Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Bell Canada Telemarketer

March 11, 2013 Leave a comment

A telemarketer from Bell Canada phoned me today:

Telemarketer: I’m calling to talk to you about some deals from Bell Canada for Home Phone, TV and Internet.

Me: I’m not interested in anything from Bell.

Telemarketer: Why are you not interested in Bell?

Me: Bell is the worst company in Canada.

Telemarketer: Why do you say that?

Me: Bell is trying to stamp out competition and corner the market to force everyone to pay whatever Bell asks.

Telemarketer: With Rogers, you’re in the same boat.

Me: Rogers is almost as bad as Bell.

Telemarketer: Well I see here that you’re with Rogers.

Me: No, I’m not using Rogers, where did you hear that?

Telemarketer: Well I’m sorry to hear that you’re not interested.

I find it very amusing that he didn’t even dispute my assertion that Bell is a terrible company, and instead argued that Rogers is just as bad. Really, your business is pitifully repugnant if your sales argument is that the competition is just as terrible as you.


Categories: Canada Tags: ,

Was Infonec Hacked? (Again?)

October 9, 2012 1 comment

Last year, I blogged about a possible hacking of Infonec.

Ken from Infonec management was nice enough to give us an update on the situation, and recommended that users update their password frequently.

After that incident, I changed the unique forwarding address for my Infonec account. The only parties that know this address are myself, Infonec and my mail-forwarding service.

This week, I received “Viagra” spam at this new unique address. How did spammers get the address? I think Infonec has some security holes. Again.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don’t use the same password across many sites. If just one site gets hacked, all of your accounts could be compromised.
  2. Use a forwarding service like Sneakemail so you can cut off compromised addresses, and so spammers won’t get the e-mail addresses for your other accounts.

In the past, I spent thousands of dollars at Infonec. Still, I haven’t shopped there in years. The closing of their Mississauga branch and opening of a local NCIX sealed the deal. This kind of incident makes me less likely to shop at Infonec in the future.

Categories: Canada, tech Tags: ,

Clever Sig on RFD

June 29, 2012 1 comment

I saw a clever sig on RFD, belonging to wayne74:

Can you believe it? They sent my income tax return forms back to me! In response to question # 4, “Do you have any dependants?” I replied – “2.1 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crack heads, 4.4 million unemployable people, 901 thousand people in over 85 prisons, and 650 idiots in Parliament.
Apparently, this was NOT an acceptable answer.

Who the hell did I miss?

I love the attitude here. If more people thought like this, it would be a different and better world.

Categories: Canada, rfd

I Walked Out of Hakim Optical – Here’s Why

June 17, 2012 5 comments

I’ve been looking for new eyeglasses. Being a smart shopper, I educated myself on how to read frame size measurements, and learned from CBC Marketplace about how Luxottica is so dominant in our Ontario market.

Trying to avoid stores owned by Luxottica, I paid a visit to my local Hakim Optical store. I tried on a few frames along the sidewall display, and then moved up to the counter of the store, where the designer frames like Prada were stored in the plexiglass showcase. I tried to look into the showcase to see the sizing information on the arms of the glasses to identify one that might fit me, but on each frame, a sticker was placed right on top of where the sizing information should be. I asked the employee about this:

Me: So why do they have a sticker on top of the sizing information? I can’t see if the frame is the right size for me.

Him: Well they have to put the sticker somewhere.

Me: Well they could put it anywhere on the arm and not block the sizing information!


He offered to pick out a pair of Prada frames for me, and he actually did pick out a very nice pair. No complaints about his skill. Total price with lenses: About $500.

I pulled out my phone, planning to take a picture of myself wearing the frames so I could use it for future reference in comparison shopping.

Me: You don’t mind if I take a picture of myself wearing the glasses, do you?

Him: Sorry, that’s not allowed.

Me: Really, I can’t just take a photo of myself?

Him: You can’t take a photos, but I can take a photo for you.

Me: What’s the difference between you taking a picture and me taking a picture?

Him: It’s because your photo leaves with you; My photo stays here.

Me: Sorry, that’s not acceptable. I’m leaving.

Him: OK, have a good day!

This doesn’t make sense to me. I have asked for permission to take multiple self-photos at at least four other optical shops, and never had a single complaint. The only place where I’ve had a problem is at Hakim Optical.

Why is Hakim Optical so secretive? Why don’t they want people seeing the sizing numbers on the frames? Why don’t they want people taking photos of themselves wearing sample frames? This kind of secrecy turns me off. If one retailer is being secritive when their competitors are quite open, I think it means there’s something the secretive retailer doesn’t want you to find out about their products or business. While the employee was completely polite during the entire encounter, I don’t like doing business under such conditions. I was happy to leave.

AmEx Cash Rebate – Another Big WIN At Costco

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

The Costco American Express Platinum Rebate. January has come and gone again, resulting in the much-anticipated mailing of Costco AmEx yearly rebate cheques. This, in turn, leads to the also anticipated but much less cherished long line-ups at the check-out, as we wait for the cashiers to process everyone’s personal rebate cheques. I’ll bet these things reduce each person’s bill by an average of $7.29 or so.

Trying to be smart, I brought my cheque in with me on a weekday night. Hopefully, I would be able to load up on Costco rotisserie chickens and a bucketload of hummus without braving the massive rebate-cheque-toting crowds. My gamble to avoid the excessive line-ups was a success.

I, unfortunately, was not.

During my typical brainless march through the checkout, I forgot to hand them my rebate cheque. As usual. Damn. My $6 rebate would have to wait. Or so I thought.

Turns out Costco is a lot more aweome than I am.

I queried the cashier, asking if I could apply my rebate cheque after the fact. She took my membership card, rung the cheque through, and handed me the value in cash.


Another big WIN when shopping at Costco! – Raging Against Empire (Bell, Rogers, Telus) – Mobile Freedom

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

“On the eve of a critical new wireless spectrum auction, we have reports that the Big Three cell phone giants (who already control almost 94% of the market) are trying to trick the government into shutting independent competitors out of the market. They’re trying to block competitors from being able to use essential wireless spectrum. These giant phone companies are going so far as to use high-priced lobbyists and one is even using a fake grassroots campaign.” - Stop The Squeeze

Categories: Canada, tech

LCBO Getting More Greedy Than Usual?

August 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Maybe this is just a more realistic reflection of business as usual for the liquor-distribution arm of the Ontario government?

Really, I’m just joking. XD.


What a great bargain for Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky!

Categories: Canada, retail Tags: , ,

Was Infonec Hacked?

June 7, 2011 7 comments

The situation

I use a separate unique e-mail address with almost every company / entity that I deal with. This helps me identify the source of any spam or unauthorized sales of my e-mail address because the only groups that know said addresses are myself and the individual company I am dealing with.

For example, I use a unique e-mail address for this WordPress account. So if I hypothetically started receiving spam urging me to “Enlarge your *****” at that e-mail address, I know that either WordPress was hacked or they sold my address.

Fast Forward To Today

I received messages indicating that someone opened and closed a PayPal account under the e-mail address known to only myself and Infonec.

How did they get my address? You connect the dots.

At the very least, I think that all people with accounts at Infonec should change their passwords.

Categories: Canada, tech Tags: ,

CAD/USD Exchange Rate

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I bought $150 USD for $148.20 CAD today.

It still feels kind of surreal when you have to pay a smaller number of CAD to get your USD.

Categories: Canada Tags: ,

Charlie Angus Gets It (Bell / CRTC / UBB)

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Following the various media releases regarding the Bell / UBB debacle, I think the only politician that seems to talk about the underlying issues in this debate is Charlie Angus of the NDP.

As quoted in the Globe & Mail:

“We don’t have a market. We have a Family Compact,” the New Democrat said, referring to the elites who used to control Upper Canada in the early 19th century.

“And we have a CRTC that acts as a short order cook for that Family Compact.”


“Your cable giant is also your cellphone provider and is also your TV dealer and their biggest threat is Netflix and other emerging Internet media,” the NDP MP said.

“So if Netflix offers someone a better deal than Rogers the only thing Rogers has to do is put a billing cap on and you won’t be on Netflix for very long.”

Charlie Angus gets it. He understands the underlying conflicts of interest driving this issue, and how Bell is leveraging the CRTC to manipulate the internet service market to push a competitor out of the television market. Very nice indeed. I hope that more people start to understand this problem in the Canadian market, otherwise we will continue to suffer from inferior options and high prices.

The issue I see with other commentators is that they focus on the realistic cost of internet access, and the ways in which UBB inhibits business and innovation. It is also good to see these discussions, but people need to dig deeper in order to catalyze real change.

I think that Bell Canada is certainly the Worst Company In Canada. They don’t know how to compete – Instead they just try to enforce their media cartel so they don’t have to care about the customer. Anything that will bring fair competition into the market and force Bell to either improve their ways or die is A Good Thing.

Do I dare hope for this kind of revolution? Maybe.

Categories: Canada, tech Tags: , , , ,