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January 19, 2007

When in Rome


A little lucre in the form of a Team Atia T-shirt from HBO's publicity machine is a nice gesture* though I should confess I was already planning to address this subject. Servilia is hard-core but as if there could be any doubt where my loyalties would lie: Atia of the Julii rules.

Niece of Caesar. Atia of the Julii is snobbish, willful, and cunning. She is also sexually voracious and totally amoral. In a culture in which woman lack formal power, and men leave for months and years on military campaigns, the wives, daughters, and mothers have built powerful networks an alliances completely independent of the men's worlds. Atia is among the women who serve as the shadow rulers of Rome.

The Flea is not one to offer spoilers in place of informed comment. Suffice to say season one of Rome ended not so much on a cliff-hanger as on the knife's-edge** and season two has, if anything, become more brutal and excessive. O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem! Just remember: If you have called down a curse upon your loved ones take care before sealing the curse with an animal sacrifice. Hold off on that and you can always lift the curse later; no harm done.

* At least, it would be a nice gesture; I am still waiting on the T-shirt. FedEx, you suck. Your customer service is a joke and your management should be summarily "raped by dogs" no wait, Atia's advice does not apply here fired. Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris. By contrast, Deep Focus has run an excellent campaign. Salve! But Deep Focus, if you are going to build a slow-loading, all Flash extravaganza to sell your product and enlist new media to put eyes on page you need to learn the following acronym: EPK. Try Googling a decent second season promo image in the 300-400 pixel-width range for, say, one of the two characters you are promoting. Seriously folks, it should not be this difficult to find a hot pic of Polly Walker. For example, here is an alarmingly acute comparison of Atia to her counterpart on The O.C.; no Flash required. Advantage: No budget Dutch internet forum. And for that free advice I am expecting a bus shelter size promo poster. Just do me a favour and send it by regular mail. Cum homine de cane debeo congredi.
** Etay utay Utebray?

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 19, 2007 07:17 AM


FedEx does suck. The last two packages that I've ordered for "Expedited Shipment" took a week of the FedEx guy "attempting" to deliver yet he never rang my doorbell, so I've ended up driving out to the airport to pick them up.

UPS is teh roxcx!!!

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 12:00 PM

I think UPS also sucks BUT when I recently had to ask them to redirect a shipment it turned up at my office in two business days. Meantime, not one of the five people at FedEx who told me they would phone me back has done so and every estimate they have given for their redirect time has been incorrect. In fact, I now believe they were all lies. Four days and counting to get a freaking T-shirt from some distribution centre in Oshawa to downtown Toronto. May Hecate take you, FedEx!

Seriously, FedEx' rudeness and incompetence has basically soured me on this entire HBO promotion.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 12:07 PM

Yes, they are rude. How DO they get those contracts with major vendors?

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 12:08 PM

I sent my tracking information, etc. to the marketing guys and suggested they get a refund for this FedEx non-shipment. They did not seem too bothered by that aspect of the deal though were satisfyingly horrified at FedEx making them look bad.

Time for Google to branch out again. We need a company that can do this sort of thing properly. More important, a company that can make a mistake and freaking apologize for it. Every FedEx rep I spoke to took the matter as one of complete indifference. I had assumed this was just the typical customer service we get with most half-assed Canadian versions of US businesses. I am beginning to think this situation is standard for the parent company as well.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 12:13 PM

I was largely impressed by UPS until last month when they inexplicably failed to deliver one of Wanda's Christmas presents three times, then got the address wrong on the request to redirect her present to my office, and then delivered it to a non-existent address one street south of the office's true address.

When I called UPS, they told me "well it was signed for", and nevermind that the actual address did not exist. I would have to contact the vendor and ask them to initiate an investigation, since the receiver is never authorised to do so.

Fortunately I'm a corporate client of the vendor so they got UPS to track it down and deliver it to the office a couple of days later. So UPS partially redeemed itself.

But the question lingers in my mind -- how did a UPS driver, presumably not new to the route or to downtown, manage to find a non-existent address in an area completely filled with office towers who all have giant address signs out front?

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 12:59 PM

I love it that the first story was that the package was signed for - and hence presumably delivered to some guy standing on the street - and yet they later miraculously managed to find the same clearly undelivered package.

These people lie. I think the problem is in part that due to the volume of calls and the number of staff there must be an incentive on the part of any particular customer service agent to say anything at all to get the client off the line. After that, it is as if the call never happened. I was issued a case number; precious good that did me. It is now gone two in the afternoon four business days later and my FedEx delivery has yet to arrive. It should go without saying that nobody has bothered to make the follow-up calls they promised.

I too am representing a massive corporate client for this service and had the package redirected not to any old address but to a FedEx delivery/pick-up point. Yep.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 02:08 PM

I gave a rather heavily edited version of the story. The detail is rather more frightening.

I did have a UPS tracking number for the present and their tracking system indicated that the package had been signed for on a date where our office was closed for the holidays -- and the signer's name was shown as "Cuffy". Not "Cuffy G. Smith" or "Cufford Z. Wong" but just plain "Cuffy".

Just to be safe I went to our mail room and asked if any particularly dedicated souls had ignored the office closure and were on duty the day before. Of course not. And naturally no-one there goes by the moniker "Cuffy", either. So I phoned UPS to see what was what, and that's when I found out it went to an address that did not exist.

I canvassed the mail rooms of the various towers here at TD Centre and of course, none of them had received said package. So I phoned up UPS again to see what my recourse was, which was to contact the vendor and get them to initiate an investigation.

Now I don't know if they lied, if UPS pulled off a miracle, or the vendor ate the loss and fired out another item. It is truly a mystery to me. But I will say I am naive enough to not have considered a bald-faced lie up to this point. =)

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 03:10 PM

Advantage: No budget Dutch internet forum.

I must steal this and pretend it to be my own. I simply do not care that one does not do such a thing.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 10:59 PM