Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

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Walmart Fails to Deliver

01/22/2021

Color me gobsmacked. (Is that really a color?) I knew it was bad out there but this situation was an eye-opener. Due to the lockdown, instead of going to a brick and mortar for a much needed scanner/printer, I shopped online, a frustrating endeavor to be sure.

After hours of research, I settled on a Canon Pixma and proceeded to look for it at a price in my budget range. Believe me it took a lot of research and time to finally come up with a printer and source. Walmart is not my usual retailer but it was the only offer that would work for me. So I placed an order on 1/12 and received an acknowledgement that included an arrival date of 1/20. Subsequent confirmations gave the same date. A UPS shipping label was generated on 1/13 and my credit card debit cleared on 1/14. All good, right? Heh. 1/20 came and went without a sign of a printer. This did not bode well. I initiated an email to the third-party seller through the Walmart site and this is the response I received:

Hrumph. So I called Walmart and after a couple of attempts, spoke to “David”. Pleasant enough guy but he told me that Walmart was not responsible though they would issue a refund that my bank is currently holding. Guess they don’t trust Walmart either.  Regardless, it’s too late for me since the good prices, discounts and product availability have evaporated. A comparable printer will cost double to triple what I paid Walmart assuming there is a model with the same specs. David also told me that the vendor, PTM, does not have an address so there is no physical location. A guy in his mom’s basement perhaps?

What really speaks ill of “PTM” is that they knew they hadn’t shipped the item but failed to notify me so the funds could be returned and I could shop elsewhere. The only reason anything happened on it today was because I initiated a query to Walmart. Apparently, Walmart does not require a follow-up from a vendor when an item has shipped so basically you are on your own. The pile of work on my desk will have to wait for a future printer sale and a windfall of cash.

The lack of concern and responsibility is mind-bogglingly stupid in any age but particularly in the age of social media. 

I won’t order from Walmart again. Far too much trouble. Whenever the lockdown ends and I can go to local merchants, Walmart and the like had better look elsewhere for buyers because I won’t be one of them. Am I alone in this? How about you? Do you expect to return to your former brick and mortar sources or has the lockdown turned you into an online shopping addict?

 

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Update To Trouble At Inkophile

05/23/2019

Thanks to generous readers, the ads on Inkophile will be eliminated for a year. Tech support was annoying. I am not fond of upselling or bait and switch. Parsing through answers that don’t address the questions asked is another challenge. To their credit, the employees who tried to help wrote decent English. Either that or were good at copy and paste.

Due to the betrayal of trust, my domain registration will remain at GoDaddy and not make the move to WP. Count me skeptical that prices and packages won’t change next year, but for now, we are good.

Happy dance!

Gene Kelly Dancing On Apica Paper

Gene Kelly dancing on Apica paper.

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Google’s Prying Eyes

05/20/2019

Google is tracking everything you buy online. Everything! Look at your purchases page. It even tracks when an order will be delivered. You will need to be logged into your Google account to access the info but it certainly does explain a lot.

Go to the Google support page if you want to know more about how that intrusive tracking works.

Sometimes I swear I’ve only thought about purchasing an item and ads about it show up. But that’s not possible, or is it?

Privacy is indeed a relic of the past.

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 3

05/16/2019

Yesterday, my daughter mentioned that she does not object to the ads on Instagram. Me, too, and for the same reasons she does.

  • Ads are infrequent and easy to scroll past.
  • They are well-targeted and of real interest.
  • They are not spammy but usually attractive and nicely photographed.
  • Ads are less repetitive than on other sites rarely showing up more than a few times.
  • Comments about the product are easily accessed even before clicking the ad.
  • Legitimacy is attested to by the content and quantity of the comments.

Twice I have purchased fountain pens through ads on Instagram. There is no other site at which I have made even one purchase of any sort through an ad.

Instagram has certainly figured out what works. So I suppose I am not opposed to ads entirely – just ugly, gross, stupid, irrelevant ones that demand my attention and distract from otherwise interesting web pages.

Do you know of any sites with ads that are acceptable, even interesting?

For context, read Trouble at Inkophile and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2.

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 2

05/15/2019

A comment to yesterday’s post gave me the opportunity to expand on the situation about continuing to reside at WordPress. I am reposting that comment here.

Shubhranshu Das wrote:

Sign of the times…I hope you can get out of this paid version and rescue the prior records and exit to a more conducive platform …

My reply:

Yes, it is a sign of the times. Being profitable is essential to survival and expansion. I get that. The rub is that hobby blogs are rarely profitable. There is no income flow to defray expenses. My reviews have dwindled along with my budget while product prices have risen. The WP fee will cut into it further.

Thankfully, Luxury Brands (distributor of Platinum Pens, Noodler’s Ink), Exaclair (distributor of Herbin, Rhodia, Clairefontaine), Pen Chalet, Goldspot Pens, Nemosine, Jackson’s Art Supplies, and others have sent products in recent years that have kept Inkophile alive. Such supporters are priceless as are those readers who have sent products or donated cash. Inkophile has become a group effort in which every individual is greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, I lack the expertise to relocate. Moving 1,244 posts with associated links and images along with 6,245 comments would be a daunting task. Inkophile is trapped in the clutches of the WP monster.

Update: A lovely reader sent a donation that will help pay the WP ransom. Yay!

The saga continues at Trouble at Inkophile, Part 3.

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Trouble At Inkophile

05/14/2019

Much to my dismay, I just discovered that WordPress has been running obnoxious, intrusive ads on Inkophile. My apologies for you having to put up with the unwelcome intrusion.

When WP made the original announcement about forcing ads on free accounts, the example was a small text ad at the end of a post that would only appear on some posts. Now they are graphic, on all posts and at the top as well as the bottom.

It was a mistake to think the ads would be as inoffensive and unobtrusive as the example. Those I saw weren’t even close. In other words, they were click-bait garbage including creepy, crawly monsters. Shortsightedly, their actions have adversely impacted user experience and that is unacceptable.

So WordPress has lost my trust. I hereby withdraw any recommendation of it.

As for Inkophile, WP told me to pay for a “plan” if I don’t like what they are doing to my blog. My carefully managed pen/ink/paper/blog budget will take a hit to pay the ransom demand. This is a hobby site – not a profit-making machine. But what’s a blogger to do? Suck it up apparently. The ads should disappear by the end of the month.

Again, apologies for the garbage ads.

The saga continues at Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2 and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 3.

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Tantrums, Boycotts, And My New Find

03/30/2018

Fed up with the tantrums, calls to boycott, and vast corporations trying to influence your thoughts? Don’t be manipulated. Instead put your purchasing power to best advantage by buying alternate products from smaller vendors and local merchants. While it might be difficult to find replacements for products from companies that have a lock on market shelves, it can be done.

Recently, I discovered Vitacost and have ordered a few times with good success. They offer over 45,000 products most of which fall in the natural and organic categories, but at very favorable prices. This week, I bought a case of canned goods for about half what I have paid at retail stores. My order was over $49 so shipping was free and it arrived in less than 40 hours! There were other discounts that saved an additional $20+. My family is trying several of the CSI and Glonaturals skin care products and so far they have proven effective and economical. Yes, my budget is very happy with this new find.

No benefit accrues to me from writing about Vitacost. But after waking this morning to yet another screamer demanding I participate in a boycott and threatening an “or else”, I couldn’t do it. I had already withdrawn my dollars from supporting those companies and a host of others. I won’t be bullied by either side on national arguments. Period. Free market principles reign and Vitacost will get my support and my money. Amazon still works for me since products from many small companies are available there.

Where do you go to get away from the chain retailers and big box shops?

Fortunately, my fountain pen and watercolor supply needs are filled by companies that have not made it to the list of entities to avoid. Hmmm. Maybe I can take some of the savings from purchases at Vitacost to further bloat my collection of inks and watercolors. Kidding, folks, just kidding. Well, sort of.

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