Tell Us How You Feel

Since I’m giving an exam this week I want to present this as a multiple-choice question.  LexisNexis responded to the issues described in this post by:

  1. Providing 3 months free subscription to an alternate product
  2. Expediting payment of my refund for the unused subscription
  3. Pledging not to solicit users to subscribe for products LexisNexis no longer offers
  4. Asking me to participate in another survey, this time about my experience with customer support

Answer:  (4)

Don’t Be Stupid

Thursday morning I passed Boston police giving out traffic tickets to a half-dozen bicyclists at the inbound intersection of Comm Ave and the BU Bridge.  The $20 tickets were for going through the red light on Comm Ave.  Most of the bicyclists I saw, who appeared to be students, were not wearing helmets.

That’s stupidity.

I’ve biked in for a long time, inside the city and out.  I bike regularly with a group of friends, all of whom have logged tens of thousands of miles on bicycles.  Everyone one of us has had an accident.  As a group we’ve had a broken pelvis and other broken bones, bumps, cuts, abrasions from a face smashing into a guardrail, “road rash”–the euphemism for the byproduct of human skin skidding along asphalt, and concussions.   A month ago one of our group was riding on Comm Ave near Route 128 when, keeping on eye on a car that was moving into his lane without seeing him, his front wheel entered a crack in the pavement.  The wheel stopped short, the bike flipped, and he went with it still clipped into his pedals, landing on the back of his head and his left hip.  A car apparently ran over his back wheel; it was bent in half.   As always, he was wearing a helmet.  The impact cracked the helmet in five places.  He got a concussion, but without the helmet his skull would have absorbed the blow. We all agreed he was lucky, because he walked–limped–away.

Bicycling is dangerous.  A split-second’s inattention to conditions, misjudging a piece of road debris, a distracted or hostile driver, and we can go down.  There is little between rider and road. Bike shorts and jerseys shred upon impact.  We get one skull, one brain.  That’s it.  Don’t play roulette with them.  Don’t be an idiot.

Wear a helmet,

We Understand Your Concern

I subscribed, for years. to the LexisNexis advance sheet service, receiving daily summaries of and links to recent decisions on certain topics from courts I selected to follow.  It cost $198/year and delivered great value, keeping me up on legal developments relevant to all of my courses, Internet law in particular.  Early this summer LexisNexis notified me by email that its advance sheet service would cease on July 21.   The email also provided a link to facilitate renewing my subscription to the service LexisNexis was killing, the first hint to the Jekyll/Hyde character of LexisNexis customer service.  LexisNexis sent at least four subsequent emails with the same message:  We will not longer provide this subscription service after July 21!! Click here to renew!!  I thought of LexisNexis as a company that knew what it was doing, so one day I called customer service to ask, what’s the deal with the mixed message?  “You are terminating the service, you’ve not offered a substitute service, you owe me money for the service I paid for post-July 21, and you are inviting me to renew a non-existent subscription.  What’s up with that?”  I was not–and am not–angry, just mystified at and curious about the customer-relations cluelessness of this sophisticated information-services company.  The customer service rep, very friendly, confirmed LexisNexis had no other products similar to the cancelled service, that they owed me money, and that the renewal requests were generated automatically by computer.   But why is the computer programmed to generate renewal prompts in messages telling me the service will not longer exist?  Hmm.  Good question.

I thought and heard nothing more about this until a few days ago, when I received an email asking me to complete the LexisNexis Community Member Survey.  I had two thoughts:  1. LexisNexis owes me money!  2. Does LexisNexis, a company that licenses information databases, know its customer service database is engaged in stand-up comedy?  I had to call.  This morning I shared these thoughts with another customer service rep, whose voice was nowhere as appealing as the woman I spoke with in July.  Yes, there is a credit memo in my file, acknowledging that LexisNexis owes me money.  No, they haven’t actually refunded the money.  They only process these credit memos in April and October.  Oh, I’d like to receive the credit now?  No, they have no products to replace the terminated service.  Yes, they do appreciate me presenting my concerns to them.

Great Summer To Be a Tomato

Warm sun and moderate rain produced the best crop of tomatoes in the eleven years of our garden.   Caprese salad, pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil, tomato sauce, oven-dried tomatoes, bruschetta, tomato olive and mozzarella sandwiches with honey mustard, tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, tomato ice cream (kidding, so far) . . . it’s been tomatoes 24/7/365.

Early-Semester Surprise

I was thinking about a post on how recent students don’t email or visit office hours as often as their recent predecessors, but this semester’s students dashed that idea.  A number came to office hours this week with questions; others sent questions by email.  The questions were all good and thoughtful, the visits were productive and interesting, the correspondence was engaging and to the point.  They may yet live down to my expectations but so far I am very pleased.