Recent PINCHme Samples

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In December of 2014 I wrote about PINCHme samples – I also wrote this post about how *not* to sample – AKA don’t be stingy. Today I am giving you an update on recent samples I have received.

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Over winter 2015 things went very quiet at PINCHme with not many samples released at all. They picked back up again in late September. The first sample they sent me was by far the least stingy and most awesome sample ever – a full sized Mitchum Clinical Deodorant.. when I next visited the shops I made sure to look for it on the shelf and was quite taken aback when I saw this –

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I’ve been using it every second day since I got it and I have to say, it is pretty amazing. It smells wonderful, too. How does one use a 48 hour antiperspirant when one showers every day, one thought? I tested it out, still having my daily shower as usual on the second day and then *not* putting anything on and fate made sure I tried this on the hottest day we’ve had thus far – 35 degrees, no sweat, no smells.

It feels weird, not putting anything on after a shower, but I have got used to it. You only need to use the tiniest amount of this stuff – one click of the dial at the bottom per armpit. I’ve been using it every second day for over a month now and I still have over half a container left. Normally I would go through one roll on per month.

I knew I’d heard things about aluminium in antiperspirants so when I checked the ingredients I was a little unsure, but I did some research into that and it is all urban myths as far as I can see. I will definitely be buying this one.

Good job on not being stingy, Mitchum! In fact you did such a good job of not being stingy you have won two customers, I bought a similar product for The Other Half when I saw them on special recently.

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So here we have some Dynamo clothes washing liquid – I gave this a legit trial with some clothes which were stained that have been awaiting stain removal. It removed almost all the stains. I’m keeping the second packet for more stains, and will consider purchasing a small amount of this to keep on hand. One small negative – our front load washer does not have anything to stop the liquid running right into the machine, so the detergent went right in.

There is also a Schick Quattro razor. I’m not a user of razors very often – I prefer waxing – plus I am unlikely to use anything with 4 blades as a regular thing, but I’ll give it a try. Anything more than two blades reminds me of this little ad from The D Generation

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There is a Chux magic eraser – now I just have to find something to use that on! – and some Fancy Feast which the cats were big fans of. They would be even greater fans if only I would follow these feeding instructions –

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Grumpy is 5kg, so that would be 7.5 pouches a day. This would be an increase of 7 pouches a day as the kitties get half a pouch/tin of wet food each morning. At 1.42 per pouch, this would cost me $10.65 a day in cat food! Unless I could find it on special somewhere..

If I followed these instructions, Grumpy would soon be 10kg, in which case I would have to feed her 15 pouches. Exponential growth! If I showed these feeding instructions to my vet, who recently told us our kitties need to watch their weight, she would probably fall on the floor laughing. It makes me wonder – is anyone out there actually reading and following those instructions? That would be very bad. :/

I find PINCHme free samples to be interesting, I always love receiving mail and sometimes the samples are a source of great products we end up loving and buying. We are still using Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets and we love them, I am a big fan of the Mitchum deodorant..

Samples are usually released @PINCHme on Tuesdays at mid-day. They sell out very quickly, so you want to be logged in at 11:58am and ready to go. Sometimes they have surprise samples on other days, as well.

You can sign up for PINCHme here and I do not receive anything for sending you there, sadly. They ought to have a decent referral program. They do have one but it is linked to the samples which usually sell out within minutes, plus there is some blather about having to be logged in when you refer someone.

FYI the usual statements apply – nobody paid me to write this post, I do receive free samples from PINCHme but they are samples anyone can receive if they are a member and they sign in at the right time to claim a sample.

customer feedback, exercise, kitties, PINCHme

An Epic Story Of Failure.

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If you lived in the USA, you could subscribe to a huge and fascinating assortment of subscription boxes. Mail that comes to you as a surprise, perhaps once a month, or once every so often, or as a once off. There is even a great blog devoted to the topic of subscription boxes – Subscription Addiction – this is one of the blogs that often has between 5-10 posts a day in my feed reader..

But if you live in Australia? There are bugger all subscription boxes, the ones that do exist are generally expensive or beauty related. I’ve put some links right at the bottom of this post if you want to explore what is available to us.

So along comes a little company who named themselves RedPawPaw. They decide to launch a box for just $5 a month – no postage or delivery fees, you pay for 11 months and get one free, as long as you provide feedback on the products via a survey. Sounds great, says I. Do they deliver to my area – a lot of things do not being slightly rural – Yes, they do.

Fantastic says I. Let me sign up. And so I did sign up to receive the June box. They charged $60 to my credit card and I am still not certain why as it should have been $55. If it had been GST, then I should have been charged $60.50. But why quibble over $5, I thought at the time. Big mistake, Snoskred. Clue number one was right there.

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A little while later I received the June box, and it was pretty awesome. My box contained –

Gravox Creamy English Wholegrain Mustard finishing sauce
Zumbo Choc Raspberry Macarons
Ovaltine Crunch
Finish Tablets
Nivea Q10 – 2x tiny sachets
Henry Jones Chia Jam
Berry flavoured Mentos
Mentos Spearmint chewing gum
Taylors Pea and Zucchini Soup
Greens Pancake Mix
Uncle Tobys Oats

I did not blog or take photos but you can see a couple of posts from other people here – Raising MistersCaddie’s Journal.

I enjoyed the products I tried and actually bought some more of some of them which I normally would not purchase – eg the Mentos gum was brilliant and I do not usually chew gum but I liked this enough to start. Plus there were a lot of new Mentos flavours I had not tried and I picked up a couple when paying for petrol because I tried the Berry ones.

So, one box down, 11 to go, right? Wrong. Wronggity Wrong. On the 30th of June, Redpawpaw subscribers received an email titled Important! – No Redpawpaw payment in July. It went exactly like this –

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So we are asking you, our subscribers, to hassle companies on our behalf to get them to send us samples so we can send out samples to you.

Oh, ok, this sounds like a brilliant idea with a couple of logic exceptions – if we know of a company in order to hassle them, does it not follow we already use their products and then why would they need to send us a sample – and two, people are potentially going to hassle the same companies over and over which could get really annoying and then nobody is going to want anything to do with this company.

I personally was not a fan of this idea nor did I participate – why is it up to me to find companies – that should be the job of Redpawpaw? But a lot of people did help them out and ask companies to participate – not knowing that the companies would have to pay a fee per sample to send any samples to the subscribers. None of us knew that until later, though I guess it is a logical concept and potentially a good idea if your business model is for the companies to cover the postage fees.

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Apparently some people did have some issues with delivery. Me personally I did not. But those who did apparently kicked up a huge stink on the Facebook page, which is what supposedly led to this change of delivery partner.

On the other hand, it could also be that the company did not have enough samples and enough companies paying money to cover delivery to send out a July box. Given what happened later I am going with the second option being the one that really happened.

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Second clue there – we hope you will stay with us on this journey with us? What kind of English is that? Sounds a lot like statements my manager at work comes out with that mean absolutely nothing but involve a lot of words, so they seem complex and like the manager has done some work when really she did zero all day because she does not actually know how to do anything. Oops, tangent, lets leave that there. :)

So.. a couple of weeks go by. Then Sunday the 20th of July, the following email arrives. Titled – Relaunch – The Redpawpaw Tribe has Spoken!

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Translation – prepare yourselves, because you are expendable. If you do not like what the tribe has said, there are plenty of people waiting to take your place.

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Wait, what?

I’m paying $5 a month to receive this box, and now you want to charge me a minimum 150% of that each month to get it delivered? And I never had a problem with delivery previously? But hang onto your hats people..

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Err, excuse me?

Firstly, you owe me 11 boxes, not 10. I never got a July box, and you promised everyone they would receive an extra box to compensate.

Secondly, if people do not opt out, say for example they are on holidays or do not check their email in the short window of 8 days you have provided them, you are going to just whack a charge on their credit card as a surprise to them? Popular concept. I’m going with this is a fabulous idea! NOT!

Thirdly, this is an obscene amount of postage. I guess I should consider myself lucky as some people got the full $18 charge. But still, nearly 3x the cost of the box each month to get this delivered? I don’t think so.

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As you can expect, there was an enormous uproar. On the Facebook page of Redpawpaw – you can’t see it now as they deleted a lot of posts and comments – the “tribe” spoke up and they were very unhappy, in particular re the having to opt out option – people felt it should be opt in – and rightly so.

There was a sneaky change to the terms and conditions and also a pesky little wording about receiving over $30 in value which went away, but thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine, the initial terms and conditions can be seen in their entirety. Changing the terms for a monthly subscriber is one thing, but changing it for annual subscribers is quite another. At least, as far as Consumer Affairs and the ACCC are concerned, who thanks to all the outcry are investigating this.

During the next couple of days the story changes on the Redpawpaw Facebook page and we find out that the changes have little to do with delivery issues and more to do with an unsustainable business model. EG they do not have enough money to carry on, and they do not have enough money to send out the next lot of boxes. Plus now people are unsubscribing in droves, and nobody is seeing any refunds, and concern begins to arise that not enough money exists for these refunds to be given.

I mean if there are 1000 people like me who paid $60 who want a refund, they have to pay out $60,000.

So after all the outcry, just 2 days later this email arrives – in the really big text so you know this is serious.

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Yes, because every company needs to be to be financial viable. Missing a ly there, are we?

Bit more honest about the reasons for the delivery fee – they do not have enough money.

Suddenly they decide to *advise* people of the changes to the terms and conditions – though they say nothing about sneakily removing all reference to the value of each box people will receive. But fear not, our intelligent crew on the Facebook page spotted it, and they posted about it continually until Redpawpaw banned them from the page and deleted all their posts.

But wait, there’s more.

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So now, people have to opt in, or else their subscription will be cancelled. Hmm.. Yeah that seems like a plan. I’m sure it will work out just fine.

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And we wrote it in the REALLY BIG TEXT so you know we mean it!

Whatevs, RPP. Imma gonna let you finish, but this is me unsubscribing right here. So I sent an email. No reply. I posted on the Facebook page. No reply. Days went by. I started to get worried about my money returning to me. I sent another email. I clicked on the submit button you see above. I cancelled on the website.

It wasn’t until I sent them an email saying I would start a chargeback via my bank that they finally decided to get back to me and issue the refund. I checked my credit card and the refund was there. Whew. Case closed. Game over. Done.

Or so I – and many others – thought.

On the 1st of August, a lot of people who had unsubscribed found money taken out of their credit card as a surprise to them.

This is a level of epic fail that not many companies can compete with. You’ve upset all these people, you’ve had them unsubscribe and leave very unhappy with your company, and THEN YOU STEAL THEIR MONEY AS A SURPRISE!

People were unthrilled. Let us look at a small sample of their un-thrilled-ness. I’ve removed the personal info of the people involved – some of the posts seen on the Facebook page still remain, many have since been deleted.

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Epic Fail.

There are not enough fail whales in the world.

That is only a small sample of the outcry – much of it has been deleted and is now gone forever.

I’m not the only one who thinks this is an epic fail, many people expressed it via the Redpawpaw facebook page and many of those posts were sadly deleted – I did find one blog post – FFS Friday Business Edition.

And now, for those of you who made it this far, here are the lists of Aussie subscription boxes I promised at the start of this post, many eons ago now. :)

Australian Subscription BoxesJoy In The PostBox List

customer feedback, Fail Whale, what not to do

This Snoskred Update May Come To You As A Surprise.

Is it possible to have the best week in ages and yet still be moving house? The week did not start out quite as we imagined, we discovered that these places have been refurbished, they’re not new, they were lived in before and the state of the appliances leaves a LOT to be desired. Major fail whale!

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In fact I’m not cooking in that filthy oven. I refuse. Either the landlord replaces the oven, cooktop and rangehood – all of which are filthy and the cooktop is actually rusted or we will just replace them ourselves. We didn’t spot it on inspection because the electricity was off, it’s dark in that kitchen without the lights on, it said *clearly* in the advertisements that these were brand new, and we made the mistake of assuming that meant the appliances would be brand new as well. Note to self, remember that rule about never assuming? :) We did feel a bit like we’d been lied to, though.

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However that has been the only cloud on our horizon this week, other than real actual clouds, which there’s been a few of as well as some rain and neither of us mind real clouds or rain, so that’s ok. ;) We’ve contacted the real estate agent and asked them to let the landlord know we’re not happy with the appliances and we’d like him to replace them or reduce the rent. I’m not going to let it bother me because either way they are being replaced. We’ve never used the oven in this house because the first time we turned it on, the smell! Ugh!

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You’ll note I put pictures from my hour long beach walk on Thursday in between the above. This is meant to demonstrate how appliances are of little importance in the face of so much beach beauty. ;) Yes, I walked for an hour, after spending an hour vacuuming and cleaning the new place, then I went home and packed more stuff before returning to the new house with the other half, to carry potplants upstairs to our balcony.

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I would have been walking on the beach every day, but I have been getting more than enough exercise packing, moving boxes, and carrying heavy things up the stairs. The beach walk on Thursday was actually a reward for myself for all the hard work I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks but soon enough it will be a daily event, rain or shine..

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There’s a reason they have stair climbers in gyms. I have missed stairs while we’ve lived in two houses without them. Carrying heavy potplants upstairs was surprisingly fun for me as well as being great exercise. That sounds like I have gone completely round the twist, but I have found every small thing I do is one step closer to being moved in and ready to start new things – a new business, a new lifestyle, and much cookery. ;) I’m excited and getting stuff done fast!

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The ute ended up being pushed into a table we had in the garage quite by accident. My parents came to visit and I asked my Dad to back the ute in so I could close the door, but he thought it would be better to push it. I was told to pull the handbrake when they said to. Unfortunately it didn’t do anything like.. well. braking. The ute kept going and there was a crash.

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There you can see some of the glass left on the table. I would have taken pics of the ute but odd people are having a party next door and I was a bit.. freaked out. So, I just have the above for now.

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The pool table successfully made its way up the stairs on Monday. As you see. Below is a photo looking back towards the kitchen from near to the balcony door.

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I have one other thing to mention in this update. Below is a screenshot of my desktop as it looks now, today. The cluttering up as mentioned in this post – Snoskred Is Getting Organised – Are You? – is a thing of the past and this new system is so simple and so easy that I don’t even have to work at it. It magically happens all on its own.

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If you are like me and want to get your desktop organised, I have to recommend the article that started it all for me – How to Keep your Desktop Organized (without getting insane) – if you take the time to put the system in place, and learn how to use it believe me this will work for you too. I am stunned by how well it has worked for me.

beach walk, customer feedback, Fail Whale, moving on

Great Service – Do You Let People Know? A Challenge For You.

When we humans receive good service, we rarely compliment. When we love a product and it is something we use daily, we do not write to the company and tell them how much we love their product. We must make more of an effort to give bouquets of words to people who look after us or manufacture things which make our lives easier and better.

We no longer have an excuse not to do it. Back in the days when you had to use a typewriter or handwrite things, I can understand it took a bit of effort. Most companies have email or websites with contact forms. In the time you can leave a comment on a blog, you can send a compliment to a company. If you love a product you might want to let the company know just how much you love it – or they might stop making it!

It only takes a moment to send a quick email and I challenge you to send one (or more!) today. What would you write? Feel free to copy and paste this and modify it to suit. ;)

Dear (company),

I love (product!) I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy (using it, eating it, drinking it, etc). (if you want to insert something about how you use the product or why it is useful to you, put that here) Keep up the great work!

Regards,
(me)

When we get bad service, most of us complain about it. If we do not complain to the company involved, we will complain to friends, family, even people we don’t know very well but happen to mention to us they are looking for what that company provides. We’ll say “Don’t go to (company) because (info about negative experience)”.

In both cases it is very important to let the company know how their staff are doing. They might have no idea a staff member is constantly leaving customers with a bad taste in their mouths and a dislike for their company. They might not know just how good a job one of their staff is doing in providing good service.

This new place we are moving to, we almost did not get to look at it. We arranged the time to visit the property. I was already daydreaming about BBQ’s on the balcony, sea breezes, beach walks. Yes, I know I said I was going to try not to do that anymore, but I couldn’t help it. I had asked about the cats and the property manager said they would find out if pets were allowed. Just a short time later I got this email –

I have just spoken to (one of the other employees) and he advises that there are strictly no pets at the property. I’m sorry – was there anything else that you were interested in?

Note the excellent last line there, that’s great customer service! Other people might have left it at just the one sentence. Because of that sentence, I replied with more info on what we needed in a property – I had already left details with one of their offices but not the one she worked at, they have two offices here in different coastal towns.

I replied re the cats –

That’s very shortsighted of the landlords, I must say. :( We’re good long term tenants! What if we agreed to put in the lease if our pets did any damage we could pay for it? But realistically that is exactly what they have a security bond for, so..

And that’s where I thought it would end and I was once again feeling a little heartbroken .. but this property manager is very good at her job. The next day I got this email –

I have forwarded your email on to (other employee) – he listed these properties. He has advised me that he will look into your request today. If it is a ruling of the Body Corporate then I don’t think there is much we can do.If not we may still stand a chance. I will keep you informed of the outcome.

And later that day –

I have just heard back from (other employee) and he has advised that the cats will be OK. So do you wish to keep our appointment for Friday afternoon?

Damn right I do! ;) And so we did take a look, though it was with another employee of the company as the property manager was very busy and it was lovely. We put in our application and waited to hear. On Tuesday, a day earlier than we expected, they let us know we were approved.

When we finally got to meet the lady who was responsible for making our dream come true, I thanked her enthusiastically for her efforts, especially re the cats. She is a fellow cat lover, and understood how important it was to us. I’m already putting together a letter to the manager of her company praising her and her service. I’d like to send it before we even get the keys, she made such a great impression on me.

I shall not be leaving bouquets for the current property manager. I wrote about how she may have been leaving the house rolled up in a carpet when she messed me about with inspections back in December. It’s now August and we have not had an inspection since – eight months. I bet the landlord is thrilled – actually I bet he does not know.

When we first moved in here, three things were wrong with the place. We wanted the landlord to put in screen doors so we could open the doors and get a breeze. We NEEDED a vent put into the laundry for the dryer. A light is badly wired – to the point it could potentially cause a fire.

We attended the real estate office and put in a form. We have asked on several occasions re those things. A year and a half later, all we’ve had is excuses and “I’m waiting to hear back from the landlord” – I strongly suspect they have not even bothered to ask. We did expect that the issue which could cause actual damage to the property might be taken care of, but apparently not.

Thus we have been unable to open any of the doors to get a breeze through the house, we had to put the dryer in the garage because it was making such a mess with fluff in the laundry, and we have one light which we cannot use at all.

We became people who just did the things we wanted instead of asking them because we could not get any answers – we installed an air conditioner without their knowledge. We found ourselves in a bad relationship when we’d been so lucky in the past with our landlords.

I am looking forward to getting out of this place so I can write a letter to the manager of the real estate company and tell them how utterly disgusted I am with their service – and that I would never rent from them again, I’ll be advising anyone I know never to rent with them, and as far as buying a house? NO WAY. If it were perfect and had everything we wanted, we would not touch it if their name was on it.

I thought I would share a couple of pics of the new place with you today. I did not take these myself, sorry for the not brilliant quality.

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I’m in major overdrive mode here at the moment – I have been replying to comments like a demon today so if you left one (River in particular – please send me your email address!) remember to check back and see my reply to it. :)

I’d like to ask my readers to please forgive me if I’m not replying to comments you’ve made over the next couple of weeks. I am going to try and do it as much as I can but things will be crazy. I will still be reading them and appreciating them just as much as I always do, but I have boxes to pack as well.. ;)

If this post did inspire you to compliment a company for their good customer service, let a company know about bad customer service or write an email about a product you love, please comment and let me know! ;)

customer feedback, move to the beach, renting

NaBloPoMo is over..

But the commenting challenge is not. I’m going to continue to comment on at least 20 blogs per day until I finish the list. I’m up to S now. This could take me months but I do not care, it is worth it. I have found some amazing new blogs and enjoyed almost every minute of reading.

Jihanna’s post here reminded me.. I have taken the commenting to a new level this week.

I sent an email off to a website that had pop-up advertising, letting them know it was highly annoying and I would not be returning to their site anymore. This is something I would not have done before the commenting challenge, but now because I’m not afraid to speak up, I did it! And they got back to me –

Thank you for reporting the problem.

Spyware and popups are absolutely not allowed on the site. I will investigate where it came from and shut it down if possible. Ads are served by various third-parties, as we do not handle most of the advertising in-house.

Do you remember and more details of what it looked like or are you able to reproduce a screenshot of a page with the ad in question?

And yes, I had taken a screenshot, so I got back to them and let them know. And I went and installed adblock for firefox, too, and the other half bumped my user setting down so nothing can be installed while I am on the computer (this is a wise move when you’re a scambaiter and visiting sites which might be slightly dodgy from time to time).

Then, I love this salad dressing and I ran out. I wanted to buy more but I was having a lot of trouble finding it. So instead of just keep going to every store, I thought, why not find an email address for them and ask them where I can go to buy it? And I did, I sent them a nice little email. I got an email back telling me they no longer make it (BOO!) but inviting me to be a part of their customer club. I know the other half is going to be annoyed that I said yes, but I said yes. And I’ll stop crying about the salad dressing not being available anymore sometime, probably in 2007. ;)

It’s ok though, he thinks I’m crying because he won’t let me buy more sparkly shoes and handbags, or a gold glitter lamp.

Angry Snoskred, customer feedback, NaBloPoMo