Glad to have you here but remember, you could be spending your time more wisely. Family, friends, maybe even your job if you are really pushed for something to do. David also writes the Building Our Home Blog as well as the wildly popular Dave’s Mindscape

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Hi John Letter

I received a “Hi John” email.

Not as devastating as a “Dear John” letter but a bit bewildering as my name is not John and I don’t use a John de Plume when I write.

The email was in response to a query about them recently starting to send me blank emails. They are a company that emails job listings that match my abilities, education and interests.

Some of you may remember that I went down to Manpower (before we had to be politically correct) and took a government test to determine what field of endeavour I was suited for.

I managed to fall outside any of their categories.

Some of you may think this is the reason for the blank emails, but no. For years the daily emails have contained several jobs that if so inclined I could turn my hand to.

And then, blank pages. It was as if they were wrestling with the monster known as writer’s block.

I wrote them and said not to worry as I had a job, but, it did not put them in a good light since employers listed with them in hopes that their next bright star would peruse the listing and apply post haste.

I guess I am not the only one receiving nothing on a daily basis because they wrote back saying they are aware of the problem and are looking into it. And as if to drive the point home that things are not well with the company, they started the email with “Hi John”.

I predict a job opening in Quality Control. Not that I’ll see it listed.


They got back to me, addressed me by my correct name and the next day, as promised, the job listings they sent me showed up in the email. Bonus: The empty advertising block was at the bottom where it will not bother most people unless they wonder why they are not the target market and what they are not the target market of. Probably something really good I bet.

The End Is Nigh

Dress your loved one in the best End of the World fashion 
Have your own herd. Dress the whole family for the grand finale

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Carry On My Wayward One (sung to the tune of the Kansas song)

Or We’ll get back to you 3

My Adsense account was cancelled because of “no spend”. And here I was under the impression that it was supposed to be bringing in money, not require me to spend money. I guess Google is taking a page from the other arm of their Empire, YouTube, and the demonetization of the Youtubers who built them but didn’t quite cut the mustard as far as number of subscribers. So long and thanks for all the views, no money for you

This is not a story about that

This is my ongoing trials and tribulations with Freedom Mobile cell phone so-called-service.

I asked about some of the solutions I had put forward, them setting up calling over wifi on my model of phone (which would have helped countless others), exchanging my phone for a phone that they support wifi calling on, loaning me a Weboost or other signal booster (like American ISP’s do), them using the 700Mhz range in my area to penetrate my apartment as I apparently live in a 
Faraday cage. Offering me a better plan. They didn’t. 
You might say “Buyer beware” or “Carpe Jugulum” or some Latin sounding thing for “it’s your own damned fault for getting stuck with a service that sucks”, but I had done the research. Their coverage map with orange indicating “LTE high speed like you wouldn’t believe *may not work until a few months down the road **and then some”, covered my area like there was a two for one paint sale at Home Depot.  

I paid off my “Tab” in preparation to move to a provider that could get me a strong enough signal in my own home so I could actually call and receive calls. It was a small amount.

All of a sudden they were offering me a better plan. X number of dollars and NO OVERAGES. I can call long distance in Canada and the States and it won’t cost more. I can text all over the place and my bill doesn’t go up. Home network, Away network, doesn’t matter. Same price. 
The sneaky thing is their tech support told me to change my phones settings to only use the Home network.
  No chance of ending up on the Away or Roaming networks.

Is the service any better? I have tried recently to dial out when I was in a mall parking lot out in the open and the phone showing Home and full bars. It did not connect.  I tried from my work in the city. Would not connect. Tonight in my apartment it says Home and one bar. It connected. Nice surprise but reliability over astonishment is preferred.

And the bill since getting the better plan?

Not what they promised but I expected there would be a discrepancy during the switch from the old plan. Still, the cheapest bill in months. We’ll see what next month brings.

Here is something we sell on Zazzle. We also sell it on Amazon but it is harder to find there. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

We’ll Get Back to You 2

Or be careful what you wish for

When we last left our hero he was embroiled in a battle to unlock his phone and get decent cell service from his provider Freedom Mobile.

Much later than the promised (but not expected) 10 days later, someone did get back to me and the gist of the communication was that I needed to go to one of their stores and their tech support could help with the unlocking. 
   I went
             They couldn’t

In fact they said I had to go to their store in another city. Only 20 or 30 minutes away but another city all the same. 
        I went
The tech guy said he couldn’t do it due to confidentiality and security reasons but he could tell me how to get the information I needed and then I could unlock the phone myself.

At this point I forget all the convoluted steps he said I had to do to open the secret specific hidden screen on my phone. It may have involved a bag full of chicken feathers and standing on one leg. 
I have the bag of feathers but my balance is not so good so I just Googled YouTube for instructions on how to get to the secret specific hidden screen. Two minutes later I was the proud owner of my own unlocked phone. The service was still lousy but it was unlocked and lousy.

Back to the coverage issue

Tenacious as I was in unlocking the phone, I decided to let things slide for a while. Then I heard that there was a 700MHz band that some cell providers have. 
This band, for some reason, can penetrate trees, walls and neighbours more easily than whatever Freedom is using so I inquired of their helpdesk if and when they would be using that band. Their answer was a less than satisfying,           “We don’t know”

I was seriously thinking that I would start looking at which of the mobile providers was the lesser of several evils when my phone rang. At my home
I checked the cell towers with an app called OpenSignal. There was a new tower near my home. 
Not only could I now hear from recruiters but I could order pizza without walking to the field across the street.

             The end of my cell phone woes?

Remember the beginning of this post when I said be careful what you wish for?

I am receiving calls. According to one caller, if I don’t contact a certain number within a short time, Revenue Canada will issue a warrant for my arrest. I talked to the real Revenue Canada. They said they couldn’t be bothered. Not sure if I am relieved or insulted.

The other call I get might be in Mandarin. I recorded the lady who calls and talks to me in Chinese, ran it through Google Translate and I may be in trouble with the Chinese Embassy. Or there is a two for one on General Tao Chicken. I’m hoping for the latter.

After all that a drink might be in order. I'm more of a Bacardi guy but...

This Might Be Wine

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

We’ll Get Back to You

a little more wordy than my last post

I have opined about cell phone companies and the service I received in the past. It is hard not to.

After my experiences with Robbers and Hell, Telus and Virgin (I know, I am slacking and have not come up with any pet name for the last two), I decided to try one of the underdogs, Freedom Mobile.

The service is bad

Sometimes it is good, but it is very dependent on your location.

Driving around in BC from POCO to Vancouver there are a lot of places that have blazing LTE speed. Sometimes it is only 4G or even 3G but still I can connect.

The problems start at home. In spite of being in the orange section on the Freedom Mobile coverage map, I experience many states of connectivity all while sitting still with my phone, sitting untouched, on the table beside me.

One minute LTE.

Then next Roaming or 4G or 3G.

Then the inexplicable Home AND Away.

And my favourite, EMERGENCY CALLS ONLY.


I have not moved. The phone has not moved and the house is more or less stationary. Ok, it is really stationary.

They said service would be better once they finished the network expansion in my area this Fall.

They were wrong

“Is this a problem Dave”?

I suppose not really if you don’t mind putting on shoes and a coat, walking down the road and across the street and standing in the field to check voicemail and return calls. It was chilly talking to loved ones back home over the holiday season.

I used to be miffed at the $40 or $50 dollars a month it to cost to have a hard wired phone in one room of my house but the damned phone rang every time. There was no call display. You picked up the phone and dealt with the consequences. But you could call out and most of the time someone would answer.

In the early days there were no cordless phones and if you had to poop while on the phone, you needed a really long cord. But, you rarely heard “Please leave a message…”, or “Your call can not be completed”.

In these days of instant communication (unless you are with Freedom Mobile), you expect something positive and quick.

I contacted Freedom and mentioned that I live in a dead zone (as far as their cell service is concerned) and that cell providers in the states sometimes offered the loan of a cell booster so their customers could actually make and receive calls in their own home. Kinda handy if you are looking for work or in case of emergency. 

Their response, when it finally came was “No, we don’t do that”. “Buy your own”. I checked on the cost of a cell booster and the price made Robbers and Hell look attractive. Since Freedom’s service is so spotty, you’d think they would be able to get a bulk discount on cell boosters.

Not helpful

The focus of this post is actually the speed of communication with Freedom.
You can respond to them on Messenger and feel less than satisfied very quickly. For example, they finally sent me a message on Messenger, days after I sent an inquiry through their website.

They magnanimously offer phone unlocking for free (ever since it became a legal requirement) but it did not work. The instructions on their website were to phone #06# and you would receive a code to unlock your phone or maybe instructions or something. I tried it many times and it said communication problems or invalid code. Par for the course with Freedom so I looked at their other method. Get a code from the battery in the phone

I Googled a YouTube video on how to open the Samsung S7. 12 minutes long. Apply heat (what could go wrong?) with a hot plate (are you kidding?) or hair dryer and pry the glass case off without breaking it. Remove forty twelve screws and some plastic bits and read the required number.

Being the intelligent lad I am, I looked on the original Samsung box the phone came in and the number was on the label.
In spite of the number being labeled as the correct number, when Freedom finally answered my query days later, they said that they did not have the number for the brand new phone they sold me in their database.
Did they sell me some black market unregistered knock-off phone?

They said they passed my complaint on to their Back End. I can expect to hear from them in 10 days.

To be continued…but don’t hold your breath. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Cost of Things vs. Value

After my previous post on trying to use coupons at a Crafts and Arts chain

I was left thinking about the $20 savings my coupon and I had wrestled from the store as well as the value of items verses the price being charged.

This same chain had a product a couple of years ago that had me wondering about the things people buy.

The product was a set of 6 empty clear pop bottles and a white cardboard carton with a handle. For $20.

Back in my day, we used to buy glass bottles of pop for about 12 to 15 cents each. No plastic bottles to pollute the environment yet. We had cans but some people said it gave the soda a metallic taste. We were a Pepsi house. Some others drank Coke.

If you bought 6 bottles you got a reusable cardboard carrying carton for free. No plastic bags, no sirree.

So, for less than a buck you got six bottles of thirst quenching cola, a carrying case and if you brought the empties back, the store refunded the 2 cent deposit on each bottle. A bag of chips was 10 cents so you could grab a tasty snack as a reward for bringing back the empties.
Recycling was a thing even back then.

I am not against commerce

I've been reading about BFCM (Black Friday, Cyber Monday).
I've also read about those who support Buy Nothing Day, the other name for Black Friday. I wonder if any of them make a living in retail or manufacturing.

"Nothing does happen until a sales is made" - Thomas Watson Sr. President of IBM from 1914 to 1956

If people want to abstain, that's OK by me.
If they want to spend, more power to them.

But seriously, a $20 empty six pack?

If you really want to spend...

I'm eating your inheritance dog sweater

Available at PurpleCowEmporium.com

Coupons – Bane or Boon

My daughter and I went to a large chain Crafts and Arts store. 

I made the mistake of purchasing an item.

I should add this disclaimer: I am not a shopper nor do I like to haggle.

The girl at the cash asked if I would like to leave my email address to receive discount coupons for their store. I’ve worked in retail and have been subjected to some quite rude answers to this question (at the time it was phone number and address as no one had email yet).
What the heck. I gave it to her and thought no more of it until that evening when the onslaught of coupons commenced.

Most of the coupons were for things I don’t want or need but there was one that seemed to indicate 50% off. I could tell by the way it said 50% off.

I had seen an item I thought would make a good gift and at half price it would make a great gift.

I went back to the store, presented my coupon and walked away with a pretty good deal.

The coupons kept coming

I was talking to someone about the deal I got and they wondered if I could pick up another as they did not have one of these stores in their town. I was sure there would be a coupon in my inbox so I said sure. 

It was a disappointing 40% off

Oh well. I returned to find the item was the same price but now came with a bonus item. I present my coupon and was told it was not valid as the item came with a bonus item. But, I don’t want the bonus item I said. 
Too bad. You have to pay FULL PRICE. (The cashier was nicer than that but it felt like a kick in the wallet anyway).

A week or so later I was talking to my sister and she says that sounds like a good item, could I pick one up. I said FULL PRICE. She said to get it anyway.

I go back to the store and notice there is no associated bonus so I dare to present the ever present coupon. 

This time it is the coveted 50%

The lady at the cash says the coupon is not valid as the item is now Value priced. I said it is and has been the same price since I bought the first one. She asked if I would like to speak to a manager. I look around and miraculously there is no line to hold up so I said sure. We talk while waiting for the manager and though she does not come out and say “these coupons are the bane of my existence”, I get the feeling that there are a lot of customer complaints over their company coupons.

The manager arrives

and asks how she can help.

Having decided against a full on rant about deceptive marketing practices, the way they price things or bait and switch advertising, I tell her the price of the item has been unchanged and sticking a Value label on something does not make it so. 
She mentions the fact that they have labeled the item as a Value item (I just covered that), invalidating the coupon's value and then professionally handles the situation by giving me the full discount.

I thank both of them and take my leave with the item and about $20 in savings.

After all that you might be wondering, what the heck could I do with $20.

Find out in the next post

No coupon but here is an essential oil diffuser you can buy...
Black essential oil diffuser
Available at PurpleCowEmporium.com