The fine print

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Don’t you just hate it when businesses offer something to their customers, only to find out “the fine print” would exclude you from receiving the offer?

Over the last couple of days I have been considering an upgrade on my cell device, an iPhone 8 Plus. I have done my research and I am ready to make the leap and upgrade to an iPhone 12 Pro. I have been watching the sales, the promotions, and looking at a different carrier so see if that would make a difference in the offer. I am currently with AT&T, and honestly I haven’t had any issues with them other than the cost, which seems steep in comparison to some of the others at the moment.

Anyway, I finally decided to pull the trigger after talking to one of the people at the phone kiosk in Costco. They told me that I could get the iPhone 12 Pro, 256GB, for only about $15/month with a trade-in of my current phone. That basically worked out to about an $800 trade-in value for my 8+. WOW! That’s a pretty good trade, which I have never done in the past because it just wasn’t worth that much and I could get more from selling it myself. Trigger pulled…I started the process.

So, I spend about an hour with the guy and we were most of the way done with the process and then I got, “Oh, wait, I didn’t see in the fine print of the ad that you have to upgrade your phone plan. Are you wanting to do that today too?”

WTF.

Is it “bait & switch”? I don’t really know, but it sure feels like it.

Why the hell do these phone companies give deals to new customers but really don’t care much about retaining their current customers? That is what really rubs me the wrong way. They do very little to incentivize you staying with them. There is no loyalty program – I’ve been their cellular customer for probably close to 20 years. No discounts or special upgrade deals for those who have been with the company for a long period of time.

Ultimately, I am going to end up doing what I have always done. Upgrade and then sell my current device privately.

It could have been so easy, except for that fine print. That fine print always makes easy not easy. It gets you every time.

Changing telecommute

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Well, after telecommuting full time for the last 16 months, there is a date to start going back to the office and I am not sure I am all that happy about it. Actually, I am sure that I am not. I lied. I am not happy about it.

Yes, I realize that the expectation to be at the office for work has always been there but this whole situation has fully exposed the fact that we don’t need to be in an office to get our job done. We have proven beyond that shadow of a doubt that our job can be done fully remote and that our clients have been affected to the smallest degree possible. In fact, many have commented over the this time about not really even realizing we were all working from home except that they knew we were working from home. That’s how we roll. There was no break in service, ever.

Anyway, the time has come to get back to the office and there will still be a telecommute policy as before, except that there is a new proposal to expand upon it. Frankly, I don’t think the expansion goes far enough and while I haven’t talked to any of my co-workers yet, I am sure there are quite a few who will express similar feelings.

Prior to the pandemic, we were allowed two days a week (40%, with a few limitations on what days they could be). Now, we are going to be allowed three days a week (60%, not sure of limitations yet). Also what remains to be seen is whether or not this policy has built in flexibility, meaning I don’t have to have a set three days but can pick and choose when I want to telecommute.

Anyway, I don’t think three days is enough.

It could be and should be more.

Perhaps I’ll see what is out there, in regards to full time telecommute and whether or not a change can be had.

Never hurts to have options, right?

How about “No”?

There is at least one in everyone’s life. There is at least one in everyone’s working sphere. There is always one. They are exhausting, annoying, and their success in getting to “Yes” is a rarity.

That person who won’t take “No” for an answer.

Good grief, I wanna shove an ice pick into my ear as deep as it will go and then wiggle it around like I am trying to make round cookie balls.

I jut got off the phone with a client who, no matter how many times I explained the limitations of the software and no matter how many times I explained the exact same info in a different way, she still wouldn’t accept that she couldn’t bend the software to her will.

She even suggested that maybe the people who made the software could program what she wanted into the software.

OK, that might have been a viable (and costly) answer in the past, but the software developers are focused on the new version of the software and aren’t taking requests for the current software even if the client pays for it.

Instead of adapting to the way it works and educating the people who use it (or are expected to use it), she just wants it to work the way she wants it to work.

OK, lady, we’ll get on it just for you.

No, not really. Stop asking already.

I am the fourth person you have talked to about this. We have pushed the software as far and as close to what you want, but there is a limit and our answers are all the same.

NO

We can’t do any more for you.

NO

NO

Got it?

Anyone else have a person that just take “NO” for an answer?

The instructions

Photo by Soulful Pizza on Pexels.com

Stop trying to take the easy way out. By easy way, I mean the one where you have someone else do it for you.

Nearly everything you buy these days, nearly everything you work with these days, nearly EVERYTHING has some kind of “User Guide, “User Manual,” “Setup Guide,” “Assembly Instructions,” “Directions for Use,” etc.

Seriously. Have you opened a box of anything and not found at least some documentation with directions or instructions of some sort – either right there on the paper or directions to find them online? So there is honestly no excuse for not knowing what to do, how to use it, or how to set it up.

Unfortunately, society has become a bunch of “anti-instructionists.” (Yes, I made that up, but I can’t think of anything else to call it.)

It used to be that the cliché was that men were notorious for not reading the instructions and just jumping right in to figure it out (even if it meant taking something apart multiple times to get it right). That cliché has been turned on it’s head as, apparently, all people are just too lazy to read/learn/discover/follow directions. So many people are just willing to have someone else do it for them (or, to put it more bluntly – DEMAND you do it for them).

I know I am a little bit on the unusual side, since I do in fact take time to read the documentation included with a product, or posted online. I don’t always read them AT the moment of unboxing but I do eventually get to it. It depends on the level of complexity involved. I have even read the manuals that came with my car (hey, I like knowing about all the features that I may or may not use!). So, I do go through the trouble to learn about something. Sometimes it is trial and error and sometimes it is because I actually put effort into it and did it the right way.

Work lately…work lately is a bunch of people who don’t bother to read the documentation the software owner puts out. They don’t read all the supplemental documentation we create to further assist in use of the software. Hell, they don’t even watch the video we produce to give them visual aid in using the software. Instead, they just call use and take the easy way out – they want us to do it for them.

It’s frustrating that day after day after day people call and ask the exact same questions they asked three days ago, or 24 hours ago, or 6 weeks ago. Seriously, people, it’s part of YOUR job. Learn it. Read it. Discover it. Work in it and work at it. You aren’t going to have a crutch all the damn time.

OK.

Deep breath.

I guess my rant is over.

What type of person are you? Do you read the instructions and learn or do you completely ignore them and rely on someone else to do it for you? Do you follow directions to do things correctly or do you just make it up as you go and hope for good results?

What type of person are you?

Friday vibes

Photo by Arthur Ogleznev on Pexels.com

It’s Friday.

It’s sunny.

It’s been a long week.

Friday vibes got me wishing I was anyplace other than working…well, I guess anyplace is maybe a tad of an overstatement. So, how about someplace I’d rather be…

Can I get an amen on that?

Who has the power to give me permission to just bail on work and get the weekend started? Anyone? Anyone?

Time is moving so slowly…and watching that clock doesn’t make it go any faster….

Sprung

Photo by Ethan Medrano on Pexels.com

Sorry for being (mostly) MIA this week.

A major project and presentation was sprung on me two days ago and I had/have less than nine days to get ready for it. Oh, and that also means I have to prep for it and plan it while still doing the rest of my job.

Sure, I have a team to help with it some, but in order to have them help I have to have interim meetings along the way…which means planning for those meetings…

Thankful for a job, but hating it these days.

Registered?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Lots of companies want you to register the product you purchased. Probably so they can track you or something, but hopefully it is because they want to provide you with excellent customer support when the product breaks or malfunctions or something.

Why then, if they want you to do this, does it have to be so difficult?

I went to the Ryobi website to register a product and to make sure the warranty was going to be there if needed. I signed into my account and the very first thing I noticed was that EVERY page I went to the “live chat” box popped up, even after closing it. Annoying…

When I finally got to the product registration page and inputted the model number, the correct product doesn’t come up. WTH? I searched through everything that was suggested and they were the right type of tool, but not even close to the correct model.

So, I had to use the “live chat” after all…only to have to agree to have them send me an email so they could get all the pertinent product details and then they would register the product for me and confirm via email that it was done.

I am still waiting for that email.

Again, this is a large tool company. It’s their website.

Think it should work correctly? Think it is good customer service to have the customer go to your website and then they can’t do the thing they were directed to do on the website in the first place?

Not even remotely.

I hope I get a satisfaction survey…

Sirius-ly annoying

Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

Does it astound you how companies or corporations or whatever you wanna call them when they assume the customer is stupid? Does it astound you that they don’t realize in today’s world that there are other options that you, as the customer, have when it comes to entertainment? It frustrates me. Gets me all pissy, and stuff. Guess I am in the right place…

So, the subscription to SiriusXM is up in my car. Well, in another month, but basically I have gotten the renewal notice already. Knowing there is a “game” to play with these companies I called and went through the stupid hassle again. The whole point here is that as the customer we shouldn’t have to play the game in order to get the best deal. Sirius-ly.

When I got the car I had and used the free trial. When the trial was up I cancelled the service. I wasn’t going to pay $20+ a month for radio in my car when I can literally get it for free or use whatever streaming service I have on my phone. Sure, there are lots of choices available via the service but they a pretty much the same as the apps I can get on my phone and they are actually better than listening to the regular radio because there are no (or rarely) commercials. So there is some give and take when it comes to features.

After about eight months and multiple offers at different pricing tiers, SiriusXM finally hit one I couldn’t pass up. It was better than some of the streaming services on the phone, Amazon, and Apple. So, for just over $6 a month I felt it was worth it. After a year at that price, and a pandemic going on, they offered another year of the service at the same price. Of course I accepted it have enjoyed it more since used it nearly every day while working from home.

Now, two years later, its that time to renew again.

I did the messaging online and long story short, they didn’t offer me the same deal to start with. They instead offered just six months and then back to their “regular” price.

Uh, I just said if I wasn’t going to get the same price I was going to cancel. Did you not believe me?

So I told them to cancel it.

Oh, wait, suddenly now the same price is available again…weird…

No, not really. They just like to yank people’s chains hoping you’re stupid enough to pay any attention to the deal you’re getting. It’s irritating. Sirius-ly.

Anyway, I renewed at the same price I have gotten for the last two years. Do you supposed since I have had the price for three years that it should now be the “regular” price?

Probably not. And I’ll have to cancel again next year.

Or not.

Sick days

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What are your feelings on Sick Days? Have you or do you currently work in a position that offers you Sick Days? If you had access to Sick Days, did you use them? Maybe a better question is how did you use them?

Kind of loaded questions, probably. Here’s another…does they way you use your Sick Days say anything about you, like as a person?

As most of you understand, a paid Sick Day is for those times when you (or someone in your family) are physically ill and it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to work (or you need to care for someone), or if you (or someone in your family) have medical appointments you need to attend. In general, these are the only acceptable uses of your Sick Day(s).

With that being the general understanding of how a Sick Day is supposed to be used, where do you stand when people use a Sick day for something other than those two reasons?

Examples of other uses:

A co-worker takes a Sick Day because they want to take an extra day on either end of a holiday or vacation.

A co-worker uses a Sick Day to go shopping, or to take a beach/lake/whatever day – basically like a vacation day.

You take a Sick Day as a “mental health” day.

You aren’t sick, but just don’t feel like dealing with your co-workers today so you use a Sick Day.

A co-worker is avoiding doing part of their job so they take a Sick Day.

Obviously, there are lots of scenarios where someone could use a Sick Day for something other than being sick.

So, how do you feel about it? Is anything acceptable now?

I have some 100 days of Sick Leave accrued from the last 19+ years (15 year of teaching and 4+ in my current position).

I very rarely used my Sick Days when I was a teacher because it was just easier to go to school than it was to get a sub (all teachers feel this way), and I almost never use more than half of my allotted Sick Days in my current position. So, I have a large bank of days to draw from should I need them.

I guess this all comes from the fact that some of my co-workers have used all their Sick Days up (because they didn’t use them for their intended use) and then something happens and they need to ask for people to voluntarily gift them Sick Days. I know people who regularly (and often) take Sick Days to just do whatever they want because they can and no one questions them about it.

What do you think?

Do you think poorly of the people who use the benefit in such a way, or do you think it is OK to take an occasional “mental health” day?

Drop your thoughts, or experiences, in the comments. Really curious what you all think!