Singularity

Those familiar with my website are aware that I usually reserve these posts for commentary on political matters. However, today I wish to discuss what is possibly a very serious existential threat facing, not just the United States or even humanity, but our planet and, perhaps, our solar system.

It has come to my attention that a micro-singularity exists somewhere near the floor in my workroom beside my bench. Under the right circumstances, small objects that are dropped or that fall from my bench are drawn into this tiny black hole and pass out of existence in our physical universe. Many small washers, screws, nuts, springs and other important parts have already been gobbled up, and I have, in fact, noticed a direct correlation to the likelihood of an object being captured in this fashion and the level of difficulty there would be in replacing it.

This phenomenon seems to be occurring with greater frequency, and computer modelling indicates that the singularity is increasing in size at an exponential rate. Larger objects, such as wallets, car keys and power tools are at increasing risk. Unfortunately, it does not seem likely that our dog or cat will be threatened until just before the earth is swallowed up.

I am willing to make my workroom available for study and research to any qualified physicist or other suitable scientific professional, provided that a grant offering adequate compensation is forthcoming. In the meantime, I suggest that less important matters such as the Climate Crisis be sidelined until it is determined if there will even be a climate this time next year.

Don’t Buy Shari’s Berries

One of the nice things about having your own website is that if you want to share a really bad experience with a company, you have the ability to do so. I’m probably admitting that I’m a lousy husband, but a long time ago I considered ordering Shari’s Berries for my wife after hearing them touted by both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, but when I looked into it I decided that there are no strawberries on the face of the earth that are worth $5 each, unless, perhaps, they are coated with gold instead of chocolate. My son is not as miserly as I, and for this Mother’s Day he ordered a box of them for his mother, who by happy coincidence is also my wife.

They were shipped on Thursday and were supposed to arrive on Friday before Mother’s Day, but FedEx delivered them at 6:13 PM on Saturday. When we opened them, we found that they were boxed up with a single cold-pack, which was liquid and lukewarm. The berries were also lukewarm, almost liquid and smelled unappetizing. But stuff happens, I know, so I wasn’t too upset. There was a “Quality Guarantee” card in the box that says:

“At Shari’s Berries, we’re committed to the highest standards of quality and service. If you are not completely satisfied, please call our 24-hour Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-877-BERRIES or email us at customercare@berries.com.”

I called and was connected to their system, which told me:

“All of our agents are busy helping customers deliver smiles. Your call wait time is greater than 20 minutes. Need help with your order right now? For faster assistance check out our convenient customer service portal online at www.1800flowers.com/customer-service. We are experiencing long hold times right now. We know your time is precious, so we would be happy to hold your place in line and call you back when a customer service specialist is available. To receive a call back please press 1. To continue to hold for a specialist please press 2. For a brief description of this service please press 3.

I don’t like talking to people on the phone, so while I was waiting I tried the website, but there was no help there. I did see a “chat” link, but clicking it produced no result at all and the only other option there was a phone number, and I was already there. The first time I pressed “2” to continue to hold and I found myself in “silent purgatory” with no music or any indication that I was still on an active call. I held that for about ten minutes and then hung up to try again. The second time I called and got the message, I pressed “1” to request a call back. Instead, I was put right back into the queue with light classic music (one of the Brandenburg Concertos, I think) and the repeating message described above. I held for one hour and seven minutes, pressing “1” each time to request a call back. Well, one time I did press “3” just in case it did something different, but after that brief message it shunted me right back to the message above.

After that one hour and seven minutes I pressed “1” for the final time and, instead of hearing the Brandenburg Concerto I found myself shunted back into “silent purgatory.” I left the line open for another half-hour before hanging up and sending them an email briefly describing the situation and asking for a call back. I also had to tell my son what was going on. He was disappointed to say the least.

I tried again the next day at 1:45, having received no call back. This time the message told me that my call wait time was now “greater than two hours.” It’s Mother’s Day, and I guess lots of disappointed berry recipients are burning up the lines just like I was yesterday. I hung up.

Tried again on Monday, again on Tuesday, again on Wednesday. Same result. “Your wait time” is anywhere between “more than two hours” and “more than sixty minutes.” Still no answer to my email. Still no call back. Still nothing. I am telling my son to dispute the charge when it shows up on his statement, and I will continue to call and post results here, but I think I have made my point. Shari’s Berries is a company with some serious problems in the customer service department. If you order these ridiculously overpriced treats, be prepared.

UPDATE: They never did call me back or email me. (They could probably tell from my email that they didn’t want to talk to me at all.) Instead, they called my son, who ordered the berries. They apologized and said they were sending another shipment right away. They did. The shipment arrived yesterday. This one had two cooler packs inside, but they were both totally thawed, liquid and lukewarm, as were the strawberries. Again, completely inedible. I’ve sent them another email with a copy of the tracking card. I also told my son if/when they contact him, he should just demand his money back and, if they won’t refund it, dispute the charge with his credit card company. I’ll continue to update you here.