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Pacman Merchandising

I used to shop at Wal-Mart. . Having been lured by low prices and even lower quality, I don’t buy much there anymore.  My purchases had come down to movies and dog food. I buy my movies elsewhere because I get better prices and a larger selection. Basically my last contribution to Wal Mart was dog food.

pacmanmerch

Today  that changed. I used to park in the back, walk in through the garden center, two aisles over, pick up the bag and out to the register and on with my life. Even on busy days, 10 mins. tops.

This morning I discovered that Wal Mart has become what I call the latest Packman Merchandiser.  Target being the first one of these I encountered. Instead of regular clear aisles, they redesigned their stores to resemble a pacman maze. You go down one aisle, and come to a corner where you have to go somewhere else hopefully not getting lost, and maybe finding what you are looking for.

After spending 30 mins. following blind alleys I finally found where the dog food was. In the very back of the store. They hadn’t stocked it yet. That was my last trip into a Wal Mart. Somebody else can play that stupid game.

Marketeers have long dictated store design to attempt to empty your pockets, under the assumption that everybody who enters their stores has no life outside of the spending universe.

Consider your grocery stores. Milk, bread and eggs. Always in the farthest back  corner of the store, hoping that you will feel guilty pushing that large empty shopping cart through the store from the back, and that your arms will spasm and rake product from the shelves into the cart, fufilling their dreams of sales. Or slamming into the ‘end cap’ with whatever overstock product they are trying to move before its freshness date expires. Like you need 37 boxes of tuna flavored rice cakes.

I’m just waiting for the first body to be discovered from one of these stores.

“According to reports, Mrs. Johnson, mother of three was discovered in the corner of the Garden Center, and had starved to death. Her oldest child cried, “We live in a condo and don’t even have a yard”. “She went to the store for milk and notebooks”. Authorities are investigating. BigBox.Co had no comment.”

Maybe they will wake up when they have to hire hunting parties to track down lost shoppers.

Health Care killed his father

Here is an interesting look at health care.
How American Health Care Killed My Father Some of the villains are surprising.

Ad Slogan of the Week

I don’t Twitter. If I feel the need to listen to people communicate in less than 140 characters, I hang out around the counter at the local burger shack. Geographic, Local, Topical, and Focused

Would you like fries with that?
Can I supersize that?
Honey mustard or Ranch?

You get the idea. I surf the web with FlashBlocker, AdBlocker and refuse cookies. So in the Multi Media Social Networking Universe of No!NO! PR is Not Advertising It is Different, despite the fact that these guys avoid mentioning pricing except for billings, still not understanding that moving product is the only way that business makes money, the only shot advertisers reall get at me is my TV viewing.
The latest gem from the minds of the PR/AD world are the new Ford Ads.

Why Ford?
Why Now?
Why Not.

Holy Shit Buckwheat!! Why Not? Your house is in foreclosure, You have no health insurance, You probably don’t have a job, Your local and state governments are in the red, every program that may actually help you has been cut, and the only folks getting money are the police to keep order in the streets, so Hell Yeah, lets go buy a Ford!
Why Not!

Dollhouse Season 1

51HOc5NUI7L._SL500_AA240_Dollhouse is the latest production from Joss Whedon.  Joss Whedon is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Series, Angel and FireFly.  Season 1 is out on DVD and is worth it.

The first 4 episodes are hard going as they seemed to have crap tossed into them that is disjointed and disconnected. It gets a whole lot better. Once they get Jane Espenson on board the show begins to move. Jane is probably one of the best producer/writers for women in episodic TV. The best episodes of Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, all have her touch. From episode 5 on it gets crisp, and they finally kill off Reed Diamonds “Lou Dominic” character in episode 9. As far as I am concerned he should not have been in the cast at all, and if for whatever reason, he should have been whacked in the first episode. His best work was getting it in the face by Vic Mackey in the Sheild. He dies well, but his acting is bad.

Moving on, the DVD set has the original pilot that FOX scrapped,(which so ably demonstrates that you should let the folks who are doing the show the fuck alone) and the unaired 13th Episode. It has been picked up for a second season and if Fox stays out of the way, we will get some seriously good TV. Highly recommended. Dollhouse

Maytag Major Appliances (Don’t Buy Them!) and Extended Warranties.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Let me expand on this.

I bought a bunch of Maytag products almost 5 years ago. At the Maytag Store (which are not owned by Maytag, but are independently owned stores that hustle Maytag Products) My ex and I had sold our house, we were both moving and were under the gun to get out of the old house. A 25 cubic foot Refrigerator,(which has had the compressor replaced already, and as I discovered my freezer has the same compressor) a 25 cubic foot freezer, and a ‘Commerical Grade’ washer dryer pair. My ex also bought the same refer (and has had the compressor replaced also) and a Neptune Washer Dryer Pair that turned out to be the Appliances from Hell. We also bought the factory Extended Warranties for these. Dave the salesman made a lot of money that day, but he is also a bottom feeder. (The Neptune was so bad that there was a class action lawsuit filed and Dave the salesman said nothing about it when I asked him point blank if there was any reported problems with the machines we picked out, to which he said No., which is why he is a bottom feeder.)

Normally I don’t buy extended warranties on products, as most stuff that I buy either works or breaks inside of the standard warranty time frame. I bought the warranty because I don’t want to be an appliance repairman above the stuff I already know how to do.

My Maytag Washer SAV2555AWW broke last Sunday. This is a knob operated non electronic washer. Simple operation for a simple guy. I am a beltline washer, above the belt is one load with the towels and sheets, and below the beltline is the other load. I do laundry once a week. Since I live alone, we are not talking about massive laundry action, which is probably more than you wanted about my laundry habits.

!maytagsav2555aww

So a scratch paper calculation would have me doing 520 loads over almost 5 years. Not what you would call real hard use.

I have an extended warranty for it. I tried calling on Monday from my cell phone, and ended in a voice mail repeating loop where the voice says “Select one of the following options”, pauses and says “Select one of the following options”. . .

Tuesday I called from home and after a significant wait time got someone with lungs, who ‘knew’ me and had my information on the screen based on my phone number. I am thinking this is pretty cool. Having my information at hand so things can move along. I described the problem, “got loud, started puking water on the floor from the bottom”.

To my amazement, I was scheduled for service the very next day. Cool I thought, moving on with my life etc.

Wednesday, the repairman arrived at the outside of the time window, and after describing the problem, he was able to diagnose it in a little less than 30 seconds. Cool I thought, thinking that he would repair it and my life would continue. Not so fast.

The repairman did not have the transmission on the truck with him, nor could he repair it. He had to go back to the shop and and describe the fix and get authorization to order parts, let alone fix it.

Here is the deal on this. Sniffing on the web brings up the triple lip seal problem which is not limited to my model but is also a problem on these models: which are Maytag and Amana units.

ALW110RAW, ALW210RAW, ALW210RMC0, ALW210RMC1, ALW210RMW

ALW210RMW1, ALW410DAW, ALW410RAW, ALW430RAC, ALW430RAW,

ALW432RAW, ALW450QAC, ALW450QAC1, ALW450QAW, ALW450QAW1,

ALW480DAC, ALW480DAW, ALW540RAC, PALW540RAW, ALW540RMC0,

ALW540RMC1, ALW540RMW0, ALW540RMW1, ALW680RAC, ALW680RAW,
ALW780QAC, ALW780QAC1, ALW780QAW, ALW780QAW1, ALW780QMC0,
ALW780QMC1, ALW780QMW0, ALW780QMW1, ALW880QAC, ALW880QAC1,

ALW880QAW, ALW880QAW1, ALW891SAW, ALW895SAC, ALW895SAW,

ALW895SAW1, ALW980EAW, ALW990EAC, ALW990EAC1, ALW990EAW,

ALW990EAW1, SAV505DAWW, SAV5300AWW, SAV5401AWW,
SAV5600AWW, SAV5701AWW, SLW330RAW, NAV2330AWW; NAV3330AWW; NAV3330EWW;
SAV205DAWW; SAV2555AWW; SAV2655AWW; SAV3655AWW; SAV365AAWW; SAV365ZAWW;
SAV3710AWW; SAV3855AWW; SAV405DAWW; SAV405DEWW; SAV4655AWQ; SAV4655AWW;
SAV4655EWQ; SAV4655EWW; SAV4710AWW; CW9500W; NAV5800AWW; NAV6800AWW;
NAV8800AWW; NAV8800EWW; SAV515DAWW; SAV515DEWW; SAV5710AWW; SAV571EEWW;
SAV5910AWW; SAV5910EWW

Source: Maytag bulletin

Which tells us that there are a lot of wrappers and not much innovation. The bulletin (PDF) goes into detail on replacing the bearing assembly including a whole bunch of special tools to get to it. The last page of the bulletin tells the repairman that he needs to buy a new tool to perform the repair described on the proceeding 7 pages.

I called Friday to inquire when my washer was going to be repaired, only to be told that they were waiting for e-mail authorization from Whirlpool, (who bought Maytag about a year or so ago) before they could order parts to repair my washer.

I have some Major Problems with this.

The first problem is that the warranty company is a 3rd party company doing business as Maytag, to administer this. And as I noted above waiting for email authorization is last on the list I want to hear. This is one of those deals that shuffles shit around, like claims payers for health insurance which just adds more layers of crap between a company and a customer.

The second problem from a cost effectiveness standpoint is not having enough information or utilizing it. The warranty company has all of my information on file, phone, address, Model number, etc. What they don’t seem to have is information from Maytag on these machines breakdown history. By this I mean, by model number the various parts and fixes that have happened over time. This used correctly would have sent the repairman out with the parts to fix the machine with one trip. This sucks for the repairman who as you may guess is not a Maytag employee, but is another third party company doing work on contract to Maytag.

Every repair that I or the ex has needed has required at least 2 if not more service calls to fix. Most of them have been caused by not having the parts in stock at the warehouse and needing to order them from the factory if they were not already on back order, because of “popularity”( you know the shit that breaks regularly)

The third problem is this is standard operating procedure for companies. By doing the Tom Peters Downsizing, outsourcing, and third party claims and service, it looks good to the shareholders, since the whole service, warranty and repair problems can be swept under the rug and not show up on the balance sheet.

But the people on the point of the transaction like me the customer, who actually buys this stuff so that they have jobs and who just wants stuff to work, are screwed, the poor bastard from the repair service who must want to cut his throat at night having spending day after day knowing what the problems are how to solve them, but having his hands tied, and gagged, by a system that does what it can to make fufilling their obligations as complex as possible.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Now that Whirlpool owns Maytag, I wonder how long before Maytag gets replaced by Whirlpool and they hope that we will not remember getting screwed.

Knowing that my freezer shares the same compressor that failed in my refrigerator 3 years after I bought it does not fill me with optimism nor does it endear me to a company that seems to be all hat and no cattle.

Your choices for major appliances are limited as Amana is just re badged Maytag, Whirlpool is probably gonna use all the cheap Maytag parts, which cuts out a lot of Samsung models as they make the parts for Maytag.

I really just want to do my laundry and not have to bitch slap companies or tell them how to run their operations so that folks will actually buy their products again.