Merv's Texas Adventures

Discussion in 'SBAF Blogs' started by purr1n, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    In the rural parts of Mexico that I've been to, they'd just pile them up and let 'em rot, leaving a stinky pile of fishbones and scales. I bet NextDoor folks would LOVE that.
     
  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Didn't Native Americans bury fish with corn so it would grow better?

    Probably something I learned that's totally wrong
     
  3. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Fish remains do make quite good fertiliser, so whether or not it's historically accurate it's at least good advice.

    Damn that's a lot of dead fish. Yeah in the same way a few degrees' difference can be massively uncomfortable for humans the same can be lethal for cold blooded creatures. Thermoregulation and all that jazz. Do hope those fish get put to good use.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    It's just too much. More dead fish keep surfacing. Can't bag them up fast enough. This was two days ago.
    PXL_20210226_171303519.jpg

    This is today. The city finally came in to help. This is the second truck!
    PXL_20210228_165544584.jpg

    And the third and fourth:
    PXL_20210228_171443248.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  5. skem

    skem Friend

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    Everything’s bigger in Texas!
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    PXL_20210307_030559689 (1).jpg
     
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    The one thing I felt that I missed out on in high school history classes in California is that the teachers never talked about war or the actual battles. It was always the reasons why and the ramifications after. You know, people and society stuff - not blood, guts, murder, mayhem.

    LOL, I think some high school history teachers in Texas take it the other way a bit too much? This was my daughters' high school history project for WWI.
    PXL_20210331_023447772.jpg
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Will, everything goes dandy in Texas, until now... A few things I learned today
    • I love supporting local businesses whenever I can, but for certain big-ticket items such as appliances, buying from corporations such as Home Depot, Lowes, or Best Buy may be a better idea. The reason is that corporations have processes, procedures, half-way decent customer service, and lots of money that can float them if shit goes wrong. Even if they go bankrupt, they still have lots of money that can float them. With small businesses, it's harder to say. I think it's best summed up to do research on the small business if you are going to buy big ticket items from them.
    • For big ticket items, use AMEX. Use AMEX. Use AMEX. Even if the merchant says that you have to pay extra (which BTW is against AMEX policy for merchants). Had we paid cash ahead of time, we would have had no leverage.
    • Avoid homes with cabinets made for 48" refrigerators. I didn't know this. Had I known, I would have asked the builder to close the gap, put up panels, to allow a 36" refrigerator. Anything 48" is considered a custom job with astronomically higher costs than a 36".
    The story goes like this. I purchased a huge 48" refrigerator on January 28, 2021 of this year. The initial delivery date from the merchant was March 10. The item kept being delayed and delayed, with the last delay beinga vague "toward the end of April" / "I don't really know". Thus on April 7, I requested that the merchant refund me - and that I was willing to wait much further down the line throughout 2021 until availability was better to buy - that I would still be a customer. I had paid the entire amount for near $10k ahead of time in January, so obviously, I didn't want that amount sitting somewhere else without any solid delivery dates from the merchant. This wasn't Best Buy, this was a small business in town, that could potentially go out of business at any time.

    I started to feel a bit uncomfortable with this merchant. The next day, I filed a dispute with AMEX for a credit for non-delivery of product. AMEX responded that their investigation window was three weeks. In the meantime, I got a bunch of stalling from the merchant with respect to my refund. "I'll talk to the owner", "what if we do this". "I'm sorry for the wait", etc.

    Suddenly about a week before the expected conclusion of the AMEX investigation window, the merchant calls: the refrigerator is in - it's located in Dallas and will be shipped down to Corpus for installation next week. I will spare you the details and get to the gist of it:

    As a matter of very extremely unfortunate timing, AMEX rules in my favor for the dispute the day before the refrigerator is to be delivered and installed. The funds are subtracted from the merchant's account. I immediately call AMEX to make things right, asking them to cancel my dispute, to pay the merchant. To my wishes, AMEX rebills the merchant one day later.

    Today I get a call from the owner of the outfit demanding that I write her a check for the full amount of the charge plus $100 more for her inconvenience. And that if I would not, she would call the police and DA. Being the nice guy that I am, I try to work with AMEX, but it was too much of a PIA to reverse a reverse a reverse. AMEX did confirm with me that the merchant did get paid, but that they would have to wait until the next billing cycle in May. The owner was not satisfied with this answer and gave me some spiel about her being 42 years in business and that AMEX will never pay up.

    I refused any further threats from her and hung up the phone, and instead sent her payment processor a bunch of documentation so they could verify with AMEX. Why she or her payment processor cannot verify this beats me? Oh wait, she told me she was too busy unloading stuff from the truck. I guess threatening customers is an owner responsibility, but checking payment isn't?

    upload_2021-4-28_11-43-44.png

    What I suspect:
    1. Merchant probably gave our refrigerator(s) due on March 10, end of March, beginning of April, mid April, etc. to other customers who bitched about delays more than we did. I know for a fact that they had way more than one customer and one 48" refrigerator coming in. Seems too much of a coincidence that our refrigerator suddenly came in after we asked for our money back.
    2. Merchant is probably in trouble with respect to cash and couldn't float the funds until next month. This explains the hesitancy on the refund and the coercive behavior to make me pay immediately via check.
    3. Merchant is batshit crazy.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  9. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Having been dealing with loads of smaller purchases from people with similar mindsets lately, yeah it's a lot of your latter two suspicions I think. Obviously no clue about Texas but it seems loads of supply chains for consumer goods are fubbernucked six ways to Sunday and people getting on merchants' asses and whinging to no end (at the very least) has them giving others short shrift. Still, you did go above and beyond working to sort things out with your card co. so I really don't think any of this ought to be weighing on you.

    With how much work unloading a truck seems to be it may well be the case the payment processor is likely helping out in person.

    Random thought, if the business does go ass-up and folds before the next cycle what's likely to happen to any funds still in AMEX (or whatever) limbo?
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    The account with AMEX still belongs to the merchant. If the merchant goes bankrupt, they should still have the funds. In theory, the merchant shouldn't be misusing them because bankruptcy court will be asking for account statements. The scenario when they wouldn't have the funds is if the merchant's creditors ask the court to put a freeze on the account.

    I understand supply chains are borked. Totally get this. This is why I requested a refund and for them to contact me later in 2021 when availability was better. (I had a temporary refrigerator). This isn't an unreasonable request since I paid the total amount ahead of time - which is another no-no from AMEX. AMEX rules for merchants are to charge when product is delivered. Or I think if it's special order, take a reasonable deposit.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  11. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    epic. working with merchant processors at my day job, it seems most merchants opt out of AMEX not due to the ~1% rate increase (getting that one sale from the customer who only has AMEX will offset that each month) but due to the fear of God put in them by consumers who are credit card ninjas and know their rights. 3 week dispute turnaround time is infinitely shorter than VISA or MC where you may not receive final resolution for months, and have to use archaic systems like fax to communicate dispute responses
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    I think Visa and MC only give a you a 90 day window. I filed my dispute after that window - but I checked with AMEX first if I could do that just in case. AMEX was the one who advised me to not close the dispute even though the timing was cutting it close. AMEX was like make sure you get the item from the merchant or your money back. I think AMEX may have been peeved that this merchant took full payment months ahead of time without delivery of the item.

    BTW, I was really hoping that the merchant could not deliver or refunded me when I asked instead of farting around. A $10k fridge is nice but shit value. I had concocted a plan for panels that could swing open to store brooms and stuff while fitting in a 36".
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    It's more the batshit crazy behavior. Crazy people are unpredictable and can crack under duress. Makes me want to have a gun inside the house under the bed.
     
  14. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Probably this, at least when it comes to money. We had a relationship with my daughters former dyslexia tutor for about 5 years. She would invoice us at the end of the month for next months sessions, and I would pay her via check about the middle of the next month when I sit down to pay all my personal bills. This past summer she informs me she is moving to only accepting Venmo, sends an invoice with terms of 3 days from the date of the invoice. I pay her in the middle of the month as I always do. The next month she puts 'late charge' of about 15% on the invoice. I call her up and we have a discussion about reasonable terms, reasonable late charges, and...what it means to be reasonable. It was like someone took the nice, sensitive, competent lady I had know all these years and with whom I trusted my daughter with and replaced her with batshit crazy person. I broke off the relationship completely in the end to my daughters significant consternation. I often wonder if something specific was going on in her life (maybe other clients not paying her?) or was she simply constitutionally incapable of being rational with money. Sometimes people have psychosocial wounds that come out in specific and unexpected ways, and I have found money often flushes them out - particularly when they revolve around trust.
     
  15. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Might have said as much before but while my biases are fairly evident there's a reason the family still has guns and machetes accessible. While I have a ridiculously comfortable existence the city I live in isn't exactly grand, so all sorts of WTFery goes on that some things are just necessary.
     
  16. YMO

    YMO Scatologically ribald obsessive

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    I know a lot of small merchants stop accepting AMEX for two things:

    1. Merchant Fees are too high to the point that it eats their bottom-line.
    2. AMEX always side with the customer, even if the Merchant provided evidence that shows otherwise.

    My old audio shop near me hated to take AMEX due to fees. But they know those with the $$$ will use AMEX for their big purchases.

    I miss my AMEX cards...but their rewards structure sucks for me ATM.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    On the other hand, one can argue that AMEX brings business that would otherwise would go elsewhere. I sure would have said fuck no to putting down near $10k in cash for a refrigerator that was not in stock and to be delivered in six weeks or longer.

    Wow, that is absolutely horrible and hard to fathom because such tutor relationships are often special and extend beyond payment. My wife worked with autistic and special needs elementary school kids back in California and it was much more than about the money or being paid-on-time for her.

    The thing is you never know. Spousal problems. Money problems. It's why a few years ago even Well Fargo got into the act of 1000% interest payday loans. Speaking of payday loans... I absolutely hate it when people take other people's money and spend it before delivering a product. I am assuming this is what happened here with me, why I couldn't get a refund, and why the owner went batshit crazy. What does this have to do with audio? A few folks on HF, CS, here even, have taken other people's money for a product (modified headphones, custom grado cups, magickal headamps, group buys etc.), but then ended up spending it before finding out they could not deliver. Seriously, shit like this happens.

    I'm sorry, but I have zero, absolutely zero tolerance for this. I see this as STEALING. What's wrong with people? Don't people understand that that if you do not yet deliver a product, that the money you collected does not belong to you, that it still belongs to the customer? Case in point, @rhythmdevils, just before he fell into the abyss of his illness years ago, asked me to sell an HE-500 for him. I got $500. I left this $500 in my paypal account, waiting for him, in the hopes that one day he would come back despite the odds looking very much against it. I swear, I left this amount in my paypal for how many years? Six, seven?

    People have no honor these days and this saddens me.

    P.S. A few audio shows in 2020 took the money and ran. Numerous sources have confirmed this - I asked around. The guilty shall not be mentioned. This pisses me off because I've run decent sized meets before and see no reason why anyone would need to spend the money collected before delivering on the meet. At worst, keep the money and promise the amount will be applied to a 2021 audio show. Well, maybe these fees were regular income for the organizers. Shame shame.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  18. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    8 years. And yes you did. <3
     
  19. YMO

    YMO Scatologically ribald obsessive

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    I agree, however, a lot of merchants I know are still scare of the power AMEX has with their chargebacks + fees are too high. Two local merchants that I know stop accepting AMEX when they got screwed over on a chargeback of four figures. Both merchants provided evidence that the customer personally went into their location and purchased the items, and had evidence to back up their claims that the customer was lying. On both cases the chargeback was for the customer and they soon pulled the plug on accepting AMEX.

    I remember the TTVJ story many years back that he was scammed twice, which resulted in two five figure chargebacks due to fraud. Smaller merchants shit their pants when they hear the c word.

    At least here in Jacksonville, a lot of the smaller merchants refuse to accept AMEX as a form of payment. A lot of the places that I personally like to go are standard Visa*/MC acceptance only with Discover on the side. It was due to this + Covid that I drop my AMEX cards and went back into a Visa/MC cash back system. It is sad, AMEX was my favorite one to do business with. Their webpage and phone apps are on the ball, enrolling the cards on Google Pay gives you a notification even if you didn't make a transaction on Google Pay (handy way to see what is being charged on the card), and excellent customer service. I just didn't have a need for their MR points at this time and their Cash Back policies are too restrictive for me.

    Visa*: Some merchants bitch about AMEX, but guess what: Some of the higher end Visa cards from Chase also have high merchant fees that are in a similar ballpark of AMEX! Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which is on the Visa Infinite level Visa products/services (a tier higher than the common Visa Signature), and you are just about paying the same AMEX rate when accepting those cards, lol. Some people with these cards goes to places where they don't take AMEX (Visa/MC only), but they smile when giving them their Chase Sapphire Reserve cards.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  20. TheloniuSnoop

    TheloniuSnoop Friend

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    In regards to what purr1n said about keeping funds in his Paypal account, when I sell something, I never touch the money until the buyer has received the item and is happy. Just common sense to me.
     

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