the warehouse and then if a large order for them comes in, it's not updated on the system...*bla bla bla*

*** I put him on hold again so I could practice some calming breath techniques***

Me: So, by taking my money, you're telling me that it doesn't actually guarantee I'll ever see my item. That's perfect. Good job. Again, your business practices are looking just a hair shady from my perspective.

Basically, it appears that this stellar company took my money, never sent me the mattress, and then just fucking hoped I wouldn't notice?!?!?!? The only reason I had any idea that I was roughly never getting this product was because I called them and gave up an hour of my life to a call centre.

So then they offered me a $50 gift card for my troubles.

Me: Ok fine, send me a different mattress, preferably one that's in stock this time, and take the $50 off it.

Ed: We can't do that. But you can use it on your next purchase!

Me: God help me.

At about this point, I'd given up and with great restraint explained to Ed the finer points of why I would not be shopping with them again, and he could go ahead and refund me for the order I'd otherwise never get.

To his credit, Ed (which is probably not his name, but he felt like an Ed to me) did a formidable job trying to make things work, but unfortunately, it didn't really help. <<they just weren't going to be able to sell me a mattress>>

And so there I was, without a mattress again and surfing the internet for another mattress deal. And I found another store with a website, which for the sake of anonymity we'll call "The Block". They had a special on, they delivered, and they even appeared to have the set in stock.

Sign me up and take my money.

I picked a delivery date and waited.

Then this afternoon (six days later), the day before the mattress was supposed to arrive, I got a call.

Snarky Block Lady: Hi, this is The Block, we've noticed you bought a mattress, but we don't deliver to your area. Oops. You can come pick it up in store.

Me: Oh sweet mother of God, you have got to be kidding me....

SBL: Um, I've refunded you the delivery fee.

Me: Why, oh why, did your website not indicate that delivery to this address wasn't possible. And, for fun, why did it take you over a week to figure that shit out? It was supposed to come TOMORROW!

SBL: Um, I don't really know.

Me: Well, I'm out. Cancel it. I'm done. My kid is sleeping on the floor. Also, you should look into why your website sucks. Because it does.

SBL: Fine. It will take up to a month to refund your money.

Me: *strangled noises* Manager. Find me one.

SBL's Manager: Hi, can I help you. (<-- notice that's not phrased as a question)

Me: Yes. I want my money back, as mattresses are inherently unattainable, and I would like it to take less that a month for that to happen.

SBL's Manager: Oh, she didn't say 30 days, she said 3.

Me: Nope, she said a month.

SBL's Manager: Um, no she said 3 days, you probably misheard.

Me: Yes, I often mistake the words "up to a month" for the words "3 days". Very similar, I can see how that would happen. I remember playing the Telephone game in elementary school. History is replete with alternative facts. Just refund me my money and send me a confirmation email please, and we can all hurry up and never speak to each other again.

SBL's Manager: Sure. But it's a form we send to upper management to void the order, so I'm not sure if I can email it to you.

I took 2 minutes to explain the concept of a scanner and hung up. *Table flip*

So hours of my life and 2 purchases later, I was still mattress-less.

And then I got a hold of a local company called L&B Luxury Beds, recommended by my coworker. They are not a big box store, and yet they apparently have stock, people who answer the phones, and customer service standards. I called them shortly after my blood pressure settled, and within minutes had confirmed that the bed I wanted was in stock and ready for pick up this weekend, and for less than either other company. 

So here's a big plug for the little guys, and a serious shake-your-fucking-heads to the big stores who basically take your money and make you suffer for it. Maybe now my 3 year old will finally get his big boy bed!

While the train bed is cool, he tells me he's a
grown up now, so he needs a big bed...
Putting the old bed inside the new bed helps.