24 May 2011

Simple Woman ...

On one of my forays into blog-land, I found this Simple Woman's Daybook, and thought ... what a neat idea.
Now, I know me, and will probably not be following this up in any way, but as the day winds down, the teen-age rose-garden (the neurosis variety, due to exams and end-of-term) being quieted for the day, I thought ... hmm ... why not do it. So I will.

Outside my window...
It is dark now. It is - after all - fairly late in the evening. But days will get longer for another month still.

I am thinking...
No big thoughts, but loads of smaller ones. As term winds down, my brain is freed from paid work, and ideas start bubbling.

I am thankful for...
My health.

From the kitchen...
Made meatballs (the Danish variety : Frikadeller) with new potatoes and a tomato-salad tonight.

I am wearing...
Jeans and a t-shirt. Bare feet in flat leather sandals.

I am creating...
Blocks for two quilts. One is the Brackman Sampler, one is my own pattern.

I am going...
To bed soon.

I am reading...
"Made to Stick" (again) by Chip and Dan Heath.

I am hoping...
That kiddies' exams go well this next month.

I am hearing...
The quieting sounds of a city, slowly falling asleep (mostly), and the purring of a cat.

Around the house...
Hubby coughing with a late-spring / early summer cold. DD playing the piano. DS playing a violent computer-game to celebrate a well finished exam today. Cat draped across my shoulders, the both of us enjoying each other's company.

One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Get going on two writing projects. A scholarly one and a pattern.

18 May 2011

What I'm up to

Well, since I'm opening the ball on the Inklingo Sampler blog today, I thought I would show you the sort-of secret project I've been working on these past weeks.
A hexagon alphabet.
... yes. A tad silly, I know, but ... it has been fun to design and make.

And the Field of flowers is growing slowly too. Now that I've made all the letters of the (English) alphabet, it's probably time to get another Sunflower-block or five printed, and get going on making more of those for the project.

And in case you wonder what all the fabrics on the ironing board are for, they are pictorial (novelty) fabrics that I've pulled in order to make an I Spy quilt for my niece's two kids. I aim at having them finished for Christmas (but I'm not telling you which year!)
When there are (reasonable) pictures to share of that project, I will. Never fear.
ANYway, that's what I've been up to, in between fuming over incompetent imbeciles (read the two previous post).

12 May 2011

Internet shopping - update

This is a follow-up on the below post (Internet shopping - what to do).

Today, 6 days after I wrote 'The Company', threatening to out them unless they got their act together, I made one last effort to get hold of them, and get a response other than :
"I do apologize, but i am checking on this and will have an answer as soon as possible"
That is the total of the response I got last week; no 'dear ma'am', no signature sign-off, no nothing. Classy, eh ?

BUT I waited until today, and then threw myself into a last-ditch effort.
To try and get some attention, other than the patently incompetent person with whom I had hitherto "communicated", I cc'ed the mail to all and sundry on the company's web-page, including the company CEO. The bottom-line of my mail was, that I threatened to put a name on the below post, and to do so within 24 hours unless someone got their act together.

This FInally, got me a reply that could - in a good light and with a gentle breeze - be considered if not courteous, then at least decent. Still no courtesies like 'dear ms xxx' or the like, and no name-signature on the mail either (just the company address), but at least I finally got a reply which can be summed up with "I'm sure we've refunded your money, but I'll look into it today".

... is it just me who is hopelessly ancient ? Have general courtesies like 'Dear ma'am' and an actual name at the end of a mail really gone so far out of fashion that I should not expect it ? Or is it just a case of 'If I don't tell her my name, she cannot tell on me' ?

A little while later, another of the e-mails I cc'ed to replied, "I'm looking into it, and I'll make sure your money is returned to you"

Well about **** time. Either of those should have been the reply on April 28th (2 weeks ago), and should have come promptly and courteously, not as a somewhat sour response to an out-and-out threat. And if the company, when looking into it, found information that my money had already been returned, and that the glitch was not on their part, they should have sent me another mail informing me of this.

I am (pardon my French) royally pissed off.

What kind of business ignores politely phrased requests, and only react - sourly and with bad grace - to out-and-out threats to their livelyhood (this is a rethoric question, which necessitates no question-mark at the end; the answer is 'no business who wants to stay in business' and should be self-evident).
Whatever happened to customer-service and customer-satisfaction?
I'm a patient person when it comes to understanding that things can go wrong, for people as well as companies, but in order for me to show patience and tolerance of someone, they need to communicate with me. This has not been the case. And now, when communication seems to finally happen, I find that I'm all out of both patience and tolerance.

Needless to say, that it will be a very long time (probably forever) before I buy any of this company's products again, and it will be the same time-frame for my recommending it again. It is a bummer, because I loved their products, but frankly, I am not prepared to trust a company which acts like this with any part of my money, or - indeed - my time.

SO, now I wait another week, and see if my money is indeed returned. I will not hold my breath.

06 May 2011

Internet shopping - what to do ?

I have to ask some advice here, because a situation has occured that I have never had happen to me before.
Some background :
I've been shopping on the internet, with bookshops and quiltshops, publishers, big and small companies, US, UK and locally. I've been doing it for something like 8 years now, and even though my credit-card has been hi-jacked a few times (and been caught in my bank's 'cheat' filter), I have never experienced anything but good to excellent service, and timely response to my orders and inquiries.
This, sadly, has ended now.

On February 28th, I ordered some items from a small company, whose products I know and love. I got an order-confirmation and were not notified that anything was amiss (such as the ordered items being on back-order).
On March 3rd, the amount due was withdrawn from my account. This usually signals, that the merchandise ordered is now on its way to me.
Sadly, that was not the case.
On March 16, I was notified that the merchant had delays in shipments, that my order was on back-order. For various reasons, this made it necessary for me to cancel said order.
So far, so good.
I would think, that good business-practice, at this point, is for the merchant to return the money to the client immediately. Payment has been received, but no goods have been delivered.
Well ... I am a patient woman, and sometimes banks are slow so I took a breather, and things happened and it took a little while for me to act on the non-refund of my money.
We got to April 28th (almost 6 weeks after I cancelled the order, 2 months after ordering, and 7 weeks after the money were withdrawn from my Credit Card account by the merchant), and I checked again, but no money had been returned.

SO, I wrote a polite mail to the company, reminding them that they owed me some money, and requested that they return my money to me, forthwith. Today, a week and a day later, I have not heard from the company, neither have any money been transferred back into my account.
My question to y'all (who are in the US of A) : What are my options now ?
Is there a place to formally complain ? Or do I 'just' start naming names on the quilting-communities I am in, on-line. I would prefer not to do the latter, but I am fairly angry at this point. One thing is to have merchandise on back-order, but to take money from a customer, knowing full well that you cannot deliver the goods said customer is paying for; not notifying said customer with due diligence; and last - but not least - not in any way reacting to a politely phrased request for the situation to be rectified has sort-of done away with my patience and understanding for the small business-owner.

And please understand, this is not (just) about the money. I can survive donating 35 US $ to someone, but I would prefer to choose the cause myself, and have it be something worthwhile like the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders, not a company that doesn't even bother to answer mail from their customers.

SO : What would you do ?