Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lolcatting Google Maps' Street View

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Desert Denouements

Isn't it more than a bit eerie that tonight's back-to-back The Sopranos and Entourage episodes had endings that involved principal characters shouting a single phrase of vindication into echoing, open canyons at the conclusion of spontaneous, reckless personal journeys?

I'm going with, "Yes, yes it was."


Meanwhile, At Nordstrom World Headquarters…

This morning, around 8:30am or so, I went through yesterday's postal mail. I noticed a Nordstrom print catalog, among many others, that I'd just as well have them save the trees rather than send to me since I'll gladly shop their stores or website without prompting. (Yeah, I like the company.) Trusting that their own customer service process might be above par in the junk mail dept., I decided to send them a quick note through the standard feedback form on I sent:

Please remove me from the printed catalog mailing list; customer number AC74774XX1.

Fourty-five minutes later I received this response:

Dear Mr. Shobe,

Thank you for contacting Nordstrom regarding removing your name from our mailing list. I apologize for any inconvenience or frustration receiving our catalogs may have caused you.

Per your request, I have removed your name from our mailing list. Please note that because our catalogs are preprinted several months in advance, you may receive two or three additional mailings before the removal takes effect.

I hope the news of the removal eases your mind. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. Thank you again for contacting Nordstrom.

With warm regards,

Internet Customer Service
Nordstrom Direct
Visit us again at:

OH, the inconvenience and frustration I've just been spared! :) Take that, FTD. OK, so I didn't start from a position of anger related to a botched mail order invoice, so it's not exactly apples-to-apples. But the blitzing turnaround time, simple precision of the response to my inquiry, and utter satisfaction from seeing that Nordstrom perceives my mundane request as meaningful enough to man the barricades on a Sunday-freaking-morning is worth real consumer bonus points to me. Seriously — well done, folks.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Someone In Downers Grove Owes My Mom An Apology

Earlier this week, I ordered an FTD bouquet for my mom; it's an obvious Mother's Day play, but lacking any real competition from siblings, this is the sad regression to the safe-and-mediocre that passes for thoughtfulness in my worldview. That said, I thought it was a really nice-looking bouquet of spring flowers with a smart ceramic vase she might actually want to keep. I ordered it last Monday for delivery May 11th.

Cut to May 11th, late evening. I check my Inbox:

Subject: Unable to Deliver Order (Order Number:FMM83784)

Dear Matt:

Thank you for your recent purchase from FTD.COM for Sally.
Despite our best efforts to schedule your delivery as you requested, we were unable to get shipment placed to this particular zip code in a timely fashion.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

Your FTD.COM order has been cancelled and a full
refund in the amount of $~fref.amt~ has been posted to your credit card.

If you are interested in rescheduling a delivery for after Mother¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿s Day, please visit us at and save $15 off your next order.

Thank you again for your understanding and for choosing FTD.COM .

Thank you,


For Customer Service Issues Contact:
Shop: http://website2

For Billing Issues Contact:
E-mail: http://website3
Phone: phone4
Shop: http://website2

You can imagine my reaction. Actually, you don't have to imagine a thing. Instead of emailing http://website3 or calling phone4, I replied with a heat-of-the-moment response:

This is among the worst "we're sorry, but we couldn't complete your order" emails I've ever received. Did your database even bother to make an effort to pull in the relevant details of my specific bouquet into the order below? Does a forest of question marks help explain why delivery didn't work out? Did you make any effort to make up this service gaffe to me, other than to offer to ship a time-sensitive gift well after the necessary due date at a modest discount? No.

I'm off to 1-800 flowers for my next similar occasion. FTD, you blew it.

Fortunately, I had a plan (B) and Amazon's Prime shipping deal will get it there on Monday. (Their logistics have almost never let me down, and the few times they did they fell all over themselves to apologize and make it up to me concretely.) But who wants to call Mom and say "no, really, they lost your gift in the mail! I swear!" Mom's been down this road before and knows every one of your tired tactics, buddy.

Enough with the griping already, Matt. Happy Mother's Day, moms!