have a consumer complaint?

Who doesn’t? Especially on Boxing Day.

Who do I want to complain about first? Canon? Air Canada? Telus? Direct Buy (formerly UCC)?

One day consumers will be able to vent our wrath on lying corporate weasels. This website is a start:

Complaints.com – publicize and read consumer complaints


Online sales up 24% – UPDATE

Slowly but surely.

One day retail outlets will simply be showrooms where we test merchandise before we buy online.

Online retailing | Clicks, bricks and bargains | Economist.com

I first saw this concept in a Tokyo electronics mall in 1991.

Wired magazine just opened a geek shop like this in New York.

the extended warranty debate

Should you pay for an extended warranty? – CNET reviews

The short answer? Almost never.

But yes if there is a good chance you might actually claim on the so-called extended warranty. For a high use must-have like a laptop computer, for example. Apple offers a fantastic extended warranty service. It ain’t cheap, but it is good.

On a Canon camcorder, however, beware.

Firstly, the Canon 1-year warranty is terrible. In Canada, at least, the service departments cannot keep up with the high volume of broken Canon products. They kept a camcorder of mine for 3-months, for example, without expressly extending the warranty.

A friend bought the extended warranty at London Drugs. When he made a claim, London Drugs told him he had to ship his Canon camcorder at his expense to a shop in Victoria, B.C. — the nearest authorized repair shop — over 1000 miles away.

Lessons learned:

  • do not buy extended warranties
  • if you must, get the manufacturers extended warranty, not a third party.
  • do not buy a Canon Elura camcorder
  • TV You’ll Want To Pay For

    Rick’s opinion: TV is ripe for a fall. We pay $50 a month or more for a service which with we are generally dissatisfied.

    Apple’s Steve Jobs personally reinvented the music industry with iTunes. The winners are recording artists & the fans. The losers are the middlemen.

    I don’t think Apple will reinvent the television industry. But they will be remembered as the company who first alerted the general public.

    TV You’ll Want To Pay For – How $2 downloads can revive network television. By Ivan Askwith

    travelogue – U.S.A. A-OK?

    I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with the States. To truly assess the super-sized Nation you need go to the strip in Las Vegas. (Those who have been, know what I mean.) …

    For the complete travelogue & photos jump to the permanent webpage in Rick’s photo archive. OPEN icon

    » Cirque du Soleil
    » Red Rock Canyon

    travelogue – racing rabbits

    Spring has sprung in Calgary. Cycling in March was wondrous. Every day I saw more life.

    First sign of spring were the huge hares I had seen all winter. But in March they got frisky. They like to race me as I bike along the canal pathway.

    A highlight for me during the winter was the first bald eagle I had ever seen in Calgary. (RC has seen them every year south of town.) This one was waiting on an inevitable death of one of tens of thousands of ducks and geese on the frozen Bow River near Inglewood bird sanctuary.


    I am a working Joe these days. Sitting in Tim Hortons, reading the Sun. I much like coaching at Altadore for the people and the relaxed work environment. There is no club where I would rather coach.

    It is mid-season. I am off to Western Canada Championships next weekend, the first time it has been held in Yukon.

    As Calvin famously said, Yukon Ho!

    The working world is so often a mutually parasitic relationship. Life is too short to work, really.

    Though my job as resident manager of an apartment building is beginning to strain, it has been a eye opener on the world of the working poor; those riding the bus home from work with 5 rolls of stolen toilet paper.

    I have even been to court evicting a tenant. A sad and costly system, I thought.

    ice_climber copyMountains

    Last Fall I felt guilty about not getting up to the mountains often enough. But spring has been much better.

    Ice climbing with TM was a rush.

    My climbing buddy BW fantasized dispatching me as in Touching the Void. He cut the rope — at least in Photoshop.

    The first man-made ice wall opened this winter at the International Hostel in Banff. A great place for beginners to try it.

    ET has been talking about the Kicking Horse ski resort for years. I finally got there with RH, GN and others after the Jurassic Classic competition. Super snow, lots of variety and we enjoyed a gourmet lunch in Canada’s highest gourmet restaurant.

    Later I got a day at Sunshine with friends from Saskatoon.

    If you are on as many humour mailing lists as I, you see a lot of comic photos. Many are fakes, of course. I have been fooled by some:

    shark touristguy

    The Museum of Hoaxes website collects them. 

    And did you see the eerie photos of Chernobyl from Feb. 2004?

    Los Angeles is a seductive. Every time there I rent a car and spend time roaming town. It’s easy.

    On a gymnastics trip this year we took the kids to wheel the beach, still the highlight of town for Canadians. 

    Shopping in LA is excellent. I bought high end hiking gear and an MP3 player.

    A safe bet would be to guess I got an iPod, the outrageously cool and popular top seller. But you’d be wrong. I ended up with the Rio Cali 256 Mb flash MP3 player. Why? It runs on a standard AA battery and is computer memory based, rather than a spinning disk. No moving parts. Much more reliable. The downside? Only 60-120 songs at your finger tips rather than thousands.

    WAIT as long as possible before you get one. They are not devices for the faint of pocketbook.

    My best purchase of hiking gear was a new pack, the Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude 3800 T-PEX (smoke blue). At 3.5 pounds it carries 40 pounds. I’ve often said there is no such thing as a good pack. But it seems this one is.


    Over the winter too I researched and posted a list of World’s best hikes. Unconstrained by imperatives of children, marriage and career, where would a recidivist go?

    I have big hikes planned in the Canadian Rockies and to the West Coast Trail this summer.

    Whoo hoo!

    Calgary Rick