Thursday, November 25, 2010

Macy's: Good parade, awful store

Here is the letter I wrote to Macy's today that I will be sending with the order I'll return the minute it arrives in the mail:

Dear Macy's Customer Service:

I am returning this item order.  The item was listed as a sale item but you charged me full price and denied to give it to me at the listed sale price. 

The item option that I listed for the return of the Larry Levine purple coat was not full price.  I even indicated that if the 1st return option, a different Larry Levine white coat, was not available for the sale price of $90 to send me the Tommy Hilfiger white coat which was on sale and about $80.

I am outraged that you would overcharge me for this item and expect a full refund of $238.50 for the price of this order.  Even now online this Tommy Hilfiger coat is listed online as $119 and you have charged me full price at $225.  

I am very upset with Macy’s handling of this order.  I tried to call and get this order price resolved now that I have the shipping confirmation email, but the customer service rep told me that they couldn’t track down the one day only sale that was only a few days ago when I sent the return information in.  I even sent the information from the website in with the coat and the return order form with a note indicating the price and size.  I even tried to contact another customer service rep who could help me but the same girl kept answering, giving me a different name each time. 

When I contacted customer service for price adjustments, an internet clerk, J.M.J.,  stated that the order was placed on Oct 2nd and the 14 day policy made them unable to honor the price adjustment.  What kind of customer service is this when the clerk cannot even read the date of a return item that reads Nov 17, 2010?

Even when I tried to get a gift card at the store for returning this item, I was told at the Merritt Island store that they would not give me full price on my gift card for this return item.  This is why I sent them coat back in the first place.  I’ve already had issues with the store in Merritt Island before where they misled me on orders.  I shopped for Docker’s men’s suit separates, which the store told Dockers did not make.  I know this is untrue because JCPenney sells Docker’s suit separates.  I will continue to shop at JCPenney before going to Macys.  I have no issues with returning items or finding good prices on what I purchase when I shop with them.

Again, I’m very upset with Macy’s handling of this order and will not shop at again.  I’ve unsubscribed to the email newsletters and have let me friends and relatives know what a horrible, shady company you are.  You do not honor sale prices, which is false advertising and you do not offer any kind of customer service except to ignore the customer’s legitimate claims.

My complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau is listed below:

I ordered a coat on Oct 2, 2010, which I sent in for an exchange on Nov 17, 2010.  In the return package I sent the unwanted coat, the exchange order form and the information for the coat I wanted in exchange from their website.  They had a one day only sale online on Nov 17.  The original coat was $80 and the coat on sale that I wished to exchange it for was approximately $80-$90. 

When I was given information that my exchange order had been shipped on Nov 23, they had charged me full price, $225, for the new coat.  On Nov 23 the coat was listed as being $135.  When I contacted customer service on the phone they told me that they could not find any information for a one day only sale.  When I contacted customer service price adjustment online they sent me an email today, Nov 24, stating that since the order was placed on Oct 2 (the date I ordered the coat I returned) they could not honor any sale price after 14 days anyway.  Today the item is listed as $119 and they refuse to give me any other price other than full price.

So they have falsely advertised sale items, refused to give me compensation and my only hope is that I can send the coat back and have my $225 replaced on my credit card. 

Thank you.

What I'm thankful for

In the grand tradition of Thanksgiving, I'll post my list of what I'm grateful for:
My sweet baboo, our wonderful wedding and honeymoon, my parents, my cat, my classes being almost over, my iPhone keeping my communication up (even though I'm going to write a new blog post about what to do with this thing after the contract is over. Sending it into space is my first option), the library for giving me Season 3 of "Ugly Betty" finally, having winter clothes for England, knowing I'll go to England soon (even though the Consulate still hasn't sent me my email saying I've been approved), not having to pay a ton to send my most recent box of winter clothes, the snow on the ground outside the flat in England, knowing Christmas is coming soon, and having a great future ahead of me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Turkey week

Watching "Family Ties" on The Hub channel. I'm glad that it's Thanksgiving week so I can have my holiday fill of pumpkin pie and turkey. However the holiday week may hold up the Visa review process. We're still waiting. I've not posted anything for a while because nothing's really happened. I get no updates from the Consulate so all I can do is pick up and pack up here and there. Not a whole lot to save since I'm Queen of having things I don't really need. I've donated a lot but there's a lot that I can only pitch. I'm limiting myself to a couple of suitcases. I have to send what I can in boxes ahead of time. Still, all I can bring are clothes really. The forecast is for snow there this week. That will be a big temperature shock for someone who runs around in flip flops and t-shirts each day. This is why I have a new collection of sweaters, coats and boots.

Anyway, so I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and is able to enjoy some of the Black Friday sales. I've said it once and I'll say it again - I'll be so glad when this recession is over.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(do not) Return to sender

After going through a very stressful ordeal yesterday with the possibly lost, possibly undeliverable envelope, I needed some kind of refreshment.  Granted, I don't drink that much, if at all, these days, so the idea of sipping a fake beer that is pink and lemony was a fine idea.  I slept through the night and woke up this morning at 6AM to the sounds of Monsters in the Morning on 104.1FM on my clock radio.  Ahh...back to normal.

So here's the story of my envelope:  I sent our supporting documents via USPS on Friday.  It had to go to the British Consulate in NY and I wanted it there as quickly as possible.  I wasn't sure if they took mail on weekends or not, but figured it couldn't hurt to send something to be delivered on a Saturday.  So on Saturday, my tracking number listed that the mailman had "left notice" and "to pick up or schedule redelivery contact USPS." they won't just redeliver if it's Express Mail?  This makes me start to worry.

I wrote USPS and said to have it redelivered.  Waited until Monday and the tracking info was the same.  So by 2PM I was starting to freak because the mail should have gotten there by 3PM (on Saturday they delivered by 11AM).  I called 1-800-ASK-USPS.  Here are the answers I got:  "We can't give you any information, call this (never answered) phone number for the Post Office in NY."  and "Oh, if you didn't indicate not to have it delivered on Saturday or a holiday, it'll just be sent back to you..."  What? 

I called the British Consulate.  "Notice?  You can't just tell the Post Office to have it resent?"  "Um, no, they list it as you getting a notice and needed to ask for redelivery."  "Oh...hang on."  I got put on hold then finally the very nice clerk told me that when the mailman comes on Saturday, the doormen tell them that no one is there to sign for it.  The envelope should be brought back again that Monday and I'd get an email when they had it.  It was almost close of business that day so it should turn up.  But if I don't hear from then in a day or so it may be ("unfortunately") sent back.  Great. 

I emailed, and phoned the local Post Office.  Both responses finally gave me the right answer:  They will try two attempts and wouldn't send it back without letting the business know they had something for them and they'll never just let an envelope sit around without trying to deliver.  They also said that the tracking info isn't updated until the mailman/mailwoman gets back with their scanner and then it's uploaded into the system.  So I could be waiting until 7PM before seeing that it was delivered.

This was the point where I bought the snacks and girl booze.  I was in a state.  I mean, this has been the most difficult, long, arduous process.  And I know they do it on purpose so we will be put off by it.  But when I can't even know if an envelope is delivered, that's just beyond my control and I didn't know how else to keep fighting.  I've called tons of places over and over just to get what the Consulate wanted: 6 months of bank statements, letter from the school with specifics about my attendance, proof of direct deposits, proof of existing, proof of marriage, proof of relationship.  I mean, really.  I don't think getting a mortgage is this hard.

By my second lemonade at about 6:30PM, sure enough, the USPS tracking information said that the envelope had been delivered - at 10AM.  Now I have to wait for the Consulate to email me but at least I know the silly envelope got delivered.  I still do have a slight fear that the envelope tore open and all our precious contents are strewn over NYC, but I'll let that worry subside for now.  After sleeping a good night's sleep, knowing my supporting documents are where they need to be, I rested easy.

For anyone who has to go through this, here's some advice:  look at the list of info that the UK Border Agency website lists.  When you fill out the online application they just say "evidence of..."  The website for Settlement Visas is much, much more specific.  That's where we had some back slide because we thought we had everything but found out, nope, they wanted more.  Get your fingerprints done as soon as you can and when you know you have everything you need.  If you get them done, then have to wait on something else (like I did from TWU) you end up having a 2-week long clock ticking and the risk of not being able to send your supporting documents in time really gets scary.  Also, have the mail send Express on a weekday.  The Consulate apparently does not accept mail in any form on Saturday.  Check your tracking number and talk to your local post office (not the 1-800-ASK-USPS) if you have questions.  If you need to phone the Consulate, keep pushing "5" and you'll get a rep at the office.

Now there's more waiting, but it's a better kind of waiting.  I can relax more because my work is done.  There's nothing else I can do.  That was the whole problem - it was just a constant struggle and fight to get things organized and sent off in time.  I want to be soon so each day we spent waiting on paperwork to get sent to us to send up to the Consulate was another day we weren't together.  *sigh* 

But for today I'm making stroganoff with meatballs instead of beef stew (Winn-Dixie didn't have any lean stew meat yesterday).  Then I may take a trip to the library so I can finally get caught up on this reading.  This week I had Catherine, Called Birdy, The Wednesday Wars and now I'm trying to get through The Green Glass Sea.  I know it's won awards and maybe for science buffs it would be interesting but, it's just not going anywhere.  I was all excited when someone died because I thought finally something interesting would happen but, nope, just a brief bit about the President dying.  It's just the same thing over and over.  Talks about the two kids and their parents working on "the gadget" during the war.  Interesting premise? Yes.  Interesting plot line? No.  As one Amazon reviewer said, "The plot was altogether uncaptivating. I found myself drifting away from the book and forced myself to read it."  Yup, that sums it up nicely.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just one more step

I'm lying in bed with the cat eating Chex Mix (yes, he thinks he should have some) at 2, I mean 1AM. I read more of my book tonight so I'll be ready to write the review on Thursday. The book was fine until it started talking about math and physics and zzz.

I'm still slightly freaking out about this Visa paperwork. Apparently the office was closed yesterday so they left a notice that the office can either request to have the envelope resent or picked up. I took the liberty of requesting it to be resent myself. I don't want to risk it getting sent back. That stuff had to be there within two weeks of the fingerprints. I just want this stuff at their office, so I can relax a bit. Just tired of this whole process. Once the application is approved and everything is sent back to me, then I can really relax. Well, no, I will have the pet passport to deal with after that. Maybe I'll just relax once I get home with Steve.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The waiting game

This Express Mail envelope full of bank statements, bank letters, copies of checks, pay stubs, pictures, passports, school transcripts, tax forms, phone records, emails and any other like item that I could think of is on its way to be reviewed and approved. I thought I would feel relieved and excited about getting this application completed but I didn't.  I started worrying that the envelope would rip open because I didn't tape it on the bottom (the postal worker told me I didn't need to) and all the contents would be lost.  It's just a scary thought to have your whole life in a large envelope with the potential of it getting lost on the way to its destination.  I have a tracking number and the envelope contents are insured but, wow, it's freaky.  I was way more nervous leaving the post office instead of feeling excited.  Now the waiting game starts.

I've been watching Teach: Tony Danza again tonight.  Now, what strikes me the most about this show is the way they accurately show that no matter what a student does, it's the teacher's fault.  Tonight on the episode "Teacher's Pet", Mr. Danza is teaching the students a five-paragraph essay.  The class gives little effort and Mr. Danza goes over the format again.  Continually he gives them on-on-one talks, telling them that they need to try harder and offers help.  The next scene, they show the guidance counselor telling the principal about how Mr. Danza's class didn't do the essay well.  Immediately the assumption is that heisn't teaching them well and is just coasting through the curriculum without caring about if the kids actually learn the material or not.  Ridiculous.  These kids are not failing except for one student who refuses to turn in work and Mr. Danza has talked to the student's mother repeatedly.  So what is he, as a teacher, supposed to do in situations like this?  It's his fault because he doesn't "connect" with a few students?  Please!

On the days that I think I want to work in the public school again, even as a librarian, I watch this show and remember how it is to be put under that firing squad.  I guess that this isn't the kind of situation that all teachers get into but, again, blaming the teacher for the students' lack of care of interest in what is going on in class is just absurd.  I gave the FCAT to students who Christmas tree-ed the whole test and slept or danced in their desk through the rest of the test time.  I feel for poor Tony Danza.  He's not alone in getting this kind of treatment.  He's had way more training than a lot of first year teachers get and he's qualified.  It just seems like he's been made a target and given even more pressure on him because of who he is (and those students, by the way, had no idea who he was).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Slow and steady wins the race

In order to make myself feel less stressed about this paperwork stuff, I decided to bake.  As you can see, I made cinnamon muffins this evening.  They were pretty good.  I think they'll taste better with my Santa's White Christmas coffee in the morning.

Today was the day I thought we'd finally gotten everything we needed for the Visa.  I got Steve's bank statements in the mail (6 days for Airsure service - not bad) and I was on the brink of getting the Enrollment Verification Form letter from TWU.  I'll say this up front, the people at the Registrar's Office did do a great job at getting what I needed today.  However, I did call them once yesterday and three times today to make sure stuff got done.  In my letter I need to have it state that I am taking online classes (so the Visa reviewers know that I am not dropping out of school when I move.)  When I send out my request for the letter last Thursday, I wrote that I needed this, and to have the letter faxed and sent to me.  I even provided my own SASE for Priority Mail so they can get this thing back to me this week.  After calling today to ask if they were going to fax this thing to me, they said yes they would.  I used my "teacher voice" and let them know that I couldn't wait around.  It had to be done so I could send it in the mail.  At 3:30PM I called back just to hear them say, "We are still waiting on the library school to verify that your classes are online."  I told them that I can see in my online school account that the classes are online, so they told me to fax a print out of that screen too.  So I did.  I called back an hour later.  Nothing had happened yet.  I told the girl that I'd faxed the letter, she went to check, came back to the phone, said she'd type it up and fax it.  She did. 

I ran to the Post Office and got in right before 5 o'clock.  As I waited in line, I looked at the the letter and it says "if there is a stamp, it's official."  That would make this look like just a print out or copy.  I decided to just call Steve on my iPhone (you're welcome, AT&T, for that bonus this month) and asked him if I should wait around on the official, mailed letter that would get here sometime this week.  He pointed out that it's best to do that so there's no question in our minds or the Visa suits reviewing the application papers.  He also reminded me that I tend to rush things, which I do.  It's true that people end up with a spouse who has different characteristics because it benefits them.  I tend to rush and Steve thinks things through.  Obviously his ways are better than mine.

So now after the third call to the Registrar's Office to confirm that they did send my letter in the Priority Mail envelope I provided them, I have to wait just a few more days.  That's when I went to the grocery store and bought my cinnamon muffin mix and a frozen pizza.  I feel way more relaxed now.

Another odd thing that happened today during the midst of all this, was that someone came to the door today leaving a card from a U.S. security bureau.  Thinking maybe I was being checked out to prove I am who I am, I called the number only to find out that they wanted me to verify that the cops hadn't been called lately on a neighbor whom I didn't know, who had moved in October.  I told her that I never heard or saw of any problems around here and she took my statement for her review.  Odd.  I didn't know they did that.  Wonder what kind of security clearance that's for.

But now that the excitement is over, I'll have to go back to the library tomorrow.  I need to read and get some homework done.  Enough with this paperwork nonsense!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November is the month

Today I got my fingerprints done in Orlando. It was intimidating just because this isn't something you do every day. The building doesn't allow cell phones, and you're greeted by an armed guard. But everyone there was friendly and I was chatted to while I got my fingerprints done. Made me a lot less stressed about the whole thing.

Now I have the last bank statements from Steve and my letter from TWU. They tried to fax it already but my answering machine picked up instead. Now I have the fax machine set right, the answering machine off (all I'm getting are political campaign calls anyway). I'd love to have everything sent out by tomorrow. I want this application completed and put behind us. It's really been a huge process and I'll be glad to have it over with.

Nothing much happened for trick or treat. We had our own little computer party and that was all. The Snickers I left outside were taken but i'm not sure they were taken by kids. There were kids partying late at the flat which kept Steve up until 4AM. A house is definitely in our near future. Being around people who come and go and turn the complex into a dorm room is not something we're willing to put up with anymore.