Saturday, December 18, 2021

Amazon Delivery. It can suck big time!

Today, I came home to a pile of packages in front of my doorway's indoor mailboxes.  One problem.  ALL of these packages were delivered to the wrong place.  ALL of these packages should have been delivered to the next doorway.  Amazon's captive last mile delivery service screwed up big time!  

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Sadly, almost every business requiring home delivery uses last mile delivery services.  UPS, FedEx, and USPS all tend to give decent service.  (I have my issues with UPS, due to a screwed up delivery they made several years ago involving a new cell phone.)  However, when firms use contractors such as LaserShip and CDL Last Mile, that's when quality goes to hell.  And that's what has happened with Amazon and its captive last mile shipping companies.

Years ago, I used to get delivery of precooked meals from Freshly.  Once each week, I would expect to receive an insulated package containing 6 meals, which I would then eat during the week.  However, Freshly lost money having me for a customer, as they had to give me refunds for improperly delivered packages.  Out of 13 deliveries, only 4 of them were close to being delivered according to the shipping instructions on the package.  Half of these packages were delivered to the wrong doorway, and placed in front of the wrong apartment.  So, I dropped Freshly, and started looking for pre-made meals at the local supermarket.  I preferred Freshly's quality. Yet, if I couldn't count on acceptable deliveries, it wasn't worth my time to call in for refunds on what seemed like a weekly basis.

A couple of weeks ago, a neighbor's insulin shipment was delivered to my door.  The person making the delivery didn't care which group of 6 apartments he dropped the box at.  Instead, he made the package drop, and said "to hell with it."  Luckily, I spotted the problem, and a neighbor took care of delivering the box to its intended recipient (with an apology for accidental opening).  What would have happened if this box was left in front of an apartment that was vacant (which happened to one of my Freshly shipments)?  This woman would have been without an essential medication.  This is inexcusable!

When I tried to contact Amazon, I reached a chatbot - which couldn't understand that I was complaining about someone else's products being delivered to me.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to have Amazon call me.  This is just as well, as I want to get this fellow fired.  He doesn't deserve a job if he can't get a simple delivery straight.  


PS: A lot of people are having problems due to last mile delivery services.  I'd rather pay for shipping and know I'm going to get my goods delivered correctly.  Too bad that I'm in the minority in this country....


Friday, December 17, 2021

I didn't have much to say today....


My late wife and I loved going to this joint on our two trips (together) to the West coast.  On all my trips to the region (save one), I made an effort to stop by this place for some of the freshest seafood I could get.  Even though it has changed hands since I was last out there, I expect that the new owners will treat the place with the respect it deserves, so that it can attract customers for many years to come.

So why do I open up about a restaurant a continent away from where I live?  The answer to that is simple.  I'm thinking of making a future Hawaii cruise an open jaw trip at both ends.  Instead of flying to Hawaii from New York (and returning to New York after the cruise), I'm thinking of flying to LA to see my Uncle, then flying to Hawaii for the cruise.  After the cruise, I would like to fly to San Francisco and visit some of the places my wife and I enjoyed when we were in the Bay area.  From there, I would then fly home to New York after a San Francisco stopover.  (Or course, I could fly to San Francisco first, then return home from LA.)

Considering that my uncle is 87 years old, I'm not sure if I should put off a trip to LA next year.  But I certainly don't want to let him know about Marian.  Why put him under any additional stress?  Yet, I want to be able to afford that Hawaii cruise.  So, I'm going to need to make a hard decision soon....

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Can you spot the "Nina" in this picture?


Many of my friends know I was a fan of the late Al Hirschfield's line drawings.  His style was unique, and he was known for hiding the name of his daughter (Nina) in most of the drawings that he produced.  One of my dreams was to have three drawings done by him: (1) A caricature of me in both male and female presentations, (2) a caricature of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico Marx, and (3) a variant on the subject of this drawing.

I found it interesting that the US Air Force used his drawings to help pilots develop their skills of rapid pattern recognition using Hirschfield's drawings. But  the world is stranger than we know....

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Tonight, we had a meeting of our co-op board, and I found out that one of our new members may not be up to the task.  He was having problems with something as simple as dealing with an email attachment. It looks like I'll be needing to do his job, as he didn't seem to get that to take notes for a meeting, one has to know what NOT to report.  In my case, I know how to keep things short and sweet, and when needed, leave out the details of what was discussed.

I have to be careful.  It is important that I am seen as contributing to our mutual goals.  However, I don't want to get roped into running the co-op as its next president.  If we're lucky, one of the two new members will be ready to take on that mantle.  If not, I'll still let my presence on the board expire, by not running for another term.  It's not worth the effort for me to deal with the headaches that our co-op's president has to deal with....

PS: Did you spot the "Nina" in the drawing? 
       If not, look very carefully.  Fortunately, there is only ONE "Nina" to find.
       Please let me know if you find her or not.....

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Backorder, Backorder, Backorder...


I figured that I'd post something pretty instead of another meaningless caricature of myself.  Instead I figured that my readers would like to see a work of Chihuly glass. 

And now, to today's post....

Over the past year, I've found that there are a lot of problems with keeping goods available when needed and/or desired. Most of these problems are related to logistics issues triggered by the pandemic.  For example, the control units for my air conditioners were likely delayed, as parts they needed had to come from Asia, where people were kept from working due to Covid-19 infections..  Clothing I've ordered has taken longer than usual to be delivered, as warehouses did not have enough workers to process incoming orders.  And now, makeup I've ordered has been back-ordered, as the company I usually buy from didn't have enough units in stock to fill my order.  Thankfully, I try to maintain an adequate inventory at home, so that I can withstand disruptions like those I've been experiencing.

Last week, I ordered 4 units of beard cover, and 4 units of contouring makeup.  Unfortunately,3 units of the contouring makeup is back-ordered and should be delivered at some future date.  I'm hoping that I receive this makeup before I go on vacation.  If not, I'll have to ask my next door neighbor to intercept the package if delivered while I'm away.

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Things could be much worse for me.  I could need to buy a car.  Right now, prices are 10%-20% above MSRP for most cars.  I don't want to justify that price unless I need to do so.  Why are prices this high? Almost ALL of the major carmakers decided to overly rely on "Just In Time" (JIT) supply chains.  They made the big mistake of not having enough inventory of key items to get them through a supply chain disruption.

As much as we're seeing prices spike right now,I expect this will be a short term issue.  Supply will eventually catch up with demand, and prices will become rational again.  Until that date, expect to spend more for fewer available essential goods - including makeup!


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Subway and the Mattress


Today was a day I almost wasted.  Like yesterday, I didn't have much energy.  Unlike yesterday, I knew that I had to get out of the apartment to do some shopping for the week.  However, with that as an excuse, I was motivated to get up to test a mattress I'm thinking of buying.

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Normally, I'd take Metro North into NYC, then take a bus (or subway) to the area of the mattress store and hoof it from there.  However, I had other transit plans for the day. Since I knew I'd have problems with an out of date Metrocard (see above), I decided to go to the subway station nearest Ex-GF-M's house and see if I could get help transferring the balance from one card to a new one.  The older card (expiring during the worse of the pandemic) has to be mailed into the MTA for a refund.  But at least, I should get some money back.  The newer card hadn't yet expired, so I exchanged it for a new card and added some money to it.

Once on the subway, I knew that it would be a 1 hour trip into midtown.  Luckily, the studio was only a short walk away.  After trying out their "HD" mattress for size (it's designed for heavy folk like me), I was close to making the decision to buy the mattress then and there.  But I figure that I can wait until tomorrow, and be sure that I'm doing the right thing.

Next, I went home, buying some lunches for the coming week.  I decided to cancel a few meetup RSVPs, so that I can spend more time at home - and maybe clean up my apartment with some of the time I freed up.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Vaccination Passports


Above is a typical CDC Covid-19 vaccination blank.  For many, the card may be the only record they may have of being vaccinated against the virus, and many people guard this card with their lives - and for good reason.  In places like New York City, one must show proof of vaccination in order to enter public spaces such as museums, stadiums, restaurants and more.  It is an effective "Get out of Jail free card" for people like me, as it allows most of us to go about our lives almost as if nothing has happened.

Early in the history of Covid-19 Vaccines, some state governments recognized the need for a vaccine passport that a person could use his/her cellphone to display, allowing the person to safely leave the CDC card at home.  New York was one of those states with its Excelsior Plus App.  Sadly, due to politics, our Federal government stated that there would be no need for a National vaccine passport.  As a result, Americans may be forced to bring the CDC card with them when traveling overseas, instead of showing the results of an internationally recognized app on their phones.

For someone who was at "Ground Zero" for the pandemic in the USA, I find it appalling that the governors in some states have fought to ban businesses from requiring people be vaccinated to enter their property or use their services. This year, NCL has had to sue the governor of Florida to nullify its requirement that everyone on their ships be vaccinated.  NCL sees the requirement as a net positive, as it realizes that people will want to know they are at minimal risk of being infected on the cruise - it can't afford another 500 day shutdown due to another Covid-19 outbreak.  The governor of Florida, on the other hand, wants the votes of the anti-vaxxers, and it willing to do whatever it takes to get what may be the deciding votes in his next election.  

Since I will soon be going on a cruise, I will carry my CDC vaccination card with my passport - and keep it safe at all times.  NCL's 100% vaccination requirement is an asset for them, as it allows their ships to sail into the Bahamas - a nation which requires that ALL visitors show proof of vaccination before entering the nation.  If NCL did not require every passenger to be vaccinated, it would not be able to bring passengers to their private island, nor would it be able to provide a cruise experience  equivalent to what they offered on roughly the same route before the pandemic.

By this time next year, I am hoping to take another cruise.  At that time, I hope that the worst of the pandemic will be gone.  The remaining anti-vaxxers may have gotten a free ride because the vaccinated rest of the population will have allowed us to achieve herd immunity.  If we had had their cooperation, we'd have achieved this status much earlier.  At least, we're in sight of achieving this goal....

Sunday, December 12, 2021

I'm hoping that things work out more ways than one.


Sometimes, I just feel like I have no words to describe how I'm feeling.  Today, I have some of the words, but my thoughts are still up in the air....

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Yesterday, I had a job interview with the NYS court system.  Given my age, a job offer for a contingent-permanent position might be the only way people would be willing to take a chance in hiring an older person.  The body is needed, and a person like me could have less at risk than a younger person being hired for the job.

The condition I worry about is that the position becomes a permanent position AND that the civil service list is still active.  If the canvass attracts more than two people higher up on the list, I would be bumped out of a job I've been doing for a while. Yet, if the list has expired by that time, then I would get the position without a second canvassing.  Luckily, the list I'm on likely expires next August, unless it was extended due to the pandemic. But this would be no comfort to me if I were to take the job, then get bumped out of the position by dumb luck....

Vicki has recommended that I take the chance on this position.  But the nature of the clientele this office serves makes me a little nervous. Additionally, I would likely have a worse commute than I now have, and I didn't like the commute when I worked less than a mile away on the same road.  So I'm of mixed mind, and hoping that the fates present me with the options best suited to my needs.

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When I got home today, I changed into Mario mode and went down to see CWS for dinner.  If it weren't for the restaurant looking to close, we could have continued talking for another hour or two.  Both of us have our baggage.  I just wonder what her reaction will be when I eventually tell her about Marian.  Again, I'm hoping that the fates guide me through this mess safely.

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This is a very confusing time of the year for me.  Sooner or later, I'll have to clarify where things stand with MWL.  But then, she may already have an idea, as we never progressed beyond heavy kissing. I'll also have to clarify things with CWS, and find out where she wants to head with things.  If I end up with no romantic option, I'll finally feel free enough to get my ears pierced, and lay off dating for a few months.  Strangely, this may also be a good path to take....

Norwegian Fjord Cruise Vacation - 06/28/24 (Zeebrugge, Belgium)

Today is our last stop in mainland Europe, and our last shore excursion.  We have been choosing relatively low energy shore excursions, as n...