Apr 212014

Went to Newegg.com on Saturday and ordered my dad a gift certificate for his birthday. He didn’t get it all weekend. Then, this morning, I received this:

Thank you for shopping at Newegg.com.

We’re doing everything we can to make sure your online purchase is secure.

Our order verification procedures occasionally require us to contact a customer at his/her billing phone number before releasing an order. This procedure protects our customers, Newegg, and identity theft victims from debit or credit card fraud. Unfortunately, you were unavailable when we attempted to contact you at your billing phone number: 256-xxx-xxxx.

Please contact us from your billing phone number: 256-xxx-xxxx as soon as possible so that we may confirm your order and release it for shipping. You may call us at 1-800-390-1119, Monday through Saturday 9:00AM – 5:00PM PT.

Please note that the shipment will be delayed unless we receive a prompt response for this order. Your order will be automatically cancelled if verification is not completed within five (5) business days of the original order date.

We greatly apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Now understand I’ve done business with Newegg.com several times before. Furthermore, when I received this, Newegg.com already had the charge pending on my credit card. I replied:

Folks, I will not be required to place a voice call to you in order for you to send my father’s gift certificate to him. I will not do it today or ever.

I do not like the telephone. I particularly do not like being required to use it from my home during hours when I am not normally there.

I see the pending charge on my American Express card, so I know you’re not having a problem with payment. Please send the gift certificate immediately or cancel the order.

Less than an hour later, they replied:

Thank you for contacting Newegg.

I do apologize for the inconvenience. For your protection as a customer of Newegg, our verification department is requiring additional information in which they may need to contact you at the billing phone number provided in your order. Please call customer service between 9:00am to 4:00pm PST Monday through Saturday from your billing telephone number and the verification team will call you back within 2 hours to verify your order.

To which I responded:

As I said, I refuse to use the telephone to complete this transaction. Please cancel the order immediately.

Their reply:

I’d be happy to assist you. Per your request, I have just cancelled this order in our system. You will receive a confirmation email in 10 minutes.

So after they rode their mindless procedure all the way into the ocean, I called them out on Twitter. Then I heard from their Twitter account:

We’re sorry to hear this. We’d like to look into this further for you. Can you email us at wecare.twitter@newegg.com?

To which I replied:

I will forward you the CS correspondence. I don’t like the telephone, and an online merchant compelling its use loses me.

I forwarded the chain of correspondence. Then I received:

Thank you for contacting Newegg.

I apologize for inconvenience. Unfortunately, we could not open attachment. Can you please kindly resend attachment to me at (redacted)@newegg.com?

To which I replied:

The correspondence trail is below. I believe it is between you and I.

Got it? The Twitter person referred me back to the very same guy I’ve been going back and forth with all day long, who then apparently failed to realize that. No further correspondence as of right now.

Online merchants, I don’t want to talk to you on the telephone. Absent a very good reason, I won’t. I’ll just go somewhere else.

 Posted by at 8:45 pm
Apr 202014

paulsWith the release of Paul Stanley’s Face the Music: A Life Exposed two weeks ago, all four original members of Kiss have now written a memoir.

Ace’s and Peter’s both landed within the last year or three. Gene’s came out more than 12 years ago, but he’d write the same book today with just a few different details. So I don’t have a problem considering it a contemporary of the other three.

I was vaguely aware of Ace’s and Peter’s books, though didn’t feel compelled to read them until after I read Paul’s (which I did nearly in one sitting, by the way). I haven’t quite finished Ace’s, though I’m close enough that I’m confident no major surprises await.

Paul Stanley has been a hero of mine for almost my entire life. (I got Destroyer for my fifth birthday.) I like that he’s a working class Queens kid made good. He wrote most of my favorite Kiss songs (the only non-Paul song I count among my very favorites is “Deuce”). He is one of the finest rock ‘n’ roll vocalists ever.

I’ve always related to his Starchild persona. I saw in Paul a guy who reveled in the spotlight—but on his terms. That meant that when the spotlight was off, he didn’t want to be bothered at all, but he was eating it up when it was on.

I had that really wrong. We all did.

bohallowHe explains in Face the Music—sincerely, poignantly, and at length—that the Starchild was born of necessity, as a way he could relate to and interface with the world. Paul is honest and articulate when he shares his deep insecurity with his readers. It is only within the past several years that he’s ever been at peace. Mind, this does not read at all as poor little rich rock star, boo hoo hoo. You get it in your heart. This guy was really hurting for a long, long time.

Of course, the Kiss stories are there too. This is almost certainly the most accurate account of Kisstory of any of the four books. He’s believably settled, so he’s largely without the sorts of passions and/or motivations that could cloud his accounts. (Plus, he’s the only guy who’s been on the ground looking out for the band since its inception.) It’s a lot easier to swallow this than it is Gene’s relentless self-promotion, or Ace’s yeah-probably-but-I-was-so-drunk-who-knows?, or Peter’s spittle-flecked rage.

Mostly I walked away from Face the Music thinking that I’ve been right to think Paul Stanley was special, but wrong in my understanding of why. What I thought was going on with him—what it looked like was going on with him—was almost never accurate. I want to re-explore his entire body of work knowing what I know now. And I shall.

This book is written with considerable care and skill, and “exposed” is an appropriate word to have in the title. There is refreshing vulnerability here from one of the best rock frontmen of all time. This book is a must-read treasure for both Kiss fans and students of the human animal.

Thank you, Paul. Grand slam. Very well done.


 Posted by at 10:55 pm
Apr 202014

The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. – Matthew 28:5-6 I hope this Easter finds your house and heart filled with [...]

 Posted by at 8:40 am
Apr 182014

The eighth and final sinkhole Corvette—the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06—was recovered last week. (And by “recovered,” I mean they’ve raised something that I’d guess most people would say was once a car.) Wow. No attempt should be made to restore this car. A significant percentage of it is flat-out absent, and it’s not at all [...]

 Posted by at 6:23 pm
Apr 132014

I had a busy weekend scheduled, but I’ve been home since late Friday morning. The diagnosis is peroneal tendonitis, and I promise it hurts a lot more than it sounds like it does. I was walking to my car Thursday evening when over the course of about ten steps, it became impossible for me to [...]

 Posted by at 1:42 pm

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