Pet peeve – automated phone customer service

I absolutely detest those automated customer service phone systems that ask you to speak your responses and then don’t understand you. This is even more ridiculous than the automated systems where you have to keep on pushing buttons. At least those systems make no pretense of being “human.” And it gets even worse when speak the option to speak to a human but get transferred to another  computer voice.  AAARRRGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I think the first thing President Obama should do to stimulate the economy is to make these things illegal and hire real (American) humans to work customer service. (None of this outsourcing to India s**t.)

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Pet peeve – math errors involving percentages

I hate it when someone sees that an item is 10% off, then there is another 20% off, and concludes that the item is 30% off the original price. The item is actually 28% off the original price – if the original price is X, then the sale price is (1- 0.10)(1-0.20)X, which comes to 0.72X, which is 28% off.

I also hate it when someone says something like “My wife and I each got a 10% pay cut. That means we got a 20% pay cut.” AARGH! That is a 10% pay cut for the household!!! To see this, suppose that the husband’s salary is X and the wife’s salary is Y. After the pay cuts, the husband makes 0.90X and the wife makes 0.90Y. The combined salary is 0.90(X + Y), which is a 10% cut from the original combined salary.

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Pet peeve – companies giving preference to new customers

It’s really annoying when I see magazines that I subscribe to offer free gifts to new subscribers and/or a lower subscription rate than existing subscribers get. The companies are so concerned with getting new customers, they forget about the existing ones. To be fair, this problem is not unique to the magazine industry.

I don’t remember where I saw this, but at one time I read that it costs something like a hundred times as much to get a new customer as it does to prevent an existing customer from leaving. That does make sense, since companies have to spend millions of dollars advertising in order to get new customers. In order to keep existing customers, they probably don’t have to do much else other than offer a quality product and decent service.

If a magazine is going to offer freebies and low rates to new customers, I will probably just subscribe for the minimum amount of time, let the subscription expire, and wait for them to bribe me to come back…

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Pet peeve – people who do nothing except badmouth McCain or Obama

I spend a lot of time on the social networking services Twitter and Plurk. I don’t mind people who occasionally talk about McCain vs Obama, but I am getting really annoyed with people who do nothing except badmouth McCain or Obama (mostly McCain.) I am definitely voting for Obama, but this is way too much for me. Fortunately, Plurk allows you to mute threads (so you don’t see any updates), but I’m not sure how to mute these people in Twitter.

The funny thing is that I just commented in Robin Easton’s latest blog entry (see the comment made 10/20/08 at 7:21 pm) that I might stop blogging about my pet peeves.  Well, that lasted a whole 3 hours!

If I do that, I might as well also stop blogging about stupid math questions (which I really haven’t done much of lately). However, there’s no way I am going to stop blogging about idiots! You’ll have to pry the keyboard from my cold, dead fingers… On the other hand, maybe blowing off steam is good for my emotional health. Yeah, I’ll probably continue to post random stuff, but hopefully I can reduce the number of posts on these topics.

If you have actually read the whole post up to here, congratulations! You are probably the first person (other than myself) to read this whole post. As a prize, you can have some of my candy made with milk powder in China!

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Pet peeve – sales clerk answering the phone while helping you

I am really annoyed when I am paying for something and then the sales clerk answers the phone. This is a universal phenomeon. I am assuming that the reason that they do this is because they don’t want to lose a potential sale. This is faulty logic. The phone caller is a potential sale, while I am a definite sale. If I see the clerk helping someone who called after the clerk was ringing up my transaction,  I might just walk out the door and buy the product somewhere else. (Obviously this does not apply at a restaurant. Doing that would make me a dine-and-dasher…)

On the other hand, I wonder how many times the sales clerk has interrupted a transaction to answer the phone when I call them…

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Pet peeve – blogs and websites that autoplay music or videos

As a general rule, I am not a fan of blogs or websites that  autoplay music or video. If I don’t like what is autoplaying, it is likely that I will never visit the site again. However, some of my favorite blogs do have autoplaying music or video. SinceI am not going to quit visiting these sites, so in these cases, I just stop the music or video while perusing the site, but I still resent having to do this.

The biggest offender for me is ESPN. I don’t know why the heck ESPN has autoplaying videos. They are well aware that many people going to their site are at, umm, work, and it could be problematical if co-workers (or the boss) hears ESPN news coming out of the computer.  As for me, I’m tempted to leaving earphones plugged into my computer at all times, so nobody has to hear ESPN coming from my computer.

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Pet peeve – people who are offended by certain words

I am really annoyed by people who say that people shouldn’t use certain words (e.g. “shit” and “fuck”) – and I am really really annoyed when they say that people shouldn’t use those words because there are women present.

I strongly feel that a word is merely a collection of letters, and that unless the meaning is disparaging toward some group, it cannot be considered offensive. For example, “nigger” is definitely offensive because by definition it insults black people. However, “shit” and “fuck” are not offensive because none of their definitions are insulting. Even a word such as “bitch” is not offensive because none of the definitions insult a group of people.

Even if some words are considered offensive, why would it be not acceptable to use them if women are present, but acceptable if women are not present? Do they think these words will make womens’ brains explode but not mens’?

If you are reading this sentence, I thank you for (hopefully) reading this whole rant…

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