Christmas Gifts Delayed By UPS And Snow

United Parcel Service

United Parcel Service (Photo credit: Dust Storm)

Santa Claus is legendary for customer satisfaction and on-time Christmas Eve performance.

UPS package delivery, despite its ubiquitous brown trucks . . . not so much.

Thousands — probably hundreds of thousands — of gifts failed to arrive in time for Christmas. Don’t blame Santa. Continue reading

It’s The Customer Experience That Matters


“All of the razzmatazz we hear about facilities doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. It’s the customer experience.”

— Steve Wynn owner of “megaresort” destination casinos in Las Vegas and Macau China

Kindle Fire — Power Failure In A Fancy Box

UPDATE, NOV. 16, 2012:  Happy to report that I’ve received two emails from Amazon in response to my phone calls. Bottom line:

“In order to resolve this issue please de register and re register your Kindle Fire HD to the same account. In order to De register and Re register please follow the steps:

Swipe your finger down from the top of the Home screen and tap More . . .”

I followed the directions and re-registered my Kindle, which wasn’t hard. Presto, my material was again visible on the carousel. Using the information I’ve learned in the last two days, I made sure everything was downloaded from the “cloud” to the “device.”

I also browsed through the apps store and downloaded several interesting apps. Most of them were free, and I paid 99 cents for one. The Kindle can do a lot of stuff, and I’m slowly learning how.  — John




I titled my first product review (of a digital camera) “Power In A Box.” The first and most important information I want to know when purchasing a new high-tech device is: WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?

Regarding the camera,the answer was: “Everything you need, and it’s a powerful product.”

Regarding the Kindle Fire, the answer is: “Not so much.”

In the photo above, you can see the fancy box for the Kindle Fire HD 7″ and EVERYTHING THAT COMES IN THE BOX. It’s exactly as stated in the small print on the back of the box:

“USB charging cable included. Ask for the Kindle PowerFast accelerated charging accessory for even faster charging times.”

This latest consumer technology is pretty much ready to go, right out of the box. Or so I thought.

I followed the directions on the black card you see in the photo above, which constitutes the entire written documentation and instructions included in the box.

Continue reading

Thinking About Simplicity — The Nonessentials (My Telephone Land Line)

When I realized that I was living beyond my means, and something had to give, I didn’t start chopping away at the essentials — shelter, health care, and transportation.

Of course not. No one wants to turn their lifestyle upside down overnight. Just chopping away at the low-hanging fruit is painful enough.

By low-hanging fruit, I mean the little things that don’t cost much. You begin carefully pruning the little things.

First thing I learned I could live without came by accident. The moderately priced apartments where I lived were converted to condos. I moved to the cheapest apartment I could find in a safe neighborhood. It was a “junior one-bedroom,” barely larger than the efficiency I live in now. I got telephone service turned on in the new apartment. Basic telephone service, plus the telephone company’s voicemail, for which I paid $5 a month extra.

One little problem: the voicemail didn’t work. It sounded an annoying tone when I picked up the receiver. The tone signaled that I had voicemail waiting. Not such a big problem, right? Except that the system also wouldn’t let me access the mailbox.  So I couldn’t get my messages and turn the annoying tone off. And I didn’t know how many important messages were stuck in the mailbox. How many people were mad at me because I hadn’t called back?  Worse still, as long as the annoying tone stayed on, I couldn’t get a dial tone I couldn’t get my messages, and I couldn’t make calls.

So I call the telephone company’s customer-service department. You know how that goes. The telephone company doesn’t like to answer the phone. You get a recorded message tree: Push one if you speak English; Push two to pay your bill; Push three to add expensive options; Push four if you speak Portuguese.  And so on.

Eventually, you get through to a live customer-service agent, who listens to your problem. First time, customer service tells me they’ll fix the problem right away. Three days later, I call back, and they say they’ll fix it. I keep calling. One time they tell me there is no problem. One time they tell me I will have to pay an extra service charge to get it fixed. One time I even speak to a supervisor, who promises to call me back. She never did.

Three things you can count on when you call customer service:  One, you get an answering system;  Two, the customer service agent can’t solve your problem, but wants to sell you additional telephone services; Three, at the end of every frustrating conversation, the customer service agent asks: “Did I provide excellent service today?”

I finally realized that my existing phone service would never work again. I had an idea. I’d cancel the phone service, wait a few days, then call and order new service. What a concept!

And you know what? After weeks of not being able to use my home telephone, I had an Epiphany. I realized that I can live without a land line!  Why was I paying for both a land line and a cell phone? And the cell phone even came with free voicemail.

That is the story of how I got rid of my monthly telephone bill, and lived happily ever after. Except that I was still spending way beyond my means; I needed to prune lots more low-hanging fruit.  To be continued . . .