A letter to Sprint, HTC, and Android…


This is my letter to anyone within the Sprint, HTC, and Android organizations who will listen to my plea for an actual quick and final solution to my phone problem…

Hello,

I’m writing to inform you of a problem that I’ve had with Sprint customer service, HTC‘s hardware, and Android‘s operating system.  I’m not sure what kind of answer or resolution I’m looking for.  I just feel the need to tell someone or everyone how unacceptable Sprint’s service (or lack thereof) has been lately as related to multiple HTC or Android errors.

It started about two weeks ago, shortly after I applied the latest update as prompted by the phone.  My original HTC EVO 4G LTE purchased only in September started going crazy.  The screen would freeze, become slow or completely unresponsive.  It would eventually load a screen that looked like TV static… only not moving.  Naturally, I took it to the Sprint store.  They also tried to blame the problem on various apps and settings. They did a soft rest, a hard reset, and even apparently looked up the problem on the internet.  I had to leave my phone overnight and pick it up the next day.  Well, the next day I was given a new or refurbished phone.  The store employee said he couldn’t tell if it was new or refurbished.  He said it might be new because the phone itself was rather new and they might not have refurbs yet.  I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell a new phone from a refurbished one.

So, after updating the new phone, reinstalling some apps, and setting everything up the way I had it on the old one…  I started to notice a minor annoyance.  If I opened a browser link through Facebook, email, or Twitter it would immediately close after it fully loaded.  I took it to the Sprint store that Saturday morning.  Again, they did the soft & hard resets, and tried to blame it on an App.  They changed some settings in the phone that were telling the phone to look for a 4G network.  When I went back in after leaving the store & running into the browser-closing problem again…  The next guy changed that setting back and told me that I shouldn’t have changed it… and wouldn’t listen when I told him the last guy had just changed it.  Oddly enough, I was told that the 4G network would be in the area by January when I purchased the 4G phone.  When I told the person helping me at the Sprint store that I was told that… he says they were never given a timeline.  Is lying part of your training as a Sprint customer service representative or sales person?  What about intimidation and making someone feel like they’re not using their phone properly?

I was persuaded out of getting a 2nd replacement phone.  I was told to delete all of my apps, add them back one by one to see which was causing the problem.  The browser-closing problem was happening even without any added apps.  Now it was shutting the phone off each time the browser crashed.  I can assure you that I’m not an idiot when it comes to technology.  I was told I was part of a percentage of HTC users that were having a similar problem, and that a replacement phone could potentially have the same issues… and to wait for HTC to make the next update.  So, the solution was to wait?

My phone has taken to shutting itself off all week at random intervals.  I can be talking on the phone, using Facebook, or not even be near the phone.  It just shuts itself off.  It comes back on, and I send HTC an error report.  Where do these error reports go?  Do they do any good?  Is anyone working on the problem?  Is this an HTC problem, or an Android problem?

Well, I waited a week.  This Saturday I went back to the Sprint store, looking for a replacement phone.  I work on the road & I have a pregnant wife.  I need my phone to be functioning properly all the time.  Again, we went through the hard reset option, and my apps were blamed. “Unfortunately Android is an open system” they said.  “It must be a bug.”  What about this mysterious problem that a certain percentage of HTC users had encountered?  (I wish I could remember the percentage, I was told 10% or 20%, I believe.) A week has gone by with an apparently large bug issue, and nothing has been done about it?

Lookout

All clean!

I was advised to install the Lookout app.  I guess that app’s OK.  I was told it would hunt out any apps that were messing up my phone.  So, another thing to add to my monthly bill…  Of course it’s not free or a one-time fee.  As I tried to download & install Lookout, my phone shut itself off.  I handed it to the woman assisting me, and it shut off for her again.  She took it back to the technician.  Again.  Their advice was to run this app, and hope for the best.

Upon walking out of the store, I ran the app & it found no problems with any of my installed apps.  I went back into the store, and this time they decided to put in a “ticket” for a replacement phone.  I really have to wait again?  A phone may be in by Tuesday.  Again, I will have to re-download my apps, re-import my contacts, put all of my settings back.  This will be the 5th time within the span of three weeks.

I left the store hoping to go on about my day, & my phone went into some “HD media link” video after hanging up on my wife in the middle of a conversation where I was expressing to her my exasperation with the entire situation.  I went back to the store asking for the next level of solution.  An entirely new phone?  I’m not eligible for anything other than the ridiculously outrageous full prices because I’m not eligible for a new phone, or wouldn’t be singing up for a new line.  I have been a Sprint customer for over 10 years.  You would think that would carry some sort of weight.  You would think I could “split the difference” in purchasing a new phone with some kind of discount.  You would think a quick affordable solution would be offered instead of feigned apologies & being told to wait.  I feel like I might as well have been talking to the brick wall in front of the store.  It would have offered the same resolutions & peace of mind.

The early termination fees are the moral equivalent of extortion.  I am tempted to move all five lines in our plan to another carrier.  For what we pay for 5 lines total per month, you’d think Sprint would like to keep us happy.  Once all the 2 year limits are up (and they’ll all be happening around the same time), we will be moving to another carrier.  I know that Verizon has better signal/coverage in our area anyway.

I think that HTC and Android may find it interesting that Sprint employees routinely verbally (pardon the expression) shit all over the hardware, firmware, software & apps before any diagnosis is even made.  Perhaps you ought to review your arrangements with how Sprint “supports” your products.

HTC ought to be a little more transparent as to where the error reports go…  and maybe perhaps respond to them?  Let someone know that you’re working on the issue.  Maybe let Sprint or other carriers know if you’re having a major issue or if you get 10+ error reports from the same phone in one day.

If anyone can offer a solution or explanation that doesn’t throw another entity under the proverbial bus, I’d love to hear it.  I just wanted to let everyone involved see how poorly their products & services are being represented.  Writing this & eventually blogging it will hopefully be therapeutic.  It’s an added bonus if it helps bring to light a seemingly never-ending careless customer service loop, and even better if it gets something resolved.

Thank you for your time in reading of my misadventures, I hope to hear your thoughts.

Disgruntled & disgusted,
-Eric

Some more phone info if you need it:

Sprint Fail

Sprint Fail (Photo credit: evo_terra)

The Car Sales Handbook


USED CAR SALESMAN KITTY

Looks like a good deal...

From recent experiences, I believe that I’ve come up with the set of rules by which all car sales people are directed to operate.

It may seem simple, but I believe it’s a highly complicated dance designed to wear you down mentally.  I’m sure this isn’t their handbook word for ludicrous word, but I’m also sure that it’s pretty close.  If you can get your hands on a copy, let me know.  I’d like to see it.

  1. When someone emails you, uses your website, or uses a 3rd party website like Yahoo! Autos, don’t reply.  Call them.
  2. Call repeatedly thereafter.
  3. Send out form-letterish very spam-like emails.  Repeatedly.  Don’t reply to any replies.  Call.
  4. Call again.  Leave a message every other time.
  5. If you must send an email reply, include your office number, extension, and cell phone number… and ask the potential customer to call you.  Perhaps express that you’ve been trying to call.
  6. Don’t answer any questions about price or inventory via email or over the phone.  Get the customer to the dealer.
  7. If they ask about used cars, show them new cars.  If they ask about new cars, show them used cars.
  8. When the customer discusses comfortable monthly payments, always shoot $50-$75 higher than that number.
  9. After they express disinterest, call them again.
  10. Send emails with customer satisfaction survey links that lead to broken pages.
  11. Call again.  Leave a message.  Be sure to say “buddy” or “friend”.
  12. Call, once more.  Don’t leave a message.
  13. Call again, ask why potential customer didn’t like car/deal.
  14. Send a plethora of from emails from the dealer, manager, and sales person asking customer to call the dealer to discuss auto purchase options.
  15. Call & leave a message stating that you reached out via email, ask them to call you back.
  16. Wait 2 months, call again.  Leave message asking for a call back.
  17. Have you tried calling the customer?
Antique telephones

Tele-what?

I’m starting to wonder if perhaps payment is no longer based on commission, but on time spent on the phone.  Holy cow.  The barrage is instant and never-ending if you use a site that spits out emails to several dealers at once.  It creates absolute telephone chaos.  It’s 2011.  Can we conduct business/ask questions via email… especially if I take the time to note “via email” as my contact preference?

If you know me, you know I’m not a big fan of telephone conversations.  I like email.  Texting is OK.  I’ve had friends who have been my friends for many years, and our total phone-talk time probably amounts to a few hours.  Even if you don’t know me… it would be safe to assume that if I was using the internet to research/reach out to you, I might be more comfortable with an email.  (Otherwise, I would have called you… or just stopped by.)

Do you feel that I’ve missed any auto sales rules?  Please, add to the list in the comments section!

AskCensus | A response on the ACS from the US Census Bureau:


So, out of all the people that I asked about the American Community Survey, none are so relevant as the U.S. Census Bureau itself.  After all, they’re the ones who put it out.  While PA State Rep. John Maher’s response is insightful and amusing, and the Spencarian’s Benjamin Kirby offers a different perspective… only the Census Bureau can comment officially.  It took me slightly longer than their professed 2-day response time to get back to me, but I’m sure they have better things to do than respond to some goofy idiot with pseudonym and an email account.  Also to be fair, they did kind of address my concerns on the FAQ.  I was just a little more long-winded about it.

Well, without further adieu, here’s what they had to say…

– ☞⌨☜ –

from: AskCensus <askcensus@custhelp.com>
reply-to: AskCensus <askcensus@custhelp.com>
to: recrat.demopublican@gmail.com
date: Thu, Oct 28, 2010
subject: The American Community Survey? [Incident: 000000-000000]

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 0 days.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

To access your question from our support site, click here.

Subject
The American Community Survey?
Discussion Thread
Response (ACSO – SLH) 10/28/2010 16:21
Thank you for using the US Census Bureau’s Question & Answer Center.  

We appreciate your feedback regarding the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. You make many valid points and in a world free of people too busy to respond we could easily get by with one mailing. As it is, our research has shown better response results from multiple mailings and reminder cards and for this program using multiple mailings to get someone to respond to the paper questionnaire is cheaper than obtaining the information by phone or personal visit.

As for the Internet response option we are in the development and testing phase for this application. The Director of the Census Bureau, Dr. Groves, supports this project not only for the ACS but also for the 2020 Census.

As for reducing the time burden on the American public, the director is dedicating resources to researching adminstrative/alternative sources for the information collected on the ACS and Census forms.

If you need more information or have further questions about the ACS, please call our Customer Services Center on 1 (800) 923-8282.

Question Reference #000000-000000
Escalation Level: 16 hours from created
Category Level 1: American Community Survey
Date Created: 10/20/2010 10:49
Last Updated: 10/28/2010 16:21
Status: Solved PII (Admin)
Cc:

[—000:000000:00000—]

– ☞⌨☜ –

Well, that was certainly bland, but at least they are looking to technological advances in the future.  I still see this statement as crazy: “…for this program using multiple mailings to get someone to respond to the paper questionnaire is cheaper than obtaining the information by phone or personal visit.”  I’d love to see that on paper.  (Or better yet, in an email.)

 

 

 

 

 

The Spencarian’s Benjamin Kirby | Thoughts on the ACS…


So, you ready my letter to anyone who would listen about the American Community Survey, right?  Hopefully you’ve also read the amusing reply from PA State Rep. John Maher.  Now we have the thoughts of political blogger, Benjamin Kirby of The Spencerian.  Through the magic of Google I happened upon his blog, saw that he liked answering political questions, and (of course) asked my question(s).  I got an excellent reply…

from: Benjamin Kirby <bkirby816@yahoo.com>
to: Recrat Demopublican <recrat.demopublican@gmail.com>
date: Thu, Oct 21, 2010
subject: Re: A POLITICAL QUESTION: The American Community Survey?

Hey, great letter, Recrat!  Really good.

I’ll try to answer it on the blog — you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t re-post the whole thing.  I’ll try to do your general concept justice, though.

Just as a quick answer, let me say that I think you’ll see huge changes in things like the ACS as well as the ten-year census over the next five to ten years.  We have Facebook, Twitter, and who knows what else in the future.  There is almost no reason to cut down a forest to do the ACS.

That said, I know some people who rely on the data the ACS provides, and it.  Is.  Critical.  It’s really important stuff, and it’s so important that people fill it out, that they’ll do whatever it takes to get their attention.  There’s the old marketing adage: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them.  And the only way the government can do that efficiently right now is through snail mail and paper.  Sounds weird, I know — but it’s true.

We’ll explore this more in the post in the next few days.

Thanks so much.

BJK

…and it was followed-up by a blog post:

Q & A: Answering a Question with a Question

I won’t re-post the whole thing here, but I would urge you to check out his blog, and post your comments there or here.

An excerpt…

First of all, let’s be totally fair to Recrat: he asked a great question.  The only problem with it was that it was in the neighborhood of, oh, around 1,250 words.  The highlights he asked about involved wasted resources in producing the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in the area of money, time, energy, and paper.

Ha ha.  Sorry for being wordy, but…

Hello Pot...  ...Meet Kettle.

I guess it’s in all of us blog people. 

ACS Response from John A. Maher (PA House of Representatives)


I sent my letter about the American Community Survey to several politicians… from the mayor of my little town, to the mayor of Pittsburgh, to Pennsylvania representatives & senators, our US representatives & senators, and even the President Himself.

Only one politician has replied so far, and it’s been about 2 weeks since my missive first went out.  I figured it’s time to share, although I may keep trying.  Maybe this warrants some more snail mail.  Our first response comes from Pennsylvania State Representative John Maher:

– ★★★ –

from: John Maher <jmaher@pahousegop.com>
to: recrat.demopublican@gmail.com
date: Fri, Oct 22, 2010
subject: ACS
mailed-by: pahousegop.com

Congratulations on creating the most notable email nomme de plume that I have seen in some time!

I have a special appreciation for your experience, having been selected myself for the extended census exercise in 2000 AND 1990.  (While that is certainly not a statistical impossibility, it did cause me to ponder the veracity of the sampling method.)

Across the decade ahead, trillions of dollars of taxpayer money will be “driven out” to states, school districts, local governments and others feeding from the trough of the taxpayer using formulae anchored to the census results.  Getting the data right to begin with strikes me as a desirable goal.  Could the Census folks be more efficient?  I thought so before and am emphatic now.  Those selected for the expanded survey should be provided an access code and directed to a web site to complete the process.  Not only will forests of paper be saved, but tallying the results will require no human processing either.  Those without access to computers would dial a toll-free number, tap in the access code, and the pound of paper could be delivered.

I recall attaching a note to that effect with my response to the 2000 survey but the federal government is generally uninterested in the thoughts of a state legislator.

A larger complaint for me arises from seeing how census and other data is not used thoughtfully to measure or address concerns in a scientific, unbiased manner, but rather exploited selectively as raw ingredients to contrive formulae that accomplish what those with such power wish to accomplish.  When government behaves that way (which seems to be frequent), why bother collecting the data at all?

Thanks for taking time to send along such a thoughtful note.

John

John A. Maher
Member, House of Representatives
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

– ★★★ –

I like this guy.  His words aren’t calculated, his opinions aren’t guarded, and he has an obvious disdain for the large bureaucracy of the federal government.  (…perhaps a little animosity there too, or is that just me?) I have to agree with his last paragraph there, it seems like that backwards science all the conspiracy theorists spout about.  Just how is this data being put to use?  Shouldn’t the government already know how many people are living here and how much I made last year by looking at my Taxes?

I wrote back, and haven’t had a second reply, so I’ll leave you with my last communication:

– ★★★ –

from: <recrat.demopublican@gmail.com>
to: John Maher <jmaher@pahousegop.com>
date: Mon, Oct 25, 2010
subject: Re: ACS
mailed-by: gmail.com

Thank you for your swift & thoughtful reply, Congressman Maher!  I’m also gald you enjoyed my nomme de plume, ha ha.  I almost feel a fear for speaking my mind… something I was raised to believe should never be a problem in the great country in which we live.

I can understand your frustration with the federal government as a state legislator.  The states were originally given the majority of power.. and it seems to have shifted over the last century.

I agree completely with your assessment that we ought to be given an access code to complete the survey via internet or toll free phone number.  I’ve been e-filing my taxes since I was able, and before that I remember doing them by phone along with a simple questionnaire/help sheet on news print… that had to be over a decade ago now.  The waste associated with this whole thing is just mind-boggling.

While I understand the need for the federal government to collect data for programs they deem necessary, why not let local governments address the problems in their area, then ask the federal government for support to create their own solutions?

I really do appreciate your reply, and I will pass your name on to other voters as someone who cares about the people that they represent, and is up to the times with electronic communication.  You may be interested to also know that yours is the first reply I received out of the dozen or so politicians, government agencies, and political pundits that I’ve contacted via webforms or email… and so far the only politician to reply!

Keep up the good work, and as a citizen, I thank you for your service & commitment to the people!

-Recrat Demopublican

– ★★★ –

The American Community Survey – A letter to anyone who will listen/read/answer…


I did blog about the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey before, but I felt that my blog wasn’t enough.  I decided to try and reach out to the government, some politicians, some political pundits, and even one political blogger to express my concerns.  I’ve been sitting on this a while waiting for some more concrete replies, but there haven’t been that many.  We’ll get to the replies in later posts, but first I (with Editing help from Dave of course) present to you the letter:

– ☆ · ⌘ • ✍ • ⌘ · ☆ –

Dear [Gub’ment Employee],

Thank you for taking the time to make yourself accessible via email and/or the web, and available to address my concerns.  I realize that as a steward of the people and a government employee, your time is quite valuable. The point of my missive is speaking out against what I view as the waist of resources, money, and even time, so I will try to get right to the point.

Recently, I was notified via mail that I was a picked “at random” as a participant in the American Community Survey.  Then, a week or so later, I received the survey itself.  If it follows the same pattern as the 2010 Census, I will get two more notifications, and someone will show up at the door to ask me the questions even though it has been filled out and sent in.  Barring any other concern about the 2010 Census and focusing on the ACS, this is what I (along with 3 million other Americans) received:

  • Pre-notice Letter
  • Introductory Letter
  • ACS Questionnaire
  • ACS Instruction Guide
  • Frequently Asked Questions Brochure
  • Follow-up Letter
  • Reminder Card
  • Outgoing Envelope
  • Return Envelope

For my purposes I’d like to ignore (for the most part) the arguable statistical value of questions like when the building in which I reside was built, what time I leave for work in the morning, and how many people are in my car with me when I go to work.  I do enjoy the extensive reasons for asking each question available at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/ – but *.pdf is a “clunky” way to present them.  I would like to say that your reason for asking about the year my residence was built, “Age of housing is used to forecast future energy consumption” is flawed.  If my building was built in 1920, but recently retro-fitted with new windows, insulation, and a new energy-star furnace and/or central air, it might be better off energy-consumption-wise than a house built in the late 60’s with all original water-heaters, furnaces, etc.  (On a humorous note – remember the infamous man who had a baby a few years back?  Question 24 instructs you to only answer if you’re female and have given birth. He would now be a man and would have given birth. This could not be recorded as instructed.  Perhaps they ought to look at amending that in the follow-up survey 10 years from now?)

But, I did not intend my letter to argue the survey content. I would like to stick to what I believe is a more pressing and relevant issue, waste.  Here is what I feel was wasted in the ACS mailings.

Paper: I am not a crazy environmental activist, and I even question the actual savings when related to energy consumption on recycling, but even I am appalled at the waste of paper here.  That is three letters, a reminder card, the survey itself, a glossy FAQ brochure, and a 16-page “how to answer questions in this survey” booklet, plus the survey itself, and envelopes for all of the outgoing and return mailings except for the card times three million.  The letters alone are 9 million wasted pieces of 8½” x 11″ paper.  Think about that number.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen 9 million of anything.  The survey itself couldn’t have stated its purpose on the opening page without the need of a cover letter?  Did we really need the 16-page guide on filling out the survey?  Including the support phone number wasn’t enough?  I am not even factoring in the ink and envelope glue here.  It is 2010; I would think that most people have access to the internet or a telephone, even if it is someone else’s phone or the internet at a local library (which is still free in most communities, right?).  Why not send out a post-card or registered letter instructing people to take the survey via the web or by phone?  It can’t be much different from what has already been set up as a “support” to the paper survey.

Energy: How much energy was consumed in creating and transporting all of these mailings?  Eliminating the “you’re going to get a survey” and the “you should have gotten a survey” letters alone would have saved so much effort and, I am assuming, electricity unless you have a warehouse full of employees cranking out these surveys on Ben Franklin’s old printing presses.  Even the energy that went into the creation of this thing can be factored in.  How much gasoline and jet fuel was consumed in mailing these surveys?  So, under energy, we are wasting human energy/effort, electricity, and fossil fuels (unless every piece of mail was delivered by electric car from plants that do not use coal for electricity production).

Time: This concern is connected with the human effort element. How many people spent time on this?  How many man hours were spent compiling the questions, deliberating on how to word them, which ones to use and in what order, writing explanations on why they’re being asked, layouts for those designed, extra pamphlets proposed, decided upon, and designed, websites built, toll free help-lines set up, etc?  Then we have all of the labor; the actual creation of the paper, the printing, and the distribution?  How many people will be sent out to ask follow-up questions?  I’ll give you that my time wasn’t wasted in filling out the survey, and I’m arguably wasting more of my own time writing this letter… but what about my time wasted reading the “you’re going to get a survey” and the upcoming “you should have received a survey” letters?

Money: Certainly all of the people involved in this have been paid for their contributions; direct government employees are also receiving what I hear are excellent benefit packages.  If contracted work was used, I’m sure they were paid prevailing wages for jobs done for the government.  I’m sure the paper, ink, and distribution were not free.  I know the government does not pay for mail sent via the postal service, but how does that work?  Does it all actually go for free, or does the post office bill it out to the different government agencies per usage?  And, if you believe the old adage that time is money, then see the preceding paragraph again.  Shouldn’t taxpayers be able to vote on whether we’d like money to go into projects like this survey, or the more pressing social-programs that your survey professes to bolster once all of the information is gathered?  What about something as simple as food for the hungry, medical care for those who can’t afford it, or subsidizing housing for the homeless?  If money is going to infrastructure, why not ask the government employees about the road conditions that they encounter on the way to work on federal, state, and local levels?

While I do take a certain pride in being selected for performing a civic duty, I cannot help but wonder about the deployment of something like this on such a massive scale.  I understand that one may feel that the collection of this data is imperative, but perhaps the process through which it has been undertaken can be reviewed.  Perhaps the next time this survey is taken, eliminating so much paper will be a more viable option with new technologies appearing almost daily.

Thank you again for your time, I really do appreciate that you have made yourself available to read my concerns.

Sincerely,
-Recrat Demopublican
recrat.demopublican@gmail.com

– ☆ · ⌘ • ✍ • ⌘ · ☆ –

I have no idea why I chose to use a pseudonym when the intent was to post it here anyway… but I did.  I’d like to hear your thoughts before I post replies form others.

 

Why I’d rather be punched in the testicles than call customer service – The Oatmeal


Why I’d rather be punched in the testicles than call customer service – The Oatmeal.

Genius.

Blowin’ in the wind.


If you live in the ‘Burgh, you know we got some serious storm winds & some damage on Friday afternoon.  The storm hit one of my favorite places to take photos, Dormont Park.  So, of course I got some pictures of some trees knocked over and a utility pole down.

To see the whole album, check it out in slideshow or grid form.  We were without power for about a day and a half… and no damage was done to our place, so it could have been a lot worse.  I just thought the twisted broken trees made for some good photo subjects.

I reported the downed utility pole to Duquesne Light on Saturday right after I saw it… went back to look around today, it was still down… no caution tape or anything up, so I called the Dormont police.  Hopefully they send someone in to clean up, there’s usually a decent amount of people in the park, hope no one would come across the stuff & get hurt.

Also, in the same set of photos… nothing really to do with the storm, we hit up Chick-fil-A for breakfast & the use of a power outlet to charge our phones on Saturday morning as our power was out, I happened to have my camera in the car… I saw some kind of hawk or falcon on a light pole near the Chick-fil-A in South Hills.  At first I thought it was an owl, upon a second glance I really wasn’t sure at all.

Anyone know what it is?

Some kind of bird of prey outside Chick-fil-A in the South Hills...

3 shots of the Chick-fil-A Bird...

The Creepy Mrs. Claus


So, on Friday, we boxed up the fall decorations, took ’em to the basement, and brought up the Christmas decorations. My wife, Bethany, put out most of the smaller decorations that go around the apartment, we’ll probably do the tree and maybe some outside lights by the end of the week.

As I was laying on the couch Friday night while we were watching TV… I felt like I was being watched. I was! There was a creepy set of tiny gnome-like yes staring right through me from the coffee table.

It was a tiny eerie Mrs. Claus salt (or pepper) shaker. It must be a set… no idea where they’re from. Mr’s Claus’ apron actually even looks like it was melted a little at one point in time. Perhaps she was stored in a hot attic, near some warm holiday lights, or near a radiator?

So, I did what any normal person would do (I hope)… and I turned the creepy little thing so it was no longer facing me.

Bethany erupted in a fit of laughter, because I was obviously disturbed by a tiny inanimate object.

Saturday morning, I stepped into the shower stall, and Mrs. Claus was eight there on top of the shampoo dispenser looking right at my naked figure.

Game on. Bethany wins the first round.

Needless to say, Mrs. Claus was all over the house this weekend.

We’ve played this game before with empty toilet paper rolls… because someone refuses to change them when they’re done, and just sets a new roll on the window sill. Not naming anyone here, I’m just sayin’. They’ve ended up in pillowcases, in the freezer, in the car… you name it.

This morning, I used my cell phone to capture an image of the disturbing little holiday figurine, Photobucket to save it, paint.NET to crop it, and then I emailed it to my wife’s Yahoo!, Hotmail, & Work email addresses, and her phone.

Not sure where to go next… but I thought I’d share the creepy Mrs. Claus image, in case you had anyone that you wanted to creep-out.

Maybe I’ll eventually have to get a better photo with the camera. This one’s a little blurry.