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…


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.


An Open Letter of Gratitude to Apple

Marketing shot of MacBookPro
Dear Apple,

Firstly I have to say that I was a reluctant convert to the MacBookPro. My daughter got one for her studies at University, and the run-up to Uni, College. Her, now aging, MacBookPro stood her in good stead during her time learning about the video game industry and still does quite well considering it is now several years old. She talked me into purchasing a Mac when my old PC bit the big one.

Amazingly enough, the big reason I decided upon the MacBookPro was the iMovie editing capability which, having watched my youngster edit her video reviews on game, looked infinitely easier than anything Microsoft had on offer.

I bought my Pro in 2013. I edited quite a number of videos in the UK, before you went and changed the way iMovie works. Still, I do not do videos that much anymore so that is not a real big issue, plus I’ve gotten used to the changes now so I forgive you for making it that bit more difficult.

So far my MacBookPro has survived being taken to South Africa on a whirlwind fact-finding tour where I had to interview several sources who claimed that Nelson Mandela died in June 2013 and not December as official sources insisted. It made a trip across the ocean to Las Vegas unscathed in 2014 and even managed to escape damage at the many conventions attended at Vegas. From The Amazing Comic Con to the Star Trek Convention, my MacBook resisted all my clumsy handling to stay scratch and dent free.

Later on at the start of 2015, while in the Southwest desert of Arizona, my MacBookPro has managed to keep working after being transported via backpack all over the hardpan floor and the local “one-horse” town. It still performs admirably despite it’s carrier falling down a wash while walking across the desert.

MacBookPro 11.4"
My trusty MacBookPro

It has also survived its owner being knocked off his bicycle by a hit and run driver in Love’s Truck Stop car park. An incident that resulted in my going airborne and landing on my back. The backpack with my trusty MacBookPro clunked heavily on the hard ground and 5 weeks later, when I could finally ride my bike again, I fell off the same bike outside the local Burger King and once again my poor MacBook hit the ground hard.

Despite all these tumbles and falls, the only real damage seems to have been on the case itself. A few scratches and dings that are superficial at best. This “cosmetic” damage has not interfered with the workings of my “laptop” and it still labour effortlessly as my only blogging and vlogging device. On top of being the instrument I used to write nearly 2,000 articles for the newspaper I worked for, it still functions as my main source of news from the outside world via the Internet.

My Survivor, you have to look close to see those scars…

I mention all this because I’ve never felt the need to write any sort of letter to any company, open or otherwise, about any of their products. My MacBookPro has proven to be the best purchase ever made by this consumer. Sadly, my iPhone 5 has not had quite the same track record, for some odd reason the display screens in my phone go off and I’ve had replacements twice now, but I am not complaining, as your customer service is head and shoulders above the competition.

In closing, let me just say thank you Apple for continuing to make such a workhorse of a laptop. I am writing this open letter of gratitude, admiration and praise about my MacBookPro, the one that I call survivor, and the dependable tool that I plan to use for a long, long time.

A most impressed customer,

Michael Knox-Smith

6 May 2015

The Face in the Clouds

author photograph of clouds

At first glance, the smudge in the clouds looked like God had taken the edge of His hand and smeared a hole in the oblique cover so He could see the desert below. I was amused and, not a little delighted, to see the effect in the evening sky. I stopped and held up my iPhone to take a couple of pictures of this phenomenon and there it was.

The face.

Not in the clouds, nor was it visible to the naked eye at least not to mine, it was on my iPhone display. I stood by the side of the hot road, dust swirling around my sore and swollen feet, transfixed by the face  on my phone. I was so absorbed that if the big guy himself suddenly appeared beside me, it would have gone unnoticed.

Looking at the face in the clouds, or more accurately the “space” in the clouds where some monstrous hand had scraped away the grayness for a better view, I realized that this was not the big fella, or gal. This was an evil and angry face. On the picture, which will be shared below, it looks more cartoonish, or even photoshopped, but looking at it through the lens of the iPhone, the peering image most certainly did not look like the work of an artist.

Unfortunately the iPhone 5 I possess, even with the lens zoomed to its maximum extent, did not capture the face as clearly as the display. The image looks different in the photograph. This variation, however, does nothing to keep this mysterious man, yes it’s very obviously male, from looking ominous and not a little scary. All this on top of being gloriously freaky and cool.

So, after this long winded build up, here is the picture:

Photograph of face in clouds

After walking another 600 yards or so, glancing at the furious visage in the sky above me, I decided to take another snap:

Photograph of face in clouds

Once again, the display on the phone was clearer than the final photo. Probably down to my dubious skills as operator rather than any limitations of the equipment itself. This time, the face was an almost 3/4 profile looking partially at me (in my mind at least) and  where I was heading. Still rather disconcerting and spooky.

Taking a few more snaps, I turned and headed home. The face in the clouds had topped off an odd, and strenuous day. It also “weirded” me out a little.  But not enough to take away the delight at this wonder of nature. Where a face, so clear and concise that I could see the anger in its huge glare,  gazed  down at my lonely walk home across the desert.

20 February 2015

Earth to Echo Millennial Version of ET (Review/Video)

Earth to Echo Millennial Version of ET (Review/Video)

Watching the screening of Earth to Echo, it became apparent that this was the millennial version of Steven Spielberg’s ET. While this may have seemed like a good idea at one time, the decision to make the film in the same “guerilla” style as Cloverfield detracted quite a lot from the enjoyment factor of the movie.
Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2014/06/earth-to-echo-millennial-version-of-et-reviewvideo/#sYiO3jWGuta6Ezs1.99

New Toys


As I drag myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century, I find the collecting of new technical toys makes the journey less fraught and more enjoyable. That is not to say that this act of self dragging is not without its more stressful  moments. I have been trying to change the password on my new iPhone server for most of the day with no success.

But the culmination of all these new toys: MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone is that all my files (and therefore my “work”) are within easy access to me. I now have at my finger-tips, all the information via the internet or applications that utilise the internet that I could possibly use.

The photo at the top of this blog post was taken two days ago in a Norwich Starbucks with my iPad. It was an experimental gesture, which explains why I have such a bemused look on my face. I have “played” with all my new “toys” and found that in some cases that they are very user-friendly and in others, downright hostile.

I am fairly computer literate. Or at least, I once was. Years ago I got in on the ground floor of these “new-fangled” home computers, of course these new home computers were just practice for the office machines that we would soon be getting in our workplace. The “jump” was deemed necessary because we didn’t want to appear stupid. (or at least too stupid)

I remember the first ever work-related computer conference that we were required to attend as part of our foray into this new world. The chap running it initially addressed the crowd with the  words, “And if all else fails? Control, Alt, Delete.” The room exploded into laughter. We’d all been there, done that and had the various tee-shirts. Soon after, we got past the ctrl, alt,del stage of our knowledge, but we never forgot that “newness” and the feeling that we were heading for territory that, once entered, could never be left.

I have, over the years, sort of ‘dumbed” myself down. Many of my peers (and this amazes me) are not computer literate nor do they wish to be. They have the novice’s mistrust of the machine. They still fear that they will do something that will cause it to blow up or crash. This explosion or “death-knell” will be costly and complicated to fix. Better to not depend on these new-fangled gadgets than to waste all that money on something that little Timmy or Ellen can use in their sleep.

I am not sure where this idea came from. This belief that computers and electrical gadgets are for the young only. Sure kids pick it up quickly, it’s in their very nature to pick up new things quickly. Schools teach kids everyday and rely on computers to help handle the modern curriculum.

In the Norwich Apple store today, while I was getting my new phone charged up, I noticed a huge amount of what can only be termed as geriatric’s learning how to use iPads and MacBooks. The average age around that table of learning was about 65 or 70. Old ladies with blue-rinsed hair and old men with canes and comfortable shoes were learning about the intricacies of these modern 21st century toys.

They were, I might add, apparently doing very well. I do know that Apple pride themselves (quite rightly) for their after sales customer service, but I do believe that if the old folks being shown these new (to them) products were having too much trouble, I would have seen the smiles of the staff start to slip. I saw not one smile threaten to disappear nor slide into an exasperated frown.

After today, I don’t feel like “The Lone Ranger” in search of a computer loving Tonto. I feel like more folks my age and older are embracing the computer age right along with me. Of course some of the more arthritic ridden won’t opt for the iPhone, I think that if they had nimbler fingers that they would be joining me there as well.

I tried out my new phone’s camera today, and although my photographic skills leave a lot to be desired (Lord Snowdon has nothing to worry about) I can at least capture the image I am aiming at. Even if I am sharing the shot with my subject via my reflection.

Scary gorilla and some shadowy chap taking his picture.
Scary gorilla and some shadowy chap taking his picture.
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