Two Weeks? Two Weeks!

It absolutely does not feel like two weeks since we moved into our new house. It feels like maybe one week and the time compression due to aging can be most discombobulating.

Today is a rarity, a day with no scheduled visits by service people. Hopefully, I’ll get in a good workout, which would be just my second since we moved. Anyway, here are a few relevant photos.



From Jeff Bezos’ newspaper via this Why Evolution Is True post:


Consumers are mad as hell about the long waits for service while calling companies on the telephone. But whether we will “not take it anymore” seems to be up to the companies themselves, who claim, unbelievably, that customers like the robots and endless attempts to connect with a real human being.

It shouldn’t be this hard to speak to a human. But, increasingly, companies large and small are making it difficult to access a real, live person when help is needed. Contact numbers are hard to find. Wait times to speak to an operator are long — one industry analyst estimated the average wait tripled from 2020 to 2022 and says he believes they still are a third worse than before the pandemic. Some phone lines are seemingly staffed entirely by robots, forcing you to go through menu after menu in quest of a live, real person. Or, increasingly, companies don’t offer a telephone option at all.

This is not simply inconvenient. It’s contemptuous. And consumers pay the price in emotional aggravation, in precious time and in literal money, as people give up on legitimate financial claims because they are unable to surmount the barriers in their way.

Companies say they are reducing options for human contact by popular demand. They claim customers often prefer a virtual option — so said Frontier Airlines after it recently ceased offering customers access to live phone agents, directing them to text, chatbot or email instead. But as the Wall Street Journal noted late last year, Frontier is simultaneously telling its investors that call centers are “expensive,” while use of chatbots eliminates the customer’s ability to negotiate.

A survey by OnePoll in 2021 found that more than two-thirds of respondents ranked speaking to a human representative as one of their preferred methods of interacting with a company, while 55 percent identified the ability to reach a human as the most important attribute a customer service department can possess. “When people are anxious or have problems, they really, really want to talk,” says Michelle Shell, a visiting assistant professor also at the Questrom school. “You need human contact.”


I personally loathe and despise the automated VRUs, Voice Response Units. However, as they become more prevalent, avoiding them becomes virtually impossible. One answer might be to avoid big companies whenever possible and use local, smaller companies.


When Mecum first held an auction in the Phoenix area (I think that was 2019) about 1,000 vehicles were consigned and the auction lasted three days. This year, 2,000 vehicles are consigned and the auction is scheduled for five days. I think this auction expansion is yet another of the countless examples of how strong the car culture is in this area.

Not having “champagne and caviar” tastes in automobiles, I like looking at the lots on the early days to see if something might entice me to bid. A car like this caught my attention:



That is supposed to be a picture of a 1991 Cadillac Allante in the same color as the one consigned to Mecum Glendale 2023. The 1993 Allante was a member of my Ultimate Garage 3.0, which was published almost two years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if this car hammers for less than $10,000.

An internal debate about buying another car has been about whether or not I need to give priority to cars that have appeared in any iteration of my Ultimate Garage. More and more I am moving towards the viewpoint that I don’t need to do that. In general, I think people waste too much time, money and effort trying to justify previous decisions.

Back to the ’91 Allante…when new the engine was rated 200 HP/270 LB-FT of torque for a car with a curb weight of about 3,500 pounds. You can see why I prefer the ’93 model since that was the only year the Northstar V-8 was offered (slipping head bolts and all), which was rated 295 HP/290 LB-FT. The ’93 model was about 200 pounds heavier than the ’91.

Once again, buying a car now is probably a most imprudent action, but the heart wants what it wants. I am not even in a position to offer a probability in terms of what I buy or when/if I buy it.









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