Two half marathons and a plea for your cash

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Hello!

In April this year, I did the Bungay half marathon in 2.28:23sec. It was the hardest 2.28:23 of my life, and when I stumbled across the finish line after 13.1 miles, I vowed never to do another one. Five minutes later, I was thinking about doing another one.

Three months later and I’m training for two more !

On September 25th 2011 I’m running the Run to the Beat half marathon for the amazing charity Riders for Health.  I’d really appreciate donations towards my £150 target.

 http://www.justgiving.com/SuzeRunToTheBeat

On October 9th 2011 (yes, that’s a mere FORTNIGHT after the first one) I’m running the Royal Parks half marathon for another amazing charity,  Leonard Cheshire Disability. I’d really appreciate donations towards my £350 target.

http://www.justgiving.com/SuzeRoyalParks

(this is a different page for a different charity, so please feel free to split the donation between the two, especially as the target for Royal Parks is nearly three times the Run to the Beat one!)

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Nike+ – Security issues

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Hello,

So, I use Nike+ to track my runs.  Better detail can be found via the google, but it’s basically two chips – one for your shoes and one for your iPod. The signal passes from one to the other and records how fast/long and, if you’re super pro, where your runs are. When you get home, you plug in your iPod and it transfers to the nikerunning website via iTunes.

It’s not very expensive (around £18.99 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Apple-Nike-iPod-Sport-Kit/dp/B002WGX19C/ref=dp_cp_ob_ce_title_3 ) but I think that’s reflected in the quality.

Writing about all of the glitches on the site, the fact that it takes two correct tries to log in, graphs very often don’t render properly if at all, runs stop feeding to twitter, iPod and nike+ numbers don’t tally and the site is generally buggy, would take a long time. So I will only mention the one that’s bothering me the most.

Nike+ allows you to set challenges and goals for yourself. The goals break down into run frequency, run distance, run speed and calories burned.  A week before they are due to expire, you get a reminder e-mail.  It’s a little inconvenient, especially as you can set goals for one week, which means as soon as you set it you get a reminder e-mail. Motivational, thanks Nike+.

I hope you can make it out.  Here’s a screenshot:

I’ve blanked out identifiable details.

Here’s the page for the link it takes you to:

It’s quite hard to see with the details blanked out, but basically – that’s not me.  So I received an e-mail from Nike+, one of the biggest sportswear manufacturers in the world, using someone else’s details.

That concerned me as it raised questions about what’s happening with my details if I’m getting someone else’s e-mails, but there are no bank details or other information that could point to the real me without a google or two,  so I wasn’t panicking, the first time this happened.

I must have received no fewer than five of these e-mails. Each time, I’ve e-mailed Nike+ to inform them of the error. I have either been brushed off or not even replied to.

Please see below:

The reply from Sebastian doesn’t at all answer my query – and that was the best reply!

I’ve even posted on Nike’s forum, but haven’t had any replies.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue? Does anyone have any suggestions for other things to try?

Open air cinema

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As part of the Lord Mayor celebrations,  Norwich council will be screening a film in the open air, as they’ve done every year for the past couple. (although, in different places – I saw Some Like it Hot outside the Forum a few years ago)

In order to help decide what’s being shown, there’s been a poll set up.  The connecting feature is that they all celebrate anniversaries this year, but it’s a choice of:

Ghost

Blues Brothers

The Breakfast Club

Bet you can’t tell what my favourite film is…

Norwichian type people – feel free to vote.  I don’t want to guilt you into anything, but I would love to see The Breakfast Club in the open air. Just sayin’.

This is the poll link.

HQhair update

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I posted a couple of months ago about HQhair.com and how their site is not Mac friendly. I bought a gift certificate for a family member’s birthday before realising that she can’t use it, as she has a Mac at home.
I called HQhair to get a refund, and was told categorically that they don’t do refunds on gift vouchers. This was before I’d even explained why I wanted a refund, so once I’d cut through the customer service apathy, the customer service rep said she’d take my number and ask their technical department how to do it.
After hearing nothing for twenty four hours, I called again, and got the same person. For a pretty complex site, I don’t think there’s a huge customer department. She told me that the site was being updated and as from this week (around the 14th of September) it would be possible to complete payment on a Mac.
Great news! It’s only taken them around three years to do something about it, from when I first e-mailed. It’s yet to be proved as I really don’t need any more stuff at the moment, but I’ll let you know when I try it out.

Double Heaven

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My friend and I decided it’d be a brilliant idea to go into the McDonald’s on Oxford Street on Hallowe’en Saturday afternoon. 

Better than that, I ordered a double Quarter Pounder regular meal, which I was advised takes a couple of minutes longer, which is well worth the wait!

I huddled in the express lane, trying to get out of the way of the frazzled Saturday shoppers. It was pretty hard, to be honest. 

After two minutes, the employees at the Express window gave me an update, with an apology – it’ll be a couple more minutes. No problem, said I. After another couple of minutes, the team leader gave me an update, with an apology – it’ll be a couple more minutes. No problem, said I. 
After another couple of minutes, the manager came over to apologise and to reassure me that it was on the way. Again, no problem, said I – they were clearly busy and doing their best to serve everyone, which is tricky when some of the customers are morons. 
Overheard: 
McDs (to the waiting lady at he front of the queue): Chicken nuggets and fries?
Lady (dismissively): No, I ordered Chicken nuggets and chips.
McDs: Yep, that’s chicken nuggets and fries.

A minute later, I got a large meal and a complimentary apple pie – too much for me to eat, although I had a good ol’ go, but appreciated nonetheless. 

Well done McDonald’s!

Anyone else got good/bad stories on McDs?


Converse ain't so cool

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I first spotted these in September, while idly browsing the American Converse site.


Pretty, right? Unfortunately, they didn’t have them in stock, so I e-mailed them. With international shipping, it usually works out good value for money – products are quite often not available in the UK, they’re usually cheaper and the VAT charged on entry means it still costs less than buying it in the UK would. This is definitely true of Benefit cosmetics, and some products on Amazon. Of course, you’ll have to be careful of US only products, such as the Kindle (which I really want) and perishables such as food. 

Anyway, the e-mail came back within a couple of days, and was disappointingly machine generated:

ConverseOne

 to me

 1 Sep
Hello,

If your size is not listed then it means that we are unfortunately out of stock in that size. It is possible that we will get additional inventory at a later date, but we do not have that specific information at this time.

Please utilize the retailer locator feature in the help and info section at www.converse.com to see if there is a retailer in your area who may have this shoe available. Please note that we do not have access to retailer inventory so you will need to contact them directly for additional assistance with this item.

If we can assist you further, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Regards,


Jessica
Customer Service

Of course, they’re not available in the UK. Boo.

I kept checking back, and hit the jackpot at the end of October – they had my size! Unfortunately, I got an error message when I tried to enter my credit card number. I tried with three different cards, all with the correct details, with this error message appearing each time:

“We are unable to process your order. Your credit card information isn’t matching up”

I dutifully e-mailed Converse in an attempt to get a solution before they ran out again:

Thank you for your interest in Converse!

We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing difficulties in placing your order. Please remember that when you place your order and enter your billing address it must be typed in exactly how your credit card company has on record for you.

If you are still having trouble placing your order, please give us a call at (888)792-3307 or 1-615-367-7171 and we will be happy to assist you in placing an order via phone. We are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and most Holidays!

If you have further questions please let us know. Thank you and have a great day!

Thank you,.

Jessica
Converse.com


Again, I got a disappointingly manufactured message. 
I tried again, in different browsers, but with the same result. I e-mailed Converse again, and strangely, got Jessica again.

Hello, 

Thanks for the prompt reply. 

My credit card details matched my address, my name and everything else needed to complete the transaction. 
I just attempted to place the order on a PC (instead of my Mac at home) and the cons I want are no longer available. 

I am extremely disappointed with this, as I have waited months for them to come back in stock in my size, and have been trying to buy them for a couple of days. Not only that, but I was able to place them in my basket, only to be advised that they are unavailable.

I have attached the screenshot of the message in case it helps. 

Any advice or help you can give would be much appreciated – all I want to do is order the aforementioned cons in a UK size 6 – shouldn’t be too hard!

Thanks for your time, 
Suze

Jessica replied:

Hi Suze,


If you are still having trouble placing your order, please give us a call at (888)792-3307 or 1-615-367-7171 and we will be happy to assist you in placing an order via phone. We are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and most Holidays!

If you have further questions please let us know. Thank you and have a great day!

Thank you,.

Jessica
Converse.com


After figuring out that I can’t actually call internationally on my mobile, I thought I’d ask for Jessica to call
me, after all, they have a clear international shipping policy and a big hearted brand reputation to protect. Surely they could give me a call, or even look into the issue?

Hi Jessica,


Thanks for your e-mail. I would love to phone you about this, but neither my work phone or mobile are set up for international calling. 

I’ve attached two screenshots to show you the error message – please note, in the second one I deleted my security code after I submitted. You never know who’s looking, right?

Feel free to call me – I’d like to get this issue sorted out because I love the shoes and you can’t get them in the UK! If there’s something obvious that you can see is a problem, please let me know. I’ve now tried this on about four different browsers, and I know that the information is correct.

My mobile number’s in my signature.

Thanks, 
Suze

Apparently not – note the lack of ‘Have a super swell day!!!!!!’ at the end of this…..
Hello,

Regretfully, we are unable to contact you via  phone.  You must be able to place your order online or with us via phone.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.


Thank you,.

Jessica
Converse.com

 There endeth my Converse dealings. I cannot place the order online as their website has a bug or bugs in it. I work in a web team, so I’m not exactly unfamiliar with corporate websites. I cannot call them, because 
my phones are not set up for international calling. 

We appear to have reached an impasse, dearest Converse. I was looking forward to adding to my decent collection with the dazzlingly pretty multi uppers, but it seems that it is not to be. 

Anyone else have issues with the Converse site, international or not? 

Accessibility issues

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I have Macs at home, and I get quite frustrated when websites don’t function on Macs as they do for Windows, especially as I test websites and know how easy it is to check basic stuff on Macs and Windows.

There are loads of examples of this (your suggestions welcome!) but this is the worst one I’ve come across:

HQhair.com
The site stocks a huge range of high end cosmetics, accessories and other pamper products at decent prices. The shipping is a bit steep, but you can quite often get hold of online codes which reduce or get rid of the costs, which is nice.

The problem is that the site looks good on a Mac (Firefox and Safari, both latest versions), but once you come to checkout, you can’t. It looks to me as if a third party hosts the actual payment, and when it comes to that, there’s a blank space on the page where you should be able to enter the card information.
I have e-mailed them a couple of times about this, but have yet to hear back. As it was at least eighteen months ago, I’m not going to hold my breath.

I tend to use Beauty Bay now – it stocks most of the same stuff, for similar prices but most importantly, I can complete the order in the comfort of my living room!