I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Slacker and the USPS

Dr. Becker felt he got swindled. His family bought an online streaming radio device that he claims was defective. He used the U.S. Postal Service to return the unit for replacement. After failing to receive the replacement, he follows-up only to find the company, Slacker, never received his defective unit. Unsatisfied with the customer service he received after writing e-mails to the company, he is now boycotting the company and is urging others to do the same. I have no use for Slacker. They could fold tomorrow and I wouldn't shed a tear. But I see the real problem he had is with the U. S. Postal Service, hereby referenced as USPS. Fly Like an Eagle. They took his package, he paid money, and it never found its home back at Slacker H.Q. He almost admits wrong doing by not paying for package tracking or insurance. He's angry. He's out over $100 for a product he never got an hour's worth of enjoyment out of. Granted, I've had issues myself with Amazon.com and the USPS. Amazon both times improved the situation. Once I received a refund, and the second time, I received a duplicate item sent since the first was lost. As per Dr. Becker's wishes, Slacker could have sent a replacement unit. Instead, they stuck to their policy and placed blame where it should be placed, with the USPS. I have no doubt that shipping companies lose a lot of packages, letters, and parcels each year. How many I cannot say, but I have only had these bad experiences with the USPS. Today, they offer to take more money from you, if you want. I've written about this years ago on the Internet, but let me proffer a typical scenario. John walks into the post office, to send a package to his mom. Inside is a picture frame he's bought, with a photo of his family. He's also included a letter and a book he's returning to his mom that she lent him. He approaches the counter. * Sir, when would you like this to arrive? * What are my choices? * First class or priority, 2-3 days for each really. * Well, what's the difference? They could both take up to 3 days? * Yes, sometimes priority is quicker, but first class might be slower. * Okay, well, priority, let's go with that... * Okay sir, would you like insurance for this? A return receipt? Whaddabout stamps? * Ummm... * Sir, please, I don't have all day. People are waiting. * Well, this stuff is important... sure, return receipt, ah... insurance... no stamps. * Well, if you want all of that, please step aside and fill out these forms, front and back. Next time, fill these out before you get in line. * How much is this going to cost me? * We'll see when you're back in line. What I find upsetting is that I can hand over something to someone, pay them money, and they can take it from me, never give it to the person I'm trying to send it to, and that's okay. What I find upsetting is that to proffer any assurances, I have to be inconvenienced with more fees and more wait-time. Do they treat packages (or letters) differently if I've paid for insurance? And what does the delivery receipt do? Please tell me! In my experience, I've sent stuff, gotten the receipt, and the recipient never received the package! "Sir it was received." I told them, "Uh, no, it wasn't. I never got it." "Well, we have confirmation, sir." You get stuck in these loops of lunacy. While Dr. Becker may boycott Slacker, I'd like to boycott the USPS. I tried avoiding the USPS in paying bills. The thought and worry over my bills being received on time led to the following debacle. I switched paying my primary credit card bill with my bank's online bill pay system. I have an account with Wachovia. So, I have this account as a regular debter, and type-in to pay a certain amount. It processes, and I log-off. 15 days later, I get another bill from the credit card company that claims I've never paid the bill. I login to my Wachovia account online to find that there is absolutely no record of my transaction. Honest to God, I paid the bill and marked as much in pen on the paper bill I received ("paid in full, 12/24/08"). So I call Wachovia. After 15 minutes of a phone tree, I talk to a live human. I give him my social security number, and he recites it back wrong. I only picked up on this after I said "yes." What a mistake. Now, he has to ask me for every piece of identification I have. Address. Maiden names. Debit card numbers. Address. Phone number. I know he thinks I'm scamming him. He's asking for some of my last purchases. Jesus! All to find out "there's no record of this, sir. It's a computer. If there's no record on the website, we have no record. You must not have paid this bill. There's no record of this transaction." Okay. Calm down. Breathe. It makes sense, the credit card company wasn't paid. The bank didn't lose my money. But I know I spent 10 minutes back in December paying that bill. And you have absolutely no record of my time online? Something's broken. The USPS can lose your packages. The bank can forget to pay your bills. While we can all stand our ground and protest these places with the power of the Internet, who is looking out for us with regard to these loopholes?

January, 1993

Schroeder and Beethoven