August 2007

Following up from last night’s post is yet another really stupid, and ultimately meaningless annoyance, one that I shouldn’t let get to me, but at this point, I simply can’t help but let it further my urge to get either a baseball bet or a gun and start a bloody rampage. I guess there’s a reason why, at least at every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been voted mostly likely to “snap”:

2. Best Buy

Before venturing to Japan, I knew that I had to get a camera. Since I wasn’t at SVA anymore, I could no longer borrow one of theirs like I had in the past. Though I could have borrowed MK’s, but I was never happy with its speed, plus the image stabilization is not strong enough for someone whose hand shakes as much as mine. So the weekend before my flight, I went to the Best Buy in Paramus, New Jersey. Why get the camera in NJ? Because I figured I would save some money in Jersey as opposed to getting it in NYC (which even I knew back then would be nominal at best, but hey, ever penny counts), plus I also assumed that it would be a nice change of pace from the dipshit Best Buy employees that you find in the Big Apple, which would therefore translate to a smoother experience. I could not have been more wrong…

So I found what I wanted and went to the counter. The sales guy offered the extended warranty as I was paying for it. When I asked what I got him, he said it went much further than the manufacturer’s warranty. So instead of just common problems, like stuff not working properly or at all and the like, I would be protected if it ever got crushed by a boulder or fell into the ocean. Something dramatic, like those two examples. I’m kinda quoting the sales guy here too. But since I take good care of my shit, I figured that I wouldn’t need any additional protection. If there was a problem with the camera, it would be related to a defect, which I had just been explained is already covered. Also it was $70. The camera cost $200. Tell me, would you have gotten it?

I went to Japan just a few days later and put the camera through its paces, as everyone who has seen the 800+ pics posted knows already. And everything was fine for the most part, other than the fact that it drained batteries like nothing else (after all was said and done, I easily went through maybe 30 pairs of batteries in 12 days, and I’m not exaggerating). But near the end, a problem popped up: one of the lens shutters stopped closing. I had no idea why. Other than using it a lot, I took VERY good care of it. So I decided that, once I returned to America, I would try to get it replaced. And that’s what I did, the first chance I got. All I was interested in was a simple exchange for a new camera. I wasn’t interested another model or getting my money back.

Well, I couldn’t. Problem was, by the time I got to the store, it was past my 14-day window for exchanges or refunds. When I explained that I couldn’t because I was literally out of the country at that moment (and even had pictures to prove it), the person I spoke to, some sales clerk, clearly did not give a shit. I was hoping for a little bit of leniency, plus I was only off by three or so days. I then asked to speak to the manager, since this person once again clearly did not give a shit and could not be reasoned to. A manager showed up and reiterated their policy, and also constantly reminded me that I should have gotten the extended warranty. Whatever. But he did mention that I still had the manufacturer’s warranty, and that they (Best Buy) could have it sent for repairs, and without cost. Splendid! He then referred me to another dude, one of their Geek Squad guys. Here’s where things get really retarded…

After the manager told the Geek Squad goon to help me out, he left, and so did the Geek Squad guy. Where did he go? Not too far away… just a few feet away, where his friends were, and immediately went back to just shooting the shit with them. And I’m just standing there like a chump. I asked another counter person for help and told her that the goon was supposed to be assisting me; she goes to him, who then took one look at me and went “Fuck that shit.” He said this literally ten feet away from, and to my face. I’m fucking livid. I then tracked down the original manager and told him that the dude who was supposed to be helping me isn’t and is also being a fucking asshat. Instead of being pissed off that one of his men has defied orders to goof off, and was also rude to a customer, he gives that “oh great, Jerry is up to his same old shit again” look, and talked to the goon again. Who still didn’t want to do shit, so the manager had to get another person to help me out. Talk about teamwork.

So this new person starts processing my order. It should be noted that the way she’s handling my camera is pretty hap-haphazardly. She also clearly hates her job, hates her job, and obviously doesn’t give a shit about anything. I was told that the repair should take two weeks (which btw I had to ask for… not once did they volunteer any info, even basic shit, I had to ask for everything), and after that, the camera would either be sent to me or available for pick up. I asked for the pick up option, since mail delivery is a nightmare in Brooklyn usually, and I didn’t have the address handy for my new job. I give her my phone number so they could all me and figured that would take care of everything.

Two weeks later, no call. Three weeks later, no call. I then decide to call the Best Buy and get absolutely nowhere. It’ll ring and ring and ring and ring, and when I finally do get someone, its another mush-mouthed retard who clearly doesn’t give a damn, and either put me on hold for another forty minutes, or simply just hangs up on me. By week four I’m fucking pissed as all hell, but then a mysterious box shows up in the mail. I open it up, and IT’S MY CAMERA! I told them specifically that I did NOT want it to be shipped to my home! There’s a note in there that says that they DID NOT FIX MY CAMERA. What? Why? Because they determined that THE PROBLEM WAS CAUSED BY THE USER. What in the flying fuck… So because the problem was supposedly MY fault, they couldn’t do any repairs without authorization… which they supposedly tried to do! But after “repeated attempts” they decided to just ship it back. But here’s the best part: it was MISSING A PIECE!!!

There was a number on the ticket, and naturally, I called immediately. It was a third party repair company that Best Buy farms out work to. First I asked why it was sent to my home instead of being dropped off at the store for pick up, and the response was “sorry, we had no instructions that stated as such.” Next asked why it was mentioned how multiple attempts to contact me was supposedly made, yet I hadn’t heard SHIT in weeks. And they claimed that calls were made, four in total, but they were all busy signals. Apparently, they had called my old SVA work number! Best Buy had old records which they never bothered to purge. Great. I then went onto the user error bullshit, and they stated how their techs determined that it wasn’t a manufacturer’s default but some external cause, such as it being dropped. I sure as fucking hell didn’t drop my camera! But the biggest issue was the missing lens cover: it was completely stripped and missing. Didn’t get much of an answer for that, other than “Gee… that’s never happened before…”

I demanded to talk to the supervisor who I explained my situation to, and she understood why I was pissed off. Her name was Cathy btw, and has been one of the few nice people throughout this entire ordeal. Even though her company still fucked up, and she even has admitted as such. She referred me to a picture of the camera that they took to show what damages were causing problems in the first place; it was sent to me electronically, and to be completely honest, I can’t see any issue with it, either in the photo or in real life. The only thing the picture shows is the big greasy fingerprint directly over the lens, which again, I didn’t do, and they must have made. The lens cover was removed to take the picture… they just forgot to put it back on. What goddamn idiots.

I then explained that I had been in need of a camera for a while now, since I’m a journalist and it’s basically a tool for reporting, and not having it has been a major issue up till that point, and how I absolutely needed it that upcoming weekend. But whereas before there was just a cosmetic problem, now I simply flat out could not use it without risk totally damaging the lens (granted, before it was exposed 50%, but now its 100%). Cathy was apologetic and said that if I returned it, they would place the cover back and also do the repairs, provided if I paid for it. And how much would that cost? $180. $20 shy of the original price! I know… I told her that was absolutely no way was I going to pay that amount. Cathy then said that she could simply pass along the cover, but when I pointed out that I would have no fucking means to place it back on, since I need specific tools, again she was stumped. She was nice, but clearly not thinking.

The bottom line is, even if I had damaged the camera myself (which I didn’t btw), it was inexcusable to have it returned to me, not only way past the point I was told I would have it, and not in the manner that I had specified, but to also have it come back in worse condition! I knew I had to take it up with Best Buy directly, since they were the primary source of all these problems. The biggest issue I had was the whole user error nonsense. Considering how careless and rude they were to me, how could I not wonder if they were the source of the damage? I could easily seem them tossing it around like a piece of garbage when I was gone, either in spite, or, as I would have to assumed based on my first hand witnessing, them simply not giving a rat’s ass.

Despite any desire to do so, I simply had to call the Paramus store yet again. And this time, I got through to a manger! I stated my case, the same dude from before, and his reaction and tone was basically “Dude, YOU fucked up by not getting the extended warranty, so all this shit is YOUR FAULT, not ours, and you can basically go fuck yourself.” Not in those precise words, but the intention was clearly there. BTW, what was his name? Alex I think. He refused to give me his last name. Because, you know, if I had his full name, I could get his ass thrown in jail or infest him with AIDS on the phone or some other nonsensical bullshit. But I did get at least actual useful bit of information: the corporate number. And that’s what I called next.

I asked to speak to customer service, preferably someone high up on the ladder. The first person I spoke to was Stephanie… again, no last name given. She seemed really sorry to hear what I had gone through, but in that clearly transparent tone which all customer service reps lay on thick to soothe the savage beast. She explained to me that she was going to open up a case for me (my description of what I saw and hear in Paramus was particularly “shocking” in her humble opinion) and bring it up to the proper parties so such occurrences would never happen again! Cuz, you know, that does something, uh huh. I used to be in retail, I know how this shit works, and I’m especially familiar with all the bullshit that is fed to angry customers to shut them up and get them to back off. I demanded to talk to someone higher up.

And Matt was his name, supposedly one of the top guys in the customer relations department. A soft-spoken, almost mousy character. I stated my case for the zillionth time, and he was sorry and all that jazz. He asked what I wanted. I explained that I wasn’t out for a million dollars, fuck, even any apologies, just a goddamn camera that works. Either the one I have fixed, or maybe even a brand new (it can be the exact model, I don’t care) for all the headaches I’ve had to endure. Even though I don’t have footage of that Geek Squad good kicking it around like a soccer ball, it was pretty fucking clear that something was amiss, along with all the other clear and present signs of bullshit, so I should therefore not be forced to other people’s laziness and irresponsibleness, especially when I was helping to put food on their tables. And of course, none of that shit mattered. He played hardball, and I decided to as well, and even brought up how I’m not some stupid chump, and also reminded him how shitty the name Best Buy was, with constant reports of bullshit in the news and consumer advocate site, like how the Geek Squad had been going through people’s person files, and even installing hidden web cams so they could jerk off to their female clientele.

After an hours worth of heated debate, what was the offered resolution? I pay $160 dollar (whooo… he knocked off $20) and that I would get a $80 Best Buy gift certificate. So basically, give them money, and I would half of it back… to only be used at a Best Buy.

I was fucking stunned. And I simply threw in the towel. I had been on the phone for about four hours at that point. I had better shit to do, so I told him I would get back to him. Weeks passed. I never followed up. Why? Because every time I thought about it, I just got angry. And my non-usable camera just sat there in my bedroom, collecting dust. When I needed to take pictures, I borrowed MK’s camera, which was inconvenient for me, but mostly for her. I had entertained the idea of getting a lawyer and trying to get into court. Silly I know, but I just feel so wronged on such a basic level. And yeah, I know the court system is flooded by frivolous lawsuits, but at the same time, I’m fucking tired of how big companies just screw over their customers! Though in the end, I’ve just been too goddamn busy to deal with nonsense. I had already wasted enough time and energy on Best Buy’s fuck up.

But after all that nonsense with NJTransit as outlined previously, which I’ll touch upon in the end, I decided to finally to deal with the longstanding bullshit earlier today….

I first called back Cathy, who was expecting me to pay the repair fee. I told her no, and reiterated that I would not be paying a damn cent when it’s pretty clear that Best Buy had exhibited a history of fucking enough, enough to point the finger at as the cause for physical damage. She decided to sweeten the deal by offering free postage, which is to imply that they weren’t even going to extent the courtesy before. What a class act. I then said that, in the end, I might want at the very least to have the original lens cover replaced, but then she admitted that there’s a good chance that its been thrown away. Just awesome. And she also wasn’t happy to hear that I was building up my case for the better business bureau and possible legal action.

I then decided to call back the Paramus store once more. The phone rang, and I’m not joking here, for fifty minutes, before I decided to hang up.

Next I decided to speak with Matt at corporate again. He wasn’t available. Of course. So I talked to some other guy Mitch. Again, he was expecting to pay the fee, but unlike Kathy, he couldn’t understand my position. In fact his attitude was that I was ungrateful for the wonderful “deal” I was offered, as well as irrational. Again, everything was my fault, and unlike the calm, cool, and collected Matt, Mitch was extremely pissy, who made it clear that I wasting his time. When I asked if anything was being done with the Paramus store, his response was a mixture of not giving a damn and statements of “we take care of our own business.” I didn’t want to do it, but I basically had to pull out the “power of the press”, which garnered a, and I kid you not “I wish both you and Matt Laurer good luck with your investigations” In the end, I admitted if I was in his position, working as a customer care preventative for a company that couldn’t give two shits about the customer, since they had their money and that’s what most important, and how they don’t view all the constant complaints from the press and advocate groups as a sign that things need to change, but instead are now going after ex-employees that dare to spill the beans on their fucked up business practices, Mitch hung up one me. And that was that.

So what next? Best Buy clearly doesn’t want to do shit. The suggestion of going after them legally, to create a fuss, so they would know that I’m serious, isn’t much of an option at this point, given how like I said, they’re now going after former Geek Squad people for fessing up to all the illegal bullshit that the company either does nothing about or practically condones. Best Buy more now that ever clearly does not give a damn. But do I just sit and take it? I know some people… maybe most people… will simply say “get over it.” Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t. This kind of stuff just pisses me off on so many levels. It isn’t even about the camera any more, it’s about being taken advantage of. It’s also about how shitty people act and how everyone pretty much accepts it, and therefore lets the said assholes get away with it. I wish I could “deal” with it. Actually I usually have, time and time again, like most people, but in this instance… I can’t. It’s also about one’s lack of recourse, whether it be perceived or for real. I guess that’s what has left me the most frustrated. I simply can’t let this go, as asinine or immature or unhealthy as that might be.

Though I may have no other options. I’ve already spent way too much time attending to such trivial (and I know it) bullshit, on the part of Best Buy. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to fight so many battles. Speaking of, update on the fight against the ticket: I spent last night combing through NJTransit’s website for info on the service disruption on Friday, and found nothing. I also went to various Newark news sites, also nothing. I even registered at various local message boards, for perhaps a lead to such info. Again, nothing. Also, per Mike’s suggestion, I called NJTransit’s help line and was completely blown away by the bright and cheerful attitude of the person on the other line. See, if someone is chill and pleasant with me, then I will be more than happy to return the courtesy, probably more so. This person is going to look for me (not only did she offer up her LAST name, but took down all my info and even asked for my email address!) but I have a funny feeling that she won’t be able to provide much help. So if I decided to challenge the ticket, I will be unarmed. Is it worth it? Again, I simply cannot stand being the victim. Also, consider this: I’m a fucking shit magnet, and there’s a certain point where you just can’t take it anymore. I hate to be all-dramatic about it, but that’s just way it is, plain and simple.

It’s been asked more than a few times if $75 is worth all the aggravation, let alone the $200 the camera cost. And honestly, I don’t know…

Okay, so before anyone thinks I’m going to have a heart attack or slit my wrists, the truth is, it’s simply good to get this shit off one’s chest, and I already feel much better for doing so. Though that’s not to say that I’m going to shut up about this matter, especially the Best Buy debacle; I plan on passing along my story to the Consumerist and every other consumer advocate channel out there. Anyhow, ultimately, everyone needs to vent, and I’m still convinced that, despite how off putting and annoying all bitching and moaning might be to most folks, its still far better than keeping everything bottled inside or not ignoring shit left and right. Maybe that’s why despite all my trials and tribulations, I fucking sleep like a god damn baby every single night, and despite having a really shitty mattress that should have been replaced at least three years ago!

What else can I say? It’s been a hell of a past couple of weeks. But hey, its not been all bad news. Some pretty awesome stuff is going down as well. In fact, I got some pretty kick ass news just earlier today, but I seriously can’t say anything till next week. Also, and this is kinda weird, but I might be doing Fashion Week in two weeks. I’ll explain later.

Oh… one more thing.

Since my next post won’t be another long, drawn-out bitchfest, since even I get sick of that shit after a while (hey, be glad I got rid of my much longer summation of how fucked up people are these days, which was even more self-righteous and emo than it already is), I will leave pass along the third thing that has gotten me so worked up all week. Long story short, and I believe I’ve mentioned it before, but Jason and I were approached by some dude that wanted to buy firecrotch. com from us (which we started up years back as the original home of JizzMoppa, and have owned every since). He offered a pretty paltry sum, despite the fact that it was obvious that he really needed it badly, and also had quite a bit of money to throw around. Yet the one thing that truly stuck out was how fucking rude he was; we said no thanks, and he immediately shot back insults. Okay… But then he’d come back with another offer, one slightly higher, along with “come on, you have to accept now, you assholes.” But we kept saying no, even when the money was looking more and more enticing, at least to me. Jason on the other hand was steadfast; he knew that eventually the douchebag would pay what we wanted.

Finally, he met our price. And I couldn’t have been happier, since as stated previously, I?m aching for cash so I can get a new place to live (why the hell do you think I’m trying to fight a $75 ticket in the first place?). So I figured it was a done deal; we had him go through the website seller that we had commissioned. He placed the bid and we waited… and waited… and waited. The dude had ten days to put down the money. Which he never did. And the piece of shit, who constantly spammed Jason with offer after insult, hasn’t replied with an explanation. And dead God do I want to kill this guy…

EDIT #1: New poll added! Take a look to the upper right of the page…

EDIT #2: So I got an email from NJTransit. Before speaking to the very nice woman at their help line, I decided to ask for information via the website; they have an ask a question/leave feedback form page. That was the night before last, and I finally got a response. I have left the typos in…

Dear Matthew,

We are replying to your feedback of 8/22/2007 regarding subject: Servce Disruption Due To Lightening.

Granted, there was a power outage on 08-17-07 on the Broad St extention.

The manager of our fare enforcement, inspected the ticket you presented to the Fare Inspector. The ticket was purchased on 08-16-07, and it had multiple vlaidations on it. The ticket was validated on 08-16-07, and it was validated on the date the summons was issued, 08-20-07. Therefore, you used the same ticket on 08-16-07 and 08-20-07, and this has nothing to do with the power outage.

Thank you for contacting NJ TRANSIT.

NJ TRANSIT Customer Service Team

What fucking assholes. God, I hate NJTransit. But hey, at least they admitted that there was a power outage. Though they didn’t mention any service disruption, so me thinks this still isn’t good enough…

EDIT #3: I also decided to ask folks at the Jersey City message board if they might now of a news story or something to help state my case in regards to the NJTransit ticket. And naturally, one person was more than happy to help

“no, you’re just a jack ass for thinking a ticket good for 90 minutes would stil be good monday after you validated it on friday, pay the fine ass hole”

What’s the overall message here people? That one should just suck it up and simply get fucked up the ass like everyone else, you big baby.

Also, any desire to move back to Jersey is quickly vanishing, no matter how much my commute will be shortened. $20 says that douchebag moved to Groove Street from Willamsburg less than two years ago.



The Blood Of The Sinners Must Flow… (Part 1)

by Matthew Hawkins

Sorry, I was going to present along some juicy game related talk, but I just had to pass the following along, simply to get it off my chest. Though for the time being, there’s a few topics and links worth checking out over at the forums…

Anyway, remember this post, it will be important in the future, at least when I finally snap and decided to go on a killing spree. Because I will pass along just a few reasons why I’m such a miserable son of a bitch these days.

I’ve always been the angry type. I guess it’s from my father, who has always had a pretty bad temper, and when a person like that raises a child, it almost can’t be helped that some of that will rub off, though other stuff went down as well. But I think for the most part, the primary reason why I’m always pissed off is because, as everyone likes to point out, I’m a shit magnet, plain and simple. Either trouble comes to me, or I get myself into stupid situations, time and time again. Sometimes I can see it coming a mile away (if I was paying attention that is), but the worst is when it happens totally at random. And it does, A LOT. For the most part, I’ve been able to parlay all the shit that’s happened to be into amusing, or at least interesting anecdotes (at least I’d like to think). It’s never easy… yet I try my best to endure.

But these past couple of weeks have been tough, real tough. I honestly can’t remember a time when I’ve been so miserable. To the point that I rage so hard everyday that I’m exhausted half the time. Again, getting old! There’s lots of reasons for this; among other things, my living situation is insanely retarded, which is filled with literally piles of cat feces and a small dog that I seriously want to fucking strangle. I’ve never been busier, yet my output has never been this poor. I’m so behind on so many things that I just get sad this thinking about it. And I’ve never made so much money, yet I flat out cannot save any of it. And my personal life, which was pretty fine and dandy for a while, has also turned upside down as of late. All of which makes the normal, meaningless annoyances, which I suppose I should be used to by now, all the more unbearable. Let’s take at two such things right now:

1. Newark, New Jersey, and NJTransit

So, I really dig my job. I’m pretty fucking good at it too, and I honestly think it shows (wish it was getting more hits, though… well my bosses at least…so please, help me keep my job and spread the word, or the URL). There’s only one big problem: it?s in Newark. Which to be totally blunt, is fucking HELL ON EARTH.

I may bitch about New York and its denizens, but at the end of the day, the Big Apple, and pretty much any other spot on earth has some redeeming qualities. Not Newark. That city is a fucking wasteland on every single level, period. Whomever needs to seriously bomb the hell out of that place. Ever single step I take down the shitty streets is eternal torment, and I simply want someone to just lodge a bullet through my brain. Funny thing is, the chances of that happening are quite high, due to all the murders; I believe when the very first day I started my job, the weekend prior was the 33th killing thus far this year (which led to some shitty mock funeral on the streets or something, which aside from being just plain weird, because someone thought they could make a point by tossing garbage bags filled with stuff and fashioned like bodies around the city, they didn’t do shit). And that number is already way higher; I forget if it was two weekends ago or three where four kids just minding their own business in the park were killed execution style.

You will simply not find a higher ratio or quotient of miserable souls on any given block in any other city in this country, guaranteed. Everyone has clearly given up on life, which is why everyone is on crack and beating the shit out of each other. Its urban decay at its very worst, meaning that its not even that interesting or entertaining. Which lends to this morbidly depressing state of mind, that makes the already difficult task of just finding a decent bite damn near impossible. That’s another problem; there is NOTHING GOOD TO EAT IN NEWARK. I guess if I had a car I could leave the area, which leaves me no real choice other than to walk around the business district, which happens to be right next to the ghetto. Everything if shitty fried chicken or really shitty pizza. There’s a deli near my building, but dear God are the people there fucking retards. One day I order a sloppy joe… and tell me, what’s a sloppy joe? A hamburger bun filled with ground beef and tomato sauce? Not in Newark, New Jersey! It?s a wrap with ham, some weird yellow sauce, and nine pounds of cole slaw. I could go on and on and on…

Getting there is also a real pain in the ass. First I take the subway to Brooklyn to the World Trade Center (which is already made annoying by the fact that the Courtland Street stop on the R is still closed after two plus years of “construction”… if it was open, my morning commute would seriously be cut by 15-20 minutes). After fighting against the throngs of Hoboken-ites leaving the station and going the opposite way, I get on a PATH train to Newark. BTW, everyone who says the PATH trains are just as good, if not better than the subways, are idiots. They both suck. For different reasons, but they both equally suck nonetheless. Anyway, once I reach Newark, I’m at Newark Penn Station, which means I’m about a mile away from my job, so either I can walk or take yet another train, my third one, the light rail to be exact. In the mornings, I chose to walk because it offers me a tiny bit of exercise. But by the end of the day, I just want to get the hell out of the city, so I’ll take the light rail.

This is how the light rail works… First you get a ticket from the ticket machine. Next, you have to validate the ticket before boarding the train. The validator is right next to the ticket machine, and validation lasts for exactly one hour. So you have to buy a ticket before boarding, even though its not used to actually get inside or onto the platform, like the subway or PATH train. But it?s not like a normal train eitehr because there are no conductors to check your ticket. But you are told that you have to show it if someone asks to see it, and it has to be “valid” (meaning its been validated beforehand) so it?s almost like the honor system. I’ve been using the light rail regularly since May and have yet to see one of these light rail conductors or officials. At least till very recently…

Remember how I mentioned last time that lightening struck my train? Well on Friday after work, I had just missed one train (oh, its a bit hard to explain, but trust me, the light rail’s schedule is extremely obnoxious), so I purchased a ticket, got it stamped, and waited for the next one, which would have been in ten or so minutes. Then all of a sudden it began to rain super hard all of sudden. And along with all the water was thunder and lightening. I was just standing there, talking on the phone, when all of a sudden I heard a very loud boom. Lighting had struck near me. What did it hit? The very next train, which was heading my way, not too far off. I didn’t see it happen, but I did hear the strike, and a few seconds later, I noticed that my train was in the distance, but just sitting there. I waited, and waited, and waited…

Once the rain subsided a bit, I decided to walk over to the train to see what the deal was. The lights were off, and people were pouring out of it. A cop also rolled up at that moment. I talked with a guy that came out of the train, and he said that it was struck by lightening. Pretty wild, but no one was hurt. I then shifted my attention to the driver, so explained that the train was dead. When I asked if there would be another train, the driver had no clue herself. So there was no other option than to walk to Penn Station, in the rain (at this point, it was only drizzling, though the streets were still flooded, which made getting around a real pain).

The following Monday, earlier this week, I again walked to work in the morning. And at the end of the day, I again decided to take the light rail to Penn Station. But because I had a ticket from the Friday before, which was technically unused, I decided to get my money’s worth. So I put it in the ticket validator, which stamped it a new time over the old one, got on the train, and was on my way. And for the first time ever, upon rolling into the station, there were two dudes, two transit cops, checking tickets. Great.

They asked to see everyone’s, and of course, mine was suspect. It was double stamped, which meant I had committed a crime, so a ticket was written out for me. I explained what had happened on Friday, and why I used an old ticket again, the guy didn’t give a shit. He simply told me I was wrong, and whenever telling me so, he addressed me as “sir” in the most condescending way possible. And the tone used was clearly to show me who was boss. I guess if you’re a fucking traffic cop (actually, he wasn’t even really a cop; he didn’t have a badge or a gun or anything like that) for NJTransit, you are going to take any opportunity to abuse what little power you have in a pathetic attempt to justify one’s existence. But anyhow, yeah, I broke the law, so maybe I deserved to pay the ridiculous $75 fine. Or maybe not; I figured that I had a valid excuse and wanted to state my case. And here’s where things become bullshit…

So I said that I wanted to state my case, and the officer told me that I could by going to court, but that I should keep in the mind that “more than likely” I will still be found guilty, and in that case, the fine will be doubled. Excuse me? So basically, in a not so smooth way, I was told, don’t fucking bother, otherwise we’ll totally fuck you up the ass. That’s not just wrong, that’s flat out illegal. And when I brought this up, he literally said “tell it to the judge”. Needless to say, I was livid.

The next morning, I was at Penn Station again, waiting for the next train to work; the weather was still shit, hence the decision to be lazy. Again, NJTransit fare inspectors were on the scene. They checked my ticket… which naturally was nice and fresh and just validated, only once…. and then I decided to ask some questions. I explained what had happened the day before, the dude I was speaking with, who I immediately knew wasn’t a fucktard, clearly had the “sorry pal, but…” attitude. That was till I told him about the part about being told that I had not better try protesting, otherwise I’d pay double the price. “Um, yeah. That’s not necessarily true,” was his response. His buddy explained that if the judge wanted to, he could fine me $1,000, but I would have to totally deserve it, like if I was causing a fist fight on the stand. But in my case, especially with my excuse, which to both guys seemed totally understandable, I would more than likely get let off. Provided I had proof of what happened on Friday actually did. The solution to that those was pretty easy: simply go to the information desk and ask for a statement that showed that service was disrupted.

And that’s what I did, earlier today after work. Went to the info desk and stated what I needed, as well as the reason. Figured it would be easy as pie. Of course not. The bitch on the other side of the glass was clearly annoyed that she was being asked to do something that required her to get off her gimongous ass. She stated to me that she had to check and see if any customers complained about a lack of service on Friday. Okay… but what if there were no complaints? Because, even if there were no complaints, that doesn’t mean something didn’t happen. Not according to this woman, who was immediately pissed off that I could dare question her. After some noticeably half-hearted “checking” she couldn’t find any records. And that was that, at least in her mind. I then questioned how a major transit system could have NO records of one of their trains being off line due to a weather problem in the middle of rush hour, which was bad enough to strand customers, as well as get the police involved. She then got really pissed at me and took down my information. And what really set her off is how I basically wondered out loud if she was actually going to call her manager and have him or her get back to me, or just throw it all away once I left her sights (hey, I worked customer service, I know what fucking really happens).

I then decided to talk to the police, since they were on the scene and must have some kind of record to back up my story, right? I ran into a cop patrolling the station and explained my situation and my need for the report. And was told that if there was one, then its not privy to the public. Awesome, just awesome. And WTF. Though he did sympathize and offered a solution; to check for information regarding the incident, which should be up there. And of course, its not.

So now what? Go in without any “proof” of what happened actually happened, and risk getting the fine doubled? Of course that won’t happen! Right? Besides my story is sound. Well, considering that the last time I was in front of a judge, which was also in New Jersey, to get a restraining order against my crazy girlfriend at the time, and was not only denied despite having a rather compelling case, but was literally made up fun off while at the stand for the judge’s own shits and giggles (and the poor woman ahead of me didn’t get her’s either, against her husband, who was actually in attendance, despite his shit eating grin and all the bruises on her face, plus the broken arm she had). So I’m almost certain that bullshit will go down once again. But I simply cannot put my tail between my legs on this issue…. And people wonder why I can’t seem to get shit done these days.

I had another long tirade, this one against Best Buy, but I’ll save that one for tomorrow.



Just The Facts

by Matthew Hawkins

Hey, it’s late Monday night, and I’m dead tired. Been so god damn busy these past couple of days that everything is kind of a blur. Hence the “just the facts, ma’am” post. Highlights from the past seven days include…

- On Tuesday, I did a follow-up interview with the director, producer, and star of the just-released video game documentary, The King of Kong, which some might remember me reviewing for GameSetWatch a few months back. Among the many things discussed and revealed is how my original assumption that Billy Mitchell is totally nuts was not without merit.

- Later that night was another world record attempt at Donkey Kong. You can check it out, as well as read about the aforementioned roundtable in my latest GSW piece right here. Also became friends with a researcher who works for the Letterman show. Once I found out that she was from Washington State as well, I barraged her with a ton of Almost Live references, which she thankfully all got.

- Back to the fort90forums, the place is still pretty hoppin! Highlights from the past week include bitching about both tourists and cops in the city, talk about Jane Austen, a brand-new Kenta Cho title, the return of an old anti-Disney game, Okami for the Wii, chiptunes, me defending Beautiful Katamari and bashing Select Button at the same time, as well as both the forum’s very first list thread and animated gif thread. Oh, and the “you’re a fucking lunatic and i dated you” discussion that simply must be read to be believed. Which, of course, is in the secret chamber! Hopefully both Katie and Jenny (and K Thor if I’m really lucky) will pass along their renditions of my very own crazy ex very soon.

- As for the blog, for whatever reason, last week I began receiving numerous comments on a two-year-old entry from folks that either claim to have copies of Nintencats or those desperate for a copy. Strange.

- Discovered that in Mexico, there’s a bad guy wrestler (or rudo as they are more commonly known down there) who goes by the name of Tony the Cartoonist that draws all over the faces of his opponents (like their picture, such as if they’re on that evening’s promotional poster) before each match. Right then and there, I knew that I must get back into Mexican wrestling.

- What’s the game I’ve been playing the most all week? Believe it or not: Virtua Racing. Both the PS2 edition as well as the Sega Saturn one too (which for some reason, despite all its faults, gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside). Also decided to go back to Odin Sphere after only playing that for a bit upon its release. Oh, and I’m still hammering away at Picross DS.

- After work Friday, it took me over two hours to get home because lightning struck my train, literally dead in its tracks. Kinda scary, kinda awesome, rather annoying, and extremely inconvenient.

- And this past weekend I went out to Boston for Rob‘s bachelor party. The trip started off a bit rocky when less than three minutes into the four and a half hour bus ride, the driver pulled over to head into a deli. and came back with what appeared to be beer. But from there on, it smooth sailing; got to enjoy the city, enjoyed plenty of awesome food, caught a game at Fenway Park (and enjoyed their fine Fenway Franks!), and shared the joy that is the Magic Bullet infomercial with some new people. Oh, and there was a part in which Rob scalped his tickets to some dude, and it totally felt like a drug deal!

- As for today, I got a fucking ticket from the NJ Transit police. The whole reason behind it is so FUCKING retarded…

… But I’ll wait till tomorrow to share the story (which btw has to do with the lightning strike on Friday), along with a few other game-related links. Time for bed!