WTF

Dear Amazon,


Bait and switch is bad for customer retention.

This is from my wish list:

“Hey, wow, that out-of-stock item that I wanted is back, and at a much better price than when I last bought one!”

“Oh, fuck no. Just mark it as out of stock, don’t actively participate in ripping me off.”

Artificial Untelligence...


J: “Alexa, three minute timer.”

A: “3 minutes, starting now.”

A: “Would you like to begin your day with a guided meditation from the Real Simple Relax skill?”

J: “Alexa, shut the fuck up.”

J: “Alexa, play the song ‘the house of marcus lycus’”

A: “Capital Og from iheart radio.”

J: “Alexa, stop.”

And yes, it reports that she heard it as “alexa play the song the house of marcus like us”; this was 100% repeatable.

Adding the name of the album A Collector’s Sondheim to the request resulted in a complete failure, rather than playing something completely unrelated, because it heard the name as “sometime” or “sundheim”.

The album is available, and I can select it in the Amazon Music app on my phone and send it to the nearest Echo. But that wasn’t enough for it to find the song on its own. It turns out that “iheart radio” was one of more than a dozen skills that were enabled for my account without me ever asking for them. That list included such gems as “cat raiser”, “alexa prize taskbot”, “audacy”, “white noise”, “rain sounds”, “ocean sounds”, and others.

After disabling all of those unwanted and unrequested skills:

J: “Alexa, play the song ‘the house of marcus lycus’.”

A: “I can’t find the song the house of marcus like this.”

J: “Alexa, play the song ‘the house of marcus’.”

A: “The House of Marcus Lycus (From A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), by Bob Gunton, George Hearn & others, on Amazon Music.”

(song plays, followed by a lengthy uninterruptible “just so you know” that offered to let me switch her voice out for Samuel L. Jackson’s; maybe because I keep swearing at her for her bullshit)

Things I never thought I'd see...


A bathroom painted to look like the inside of a septic tank:

On the bright side, the toilet wasn’t painted to match.

No link to the house listing; I’m trying to get it out of my mind.

…by putting it in yours. 😁

Dear, sweet, precious little Amazon,


WTF is this?

The purpose of every other clickable item on your site is to sell me a product, so what exactly are you selling here? Am I supposed to send a gift card to this unknown person to celebrate the occasion?

Related, when I recently said, “Alexa, three minute timer”, she spent one of those minutes on a lengthy uninterruptable “by the way” explanation of how to manage timers. As if setting timers and alarms isn’t something I use the product for every day, only slightly less often than I use it to control the lights. AI would know this.

AI would also recognize that angry profanity means “don’t ever do that again”.

Dear Synopsys,


It’s been over twenty years since I left the company, but I don’t recall the marketing people being whiny when repeatedly cold-calling (or in this case, emailing) potential customers.

And seriously, if you’re going to contact the wrong guy at a company, don’t include sentences like this in your pitch:

“Are you open for a discussion to learn our innovated technique? It involves instrumentation…”

Dear Amazon,


I am in awe of how random and wrong this was:

J: Alexa, play the song “I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer”.

A: Here’s Rake and Ramblin’ Man, by Don Williams, on Amazon Music.

J: Alexa, play the song “I spent my last ten dollars” by “Two Nice Girls”.

A: I Spent My Last $10.00 (On Birth Control & Beer), by Two Nice Girls, on Amazon Music.

(to be clear, this was not mis-heard; the voice history in the app shows that every word was clearly understood, and she still ended up with a completely wrong song)

Dear Amazon,


Sunday, 6:40 PM

Amazon: “Unfortunately, USPS ran into an issue when attempting your delivery.”

J: “Yeah, the issue was they didn’t attempt to deliver.”

A: “They will try again.”

J: “…when the package actually gets loaded onto a delivery truck.”

It’s not like I really needed hinoki saké cups tonight, or tomorrow night, or any time before Covidiocy eases up and my sister comes out to visit, but I continue to find it adorable that Amazon pretends that USPS has predictable delivery dates that are compatible with Prime.

The giant case of Carnation half-n-half single-serving tubs arrived, and I can’t blame Amazon for the fact that a non-zero percentage of them are dried out. There’s no sign of rough handling, and the expiration date is a good four months out, but out of the first ~25 tubs I pulled out of the box, 3 were either completely or partially dried out. My guess is very small punctures or slight sealing failures, since the interior of the box doesn’t look like an AirBnB that got used for a porn video.

And I’ve settled on calling them Calfs, as an appropriate replacement for Mini-Moos.

Full disclosure: the one and only time I bought Mini Moos on Amazon, the case arrived with maybe a week to spare before the expiration date. Never tried that again.

Monday, 2:15 PM

Bullshit:

As far as Amazon is concerned, this is a completed successful delivery.

I fully expect it to be delivered today, but if it didn’t show up, for any reason, it’d be at least another 48 hours before I could start playing phone tag with USPS and twiddle my thumbs waiting for an offshore Amazon rep to follow the script and credit my account.

Monday, 5:45 PM

As expected, the package was delivered today into my locked mailbox. Also as expected, Amazon still shows it as “held for pickup” at the post office. Sometime tomorrow, I expect they’ll either update that to claim I picked it up, or rewrite the update history to show that it was always delivered to me today.

Dear Amazon,


I received two packages today. The first was a lightly-padded envelope shipped UPS, containing a nozzle, so small that it took me a while to find it. I honestly thought the envelope was empty at first.

The second was a large cardboard box containing a few token air pillows for padding, along with three Bluray discs and a cast iron griddle. Only one of the Bluray cases was damaged by the five pounds of cast iron bouncing around in the box, but it looks like the actual discs survived the experience.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”