Dec 132011

We’ve got a great lifestyle and a nice little business, and I know that a lot of people would gladly trade places with us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our share of frustrations, too. There are some days when I just want to scream.

Yesterday started very well. We were up and ready to hit the road early, and since we had less than 50 miles to go, we hoped to get into the Orlando Thousand Trails preserve before the predicted thunderstorms hit. We had an easy run from the Escapees campground to the Thousand Trails, and though we did run into some light rain along the way, by the time we arrived it had stopped.

The place has really filled up since we were here two weeks ago, and several people were in the office ahead of us registering. We managed to snag one of the last RV sites in the G section, which all have 50 amps. Since we have already used the 50 nights of camping that comes with our annual membership, our two weeks here will cost us $5 a night. That’s a heck of a deal anywhere, anytime of the year, but in Florida in December, it’s fantastic. It should have been easy enough to pay our camping fee and go to our site, but for some reason, when the fellow behind the counter entered the info into his computer, it showed two stays, at the same time, and two balances due. So it took fifteen minutes or so for the bookkeeper to get involved, decide it was a computer glitch, and that we would not be double charged.

We finally got onto our site, and just a few minutes later, Rich and Mary Coppens pulled in next to us, taking the last 50 amp site available. They had been at the Escapees park too, and I asked Rich if he was stalking us. We were only settled in for a few minutes when Dave and Jean Damon, stopped over to say hello and welcome us. The last time we saw them was back at Elkhart Campground in September, and when we left, they were still stuck there waiting for repairs to their fifth wheel trailer.

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We had to cut our visit with Dave and Jean short, because we needed to get to the far side of Orlando to pick up the new issue of the Gypsy Journal at the Fed Ex shipping terminal, and our envelopes from the commercial mail service we contracted with to do our mailing for this issue.We hoped to get there and back before it decided to rain again, and before we got caught in all of the rush hour traffic. I called both places to be sure they were ready for us, and Fed Ex said to come on in, the mail service said by the time we got there, all of the envelopes would be printed and ready to pick up.

So off we went, like a herd of turtles, and we made it to Fed Ex in good time. The day promptly went downhill from there. I checked in at the office, was told where to park, and then sent back to the loading dock. The girl there said to go out to Bay #1 and wait, they would bring the skid of papers out to us with a forklift. So I did as instructed, and then stood there for over an hour while dozens of empty forklifts buzzed all over the place and everybody ignored me. I stopped a couple of employees, who all assured me it would be just a few more minutes. Finally, about the time I wanted to scream (see, I told you so!), somebody pulled up with our skid, just as it started to rain. Terry and I hustled to get the skid unwrapped and the papers loaded into our Explorer before they all got wet, and then we hightailed it to the mail service.

Where they told me the envelopes would be ready in fifteen minutes. I guess we  didn’t need to rush after all. So I went outside to tell Terry there would be a slight delay, and fifteen minutes later, I went back inside. Where I was told they had run out of envelopes and were sending somebody after more, and could I come back at 4:30 (a half hour later). Okay, that was frustrating, but Terry needed to pick up glue sticks to seal the envelopes, so I used the voice navigation feature on my Droid to find an Office Depot. Cool, it was only a few blocks away, we’d run over there and get back with time to spare. Or not.

The phone guided us right to the office supply store, which, as it turns out, is not open for business yet. Darn, back to the phone, and we located an Office Max just a couple of blocks away. By now traffic was getting heavier, and those couple of blocks took a long time to navigate. But we did, and discovered that that store was out of business! (Did I mention that I wanted to scream?) We finally found a Staples, got the glue sticks, and about then the mailing service called to say the envelopes wouldn’t be ready until 5 p.m. Well, of course they wouldn’t! 🙁

Finally, at 5:30, we got the darned envelopes and got everything loaded, just in time for us to battle rush hour traffic all the way back across town. We worked with this mailing company last year, and they were really good, but so far, this time around, they have really disappointed us.

Between the hassle of dealing with different mailing services, the slow way the Standard Rate papers move though the postal system, and the way Standard Rate costs keep increasing, there are times we are really tempted to drop the Standard Rate subscription option, and just go with First Class mail. It costs a little more, but the hassles are much less, they get forwarded if snowbirds are traveling and forget to send us a change of address, and the papers arrive at our subscribers at least two or three weeks earlier.

Hopefully the next few days will go better, as we get the envelopes all stuffed and off to our subscribers, and the different mail forwarding services many of them use. Today I will be sending out the link for the new issue to our digital subscribers.

With a day like yesterday, I needed to just step back and turn the keyboard over to Bad Nick, and let him write a new Bad Nick Blog post titled Bigotry Or Free Enterprise? Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – The reason there are two senators for every state is so that one can be the designated driver – Jay Leno

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  11 Responses to “Some Days You Just Want To Scream!”

  1. “It should have been easy enough to pay our camping fee and go to our site, but for some reason, when the fellow behind the counter entered the info into his computer, it showed two stays, at the same time, and two balances due. So it took fifteen minutes or so for the bookkeeper to get involved, decide it was a computer glitch, and that we would not be double charged.”

    That is exactly what happened to us our last visit to TT Orlando on 11/15. For us it felt more like half an hour to get it straightened out. We knew the second amount was incorrect and asked if we could just go ahead and get settled into our site while they figured it out later. But no!!! So we stood there until the bookkeeper became available and eventually said to let us go and they would figure it out leter. Looks like they haven’t figured it out yet. : )

  2. Nick, I’m sure you might have already polled this before, but why not see how many folks still using the old print method of receiving the newspaper would prefer going with first class mailings? It would seem to be a lot easier on the two of you.
    This would not effect me as I’m using the digital version only.
    Just a thought.

  3. Your going to price yourselves right out of business the way you keep going. You already charge to much. That’s why I don’t subscribe. Sell some ads and let that cover the cost.

  4. We love the first class. Now we get our paper in days instead of weeks. You should make it that way for everybody.

  5. Hey Nick..sorry to change the subject but what is the new link to your ‘Nicks Blog” page. The one with the most recent post and all the other posts under it in condensed form.
    I use to use this link for many months….

    now I get a 404 error there, as well as if I click on the Nicks Blog tab at the top of home page.

    Tell me I am not the only one having this problem.

    Every day I have to hunt around the page to look for some kind of link to your most recent blog.
    Many Thanks

  6. Chris, this is the link I use and I have not heard about any problems with it.

  7. Did you happen to see the article in USA today on self publishing?
    “Self-published authors find e-success”

  8. Snowbird, yes I did. In fact, I left a comment on the story at the bottom of the page.

  9. Nick, why don’t you just do the digital paper and get away from all of the printing and mailing all together? You’d save a lot of time and money.

  10. Buddy, we have a lot of subscribers who don’t want to give up the printed version of the paper, and being an old print dinosaur myself, neither do it. While our digital subscription list is growing all the time, the prnted version will always be the main part of our business.

  11. We went with 1st class postage maybe 2 years ago. We are gone 3 months
    out of the year so our mail is just forwarded by the Post Office and did not get
    the papers that were mailed during that time. It is worth the extra $5.00 per
    year. Waiting for the paper version of your book.

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