Not So Zippy

**Update** ~ Apparently, they do pay attention to blogs and cyber “stuff”.  I got an email and a phone call from the corporate office. The guy was nice and very apologetic. He gave me a credit, which at this point I don’t care about but I appreciated the offer. The part I did care about was his genuine concern. He made a real effort to understand my problem and listen. He also gave me his personal work email for future problems.

Don’t get me wrong, all is not forgiven but at least someone is finally paying attention. The face I had to bad mouth the company in a public forum to finally get a response hasn’t escaped my notice either.

I discovered Zipcar when I first moved to SF. For those not in the know, the concept is simple. Instead of having to rent a car by the day or week, you rent by the hour. Your hourly rate includes the cost of the car, insurance, and gas. The process is also very simple. With registration, you get a card with a digital chip in it. You log online via the web or various mobile apps, sign up for an available car of your choice, show up, slide your card over the scanner, start the car and drive away.  Great idea right? It used to be.

Zipcar started out as a bright, fun, spunky little company with a novel approach to renting cars. A niche market for sure, but in a city as dense as SF one would think there is virtually no way to fail.

Where do I start with my frustration? I don’t know if its because they’ve grown too big or just plain greedy. Either way, this fun little company is ranking one step below AT&T for all time worst customer service right now in my mind. Oh yeah, you begin to feel my pain.

It all started about 2 years ago with a car that had a flat tire. I didn’t notice the flat until I hopped in the car to drive away. I made it less than a block, turned around, drove back to the spot and notified the company. Imagine my surprise when 2 weeks later I got a bill for the repair. I called, got a credit, and went on my merry way. A month later I find a suspicious charge on my bank statement. Turns out I got re-billed for the flat. Even though I went out of my way to help, because I physically drove the car before noticing the flat I got tagged with the bill. As disappointing it was, I accepted my part in the process and ate the cost. I figured one hiccup along the way was acceptable.

Sadly, things have gone from bad to worse. I’ve experienced so much frustration since then I’ve lost all faith in the company. Granted, no business model is perfect and one that depends as much on its customers as it does its employees is bound to have problems. I totally understand that. But when I do have problems, the outright lack of concern and open disdain from the employees is not acceptable. More often than not, the line employees seem more intent on putting me in my place and citing policy vs actually listening. Out of the last 10 reservations, 4 have gone smoothly.

Today, I show up to pick up my car and its not their. [1]If the car isn’t in use you can pick it up up to 14 minutes early with no extra charge. My time slot arrives, still no car. I call in to find out what’s going on. I’m already feeling annoying expecting the worst. The rep couldn’t find the car or a previous reservation. After some digging he discovers the car was taken out of service for repair and returned. Apparently not as the car is missing. After some more searching with no luck, he offers to move my reservation. Keep in mind my start time has already come and gone. He ends up moving me to another car 4 blocks away. To be fair, he did adjust my slot and gave me an hour credit. However, at this point neither of which was any consolation. I’m just plain tired of crappy to non-existent service.

I show up at the new location to find my 2nd car parked and ready. While I’m picking it up, I notice the car I was supposed to have is parked 2 slots away. Stupid me, I was considerate enough to call back and let them know where the first car was. The 2nd rep didn’t seem to comprehend. Mind you, I am pretty angry at this point and I’m being none too polite. Her stupidity only made it worse. I finally got her to understand what I was saying or at least I thought I did. As I’m preparing to end the call, she says, “ok sir, I have changed her reservation and your new drop off time is all set.

Excuse me? No ma’am. One, I was already in my new reservation so she was flat out lying to me. Two, my slot was already adjusted so double whammy. I finally lose my temper, let loose a string of obscenities about her stupidity and hung up. I’d had it.

I’m at the point now where I’d dump them all together if there was a easier alternative. [2]Of course, if they keep this up, someone better will eventually replace them. City Car share has a footprint here but they are much smaller and don’t anywhere near the number of cars or pickup spots.

Customer service is a dying art in most companies these days and to see a company with so much potential fall so far in such a short period of time is extremely disappointing.


1 If the car isn’t in use you can pick it up up to 14 minutes early with no extra charge.
2 Of course, if they keep this up, someone better will eventually replace them.

Shock & Awe

I guess customer service isn’t dead. Its no secret I tend to whine a lot about lip service most big corps give about customer service.

I sent the Apple guy flowers yesterday. Besides the obvious, he got some very sad news and I wanted to put a smile on his face. It might be old-fashioned but I think sending flowers is a very sweet and meaningful gesture. [1]As my luck would have it, so did he. Anyway, I had never used before, they were top of the search list for online ordering so I decided to give’em a whirl.

My choice was a small medley of simple but pretty flowers along with a small teddy bear and chocolates; totally the right choice in my mind. They arrived no problem and he seemed to enjoy them.

However, he happened to post a pic online and I was irritated to all hell. Not only was it NOT what I sent, the flowers were already wilting and droopy. No no no, no ma’am, no siree bob, uh-uh, no-no . . .  I fired off a short but direct and honest email to the company. [2]I honestly didn’t expect them to do anything but I wanted them to know how displeased I was. Being in a customer service oriented industry, I did try to balance my disappointment with constructive feedback. Just being nasty and making threats rarely works. I don’t think it is unreasonable to have an expectation of services promised and feel it is important for consumers to hold companies accountable for shitty service.

To my surprise, they sent him a 2nd round of flowers totally free of charge before they responded to my complaint. I actually had no idea until he texted me at work about the 2nd delivery. I logged into my email [3]I don’t load my junk email account on my PDA and sure enough there was an email apology, the notice of the 2nd delivery, and a $20 gift certificate!  Sure enough, the 2nd pic posted was much more in line with what I had originally ordered. Not only that, they were fresh!

You could have sold me for a quarter and got change back I was so surprised! A corporate entity actually went out of its way to make their customer happy! What a ducky idea! lol Seriously though, I was very pleased, as was the Apple guy to get 2 deliveries of flowers! And yes, I will give them another try in the future.


1 As my luck would have it, so did he.
2 I honestly didn’t expect them to do anything but I wanted them to know how displeased I was.
3 I don’t load my junk email account on my PDA

6Dollar Patience

Sometimes patience is NOT a virtue. Since I can’t sleep at the moment I thought I’d go on a little corporate bitch-fest.

Knowing I love t-shirts, one of my twitter buddies referred me to a site that specializes in cheap but unique shirts. Sounds good right? I hopped over to and true enough they offered a great selection of not so common t-shirts at a great price. [1]Actually, the shirts were so cheap, the shipping was more than the shirt.

I found a shirt I liked and placed my order. Got a confirmation the very next day that my ‘order had been processed’. I’m like, ‘damn skippy, that was fast’.  I then proceed to wait, wait, and then wait some more. After 2 weeks I sent a short request for an update and got this vague reply.


6DollarShirts customer service is extremely backed up right now due to staffing issues. We are working our hardest to answer emails as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we ask for your patience until we get this resolved. We are printing shirts overtime right now and orders are shipping a few days behind schedule . If the matter is extremely urgent, please call us at 352.371.6536.

Thank You,

My first annoyance, this was clearly a canned response which had no real connection to my order/request. Then I remembered my order was supposed to have already been processed. Now, not only am I feeling annoyed but lied to as well. Needless to say, I was not pleased. Needing to vent, I made a quick bitchy-blurb on twitter. To my surprise, I got a follow up comment thru twitter from the company. I’m thinking, ‘ok, maybe they really are trying’. Lo and behold I find an email in my inbox the very next morning with confirmation of shipment (again).

At this point, I’m somewhat mollified thinking my order is on the way. Sadly, I go on to wait, wait, and wait some more, yet again. I send a 2nd follow up email, to which I got no reply at all. Finally today, a full month to the day, I got my order in the mail. To be fair, the shirt (left) was designed as promised and was overall the product I ordered.

Any excitement I had over getting the item was completely overshadowed by the underhanded business practice used to get a quick sale on a product. Not only that, they made no real attempt to help me as a customer, no apology, no expedited shipping, nothing. No surprise, I doubt I’ll ever spend money on said company again, regardless of how cheap their shirts are.

On a related note, it seems this practice is becoming more and more common every day. There is virtually no concern for real customer service anymore at all. Basically, greed has taken over and everything else is secondary to most companies.

Here’s a clue to all you up and coming ‘entrepreneurs’ out there. People actually don’t mind paying a reasonable price for quality AND service. I’d even argue most people would be willing to pay a little more for exceptional levels of both.

Lesson learned. I guess you really do get what you pay for.



1 Actually, the shirts were so cheap, the shipping was more than the shirt.

Problem Solved

I can no longer recommend as a good ISP.  While their services are cheap and easy their tech support is some of the worst I’ve ever encountered.  The (overseas) techs are often completely ignorant of anything but the most basic problems. 

After spending almost a week and half going round and round w/them, I fixed the problem myself.  They kept blaming WordPress and WordPress says it was  a standard they were ignoring.  Blah blah blah. 

Anyway, I wrote a script and then found an even simpler one that solved all the issues (so far).

The sub-domains


are all functioning correctly once again. 


I rarely advertise for corporate logos here as….well not many companies every really meet my expectations.  Most corporate gigs these days are all talk about customer service until it comes right down to it, then they stick it to you.  I’m happy to say, not all.


I’ve been the proud owner of a BBP bag for about 2 years now.  The unique design first drew me when I started riding motorcycles.  This bag allows me to push the weight down onto my lower back instead of pushing me onto the handle bars.  It also doubles as an over the shoulder tote-bag. [1]They have a nifty little vid on their homepage that shows how easy the bag converts.  The picture above is the XL version as I have 17" laptop.

I give them props for standing behind their product.  They offer a lifetime warranty and they mean it.  I’ve only had two problems in the past two years but both times they helped w/only a minimum of fuss.  The first bag had to be replaced completely.  They had just branched into larger bags and the zipper compartment was faulty.  Once I sent them a pic of the broken zipper, they sent me a new one pronto.

My second problem popped up recently.  The back buckle has a little resistance lip to keep the straps from slipping.  One of the lips cracked off.  Once again, the folks over at BBP sent me my new shoulder strap w/just a picture for proof. [2]I did have to pay for shipping but that was expected. 

Anyway, if you are in the market for a new bag, give’em a whirl.  It may or may not be for you but I can vouch first hand they stand behind their product.  A very rare thing these days. 


1 They have a nifty little vid on their homepage that shows how easy the bag converts.
2 I did have to pay for shipping but that was expected.

Climbing On My Horse.

Once again ignunce rears its ugly head. I’m catching up my on my blogroll from work when I stumble across this post from

The owners of a new website basically attacked Andy/Bill of the family of websites with the image below.


When called to task for the behavior the site owner further had this to say.

You just cannot fathom how incorrect you are. For every one of you fluffy fags that defend those two child endangering losers, we get 200 to join our REAL Bear site. Why? Because outside of GayLoserTown USA, (aka San Francisco), the rest of the gay world regrets you flaming queens even exist. Your bring the curve down for the rest of the community, and are the root cause of why we don’t have equal rights.

Forgetting for a moment the outright nastiness of the owner, most of the rights we have today are thanks to ’those flaming queens’ he so detests. In the words of Donna Sachet, "Get a clue, Mary".

I happen to know Andy and Bill from various charities here in SF. It might be worth mentioning they don’t live in SF but far be it from me to offer up petty details. They are two of the friendliest, nicest guys you could ever meet. To me, they are the poster children for the bear community. To try and defame them is childish and irresponsible. Oh, and the pics used above were all taken from charity fundraisers. Andy and Bill own,, and websites. They give thousands of dollars (and I do mean thousands) every year to local and national charities. It boggles the mind to someone from our own community is now attacking them in an attempt to make a buck.

Whether you identify as a bear or not, I encourage you to spread the word NOT to do business w/this guy. People like this only understand one thing, money. So I say we hit’em where it hurts.

I’m off to celebrate w/all "those flaming queens".

Buy, Sell, Oh Hell…

I’m thinking of joining the ranks of corporate clones that follow/invest in the stock market. Actually, I’d just like to buy a few stocks now and then.

Of course, I have no fraking clue how to about doing it. I’ve checked out a few online sites but it’s all greek to me. If any kind knowledgable soul out there has any tips, I’d be much appreciative. Basically, I don’t want a monthly bill or to stock some online power brokerage account w/money. I just wanna buy a few stocks online and keep up w/them online.

Any suggestions?

? Hold Music ?

I absolutely detest automated phone systems. I recently bought a backpack for my new laptop from Dell. The laptop is beautiful and working flawlessly. The backpack itself is fine its just not the right size. Ok, more correctly, it is the right size however, they neglect to tell you the inside fitting for the laptop is much much smaller. I’m a frequent online shopper so this speed bump is not completely unexpected.

The packaging slip says I have to call to get a return shipping # before I can actually return the package. It specifically states I must call not go online.

Issue #1:
I spent 25 minutes on hold. Not a good first impression as far as I’m concerned. So while I’m painfully being submitted to monotonous hold music I discover I can, in fact, go online for the same information. I go online searching for return info. Again, navigation issues from hell.

Issue #2:
Every possible question but ‘returns’ seems to be answered in the online F.A.Q. (frequently asked questions). Finding none of the required information, I end up on a blank ‘contact us’ form. Only at this point, does it give me a place to go for the needed info. Once there, getting the number was simplicity itself.

I’m only annoyed because Dell sings constantly about their fabulous customer support. Well, I can tell you from personal experience, it ain’t that fabulous. If I had to rate it, I’d give it a flat “average”. The simplicity of ordering and receiving goods is darkly shadowed by such a poor follow up nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, in the age of automation and mega corporations I realize there cannot be a live body to answer my every whim of a question. However, as a rule to avoid confusion, you should never have a phone/online tree going more than 3 options deep. Anything beyond that is just pointless and a waste of time.

So to all you big wigs you read my blog (yeah, and pigs might fly out of my butt!), take note….NO FREAKING ENDLESS PHONE TREES!!!!!

*sighs* I feel better now.

Corporate Disgrace – Again

I don’t know if this is the first incident of 2005 but its the first I’ve noticed. Anyhoo, so get this. A guy is fired from a blood lab for disclosing he is HIV. A BLOOD LAB! The very people who should know better. (full story)
John Couture was hired by Bonfils Memorial Blood Center to work as a phlebotomist – a technician who draws blood – as part of a mobile blood collection team.
Several weeks into his training, he was informed that members of his training class would practice on each other to learn how to draw blood. Couture disclosed his HIV status to his employer to avoid the possibility that one of one of his colleagues would come into contact with his blood during this one-time training. As a result, Bonfils Memorial Blood Center fired him from his position as a phlebotomist, yet allowed him to apply for an inferior position in the production department where he would have no contact with blood donors.

Wait, I know what you’re thinking, “this sounds like a bad episode of Nip/Tuck“. No, I’m afraid not, this really happened. How often do you hear of a phlebotomist saying oops, silly me, I drew my own blood and, *feigned laugh* I accidentally put in your vial” I mean how stupid do these people have to be? Basically, he’d have to draw someone’s blood, stick himself w/a needle draw some of his own blood and then inject it into a used vial.

*ring ring, its the clue phone*

Big Corps Do A Good Deed?

So I’m channel surfing today and I see several news reports about big corporations doing “their part” to help in the relief effort overseas. First, I think channel guides are for sissys! Its amazing the things you discover channel surfing. Anyway, back to the topic. . .

So I see big Corps. like Walmart, Exxon, Pfizer Anheiser-Bush, etc jumping on board to give money. First and foremost I’m grateful they are helping out. The money and items donated will go to people in desperate need right now. However, I’m a tad shocked at how low the numbers are. Yes, we are talking millions of dollars and yes that is alot of money. Yet, I find it a bit disconcerting when Anheiser-Bush can spend 22.5 million dollars on commercials for the upcoming superbowl yet they can only come up w/a measly 2 million donation to the relief effort. I guess I should be grateful they are donating at all but I can’t help but feel just a little bit pissed off. Most of these companies haven’t really impressed me w/their donations. If anything its a ploy to drum up better business for them. After all, the publicity is sure to make their bottom lines a bit fatter. I guess I should just shutup about it. After all, any money they give is helpful.

I am happy to see all the blogs w/info and support for donations as well. Almost every blog I read daily has made mention of the tragedy and possible ways to help out. Shit, I’m flat broke right now and I coughed up a few hundred bucks along w/two boxes full of clothes and stuff. If I am doing it, how many others like me are doing the same thing? *ponders*