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

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Procrastinate T-Shirt

I am not normally one to leap into action, unless it is forced upon me

If I am struck by a spark of genius, I have been known to sit down until I recover.

They say “The Early Bird Gets the Worm”, but not being partial to worms I find this to be a dis-incentive.

I may be a procrastinator.

But there is a “Pro” in procrastinate

For example:
Driving to Vancouver on Hwy 1. During the morning rush, you are more likely to get a parking ticket than a speeding ticket. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration but not by much.
But if you wait a bit (procrastinate) and go in later, you won’t be stuck in traffic, until you actually get to town. Then, and I swear this happened, you can watch the driver in front of you apply a full face of makeup.

Not really part of the procrastination blog post but It Was Mesmerizing

While driving, this lady gazed into her rear-view mirror and applied paint and powder and putty or whatever using brushes, knives and possibly tweezers (maybe even a spray can) to get her face ready to face the work day.

But wait…there’s more

Then she put her glasses on.

I guess she required glasses to drive but not for the accurate application of face paint.
Persona applied, spectacles in place, ready to concentrate on driving.

Not quite

If there are no pictures, it never happened

In true Kardashian style, she proceeded to take a series of selfies while turning off of the potentially aptly named Terminal Ave onto Quebec St.
At least she was wearing her glasses.

So David, does this have anything to do with procrastinating?

Other than putting off finishing this post, No.

What made me create this T-shirt I do not know but I am glad that I did not procrastinate and that I applied this thought to a product which, as of this point in time, is my second best seller, proving that you never know what people want. My twin brother Allen certainly didn’t.

This post seems to ramble a bit.
Maybe the next one should be about focus.
Or haunted ice cubes.
What’s up with that?
Second time in as many months.

You can buy the Procrastinate T-Shirt now... or later

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Foot in Both Camps

If you have been reading this blog

you might get the impression that I really really really do not like advertising.

Yes, I know that some of it is entertaining like a few of the ads that run during the Super Bowl.

And I have softened my stance on TV ads as it gives you relief in the form of pee breaks.

I have acknowledged that advertisers are getting better at serving me online ads related to the things I have historically purchased ‘tho I am not sure why they are spending money advertising, let’s say, a garlic press based on my recent purchase of a garlic press.
Is the failure of the first garlic press imminent? If so, could they have not warned me prior to my purchase?

There are programs to save you the annoyance of ads competing for your viewing time.

I can understand the allure.

No more:

Woman Cures Wrinkles With Homemade Remedy– Doctors Hate Her (I asked a Proctologist, said he doesn’t give a sh**)
Men Over 55 Must Never Do This One Thing
Men Over 55 Must Always Do This One Thing (but only with adult supervision)
You Won’t Believe What Happened Next… (you are probably right so let’s just pretend I clicked, OK?)

There is also one about bananas that has left me wondering if bananas are good for you or bad for you, but I don’t want to know badly enough to click.

I wonder If these ad blocking programs can stop video ads from playing out loud when you accidentally mouse over them. Could be embarrassing to play an ad at work for a job search site or a dating site while you are on a date.

The other thing that ticks me off is ads with gifs. Those clips that repeat for as long as you are on the page.
Can these programs stop the stupid gifs?

I will never know because I don’t click on ads.

And now the conundrum

I advertise. Online. For the stuff I sell online.

Not only could I not recommend an ad blocking software, due to things I have read about some of them causing more problems than they solve (I recommend you research before you even try), I actually want you to see my ads.

I feel conflicted but console myself with the knowledge that I do not employ inflammatory titles (You Will Regret Missing This Opportunity To Own…), I don’t use self-playing video and I don’t use gifs that repeat endlessly.
I also have not resorted to pop-ups but that is just good manners.

You can subscribe here and you can subscribe there PurpleCowEmporium.com.

There you can peruse, purchase or add things to your wish list.
There is even a blog there.

Here you can click this ad to purchase…

 Cat Ears Beanie Cotton Polyester Cable Knit Hat