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Pet Butler update

01 Aug

As previously noted, I have an ongoing dispute with Pet Butler in Houston, who you should absolutely not use.

I had filed a BBB complaint, and I just got my response.  Please note that I’ve been dealing with these people at HomeTask for 3.5 months, and all they have ever said is “your check will be sent right away”.  Now, I get this, via the BBB complaint reporting system:

Hello,
You sent this complaint to HomeTask, the franchisor for Pet Butler.  While we own the brand, the billing is direct with each location, so each location is responsible for their own refunds.

The name of the franchise owner, address and email address that should be contacted regarding this case are:

Kyle Scappaticci
34050 Wadsworth
Livonia, MI 48150

kscapp@petbutler.com

Thank you for letting me know if you have further questions.

Oh, that’s nice. Thanks for punting it now.  This is a completely disingenuous response, meant solely to dodge a BBB complaint. If billing/refunds were handled elsewhere, they should have told me back in April.

According to the Home Task page, Kyle Scappaticci is the local franchise guy. In other words, the guy that botched my service. Yeah, I’m sure he’ll get right on the refund.  

Turns out there’s another local Houston guy. According to the Pet Butler page, Brad Cook services Houston too.  I know nothing about this guy, since he didn’t service me.   Sorry, Brad. Unfortunately for you, you’ve got some other clown giving Houston Pet Butler a bad name. Maybe you can help me get my refund to clear your own name of this nonsense?

In my web travels, I found another person not happy with her Pet Butler service here in Houston. So, I’m not alone. Honestly, be safe – don’t use them.

To recap: Pet Butler Houston made me pre-pay, gave me terrible service forcing me to cancel, and has so far refused to issue me a promised refund, 3.5 months later. There are other alternatives for you to choose (that link will take you to poop scoop companies in Houston, with Pet Butler removed from the list).

 
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Don’t Use Pet Butler, or Home Task

27 Jul

After 3.5 months of wrangling with them for a refund, and not getting one, I’m here to tell you why YOU SHOULD NOT USE PET BUTLER, OR THEIR PARENT COMPANY HOMETASK. There are other alternatives for you to choose.

I signed up for Pet Butler (sometimes spelled PetButler) for pet waste removal (poop scoop service) in Katy, TX. The local franchise is run out of Houston, and also server Sugar Land and Cypress. But, they are a subsidiary of HomeTask out of Seattle, and they service all kinds of cities.

When I signed up, they made me pay for a month of service in advance, which I paid with my debit card. Fine.  But, right away, they missed a scheduled date. By that, I mean the very first day. So, I contacted them and asked what happened. They said there was some confusion with the local guy, and they’d be out the next scheduled day. Fine.

The next week, the guy didn’t show up for one of the scheduled visits. I contacted them again, and asked what was up. They emailed back that he said he was there, and was I sure he didn’t service my lawn? Yep, the large piles of “no way you could miss these, my yard is tiny!” dog poop indicate that he didn’t come. They apologized.

The week after that, he didn’t show one day again. So, I emailed HomeTask and said “that’s it, three strikes, cancel my service, and give me a refund”. They assured me that they would refund $67.57 … which is less than half of the $144 I originally paid, but hey, he did show up a couple times.

That assurance that I’d get a refund check was three and a half months ago. In that time, I’ve emailed HomeTask (parent to Pet Butler) repeatedly asking where the check was. Every time, they call me and apologize and tell me that the “operations manager” (to whom I’ve never been able to speak) says the check will go out “today”. Every. Freaking. Time.

Last time (two weeks ago), I told them if I didn’t get it in a week, there would be a BBB complaint filed. I was busy, so I actually waited 2 weeks. But, today I made good on that. The BBB complaint is against HomeTask because Pet Butler doesn’t exist in their DB as an entity to complain against. And, frankly, it’s HomeTask who is supposed to be sending me the money anyway. But, let’s not forget, it’s Pet Butler in Houston (Katy) that screwed it up at first. It’s Pet Butler’s parent (in Seattle) that’s screwing up the refunds.

I still haven’t heard from them. I assume I will never see this money. They have no intention of refunding my money, for services never rendered. I have an email trail showing they know I need a refund, but it never comes. They’re just hoping I’ll go away so they can keep my money.

Well, I’m not going away quietly. What I want now is my original $144. And, I’m going to keep telling people “DO NOT USE PET BUTLER OR HOMETASK, BECAUSE THEY WILL SCREW YOU” until I get it. It doesn’t matter what city you’re in. It was Houston that messed up, but it’s corporate that refuses to make good. they could have sent a check for $67 right away, as a respectably company would do.  Now, they need to send all $144.

So… if you want to find poop scoop service near you, click here for  a list of companies, with Pet Butler and HomeTask removed from the mix.

 

 

 
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A Few Mythologies

25 Dec

Scientology mythology: Seventy-five million years ago, an alien named Xenu brought billions of his people to Earth on a DC-8, put them next to a volcano, and killed them with hydrogen bombs.
Analysis: L. Ron Hubbard was batshit crazy.

Greek Mythology: Around 4000 years ago, an immortal, long-haired and bearded, God named Zeus used disguises to trick mortals into having sex with him, and had many famous mortal children. These children did various things that changed the course of history.
Analysis: Ancient Greeks were wacky.

Roman Mythology: Everything those wacky Greeks said? All true. But, the names of the various Gods have been changed, presumably to be easier to pronounce in Latin.
Analysis: Crazy stuff, but at least we got cool names for our planets.

Christian Mythology:  Around 2000 years ago, an all powerful, long-haired and bearded, God had a child with a mortal woman. The child was mortal and lived with his mom, but once he died, he went to live with his dad and became immortal. All will be right in the world, as long as we believe in him.
Analysis: That totally happened.

 
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Pool results

08 Feb

Last nights pool winners …
1Q – Mike
2Q – Lois
3Q – Annette
Final – Bob G

Congrats, ya lucky bastards.

 
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Bocce Trophy

08 Feb

We were talking yesterday about how we’ve never documented who has won the Super Bowl Bocce Trophy over the years… so, here’s an attempt. Unfortunately, there’s usually a great deal of beer involved, so our memories are, shall we say, imperfect.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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The End of an Era

04 Feb

I’ve had kylebits.com as my personal domain for a long time now, but prior to having it, I had prion.com pretty much forever. Well, no longer. I’ve just agreed to sell prion.com to the owners of prion.de. So, if you are still using my prion.com email address, now’s the time to switch to kylebits.com!

 
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Ads in Games

01 Aug

I’ve gotten used to subtle ad placements in games… things like real products being advertised on billboards in a racing game. Things you notice but they’re not distracting. I thought it was a little bit money-grubbing (hey, I *paid* you for this game), but I didn’t mind so much.

Today, I fired up EA’s Fight Night 4 on the XBox and saw something that hadn’t been there previously. During one of the transition screens (while a ring/fighter was being loaded) there was a blatant ad. Right there above the spot where they give you gameplay tips, there was an box ad for a movie.

Come on. I paid $60 for this game. Do I really need to see ads too? I paid for the privilege of seeing you be more money hungry? WTF? Ads are for supporting free stuff. That’s why they’re aired on local television stations (which is free), but not HBO (which I pay for).

I put ads on some of my websites (where the content is free) and potentially in the free programs I write for the iPhone, but wouldn’t dream of putting them in the paid programs. If you paid me for a program, you shouldn’t have to see ads. Period.

If this is a trend they plan to continue, this will be my last EA game. There are plenty of other game developers out there happy just to get the $60 for the game, and I’m happy to give it to them.

Incidentally, I’ll be interested to see how the NetNewsWire (NNW) team deals with this problem. They recently released 3.2 beta, for free, and it displays ads. The thing is, they used to have a paid “premium” version that had no ads. Somehow, they’ll need to make sure those paid users aren’t put off by the ads they’re now going to be seeing…

UPDATE: Jesus. I finally got around to fighting that fight (I was so put off by the original ad, I decided to write the blog post first), and now I see they also have ads in between rounds. Fuckers.

For the record, I don’t mind when they put stuff on the mat or the corner padding, etc. Unobtrusive. Fight Night 3 had sponsorhips (“This fight brought to you by Burger King”) and I didn’t mind that. But when you pop up 2 square ads in my face when I’m trying to read something important on the screen (such as how I did in the last round), you’re crossing a line. I did a quick Google search and I’m not the only one. EA are you listening?

 
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Cruisin’

26 Jul

Just got back from a Western Caribbean cruise on Carnival. We visited Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Cozumel.  The cruise was good and we all had a good time (Beckie, Katie, Kate’s friend Brittany, and me), but we’re glad to be home. Seven days captive on a ship with limited options for entertaining yourself (and all of them expensive) is quite enough.

There were a hell of a lot of kids on the ship … most of them well behaved, several of them not so much.  I found myself wondering if it was legal to punch a 13 year old while in international waters. Some kids just need that. Sadly, it seems more and more kids need that… maybe it’s me getting older, but I think it’s also that parenting skills just disappeared somewhere along the way.  I try not to be a “you kids get off my lawn!” kind of guy, but damn.

 
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The capsaicin incident

10 Jun

Note to self:  While using capsaicin-based pain creme (similar to Icy-Hot, but using the compound that makes hot peppers spicy) for current back problems, wash hands twice before urinating. Yikes.

 
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Movie remakes

07 Jun

Is it just me, or was “Little Miss Sunshine” basically a remake of “Napoleon Dynamite”?  I sat through both movies wondering why I was investing so much time in it, only to have a dance scene at the end redeem the whole thing.

 
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