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Annie Cloth Sucks

Well, it’s a new year, and my resolution is to revive my blog. (Pardon my absence.)

Today, I’m going to tell you a story about what an idiot I am—in the hope that it will help save you from a similar situation. And, also because I have threatened this company with going public and filing a complaint with the FTC, and this is me putting a toe in that water while I await my refund.

First and foremost, if you read nothing else on this page, read this:  DO NOT SHOP AT ANNIE CLOTH. It is a fake website. And that is the last time I will use their company name to avoid giving them any positive SEO.

Friends, I thought I was fairly web savvy and I thought I was good at spotting what’s real and what’s fake online. Ahem.

One day, I saw some pretty clothes in a web ad and clicked through. The name sounds like a cute boutique, doesn’t it? And they present as if they are in the U.S.; their return address (which, obtw, is not really their return address) is San Francisco. But, they are neither cute nor Californian. Basically, these types of companies put up a website with (I assume stolen) photos of clothing and then, when you order, they send you some other random (poorly made, crappy, cheap) piece.

In my case, I purchased what I thought was a rather gorgeous sweater-coat. What I received was a hilariously hideous, polyester bathrobe-ish sort of thing. See photos, and be aware that the photos on the right don’t do justice to the true tacky-awfulness.

Do Not Shop with Annie Cloth

So, apparently, this is a Thing. Companies do this. And, apparently, they do so while hoping that, if they make the process difficult enough and expensive enough (or just ignore you long enough), you will give up.

I have decided not to give up.

I admit whole-heartedly that I was a dumb-dumb, but the site looked legit, and, like so many of us, I have become very at ease shopping online. (Funny thing:  I even noticed the really bad Photoshopping around the legs and boots. It should have been a clue.)

So, weeks passed and, in November, I received the item. Moments later, I began the return process . . . which continues.

It took weeks before I got a legitimate response from a human, who stated that if I wanted a full refund, I would have to return the item asap . . . to China . . . with postage over $20. (Yes. Yes. I can feel the collective cringe. I could have, probably should have, cut my losses and not returned it, but it’s the principle of the thing.)

While I wait for their response, I’m telling you all to be wary. Here is some info, which I found (or, in the case of the last bullet, would have found) helpful:

Happy New Year, people. Shop safe.

 

UPDATE I did eventually get most of my money back—thanks to PayPal. Hooray PayPal! 

 

January 17, 2020 at 1:45 pm 3 comments

Merry Christmas Blog Friends

CmasCard2014_all_blog

 

December 16, 2014 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

The Scoop – in Today’s Post-Gazette

If you’re in Pittsburgh, check out today’s Post-Gazette. Gary Rotstein shared one my of my Life Preserver tales, The Scoop, in his column this morning.

February 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Here’s the Problem. (And a Solution.)

In thinking about the pompous clusterf*ck that is our government these days, I wondered how they can still have a job while not going to work, not managing to a budget, and, generally, behaving so badly. I thought, Surely, there has to be a way to fire these people for such incompetence. Surely, our brilliant Founding Fathers covered this?

Well, no. We the People cannot impeach or fire members of Congress. According to Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 of The Constitution:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

For comparison:  Allow a large group of teenagers to stay home alone for a four-day weekend, with an unlocked liquor cabinet, a big bowl of pot, a stack of 50s, a swimming pool, three sports cars, a kick-ass sound system, and internet access. When you get home, ask them if they’ve behaved themselves.

Sound ridiculous? Well, what goes on in Washington, D.C., is just as illogical, just as stupid, just as out of control. Our Senators and Representatives can make their own rules and do pretty much anything they want because they can only be fired if they vote to fire each other by a two-thirds majority.

Our current national debt is $16,750,300,206,723.60.  (That’s nearly $17 trillion.) (Trillion!) But they can decide (among themselves) to say “That’s okay. No worries.” They decide if they get another raise, get ideal health care, have a private retirement fund outside of Social Security. They decide to take more vacation annually than most of us get in 10 years. They decide to pay for limo service or ride in private jets. They decide if they walk off the job. They decide how much we pay in taxes.

And they can raid that liquor cabinet over and over and over again.

We have only one option. We have only one opportunity to change things. We vote.

Apathetic? Disillusioned? Snap out of it. We are not helpless. We are not trapped. And it is our duty as citizens to do our part.

You can bet your bottom dollar, they are all assuming that, by the time the next election comes along, we’ll have forgotten the preposterousness of the current situation. You know they are relying on voter turnout of around 50 percent. They’ll spend a ridiculous amount of money to continue to promote the myth that there are ginormous, life-altering philosophical differences between the democrats and republicans in office. They’re going to do everything in their power to keep us fighting among ourselves, while the majority of them—the majority who are legally allowed to decide on the consequences of their behavior—slide back into their seat, with a thumbs up across the aisle and a knowing chuckle.

While searching the web for the information about how a Congressman can be removed from office, I came across this site:  kickthemallout.com (Kick Them All Out). Sounds like a good idea to me.

Let’s not forget how much they have screwed up. Let’s ignore their example and work together to get something done. For at least the next election cycle, set aside your preference of democrat or republican or whatever. Vote American, and punish their incompetence. Let’s make sure there isn’t a single incumbent who gets to come back for another term. It won’t guarantee a perfect Congress, but it will send a message. It will show our representatives that We the People will not tolerate greed, corrupt ethics, and gross negligence. It will teach them an important lesson:  There are consequences for bad behavior.

October 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm 3 comments

Today’s Work Environment

In-depth field research conducted over a quarter of a century has shown that the following things never occur in a traditional office setting:

– Dancing in the office space on a non-Friday.

– Playing any type of music at a loud volume, without using headphones.

– Variable start time of whenever you damn well feel like it.

– Lunch eaten at the desk due to work enjoyment.

– Mean, ignorant, and ridiculous people barred from entering the premises.

– No “developmental discussion” required as follow-up action for a cussing incident.

– Dress code permitting Eeyore sweatpants and a T-shirt, bra optional.

– Kitty cat on the desk; kitty cat on the extra office chair.

– Send email to anyone about anything with confidence in its privacy.

– Laughing is the norm when something stupid happens in your vicinity.

– One full-color printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine per person.

– An office as big as a house.

– Private kitchen with a fully stocked bar.

– Permission to leave work early to go have dinner with a friend.

September 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm 2 comments

Dear Giant Eagle/Brentwood

I am not a fan of grocery shopping. I go only when I absolutely have to—which is when I am out of either cat food or toilet paper. Otherwise, I make do.

You used to be right up the street. It wasn’t a big store or a “Market District” store, but it sure was convenient. Especially for someone like me who can get halfway through a recipe and realize she’s missing an ingredient.

Then you moved to a bigger location farther away. I adjusted. I re-learned where everything was. I could still leave my house, do a full shop, and be home in under an hour.

In the past few months, for some reason (that is not in the least bit obvious) you rearranged all of the aisles. And you rearranged them again. And you rearranged them yet again. Today’s less-than-major shop took me more than an hour and a half due to the required back and forth searching. And all the times I had to stop and express my frustration under my breath.

For added fun, today, while looking for the yogurt that you apparently no longer sell, I noticed a package of yogurt that had been partially opened. There were two employees less than 10 feet away. As I passed them on my way to get butter (one of the few things that is actually still in the same place), I mentioned the yogurt. I was told to tell some other employees about it. These other people were much farther away. Not farther than I could walk, of course, but, after wandering up and down every aisle and then some to pick up a few freaking items, I really wasn’t in the mood.

He suggested it twice. I ignored him twice and walked away, secretly hoping someone would soon turn that yogurt into a cleanup announcement.

Do you not realize how frustrating and annoying your store currently is? Do you think maybe a little extra effort on the customer service side of things might help? Here are a few more questions:

– Why is kitty litter no longer in the same aisle as the cat food?

– Why do you have munchies broken up into three different half aisles?

– Why is Newman’s salsa four aisles away from the tortilla chips and other salsas? (and why do you now have fewer flavors of Newman’s salsa? Where is the mild? It was my favorite. And I had a coupon.)

– Why are spices in a completely different aisle from baking supplies?

– Why are different varieties of frozen pizza in different aisles?

– Where the hell are the pancake mix packets? (I have yet to find them in three trips.)

And last but not least . . .

– Did you know they recently opened an Aldi’s in the neighborhood?

September 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm 3 comments

Stop Watching

Recent events have magnified my existing opinion that watching news programs (like CNN and Fox News) should be avoided. It’s voyeuristic. It’s rude. It’s wrong.

These entertainment-conglomerate-owned programs barely meet the requirements of journalism on a normal day. They are no longer staffed by journalists. They don’t appear to be at all concerned with being factual or unbiased. They spin; they manipulate; they squawk. They seek attention like a two-year-old in a very dirty diaper.

As bad as they are on a regular day, when a tragedy occurs, they are worse. So much worse.

I’m not preaching at anyone here. I have done it myself–been unable to look away, watched a situation for hours or even days. But I’m not going to do that anymore; this is a change I am making. This is a vow.

When faced with tragedy, human beings help. They reach out. They pitch in. They can–when a depth of understanding exists, when someone has been a friend for many many years–soften grief with a look, a touch, or the special language of intimates.

It’s one of the really beautiful things about humans, and I still believe it is true of the vast majority.

The problem is, when there is nothing you can do, when there is no action you can take, when you are not connected to those in pain, it is easy to get sucked into the news program. It may provide a false sense of relief (something that almost feels like grieving). Or it may seem disrespectful to not pay attention. Or, it can also be hypnotic; it can be hard to look away.

But what if we did? What if we all stopped watching shows like CNN and Fox News?

What if we all picked up the remote and pushed a button and said, “No.”

What if we said No to a paparazzi approach to the world? What if we said No to the frenzy and the falseness? What if we said No to the lack of depth, the lack of common sense, the over-dramatic narcissism? What if we said No to pretending that hundreds of total strangers with microphones and cameras descend on a community because they care? What if we said No to this expanding and disturbing intrusiveness that seeks to make all of us part of something quite creepy?

Do any of us need to know what happened in Newtown–at the level it is being reported–to be able to be respectful or to be able to say a prayer for those concerned?
No.

Do we need a total stranger to tell us how to feel about this? Does some talking head on TV know your family better than you do?
No.

In this world of more than 7 billion humans, do we need to focus on those who do evil? (or the spoiled, stupid, drunken celebrity? or the sex lives of politicians?)
No.

Do I want to be even one tiny part of the reason a reporter feels justified in knocking on the door of a grief-stricken parent?
No.

I’m not suggesting we all put our heads in the sand. We do need to be aware of the world around us. We need to be informed of dangers. We need to notice when someone else needs help. But in this mass-media world, we need to be careful about what we let into our brains, what we let into our hearts, what’s seeping into the collective psyche.

Read the paper. Get involved in your own community. Watch a legitimate news program (if there are any out there anymore) for a short while if you must. But let’s put an end to the 24/7, workin’-for-sound-bytes, cranking-out-designer-death-graphics, glorifying evil, microscopic but depthless, superfluous, horrible news shows.

I believe we are better than this. But we have to make choices and take actions that will ensure that we continue to be better than this. If we don’t watch, it will cease to be a lucrative media buy for advertisers. If we say No, it will go away.

December 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm 2 comments

Un-shopping

I love getting gifts for other people. I enjoy shopping. I adore the Christmas season. But, from now until sometime in 2012, I won’t go anywhere near a mall.

Not to shop. Not to get my hair cut. Not to pick up a free TV. Here are a few reasons why.

People suck at parking in parking lots. And no one seems to be paying any attention to my suggestion that SUVs, Hummers, and mini-vans be given separate parking areas where they can take as many spots as they want within that area and park as close to each other as they want.

Note:  It has been calculated that, on average, it will take approximately three shopping days to find a space, requiring a lot of gas, a lot of time, the patience of a saint, and the bladder of a camel.

There are many criminals in the mall parking lot this time of year. (I always wonder where they park.) It’s not a good idea to leave packages in the car. It’s not a good idea to be walking through a parking lot over-laden with packages. It’s also not a good idea to put packages in the trunk and then go back into the mall. (The trunk is easier to pop open than the car door.) Better to put stuff in the trunk and then move your car to a different parking space so the criminal will think you are leaving.

Of course, by the time you find another parking space, Christmas will be over.

Let’s say you actually do find a spot. The people inside the mall are only a little better than those lurking in the parking lot waiting for a chance to rob or injure you. Mall shoppers on the best of days are rude, obnoxious, self-centered, and on a cell phone. This time of year they’re twice as bad and there are more of them. It’s Walking Dead with a little less biting but less respect for personal space.

Let’s say you’re brave and tough enough to handle the hordes. Department store prices are ridiculous. Sales are virtually meaningless relative to value. And they won’t have the size or brand or color you want.

Gift boxes aren’t free anymore.

Christmas music is some of the most beautiful, sentimental, wonderful music ever written. Christmas music filtered through mall speakers is sadistic and may cause vomiting.

And then there are the extras:

  • Spritzers.
  • People who want you to eat small bits of mystery food out of little plastic cups.
  • Creepy Santas.
  • Sticky, frightened, sugar-high children and the mothers who scream at them.
  • Carts run by carny folk capable of casting a spell to make really stupid sh*t look interesting.

I avoid it all. I shop online. Choices are endless. Hard-to-find gifts aren’t. Free shipping offers are everywhere. It requires no gas. It can be done while baking cookies, decorating, watching Rudolph, or drinking a martini in a tutu while playing a harmonica. It can be completed early in the morning or late at night, no camping gear required. Items will be delivered to your front door or to someone else’s front door.

And, best of all, you’ll make it through the next few weeks without losing your temper, getting frustrated, or being plagued by visions of stomping all the Who’s in Whoville. You can make it through the Christmas season without growing to hate all of humanity, which is sort of the best part given the real reason for the season.

Peace and fa la la la la folks.

November 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm 4 comments

Looking Up P.S.

I just had to post a p.s. that today, on my way home from work I saw a rainbow. And it was enormous and vibrant and I’m pretty sure the people in the car next to me thought I was deranged.

I truly wish I could have taken a picture, but I spied it as I was merging on to I-79. It was arching somewhere over about Wexford, and it looked like it was touching down on Warrendale-Bayne Rd. So close that it appeared to be moving as I drove.

And. There was a second one starting up behind it.

And. I saw a bit of one as I rounded the bend on 279 near Venture St.

And. There was rainbow glinting off the Venture St. exit sign.

So there’s that.

September 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Is the Password Kafka?

Been without internet at home for three or four nights now.

Cannot for the life of me figure out why.

I attempt to use the Help.

“You must connect to the internet to access help.” (Oh, how helpful.)

So, I attempt to diagnose by clicking where it says to click to diagnose. And it tells me that something is unplugged. It doesn’t tell me which thing but it says something is unplugged.

So I put down the laptop, remove the afghan, and go to the office to crawl around under my desk, next to the litter box, and I check every g.d. connection. I have checked every connection and every wire like 437 times. Every plugged in thing is giving me a green light and/or an icon that means I’m good to go.

So, I crawl back under the desk next to the litter box and I reboot and unplug and wait 30 seconds (“One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. . . .”). And I stick my head back under the desk to see only the side of my cat Rocky who becomes fascinated with the area under my desk every time my connection goes (which is often). And I bang my head off the dang keyboard holder shelf thing as I remove said cat and I replug and wait. And I reboot and unplug and move the cat and narrowly miss banging my head and move cat again and wait and replug. And I reboot cuss unplug bang-damn-head cuss cuss cuss move cat wait cuss replug and cuss.

Nuttin’.

Except the appearance of Franco, the second cat, creeping up behind me, drawn as if hypnotized to explore the small dark litter box neighboring space beneath my desk.

So, I return to other room. I go to the Control Panel. And it tells me to click here to see available networks. And I click and my network is (as I’ve surmised) still not on the list.

So, I click on the option that will let me set up a network. And I type in the SSID and it tells me that network already exists and invites me to “click here” to connect to it.

And I do.

And it takes me back to the list of networks on which my network (which exists) does not exist.

So, I’m writing this in the hopes that someone will be able to help sort out my wireless existence. Writing from work quick as I can before I head for home, and. . . . And as I typed that last sentence, yeah, it dawns:   I’ll have to “Connect to the internet to access help.”

Good-bye.

March 4, 2011 at 10:28 am 5 comments

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