Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Get'em While They're HOT...

When the shifty salesman/manager at AT&T told me he had someone that might buy my old Blackberry, I knew it worth way more than the 44 bucks he said it was worth to him. So I held onto it, thinking I'd put it on eBay someday and that day came yesterday. 

First I had to figure out how to be a seller on eBay and that in itself was no easy feat. It appears that I tried to sell a car on eBay one time in 2005 or 6 and they told me I already had an account associated with my email address and what are the answers to my secret security questions? Well, my mother's maiden name never changed to my knowledge and my first pet has always been Snoopy and all I needed to know after that was what my phone number was in 2005. Evidently, I screwed it up so many times, eBay was about to call the cops on me, when I finally gave up and slammed down the cover of the laptop. An hour later I had relaxed enough to start over using an old email address and all new information. I GOT IN!

 I was welcomed and I actually heard a band playing, but it turned out to be in my head. Now all I had to do was find the old phone and take a picture layout of it and send it to my computer, then think of some lovely things to say about it, that might appeal to someone looking for a damned good phone that I wish I'd never abandoned. Just for the record, I miss it already.

After accomplishing all of that, I got an email congratulating me and welcoming me to eBay, along with a bunch of other advertising. Finally, after what seemed like hours, I sank into my old reclining chair and turned on the TV. About 10 minutes later the computer made the noise that it makes when an email is coming in. Then, shortly after, even before I got up, it dinged 3 more times. I've got 4 emails from eBay, already! Now I priced my phone at $135, after their information told me that the lowest one like mine had sold for $132.50. I didn't want to make a career out of this, I just wanted to sell it for more than $44.

The first email was from a man named Tracy that wanted to know if it had any dings or scratches. I wanted to reply, yes, that it has been in a telephone accident, but no one was injured. However I refrained from doing so and was quite civil. The second email was from eBay telling me that my item has sold and to follow their instructions for getting paid, huh??? How could it sell already? Wasn't there supposed to be an auction? Evidently Tracy bought it for the "Buy it Now" price I was asking. Next was an email from Tracy saying that the phone is for his grandson in Nigeria and he is currently out of the country and can I mail it directly to the grandson and then he supplied me with the address and a carrier that goes to Nigeria. He also said to add what it costs to ship it to Nigeria into my price and he'd be happy to pay the extra charges.

To say that the red flags were popping up faster than I could count them was an understatement. Having zero experience with this venue was also a disadvantage. I made some phone calls, but no one that knew had any experience on eBay either. Then after giving it some thought, I realized that Paypal guarantees payment to be good and I replied that I cannot ship anything out of the U.S. and still guarantee delivery, so according to the rules of eBay, I'll be happy to ship to the listed address of the buyer and yours is San Jose, CA. I was expecting a reply canceling the purchase, but so far nothing. Then I looked up the buyers history and he's purchased in the last 12 months, 418 items and every seller says the same thing, prompt payment, good buyer! I now suspect the story about the grandson is for unsuspecting sellers and that Tracy is shipping used Blackberry's to Nigeria, period. If he is, God bless him, he's getting a good one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

First Date in Months...

                                      Jane, (not)

It had probably been at least 4 months since my last date. Being in the hospital 4 times in May and June left me down about 15 LBS and not looking too swell, plus it seems that age is catching up with me too. Looking into the mirror I can see every one of my 66 years looking back. For many years I had tricked father time, but it seems that he's going to have last laugh. He always does. 

Being bored with entertaining myself, I realize I need outside involvement, so I search the Internet for someone to spend time with. Usually they write to me and all I have to do is respond, which make the process a little less confusing. There was a woman named Jane that really didn't appeal to me on a physical level, but I thought she seemed nice enough, until I asked her for her phone number. She told me that she would rather have mine and not give hers out. That's usually a deal breaker for me. It seems if a woman writes to me and she's on a dating service, she ought to be prepared to at least speak on the phone with a gentleman and if it doesn't go well, well just hang up. If he seems to persist, don't answer the phone, he'll go away. 

So I explained to her that I'm happy to give her my phone number, however I don't accept blocked calls and   will not answer a call from an anonymous number. She said, fine. So if that's fine, what was all the BS about not giving out her number. So Jane calls me up and I'm not there to answer. I was in the kitchen getting a sandwich, let's say. She leaves me a voice mail with her phone number, making me realize the entire discussion about who calls who first was for naught. I call her back and we have a boring conversation that lasts about 20 minutes and when we hang up, I decide it's over. So, what do we have here? No appeal on a physical level and no personality. She's attending Real Estate school in a dying market at age 57. She emailed me and told me not to try to contact her the following weekend, as she had guests coming from out of town. I was perfectly good with that and deleted her number. About a month goes by and I'm just moving along at my snails pace and I get an email from Jane, asking if I'd lost her number. Well, I did! She gives it to me again, oh joy!

We chat on the phone and this time she's in a good mood and she laughs a lot. She's somewhat engaging this time and we make a date to meet. We make it a neighborhood coffee date and that way we can both bolt if it doesn't go well, but frankly I'm never that rude. I suffer through it. I arrive right on time and she's there already. She approaches me with a warm smile on her less than pleasing face and I'm prepared to work past that. Looks are not everything to me, these days. Warmth and personality are vastly important. We got a couple of cold drinks and when she turned and walked towards the booths, I spotted it. Her butt! It was covered with Mom jeans and the fabric was baggy and empty. She had a flat butt! If she had been missing a leg, an arm and one eye, I could live with it, but no ass? Come on, where do you draw the line?

We sat, I talked and she laughed. We  were together for about an hour and 30 minutes and I talked the entire time. I told her about all 3 wives, my first father-in-law and my in-laws in general. How I wound up in AZ, my heart surgery, my 4 stops in the hospital in May and June and anything not to discuss her butt. Finally she begged to leave and all I had to do was say, "Gee, it is getting late", when she bolted, taking her flat butt with her. She was nice enough, but oh well....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dating is NOT for Amateurs...

For some reason the minute I received her first email, I knew I'd be writing about her in this blog. It may have been the combination of poorly spelled words, or the LOL's that were contained in the first sentence, or I've turned psychic. Probably the LOL's! When she wasn't writing lol, it was a series of HA's, always in upper case letters, that she always ended her 2 line emails with. I've been told I'm judgemental, it's true and I'm proud of it. We used to call it "street sense", it was what told us not to run out in traffic. I knew from the start that this lady was not one of the brighter bulbs on the Christmas tree. To make things easier, I'll include her first email to me. Understand that I initiated contact. I was notified by Match.com that I had only 5 days left on my membership and to use it to find true love. Instead I used it to find Dee (her actual aka name). I had seen that this woman had looked at my profile everyday for several days in a row, a way that some women choose to let a man know that they're interested. Here is her email:

Mel! are you going to chicken out on me? ps still not fat 623-XXX-XXXX can't beleive I just did that LOL till next Dee

My first reaction to this email is that I know this person and I'm racking my brain for how? Now, as you can see in her picture, she's not too large a girl and also not hideous in appearance. She had a likable personality, from what I could get out of it. We spoke on the phone and she told me she doesn't like to rack up a lot of minutes, because she's on a very limited plan with Consumer Cellular, no texting, no camera, no nothing, but it's only $28 a month for 700 minutes and she's about to run out. I made a mental note of "thrifty" to add to her references. So emailing was our primary way of communication. Try warming up to that on a chilly winter night. She told me that both her parents were still living and close by and she spent a lot of time running them to doctor's appointments. They were in their 90's and her poor dad was a pancreatic cancer survivor. He's been hanging on for 20 years now. Is that even possible? Dee lives in Sun City West and owns her home. She also had no pets, but walks a dog every night before bed, around 11:30 PM. She claims it belongs to the neighbor. Dee is 61 and has a former boyfriend that she also cares for that lives on her block. They were in a relationship until he suffered a stroke, he's 69.

All Sundays are devoted to Mom and Dad, Tuesday is Mexican day and she takes her former boyfriend out for Mexican food and Margaritas on Tuesdays. She sees the former boyfriend everyday and runs errands for him, getting him things like Boost to keep up his nourishment. Here's the clincher. She doesn't have time to meet me until 7/5, a Thursday right after the holiday. We started on the 22nd of June and the first free day she has is 7/5??? She did tell me that she had a lunch date with a new guy about a week after we started writing and he was very nice but boring and all she could think about was me. (Sound like I'm getting played?) By the way, I've still seen nothing but her Match picture, which you'll agree could be ten years old?

When I told her that I really know nothing about her, she told me to relax, she's a former Home Coming Queen from high school. She was also of Norwegian descent and from Minnesota and had a strong accent like the people in that movie Fargo. Minnesooooota! I personally find that annoying, but that's just me.

Then one night she kind of disappears on me. No email relies that I've become used to and she must have sensed that I was putting 2 and 2 together and not getting 4. At about 11 PM she calls me, but she's drunk. She went on another date with someone new and was drinking all evening. Again she didn't like the guy, but drank vodka and water all night and drove home. We talked for about 30 minutes, casting minutes to the wind! With the addition of vodka, her limited minutes didn't matter.

At some point I asked her what she retired from in her career and she told me she was a dance instructor for Arthur Murray. On occasion when we discuss getting together to meet, it was always that she would come here to my house and never would she disclose where she lived, just that it was Sun City West. I asked her why she just didn't stick with the guy that she had been seeing, that she did so much for? She told me that in her opinion a relationship should include sex and since his stroke, he can no longer perform as a man. (poor guy).

Some time went by between the last time I spoke with Dee and 7/5. There was kind of a holiday weekend and then Monday and Tuesday, before the holiday on Wednesday. Not a word. I suspected that they, the stroke guy and Dee, went away for that period of time and that Dee would be coming back alone, for our date. 

I'm not the smartest guy in the world and between you and me, I don't seem to have disposable women these days and maybe that's a good thing because honestly I don't seem to want one right now. Incidentally, there was no record or history on the name that Dee gave me. I had her last name and it came up without even a Facebook page. I Googled her phone number, her email address and got many, but not her. I took that to mean a bogus name and email address. I looked up the average income of Arthur Murray dance instructors and got no where near what it takes to qualify for a mortgage. In Dee's profile on Match, it talks about how she doesn't want a parasite and that she can spot them a miles away. NO ONE writes that or even thinks of it. In my years of experience, I've had several women live off of me and I'm not referring to wives. There a woman named Janie that I met in 94, who just wanted a man to live with and take care of and I was interested in the same. We lived together for about 18 months, when I was introduced to me last wife and it turned out not to be Janie. I explained to Janie that I had met someone and it was time to move on. She did.

Here is what I concluded about Dee. She was living with the gentleman that suffered a stroke and he was going to visit his family in Washington state right after the 4th holiday and that would leave Dee free to cheat on him. There were times in my life when I would have been all over that, but not at this time. It offended me that all she thought of me was that I was meat to use as she would. Below is the email that I shot off to her on 7/5, before noon.

Incomplete Resume'

Dee or whoever you are. I've decided that I am not interested in meeting you, for many reasons. I'm really not sure of what your real name is, but one thing is certain, there is no history of a Dee Xxxxxxxx in AZ. or the email address that you use. You claim to be a concerned citizen, just watching out for the needs of an old flame, but you base and schedule your entire life around him. Then you say he can't make love to you, so you're shopping around. Get a vibrator! I just checked and we've been emailing for 2 weeks and I know absolutely nothing about you, nor do you ask anything about me. I'm certainly more than a human DILDO. You've just got too much missing from your resume'. There are a lot of con artists in AZ, be careful!

I never heard back, go figure....

Monday, July 9, 2012

Worst Online Profile EVER!

I grew up in thes and the UK, where I was born. I am waiting for some kind of climate change so I can move back there permanently. I would like to have a friendship with someone that is spontaneous, have a good sense of humor, and can communicate openly. I don't hike, ride motorcycles or enjoy sports. I like indoor venues such movies, shows and Barnes and Nobles.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

AT&T, a Screaming Deal!

You can't hear me, but I'm hoarse tonight. Of course it's because I've been screaming and who, you ask, was I screaming at? AT&T of course, who else have I been complaining about non-stop for a month? Are you ready for why? Today, I received an email advising me that my bill was now available from AT&T. I opened it, as I do every time they send me one and as I was doing that, I began to think, I should really ask them for a free month, since I've had nothing but problems with them since I bought this iPhone. Just then, the email accepted my password and opened up and there in front of my face was a bill for not what I was quoted by the salesman/manager, but for a full $51 more. Instead of $90, it was for $141. 

Seething is the word that comes to mind this time! As I searched for my iPhone, I realized that just about the only people I ever call are the creeps at AT&T and although they seem concerned, nothing ever goes right. I make it through their menu and wind up with another of their robots, lets call her Latisha. Latisha asks what is the problem and I tell her that I've had a great deal of trouble since I've upgraded to the iPhone and now I wish I'd never have started with AT&T. She tells me that I had 30 days to back out of my contract and I tell her I tried and it's just not true, otherwise I wouldn't be calling her right this minute. Of course she argued with me, causing me to raise my voice and begin to scream. Finally I tell her that I'm calling because of the increased bill and she told me it was a one time charge that I was advised of, for upgrading. I tell her that I was NOT told of any other charges aside from the increased data package and she insisted I was told. I think that's when I began to scream at the top of my lungs. She began to scream back at me, a normal reaction I suspect, only she continued to drown me out and go off on a rant the likes of which I've never heard. I began to listen and think the whole thing was pretty funny and asked, "Latisha, why are you screaming at me?" After a pause, she said because they're vacuuming in her department and she was afraid I wouldn't be able to hear her. I burst out laughing and said, "Only at AT&T would they vacuum while a customer service rep is trying to explain to a disgruntled customer why he's being overcharged!" That made her laugh and she agreed to waive the upgrade charge which is bogus and some other trumped up charge and before I knew it, my bill was reduced from $141 to only $80.85 for everything. I'm a little hoarse but it saved me 60 bucks!

By the way, whatever the tech did the day before, after a 1 hour fiasco, must have worked. I made it all the way through the conversation with Latisha without dropping the call once. The tech said that something wasn't set up correctly, but she had to let me know through a voice mail, since she tried calling me twice, but my phone never rang.

Friday, July 6, 2012

AT&T, a Continuous Disappointment...

I initially chose AT&T because of their rollover minutes. It kind of reminded me of a savings account for unused minutes. I liked the idea and never realized that AT&T would systematically steal those minutes back from me, if I didn't use them. Each month a rather large portion of my saved minutes reach what AT&T calls maturity and are stolen away. You see, you only get to save them for one year, even though you've paid for them.
The next disappointment was when after paying for the maximum data package for about 20 months, for my Blackberry phone, that didn't really use hardly any data, it took a phone call from me to ask why I was paying so much. I was told because I was given the heavy duty, super duper data package for $35 a month and if I'd like to remove it, it will save me that much money. I did. AT&T offered me a minimal discount, after I complained that I paid an extra $700 in 20 months. They gave me a $70 discount. Pretty gracious, huh?

My next fiasco was when I bought the new iPhone and it sucked. I was told, had I purchased it from a "Corporate Store" They would have given me a new one for free, but I bought mine from an independent dealer, in spite of the fact that the big sign in front of the store said AT&T! Thus, I was on my own. Apple offered me a used phone in trade for the brand new one I'd just purchased and AT&T told me that it was a pretty good deal, I should take it.

Finally after I cried like a little girl repeatedly, the independent dealer got tired of my whining and threats and caved, giving me a new phone. Now that new phone is just as bad as the old one, dropping almost every call and fighting my way through static on every call. Just now, I spent a full hour with an AT&T representative and this time after all that time, he was successfully able to change my current address on their records. When I reminded him that I called because of the extremely poor service at my location, I was told I'd have to wait for a call back, but in the meanwhile, just reboot! What I really would like to do is cancel my new, 2 year contract with this inadequate carrier. That is my goal, I just don't know how long I will have to be a nuisance to accomplish that. I spoke with my son Brad today and when he heard I had AT&T, he told me that he used to have AT&T, the worst 2 years of his life!

The young man on the phone told me that they were located in Idaho and what time zone am I in? I said Mountain, but we don't observe daylight savings time, so we're an hour behind regular Mountain Time. That's when I started laughing and asked where Idaho even was. He told me that Idaho was right next to Washington state. Humph, how do you like that? I told him that if he didn't live there, he wouldn't know where it was either. I'm really not sure that I won his favor with that comment, but really, IDAHO?