Category Archives: customer service

I’m an overpronator. (Or, I roll my feet when I run.)

New shoes!

I never knew there were running shoes geared toward overpronators. Heck. I didn’t even know there was a such think as an overpronator, nor did I think I was one.

I started running a few weeks ago and much to the dismay of the runners in my circle, I was not wearing the proper running shoes. So, Monday afternoon I was on a mission to get a pair — and a pair of running shoes that work for flat feet. (My mom calls them Flintstone Feet.) A colleague recommended a running specialty store, Inside Track, which is located in the Lancaster Shopping Center.

En route, Joe asked me why we weren’t just going to the outlets. For starters, I like to support local businesses as much as possible. But second, any and every runner will tell you that you need the right running shoes. I did not want to put my trust in someone with an after-school job at the Tanger Outlets with my precious beginning running feet. I also didn’t want to NOT get help and be left to choose the “neatest” or “cheapest” pair of running sneakers. (Heck, last time I bought “running” shoes, they were actually aerobic sneakers. My waterproof trail sneakers I bought for the Olympic National Park trip? Way to heavy for running. See? I need guidance.)

Going to a store where the salespeople are also runners, where a shop was opened out of passion is the best bet for getting great service. Granted, with one person on staff during my visit, we had to wait a few minutes to be helped or acknowledged, a local store may not have the amount of people working as an outlet. But — when the athletic gentleman got to me, he was a great help.

I was asked to walk down a small hardwood track, and then asked to turn around and walk back. The salesman then informed me that my feet roll in when I walk. I knew I had flat feet, which has always been an issue when trying to buy slinky sandals or fancy heels (for the record, this is why I am always in “chunky” shoes.). After my walking style was identified, he selected two pair of shoes he said would work best, and then suggested a few “second best” choices. He turned all the shoes right for me slightly off the display to make choosing easier.

I selected a pair of Saucony ProGrid Stability, size 8 if you were wondering. They were $114.95. What makes these shoes better for my flat feet is that they are broader on the bottom, and support is further back. I wore them today, and what a difference! I didn’t break them in first, so my knees hurt a bit from a different way of moving, but I anticipate better days ahead on the asphalt.

running-shoes-wide-bottom flat feet runner

You can see how the bottom of these shoes are broader - there's not much of an arch. This supports my flat feet and prevents me from rolling.

 

I never really thought too much about my flat feet, but I did some researching. Flat feet is also called Pes Planus, and it’s the leading cause of shin splints. Having the right running shoes for flat feet will definitely help prevent shin splints. Also, people who have flat feet tend to roll their feet inward when they walk and run. I am more aware of that now. It’s amazing to realize the dynamics of our own bodies 32 years into our lives! So, this motion of rolling your feet inward while you walk is called overpronating. I Googled that today too. Actually, I searched for “running shoes for flat feet.”  That’s how I found out about overpronating. I followed a link to running shoes for overpronating, and guess what. The very shoes my running shoe salesperson suggested earlier this week came up as the best choice. And that my friends is why you should seek professional advice when purchasing running shoes.

Oh yeah. Joe, Mr. Outlet, was impressed and he, too, walked up and down the track. He rolls his feet, too. Our children are in for it.

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I Really Like B. Moss & More

My cat was more active than I was yesterday. I had really good intentions. Really, I did. Wednesday through Friday was super busy at work with Boot Camp. And like usual, Friday night’s finale dinner led to a great, fun night with school busses and all at the Woods on Friday. When I woke up Saturday and sensed the headache, it was an extra sign that it was a good night. To get rid of the headache, I went back to sleep. I slept on and off all day. I don’t think I left my bed. When I woke up a little, I read a little until I fell back asleep. Every now and then I’d check my e-mail or Facebook from my phone, but for the most part, I hibernated. All day. Plans to go to a haunted hayride fell through. Plans to go to Target instead fell through. Plans to get up and make Ramen noodles downstairs fell through.

After all that sleep, you can bet I was wide awake and hungry this morning. I made myself four Eggo Whole Wheat waffles and had some coffee and OJ and took a shower- which felt amazing. I headed to the mall to pick up the coat I ordered at B. Moss about three weeks ago. I have this cycle with B. Moss.

1. Before I went to Oklahoma in August, I stepped into a really good sale at the B. Moss in the Wyoming Valley Mall. It was a Wednesday, but 50% off everything sale started Thursday, but you could pre-set aside the stuff the day before, get the same price– you just had to pick it up the next day. I said I wouldn’t be back for a week, but that was fine. As long as I left my card number, etc. they’d ring me up on the sale day and keep my stuff in the back. Super nice!

2. When I got back from Oklahoma to pick up my outfits, they were having another sale. This time, it was winter coats for 50% off. So, not only did I buy a bunch more regular clothes, I also ordered a lovely black, wool peacoat. They said it’d arrive at the store in 3-4 weeks.

3. Today- I was about two weeks late picking up my coat. It was still there. But like the last time I went to pick up an order, I bought even more. The sweaters at B. Moss were 50%. I grabbed a bunch of stuff to try on. The girl started a dressing room for me, while I continued to browse. When I tried on the clothes, she checked on me by name- they knew my name because they had already got out my coat. That was great service, I thought– calling someone by name is Sales 101. I asked her to bring me a shirt in a medium instead of a large and she did, very quickly.

Once again, this store always had great sales, great service and they market the crap to me- I am on their phone list for their special “one-day sales” and also on their e-mail list. These guys market traditionally (they even do the signs on the road for their one-day sales) and via new media- they are on top of their game– and once you get into the store, they continue to treat you well. So- if you can, shop at B. Moss in Wilkes-Barre!

Also- great service reported at the Shoe Dept. in the mall from a lovely young lady you looks like Taylor Swift– she found me the right size boot, took all the crap out of it, unzipped it and gave it to me to try on. Reminded me of shoe-shopping when I was a kid where people really serviced you. You only really get that service at Department Stores where the men and woman have worked there for years, or local shops like our Gino’s in Dallas.
After the mall, I hit up Target for random things like cat litter, velcro strips to hang pictures (no nail’s allowed), letters for my mailbox (they didn’t have the ones I was looking for, so I had to go to the scrapbooking aisle, haha), a card for someone and other random stuff I needed and random things I didn’t need. Now I am at the office catching up on e-mails, etc. Then, it’s off to Wegman’s for their wi-fi.

The Perils of Free Trials & Contracts- Stamps.com Can Stick It, Odyssey Fitness a Waste and Blockbuster Online Rocks

The Health Club Membership- The Only Thing I Lost Was My Money
Odyssey Fitness in Wilkes-Barre used to be convenient to where I worked. But since I was on the woman’s side, which closed at 7:00p.m., the hours were not. Plus, I live about 40 minutes away– so it was just so stupid to sign a one-year contract at $24.95 per month. My year was over I think in June or July. I probably could have gotten out of the contract if I really tried, but I let it go. So, I continued to wastefully have $24.95 debited from my account each month for an entire year, plus three months even thought I never set foot in the place.

Today, I was looking at my bank account online and saw this month’s charge– I realized that crap, I CAN cancel now because it has been a year. Nearly $300, down the drain. Can you believe it? I really hate that Odyssey Fitness in Wilkes-Barre does that. Everyone is talking about the new Planet Fitness in Edwardsville because it’s $20 a month, unlimited tanning and NO CONTRACTS!! It makes me wonder if Odyssey really is that bad that they make people sign contracts because otherwise they’d leave. My feeling on this is why reel someone into a contract for something like a health club? People move all the time. People change jobs and shifts all the time. Why make it difficult for them to get out of a membership that they clearly cannot use? On the flip side, if someone is happy where they work out and take classes, wouldn’t they continue to pay their membership? I clearly lost a lot of money, all my own fault of course, but why do places like Odyssey Fitness make you sign a contract? In hindsight, I regret doing it. It was kind of a rip-off. So- my word to the wise- don’t join Odyssey Fitness in Wilkes-Barre if you aren’t rock solid you’ll go or you are uncertain if you will move or change your work schedule, when suddenly the gym does not jive with your whereabouts or your schedule.

Stamps.com Can Stick It! (haha, I crack myself up!)
Stamps.com is my other gripe. I signed up for a free trial a ways back, mostly because I lived in the Boonies and never had stamps. After a month went by, I tried to cancel my free trial because, well, I never got around to buying labels to print my postage. I called Stamps.com to cancel. When you call places like Stamps.com to cancel an account, they sneakily direct you to a Retention Department, or rather, a bunch of well-trained reverse sales people. I have no idea what they guy said to me, but basically he didn’t let me cancel and said to call back in another month. Whatever. I hung up because I was frustrated with him and his tactics- he was pretty much a bully. For what? Postage? Come on! I made a mental note to call back and hope I got someone not as pushy. Yeah. A whole year went by. Fast forward to now.

I have a credit card that I used to sign up for Stamps.com- I don’t really use it for anything else- it was my online card that I used solely for stuff like that. Well, I had to go online and change my billing method for that card and saw the Stamps.com charge for $7.95. Crap! I forgot. Another year or more at$7.95 per month- probably at least $100 for absolutely NOTHING. I never even logged back in. Never printed on piece of postage. Why can’t Stamps.com just provide good customer service, like Blockbuster.com does for their online service and let users simply cancel online, no questions asked, no bullying, no trying to save the account?

So today, I called Stamps.com today to cancel after paying them one year of $7.95 per month. I was prepared to go to someone who would talk me into staying, and she sure did. She tried to upsell me on another plan! WTF? I just told her I hadn’t used it since I signed up for the free trial. She asked where I bought my stamps from. I told a white lie and said that my job lets us use the postage machine because otherwise I am sure she had a rebuttal for the other answers like, “The United States Post Office” or “CVS.” She then put me on hold because she had to get “approval from a supervisor” to cancel and when she came back, she tried to keep me one more time. What the freaking bloody hell? I don’t even have a printer at home because it is still at Dave’s house!! I really wish I could get a refund since they can clearly see there was no activity since Day One.

(Update after post- I was curious. I googled “Stamps.com Complaints” and found a crap load. Here’s a very well-constructed complaint from Complaint Board)

Avoiding the Perils
So kids, the moral of the story is- free trials (which require a credit card so they can bill you after the first 30 days) can be cool and work if you end up liking the product and using it or if you remember to cancel after the trial is up if you do not think the product or service is for you. My advice is to set an outlook reminder or somehow ping yourself close to the end of the 30 days to remind yourself to cancel. The other moral to the story is to not join a gym like Odyssey in Wilkes-Barre that requires a year-contract. If you believe that you will go often ( hahahahaha), go ahead. Otherwise, you will end up like me and a few others I knew that paid for an entire year without setting foot in the place. All that wasted money. Think of all the books I could have bought!!

Some Companies Have EXCELLENT Practices- Like Blockbuster!
Ah- back to Blockbuster… now that I talk about bad practices, I must compliment their awesome customer service department. A while back, when I still lived with Dave, we both got so busy and weren’t watching our Blockbuster movies in a timely manner. I went online and easily found the place to cancel. Rather than cancel, Blockbuster had an option to put the account on hold, where you could return the movies you had out at the moment and then not be charged for six months. Wow. I didn’t even have to call someone or be bullied by someone like at Stamps.com. So, instead of cancelling, I decided to just freeze my account.

Well, over six months passed, and I ended up moving on my own and have been TV-less since May. I left the nice 50-some-odd-inch plasma TV with Dave because I am nice. I could have bought my own TV, but that’s a whole other story about writing and self-discipline… So when I was charged last month from Blockbuster, I immediately e-mailed customer service, told them I was one of the seven Americans who does not have a TV and asked to be cancelled. They wrote me back within the hour, refunded the $14.95 and were super-nice about the whole thing. I’ll tell ya what– I had Netflix in the past too and loved them- only tried Blockbuster to compare the two. Because I had such a positive experience with them, when I do get a TV, I will sign up through them, and will recommend Blockbuster to anyone looking for an online movie delivery service. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get- so why WOULDN’T someone strive to provide good service??