One of my latest favorite websites is Consumerist which talks about consumerism including stuff like killer deals and poor/excellent customer service experiences. I mostly like the customer service stuff. Horrifying/entertaining stories about people dealing with boneheadedness when trying to solve their customer problems.

The site also covers people with whom I have a hard time sympathizing. For example, the person who was unable to get his 2 for 1 coupon honored at some sort of hotdog and pita hut, the couple who recently were unable to utilize their coupon for 2 lbs. of free french fries (actually, I think this story had a happy ending but the real question is who could possibly eat 2 lbs. of french fries?) and people whining about trivial stuff like it took 3 days instead of 2 to get their random junk delivered from because they have the free shipping option. You’ve gone your entire life without that thing you just bought. Is one more day really going to hurt you?

Here are two recent stories that I appreciated:

What the elderly want in a cellphone: call, hang up, voicemail, 911

They want only four functions: Call, Hang Up, Voicemail, 911. They want buttons that say EXACTLY: Call, HangUp, Voicemail, 911. They don’t want a security code for their voicemail because they can’t remember it. And they don’t care if someone else listens to their messages. They don’t want color screens – just big letters and numbers. They’d appreciate nonglare screens. They want bigger buttons that “click” to indicate they’ve hit it correctly. They don’t hear the “beeps” because their ears aren’t very good, but a “click” they can FEEL is what they requested. … They don’t want programming and in particular NO MENUS.

Might I add that I join the elderly on this one. I also don’t want to play music or watch TV on my phone. I don’t want to send and receive video messages. I don’t want to read webpages. And I don’t want the cheapest plan to be 5000 minutes for $100 a month.

Calls From a Stranger

The gist of this item had to do with receiving phone calls on a cellphone in Spanish. Turned out to be solicitation calls and illegal. The post included resources for dealing with problems like this:

If you receive one of these calls, enter the area code and prefix here at Telcodata.US. Complaint to the customer service of the provider listed. They will shut the unsolicited phone spammer down.

UPDATE: Verizon sues some telemarketer using the same tactics. And here’s one man’s story of how he successfully sued a telemarketer who called him at 5 in the morning. He also provides a slew of resources for tracking down phone solicitors.

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