Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fond Farewells; On The Ending Of A Dynasty

I quit Borders today. Despite looking forward to it for some time, I was actually pretty down-hearted about it. Having worked there for...3 and a half years I think, I had built up some pretty strong friendships. We sort of see our self as a family at Borders...the kind of family that all go to the same parties getting drunk with one-another. I'll miss parts of it, other parts I won't. I'm still on contingent status so that I can be called in to cover a shift if they need me. If I do this at least once every 3 months I can maintain said status, and on those days that I'm working I'm allowed my hefty discount of 33% off of books and CDs, though it's hard to find CDs to buy that aren't RIAA affiliated. As a point of etiquette, being a major recording industry organization with vast influence, one finds that it is not polite to reduce yourself to acts of extortion.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Found On Road Dead...Or In This Case, Running

Unless Ford becomes the first manufacturer of the flying car, or the intelligently self-driving car, or some other kind of really awesome shit, I'll not be giving them my ducats any time soon. My focus has had a long history of problems, including numerous recalls, my favorite being one where the "rear tire assembly may spontaneously detach from vehicle during high speeds." For the 3rd time in just as many years, the ignition lock mechanism in my Ford focus has jammed. This, it turns out, is actually a very large scale and well-known problem; the ignition lock manufactured by Ford for the focus models is poorly crafted and breaks long before it should. It's not a cheap repair either, costing at around $500 for parts and labor, labor, in this case, involving taking apart the entire steering column and basically knocking out the broken part.

In spite of the high cost to customers, and the frequency of the problem, and despite Ford actually acknowledging that it's a problem, Ford is not issuing a recall on the grounds that it's not a safety issue, to which I respond with a hearty "bullshit." Not only can one make the argument that being unable to turn on the car in any number of situations can be considered a safety issue, more importantly to me is the seriousness of the defect. This isn't like my power lock system which broke years ago rendering every lock button and my keyless entry system useless, nor is it like my CD unit that malfunctioned long before it should have. See, those things can be considered luxury items: things that, as nice as they are and as used to them as I've become, do not stop me from using the primary function of my car, which is getting from A to B.

For any device that employs an on/off state, if the mechanism for moving between those states is not working, then the device is completely and utterly useless. This is true for everything from cars to blenders; how ridiculous would it sound if Kitchenaid refused to address
a problem with one of their blenders constantly breaking and not turning on claiming that it's "not a safety issue?" To me it's simple: if the ignition lock is poorly made and constantly breaking, then I can't turn my car on; if I can't turn my car on then it's completely worthless to me as a car. Ford, you greedy bastards, address this problem and attempt to make good with your customers.

Of course, knowing that they probably won't, I'm eager to join a class action lawsuit that I found.

One thing I should mention about my car troubles, and I can admit that this is pretty funny: the first two times the part broke I wasn't able to turn the key and start my car. This time however, the lock jammed when my key was already in the on position, and as a result I couldn't turn my car off. I had to pull up the hood and disconnect the engine from the spark plugs one cylinder at a time until it died, and let me say that high voltage jolts from the spark plugs aren't fun, even when you're wearing gloves.