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Old 12-23-2007, 01:03 AM   #21
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Last night I had shopping on line on Kohl's website.

A friend had sent me a Kohl's gift card... and while there
is a Kohl's department store within a few miles, I decided
to shop on line instead and skip the Christmas crowds
and hassle.

Now I have done this twice before with no problems...
but last night was


It took me about 15 minutes to shop on line and choose
several items which I put in my " cart "... then I proceeded
to checkout. I put my gift card number in, then they wanted
a pin number... nope, sorry, no number on the gift card that
is identified as a "pin number", so I call the 800# on the card.
After waiting on hold for several minutes, the lady told me...
oh... you have to scratch off the corner of the card to
reveal the pin #... gee... since I am not psychic... it would
have been nice to have those instructions written on the card.


So, I go back to checkout and put in my pin#... then it tells
me that something I put in my cart was now sold out !


So, I deleted that item and proceed again to checkout...
then it tells me my Kohl's cc # is not a good number...
so, I double check my account number from the bill
I just paid a few weeks ago... and yup... it's the right #.

So, back to the phone again... after waiting several minutes
on hold, I give the lady my ID info and tell her my problem,
but she says she can't help me, then transfers me to another
lady... to whom I have to give my ID info and problem all
over again... but this lady couldn't help me either !


I get transferred FOUR times... and each time I have to
give my ID info and tell them my problem over again !!



So, my cc problem is fixed... actually, there never was a
problem with my cc and the number I entered was correct
but I digress !


So, after being on the phone with Kohl's customer service
and being transferred by them FOUR times... I go back
to my computer to complete checkout only to find I have
been timed out by Kohl's computer... they have removed
all the data I had entered and removed everything from
my cart !!




Just another day in paradise.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:20 AM   #22
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I've had horrible problems with Kohl's web site, and in fact always lost interest in my purchase before overcoming whatever problems I ran into.

They've had some great sales on kids clothes, but after 20 minutes of "wtf?", I decided it was easier to drive over there than to buy online from them. And gosh, theres 5 stores closer than they are...
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Old 12-23-2007, 03:51 AM   #23
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Here I am in the early morning - can't sleep because of this darn cold - time to share my latest...

We decided to drop our landline phone service Cavalier and just use our cell. So i call Cavalier about 2 months ago. Please cancel at the end of the billing month. No problem.

A month later the phone is still working. I call again. Why didn't you cancel? We've been experiancing a problem in your area. Will you cancel? Right away - takes two to three working days.

Wait a week - still have a phone. I call again. This time when I finally get a person ( each call takes at least a 10-15 minute wait time) I decide to tell the lady that I am recording the conversation - She goes ballistic. I DO NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO RECORD THE CONVERSATION and she hangs up. (evidently they have the right to record but we do not)

Now I send an email. I get back (in two more days) a curt reply that they had already set a cancellation order. They gave me a number and a date (two weeks previous - I guess they don't see the irony here - how many cavalier employees does it take to turn off your phone - they don't know they're still hiring)
8 Days later the phone finally stops working. Total time spent to cancel phone service 2 months and a couple of days.

New customer service approach - ignore the customer and wait for them to go away.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:33 AM   #24
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I wish that I could believe that consumer demand will turn the tide. My own theory is that the pace of modern living has become so fast, and our days so packed full of stuff to do, that businesses have come to count on that fact and have developed marketing models aimed at taking advantage of it. It actually becomes cost effective for manufacturers to permit defective merchandise to be sold because only a fraction of it will ever be returned. Automatic renewals of everything from magazine subscriptions to certificates of deposit become a way of doing business because marketers know that consumers will either forget to cancel or will not have time to jump through the flaming hoops required to do so.

A few months ago, I got a call from my 80-year-old mother. She was upset because a certificate of deposit that she had bought through a well-known bank had automatically renewed at a rate almost 2 interest points lower than the original "promotional" rate of 5 percent. She was extremely distressed over the fact that the CD had automatically renewed (again the fine print) and that she had forgotten to go to the bank on the date of maturity. She was convinced that this omission on her part was evidence of impending senility. That really pissed me off, and led me to research what this bank was doing. It seems that at the time my mother's CD renewed at 3 percent, the bank had a number of different CD "promotions" going where they were offering rates at least two percentage points higher than the "retirement" special my mother got.

I got to thinking. . . If life has become almost unmanagebly complicated for people such as myself, how must it be for older people who have less capacity to deal with complexity and who, by virtue of the culture that they grew up in, are less able to identify a scam?
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:54 AM   #25
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Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, has caused more personal suffering than any terrorist.

I'm with Audrey in that retirement gives you at least the option of avoiding many of these annoyances. When it gets bad, I can just drop out and read books in front of a fire.

I tried to buy no Christmas presents that could possibly involve tech support, but I was not successful.

Speaking of magazine subscriptions, I found out that we have a seven-year subscription to Cooking Light magazine! Despite that, we got a renewal notice in the mail the other day! I'm transferring the remainder of this subscription to my sister as a Christmas present, and am not renewing our other magazines.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:14 AM   #26
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I find these things similarly vexing - and believe they are increasing as companies don't care or cannot see the larger picture and make endless decisions based on short term "gains" in some cast category or other. In just the last week, I've been:

Charged a wrong price for an item at the grocery store - but when I went back to verify the shelf price, noticed I was also mis-charged for somethng else I'd bought 6 of. Clerk gave me ONE of the 6 items free, but that value was still much less than the overcharge. Took 2 supervisors and 5 individual refund transactions. They never did get the math right, but when the total of the mistaken refunds (including the free item) added up to close to what the overcharge was, I gave up and left. I suspect if I was willing to waste more time, they would still be there trying to figure it out.

Bought Christmas present online 8 days before Christmas using a "fast 3 day" shipping promotion. Got chipper email a week later promoting three-day shipping service and giving a ship date in the future. Huh? The three-day service is little use if the warehouse takes a week or more to ship.

Went to a chain toy store that has re-arranged it's stores recently to hold less inventory, but require more wandering around to find things. Encountered bands of shoppers who used to know where things were, all lost trying to find stuff, or trying to find help. About a dozen of us talked about frustrating experience, then we all left after buying nothing. Not sure if the store's less manpower, less inventory strategy is doing what they want, but here's a dozen loyal experienced shoppers who gave up.

On the bright side, I've been apparently collected by the data mining folks who mistakenly believe I have a new baby in the house. I'm being deluged by coupons, including some very generous $ off at local grocery and drug stores. Someone must believe that new parents are good prospects for changing store shopping habits and are willing to pay handsomely for my possible future business.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:32 AM   #27
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Sounds like folks really believe that life's hassles and complexities have gotten considerably worse, and are guaranteed to get even more so in the future.

I just find that hard to believe. And it doesn't match my personal experience.

It seems to me there have ALWAYS been hassles and complications in life. The form of them definitely changes over time as new hassles get substituted for old ones. Yes, we have to keep adapting to these changes. But I really have a hard time believing that somehow things were easier in the past. I hear people make this complaint all the time, yet it's just as easy to look back and observe all those things that were much more trouble yesterday than they are today.

Certainly there are things in life that increase life's complications - work, having children, serious health problems, a personal financial crisis, having to move, change jobs, losing a loved one.

But I suspect the minor hassles are about the same. Every new complication has benefits as well as drawbacks. Online shopping is considerably more convenient than driving to a store to shop a much more limited selection. Whereas today you might have to hassle with a web site tech difficulties or poor phone support, yesterday you would have had to wait in line to deal with a difficult customer support person on top of the commute.

And that's what they are. Minor hassles!

Personally, I've take deliberate steps to remove complicated things from my life that aren't worth the effort. Still, there is plenty of complexity remaining, but there always has been.

Audrey
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:27 AM   #28
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One reason I find it easy to be frugal is that I loathe the shopping experience, as well as the anticipated crap of returns/repairs.

I'm waiting for some brilliant entrepreneur to realize that there is a large demographic of aging Baby Boomers out here.

Data point:
I'm 57. I've worked with computers for many years and I'm interested in new technology. But what I really need is stuff to make my life easier, and for all that stuff to work together.

My sight and hearing are slowly fading and I have trouble with my hands (carpal tunnel, ulnar nerve, arthritis). For me (and I'm sure others) I don't need all things to keep getting smaller.

I can't read the cell phone screen (or the thermostat, or the water meter...) without my glasses... Why not some (easily implemented) way to link things so they can be viewed on my (large) computer screen; a way to have cable go directly to said screen?

I know there is stuff out there, but it's all on different standards and the end user is responsible for researching and integrating everything.

A lot of store personnel don't want to deal with geezers and explain stuff; it's not part of the business model.

Let me assure you that I am willing to spend that extra $5000/year if only there were a business model that included catering to geezers with discretionary funds.

And get off my lawn!
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:31 AM   #29
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Good post, Khan. I never thought our generation would pine for the 'good old days."

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Old 12-23-2007, 11:42 AM   #30
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:55 AM   #31
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I'm with AudreyH1 & some others - and may go a step further. I think we're living in the best time EVER!

Yes, there are problems - many of them "new", but look at where we were and where we've reached! We have better racial equality than ever, people are living longer, more people around the world are sharing in prosperity.. it goes on and on!

Do I still get annoyed at things? Sure, but then I remind myself of what my life could have been if I was born on the wrong side of the tracks before civil rights, or unions, or .. or.. or...

I have my family, my friends, my health, a roof over my head, some money in the bank & this wonderful forum that helps educate me, provide me with support in my ER effort, and I'm grateful to all of you.

I'm finally in the christmas spirit and life is good! And I haven't touched the egg-nog yet
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:13 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilylynn View Post


A few months ago, I got a call from my 80-year-old mother. She was upset because a certificate of deposit that she had bought through a well-known bank had automatically renewed at a rate almost 2 interest points lower than the original "promotional" rate of 5 percent. She was extremely distressed over the fact that the CD had automatically renewed (again the fine print) and that she had forgotten to go to the bank on the date of maturity.

This is what I do and it is a big help.

Get her a 2 year pocket calendar that has one page per month.
You can get one for a $1 at a dollar store. When she takes out
a CD, she needs to write in the the amount, rate, term, and bank
on the calendar space for the date of maturity. If she will do
this every time she takes out a CD.... all she needs to do is glance
at the calendar every month to see if a CD is coming due that month.
Usually banks will allow up to 10 days to renew a CD... but as you say...
read the fine print.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:18 PM   #33
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I think that some enterprising spirit could do very well by introducing a line of products dubbed the "G series." "G" would stand for "geriatric." Thus, you would have the VCR model X562-G, which has three buttons: play, stop, and record now. The cell phone model SR-G would have a readably large display screen, buttons that do only one thing, and a simple ring with no possibility of defaulting into a chorus of "La Cucaracha." The Microsoft Windows XP-G would feature a simple screen bearing no resemblance the usual Boeing 747 control panel, offering no extraneous distractions, and presenting a simple list of options identified in plain English down the left side of the screen. . . Who knows, maybe it will happen.

P.S. I was thinking of myself, not my mother, on this one.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:09 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by emilylynn View Post
I think that some enterprising spirit could do very well by introducing a line of products dubbed the "G series." "G" would stand for "geriatric." Thus, you would have the VCR model X562-G, which has three buttons: play, stop, and record now. The cell phone model SR-G would have a readably large display screen, buttons that do only one thing, and a simple ring with no possibility of defaulting into a chorus of "La Cucaracha." The Microsoft Windows XP-G would feature a simple screen bearing no resemblance the usual Boeing 747 control panel, offering no extraneous distractions, and presenting a simple list of options identified in plain English down the left side of the screen. . . Who knows, maybe it will happen.

P.S. I was thinking of myself, not my mother, on this one.
Hey, I'll buy.

One thing that really irritates me is the cab radio in our motorhome. There is a teeny tiny on-off button and the main dial is not really a dial at all, but a bunch of choices. I have never really figured out how it works. It does have a simple remote which I use instead. I live in fear I will lose the remote.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:18 PM   #35
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So this is turning into the "gripe" thread, eh?

OK, it took me forever to find an atomic alarm clock I could see at night. For some reason, 99% of atomic clocks have LCDs with push-button illumination. What a dumb design for a clock.

This is the alarm clock everybody needs:

Amazon.com: Emerson CKS2235B Jumbo Display Dual-Alarm Clock Radio with SmartSet Technology (Black): Electronics

(Sorry, looks like I bought the last one.)
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Old 12-23-2007, 03:54 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilylynn View Post
I think that some enterprising spirit could do very well by introducing a line of products dubbed the "G series."The cell phone model SR-G would have a readably large display screen, buttons that do only one thing, and a simple ring with no possibility of defaulting into a chorus of "La Cucaracha."
They're coming. Already a bunch of phones for the elderly.

One example: Jitterbug Phones: Easy Emergency Cell Phones
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Old 01-06-2008, 08:47 PM   #37
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here are some ways that work for us:

- Get rid of landline. This eliminates error ridden phone bills and having to deal with deaf, mute telephone co agents. I have a work supplied phone and pager and dh also is supplied a cell phone. Since "they" want to reach me, then they maintain the techno gadgets well.

- When checking out at any store that requires a membership card thingie (besides Costco), I just develop a deer in the headlights look and proclaim, "Oh no! I don't have a card, is that alright?" All the while maintaining keen interest in buying their great product. Invariably someone, usually the cashier or another customer, proffers a card to swipe.

- when dealing with telephone trees, most respond to repeated puches of "0" to land you with a real live person. I haven' t though, figured out how to guarantee one without a strong accent.

- since internet usage patterns are monitored, then I regularly throw in random confounders. So everyone once in awhile, type in things that have no interest to me: hot dogs, Nascar, size 11 shoes, etc you get the drift.

- since your financial info has been compromised, then you can file an identity theft report. This allows you to get on the no credit card list with credit agencies, and freeze your access for 7 years.

HTH!
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:21 PM   #38
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I'm with Audrey. Yes, some things are totally a PITA. Many folks do not have the patience. I (gasp) almost enjoy getting these things fixed. I had a payment plan that was supposed to stop - last payment deducted from my account in Dec. I called, politely asked about my last payment - oh, yes it is correct - would you please put it in writing and send it to me - thank you! It worked! Housemate cannot seem to relax about this stuff and gets soooo frustrated about billing issues, etc for things. It is painful to observe!
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