Wednesday, June 13, 2007

OfficeMax Doesn't Treat Customers Well

Original Post: OfficeMax on Sheep Guarding Llama

I got home last night and the cleaning begin in ernest. However, before I could really get down to cleaning I had to call back to OfficeMax because after having opened a customer service case last night and having been told that they would get back to me - they didn’t get back to me. The issue is that we ordered a desk eleven days ago that was to be delivered in one to three business days. We placed the order on Sunday so shipping could happen the very next day. We waited and no desk arrived. We had been hopeful that it would have arrived by the weekend so that we could have had it assembled and put in place before we left on Friday. That had been the plan all along. No luck.

We returned from Frankfort and decided to give them until Tuesday to deliver the desk before calling. So yesterday I called and talked to customer service about the desk. They said that they couldn’t help me (great customer service) but that someone from the warehouse would call me back (I assumed later that evening.) I thought that it was strange both that the customer service team couldn’t answer questions about the status of my order and that they thought that the warehouse would be useful since the one thing that they were able to determine for me was that the desk had not been shipped at all.

So tonight when I got home I decided that I needed to follow up as obviously the unshipped desk did not arrive nor did the warehouse call. Apparently the warehouse has little interest in shipping products or doing good customer service. So I called customer service again and they explained that the warehouse needs at least forty-eight hours before they would call back. The excuse for this turn around time was that the warehouse needed time to check with the shipping partner as to the status of the order. I could see this if, in fact, the warehouse had shipped my desk but in this case they had not. They were simply stalling.

I explained that it was not appropriate for the customer service department to stall on my for forty-eight hours on an item that I was trying to find out why it hadn’t been shipped in seventy-two hours especially when I had given them much longer than that in the first place. Had the customer service representative yesterday decided to actual take care of me they would have immediately cancelled the order and had a new replacement desk shipped immediately since it would be likely to arrive, assuming the warehouse people decide to show up to work at all, around the same time that the warehouse is supposed to return my call to let me know that they don’t intend to ever ship my original desk. The first customer service representative simply took the path of least resistance, acting like she was solving my problem and brushed me off.

Tonight the customer service representative was going to simply let me continue to have nothing done for me explaining that it was the warehouse’s problem and not customer service’s - something that should never, ever be said or implied to a customer. I mentioned that if the desk was ordered today that it would, hopefully, arrive within seventy-two hours but that if we waited for the warehouse to tell us what we already knew - that the desk had not yet been shipped - that it would take at least one day longer for no reason. She agreed and went ahead and cancelled my current order and placed a new order for the desk which should, in theory, arrive within the next three business day.

Given that we know that it takes the warehouse forty-eight hours to respond to a request for information concerning a shipped product it therefore makes sense that the only reasonable way to get a good turnaround time from them is for me to then open a customer service request tomorrow. If I open a case tomorrow then the warehouse should get back to me to let me know whether or not they have bothered to ship this new desk by the exact same time that it should, at the latest, have arrived.

I have often said that the true quality of a company is not seen until you have something go wrong. Every companies makes mistakes and has problems. There is no way around that. Customer service is the place where companies have an opportunity to fix things that are wrong or to make them worse. In the case of OfficeMax, they made it worse. They could have shipped out a replacement desk immediately but instead totally blew me off the first time from customer service, then blew me off via the warehouse and then only did anything to resolve the issue when I proposed the only logical solution. Why didn’t either of the customer service representatives take the initiative to fix the problem rather than just pass it off to the warehouse whom they knew were going to call for several days and knew that they hadn’t shipped the desk at all? And why is the warehouse allowed to sit on a customer service issue for two days when they could tell me instantly that they had missed the order and needed to ship it right away. The entire system is built for the purpose of stalling.

The only thing that I can imagine is that OfficeMax is stalling because they already have my money and just by holding onto my money they get to earn a little bit on it before they actually deliver the product that I paid for. Even now I had to pay for the second desk (which we don’t even know that they are going to ship) up front just for the honor of possibly getting the service that I already paid for two weeks ago. And, at some point, I will get credited for the original desk whose order has been cancelled. So even now I am not getting the same level of service that I should expect should I be a new customer at this point. A new customer would at least not have to have money held for a desk that OfficeMax just decided not to deliver!

Altogether, even though the customer service representatives were “friendly” this has been one of the most disappointing customer service situations that I have ever experienced and has totally turned me off to OfficeMax. I was so happy with the products and the ordering just two weeks ago and I have used them for years but they managed to show to me that all of that good service was just a thin veil over a completely customer unfriendly organization. They proved to me this week that they have absolutely no interest in having me as a customer nor fulfilling their obligations of sending the order that they had happily taken my money for.

The bottom line is that to my face people acted friendly but the actions, which speak louder than the words, were rude and obnoxious. And now I am back to the beginning. Maybe they will ship me a desk. Maybe they won’t. It will be another week before I have any way to know. Even if I open a case to find out if it is shipping tomorrow I should not expect the warehouse to let me know whether or not they are going to ship me the desk until next week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Friday, November 11

Game night. Once again. AoE2 showdown in the afternoon. It looks like Jeremy and Scott are taking on all comers in a four hour, 1:00 - 5:00, open challenge. Five challengers are all ready signed up.

This game is being played over OpenVPN instead of IPSec. Check with Scott or Ben for technical details.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Vacation Week

Scott and Dominica are off on vacation this week. If you want to follow along with all that is happening, they have put together a blog, podcast, Flickrcast and vlog that you can check out. Get all of the details at:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Quake IV Released

The long awaited follow-up to Quake III has been officially released. While no one in "the game" has yet had a chance to review this game we are eagerly awaiting the opportunity. There is a very good chance that will become the first person shooter of choice for the next two years.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Age of Empires III Turned Down

I have uninstalled the trial of AoE3 from my computer today as we have decided that it is NOT going to be the successor to AoE2 at the Friday Night Game. We are still holding out hope that Empire Earth 2 will manage to rise to the top as the subsequent game of choice. At the moment it would appear to be the only serious contender to AoE3.

Why did AoE3 fail? There are many reasons. Big ones include too many features that are highly detrimental to fair pick-up game play. Support for only eight players. Incredibly slow game play with poor interface. A focus on graphics and not on gameplay. A dumbing down of the game from earlier versions which, IMHO, were all ready a little on the simple side. And the AoE series is really designed to be a quick game and not to be a good, series multiplayer experience. The EE games are really much more targetted at longer games that allow players to get more involved and actually have strategies. Not just learn a quick succession of moves that allow for unstoppable rushes. That is fine for people who enjoy short games. But since the FNG crew really likes to play fewer, more involved games the AoE series just isn't the best one for us.

So on to the next round of testing as we continue to search for the successor to AoE2 for the Friday Night Game.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Investigating AoE3 and EE2

For those who are not aware: Microsoft and Ensemble Studios are expecting to release Age of Empires III this month. In the meantime there is a free, downloadable demo that you can get from Ensemble's web site to try out the game. That is, if your computer is fast enough. This game requires some serious horsepower to run properly.

I have played a few games on AoE3 and the jury is still out. The graphics are truly amazing but it looks like the gameplay may be seriously limited compared to AoE2 which, if it truly is, will be a major mistake for Microsoft. What we are looking for is a game with MORE challenge, not less. We want to move forward, not backward. From what we have seen so far of this game, it is nothing special. It is built on the Age of Mythology engine and is visually impressive but not nearly as impressive as we had thought that it was going to be. From the looks of the demo, it would appear that Ensemble has made many of the Empire Earth series mistakes without adding any significant enhancements of their own.

It will take a bit of gameplay to determine how suitable AoE3 will be moving forward but currently it looks as though Empire Earth II may prove to be a better choice as it is less quirky and more dedicated to the genre. AoE3 relies on too many gimmicks and not enough on gameplay a la Age of Mythology. From the first moment you sit down to play to get the feeling that this game was geared more towards children than the two previous AoE titles.

As I said, the jury is still out. But don't be surprised to find that AoE3 doesn't make the grade.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Friday Night Game on Hiatus

Until further notice, the Friday Night Game has been suspended. This will probably stay in effect during the summer months when schedules are simply too full to allow for gaming of this type. During this time period, however, a new MUD server has been set up to allow everyone to play online at anytime. You can reach the MUD (running CWG-SunTzu) at:

telnet 5000

We are also trying to get a traditional CircleMUD 3.1 game running as well. Details of that will be made available when they become so.

The FNG will, most likely, resume in the fall with the release of AoE3 which we are all impatiently waiting for.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Game This Week

A last minute change of plans has opened up the possibility of a game this week. So tomorrow night, Friday, there WILL BE A GAME. Game is scheduled to start at 6:30.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Quick Pick Up Game

Had a quick pick up game this afternoon. Two games actually. In the first game, Danielle and I took on Andy and Dominica. Danielle and I managed to pull off a swift victory as the game took a clockwise army sweep motion with each player attacking and/or escaping in a clockwise motion. We seem to almost always move in that direction in spiral games.

In the second game, Art and I took on Andy, Dominica and Danielle and were severely squashed. The game was effectively over in thirty minutes. An islands map where Art and I failed to control any map real estate left us poor and underdeveloped with nowhere to run.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Game Settings

For anyone who is interested in how we play AoE2 over here at the Friday Night Game, here are our settings:

Win by Conquest
200 Pop Cap
Map at or above recommended setting, generally large or huge
Any difficulty setting
Lock Teams
Lock Speed
No Cheats
No All Techs
Record Game
Blind Random (Generally)

Sunday Night Game Results

We managed to have a pickup game on Sunday evening with Art, Danielle, Jeremy, Andy, Dominica and I. We played our regular teams, Art, Min and Andy vs. Jeremy, Danielle and I. We ended up on a team islands map. We have had a lot of water maps this past week. Art's team managed to squash us pretty badly. We only had time to play a single game.

Never Eat at Perkins Restaurant

I thought that this was important so I am putting up a link here. I ate at Perkins on Jefferson Road in Rochester on Friday, June 10 and received the second worst treatment that I have ever received at a restaurant. I was not a blogger the last time that I was treated so poorly so no one really heard about it. But this time, I get to tell everyone and spare you from having to give your hard earned money so such awful people. I want to point out that it was specifically Carrie Giambra the unprofessional general manager who was so rude and not any of her competent wait staff who were very upset that they had to represent her to us. You can check out more about the incident at SGL2.

Needless to say, I will never go to a Perkins restaurant again. And for those of you who know me, that is a pretty serious thing considering the support that I have given them over the years. Now I am ashamed to have ever supported them. Thanks to Denny's for removing them from the area.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Last Night's Results

Seven players for the evening. Four games. All four games were "Team Jeremy" consisting of Scott, Tony and Jeremy vs. "Team Art" with Dominica, Art, Danielle and Andy.

The night ended in a 3 out of 4 set of wins for Team Jeremy as they won all but their first match. One win was decided in under thirty minutes.

Overall, teams were mostly balanced. Team Jeremy's use of Spanish, Britons and Byzantines was a good match for almost anything thrown at it. The advantage may have been had due to rapid "basement" communications.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

This Week's Game

Dominica has approved a game for this Friday Night, June 10th. We are planning on starting at 7:00 pm. Post a comment to let us know that you are coming.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Friday Night's Results

We had a good turn out this past Friday. Four games total were played. Andy, Art, Danielle, Michael, Jeremy and Tony managed to play the first game before I arrived. I do not know what teams were or who won.

The next two games were Andy, Tony and Danielle vs. Art, Jeremy and I. The first game was won by Team West and the second was won by the Miller/Richardson clan. The Ralstons were evenly split.

A final fourth game was played after the Ralstons retired. Andy and Tony played against Jeremy and I. Andy and Tony won pretty quickly and the night was over.

With any luck we will have a game next week. Information should be coming soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Friday Night Game Returns

On this Friday, June 3, the Friday Night Game will return. We will be starting late as Scott and Jeremy will be busy attending the Castile Christian Academy graduation ceremonies in Castile starting at 7:00pm. Dominica is out of town this week in Houston so she is not available for the game. We are expecting Tony West to be available to play, however.

This past Sunday we managed to get in an impromptu match between Art, Min and Andy vs. Jeremy, Danielle and I. JDI won the night two games out of three but lost horribly on the final game.