Corporate Stupidity in the Age of Information Exchange

Using the Blogosphere for personal retribution against corporate bean counters is a short but sweet time honored tradition around here.

We took on AT&T for their extreme insanity a couple of years ago and got over 200 AT&T customers to switch their cellular communications to different carriers in the wake of our exposure of their duplicity and corporate stupidity. The "World's Fastest" 4 G network certainly isn't but AT&T spends millions on that particular lie to entice customers to sign up for their expensive yet inferior service.

In that case I had bills over $4000 for a prepaid National Coverage plan when I placed calls on a trip from Los Angeles to Upstate NY from Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Dallas-Ft Worth, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville and finally Knoxville. After 2 years of calls from collection agencies trying to collect over 5 thousand dollars for those 50 calls on the AT&T National Network I prayed that they would take me to court to explain to a Judge how a bill like that could happen.

My new target is State Farm - the "good neighbor". State Farm has been my families insurance company for as long as I can recall. Since I was 20 I have had State Farm policies on every car I have owned making me a 48 year customer. In a time when 15 minutes can save us 15% on our car insurance it seems silly that State Farm would raise my rates under the following circumstances. But check this out

As I have gotten older I have availed myself of using automatic payments for every thing. My Social Security check is direct deposited in my bank account and everyone I pay regularly for service like Comcast, Verizon, & KUB along with my subscriptions etc gets their money without cutting down trees and sending out bills. So this past Winter/Spring I thought I had State Farm on auto pay. I did this because the agent moved from across the street to 3 blocks away and it became more convenient to let them take their money the same way  all of my vendors get theirs.

But it seems my new agent had an employee - now dismissed - who did not follow through with what he said he would do.

If you're like me you get a ton of unwanted mail and if you are reading this online like me you want to get your information online instead of in a dead tree envelope. The last envelope I opened from State Farm contained plastic cards stating my insurance was in effect on my 2 cars through September 19th.

In addition to the insurance cards stating clearly that I was insured thru Sept 19, I found a check from State Farm for $23.84 that I had never opened or cashed. I was not interested in anything else from State Farm since I knew my insurance was being paid automatically.

I received some mailer from State Farm about once a week on average _ mostly soliciting for other insurance _ and I was certain that any bill would have been for my records since I had arranged for auto pay with my agent"s office.

Turns out the person who is now fired failed to do what he said he had done and my insurance lapsed in June without my knowing. I had the cards saying I was insured til Sept 19 and I had made contact twice to set up auto pay so why would I worry about it?

BUT my insurance was cancelled and somewhere in the pile of State Farm mail was a notice of that fact - or so says State Farm. So they insist on raising the cost of my insurance by 25% from the $460 per year I was paying to around $600 because I was uninsured for 2 months.  Now that 140 dollars doesn't sound like much but I'm now trying to live on Social Security and it's a lot of money to me while almost nothing to them.

My agent has been great through this along with the folks now in her office. She acknowledges the failure of her former employee and has tried to get State Farm to do the right thing. But some BEAN COUNTER at the corporate level seems to think taking another $140 bucks a year from me is in the corporate interest.

Well I wonder if this blog entry posted on my many weblogs will make any difference?

I maintain websites for
1) my Holston High School Class - read by only a few 100;
2) My Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity Chapter - read by only 2000
3) A Genealogy site called Bozemania that won a web award as the best Genealogy Site on the web
4) A site dedicated to the Lady Vols Basketball Team
5) A political site called Rush Limbaughtomy that reached over 500,000
6) A very active site about Penn State and Joe Paterno that just hit over 1 MILLION VISITS in one year
7) A site for my University of Tennessee Class of which I was President
8) A site called Stories of the Road Giants - for other's in the Pro Audio Industry
9) A new site concerning my new interest in Forza Motorsports on XBox where I do most of my driving these days.

Add those to my very active Facebook pages for similar connections and my 1500 Facebook Friends and I'm able to reach a small but significant group of people. If my AT&T effort resulted in over 200 people changing their cellular carrier I wonder how many people I can influence in their choice of auto insurance??

Perhaps the BEAN COUNTER at State Farm believes that mistreatment of a 50 year loyal customer in order to add $150 to the yearly bottom line is good business - I believe all those beans counted have resulted in one massive BRAIN FART on the part of some clueless corporate stooge.  What do you think? Please offer your comments & stories of similar corporate blunders to the comment section below. If this has influenced your insurance decision I would love to know.

I am offering to publish unedited anything that State Farm wants to send me in response to this posting. I'm a fair minded person who thinks they should be given the opportunity to explain why they think it's a good idea to do this. I will give them 10 days to compose a response before I use my considerable internet experience to get this information in front of as many people as possible.

We are no longer powerless in the age of the internet. We can shine a light on what happens to us and it will make a difference in how "good neighbors" are perceived.


Promoting the 5 lane proposal for Tazewell Pike

This site is being developed to promote the proposal to widen Tazewell Pike to 4 traffic lanes and a turn lane from Old Broadway to just past the intersection with Jacksboro Pike for one mile. This little section of Tazewell Pike handles over 12,000 vehicles a day with 4% trucks.

Every evening traffic backs up from I-640 West and East up the ramps from Old and New Broadway coming on to Tazewell Pike

Looking toward Broadway and I 640 from 3015 Tazewell Pike there is a mass of active businesses. The brand new Coldwell Banker Real Estate office is on the right followed by Hardee's and a shopping center with Sun Trust Bank, Blockbuster Video, Atomic Pawn, a Party Supplies Store and more
On the left is a Printer, a gift store and dry cleaners, Doctors offices, and a very busy Pilot Convenience store -where the ambulance service for this area of Knoxville waits for calls 24 hours a day.

Anyone who has ever tried to make a left turn into one of these businesses
or has tried to exit going against traffic has experienced the frustration of
the huge traffic load on this short section of Tazewell Pike.

Looking toward Jacksboro pike there is another shopping center with Pizza Hut Delivery, Rita's Bakery and the new National Fitness Center with massive traffic particularly at 5pm weekdays and a very busy Pratt's Country Store and produce market

Every day brings the screeching of tires as cars apply brakes to avoid near
collisions. The scream of sirens either from the Ambulance Service that uses the Pilot Station as a base or the Fire Station on Jacksboro Pike can be heard several times a day. God forbid anyone in Smithwood or points East and North of the Pilot Station have a heart attack from 4:30pm to 6:30pm because there is simply no room for traffic to pull out of the way of these emergency vehicles costing them valuable time that could be used to save a life.

Contact: Aurabass@comcast.net to join the Business and Property Owners of Tazewell Pike Association in pushing for the much needed widening of Tazewell Pike

The Plan has already been engineered and approved by the Metropolitan Planning Commission. It is being held up by The Adair Gardens Neighborhood Association who oppose the plan for unknown reasons.This plan would actually benefit Adair Gardens since traffic that now drives through their neighborhood on Adair and Sanders would be more likely to use a wider safer Tazewell Pike.

This stretch of road experiences 10 times the number of traffic accidents that are average for a road of this type. How many people have to be injured or have their lives cut short before action is taken to remedy this terrible situation?

Please leave a comment in the COMMENTS section below this line with your phone and e-mail information if you would like to help with this cause.

Thank You
Barry Bozeman author Wide the Pike.com


The Advanced Planning Report Text

The purpose of this Advance Planning Report (APR) is to evaluate existing traffic conditions and determine the need and feasibility of improving approximately 0.97 miles of Tazewell Pike (S.R. 331) located in northeast Knoxville between Broadway (U.S. 441, S.R. 33) and Smithwood Road. This area of Knoxville has experienced significant development resulting in increased traffic without the necessary traffic accommodations to provide acceptable operations.
Therefore, the transportation infrastructure must be improved to better manage the existing traffic conditions and to prepare for future growth anticipated in the area. This APR addresses Tazewell Pike (S.R. 33) from Broadway to Smithwood Road. This APR was commissioned by the City of Knoxville and has been developed in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).

The APR analyzes existing (1999), projected 2004 baseline, and projected 2024 traffic conditions for Tazewell Pike, estimates right-of-way, develops construction costs, and identifies environmental concerns.

Accident Rate 20.30 Statewide Avg. Accident Rate 3.32

Tazewell Pike (S.R. 331) extends northeast from Broadway and is a state secondary route. Its functional classification is an urban minor arterial street with an average daily traffic (ADT) volume of 12,460. Traffic signals exist at its intersection with Jacksboro Pike.

Regional facilities accessing Tazewell Pike include Broadway (US 441) to the southwest. Access to Interstate 640 is provided south on Broadway. Broadway also provides access to the Knoxville CBD. Traffic counts were conducted for an eight-hour period thereby providing the peak-hour traffic volumes. Capacity and level of service analyses were conducted for the principal intersections and the results are illustrated in Figures A3 and A4 for the AM and PM peaks.
While not entirely apparent from the LOS analysis, congestion between Broadway and Jacksboro Pike and at the Sanders Road / Jacksboro Pike intersection can be severe during peak periods. In the morning peak hour, queues on westbound Tazewell Pike at Jacksboro Pike occur back to the cemetery and delays of over 3 minutes are normal. Similar delays occur in the afternoon between Broadway and Jacksboro Pike.
From the 1999 traffic counts conducted, design hour volumes (DHV) were developed for 2004. The 2004 traffic projections were determined using historical traffic counts for the past ten years which identified an annual growth rate of 3.0 percent; therefore the five year baseline traffic was calculated by factoring the 1999 DHV by 1.15.

Improvements proposed for Tazewell Pike include the intersection of Jacksboro Pike and widening Tazewell Pike to provide a typical cross section of five-lanes from Broadway northeast to Jacksboro Pike where the cross-section transitions to the existing two lane roadway. The northbound right-turn approach of Tazewell Pike to eastbound Tazewell Pike at Jacksboro Pike would be a free-flow movement, and the southwestbound approach of Tazewell Pike at Broadway will have a channelized right-turn lane to northbound Broadway. In addition, the intersection of Tazewell Pike at Jacksboro Pike and Sanders Road is proposed to have two through lanes for the movement between Tazewell and Jacksboro Pikes. Single left-turn lanes provide the turning movements for northbound, southbound, and eastbound approaches. The westbound approach would have a double left-turn lane from Tazewell Pike. The typical section proposed for the five-lane facility is an 88-foot R.O.W. with five 12-foot travel lanes, two 2-foot bicycle lanes, 2-foot curb and gutter, and 7-foot sidewalks.

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