Friday, January 1, 2016

Some costs on raising a family (well, mine anyway) in Wallingford, CT from about 2007 through 2015

I wrapped up my tally of bills for 2015 and compared them with years gone by to see how costs have gone up and / or where we are consuming more.

Here are some of those details for my family of six (seven when you consider my mother-in-law lives here six months out of the year); obviously there are other kinds of costs to presume but these are the easiest to represent of the ones I tracked.


My kids will range in ages of 12, 10, 8, and 7 in 2016.

Wallingford annual budgets
2015-16 $155.73 million
2014-15 $152.29 million
2013-14 $147.94 million
2012-13 $145.10 million
2011-12 $141.43 million
2010-11 $141.40 million
2009-10 $141.00 million
2008-09 $140.38 million
2007-08 $135.00 million
2006-07 $129.00 million
2005-06 $122.80 million
The annual budget has increased 26.8% in total over the 11 years I have recorded.
That is an average increase of 2.436% a year


---------------------------------------------

Wallingford Mill Rates
Millrate Grand List Fiscal Year
27.47    2014
26.89    2013
26.22    2012
25.98    2011
25.22    2010
24.08    2009
23.20    2008
22.90    2007

The Mill Rate has increased 19.9% in total over the 8 years I have recorded.
That is an average increase of 2.4875% a year


---------------------------------------------

Property Appraisal (value) and Assessment (for taxing purposes) - 35 Lincoln Drive EXT

4 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
2 fireplaces (pellet stove inserts)
2,050 total living area (includes finished lower level)
0.50 acres (land) 

2015 Appraisal      - $289,900
2015 Assessment - $202,900
(based on revaluation).


2010 Appraisal      - $280,000
2010 Assessment - $196,000
(based on revaluation).


2004 Appraisal      - $265,000
2004 Assessment - $185,500
(based on sale price).


2002 Appraisal      - $237,000
2002 Assessment - $165,000
(based on sale price).


Appraisal change since 2002   +22.3%
Assessment change since 2002   +22.95%
That is an average increase of value of about 1.616% a year over the 14 years.
I have made no major improvements to the property.

---------------------------------------------

Property taxes (for my home)     

$5,327.22 - 2015
$5,231.62 - 2014
$5,165.96 - 2013
$5,142.44 - 2012
$5,192.80 - 2011
$4,613.56 - 2010
$4,527.66 - 2009
$4,469.16 - 2008
$4,225.22 - 2007
$3,814.55 - 2006
$3,481.94 - 2005

Increase in total over the 11 payments on record   +53%
That is an average increase of 4.818% a year
I have made no major improvements to the property.

The annual budget has increased 26.8% in total over the 11 years I have recorded.
The Mill Rate has increased 19.9% in total over the 8 years I have recorded.
My taxes have increased 53% over the past 11 years.

The value of my home has grown from $265,000 in the same 11 year span (since 2004) to $289,900.
That is a gain of 9.4%. My taxes increased 43.6% more than the value change of my home; that means the burden has shifted more to my residential dwelling than to other taxable entities in Wallingford (e.g. commercial / industrial).

The annual budget (the cost of running the town) has increased 26.8%. When you consider the differential of 43.6% above (the rise of the cost of doing business), that leaves a change of 16.8%.
16.8% more that I am paying, adjusted for inflation, than I was 11 years ago and it takes into consideration for the upwards rise of my home's value.
That shows the shrinking and shifting tax base of Wallingford TOWARDS the residential homeowner / property owner.

---------------------------------------------
Wallingford Electric

$1,942.89 for 2015, a total of 16,544 KWH
$2,041.30 for 2014, a total of 17,396 KWH
$1,953.73 for 2013, a total of 16,520 KWH
$2,273.09 for 2012, a total of 18,566 KWH
$2,129.10 for 2011, a total of 16,850 KWH
$2,257.42 for 2010, a total of 16,890 KWH
$2,458.02 for 2009, a total of 20,376 KWH
$2,116.04 for 2008, a total of 18,039 KWH

---------------------------------------------
Cable TV - primary service (not the add-on international service for my wife)
$1,452.66 for 2015 - Comcast
$2,306.16 for 2014 - Uverse/Frontier (NOV)/Comcast (DEC)
$2,161.38 for 2013 - Uverse
$2,389.05 for 2012 - Uverse
$2,346.23 for 2011 - Uverse
$1,923.59 for 2010 - DISH
$1,985.78 for 2009 - DISH
$2,128.95 for 2008 - DISH

---------------------------------------------
Wallingford Water and Sewer (never kept cubic foot totals; wish I did now)
$839.98 for 2015
$669.60 for 2014
$851.14 for 2013
$908.04 for 2012
$659.58 for 2011
$593.58 for 2010
$309.42 for 2009
$471.46 for 2008
---------------------------------------------



Groceries (out of diapers and into more food over the year; barely noticed the difference until 2012).$8,145.51 for 2015
$7,672.78 for 2014
$7,707.61 for 2013
$9,095.93 for 2012
$7,078.67 for 2011
$6,329.67 for 2010
$7,569.30 for 2009
$6,307.34 for 2008

Thursday, November 26, 2015

SAMAHA BOWL SERIES HISTORY

2015: Sheehan 35 Lyman Hall 28

2014: Sheehan 34 Lyman Hall 22

2013: Lyman Hall 21 Sheehan 7


2012: Sheehan 15 Lyman Hall 14


2011: Sheehan 48 Lyman Hall 44


2010: Lyman Hall 17 Sheehan 14


2009: Sheehan 45 Lyman Hall 33


2008: Lyman Hall 21 Sheehan 6

2007: Lyman Hall 30 Sheehan 15


2006: Sheehan 22 Lyman Hall 8


2005: Sheehan 34 Lyman Hall 6


2004: Lyman Hall 26 Sheehan 20


2003: Lyman Hall 22 Sheehan 15


2002: Lyman Hall 14 Sheehan 7


2001: Lyman Hall 20 Sheehan 14


2000: Sheehan 20 Lyman Hall 14


1999: Lyman Hall 32 Sheehan 19


1998: Lyman Hall 41 Sheehan 31


1997: Sheehan 28 Lyman Hall 0


1996: Lyman Hall 25 Sheehan 3


1995: Lyman Hall 27 Sheehan 0


1994: Lyman Hall 14 Sheehan 6


1993: Lyman Hall 35 Sheehan 28


1992: Lyman Hall 28 Sheehan 7


1991: Lyman Hall 27 Sheehan 6


1990: Lyman Hall 21 Sheehan 20


1989: Lyman Hall 18 Sheehan 14


1988: Lyman Hall 7  Sheehan 2


1987: Lyman Hall 20 Sheehan 7


1986: Sheehan 6  Lyman Hall 0


1985: Lyman Hall 28 Sheehan 0


1984: Lyman Hall 14 Sheehan 14


1983: Lyman Hall 14 Sheehan 8


1982: Lyman Hall 20 Sheehan 6


1981: Lyman Hall 14 Sheehan 0


1980: Lyman Hall 18 Sheehan 0


1979: Lyman Hall 20 Sheehan 14


1978: Lyman Hall 6  Sheehan 2


1977: Lyman Hall 20 Sheehan 8


1976: Sheehan 14 Lyman Hall 6


1975: Lyman Hall 42 Sheehan 36


1974: Sheehan 37  Lyman Hall 0


1973: Sheehan 6  Lyman Hall 0


1972: Lyman Hall 6  Sheehan 0

CARINI BOWL SERIES HISTORY

Lyman Hall leads series 26-18

1972 -- Lyman Hall 13, Sheehan 7

1973 -- Lyman Hall 13, Sheehan 0

1974 -- Lyman Hall 35, Sheehan 0

1975 -- Lyman Hall 21, Sheehan 7

1976 -- Lyman Hall 29, Sheehan 26

1977 -- Lyman Hall 33, Sheehan 0

1978 -- Sheehan 26, Lyman Hall 14

1979 -- Lyman Hall 12, Sheehan 0

1980 -- Sheehan 12, Lyman Hall 7

1981 -- Lyman Hall 12, Sheehan 7

1982 -- Lyman Hall 12, Sheehan 0

1983 -- Lyman Hall 23, Sheehan 0

1984 -- Lyman Hall 41, Sheehan 19

1985 -- Lyman Hall 40, Sheehan 0

1986 -- Lyman Hall 6, Sheehan 0 (OT)

1987 -- Lyman Hall 28, Sheehan 12

1988 -- Sheehan 24, Lyman Hall 14

1989 -- Sheehan 13, Lyman Hall 0

1990 -- Lyman Hall 7, Sheehan 6

1991 -- Lyman Hall 14, Sheehan 12

1992 -- Sheehan 27, Lyman Hall 7

1993 -- Sheehan 36, Lyman Hall 0

1994 -- Sheehan 28, Lyman Hall 19

1995 -- Sheehan 22, Lyman Hall 6

1996 -- Sheehan 22, Lyman Hall 21

1997 -- Sheehan 21, Lyman Hall 19

1998 -- Sheehan 28, Lyman Hall 26

1999 -- Lyman Hall 31, Sheehan 6

2000--Lyman Hall 37, Sheehan 16

2001 --Lyman Hall 59, Sheehan 28

2002 --Lyman Hall 21, Sheehan 6

2003 -- Lyman Hall 49, Sheehan 19

2004 -- Lyman Hall 28, Sheehan 20

2005 -- Lyman Hall 21, Sheehan 15

2006 -- Lyman Hall 19, Sheehan 10

2007 -- Sheehan 28, Lyman Hall 7

2008 -- Sheehan 41, Lyman Hall 7

2009 -- Sheehan 35, Lyman Hall 28

2010 -- Lyman Hall 41, Sheehan 3

2011 -- Lyman Hall 42, Sheehan 38

2012 -- Sheehan 55, Lyman Hall 14

2013 -- Sheehan 54, Lyman Hall 7

2014 -- Sheehan 28, Lyman Hall 0


2015 -- Sheehan 52, Lyman Hall 26

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bicycle and Pedestrian Dashboard - State of Connecticut

Having the great weather over the third weekend of September, I took the opportunity to not only ride around my neighborhood with all four of my kids, (ranging is ages from six to eleven), but to also teach them some of the rules of the road.

More specifically to the older two, (eleven and nine), I took advantage to ride with them and explain how to operate their bikes on the main roads around Wallingford (South and North Main Streets, Center Street, Hall Avenue, North and South Cherry, John Street and then crossing Route 5 at John Street to head back home).

 
In as many times over each of the days, I was "informed" by drivers in cars that my kids were in the road and should be on the sidewalk (and then of course they sped away when the light turned green so I didn't have a chance to respond).
 
Luckily, I have a blog. Not that I expect them to necessarily read it. I mean, they've never taken the time to learn the rules of the road when it comes to sharing it with bikes and they've been driving their cars for decades, but I digress.
 
With warm weather likely to be sticking around for a few more weeks, and given the two separate incidents, I have decided to write this up regardless.

In the state of Connecticut (Share the Road CT: Motorists) bicycles in the road are considered legal vehicles like any other operated apparatus with wheels and drivers should obey the following rules of the road and the laws on the books:
  • Motorists are to Yield to Cyclists
  • Bicycles are considered vehicles
  • Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way
  • Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections    
  • When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist
  • Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass
  • Check over your shoulder before moving back
Note: It is illegal to pass a cyclist on the left and then to turn right immediately after (in front of them)
Where to Ride - Connecticut requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practical. However, the law provides for exceptions to this requirement under any of the following situations:
  • Making a left turn
  • Overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction
  • Overtaking and passing pedestrians, parked vehicles, animals or obstructions on the right side of the road
  • When the right side of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair.
Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-286b

CAN a bicyclists ride on the sidewalk? Sure. Connecticut allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:
  • Each person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across any roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal within a reasonable distance before overtaking and passing a pedestrian; and
  • No person shall operate a bicycle upon or along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk if such operation is prohibited by any ordinance of any city, town or borough or by any regulation of the State Traffic Commission.
Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-286

That doesn't mean they MUST (required) be on the sidewalk. It means, they MAY (allowed) be on the sidewalk (so long as a LOCAL ordinance does not prohibit it).

In this day and age when people complain about "lazy" kids that only want to sit on their computers and handheld devices certain folks might want to give a little consideration to the ones that do want to go out and ride and get some exercise (and give the ones learning the rules of the road some extra points).


I want to close by saying too that the two driver / passenger combinations were absolutely the exception to the rule on both days. Every other car we came across watched us stopping at the intersections and let us go when they were left turning across our path from the opposite direction. All of you folks gave me the opportunity to explain to both of my older two what was going on, why, and who had the right of way and so forth (so thank you for that opportunity in action).


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wallingford Utility Rates – a comparison over the years

Recently there was a discussion over on Facebook regarding the spike in people’s electric bills that was very likely the result of a combination of the cold weather and a little longer read cycle than normal (about 34 days over the normal 29 or 30; that WILL drive an equal bill up 14% month over month and make an otherwise $175.00 bill become a $200.00 one).

It caused me to review my utility costs (overall) which I have historical record of as follows:

image

Now with respect to all of my utilities over the years, you can see that on average they have gone up, year over year, 4.74%.

The 4.74% is subjective to many things, not least of all, services purchased. During these periods I added and removed cable service, switched providers, changed cellular plans and so forth. Also, colder or warmer months lead to using more or perhaps less services for electric (I am all electric everything, heat, AC, hot water,etc) depending on conditions and who was home at the time.

The best way to review then is to compare what are effective “static” charges. Since I can add and remove service to phone and TV the easier ones are electric service and water and sewer. Now electric in my case is technically affected as over the years I changed out windows, pumped insulation in my attic, and installed two pellet stoves. Having said that, the core charges for the utilities, the cost per unit, CAN be tracked.

The charges on the below line items for the electric rates also combine the "Power Cost Adjustment" as well the "Energy Conservation Fund" and they average the utility kWH charges (as “winter” and “summer” rates were introduced sometime after 2007. The differential is a penny and a slight fraction so I have averaged it across 12 months to make it flat).


WALLINGFORD ELECTRIC

2005   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $8.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .078 / over 700kWH .076


2006   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $8.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .088 / over 700kWH .086


2007   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $8.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1051 / over 700kWH .1032


2008   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $9.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1140 / over 700kWH .1190


2009   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $10.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1225 / over 700kWH .1291


2010   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $11.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1271 / over 700kWH .1334


2011   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $11.70 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1271 / over 700kWH .1334


2012  
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $16.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1162 / over 700kWH .1252


2013  
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $17.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1162 / over 700kWH .1252


2014   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $17.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1096 / over 700kWH .11.57


2015   
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE  $18.00 per month
kWH CHARGES – FIRST 700kWH .1104 / over 700kWH .1092


SUMMARY:

The CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARGE has gone up 125% over the 11 years
The kWH CHARGE has gone up 42% over the 11 years.

Have your rates gone up? Yes.
Have the rate increases averaged in a 3.8% outstripped inflation’s 2.28% average inflation rate over the past 11 years? Yes. 
http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/consumer-price-index-and-annual-percent-changes-from-1913-to-2008/ 

This is not a full comparison but CL&P’s fully combined rate (all charges computed into kWH cost) is about 22 cents per kWH.

http://www.cl-p.com/rates/generationrates.aspx 

United Illuminating is about 26 cents per kWH. - http://bit.ly/1M0P0Yt 

Wallingford Electric is  about 14 cents per kWH. (I was unable to find rate information online). The end result is a MUCH better rate in comparison to the other two utilities DESPITE the increase in cost at a rate 80% higher than the rise of CPI.

Additionally – Wallingford Electric’s service is simply off the charts; it’s worth paying UI rates to receive the service levels we get here.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Water / Sewer

I don’t have comparison information – only the increase in the costs over the years:

With water and sewer the charges are "per 100 CU. ft."

Water has its charge and sewer has one as well; the reading of which is taken as 75% of the metered water use fee (assumed / estimated sewer use).

2005 
Water use charge $2.22 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.27
Sewer use charge $2.89 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $9.00

2006 
Water use charge $2.22 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.27
Sewer use charge $2.89 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $9.00

2007 
Water use charge $2.44 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.11
Sewer use charge $3.31 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $11.64

2008 
Water use charge $2.44 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.11
Sewer use charge $3.31 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $11.64

2009 
Water use charge $2.88 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.11
Sewer use charge $3.73 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $11.64

2010 
Water use charge $2.88 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.11
Sewer use charge $3.73 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $11.64

I am missing my paper bills between 2011 and 2013; if I come across them at some point I will update this section.

Somewhere within this segment the usage costs and rates were changed how they are calculated on the bills; the use is still tallied up in CF use but the rate is no longer shown as "per 100 CU. ft" on the bills. In order to keep this review consistent, I have multiplied the use rates shown on the bills by 100 to represent "per 100 CU. ft"

2014
Water use charge $3.56 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.11
Sewer use charge $5.25 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $22.28

2015 
Water use charge $3.84 per 100 CU. ft.
Base WATER service fee (flat fee) $15.11
Sewer use charge $5.25 per 100 CU. ft. (Calculated against 75% of the metered water use).
Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) $22.28

SUMMARY:

The Base WATER service fee (flat fee) has come down fractionally over the 11 years from $15.27 to $15.11.
The Base SEWER service fee (flat fee) has gone up over the 11 years from $9.00 to $22.28; that is an increase of 250% or 22.72% a year on average.
The Base WATER use charge has gone up over the 11 years from $2.22 per 100 CU. ft. to $3.84; that is an increase of 74% or 6.73% a year on average.
The Base SEWER use charge has gone up over the 11 years from $2.89 per 100 CU. ft. to $5.25; that is an increase of 82% or 7.45% a year on average.


Have your rates gone up? Yes.
Have the rate increases outstripped inflation’s 2.28% average inflation rate over the past 11 years? Yes (6.73% and 7.45% respectively).
http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/consumer-price-index-and-annual-percent-changes-from-1913-to-2008/ 


In general what you have to remember about the base service fees is pay them for the privilege of using the services. You might not draw a single watt all year but if you’re hooked up you will pay $216.00 regardless. You might not draw a drop of water from the tap but you will pay $181.32 for your right to do so. You might not discharge into the public system a single drop of discharge but you will pay $267.36 for the rights to do so.

As a customer of the Wallingford Utilities, you pay $664.68 for the RIGHT to use the systems and the services but that charge has not allowed you ANY use of them at all. This is no different anywhere else (other utilities in other towns have the same charges or perhaps even more expensive ones) but it is food for thought - $664.68 of your utilities bills goes to use rights only and not any use of anything whatsoever.   



 












Thursday, November 20, 2014

ANOTHER SUNSET - BOOK RELEASE AND SIGNING EVENT

coverfinal   JASON CROP BW


ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 5TH 2014 FROM 4PM TO 8:30PM AS PART OF THE WALLINGFORD CENTER HOLIDAY STROLL, JASON ZANDRI WILL BE AT HUBCAP WALLINGFORD FOR THE FORMAL BOOK RELEASE AND SIGNING EVENT FOR HIS INAUGURAL NOVEL “ANOTHER SUNSET”.

JASON ZANDRI WILL BE ON HAND SELLING HIS BOOK AT HUBCAP WALLINGFORD AND HE WILL SIGN ALL BOOKS PURCHASED THERE OR BROUGHT TO THE EVENT AS PURCHASED THROUGH RETAIL OUTLETS

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON “ANOTHER SUNSET” OR TO ORDER YOUR OWN COPY PLEASE SEE http://www.zandri.net/anothersunset.htm

TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR WITH ADDITIONAL QUESTION ABOUT THE BOOK OR THE EVENT PLEASE EMAIL HIM AT JASON@ZANDRI.NET

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HUBCAP WALLINGFORD PLEASE SEE http://www.hubcapwallingford.com/

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WALLINGFORD CENTER PLEASE SEE http://wallingfordcenterinc.com/

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Patient Appreciation Day Food Drive

Join Bennett Family Chiropractic as we spend a day of gratitude thanking you, your friends and family for being a huge part of the health movement in this community. Please stop in the office and donate non-perishable food items to our Patient Appreciation Day Food Drive on November 17th and 19th. We can help others in our community have a full Thanksgiving table.

In return for your donations, Bennett Family Chiropractic is offering complimentary consultation and examinations! Each person will receive one gift certificate to be used by anyone by the end of this year, 2014. This certificate includes a complete history, consultation, exam, and Thermal Imaging Study. X-rays will be taken if necessary and are charged separately.

This is a great opportunity to see if chiropractic care can help you with any health struggles you may face or gift the certificate to someone else in need.

Have a blessed and healthy holiday season!

“Bennett Family Chiropractic’s mission is to ensure the health of the next generation. Educating and caring for families and helping the community to achieve optimal health, stimulates though and encourages individuals to take charge of their health.” –Dr. Bennett

Dr. Stephanie Bennett

Bennett Family Chiropractic, LLC

950 Yale Ave, Suite 29

203-793-7147

www.bennettfamilychiro.com

food drive


Friday, October 3, 2014

Customer service praise – this time for a big box store

From time to time I will praise a local business that gives good service and / or goes above and beyond to offer exemplary examples of fortitude in trying to correct an issue.

This isn’t to say a large corporation cannot do the same but due to their large size and the diversity of their employee pool it can be a crap shoot.

When “they” get it wrong, I let them have it. When they get it right I should scream just as loudly and that is why I have written this post.

This was my recent experience with Staples (online) which has a store location here in Wallingford (the email I sent to Staples Corporate is below).



SUBJECT: Premium Customer Service Received regarding my Staples Pink Mesh Chair order 

To All concerned,

I wanted to take the time this morning as I commute in to work on Metro North to NYC to express my thanks to Tracy Combs (primarily, as I worked with her directly and extensively) as well as Matthew Robinson who assisted in helping me to resolve multiple issues with my order of the Staples Pink Mesh Chair.

To be completely fair, Staples lost money on this order. Between the courtesy credit to part of my order for the troubles and the amount of “manpower” dedicated to resolve the issue, this was a cost to the corporation.

I want to offer a little back ground on the issue because it was not something simple to address so please bear with me on the lengthy email. I promise you, it’s worth reading every word to fully appreciate the entire situation.

My wife and I recently bought our eight year old daughter Angela a desk for room to work on her laptop I repaired (second hand) and to do other school work. When I logged on to the Staples website to let her pick out her chair this is the one she wanted:
clip_image001

So we went about placing the order on Saturday September 6th and received an email stating “Expected Delivery: September 12, 2014”.

Much to our surprise on Monday the 8th we received an email that Order 9712990805 was out of stock, the order was cancelled, and that the item is expected to be back in stock in 5-7 business days. I didn’t tell my daughter and I was a little disappointed after it showed in stock but it happens so I just would re-order it.

On Saturday the 13th I went back online to see the item in stock again (the same way it was listed prior and shown above as “In Stock Online”) so I placed the order (number 9713268047). On Monday the 15th I got the same form email that the chair was out of stock, the order was cancelled, and that the item is expected to be back in stock in 5-7 business days. I contacted support via email and asked them to NOT cancel the order but to just fill it when the chair came back in stock but they couldn’t do that as it was already canceled and they had no way to override the system automation. I also asked “why is this still showing as “In Stock Online” but I never got a follow up.

I asked my daughter at that point if there was another chair she might like as there was an issue with ordering this one and she looked around disappointedly but really was set on this one (although she did choose another one). I try to look at things pragmatically but when it comes to some simple things like a favorite whatever that is going to make my kids happy (my daughter or any of the three boys) I try to make it happen. We don’t spoil our kids but we know life can be a tough ride so the little niceties – we like to try to deliver on them.

So with that mindset, on Wednesday the 17th I decided to try the order again (9713439416) and it was cancelled – again. It was at that time I called the service center and began dealing with Tracy Combs. She is the epitome of customer service. Throw away whatever training manuals you use presently to train staff and let her write them. She took my call, listened to every word I said, understood the problem from a practical sense (ordering and fulfillment). She was genuinely empathetic, understanding that I was emotionally upset over the whole scenario – from the amount of time and effort I put into this and due to the fact my daughter was set on this chair. Tracy was sympathetic to the problem and made zero excuses – she looked over the three orders and didn’t know why (at the time) they were showing available for ordering and kept cancelling out. She engaged Matthew to help her as she was going to be out for planned time off and he stepped in and followed up over the weekend and into Monday.

On Monday the 22nd I tried the order again (9713589090). Tracy basically “watched” it enter the system and fail out. She had followed up prior and found out the ordering system issue (internal pricing error) and escalated it so that it could be corrected. Basically because of that pricing error, the chairs WERE in stock but the orders were being cancelled because of that issue. She was hopeful that it was corrected for this order but it wasn’t.

She continued to work on the issue over the week and on Monday the 29th we entered order 9713834969 which was finally successful as the internal pricing error was corrected.

All the work and effort produced this result on the evening of Wednesday October 1:

clip_image002
As I said before, Staples lost money on this order. Between the courtesy credit to part of my order for the troubles and the amount of “manpower” dedicated to resolve the issue, this was a cost to the corporation. What Staples has gained is my further loyalty to a corporation that takes the time to care about one customer despite having hundreds of thousands of others.

I’ll make sure to let as many other people that I can know about this as well.
In the meantime I wanted to make sure the people that helped make my daughter happy, that helped resolve the issue to make that possible, received my personal thanks and that people in Staples Corporate knew these details as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email in its entirety and I hope everyone has a great week and weekend.

Jason Zandri





Sunday, September 28, 2014

As time moves by…

A little more of a personal thing than a “Wallingford” thing but I felt like sharing it anyway.

At the beginning of the year I had the chance to buy two sets of three ticket packs to Fenway Park as part of a small package deal.

Little did I know at the time that I would be picking two great games versus two great opposing ball clubs for the 2014 season – The Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

I couldn’t have known at the beginning of the season that Baltimore would be in first place and that the Red Sox vs. Yankee game would be the last game that Derek Jeter would play.

So let me set you the stage – I am a die hard Red Sox fan since the early 70s.

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While I didn’t go to many games as a kid with my father to Fenway or Yankee Stadium (I think it may have been three games in total over my whole childhood) I did get to see some greats play.

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I was able to watch these greats over at Fenway Park (as shown above in 1977 at the ripe old age of eight with my then seven year old sister who would not be caught dead in a Sox hat these days). 

Rice
Fisk
Evans
Lynn
Yastrzemski
Eckersley
Stanley

And over at the arch nemesis Yankee Stadium and the House that Ruth built:

Gossage
Guidry
Hunter
Righetti
Munson
Chambliss
Dent
Nettles
Randolph
Stanley
Jackson
Piniella
Rivers

I couldn’t tell you where I was when any of these players played their final game. I only follow baseball casually (as much as I still maintain my claim as a die hard Sox fan).

What I can say is I remember 2004 and 2007 vividly (for obvious reasons – again, as a die hard Sox fan). I also realize that 2018 is coming shortly and from 1918 forward things were tough for Sox fans for that little bit of time.

I don’t know if my kids are able to follow the game as I did; I was really into it then (and I still have some of my baseball cards!) and I wanted to introduce the game to them.

I have taken them a couple of times now to McCoy Stadium to see the Paw Sox play. (Alex even got a game ball!)

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A few years ago I bought a package to tour Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and I took Andrew with me (he was seven at the time in 2011).

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I don’t know if the kids will remember the exciting games, or if it will be the hot dogs, or the time in the car, or maybe Dad dancing with them to “Dancing with Myself” or singing along to “Sweet Caroline”, or perhaps the sportsmanship shown on the day Jeter retired or any of the number of other things that went on during the game and the time at the ball parks. The impressions left on each of them will be different.

I selfishly hope that when they look back that the thought that crosses their minds starts with “I remember that day – I was there with my Dad when…”

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I am not destined for greatness but that will not stop me from attempting great things and if all I manage to do with my life in totality is to have been able to keep four kids well grounded, excited to learn, grow, and engage, then I have achieved more than I ever thought I was capable of.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday Alex

My youngest child is my son Alex – born on September 4 2009 at 10:20 in the morning (5 days early).

He weighed in at 7 pounds 11 ounces and measured 19 3/4 inches in length.

Like each of my four children, he has a strong personality and a happy and wonderful nature. He reminds me, without knowing otherwise, that living life simply is such a wonderful thing. Alex is my daily reminder of this.

So on your 5th birthday Alex and as you start Kindergarten this week, I want to wish you all of life’s simple pleasures – no one I know will get more from them than you.

Be happy, be strong, be gentle, and be kind; the rest will work itself out in the fullness of time.

I love you Captain.

Daddy.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Happy 10th Birthday Andrew

It is hard to believe but ten years past on August 8th, 2004 I became a father for the first time.

I would become a father three more times but Andrew was my first.

I miss him – he and his mother, sister, and two brothers are away in Poland for their annual holiday.

Another year goes by and I don’t get the chance to see him on his birthday but I take some comfort in the fact that I know he is enjoying his time and his extended family in Poland

Happy birthday little man – I’ll see you in 24 days.

I love you

Dad.

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Zandri Family 077ecrop

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Upcoming Public Information Meetings regarding improvements to be made at railroad grade crossings in Wallingford and Meriden

 

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) will conduct two public information meetings regarding improvements to be made at railroad grade crossings in Wallingford and Meriden.
 
The meeting in Wallingford will occur on Monday, June 16th, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Community Room of the Wallingford Public Library, located at 200 North Main Street.
 
 
The meeting in Meriden will occur on Wednesday, June 18th.
 
The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Griffin Room of the Meriden Public Library, located at 105 Miller Street.
 
 
All persons interested in this project are welcomed to attend the meeting(s) and discuss the project with Department personnel. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

JUNE 7TH FAMILY FUN DAY WALLINGFORD GET-TOGETHER - POT LUCK STYLE

SATURDAY JUNE 7, 2014 2PM – 6PM
PRAGEMANN PARK
WALLINGFORD, CT

RAIN OR SHINE


Come out for a chance to get to know your fellow Wallingfordians!

Admission is free, so bring your family, friends and favorite outdoor game for a good time.

Burgers, hot-dogs and water will be provided, 
but feel free to bring a dish of your own to share!


Hosted by:
The Wallingford Democratic Town Committee – District 7
Questions or Concerns?
Call Kaitlyn Romania @ 203.747.0396