Monthly Archives: September 2012

In Case You Were Wondering

Previously, the Sears robot has been calling me daily at 8:04 (or 8:03) and 8:34 in the morning to tell me that (I may be slightly paraphrasing here) “delivery of your item has been delayed” (like I don’t know this???) “and we need to speak to you to reschedule” — except it turns out when I call them that they are not in fact ready willing and able to actually schedule anything. The Sears Bot called on Saturday and Yom Kippur.

But, you may be wondering, does the Sears robocaller phone at a different time on Sunday? Does Sears vary the routine on the day most Americans are likely to be sleeping a bit late?

I can now reveal the answer: Yes.

Instead of calling at 8:04am or 8:03am, today — Sunday — the first call was at 8:02am. I can be precise about this because bedside I have a so-called ‘atomic clock‘ that synchronizes to the official time by radio signal.

The second call was 30 minutes later.

But then there was another variation in the routine: we got a third call at about 8:45am. I can’t be exact about the time for this one, I had already lost hope of any more sleep and was up.

[Next installment: Sears Treadmill Saga Notes]


Posted in Shopping | 6 Comments

Sears Can’t Deliver Email Either (Updated)

I want to stop blogging about this, I really do. But Sears keeps piling it on.

Yesterday I sent a message to the Sears “social media team” in reply to a blog comment from “Mike D.”.

In it I said:

Dear Mike D.

Thank you for the comment on my blog inviting me to contact you about my absent treadmill. As it happens, I am already in contact with a “Stephanie” from “Sears Executive Offices” who is trying, I think, to help me, although apparently it will take another week to resolve matters (I do not really understand why).

My case number with her is #######. My phone number at home is 305 ### ####. The original confirmation number for my purchase of the treadmill is ########.
You can read the latest installment of my treadmill experience at .

I fear it is not the last.

Here — I kid you not — is the reply I just received:

Subject: smsupport / Unsolicated / Ashley Isaak / Retail ( refund )

Dear Ashley,

Thank you for emailing us. In checking our records, we do not show an interaction with you on our social media platforms. Nevertheless, we’re glad you found us here at Sears Cares and we’d be happy to help. I apologize for the difficulty that you encountered while returning your purchase. I have already forwarded your information to our case management team. A case manager should be in touch to follow up. Providing a contact phone number may help make communication easier and help lead to a faster resolution, but it not required.

Thank you,

Dianne D.
Sears & Kmart Social Media Team
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 8:00PM (CST)
Saturday/Sunday – 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM (CST)

I’ve been called many things in my life, but never “Ashley“.

Update (9/29): I replied with a one-line message:

I am not Ashley.

I very soon got a reply which read:

My apologies Mark, please disregard the previous email.

[Next installment: In Case You Were Wondering]


Posted in Shopping | 1 Comment


The Sears robot works Saturdays: it called at 8:04 & 8:34 again with identical messages. After the second call I gave up and got up.

Didn’t Sears’s mother tell it never to call before 9:30am on a weekend? And exactly why does Sears have such a dysfunctional phone system that no one, not even the “executive offices”, can turn it off? Have they never heard of e-mail? Could it be that the harassment factor is seen as a feature rather than a bug, in that when something promised is no longer available it will drive purchasers into cancelling their order rather than trying to get Sears to make good on its promises? I suppose the better bet remains sheer incompetence and heartlessness, but one has to wonder.

[Next installment: Sears Can’t Deliver Email Either]


Posted in Shopping | 1 Comment

On the Treadmill Treadmill

Sears’s robot calls every morning — including Yom Kippur — at 8:04 and 8:34. There doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it.

Yesterday, “Stephanie” at the Sears executive offices offered to sell me the new model F80 for about the price of the old one since it seems they cannot find an old one. I emailed back accepting the offer. I really thought that would be the end of it: someone would flip a switch, I’d go into the delivery queue and we’d get on with our lives.

Silly me.

The robot called again twice this morning. This afternoon I called Stephanie to see what was up. First, everything seems less clear than it did yesterday: Stephanie says she isn’t sure how to work the transaction. Normally they take back a good (I presume a damaged one or a lemon) and replace it. But I don’t have anything for them to replace and this apparently introduces a complication which could take A WEEK to resolve. I honestly don’t see why just delivering something is harder than picking up something and delivering it, but this is Sears after all.

As for the phone calls, Stephanie has sent in a request to make them stop. And she seemed very confident that they will stop … in 30 days.

I kid you not.

(Stephanie was unable to tell me whether the robot works weekends. We shall, alas, see.)

[Next installment: Yup]


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Brin Imagines a Better Politics

David Brin writes excellent science fiction, and now he’s branched out in to fantasy — political fanatsy: Why the Candidates Should (But Won’t) Stipulate.

I just wish they’d stipulate some basic facts and statistics so we could have real debates about policies based on consistent, real-dollar numbers. But that makes scary ads a lot harder.

Meanwhile, I look forward to Brin’s suggestions as to how we apply Uplift to the radical elements that have taken over the GOP.

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

Passions and Politics

As someone who thinks politics is about stuff worth being passionate about, I probably ought to like this over-the-top pro-Obama video starring Samuel L. Jackson more than I do.

Don’t play this in an environment where people are likely to be offended by a common Anglo-Saxon vulgarism.

A part of my discomfort is getting a child actor to swear for the camera. But a bigger part is that I happened to see the video shortly after seeing Conor Friedersdorf’s Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama.

I am voting for Obama, because it’s clear that Romney would be so much worse — even on torture issues (how can we even be having this debate?). But along with some real bits of good (half a loaf on health care, saving the auto industry, lattter-day conversion to gay rights) Obama has done real and long-lasting evil to international law (drone killings of foreigners) and domestic civil rights (drone killings of US citizens, excessive invocation of the so-called state secrets privilege in court cases about vacuum-cleaner wiretapping, arguing for vastly excessive Presidential powers, and refusing to prosecute torturers and other lawbreakers in the former administration 1). So I agree this election matters. Conceivably as much as Gore-Bush did. But it’s harder to summon the passion about it when the lesser of two evils is such a mixed bag on the issues I care about.

I will say one thing for the video, though. I laughed at the end when I saw who paid for it. I wasn’t expecting that.

  1. Guantanamo I am willing to blame in some significant part on Congress, or it would be on the list too. Ending the war in Iraq I largely credit to the Iraqis, as Obama would gladly have left 50,000 troops there if the Iraqis hadn’t kicked us out.[]
Posted in 2012 Election | 1 Comment