Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As the year draws to a close, it's always good to get a retrospective on things that made our jaws drop. I especially liked the article on "Dumbest Moments in Business 2008," especially the part when the auto CEOs returned to Washington DC in hybrids. What's that they say about first impressions again? Zzzzz....

Sunday, December 28, 2008


By Saying Yes, WaMu Built Empire on Shaky Loans. To wit:
As a supervisor at a Washington Mutual mortgage processing center, John D. Parsons was accustomed to seeing baby sitters claiming salaries worthy of college presidents, and schoolteachers with incomes rivaling stockbrokers’. He rarely questioned them. A real estate frenzy was under way and WaMu, as his bank was known, was all about saying yes.

Yet even by WaMu’s relaxed standards, one mortgage four years ago raised eyebrows. The borrower was claiming a six-figure income and an unusual profession: mariachi singer.

Mr. Parsons could not verify the singer’s income, so he had him photographed in front of his home dressed in his mariachi outfit. The photo went into a WaMu file. Approved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All's well that ends well

iTunes responded to me yesterday. Cheers to Jody for actually taking the time to understand the issue. I still haven't addressed the double-charge for the soundtrack yet, but one thing at a time.

Hello Seema,

It is my understanding that you are missing two songs from your Mamma Mia soundtrack and you would like to get them back. I can certainly understand your concern over this matter. My name is Jody and it will be my pleasure to look into this for you today.

I've checked your account and due to your order being older than 60 days, I'm unable to place your two missing songs back into your download queue. As a way of apologizing for this situation, and the inconvenience that this has caused, I'd like to offer you 2 free song credits to be used on the iTunes Store.

When you next sign in with this account, the song credits will appear by your account name (in the upper-right section of the iTunes Store). The next individual song you buy from the iTunes Store will use one of your song credits instead of your primary form of payment (until all credits have been used or have expired). Please note that song credits cannot be used for purchasing songs that are listed as "Album Only."

If you don't see your credits, refresh your account information by signing out and back in to the iTunes Store. You can find both "Sign Out" and "Sign In" within the pull-down "Store" menu.

Thank you for being part of the iTunes Store Community, Seema. It is important to me that your issues are resolved to your satisfaction. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reply to this email. We strive to make everyone's experience here as pleasant as possible.


iTunes Store Customer Support

PLEASE NOTE: I'm working Mon, Tues, & Sat from 10:30 am - 9:00 pm this week.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bad iTunes, no biscuit!

How is this for customer support?

I sent this form to the iTunes store this morning for two songs -- "I Have a Dream" and "Thank You For the Music" -- reporting that while I had purchased the entire "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack, these two songs did not download and were not available anywhere on my computer, nor could I download them without having to pay again. My question to them was, could I get the two missing songs? I didn't ask for a refund -- only what I paid for (and I think iTunes may have charged me twice for the soundtrack, but that's another issue entirely).

Here's the form I sent in (from the iTunes site itself); I sent the exact same form for "I Have a Dream" as well (incriminating information removed to protect yours truly):

Customer First Name : Seema
Customer Last Name : XXXXXXX
Web Order # : XXXXXXXX
Support Subject : I didn't receive this song
Sub Issue : Incomplete download
Comments : iTunes Account Name: XXXXXXXX
Platform : XXXXXXXXX
Song Name : Thank You for the Music
I purchased the entire Mamma Mia soundtrack and this is one of two songs I did not receive. The other songs all downloaded just fine.

Here's the entirely unhelpful response from Apple (in duplicate):

Dear Seema,

Your request for a refund for "Thank You for the Music" was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund. This policy matches Apple's refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.

You can review the iTunes Store Terms of Sale for more information:



iTunes Store Customer Support

Well, Kate, I hope you get a big fat piece of coal in your stocking because gee whiz, how carefully did you consider my request when your response and my issue have nothing in common? And at this point, I'm out $2.11 ($11.98 total) and still no songs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Miss me?

I'm back! I've been traveling a lot in the last month and so clearly, was not blogging. But I'm back now. I was in India for about 2 1/2 weeks and before that was in the Northeast. I'm now back for at least the near future -- no travel plans forthcoming. It is nice to put away my suitcases for at least a month and not have to worry about them. What's funny is that I've come back and realized that the holidays are here. I didn't even THINK about the holidays when I was in India, so now I'm feeling a little anxious. I guess there's always next year.

I will blog about the India trip shortly as there is much to say.