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What is "Customer Service"?

Old 09-25-00, 03:13 AM
  #26  
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quote:
After this debacle I don't trust them anylonger and it will take quite some work for them to win me back as a customer.


The 800.com Bond Set issue has nothing to with trust. They didn't set out to intentionally mislead anybody. On the other hand, several people went out of their way to take advantage of 800.com by taking advantage of this price, when it was obvious that it was a case of mis-labeling on the website (the correct box set was listed right below on the original link, not to mention that only the features from A VIEW TO A KILL were listed).

On the issue of trust, 800.com has learned a valuable lesson that they cannot trust their customers (who are, in essence, the internet community as a whole). They have learned the hard way that if there is any loophole on their site to be taken advantage of, customers will exploit it to their fullest advantage, and then complain like hell when the exploitation fails.

I'd like to go back to my shoplifter remark. I didn't mean to compare shoplifters to bargain-hunters. But here's an analogy. Let's pretend that a B&M business has a "sidewalk sale" (happens all the time). As a result, much of their merchandise is now outside and on the wrong side of the magnetic security gates. Let's say that the sales clerk gets distracted and goes inside for a moment, leaving the merchandise unattended (this too happens all the time).

Now, I drive up in my car and start loading up merchandise and drive off. The store made a huge error in leaving their merchandise unattended, it is true. However, the decision for me to take advantage of them was mine alone. Just because I can do something unethical and get away with it does not make it right. Additionally, if they call the cops and I get arrested and have to give back the goods, would it be reasonable for me to complain about bad "customer service" and tell them I wouldn't come back to their store? Of course not! And the store certainly wouldn't want me back as a customer!

I think 800.com is being curt with the folks who tried to take advantage of the box set mixup for a reason. They know that these people attempted to abuse a screw-up to get merchandise at a ridiculous discount, and they know that these people will do it again and again if given the opportunity. Just like the shopkeeper who gets robbed, they don't want people like that in their store. And I say: more power to them.

Customer service does not mean let the customer take advantage of me anyway they can. 800.com has a very consistant record with dealing with their customers and I hate to see it sullied because a handful of folks deliberately tried to rip them off and failed.
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Old 09-25-00, 03:24 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Groucho:
I'd like to go back to my shoplifter remark. I didn't mean to compare shoplifters to bargain-hunters. But here's an analogy.



You say that you don't mean to compare shoplifters to bargain-hunters, then you go ahead and do it.

The analogy would be complete if the B&M bookstore had a sidewalk sale and had 100 titles outside (Borders often leaves this many books outside) and had a HUGE SIGN that read "Free Books" with a tiny picture of one title on the poster. People could easily ignore the little picture and think that all books outside were free. So they start taking the books. Now whose fault would that be?

semi-random thought
btw, my 800.com Order Receipt only says this for description and nothing else: "James Bond Collection 007 Gift Set - Vol. 3 (DVD)."

Again, I hold nothing against 800.com and will continue to support them. Clearly this was a mistake and I can understand that. But they handled the situation poorly. When I say that they have poor customer service, it is not because they won't honor the prices. I don't expect them to. But I expect them to treat this error in a proffesional and courteous manner, and to take this seriously, instead of just blowing us off.

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Old 09-25-00, 08:46 AM
  #28  
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quote:
Originally posted by moocher:
Yes. Why would an e-tailer intentionally mis-price an item and then not "honor" the price??? Just to make customers mad?? I can't figure the logic in that!


It is all part of their testing. Drop the price on the item, watch the no-loyalty bargain-hunters jump all over it, bingo, the item is now at the top of the Movers and Shakers List. Change the price back, watch what happens.

"Casual" Amazon shoppers would see some of these 3000% movers and check them out. Perhaps curiosity would get them to purchase it.

If the manufactured data on Movers and Shakers causes even a single sale (that otherwise wouldn't happen) it is a bad thing for consumers.

(Didn't Amazon previously get in trouble for "manufactured" sales figures?)

If this really was part of their price testing and not a accidental mispricing, then they should've honored the orders and chalk it up as part of the cost of market testing.

It has already been stated/theorized in this thread that Amazon doesn't give a flying fig for the non-loyal bargain-hunters. Pissing them off has little effect overall since they are such a small percentage of Amazon customers.
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Old 09-25-00, 09:09 AM
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I think one thing a lot of people are missing here is when you wak into a B&M store, and the price is mismarked, with price tag on more than one of the same item, or on the shelf sticker with the correct serial nuber or identifier, THEY HAVE TO HONOR THE PRICE. I cant belive the number of wishy washy people who alow themselves to be bullied by a pimply faced kid with a managers button. IF its mismarked, and in writting (price tag/shlef sticker) dont back down, ask to see the store manager! This is why it is also so irritating hearing everyone whine about people getting upset by the etailers who dont honor prices. Etailers need to realize the potential a misprice can have, and make sure that they have price checking before they put an item on their site. By letting them get away with this sort of thing, you are letting them pull a MICROSOFT on you...you are in effect being their error checking system! "Oh, dont worrry about reviewing those DVD box set prices before you send them up to the website, those nice guys from DVDTalk will let us know if there are any mistakes in just a few minutes!!"

I dont get paid to do that, and thus ixpect to get what i pay for.

That being said, i dont even have a clue about the latest 800.com deal/screwup, but its a sad trend i see developing on the internet, where you dont often have the option of running your problem upthe food chain high enough to get the proper results.
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Old 09-25-00, 09:15 AM
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Some points:

First off, this isn't a customer service issue. It's a business ethics issue. An agreement between buyer and seller is reached - neither side should wuss out.

Just because an online etailer places some 'rules' on their site, doesn't mean it's legal. Eventually, there's going to be a lawsuit and we'll see what the judges think. I'm fairly confident we consumers will come out on top.

Best Buy losing money on the Bond set is no different from anyone who sells anything anywhere (real or virtual world) at a lower than possible price. Why should I feel bad? The fact that the Web makes these errors bigger isn't my fault. If these etailers had any brains, they'd add a column in their Oracle database called 'OurPrice'. Then, when they tried to change the price (i.e. 'SalePrice') they'd only need to have their software compare the new 'SalePrice' to the 'OurPrice' column - the software wouldn't let Bobo make a booboo.

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Old 09-25-00, 05:33 PM
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sracer, I believe your Amazon theory is a bit of a stretch but hey, everybody is entitled to an opinion.

Groucho, It's kind of odd. I agree with your points about abusing e-tailers but I don't think simply ordering something at a posted price is "abuse". Take the sale at Amazon going on right now with some DVDs that are normally 20-30% off selling at >50% off. Should I assume that these are mis-prices? Look at the Lethal Weapons. Their MSRP went down to $19.99 and Amazon is having a legitimate sale for 50% off that. Not knowing these facts (as most probably don't), I might assume that since the price ($9.99) is so low that it is a mis-price. I should therefore not order for fear of ripping off the e-tailer.

This is carrying things a bit too far. I don't see anything wrong with ordering something for the marked price. I'm not going to go to the 3rd degree to figure out if they "intended" to sell for that price or not. Again, that is their responsibility. If it's wrong, let them tell me.

Those of you saying the retailer or e-tailer is obligated to sell you something at an advertised price even if it is in error is hogwash. There are mistakes made all the time on prices in ads and even in the stores. Most re and e-tailers have legal disclaimers that protect them. If you don't believe that, please cite a court case where precident was set otherwise.
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Old 09-25-00, 05:45 PM
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We've been over this ground before and maybe things are different depending upon which state you live in but around these parts if an item is priced lower than it rings up you get the item for the lower price. No managers are called, no evil looks are given, no one roughs you up and accuses you of having put a false sticker on the product (they use mighty adhesive stickers around here too), and no one refuses to sell you the item. It's a consumer protection law here that the customer gets the lower price. I was in an electronics store that I really like and they had an item priced for $30-40 lower than it was supposed to be and I offered to pay the "real" price for it and the cashier looked at me stricken and told me that he couldn't charge me more than the sticker price because he could get in trouble if I was working undercover to catch him doing it. I guess that things are different in other places... go figure...

[This message has been edited by Margo (edited September 25, 2000).]
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Old 09-25-00, 06:22 PM
  #33  
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quote:
Groucho, It's kind of odd. I agree with your points about abusing e-tailers but I don't think simply ordering something at a posted price is "abuse".


Neither do I. As you indicated, it is impossible for us as customers to know what the real price is, and whether or not the deal was intentional. Take the Best Buy Bond Set mis-price. Since no MSRP was given, somebody could easily have found that and figured that it was just the price.

In the 800.com Bond set fiasco, it was obvious that the product labeled as "James Bond Box Set #3" was not the box set. First of all, the price was ridiculously low for a 6 disc set. Secondly, the only features listed were from A VIEW TO A KILL. Thirdly, the real box set was listed right below, with the actual price clearly in site. There is no way that somebody could have mistaken this price for being accurate.

Indeed, in the original thread concerning the deal, it was clear that everybody ordering the product knew that it was a misprice. People were bragging about ordering multiples, and even taking screenshots knowing that they were going to have to argue the point with 800.com when the time came. Do you take screenshots everytime you order a product online in anticipation of a pricing dispute? Probably not, unless you know that you are taking advantage. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about cases of a few bucks here and there, I'm talking about huge discrepancies that were obvious to everybody involved. (For an even bigger discrepancy, check out the threads about the Chapters.ca PSX2 fiasco).

But I stray from my point. If people want to take advantage of these deals, I don't care. If the online companies had been a little more cautious, the issues wouldn't have arisen in the first place. However, when we do take advantage of such a situation we should realize that we are doing just that: taking advantage. When the retailer calls us on it, we shouldn't moan and complain and file reports with the BBB. We should move on, and save our complaints for legitimate customer service issues rather than crying wolf because we didn't get something for (virtually) nothing.
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Old 09-25-00, 06:48 PM
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Groucho, I must admit you make very good points about the 800.com/Bond issue. I guess I am forced to agree here. That was a pretty clear cut typo (even though I ordered ONE ).

I wholeheartedly agree with your point about griping and complaining when a company does not honor the price. The buy.com 50off50(0) really sticks in my craw. How people could complain and badmouth when buy.com didn't honor this is dumbfounding to me!

[This message has been edited by moocher (edited September 25, 2000).]
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Old 09-25-00, 06:57 PM
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Groucho, you're right about straying from the point. We ALL do/did that.

I for one, did have a customer service issue with 800.com. It's fine that they not honor the price, but at least they could have said that they screwed up and that they were really at fault. This is what I expect from 800.com because they have always had customer service as one of their top priorities. With the standard e-mail that they sent, they tried to downplay this problem by saying that there was a "confusion" almost implying that it was the consumer's confusion therefore they were not at fault. It was a little confusing, but the Order Receipt CLEARLY SAYS "James Bond Collection 007 Gift Set - Vol. 3" and NOTHING ELSE. How can that be confusing?

Steve from 800.com ([email protected]) posts here in DVD Talk and has e-mailed me about this issue. And I really appreciate that. He assured me that they take "customer problems very seriously" and will follow up on this. And this makes me appreciate their service a great deal more.

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Old 09-25-00, 11:33 PM
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I guess I jumped the gun a little on Chapters. This is an example of good customer service on a mis-price:
---------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Chapters.ca Customer:

Due to an inadvertent error, the Sony Playstation 2 console was inaccurately
shown on Chapters.ca at a price of $79.99 when in fact the price should have
been $449.99, the normal retail price. This error was corrected as soon as it
became apparent and it was necessary to cancel your recent order as well as all
others placed at the inaccurate price.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

If you would like to reorder this product at the correct price of $449.99 please
click here http://www.chapters.ca/GAMESCENTRE/d...C=711719700005

To apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced we are providing you
with a $10.00 coupon in the next few days for use against your next purchase at
Chapters.ca.


Sincerely,


The Customer Service Team
We are Open if you are
----------------------------------------------------------

This is more than I would expect. They would have lost their business if they honored the mis-price for the PS2 even at one per customer (considering the number of people who probably ordered this). The apology is fine and the $10 GC (actually about $7 US) is gravy.

Tell me, all you amature lawyers out there - Do I and the other thousands out there who ordered this have a case against Chapters? If so, what a sad statement on the American justice system. One slip of the finger on a keyboard and you lose your ENTIRE BUSINESS!!

Any disagreement out there??
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Old 09-26-00, 01:06 PM
  #37  
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Hey Folks!!!

Thanks for the great reading!!! Oh.. wait.. you DID realize that us etailer employees read this stuff right? How else would we know when you're about to rip us off?

In all seriousness. I am eagerly looking forward to how the tone changes and what is said in the next couple of hours. I am about to rock the boat. ;-)


The Dr.

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Old 09-26-00, 01:09 PM
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BTW:

Groucho:

Thanks for the good word on the ethics of e-ordering. I, and many others, have enjoyed and appreciated this thread since its birth 2 days ago.

My Best

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Old 09-26-00, 02:18 PM
  #39  
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quote:
Originally posted by moocher:

I wholeheartedly agree with your point about griping and complaining when a company does not honor the price. The buy.com 50off50(0) really sticks in my craw. How people could complain and badmouth when buy.com didn't honor this is dumbfounding to me!



Not to try to resurrect a dead horse here, but I don't think that most of the complaining about buy.com was that they did not honor the coupon. It was buy.com's attitude that the orders were somehow placed fraudulently, and buy.com was completely blameless in the deal. Remember that some of us (me included) found the coupon elsewhere, and it specifically said "$50 off a $50 purchase" in our shopping carts and everywhere else. For others, it showed "$50 off a $500 puchase," but that was not universal. Then, in response to multiple calls to buy.com, the CSRs acknowledged that the coupon was valid, and even a day after it was invalidated, buy.com said that it would honor the orders placed using the coupon.

The $50-off coupon was very clearly the result of bad programming at buy.com, and the way everything went down was entirely buy.com's fault. Yet it refused to acknowledge its fault in the situation, choosing instead to blame everything on its customers, and making statements in the press that they were "just trying to get something for nothing."

Then buy.com simply chose to charge full price to some people who ordered using the coupon -- fraudulently overcharging their credit cards -- and from others buy.com demanded return of the items shipped, at the consumer's expense.

The complaining and badmouthing of buy.com was not as a result of the failure to honor the coupon -- it was as a result of the aftermath. Buy.com's behavior after that situation, IMO, was inexcusable and defines bad "customer service."
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Old 09-26-00, 02:37 PM
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moocher,

Using your 'logic': if my 'finger slips' and I buy some shitty stock, and lose my life savings should I be able to get my money back?

On that fateful day, did anyone from DVDTalk ask BestBuy.com to change their price on the Bond Set #3 or hack in and do it for them? No. They chose to do it and they messed it up. Things move real fast on the Internet - no one held a gun to BestBuy's head and forced them to expand from their B&M's into the virtual world.

And as I said in my previous post, there are software solutions to safeguard against these types of errors - BestBuy (and obviously all the others) have chosen not to implement - they will learn their lessons the hard way.

[This message has been edited by msharkm (edited September 26, 2000).]
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Old 09-26-00, 05:12 PM
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Hoc,

While I acknowledge that Buy did react with anger at the abuse of the coupon and could have used a little more tact (as Chapters apparently has), they are right that most of the people abusing that coupon knew exactly what they were doing and that it was a loophole that Buy did not detect when posting it. C'mon 50 off 50? A "possible" legit deal when it says 50 off 500 right on the coupon? Give me a break. I feel I might be borderline with my ethics but even I did not participate in that one.

Also, they probably reacted the way they did because they know all about the people with 10 credit cards that abuse their "new customer" coupons and said "enough is enough". I sympathise. I have run a business before and know what it is like.

msharkm,

Apparently you agree that a company should be liable for a mis-price to the point of losing their business. I guess you also agree that Chapters should be bankrupted over the PS2 fiasco. Well, all I can say is if the courts take that kind of attitude, we will not be shopping online very much longer. Expecting perfection out of these companies that are listing literally thousands of products and processing tens of thousands of orders is unreasonable.
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Old 09-26-00, 06:32 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by moocher:
C'mon 50 off 50? A "possible" legit deal when it says 50 off 500 right on the coupon? Give me a break. I feel I might be borderline with my ethics but even I did not participate in that one.



I had no physical coupon, nor anything that said $50 off $500. And, given the deals that have been out there, such as Familywonder's buy 1, get 2 free, and 800.com's 3 DVDs for a dollar, etc., it was not so far-fetched that a $50 off $50 could have been legit. So, it wasn't. No reason to demonize -- and alienate -- all of buy.com's customers, including me, who did not use the coupon multiple times and did not get a $50 off $500 coupon.

Anyway, my point is as I said above.
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Old 09-26-00, 07:06 PM
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Hoc, I did say "most" and I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt but seeing how many posts you have accumulated I find it hard to believe that you did not follow the rather lengthy thread where the fact that it was supposed to be 50 off 500 coupon was made abundently clear.

Anyway, I don't want to steer the thread off track with a rant on the Buy situation. I don't think any minds will be changed.

To sum up my feelings, I believe it is fine to order products that seem to be priced unusually low (0.00 is a gray area ) but when we do, we should keep in mind that it is probably a mistake and while we might get lucky, we should expect the possibility of cancelation. When cancelation occurs, please don't demonize the e-tailer for the mis-price just like you expect them not to demonize you for ordering.

I do agree with the points expressed here that e-tailers should make every effort to prevent mis-pricing (which I'm sure they now realize) and treat their customers with respect when a mis-price occurs (yes, even in a buy.com 50off50(0) scenario). A little compensation is nice but an apology should suffice to keep our business.

...just MHO
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Old 09-26-00, 07:24 PM
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Wow! Just caught the thread over in Bargains where the "deal" that started this thread is going to be honored by 800.com. While I still agree with Groucho that this one was on the borderline of the borderline (perhaps even across it), I am very happy to be a beneficiary of 800.com's graciousness.

C'mon, Groucho, deep down I bet you wish you'd ordered .
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Old 09-26-00, 08:43 PM
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I had already shown my appreciation to 800.com for taking this matter seriously:

quote:
Steve from 800.com ([email protected]) posts here in DVD Talk and has e-mailed me about this issue. And I really appreciate that. He assured me that they take "customer problems very seriously" and will follow up on this. And this makes me appreciate their service a great deal more.


Them honoring the low price is really going way beyond what is needed. Thanks again, Steve (his username here is SteveA, just in case you didn't already know).

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Old 09-26-00, 08:57 PM
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namja,

Your emails with Steve may have have had an influence on the outcome as well so a big thank you to you too.

Thanks, SteveA!!! I believe 800.com has made a big impression with this gesture!
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Old 09-26-00, 09:31 PM
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Yep, next time, I *need* a dvd, 800.com will ring in my mind a lot louder.

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Old 09-26-00, 10:20 PM
  #48  
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quote:
Originally posted by moocher:
Hoc, I did say "most" and I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt but seeing how many posts you have accumulated I find it hard to believe that you did not follow the rather lengthy thread where the fact that it was supposed to be 50 off 500 coupon was made abundently clear.



I did follow it after the fact, and the aftermath is one of the reasons that I chose to frequent this board more often and post more. But don't assume that, just because I have accumulated many posts over the last year, they were accumulated evenly in each month. Besides, doing so borders on an ad hominem attack, which I don't think you intended.
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Old 09-26-00, 11:39 PM
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Hoc, you are definitely right. No attack intended. I actually admire the #. Shows you're interested in the board. Nothing wrong with that ...

OK. Enough on the Buy incident. We all have passionate opinions on that one that are unlikely to change...

There is actually a very bad side effect of the trend of 800 and BB honoring these obvious mis-prices or even Chapters sending a GC (still waiting on them to come back and honor the PS2 deal ). Everybody who hears of a mis-price from now on will jump right on it whether they are interested in the DVDs or not even if it is borderline. I know I will. It would be stupid not to.

Even though we have argued the merits of the 800 mis-price, now that they have honored it, the deal is legitimate. We have a "meeting of the minds" as one poster put it. I fear that the result of these borderline turned legitimate mis-price deals may be efforts to jump on the slightest mistake in an e-tailer listing and pounce making the situation worse.
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Old 09-27-00, 01:25 AM
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on the eighth day, god created customer service. it was supposed to a service to service customers. but that went south as soon as oxygen was introduced into the atmosphere. god, wanting to conceal his error, eliminated the 8th day. but every once in a while, there's a long weekend, and if the planets align in orbit with pluto and neptune in interchanged positions, customer service will still not work
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