FRIDAY NIGHT FIEND: CANADA

Canadian-Flag-300x200Yeah, I said it. Out loud. Your Friday Night Fiend, your Friday the 13th master of malevolence is that maple-syrup-filled, hockey-loving, fireball of national passive aggression directly to our north: Canada.

But first, let me step back. I’m tired. Real tired. Like I spent a not so sexy week doing not so sexy work in a nation that has a not so sexy Queen Elizabeth on the money, only to go through customs TWICE, have my flight canceled, re-routed to another city (which had me on traveling for the last 7 hours) and then these knuckleheads to lose my bag (which I still do not have)—I’m THAT tired. And grumpy. So I’m gonna be cursing A LOT. And it’s Canada’s fault.

And yes, I know I missed Tuesday–I was busy. Thanks for the reminder.

Now let me say this, because my blog is insanely popular and this little tirade is likely to cause an international incident, Canada is a cool, clean place, full of friendly people who love their syrup, their beer, their hockey, and the metric system. They’re good, earnest people who seem to sincerely enjoy life. Canadians are the world’s nice guys: they don’t cause any trouble, they’re always there to help, they have lovely uniforms for their police force—they’re global Kramers.

But they pissed me off.

It starts with customs. Now I don’t begrudge Canada: you wanna protect the sanctity of your nation? I get it. You’re tired of being called America’s Ballcap? Fine. You wanna be your own people. You have little brother’s syndrome. I understand. I am a little brother. But come on man, it’s us! Y’all know us. What’s with this “show me your passport, why are you here” shit? Largest undefended border on the planet, the ones who gave you Starbucks (which you guys LOVE) and Coca Cola and all your planes—you know us! But what do you do? You give us Michael J Fox (who probably can make a mean martini—you know he can. I bet he can shake the hell out of that drink. Is that wrong? I’m going to hell for that, aren’t I?), Justin Beiber, and Drake. And, as an aside—for real, Drake? You’re from Toronto, dude. You ain’t thuggin in clean ass Toronto. Toronto ain’t Detroit—you can’t be hard, wearing Blue Jays and Maple Leafs jerseys. We’re trying to bomb Syria for using chemical weapons; you’re trying to make it illegal for public workers to wear religious dress on the job. You ain’t hard. Shut the fuck up.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, customs. Truth is, it’s not customs that pisses me off. It’s the goddamn walk TO customs. Have you ever been to Canada? Ever? Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter what airport you fly into inside of Canada, the walk from your plane to where you present your passport is the LONGEST FUCKING WALK EVER! They ought to have those people passing out water and energy bars like at marathons. There are people on death row who would rather take the walk to the electric chair than have to walk in any Canadian airport to present their passport. It’s long as hell. And then when you finally get up there, out of breath and sweaty and hot and shit, they ask you one simple question: “What brings you to Canada?” You know what? I fucking forgot during the ten-mile hike from my goddamn plane! But I’m fucking here now, I’m obviously committed, just let me in, man! I think they land in the US and actually make you walk across the border.

And don’t get stuck in the airport. God forbid you have to charge something. My damn phone has 6% power because you asses have 110 volt electricity and my technology doesn’t appreciate it. And you know fucking well I gotta charge my shit! I didn’t see any low-energy iPhones. Oh! That reminds me! Muthafucking ROAMING! WHAT THE FUCK? Its 2013, godammit! We’re a global society, interconnected by technology, faster travel, and interdependent economies—we’re closer than ever and you’re still hitting me with fucking roaming charges? For real? I thought roaming went out with actually getting charged for long distance. And how the fuck do I have to pay for roaming in fucking Canada? It’s Canada. You wanna hit me for roaming because I crossed an ocean? Fine. I’m on another continent? Whatever. But Canada? That’s like charging me to make calls because I crossed the street. What the fuck is that?

You know what, I’m gonna take my grumpy ass to bed. Hopefully my airline will call and tell me they found my bag. Hopefully my feet will shrink back to their regular size after walking across God’s green earth to show you my passport. Hopefully the Canadians will forgive my rant and let me back into their country.

Catch you Tuesday!

When Quitting Your Job Goes Wrong – Are You Serious? There’s a Part 4?

I really didn’t want to do this. Really. I actually have other stuff to focus on. It’s the end of the year, I’m supposed to be writing a book, my Vikings are trying to make the playoffs, there’s laundry to do, toenails to clip. I got shit to do. So this is me telling everyone that I am going be done. I have to be.

But not today!

Look at you—you got a little sad, didn’t you? I swear this is the gift that keeps on giving. And given this holiday season, I’m happy to receive. What you’re seeing below is a comment left by our good friend, John Swoap. He left it yesterday (after the phone call) on Part II and…I pulled it. It wasn’t because of the content (I mean seriously, look at what has been said already). It’s because of the debate. This isn’t Meet the Press: both sides don’t have to be equally represented. Again, my house, my rules. But there’s this whole thing about my balls…so here is the comment in its entirety and it’s also visible on Part II:

Commentary

That said, you know I can’t just let it lie, right? And since we have to have Point/Counterpoint, we’re going to break it down Fact Check style:

So am I Leslie (in response to Leslie waiting for Part 3). I wish I was as smart as these two think they are. Soliciting people who work for me.

Fact Check: She actually never “solicited” anyone (that’s illegal, except in Nevada and on some farms in Tennessee). When asked where she was going after she quit, Amanda simply told those that asked. A few then asked for additional information and Amanda offered. It was also publicly displayed on her Facebook fan page.

Outright lying in the letter she posted to every employee, breaching her contract on four different areas.

Fact Check: Outright lying? Pot called the kettle what? It’s tough to lie on a screenshot. For every last word written, there is an email, screen shot or document to back it up. I know the real issue is the Reply All: if you don’t want your business in the street, don’t email the world. Those contract issues that you have with her contract that ended on 12/6/12, should be taken up directly with the attorney’s office.

Get your reading in now folks, this blog will be coming down in a matter of a few weeks. You see, no matter how eloquent Chris Starr thinks he is, obviously doesn’t understand contract law.  

Fact Check: Oh my God! John complimented me! I’m twitterpated! But real talk, he’s right: contract law is not my forte. I actually don’t have my JD. However, for contract law to apply to me, wouldn’t I have to have a contract with you? Isn’t that a key component? Notice who has been conspicuously absent from this conversation is Amanda—she hasn’t said shit. I am simply publicizing emails to a personal account on my computer and voicemail on a phone that I pay for. “Get your reading in now, folks, this blog will be coming down…” This is fantastic! Funny thing about the First Amendment: it works even when you don’t like what somebody says. If that was the case, Fox News would be a distant memory.

What he also fails to mention is that is wife contacted planners of mine for handouts because (there was no money for Christmas), the money we advanced to their family when we were told they had no gas money to get from the hospital and back home, the opportunity we GAVE her and the way she calculated a way to piss on everything that was handed to her on a platter.

Fact Check: This is my favorite part. Amanda NEVER contacted anyone for handouts. She did ask for a commission that was due to her for a client that had traveled and Disney had paid BSJ for. That’s not a handout; that’s payment. That was the only time she ever asked for her commission prior to her check being mailed. Amanda never asked for a gift basket. I didn’t ask for a gift basket (but I should have asked for an alternator). Melanie Swoap talked to me about a gift basket for Amanda. When my wife figured out something was happening, she emailed Melanie and said “if you’re doing something, don’t do it for me. Send gift cards for the kids since Christmas is going to be hard.” Health care reform or not, cancer and surgery are fucking expensive! Melanie’s gift basket that the planners gave to was more than generous and Amanda was thankful and thrilled. She has actually boxed it up though to send it back since BSJ is being so nasty about it calling her ungrateful and faking surgery for attention.

Amanda did not destroy company property (there are actually screenshots for this too). She made website changes and believed they were in a draft state and have not gone live. She had planned to go over these changes with the owners, however the next morning she received and email telling her not to make any more changes. She abided and profusely apologized since she didn’t know they went live due to a change in the Wix settings. This is the only mistake Amanda made. Neither John nor Melanie would answer her calls or emails for the next 5 days to discuss. You know the rest. Again, emails, phone logs and records will prove all of this.

Were we angry? Yes. Did we handle everything the way we should have? No. Facts are facts. I left a nasty voice mail after receiving phone calls from Disney about irate clients who were not informed by the professional Amanda Bell Starr that they would not receive all of their money back when she canceled their reservations to move them to another agency. Not that it was a big deal financially, she, she was mediocre at best at selling and had racked up a whopping $9721, but I had to deal with Disney Travel Company for her professionalism.

Fact Check: See, you can’t say “facts are facts” and then invent your own. This little passage is an excellent example of “truthiness” but not exactly the truth. The voicemail was left on 12/8/12 … 5 minutes after Amanda’s first email response to Melanie (see part 1 of this series). The client that was upset about her deposit contacted Disney on 12/10/12, therefore the voicemail was left PRIOR to the upset client. (Oooooohhh busted!) The truth part: that client was upset about her deposit but the matter was resolved by Disney directly and her existing reservation canceled as she wanted. This client is not upset with Amanda at all: she is happily booked with Disney now for a magical vacation. (Better not add planner on the end of this sentence or I can be sued trademark infringement huh?) Curses, foiled again!

Unprofessional? John Swoap is giving lessons in professionalism? Ooo-kay. Since she is so unprofessional, all but one family chose to cancel their reservations when she told them she was quitting because they didn’t want to be without her. Why is that if she was so unprofessional? Hmm. The sales thing is fluid too, huh? Whether its $12 or $12,000, she works on commission, right? And it was actually over $21K—the fact that you don’t know that is problematic, wouldn’t you say? You’re making yourself look bad now…

The emails he posted were sent back and forth, but what he again fails to mention, is that the letters and emails that came from Amanda contained lies designed to cause discord among our other planners. I own my mistakes, Chris. Why don’t you ask your wife to own the fact that she is a liar, a scammer and below average in intelligence proven by the fact that neither of you have thought through the ramifications that this blog will bring on you and your family.

Fact Check: I’m generally not a detail-oriented guy. I’m really not. I’m more of a big picture type of person. But there is one little detail that seems to be overlooked: the date stamp. See our friend John seems to forget that THEY started this. This would be a non-issue if her resignation was simply accepted and outstanding commission paid. End of story. But I get it, that divisive Amanda! Making you leave stupid ass voicemails, huh? That scamming broad, sending messages to your staff calling herself a pill-popping alcoholic! That lying ass! Calling people retarded! And if she was so below intelligence and needed a helmet, why the hell a) hire her and b) promote her to a managerial position? The stupidity seems one-sided, partner.

As a father, it is your JOB to protect them but you want to throw them into the fire. As a business owner and a father, it is my job to protect my family as well. You don’t have the money to fight me, you don’t have the knowledge to know what you have stepped into and I bet you don’t have balls to leave this comment up for everyone to read.

Fact Check: “You don’t have the money to fight me.” Maybe, maybe not. What I do have is the ability to add and subtract. Let’s talk math for a second. Let’s say you do $1M in sales (for shits and giggles), Blue Sky Journeys receives approximately 10% commission from Disney on that, right? That’s about $100,000, right? Respectable. But then you pay your planners a portion of that for their commissions. Uh oh, pot’s getting slender. My point here is you should probably re-evaluate that statement. You have no idea what we have in our back pocket let alone bank account. Again, we’ll welcome any letter from your attorney.

“You don’t have the knowledge to know what you have stepped into.” This coming from a pair that made this hit.  I think I’ll be alright.

And the balls thing…c’mon dude. That’s too easy for me.

There you have it, folks.

Stay tuned for the Greatest Hits edition later today:

  • John’s email to an ex-planner calling her “despicable”
  • John’s email to Chris this morning. Yep–this morning.
  • John defending his wife by fighting with a potential client of Amanda’s on facebook.
  • And the hits keep coming….

When Quitting Your Job Goes Wrong – DMFRH: Poking the Bear Edition Part III

Here I was, actually working on my latest post when I received a rare—and utterly delightful—call from the main antagonist in this little melodrama: Big John Swoap. I got butterflies. Really, it was spectacular: I started out a muthafucka and ended up a son of a bitch. Not sure how my mother would feel about that last one but to say I am honored is an understatement. Who knew they read my blog?

I’ll give you a quick rundown of that call (this is like late-breaking news) but then I have to get back to the story (this jackass is screwing up my continuity). So I’m minding my own business, going over the next batch of emails that I want to share with the world when Amanda’s phone rings. “Look who’s calling,” she says. “It’s Blue Sky Journeys!”

“Why could they be calling me?” I’m thinking. “It’s like 10 o’clock on Saturday night for them.”

I grab the phone, put on my bravest voice (because I am so excited), “Hello.”

“It’s John Swoap. How ya doing, motherfucker?” This, by far, is the best opening I have ever had to an argument. Ever. It was nice, cordial, and ended with a cut.

Me: “I’m grand.”

BJS: “Grand, huh? You’re not gonna be. You’re not going to be able to put food on your table when I get finished with you.”

Me: “We can’t eat? Why can’t we eat?”

BJS: “I am going to break you! You’re not going to be able to eat, muthafucka. You’re going to have to come to Tennessee, which I know you can’t afford (because my bank statements are routed to Tennessee), and then, while you’re here, we’re going to continue to case so you’re going to have to come back. Which I know you can’t afford. Five Hundred Grand, you sack of shit!”

I have never actually been called a sack of shit. I’ve been told I wasn’t shit but never been a whole sack of it. Is that the preferred quantity for purchasing and/or moving shit? In sacks? And here’s where I would offer a note: if you want me to stop saying stuff, to actually stop repeating the shit you say, perhaps you should stop talking. Just sayin.

Anyway, I’m just going with it, trying to be as nice as possible (cuz I’m so boosted that he called! Now I know how teenage girls feel…). The deal is that I threatened him that I was going to publicize everything (which should be a clue to stop talking), that I threatened him when I said I wanted to kick his ass (you’ll see that part below), and that there is breach of contract. Breach of contract? I never actually worked for Blue Sky Journeys. Suffice it to say we’re not going to be BFFs. And I am really broken up about it.

But I gotta get back to the story.

And there is actually more. I know…I couldn’t believe it either.

Quick recap (because I have even more stuff today): Amanda was working for a Disney vacation planning agency called Blue Sky Journeys when she received a Cease and Desist letter from an attorney regarding a trademark issue. Between that and some other unsavory business practices, she decides to cut her losses and move on to another agency. This doesn’t go over well. At all. The owners, Melanie and John Swoap kick out a series of fucked up emails (where they call my wife a pill-popping alcoholic, a bitch and a thief) and then do a drunk Captain and Tennille routine on her voicemail.

These folks are freaking awesome. But not so bright. Because, despite numerous requests to simply shut the fuck up, they keep the party going and here we are.

Now, everything you’ve read so far is from DAY ONE. One day! All that nonsense in one day. When Amanda sent her last email copying her business attorney, everybody shut up for the night. The next day, there’s this brief exchange:

John Response Dec 9

Amanda Response Dec 9

And then:

John Nice

What? Somebody wants to play nice? It’s about time, right? Add a little civility to this conversation and everyone can go back to their respective corners and be done. So Amanda sends her conciliatory email as well and we go about our day.

And if that was all, this would suck for a Part 3, wouldn’t it? Instead, she gets the email below. For the record, because this was a response email, I changed the font color to red for everything from my man:

John to PlannersAmanda wasn’t actually supposed to get this email.  If you are going to talk shit about somebody via email, someone who used to work for you, you should probably TURN OFF THEIR EMAIL! Seriously. Amanda got this email because they sent a message to all the planners and copied her on an email about her because folks can’t figure how to disable an email address.

But nobody responds and Sunday proves to be largely uneventful. Monday, December 10, though, is an entirely different thing. On Monday, Amanda was awakened by a call at 7am from a client, talking about “Why are these people calling me?” Then another client. Then an advertising partner. They were calling her clients and advertisers disparaging her to them. Actually calling her a “fuck up.” You stay classy, San Diego.

At some point, this nonsense has to stop, right? My wife has gotten a plethora of emails from the Great State of Tennessee (center of America), she’s getting copied on emails talking about her, her clients are getting calls, Disney is actually calling here…and again, this is because she quit her job. I can’t imagine why… So I finally break my own silence and script this PHENOMENAL email:

You Should Stop

The initial response is to be reminded that “hey, I decided to be good.” I remind him that he wasn’t:

You Should Stop Response 1

Chris Stop Response

Then he encourages me to test him. That wasn’t smart…

John Stop Final

Well, there it is. The rubber has met the road, folks. Because now John and I are talking man to man and there are legal threats flying and everything else. And we would have been good if he wouldn’t have asked me not to publish ONE THING. That’s actually how we got here: it was a dare, wasn’t it? Isn’t that what you saw?

Since that lovely conversation, things were quiet. Until today. Apparently there is internet in Tennessee and folks saw my little blog today. To say they are unhappy is an understatement. Livid is probably the best word. I gave you the recap earlier and tomorrow, we’ll be doing a greatest hits album! I have:

• The comment that just got posted to my blog
• The argument currently ensuing on YouTube
• Remember that planner that got fired for posting about who she was voting for? She’s “despicable” and you get to see the Facebook post

And you better check all this stuff out now because when Big John secures his attorney my blog is coming down…at least that the latest threat.

“This shit’s chess, it ain’t checkers!” – Training Day