September 12th, 2013

anti-whatever

Angie's List -- Seriously???

What's the story with Angie's List???

When my friend Sandy first told me about Angie's List years ago, I thought she was crazy to be using a service she needed to pay for. Since then I've revised my thinking -- obviously, as Marilyn and I have subscribed since September of 2011.

But I just don't get it: Why do they CONSTANTLY nag subscribers to give them reviews? Look, Angie's List, we're PAYING for your service! Yes, I think it's great for subscribers to offer you reviews, but on the other hand, I don't feel we OWE you reviews.

The problem in our case? We've NEVER used Angie's List even once during the time we've been subscribing. Not even once.

Marilyn still vets products the way she always has -- and she's very detailed and organized about doing so. We both use the internet extensively for information about products and services (and we have ever since we got online). But we've never gotten in the habit of using Angie's List.

(I'm not even sure WHY we have a subscription, in all honesty...)

I just logged in to the website and discovered it's almost time for us to renew -- and it's AUTOMATIC annually. By the way, this is not an inexpensive service. It runs $62.40 a year, which I happen to think it's on the spendy side. (Certainly compared to what Marilyn and I pay for our various websites, or used to pay annually for our LiveJournal accounts, etc. Generally the services we purchase run under $30 a year. Maybe that seems low when considering 12 months, but these various charges do add up, after all...)

By the way, they send us physical 'magazines' (little paper books that measure 5 1/2" by 8 1/2" and are mostly full of ads). We never read these (and Marilyn considers it a major PAIN to even have them around!!!). I keep these, though I'm not sure why. I'm not even sure if having an ad in their magazine means that Angie's List endorses them. STRIKE THAT. I just read that they have a rating scale of A - F. Providers who are A-B can provide 'coupons' that they share in the magazine. Plus: "Angie's List also accepts advertising for products and services we don't rate. Those ads appear separately from the coupon section. Angie's List charges all participating providers a fee that helps offset the cost of sending you the magazine each month."

Um. Really? Is it just me, or doesn't that seem to contradict their statement that "...no one can pay to be on Angie's List..." ???

Okay, I just did an online search for reviews on Angie's List. Let's just say I found an article that was very clear about the downside of her service. And the comments? There wasn't a single positive comment! I learned that once a business has been vetted by customers, Angie's List will approach them to pay to be placed higher on the list. Really???

Marilyn and I almost cancelled last year. I can't recall WHY we didn't. But I just got done discussing it with her and deciding it was time to cancel before we were AUTO RENEWED (which would have happened in a few days, actually -- timing is everything!). I just got off the phone from doing exactly that...

Here's the thing: Most people will NOT pay for this service. Meaning only a small group of people will subscribe. Which further means that you're dealing with a tiny percentage of reviews in any given place.

Oh! I forgot to say that you pay for this service for the city you reside in, only. If you want to add another city, there's an additional fee...

The final 'humor' associated with this? I was on hold for some time while waiting to cancel. They play old TV series theme songs, mixed with various messages. These include 'helpful hints' -- and they tell you ways you can vet products and services. One suggestion was to hire a private investigator! Um, if I'm using YOUR SERVICE, why would I need to do that??? And if I'm going to do that, why I do I need your service???

The best part of all this? This is another LiveJournal Rant that's ended up with positive results!

Thanks, Angie, for being SO DAMN ANNOYING with your constant nagging emails that I decided to write this LJ rant. It just saved us $62.40! Plus all the aggravation of those silly magazines and constant emails.

I do have to say this: Their telephone support people are EXCELLENT. I seem to recall that it was one of these people who convinced us not to cancel last year (!!!), now that I think about it. And I was impressed by both people I spoke with today, too. They immediately offer you a major discount for renewal, by the way. At least I wasn't stupid enough to go there this time around.

So much for Angie's List. We live and learn, thank God!

bike-charlie

My Bike. Farewell... (sigh)

Remember my BIKE???

It was stolen today.

If you follow the above link, you can read all about it, and how I feel about it -- and see some pictures of it, too.

Gosh, I'm SO GLAD I have those photos. They're all that's left. Except for my WONDERFUL memories, of course. Those will always be with me...

Yeah, it's just a thing. And it was an old, beat up bike, at best. It's probably silly to feel so hurt about the loss.

It was taken right out of our garage. Scary, huh? What nerve to go into our garage and nab it. And who else would want it? It's old and clunky. It's heavy and not at all pretty.

But it does have awesome folding baskets (that you can seem to find anymore) on either side. And brand new tires. And I've added and added to it over the years, a little at a time. I liked the way the handle bars went and how I could sit the way I did. And I had a huge, padded seat. Very comfy. A new bike won't have those things.

Plus Dad and I built that bike together, from a kit. (Dad's been dead since 1998.) I can remember putting it together like it was yesterday...

I didn't shed a tear. But my heart raced and pounded SO HARD when I discovered it gone. The hair on the back of my neck was standing on end and suddenly I saw it was gone -- and my instincts were saying 'go in the house' (even though I did rush out and glance up and down the street and around the corner, even so).

It's just a bike. I wasn't hurt and nobody got inside the actual house (the back door going from the garage inside was locked).

But it's sad.

I hope whomever took it REALLY needed a bike. Maybe for transportation. Or they were desperate for money and wanted to sell it. I hope it goes to a good home to be ridden, and not hacked apart for the metal or the parts. Poor old bike...