Nov 122015

a huge fuck you to the asshat vendor of the day: the miller coors brewing company.


because on thursday august 20th i won a contest wherein miller said they would award me $2,000.

three-and-a-half weeks later, on monday, september 14, i [finally] received notification from them (toiia duncan), via email, that i had indeed won the prize and that i needed to fill out paperwork to claim the prize. oh, and that i had just five calendar days to do so. (name, phone, email, notarized, etc.) that email stated “Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will receive your prize, at the address you registered within 6-8 weeks from date of notification.”

three days later, on thursday, september 17, i emailed them my completed and notarized affidavit and received confirmation from them that it had been received.

upon inquiring as to the whereabouts of the award, on october 28 i received word from jessica cichocki that i was indeed on the approved winners list.

on tuesday, november 3, in an email to me toiia stated “But as soon as I hear these have been processed and mailed I will let you know to be on the lookout.”

today is thursday, november 12. monday, november 9 was the eight-week mark of the “notification date” within which i was supposed to receive my prize. to date i have received nothing and have not even heard from them that the prizes have been processed.

we are now in week nine since the “notification date”.

i have jumped through all the hoops that miller put in place. i have provided an extremely large amount of of personal information, have assigned rights to use my name until the end of time, etc.

and as of yet miller lite has not awarded the prize.

based on their own rules i should have received the prize no later than monday, november 9.

when aksed what the status of the award was, toiia duncan responded that it would be at least three more weeks.

miller makes the reules and they expect everyone else to follow them. except themselves.

and so, for that, a big heartfelt fuck you to the miller coors brewing company and toiia duncan.

p.s.: i won your prize at a bar. but i don’t drink alcohol. and if i did, i sure as hell would not drink the urine-like substances that miller coors calls “beer”.

 Posted by at 13:24
Nov 032015

idiot vendor of the day: pacific automotive company (dba napa auto parts); 260 8th st; san francisco

Pacific Automotive Co
Donald C Rogers
260 8th St
San Francisco, CA 94103-3984
415 861-3821
manager: Johnny Chu

went in to purchase two brake light bulbs. $3.55. i handed the clerk my visa card. my visa card is perfectly valid, in good shape, with an intact magnetic stripe, and a signed signature panel. the clerk asked to see my id. i did not have one. (and if i did have one, i would not have shown it to him.) the clerk refused to sell me the bulbs because i did not have an id.

the clerk was also not interested in looking at visa’s “Card Acceptance Guidelines for Visa Merchants” from the website where, at the top of page 34, it says:

“When should you ask a cardholder for an official government ID? Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID except in the specific circumstances discussed in this guide, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot as part of their regular card acceptance procedures refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. It is important that merchants understand that the requesting of a cardholder ID does not change the merchant’s liability for chargebacks. However, it can slow down a sale and annoy the customer. In some cases, it may even deter the use of the Visa card and result in the loss of a potential sale. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures.”

again: “[ . . . ] merchants cannot as part of their regular card acceptance procedures refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID.”

but that’s what they did. idiots.

the business needs to adhere to the agreement they entered into when they agreed to accept visa cards. specifically, and pursuant to visa’s own “Card Acceptance Guidelines for Visa Merchants”, they need to STOP refusing to complete transactions when a customer will not or cannot show them and id. the business needs to modify their card acceptance policy. let’s hope the complaint filed with BBB helps achieve that.

 Posted by at 14:47
Aug 282014


lately i’ve been teaching myself to screen print t-shirts. there is lots of good info on the intertubes and it’s been a lot of fun. i have the basic process down such that i can print a simple design and end up with a great looking shirt … i even wore my very first self-printed tee the other night (the design was printed a little crooked but i still wore it.) i’m actually pretty excited about it … i have a number of designs i want to print and being able to claim that they’re one-of-a-kind shirts and that i did it myself has a lot of value to me.

while looking for info i ran across a bunch of free tutorials from catspit productions in arizona, owned by johnathan monaco. lots of good info and tips. to support the production of the free tutorials he sells screen printing supplies and equipment. in each of his videos he plugs his supplies and equipment website. since i’ve gotten a lot of good free info from him and since i needed some supplies, i decided to order some things from him.

important side note: as i’ve noted elsewhere on this site, whenever i transact business with a vendor i ensure that the email address i give them is unique to them. i run my own dns and mail servers, so that is easy for me to do. when i give the vendor the email address it is unique to that vendor. it is not just something at gmail or yahoo or hotmail (which would be be relatively easy to guess via a brute force attack); the address is in its own sub-domain of a domain which i have registered and use strictly for the purposes of providing vendors with unique email addresses. when i give the email address to the vendor, that vendor is the only party in the world beside myself who knows about the address. doing this benefits me in two ways: i get no spam (because it is very unlikely that spammers will guess my scheme for concocting email addresses); if i do get an email to that address from anyone other than the vendor then i know that the vendor has been somehow sharing my information with a third party. (my scheme has served me well over the years. i get virtually no spam. unless it’s been when a vendor has somehow caused my email address to be compromised, and in those cases i just disable that one email address for that one account and it doesn’t impact all my other accounts with other vendors.)

with that said, when i placed my order with catspit productions i created a unique email address just for them. along the lines of ( is not my domain. does not belong to anyone. it’s only ever used for illustrating examples, which is what i’m doing here.)

i placed my first order. three items. $44.91. i almost immediately received a confirmation email. so far so good.

about 13 hours later i received an email from catspit saying “Your order has been received and is currently being processed. The order status will be updated from “Awaiting Fulfillment” as soon as we near shipping or after we ship your order.” sounds good to me.

ten minutes after that there’s a missed call on my phone. no voice message.

another ten minutes after that there is another missed call from the same number. this time there’s a voice message. it’s johnathan monaco from catspit productions. he’s says my order is suspicious because (a) it’s using a google voice number, (b) the email address includes his business name, and (c) the email address is at a bogus dot com. he says if i don’t call him back today he’ll cancel the order. jesus harold christ, he forgot to mention that the blood sample i submitted was a little too ketchupy looking.

listen here:

the first thing i do is have a look online at my credit card activity. the charge is pending. looks okay to me. so then i call the credit card company. the credit card company lady i spoke with said there was nothing unusual about the pending charge and that it would likely post to my card “tomorrow”.

so i call johnathan monaco. he repeats that my telephone number is a google number and that the email address contains his business name. i explain the email address setup to him. and that the internet domain ( for the sake of our discussion) is my domain so i can do whatever i want with it and that includes creating sub-domains (for mail or whatever use i need). he then says – and i quote – “yeah, well your webpage is blank.” at this point i had had enough. he really seemed intent on canceling the order so i tell him to cancel the order, that i’ll stop watching the videos, and that i’ll take my business elsewhere.


(a) my credit card was authorized for the charge. i’m sure you were aware of that. you had your money. here’s a screenshot of the pending charges on my credit card as of 12:45 pm pdt 28-aug-2014:

28-AUG-2014 charge by catspit productions authorized and pending

28-AUG-2014 charge by catspit productions authorized and pending

(b) yes, i use a google voice number. so fucking what? it helps me weed out shitty marketing calls. and i can block numbers.

(c) yes, my email address contains your business name. i explained why. although the email address i created for you to use to communicate with me contains your business name, the email address is in *my* internet domain … it’s my domain … i can do whatever i want with it. the manner in which i use email addresses prevents spam. learn about it.

(d) my domain is not a ‘bogus dot com’. it’s a legitimate domain that i’ve had registered for almost 17 years. my web page is not blank. it has three lines of text at the bottom. i simply don’t care to run a website under my domain; it’s primarily for mail services. so what if i don’t have a website? so what if you don’t like that i don’t have a website? there is no requirement — by any internet domain registrar or other internet governing agency — that a domain must have a website associated with it. learn about it.

(e) i fucking called you. we talked. in person. live. and even after that you were still bitching.

60 seconds after our phone conversation was over i had an email stating that my order had been “refunded”.

you should update your ordering terms to ensure that anyone who orders from you knows that they must have a phone provider you approve of, that their email address must be approved by you, and that they must also have a website. throw in a couple of first-born children and you’ve got yourself customers coming out of the woodwork.

i understand – and appreciate, even – a healthy amount of questioning but yours is bordering on paranoia. or at least willful ignorance. and shitty customer service.

and when i said i wouldn’t watch any more of your videos? well, i’ve changed my mind. i’m going to continue to watch them. i get to watch your videos. and you get nothing from me. just like how i shop at best buy but don’t buy at best buy (i.e., i don’t spend money there).

i’ll be reporting you to the better business bureau as well.

and, holy crap!!! the website address where i placed my order ( is not the same website address as your primary website ( that’s suspicious!!! and based on the johnathan monaco hyper-paranoid view of the world, i shouldn’t have even placed my order to begin with. i was probably getting scammed.

i wanted to give this guy my money. hell, i *did* give this guy my money. the charge on my credit card had been authorized. i don’t appprove of your using google voice … i don’t approve of your email address … i don’t approve of your barren website … i shudder to think of what else he doesn’t approve. but, instead of supporting smaller businesses i’ll just order the same products from behemoth amazon. and pay less.

. . . because caring costs extra.℠

©2014 all rights reserved.

 Posted by at 21:12
Aug 082013

micromat makes the techtool utility; a troubleshooting tool for your mac.

micromat’s techtool pro 7 damaged an OS X startup volume — my OS X startup volume — and rendered it useless.

i’ve owned most flavors and releases and updates of techtool:

  • techtool deluxe 3.0.3. the powerpc version of the utility shipped as part of the applecare protection plan for my new G5 mac running os x 10.4/tiger. june, 2005.
  • techtool pro 4.5.3. purchased from apple after upgrading to os x 10.5/leopard. october, 2007, $108.45. it wasn’t obvious until the software install that the purchased version did not support leopard. their support desk eventually shipped me a compatible version.
  • techtool deluxe 3.1.2. this version of the utility shipped as part of the applecare protection plan for my new intel mac pro running os x 10.5/leopard. august, 2009. (an aside is that even though the shipped version was intended as a bootable disk, it would not actually boot the machine. apple didn’t seem to care a great deal about that.)
  • techtool pro 6 upgrade. purchased from micromat. june, 2012. $21.59.
  • techtool pro 7 upgrade. purchased from micromat. july, 2013. $39.99.

the techtool utility for me was more of an insurance policy; i never actually needed to use it but it was supposed to be a great tool and i wanted to be proactive in possessing it in the event that i actually needed it for disk recovery.

my new mac pro (august, 2009) had one 3.92TB RAID volume on it (named brock) that was my startup volume and held all my data. it had been running my system for at least a couple of years, with tons of data having been written to and deleted from it. i thought it would be a good idea to defragment it and optimize it, something that techtool pro was born to do. supposedly. after trying to do that and running into some issues, i called micromat technical support and spoke with a support rep. after some back and forth the rep finally asked if i was using a “large” volume. turns out that they did not support volumes larger than 2TB because their app was still 32-bit. too bad for me; nothing else to be done. that was 2011 or early 2012. (even then micromat failed to display meaningful diagnostic messages; it took some time with a support rep to determine the issue was because of a >2TB volume. so much time and frustration could have been saved even then by simply making the application more user friendly. i should have taken that experience as a sign of things to come.)

then, in june, 2013, i received an email from micromat announcing tech tool pro 7 … a 64-bit version of their app. i purchased, download, and installed the thing. yay. or so i thought. i’m still using the same mac pro with the same 3.92TB volume and with even more data having been written to and deleted from it. once again i thought i might get a little performance boost if i optimized the volume. (a specific reason i thought that optimization might help is that i was seeing a lot of os x beach balls when editing video projects using final cut pro.) micromat says that for the best results you should run a file optimization, then a volume optimization, then a directory rebuild.

so, then:

i backed up my large startup volume and then booted my machine from an external hard drive (which is running the same version of os x as is my large startup volume, for what that is worth).

i installed techtool pro 7 on the external drive and began to avail myself of its tools (the numbers in parentheses link to a screen grab of the corresponding report):

(1) 7/25 20:36 file optimization; completed successfully. techtool pro reported simply “Optimized 59 Files (60 Total Files)”.

(2) 7/25 20:43 since 59 is not 60 and, with no explanation from techtool pro as to why it wasn’t 60 out of 60, i ran a file optimization again. it completed successfully; “Optimized 2 Files (3,759,729 Total Files)”. not exactly what i expected; i thought maybe their would be one more file optimized.

(3) 7/25 21:05 file optimization again; completed successfully; “Optimized 1 File (2 Total Files)”. again, wtf?

(4) 7/25 21:12 file optimization again (expecting one more file to be optimized); completed successfully; “No Files Optimized (3,759,728 Total Files)”.

i don’t know if “No Files Optimized” means no files *needed* to be optimized, but it seemed like a good stopping point for file optimization. on to the volume optimization.

(5) 7/25 21:12 volume optimization. i cancelled the job pretty quickly, so techtool reported “incomplete”.

(6) 7/25 21:38 volume optimization. techtool reported it was canceled (by the tool, not the user.) “An unexpected error has occurred. You probably should try running the repair function and see if it can resolve it.”

(7) 7/26 00:53 volume optimization again. again, canceled (by the tool, not the user.) “An unexpected error has occurred. You probably should try running the repair function and see if it can resolve it.”

(8) 7/26 07:19 volume rebuild. failed. “Rebuild Error Encountered Rebuild Error Encountered”.

(9) 7/26 08:19 volume structures. passed.

(10) 7/26 08:33 file optimization. completed. “No Files Optimized (3,647,468 Total Files)”.

(11) 7/26 08:48 volume optimization. canceled (by the tool, not the user.) “An unexpected error has occurred. You probably should try running the repair function and see if it can resolve it.”

so, basically, from step (6) things just went to hell. although i was still able to boot from my startup volume after techtool pro had its way with it, many of the os x applications were unusable. e.g., in /System/Library/CoresServices would crash upon launch because of issues with some dynamic libraries (per the crash log). iCal simply would just not launch (the icon would animate in the dock for a while, then that would just stop.) ditto for the messages app. and so on and so forth. some icons were overlayed with a circle with a diagonal line through them (indicating the app could not be used on this machine); other icons had been changed to the generic application icon (meaning, i think, that the real icon for that app could not be found, thus indicating some damage to the app.) needless to say, the system was unusable. lots of the applications in /Applications were damaged in some way; almost everything in /Applications/Utilities was damaged in some way.

i spent a lot of time researching the issue but came up with a big fat zero. the micromat forums were of no help, either. i didn’t want to do a full system restore (because i would have had to first back-up a lot of additional stuff in my Documents folder that didn’t get backed up by the backup i did before using techtool (e.g., virtual machines), then do the system restore, then restore the “additional” stuff). but after a bit more searching i came across the tmutil command, which allowed me to restore just the /System, /Library, and /Applications directories. so i did that and i was back in business.

i contacted micromat technical support via email and they have been anything but helpful. some questions i had were

(a) why is there so little feedback in the reports? e.g., “An unexpected error has occurred.” micromat seems to consider that helpful; it is not. they did not answer that question.

(b) “You probably should try running the repair function and see if it can resolve it.” well, i asked, which “repair function”? there aren’t any. nothing that is clearly marked as such, anyway. there are two places in the tools where the word “repair” is used. do i choose “volume rebuild” or “disk permissions” or neither? i asked if they meant “volume rebuild”? the message is pretty generic and basically useless. i suggested that if they meant “volume rebuild” then they might say “volume rebuild” instead of “repair function”. i am stunned that a message that is so serious is so generically cryptic. it turns out that micromat does mean “volume rebuild” and the tech person said they would “certainly see if we can change the repair text in the Volume Optimization to make it clearer“. “certainly see” usually translates to “possibly maybe perhaps”. yeesh. the message is wrong. fix it, ffs.

(c) how do i find out more detail about all the incredibly generic messages being displayed? i noticed reports in ~/Library/Application Support/TechTool Pro 7/TechTool Pro 7.reports that might contain more detailed info but they didn’t appear readable by mere mortals. sure enough, micromat said those reports themselves are indeed not readable by mere mortals but that the information they contain is displayed by the techtool application. which means, in my opinion, that they contain very little useful information.

(d) if they had any idea why the number of files reported in (4) was one fewer than the number reported in (2). the volume being optimized was a static volume and was not being accessed by anything other than techtool, so i’m unclear as to why there were 3,759,729 total files reported at 20:43 and then one fewer file at 21:12. micromat did not answer that question. (indeed, after using the tool in step (10) there are 112,260 fewer files but i’m assuming that is because the damage had already been done.)

micromat is good at ignoring any questions you might ask. they’re not so good at helping resolve a problem they caused. but they do try and gather information so they can improve their product in the future. which makes me a beta tester. not something i signed on for.

what they did do “for” me was to ask me to send them a complete system report. there is a *lot* of information in the system report, some of it sensistive. it contains things such as the list of all applications you have installed on your system, your wifi configuration, and a list of fonts on your system. and a lot more.

i asked their support rep why they needed the entire system report, asking what information about my installed fonts did they find useful, what about the type of bluetooth mouse i have connected to my system is useful to them, and what part of knowing my wifi configuration would help resolve the problem. no answer. they also have no policy governing how this type of information is protected or disposed of. micromat said “It appears our Privacy policy doesn’t specifically address data gathering for troubleshooting customers’ support inquiries. I’ll ask what we can do about that, but in this case I will be more than happy to delete any files after we’ve concluded communications.” sure. and you send me your social security number, full names of mom and dad, birthplaces of all involved, and a dna swab, and i’ll be sure to delete everything after we’ve concluded communications.

the net of it is that micromat’s techtool pro — designed to resolve and recover from disk problems — has failed miserably at that endeavor and has caused more harm in the process, rendering useless a startup volume it was supposed to be optimizing.

eight years on, $170 later, and five versions and multiple dot-releases and counting and all i have to show for it is being without my machine for two days and spending more than 15 hours of my personal time using and recovering from using micromat’s techtool pro 7. no thanks. never again.

(and ffs, if they can’t even run a low-volume website how the hell can they be expected to put out a quality product and provide customer service? their website was down for at least several hours today.)

i have no confidence that micromat will do anything other than say “we don’t know” when trying to figure out why this problem happened. and they admittedly have no privacy policy to govern how they use, store, access, protect, or dispose of my personal data (which is what a system profile report is). as such, i’ve requested a refund of the amount i paid for techtool pro 7. micromat should be thankful i’m not requesting refunds for everything i’ve paid over the years and that i’m not billing them for my time.

the better alternatives are the os x disk utility and alsoft’s diskwarrior.

micromat’s techtool pro 7 damaged an OS X startup volume — my OS X startup volume — and rendered it useless.

run, don’t walk, away …

 Posted by at 12:12
Jul 182013

dear pearl’s deluxe burgers,

i’m writing about your deluxe credit card acceptance policies.

fyi, that was me just now at 18:12, an unsatisfied customer walking out of your market street location without my $13.57 worth of food, rightfully leaving it with you to toss most of it into the trash. (i’m guessing you kept the fries for someone else.)

here’s the short reason why: because your uninformed counter clerk made using my visa card to pay for my purchase conditional upon showing her my identification. i had my identification. i just wasn’t showing it to her. or anyone in your store for that matter. you’re out of line requiring an identification when a customer wants to pay for their purchase using their visa card.

when you decided you wanted to accept visa cards, you entered into an agreement with visa or your bank. you likely even signed a legally binding document. part of that agreement with visa was to abide by the visa merchant agreement (which includes the card acceptance guidelines for merchants.)

please see the top of page 34, “Requesting Cardholder ID”. it says, in part, that

“… merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot as part of their regular card acceptance procedures refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID.

but that’s what you did. so i left. as i was walking out, the jerky boy employee sitting on the counter (we’ll get to that in a second*) said, “we’re doing it for your protection.” sorry, but like eff you are. you’re doing that for my protection about as much as the TSA is looking out for my safety when they grab my crotch.

(a) if someone fraudulently uses my card, i am not liable for that transaction. visa eats it.

(b) if someone fraudulently uses my card, the merchant is not liable for that transaction. visa eats it.

so, please, who are you protecting? we don’t need it.

you entered into an agreement with visa. you cannot unilaterally implement policies that supersede that agreement, but you have. visa doesn’t like that. neither do i. so i’ve filed a complaint with them.

please review your agreement with visa, adjust your policies accordingly, and educate your employees. i suppose you can still get away with requiring an id in some instances, but don’t penalize customers who know their rights.

so the net of today’s excursion:

  • wasted food (the cost of which *you* ate).
  • an annoyed customer (which visa predicted; see the top of page 34 again, where it says “It is important that merchants understand that the requesting of a cardholder ID does not change the merchant’s liability for chargebacks. However, it can slow down a sale and annoy the customer“).
  • a lost customer. i doubt i’ll be back. but let me know when you’ve adjusted your policies and i’ll see how i feel … it’s unlikely that i’ll be back, but i do like your fries.
  • a poor review.
  • a complaint about you filed with visa at 19:35 today.
  • wasted time (yours for the wasted order; mine for having to forage elsewhere.)

fyi, the mastercard agreement is essentially the same in this regard.

CONSUMERS: know your rights!

* oh, and since i’m already here … what the hell is an employee doing sitting on a food service counter? where else did he sit today? what is he transferring to the counter? i hope he wears underwear. or thick trousers.

 Posted by at 20:32
Jun 042013

“faggot!” that’s what the greenleaf driver hollered. twice. shortly after he tried to intimidate me by unbuckling his seatbelt and indicating he was going to get out of his vehicle, apparently to beat my ass.

the greenleaf website says “Integrity is key. We are committed to our industry—our sources, our customers, future customers and our employees. We act with integrity fostering these relationships.” it also saysOur company’s success is based on integrity, good service, and top quality – the cornerstones of GreenLeaf”.

uh huh.

june 4, 2013. i’m driving down folsom street in the #2 lane. i just passed 7th street and i’ve almost completed a lane change into the #1 lane so i can turn left on to 6th. a legal lane change, by the way. one for which i’ve signaled and everything.

a large delivery truck pulls out of a parking space and in front of me into traffic — without even so much as signalling. i swerved around the truck and pulled back in front of it. my vehicle’s top was down, so the truck driver could see me when i gave him the finger after i pulled back in front of him.

the light at 6th street was red so i stopped at it. the driver pulled up behind me and started hollering. “fuck you, too! … changing lanes like a madman!” (well, if by “madman” you mean “effecting a lane change by signaling and then merging into the lane when no other vehicles are in it”, then yes, call me crazy. i signaled for my lane change. my signal lights are working; i verified that. there were no other vehicles in the lane when I started to change lanes. none. zero. my lane change was legal and safe, until the driver pulled out of a parking space without signaling and with no regard for traffic already in the lane.)

i turned around in my vehicle and looked at him. he unbuckled his seatbelt and hollered, “get out” as though he was going to get out and start beating me.

i said, “fuck you”.

the driver then hollered, “faggot!” twice. loud enough so that a group of 6-8 pedestrians walking on the sidewalk turned their heads to look at him. so I returned the favor by calling him a wetback. if he’s going to insist on calling a gay man a faggot then you can bet that I’m going to question his immigration status.

the light turned green. the pedestrians that were on the sidewalk entered the crosswalk and so i waited for them to cross. (you know, because you’re supposed to do that.) While I was waiting, your driver hollered, “go ahead, i have all day!” as though i was deliberately waiting there just to delay him. what the hell did he want me to do, run over the pedestrians so he could get through the intersection faster?

the employee is a pig and a punk: threatening to beat someone and calling people – anyone – “faggot!” does indeed make him a pig and a punk; more so in this city. he has no business working here; he certainly has no business driving on city streets. i would imagine that the future for the driver includes being arrested and convicted of assault and battery of a gay person, or property damage, with a hate crime enhancement. he obviously harbors hatred for gay people if his go-to insult is “faggot”, which is a rather sad thing when he’s working in arguably one of the “gayest” cities in the world.

needless to say, i will never be a greenleaf customer. i will do my best to convince anyone i know who is a greenleaf customer to cancel their service, and that includes any restaurants I patronize.

signed, the faggot

greenleaf on yelp.

 Posted by at 21:13
Aug 282012

$3,360.43:  amount i’ve spent with since june, 2002.

54:  number of domains transferred away from

$0:  amount going forward i will spend with

it’s been a plan that’s taken nine months to execute (albeit using a lot lot lot less clock time).

what’s been done is that all my domains have been moved away from internet domain registrar  i think most people can guess the reasons for doing so:  SOPA, dead elephants, and sexist ads.  throw in a good measure of crappy customer service and lots of general numbskullery to round things out.

although i don’t have their influence, i join the likes of high-profile sites like wikipedia and fail blog that have moved away from godaddy.  i encourage you to do the same.  (just because SOPA is dead doesn’t mean godaddy is all of a sudden all unicorns and glitter.)

i do spend money, however, and it is money that godaddy founder bob parsons responds to.  i’ve been registering domains with since june of 2002 and since then i’ve spent exactly $3,360.43 with them, averaging about $300 a year.  i’ve only ever registered domains with them.  i’ve never had a need to use any of their other services (such as mail or hosting), so i can’t speak to that.  but i do know that every single time i’ve called their customer service line for assistance they have been far from helpful.

so, as of this writing i’ve transferred all 54 of my domains away from  after completing the last transfer i called their  support line at +1.480.505.8877 and told customer service rep wes goodbye and fuck off.

hard to fathom that a dreg like parsons could claim the same hometown (baltimore) as filmmaker john waters; maybe john can use parsons as the villain in his next film.

 Posted by at 16:54
Dec 142011

ah, the things you learn after the fact.

on wednesday, november 23, 2011, i visited the san francisco best buy store (store 187).  i needed an audio cable.  i found the cable i was interested in and brought it to the cash register.  i asked the checkout girl — her name tag said safari — what was the return policy.  she wasn’t sure.  she asked someone else and then told me that it was considered a pro audio product, which had a 14-day return policy.  i asked about a restocking fee and she said there was none.  she fed a length of receipt paper through the printer, pointed at it, and said that the return policy was on the back.  then she rang up my purchase and i paid for it.  the receipt is time-stamped 4:08 pm.  $27.10.

eight days later — thursday, december 1, 2011 — i went back to the store and attempted to return the audio cable.  the very snotty young girl at the ‘customer service’ desk told me that she needed my id.  i asked her what information she needed.  she said she needed to enter it into ‘the system.’  i said i understood that, and i again asked her what information she needed, and how it was protected.  she said that she would just scan my id.  i told her i would not allow her to do that.  she said she could type it in.  i again asked her what information she needed.  she said she needed my name and driver license number.  i said ‘no’ and asked her to call a manager.  she huffed-and-harrumphed and then used her walkie-talkie to call the manager-on-duty (mod) about ‘a customer with an issue’.

the mod came to the ‘customer service’ desk.  his name was mohamed bukhari.  i explained that i was not going to give him my id number to be stored in best buy’s ‘system’.  he said he needed it.  i asked where in the return policy did it state that i was required to allow best buy to store my personal information for a return.  he was unable to point that out.  i repeated that i would not allow him to store my personal information and he said that he would not accept the returned product.  i took his picture as proof that i was at the store at the date and time i’m writing about.  (yeah, i know, timestamps can be forged.  i’m confident that best buy’s ubiquitous security cameras will corroborate my claim of visiting the store within the 14-day return period.)

mohamed bukhari didn’t like that i took his picture and he said i couldn’t do that.

but i did, though.

sf best buy #187 manager and return denier mohamed bukhari 01-dec-2011 16:44 pst

so those are the specific details; now it’s time for the editorial …

how fucked up is all of that?  best buy’s return policy on the back of the receipt (to which check-out girl safari pointed) includes, and i quote,

To help facilitate the return, bring the original receipt as well as photo identification for all exchanges, returns, price matches, and warranty repair services.  We reserve the right to deny any return.

(you gotta wonder just what customer-service-oriented checkout girl safari should know vs. what she really does know about her employer’s policies.  she initially had to ask someone else for assistance (no worry there, in and of itself), but she told me my purchase was a pro audio purchase and then told me there was no restocking fee even though the back of the receipt clearly states that there is a restocking fee for pro audio purchases.  so either this is not a pro audio purchase, or there is a restocking fee.  which is it safari?)

what’s that you say, reader?  “what a ‘tard!,”  indeed i am.  after my failed return attempt i had a closer look at things.  and right there on the front of the receipt it says

The information from your ID will be stored in a secure, encrypted database of customer return activity that Best Buy and its affiliates use to track returns by our customers.

again, that was on the front of the receipt.  you know, on the part that’s printed after you’ve given best buy your money.

then i looked online at best buy’s refund and exchange policy.  it includes this

Original Receipt

The original receipt, gift receipt or packing slip is required for all returns and exchanges. If returning or exchanging an item in a Best Buy store, a valid photo ID is also required.

Returns Tracking

When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges.  […]

and the refund and exchange faq reveals these tidbits:

Why does Best Buy require an ID for returns and exchanges?

To help keep prices low for all our customers, Best Buy tracks exchanges and returns on an individual level. Information is electronically secured for the purposes of returns management, in accordance with state and federal laws regarding consumer privacy.

Will my exchange or return request ever be denied?

While rarely exercised, Best Buy does reserve the right to deny any exchange or return request.

thus far there’s nothing anywhere that says best buy absolutely needs to store my driver license number, it just says that “Some of the information … may be stored.”  my guess is that best buy thinks that “may be stored“, “on an individual level” and “information is electronically secured” covers their asses when they insist on everything but your first born.  think again, best buy.

nowhere does it say the customer is required to allow best buy to store their personally identifiable information in best buy’s ‘system’.  mod mohamed bukhari could not or would not show me where that is documented.  all he could say was that “it’s required”.  so that was that and mod mohamed bukhari exercised best buy’s prerogative to deny my return.  now i’m going to exercise my rights:  a letter to ceo brian j. dunn giving best buy a generous 14 business days from their receipt of my letter to arrange it such that i can return the product without needing to allow best buy to store my driver license number or other personally identifying information in their ‘system’.  i have no problem giving best buy my name and i have no problem allowing them to store my name in their ‘system’, but it will be a very cold day in hell before i allow best buy to store my driver license number (or any other personally identifiable information) in their ‘system’.  best buy already has my credit card number in their system, how about using that piece of data to help keep prices low for all their customers?  if best buy still chooses to deny my refund request because i won’t allow them to store my personally identifiable information in their ‘system’ then i will file a suit in small claims court.  it’s that simple.

i’ve jumped through all the hoops i’m going to jump through for you, best buy.  i was within the 14 day return period and i brought the original receipt and my photo id, as required, but i will not allow you to store my personal information in your ‘system’.

i’ve always wanted to be a rarity.  having had my refund request denied, i finally get my wish.

best buy:  you seem to have implemented a policy that is important to you:

  • why is it that you employ check out clerks (to wit, safari) who are not familiar with the policy, let alone familiar enough with it to tell customers the very important fact that for a return or exchange they will need to surrender their personal information for storage into a best buy ‘system’?
  • why is it that you have management employees (to wit, mohamed bukhari) who are so ill-educated on the policy that they cannot even point out where the very important policy is documented?
  • why didn’t you ask for my id when i made my purchase?  how is it that you knew i was me when i made my purchase but don’t know that i’m me when i want to return it?  i’m using the same credit card for both the return and the purchase; how about using that piece of data to help keep prices low for all your customers?
  • please quantify how much you have saved your customers by tracking exchanges and returns on an “individual level“.  surely your accountants have this information readily available.
  • more than 10% of identity theft is a result of “insider” or “friendly” breaches.  considering that, perhaps all best buy customers should be asking your employees for their personally identifiable information.

how does a company that earns 700 to 800 million dollars a year in NET profit justify such crappy policies and tolerate such crappy employee behavior?

have a google for “best buy return policy” and you can find lots o’ displeasure.  apparently the policy, ill-documented as it is, began in february of 2011.  some really good info on that can be found at  your personally identifiable information is stored in a proprietary 3rd-party ‘system’ (TRE) which is NOT under best buy’s control, but hey … trust us.  (like we trusted sony, epsilon, hb gary, and on and on and on?  oh, and that epsilon data breach?  THAT’S ON YOU, TOO, BEST BUY.  so you’ve already demonstrated you cannot be trusted with my personal data.)

remember, the personally identifiable information that best buy collects is stored in a proprietary 3rd-party database.

remember, the personally identifiable information that best buy collects is stored in a proprietary 3rd-party database that best buy and its affiliates have access to.  are you at all curious who its affiliates are?

remember, the personally identifiable information that best buy collects is stored in a proprietary 3rd-party database that best buy and its affiliates have access to, but that is not under best buy’s control.

i readily admit that prior to my purchase i did not completely familiarize myself with the best buy return policy as it is documented on the back of the receipt paper, as it is documented in the best buy return & exchange policy, as it is documented in the best buy return & exchange faqs, and as it is documented on the front of the receipt paper.  (indeed, how could i familiarize myself with the policy as it is documented on the front of the receipt paper when i didn’t even receive that document until after i had provided payment to best buy?)  i did ask two best buy employees about it, though, but apparently they cannot be trusted to disseminate accurate and complete information.

what I have learned from this situation is to never believe anything a best buy employee tells me.  that’s the only way to be certain about anything.  best buy employees spew inaccuracies, inconsistencies and outright lies, and omit important information.  so get it in writing.  all of it.  it’s just like when best buy employees tell potential customers about the extended warranties on products … they flat out lie.  but it’s the written agreement that ultimately counts, right?  so who cares … certainly not best buy.

in addition to this post, i’ll also be sending out a letter today to best buy ceo brian j. dunn.

and, finally, how do we prevent this from happening in the future?  for me it’s easy.  best buy has my personal commitment that i will never ever purchase anything again from best buy co., inc. or any of the multitude of its derivative companies.  i will, however, follow the lead of several other folks and continue to use best buy as a showroom:  i’ll shop at best buy, and buy elsewhere.  with any luck best buy will soon join comp usa, circuit city, and their ilk in the “crappy companies that have had to cease operations because they’re incompetent and treat their customers like dirt” category.

on the plus side, at least in court you’ll be certain that i’m me.

we’re best buy … where customer service is dead, because caring costs extra℠

(as an aside, since i started keeping records on march 9, 2002, i’ve spent more than $3,000 with best buy and had a total of five returns.)


UPDATE 1:  14-DEC-2011:  mailed a letter today to brian dunn (best buy ceo), brett boxwell (general manager of best buy store #187), and brent scardino (best buy district manager).  i also looked on amazon for the cable i purchased at best buy.  i paid $24.99 (before tax) at best buy.  amazon has the identical cable for $4.16 (click for larger image):


UPDATE 2:  20-JAN-2012:  received a response yesterday  from best buy corporate.  basically crap, with a credit.  now i have a free cable, and i guess if they don’t want it back then i’ll give it to a friend.  the redacted letter is below (click for larger image):


UPDATE 3:  03-MAR-2012:  received the following email message yesterday from best buy store #187 mod and return denier mohamed bukhari (spelling and grammar errors intact):

X-Yahoo-SMTP: beM45wyswBDXhxpKrWmf7fbyw9nK.QhnMI0Q31rnhjKTzESh
Received: from [] ([redacted]@ with xymcookie)
        by with SMTP; 02 Mar 2012 17:55:09 -0800 PST
Subject: Remove post
From: Mohammed Bukhari <[redacted]>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2012 17:55:03 -0800
X-Mailer: iPhone Mail (9A405)

Please remove my picture from you website. I provide the link below. It was
done on private property with out my consent and the facts are not accurate
he is lair and his given you bad information.

Sent from my iPhone

sorry, mohammed, no can do. (so i’m “lair”, big deal. i’ve been called worse.) i reserve the right to publish accurate and truthful information, however. but feel free to leave a comment detailing what you believe to be inaccurate.

although i do stand corrected on the spelling of your first name. when i called the store to find out your name they spelled it with one “m”. so i’ll spell it correctly going forward. (perhaps that was the inaccurate information to which you refer?)

 Posted by at 10:56
Nov 292011

below is the text of a letter i mailed on september 28, 2011, to SFMTA director ed reiskin.  i included some photos in my letter to him, but i also mailed a copy of just the letter to district 6 supervisor jane kim and to san francisco mayor ed lee.

At 5:25 pm on Thursday, September 22, 2011, I was walking east on the north side of Mission Street, near the intersection of Mission and Jessie Street East.  Mission Street is clearly marked as ‘tow away/no stopping’ between the hours of 4 pm and 6 pm.  There was an illegally stopped vehicle just east of Jesse Street East, with the driver sitting at the wheel and the engine turned off.  Stopped beside that car, in the traffic lane, was a DPT interceptor.  Behind that interceptor was a second interceptor.  And behind the two interceptors were three private vehicles; the private vehicles were being delayed because of the interceptors.

The driver of the illegally stopped vehicle was a young female.  My first thought was simply that she was being told to move.  As I got closer to the vehicles I could hear what the driver of the first interceptor was saying, and he wasn’t telling her to move.  He said to her “You’re cute”, then asked “Are you single?” and then told her “If you ever need a ticket taken care of you can call me.”  By then I had my cell phone out to take pictures.  The driver of the first interceptor did not ticket the driver of the stopped vehicle, nor did the driver of the second interceptor.  As I began to take pictures of the three vehicles, the two interceptors turned right onto Jesse Street East and parked on the side of the street near the Westfield mall.  The driver of the first interceptor got out of his vehicle and walked back to the illegally stopped vehicle.   The driver of the second interceptor stayed in his vehicle, slammed his door shut, and hid his face when he saw me coming to take pictures.  As I walked across Jesse Street to get a distance shot of the two interceptors, the driver of the second interceptor got out of his vehicle, said “loser”, and asked sarcastically “did you get *that* on your phone?”  By the time I had taken a few pictures the driver of the first interceptor had returned.

The pair then launched into what I am certain was a very well rehearsed performance about me harassing them.  The driver of the first interceptor went so far as to call for the SFPD.  Or, at least he pretended to.  I waited for about five minutes before I started to leave, up Jesse Street East.  The driver of the first interceptor told me “you have to wait for the PD”.  I told him that I did not have to wait.  As I walked away both drivers followed me up the street a short distance, the second driver calling me a coward for leaving.  So I turned around and went back to the corner and waited some more.  The driver of the first interceptor called again for the SFPD.  After another five minutes or so I again started to leave, this time east on Mission.  And again both drivers followed me for about twenty or thirty feet, all the while very discreetly taunting me.  I turned around and yelled at the top of my lungs “leave me alone” (or maybe “get away from me”).   They had adopted a gang mentality and were in fact harassing me.  There were a lot of people on the sidewalk, and it seems that yelling at the top of my lungs drew unwanted attention to the two drivers so they turned around and left me alone.  That is the last I saw of them.

Some facts:

  • The first interceptor was vehicle 158 M 789; CA exempt license plate 1035004; driven by an African-American male.
  •  The second interceptor was vehicle 158 M 405; CA exempt license plate 1116781; driven by an Asian-American male (although he did have on sunglasses and a helmet so I may be mistaken.)
  • The illegally stopped vehicle had California license plate 6EUR248, and as of September 28 has not been issued a citation for having been illegally stopped at that location.
  • My interaction with the two interceptor drivers lasted approximately 10-12 minutes.  I have several photos and videos of that interaction, as does the driver of the first interceptor.  I am sure he has saved them and will make them available to you.
  • At one point, the driver of the second interceptor said to me, “don’t you have anything better to do than harass people while they work?”   Is that what he’s calling it:  “work”?
  • The interceptor drivers should have been enforcing parking regulations.  Instead, at least one of them was flirting with the driver of an illegally stopped vehicle, not ticketing her, exchanging contact information, and offering to “take care of” any tickets she might get (which is either soliciting a bribe, or an abuse of authority:  was she pressured into giving her phone number to the parking officer in exchange for not receiving a parking citation?)  All while unnecessarily blocking traffic on one of the city’s busiest streets during rush hour.
  • At one point, the driver of the second interceptor said to me, “you did brush up against him” (referring to the driver of the first interceptor.)  That is a lie.  At no point did I have any physical contact with either of the drivers.
  • At one point, the driver of the second interceptor said to me, “why is your hand shaking?  Is it because you know you’re wrong?”   Please explain to me the relevance of me having a shaky hand?  And no, I am not wrong.  I was documenting the illegal and despicable behavior of two city employees.

My understanding is that MTA officers have no discretion when issuing parking tickets.  As such, the illegally stopped vehicle should have received a citation but no citation has been issued.

The driver of the first interceptor made two calls for the SFPD.  Both times, he used the radio that was attached at his shoulder.  I am sure those calls from the driver to dispatch are recorded and archived.  If those calls don’t exist then that is just another of several lies that the drivers are involved in.  Just as a data point, during both calls I could hear the driver describe me as an “AWM”.

What we have is two city employees engaging in unprofessional and illegal behavior and then conspiring to fabricate a story of harassment when they realized a tax-paying resident of San Francisco was documenting their behavior.

The drivers allege that I was harassing them.  Is it standard procedure to file a report in such cases?  Did these employees file an official report?  If not, why?

SFMTA has a very visible campaign stating that harassment against its employees will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted.  I trust the same commitment stands when it is an SFMTA employee (or two) doing the lying and harassing?  These drivers must be terminated for cause and lose all benefits and pensions.  They have no business being supported by my tax dollars, any tax dollars, or representing my city.

I demand and expect a formal investigation into this matter.  This letter represents a true and accurate account of the events.  What I will do is sign a sworn statement to that effect, testify in court, submit to a polygraph test, swear on a stack of bibles, or whatever else it takes to convince people of the truth.  (Will these interceptor drivers do the same?)  What I will not do is tolerate my tax dollars being spent on salaries, benefits, and pensions for employee behavior like this:  it is unprofessional; it is illegal; and it is repugnant.

I await your response.

guess what?  today is november 29th and i’m still awaiting a response … from anyone.  neither reiskin, nor kim, nor lee has had the courtesy to respond to my letter.  so i can only imagine that they haven’t bothered to investigate anything, either.

then, around the end of october, i was walking by this same location again and who did i see?  the driver of interceptor number one, parked in the same place, in a red zone by the westfield mall.  there was also a second driver with him, but it was not the same driver that was with him on september 22.  so he’s parked in a red zone.  again.  on a break.  here’s a blog entry that raises awareness that this type of thing happens all the time.  and, according to that blog entry, it also resulted in a commitment from “john haley, the MTA’s director of transit operations who also oversees parking enforcement” to remind SFMTA employees that they, too, need to follow the traffic code.  so in addition to trying to bribe his way into a date with an illegally parked cute, single, girl, this SFMTA employee thinks he is above the law, at least when it comes to the vehicle code.


 Posted by at 11:28