Friday, September 4, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Friday 9/4/15

  • Warning, rant ahead, you might want to skip this section if you're not in the mood, lol.

  • As of 10 a.m., I was going to titled this post "Frustrating Friday" but then I told myself it was all in the attitude so I decided to try and be positive (channeling TrayceeBee here, who always seems to be positive on her blog, no matter what the challenge(s) of the day is!): my kitchen sink and countertop was covered in dirty pots and pans (didn't get to them yesterday) and when I checked on the delivery for our generator the tracking website said it had been delivered yesterday. Uh, no.  It also said to call Home Depot directly with any issues. I did. Have you tried calling Home Depot?  Their phone tree is unbelievably NON customer friendly (but I'm sure it's very efficient for THEM!) and a total maze. I finally got through to someone, only to be told that since it was an online order, I needed to speak to someone else but they would connect me... when I reached that order, it was another phone tree with no option for my problem and no "0" option enabled to get an operator.  I picked a random option and the system disconnected me... redialed (the person I had reached had wisely given me the number) and this time got someone... who checked on my problem and put me on "a brief hold." And I stayed on hold for 15 minutes while their "Home Depot Services" commercial played.non.stop.  When she came back on the line, so was the commercial and she obviously couldn't stop it and I couldn't hear her over the commercial. I was so frustrated that I yelled, while apologizing because I knew that it wasn't her fault, that I would never order from Home Depot again. Ineptitude, either from people or systems, really gets me going.  So I looked at the tracking website again and this time clicked on the tracking number which got me to another screen where it said that the delivery had been attempted and then made yesterday at 8:27 a.m.  NO WAY.  Thankfully that screen had the phone number of the delivery company that Home Depot uses (Estes) so I called and got someone right away. He said the "Domestic Delivery" people should have called me to set up a time.  First time I heard of it.  The phone number that he had was my home phone number, which is the number I give to everyone (since they sell the contact information to outside sources including their "contracted services", they ALL do it, don't believe their "we never sell your information bullshit"), but that I don't monitor (phone is turned off, answering machine with foreboding message warning them that this is a number on the Do Not Call List and to only leave a message if I have asked them to!) so I asked him to change that to my cell phone. He did but wasn't sure they would get it in time. I asked to be transferred to Domestic Delivery and he couldn't do that (aaargh) because he didn't have the number (of his own company's domestic delivery department?! This is a logistics company!) but offered to send them an email, which I accepted.  I turned the home phone on, just to make sure, and sure enough that Domestic Delivery department had called yesterday and asked me to call back to make sure someone would be home today. I called back... phone tree!  No option corresponding to my situation, once again, but this time the "0" worked and I got someone who was happy to verify my delivery timeframe.  And about 30 minutes later the driver called me on my cell phone (they got the email, yay!) to say he would be here in 30 minutes. I asked him to knock very loudly since we've disabled the door bell (big surprise, eh?  I hate visitors!) and I had the dishwasher running...

  • ... because right after I yelled at and hung up on the Home Depot lady, I was finally motivated enough to wash all my dishes (I tend to clean a lot when I'm angry!) and also wash our bedding, LOL. 

  • True to his word, the delivery driver was there 30 minutes later and even wheeled the 200-lb generator up our driveway (we're on a hill) for us, where Greg assembled it so he could wheel it to where he wanted it.

  • So, take aways for Home Depot:
    1. If your logistics company is going to require a phone call to schedule the delivery, then SAY SO from the beginning as the order is placed. 
    2. Make sure your tracking process, which you email to the customer. actually tracks the delivery to the customer, not to the logistics company.
    3. Simplify your phone tree for the customers.  Having to select options for several minutes before being hung up on is straight from a Seinfeld episode and shouldn't be a customer experience in the 21st Century.
    4. While I appreciate some kind of noise going on while I'm on hold so I know the system didn't hang up on me, change the non-stop repeating commercial to musak.  Musak is much more preferable.
    5. When the rep comes back on the line, make sure your hold music/commercials turn themselves OFF.  Not being able to hear the rep after being on hold for 15 minutes is enraging.
    6. Make sure your reps have the correct phone number to call for Estes.  Why was I on hold for 15 minutes when Estes picked up almost right away when I called them directly?!
  • In the meantime, my computer froze and I had to reboot it.  All this time I was unavailable to click on videos to earn Swagbucks so I'm way behind on my earnings for today. Argh.

  • So none of this is the end of the world, by any means, but it got me on edge. Thankfully I calmed down when I suggested something to Greg while he was trying to unpack the generator, and to my surprise (he doesn't take kindly to input when he is in "project mode"!), he listened to me, we did it, and he admitted that it had been a good idea. So that put me back in a good mood :)  The day could have gotten much worse, lol.  So it's close to 11 a.m,, my dishes have been done, the generator is here, and my bedding is drying outside. Oh and my computer has been rebooted so I'm earning Swagbucks and all is well with my world :) 

  • On a happier note (which started as a frustration!), I figured out that I could permanently turn off the snooze option for my getting up alarm.  I use the alarms app on my iPhone and have a daily alarm set up for 6:45a.m.  Every morning, when it rings, I can never remember if I'm supposed to tap the darn screen or slide to turn if off. I always start by tapping because I can't see a thing without my glasses and tapping is quicker and every morning it turns the snooze on so then I have to carry my phone with me for the first 10 minutes to catch it when it rings again or it will wake everyone up.  Ugh.  I saw this morning that if I open that specific alarm, there is a little snooze slider that I can turn in the OFF position.  Yay!  I hope it means that tomorrow morning I can tap the phone to turn OFF the alarm.  Or maybe the only option will be to slide...

  • Hey!  I added an "About Me" page so new readers can easily learn all they need to know about me in one spot.  I should have done that a long time ago, but the impetus for doing it today was a comment I left on The Non Consumer Advocate today, which I reproduced on the new page.

  • Greg worked from home, which saved us about $20 in gas and tolls.

  • The kids packed their lunches to take to school.

  • My daughter drove herself to the high school, which saves me a round-trip (so gas and time savings!)

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • I washed our bedding in cold/cold with vinegar as the softener and hung it outside to dry. It was very humid, though, so after a while I just put it in the dryer. 

  • My Miracle Knife meat cleaver's blade completely came off the handle, arrgh. I love that thing!  I superglued it back on (and used a piece of cardboard that I had put in the recycling bin to protect my countertop) and hope that it will work... (and managed NOT to get any Superglue on my fingers, for once!)

  • I printed a few Publix store coupons that were emailed to me and clipped them as well as some recipes from free magazines from the library's donation pile while I was using my recumbent bike and watching a show on Netflix.  Multitasking for the win!

  • My lunch was the last free hot dog that I picked up at Racetrac on Wednesday, and leftover couscous from last night with the last of the leftover cabbage from a few nights ago.  I also had a container of raspberries as dessert.

  • I brewed a whole kettle's worth of raspberry herbal tea, with tea bags that I had bought several years ago. I'm going to sip on it as iced tea for the next day or so.

Photo from Instructables
  • Greg mowed our lawn (thanks honey, for helping keep our house look neat!  We got them fooled, don't we?!)

  • I really didn't feel like cooking tonight but I did (it helps that our take-out options are very limited in this town and most of them are blah or hurt Greg's tummy!). Dinner was bacon cheeseburger chowder.  I substituted cheddar cheese for the Velveeta and omitted the onion. I grated 4 oz of cheddar from Aldi ($1.59 for 8 oz so $0.80 worth of cheese) and used the remnants of already grated cheddar cheese that I had frozen earlier this summer.  The red pepper was from my garden.  The ground beef was $2.59 a lb, bought in a 5-lb chub from Save A Lot last week. One of the potatoes was free (a gag gift from my daughter's BFF for her birthday). I used 1 tbsp of the small jar of beef bouillon granules bought for $1.00 at Dollar Tree on Wednesday and 2.5 cups of whole milk. Oh my. So delicious!  We have lots of leftovers too.  I served some Pillsbury Grands! flaky biscuits with it (I paid 50 cents for the can of 5 at Winn Dixie last weekend).

  • My daughter ate dinner for free at her job.  My middle son was also working tonight and ate dinner out. He's mostly been eating his own food (paid for with his own money) the whole week, even though I invited him to join us for dinner on several occasions. Between his classes and his job, he's almost never home!

  • I input my exercise in Walgreens's Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned several Balance Rewards points (I forgot to check how many).

  • My apple slicer finally came in from Amazon, in a mailer envelope. So I opened it very carefully and saved it for future reuse.

  • Gas for my daughter to get to her job.  Also yesterday I let her drive my car to Winter Park (an hour away, with tolls) so she could go have a birthday dinner with her dad and his family at the Cheesecake Factory.

  • No failures today!

Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. Bad start good end! Wouldn't it be lovely if you rang somewhere and real people answered straight away. I hate ringing anywhere and getting a phone tree. And these companies must find that their staff get irritated people speaking to them before they have even had chance to deal with the issue if they have had to listen to the awful music they play for ten minutes before they are spoken to. Argh!

    Yay, the apple slicer arrived, that seemed to take ages. I'm sure we were talking about that a good couple of weeks ago.

    Have a lovely day. Xx

    I'm glad that the generator has arrived and is in, at least you have piece of mind now.

    We are alike, I don't like visitors either unless its my brother and sister in law, who can come any time and the same goes for my mum and dad but I'm not keen on anyone else unless it has been arranged previously. My doorbell is disconnected too. Ha ha.

    1. Oh my, do you think we're twins? LOL. I'm worse than you are, though, even my older kids have to call ahead to ask if they can drop by. Unscheduled visits stress me to no end. Yes, I know that I'm really weird. The kids are used to it :)

      It did feel like that apple slicer took forever and a day to get here, but I had selected the "no rush shipping" to get the $1 digital credit so I can't complain :)

      Very good point about the phone trees aggravating people right off the bat... I have to say, though, that I was pleased that at least everyone I spoke to seemed to be American. A lot of companies have (had?) contracted with overseas firms for their phone customer service and while the people are always nice, it's hard to understand them many times and also their canned answers never really address the situation. So at least there was some positive to the experience, hahaha.

      Have a great weekend, Tara!

    2. Ha ha you are definitely worse than me. I'm not sure I would ask the kids to call ahead and if I asked my eldest he would laugh and ignore me.

      We have the same issue, most of our call centres have been moved to India, it is a touch annoying.

      Have a good weekend xx

  2. Oh Nathalie! That whole Home Depot generator business would have put ANYONE over the edge! And, I agree that IF a company needs to coordinate a delivery time, it needs to be stated at the very beginning! Hey, I guess it could've been worse -- when I started reading, my first thought was that it was delivered to the wrong house and someone was enjoying YOUR purchase! I'm glad it's over for you and you have the generator ready to go!
    You made me laugh when you called me "positive"! Although I do try to be, I have way too many meltdowns! You should have seen me at CVS last week when the pharmacy staff couldn't figure out how to log my specialty meds into their system so they could hand them to me! That took 30 minutes of me standing there waiting, in case you were wondering. LOL
    Please keep us posted on your attempt at the cheesecake! And, if it works can you post the recipe or a link to a recipe? YUUUMMMM......

    1. 30 minutes because THEY couldn't figure out how to enter your meds in THEIR system?! WTH?! Why yes, I would love to hear how you handled that... details, details! I would have been so pissed. Why can't they do that before you get to the pharmacy,right? I'm getting all annoyed for you now :)

      For the cheesecake, there is a link to the recipe and instructions in that paragraph. On my blog the links show in green :)

  3. I recognized that little graphic at the top of the post. You used it once before when you were frustrated by Chrome not printing out your coupons. I knew there was a rant coming. And please forgive me.....I was looking forward to hearing all about it. I love to hear about a good battle. I tend to accomplish a lot after I am personally involved, so I laughed out loud when you said you got the dishes and laundry done.

    1. I'm glad you didn't just roll your eyes at me, Susan, hahaha. And the cleaning when being angry... I've often wondered why Greg doesn't just try to bait me so I clean more :)

  4. Oh, and is that one of your zombie leeks already?


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