Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Is Mistaken Identity Preventing Employment?

In this age when EVERY aspect of ones life is just a few clicks away, how much should or do we trust what pops up on a computer screen? What comes up on the screen MIGHT be factual, but the person reading it might just be a total idiot who cant even count to lettuce.

Twice this week I have been a victim of mistaken identity due entirely to stupidity and it is only Tuesday.

First, if you didn't know, my name is Eric D. Carlson. This is a very well established fact. I moved to Maine November 2011. Too bad state employees and temp agency employees do not know this. Oh wait, they do.

This is a recap of what happened with incident 1.

I applied for a job through @Work Personnel Services in Brewer Maine. I know, temp agency, lame job. NO. This was a job that would put me back into the income I was making as a professional in NC 4 years ago and have not seen since. I met every qualification and have the experience to back it up. I figured it was as good as done. The application process was longer than many I have seen but here is some of the info they asked for which is actually standard for many job applications.

Current Physical and Mailing Address
Previous addresses for the last 7 years
Photo copy of SS Card and Drivers License (we know what ID hoops are needed for those)

So we can assume they are pretty damn sure they know who you are. The client that I was applying for also requested a criminal background check, so, why not I have done these before, I have nothing to hide, I am clean. @Work requests that I check in with them (via phone) every week. I was doing this nearly every day, asking specifically about the job I applied for. 3 weeks later, I am getting rather annoyed that I have not heard about it so I call in and ask specifically about this job. I was told that my background check cam back and it was not clean. WHAT?!?!? Yep, according to them I have been arrested here in Maine several times. gong back as far as 1995 (see above info). I told them that this is incorrect info. Their response was a non-response and could only tell me that this is the info that came back from SBI [State Bureau of Identification] when they requested the info with only (pay attention now) First name, Last name and Date Of Birth. Thankfully I have such an unusual name that I can not be mistaken for anyone else. Oh, right, I don't. Next move, call SBI. I talked to to very helpful people over at the SBI, Dave and Dana. They both confirmed that what happens is that the info (name and DOB) is fed into a computer and that uses some algorithm to come up with a close sounding match. Really? Yes. That is right, a close sounding match. I was also informed that for the same price a fingerprint back ground report can be requested by the potential employer. I asked what can I do about this. The only recourse is on me, totally 100% on me. I need to go get fingerprinted, and have a fingerprint based background check done as a challenge, oh and this could take up to 2 weeks. Oh and I am sure the employer will wait on hiring someone so I can do this, right? I called back @Work, and again asked them what they will do. Nothing. But they will email a copy of said report to me, so that I may challenge it, "today or tomorrow." It is now tomorrow, and by 3 PM, no email. I called, and this time asked for the manager and explained what happened and also explained why this should be taken more seriously by @Work. Here is the hypothetical situation I gave them:

"Lets say someone applied for a job, they have a lengthy criminal background, you do the standard haphazard background check that 75% of businesses use and it came back clean because it had a close enough sounding match. This person is then employed and does something consistent with their background, the employer then gets sued by their customer. Who do they come back to? You, and ask to see the background check and compare it with a REAL one provided by the police. Who is then getting sued?" Still nothing they can or will do short of talking to SBI them selves.

Here is where the real idiocy comes, Take a look at the first 2 pages (of 6) of the report that came back, keep in mind ALL the identifying info and documents about ME they have in their possession and What I told you above, about me.

I'll wait.

I'll just let that sink in.


Ya, that is what I thought too. How could they possibly have thought this is me? IT'S NOT EVEN THE SAME NAME!! Did they even read this?

Before I received this I was on my way to the local jail (because that is where I was told (by the police) that I need to go to get finger printed) and while on my way I again, talked to @Work and asked where the email is? I was assured it would be sent today.

At the local county jail I was told that they can NOT just finger print anyone that walks in and asks for it. WHAT? Really? Something in writing from either a potential employer or SBI is needed. Idiocy, again.

So tomorrow guess where I am going. Yep, the jail again, with this report in hand, and also to @Work. I will ask them to pull my file and verify that they do indeed have all the identifying documents they once had and ask them to compare this report with the LEGAL DOCUMENTS they have and then ask them: "What on this report suggests that this is me?"

I may be going to local news outlets (tv/newspaper) with this. This needs attention.
How many jobs have I NOT been hired for due to something like this? How many other people has this happened to?

Moral here, ALWAYS insist on a fingerprint based background check on none at all. Always. It is your right. 

Dont get me started on what happened at the DMV today. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

To The Skies We Travel

As The Crow Flies

We are taking to the skies over Maine. There has been hints and pieces of information given and posted in many places as to thing to come with us, well, here it is. Gypsie and I are in the beginning steps of opening a small family owned business right here in Blue Hill Maine.

I totally blame her for all of this. It all started with asking what do I want to do for a career, more to the point what would I want to do every day for the rest of my life, what kind of job would get me out of bed every morning excited about going to work. Money aside, what would I do with the adage "if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life."It took a while to think of it but I remembered something that I always wanted to do since 4th grade (thank you Dr. Luzetti).

I want to fly.

Phone calls were made, and information found, bad news. There is little to no chance of some type of meaningful career in aviation in Maine working for someone else. Not to be dismayed by this, I thought more and figured, if I can not work for someone, I wil work for myself, I will create a meaningful career for myself.

So here we are today. We will be starting As The Crow Flies, a seaplane based, air tour and charter company operated here in Blue Hill. Again, credit it goes to my amazing and inspirational wife for the name. We will have unique features not offered anywhere in the area. Mainly, the ability to land/take off from either water or land, seating for 6 passengers. There are a couple sea plane tours in the state, but much further south, in the Portland area but mostly operating in the lakes region, there are other air tours some what nearby, but they can only take 3 passengers. There are other charter services in the state but they are either too small to have a decent useful load carrying capability or they are on the other end, the elite, ultra expensive corporate type. We will fill that middle area nicely with our intended plane, a Grumman G44A Super Widgeon.

Isn't it just beautiful?
 Yep, that is what we will be flying (ok maybe not that specific plane, but it's the same make/model)

These are some of our services offered:

  • Take-off from and return to Blue Hill Bay
  • Air tours of 30 min or 60 min.
  • Sunset air tours with option to land at uninhabited islands off the Maine coast for viewing
  • Lunch tours to islands
  • Light House Tours
  • Penobscot Bay
  • Schoodic Peninsula
  • Stonington Lobster Boat air tours
  • Acadia Park and Mountains
  • Fly-Stay packages with local Inns: Pick up passengers, fly in to area (even right to the back door of the Inn in some cases) to stay at Local Inn, booked offered through the Inn (i.e. Bar Harbor Inn) limited to a 300-500 mile range. 

  •  Charter service, passenger or cargo.
  • Charter Services available to a 500+/- mile range including Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York,  Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C. Northern Virginia (in the first year, allowing for expansion to a larger service area as the business grows)
  • Fly-Stay Packages to include ski resorts, hunting, fishing etc throughout Maine limited to 300-500 mile range. 
At some point, maybe a couple years after opening we also plan to give back to the community as much as possible. We would like to start a little side non-profit business teaching kids (adults too) at a drastically reduced rate, how to fly. This opens up a world of opportunity that, if they had to pay full price, would never be able to do. Yes we live in a touristy area, but there are many towns and many people around here who just get buy, or worse. What kid if given the chance, wouldn't want to learn how to fly? Once they have that first license, they can go anywhere with it. We want to make this opportunity affordable.

As you can see these are some very ambitious plans we have made. Right now we are just in the beginning stages and (re)writing our business plan. Once this is done we will be very actively seeking funding to get this going. This really is a massive undertaking and will be more work than we can probably imagine right now just to get it going but I always have had a few lofty goals tucked away for myself.

Yes there is an obvious question I can hear you all asking, "Eric, since when do you know how to fly?" Well, I dont, not yet. That is all part of our plan. I will be getting all the required flying credentials over the next year. So this is a long term plan, nothing that will be happening anytime really soon but we do already have some good feedback from a couple local inns that are eager to see us operating to take part in the fly/stay packages. 

Our goal is to be a family run business and eventually having Gypsie and  the minions all flight trained to join in the family business and keep it going as long as possible.

As for funding of this, we are at 0 right now, we are going to be hitting up indiegogo and other venues, private investors, awesomely generous folks and financial institutions. So if anyone out there knows someone who is interested in helping start a business, we are always willing to give in return as well. There is quite a bit to be done, we are on the right path, but just taking the first steps now to get As The Crow Flies off the ground (sorry, had to put that one in there).

If you can, or if you know someone who would, please help us make this happen here: As The Crow Flies

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And Away We Go...

Greetings! Ok so the last time you read anything going with me was back at the beginning of January, I have been slacking, really. Big things are (almost) happening here. I am successfully unemployed (seasonal job, blah blah) but am looking to move on to a more lucrative career, maybe even one that pays. That is the small stuff. The next I blame on my dearest, my sunshine of my life, my wife who some of you may know around these parts as Gypsie over there at thewanderinggypsie. Maybe not directly, but I blame her for planting the seed for this. While discussing future careers the question was put to me "what would you love to do, what would you want to get out of bed every day excited about doing?" There is something that I have wanted to do since about 4th grade or so (no I am NOT saying how long ago that was). I made a couple phone calls, asked (too) many questions and discovered that career opportunities for this just plain do not exist here in our little corner of Downeast heaven. Dismayed, but not giving up, I thought, why not hire myself, be my own boss, and not work for someone else, but for myself. Well fast forward about a month or so to today. We met with a great guy named Ed at S.C.O.R.E. [Service Corps Of Retired Executives] with our first draft of a business plan. Yep, that is what the first steps are for starting your own business, the idea, some basic info, then a business plan. Scary? YES! We have never done one of these, there seems to be no end of "how to" advice on-line for these, so what did I do? I took a basic outline given to me of what one should be and went from there. It was most certainly flawed, missing key pieces of info, too much info in the wrong place, but over all, not all that bad. Time for Business Plan 2.0. With a little less info where it is, and more info where there isn't any, but that will take some digging and "market research" for what we want to do. Oh, I also had a job interview today too, that went well, but the better news there was it was at the same place that we plan to work with as a business. The general manager was extremely excited about my proposal and even sent me to another facility that they partner with to suggest the same. The result there may not have been as exuberant but still a positive reception to the proposal. So a very productive day today. Frankly, our plans are HUGE, I mean, for a small business, these are really REALLY big. There is a disgustingly large amount of capital needed just to open the doors, but with a bit of luck and begging, and lots of smiles and hand shakes and talk it up, I think we can get it and get this thing going. We have so much to learn about this but it will be as fun as it is hard too. I am not really going to say too much about what exactly it is, as of right now, (and if you know don't say it please) but I will put this out there; 2 areas of business, the first will be seasonal for the tourism season, the other will be somewhat tourist and somewhat professional, but year-round. Also, I have nominated, seconded, and voted unanimously that my dearest, the sunshine of my life, my wife, be the owner, not because I don't want the headache, but for a myriad of other reasons and a few "because she is better at it" reasons too. I will be the work horse of the business until we "promote from with-in." This is a family owned and operated business that can (no, WILL) grow with our family.
We are off to a good start, a good solid plan and each other for support, what more do we need? Oh, right, investors, yeah, they would be great, we need them.
So here is to doing what you love, being your own boss and working your ass off to live a dream, and with that, I am off to bury myself in research for writing Business Plan 2.0.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Here is a bit of fire prevention for everyone out there, weather it be for your home or workplace. Take it for what it is worth, coming from a parent and fire fighter and avid user of electronics.

Ever use those little adapters to plug a 3 prong (grounded) plug into a 2 prong outlet? How many of you actually take the time to properly attach it? This means taking that little screw that holds the cover plate on and screwing the adapter to the outlet which grounds it. This takes the place the ground prong. I have always known this and usually done this unless I was just temporarily using it, very temporary, like maybe an hour or 2 but continuously supervised. Well my wife did not know this and we had a very close call recently with one of these. Our house is old, very old, the wiring is somewhat more recent but not recent enough to have grounded outlets everywhere, many are just the old 2 prong style, including in the room we use as an "office." She had plugged one of these in to be able to use a 6 outlet strip for her computer and other such things. We had went to NH for the weekend of before Christmas and, from the signs of things, lost power at some point because clocks were flashing and her computer was off. I took that opportunity to properly install the adapter that she had been using as he did not ground it. When I unplugged it, this is what I found:

We got damn lucky.
You see that little metal tab? USE IT! You may not be as lucky as us.

The next day we went to the local harware store and bought several of them, typically they are around $1.00 each, cheap and simple to use but dangerous if not installed correctly. I replaced this one, and a couple others inthe house and made damn sure they were all grounded. Wifey learned a valuable lesson, thankfully not the hard way.

If you use these, please, ground them every time. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thankful for something I hate

I really hate my job. Ok, just so this is not all doom & gloom, I will try to come up with a few positive things about it. I have a job, there, that's one. I have lost weight, inches and gained more tone/definition, so all the benefits of a gym while working.  I am learning about the lobsters (because that will be so useful sometime in my life?). That's it, I've exhausted the positive aspects of my job.

What is my job? Well, I can't really put a nice name on it, or any name for that matter, nor do I know what my title is, if I had to put it on a resume, because I don't think "crate bitch" or "bug chucker" would look good on a resume. I might need to explain here and now just to clear some things up. I work at Greenhead Lobster, what we do there is buy the bugs (what we call lobster) off the boats and then grade them by size, quality, firmness of shell or just by weight then ship them, well, everywhere. I work in the tank room.

1/2 of the tank
This is where we do all our grading, the tank can hold 534 crates, each crate hold 90-100 lbs of lobster and the crate itself weighs 17 lbs for a total weight of 107-117 lbs each. The tank is kept at about 45*F all the time, which cools the room as well to about 48*F all the time. EVERYTHING is wet, there is NOTHING dry in this room, and its not just water, not just sea water, it is sea water plus! Remember all those 534 crates with 100 lbs of lobster in them? You know what a lobsters favorite food is? Other lobster. And what happens when the bugs eat? They shit, in the water because that is where they live. Sometimes they die in there, sometimes they loose parts in there (legs, claws etc). It all goes in the water, which is in the tank. The water in the tank is always circulating, so there is always water coming in from the sea but all the stuff mentioned above, sinks, kinda, and stinks, like dead fish. Putting the crates IN the tank is not so bad, reaching shoulder deep in to the tank to fix a double stacked crate, sucks. Taking the crates out, usually pulls about 5-6 gallons of water out with it, which is one of the reasons we wear waterproof clothing and boots. So by the end of the day, we smell just like the bugs.  
The Grading area (1/2 of it)

I do grade occasionally, when needed and it really is easy work, also known as being a "bug toucher." This is only 1/2 our day, the next half is especially mind numbing. We pull the crates from the tank (either manually lifting them out or via conveyor). The really fun part is getting into the waders to get in the tank to push all the crates to one end of the tank. Remember the temp of the tank? Remember that it is a lobster cesspool? Ya, we go IN that.

Then the hours, I started there coming in at 10 am, which is wonderful, but not so much when we stay, well, until we are done, anywhere from 8-12 hrs a day, 6 days a week, throwing 117 lb crates around. As I said before, any idiot can do it, and most of the people down there fit that description perfectly. Tired aching bodies, flesh wounds, stinking wet clothes, every day.

I miss having a 40 hr, 5 day a week job where I work with my head, not my back. A man should not have to work so hard 6 days a week that he can not enjoy his only day off.

Then there is the pay, or lac there of, with this job. For as hard as we work, as long as we work, the pay is deplorable, there are no benefits of any kind, no insurance, just pay, very little of it.

Its a mindless job. I love jobs where I make, build or fix something. Here on the coast of Maine, I would love to get into boat building. I think it is something that I would love to do. I get to use creativity (to some degree) I get work with my hands building something, and have to actually think and use complex problem solving. I guess I just really miss my engineering job but the type of engineering I did, there are too few people in Maine who do it.There are plenty of boat yards in the area, it's just a matter of finding one willing to hire someone with no boat building experience. Until then, I toil away 6 days a week making not enough money for the job I do.
I really hate my job.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Roxie Files 2

This is a re-blog from Gypsie. I added my cometary into it. This is the next phase, removing the entire drive system in one piece for the purpose of removing the gearbox and differential to swap it out with a non-broken one. Actually I do not know which failed, the gear box or diff so the both will come off while it is on the stand. Also I will be doing a thorough tune up, carb re-build and cleaning of the engine at the same time, maybe even a little painting, why not, what classy lady doesn't want to have just a little hint of sexy under the hood? Once all that is done, and the painting of the car is done the chore of putting it all back in will need to be done.

So here is The Roxie Files 2

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Roxie Files

This will be the companion blog to Gypsie's blog about the resurrection of her new car, Roxie.

Let me introduce you, this is Roxie:

She is a 1963 Corvair Monza convertible. Look at those classic sexy lines, that stout stance, she looks a fun ride at any speed. She has issues, shows her age, but has tons of potential. Her start with us was rather auspicious, the alternator was not working, so it needed to be charged before we left. 15 miles in to the trip home (I was driving) we went around a corner, the battery (wrong size to fit in the car) tipped over and leaked acid, the car stopped. We could not get it jump started so I decided to try to roll start it being pushed (up hill) by my Volvo 240 (Gypsie driving). It worked great! 1st gear, away we go, 2nd powering up the hill with ease, 3rd gear....BANG! something broke. Long story short, we had her towed home from there.

Also, the brakes were scary, stiff pedal, but nothing much happens until pressed all the way down then the rear wheel lock up. Thank the gods for being able to down shift. 

Home finally.

There are good parts to Roxie, not all is bad. The body is solid (some small holes in the floor under the back seat) the engine runs strong even needing a tune up.

SO today we started with the demolition. We removed the interior to expose the cancerous sheet metal underneath and to get rid of the worn beyond use seats.

This is the part where we find what we are really up against for work to get her back in road ready condition and have this old girl dancing again.

We have bought a parts donor car as well, a 1964 Corvair Monza Spyder, the 150 HP turbocharged hard top version of Roxie. The interior is great but the body is bad. After talking with the (previous) owner, we have narrowed down that BANG from the return trip to the differential (most likely). So more parts will be coming out of Boris than originally thought. Boris will be my personal project after we finish with Roxie. It will take longer but it also is not going to be my primary transportation as Roxie will be for Gypsie. I am still getting over the fact that she bought *my* dream car for herself, oh well, I get the parts car to play with out of it too.
Here is Boris:

So sit back and follow along on our journey, mistakes, failures and triumphs in restoration.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rice & Beans

MMMmmmm Rice & Beans, when done right is a great meal, and usually goes over ok here and there are always left overs (making good food stretch). Food is not what I am here to write about, but it is what brought me to this topic today. Kinda. It started from a post on Google+ from someone in my circles. Cara Schulz originally posted this, and a friend of mine re-shared it today which was the first time I read it. Cara touched on something that I have had thoughts on for several years now. The economy stinks, it really stinks right now. Being unemployed makes it just that much harder. People have told me to go apply anywhere and everywhere. Why? Here is an example: I applied at certain world wide known fast food chain that is the but of many menial job jokes. They never called me back even when advertising that they are hiring. I have been turned down from a major retail chain as a cashier because I am "over qualified." So I am too qualified to earn a paycheck?
Damn.. did it again, off on a tangent.

What I propose is something like as follows.

As conditions for qualifying to run for any elected office of governor or higher, they should have to do this for a year.
First, be stripped of their legal and/or business degrees (seems to me that most have one of these), move into a rental house or apartment, have little to no money in a bank account (by little, I mean under $100), no credit cards, no wait, yes, give them 2, both maxed out. A cell phone bill a month or 2 past due, 1 modest, high mileage car that does not fit the entire family. Now, they will start off with their utilities on, electric and internet. No land line phone, instead, Magic Jack (because there are some local gov't agencies that can NOT call to these numbers). They will need to get oil, for their heat AND hot water, propane/gas for their cooking stove. I will be nice and let them be on well water, and have a septic system, so there is no water bill or sewer bill.
 Their challenge, make it 365 days after this start with out going homeless or losing a MAJOR utility. Also they are starting off unemployed.
Here is what they will find. Being broke sucks. EVERYTHING costs. want to go to a job interview? find money for gas to get there. Need a copy of your resume to give? Well guess what, your printer is broken, now you need to go to the library to print it, .10/page. Stamps cost to send back an application. Your assistance that you thought you could get to help get you by until there is employment? Sorry, the assistance is broke too, there is none.
Once they get a job, (if they get one) it might be 40 miles away and because they have no real experience in anything that is hiring, they have a $14/hr job, but hey, its employment right? Its great, they think they have won until they realize that what they take home is much less than that and all benefits/assistance is based on GROSS wages, not NET, but they now make TOO MUCH to get most assistance that is still out there. Dont forget the kids, which means that they will BOTH have to work, and opposite shifts, because day care is too expensive and they need to schedule it so that they can still do it with only the one vehicle. Until it breaks. There is no public transportation, because where they live is too far outside of a metropolitan area that uses it. Remember the job that was 40 miles away? 

How many presidents, have lived like this as an adult? How many congressmen, senators, state reps or governors have lived a life living on rice & beans because they have $20 left to feed a family of 6 for a week?

Having them read about it does nothing, they will not see the reality of it. Joe the Plumber means nothing to them except publicity, because they have not lived like Joe the Plumber.

Just think what would change and how fast it would change if everyone from state rep up to the president had to do this?

They talk about creating jobs, but for who? Where? What kind of jobs? Employment is only one piece of the puzzle, what needs to be fixed is everything else too. No one sees this unless they see it from the inside. Chances are, if you have enough income to run for one of these offices, this life is alien to you.
We need to turn this around, have them see it for what it really is for any real change to happen.
"They should be forced to feed their family on $20 bucks and ask a stranger how to cook some freaking beans..."

Maybe it would not take all of them, maybe just a few of the RIGHT ones. Maybe. Just maybe.

Now to go have a bowl of home made fried rice, I need to find some way to use it all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Junk

Let's see.. where to begin with this. First, a warning, this is a RANT! I am blatantly complaining here. Second, I will be speaking in generalizations, I KNOW that what I am complaining about is not absolute and not the case EVERY time, just in my experience, so please dont tell me I am wrong just because you have had a different experience. Ok, disclaimer done. On with the rant.

Age, price, and mileage mean NOTHING to the quality and reliability of a used (no, not "pre-owned" that is just a marketing way of saying USED) car. Weather you buy it "certified" from a USED car dealer, or private party paying cash, makes NO difference. I have bought a $300 23 year old (at that time) car with 150+ thousand miles on it, and sold it with over 175K on it still running great with only routine maintenance. I re-built a few things on it out of choice.

 I have had a slew of under $2000 vehicles that were pretty good and we got our monies worth out of them. I personally have had several under $500 that I drove into the ground. Most recently we (my wife) had purchased a 2004 vehicle for roughly $14,000 with 110,000 miles on it. From day one there were things wrong with it. The heated seats did not work, the dealership delayed getting it to us because there was some sort of glitch getting it inspected. Leak in the sun roof, strange noises (coming from under the car, no where near the engine like neither one of us have heard before and the dealership service department says its "normal"), oil leaks, and we have even had to replace the transmission. When we bought it, part of the deal was new tires, this was done, but there was something they missed. Several months later, we had a side-wall about to let go on one of the new tires, come to find out the dealership never replaced (or even checked) the tire pressure monitor inside the wheel. This needed to be replaced, and the "extended warranty" they sold us did not cover it. Turns out they are supposed to be replaced when tires are. Now, there is a leak in a valve stem and we MIGHT have to replace another tire pressure monitor ($90). Now there is something, somewhere draining the battery when not driven for 2 days, almost to the point of having to jump start it (and the battery is new). We have had this beauty for just a year now. It is junk. Plain and simple. New, plastic, over engineered, junk that gets 1980's big car fuel economy.


Let me just say that the D.O.T. (in my opinion) is totally run by the auto manufacturers. Why they mandate that ALL vehicles come with some things is beyond me. The 3rd (center) brake light, I can almost understand, but not totally, and now this stupid TPMS thing. Some useless gadget put on an expensive vehicle as a "safety feature" (how does this make the car safer?) and now everyone has to have something that adds to the cost of a vehicle, costs about $360 to replace all 4 (which is recommended to do when replacing tires). Thanks D.O.T. you have made my travels SO much safer.

So my latest purchase, $1600, 19 years old 180-some odd thousand miles on it and the biggest repair was a $30 timing belt (that I was able to do myself) and i still get nearly 50% better MPG than the newer expensive one.  I have had this just about as long as my wife's POS.

I have to say, she didnt really choose to buy this particular car, its not what she wanted or even likes, I will just leave it at that. Her car was bought so that she could have "dependable, safe transportation" for her self and the kids. Something that is newer, "so it will not have to be repaired all the time" like an "older," "cheaper," car would have to be. hmmm...

This is why I have always hated that argument, that price/age of a vehicle = dependability and minimal repairs. OLD does NOT = broken, unreliable, costly to fix, or anything else of such derogatory terms used towards "older" vehicles.  So far, in my life time of owning MANY vehicles newer/more expensive does not guarantee good value.

This also depends on the vehicle itself, our particular 4 wheeled mechanism of hatred, has stopped being made after only a few years, and I can see why.

If given a choice between an 19 year old with over 100K miles for under $2000, or a newer 7 year old car I would happily NOT go in debt and buy the much more reliable and safe, economical car.

There is also the "green" factor; people are so concerned about re-using and re-cycling, well, why not do that with cars? If more people just put 10% of the cost of a *NEW* car into an older car, there would be less cars made, right? Here is another little secret, many old cars got good (even by today's standard) fuel economy, and even BETTER than most SUV's that are on the road right now. There was more steel on them and less plastic, steel is easier to recycle and in a very real way, greener than most new materials in cars now. So for get the new hybrids that they still have not figured out how to safely make GOOD batteries for (or how to dispose of them), for get the shiny new cars that get about the same mpg as that old "clunker" in your drive way that needs about $1000 in repairs because we know that $1000 is more expensive than financing a $38,000 car, right?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Customer (dont) Care


I have now (as of tonight) developed a love/hate (leaning more towards hate) relationship with Sprint. I had Sprint back in the wonderfully simple analog days in the late 90's, then went a few years w/o a phone and then back to sprint again in 2004 and have continuously been with them since. That is customer loyalty. I have little to no complaints, even going so far as highly recommending them to others. I love the devices & services they offer. Their plans are great and reasonably priced too. Did I say I love the devices they offer? I currently have the HTC EVO 4G and LOVE it (but have thought about rooting it). This is my 3rd HTC phone (Mogul, Snap, EVO, in that order). This is the love portion of my relationship with Sprint. They dont love me so much anymore. They have just essentially gave me the we should see other people line. In the mail to day was a love letter (of sorts) from them. They will terminate our service if we continue to use roaming at our current rate. Sprint is wonderful, we have not been charged for roaming in the 4 months we have lived here. We have to use roaming, there is NO sprint service where we live, which means for us to have any signal, we must roam.

You see what is highlighted there? "Off Network Roaming" That is where we live. You see that dark green labeled "Best" Its a lie. I drive up Rte. 1 every day, and am roaming the whole way, into Bangor, even IN Bangor.

Here is the Hate. I have been paying a $160+/month for my wife and I to have service. Now because we are roaming so much, and we are not on Sprint Network enough, the dont want us anymore. We have to switch carriers, buy new phones, and all that lovelyness that comes with it. I will have to pay a security deposit to start a new service. Have you seen the prices of new phones? For 2 phones, + deposit + first months bill we are looking at close to $1000. Just because Sprint does not provide service where we live. We do NOT have a land line phone, so these phones are our ONLY phone lines. But Sprint WILL waive the early termination fee so that we can switch carriers. How nice of them.

So lets boil this down
I pay $160/mo for Sprint service.
Sprint does not provide service here.
So they have not been giving me what I have been paying for and I am the one who has violated the terms & conditions of the contract?
They will not refund the previous 4 months that I have paid for a service that I did not get.
Hmm... in the rest of the world, if you pay for something, and dont get it, it is considered theft or fraud. I spoke to the fraud dept. They only deal with identity theft, that is their definition of fraud.

deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
a particular instance of such deceit or trickery: mail fraud; election frauds.
any deception, trickery, or humbug: That diet book is a fraud and a waste of time.
a person who makes deceitful pretenses; sham; poseur.

Our best option is now US Cellular. They have comparable phones to what I have but not what I really want. I have also been told there is no way to re-use the phone I have on another network (even if I root it).

Sprint, you now are a douchecanoe.