Amazon feature I want

I just sent Amazon a feedback comment asking if they have either of two features:
1) Notification when an item on your wishlist becomes unavailable, and/or
2) The ability to easily switch from an unavailable edition of something to an available one.

I had quite a few items on my wishlist that had become unavailable. Some of them are really no longer available, but a lot have just changed editions. I want to 1) find out the items are not there without having to go look all the time, and 2) have an easy way to switch.

Do these features actually already exist, and would anyone else use them, if they don’t?

The USPS really fails

I just navigated a long and stupid phone menu (which had no proper way of failing if you can’t give a phone number that matches your address except to wait for a long time and finally transfer you to customer service) and several customer service representatives who transferred me to yet another representative, with the accompanying hold times, only to try talking to an extremely rude customer service representative who would not explain why my “attempted delivery” notice did not say that I would have to be at home in person to sign for and receive the item I ordered (the 2WG bag, which is coming from Canada).

The delivery notice was placed April 8th. It was placed, first of all, in my mailbox instead of on my door, which is both unusual and frankly kind of silly, because packages aren’t delivered to my mailbox so I don’t expect to find anything about them there. UPS puts them on the door. On the other hand it’s my own fault I don’t check my mail every day.

Second, it didn’t bear any marking showing that a signature was required at the time of delivery. I carefully followed the directions to request redelivery, including signing where designated only to get the notice stuck back in the mailbox (again) with a notation that I had to sign and fill out the address in a place that the instructions definitely did NOT say I had to sign and fill out.

I did, and the notice was picked up Monday. No indication that anything was wrong. But when I called them, I got (beyond the usual “Your package has notice left status.” “Yes. I know. I’m calling because I want to know what happened to it after I returned the notice.” “Oh, well then I have to transfer you to [other department]. Please hold.”) this woman who was extremely rude to me, as if I was the stupidest person in the world not to know that I had to be present for delivery, and who when I asked her why this was not made clear on the notice, left a short silence and then said very curtly “Do you want to schedule a redelivery on this package?”

A: “First I want to know why the notice didn’t tell me I would have to be home to receive it.”
USPS: “Please tell me if you want to schedule a redelivery on this package.”
A: “I would like to know why the notice didn’t tell me —
USPS: “Please tell me if you want to schedule a redelivery on this package.”
A: “I do, but I also want to know why–
USPS: “Well then please hold.”

She did schedule a redelivery, eventually, at which point I just wanted to get the thing done. Throughout the entire thing she was extremely curt.

I called back to register a complaint about her rudeness, and even though I wasn’t able to get her name or ID number, they were able to find out who it was by looking at who scheduled the delivery. So, a complaint will be registered. Which makes me feel a bit better, at least. The rest of the people I talked to were fine, it was just this one.

The postal service screwed this one up by not being clear. Just admit it, apologize, and offer, politely, to fix it. There really is nothing wrong with just saying “I don’t know exactly why this happened, but maybe the postal delivery employee did not realize that this package could not be left at the door or forgot to indicate that on the slip. I/we apologize for any inconvenience. Let’s schedule a redelivery so you can get your package at the best time for you. When would you like it to be redelivered?”

Update: Even better — I got home and said package was waiting for me on the doorstep!

It’s probably churlish to file a further complaint about this, but seriously — that woman was completely wrong, and furthermore, doesn’t the post office know when trackable packages go out for delivery, so shouldn’t they have told me that it was on its way? Instead of making me go through this entire rigmarole?

Comcast partially fails

My previous experiences with Comcast customer service haven’t been too bad, but I had an annoying one this weekend.

First, I got an online chat representative who wouldn’t really tell me anything useful about my bill changing, and referred me to my local service center. He admitted the bill did not make sense to him and that I had been on a promotion, but would not do anything to tell me whether I was still on the promotion or not, or whether I could get on a new one if not.

When I called the local service center the next day, during their listed business hours, I navigated fully through the phone menu, only to find out they were closed during their listed hours.

I wrote an email to Comcast complaining about this. I received three “responses” from them before I received one that was vaguely helpful. The first two said useless things like, here are more service centers near you (where by near they mean, you could drive to them), and yes, their hours are what you said and they haven’t changed. The last one proffered the lame suggestion that maybe (maybe? why don’t you just call them and find out?) they were having a meeting.

Maybe they were, but their message should be changed to say “We are temporarily closed, please call back in X hours.”

I ended up getting another live chat representative who was a bit more helpful, but the whole experience has lowered them in my eyes from “pretty good customer service” to “on the whole rather annoying to deal with”.

Nashbar crappity crap

I got my second order from Bike Nashbar today and most of it looks fine, but I must say I’m extremely disappointed with the capri-length bike pants I ordered and will definitely be returning them. They’re Nashbar brand and were cheaper than I’m used to (my experience is that good tights run $70-90 unless on sale so I guess capri-length should be a bit cheaper), so I was tempted into ordering them. Never again. As soon as I touched them, I could tell they were thin and scratchy. They have seams right up the inner thighs that scratch when you put them on, and the padded seat is made of poor-quality foam and badly stitched.

Crafted from a blended nylon/Spandex/polyester fabric with a soft, textured interior to create a lightweight, yet warm knicker that wicks moisture away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable. The padded chamois prevents chafing and hot spots for increased comfort.

Yeah. Not so much. Soft and textured equals scratchy, and I don’t think that the foam in the seat meets anything but the vaguest of specifications of “padded chamois”.

I haven’t had the greatest of experiences with Nashbar so far, but most of the stuff they’ve sent has been of acceptable quality, if poorly advertised (not explaining that the rack I ordered was not vertical storage even when I asked and inconsistent offering of weight details on locks) but this just irritates me, both literally and figuratively. I’d rather give my business to local bike shops if Nashbar doesn’t have their act together; at least I don’t have to deal with shipping and return shipping.

Update: I wrote a snarky email to Nashbar Customer Service (including the phrases “this description is poetic but totally inaccurate” and “such poor quality as to border on being defective”) and they’ve offered to pay for the return shipping by allowing me to label the item defective, as I requested. I appreciate their willingness to own their error.