In which I had something for this

I’m on at least three post ideas for today so far, and by “post ideas” I mean I came up with something, thought “Okay, that’s today’s post,” and then promptly forgot what the hell it was before I had a chance to put it into writing. So that’s how my day is going so far.

I did manage to get my work tasks squared away early today, by not bothering with the instructional video (tomorrow’s material is the same as today’s, so rather than recording something myself I just linked to someone else’s) and getting the assignment written while working in the Meet and doing other things. Sometimes it’s kinda fun to yell “give me a number!” at a half-dozen kids and then write a math problem about it.

I’m also reaching that point in the week– and it’s alarming to realize that it’s only Tuesday– where my eyes could definitely benefit from doing less staring at screens for a little while.

Actually, there’s this, which I think was one of the things: I had to go to my local Ace Hardware to buy a flagpole earlier, because I’m finally getting around to putting the pride flag in front of my house that I have wanted to put up since last June. And, y’all, we need to protect our retail workers, okay? Because the item I bought ended up not being in their system for some reason, and it took all of five whole minutes before the manager finally shrugged and charged me for a slightly different flagpole (which, whatever; I hadn’t even looked for a price, I just grabbed the one I wanted and headed to the counter) and I think during that five minutes I was apologized to for my incredibly minor inconvenience at least a dozen times by at least three or four different people. And you could just tell that everybody was waiting for me to completely lose my shit about it, and it’s like … yeah, I have so many more important things to worry about right now than this that I don’t even have the energy to reach “this is not your fault but I’m annoyed anyway” level annoyed. Oh, darn, I had to wait five whole minutes.

And you just know that these folks have gotten the shit kicked out of them recently about something similar, right? Because motherfuckers have allowed themselves to get completely out of control lately, and while filming these fools and putting it on the Internet has gotten rather popular I think it might be time to start upgrading to actual intervention. Nobody should be this nervous about this minor of a thing, and it wasn’t just the cashier, it was everyone I encountered in the store.

The flag’s gonna look nice, by the way. We’ve taken it down already to get the folds pressed out, but I hung it up long enough to take a picture, which the wind promptly made twice as complicated as it needed to be. But nonetheless:

Okay FINE then I WON’T

The picture almost makes customer service seem cool, doesn’t it?

I was recently able to zero out all but one of my credit cards, and Lord willing and the creek don’t rise it shouldn’t be long until I’m able to whack that one as well. I was startled to see a bill show up from one of my cards a few days ago; the card actually got overpaid a bit so the last I’d looked at it they owed me money, which is always a fun thing to have happen with a credit card. Turns out they’d charged me a $59 annual fee. Now, chances are this fee has been around for all if not most of the time I’ve had this card, but during damn near 100% of that time I’ve carried a balance. It pissed me off that I suddenly owed them an annual fee on a card with no balance, so I did a brief check to make sure it wouldn’t affect my credit rating too unduly and then called to cancel the card.

(A five minute period ensues here, as we go from blustery-but-dry outside to torrential rainstorm hello tropical storm Cristobal in about ten seconds and then the power blinks out. By the time I have the computer back online and the Internet back up, the rain has stopped.)

Anyway. That was a long lead-in to a quick resolution, but: it turns out that if you’ve had a credit card for 23 years and you call them and say something along the lines of “Hey, y’all charged me this annual fee. I don’t wanna pay it. Cancel the card!” they will not only remove the fee from your card (and, to be honest, I pretty much expected this result) but they will set things so that you are never charged an annual fee again. Which, paradoxically, is kind of annoying, because I find you must pay this annual fee, unless you don’t want to to be really obnoxious as a policy.

But, hey, I guess I don’t have to cut the card up now? All told, I’d rather have the credit than not, so I went ahead and kept it.

Also, I can see blue sky outside now. Weather is weird.


5:45 PM, Tuesday June 9: 1,973,803 confirmed cases and 111,751 Americans dead.

OK Boomer

Our grill has shit the bed, so we ordered a new one from Lowe’s, finding it online and setting it up to be picked up curbside at the store. I dunno if you’ve done this or not, but the way it works (at least at our Lowe’s) is that you pull into one of about eight labeled parking spots, dial a phone number, put in an extension, and then tell the person who answers the phone your order number and the spot you’re in. It took me a few seconds longer than it might have because I didn’t immediately realize that you can dial a # extension pretty much any time I want (I was waiting for a “to dial a specific extension, press blabla” prompt) but somebody answered the phone and said they’d be outside with my grill in a few minutes.

Cool.

Five minutes or so later I hear the unmistakable sound of a grill being rolled across a parking lot, and I put on my mask and hopped out of the car, figuring social distancing or not there’s no way dude is going to get this thing in my trunk by himself. And I notice that the guy pushing my grill out to me is being followed, at quite a bit less than a six foot distance, by a mask-free woman (note that wearing a mask in any retail store is currently mandated by our governor) who is highly upset that he is bringing me a grill and not bringing her something. Apparently she belongs to the minivan a space over, and she tried to call the number but no one answered and apparently this massive sin is worth abusing this poor dude who had nothing to do with it.

Dude, to his credit, is doing an admirable job of not getting caught up in her shit, and when a moment later she looks over at me and snots that She will Never Use This Service Again, but it’s Good that You got HIS Stuff for Him, he actually rolled his eyes at me, correctly figuring out that I was as annoyed by her as he was.

So, uh, Karen, look here: you either don’t know how to use a cell phone or you don’t possess the awareness necessary to realize that, every once in a while, it’s possible that people in retail jobs are busy and maybe you call back in two or three minutes if your call isn’t instantly answered. You also don’t have the sense to realize that you do not need to involve me in your shit. I don’t want to be involved in your shit, I have no reason to be involved in your shit, and if you insist on me being involved in your shit, you will probably not like the way that I involve myself, which will be to mock you into the grave and back. Because I don’t give a fuck if you had to call these folks twice.

A moment later, while the gentleman and I were ignoring the shit out of her and putting my grill in my trunk, someone else came out with all of her mulch, so … what, you got through after all? Was that whole thing just bullshit? Who the fuck knows.

Please don’t try to involve me in your customer service drama, people. I am always on their side, even if they’re wrong. If I need to paint that on my fucking mask, I’m happy to.

In which @amazonhelp continues to be stunningly incompetent

I know, typically three posts in a day is a bit on the excessive side.  But this is going to get worse tomorrow, and there will probably be another post about it tomorrow, so I need to get this one out of the way.

A moment to provide you with context, for those of you who aren’t obsessive readers:  I tried to order books, on October 27th, for an author event I had on November 11th.  It was initially a bit of a risk to get them here on time, so on Friday the 2nd I upgraded my shipping to two-day, which guaranteed them to arrive on the 7th, a Wednesday.  Then things began to go wrong: 

You may recall that I wrote the following, earlier today: 

Amazon update: I got a notification from them on Friday that they had shipped me … wait for it … one book out of the 28 or 29 that I ordered.  It is supposed to arrive today.  The cover will be on upside-down, inside-out, and no doubt on the wrong book altogether. 

Welp.  I got a buzz on my phone that my package had been delivered about an hour ago, and ran outside to collect it from the mailbox.  I showed the package to my wife.  “Wanna take any bets on whether this makes me happy?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

And I opened the package:

So.  This is the one mystery copy of Searching for Malumba that, for no clear reason, Amazon has sent by itself.  I am, remember, ordering these books at author cost (I charge about $15 for SfM, and the cost to me is just over $6) so that I can sell them to people at conventions.

This book is already borderline unsalable, just because of the cover.  If it were for me, I’d be kinda pissed, but I’d probably not do anything about it, because books are made of paper and shit happens.  This isn’t for me.  It’s for someone else.  So we are already sending this book back.  

(Brief sidenote: another one of the fun stupidities of the new editor?  If I try to write something in italics, it tends to erase spaces for no clear reason.)

So.  Yeah.  This is already going back.  But what the hell– let’s look through and see what else is wrong.  Because there’s no way that there’s just one thing wrong, right?  There’s gonna be a printing error or something in this motherfucker somewhere.  

And then I find out why Amazon sent me one copy by itself, before sending me the rest of my print-on-demand author copy books:

You motherfuckers.

I was wrong about one thing: there was apparently one copy of a Luther Siler book out there somewhere at a secondhand bookstore.  And, to be clear, I’m not mad at “Taelor,” whoever that is.  I vaguely remember being proud of myself that I remembered to ask how to spell his name.  I don’t remember what con or how long ago it was that I sold him this book.  Maybe he didn’t like the book, maybe he isn’t the type to hold onto books after he reads them, maybe he just moved or came up short on cash or whatever.  Taelor and I are cool.  He can do whatever he wants with my books after he buys them.

But, uh, Amazon?

I bought this book from you.  I sold it at a convention.  That person sold it to a second-hand bookstore.  I paid Amazon again, much later on, in a different transaction, for additional new copies of this book.  

And y’all thought it was okay to send me, not only a used book, not only a damaged used book, but one with my own motherfucking signature already in it?

I am an author and I literally don’t have the words for how fucking angry I am right now.   

I’m not gonna bother calling or emailing their fucking useless helpdesk motherfuckers just yet.  Because I supposedly have another box coming tomorrow, with the other goddamn 20-some-odd books, and there is absolutely no Goddamn way that I believe there’s even a single chance of them getting that order right.  The @ in the post title will ensure that someone sees this and lies to me some more.  But we are about to have a motherfucking reckoning about this shit, and when we do, I’d better be talking to a motherfucker who speaks English because they are in America and said motherfucker had better know what the fuck KDP is. 

Fucking assholes.

In which I live to serve, but not for much longer

butler-rhettActual Fiction has happened today; not much, but nonetheless Actual Fiction, so I feel pretty good about the universe right now.  I was supposed to spend the morning taking care of my last Act of Ridiculous Customer Service (why, sure, I’ll drive to Michigan and pick up the seat of your armless chair and drop it off at the leather reconditioning place so you don’t have to do it!  Why not?) but the timing ended up not working out so I’m probably doing that tomorrow.

This will be the last time I drive anywhere for a customer, which pleases me.  It probably seems slightly more unreasonable than it actually is, at least in my head; I don’t always have a lot to do on my days off and if I’m just going to spend the day on the couch playing video games or staring at HGTV I may as well drive for a bit and listen to some podcasts instead, y’know?  Yeah, gas costs money, but so does everything else, so I’m not going to worry about it all that much.

Anyway.  The world seems to be a bit more on fire than usual this week and there’s a Big Corporate Visit coming next week at work so I’ve been mostly keeping my head down.  Anything going on out there that doesn’t involve disaster?