Job Application Letter to HP

Dear Hewlett-Packard Company,

I recently read an article in the news that you have named Mark Hurd as your new Chief Executive Officer and President. While I realize you may have received many applications for this position, you seem to have overlooked mine. I respectfully request that you hold off on moving forward with your decision to name Mr. Hurd as your CEO and President until you have at least read this application letter.

I would be an excellent choice to lead your great company for many reasons. In addition to outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, I have ample management experience and vision to lead your company into the future. I have held management positions in the food service industry as well as in the computer retail industry. Specifically I was a dining room supervisor at the now rejuvinated Ground Round Restaurants for three years while in college, and I worked as a customer service supervisor at MicroCenter where, by the way, I saw a lot of your products in our shop. Trust me, if I can be an effective leader and an example to others in those shit jobs, I would be perfect for your board room. I am currently a middle school teacher, and you can just imagine the kind of management experience I have gained in that job.

Another reason you should consider me over Mr. Hurd is that I have a great familiarity with your products as a user and as a salesperson. In fact I have owned two HP printers in my time, beginning with the legendary DeskJet 500. That thing is a tank! I still have it somewhere and it has never stopped working. Currently I use a DeskJet 832C and I love it. That little baby got me through graduate school. Finally, I have spent hours fixing my mother-in-law's HP Pavillion. Man, what a pain. But you should know it's mostly her fault, and I think the Pavillion series are strong products over all.

I also have ample sales experience involving HP products. When I was a Macintosh sales rep at MicroCenter, pretty much the only decent printers that would work with them were yours. Man, Apple must love you guys. In any case, I think that you will find I have excellent product knowledge and the ability to undertand the technical aspects of the CEO position. I won't even need help hooking up my computer in my office (and that's money saved).

Finally, I have reviewed the salary and benefits package that you have offered to Mr. Hurd, and I want you to know I would be a much more cost-effective choice. I am prepared to accept the job of CEO and President of your company for 10 percent of the value of Mr. Hurd's package, item for item. Just think, I haven't even accepted the job yet and I am already saving your company millions. Consider what other opportunities for growth and sensible economic decisions I can bring to HP.

In summary, I would not only be a fine choice to lead your great corporation, but I would be a much less expensive one. I propose you give me one year, and if you are not satisfied with my progress at that time, I'm sure Mr. Hurd will be happy to step in. I suspect, though, that you will be surprised at what I will do for your company, and at a fraction of the cost of Mr. Hurd.

Thank you for your time and attention.



I'm a Spring Break Rocker!

Yesterday I was flipping around the tele and decided to check out what was on the On Demand TV channel. There's a great free service they have called Mag Rack, which the cable company bills as a video magazine rack. In particular there is a set of programs called Guitar Xpress, which is a bunch of free guitar lessons for everyone from the beginner on up. They have shows on getting started, chords, and how to play songs, etc. It's pretty cool, and it beats paying for guitar lessons.

So I decided to check out one program in particular called Basic Soloing. It was great. As sort of an intermediate-beginner, I have become interested in how to add a little spice to my guitar playing, more than just practicing chords, and I have been unsure of how to proceed. I know improvisation and good guitar solos depend a great deal on scales, but which ones to learn? This program showed me everything I needed to know to get going. I was playing and improvising with some basic blues scales in minutes, and since the show was On Demand, I could pause and rewind as often as I needed. What a blast!

Now I know nothing can replace regular lessons with a good guitar teacher, but when your budget is tight this Guitar Xpress thing is great. I can honestly say that I can take or leave digital cable, cable in general, and even television all together. This is the first time since Sesame Street and maybe the occaisional Nova or National Geographic special that the television has given me real value for my dollar. Now if you'll excuse me, I have an Am Pentatonic blues scale to practice.

A Google Operating System?

I saw this short morsel today. How cool would a Google OS be? I mean odds are it would work, be fairly streamlined, and efficient. And even if it did crash occaisionally, they could have a "pretty and colorful screen of death."

Wordpress: Broken Comments

We at seem to be dealing with a strange issue involving the comments functionality. I assure you I'm not blowing you off, but it looks that way if you notice that comments on the blog are not readable. I am working with my crack technical team to fix this issue. Please be patient, especially you spammers.

Thank you for your support.

New WordPress, A few Kinks

Today I upgraded's version of Word Press to 1.2.2. Notice the new look? Yeah, that was an accident. No worries though. I can fix it in a jiffy, although I like the new look. I may take this as an opportunity to change the look of the blog, as I was getting bored with the old layout anyway. Everything else pretty much seems to work fine. In any case, hang in there dear reader, whilst I solve these little kinks. Cheers.

Mozilla Firefox

I just downloaded and tried Mozilla's Firefox web browser. In fact I am using it now and I have to say I am impressed. Not only is it intuitive and easy to use, it's not made by Microsoft. I like that. I also like the fact that it's open source, an idea I favor. Of course, there are the added security benefits of not using Internet Explorer, which is so susceptible to attack. In short, if you haven't tried Mozilla yet, give it a shot. It's free, it's pretty, and it ain't Microsoft.

Annoying: Comment Spammers

Comment spammers are assholes. I mean come on. I have now changed my settings to moderate all comments before they go up on the blog. I didn't want to do that, but I get as many spam comments as I do real ones. All spammers must die. Well, perhaps death is too harsh, but they should at least get very ill and require intensive medical care for a long time, complete with catheters and colostomy bags.

Cingular Wireless: It Just Keeps Getting Better

The following is the body of an email I sent to Cingular Wireless. This was no easy feat, since Cingular provides no customer service of any kind via email. Still, I had to try. After getting it bounced back few times, I finally was able to reply to an ad they emailed me. Not long after I sent this, I received an automated reply directing me to their web site, which is where all my current problems began. It is also clear to me now that I am not the only person frustrated by Cingular's shitty customer service. No matter what they do now, I am returning my useless new phone to them and going with another service provider who, hopefully, actually cares about keeping their customers.

My email follows below:


Dear Service Representative,

I am writing you in an effort to contact someone who can help me with the problems I currently have with my account. I realize that since you do not publish an email address, nor a mailing address specifically for customer service issues, this email may not get anywhere, nonetheless I implore you to help get it to the right person. I have called and spoken with your patient and friendly customer service people several times, but none of them has been apparently either trained or authorized to fix my issue.

My Cingular number is [omitted].

My problem, while caused by a technical problem on Cingular's end, is that I have no phone service, and I am going on four weeks now without my mobile phone. First I upgraded my phone online about four weeks ago. I received my phone in good time, but without a SIM card. I called your customer service number. I was sent a SIM card about a week later. Now my phone cannot be activated, and I am permitted to make emergency calls only. While I completely understand the technical nature of your service and that problems will always arise, no one has offered any sort of solution for me to get a working phone. I have been told only that I must wait and someone will contact me. (No offense, but I am dubious that anyone will contact me in enough time to make it worthwhile).

I asked if an exchange of some sorts would be possible and was told "not really." I offered to even get a new mobile number if that might somehow help expedite things. Again, I was told I would need to wait. Now I understand that technical issues often take more than a few minutes to resolve, but I would hope that someone there cares enough about keeping my business to try to figure out a non-technical work around, such as exchanging phones and sending one that is activated and works.

Part of my concern here is that no one at the customer service number you provide on your website seems authorized or capable of helping web customers. I find that odd. When I spoke with someone at your "Activation" phone number, I was told that they can't activate e-store phones. Someone must activate them, but evidently not anyone who is allowed to talk to me.

In short, I still want to be a Cingular customer, for the time being, but I am frustrated by the lack of empowerment given to your customer service phone representatives. I would think that they would be given the tools and power to make decisions to help a customer out, but I am not getting that impression. I just want a phone that works.

Thank you for your time and attention. I appreciate any help you may be able to provide in this matter. Please feel free to email me or call me.

Best Regards,

Tom Kersey

Cingular Wireless: Trained Stupidity?

This morning I received my new wireless phone. Eagerly I opened the box, excited that I would finally have a working wireless phone after about three weeks. See, a little over three weeks ago, my wireless phone inexpilicably quit working while I was attending an out of town conference. So began yet another ordeal with Cingular Wireless.

I have been a Cingualr customer for just over two years now. In that time I have had to deal with their customer service department three times, and each time has been a nightmare of stress and frustration. First off, let me say that every single customer service individual I have dealt with has been very friendly and honest. None of them have gotten arugmentative or rude. As a former customer serive representative myself, I know how tough that job can be. The problems I have encountered have been larger.

Now as annoyed as Im aright now, I will spare you the details of my many long, grim encounters on the phone with these people. It is enough to say that at Cingular, who last year had revenue to the tune of $15.4 billion, needs to spend some of that money on training for its customer service and sales staff. Each time I have had to interact with Cingular's cusotmer service department has been a comedy of errors, forgetfulness, and ignorance. Using the phone conversation I had today as an example, I spoke with no less than three separate people - all friendly - but all idiots.

Here's just a little, brief backstory on my current situation. Three weeks ago my phone dies. I don't know why. I call customer service in hope of some technical support. I sit on hold for ten minutes. I hang up. I take the phone to a Cingular retail store. The guy there calls Cingular tech support. He speaks to a girl (on speaker phone)who asks for the symptoms, pauses for about two miliseconds, then says, "Well, I'm surprised the phone lasted as long as it has. Is he eligible for upgrade?"

"Yes," says the guy.

"Well, just do that then," says the girl. After a quick goddbye she hangs up. Guy starts the sales cycle. I listen, ask questions, and decide to upgrade. Guy says he doesn't actually have the phone I want in stock, becuase it's "their most popular." I leave, and go online to Cingular's website. I discover what appears to be a better deal online. Better deal meaning FREE upgrade! I order my phone and get set to wait my 3-5 days for it to arrive. It arrives today. I love it. It rocks. Unfortunately it's missing the much touted and heralded SIM chip, which I need to use my new phone. I call customer service. I speak with a very friendly, though vapid, young sounding girl, who transfers me to sales because she "has no idea about what should come with what." Next, I speak with an older sounding woman who apparently is still working on mastering Standard American English. I tell her my problem. She says let me transfer you to our "e-Store people." I speak with a younger sounding man, who asks the same questions I have answer three times already. After apparently verifying that I have not received my SIM chip, he says, "Hang on just a second while I check with our people who handle problem internet orders." I resist the temptation to ask who the hell he was supposed to be. I wait for many, many seconds. He comes back and says, "Yes, they didn't send one [a smart chip, a.k.a. SIM] out." He'll have one sent out right away, he says. I ask if I can use the phone without my chip. He says no. I ask how long it will be before I get it. A week he says. I simply say, after a pause to control a string of expletives, "Okay." I hang up.

So now I must wait about a week to use a phone I ordered and got for free because I have been such a loyal customer. Oh, I had to sign a new two-year contract to get the free phone, and the contract, though the same price as the plan I have had for two years, now inlcudes 60% fewer minutes. Of course, all of this time I am paying a monthly bill for a phone that I am unable to use. At least I know I am in no danger of going over my minutes this month, since I won't have a fucking phone! And the last thing I want to do is call Cingular to ask if I can get a credit for this month, because even if they give me the whole month free, it's not worth navigating their labyrinthine phone menu system and dealing with vapid girl who will no doubt have to transfer me to someone else becuase she's not trained in handling problems involving money. It almost makes me wonder if these folks are in fact trained to be stupid. I mean I am going to basically give them $30 for nothing this month because I have better things to do with my time. I wonder how many other people have been treated the same way.

So here I will sit, waiting for my smart chip so I can use my phone. I only hope everything else works, but I'm not going to hold my breath. It seems to me that the folks at Cingular, assuming they don't deliberately train people to be stupid in order to save money, would benefit from some cross-training. They would do well to empower their customer service folks to handle as many problems as possible, and give them the tools they need to do it. Having a good customer service staff isn't rocket science, but apparently it's too difficult for Cingular Wireless.

Spam Comments

Well today I had to delete my first spam comment on the ol' Elfin Blog. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. The comment appeared to be an ad for some sort of Viagra replacement. I have received several spam emails from this same organization in recent weeks. The emails and post appear to be from a European country, so of course U.S. law has no effect on them. There's not much I can do I suppose, except delete it and move on. Bastards.

I am just annoyed because I operate this site a personal expense. I have made, to date, a grand total of $5 from my on line store at Cafe Press, so it's not like I'm raking in the dough. I keep this site for my own enjoyment and to contribute, in my own small way, to the public discourse on matters that are important to me. It bothers me that some sales person, too stupid or lazy to earn their own money, tries to get free advertising on my website. Even if they offered the greatest product in the world, I would never give any of my business to them because they suck too much to contact people through proper channels. Of course, if one was selling the greatest product in the world, they wouldn't have to resort to such unethical and bothersome tactics as spamming folks. The weak minded always seem to look for ways to easily and unfairly beat the system when proper competition and hard work fail them or are foreign to them.

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