Thursday, May 24, 2007

Phone Survey Scam: But Why?

I got a call today from an automated survey. Out of curiosity I punched 1 to take the short survey. It was about health care, a subject that I am concerned about as a citizen and as a parent, so I thought it would be worth my time.

It asked me some questions about smoking, no big deal. Then it asked if I thought gay people smoked more than straight people. Hmm.. That's odd. Then it asked if I was gay and I hung up. I have caller ID, so I googled the number that called me and it was indeed some kind of strange scam. But I don't know what for. I found this cool site called Turns out I wasn't the only one who hung up on an automated system that questioned my sexual orientation. I don't need an automated system for that. I went to Sarah Lawrence College for God's sake. There is no shortage of people who have questioned my sexual orientation, thanks though!

Most disturbing was that the Mass Health Board which the survey was reportedly from has a note on their home page that they do NOT do phone surveys. They have the Attorney General looking into this.

That's pretty F*cked up right there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Strange Trip to the Far East (East Cambridge, that is)

I've been waiting for the stars to align so I could go over to East Cambridge to a Cake Supply place I frequently drive past. I've noticed it a few times and since I make all the birthday cakes these days I wanted to checked it out. I needed at least 2 hours after K's nap if I was going to walk there. I walk everywhere I can these days. I need the exercise, and with the better weather here, I feel like a complete failure every time I get in the car. I live in an urban neighborhood! I should not have to drive most days. And most days, I don't.

So, on a morning that I had much to do, K took a short nap and was awake by 9:45. She's been sleeping 2 hours in the mornings, but she'll be outgrowing her AM nap any day now, so the >1 hr nap was not unexpected. But I decided to not worry about it and go for a long walk in lieu of housework. Can't say I was too upset about that.

So, I fired up the old E3 so I could have it to pick up Eric on the way back and began strolling. It was a long walk, but I made it there in a little over a half hour. I was expecting a cake decorating store, with lots of edible pearls and obscure frosting tips, and sparkley cake glitter.

This is not what happened. The clerk was not a kindly old lady with a passion for cake decorating, but a young 20 something Brazilian guy who was yakking in Portuguese the whole time I was in the store. The store was full of these strange billboard things that were ostensibly to stick on a cake. They huge, like two feet wide by about ten inches tall and were cut out in the shape of various photographs. "Excuse me," I felt like saying. "I need some decorations that will crush my cake. Can you recommend something? Why, THESE will do nicely. A small billboard? What a great idea. Why didn't I think to put a small billboard on my cake?"

They had a utility drawer set of frosting tips, but most of them were out of stock. They were OUT of the plastic things that hold the tips in the pastry bag. This is probably the most basic cake supply around.

So, I picked out a couple of interesting looking tips that they did have in stock and I got a couple things of food coloring and some decorating bags. Yakky Yakerson rang me in at just under $10 and I handed him a $20.

The idiot did not have change. There was nothing in the register but $20's and quarters and a lone $5 bill. He was fumbling around with his pockets and asked me if I had a ten, which I did not. Nor did they take credit cards. By this point K who does NOT like for me to shop was beginning to yell. I just said "Forget it, just give me my money back." At which point he said something frantic to the person on the other end of the phone in Portuguese and did not hang up, but put the phone down and looked at me blankly.

"Just give me my $20 back." I rolled my eyes a little, I couldn't help it. If the guy had shown one iota of customer service I would have been a lot nicer.

"I will hold for you?" He asked hopefully. I looked at him blankly. "You will come back?"

"No." I said and took my stroller and got the hell out of there without my stuff. Needless to say, he did not help me with the door.

So, cake store in East Cambridge. Not a future destination.