No-Fly Zone

Thursday, 15 August 2011

Arriving at work today, I found one of my framed posters was lying on the floor of my cube. The frame had been hanging in my previous cube for years and back on Tuesday I affixed it to one of the walls in my new cube. Well, I must not have affixed it very well.

The frame was broken, as was the glass. The poster itself is still in good condition, so I hung it back up sans frame. I busted up the frame into garbage pail-sized pieces, and I picked up the larger shards of glass. One piece of glass, however, made up of about 90% of the original pane, is too large to fit into my garbage pail, so it’s just sitting in my cube doing nothing right now. I could walk it down to the recycle center, but I don’t want to drop it or cut my fingers on it. I guess I could go get a bag to carry it in, but that would be a real pane.

Friday, 16 September 2011

I wrote to A-1 Vacuum Center yesterday, saying pretty much what I wrote in my post RIGHT HERE. The manager responded soon after. Here’s a truncated version of his email:

Thank you for emailing.  I appreciate the opportunity to correct this matter if possible.

I’m sorry you had problems with your vacuum after we repaired it.

Although this is no excuse, our service people do treat belts as “wear & tear” items that can break easily.  Rarely does a belt break without a reason and rarely is it a defective issue.  We take pride in having good quality products that will perform well in normal circumstances.

However, that being said, there are rare occasions where our customers may experience a broken belt or other problems after we repair their vacuums.  I’m sorry you happen to be one of the very few.

I have discussed this with my service man.  He did remember your specific situation.  He recalled the belt looked like it had snapped which generally means that the brush was stopped unexpectedly and the weak link happens to be the belt.  Most vacuums are designed so that the brush and motor are spared by the belt if something happens unexpectedly.

I have also discussed with him and the rest of our crew to be more sensitive to the customer’s point of view when this type of thing happens in the future. I hope this will minimize complaints and maximize customer satisfaction.

By the way, you mentioned your original belt lasted 5 years.  This is also highly unusual as most vacuum belts like yours are designed to last 1 year.  Even before that time most belts lose their tension and efficiency so we generally recommend replacing belts at least once a year to maintain full brushing efficiency.

OK, I’ve gone on long enough into the minutia of our business.

How much did we charge you for your second “defective” belt replacement?
I’d like to offer you a full refund and 2 spare belts for your trouble.

Please respond with your address so I can mail you the belts & refund so you won’t have to make another trip.

I hope this offer will meet with your expectations for our “Satisfaction Guarantee.”
If not, please respond so we can discuss this further.

I gotta say, I’m impressed! I wrote back saying there was no need to reimburse me for the belt, as I only bought one, and I think it’s completely fair that I pay for it. I provided my address, and, today, the belts arrived in the mail. I immediately installed one of them to insure that it was the right size.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Today we spent packing for our trip. Tomorrow we fly out to Atlanta.

I really, really dislike flying. Every time I board an aircraft, I sit there and wonder what, exactly, I’ve done with my life to yield so many plane rides.

Tomorrow will be the 26th time I’ve flown on an airplane.

Here are the years in which I’ve gone on at least one plane ride: 1975, 1979, 1987, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2006. As you can see, it’s been over five years since my last plane ride which, as luck would have it, happens to be the biggest gap I’ve experienced in my adult life. But tomorrow I’ll be boarding an airplane again.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

You know what I hate more than plane rides? Airports.

I’m not even sure I want to tell the story of our experience at the airport today, so I’m gonna be brief here.

Poor parking and construction meant we walked into the airport about 10 minutes later than we’d anticipated. The kiosk computers were down, so we couldn’t print our tickets. We stood in a line for a half hour waiting for our tickets, then another line for 50 minutes to get through security. They flagged our backpack as suspicious, which led to another 10+ minute wait while a TSA employee inspected the bag. (FYI: Baby wipes show up as a solid, black block of matter – evidently that’s very suspicious-looking.)

We ran to the gate, but missed our 2:30 flight. We tried getting on the next one (@ 3:30), but were given three reasons why we couldn’t board:

1) The door was closed

2) The plane is ful

3) Since we intentionally missed our flight (the employee’s words, not mine), they were under no compulsion to get us on the next flight.

Hanging out for a very stressful two hours, we were allowed to go “stand by,” which means they might let you on the plane if any other hapless soul “intentionally” misses their flight.

I was given permission to board the 5:00 flight. When I landed in Atlanta, I turned on my phone and was pleased to have a message from my wife saying she had boarded the 7:00 flight. I waited for her at the gate, and we were reunited at 10:15 (Eastern Time).

Walked into the hotel at 11:00. Ordered room service and requested a wake-up call. The day ended sometime after midnight.

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2 Responses to No-Fly Zone

  1. Jennifer Z. says:

    You forgot the part where the baby cried through the baby cried for about 45 of the 50 minutes in the second line. And then a lady weasled her way ahead of an entire line of people so she wouldn’t miss her flight at 3:00. Who knows how many people she cut ahead of missed their flight because of her. Then I had to fly by myself with a baby. The lucky guy who had the seat next to me was extremely pissed off to have to sit next to me so I spent the entire flight trying to make sure Isla didn’t touch this guy – not easy to do on a small plane.

  2. James says:

    Yes…all that helped to make it a very special day of memories.

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