Burger King Application: Have it Your Way…Not Poor Customer Service

Burger King Application for smartphones

There are very few customer service issues that cannot be handled with a phone call or maybe two. In the case where the service is so poor, then obviously leaving that particular company is the answer. Sometimes, things are not so cut and dried. Take smartphone apps for example.  In the case of the Burger King smartphone application? Well, it is just as well that the company ditched their old slogan of “have it your way.”

Most applications work fine, but some, for whatever reason, go off into the digital wasteland that I like to think of as the Twilight Zone. Yesterday, my BK application stopped taking my password/email combination. A little frustrated, I retyped my email and asked to reset my password.  Hitting submit, I was assured that an email reset was sent.

It was.

I reset my password and…

Nope.

The message that my “login failed” because of an “incorrect email/password” combination pops up on my iPhone screen once again.  Nothing breeds annoyance so quickly as a password problem on a smartphone.  Since losing my glasses, I sometimes have to re-enter my password, and occasionally my email, because my fingers are quite a bit bigger than my iPhone onscreen keypad. (And before some smart arse comes back with “make the screen bigger” I’ll relate that the BK app stays frozen in that one size no matter what I do with the screen size controls, you also cannot “roll” the screen on its side, which also makes the keyboard bigger.)

After a frustrating morning, I go onto the Internet to the BK app support site. Filling in a form, which frustratingly asks for my last 4 digits of my electronic application BK card (Note: Hey BK, if I cannot access my application and since there is nothing that tells me what the digits are apart from the application when I am on it, making this a “required” fill in is a bit…well to be blunt, f**king stupid.) and then requires a number of answers and then you can submit.

To the right of this frustrating form is a number to call, “If you have an immediate issue.” Which, this is. It is that time of month where I have no ready cash while waiting for my tiny prison service pension. Ergo, if I want to eat, and continue to use the free WiFi trouble free, I use my PayPal to fill my BK app and eat. The application has about  $15 loaded on it  that I cannot touch.

I call the “immediate” number and I am told that the application people will be in touch…in a day…or to wait a day for the change to correct itself. I explain, a bit testily, that I would like to eat over the next 24 hours and get apologies and the assurance that I will be receiving an email from the service team referencing my call.

I do, indeed get an email, which infuriatingly tells me how to recover my password. Something I already know how to do and have done so repeatedly with no success, hence the call.

I wait 24 hours, as suggested, and ring back today, 3 September 2015. I am told that due to the upcoming holiday weekend that I need to wait till Tuesday and if I have heard nothing by then to call back. I repeat that I have no other real way to access my money on the card and that their “advice” means that I will be starving until at least Tuesday.

More apologies are forthcoming.  The bottom line is this, I will, most likely, not get any response. Not till after the long “holiday” weekend.

It should probably be mentioned that PayPal also has issues in the area of customer service. Earlier in the year they “let the side down” on a Walmart purchase which was delivered to an old address (How on EARTH that came about is still beyond me.) I wound up paying for an item I never received.

I still use PayPal, I have to, and when I tried initially to get my money sorted via the company that I used to load $15 to my BK app, I was told to follow “protocol” and use the forms. The forms, however, do not include an option to get monies back paid on a “gift” card. It is always in reference to an item either not delivered or broken or not as promised.

Loading a gift card is not an item PayPal. Okay? Still that is another battle for another day.

In essence, despite the lovely people at my local BK, who tried like hell to help me out yesterday, my issue is still unresolved. I am still very annoyed, despite having gone down to the local Dollar Store and purchased a BK Crown card worth a tenner.

Why, you may ask, am I still annoyed? Well, I cannot reload this card. The Crown Card system does not take PayPal, which is the only “money” I have at the moment. So, it looks like I’ll be having to go back down to the store and buy another card…or two…if I want to eat, at least till my pension comes in.

Apart from that things are just peachy. (If one does not count the snotty response received from CBS EXPRESS who informed me that while I had access to SHOWTIME photos of shows, my little site was not important enough to get professional access from CBS, this after already being given access. Apparently my asking twice for access to videos of shows that I — USED TO  recap and review was annoying enough to warrant that response.

So, how’s your week been? Anyone else planning on starving over the Labor Day weekend?

Skeleton image via Google Images
Disclaimer. While this whole thing  is annoying, I won’t really “starve” over the long weekend…I will, however, lose weight.

 

Life in the Real Desert: The Stacy Keach Lookalike or Who WAS That?

Stacy Keach at film festival
Stacy…Was that you?

Life in the Real Desert continues to be amusing, challenging, frustrating and, sometimes, really odd. A perfect example of the “odd” occurred this morning when a Stacy Keach “lookalike” had a right old go at me outside the Burger King where I write most days. It may even have been Keach, Quartzsite is very close to the California border and I have seem people who look a bit like celebs pass through this little burg. If it was Stacy? Lay off the cocaine matey, it’s not good for you and makes you act like a grade A prick. Remember London Heathrow?

The details of my little “almost” altercation with Stacy Keach or his lookalike, began with my arriving and seeing that two well built (as in spending a bit of time on the old weights) chaps were sitting in “my spot.” (I normally sit in this booth because of the electrical sockets and it allows me to see my bike, it has been tampered with.) I had a chat with my mate and then got changed.

Coming out I noticed that the two fellers were still there. I decide to put my white box back on my Schwinn and then call my mum to tell her I’d heard from my daughter Meg. As I’m waiting for the phone to ring her end, I see this “Keach-looking” chap glaring bloody murder at me through the window.

I point to my chest and mouth, “Is there a problem?” Like a red flag to a bull, my gesture and question galvanized this man and he came charging out of the Burger King, I am still on the phone with it pressed to my ear. “Are you all right mate?” I ask, “Is there some sort of problem?”

Pointing a big “muscly” finger at me as he approached, very aggressively, he growled and said, “If you take another picture of me…” I pull the phone from my ear, “I’m not taking any pictures, I’m talking on the bloody phone.” My mother is on the other end asking what is going on and he then says “Stop taking pictures.”

I move the phone away from my face, “I’m on the phone to my mum mate. I’m not taking any pictures. Now you need to back off before I call the police, yeah?” (My inner London gangster type obviously comes out when threatened.) He replied that I could do just that but he then turned tail and went back into Burger King rather quickly. His mate came out as he went in and said, rather inexplicably, “The air conditioner is on inside.”

The whole incident lasted perhaps 10 seconds. “Stacy Keach” went back in the eatery and stormed up and down for a bit, apparently ranting about the issue. In the meantime a highway patrol vehicle drove up and went through the Drive-thru window. “Stacy” comes out and struts up and down outside Burger King, ignoring me, and then after making a big show of looking around the corners of the building got back into his car, shooting me a sideways look as he closed the passenger door.

It threw the man when I was not aggressive, but matter-of-fact. I did not threaten violence, although my hand was on the pepper spray and I was ready to use it. It must have sunk through that self important brain that I was not taking pictures of any type but he still felt the need to posture and act tough.

When he was storming up and down the walk outside, I actually pulled out my spray and opened my back pack to where my old prison baton was. Had he approached too closely again, he would have been sprayed and then thumped. Luckily for him, he will soon forget the old chappy with the MikesFilmTalk.com t-shirt who almost beat the devil out of him with an old prison baton.

The next time he may not be so lucky. Whether he is someone “important” or famous or really is Stacy Keach, he needs to curb that aggression. It’s not big, it’s not clever and it can get you hurt, or even worse, it can cause someone else to be hurt. I did not say it to you chum, but I had no idea who you were, or who you even think you are. Although after our little “altercation” it is apparent that he may think he is Kanye West…

Get a grip mate.

And if that was Stacy Keach? You just lost a long time fan mate. I do not think it was Keach, the man is 74 and I just watched his performance in the teen “weepy” If I Stay. The man who almost physically accosted me, just looked like Keach but younger, like the man did around his Mike Hammer days. Even when this cat realized that no one was taking his picture, there was no apology or explanation. A real gent…not.

One last word on the subject, during his entire stay at the local eatery, his car contained a dog in the back seat. There were no windows rolled down, that I could see, and this is the desert…in summer… Yeah, a real “tool” this chap, had I realized I would have called the police for the dog.

Experience Counts for Little With a Writing Sample: The Inquisitr

Screenshot of The Inquisitr recruitment page
It is interesting to note that The Inquisitr, which appears at first glance to be a content mill which requires 100 plus articles per month from its “staff,” require applicants to provide three examples of work published and then ask for a written sample. When submitting your three urls of past work they then state that to save time you may want to write a sample article based on topics provided by them.

After submitting prior work they then inform you that the sample must be written anyway. Fair enough. It is, after all, their company and if they prefer to not mention up front that the sample article is a requirement, so be it.

At no time are any guidelines offered for this sample. After punching out a fluff piece on Heidi Swedberg, a former Seinfeld cast member, I waited over the weekend with no response from my contact at The Inquistr. No email stating that they had received the sample and no feedback. After following up my submission with two emails, the first was a one-word query, “Feedback?” The second asked if they had even gotten the sample.

After getting a response saying that they had and it was being evaluated, the very next day I learn that they do not like the sample and it has not “passed the quality” evaluation required. Could I please write another one.

Uh…That would be a no.

Since 2011 I have written 2478 blog posts for my personal site, I wrote just under 2000 articles for the Guardian Liberty Voice, where I worked as Deputy Managing Editor for Entertainment, 40 articles for Viral Global News, since December 2014, around 7 for Rogue Cinema, I left to work at GLV, and around 3 or 4 for another company called WhatCulture! the last two sites paid nothing to their writers. These stories include interviews, film reviews, television recaps and reviews as well as other types of articles.

I did mention that I’d worked at the Guardian Liberty Voice for 18 months, my position and even provided a link to the site, where I wrote my little heart out, for pay. Their response was that they still required the sample. Again, fair enough. Except for the lack of guidelines, apart from it had to be around 400 words, I had no real issue with the requirement.

Such a short bit of work was a “walk in the park” and took little time to put together. Ensuring that nothing was plagiarized (to the best of my knowledge) and that it contained the “trending” information relevant to Ms. Swedberg was not a problem. This was to be, after all, a sample article, not to be published but used, I thought, to show what I could do. A little something that they would use to provide proper feedback on what they were looking for.

This was not the case. Their response? Write another one which may show your skills a bit better. There was no explanation of what I did “wrong” or what they were expecting. Entertainment pieces are not “real” journalism per se, I should know I’ve been writing these pieces for the last two years, so the bit I submitted should have been fine, on the off chance it was not, I expected a reason more forthcoming than “sorry, it’s not good enough.”

This “writing in the dark” process of applying for what appears to be a content mill site may work fine for them, and for other writers, but I am not playing this game. For one thing, it tells me that this is some sort of power play thing where they can tell then me I cannot write, ergo justifying a lower wage for my product. Either that or they surprised me and read my other blog post where I voiced my suspicions that they were either a sweat shop or content mill publication. I sincerely doubt the latter as they seem to have a system in place that does not recognize other work.

It seems that the requirement to submit three url’s of published work is nothing more than a chance to prove you have been published. The real part of the application is the sample article which does not include any guidelines.

Perhaps I am being picky here. They may be assuming that the basic journo rules that have been in effect for ever and ever, amen, are enough in the way of guidance. Fair enough, if that is the case, but when writing fluff, aka gossip, aka entertainment, the rules bend…a lot.

I already write for a site, which may or may not ever pay me anything. I do not contribute on a daily basis for a number of reasons which includes divvying up my time between memoirs, their site and my own personal blog all while trying to get my site monetized. On top of these time consuming things, I have no Internet, apart from my slow iPhone hotspot so I must ride to either the library or Burger King for Wi-Fi on my bike. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, the trip takes a minimum of 45 minutes one way.

Living on a pittance, and believe me it is a pittance, and trying to come up with money for Internet and still be able to eat is a challenge and one that I will not attempt until I can get a few more paying jobs under my belt.

I will end this long winded rant with one thought.

I worked for almost two years on a site that recruited new writers constantly. Hundreds applied on a regular basis and out of the stream of applicants who thought they could write, very few actually could string a sentence together and many of them knew English only as a second, or third, language. So thanks, but no thanks chaps at The Inquisitr. I’ll not play your game. Many will, I have no doubt, but I refuse to believe that my work failed a “quality” check and will not submit again (as I stated in my short email back).

Your loss.

9 June 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

America: The Land of the Big

Two overweight people on a benchSince I have been coming to Burger King to make use of their free Wi-Fi it has become apparent that America is the land of the big. Big Gulps being swallowed by big girthed people. The same huge folks who always go extra large for the small extra charge. These gargantuan folk are all ages and all seem to share the same appetites.

Watching these rotund and elephantine people from behind, they look like carbon copies of each other. The arm swinging waddle with bulging areas of fat beneath each armpit, the roll of fat round the waist and lumped on each hip. It is exhausting to see these huge examples of humanity move. The amount of effort required to move that much mass is amazing and tires me out just watching them move awkwardly toward their SUVs.

When I was a lad, being hefty was considered healthy. Skinny boys and girls were looked down upon. Those were the days when parents urged children to “eat that fat it’s good for you.” Put some meat on those bones boy. A time when those who did not have “love handles” would drink banana shakes with an egg or two in it to gain weight.

Times changed and people learned that eating fat was not good for you. Carrying around all that excess poundage was bad for your heart and meant that more than likely, those who had those “love handles” would meet their maker that little bit sooner.

Living in England for 32 years, I used to hear about “fat America” from mates and colleagues. While there, I observed quite a number of folks with weight problems and felt they were exaggerating. Surely the US was no worse than the UK. Since moving back though I noticed that the average size of the average American is “big.”

You can see them with those Big Gulp drinks, or their equivalent, eating the double whopper with extra cheese and the super-large fries, followed up with a large desert. Afterward, their hearts pound while moving all that fat through their veins and arteries. Heart attacks and strokes waiting to happen and when they fall, the floor will tremble.

It is depressing to witness so many trying so hard to kill themselves slowly with big appetites, big servings and little exercise apart from struggling to hit the next fast food outlet. Seeing fat parents, fat children and fat babies, is enough to put one off eating.

America land of the big you are burying yourself under the weight of food and drink. Learn moderation and exercise, before the entire country becomes a welter of bulging XXXL people who lose the use of their legs when these appendages refuse to carry the excess poundage.

For your own sake stop.

6 June 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

Life in the Real Desert: And Death

Death of a deer
Riding home last night after having spent hours in the Burger King making use of their wonderful Wi-Fi, I noticed a lot of buzzards in the darkening sky. Oddly, on my way to town much earlier in the day, a lone bird stood in the road just outside the estate. Standing motionless, it was seemed to be staring off into the desert at God knows what. The buzzard only moved when I stopped my bike to take a picture. Very camera shy these carrion eaters.

The first thing that sprang to mind was the scene from Wild Hogs where Woody, Doug, Bobby and Dudley (played with hilarious precision by William H. Macy) are walking their motorcycles along the desert road and a buzzard is patiently following the small group of men. I was not too perturbed as the featured creature was not paying any attention to me at all.

As I rounded a corner of the road, just before a deep wash that reeks of either dog or coyote, off to the right about 25 feet from the pavement lay a deer. Face pointed to the road, long eyelashes still as death and not a mark on him or her, at least not that I could see. It was quickly getting dark and despite the light being strong enough for my old eyes to see everything in stark detail, the iPhone 5 could not compensate for the dwindling sunlight.

I took a few pictures and then had to “tweak” them at home in order to make out the details. After remounting my bike, I started again for home. The buzzards who had been circling the deer flew down to the fresh carcass to join the one bold chappy who did not mind me taking his photo. There were roughly 10 of the birds scattered around the deer.

After a couple of strong pumps on the pedal, I was on my way. I looked the the left and broke out into gooseflesh. On two trees, mesquite I believe, there were another 30 buzzards all waiting for their turn. I know it was 30 as I stopped and counted. I was so shaken by this sight that I quite forgot to attempt a photo. It was, by now, a lot darker and most likely would not have come out.

Today on my way into town I watched for the body. I could not remember how far away the poor deceased creature lay from my house. Much further than I thought as it turned out. The huge amount of buzzards had disappeared and only around 5 to 10 were feasting on the creature’s body.

As I approached, using the video on my iPhone, the birds all took off. This enabled me to get a bit closer to inspect the “damage” done.

WARNING: This next bit is not for the squeamish.

Last evening, the deer was pretty much whole. It could have been sleeping as, from what I could see, there was no apparent cause of death. I remember wondering if it had been bitten by a rattlesnake as no wounds were visible. Today, the animal’s remains were dramatically reduced from their full state the day before. Apparently after I left the area a feeding frenzy ensued with not only buzzards eating their fill but coyotes as well?

Here is the uncut video:

I wondered, ever so briefly, whether or not this was the same deer who almost crossed in front of me back in February as I walked back to the estate after dark. It certainly had the same “lack of horn” as that one did, but it is highly unlikely. Just another reminder that the desert is not just full of life but death as well and that both rely upon the other to exist.

27 April 2015

Michael Knox-Smith