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Randomness XVII: The Madness of the Quorum


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oh boy.  I get to deliver bad news that will probably be ignored. 

Details, if you're interested in more Car Wash drama. 

Spoiler

Just received word that our last remaining dial up credit card processing platform is starting to shut down their dial up servers.  No hard date yet, but it will probably be within the next 2-3 years, if not sooner.  At this point, they're just not replacing modems as they die, so the number of modems and phone connections available to answer incoming dial up connections will be dwindling.  Busy signals will become more common

We stopped officially supporting dial up credit card processing for new customers and accounts in 2012, so the only people we still have on dial up processing are ones who activated their systems prior to 2012 and have made no account changes since then.  These are typically the same people who should have replaced or at least upgraded their equipment years ago, and include my problem "child" who's still running multiple sites on obsolete tellers we haven't had 98% of the parts for in a decade.

If that wasn't bad enough, I was also told that since the new teller product launch is looking good, we will be discontinuing our existing line in the next 18-36 months. We'll still have parts for them for the next decade or so, but no new sales of them, or their accessory equipment (which is compatible with the obsolete stuff). 

What does all this mean? It means that my problem child needs to upgrade to internet credit card clearing pretty much RIGHT NOW. If he doesn't, and waits until he's forced to, then the $20k or so upgrade he'll complain about today will become a $200k upgrade later. 

I'm in the process of laying out 5 upgrade options for him with the pros and cons.  Option 1 is Replace Everything ASAP, which is still $200k, but at least he could spread it out over the next two years, while Option 5 is Do Nothing, which pretty much means he'll be out of business as soon as the dial up processing shuts down.   I'm hoping he'll at least do Option 4, which is the $20k bare minimum, but still keeps him limping along. 

Let's see, spend $20k spread out into six installments over the next 12-18 months while still processing credit cards, OR wait until the last possible moment and have to spend $200k all at once before being able to accept credit cards again?  Which choice do you think he'll make? 

If history is any guide, he won't do anything until he's forced to, and he won't be able to afford it then. 

 

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7 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

Hrmph.

 

We had a pump installed to use groundwater to irrigate the garden.

Tested it 5 times, worked.

Used it Monday for real, worked.

Tried to use it yesterday and today...no go...

It won't pump up enough water with enough pressure...

 

We filled the vertical pipe a few times to try to restart it.

Pump makes sound, very little water comes out.

We hear bubbling sounds from the water.

 

I have a feeling it sucks air with it...

Brother in Law will come over somewhere next week to try and fix it..

 

 

Suction head may need to go a few feet deeper to have reliable water takeup.  If you are at the top of the water table you may be sucking air due to variations in the exact level of the water at any given time.

Best of luck.

GEM

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1 hour ago, WhiteWulfe said:

Sounds like they didn't look into where that money might be coming from, despite you providing suggestions >.<

 

And still getting deposits, is it okay to... NO IT ISN'T you silly owner!

You would think that would be obvious, but then I've been surprised by the number of owners who have no idea where their money is coming from/going to. 

Just today I dealt with a site that had no idea they hadn't been receiving any credit card deposits since Halloween. That wasn't even why they called me - I just happened to notice it while looking into their unrelated problem. 

1 minute ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

Suction head may need to go a few feet deeper to have reliable water takeup.  If you are at the top of the water table you may be sucking air due to variations in the exact level of the water at any given time.

@Glitterwolf Make sure your check valves are working right, too, so that your pump doesn't lose prime.  

Check valves are a common pump problem in car washes - they don't get installed right, or debris gets sucked in enough to keep them from closing.

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22 minutes ago, aku-chan said:

I always forget the secret to shaking off the blues (for me at least) is to do something constructive, so most of the day has been lost to mindless Internet browsing and sinking into melancholia.

I get that - I'm the same way, but even when I remember, it's still so hard to get motivated to do something constructive when I'm blue...

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23 minutes ago, kristof65 said:

oh boy.  I get to deliver bad news that will probably be ignored. 

Details, if you're interested in more Car Wash drama. 

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Just received word that our last remaining dial up credit card processing platform is starting to shut down their dial up servers.  No hard date yet, but it will probably be within the next 2-3 years, if not sooner.  At this point, they're just not replacing modems as they die, so the number of modems and phone connections available to answer incoming dial up connections will be dwindling.  Busy signals will become more common

We stopped officially supporting dial up credit card processing for new customers and accounts in 2012, so the only people we still have on dial up processing are ones who activated their systems prior to 2012 and have made no account changes since then.  These are typically the same people who should have replaced or at least upgraded their equipment years ago, and include my problem "child" who's still running multiple sites on obsolete tellers we haven't had 98% of the parts for in a decade.

If that wasn't bad enough, I was also told that since the new teller product launch is looking good, we will be discontinuing our existing line in the next 18-36 months. We'll still have parts for them for the next decade or so, but no new sales of them, or their accessory equipment (which is compatible with the obsolete stuff). 

What does all this mean? It means that my problem child needs to upgrade to internet credit card clearing pretty much RIGHT NOW. If he doesn't, and waits until he's forced to, then the $20k or so upgrade he'll complain about today will become a $200k upgrade later. 

I'm in the process of laying out 5 upgrade options for him with the pros and cons.  Option 1 is Replace Everything ASAP, which is still $200k, but at least he could spread it out over the next two years, while Option 5 is Do Nothing, which pretty much means he'll be out of business as soon as the dial up processing shuts down.   I'm hoping he'll at least do Option 4, which is the $20k bare minimum, but still keeps him limping along. 

Let's see, spend $20k spread out into six installments over the next 12-18 months while still processing credit cards, OR wait until the last possible moment and have to spend $200k all at once before being able to accept credit cards again?  Which choice do you think he'll make? 

If history is any guide, he won't do anything until he's forced to, and he won't be able to afford it then. 

 

Your "problem child" will most likely be looking at a 25% premium and having to wait in the queue of the rest of the "I can wait till the last minute" owners across the continen

By that time he may well be looking at competition with deep pockets.  We've had a new outfit move into our area and they have opened up at least 5 brand new from the bare ground up car washes in the last 6 months.

Best of luck with "problem child"

GEM

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4 hours ago, CaptainPete said:

My work is critically understaffed right now. I've been out late two days in a row. My boss threw out his back and THEN HAD AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO TYLENOL! In other news, it's a "I'm ordering Mexican and going to be, forget the dirty dishes until tomorrow" kind of day.

 

 

I had a glass of wine with lunch and am going to make mohitos to go with dinner.  It's been a day. 

 

4 hours ago, Colonel Kane said:

I have been MIA for a little bit, I hope everyone is having the best day that they can. Some days are good and some days you struggle. 

 

Hope you have more good days than bad ones. 

 

36 minutes ago, kristof65 said:

 

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I'm in the process of laying out 5 upgrade options for him with the pros and cons.  Option 1 is Replace Everything ASAP, which is still $200k, but at least he could spread it out over the next two years, while Option 5 is Do Nothing, which pretty much means he'll be out of business as soon as the dial up processing shuts down.   I'm hoping he'll at least do Option 4, which is the $20k bare minimum, but still keeps him limping along. 
 

 

 

I'll bet he chooses option 5 then complains that you told him it would only cost 20 grand to switch over. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

Your "problem child" will most likely be looking at a 25% premium and having to wait in the queue of the rest of the "I can wait till the last minute" owners across the continen

By that time he may well be looking at competition with deep pockets.  We've had a new outfit move into our area and they have opened up at least 5 brand new from the bare ground up car washes in the last 6 months.

Best of luck with "problem child"

GEM

I sent him my email, and received a reply already. 

He said, "I'm hoping to sell and retire soon."

 

IF he can sell as is, then chances are that any new buyer will simply replace the equipment, but probably with a competitors equipment.  I'm ok with that. 

What I won't be OK with is if he doesn't disclose the required upgrades to any serious buyers.  I've had site owners do that, and boy, the buyers tend to get pissed off (rightfully so). 

Not surprising that you've seen lots of new construction of car washes.  There are several national and regional companies undergoing major expansions right now, either building new washes or buying up existing ones.   

We have a national chain moving into Des Moines right now with the stated goal of putting the local guys out of business. They're literally building new washes down the street from every one of my customer's locations here.  They're getting frustrated with my favorite customer though - he's built up such a good reputation and loyal customer base over the years that his "old" washes are still doing fine, while the brand new washes near his aren't doing as well as the chain predicted. 
 

 

9 minutes ago, Inarah said:

I'll bet he chooses option 5 then complains that you told him it would only cost 20 grand to switch over. 

Yeah... I'm not going to take that bet. Because you're probably not wrong. 

Except now that he's told me he's looking to sell, it will probably be that he takes option 5, and tells the buyers it will only be $20k to upgrade, and they'll be the ones upset to find out it's more. 

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I don't know which is sadder, that there is now Marvel Superhero brand makeup, or that as soon as I saw the display I went "Oh! Pretty!" and bought some.

 

Who am I KIDDING?! THIS IS WEIRDLY AWESOME! Makeup companies are finally targetting Nerd Girls! ::D:

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Looks like I might have to scale back my plans regarding the new shelves/hobby area. I've been hearing from various quarters that the price has lumber has skyrocketed, so my original plan isn't going to be workable. Looking into alternatives, hoping to avoid anything made of particleboard if I can help it. Lack of a painting area is starting to get to me, and most of my supplies are currently packed away.

The War with the Weeds has resumed and I've been gathering a pile for the Wulpurgis Burning of the Forsythia, which looks to be a yearly thing now. Debating if I should add an effigy of King Olaf to it, but do I really want bards cluttering the yard afterwards...

Still no progress on provoking a rain of fish either.

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3 minutes ago, Lord of the Dish Pit said:

Looks like I might have to scale back my plans regarding the new shelves/hobby area. I've been hearing from various quarters that the price has lumber has skyrocketed, so my original plan isn't going to be workable. Looking into alternatives, hoping to avoid anything made of particleboard if I can help it. Lack of a painting area is starting to get to me, and most of my supplies are currently packed away.

The War with the Weeds has resumed and I've been gathering a pile for the Wulpurgis Burning of the Forsythia, which looks to be a yearly thing now. Debating if I should add an effigy of King Olaf to it, but do I really want bards cluttering the yard afterwards...

Still no progress on provoking a rain of fish either.

Look into MDF.  That's Medium Density Fiberboard,  which is a manufactured product used for furniture grade construction.  You'll find a lot of it used for IKEA grade products.

Being a manufactured product where wood fibers are shaped and adhered using a strong glue it's strong, slightly heavier than an equivalent pine board, easy to work with, free of knotholes, and usually has an exterior cladding of a durable surface material that will accept either a veneer or paint quite well.

And yes, the price of wood is astronomical right now.  I've been cringing every time I have had to go to the lumber yard for materials for our new home.  Almost as bad as concrete as there is a shortage in Northern Nevada so prices are painfully high, to the point where I will be installing boardwalk instead of concrete walkways.

GEM

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37 minutes ago, Lord of the Dish Pit said:

 

Still no progress on provoking a rain of fish either.

 

I predict a rain of some sort by this time tomorrow night. 

 

27 minutes ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

Look into MDF.  That's Medium Density Fiberboard,  which is a manufactured product used for furniture grade construction. 

 

The downsides to MDF are that it is broccoli to cut and it soaks up water like a sponge.   For indoor use it is probably fine, as long as you're not putting it anywhere it can get wet. 

 

I was pricing lumber for a section of deck railing DH wants to repair.  2x6" cedar is ~$15 per board foot locally.  We need to replace 5'.  I'm going to suggest to DH that he take the current piece off, flip it over and screw it down.  That should last another 25 years. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, kristof65 said:

oh boy.  I get to deliver bad news that will probably be ignored. 

Details, if you're interested in more Car Wash drama. 

 

 

I'm ALWAYS interested in car wash drama! ::D:

 

I'm actually serious, I really enjoy reading your experiences. I love hearing tradespeople stories; every one gives me a greater understanding of everything that goes into making modern civilization work, and a deeper appreciation for those that put up with nonsense like you describe on a daily basis in order to keep all the gears turning (or at least mostly functioning). Ever since MrBoot had a temporary job in a metal-working shop, I look at street signs and think, "People MADE that. Someone designed it, someone else provided the raw materials, someone else turned them into a sheet of metal, someone cut it out, someone painted it, and lastly someone else installed it. Not to mention everyone that transported those various parts all over the world."

 

It's beautifully mind-boggling when one stops to think about it. ^_^

 

Huzzah! 

--OneBoot :D 

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