Tag Archive: happy


The Power of the Consumer.

I know that this post comes late, but hopefully you won’t call and complain. That last sentence will make sense in a moment.

This post is about what power we, the consumer have. In this economic time, most are willing to do whatever they can do to keep their customers. For example, the average person spends $350,000.00 at Wal-Mart in their life. If Wal Mart makes you angry and turns you away, then they arent losing a small transaction, they are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars! We forget that we hold hundreds of thousands over the manager’s heads and too often let poor service pass along.

Without giving too much information, I just want to say that Joanna and I were treated very poorly (on several accounts) by Verizon, our cell phone provider. So when my (already defective) phone quit working a few weeks ago, I decided to bring it in. I was told that I had no options, and that the defective phone I was sold was as good as trash. No repair, no replacement phone, no ‘Im sorry’, just another rude person who couldn’t care less.

I now had to decide between shelling out hundreds for an ok new phone that might be just as awful as my last, or buying a cheap refurbished one that was made ten years ago. Now I love taking .5 megapixel pictures, but I am cheap, and I feel that I already pay too much for a phone that has barely worked. This was the last straw, and my stingy side took over.

So I set out to write some emails. Through some extensive investigation, I found the emails for Verizon’s CEO, President, Head of Customer Service, and the Mid TN Distrit Manager. I sent them essentially the same email explaining my past experiences, and telling them that I was considering terminating my contract. I did my best to be professional, but at the same time explain how and why I was so upset. I sent the email

Then, last week I got a phone call from a very nice woman that had received my email. She apologized for my experiences, overnighted me a new phone for free, and gave us a discount on out next phone bill. She was understanding and apologetic, promised to call the store I went to, and made sure that I was a satisfied customer before she let me off the phone. I honestly felt that I could have demanded free service for life and she would have made it happen.

Now you might be asking me how do the same thing. My first piece of advice is not to go out looking for something free. I never at any point thought that I should try and work this company over for some free stuff. I was treated poorly, and simply wanted to exercise my power as the consumer. If all I got was an apology, a promise to follow up with the staff, and a free repair on my dumb phone, then I would have been happy. If you have been treated poorly, then here are some tips for you:

1 Remember names and times. Even if I’m calling Comcast to ask about a $2.00 charge on my bill, I always take note of the date and time. This helps add validity. Think about it; “Tammy cussed at me and threw a pair of shoes at me last night at 9:00” means that they can verify that Tammy was working last night, and that she was in the shoe dept.

2 Dont yell. Whether you are making a phone call, or you are writing an email, stay calm. Be sure to convey that you are upset, but if you start yelling, or writing swear words, then you are only making yourself look unprofessional. Not to mention, its just tacky.

3 Use the internet. I’m serious, check out their website, read news articles on customer service and stock, and google ‘how to complain about my netflix picture quality’. You never know what you will find.

4 Use Social Media. I tweeted about waiting for a Fedex package, and an actual Fedex representative tweeted at me in minutes! My sister told me about an old woman that made a youtube video talking about Sears’ awful warranty repair guys, and Sears sent the guys to give her a new washer! These companies hire people to watch what people are saying about them on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Myspace (ok, no probably not Myspace). I wouldn’t doubt it that someone from Verizon, Fedex, Wal-Mart, or Comcast will probably stumble onto this post without me ever knowing it.

What not to do: don’t try to rip them off. If you just don’t like your phone, and want a free iPhone, or feel angry that they wouldn’t replace the phone you dropped in the lake, don’t make up some story for free stuff. Just be professional, and let them know that they will lose your patronage if they don’t right what was wronged.

So hey, remember that this is your money, and you decide where and how to spend it.

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Music to buy; rock

Well I know what you’re probably thinking- you’re thinking ‘Dan Jones, I’m loaded with cash, I love music, and I want you to tell you to tell me what to buy!’

No? Ok, I still have some suggestions for you.

I love music. I struggle to think of any genre of music that I dont like. Even music I dont regularly listen to, I have an appreciation for everything. Today’s topic is a broad one; Rock music.

In short, Rock has been around since the 1940s. It stems from old time blues music made by artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, W.C. Handy, and Robert Johnson. Johnson was arguably the originator of Rock and Roll, writing classics that are still sung today by huge artists like Clapton and John Mayer. It has worn many faces, and changed many times, but it still keeps pieces of origins.

#1 Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton has been playing the rock and blues for longer than most of my readers were alive. Starting off in a band called The Yardbirds, he grew to fame almost immediately after joining the band. He has been in Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and in a very effective solo career.

I very rarely suggest buying “Best of” albums, in short I think that its not the way most music is intended, but in Clapton’s case there is little choice. Unless youre into collecting vinyls, you will find it very hard to come across his albums.

#2 Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck was in the Yardbirds as well. He has grown into a blues/rock/jazz musician, and loves to prove that there is nothing he cant do. With his guitar in his hands, he becomes a jack of all trades and merges with whatever artist he is around.

You can pick up Emotion and Commotion and learn what hes all about. He also plays some killer tracks with artists like Joss Stone, and really brings out an old time Rock and Roll that . He also does a killer song with Imogen Heap in his Live at Ronnie Scott’s. You can watch it here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuXcGHjBeac

#3 Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters started off as more of a grunge rock band, not reaching too far from Grohl’s roots in Nirvana, but they have grown over the years, and have perfected their own unique version of rock. They still hold to that old grunge feel, but they have refined their tastes at the same time. You can check out their latest album Wasting Light and see what they are all about. Two albums from them? The Color and the Shape is my favorite, and I know I have already plugged that album several times before.

#4 Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams is first and foremost an Alternative Country artist, but his album Rock and Roll is a brilliant display of how much he knows about rock music. With songs like “This is it”, and “1974” he blows the album up with a genuine classic rock feel. Its only disappointment is towards the end of the album when he sings “Everybodys cool playing rock and roll, but I dont feel cool, feel cool at all”, so I suppose that he quit the rock and roll scene and returned to the Alt Country scene, because he never put out a sequel.

#5 People in Planes
The next band is what I think would technically be considered Alternative Rock, but its roots are so steeped in classic rock that I think its unfair to put them in the same category as Alt Rock bands like Hinder and Disturbed. People in Planes is a great band that has really brought back a classic rock feel that I havent heard from a contemporary band in a long time. Its a tough call to say which of their two albums to buy, but I think that I slightly prefer “As Far as the Eye Can See” to “Beyond the Horizon”.

Just you wait, I have every genre keyed up for you. Polka is gonna be a tough one.

2 sizes too small

Alright, so you want a feel good Christmas post? Too bad. Christmas is when the animal comes out of people, and we all start acquiring a mob mentality that leads to people being hurt, and others getting depressed.

Thats what I would have said the last few years, but this year I have sworn not to be a grinch. This post is for all of the other Grinches out there who need their heart to grow a couple of sizes.

Wow, I just threw you for another juke. I had no idea I started off so many blogs like this…

So the first thing that gets me upset about Christmas? Traffic. I mean people run red lights, hold up intersections, and will flip you off for almost anything! I mean, I cant help but get a little road rage from time to time, but the honest truth is that you have to leave your house a little earlier, plan your trips a little wiser, and make the decision that random bad drivers dont get the priviledge of ruining your Holiday.

Then theres the music. Its the same 10 songs sang 1,000 different ways, right? No! Christmas songs are a piece of history. Songs like “Joy to the World” were written in the 1700s, and they range from then to even the last ten years! Pay attention to the songs, and realize that even though some get played WAY too much, give them memories from childhood (or make new memories now) and get a little cheesy with them.

Still sick of it? Try out the soundtrack for the movie “The Holiday”. It was written by one of the best composers of our time, and it is guranteed to put chills up your arms.

People can also get nasty during the holidays. They camp out all night for the best deals, and will let no one stop them from getting everything on their list. Its quite unavoidable, to be honest. I mean whole movies are written to show how far a parent will go just to get their kid what they want for Christmas. But, before you go “Jingle All The Way” all over someone, make a point to be courteous to others. Yeah some will try to snake your parking spot, cut in line, or grab something out of your cart, but that doesnt require a fistfight to solve!

Heres the basis of it; either your Christmas holiday will be spoiled by strangers, or be enriched by friends and family. Its that simple! Be good to people, and remind them why they are supposed to be happy, and maybe you can make someone esle’s Christmas better for it.

Lastly, a shout out to my family this Christmas: I love you guys, and I’m sorry I cant come out this year. I love you and will miss you all.

There, you feel it? All you haters, Grinches, and Scrooges out there have a warm feeling in your chest. No, its not a heart attack, its your heart growing to normal size. Now get over yourselves and have a Merry Christmas, like it or not (sounds like a new song for next Christmas season).

Coffee Time

Ok, so I am working on a collaborative blog with some of my friends. It is going to cover certain creature comforts that we all enjoy from coffee to restaurants, to wine, cigars, cafes, and more. Obviously, my area of expertise in which I will be writing will be coffee,  some teas, and probably a few restaurants. As a little promotion for our blog, I figured I could put my first post on here.

So how do you drink your coffee? Do you drink what ever the cheap stuff is at your office coffee maker? Something instant that kind of resembles coffee when you think really hard about it? What I’m encouraging you do is drink coffee with the intention of enjoying it, not to give you a little rush to make it till 5:00. Drinking it solely for the caffeine is like using a wheelchair when you roll your ankle. This is why coffee and caffeine get shown in a  bad light; people drink it in excess, getting the jitters, acid reflux, or even ulcers.

Something you may not know about coffee is the good side effects. All of these come from two cups (thats 16 fl oz)  of coffee or less, which I have been told is the most one should drink in a day.

  • Coffee helps regulate your blood pressure; in small amounts, it actually dilates your veins and arteries, lowering your blood pressure slightly. It should go without saying that too much will definitely raise it, though.
  • It helps your short term memory stay sharper; caffeine passes the blood brain barrier, and can momentarily help you with that last minute cramming you do from time to time.
  • Coffee in small amounts can help your exercise. In a test on cyclists, the ones given caffeine went 29% farther than the ones that went without it. (working on citation)
  • It helps you stay “regular”. I dont think you should need any more details.
  • Coffee increases your coolness by at least 79%, just by sitting back and sipping on it. That is a fact.
  • Coffee has no calories! Well thats not technically true, I believe that the ratio is something like 5 calories per 8oz, but hey, compare it to a small can of Red Bull, and the calorie count is 110!

Now that I have you on the coffee bandwagon, there is something you need to understand; coffee drinks such as McDonalds, nescafe, maxwell house, and those pouches in your hotel room are not coffee. Yes, maybe they pass as coffee, because they do technically contain coffee beans, there is not nearly as much quality as needed to make yourself a decent cup of joe. Its like calling a pack of parliament lights cigars; yes there is tobacco, but bring it into a cigar shop, and you will get laughed at. Most of these kinds of coffees do the minimal. They pay the cheapest prices for beans that may not be completely ripe, roast them for a minimal amount of time, or till they reach their first “pop”, immediately grind them for a paper filter, freeze dry them, and who knows how long they stay on the shelves?

So here is what I want you to do; go out and have some real coffee.

I’m not saying that I want you to swing by Starbucks’ Drive Thru and grab a grande drip with cream and sugar, I want you to sit down and enjoy coffee as it should be. If you can, go buy a French Press and a grinder, or else find a coffee shop nearby that will press your coffee for you (most Starbucks will if you ask). Get you some gourmet coffee (preferably a Latin American coffee if you aren’t used to a press).

Heres the simple directions for making a french press;

1. Coffee: 4 heaping scoops of whole beans ground coarsely does it for me in my 8 cup press.

2. Water: as close to boiling as you can get it, coffee brews best in temperatures between 210 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Let it sit for 4 minutes. Dont press the big metal rod down just yet. I know it, its hard to wait, but just hold on. After the 4 minutes are up, press the grounds to the bottom, and…

4. You got the Java!

Don’t rush to the fridge and get your Coffee Mate caramel macciato flavored creamer- give it a try black. Smell the aroma, and let out a big slurp as you get your first few sips. This is how coffee is meant to be enjoyed, not as a stimulant  that you feel needing an intravenous injection. Drink it out on your porch on these fall evenings or on a Saturday morning before you get going.

I hope this is inspiring to you to rethink your coffee addiction.

Other topics I’m working on in the near future: Cafes in Nashville, how to pick a coffee to brew, how to tell if the cafe you walk into is quality, coffee shop 101, and how to drink your coffee(press, espresso machine, percolator,etc),

Pet Peeves Part 3!

Alright, I know that I get controversial from time to time. I mean that bubblegum article get me a few threats, but alas, I move on to another set of pet peeves.

So for anyone that has read more than Dr. Suess and Wayside School, its quite obvious that writers from the United Kingdom write and pronounce some words differently than we do here in the States i.e. colour, grey, drive through, etc. Well when America was still a colony, we actually purposefully changed a lot of these words to (as best I can understand it) make them more efficient.

With that little tidbit in your brain, you should know to avoid extremes of any kind. Even too much water can kill you, you know? That being said, speaking in an abbreviated fashion like you are in middle school talking on AIM is such an extreme that may just get you killed (ok, maybe I’m being extreme with that statement).

Acceptable Abbreviations:

POW (Prisoner of War)

AOL (America Online)

Abbreviating cuss words

BP (British Petrol)

MIA (Missing in Action)

BBQ (Barbecue)

IHOP (International House of Pancakes)

Unacceptable Abbreviations:

OMG,

LOL,

LMAO,

BAMF,

ROFL,

BRB,

STFU,

BBQ,

PDQ, and so many more!

I’m not including their meanings, because they don’t matter. That, and some of them were quite vulgar.

Just realize that the common people who talk like this are pre pubescent kids who still spend their Saturday mornings watching cartoons. Even if you were one of those kids once upon a time, you need to grow out of it like the other things you did; your mom is so fat jokes, your Power Ranger dolls, and telling dirty jokes you don’t get yet.

Its not political.

As soon as I saw the 8/28 rally on the Lincoln Memorial, I was blown away. I knew I had to write about it, and I’m glad that I already have a medium.

Ok, so when I first started blogging, it was going to be a purely political blog. I have been taught principles from a young age, and I consider myself to be well informed and very opinionated. I started to realize as I wrote that I didn’t want to be a political commentator/blogger firsthand. I don’t know that I’m supposed to be involved in politics so deeply as to write about it constantly, but I do keep myself informed. I think that being actively involved in politics on all levels and having a strong opinion is such a necessary quality that its should be commended as much as you are commended on breathing.

I attended the first Tea Party rally last year on tax day. I was blown away by the patriotism and unity to say it simply. People were upset, but not angered. We were in disapproval of how our taxes were being spent, not mad about having to pay our taxes. I think its safe to say that I didn’t fit into the mold that the media painted the rally as; rich, white, and racist. I may be white, but I think I made about $20k that year before taxes, and I don’t have any need to prove that I’m not racist. I am a patriot, and nothing more. I love this country, and I want to see it prosper like never before, and that was what the rally was really about; a group of patriots who didn’t want to see our country go the wrong way.

What I didn’t like was that it was hosted by the local GOP. They had opened up a new office, and had taken this protest and stamped their name on it. I’ve said before that I don’t like to label my political ideals with a party, because I don’t really believe in either party.

The next rally was not long after, but I was unable to attend. My wife attended and expressed how disappointed she was in how it had changed from a movement of people to a promotion for the GOP. She said that they hit subjects that have always been Republican ideals, and she left not long after it started. It really made me feel somewhat cynical  towards what direction the country is headed in. I was worried that these people would be broken up by parties and political agendas, not to mention  the negative light that has been shed on this movement.

I joined freedomworks.com , read The 5,000 Year Leap and A Patriots History of the United States,  and tried to soak up whatever knowledge I could. I can’t say that I really spoke up much. I wouldn’t let a friend blast my beliefs, but at the same time, I got tired of arguements that all went the same;

Person: ” The current administration’s actions on (Healthcare, abortion, global warming, border control, national debt, take your pick) is finally a step in the right direction.”

Me: “Thats debatable, I think that there are other ways we can deal with this.”

Person: “Well what about what George Bush? He didn’t help out one way or the other.”

Me: ” I didn’t say I was for Bush, I didn’t support him, and I don’t think that this is a step in the right direction either. Here are some ideas I think are a better idea (add ideas here)”

Person: “(Ignoring my suggestions) well we are doing what other countries have tried, so we know the end result.”

Me: “These other countries are in trouble too. Most have only been doing this for up to 20 years, and look at their problems and debt now.”

Person: “Debt is not a big deal, this way works, your ways are just theories.”

Me: “Agree to disagree I guess.”

Then person usually leaves with a red herring like “I wish people would stop being racist” or “why do some people want to hurt progress?”

So I learned to pick my battles, and to definitely to do my best to bite my tongue on the internet. Its just so impersonal that you could lose a friend just by what you think is a civil disagreement.

All I knew to do from here was to simply wait for elections and vote for who I saw fit for office.

To be continued on Wednesday.

Vacation

Alright, I lost the original post. It got deleted somehow, so heres what up starting from my last saved draft!

So I haven’t posted all week because Joanna and I have been in Savannah and Atlanta for a few days!

We had a really great time, to put it all too short. It felt a little impromptu, since it all started when I bought tickets to see ATHLETE not so long ago. We started making plans for other things we could do in Atlanta, and before we knew it we had a whole five day vacation planned out.

We drove straight to Savannah on the first day, and the weather was pretty great the whole drive down. We had taken out all of our CDs, in case they were stolen, and only had the ipod connected to our FM transmitter as our source of music. This was a really good idea in theory, I mean there are hundreds of stations we could transmit on, so we would have to find a good one out there somewhere, right? Well, after rediscovering our neurotic behavior towards radio static,  we realized that we had left The Black Keys in the CD player. Lets just say that I can now recite Brothers word for word from start to finish. I don’t mean to sound like it wasn’t enjoyable, the drive was quite nice, and the only place we had a lot of trouble finding a station was Atlanta.

Joanna’s Droid was super cool, it had turn by turn directions in google maps, and it got us to our room in no time. It was pretty much the staple of our trip now that I think back about it. If that thing had broken, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have been able to leave our room.

The city was hot. Like hot hot. I loved the city, though. Joanna took me through different shops and places to get accustomed to the town, and we got to find all kinds of amazing art, and some cool stuff done by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

One of our first nights we took a ghost tour and had the most ridiculous guide.  He was part Captain Jack Sparrow, part Mic Jagger. He would toss his hands in the wind, and touch things as he lead us from haunted sight to haunted sight with a swagger that could only come from hours and hours of watching Pirates of the Caribbean. He would twist around and tell us about all of the deaths, plagues, suicides, and duels around the town with a dark grin on his face, which was perfect for the trip. To sum up our ghost tour: Savannah is haunted.

We hit up Tybee Beach and watched pelicans fish. The water was just right, and we had a great time swimming and reading in our chairs. We stayed on Lafayette square in a suite of a redone house from the 1800s. Our room was awesome, it was spacious and had a balcony overlooking St. Johns’ Cathedral, which was beautiful and also from the 1800s.

There was a cemetery for American Soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, which was so cool. Most of the tombstones were unreadable now, but I felt so patriotic standing among the bones of the people who fought for our country. Another cool thing is that several of the graves had a Masonic emblem/crest thingy on them. I have a close friend who is a mason, and it was crazy to think that they have been around for so long.

On the point of Masons, I came to this conclusion: if conspiracy theorists are right, and the Masons really are secretly plotting to take over the world, then they are certainly taking their time.

I also got to watch some world cup games… my favorite teams were in this order; USA, England, Portugal, Brazil, Germany. So as you see, I stopped watching the games after Portugal lost.

We went to another cemetery called Bonaventure, and it was HUGE. I think that one of them was even labeled “Mother Grimm”. It was so interesting to see graves from different religions and classes of people.

It was a great time, and when we were done, we headed to Atlanta.

Hotlanta proved its name while we were down there. We had thought about going to the aquarium, but we decided to take the day off and chill for the majority of the day. We, after taking the (bad) advice of the concierge at our hotel desk, rode the subway to go see Athlete. Then we walked for a long, long time to our concert. We trudged by two other MARTA (subway) stations on the way, and got there just as the doors opened.

The setting was very intimate once we got in there. There were a few tables, a pool table, and a bar. There was an open area for the audience in from of the stage that fit around a hundred people, and a decent stage. In totality, I would say that there were about 150 people there by the time Athlete took the stage.

I feel like I cant call myself a huge Athlete fan, cause Joanna is quite obsessed. That being said, they were everything that a fan could want. They had a great stage presence, played songs from all of their albums, and had the whole crowd involved. It felt like they had just started by the time they were returning for their encore, and they moved us one more time.

It was such an experience to see so many fans of a band from so far away. The people there treated them as if they were radiohead, and knew every word from every song they played. Everyone was screaming between every song, and chanted anything we were prompted to.

Then, after a short wait after the concert, they came out and we actually got to meet them! They were really cool guys, and they signed our shirts! Joanna got a couple of pictures, and picked up a little bit of a crush on one of them as well.

Then we headed back to our hotel and left for home in the morning! Its nice being back. I like Vacations, but its always great to come home.