Enough with the circling

The police helicopter that has been circling for an hour is driving me crazy. Every night, they circle around in San Jose with their search light. Who are they looking for? I’m sure if they let us know, someone would give them up in order to make the constant “whiiiiiiiirrrrrrr zeeeeeee whuuuuurrrrr” stop. This totally ruins the windows-open-all-the-time spring/summer experience.

DHL: Clueless?

I recently signed up with Vonage, since it seems pretty cool. They sent me the VoIP adapter via DHL, who picked it up on Thursday, April 6th. It was sent 2nd day delivery, which means it should have been delivered on Monday, April 10th. Did I get it? Nope!

All through yesterday, April 10th, the DHL website claimed:

Est. Delivery Date: 4/10/2006

Today, Tuesday, April 11th, I figured I’d give them a call to see what’s up, and when I should expect to really receive the package, since the site still claims that the estimated delivery date is yesterday, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. The conversation went something like this:

DHL: Thanks for calling DHL, what can I help you with?
Me: I was sent a package which was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but I haven’t received it. I tracked the package on your website, and it still claims an estimated delivery date of yesterday, which can’t be right.
DHL: OK, can you give me the tracking number?
Me: OK, (reads tracking number)
DHL: Well, we have a lot of packages and not all of them go out every day etc. etc. … your package is here at the sorting facility, it hasn’t gone out today.
Me: Uh, well, it was sent 2nd day delivery, the 2nd day was yesterday. Should I at least expect to receive it today?
DHL: Well, I can’t really tell you that. I don’t know if it will go out today, it’s still here… I don’t know if you’ll get it today.
Me: Don’t you have some sort of service guarantee, or the shipping is free?
DHL: Uh, uh, I don’t know, you’d have to talk to billing about that, I don’t know anything about that…

What the hell? You are DHL. Your only real business is moving other people’s stuff around. How is this considered customer service?

A familiar voice…

I had my favorite light rail conductor again today… and he did the same thing!

A lady pushed the button for some reason, and he answered with the familiar “Is this an emergency, or are you disabled?” line. I knew immediately that it was him. After the woman responded “Stop here!” he hung up on her and made the same train wide announcement: “Would the parents of the small child please keep them from pressing the red button unless it is an emergency”.

Oy.

Sorry, house arrest isn’t “cool”

Today at the light rail stop, there was a guy with his pant leg hiked up, on purpose… upon closer examination, I noticed that it was purposely hiked up so that everyone could see his house arrest thing around his ankle.

How pathetic is that? House arrest is supposed to let these people off a little easy, so they can keep their job, and try to reform. Instead, it becomes some sort of badge that he shows off to the world, to let everyone know how “bad” he is…

Ugh.

Toyota Camry Hybrid: Political statement or a commercial?

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl XL, this year… in fact I never watch it, as I couldn’t care less. I usually catch the commercials on the internet afterwards, since it’s not worth suffering through hours of football just for some funny commercials.

This year there was a commercial for the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which featured a hispanic man and small boy. Their conversation went like this:

Boy: Papa, why do we have a hybrid?
Man: For your future.
Boy: Why?
Man: It’s better for the air, and we spend less because it runs on gas and electrical power.
Man: Mire—mire aquí. Man points to console display, which shows the engine, battery, and electric motor status.
Man: It uses both.
Boy: Like you with English and Spanish!
Man: Si!
Boy: So why did you learn English?
Man: For your future!

What the hell? The subtext of the whole commercial is: immigrants need to learn English. I won’t argue against that point—that battle has been played out many times by many people. Instead I’ll just hit the point I care about: Why did they include this subtext in a car commercial. It would’ve been a fine public service announcement if not sponsored by Toyota. Instead, it just seems in poor taste, at least to me.

Bona Fide Crazy

There was a great crazy woman on the light rail today. She got on at Santa Clara station, cell phone in hand. I first noticed that she was talking to the phone, not into the phone. She was holding it in front of her face, rarely if ever holding it to her ear.

I thought maybe she was using speakerphone, so I muted my iPod Shuffle to see. I didn’t hear anything. Weird, but hmm. Then, she fumbled around in her bag for a minute, dropping the phone into the bag. She pulled out a blue case, vaguely phone shaped, and started talking to that. I stared for a while.

My suspicions were confirmed. She was now talking to a make-up case. And holding it to her ear now. Bona fide crazy.

Egregious Behaviour from VTA

Today, I was shown amazingly egregious behaviour by and flipped off by a light rail conductor during my commute. I complained to VTA. Rather than rewriting the story again, here’s my complaint:

  • Date of Event: January 20, 2006
  • Time of Event: 10:50am
  • Mode of Transportation: Light Rail
  • Route: #902
  • Vehicle: #950A
  • Direction: North
  • Nearest Major Cross Street: Mathilda & Java

This complaint is regarding the horrible behaviour displayed by a light rail conductor.

I commute from San Jose to Yahoo! in Sunnyvale almost every day on light rail, from Fruitdale to Borregas station in the morning and back in the evening. I love the service and have never had any major problems at all. Bravo!

However, this morning, I boarded the northbound Mountain View train at Civic Center at about 10:19am. Upon departing the stop before mine, Crossman, I promptly pushed the stop request strip, and confirmed that it registered. It sounded the chirp, and the screen displayed “STOP REQUEST”. There were two others on board the train who prepared to get off as well.

The train did not stop at Borregas station, and continued on without slowing. After it was clear that we were not stopping at Borregas, and no announcement was made, I pushed the intercom call button.

The conductor answered after a moment with “Is there an emergency, or are you disabled?”, already displaying an attitude. I responded “You did not stop at Borregas station, and there was a stop request”. He promptly hung up on me, and made a train-wide announcement “Would the parents of the small child please keep him from pressing the red button unless it is an emergency”. There were many witnesses around the intercom that I was using that were equally aghast at his behaviour.

The train stopped at Lockheed Martin station, where I got off. I walked to the front of the train near the conductor’s window and flipped him off … and he responded in kind by doing the same.

I understand that stops might occasionally be missed, and it would be inconvenient, but acceptable as long as it’s infrequent. However, I would have expected the conductor to make an immediate train-wide apology, or at least an apology after a customer called him on the intercom. I completely did not expect such a customer-unfriendly, and frankly utterly rude, attitude.

As I said above, I love VTA and I love light rail, but this is completely unacceptable. Thanks for your attention in this matter and prompt discipline of this conductor. Please follow up with me as soon as possible.

I hope they fire his ass. It’s not like they’re paid to stop when I push the button. Amazing customer-minded attitude.