Next rant - with some kudos! VerizonFIOS - high speed Internet service, TV, and VOIP phone all stuffed into a fiber optic cable that terminates on the back of my house. I'm pretty satisfied with Verizon's FIOS service overall. It's been reliable, fast, and when there's been a problem, they have corrected it quickly. So technically, they've got it down. But administratively, they're a mess. The first screw-up was when I tried to change the service from a former roommate's name to mine. They wanted to remove all the equipment and send new stuff, even though I had a full DVR of stuff I wanted to keep. Finally they decided that yes indeed, they could just change the name on the account (God help any women who get married).
Fast forward to last week. I saw an ad for a free DVR upgrade - from an 80GB hard drive to a 500GB hard drive - lots more space for recording shows! So I log into my account using Firefox 14 (the latest version). I find the offer. If course, it isn't "free", there is a $39.95 handling fee. OK, so what. It's only money. I click "Confirm" and nothing happens. I go through the whole thing again, and click "Confirm". Nada, zilch, nothing. No movement. So I fire off Chrome (the latest version). Exact same thing. No confirmation page, no email confirming the transaction, even after waiting 30 minutes or so. Finally, I grudgingly open Internet Explorer 9 (the latest version). Lo and behold, it confirms. I get a nice confirmation page, and an email, showing that I will be billed $39.95 and that my new DVR will arrive in 3-7 business days. (Notably, I tweeted this fiasco, and @VerizonFIOS actually answered me, asking about browser versions, and thanking me for the information.) Oh, and every browser opened to a different page, even while using the same URL, forcing me to search each time for the offer. This was on a Thursday. Saturday morning there was a thump and a knock on the door, then a revving as the UPS truck left. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and there are, gasp! TWO new DVRs on my doorstep. I immediately call Verizon. Yes, I was told, I will probably be charged $39.95 twice. And, because it is so early in the billing cycle, neither of the charges is showing yet, so there isn't anything he can do until they do. I tweet all this, and naturally, @VerizonFIOS is silent in return. In the meantime, I unpack a nice, new Motorola Set Top Box DVR for FIOS HD TV. This is a simple install. Hook up the coax, plug in the HDMI cable, add AC, and it turns on and activates. Perfect! Fifteen minutes after unpacking, I've got the new one playing TV and recording another show. Until BOINK! It reboots! And goes through activation again. And its initial download of data again. It does this once an hour or so, all evening long. Sunday morning I unpack the other DVR, hook it up, and it works. Bottom line: VerizonFIOS sends me two by mistake, which by luck, saves their ass from another chewing out. Now I have to take the old box, and the dead box into work and put the boxes in the UPS pick up pile.
This is the first time I've been charged the $15 Monthly Maintenance Fee. If I use the card once a month for business, which is typical, I might spend $15 or $20 unless I'm really lucky and paying for expenses related to a photo shoot. Some months, I use it to buy breakfast...$4 or $5. Using what I know about credit/debit card fees, they average around 2.9% plus about 30¢ per transaction. So if I am not totally brain dead, and use the card to buy a meal a month in the months I don't have real costs associated with the business (checks don't count, I do write a few of them for professional associations and periodicals), BoA will make a few cents off my account. But God forbid I forget, then they make $15!!! The fee is "to encourage businesses to use the card rather than write checks". OK, I get that. But if I am not costing you anything, DON'T FUCKING CHARGE ME, EITHER! Especially since you made a few cents at least off my miserable business balance of $29.10!!!!!
I did leave with a better deal on my personal checking. I get .09% more in interest than I did before. WOO HOO!!!! Oh, and free checks. Too bad for me I had just ordered new checks from Current Checks, since I was down to the last one of 800 that I bought in 1999!
Man, is it expensive to live these days! Yesterday, I made a few stops on the way home from work, and parted with nearly $200!!!!
ABC Store: $25 for some of my friend Evan Williams.
Sonic Drive-in: $5 for 2 hot dogs for dinner.
Target: $93 (for 2 bottles of shampoo, 3 cans shaving cream, 1 box trash bags, 6 tubes tooth paste (one pair was free due to a free $5 gift card), package of razor blades - 10 for $26, some address labels, a box of staples - this all fix into THREE little plastic bags!)
Wawa: $59 for fuel - that's a weekly fill up. And before you Limeys start up, yeah, I know it's a lot more expensive over there!
Convenience Store: $2.30 for ice since I forgot to put Ice Trays on my Target shopping list. My ice maker has quit, and I am not paying someone more than it's worth to fix it, so I shall make ice the manual way.
So that is where I will leave this LONG post. I hope you made it through it. I know my posts have been few and far between since I got back from my trip to England (with its 20+ posts). Maybe I'll find a few more things to rant about as I ramble along!