Epic Fail – Dystopia

I lost the whole last Friday. And so did much of Canada. I woke up and began looking through emails – to no avail because once again, no internet. So I turned on the TV to watch the news, only to find blackness on the screen. I thought, not again! Since I moved here I’ve never had so many internet issues since I stupidly left Bell Canada and joined the Rogers network and EVERYTHING – phone, TV, internet is connected by their shit wifi. I tried all my usual unplug, plug in tricks with my devices, which sometimes alleviates the problem. Again – to no avail. At that point, I hadn’t yet checked my mobile phone, which of course always works even when wifi is down because it picks up off the Rogers network cell towers when home wifi is down. But this time I had a dead phone!

At the same moment I began getting curious as to what the hell was going on, my friend Marsha knocked on my door. She came to inform me that Rogers network was down in the whole of Canada! In Canada we have only two giant conglomorate networks that monopolize the country – Rogers with a majority of customers and Bell Canada. And despite the various knock-off carriers that run off these two networks, that’s it. We had no communication to the outside world. Right away I suspected cyber tampering. Plus, I had recently heard on our news that we can expect some cyber attacks, adding that Canada isn’t protected properly with infrastructure to ward them all off. What else could possibly wipe out a whole network in one country?

I asked Marsha how she found out. She told me she knew her neighbor was connected to Bell. She knocked on her door and asked her to call security at our gatehouse and see WTH was going on, and found out. From 5am til wee hours of Saturday morning we were communicationless to the outside world.

I needed to make a few calls Friday to set things ready for my company I had coming Sunday to visit my husband’s grave and come back for lunch. So I got dressed and went up to the 10th floor where I used to live, to knock on a few old neighbor’s doors to see if anyone was on the Bell network. No luck! We were all mystified. I then went down to the convenience store in our building to ask the owner if he had any communications working. He told me his store could only take cash, and even though there was an ATM in his store, the banking system was also shut down, no debit cards, and for many businesses, not even credit cards because of no authorization. Imagine a whole banking system relying on one network!

I decided to go up to the lobby, knowing well there would be people there wondering what was going on. There I saw our building’s cleaners, Simon and Evangeline wiping down the windows. I asked if either of them were on Bell network, and thankfully Evangeline was, and she offered me to use her phone.

During that time, Marsha had gone out searching for wifi, as her daughter calls her every morning and she worried her daughter would worry about her. Marsha heard on the radio that our Starbucks cafes were on the Bell network. I had hoped to get to a Starbucks to send some texts, but one thing led to another as I was cleaning up my place for the weekend. I had the radio on, waiting for reports, as did everyone else, and nothing. Every commercial break announcers could tell us nothing, other than Rogers says they are working on the problem. They also informed that stores could only take cash, some closed, and the chaos at the airport just added to the already madness. People with their boarding passes on phones couldn’t board. All comms were down, and Lord knows how the air traffic controllers were managing. I was grateful to not be on a plane. They also warned not to take any road trips because if a car breaks down, there was no calling for help. AND EVEN 911 emergency line was NO SERVICE. I shuddered at the thought of how many needed an ambulance and died because of this event! It was a dominoe effect of chaos.

After 4pm, I went over to Marsha’s and hung pictures for her, since we were both home and nothing to do. Then she came over to my place and we played Dominoes. We kept checking our phones hoping for them to work, but no dice.

By 8pm, Marsha suggested we drive over to Starbucks to use their wifi to check in with people. Starbucks up the street was a sardine can, full of people, and younger ones hogging all the wifi with their laptops. There were plenty of people, like us, standing outside Starbucks hoping to pick up wifi, to no avail. There were just too many trying to do the same. So we drove to another Starbucks, and again, we couldn’t even get connected.

Finally, I saw a girl walking and texting, I asked her if she could connect and told me it was wonky, but our national pharmacy chain, across the way, Shoppers Drug Mart, was on the Bell Network. By this time it was 10pm, it seemed many didn’t know about this available wifi, and it only took me 10 minutes to connect and I began sending out texts. What a nightmare!

Everyone we’d seen and spoken to that day couldn’t help wondering if this was Russian tampering. How one monopoly network goes totally off the grid was puzzling. I can’t help but wonder if Bell Canada will be next. Were we sabotaged? Was this to show us what they can do? When we STILL have no answers from Rogers and the government has called in the CEO this week for talks, I am suspicious we aren’t being told the truth. Just how fragile are our systems with their vulnerabilites to attack? Not sure we’ll ever get the truth, but two things for sure: Canada better step up our protections, and I am moving back to Bell!

©DGKaye2022

Enough with the Self Checkouts! My Two Cents

Today I’m talking about my aversion to self-checkout registers in stores. I hate them!

What spurred this post was a meme I’d seen on social media where people are up in arms in the comment section about having to self checkout at Walmart with cart loads of stuff, some leaving their carts and walking out. Below, find a few samplings:

 

“I refuse to self check out. It puts people out of work and contributes nothing to the social security tax base or income tax. It’s Walmart’s way of not paying wages. Plus most folks are part time so Walmart doesn’t have to pay benefits.”

 

“When I’m in line waiting to pay for my groceries, and the nice assistant manager tells me there’s an opening at the self checkout, I look at them and say, “I’m sorry. I don’t work here.”

 

“I think we should get a “ I cashiered myself discount “ since they aren’t paying anyone to ring us up”

 

“Hire the cashiers back!”

 

I can definitely relate and not a big fan of self-checkout for various reasons besides the complaints noted above. Grocery shopping has never been one of my favorite shopping past times. I go with my list, gather my goods and go to checkout. I’m used to bagging my own things in some supermarkets, but, ringing items through on a self-checkout doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting out faster.

 

I’ll take my local pharmacy, Shopper’s Drug Mart, as an example here. I’ve developed a habit of going there only on Thursdays. Thursdays are Senior Days. Ya, ya, I’d hardly consider myself a senior, but I’ve been getting that discount for years.

 

It began about eight years ago at the Shopper’s near where me and my husband lived for years. I’d pick up his prescriptions and do a shop. I asked one of the pharmacy girls if I could get the discount since my husband was a senior. She told me she’d certainly ring up my things with a 20% discount. That was it! Since that time, any other Shopper’s I’d spend money at on a Thursday, I’d ask for the senior’s discount and got it. At the time, I was further away from being a senior and was puzzled that I wasn’t asked for identification. I asked the clerk if she needed proof. I was told then that clerks weren’t allowed to ask for I.D. for this discount and that if we claimed we’re seniors we’d just get the discount. That worked out well through the years. . . until the self-checkout machines came around.

 

As you can imagine, Thursdays are the busiest days at Shopper’s. The one closest to me is a nightmare to checkout from on Thursdays. With usually only one cashier on (these days) and three self-checkout machines, prepare to spend longer in line. We have Shopper’s points cards where we earn extra points for items we purchase. The cards get scanned at checkout, but Shopper’s has yet to come up with a cure for the missing access to the ‘senior discount’ selection at self-checkout. What currently happens is the ONE cashier on duty has to leave the line of waiting paying customers to go over to the robots and swipe a ‘special’ employee card into the machine to take off the extra 20% for those who braved the robots. So we are in fact waiting on one cashier line and sharing that cashier with all the lost self-checkout customers who can’t get their discounts at the machines. Not to mention, most of the elderly seniors don’t have any concept of digital payment. Sometimes I question if the 20% off is worth my time.

 

This self-checkout business is a nightmare for many. I detest it more in grocery stores. How many times have you been self-checking out and an item doesn’t scan? Yes, we are at the mercy of computerized everything. And no, they aren’t foolproof. When we checkout with an actual cashier, it’s their business to call a stock person and go check the price of the item if it doesn’t scan. At a self-checkout scanning machine, it’s enough to make me leave the whole lot of stuff and walk out. This isn’t my job. I’m wanting to pay for goods and the robot I’m at isn’t complying and there’s no help. Yes, I am going to leave if there is no help around.

 

Now, I know that some stores have ‘helpers’ around to help serve shoppers when glitches occur, but that’s not always the case, especially since I’ve noticed less people working in these stores. It isn’t a secret that North America is recognizing a shortage of employees for many businesses. With the advent of Covid and people working from home or leaving their non-essential jobs, which are in fact, very essential to the average citizen, I’ve noticed plenty of closed checkout aisles in many a store.

 

I’m not sure if all those people ranting over the situation at Walmart aren’t justified in their thinking, but I do feel the same way as many of those commenters. Greed has taken over everywhere with price gauging, giving less and taking more from us from service to pricing, but, I do know it sure would be nice to see people working in stores instead of these damned robots!

 

What’s your take on self-checkout?

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

People Not Doing Their Jobs – Pitfalls of Ordering Online

Yup, this is going to be a rant. When I’ve had my fill of incompetence, I’m going step up here on my soapbox and call out those who just don’t give a shit about their jobs.

We only have one department store left in Canada – The Hudson’s Bay, and I need more than two hands to count on how many errors and run-ins I’ve had with them. And my latest encounter was a double whammy once Purolator got involved.

 

Because I pretty much live attached to my computer, I don’t get out often, so I rely a lot on delivery service. It’s not difficult to see that artificial intelligence is taking over in so many ways, but AI isn’t human and when glitches and errors occur, it’s usually the customer who gets caught up in the time-consuming crossroads of trying to figure out where their orders are. And this isn’t my first rodeo with such issues with both companies.

I frequently order from The Bay, and every so often, when orders get screwed up, it’s because of misinformation, and quite frankly – laziness. On a good day, my order is normally delivered the next day or two days max. But this time I ordered some items, now two weeks ago, which I’ve yet to receive! I began checking on my order Aug 27th when I hadn’t received any notification of the progress of my package. But all it said beside my order was ‘in process’. I let it ride for the rest of the week being a long weekend coming, and expected my package at least by the day after Labor Day – to no avail.

I called up The Bay, got put on hold twenty minutes, only to get my call picked up by an incompetent person who I could barely understand, and was told, they would look into the order, send an email to head office and get back to me. I hung up the phone on her, dialed the number again, placed the phone down for almost another half hour until someone picked up, and then chewed off their ear.

After laying into the agent for their incompetence, he apologized saying that ‘someone’ must have forgot to put the order through. Are you kidding me? I told him, the items are now further reduced on sale, so here’s an idea – CANCEL THE ORDER and redo it now at the lower price. And he did. Then he proceeded to tell me I’ll have it by next week. I retorted with ‘I’m not waiting another week’ because of their screw-up. He then did whatever he did on his computer and informed me, I’d have it by Friday Sept. 5th. I usually get an email telling me my package is on its way stating my package will be delivered by the end of the day from Canada Post. But no notifications came.

On Friday, I went down to my mailbox and found no package. On a hunch, I walked into the lobby of my building and noticed a Purolator notice taped to the door flapping around. Yup, it had my name on it, stating, ‘line was busy’, leaving a pick-up address at about ten miles from where I live. I blew a gasket.

I called Purolator and pitied whomever was going to take my call.

After placing me on hold for another half an hour, I finally got to chew someone out. First, I informed the woman on the other end that NOBODY buzzed up, and NOBODY who lives in the complex hardly ever goes through the lobby, as tenants come in from the underground parking. I proceeded to inform her about the numerous Purolator tags floating around in the lobby as an ongoing event because they’re too damned lazy to deliver a package. They are notoriously the worst for deliveries. The lobby door had even been kept open for several days because of some ongoing repairs. I asked her how the hell are people supposed to know they have a package when they aren’t notified by any means other than a sticky note left randomly in the lobby entrance. She replied that’s their protocol. I replied that they are the worst delivery system next to UPS, and asked her to re-deliver that package and have them bring it up to my door and if I don’t answer to leave it there. She put me on hold another few minutes to inquire on her end if they’re allowed to do that. I told her to just do it!

I’m so sick and tired of incompetence by big corporations hiring incompetent people for jobs, most likely not being paid enough to give a shit about their jobs, and certainly not enough people in these jobs. And I’m sick of having to do the leg work to follow up on missing deliveries due to their incompetence. We are at their mercy because nothing ever changes.

I remember an old saying ‘the customer comes first’, but that is an old saying for sure because it no longer applies. I even asked the Purolator rep if she has any idea how many packages are left unclaimed because of their poor delivery procedures. Of course, she had no idea.

Companies have no qualms sending us a bombardment of emails asking us to complete surveys asking us to tell them how they’re doing, please write a review for your new product etc. and bla bla bla. But when you need to get hold of them for support, good luck! So please, stop invading my inbox with your fake goodwill and do your damned jobs!

And this just in as I get ready to schedule this post. . .it’s now Monday night and still no delivery. Fuming at full steam I called them again.This time I waited 55 minutes for an agent, only to find my parcel was still sitting in some dumpy warehouse because NOBODY BOTHERED SENDING THROUGH THE MESSAGE from last Friday that the lying agent told me was sent. I finally got through to an agent, and as I write this, I’ve now been on hold a total of TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!! “So sorry Debby, but I now have to wait for a supervisor to send the email to the warehouse to release the box.” Many swear words were expelled from my mouth. I HAVE NO FRIGGIN’ WORDS LEFT!!!!!!!!!

 

incompetent

 

Thanks for listening. I feel so much better now. 🙂

Anyone here have an incompetence beef you’d like to share here? Please be my guest.

 

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