THE WEBLOG ARCHIVE: A Sobering Thought
November 25, 2009
Today! | 08:50 AM
Today sees the release of "The Corpse Wore Pasties" in bookstores nationwide. Get yours today.
June 03, 2008
Sprint -- The Horror! The Horror! | 12:02 PM
Finally! Two weeks after the initial complaint, a response. I receive a phone call from Sprint in answer not to my letter to "Dan", but the cc: to the complaints department. The representative apologizes for any poor customer service, and to attempt to rectify the situation, he offers me... nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. When I expressed my lack of satisfaction with this solution, he... eventually hangs up on me, just like the first guy did.
At this point, $175 cancellation fee seems a small price to pay to get away from the epic levels of crappitude represented this company. I call to cancel my service, and the retention department acts as customer service should, and provides service to the customer. While she still won't send me an accounting of my text messages, she provides a credit instead.
So: another letter to "Dan", explaining the entire situation. After all, as new CEO, he might want to know that the staff hired to apologize for poor customer service provided poor customer service, and that his retention department is the only department worth a damn. Full text after the jump.
A month later, he has not acknowledged receipt of the email in any way, which begs the question: why put your email in a commercial if you're not going to respond? Doesn't that just make you look like an ass?
I received a phone call from your company in regard to the below letter. Since you have chosen to make your email address public in your commercials, I expected to you would address your emails personally, but I understand that sometimes gestures such as putting your email address onscreen are simply publicity stunts, and not an expression of actual concern for your customers.
Your representative acknowledged receipt of the letter, apologized for any poor customer service I might have received, and offered his assurance that he himself was "confident" that the accounting was correct and stated that your company had made "a business decision" to not provide that information except via subpoena.
I pointed out that this was the identical to the answer I had already received, the answer which (coupled with the poor customer service) led to my writing the letter. An answer which still failed to address my concerns. I asked what he intended to do to address them -- which was, I assumed, the reason for his call.
I soon found that assumption was in error. He merely reiterated his previous statement. I explained that my concerns could be addressed in one of two ways: by providing the requested information, or by issuing a credit for the amount, as apology for your inability to do so and acknowledgement that my concerns -- as a customer of ten years -- were of any importance to your company. As I stated below, an unwillingness to consider either of these solutions clearly shows a lack of regard for my patronage, and as such the other option available is to release me from my contract.
He replied that none of these solutions were acceptable to him, and reiterated his previous statement.
As he was being repetitious, I responded in kind; I explained my position again -- I will admit, at length. But I was careful neither to raise my voice nor to use profanity of any sort.
Your representative said that he was ending the conversation. I replied that I did not consider the conversation to be finished, and he hung up on me. And thereby repeated the exact pattern about which I wrote you to complain, solidifying my belief that Sprint customer service is, in fact, the worst in the world. When your representative calls to respond to a complaint and converts your customer from unsatisfied to furious, you are clearly going out of your way to hire the worst that minimum wage has to offer.
Except, as it turns out, your retention department. Because when your representative who called, ostensibly, to apologize, left me instead with no other option than to cancel my service, I called to do so. And, to my shock, I was treated to the most human, polite, and helpful individual I have experienced in my dealings with Sprint since the last time my contract was up for renewal. She expressed appreciation for my ten years of patronage, and backed her statement with action: she applied a credit.
Denise is the reason -- the ONLY reason -- Sprint was able retained me as a customer. Until I spoke to her, your representatives were every variation of terrible one could imagine, ranging from inept to incompetent to just plain rude.
Denise, by contrast, was sympathetic, clear, helpful, and addressed my concerns. It was almost as if she worked for a different company than everyone else with whom I had spoken.
Denise is the ideal after which ALL of your customer service representatives should, and indeed must, model themselves. Attempting to cancel my service should not be the only way to reach to a competent representative.
Mollified, yet still horrified,
Jonathan Van Gieson
May 27, 2008
Update! | 01:54 AM
One week later, no answer!
Sprint's customer service remains unblemished by actual service.
December 27, 2007
On live fish as a centerpiece at a wedding | 12:58 AM
If one is treading so far down the path of orthodoxy that one must have separate seating for men and women during your wedding ceremony, and similarly prejudiced dance floors, can one still have live goldfish as a centerpiece at one's (kosher) wedding dinner? No, one cannot: cruelty to animals, or Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim, is forbidden by Jewish law, according to jewfaq.org.
"In the Torah, humanity is given dominion over animals (Gen. 1:26), which gives us the right to use animals for legitimate needs. Animal flesh can be consumed for food; animal skins can be used for clothing... We are permitted to use animals in this way only when there is a genuine, legitimate need, and we must do so in the manner that causes the animal the least suffering."Does decoration constitute a "legitimate need" under Jewish law? No. The only needs considered legit:
"Animal flesh can be consumed for food; animal skins can be used for clothing. The Torah itself must be written on parchment (animal hides), as must mezuzah scrolls, and tefillin must be made out of leather." -ibid.The well-being of animals is so important that:
"We are permitted to violate Shabbat to a limited extent to rescue an animal in pain or at risk of death." -ibid.Does this usage of the fish cause it suffering or risk of death? Incessantly. Transportation to the wedding is stressful, and potentially fatal, to the fish. At the wedding, the fish may not well treated by your guests, especially the younger ones. If the fish are -- as suggested by a card on the table -- taken home by a guest, transportation from the wedding is an additional stress. If the fish are not taken, as most were not, and you have made not other provision for their future welfare, they will likely be discarded as wedding detritus. "Risk of death" is in every moment of using a live animal as decoration.
"In the Talmud, the rabbis further dictated that a person may not purchase an animal unless he has made provisions to feed it, and a person must feed his animals before he feeds himself (interpreting Deut. 11:15)." -ibid.A piece of paper on a table passing this responsibility on to your wedding guests in no way fulfills this requirement.
Rest in peace, Tesla the centerpiece (left). As for the married couple, I hope this ill omen can be overcome. And may your future decisions not be as ill-advised as this one. Or as trayf.
"Judaism has always recognized the link between the way a person treats animals and the way a person treats human beings." -ibid.ADDENDUM: (The next day). Goodnight to you, as well, Edison (right).
September 11, 2007
I'm back! | 02:35 PM
After several hours of absence, this web presence is back online. During the downtime (caused by a lack of renewal of the domain name), our registrar deemed it appropriate to replace the site with the below search page, which we can all agree captures completely the purpose, philosophy, and raison d'etre of JVG.com, its writers, readers, and corporate sponsors...
If this set of links doesn't describe accurately me, what does?
Jesus | Christ | God | Stand Up Comedian | Salsa
Nothing, that's what.
December 23, 2006
Because I love you all... | 09:38 PM
Watch it before they take it down... the uncut version of the best Xmas special ever made...
December 11, 2006
The Worst Thing Xina Has Ever Seen | 11:53 AM
May 03, 2006
Department of Fine Print, Green | 12:31 PM
A call from EZPass:
"You sent us a letter indicating that you want a green pass - the account you have is currently under the MTA, which doesn't qualify for the green pass. You'll need to change it to a NY State Thruway Account, and then you'll get the additional discount whenever you use the thruway."
"But not on the bridges and tunnels?"
March 27, 2006
January 15, 2006
500th Entry... Wow | 04:35 AM
Will somebody please explain to me how it is that I can use my computer to download music, burn a dvd, spy on France via Google Earth, distribute my wisdom to the waiting world via this very blog, and yet am not able to print sucessfully on either of my two printers? Really and truly, it makes no logical sense.
aeu comments: "More importantly, what is France doing?"
Lock comments: "Idea: you should have your comments display on the homepage. Actually, I might do that for my blog. Want to design it? There's a juicy Alexander Hamilton in it for you. "
JVG comments: "How's this?"
December 24, 2005
Where's My Stuff? Update #5 | 12:34 PM
The doorbell rings...
Where's My Stuff? Update #4 | 10:25 AM
Can it be? Can it be? From Kentucky to Newark to Brooklyn to Newark, and now Shipment #5 (2 items) is out for delivery in Brooklyn!
Dec 24, 2005 08:33:32 AM BROOKLYN NY US Out for delivery
What can explain how a package that leaves Kentucky at 2:32pm can arrive at Newark -- a drive of fourteen (14) hours, or flight of several hours -- a mere 2 hours 14 minutes later? Or how that same package can leave Newark at 4:30am, and arrive in Brooklyn 90 Minutes Earlier? Xmas magic, that's what! On Dasher, on Dancer, on UPS, on Vixen!
Could a happy ending be in sight for our little Xmas tale?
December 23, 2005
Where's My Stuff? Update #3 | 12:22 PM
Excitement galore! UPS arrives today with two (2) packages!
Then, I check the tracking for Shipment #5 (2 items):
Can Shipment #5 (2 items) make it from Kentucky to Brooklyn in one (1) day? And what about this cryptic holiday schedule note from UPS: "Saturday Dec 24 Delivery for Saturday Air shipments only. Pickup service is not available. *UPS SonicAir is also available." Would Amazon have sent these presents Saturday Air? I shall wait on Xmas eve day with baited breath. Baited, of course, with mulled wine.
December 22, 2005
Where's My Stuff? Update #2 | 08:03 PM
Shipment #4 (2 items): Shipped on December 18th, 2005
Where's My Stuff? Update #1 | 03:19 PM
Shipment #3 (1 item): Shipped today!
Amazon: Where's my Stuff? | 12:12 PM
An exciting new feature, in which you, the reader, can join me, the site proprietor, in waiting breathlessly for holiday gifts to arrive from Amazon... will they arrive in time for a Merry Xmas? Or will they be gifts for the 8th day of Chanukah? Only UPS, the USPS, and Amazon know for sure.
THE STORY SO FAR:
On December 14th, well within the Amazon "Free Super Saver Shipping" deadline for December 24, I place an order for 9 items and select as my option "Free Super Saver Shipping". Delivery estimate: December 23! For my convenience, Amazon divides the order into 5 different shipments! (Italics mine.)
Here is the tale of those 5 little shipments:
Shipment #1 (3 items): Shipped December 16th, 2005
...and now the fun begins!
Shipment #3 (1 item): Shipping Soon!
But never fear, Amazon is on the case! Here, as proof of their competence, is the email I received yesterday at 8:44am:
I wrote them back, explaining that I was unhappy with this turn of events. Not 8 hours later, they responded!
From: "Amazon.com Customer Service" Date: 21 Dec 2005 13:15:44 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Your Amazon.com Order (#xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx)
Never mind that a package that had not yet been shipped got lost in shipping, or that, according to the Better Business Bureau "Federal law requires orders made by mail, phone or online to be shipped by the date promised"... there's nothing like an "apology for the inconvenience" to warm the cockles of my heart in this, the most holly of holiday seasons.
A few hours after that, the notice came that Shipment #5 had shipped, containing 2 of the items mentioned in the email. Plus, the other shipment mentioned above, which duplicates one of the two items shipped in Shipment #5. Which will arrive first? If the package with the one duplicate item arrives first, should I reject it in the hopes that the package with both items arrives in time? Will Xina have her gifts for Xmas Morning? The excitement builds! Ding ding dingaling ding ding dingaling ding ding dingaling ding!
November 12, 2005
Saturday Afternoon At the Movies | 11:41 AM
October 04, 2005
Secondhand Smoke Killed Your Cat | 12:32 PM
Hey, friendly smokers! You're killing yourself!
You're killing your friends!
You're killing your pets!
But hey, you've got rights! Just like I have the right to stab you in the eye! What's that? I don't have the right to stab you in the eye? Well, that's very strange...
(Smokers rights group NYCClash makes the brilliant political statement on their $30 mugs "Better free than smoke free... What's next? Coffee?" Yes, NYCClash, coffee. Because secondhand coffee kills 40,000 people a year. And for those who might say the American Cancer Society is biased: Isn't a bias against cancer one we can all get behind?)
April 14, 2005
SprintPCASS | 07:52 AM
I don't want a two year goddamn service contract, I don't want a new goddamn plan, I just want to buy a goddamn phone for less than $150. For this fine piece of equipment, worth, by my estimate, upwards of $19.99.
Any ideas? If you are about to suggest "call Sprint customer service," you, sirrah, are an ass.
Perhaps I shall forsake my mobile until those who provide service are no longer the same those who provide phones.
sicka lookin comments: "daammnn, fix the scanner and change the friggin strip, whydontchaawreddy? it's been like a year. or at least it seems like this. im sicka lookin at the same friggin four panels whenever i log on to this shiznizzle web site. if you want ill friggin BUY you a scanner, just stop torturing me ans change the frignizzle strip awreddy!!!!!"
change strip comments: "change strip, king joker."
April 05, 2005
NYC: Parking Law in Action! | 07:38 PM
Parking Ticket Issued: April 17, 2004
Justice served in only 354 days! Would you like fries with that?
December 11, 2004
Rollback! | 04:05 PM
From the NY Review of Books: Behind the scenes at Wal*Mart
The money you save from the "rolled-back prices" comes out of your pocket on tax day: ""...a two-hundred employee Wal*Mart store costs federal taxpayers $420,000 a year... That translates into a total annual welfare bill of $2.5 billion for Wal*Mart's 1.2 million US employees."
December 09, 2004
LS lays down the gauntlet! | 06:10 PM
Among the innovations:
Mssr. Steele claims that one of the reasons to redesign was to spur me into action. Very well, then, Steele. Your challenge has been accepted! Former Fan, sharpen your angry pen the strip returns next week!* Catch up on back issues now!
*JVG.com makes no guarantees, express or implied, as to whether the strip will continue beyond that time frame.
November 22, 2004
Jury Duty! | 07:12 AM
Seems to me that making people who go to bed at 3am get up at 7am for 8:45am Jury Duty should be immediately banned by constitutional amendment.
a former fan comments: "Whatever man you used to have a good stip here but now its balnk all the time. you let me down man, i thought i could count on you. but forget it dude why dont you explain to yopur viewers why the strip isnt up or why your a quitter man"
November 06, 2004
November 04, 2004
Remember... | 02:13 AM
(Not on this site, granted, but potentially, indeed.)
Alexis comments: "And cats."
aeu comments: "And how!"
wvg comments: "for now, only for now."
JVG comments: "In the immortal words of the musical Avenue Q... "Everything in life is only for now... GEORGE BUSH is only for now!""
October 01, 2004
September 01, 2004
Marquee politics | 12:57 PM
Is the Loews Cineplex 34th Street (right across the street from MSG) making a statement with its movie lineup? Among the 12 movies now playing, many have political implications.
Some are obvious:
Some less so:
And some only work if the full title is revealed:
Or am I reading too much into it?
August 30, 2004
The Prodigal Blogger Returns | 12:32 PM
I'm back. Props to guest blogger UGNYC, who did a bangup job this past week!
August 09, 2004
Lessons learned this weekend | 06:30 PM
30: not the age to start doing keg stands.
avr comments: "I completely disagree. In fact I plan on doing all of my drinking upside from now on. Why didn't I pledge a frat?"
May 14, 2004
March 08, 2004
A Sobering Thought | 02:02 PM
Would Passion of the Christ have done as well if Gibson had called it Beating the Fuck Out Of Jesus?
aeu comments: "Probably not."
wvg comments: "But then again . . ."
neilfred comments: "I initially read this as a proposed "perfect sentence", since that's the only kind of blog entry we've seen here for a while. Then I was disappointed when I then read the title of the entry."
aeu comments: ""Fred" has a point. I think it's the best sentence yet!"
aeu comments: ""Fred" has a point. I think it's the best sentence yet!"
aeu comments: "See? It's so nice, I said it twice!"
wvg comments: "Accidental efforts are always the most successful."
January 27, 2004
Special Edition | 12:34 PM
Some sound advice from Huxley, from his introduction to the 1946 edition of Brave New World.
"To pore over the literary shortcomings of twenty years ago, to attempt to patch a faulty work into the perfection it missed at its first execution, to spend one's middle age trying to mend the artistic sins committed and bequeathed by that different person who was oneself in youthall this is surely vain and futile. And that is why this new Brave New World is the same as the old one. Its defects as a work of art are considerable; but in order to correct them I should have to rewrite the bookand in the process of rewriting as an older, other person, I should probably get rid not only of some of the faults of the story, but also of such merits as it originally posessed. And so, resisting the temptation to wallow in artistic remorse, I prefer to leave both well and ill alone and to think about something else."
January 04, 2004
2004: Year of the "Hi-Jink" | 12:01 AM
I do hereby and most solemly resolve to have no less than 18% more "Hi-jinks" in 2004.
December 15, 2003
Conspiracy Theory | 01:23 PM
Stay tuned for the horrifying truth...
December 02, 2003
A Sobering Thought | 04:34 PM
Should the lonely blog?
If not, who will blog for the lonely?
October 27, 2003
Important Announcement | 02:10 AM
Today is our third wedding anniversary.
This news is unrelated to the motto below.
Today's Motto | 01:59 AM
"If it doesn't look completely unlike Albertson, that's good enough for me!"
October 06, 2003
Atonment in Aisle 6 | 12:17 PM
Xina, on her way out to the grocery store:
"I forgot, it's Yom Kippur. Only the Goya section is open today."
September 08, 2003
Xina solves world problems | 12:50 AM
Xina puts forth this proposal in response to Bush's request for 87 billion dollars and International Financial Support:
"Oooh, oooh, I've got it! What if we declare war on the library? Then we can force Germany to pay to keep it open on Sundays!"
August 04, 2003
Advice from my Publicist | 11:42 AM
"There's nothing like a celebrity with an eating disorder. It just makes things more interesting for the press."
July 02, 2003
Seesaw of the Cerebellum | 03:52 AM
A friend: "You used to be all about playgrounds."
Me: "I still am. Only now they're the playgrounds of the mind."
June 23, 2003
A Sobering Thought | 10:52 AM
My 15-year old brother wonders:
"Do you think there's a pumpkin for every monkey in the world?"
After a few minutes contemplation, he concludes:
"I guess pumpkins are out of season right now."
April 23, 2003
A Sobering Thought | 01:14 PM
The most distressing part of the Bloomberg doomsday budget, as the Times points out today, is the forced relocation of longtime Brooklyn residents. Clearly, City Hall never considered the substantial loss of social status for animals who have to move to the Bronx.
March 21, 2003
A Sobering Thought | 11:06 AM
Laura calls in to ask the question:
March 13, 2003
Important Questions | 04:57 PM
Is $689.01 (tax included) too much to pay for a full tune-up with neutral safety switch? Will such repairs allow a car to use gears other than reverse? These are the weighty conundrums with which your hapless author is currently obsessed.
March 06, 2003
A Sobering Thought | 10:47 AM
Everybody talks about the pros and cons of war, but nobody thinks about the real victims: TV Networks.
February 14, 2003
A Sobering Thought | 10:02 AM
More words of wisdom from my father:
January 18, 2003
A sobering thought | 12:03 AM
Why must we be always alone?
January 10, 2003
Correction | 12:13 AM
Iraq. The war is with Iraq.
January 01, 2003
New Year's Resolutions | 12:08 PM
1. Start referring to self in the third person, or at least second person.
December 24, 2002
A Sobering Thought | 01:18 AM
On this, of all days, lets us spare a moment to think of the children in troubled areas like Israel and Palistine, who will have no Christmas this year.
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