Posts Tagged with "responsibility"

Asshat of the Day: John Nichols of Mr. Transmission

October 21st, 2008 at 2:28 am by Mark
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     This John Nichols guy is a special kind of asshat.  His misdeeds span across a mutitude of levels, and a couple of different companies, namely his Mr. Transmission business (aka Mr. Transerv 100, Inc. dba Mr. Transmission / MILEX) & Rhino Linings of Knoxville.  Knowing that another friend of mine, a photographer, has been repeatedly screwed by this, and knowing that in his Rhino Linings business he tried to screw me out of the hosting bill, I have no idea why I thought doing any sort of business with this asshat was a good idea.
     Except that I need the business these days…

     I know at least one person who works for Mr. Transmission on Clinton Highway in Knoxville, and so I dropped by last week to see if they could get the rusted clamp off my muffler since I didn’t have a die grinder or a dremel handy, and I knew they did.  But when I walked into the office, John Nichols son, Scott, said, “There it is.”
     “What’s going on?”
     “That computer is all screwed up.  Please fix it!” said Scott.
     “What’s it doing?”
     “It’s really slow, and its taking forever just to enter an invoice,” Mike replied.  “So please do.”
     “Ok,” I agreed.  After the last billing fiasco, where John repeatedly blames Scott, he’d told me that if he wasn’t there, Mike was in charge.  Mike authorized me to the computer, and so I went to work.

     I removed several viruses, several bit of spyware, several trojans, a fake antivirus program, and did all the updates.  During one of the updates, I asked them about the muffler.  Fifteen seconds with a grinder, five seconds with a hammer, and the rusted clamp was off.  They offered to put it on for me if I’d grab the parts.  I took off just down the road and grab a couple of muffler clamps and a 2.25 I/D converter.  That took fifteen minutes, but it was also during the time the system was doing a an antivirus and antispyware scan.  When I got back, they said, they removed the old pipe from the muffler, threw the converter in, clamped it all down and tightened it all up.  A whole fiften minute job.  Couldda done it myself, but I figured I’d take the price outta their bill.

     Once the computer was was finished, and I was satisfied that everything was in proper working order, I started writing up the final bill.
     “Hey, Mike?  How much do I owe ya for the muffler?”
     “Ahh, man, that was nothing.  Don’t worry about it, you don’t owe us anything for that,” he replied.

     I tallied…

Service (Onsite) – 10/15/2008
[systemname] Not Working – System slow and uncooperative
Infected W32.Magistr, W32.Backdoor.Gen, W32.Sality (not AA), W32.SDbot.ETA. Malware/Trojan ScreenView, HexBinAdWare, Virtumundo.Gen(Smitfraud). All Removed Manually, then re-scanned with Windows Defender & Spybot 1.6. Re-Enabled Regedit & Task Manager. Removed Damaged Malware / Fake Antivirus (Antivirus). Removed Damaged/non-working antivirus (Symantec Antivirus 2004). Removed Fake AntiSpyware (Spyware Blaster, RemedyAntispy). Software Updates installed (XPSP3, All Windows Updates, Spybot 1.6, Adobe Acrobat 9, Codec Pack)

     Two hours, at $125 an hour — that’s what I’ve charged for years.  $250 seemed steep given the assistance with the muffler.  And for that trouble, which Mike claimed I “didn’t owe anything” for since they ‘didn’t provide any parts” or “have to do any major surgery,” I knocked a half hour off and gave them a final bill of $187.50.

     On Friday, October 17th, John Nichols called me up cussing me out, telling me that he had already told me that his son, Scott, was not authorized to make decisions for his business.  I told him Mike authorized it, and John began screaming that Mike wasn’t authorized, that every bit of business we did had to go through him, and he wasn’t going to pay.  I cussed the guy up one side and down the other for calling and yelling at me and cussing me out.  He’s a lousy piece of shit that way.
     I printed out the bill, and at 2PM, I went over there.  I recorded the conversation for posterity.  John says he’s not paying, and that we’re even since they installed a muffler.  And that he was the only one to authorize any work or bills.
     I told him that he had said in his absence he had authorized Mike to make those decisions, and in a moment of severe WIMP-ASS, Mike tells me, “No, I didn’t authorize it.”
     And so, Mike, too, is a damn liar.  He didn’t authorize it?  He just told me what was wrong with it for the plain hell of it, and said, “See what you can do?”  And didn’t charge me for a muffler job, said that I didn’t owe anything?  Cool.  Mike’s won’t stand up to John.
     “Well, tell ya what, I either get a check, or you get a warrant.”  And I left.  And I was pissed.

     Ya see, that’s where our first fiasco happened.  Back a few months ago, John himself asked me to register their Rhino Linings domain and put up a splash page, offer e-mail, and prove to him that I could do SEO.  I offered to do that for him on the basis that he paid for the domain, $25 a month in hosting and agreed that we would do the final website in a content management system for around $2500.  He agreed, but his bill got up to $103.75 at the beginning of October because he hadn’t bother to pay for any of it.  I subsequently pointed the domain at this site for a couple of days for non-payment.
     On October 6th, he called me up screaming that his son had no authorization to setup that site, and I screamed right back at him that his friggin’ idea, and then went and picked up my check for $103.75.  He was apologetic, didn’t remember the deal we’d made (right), and told me then that if he wasn’t there, Mike was the only one who had any authority for any business we would do, that his son Scott would have no say whatsoever.  And that’s fine, I agreed, and he agreed to retain the website for an additional year at $25/mo., and eventually use us to build the final site at $2500.

     Now, this Scott thing is kinda pertinent, because this asshole goes off on Scott every second when I’m around, and I’m sure it doesn’t stop when I’m not.  He’s a beligerant asshole to his son, seeking to mock and belittle him in front of customers, other businesses, friends, etc.  John Nichols is a total piece of work… if you can call it that.

     It’s no surprise, of course, that earlier today, I received a bill from Mr. TranServ 100, Inc., dba Mr. Transmission / MILEX, owner, John Nichols.
     For work completed on 10/17/2008.  On a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais. 

Shop Supplies, $3.51
Hazardous Materials, $3.99
Install Muffler, $187.50
Sales Tax, $18.40
Total: $213:40

     Sorry, WHAT THE FUCK?  That won’t even stand up in court.  No work was performed on my vehicle on 10/17/2008, which is clearly printed on the invoice.  I do not own, nor do I know anyone who does own, a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais.  No parts were supplied, hazardous materials handled, or mufflers installed — however, on 10/16/2008, on an entirely different car, a muffler converter was installed because the pipe had rusted through, and the job took 15 minutes, and Mike assured me that I owed nothing for that.  And I removed a half hour from their bill?

     John Nichols clearly wrote this invoice to avoid paying his bill.  I mean, CLEARLY — who the Hell charges $213.40 to install a muffler that wasn’t purchased there and no parts were purchased for? 

     Only you, John.

     You think this is over, you are sadly mistaken.  I consider this a breach of our contract.

     See ya in court, deadbeat!

Flirting 104: Moving to Dating: The Ten Point Cheat Sheet

February 2nd, 2008 at 8:19 pm by Zacque
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It has come to my attention by way of massive amounts of subversive hinting — and some hints that were blatant — that I should share some knowledge in this area.  Mind you, this advice is only aimed at a choice few to include 90 percent of the clueless dating population: men or boys as the case may be from the ages of 18-65; Women from the ages of 18-50; and anyone else who just can’t seem to get their luck up. However, for men, it shouldn’t take that long, there’s a lot of website like which guide you step by step how to win woman’s heart. (On the off chance, you go to church on a regular basis; the previous statement should be “laid” instead of luck.)

Rule number 1:  Remember to reference the dating blogs. Pay special attention to Flirting 101, Flirting 102, and Flirting 103.  If you are like me, do a search for dating through that lovely search bar in the right corner of the screen.  The ones that reference dating in a more depressing light are there for a reason, too.  After all, “a step is a stumble forward, prevented from becoming a fall by taking another step” –Barton Green.

2.  Listen to your best friends.  Deep down, whether you choose to see it or not, they really do have your best interests at heart.

3.  Listen to your best friends.  They can also be a viable judge of character when your judgment clouds. Therefore, this point gets two spots instead of one.

4.  Pay yourself first; never jump in to a relationship where you cannot gain something.  However, with that said you should always be willing to give in order to receive.

5.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Without roots there can be no foundation, if you are trying to sell yourself to someone else you must present your best self.

6.  Treat anyone and everyone with respect.  If you do not respect the person or persons you are trying to court, how can you expect them to treat you any different?

7.  Be patient.  If you are just like your horoscope tells you to be, good things happen to those who wait.

8.  Don’t be afraid to make the first move.  Other people do not know what you are thinking; they are not mind readers.  For the same reason, do not take it too far.  If you ask for dinner, pay for it and have dinner.  More can, and most likely will, come later. 😉

9.  Talk and speak your mind.  If you just get down to business, it is nothing but a one-night stand.  You have to figure out who the other person is and whether or not you are compatible (i.e.: can you live with one another in your lives?).

10.  Keep business and pleasure as simply that.  Then, if one or the other goes awry, you still have some sort of relationship you can salvage.

With this advice, you are now ready to embark back into the dating society of intellectual beings, no matter what their leanings may be in either the bedroom or the political arena.  As there will be further additions to this post, do not forget to keep posted.

God bless, good night, and good luck.

Asshat of the Day: Tommy Salter

November 8th, 2007 at 12:34 pm by Sam
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On August 18th, 24-year-old Tommy Salter decided to celebrate his college graduation at the Fort Walton Beach, FL strip club, Club 10. From all appearaces it was quite the party.

Tommy was in good spirits.

$53,000 worth of spirits (and club cash) to be exact.

As irresponsible children do, Tommy called American Express to cancel the charges. AmEx sided with the club.

Tommy then asked his father, Joe Salter, for help. However, instead of chastising young Tommy for irresponsibly spending $53,000 in a tawdry topless bar, the senior Salter assists in suing the strip club, and having them investigated for fraud and forgery, in addition to larceny.

Investigation showed that $39,000 in charges came after the 4AM last call, however, each of those receipts were signed, and itemized bills were initialed, by the younger Salter. His father, of course, says that those signatures and initials are just “scribbles,” and that since they were signed after last call, it proves that Club 10 was illegally selling alcohol after last call.

Any rational, thinking person would be skeptical of that. The club’s policy is that any bottle of champagne (priced between $150 and $2000) requires a separate receipt, and most people do pay at last call. However, even with that, the club has gone out of its way, even offering to refund those $39,000 in charges which came after 4AM.

I suppose it just hasn’t sunk in with dear ol’ dad that Tommy Boy was smashed and is trying his damndest to get out of paying his bills.

Can you say “Buyer’s Remorse,” boys and girls?

I knew you could.

A Customer Service Triumph

August 6th, 2007 at 11:04 am by Mark
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     When I came back into the country five years ago, I was pretty sick of renting movies at Ballbuster (and a few other places) because they were usually staffed by teeny-boppers who were more interested in playing Playstation games behind the counter than actually helping anyone.  I figured if I could “cut out the middle man” and actually get the movies I wanted, it’d make things a lot more simple.
     I took the plunge, signed up with, and couldn’t be happier.

Netflix, Inc.     While living in DC, it was easy.  I could drop my returns in a government maildrop, and the very next day, I’d have a fresh DVD.  After moving back to Knoxville — my hometown — things got a little worse.
     Certain Post Offices in Knoxville just suck.  They lose things, don’t deliver things for weeks, hold onto things, send them back “Addressee Unknown,” and a multitude of other, more destructive, handling errors that make me wonder if they’re not getting their staff from a soup line somewhere… and God knows there are plenty in this burg…

     I’ve had one particular movie out for quite a while.  I finally watched it a few weeks ago, and dropped it in the mail with three others around July 22nd.  Two arrived back at Netflix on the 25th.  One arrived back 26th.  One still hasn’t arrived… Meanwhile, three more DVD’s were shipped out to me on the 25th and 26th, but I still haven’t gotten the bloody things.
     Imagine my surprise earlier today when received e-mail notification that the three they’d shipped to me had been received back at Netflix…

     I called Netflix Customer Service — for the first time in ages — and spoke with a rep named Mary Ann.  She went through the usual steps, verified my address, and found that the DVD’s had actually looped from the Post Office.
     “Typical,” I told her.  “This post office blows… If you look back in my history, you’ll notice every shipping problem I’ve ever reported was from this specific place…”
     “You know what, you’ve been a good customer for a really long time,” she said.  “Nearly five years.  Wow!”
     We talked a bit more about the problems, and found that the new Netflix policy allows them to go after a specific Post Office on behalf of a customer when there are more than three incidents within a ninety-day period.  Good news!
     “While we’re waiting for problems, and I sincerely hope you don’t have any, I’m gonna knock 25% of your charges for the next few months, and give you a couple of vouchers for extra DVD’s,” she said happily.
     “Are you serious?” I asked.  It clearly wasn’t the fault of Netflix.
     “Well, I wouldn’t do this for a customer that’d only been with us for three months, but like I said, you’ve been a good customer for five years, and you deserve a little extra something,” she explained.
     “Wow!” I exclaimed.  “I really appreciate that!  Thanks!”
     “You’re very welcome!”

     My complaint wasn’t with Netflix, and I had questions. She understood my questions, answered them, gave me a number of things I could do to assist in rectifying the situation and then went out of her way to give me a few courtesies for being a long-time, loyal customer.
     Now, seriously, how often does that happen when you call up with inquiry?
     And how could I not refer other people to them given that sort of experience?

     Really, customer service has sucked almost everywhere for a while now, due in no small part to the cost savings of setting up middle-of-nowhere call centers with completely untrained staff who don’t know the product or technology and simply aren’t used to dealing with people.  And foreign outsourcing only makes that sort of thing even worse…

     Fortunately, Netflix has US-based call centers filled with polite, friendly and knowledgable staff who are truly interested when there’s a problem.  That’s almost unheard of these days.  (Well, unless you’re dealing with one of my companies — heads will roll over poor Customer Service)   

     As a representative of her company, what Mary Ann portrayed today was a business with a proper, correct and reputable mindset.  It’s no wonder they’re the biggest and brightest, even though there are several more inexpensive alternatives.
     95% of the DotCom start-ups out there (and cellphone carriers, service companies, fast food, etc. etc. etc.) believe in attracting “New Business” all the time.  They utilize Blitzkreig customer service and Viral marketing which ensures that they sell “one” of everything they offer to every person in the world, and move on to the next customer. 
     High customer turnover isn’t good for anyone; the methodology is entirely incorrect in any business, and especially bad for a Service company where solid customer relationships are crucial for maintaining long-term, residual capital.  Regular, established customers are the ones who continue to come back, refer new business, and stick with you through the lean times.  They’re your best marketers, and they deserve to be treated with a little dignity.

     Netflix, very obviously, gets that.  It’s refreshing to see that they instill those values in the Customer Service reps, as well.

Stock Photos

Bad Driving aka “Let’s Piss People Off Again”

July 25th, 2007 at 5:03 pm by Mark
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     I’ve talked a couple of times about our local Knoxville culture getting screwed up by a bunch of asshats moving here and trying to rebuild it in their own image … From basic skills of “being intentionally rude and uncaring” to “being a good neighbors.”
     When I say that they don’t know how to be “good neighbors,”  it’s not about the people next door who keep to themselves— it’s about having a sense of community and civic responsibility.  East Tennessee’s had that until recent years.

     In this area, people drive pretty well, whereas in my travels, I’ve often complained about the way people drive.
     Here, they’re slightly aggressive, and mostly polite.  They tend to pay attention, and allow people their space.  They don’t try and run you down when you’re coming on an interstate entrance ramp.  They don’t stop in the middle of the road for no reason.  The light is green, they go.  The light is red, they stop.  They don’t pull out in front of people for no reason.  And they pretty much obey the traffic laws.
     But people who move here?  Yeah, not so much…

     Cathy, over at Domestic Psychology, got on the same train of thought

This week, I pulled up to the white line behind which you are expected to stop at a red light. I came to a stop and looked closely at the car beside me which crossed all four tires across the line before stopping. When the light turned green, I looked at the beyond the line driver’s plates and saw that they were Indiana plates. I was letting the information slide to the back of my mind as I pulled to another red light and another car did the exact same thing. This time I was far enough back to see that the eager driver had Illinois plates. Twice in 5 minutes on Kingston Pike, a very heavily trafficked street I saw cars doing what I consider against the law and both times they had out of town plates. So, I thought about this the rest of the way to my destination. Number one thought was that I was getting tired of catching every single red light. Number two thought was that maybe other states don’t have lines at intersections like Tennessee does. My third thought was that there must be something wrong with drivers in states that start with the letter “I”. Number four thought, which I seriously considered the longest, was that Tennessee drivers are just more considerate and law abiding drivers.

     Due to my comments about that, which Cathy chose to include on her blog entry … I will now list the “Women Can’t Drive” States:

  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Both Dakotas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota

     It could be because of the whole “We have farms!  Be a housewife!” thing, and many women are worried about driving after being stigmatized for years.  It could also be because of a lack of Driver’s Education in those states (which is amusing considering that Michigan actually produces quite a few automobiles).  It could also be because city-type areas are much further away from each other “up north” than they are in the East Tennessee area, and people don’t know what the Hell to do when they keep seeing red light after red light, entrance ramp after entrance ramp, car after car… By the way, if you don’t have enough knowledge about driving, you are prone to accident. Good thing, you can lean on Sacramento, CA Car Accident Lawyers for they are dedicated in solving every accident cases no matter what the situation is.      Strangely, these are also the “Driving Without a License” States…