Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Service should make you smile

When you allow a servicer into your home to repair your appliances or televisions, you are probably hoping that the servicer will be nice, won't damage your home, and will do what is required to repair your appliance or television at a fair price.

I think you should expect more.

I believe the service should leave you with a smile on your face, happy that you chose that particular repair technician to take care of your problem. It shouldn't just be a checkmark on a list of to-do items, it should lead you to think "I'm really glad that I called that company for service, it was a great experience."

Some of the things that make me smile are when the technician goes above and beyond regular service, and really shows that he cares about my problems by his actions (not just his words).

At a bare minimum, you want to feel comfortable with the technician in your home.

But wouldn't it be much nicer if you felt like that technician was a welcome guest in your home, somebody that you were happy to have in there?

I think so, and I'm sure you do, too.

What are the little (or BIG) things that a technician or servicer has done that has put a smile on your face? I'd really like to know, because I'd really like our technicians to do those things that put smiles on people's faces.

Feel free to comment, and tell us what a service man can do to make you smile.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009


Berry (Hoover) teacher wins Milken National Educator award

From the Shelby County Reporter: — Berry Middle School Teacher Dilhani Uswatte found herself pleasantly surprised Wednesday morning by a schoolwide assembly in her honor.

The Milken Family Foundation named the eighth–grade math teacher a Milken National Educator and awarded here with a $25,000 check.

Principal Kathleen Wheaton said Unswatte works to ensure her students understand math, not just memorize it.

Read the entire article here.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


It's not just little old ladies they try to scam... Part 2

See Part 1, or you will be a little lost as to what I'm talking about:

Okay, at last post, I had replied to our possible business contact (or scammer) and we were wondering if he would give us more information.

Here is the reply:

-----Original Message-----
>From: Terry Lane
>Sent: Oct 2, 2009 12:27 AM
>To: Toxey McDavid
>Subject: Re: Appliance Refrigerator repair inquiry
>Hello Toxey,
>Thanks for your mail, well this are what needed to be done on each appliance
>Not as cold as usual
>Not cold at all
>Frozen in the freezer side
>and warming up in the fridge side
>Frosting up?
>Pooling water or ice on the floor
>Whistling, warbling, chirping, clicking, buzzing or making other funny
>Too hot
>Not as hot as it should be
>Not heating at all
>Getting warm, but just not drying as well as it used to? Or not drying at
>Not doing anything
>Rumbling, rattling, squeaking, clacking,
>or making grinding or other noises
>Not spinning
>Not draining
>Not agitating, or agitating weakly
>Not filling, or filling too slowly
>Not doing anything
>Leaking water or oil
>Leaving your clothes too wet at the end of the cycle
>Vibrating uncontrollably
>Spinning and agitating at the same time
>Screeching, squeaking, clattering, knocking, buzzing,
>or making grinding or other strange noises
>Do you smell smoke when your washer is running
>Not draining
>Not filling
>Not doing anything
>Stopping in mid-cycle
>Buzzing or making grinding or other strange noises
>Spotting dishes? Or even etching dishes
>I want you to email me the total quote for repair service for the appliance
>and also i will like to confirm you accept credit card by mode of payment.
>Terry Lane

As you can see, he did not answer the pertinent questions, but he did seek to clarify what was wrong with each unit... or did he?

There was something suspicious about the complaints he had listed, so I copied a few and google them to see what I could find.


A quick search of google shows that these complaints are taken, word for word, from various online appliance repair websites.

Okay, there is no longer any doubt. This person is not legitimate.

Basically, I have a few options:

1) Stop replying and ignore this scammer, and forget about it. (What fun is that?)
2) Send him a nasty-gram, and tell him he's been spotted. (Like he cares.)
3) Reply as if he is legitimate, and press him for information and see what I can do with it. See where this goes and what happens (without giving him any money, of course).

I'm choosing 3, for better or worse, because I don't like scammers. This kind of preying, cowardly thievery really gets my goat. So to speak.

So, here's my reply (bear in mind that these estimates, as I explain in the reply, are basically worthless and made up off the top of my head):

Hello Terry,

Based on this unusual set of complaints, I can give you general estimates
for these repairs. These are only guesses, as it is impossible to determine
what the real cost of a repair will be until the diagnosis is complete.

Refrigerators: $150-300
Dryers: $100-175
Washers: $100-200
Washing Machines: $100-200

I do not normally accept out-of-state credit cards, but I might be able to
make an exception for such a large set of repairs.

I'm still curious to know a little more about who I am dealing with. What
is the name of your company, and where do you operate your business?

Thanks again,

Toxey McDavid

Let's see what happens.

Will the scammer read our blog and run away? Will he reveal the location of his secret lair? Will the Penguin triumph over a caped duo?

Tune in for Part 3 to find out... if you're really bored, of course.

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It's not just little old ladies they try to scam... Part 1

Just a cautionary note to other appliance and television servicers.

We have been contacted by a person, possibly originating out of Port Lavaca, Texas (but who knows, really?) who was interested in getting service on 20 units.

From the beginning, I was suspicious about this contact, but I thought I would play it out and see what happened.

Here's the original contact:

"Greetings, I got your contact On Google.com and i was just
checking if you will be available to repair some Appliance
(5) Refridgerator. Get back to me for more details if you'll
be available as soon as possible. Thanks, Kind Regards. Terry Lane"

This was from a gmail account, which is automatically suspicious if this is supposed to be a legitimate business. But I responded courteously, because you never know.

My response:

Hello Terry,

Thanks for contacting Service Care.

We are available for any appliance repair, and we've also been repairing
televisions for over two decades.

As of this minute, I have several calls available tomorrow, and many more
available Friday. If this sounds good to you, can you provide more information
about the refrigerator and also about the location where the repair will need
to take place.

Thanks again for your contact,

Toxey McDavid

Service Care, Inc.
Toxey McDavid
2812 5th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35210

** Save Money! Sign up for our free, do-it-yourself **
** maintenance reminders on www.servicecare.net **

Pretty soon, I get this reponse back:

-----Original Message-----
>From: Terry Lane
>Sent: Oct 1, 2009 12:54 AM
>To: Toxey McDavid
>Subject: Re: Appliance Refrigerator repair inquiry
>Hello Toxey,
>Thanks for your mail, below are the appliance i will like to repair:
> 5. Refrigerators
>5. Washers
>5. Dryers
>5.Washing Machines
>Those are what i will like to repair and i will handle the shipment of the
>appliance my self, and my shipper will bring down the appliance down to your
>place. However,get back to me with your last price for the 20 appliances. I
>await your urgent response so that i can put the arrangement in order. And
>also i will like to know if you accept credit card for mode of payment.
>Terry Lane

#1 Why the increase in appliances from original request. Why 5 each?

#2 What legitimate business person thinks you can quote a price to repair these appliances with no complaint, no models or brand names, nothing.

#3 Credit cards from out-of-state (or country) strangers are bad, bad news.

#4 Most of all... 5 each of washers and 5 each of washing machines? Does he (or she) not know that these are the same product type? **Klaxon bells, red flashing lights, a voice saying Warning! Warning! **

My powers of suspicion on high alert now, I send the following response:

Hello Terry,

I will do the necessary research to get you an estimate of what
these 20 appliances would cost to repair. This will be a very
general estimate as
I do not know the models of the appliances,
nor do I know the problems and symptoms associated with each appliance.

By the way, which company are you with and where will you be
shipping the appliances from?


At the end, I ask direct questions... What company are you with? Where are the appliances coming from?

Can you guess if I will get an answer to these questions?

Stay tuned to find out how this continues in Part 2 (unless of course this person reads this blog avidly).

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Shoal Creek golfer first alternate in PGA tournament

Eric Williamson, director of Shoal Creek Golf Club, finished fourth overall and the first alternate for a national tournament Thursday at the Dixie PGA Professional Championship at Limestone Springs Golf Club in Oneonta.

Read the entire Shelby County Reporter article here.



If you're going to slow cook in a crock pot, read this.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline encourages Americans to take the necessary steps this winter to ensure proper food safety when preparing meals in a slow cooker.

While many people long for the inviting smells of classics like beef stew and casseroles, there is a vast collection of recipes for everything from ethnic to vegetarian dinners. While slow cooking is a great way to prepare a home-cooked meal, don’t take any food safety shortcuts in the process.

Read the entire Shelby County Reporter article here.



Thompson High-Schoolers return after 20 years

— Though some had not returned to Shelby County for nearly 20 years, a group of about 90 Thompson High School alumni Oct. 2 cheered as if they had not been gone a day.

The Thompson High School class of 1989 celebrated their 20th reunion by gathering and cheering at what some alumni described as the “Iron Bowl of high school football.

Read the entire article here.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009


Helena to start curbside recycling soon

— Helena residents could have curbside recycling available by Dec. 1, after a year-and-a-half long process is drawing to a close.

Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale is this week signing a contract with Allied Waste for twice-monthly curbside recycling for the city.

Councilmember Cris Nelson said the recycling service, which will be optional for residents, would cost $6.79 per household monthly.

Read the whole article here.

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Helena looks at Lincoln

From the Shelby County Reporter: — Helena's Jane B. Holmes Public Library will take a historical turn starting Oct. 6, when the library will begin showing an exhibit of 10 iconic Abraham Lincoln portraits.

The free exhibit, which came courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution, is intended to mark the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 1809.

Library director Daniel Dearing said the Jane B. Holmes Library is one of only 10 in the state to receive these exhibits.

Read the whole article here.

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Shelby County cracking down on teen drinking and drug abuse

From the Shelby County Reporter:

A Shelby County organization is partnering with county schools and law enforcement officials to crack down on teen drinking and drug abuse.

The Shelby County Drug Free Coalition is seeking to publicize existing county drug and alcohol tip lines to combat illegal teen behavior and adults who sanction it.

The Shelby County Drug Free Coalition is distributing posters like this to schools, libraries and senior centers throughout the county.

“Many people within the coalition didn’t realize that there were already tip lines available through the sheriff’s office and schools,” said Carol Williams, the coalition’s project coordinator. “The coalition then partnered (with the schools and sheriff’s office) to promote those available resources more thoroughly.”

Read the rest of the article.

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