Bad Business Alert

This is a warning for my fellow educators… Let me save you some frustration, aggravation, and maybe some money. Do not attempt to purchase academic software from a company called “JourneyEd.”  They also do business as Academic Super Store and perhaps several other similar names.

The process is supposed to be fairly straightforward. You place an order, then submit documentation proving you are qualified to purchase. The website says “one business day” is required.

Being a somewhat thorough person, I decided to call before ordering to get some assurance I was qualified. The customer service rep who took my call started reading to me from the website. I kept interrupting; he kept reading. I finally managed to speak to a supervisor who assured me I was qualified, so I placed the order and submitted my documentation for verification.

What followed was several days of nightmarish sorts of communication. I would email customer service–they would eventually reply assuringly that verifications are handled in the order received. I resubmitted my documentation several times, using different channels. Just about the time I was becoming suspicious, I received an email reminding me they were waiting for me to submit my documentation.  At this point I did the research I should have done at the start and discovered they’ve been getting negative reviews since at least 2003.

So I cancelled the order. I did so by emailing, faxing, and placing a phone call to a thoroughly apathetic customer service representative. Now here’s where it gets funny. This morning I had a handful of emails from them assuring me that my order was cancelled and that I would not be charged nor would the order be shipped. So we have a company that is quite adept at cancelling orders but can’t seem to process them and ship them.

The good news is that I found another supplier and placed the same basic order late yesterday afternoon. Creation Engine also emailed this morning, advising that my order has been shipped from California and is already in Louisville KY. Lessons learned:

If you are looking for academic software, do NOT order from JourneyEd. Do order from Creation Engine.

If you are considering a business relationship with an online company, google “customer reviews and the name of that company” BEFORE you go too far.

 

Class Announcement — You Can!

You Can–Raise Cash As A Crop!

This fast-paced, participative program will explore the opportunities we all have for “non-traditional” ways of raising cash through cost avoidance, part time work, cash crops from your farm, garden and hobbies. You may want to start a home-based business… or just explore the value of bartering with friends and neighbors. When your wallet’s almost empty, this course will encourage you to open your mind and develop a plan…

Tuesday, March 13th at 6:30 PM at SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft. Course fee is only $10. Register by calling the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative at 564-6525 or register online.


Check out the entire series of “You Can” courses at the PVAEC website! You’ll find lots of “traditional skills” courses regarding food preservation, seed starting, raising backyard chickens… a great program of practical and affordable classes made possible through a collaboration between PVAEC and the UMaine County Extension Service in Piscataquis County.

Grab Some Tissues…

And watch this video. Please.

http://www.flickspire.com/m/HPP/MakeADifference

All the way to the end. I’m not going to do a spoiler, but I will tell you that part-way through I found myself thinking how hard I wished people could realize that it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in a child’s life. But in the end, that wasn’t the point.

Origins of the Specious

I recently finished the book “Origins of the Specious” by Patricia O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman (Random House 2010). Subtitled “Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language,” it was truly a fun read.  Unless you think etymology is about the study of eyties, you might enjoy it as well. (Etymology is the study of the history of words.) I also happen to enjoy a good word play–and this book starts with one right in the title.

It did take me a while to finish, because I chose to digest it in small bites. Not only was it informative, the writing is great. Watch this.

In the chapter “Snow job” the authors dispel the notion that there are dozens (or hundreds, depending on your version) of words for snow in the Eskimo language. Some dependable sources list four, one got to seven in 1940. (Wait for it!) The authors point out, “In the decades since then, the number or words has snowballed with each retelling…”  Another paragraph notes there has been an “avalanche of snow stories.”

So while I’m recommending the book, I’m also willing to concede that not everyone will fully enjoy or appreciate the topic or the writing… but if you’ll visit http://www.grammarphobia.com/ you can learn more about several books they’ve written… and visit their blog for some “tastes” of etymology that will impress your friends at dinner parties.

Walter Boomsma (“Mr. Boomsma”) writes on a wide array of topics including personal development, teaching and learning. Course information is also available here!