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Be Relentless


As I have said previously the answer is always No unless you ask, and it continues to be true when you are dealing with customer service or sales people.

At the start of the week I ranted about Cyber Monday? Better watch out, better not cry where I outlined how I have purchased a system from Dell, that is being held up in production (I think it is due to hard disk shortages, but no one has confirmed that for me).

Monday afternoon a friend sent me a link to the Dell Cyber-Monday page where I found the exact system I had ordered for $160 less! Needless to say I was livid seeing that not only was I being abused by not having a system (that I had not paid for yet) it was now on sale for 25% less, and was going to be delivered a week before the date I was given for my system.

Taking my own advice I sent yet another e-mail to the Dell Service Center complaining about the fact that my system’s delivery date is still showing up as November 18th on their system and I then added in my complete disgust with the fact that if I had waited to order on Cyber Monday I would have saved $160 and the delivery date for the system would have been earlier than the computer I ordered. To be accurate in my rant I included the link to the system on sale which matched the system I ordered, and I finally added, I could simply cancel my order and re-order and save myself time and money.

Yesterday yet another response appeared in my INBOX and sure enough Dell had read my e-mail, and started off by apologizing for the delay in delivery, but then they astounded me by lowering the price of my ordered system by $160 however they then wrote the delivery date is still mid-December. I was delighted and surprised by this response, but it does seem to reinforce that no matter how unlikely you think a request is to be honored, you still need to ask and let the Service Agent or Salesperson say no, you can set your mind at ease knowing at least you asked.

I am still in the same position I was previously in that I don’t have a system or a delivery date, but now it is 25% cheaper, so I guess I am a little happier with the Dell response.

 

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Financial Planning a Flowchart


This is for those of us who really do try hard to create financial plans but then end up not following them. Worse they abandon them without giving them a chance to succeed. For those folks, I have created the following graphic. Not I do not go into specifics like high interest savings accounts or the like, just the basics.

For those of you who do not remember your basics of flow charting (yes I am that old), remember to follow the arrows (and the comments in bold on the arrows are the reasons you are going in that direction).

The best part of this is I have completely minimized the hardest parts of this process, which is creating the actual plan and implementing it (and sticking to it). I am pretty sure I have seen this flow chart at a few free financial planning sessions for folks that I have been roped into attending.

Remember stick with your plan, even after you think you have succeeded, it has to be a life change, not just short term pain (it’s long term pain!).

How Financial Planning in Families REALLY works

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Cyber Monday? Better Watch out, better not cry…

Cyber Monday is here again, and I am sure there have been folks already attempting to get that iPad 2 for $41 less, or some of the other spectacularly ordinary deals that are being offered. I am always astounded at what folks will do to try to save a few bucks, but this year I actually have a story to tell, that you might want to heed.

As I have said there are some problems in the high technology component delivery chain (i.e. the floods in Thailand have caused a great deal of disarray in the delivery of hard disk drives) , so you should be careful when buying computers on-line that the system can be delivered in time for the holidays.

How do I know this? Two weeks ago I ordered a pretty generic lap top computer for my daughter for Christmas (to replace the “piece de merde” HP laptop that she currently has) from Dell (I have had no issues with Dell previously and I have ordered 4 or 5 systems on line from them). Looked like an OK price, nothing too exciting, pretty generic, so I put the order in. The Dell order process spit out two e-mails, the first one confirming that my system was ordered, and then another one that said that the system was “In Production” and that it’s delivery date was estimated to be November 18th (yeh, the one that just passed).

I was skeptical about this delivery date, but I waited until the Monday afterward, and I asked, “Where is my damn computer” in an e-mail. I got back a “canned” response saying there were issues with some systems, there is a high demand, and “blah, blah, blah…”, however, I did receive a new delivery date, DECEMBER 18th (yes a MONTH after my initial delivery date).

The next e-mail I sent to the Dell delivery support folks ¬†was much more harshly worded (but polite none the less) accusing their system of lying about delivery dates and asking why the system was so badly delayed? I received a fairly generic response with a “canned” apology and no answer as to why the system was delayed. I sent yet another e-mail asking specifically does this have to do with a hard disk drive shortage, and was not directly answered again, however it also included another poorly worded apology.

Dell has not charged me for the system yet, so I am not quite livid about this shoddy customer service, but my system still shows up as being “In Production” but the on-line system also claims that the estimated delivery date is November 18th ! Somehow I don’t think they can accomplish that date, but hopefully they can hit their December date.

I would be very leery of ordering any computer on-line this holiday season (but your mileage may vary, and it may all be fine).

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Grey Sunday’s Best

It is Grey Cup Sunday for Canadians, but I suspect many really don’t care much. The CFL when I was growing up was a big thing, but it has slid into a secondary league and now does anyone really care? I think I might be watching the game, but that remains to be seen as well (my cat’s toes may need a good flossing). I grew up with Russ Jackson, Ron Lancaster, Sonny Wade and so many other players, but I really only know a couple of the players in today’s CFL, this may change if Ottawa gets another CFL franchise (which evidently isn’t going to be called the Rough Riders, maybe the Beavers?).

Black Friday has led to Black Saturday, and if Monday is Cyber-Monday then I guess this day being called Grey Sunday I guess is OK?

Lots of odd oldie but goody posts on the Twitter feed along with a few interesting other posts too:

  • With Black Friday on the horizon I wanted to remind folks about Buy Nothing Day, where you don’t blow your pay cheque on things you didn’t need.
  • With CPI slowing I figured I’d remind readers about Gasoline Kicking CPI up a year ago.
  • After boasting about my home repair I had to remember that Pride Goeth Before Calling a Plumber, where I ended up making a mess of my pipes.
  • I also reminded other bloggers (and readers) to Give Blood, it is always in need (maybe one day it won’t be, but it is now). Look for a Holiday Blood Donor clinic, it is the best gift you can give.
  • Even though I am inviting folks to bid on doing a Guest Post on my site I still say Guest Posts: Please Stop the Madness!
  • Remember the importance in life of Always Having a Target.
  • One of the hardest questions to answer about found money RRSP or Mortgage? The answer is, it depends!

For those of you who are not aware of the impact that Autism is having on families, a helpful video for you to comprehend the scale of this.

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Black Friday: The Hype, the carnage but why?

Our friends at PBS have brought us a short from their Nightly Business Report on Black Friday and the insanity that is associated with the alleged “best sales of the year”.

As with most over-hyped concepts in our world, it all started out innocently enough, with some sales on the one of the already busiest shopping days of the year (since it signified to most Americans the beginning of the Christmas Shopping season), but now it has turned into a knock down, drag out, pepper spraying, lunatics have taken over the asylum type event of epic proportions.

It is no longer Black Friday any more, it is starting on Thursday (Thanksgiving) and has spread to Cyber Monday as well . People where I work had spent the whole night on-line looking for bargains (and thus didn’t come into work because they were too tired to work).

It isn’t just me is it, that thinks this whole thing has gone a bit too far?

Watch Retailers Kick Off Holiday Shopping Season Early on PBS. See more from PBS NEWSHOUR.

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