Friday, October 23, 2009

Annoyances Du Jour

My, goodness, but I've had my share of annoyances today! I had to drop my car at the mechanic (that part was fine!), and when I do that, he drops me at the Metro (train, subway, whatever you call it in your area), and I take the train to work and back again and have him pick me up. Generally, there is an unspoken (HAHAHA!) 'quiet' protocol on the train. You do not do anything to annoy those around you. It is just how normal adults would behave. People who whip out cell phones get the evil eye, from a LOT of people.

So let me tell you about my day.

On the way IN to work:
(1) Guy had a newspaper spread out in his lap and was CLIPPING HIS FINGER NAILS. I stared at the back of his head, but he could not feel the evil thoughts I was flinging his way. People around me turned around and looked around to see where the annoying sound was emanating from. They wrinkled their noses and/or rolled their eyes. One asked me (I was standing), "IS SOMEONE CUTTING THEIR NAILS?!?!?!?!?" and someone else added, "Ew, that's GROSS." Guy kept going - he must have had 34 nails to trim, too... took him forEVER. Amazing.

(2) Public speaker. Woman with no clue what an "inside voice" is. She stood near one end of the car, talking VERY LOUDLY to a friend standing next to her, and she annoyed about 60 people for about 20 minutes straight. EVERYone kept turning and staring at her, but she was smiling and clueless. Just before my stop, I notice the woman next to me was having a fit of some sort - like an asthma attack. I asked her if she was okay, and her response was (through clenched teeth), "If that WOMAN does not SHUT UP ... " and went on to mutter something about personal space and sense of entitlement and "the world revolves around me" attitudes. What a great way for all of us to begin our mornings.

I wonder if you can claim medical disability because you were driven insane by a nail-clipper or a self-centered loudmouth.

On the ride back to pick up my car:
(3) By noon the train cars are mostly empty, so I thought I was safe. Nope. Woman across from me was cracking a massive wad of gum, and seemed pretty happy about it, too. What is it with people who chew with their mouths open and then crack their gum? Why do they think this is okay? She thankfully got off the train two stops later.

(4) I started hearing a tap-tap-tap sound. I turned around and a guy was tap-tap tap-tapitty-tap-tap tap-tapping his ring on the metal rail tap-tap-tap on the back of his tap-tap seat. tap-tap tappity-tap tap-tap-tap AAAAUGH!

After all that tap-tap-tappity-tapping, I get back to work and have the opportunity to call a Helpless Desk for a water delivery company. I had a problem with my settings on their site. I used to have two cards listed that could be used to pay my balance, and now there was only one. I tried to add the second one back in and got an error, so I HAD TO CALL THEM. At least they were not in India, though I think she was reading the same script. She had what I later diagnosed as a "listening problem".

Me: I have a question about my payment methods.
She: Okay, how can I help you?
Me: I am on the Make a Payment page, but my second credit card seems to have dropped off. Can you tell me why?
She: Can you go to the Make A Payment page and tell me what you see?
Me: (pause) I am already on the Make A Payment page, and I see only one of my two credit cards listed.
She: Can you edit it?
Me: Edit what? It is not there!
She: Ma'am, I am only trying to help you, and you are getting irritated with me.
Me: Okay, can you tell me where the edit button is?
She: Are you on the Make A Payment Page?
Me: .... (breathe, just breath ...) Yes, I am on the Make A Payment Page.
She: Once you get there, tell me what you see. Do you see an Edit button?

Are you dizzy yet? I was seething, and she could tell. Bottom line: after about 10 minutes of this, I gave up before she could say "thank you for calling ..." and I deleted/re-added my own information. Then I sent an email that I hope gets to their programming staff that their Make A Payment Page has an opportunity for improvement.

Thank goodness it is Friday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Like Oil & Water

I rant a LOT about rush hour in the DC area because it is so stinkin' crazy, and slow. But the good thing about it is: everyone knows where they are going. Yep, they know where they are going, how to get there, etc. Even the after-work shoppers, the ones just stopping to get one or two things on the way home, have a sense of urgency - get me in and get me out.

Then you have your daytime drivers. You know, the ones that get up a 10 am and think about running errands, but they are in no particular hurry, and oh, this is a major point: they always have the right of way. And when they get to a check-out, you hear: Hey, Susie, how's those grand babies of yours? Oh, may I see your new pics?

Situation: A rush-hour commuter, after-work get-me-in-and-out shopper, takes a few days off of work. This person innocently ventures out into public with two definite destinations in mind, one of those conveniently on the way back from the other one.

BIG MISTAKE! *I* know where I am headed, but those other people are CLUE-LESS. OMG, I was almost in 6 accidents in 2 hours. Let's review the stupidity du jour.

Clueless man, incidents 1-3: Main drag, 3 lanes in each direction. Left lane. Driving 10 mph under the speed limit. Won't move over. Get to a light with a left turn lane - two lanes. Cannot decide which one he wants, finally ends up in the left of the two lanes, in front of me. Of course. Light turns green, he moves, turns into the left lane (good) then STOPS. STOPS! I slammed on my brakes, and luckily no one was in the right lane (or behind me), so I moved over and went past him.

Same guy, decided he really wanted to be in the right lane after all, and since I'd stopped to let someone turn, he was now next to me. Cut me off, I slammed on my brakes again (stuff in the back of my car is flying all over the place), he WAVED AT ME TO THANK ME (jerk), then drove at, you guessed it, 10 mph under the 30 mph speed limit. Now we were on a 2-lane road with no chance of passing, so I stewed. At least he was moving.

Same guy a few blocks later. Pot hole. The car in front of him slowed down, he slowed down (so I did, too), then I almost slammed into him because he came TO A COMPLETE STOP. My tires actually screeched and probably took off some rubber. He just kept going like it was his road to do what he wanted. IDIOT! At my first opportunity, I got out of there, and FAST.

Incidents 4-5: I finally arrived at my second destination, rearranged the stuff in the back of my car that was now piled up against the back of my seat, got in to the store and got everything I needed. Got my car loaded up and started to back out of my spot. NO ONE in sight. As I continued in reverse, a car, doing about 40 mph IN A PARKING GARAGE, almost nailed me; she honked at me, then screeched to a stop past me. Since she'd stopped, I continued to back up. Then SHE THREW IT INTO REVERSE! AT 40 MPH! What an IDIOT! Again, I was in her way. She screeched to another stop, and turned on her directional - she wanted my spot! I should have pulled back in and let her steam for a while, but I had better things to do. I finally got out of my spot, then realized she was on the wrong side of the aisle, which caused ME to have to drive on the wrong side of the aisle. Sigh. I got out of there, almost.

Incident 6 (and last): Pulling out of the garage there is a merge between the ground-level section and people coming down from the upper levels. Two lanes form. Normal people coming from the upper-levels stay in the left lane, and the lower-level people stay in the right lane. Note I said NORMAL people. So imagine my joy when I pulled out, staying in the right lane, and this DINGBAT flew down the ramp and ANGLED HER CAR ACROSS BOTH LANES, cutting me off. LADY, two lanes, both turn right onto a 2-lane road, and THERE IS A CAR THERE! Once again, I slammed on my brakes. I am not even sure she saw me.

Now it is noon, I am home, and I need a drink. Good lord, but these people scare me!

I think I'll go organize something to take my mind off the stupidity on the roads.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Helpless Desk

Had a lovely chat with a Helpless Desk in India today. Told the guy my email was being sent twice, and I asked why.... Oh, wait, I have the transcript, so I'll just share! I will scatter my commentary where appropriate. I left in all my typos for the heck of it. I was a little miffed, and typing way too fast.

'Jason N' says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today? [Jason N? This screams 'India'] I am using web access mail, and every email I send gets sent twice. I tested and it is also received twice.

Jason N: I will be glad to assist you . [Notice the space before every period. Yes, I notice this stuff.]

Jason N: Please click on the below mentioned link:
Jason N:
Jason N: Then enter your complete email address and password .
Jason N: And click on sign in .
Jason N: Please let me know whether you are able to sign in or not .
[What part of "I am sending mail" made him ask if I could sign in? Do you think he was maybe following a script?!] i am signed in and sending mail. it is being sent twice.

Jason N: Please click on Preferences . [That's it - no more. After a few minutes I asked:] and ..... what? i have not changed anything, andit was working last night.

Jason N: Under General tab, you will find Session Security as the last option .
Jason N: Please turn it ON .
Jason N: Then click on Save .
Jason N: Sign out of WebMail . why do I need to do this? it makes no sense. plus, wouldn't I need to be on a secure server? will this change my connection settings?

Jason N: You need to try this . No, I need to know why first.

Jason N: No .[In response to being on a secure server, I suppose.] I do nto change security settings without know why first. What has changed in the last 18 hours to make this stop working?

Jason N: It will not change any settings.It will be in a secured server .[uh-huh]

Jason N: Is there anything else apart from this that I can help you with ? [Note the space before the '?'. And does it sound like he's helped me yet?] Yes, you can tell me why I suddenly need to change a security setting to send email correctly. What has changed in the last 18 hours that necessitates this change?

Jason N: There are currently problems with our WebMail Server.
Jason N: It is under maintenance . [?!?!?!?!?!?!?!] You could have told me that first. I will just wait until later then.
Jason N: I am extremely sorry for that . Me, too. This was a total waste of my time. I am glad I did not make the security change.
Jason N: Okay . Is tehre an ETA for themail server, and are there plans to communicate this outage to your customers?
Jason N: We did not receive any estimated time for this issue . You should still tell customers that there is a known problem. That is much easier to accept than being uninformed. Is there a status link we can access to check back on the progress of the outage?
Jason N: Okay .
Jason N: You can click on the below link to check :
Jason N: thank you

After a few more lines, Jason N and I parted ways. He thought he'd helped me, and I needed a drink.

FYI - that link he gave me tells me NOTHING. It is the personalized home page for Earthlink, like iGoogle. Totally worthless.

Luckily, I got a survey right after the chat ended, and I told them what I thought about my service experience. And as of now - hours later, things are still sending twice. And yes, I can sign in just fine.

Just between you and me? I am converting all my stuff over to gmail.