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Archive for August, 2009

Apple Care = finally resolved

Over the past month or so, I’d had a big problem with Apple Care… not my MacBook Air, just the Apple Care product. I won’t go into it… but suffice it to say that I had to escalate multiple calls because I was an “irate customer” and I kept receiving conflicting information from various Apple employees.

Today, one poor phone jockey actually said to me: “I’ve been told that I am not allowed to escalate the call.” I then responded: “So what are you supposed to do? Wait until I hang up? Because I won’t. I suggest that you put me on hold and figure out to whom you can escalate this call.” Let’s put it this way: I’m not someone to be trifled with when it comes to phone service. I always get my way by being creepily calm and logical, while simultaneously purporting to be “irate.”

By the end of the fiasco, they ended up giving me a free 500GB portable external hard drive for my trouble. Retail cost: +$200. This is almost 100% off-set for the cost of the Apple Care Protection program.

It took long enough, but I am now a satisfied customer. Thank you Apple.


Busy Week & A Head Cold

I started that new contract position, and it was straight into the deep end of the pool. Tons of meetings, tons of drama, and a small-but-important deliverable. I had to work a couple of hours of overtime this week in order to accomplish everything. The extra stress must have taken my body by surprise, because I managed to pick up a head cold.

I’m just trying to rest up in preparation for next weekend: Vegas baby!


Cube Life

I picked up a really good contract, which requires me to be in the office 9-5+. There are long days in cubicles and meeting rooms, which is tiring but good. I’m very thankful for the opportunity & hope that I can help.

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What the heck is going on in Del Mar?

8 horses dead so far this racing year! That’s just horrible! Is this bad luck in a dangerous sport or is the new track surface a killer?

I’m not a huge supporter of animal sports (horse racing, dog racing, show jumping, bullfighting, etc.) and this sort of bad string of events just makes me wince. I hope that they can get this figured out.


Unicorns & Rainbows

I just looked at my last few blogs and realized that I probably sound unhappy. Not true! Things are good for me right now. I am having an fun and relaxing summer. My health is good. Friendships are great. Work is looking up. I went on a couple of fun dates recently. Nothing much to complain about.

Oh, and my dog continues to ROCK!! I am just bonkers about her. I am planning a party next week: a “Retirement” party for CC (since she’s a retired racing greyhound.) I’ll be serving Greyhound cocktails (that’s vodka and grapefruit juice.)


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Debt Slaves and the Return of Lay Away

Do you ever feel like there is a vast conspiracy to make everyone a debt slave? Credit is not inherently good or evil. It’s just that good-hearted, overly optimistic people can really can get into trouble when the world knocks them on their keister. Think about it: everyone who uses the credit system is making a bet that things will be as good or better in our future.

When I was a young adult, I took out roughly $100K in grad school loans. I was making a bet that, after receiving that silver-plated education, I’d make enough money to pay back the debt plus interest & make enough to live. It worked for me, but what if it hadn’t? That’s a lot of debt! It was a BIG gamble, and it wouldn’t have panned out if a few things in life had cut in the other direction.

When we buy homes, we take out loans based on our already-accrued downpayment and a multiple of our annual salary. We’re making a bet that we’ll maintain or increase our earning potential. And, if not, that we’ll be able to sell the house for the value of the loan. See all those realtor lockboxes? Let’s just say that this gamble hasn’t worked out for a lot of people.

When we buy a car on credit, we take out a loan making the bet that we will be able to make the monthly payments, in addition to the cost of ownership (gas, insurance, repairs over the life of the car). And, if not, that we’ll be able to sell the car for the value of the loan.

You’ve heard of this new Cash for Clunkers program, right? The top selling new car is the Ford Focus. Edmunds says list = $16K. Minus $4500 for the clunker trade-in. That means roughly $11.5K of debt at 6.38% (national average) interest rate for 48 months = $243/month. Soooooo… you’re telling me that poor people in this economy can suddenly swing a $243/month payment & keep it up for 2 years? Hmmmm…. I’m having some difficulty believing that this program really benefits poor people. I think maybe it IS a good thing for some folks, but perhaps some of these gamblers are making a bad bet. This economic “recovery” is incredibly tenuous. I’m still hearing about new layoffs and job losses. Maybe this isn’t the time to be doubling down & betting on a rosy future!?!

Contrast this way of being in the world with: saving up and the concept of lay away. When you save up for something, you don’t have to pay service fees or interest. Put it in a cookie jar and enjoy the total cost savings associated with delayed gratification. Lay Away often has a small fee associated with the service (at Kmart the layaway fee is $5) you pay scheduled payments and get the item at the end. If things change and you can’t or don’t want to pay, all you are stuck with is a $10 loss. I actually think that the return of Lay Away is really, really good for society.

Isn’t that a lot more SANE? What if we set up programs that funded bank accounts and promised funds if people achieve the targeted saving amount? If you really want to help poor people, that seems like a better way to do it. This other way just helps car companies, credit companies, banks, and all the people who make money off of bankruptcy filings.

Really, I’m not an ideologue. I’m not a partisan. I’m not reciting the Fox News anti-C4CProgram talking points. I want to help poor people. I want to stimulate the economy. I also want to stimulate savings. Can’t we all just think a little differently about how to do it?


Princess Obsession

Link: Is the Princess Stereotype Harming Our Daughters?

The Princess concept makes me want to hurl. I know of some little girls who are literally steeping in Princess stuff every single solitary day… for hours! It can’t be good. I’m not saying that girls shouldn’t be allowed/encouraged to play with dolls, dress up, or fantasize about the future. Let them wear PINK all day, every day. Girlie stuff is good. I’m not some crazy uber-feminist trying to rain on the parade. I’m just saying that this particular bit of Disney Princess marketing seems poisonous.

Do you notice that the writer of the article glossed over the Disney exec’s claim that the values are about “being kind, respectful, and loving animals”? That’s crap, Disney. None of the kids cited that they liked the princesses because they were kind, respectful or loving animals. And my anecdotal experience with kids indicates that they like them because they’re “pretty” and have pretty stuff. And these little girls don’t have the capacity to see through the marketing. Furthermore, I’d be happy to argue that being kind, as a primary function, won’t put food on the table or keep the bad stuff of life at bay. Let’s prepare girls to be competent to handle their own, complicated, lives.

And I’m completely confused as to where/how Disney believes they are teaching respectfulness in these Disney movies. Really? In what way are they respectful? Respectful of what? All the girls who I’ve met who are princess-obsessed seem to be the antithesis of “respectful” towards adults! Quite the contrary: some of these little girls are quite materialistic and bratty.



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