Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aggressive Panhandling

I've never even heard of this term before "someone" wrote it as a very in-your-face comment here, in my blog.
So anyway, earlier, I wanted something to eat and since I am on holidays - vacation - I decided to have a delivery.  But, no pizza, thanks.

Mr. Goodcents.  I didn't call them.  I ordered on line.  1 sub and 1 cup of chicken noodle soup.  I have never ordered from the before.

When the delivery driver showed up, I took the bag with the food inside, handed him the money including a generous tip and away he went and I - put it off for a while because I was still doing things out front with the pond out there.

I'm assuming the individual that called me an aggressive panhandler will now call me a thief.

That's because when I got inside the house, very hungry indeed, I opend up the bag and found my container of soup and 2 subs in there.  Not one, but 2 of the type of sub I had ordered.  Did I call them and tell them of the screwup? Nope. Caleb had a friend who used to stay that night at our place when they were MUCH younger.  That kid still shows up around here asking me for advice.

He works there. As I said, I ordered online and made no notations of "special benefits".  Either they totally screwed up my order or that kid - now 18 with a daughter, lol - added it in there.

I have no clue, really.  But, to keep it honest, the next time I order, I will put in the notations that I received a second sub last time that I didn't order - and didn't pay for. They can determine what they want to do with it at that point.

Am I still an aggressive panhandler?  No, in fact, I NEVER have been. Thanks.


That was my description to the supervisor that finally called me back today.  The property behind me.  We went back and forth for over half an hour, but the man was adamant that he WOULD take care of this problem.  I am not going into all of that, but I can finally say that I think I have FINALLY talked to the right person to get this situation dealt with. 

Adding here that while we were talking, he pulled up an "aerial view" he called it, more like and probably a satellite picture - of the property and agreed that this property didn't look very good and totally understood why I might have a problem with it.

Meanwhile, all movie channels fell off of Direct TV today.  I by-passed all of the normal routes and went directly to the disconnection department.  You tell the computer that is talking to you who you want to speak to and walaah.  They don't identify them as the disconnection department and you don't have to tell them you want your service cancelled, instead, they ask you what the problem is and you identify it.  

That's "aggressive panhandling" at it's best.  Yup, I have NO qualms, whatsoever, asking for free movie channels. They, actually, don't have a problem with it and go through their system to see what free channels are available.  That's right, there are always free movie channels available with Direct TV, you just have to know that information and understand there is nothing wrong with asking for it.  

But if there WAS something wrong with asking for it, they could easily tell you so! No panhandling, no begging, it's a business transaction.  I have no problem - continuing on with the same thing against the individual that described me as an "aggressive panhandler" in asking for more than what their predetermined price says I should get.  Haggling.  Since when is haggling any portion of begging?  The person that wrote that on my blog can go piss off, and yes, I have a good idea who wrote it.  

Productive day.  Indeed.

I'm reverting it back to a day trip only.
If we even go, the trip to San Diego and Sportfishing.
I was talking with an individual yesterday at the pastor's house git-together who had been on several
of those trips and was commenting on the overnight trips.

The bunks you sleep on are down below, below water level.
That isn't the part that bothered me, I don't care about being below water level, the next part is what got me going:
It gets very hot down there.  The air is stifled.  There is no air movement and it's hot and humid.

Oh.  I'm glad I ran into her.  The pastor chimed in and asked if it's possible to just sleep on the deck?

She didn't know but I thought it probably would be, they don't really care WHAT you do on the deck as long as it isn't dangerous.  But, no thanks. A whole day on the ocean fishing is enough, anyway. Maybe if we can swing it, we can get into SeaWorld and spend a day there as well. Or go for 2 1-day fishing expeditions.

Nahhh, one is enough, lol.

I'm a bit cranky today, which is why I never left for the mountains.  The reason is that the power went out last night around 3:00am.  I wake up instantly when the power goes out because I run a box fan all night long to help me sleep. It was very dark, no moonlight.  I couldn't see anything.  I got my laptop and pulled out the mobile broadband - which at least, usually, works at my house - and got online to find SRP's number.

Upon calling them, they wanted me to check the breakers.  Checked, duhhhhh.  I have a 200 amp board, it would take QUITE a lot to flip the main breaker on that thing.  The woman then instructed me to go outside and read some numbers on the pedestal. ??????????  What are you talking about?  What difference does that make?  I called to report an outage, it's pitch black, I can't find my flashlight, I can't READ numbers in the DARK.

"Well, sir, we will not send out a crew unless we confirm that there is an outage". I have just confirmed that there is an outage,  what do you want me to do? Read in the dark?  She stood her ground, I demanded her supervisor.  I got the same rhetoric.  Are you serious?

I just got off the phone with SRP.  I never want to experience that kind of "customer service" again.  If the power is out, the power is OUT.  It isn't subjective to my will, it either works or it doesn't.  As with Verizon, I did not call for freebies, though I was offered $10.  I said great, I'll take it, but that is not what I want done: I want to be assured, sir, that if there is a next time, this is NOT going to happen AGAIN!!!  BTW, it turns out there was some main breaker somewhere that had failed.  Not on my property, like a breaker that serves  numerous houses.  The man assured me that he would listen to the phone call!!

Yes!!! Must be catching on: record all phone calls.  I didn't know SRP did that. PLEASE DO listen to and review that phone call, I insist!!  So that's that.  The power did not come back on for over 2 hours.  I was awake the entire time.  It finally came on and I fell asleep for a short time but - woke back up and decided to hang it up: I'm up for the day and probably am going to be tired by the afternoon, which it is and I am.

Ohh, and walking out into the kitchen last night?  No noise in the house, ie: ac or other things on to make noise.  I could hear someone snoring LOUDLY in their bedroom.  Lol.  Glad I am not anywhere near THAT at night. I'm afraid going up to the property, at least today, is out of the question.  No desire in this frame of mind to do anything but sit here and watch a movie, which is exactly what I am doing.  It's vacation, if I want to go tomorrow, I can do that instead.  

Ummm, warpath day, I guess. I have now contacted 3 different divisions in the City of Phoenix concerning the property behind me.  That's because with all the issues that property has, I was directed off to differing divisions that deal with it.  The animal feces situation is dealt with by the waste division and they have their own inspectors.  The non-permitted structures and the electrical cord providing those structures with power is through zoning and the rest of it is through neighborhood services division.  There will be 3 different divisions worth of inspectors going out to that property in the next week.  Rather exasperating but the phone calls are done on that situation. 

So, I have had numerous conversations with Verizon and with the City of Phoenix, I might as well go for gusto and call Direct TV and dispute a charge that they have on my bill.  Oh, remember, I am a "aggressive panhandler", ROFL!!!.  

Editing:  I called DirectTV and it's the shortest conversation I have ever had with them concerning my bill.  I told the incoming call center lady at the billing department about the situation - very nicely I should add - and she simply agreed to eliminate the entire service charge.  Nice.

Well isn't that wonderful.  A complaint I filed against the neighbors behind me - junk, filth, cat feces - hasn't even been investigated yet.  I filed that complaint almost 3 WEEKS ago.  I called just now - to the City of Phoenix that is - because I haven't seen anything going on over there in terms of cleaning up the property.

My next move is to call the City's Zoning department and find out how to file a complaint on property encroachment.  The dirt from their property is pushing the wood fence out - into my property - and the fence is beginning to break apart.

Just got off the phone with them.  The first lady told me I needed to speak to a supervisor, fine by me.  Upon giving this second person the address of the violators with the unpermitted structures, she was perplexed. She asked me if it was the correct address?  Yes, I am QUITE sure of the address, thanks, I have already reported this address to your Neighborhood Services Department in the past and I found that address on the Maricopa County Tax Assessor's website.

Continued perplexity.  Well, normally, when I put in an address, it comes up - but there is nothing coming up here.

Ahaaa.  So there we have the problem. They don't even KNOW about this property.  Well they do now and this person is going to do some "research" and will be calling me tomorrow about it.  I believe the situation over there is going to change immensely after I get this rolling with the Zoning department.  There is NO way those structures over there meet ANY city code requirements.

I called the City Neighborhood Services department back and this time asked for management.  I was directed to the manager over the inspectors that are over my area of town.  This individual did not answer his phone.

That's where I have left it, for now.  I am pressing on with this war against them because - they started it with me and they have continued filing false claims with the City against me.  Not to mention the cat feces, which is piling up against my fence and is a huge health hazard.    In fact, the entire situation over there has been more than just an annoyance for quite some time now and it's time to see it change.
I have been battling in my mind for some time now as to what to do about this house/property.  Short-sell or stay.  I wouldn't actually have any problem, whatsoever, in short-selling excepting that I would end up having to rent.

Well, I found out some interesting information yesterday while at the pastor's house.  With Intel building it's new microprocessor plant, there will be 5,000 new jobs come along with it.  Intel is, of course, actively hiring.  Their qualifications are high.  You have to have a college degree AND your grade point average has to have been at least 3.7.  I know this because an individual at church tried to get in - he had a 3.5 grade point average and that isn't enough for Intel, even though he has 2 family members that already work there.

Amazing.  But, that's Intel.  On it's construction site for the new building, they demand a high level of excellence/quality/attentiveness to safety. Companies have, I have heard from personnel working on the site, been kicked off the site for failure in any of those or other categories.  Even with all the safety they have in place, a large number of accidents have occurred on that site anyway.

But, that brings us to the point:  with all of these people being employed, they are moving here and looking for homes.  The East Valley and more specifically Tempe and Chandler - and probably Gilbert - are experiencing a high demand for homes for sale and the prices are going through the roof.  That's because - yes - all of those people have to have places to live.  I am guessing many people are moving here from out -of-state, a job such as that would be worth moving here for.  High paying, lots of perks and undoubtedly great benefits.

This coming from the pastors as they were working with realtors to try and get a home in Tempe.  Every house the put an offer on had many other offers as well, many of them higher than their offer, even though their offer was for the asking price on the house.  This, obviously, does not bode well for a person like me that was thinking about short-selling and finding a rental unit until I can come up with the down payment for another house plus have my credit score recover after the short-sell does a 100 to 200 point hit on your score.

Rentals have also gone through the roof.  It's amazing the turn-around.  Had no clue this was going on in the East Valley, though I did know some time back that the new plant was going to create 5,000 new jobs.  I just didn't correlate in my mind all of those jobs and all of those people needing a new place to live.  The East Valley is the only place I want to live in the Phoenix Metro area.  I have absolutely no desire to live in the West Valley, a place I love to hate, I also do not want to live in Phoenix proper, and housing/rental prices in the northeast valley - Scottsdale - are way too high for my income.

The only real alternative I would have at this point, if I really thought I could handle it, which I am not sure I can, but that would be to move into an RV park, park the trailer that is currently in my driveway there and set up camp for an indefinite period of time.  My monthly costs would be greatly reduced. I could downgrade Direct  TV to a  much lower priced plan; electric usage would go down to less than $100 per month; water usage is sometimes given in the price of the monthly rental fee at some RV parks; the monthly rental I could get around $300.  Car insurance rate would also go down - they do it by zip code and I happen to live in a zip code that is greatly inflated per rates.

It's a non-starter.  For one, the dogs.  Would any of those places take 3 dogs?  2, the size of the trailer.  It does not have slide-outs and it would be pretty cramped living.  3, the fear of never being able to get into a home again.  Could I save enough money to come up with a significant down payment or would I be stuck forever?  But here's the real kicker: I watch a couple of online sites for estimates of what my house is worth, it has come back up over 10k in the last 2 months.  I'm now "only" around 60k underwater compared to the almost 80k it was at the beginning of the year.  Is this due to the Intel situation as well? I don't know.  I am right on the border of the East Valley.  If I thought that in the next couple of years, the value of my house would actually come back up to what I owe on it, at least, this idea of short-selling would vanish out of my mind.  Why short sell when I can wait, sell the house for what I owe and not take any kind of negative hit on my credit score?

But I don't know that that's going to happen. Back to the Intel situation, however, I'm pretty much screwed. I mean, if I could somehow acquire a LARGE travel or 5th wheel trailer with at least 2 slide-outs, then I would give it serious consideration.  Those offer quite a lot of interior room and lots of storage.  I could deal with that, but those things are much more expensive than these 2, older units I bought and I simply don't have the money for anything like that right now (and making payments on a larger unit isn't exactly appealing to me right now, either).

I am slowly winding down, in my mind, the idea of short-selling.  The con's are out-weighing the pro's by a large margin at this point.  I don't necessarily like having all of these tenants in here, at the same time, the crew I have now are very easy-going people and I get along with all of them.  The biggest pro to leaving this place is this ridiculous neighborhood with all the BS that goes on around here.

Dunno.  I'm just going to sit back and stay here a spell and see what continues to happen with housing prices.
Apparently the Verizon Wireless supervisor I tried to speak to, who wouldn't listen to a thing I had to say, interrupted me numerous times as well as talking right over the top of me and then hanging up on me - thought that nothing would come of it.

The issue was the first mobile broadband device I had returned. They had informed me that they hadn't received it yet and my bill was going to stay the same - almost $300 because they tacked onto the bill the full amount for that device plus taxes.

I informed the first lady I was speaking with that I had no intention of paying that inflated bill...........who cut me off.  I stopped talking, listened to her rhetoric and then asked for a supervisor.  She refused.  I simply sat on the line waiting for her manager, who finally agreed to put her supervisor on the line.  She also dished up the same regurgitated substance as the first person, excepting this person was extremely rude and almost arrogant. She informed me that after they do receive it, it will take up to 30 days to "process it" and have the amount removed from my bill.  Unacceptable, was my firm response, if you think I am going to shell out $300 for this service that doesn't work half the time anyway, you are out of your mind.

That is when she went into a litany of everything that must have either been written on her computer screen in front of her, or more likely memorized since she has probably spewed it out to countless individuals.  When I tried to get a word in edgewise, like in a pause in her speech, she would simply talk right over the top of me. When she finally did stop talking, I started asking about making a partial payment - the regular monthly payment, which is when she interrupted me again, told me how things were going to be and then hung up on me.

Big no-no in my book.  I will go to great extremes to have that conversation reviewed by the appropriate individuals. I do not know if Verizon records all of their calls or not, but if they do, that woman is going to have some answering to do.  That's because I found the Verizon Wireless corporate headquarters phone number.  It sends you directly to a voice messaging system - but I kept calling and calling and finally, someone actually answered the phone.  That individual transferred me to their executive offices and the gentleman that I was talking with certainly had the air  and demeanor of higher level management.  When I told him the story, he was appalled, asked for my contact information and told me that someone would be contacting me either later on today or tomorrow at the latest.

I'm not looking for freebies out of this, just that that lady's rude, unbelievable attitude towards her company's customers was too much.  I never said anything to that woman to justify the treatment she gave me and I assume this is her standard, modus-operandi in dealing with customers.

I have since been looking at other wireless broadband plans. I have doubts that any of them work any better, but perhaps one of them at least has some semblance of customer service.

The device itself is a piece of junk.  It will show you have 4G access but no internet access.  Or, you will have internet access and then suddenly it drops out, even though you are sitting stationary, not moving.  It won't show, however, that it has dropped out, instead, the internet stops working. Then, you have to disconnect the connection manually and also shut the device off and restart it.  This is a continual process.  Sometimes I will get 5 or 10 minutes of uninterrupted service, mostly I don't.   The device does not show you how much of a charge it has left in the battery, either.  It's more work than it's worth to use the thing and they really need to come up with a better working device with more options on it.  The only thing it has on it is an on and off button and lights to show whether you are on 3G or 4G network, there is nothing else and you cannot manually switch over to 3G if you wanted to make sure you had uninterrupted access.

The laptop computer becomes a bit useless without internet access. I have my own wifi at home and I sometimes use the laptop in my bedroom, but usually I am sitting at my desktop in the kitchen since it's a far better machine and is directly connected to wired internet access.  At least one company allegedly offers unlimited data, I forget which one but I can find it again, I think the price was the same or near the same as Verizon.

Although, I do wonder if I just get a plug-in for my laptop instead of this router device if that might make a difference. Who knows.

Today?  Not sure yet.  Was thinking of going up to the mountains, but I am feeling particularly unmotivated to do much of anything, much less driving the 109 miles to get there.  Not that that's a long drive, but, I just don't much feel like driving right now.  I have time today to change my mind, it's only 10:00 am.  I guess I'll have to decide by no later than 2:00pm, that gives me time to get up there, get situated and settle the dogs down.


Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...