Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sand and the See

They knocked down Mt. Waikiki and are almost finished with distributing the sand along the shore and the beach is flat once again and you can see the lost horizon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Bunch of Baloney

If you've ever returned items that you purchased online, you already know that you have to request a Return Merchandise Number (RMN) from the seller before you mail the package back. That's to speed up the process of receiving a refund. Some times though there's a little more to it. Specifically spending an extra 75¢ at the post office for a delivery confirmation. Recently, I had two items, different sellers, that I returned to the sellers where the monies weren't refunded to my bank account after two weeks elapsed. Perhaps the returns department, it slipped their mind. Or perhaps if I hadn't made the effort to inquire about the non-refund, well, I would have never been refunded at all. People customers get busy and they forget about these things when they encounter busy intervals in their lives. It happens. And I bet that it happens often enough.

Anyways, I inquired about the first non-refund and the person in charge of the customer service notified their returns department to reimburse my PayPal account immediately. Mahalo. The second incident went like this (below) with a lot of back and forth. See, if you don't purchase a 75¢ postal delivery confirmation the onus may or may not fall upon the sender to prove that the returned item actually arrived back to the seller's return department or something in that order. Even if the returns department scans the RMN barcode upon arrival, or punches in the RMN pin scribbled to the package if you didn't print out a return label, the returned item's existence may mysteriously vanish from the system. Btw, Priority Mail does not include a tracking number that's worth any more than the item was sent Priority Mail. It states that right on the USPS website.

This is my initial Email to the delinquent seller ....

I haven't yet been refunded for Order #002-6825516.
The RMA (return merchandise number) is Lr88RRMA.



The seller's reply below sets off a red flag at the mention of 'tracking number' (bold text is mines). What I surmise is that this is a feeler to determine if I bothered to purchase a postal delivery confirmation.
I would be happy to look further into this for you, were you given any Tracking information when you shipped the product back to us?

Thank you,

Mr B.
Customer Service
Parts Superstore, Inc.

Alrighty, perhaps, I was just being too cynical, but just for sport, I claim that I'm officially unaware of a so called tracking number, but for the meanwhile, inquire whether the RMN barcode (inset label) is not enough to trace what the heck happened to the returned item.
I sent the package back via Priority Mail on April 9 but am not sure on the Tracking number (?)

.... are you able to track the returned package by the RMN barcode when it was scanned in at your end?



Lol, just as I suspected .... there isn't a record of my item ever reaching the seller at this stage of the game. The spokesperson even has a 'Returns Team' to dispatch on my behalf. More likely the Returns Team duty is to devise a strategy to collaborate the bogus excuse.
I do not show that we have received it just yet. Just in case though I have put in a request with my Returns team to check on this further for me to see if they can get me any more details.

Thank you,

Mr. B.
Customer Service
Parts Superstore, Inc.

Okay, enuff with games already. I submit the vital Tracking Number which indicates that I did take the step to purchase a postal delivery confirmation and naturally my package is trackable.
the Priority tracking number is 031125500002877788

The USPS Track & Confirm page shows that the item was delivered to you on ....

April 12, 2012, 9:49 am


I printed out the RMN return label with the barcode and taped it on the outside of the cardboard box with 2 more copies inside of the same box.


Respectfully, the seller acknowledges the situation.

Thanks for this information I have given this to my Returns team to see if we can get this resolved for you. Thank you again for your patience.

Thank you,

Mr. B.
Customer Service
Parts Superstore, Inc.

Later in the day, Amazon notifies me that my refund has been processed.

We're writing to let you know we processed your refund of $175.89 from Parts Superstore.

This amount has been credited to your payment method and will appear when your bank has processed it.

"For Your Information: To arbitrate disputes and preserve trust and safety, we retain all messages buyers and sellers send through for two years."

Mitt Romney Republican Front Runner

Mitt Romney has amassed a fortune so vast (estimated between $190 million and $250 million) that he is expanding his $12 million beachfront mansion and installing an elevator ... for his cars. For his cars. If you’re insanely rich, you might have an elevator in your mansion. But a lift for your Lexus?

Paul Begala | Newsweek

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Painted Ladies

For $800, you'd expect disputes over what constitutes fair compensation would have been handled more discretely without all the fanfare. Again, $800! To begin with, I don't believe that secret service agents make that kind of money. Or, that the same services wouldn't be readily available at a more economical rate in a poor country such as Colombia. The exchange rate for the US dolllar to the Colombian peso is 1000 pesos to 56¢. Do the math for youself. I've never had the pleasure to pay for sex so I don't know the thinking behind the urgency or desperation. What I do know, or at least, just about take for granted, is that some of every country's advance team of security agents there to scope out the scene enlisted the services of prositutes on their free time. And that's more likely becuz protitution is cheap in South America in comparison to the US or Europe. A sovenier if anything. You probably could get room and board (room & a broad) for a week for $800. Perhaps, the mixup was between 800 pesos versus 800 dollars. 800 pesos would work out to 46¢ but then the agent thought he had a deal we'd never know. A lot of secret service agents have been axed stemming from this sorry situation, but I suspect that the now famous prostitute is in for some backlash from her fellowship too.

Lately there's been a lot of news coverage of prostitution that takes place locally. Mostly the discussion disputes the notion that prostitution is a victimless crime, in that, a large number of prostitutes are enslaved into the trade by human traffickers or pimps. Then their dire situation progresses to a more complicated relationship. The prostitutes get fast tracked into being drug addicts and thereon they need the high paying work to support their drug habbit. According to Civil Beat only 2 pimps have been arrested locally in the past 2 years. So enforcement is lackluster to say the least. In the same Civil Beat story, a commenter complained about hookers aggressively accosting him as he walked along Kuhio Ave. one night. In one area where the street walkers do their walking in Waikiki happens to be where a bunch of nightclubs have had so much violent incidents that police cars park on the street right outside the front entrances. So commenter asked the cops nearby if it's not their duty to intervene and stop the hookers from harassing him mainly because it's taking place all in front of their eyes. The 2 cops didn't simply ignore him but indeed responded by summarily searching his backpack and issuing him a complimentary jaywalking ticket even though he did not cross the street. Somebody's getting paid off here. A hooker in my apartment building charges $300 a trick. She doesn't live in the building during the day instead maintains her unit for nocturnal business. Shares it with other hookers, too, well charges them. Just whom does the sheets is anyone's guess. And ho, with an ouch, some of them are awful ugly in the light of day especially their skin complexion. Most of them. However they've been doing well for years. The recession never effected them. More than on one occasion the hookers steal the clients wallet while they have their pants off and one time this disgruntled customer came back looking for the prostitution not because of the money per se but because he was a foreign visitor and needed his I.D. We called the cops but the cops said that if he filed charges they would have to arrest him for engaging in an illegal activity. I suggested to the responding officers that 'perhaps' they should grant the victim immunity so they could nail the protitute for tax evasion or theft, since it's almost impossible to arrest a prostitute in the act of exchanging money. Nope.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Know It Wasn't You

The resolution of the picture doesn't do justice to the number of orphaned shopping carts in this particular lane. This was at Costco. So big shopping carts. I noticed a lady who had just parked her car and she decided to push one of the shopping carts with her into the store. Then my eyes started to focus on the sheer number of shopping carts lying around. Is it to ensure employment to the store's crew of shopping cart valets. Otherwise, the employees get part-time hours perhaps.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Few More Marbles

These photos were taken on Sunday. With but a few exceptions, the personal pics that I post on the pages of me illustrious blog are taken on the very day of the post, not earlier during the week or year. Generally it has to be a today's photo for a today's post. You might have a different philosophy or if your story du jour happened in the past then the photos would be circa. Mind you, that's strictly the way I feel about mines disclaimer understood. Cheeze. If you notice the wings in the photo above are way better than the wings on the similar statue in Sunday's post. Even Mickey Mouse's ears look better. I suspect the wings on Sunday's statue were damaged and were replaced with some shoddy facsimiles. The workmanship on the wings isn't consistent with the rest of the sculpture. Since wings of marble project out they're susceptible to being knocked off. Arms can be carved integral to the body, or in the sculpture above, engaged in caress so the extremities don't get knocked off by an errant blow of the sculpturer's chisel or from a passerby carrying a step ladder after the sculpture is finished. The strategy isn't possible with wings since wings are presented airborne not folded.

I always understood these Graces symbolized the cycle of giving, receiving, then giving back. Perhaps obsolete, perhaps not.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mindless Shipping Options Online

I've bought a few non-bid items from Ebay recently and on the shipping options one of the sellers offered two choices .... Standard Shipping .... or .... Expediated Shipping. The nice thing was that both options were free. Odd. Well, of course, I selected the Expediated Shipping option. But, then, I received a follow-up Email that stated that my item was shipped Standard Shipping. So I inquired by email to the seller about the mix-up. Standard Shipping was via UPS. Expediated was by USPS Priority Mail. My main gripe was that I didn't want to wait around all day for the UPS delivery person which is what I'd have to do due to the mixup, where as, with Priority Mail (expediated), my item gets deposited in the mailbox. We have medium sized postal lockers installed in our building's mailroom. Most highrise apartments have them too in my neck of the woods. The company spokesperson responded with something to the effect that, "but it'll get there one way or the other." Actually, mentioned they had 'upgraded' my shipping from Expediated to Standard (not a typo). Still can't figure that one out. But since shipping was free, it's really one of those moot issues.

Another seller on Ebay offered parcel post shipping for $18 on an item that I really needed (seriously) and the item was way cheaper than any other seller's price. This seller also happened to offer USPS Priority Mail for $22. Oddly, just a few dollars more. Now, $18 for shipping parcel post is very high for the item that I bought, in respect to its weight and size. I guess the lower price was an inducement and they make up some of it on the enhanced shipping charge. The way I figure it, an honest shipping rate would have been around $10 anyways. I opted for the Priority Shipping for $22 which is by my math $12 extra than an honest Abe rate, but the item was marked down around $85 so it's not like I bought a beanstalk. However, a minute after I confirmed my purchase I emailed the seller, "I understand that this item is being shipped USPS Priority Mail." In no uncertain terms. That's so they wouldn't switch the shipping to the $18 parcel post which I'm sure they net more. In my Email correspondence with various Ebay sellers (companies not idividual sellers), I discovered that some of them sign a shipping contract with UPS. From what I've seen with shipping options on online shopping websites, FedEx doesn't do that. At any rate, what advantage would a contract with UPS have to the buyers. I highly doubt that many sellers would pass the savings to the buyers outta the goodness of their heart. So, it's more a kickback between UPS and the seller.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Of Heaven and Earth

These statues, above and below, adorn the same front yard along the Kahala beach front properties (not far from Waikiki). The way that I understand it is that the property and the mansion that sits on it is slated to be a museum.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Ala Wai Express

I was about to make a 'Titanic' joke but thought better of it. The event was a disaster after all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Healthy Thursday

This is indeed the same guy that I photographed in an earlier post pumping iron on the banks of the Ala Wai, same trunks if you compare the past and present pics. In the earlier photo and I noted that I wasn't quite sure whether he was the same person who lugs heavy objects on his shoulder for miles, but apparently he is the one and the same atlas, actually running or jogging today with the log balanced on his shoulder. Musta been bored just strolling along with the log on top of his shoulder. Yea, he switches shoulders. Btw, I bought a six-pack of 'Joint Juice®' tonight. I saw an advertisement of it on the tv pitched by none other than Joe Montana. So, it sound legit. There are already joint supplements so Joint Juice® isn't something entirely new, but usually the other joint supplements are in powder form. These are six 8oz bottles.

Tonight's Postcard

Diamond Head Crater, Kapiolani Park

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fiddling Around

I came across this lady at Kapiolani Park playing what I mistakenly thought was a violin on the gate of her pickup truck. "Fiddle," she said for the record. I went, "Oh." You know, my bad. I do know the difference between spoons and a washboard in a jug band ensemble. Violin versus fiddle? They resemble each other. I suppose calling a fiddle a violin is just as disconcerting as calling a violin a fiddle to the ear of its owner. Today, I went to pay my vehicle registration. My other vehicle's registration is up next month. Perhaps, online for that one. I still had coins leftover so I went buy a polish hot dog with sauerkraut at Costcos. "If you are out of sauerkraut like the past two times .... I don't want it," I thought to myself. Do you possibly walk around carrying on an internal dialoque too? Perhaps we should have a conference call some day. Anyways, they had sauerkraut. If they didn't it verges on a what is wrong with the world kinda thing. It is. I noted in yesterday's post that can openers are the bain of the kitchen utensils in my pantry. Another item in the same category is a toaster though that might technically be an appliance. The toaster that I've owned never seemed to last. I gave up replacing them. However with the price of a loaf of bread around here I've saved a ton of dough without it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mt. Waikiki

A few years from today, the sand will return back from whence it came. Best thing that could happen too if you think about it, that is, if the sand were to remain in the same spot for years upon years, the grains would only accumulate layers of suntan lotion, etc., and who knows what. Like an unwashed rug, unshampoo-ed. It would be nasty stuff to lay on. If I had a say in the way things ought to be done, the top two-feet of sand that managed to remain on the beach would be escavated and dumped and rinsed in the water than piled back on the beach so it too also got a bath with Tide detergent.

My can opener wore out, so I went and bought a new one to replace it otherwise I'd be limited to can goods that have those pull-tops. I bought a manualy operated can opener. $8, putting it pricewise in the middle of the expensive and economy class versions. The former was also a manual. I've never had electric can openers that lasted more than a few years and the old manual can opener lasted four years in service. Can openers have a Top cutting wheel and a Bottom serated wheel. The serated wheel got dull, and wasn't able to grip the edge of the lid to rotate the can anymore. You'll only get to read this kind of news here. And, no, there'll be no pics of the brand new can opener.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Gasoline went up 1¢, a pretty penny, if you may, from this past Sunday. At this rate, how are we ever gonna break the $5/gal. barrier. The $5 barrier is getting to be something to cheer for. Perhaps classic symptoms of the stockholm syndrome if Big Oil has us hostage. But that's not so. Rather an economic symbiosis. That was sarcasm, btw. Soon, verily, verily, and all that, faster than you can say fill er up, we'll be paying $7-8 a gallon at the pump like the people in Europe are already. There's no law that says a gallon of gasoline won't jump to $6 faster than it took to jump in increments from $4 to $5. I was reading Karl Marx earlier, yes, that Karl Marx, and the gist of his manifesto-ing was that capitalism is overrated. I'm not a devotee of Marx but I do think that at least under a semi-Marxist market there would exist a gov't option oil company to reign in oil prices similar to the idea behind the defunct gov't option that was pulled from the health care insurance bill. And just why would a gov't option be constitutional with health care insurance but then not with the oil industry. In fact, we can kickoff a gov't option for gasoline supply by comadeering the Canada pipeline. Contrary to what Big Oil has been claiming, the pipeline from Canada neither opening more gov't land for drilling won't lower prices at the pump, they'll just have more inventory at their disposal to charge the same high or higher prices because oil prices are set by world oil prices according to Big Oil, not their local ties to the community. There's an irony with 'green energy' (sustainable energy) here locally, in that, Hawaii stopped growing sugar cane because it was getting to be unprofitable, however knowing that Brazil processes all of it's gasoline from domestic sugar cane, it's like we shoulda held on to the stock. I imagine the largest overhead with selling refined sugar was the transportation cost but Honolulu has it's own oil refiner and shipping cost wouldn't be that much of a factor.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

'Salute To Youth Parade' and Eggs 'n Things

Eggs 'n Things opened a second location in the Waikiki Circle Hotel across the street from Waikiki beach last month. It opens at 4am. The reason I was at the beach, this was a 6 o'clock tonight, was to watch a parade.

Like clockwork, the parade started off late and this is the only picture of it. At dusk the low light makes all the photos blurry. Oh well, but then there's a parade every week. There were several high school bands from the mainland in the parade. I've seen hoards of high school students wearing the same shirts during the past two days here and there in Waikiki and that always means that a parade soon.

Team Work or Solo

A mixed crew of teenage boys and girls in the same canoe? It must be a riot at water level.

A different situation. No backseat drivers in the vehicle.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Story Behind the Story

Yesterday's wordless post was about the absence of the barge in the pic above. Today they towed it back to where it can resume pumping liquidfied sand through a pipe to the shore. The barge had to be moved because of high surf. Meanwhile, all the heavy equipment and spigot (bottom pic yesterday's post) sat idle. Today, we have barge, yes, but then there's another high surf expected soon and the barge has to be towed away again which only means more delay for the already behind the schedule sand replenishment project.

I tried in vain to rent one of these almost impossible to get beach lockers (pic taken in 2009), but the City personnel in charge of renting the lockers was never there and wouldn't return my calls even though I left my phone number in the voice message. Many renters use to sublet their lockers to a third party in exchange for a higher rent and make a profit in the process. Subleting isn't legal I believe, but that reduces the odds against original renters ever ending their leases and eliminates more vacancies. Anyways, the pic below is of the same 2009 lockers, but they're boarded up. I don't know the story behind it. There are other locker units stationed where the people play chess but I didn't go look.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Few Grains of Sand

Sand replenishment continues at the beach not at a lighting pace by any measure but it continues. You do know that they have to wash all the suntan oil off from the new sand and let it dry out after the rinse cycle and that takes a while. Then they grade the sand grain by tiny grain. This grain no pass .... toss it in the reject bin. Then they stamp each new pristine grain of sand with it's own serial number. In other news, how nice for the winners of the $640 million megalottery that they're allowed to remain anonymous. Though I do wonder whether that won't produce a flock of impersonators.

Oh, boy ....