Shadowrun Returns!

Give Dem Moneys!!!!

Grave Witch

When I started reading this book, it felt like a merger of Anita Blake and Rachel Morgan.  However, although it is obviously inspired by other existing realms of urban fantasy, it is able to stand on it’s own.  Once I got past the first couple of chapters, I found it hard to put the book down.  It was a very interesting read.

Waking the Witch

Just got done reading this book a couple days ago.  Great new addition to the Women of the Otherworld series.  Get to see how Savannah all grown up and taking on her own case. Pretty cool overall, however the ending did feel somewhat anti-climactic.
Probably more worth waiting to get it on a deal though, even if you are a fan of the series. If you haven’t read any others, I would start at the beginning of the series before jumping into this one.

So. Being that I live in a house with fairly hard water, but having grown up in a house that had soft water, I budgeted in the purchase of a water softener for my house this year. I did some pretty good research, looking around for a good company, with good pricing, to purchase from. After some debating, I decided to go with, due in large part to their positive testimonials displayed in large number on their site.

Unfortunately, my experience ended up not being so pleasant.  After detailing my thoughts/feelings about the overall experience, I’ll include the correspondence between myself and AffordableWater.

I first placed my order with AffordableWater on 3/8/2011 (way ‘early’ in the morning, like 1:30a.m.).  Great pricing only $864 for a Fleck 7600sxt with 112k grain capacity.  Was pretty excited to finally be getting on the way to getting soft water in my house.  Received my automated confirmation right away, then, nothing…  Surprisingly, no shipment confirmation with tracking information was sent.  I wasn’t really overly worried about this, as the information was able to be acquired directly from their website, when they did ship the water softener.

On 3/15/2011 (pretty fast for freight shipment!) the delivery arrived.  This should have been my first sign everything wasn’t going to work out. The shipping company, Dayton Freight, handled things totally unprofessionally.  The driver arrived at my home with a truck that had a broken lift-gate, completely unable to off-load the delivery.  The ‘blame’ for this promptly was displaced to us, the recipients of the delivery, by the driver.  After he attempted to inform us that if we could not find some way to offload the shipment, it would cost us an additional $60 to have him return the next day in a truck capable of delivering to a residence.  That in and of itself, is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard from someone handling a shipment, somehow we were apparently responsible for his/his company’s incompetence?  Upon attempting to actually cooperate with this imbecile, and actually offload the delivery (I wanted my water softener), we discovered a box that was damaged.  The damaged box contained the resin used for the filtration of the water, that actually causes the water to be ‘softened’.  The box was damaged severely enough, that the bag inside (a very thin plastic, not even as thick as my garbage bags) had broken open, and the resin was spilling out into the truck.  The driver had the gall to suggest that it wasn’t really a big deal, that we could ‘just get some bags and scoop up the stuff’.  That idea didn’t really sit well with me, so we ended up refusing the shipment for damages.  There was no way to accept a partial shipment, it was all or nothing, the driver informed us, it was simply easier in the overall scheme to deny the delivery because it was damaged.

Being rather irritated about this, I shot off an e-mail to AffordableWater to inform them of what had happened  (remember, all of this will be below).  I wasn’t really nice about the situation, as I was still pretty riled about the moronic delivery guy.  The first thing next morning, I received a prompt and courteous reply, apologizing for the problems, and letting me know they would get a new shipment to me right away, if that was what I wanted (I had indicated I may not).  I replied back, apologizing for my prior brusqueness, and letting them know that yes, I would definitely like them to ship a replacement, and thanks for taking care of it.  I also let them know the problem was not theirs, but in fact the shipping agency, as the shipment bill clearly stated it was to be delivered to a residence.  I got another reply letting me know the shipment would be delivered via ups, a little later than they had hoped, because apparently one of the components was out of stock until that morning.  Cool, my new softener was once again on its way!

A few days later UPS calls to schedule a delivery day/time.  We got it set to be delivered on the 24th.  3/24/2011 arrives, and late afternoon the delivery arrives.  My wife calls to inform me that the driver is there to deliver, but as they are preparing to off-load the delivery, the driver (this UPS guy was awesome, very professional) points out that one of the boxes appears to have some damage.  Once again, it is the box containing the resin.  Once again, the box is damaged severely enough the flimsy bag inside is spilling resin all over my driveway and the back of the UPS truck.  My wife called me at work, to determine what should be done, after some discussion with me, and the UPS driver, it was decided that returning it for being damaged was the best way to handle the scenario again.  Since we couldn’t receive a partial shipment, and I really didn’t want water softener resin spilling all over, that seemed to be the best solution.

Apparently I assumed wrong.

I dropped another e-mail to AffordableWater, expecting the situation to be handled much the way it was the first time. I let them know I had refused the shipment for damages again, and would like a replacement shipped as soon as possible.

However, disappointingly, I opened my e-mail the next morning, to read a rather curt reply informing me that my refusing the damaged shipment a second time was unacceptable, and they would be refunding my purchase.  I sent them a reply e-mail letting them know my dissatisfaction with this, and that I expected the refund promptly if that was how they felt, also informing them I would be sure to make this information known.

Ultimately, I do not understand how I as a customer could have handled this differently. I paid nearly a thousand dollars for something, that I am expected to accept delivery for in a damaged state?  The inadequacies on the part of the choice of shipping containers, and careful shipment handling by the carriers, is somehow my responsibility?  I really dislike being treated as if this whole scenario is somehow my own fault.  Perhaps if AffordableWater had somehow provided me a solution in the event something like this might happen a second time?  Something like: ‘In the event that the second delivery’s resin arrives damaged, please accept the shipment and dispose/store the damaged resin in the following fashion…  Contact us to let us know, and we will get a replacement shipment of resin shipped out, and a return label to return the damaged resin shipment back, so it can be retreated correctly’ etc.  Nothing of this sort was mentioned at all, but somehow I was expected to know, that if I treated the second damaged shipment, identically to how I treated the first, I would be treated as a troublesome customer not worth doing business with. It’s not as if they would ultimately be liable for the shipment, as it was DAMAGED, they should be getting a refund on their shipping + the value of the damaged merchandise.  Yet I was supposed to apparently, in the moment of delivery when their company was already closed for the day, clairvoyantly ‘know’ I was supposed to accept the delivery and work things out with AffordableWater ex-post-facto.  Ultimately, things seem to have worked out in the best fashion possible, I learned that if I ever needed them for anything again in the future, I could not depend on them anyway.  Hopefully no-one out there will get burned by them in an attempt to get some warranty help or something similar, once they’ve got your money.  I know I’m happier knowing my business with them is concluded, and will not have to associate with them in the future

Here is all of the correspondence I have regarding the situation (excluding the original order confirmation) in order of sent/received:

From: Kyle Siemer
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 3:29 PM
To: ''
Subject: Order #5491

Importance: High

The shipment arrived damaged.
The package containing the resin was broken and bags of resin had spilled out into the shipping truck. I refused the shipment for damage, I do still want the items asap, was prepared to install this weekend, I will have to reschedule some assistance.
Additionally the freight company arrived at my residence with a truck that is designed to deliver to a loading bay, and had no capability to offload the shipment.
I am incredibly unhappy with this situation, as the delivery driver was at one point attempting to encourage my wife and her friend to help unload the delivery from the back of the truck, even while recognizing that it was damaged. There was a suggestion to simply ‘get some bags’ and scoop up the spilled resin and take the shipment as well. The driver gave no issue with marking the shipment as damaged, but the whole delivery experience at this point is ridiculous.

I’m hoping to expedite a replacement shipment with this message. If a replacement cannot be quickly provided, please simply refund the transaction and I will purchase locally so as not to have to deal with the shipping company.

Kyle Siemer

Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 9:27 am
To: "Kyle Siemer"
Subject: Order #5491

Sorry for the problems! We will ship the order complete again today.
We should have specified "lift gate service" but apparently did not.
Since this ships from Ohio, it will take a few days to get to you.

We are short handed today, so if this is not acceptable to you, please call us at 877-848-2532.

Thank you


From: Kyle Siemer
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:10 PM
To: ''
Subject: RE: Order #5491

That sounds great.
Sorry if my first message came across bad, I was still feeling the frustration of the moment. I realize the issue was the shipping company's, not yours. Thank you for addressing the issue so quickly.
When I arrived at home and looked into the situation further, the shipping bill clearly stated that the delivery was for residential. The driver had at one point said that if he could not somehow offload the delivery, he would have to charge US an additional $60 to return in a truck capable of offloading the delivery, when it was clearly their mistake. You may want to talk to your shipper about how they are handling your clients, at least out in this area. I personally know of several truck drivers that are out of work, and would be more than willing to take the job of that incompetent driver.

Thanks again,


Sent: Thu, March 17, 2011 11:36 am
To: "Kyle Siemer"
Subject: Order #5491


We shipped the original with Dayton Freight who had interlined it with another carrier and we requested lift gate service. I specified UPS Freight with our shipping department for this shipment which we are shipping today vs. yesterday (we were out of a component until this AM).

Thanks for your patience,



From: Kyle Siemer
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 6:32 PM
Subject: RE: Order #5491

Unfortunately, the shipment arrived today from UPS, damaged again. Once again, the box containing the resin looked as though it had been sat on by an elephant, the bags inside were burst and leaking beads again. My wife refused the shipment for damages again.
We would really like to get this softener, and realize the difficulties aren't yours, could you please get another replacement on the way.

Kyle Siemer


Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 8:18 AM
To: Kyle Siemer
Subject: Order #5491

We could have easily shipped the resin. Sending the tanks and control back twice doesn't get it done.

We will cancel your order and refund your money.


From: Kyle Siemer
Date: March 25, 2011 9:46:41 AM MDT
To: ""
Subject: Re: Order #5491

Wow. Um. The first shipping company REFUSED to do a partial delivery.

I assumed this was the best way to handle the situation the second time.
Maybe you should package your materials better.

I'll be sure to share your resolution on my site, Facebook and any other outlet I can.

I purchased with you based off of the apparently cherry-picked testimonials about you.

I'll be sure to review you in a proper fashion anywhere I can.

I expect a full refund promptly or will be issuing a chargeback.

It has not been even remotely a pleasure doing business with you,
-Kyle Siemer


From: Amber R
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 9:38 AM
To: Kyle Siemer
Subject: Affordable Water, IS Customer Refund Notification

Order Information

Affordable Water, IS
Affordable Water Order_ID xxxxxxx

Invoice Number:
Customer ID:

Billing Information
Kyle Siemer
Shipping Information


US $892.99


25-Mar-2011 11:37:56 AM ET
Transaction ID:


Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 10:14 AM
To: Kyle Siemer
Subject: Re: Order #5491

Mr. Siemer,

You should have an e-mail confirmation of your full refund today. I just refunded it about 30 minutes ago.



Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 1:05 PM
To: Kyle Siemer
Subject: Order #5491


You won't have to worry about getting involved with a charge back and the time that this takes. We do what we say we are going to do.

Our testimonials are legitimate customer responses to a followup email we send to them and not made up as you charge.

When you post on Facebook, make sure you send me a link so I can view it and respond accordingly, if you play that way.



From: Kyle Siemer
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 4:57 PM
To: ''
Subject: RE: Order #5491


My Facebook is actually 'private' so only my friends will see it there, however the same information is posted to my site blog, and that links back to my facebook, so any comments there will reciprocate.

Once I add this last message to the end, I will be posting it.

Sorry things couldn't work out with us, I had a pretty good feeling about purchasing with you, and apparently that feeling was wrong.