The Barnes & Noble bungle!
The Barnes & Noble Bungle
I have always been a huge fan of the "brick and mortar" book stores. Being able to just walk around and see books and magazines in all kinds of genres is very cool. I find so many things that I now treasure but which I was not even looking for at the time I discovered them. That is the nature of the "brick and mortar" store and one that I don't think the "online stores" can ever match.
One thing that has always gotten my excitement level up are the "new releases" and the "Top 10 Best Seller" areas. I love going to those spots to see if my favorite authors have released/published anything new. The Internet helps there with author sites and "Top 100 lists" in the various genres that I love BUT Barnes & Noble is doing a couple of things now that could lose me as a customer!
The first thing they have started doing is pre selecting what they think should be the "Best Sellers" so not only am I not seeing what others are actually buying but now I am seeing only what Barnes and Noble thinks
I should buy! I see books listed as "best sellers" that are actually ranked in the bottom half of the "Top 500" and do not see books ranked in the "Top 10" so my choices are suddenly both skewed and limited based on what they think I should be buying. The last time I was there the saleslady told me they could order the book I was looking for and ship it to me for free (I have a B&N Membership card). This leads to bungle number two... If I order the book at their store I get a 10% discount on the retail listed price
and free shipping. If I order the book online I get a retail discount
which can equal a discount up to 50% and even with a $4.00 shipping charge that means that if I do not shop at Barnes & Noble I can save money.
The point of the "brick and mortar" store is the atmosphere and the idea that you can get what you want and take it with you. Barnes & Noble is acting like they are going out of business and if they keep on their current path that could very easily become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Pastor Rick's Supermarket Adventure!
Well let's just say I should leave the grocery shopping to my wife. The other day I decided to make a pot-roast for my Church's fellowship and figured "how hard can it be?" Put the pot roast in a huge pan, surround it by veggies and cook it... easy right?
So I went to the Tom Thumb Supermarket and started looking for the pot roast. Did you know the meat section is all the way in the back of the store? And they have that section divided into all sorts of things with cheese in the middle! So I have to look around and try and figure out where they hid the pot roast. I finally found it but do they have it labeled for us men? Of course not! They had 7-bone roast, Chuck roast, Chuck eye, Arm roast, Flat iron steak, Brisket AND Pot roast all scattered around in different sections almost a city block long! It took me almost a half hour to find two 3 pound cuts of meat and because I wasn't sure that was enough I always bought a nice package or "stew meat."
Next it was time to get the veggies. I was looking for packages that were pre-mixed so I would be able to get on with the cooking. I went all over this 50,000 square foot store three times looking for pot roast veggies &/or stew veggies... nada, zippo, zilch, Tom Thumb didn't have them!
So I then went to Wal-Mart and started looking, it took me about 40 minutes to find three packages of stew veggies (never did find "pot-roast veggies") and decided what the hey, at least I got something.
Now on to the cooking, what the hey are those pieces of paper stuck on the bottom of the meat? Is that supposed to be there? How does a 3 pound pot-roast take up the same space as a twenty pound turkey? Why does it take 10 HOURS to cook? I remember why I always buy chicken now.
The final test, the people at my Church loved the pot-roast but several mentioned that they had never seen it cooked with zucchini before (I thought those were cucumbers)!
Take it from me men, let the women do the shopping, they have wayyyy more experience at it!
Books a Million!
I have determined it is time to remodel my home office. I started cleaning the office about a month ago when my pet cat "Natoth" decided to go exploring and I would find books, diploma's and awards suddenly launching themselves to odd corners of the room!
this picture is symbolic
Now, after cleaning sorting and boxing things I can see all four corners of the office and have discovered my personal library is approaching the 5,000 book mark (seems like a million). My next step is to buy the shelving and cabinets to replace the hodgepodge collection of shelving I have collected over the last 25 years! My goal is to be finished before my birthday so I can take pictures.
Gypsies Tramps and Thieves (they be lying to us)
Listed below are speedtest.net reports initiated by me on my new ISP. This is the same site they use to verify things. Today, the service tech shows up at Noon which is the time my wife normally goes to bed. Like a good tramp act they are late. The guy comes in, disconnects my phone, then tells my wife he fixed it. Does anyone see any test result from 5-6PM GMT? I sure don't. The tech did a good gypsy routine in vanishing after being on-site for less than 30 minutes.
So I come in after a really rough day to discover my office phone disconnected and the problem is not resolved. I call tech support and the closing remarks made by the tech that assured my wife everything was fixed said the trouble was either the modem (the modem is brand new) or the phone jack at the wall. I have been paying inline insurance to cover both sides of the wall for over 12 years now! To acknowledge that that might be a issue without taking corrective steps is thievery! To lie about it to the customer is unthinkable to me but the techs own notes show that is exactly what they did!
IP_ADDRESS TEST_DATE TIME_ZONE DOWNLOAD_MEGABITS UPLOAD_MEGABITS LATENCY_MS SERVER_NAME DISTANCE_MILES
220.127.116.11 7/15/2013 12:26 AM GMT 0.36 0.75 52 Keller, TX 50
18.104.22.168 7/15/2013 12:27 AM GMT 0.3 0.74 40 Keller, TX 50
22.214.171.124 7/15/2013 12:31 AM GMT 0.07 0.75 49 Temple, TX 150
126.96.36.199 7/15/2013 12:37 AM GMT 0.6 0.74 40 Dallas, TX 50
188.8.131.52 7/15/2013 1:56 PM GMT 0.62 0.73 74 Fort Worth, TX 50
184.108.40.206 7/16/2013 1:19 AM GMT 0.36 0.74 42 Dallas, TX 50
220.127.116.11 7/16/2013 1:20 AM GMT 0.42 0.67 40 Dallas, TX 50
18.104.22.168 7/16/2013 1:21 AM GMT 0.24 0.74 40 Dallas, TX 50
22.214.171.124 7/16/2013 1:33 AM GMT 0.11 0.67 54 Keller, TX 50
I have a scheduled off day this Wednesday, if it isn't fixed before then I am driving over to their office. Perhaps they can explain or finally do what is right when confronted with a Pastor in full company executive mode. We shall see...
Online vs Real-Store
For those who follow me you know I have been trying to change ISP's for about 3 weeks now. It isn't easy when you live on the fringes of a city as most ISP's tend to ignore the rural scene.
This time my new ISP is a ADSL provider and to make it work I was given the option of leasing the equipment or buying my own. I chose to do the latter. This led me to the following real life experience. I was told I needed a ADSL+ plus modem that would then connect to my wireless router.
Easy enough, starting the timer I first went to the Internet to see what was available and what kind of rep the different choices had. I narrowed things down to 1 brand after about 15 minutes and then went to see how long it would take to get this fancy gadget. 2-3 days with a $5.00 shipping charge was the average.
Now, I actually drive by a Fry's computer store several times a week and the detour to shop there is less than 5 minutes. So I do this and discover that the store is monster sized with very poor signage. I hunt down a employee and ask where the adsl modems are but wouldn't you know it, this "Assistant Manager" didn't know and instead of asking someone else I was sent to the other end of the store (aisle 33B). When I got there I was told by the computer salesman that the modems were in the Ethernet section and sent back to aisle 8C... There were only two adsl modems in that section but at least one of them was a modem with a good rep (and on sale).
I went to pay for it and the only cashier open was at the opposite end of the store, about 1/2 a block from the exit door! The cashier couldn't ring up the sale because the reader wasn't accepting the sale code. Even his manager couldn't override the machine to input the price showing in 1" letters on the box! They had to go back to the Ethernet department to get a new label which was almost a block away!
My total time in the Fry's store was 24 minutes with me knowing exactly what I was looking for compared to 15 minutes online when I didn't have a clue to start! Granted I have the modem now instead of waiting for 2-3 days but the savings of $3.24 total was made up for by the aggravation of dealing with a store that was very poorly laid out and which had it's employees at the computers mercy...