Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bug Wars

Ah, my husband and his antics. Honestly, he's the one who should have a blog.

So first, the background.

Corinne has been into bugs lately. She loves searching for them and putting them into her "bug catcher", a small plastic death trap where innocent unsuspecting bugs are imprisoned and then forgotten in the hot sun with no access to food or water. She likes bugs of all kinds, even if she is afraid to touch many of them, like spiders.

Given this, Pete, being the great dad that he is, decided that it would be very cool to order some praying mantis (mantii? who the hell knows) online to hatch and release into our "garden" (i.e. weeds, the aforementioned rhubarb, and some crazy raspberry bushes threatening to take over the yard). He ordered 600 of them. Six hundred. Have I ever mentioned that I hate bugs, by the way? Especially big creepy ones that are capable of this. He also ordered 1,500 ladybugs to round it out.

Sadly this is not a story of big gross bugs in my garden. For that I am both relieved and disappointed. No, instead it is a tale of poor customer service and strongly worded emails.

Here is the email that we received from the bug company:

Your insect order has been shipped. If your area is more than 90F, then your order will go FedEx or UPS two day air at your expense, extra bugs will be sent for compensation. Ladybug orders of 18k to72k are sent second or next day air depending on temperatures. We choose the most economic, safest and fastest means of shipping. Upon arrival, cool ladybugs for 4 to 12 hours, then mist down the released area. Release in the very late afternoon or early evening. Orders of more than one package are packaged into a single bag of ladybugs to keep a low cost. Directions can be found on the links below. Please mail payment when your bugs have arrived. No part of your order other than shipping will be charged to you credit card as stated at check out. Please pay the total as shown on the invoice you will receive with your purchase.

So we eagerly began awaiting the shipment, checking periodically throughout the day to make sure we were ready to cool the little buggers off. Well, after a week we realized they weren't coming, so Pete sent an email to the company. No answer. He sent another one. Still no answer. He called and left a voice mail, no answer. So Pete sent this email:

Dear Growquest,
I have sent two emails to the address and left one voice mail message at the 805 921 3900 number, asking for clarification regarding the invoice (enclosed) and instructions for requested (and apparently) shipped items. To date, I have received nothing from your company, either as product or customer service.

I suspect that the season is over. All I can say is that both I and my autistic daughter are incredibly disappointed. We planned and discussed this event of rearing praying mantis and planned a release of the lady bugs with her peers. She was very excited for this experience. Thank you for ruining it with your inattentive and customer adverse model.

Upon doing more research into your organization, I've learned much, none of it positive. It would appear that I am one of hundreds that have been negatively affected and cheated by your organization. As you've already been reported to the CaBBB, and clearly have an extensive following of haters, there is little recourse for my frustration.

Thanks for nothing except disappointing a little girl that already has enough hardship and a father that wanted to make her happy.

Go Pete! Pullin' the autism card! He also started doing some research on this company, which turns out to be one guy, and found that this guy has screwed tons of people, and it seems his MO is not getting back to people. He had over 100 negative, in many cases scathing, reviews. This time we received a response within 12 hours:

Well that is a bit dramatic. First you have been charged for nothing, so there is nothing to be cheated on, second ifthe matter was that urgent nothing stopped you from making the purchase from another mroe responsive vendor.

Third, my voicemail was very clear from the middle of May to the mid June " I AM OUT OF LADYBUGS DUE TO A LATE HARVEST THIS SEASON" really a little individual responsibility would have helped.

I am happy to send your daughter a free package of ladybugs, one does not rear mantis, one allows them to hatch and then release them.

Perhaps a better lesson to teach children is not to sit on your ass blaming others for 6 weeks, nearly 4 of which you would have found notices posted on my facebook page and my voice mail and my twitter feed NO BUGS, and to take decisive and immediate action to satisfy your needs.

Whooo boy. Now that's some great customer service. Them's fightin' words. Pete's response:

First, thank you for finally replying. I had honestly given up and simply sent an email in complete frustration with the process. Your response is priceless and has clarified everything.

My assumption, based on the message sent below (including invoice), was that you were shipping the products as ordered. Updates provided on your voice mail message? Facebook? Why would I check Facebook to determine the status of an order when you sent me an invoice and shipping statement (see below)? Perhaps if you replied when customers were simply inquiring, instead of irrate, you wouldn't receive angry emails and the extensive following of dissatisfied customers. If any of my prior requests were greeted with a reply or call back, we wouldn't be in this situation. To belittle me as an upset client is, to be honest, pretty incredible. As an FYI, the voice mail message stated that lady bugs were on order, with extras being sent to make up for potential losses. Also, no mention of the other half of the order for the mantis eggs. Rearing or releasing, you didn't send them.

In one communication, you have solidified every outlandish review that I have read about you. I am shocked at their accuracy and your belligerence. I'd like to follow your company's progression, but my understanding is that your company is reborn under a new moniker periodically to shed dissatisfied customers. Please watch for your well-crafted response anywhere I can post it. There are enough sites focused on your business dealings and ethics.

You'll notice that I'm not sitting "on my ass" to deal with this. The lesson that I'll pass on to my daughter is to do on-line research before engaging with any vendor. Given how easy this would have been to avoid had I done a simple satisfaction search of Growquest Growers, it really is my fault. Shame on me for now having to join the hundreds of cheated and disappointed customers.

I am sorry to have engaged with you, for your treating me like an idiot for ordering from you, and the whole experience which should have been positive and easy. Instead, painful and appalling.

In closing - keep the ladybugs for the next misled customer, fuck you, and good day. If you are able to honor any request from a customer, do not contact me again.

Ah, I love my guy! I particularly like all the corporate jargon that I refer to as Pete's "work voice", and the "good day sir" nod to Willy Wonka. I also love that this whole thing is over something as gay as lady bugs. The lesson here: don't come between a father and his desire to please his little princess. And do your research first.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Please forgive me for straying so far and for so long. Again. You know you are the one I truly care about... Facebook means nothing to me, I swear. Just a quickie here and there, purely physical. You know I always come back to you for the real intimacy.

Has it really been 5 months since I last posted? I don't even have anything to say for myself. On a day to day basis there's nothing Earth-shattering to report, nothing blog-worthy, just lots of good Facebook fodder. But then all of a sudden 5 months have passed and Lily has gone from sitting to crawling to walking and has developed a distinct personality, and I haven't documented any of it. It's that second child syndrome! And then I just get so far behind that it becomes overwhelming to get it all up to speed.

To refresh my memory I went back and read all my Facebook posts since October. Here it is, in a nutshell.

Loser Family Inc.- What You Might Have Missed (the Clif Note version):
Painted some murals; cats suck; kids are driving me crazy; Lily has sleeping issues; kids are sick; trip to San Diego; Lily has sleeping issues; Corinne says something wacky; Lily crawling; Corinne's a jellyfish; Corinne doesn't need speech anymore; sick kid(s); Lily climbing stairs; sick dog; Lily eats dog's meds; plantar fasciaitis sucks; did our wills; Lily has sleep issues; Christmas= stressmas; cats suck; dogs suck; Lily has sleep issues; basal cell nose surgery sucks; sick kid(s); sick me; sick everyone; computer sucks; Lily eats cat puke (cats suck); Shamu sucks; sick kid; cats suck; another sick kid, sick husband.

And there you have it. That brings us up to date. Yes, many of these topics certainly deserve their own posts, and I will try to at least address the most important ones in the very near future, namely: 1) Corinne's progress (subtitle: Corinne is a super star) 2) Lily is Trouble, with a capital T (subtitle: it's a good thing she's adorable) 3) So, is Lily "Typical"? It's the question on everyone's mind...

All these topics, and more. I save my best for you, dear blog. Stay tuned...