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kristof65 last won the day on October 21 2021

kristof65 had the most liked content!


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  • Gender
  • Location
    Winterset, IA
  • Interests
    Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, most Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Wargaming, RPGs, racing.

    Right now I'm keen on starting a regular mini's gaming group.

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  1. Just dropped my boy off at the base gate for the last time this visit. Didn't get to see him as much as we would have liked the five days we've been here (he's had duty and such), but it was really nice to just spend time with him (and see him spend time with his little sister). Tomorrow we're off to NorCal, driving down the coast.
  2. So we got some good news recently and scrambled to make things happen. We didn't think we were going to be able to see my son again until next year because it looked like he'd be heading out for his underway before school got out - that was a guess, because he can't tell us anything more than X number of days out. Well, turns out that if we jumped in the car as soon as school ended on Tuesday, we could make it to Bremerton WA to see him for a few days. So I'm currently sitting in a hotel in Missoula MT trying to wind down after a long day of driving - tomorrow it's back down I90 until we get to Seattle. Might head down to CA after that - haven't planned that far ahead.
  3. FYI, there will be a delay of the Broonkah box. I was just notified that the box shipped to me today, but I left on vacation yesterday, won't be back for two weeks.
  4. This right here also explains why I'm not afraid of AI replacing me anytime soon. Especially that last one.
  5. Agreed, but we really don't have the staff to do time consuming mundane tasks like this just because our customers are lazy. Back in the 90s/early 00s, we had the capability to remote into our automatic car wash tellers and make all sorts of tweaks and diagnostics. What happened is that customers would call for the tiniest, most trivial things. Back then they had seven techs in the Canadian office and two in the US office, and it still wasn't close to enough. So when the next generation of teller was designed, a good bulk of the diagnostics were moved to the teller itself, made really simple to access AND the ability to run those tests remotely was removed. What happened was a large drop in service calls - to the point that it halved the number of techs required. No, nobody got fired, just natural attrition, particularly during the company ownership changes/restructuring. Those of us who were there back then (basically, me and the Service Manager) try not to fall into the trap of doing the mundane crap for lazy customers. When someone calls me and says they're taking over a site/buying a site, one of the first things I do is reach out to the current owner. Most of the time, I already know because the current owner has told me they're selling, etc. When I don't know in advance, that's a small red flag. After talking with current owner (she's the one that pointed me to the newspaper articles), that red flag got bigger, and after talking with the guy, several more large red ones were planted. After I hung up with him the first time, I immediately notified management. Apparently complaints were filed against him, and he did lose a job as a realtor, but it appears that he has good lawyers, and knows how to exploit the system. He apparently has a bad reputation in the restaurant business in his community as his restaurants all fail, so he's decided to move on to car washes. I have already obsoleted all of the site equipment in my conversation with him, which was absurdly easy to do, because it's all about 18 years old, with only a couple of updates since then. The current owners have kept the equipment in decent condition - basically, they've been following the mantra of "If it ain't broken, don't tempt fate by upgrading it", but it does show its age now. What I've learned over the years is that the merchant processing companies tend to let POS equipment slide as long as it doesn't have to be reprogrammed, but as soon as it has to be reprogrammed, such as for an ownership change, they're all over making sure everything is up to snuff. So the current owner could probably operate as is for years, while any new owner will be told immediately by any processing company he talks to that the site equipment is obsolete and/or not supported. Found out why the one site doesn't want to delete and recreate their cleaning accounts. The system doesn't allow reuse of account numbers, and everyone has the existing account numbers memorized so they can look them up by account number. They just don't want to learn the new account numbers, nor use any of the other methods to look accounts up. They also claim to have never been told about this balance thing, despite me having at least one service ticket that says otherwise. Well then, continue to have problems and complain.
  6. Meh, I have bigger fish to fry. Like the scummy Real Estate agent who is seizing one of my customer's location to run it himself. I don't know the full story of how he managed it this time, but I was pointed towards some news paper articles where the same guy has done the same thing in the past with restaurants. Basically, he looks for businesses that don't own the land/building, but are just leasing, then he quietly buys that property/building, then refuses to renew the lease, and tries to take over the business. In the case of the previous restaurants, the restaurant owners refused to sell or turnover the business to him, instead choosing to relocate, so he allegedly used his access to the property to acquire copies of their recipes, etc, then launches a new business with similar name and menu. To give you an idea, if the restaurant was named Burger Barn, his version would be Burger Bar. Even used same fonts and similar item names. None of his businesses have lasted a year. Right now he's trying to glean all of the information he can about the current owner's business, because he wants to be able to take over and have everything running the same day they have to turn over the property. I keep getting phone calls from him asking questions I've already told him I can't answer - for example, he wanted to know the current owner's credit card merchant services company and their merchant ID number. Yeah, no. Our policy is that we won't do an ownership change without several things, one of which is either a letter of transfer from the previous owner, or legal documentation proving ownership that's been reviewed & approved by our lawyer. I strongly suspect the current owners will refuse to send a letter, so he'll have to wait for the ownership transfer to legally happen, and then our lawyer to review it. And darn, that's going to happen over a holiday weekend. And those people who changed their network, and broke things? The senior tech returned, and I talked to him today. My opinion of him right now is about the size of a Reaper gremlin mini. He refuses to do something that would be easier for him to do, and instead is making me remotely work with the idiot site personnel to get him some basic information so he can configure the network correctly. So now the customer's going to get billed for my time for something that should have been part of his initial work. We recommend multiple cleaning accounts - one per employee. That way it's easier to monitor which employees are abusing their accounts and stop them from getting free car washes after they quit. It also helps keep balances from getting out of hand. All of the accounts appear to be in use - they have like 8 accounts total. It's a big site - like 10-12 bays and it's busy - so I'm guessing they have multiple employees using the same few accounts, and they're probably washing the bays down after every customer if they can. I'm also guessing that these accounts probably date back a decade or more, and have never been reset. As for why they want option Z? I'm guessing that it's just because they're lazy - they'd rather pay me to do something than do it themselves. I haven't heard back from them stating that I'm willing to charge them to do Y - probably won't until tomorrow or Monday at the earliest. But I have also seen that they're cheap, so they may just try and get someone else to take pity on them and do it for them.
  7. I don't know how Canadian tax laws work, so I tend to keep my mouth shut regarding that sort of stuff. I do know that a lot of sites like to use the cleaning account reports to reduce their tax liability - being able show just how much time/water was used by employees for non-revenue things is something the accountants I've talked to really like. I have no clue why this particular customer is being so resistant. I found some previous service tickets where they were told the same thing - though the tech didn't note how big the balances were back then, so I don't know if these are new balances, or the same accounts.
  8. Me (to customer): You're having that problem because of X*. If you do Y, it should resolve X. Customer: But I don't understand why I have to do Y. Can't we do Z to fix it? Me: Explains in great detail what causes problem X, and how Y will resolve it, then explains that Z is possible, but also explains that not only is Z not the best solution here, Z has to be done by a tech and will take a couple of hours of billable time, whereas Y is something they can do themselves without being charged a thing. Customer: I think we'd rather you do Z. Me: explains again why in this instance Y is better than Z at resolving X, then tells them if they insist on paying me to do it, I'm just going to do Y and charge them for Y. That's a summary of the conversations I've been having with this customer for the last month. I'm waiting for their whiney reply to my latest email. *in case you wonder what X, Y & Z are:
  9. Oh that is definitely my policy, especially when it comes to customer owned networks. It does, however, cause friction with customers who can't/won't understand. Uhh, 20 years, duh!
  10. Aha! We're getting somewhere. Found out that the company they hired to do the changes is a small operation, that the senior tech that did the actual changes went on vacation until tomorrow, and nobody at the company wants to touch his work lest they make things worse. So hopefully this will be resolved tomorrow.
  11. <banging head on desk> Customer makes a major change to their site network, discovers afterwards that the changes they made have broken several network and internet reliant functions of their car wash Point of Sale systems, They can't/won't get the company who did the network changes to come back and fix things, but don't have anyone network savvy enough to fix it themselves. Given what I've seen of the changes so far, I could probably fix the connections for the car wash POS, but doing so will likely break other things on their network. If they insist on going that route, I'm going to have to have them sign a disclosure acknowledging that.
  12. Given that part of the invite said the parent would be picking the girls up from school on Friday, I figured it was no more than 8 or 9 kids. I did finally talk to the parent last night, she just had, as I expected, a busy day (she's a realtor) and got back to me as soon as she could. My daughter was the one stressing out about it, the parent and I had a good laugh over it. Parent confirmed it's about half a dozen girls - her limit on how many kids her daughter could invite was based entirely upon how many should could safely fit in her car. My wife and I now have a child free Friday Date night.
  13. I don't know that I'd put it that way, but IMO, if you have point of sale equipment sophisticated enough to accept credit cards in this day and age, refusing to have an email address is being willfully difficult, if not outright stupid.
  14. We require an email address for access to our support webpage for a few reasons, the biggest being password retrieval and document download. We ask that customers email their request to us so that a) we actually get the spelling of their email address correct (there is a reason that the Military uses a phonetic alphabet - sadly most civilians are horrible with it), and b) there is site specific information they need to send in to verify they are who they say they are. Very few of our customers don't have access to some sort of email address these days.
  15. Make that three different frustrations. C) My daughter has been invited to an end of school year party after school on Friday. I won't let her go until I hear back from the inviting girls parent, who has yet to respond to my VMs. My daughter wants me to keep bugging the woman, which I'm not going to do. I left my contact information, she can call me back.
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