Monday, October 08, 2007

Screwed Up Weekend

My brain is overworked this weekend. I had two protest letters to write -- as usual, these letters are my rants to certain organisations about corporate policies and business decisions that are unfair and undermines the intelligence of the consumer (ie. Me) :p

On the upside, I've finished reading two books this weekend. The Razor's Edge and The Mistress's Daughter -- both interesting reads that deserve better written posts than my mediocre writing ability can muster.

Another upside on the yoga front -- I was a little unsure of the direction of my practice initially, after the the recent departure of my Anusara teacher. But I dropped by the class for a new teacher this evening, a lady who had studied with John Friend. I think I should be able to continue with the Anusara practice for a while longer.

Oh, downside of this weekend is that the Bookmooch administrator has suspended my account. So I can't mooch anything with my 34 mooch points. Apparently my policy of not sending books to people who are not willing to do the same has ruffled some feathers. I believe a complaint was made against me, and I was accused of discrimination. I prefer to think I was being fair.

The reason given to me is that US no longer offers surface mail, while other countries still do -- hence it is not right to be prejudice against people who don't want t send books overseas. I am offended -- does the Bookmooch administrators assume it is cheaper for me, here in Asia, to send books to USA?

So it is unfair to refuse to send to moochers who only send within their country. Okay, fine, I can understand why people would choose not to send books overseas. It is expensive. However, how can they in return demand that I pay for the hefty postage that they are not willing to undertake? It is their right not to send books overseas -- just as it is my right to refuse to pay the hefty postage to them.

The majority of the English language books on Bookmooch seem to be from North American members. So for someone living in North America, you have access to a very wide inventory without having to send books overseas. However, for Asian members like myself, we depend a lot more on overseas members.

I have tried to be civil and honest in all my rejections, but obviously there are people who feel unhappy about my preference. I still don't get it -- just don't mooch from me! What's the big deal?

I have amended my profile as the administrator has requested -- but it has been more than 24 hours and they have not reinstated my account. Whether they lift my suspension or not, I'm done with Bookmooch. Just need to decide what to do with the 34 points that I have earned -- by sending books overseas -- but can't use.


PS: Of course my experience is somewhat unique, because of my idiosyncratic preference -- a very adamant preference. Things would be easier and better if I had been less self-righteous (I am capable of self-awareness) and obstinate -- but I wouldn't be me then. Bookmooch is a good place for book exchanges, except like all system it has its inherent flaws and inequities. But I still remember how total strangers on Bookmooch offered advice and "walk-through" when I first came on-board. It's a good place, with lots of nice people -- and some people who are too eager to feel injured. Maybe I'm one of the latter. :)

Update: Whoopee? My Bookmooch account has been reinstated. I'm now busily emailing moochers if they are willing to send their books to me. I think it's only nice to email first before mooching. I have 34 points to finish up before I quit Bookmooch. Suddenly, I find there's not enough titles to mooch. Hmm.


Ana S. said...

wow, that is so completely unfair. I can't believe they suspended your account because of that.

Most of the books I have mooched or tried to mooch are located in the USA, and more often than that, their owners are not willing to ship overseas. Now, I completely understand why people would be unwilling to do that. Like you said, it can get quite expensive. But then being upset because someone else won't ship overseas to them either makes absolutely no sense.

Ah well...I guess no place is perfect. Like you said, it is mostly a good place. It's too bad things turned out that way for you. It really is unfair.

darkorpheus said...

I guess the administrators felt they had to respond to a complaint -- but of course I think they are being unjustly heavy-handed. (I'm also bias about this too)

Just wish they would lift the suspension NOW.

Doc Martian said...

I like to write letters to corporations that suck. here's one i wrote fedex after nearly 3 weeks of runaround trying to get a guitar returned to the shipper.
be sure and read the quoted text on the first one. i made about 3 customer service reps lose their minds with that one. I figure... if a corporation is going to make me crazy, then it is my sacred duty as a consumer to make them at least as crazy as they made me.


darkorpheus said...

Doc Martian Where do you find the stamina to keep at it? Very often I just give up -- it takes endurance and a lot of energy to just keep at it.

Doc Martian said...

i figure that for every minute of their time i waste, it costs them upwards of $20, some peon has to read it, and usually that has to be followed by a reading by some middle management guy (these things are never easy and i always holler until i get to the top of the food chain.) and that sometimes followed by a reading by a ceo (cuz i send it to a ceo too and go wookit whut weenies you got workin' for yah! so if i occupy an hour of their time, i figure it costs whatever corporation has been incompetent or unscrupulous $1,200 give or take a couple hundred, and i'll just talk and talk and repeat the same points in different intonations and levels of criticism. i used to do phones for a lil' typesetting shop in a kinko's copies. i know how to drive people nuts. also be sure and ask for recompense for your time whenever your time is getting sucked by some bonehead employee, or if shipping is late, or if you just haven't recieved satisfaction after doing everything right, ask them for a gift certificate for YOUR time because YOUR time is worth recompense. Of course, if a company is working with you, no sweat. If they're not? find someone to offer you a hat or a keychain or a gift certificate or some goodie you want on their website. It doesn't always work, but sometimes if your feedback is good and its obvious that you aren't starting the problem, just addressing it, i've had people give me gift certificates for $50.00 for just telling them what a pain in the ass their bidness is, just have to make your point with them clearly and with a solution set. Of course, sometimes that solution set is just whack the guy on phones in the head with a rolled-up newspaper, but often more elegant solutions present themselves and can be moderately profitable.

why be patient? cuz it usually pays off, especially if you get into it.


Heather said...

I think I'm on your side. If I was unwilling to send overseas then why should I be upset with others who aren't? I'd be interested to know the wording of the complaint.

Heather said...

Also I agree with Doc. I went shoe shopping in a fairly upscale chain and waited on the floor, shoe in hand for about 5minutes whilst listening to the staff giggle and talk in the back room. Finally someone came out, I handed the shoe to them and walked out. They thought I was crazy I'm sure but the same day I called the head office of that shoe company and complimented them on the shoes I'd previously bought and enjoyed and that I'd always had excellent service but at this particular location...well anyway they sent me a certificate for $50! I didn't expect it or request it but it was a nice bonus.

Imani said...

As you know I'm with you all the way and find it rather incredible that people were upset about this. I don't even care how you worded it unless the complaint was about how you worded it and not your criteria. Who gives a flying whatever what constraints people are under unless it somehow makes it cheaper for you send stuff to them? There they are in a continent that probably possesses both in barter and purchase systems the largest resource in the world for books written in English and they're whining about one individual in Asia?


darkorpheus said...

Doc Martian I'm suddenly curious -- what do you do for a living exactly?

I guess I am more passive than yourself. When I'm really pissed I tend to either walk away or do something else to distract me, like the laundry -- which always seems more productive. (It's very cleansing!)

But good for you on the FedEx case. :)

Heather Thanks -- and I like how you handled the incident with the shoe store. In this case I believe your feedback was a good reminder to the management that maybe they have to pay more attention to staff training. That $50 was good money spent for important feedback on their customer service.

Imani Well, the exact word used by the administrator was "discrimination" -- so I'm assuming the issue is with my criteria. Oddly, the focus of the administrator is on the US postage policy which no longer offers surface mail.

They miss the point that it's not about the nationality of the moocher. If someone is from Japan and they don't send overseas, I'm still going to decline to send to them.

The irony is -- everytime you mooch a book -- there's an automatic message that reminds you the other party has the right to reject a mooch.

Then the administrator comes around to tell me it is against Bookmooch policies for me to reject mooches for my stipulated reason.

Huh? Can they be more contradictory?

Doc Martian said...

dark: right now? i'm unemployed and averaging 35 hours a week human rights work (telling off beanbags, posting relevant news articles to relevant politicians, coming up with methods of civil disobedience, brainstorming and putting out fires). I hate to think how many hours a week I'd be working if I actually had a job. Mom's good with me, she knows I have a strong graphics background and can type 100wpm+ so she ain't worried about nothing and me? I'm stoked that I have the opportunity to help people in need instead of toadying up to merchants with attitude, been there, done that.


Doc Martian said...

dark: p.s. its important to choose your battles. sometimes i go months between corporate go-rounds. sometimes? i do stuff like put the box my merchandise came in back into the mail with a return address label on it so they have to pay shipping again. ONCE? I even got a free credit for Siouxsie's The Scream after doing that. Best Buy had done a shoddy stereo installation the week before and tried to double-charge for speaker mounts that had just been installed 2 years before and were in perfect shape.