Report from the field: eatons

On the road in Ontario this week. We stopped in at the new eatons store at Yorkdale in Toronto this afternoon. Generally impressive: more staff; much better design (delightful shelving for suitcases, with cast aluminium airplanes atop was a highlight); more interesting product mix, free Lindor chocolates. The most interesting section was linens, which must cover 10,000 square feet of the 3rd floor: beautifully laid out, beds made up so you can touch the sheets, excellent selection, friendly staff. Downsides: there are more staff, but they vary widely in maturity and experience; Guest Services (where you get information, check your coat, etc.) is located in an obscure spot on the 2nd floor; had to wait 15 minutes to pay for a coat; staff seem more attentive to well dress yuppies than to dump-looking Islanders bearing sleepy infants. When all was said and done, though, I signed up for an eatons card (they gave me 10% off my purchased today if I signed up), bought some nice Nautica sheets and a wool coat, and was happy to see a trusted, spruced up friend back on the scene. Too bad I have to fly to Toronto to shop, though!

Good Internet Radio Links

If you’re looking for something to listen to while computing, I recommend: Trent Radio (my old stomping grounds; community radio in Peterborough, Ontario); WNAN (affiliated with WGBH; broadcasting from Cape Cod, MA); 680 News (used to be CFTR, a top-40 station, when I went to summer camp; it was the only station you could pick up on Beausoleil Island); Radio Netherlands (if only to hear Dutch announcers speaking Spanish; very mellifluous).

MICR from Canmore

Tune in this week to Off the Beaten Track on CBC Prince Edward Island (Friday, Dec. 15 at 4:30 p.m.) to learn more than you ever thought possible about the world of MICR and cheque clearing. (You can listen live via RealAudio, or find an archive link here late Friday).

Soon I will stop…

Okay, so Island Tel Advanced Solutions [sic] doesn’t send paper bills for High Speed Internet — my only option is to receive my bill by email. But they don’t accept electronic bill payment from my credit union. This leaves them as the only bill that I can’t pay online (and this includes everything from electric and oil to my little insurance broker down the street). Oh, and they don’t even print their mailing address on the invoice — where am I supposed to send the cheque?

Island Tel: Stop the Insanity!

I try to say good things about Island Tel, really I do. But they’re at it again. Every time I reboot my system, Island Tel’s DHCP server gives me an IP address. This is fine and normal. Today, they opened up a new class of IP addresses, so that while I used to always get a 142.176.* address, now I get a 142.177.* address. That’s fine and normal too. Alas they didn’t update their SMTP server at the same time, so smtp1.islandtelecom.com thinks that when I try and send email from my new IP address I’m some evil outsider, and rejects my email. So I haven’t been able to send email today. Who’s running the show over there, and how could something so crazy, yet so simple, occur?

 Stop the Insanity!

Shipping a Dog by Courier

A friend and neighbour of mine — let’s call her Gertrude — wonders whether you can send a small dog across the country by courier.

FedEx specifically prohibits Live insects, animals, birds, reptiles and plants, including cut flowers… so they’re out.

As far as I can tell, UPS has no such restrictions (although their Irregularly Shaped Items page doesn’t not specifically address the special requirements needed package a dog.)

Similarly, the confusing DHL website would appear to have no information on dog-related shipments; they can, however, tell you the literacy rate in Croatia, which often comes up when shipping dogs.

At Purolator you can ship tires and pails at no extra charge, but alas not live animals, birds and insects (besides which, I imagine that like “glass and ceramics,” a dog would not be “compatible with Purolator’s high speed sorting and handling process.”

Just when I was despairing that I would not be able to assist dear Gertrude, I found the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International, which sent me to PetFlight, “a very personalized service where we like to think our client is the pet, and the family is the loving people who pay for the service.”

So there you go.

(If you ever find yourself needing to ship animals, the IATA has a very helpful page of information.)

Futureshop

Charlottetown has been blessed/cursed with a Futureshop for a couple of months now. I’ve had almost universally poor experiences there and warn others to shop elsewhere when possible.
My first purchase was a Canon PowerShot S100 camera. I bought it there because I knew they would take it back if I wasn’t satisfied. To complete the purchase, however, I endured what must have been 15 minutes of “extended warranty” up-sell patter with the hard-sell salespeople. This ended with the following exchange: “You know that repairs can cost up to $200 on a camera like that,” they said. “Well, how much is the extended warranty?” I asked. “$199,” they reponses. I decided to take my chances.
Next episode, several months later: we decided to buy a TV. We’d already decided on a Sony WEGA and were just shopping on price. Price at Futureshop: $849. Price at Hirtles, the small, local, friendly shop around the corner: $849. We bought it at Hirtles. So much for “big city prices.”
Final straw: I called today to price a memory upgrade (see story below). After negotiating the voicemail tree, I ended up talking to someone in Computers. I gave him my specs and he put down the phone on the counter. Much confusion was heard in the background. About a minute later he came back. “That would be $49/month,” he said. “What?” I replied. “$49/month,” he reiterated. I hung up.

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