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Iomega has joined the ever-growing ranks of companies on my personal blacklist. A few weeks ago I bought a thumb-drive from them and realized after I received it that I really didn't need it. Because I do approximately 89.75% of my shopping online, and frequently need to return things, I expected to find a return slip among the packing materials. Although I could not find any paperwork that would help me understand how to ship the $35.95 drive back, there was a cryptic message about looking on the website for additional information. Once there, I found that I had to provide a wide range of data (kindergarten teacher's name, number of varieties of grass in my lawn, and an essay on how the second law of thermodynamics is related to global warming), print out a FORM (WHICH WAS NOT A FEDERAL EXPRESS LABEL SO DO NOT PASTE IT ON THE BOX), and find a FedEx return location where they would perform some alchemy and transubstantiate the FORM into a return shipping LABEL.

Silly me, I thought that since my company ships packages of all varieties with FedEx they would qualify as a FedEx "return location". Alas, no. They informed me that the special FORM could only be transformed at an actual FedEx building, and that I would have to take the package there myself. When I presented myself at the counter of the conveniently located FedEx/Kinkos (next door to the Video eXXXpress Adult Superstore, into whose parking lot I mistakenly pulled), the FedEx employee (who bore a startling resemblance to Janeane Garofalo) said, "Follow me". I had visions of trailing her down a set of stone steps into a dank basement (my vision ended at that point because I don't watch horror movies, so I don't know what comes next). Anyway, she did not seem flustered by the FORM, and after a few quick incantations, changed into a shipping LABEL, and handed me a new FORM with a TRACKING NUMBER that I could use to trace the path the package takes on its descent into HELL.

After all this I noticed that on the business card for this particular FedEx/Kinkos location, they are noted as a "1st Quartile Customer Service Center." Which is certainly a distinction worthy of note. 1st quartile meaning, I presume, that they scored at least 75% on their customer service ratings, which is a grade of C or D in most schools. Something to be proud of. If they used to be in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th quartile.

Things the dogs have eaten that have not killed them:
1. Paint from baseboards
2. Chips from floorboards
3. Half of the fabric skirt on a love seat
4. Sticks (XL), mulch (vast quantities), grass (lawn and ornamental) and other organic material that is too disgusting to describe
5. Underwear, particularly those with any sort of indigestible ornamentation
6. The part of a sleep apnea breathing mask that goes in the nose (not mine)
7. Various plastic bits, pencils, lids, etc.
8. Carpet
9. Fiber embellishment (too-coyly named "Jack" by the manufacturer)
10. Ponstel (which makes me think of pond scum), an NSAID painkiller, samples of which were packaged in a blister pack that was shredded and the powdery contents of the capsules were scattered all over the bedroom carpet. They all seemed to be in a very good mood after this particular escapade.

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