Category Archives: mechanical

Challenges

There are day-to-day challenges that make me question the order of the universe sometime.  Today was a classic example.   It seems no matter how hard I try to allow people to do the right thing in their lives, their businesses and their jobs, they continue to disappoint.  I often wonder if I have just come to expect too much of humans.

Case in point:  2 1/2 weeks ago, the ‘check system’ light came on in our car.  The next day I phoned the local Lincoln dealership where we had purchased our Premium Extended Warranty.  I talked to the head of the service department, since I’d found his employee (the guy over Lincoln maintenance) was rude, late, confrontational and a misogynist.  The head of service is a very nice guy.  However I think perhaps he has very little control over the long-term trouble-making employees.  Anyway, he was to call me back to set up an appointment.  He never called.  I sent an email.  No response.  I left two messages on his cell phone.  No reply.  I left message on his company phone.  No reply.  I finally got in touch with him last week (1 1/2 weeks into this effort to set up an appointment) and he couldn’t set anything up until this morning.  However, he said it would just take a minute to run a diagnostic on the computer that was giving the error, to see what the problem might be.  I arrived on time for the appointment.  Was told it would take a while.  I protested, saying “You said it wouldn’t take but a few minutes.”  Of course there was the story about their being busy. Duncan I waited in the customer ‘lounge’ with non-working air conditioning for an hour and 15 minutes.  Finally, I was told that they’d order a new part and that it would be covered under my warranty, and they’d call me when it’s in.   However, the problem is that this should have been handled 2 1/2 weeks ago.  I honestly can’t understand why even the good employee can’t return phone calls or respond to emails, and for that matter, why ineffective, rude, abrasive employees who choose NOT to do their jobs remain in the employ of the dealership.    And it’s not like the owner of the dealership doesn’t know.  I’ve complained about this Lincoln service employee to her AND to Lincoln corporate. It is a system designed to fail.

Another issue:  Problems with AT&T.  If there’s ever an issue with ATTAT&T’s service, you can count on being in a circular ‘hold’ pattern for hours.  It’s virtually impossible to get a human that knows what’s going on, that knows how to repair a problem or that can even comprehend what the problem might be.  For my business land line problems, I’m constantly pushed into Uverse customer service and they are clueless about a hard-wired telephone repair issue.  Meanwhile, my business is now unable to receive calls for 4 days now.  Eventually, I was forced to enter a repair ticket with their digital system, but I was left with no way to let them know that they need to contact me in advance if they need access to the property, which is nowhere near where I live.  It seems this is yet another system that is designed to fail.

Issue:  Apple updates  Rarely does an Apple update ever go well and yesterday, we had a problem that has  spilled over to today.  They required an AppleiTunes update when trying to simply sync and backup the calendar and contacts from the iPhone.  Predictably, the update wouldn’t install, the process had already blown away the existing iTunes and now we have nothing.   Many calls to Apple later, the problem isn’t solved.  Back to the word predictably – they blamed it on Windows.  They always do.  The problem is Apple techs don’t know REAL computer technology.  They know only the limited info they’re allowed to impart.  They set up calls to return to the issue but never phoned. I’m dealing with that issue right this moment and am on hold yet again.

Another issue: I’d previously written about a vet who made amistake on my adored kitten’s spay and left some ovarian material in her.  We need to wait for her to be in heat yet again to draw blood, to assure that it is there before we put her through another surgery.  Today, I continue to struggle with the issues.  While waiting at the dealership, I was also dealing with this problem.  The vet who did the surgery seems horribly egotistical and declares he couldn’t have possibly made a mistake – and yet it is well-known nationwide that this is a very common mistake.  Obviously he’ll repair it but the process leading up to this is going to be complicated and meanwhile my little sweetheart is suffering needlessly because of a careless mistake.

So, you can see why my frustration is bubbling over into my post today.  Oh, I can go on and on about similar issues.  But what it all boils down to is that companies, even on the local level, have no desire to actually provide service or value to their customers.  I am at a loss as to how this has happened in our society.

I do my best not to be angry with them, and to give these people every opportunity to surprise me and help me and to bowl me over with their humanity and service.  However, as I was sitting in the coolest area I could find at the dealership today, on hold with AT&T while waiting for the auto diagnosis, I realized that perhaps I’m expecting far too much of humans these days. Perhaps having a hopeful, positive demeanor and attitude doesn’t translate to those who are simply incapable of doing their jobs or of having pride in themselves, their companies or their own work.  And those who truly want to help are often hog-tied by bad employees and management or owners who either do not care or are too lazy to do what it takes to require excellence in their businesses.

I am very loyal to companies who treat me with respect, who take the trouble to stock their stores properly, who train their employees to do their jobs and who make it easy for me to spend money with them.  I find these days, sadly, that there are fewer and fewer companies that I feel I can be loyal to.

 

 

It’s official: Mercury IS in Retrograde

I knew it was coming.  I knew the 17th was the start of that dreaded period.  I’ve come to believe that when Mercury is in Retrograde, it affects lives.  Electronics and gadgets don’t work right.  Things just go askew in one’s life.  MercuryRetrogradeMercury is in retrograde until October 9th.  The last retrograde period, my very-capable, very-powerful laptop lost it.  The keyboard stopped working properly, and somehow in the process, the motherboard shorted in the area where the keyboard is controlled.  So we attempted to order a new mother board and keyboard.  None of them ever worked.  Thus I was forced to buy a new, powerful ‘desktop replacement’ laptop.  I need the power for graphics which is the main part of my ‘real job’.   Well, you can bet THAT wasn’t cheap and it definitely was NOT budgeted!  And then, there is the time it takes to transfer 1.5 TB in files and configure a new machine. I was out of commission for weeks.   Grrrrr…

So, I thought I’d be safe this time.  I’d already a few months ago, accidentally dropped my iPhone into water, retrieved it and had it successfully repaired.  Nothing can go wrong, I thought.   Wrongo!   Today I jumped in the car to run two deadline-sensitive errands.   I’d put it off, dreading the prospect of getting out in the out-of-control biker traffic for this weekend’s event.  I still had time, I reasoned!  I just planned to make my deposit by 1 PM when the bank closed, and I needed to drop off my sales tax reports at the post office by 1 ish.  I sat in the driver’s seat, pushed the button. CloseEncountersLIGHTS!  Everywhere were lights!  Clicks, bells, dings, flashing lights!  The seat moved up and back, the steering wheel moved back and forth, all on it’s own. It reminded me of the scene from ‘Close Encounters of the Third  Kind’.   Of course, the car wouldn’t start at all.  Everything inside was locked. What the hell????  Let me tell you, when you have a computer controlled car and when one thing goes south, it’s a nightmare!   Hello?  Mercury?  Why me?

I said to myself “Ok.  I’ve not ridden the scooter in a while so I’ll just use it.”  No way.  It wouldn’t start either.

My husband came home, removed the old battery from my car and headed to Sears.

With the deadlines, I knew I had to start walking.  Nothing like a stroll at high noon, in the sun in September in the sub-tropics and on a deadline.  My friend at the bank invited me in to cool off but I needed to finish my errands.  My friend, Tom, at a Sebago booth on Duval provided a frosty bottle of water.

My husband found someone at Sears willing to quickly help.  He came home, installed the new battery.  $173.60 gives us no more dings, clicks nor other anomalies. He picked me up as I was walking home and delivered me to air conditioning and took off to his golf game with his buddies.

Now, the lessons?   I realized as I embarked on my walk that this was a message, a sign if you will.  I’m very big on signs.  As I walked, I made every attempt to walk under every massive shade tree that I could.  That helped with the heat.  Then I saw the butterflies.  There were butterflies everywhere!  A few fluttered in front of my face for a short time. I remembered that our friend who was recently killed had a wonderful butterfly sculpture in her office. More signs!   Except for my soon-dripping clothing and hair, it was a great walk – at least until I got close to the obnoxious bikers. They took all the peace and beauty from the walk, but hey, I just got away from them as quickly as I could and once again, felt peaceful and grateful for the experience.

For those who have never paid attention to the entire Mercury in Retrograde phenomenon, there’s this from the Old Farmers Almanac“…Perhaps Mercury’s retrograde periods can cause our plans to go awry. However, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary.

“The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such.  So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.”

For me, it appears that Mercury in retrograde results in failures and complications when it comes to mechanical items and electronics. However, I’m taking the advice from the almanac to heart, and reflecting, enjoying the coincidences and paying attention to my intuition.