i writeth, you readeth

Now for those that wander aimlessly

Beloved Ertl now sucks!

4. November 2010 | Category Interests, Rant

Recently, I had obtained a Model Kit made by Ertl for a John Deere JD 8020. It was a kit and took some time to assemble, so when near the end, I found that it was missing parts and that removing cellophane from around the tractor’s cab removed large amounts of paint with it, I was a little unnerved.

I sent the now parent company of Ertl, RC2 an email inquiring about possible replacement by the company.

This is the response I got from ‘Karen’ in Customer Service:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding model kit parts.

The Company announced on 1/11/2007 that it will discontinue its Racing Champions, Joyride, Ertl, and AMT die-cast and model kit automotive collectible product lines. The Company plans to continue with its strategy to reposition its Johnny Lightning Brand. Production for 2007 will remain as planned at this time.

We are sorry to hear of your problem with our product. We focus on producing quality toys and collectibles, however on a rare occasion quality issues can arise.

With the wide range of products and items we market, it is impossible for RC2 Brands to keep replacement parts or stock on hand. The Company has established return policies with the retailers who purchase our products directly. Please return the product along with your receipt to the place of purchase for an exchange or refund. The return is subject to the discretion and return policies of the retailer.

You can also try contacting one of the following retailers: Gold Coast Hobby 516-759-4094 or Model King 732-240-3987 for purchase of replacement parts.

Thanks for your support of Learning Curve Brand products.

Consumer Services

to which I responded

Your response somehow didn’t surprise me.

Given that I too work in Quality Control, it’s extremely difficult to imagine that our respective companies would put out a product that is less then perfect in the eye of the customer. But it does happen from time to time, as we both can attest to. The big difference is that for my job, I have to claim responsibility for the quality of my company’s product and do what I can to make it right in the eyes of the end user/customer.

Evidently, your company does not believe in quality or customer service, based on my exchange with you. Furthermore, the fact that your product is made in China and your customer service information is not existent in any tangible way via your company’s website should have been huge red flags to me.

I am disappointed as a customer, as for a good, joyful part of my childhood growing up on a family farm in the rural Midwest was spent carpet-farming with what was viewed as the best in farm toys ~ Ertl. I attended numerous toy shows and purchased numerous toy farm machinery for my carpet-farm. All these products were made with the Ertl logo.

While it’s easy to see why you’re company continues to use the Ertl brand, I am extremely disappointed in the product you currently put out and lack of response to quality concerns. (By the way your email response in corporate speak is so vague it actually means little. Numerous mention of the year 2007 are made, but what that has to do with present day issues are not addressed. I suggest you fire your copy writer)

While we live in the age of the Internet and Social Media, I will take it upon myself to spread the experience I’ve had with your company. It should be a hoot to hear my relatives that currently own Ertl toys and their response to this saga.

Enjoy making your cheap Chinese shit, I wish your company nothing but the worst.

So, there you have it, a part of my childhood has been sold out and now peddles cheap crap under the priceless memories of a once quality brand!


Indecisiveness 2008 Edition

6. November 2008 | Category Interests, Observations, Rant

Yuck. Every election cycle gets worse it seems. I was so fed up with every media type outlet in the last month/year, I actually stopped using a few of them. So we have a new President. I can actually say we had a decent choice this cycle for candidates, I didn’t feel like I was choosing between two douche bags the puppet masters danced out for us, like has been done for the last 8 years. A person could feel good about either candidate.

None the less, McCain didn’t win. I think he was screwed over since his initial presidential run in 2000 when his campaign stalled as a frat-boy from Texas noodled his way into the White House. McCain never really recovered from that. His form in the campaign was off, and the administration sure didn’t do him a single favor for torpedoing his run in 2000. Ah, time for a change.

As for the US Senate race in Mn, it was ridiculous. Why didn’t the two main idiots just say they were gonna bash the other in so many ways that it would look more like a sissy fight than a run for elected office. These two took pride,it looked like, in hating the other guy and finding new ‘campaign’ ways to do so. Yuck.

Al Franken got what he deserved. After losing outstate Mn in the primaries to his DFL competitor, he was blase enough to admit that his real opponent was Norm Coleman the whole time. I sure that statement and attitude were enough to convince some couple hundred voters to switch to GOP or even Independence Party, which fared better than may have been expected. It is of note that the Independence Party did play a spoiler of sorts in this election as well. Just goes to show that 3rd party politics may liven up the electoral scene.

As for the citizens of Minnesota, the majority of them took it upon themselves to raise their taxes via a sales tax increase. They bit this propaganda hook, line, and sinker (or art piece, I forget). Little did anyone mention that the arts and parks would greatly benefit from a good chunk of this amendments ‘great outdoors’ improvement plea. Little did the state government have to worry about, because with it’s passage, they passed the buck (no pun intended) and get to bask in squandering my generations taxes on whatever they have to money to.

Where did all that ‘state lottery’ money go we Minnesotans were promised a decade or so ago? All I have heard was embezzlement charges against the big shots running that gig. Yuck.

These taxes tend to stay on the books too. Mankato for one, is a city around the area that has had implemented an extra sales tax to pay for a ‘regional’ project in the Civic Center, but now after the initial taxing period has expired, they conveniently found numerous other ‘priorities’ that needed funding. Yuck.

Almost can’t wait for another even numbered year. Yuck.


Piotter-Hochsprung Wedding Site

14. October 2008 | Category Interests, Personal, Rest of Site

As the wedding is a mere 7 months away, it seems to be all the rage to create a wedding website. This will be located at michaelpiotter.com/wedding which is currently just a page really, but will be fully functioning at least before May 9,2009.



Wine of the Gods

16. March 2008 | Category Interests, Personal

I have recently had the divine opportunity for smuggling of a little known product back from across the Mason-Dixon Line. It’s Cheerwine and it’s a nectar from the gods.

Well, maybe not. It’s a great soda (not pop mind you) that’s like a Cherry Pepsi and Dr. Pepper mixed.

How did I find out about this stuff? My sister had some when she was in Carolina and said it was okay, but having heard it hyped a few places, I needed to see what the deal was about this beverage. So I had the sister pick some up on a recent trip to the Carolinas. And I was not disappointed!

Now if I can find a constant supply/supplier, I can maintain my fix on this wine. Word is it’s available in Duluth, Bernicks from St. Cloud,Mn; and Iowa. I do get to these locales, just not often enough to actually scout out where Cheerwine may be sold.



12. November 2007 | Category Interests, Personal

Recently completed two major life tasks. One involved eBay and the other Mensa.

The eBay feat was more of a co-inky-dink. Having spent considerable sums of money buying and selling on eBay since a pre-historic 1999, I’ve finally obtained a Turquoise Star. This is eBay rating for a 100+ positive rating. Even more impressive in my book, is that I did it without a negative review about me as a seller or a buyer. That probably means more to mean than the 100+ rating, but it’s still nice. They sent me an email with a fancy little certificate that would go great as plaque or framed accolade.

The other recent feat took a bit more brain power. Mensa has always had that geekish-nerd calling to me. Having pondered how to get into it since high school, I finally talked with some members at the Minnesota State Fair. After taking a pre-test and being given a discount to join by the sister’s boyfriend for National Testing Day, I decided to pull the trigger on this deal and see if I could get in. So after a 3 hour test which really included 2 tests,each in it’s own right an intelligence, one the infamous Wonderlic Test (the great football genius test). The test went good and all, with a bunch of similarly aged kids trying to see if they had it as well.

Just last week, I got a letter from Mensa. It said I passed. That’s it, you’re in. No score, no numbers. That was a bit anti-climactic, but being in the 98th percentile should be good enough I guess. I was told at the testing for a score, the proctor would have to be licensed to give a score by the state (i.e. psychologist) and such. Bummer, teachers aways had great pleasure in handing out scores, good or bad, but I guess they were paid to unlike our proctor.

So two such neat accomplishments in such a short span feels good, now I’ll have to go after a few more things on the list….