Tag Archives: e-mail

Conspiracy Theories About the Sony Hack 💻


Conspiracy Theory #1:  

If you’re a country from the middle east, Russia, a terrorist organization, or anyone else that wants to yank the US’ proverbial chain, you hire someone to do some hacks with signatures pointing to a tiny madman’s oppressive regimeAny US response is seen as unprovoked, and World War III starts.  While we’re looking over there, you poke us somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine… or wait until we’re exhausted of resources and poke the sore spot.

I may or may not have been once involved in some camp related shenanigans where I took part in duct taping toilet paper rolls of another camp on the same campground.  I may or may not have been told (after being reprimanded) that next time I ought to only do the boys or girls bathroom, then leave the duct tape on the porch of the other sex to raise suspicion of said party.  I’m sure that’s a common strategy to the inherently devious.

Seems like if North Korea did do it, they’d spin it into a PR win on the fronts of their superiority and on the dangers of the internet to society.  It just seems way too obvious.

Conspiracy Theory #2: 

Remember the wire tapping & surveillance issues under Bush that got everyone’s panties into a giant sweaty bunch over gub’ment intrusion?  Now they have an excuse to be all up in your cloud or all up on your hard drive under the guise of national security.  Maybe I’m naïve to think it’s not already happening anyway.

Obama just threw Sony under a bus outfitted like a monster truck.  If they allowed it to go out into distribution or a theatre chain played the movie and someone did get hurt somewhere, people would have sued and would have went after the theatres and Sony.  Would the president help them then, or just say they probably should have pulled it?

"...yes, I think they made a mistake."

“…yes, I think they made a mistake.”

As a former floor tile underneath the Sony corporate ladder, I wonder if I have been affected… or is it just Sony pictures or entertainment?  I know even back then while putting tab A into slot B on now antiquated electronics, we were under contract to not disclose any technology that we might see inside the plant that wasn’t released to the public.  Did the hack grab the plans for the next Betamax or MiniDisc?  Do they have my social security number?

A chat with Comcast… “This is a rare and complicated issue.”


Comcast Remote Mascot Rubber Suit 2011 Festiva...

Comcast Remote Mascot Rubber Suit 2011 Festival of the Arts June 04, 201124 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

We’ve all called the cable company, right?  We all know the steps in the process; The unplugging, the replugging, the test signals.  It descends into ridiculousness pretty quickly.  So does my chat with technical support.  This was after trying the unplugging/replugging solution, calling the line and getting the automates system to send a test signal to my cable box & tell me to wait a half an hour for it to take effect, and then talking to a real live person who sent the same signal, told me to wait 45 minutes for it to take effect, and managed to advertise their home phone and internet services… on a technical support call.   That’s more annoying that seeing catering advertisements everywhere in Panera & Boston Market.

chat id: a543eaef-97d5-4dbf-b2ad-9222056467f0
Problem: Not all channels are displaying on 2nd cable box s/n:############. Problem has been occurring all week. I have tried the unplug/replug trick, called the 800# 2x, automated sys & operator both sent reset signal to the box to no avail.
Eric > My Issue: Not all channels are displaying on 2nd cable box s/n:############. Problem has been occurring all week. I have tried the unplug/replug trick, called the 800# 2x, automated sys & operator both sent reset signal to the box to no avail.
Jerand > Hello Eric, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Jerand. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Jerand > Oh my, I can’t imagine myself having those equipment issues especially that cable TV is part of my daily routine, no worries, we’ll definitely work on a sure fix to resolve this one way or the other.
Jerand > I’m really sorry that you have experienced this issue.
Jerand > I am seeing here that you have problem in getting channels with your box, correct?
Eric > Thank you Jerand.
Eric > That is correct. Not all channels are displaying on my box.
Eric > For example, the History Channel. (#53 regular, 876 digital.)
Eric > I had a similar issue when I first installed these new HD boxes.
Jerand > Are you able to see history channel in channel 46?
Eric > s/n above was somehow replaced by an emoticon… actual s/n: ############
Jerand > How may boxes do you have, Eric?
Eric > No, I try to see channel 46, and it takes it to 47 (AMC), still no picture.
Eric > We have 2 boxes. The other one is working perfectly fine. Watching H2 right now in HD.
Jerand > So you have 2 HD boxes, correct?
Eric > Yes, that is correct.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > I am going to perform a diagnostic check of your services and equipment. This “Health Check” verifies the current status of your equipment and you services. It should only take a minute or two for the results. Would you mind staying on the chat?
Eric > No problem, Jerand. I would like this issue to be resolved tonight if possible.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > I appreciate your cooperation.
Jerand > Thank you.
Jerand > By the way, let me share with you a very entertaining Comcast feature. Did you know you can watch many of your favorite TV shows and movies online at no additional cost with Comcast. Check out http://www.xfinitytv.com to watch the latest TV shows, relive a favorite television moment, or just relax with a movie. All you need to do is to open a browser, type http://www.xfinitytv.com and you can start to witness thousands of fascinating titles and TV shows.
Eric > Thanks for your help, I look forward to the “Health Check” results.
Eric > That sounds interesting, but I don’t watch much TV on my computer.
Jerand > Thank you for patiently waiting. I apologize for it being longer than you expected.
Jerand > I don’t see anything on your account or any outage in your area that would be causing this issue.
Jerand > Can you please check on your box and see if there is any progress.
Eric > Thanks Jerand. Our working cable box did cut out & come back on…but the box that’s not working is still not working.
Jerand > Is that with the same box, correct?
Eric > Yes, that is correct. Box ############ is still not working correctly.
Jerand > Please bare with me.
Eric > No problem.
Jerand > Would you allow me 2-3 minutes to check on this again?
Eric > Yes, be my guest. Thank you!
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > While waiting I want to introduce to you comcast.com, Comcast.com has an extensive series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that cover all of our products. Customers do not have to sign in to access the FAQs. Quick steps to do it. Open a web browser window and go to http://customer.comcast.com/Pages/HelpNFC.aspx?id=Comcast-Help-and-Support-Cable-TV On the home page, the navigation menus are on the left side of the window and click on Customers then Help and Support.
Jerand > Oh, by the way.
Jerand > Are you having skipping channel issues?
Eric > I’m trying chat because both of my phone calls to 1-800-XFINITY amount to being as helpful as asking my wall to fix the cable box. I’m not sure what you mean by skipping channels?
Jerand > Can you please tell me what channels are you trying to watch?
Eric > Thank you for informing me about the FAQ. You may want to tell your managers/superiors that it’s quite annoying to have Comcast features or other services advertised to you while you’re on chat (or on a phone line) trying to resolve a technical issue. I understand that you’re just doing your job… so I can’t get mad at you. It’s a goofy idea.
Eric > I am trying to watch the History Channel. Either 53 regular definition or 875 HD.
Eric > Actually, the box that WAS working fine… now has “To Be Announced” in every time slot in the guide menu.
Jerand > Sorry about the the advertisement.
Jerand > When you access channel 53 and 758, TCM and HISTORY HD, what can you see on the screen?
Eric > Again, I understand it’s not your fault or decision, Jerand. You are trying your best to help me out.
Eric > I see a black screen (with a temporary blue info box at the bottom) when I try 53 & 758. Those aren’t the correct channels for my area.
Eric > 53 is the History Channel here.
Eric > The menu shows that American Pickers should be on right now, but it’s a black screen.
Eric > No sound.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > Hold on a minute please.
Jerand > This is a rare and complicated issue.
Jerand > This could be a box problem.
Eric > No problem.
Eric > Is there a way that I can get a new box to install?
Jerand > May I know the type of connector that you are using to connect the cable box to your TV? i,e. RCA(yellow, white, red), Component(blue, green, red), Coax(the same wire used to connect the box to the wall).
Jerand > Correct! It is really possible. You can swap your box at your nearest local office.
Eric > Component.
Jerand > Do you have an HDMI wire?
Eric > The TV that I’m connecting to doesn’t have an HDMI input. It’s an older flat screen with only DVI, component, & coax inputs.
Eric > I am able to see some channels with no issues. 802 (local KDKA channel 2 for example) is displaying properly.
Jerand > Can we follow these steps please:
Jerand > 1. Locate one of the following buttons on your TV remote- Input, TV/VCR, Source. Press whichever is available. 2. Select the correct input. Please take note of the following. ***If you are using HDMI cable wire to connect the box to the TV, make sure your TV is on HDMI input. *** If coax cable, it should be on channel 3 or 4. *** If component cables (colored wires), on Video or Aux.
Eric > Yes, I have the component cable connected, and the TV is on the input setting for the correct connection.
Eric > Jerand, I’m really really not an idiot. I’m actually quite technically savvy.
Jerand > I’ve reviewed our systems and we’ve performed the necessary troubleshooting. Obviously there is still an issue so I feel the best method is to open a ticket to report this to our technician team.
Jerand > I believe this is a defective box.
Jerand > You can swap this box at your nearest local office, Eric.
Eric > That would be awesome, but I work on the road & don’t have time to wait at home during the day for a cable technician to visit. Can I get a box in the mail & send one back? That’s how I got the HD boxes before.
Jerand > Sure! I would be glad to do that for you.
Eric > I have no idea where the local Comcast office is, or if I can even get there during their operating hours.
Eric > Jerand, you are a saint. Thank you for your time and persistence.
Jerand > Please give me a minute to process your request.
Eric > When you tell your manager/supervisor that the advertisements are annoying to customers, tell them that you need a raise.
Jerand > Acknowledge, Eric. I am sorry.
Eric > I think we may have a bit of a language barrier here. English isn’t your first language, is it? No matter. We’re arriving at an agreeable solution, my friend.
Jerand > Acknowledged*
Jerand > I am sorry for the typo, I am handling 4 customers now.
Jerand > But you are my first priority.
Eric > Wow, that’s a lot to handle! Thank you for your time.
Jerand > There would be a $9.95 fee for shipping the box, I will do credit this amount for an inconvenience.
Jerand > In order for me to validate this shipping transaction, I need to verify the account completely. For verification purposes, may I please have your account number?
Eric > Thank you, sounds like a plan.
Eric > Sure: ______________
Jerand > I am almost done, please give me 1 more minute.
Eric > Anything for you, my friend.
Jerand > Thank you for patiently waiting. I apologize for it being longer than you expected.
Eric > This is the best customer service I have ever received from Comcast.
Jerand > Here is your order # ______________.
Jerand > You will be receiving the HD box within 3-5 business days.
Eric > The people I talked to on the phone might has well have been robots.
Eric > Thank you, Jerand. Good luck with your other 3 customers! Don’t forget to tell your boss that you deserve a raise. (…and that in-support advertisements are more annoying than nails on a chalkboard.)
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > Just a quick recap, we have check the input on your box, connections, and since we have detected that this a problem with the box we prefer to change to box. We shipped and I already credited the $9.95 shipping fee.
Jerand > Just to let you know, at the end of this chat there will be a short survey. I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to complete it so we can continue to improve the service we provide to you.
Jerand > Is there anything else I can help you with? I am glad to assist you further.
Eric > Nope, that’s all tonight. I understand that a box is coming to my house, I will be credited the shipping charge, and that I know how to connect the box to my TV and select the correct input with the remote control. I also understand that there will be a survey. Will I get a credit on my cable bill for all the TV that I will miss in the next 3 to 5 business days while I wait for this box?
Jerand > Sure, I will also make sure you will not be billed for the interval where you had no service, so no worries, this is as good as fixed.
Jerand > Yes, you will be receiving that with 3-5 business days.
Eric > Dude, that RULES.
Eric > Thank you for your time & assistance.
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > Thank you for your patience and understanding as well.
Jerand > Is there anything else I can help you with? I am glad to assist you further.
Eric > Nope that’s all this evening, sir.
Jerand > I would greatly appreciate it if you can spare a few seconds to take the survey. Your favorable answer will inspire us to continue improving our service. Once you click on “EXIT CHAT” it is located on the upper-right corner of the chat box, you can now “TAKE SURVEY” highlighted in red. I am glad that I was able to Resolved your issue, there is no additional steps needed. Your feedback would mean alot to me.
Eric > Rock n’ roll! \m/ I’ll give you high scores on the feedback.
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > I appreciate your cooperation.
Jerand > Take care of yourself for me.
Jerand > Don’t forget the survey!
Jerand > Thank you for contacting Comcast! We appreciate your business and value you as a customer! If you need assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us through Live Chat or E-mail (available 24 hours a day, 7days a week). Comcast also offers great FAQ and Help forums located at http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/ to help you solve many issues on your own. You can also reach us through our Hotline 1-800-9346489 or 1-800-XFINITY. To close the chat, please click the exit chat or end session button now. You take good care always and have a wonderful night!
Eric > You too, my friend, you too!
Outsourced (film)

Outsourced (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently being a smartass can save you a couple of bucks off of your cable bill.  It never hurts to ask, right?  I could break down so many of those responses & analyze them… but I thought it was a fun conversation as a whole.

I took a survey afterwards, & left this in the comment box:

I had to call 1-800-XFINITY twice, then do a chat to get a resolution.  Jerand who was the last to chat with me was an exemplary employee… despite what I perceived as a slight language barrier.  Your tech support shouldn’t pretend they’re in the US when they’re not.  Jerand is the man.  Give him a raise.

Also…  STOP WITH THE ADVERTISEMENTS WHILE I’M TRYING TO GET A TECHNICAL ISSUE RESOLVED.  It’s annoying, insulting, and aggravating.  Why would I want to order more services form a company that can’t provide me with ONE service that works properly?

Hope that dude gets some recognition.  Ha ha.

McConsistency is Key.


Recently for lunch, I had a reconstituted-onion & cheese sandwich from McDonald’s with a little bit of beef on it.  It was extra special because it was pressed.  It was not like a panini press with grill lines, but more like someone sat on it.  There were also pickles stacked on top of each other, sticking out of the side.  Very artful & creative!

This wasn’t even from the West Liberty location.

I recently had a friend send one of his friends’ McTale-of-woe to me, because I have apparently become some sort of authority on all things wrong with McDonald’s customer service.

The reason I told of my recent adventure in lunch, is that it fits with the tale as told by someone who wishes to remain nameless, blameless, & shameless:

From: Pattyless Sandwich
Date: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM
Subject: The Day McDonald’s Shit All Over My Good Time
To: The Hamburglar

On Sept. 27, 2011 I went through the drive thru at McDonald’s on Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon, PA. I ordered a number 4 (two cheeseburgers), and I asked for no onion. When I got back to my friends house and we started eating I noticed that the sandwich looked really thin but I just figured it was smashed down a little more THAN NECESSARY so I bit in anyway. As I was chewing, I realized something wasn’t right about what was being smashed around in my mouth. I set my sandwich down and removed the top part of the bun to see the following: slice of cheese on the bottom half of the bun, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Yes, that is correct, there was no meat on the sandwich. Luckily I had another sandwich, that in fact had the patty, to eat, but they put onions on it. The only thing I asked them to void. Now I understand work is work and if you have a job to live then that is fantastic, but to be the person to put the burgers together at McDonald’s, I feel like you go through a training day to be shown how to assemble them. Bottom bun, slice of cheese (I’m guessing it is on the bottom so the burger melts it, let’s not get crazy this shit isn’t cooked together), HAMBURGER PATTY, and then your condiments. Who put mine together and thought “hm….this looks right. Nothing is missing, I am a brilliant fucking burger maker extraordinaire.”? It’s not a hamburger from a hamburger joint if there is no meat. To quote a smart fast food chain (rhymes with Shmendy’s), “Where’s the beef!?”

Sincerely,
Pattyless Sandwich

And, there’s even a Facebook photo:

Veggie Burger?

Veggie Burger?

Ridiculous.  At least this didn’t come through my contact form from someone thinking I was McDonald’s.

Friends, I seriously wish I could write to the McGiant on your behalf, but all of my insane yet legitimate complaints have fallen on deaf ears, blind eyes, or typical McCustomer-Service employees.

Check out my track record.  While I feel for you, maybe try their McPennsylvania site?  I can do nothing at this point but perhaps share in your misery, my freinds!

OK, maybe I am McDonald’s?


Just kidding.  But Harmony and her husband are convinced that I am indeed McDonald’s, and that Harmony is a certified technological genius.  More on that later.

I was convinced by my friends & followers online to write to Mr. Kausky after his suggestion of thanking a soldier for the freedom to choose fast food.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to read “I AM NOT McDONALD’S” and “I’m still not McDonald’s“.

McDonald's on UrbanspoonAt any rate, this is how I chose to respond to the good-natured manager of the Canonsburg McDonald’s:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Scott Kausky
Cc: pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, krebs955@gmail.com, shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com, Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com, McDonaldsCorporation@mcd.com, McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com, kathy.pieroni@us.mcd.com

Hello Mr. Kausky,

Pardon me if I’m misreading the tone of your email, but please calm down.  Have some dip.

My inclusion of you on the original email was because I’ve had pleasant dealings with you & your McDonald’s location in the past.  I’m convinced that you were instrumental in finally getting a response from Ms. Jones the last time I had an issue with the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s location.  I read you as a man of action, with great pride in your company.

Perhaps you would be better off at a Chick-Fil-A?  They seem to treat their employees better, and you’d never work on Sundays.  You may not be so stressed & jumpy.  Ever notice they always say “My Pleasure” instead of “You’re Welcome” when you thank them?  I can’t decide if it’s awesome, or cult-like.  I’m pretty sure that no one at any McDonald’s ever has acted like it was their pleasure to give me a lopsided cheeseburger.  (Seriously, spot-check that stuff.  I haven’t done a formal study yet, but I’m guessing that 75% of the time, the pickles are stacked on one side of the burger, not placed side-by-side in the middle… and that 95% of the time, there is ketchup and/or mustard on the outside of the bun.)  Although, I have never seen an alarm clock with a subliminal cow penis at McDonald’s… even if you have poorly copied the Chick-fil-A sandwich.

I have four email addresses for people representing the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s.  None of them have replied to my original email.  This shows lack of pride.  I’m sure you would be disappointed in their lack of response.  That’s…  pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, & Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com.

I’m a concerned citizen, trying to help the confused yet adamant Harmony get in contact with the correct people.  Amber & Shirley need my help too.  Their complaints are valid, and think about this… out of the entire internet that exists out there… these people have managed to find my blog to submit complaints about what I can call possibly the most incompetent McDonald’s location ever.  It’s not their fault that they can’t tell that I am not McDonald’s.

Harmony has her own issues, as she can’t distinguish between an email address and a website… but that doesn’t change the fact that she was not offered a mango pineapple smoothie, and it took 15 minutes to get her additional sandwich and Rolo McFlurry while ¾ of the crew members where congregating by the drive-thru.  (Hopefully they weren’t conjugating… right?)  A mango pineapple smoothie sounds absolutely disgusting, but if Harmony wanted to be offered one that’s her right.

Speaking of rights, I’m not sure how I provoked the antagonistic patriotism and perceived lack of disrespect for our armed forces and freedom.  I apologize if I have offended you in any way.  Were you watching the History channel, election coverage, or perhaps drinking when you received my email?  (I’m not judging, I would imagine one would have to partake in the occasional sip of spirits in order to cope with the stress of running a McDonald’s on top of receiving emails from crazy people.)  

I am indeed glad that I have the freedom to rant about customer service issues and fast food quality on the internet.  You’re right though, I will indeed thank a soldier the next time I see them.  You’ll have to promise to instruct your fellow McDonald’s managers and employees to thank a soldier next time they see them too.  They need to thank them for the freedom to serve poorly constructed sandwiches, cold french fries, and for opportunities to congregate by the drive-thru while paying customers wait (im?)patiently.  While we’re at it, they should thank them for the freedom to dumb-down the populace by changing words like “through” to “thru” and “Night” to “Nite”.  I’m not positive, but I can only assume such offenses would not go unpunished in the former Soviet Union or current Communist blockades like China, one of the Koreas, or Cuba.  I can imagine one being caned in a Singapore McDonald’s for congregating by the drive-thru, or having ketchup fall on the outside of a bun.

At any rate, I would like to share with you my overall adventures in correspondence with McDonald’s.  I hope to amuse and amaze you in chronological order below:

Just so you don’t feel bad, check this one out:  Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5

I hope you took the time to read all of the comments.  I am not McDonald’s, and I am not alone.  There are more (albeit less electronically vocal) of me out there.  We will not remain silent.  We will continue to consume your poorly assembled meals while grumbling under our breath.  We will contunite to have a mental block when it comes to actual time spent waiting for “fast food” to be prepared & served versus the perceived speed of choosing to dine at such establishments.  We will continue to craft poorly worded and misspelled messages and send them to the wrong people.  We will celebrate the fact that we have the freedom to do all of the above.

So, we have arrived to now.  What’s happening now, is happening now.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride.  Please keep all arms, legs, & other appendages inside the car until it comes to a complete stop.  Thanks for flying W(aL)D Airlines, may the force be with you.  (..and also with you, Amen.)

Your baffled consumer advocate,
-Eric AiXeLsyD
World (and Lunar) Domination

Heh.  I decided to go goofy at the end.  I got his reply, and have decided to leave this poor man alone.  Why?  He actually takes pride in his McDonald’s,  and seems to have a rare killer work ethic:

From: Scott Kausky <skausky33@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Eric
I didn’t send the email you to upset you either.  I represent my McDonalds.  I was just stating the fact that our soldiers give us the freedom to complain.  I’m old fashioned perhaps, if I continued to have issues, I would simply not return.  Thats how I run my store.  We don’t want them to go else where so we do it right and fix the issues that arrive.  The stores that have issues generally might be due to the town they are in.  I appologize if no one responds to your emails.  All I know for sure is come visit in Canonsburg and I’ll make it right for you.  I enjoy my job and serving our customers.  Please dont use my email for any other reason.

With Respect

Scott Kausky

Respect is right.  Misguided patriotic rants aside, Scott Kausky is the man.  I encourage you to support this McDonald’s location.

We still have the little matter of harmony being convinced that I’m McDonald’s.  You can imagine my surprise as this came to my inbox slightly before Scott’s reply above:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

I don’t have much to say about all this McDonald’s stuff, because I work at one currently and everybody else has said it. However, I will say that Harmony is my wife and she has no issues whatsoever. The reason we posted on your blog is because it was on the bottom of our receipt. She is not technologically challenged, and shame on you for assuming what other people’s problems and issues are.

Upon the arrival of this gem in my inbox, I was kind of speechless.  I was also paranoid.  Did they indeed pimp my blog’s address at the bottom of a McDonald’s receipt?  I would have declared this an absolute win for Ella Jones, Sandra Jaeger, and everyone else that doesn’t reply to emails at the West Libery Ave. McDonald’s.  I mean, really, how funny would that be?  Along those same lines… if this is a friend or reader yanking my proverbial crank; Kudos!  You totally got me.

If this is for real, then may God have mercy on your souls, …and mine for teasing you.  Can someone please help me explain this?  I thought I did that with my last blog post/email with the lines..

But, I must say that I’m confused.  You didn’t email anyone, you used the contact form at my website: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Is that what appears at the top of the receipt?

I’m guessing that more than likely it says “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” at the top of your receipt.  I’m not Ella Jones.  You didn’t email me.  You didn’t email Ella Jones.  You did a Google (or Bing) search for the email address, and landed on my page.

McReceipt 09/07/2011

I don't see my email address or blog url on here anywhere. Do you?

Can someone help me simplify that?  Should I even bother at this point?  I’m confused.  Just in case Harmony or her husband find their way back here, I did have to satisfy my curiosity.  I stopped & got two sweet teas tonight, just to get a receipt.  You can seethe full receipt to the left.

It thankfully (and I’ll admit… somewhat disappointingly) does not include my email address or my blog’s web address.

Which one of my theories do you think is the case here?  Do you think they found my blog, & were insulted?  I mean no disrespect.  I’m just trying to help here.  At this point, I’m assuming Shirley and Amber will remain clueless until the end of time.  I have yet to receive a reply from either of them, and doubt I will.  And, I doubt that I’ll ever hear from Ella Jones or Sandra Jaeger.

I also hope that Harmony’s husband doesn’t work at the West Liberty McDonald’s, and that her going online to complain (“complaine”?) about his corporate employer doesn’t cause some sort of marital rift.

Perhaps a visual aid will help demonstrate:

Trust me, I am not McDonald's.

Trust me, I am not McDonald's.

I don’t think I’ll ever convince them.  Think I can get a McDonald’s hat or something?  Maybe a name tag?  Something?  Perhaps I should just start writing back to people pretending that I am indeed McDonald’s.

McDonald's on Urbanspoon To compound & confound even more, this is what happened on my latest adventure into this McDonald’s on a mission to obtain a receipt & ultimately verify that I am not McDonald’s:

I pulled into the parking lot somewhere around 8:30pm and the lot was quite full.  Most of the cars in the lot were at the outer edge, toward the bottom of the lot, and most likely there for Malone’s Too or Señor Frog’s or whatever that bar is called this week… blatantly ignoring the signs to the effect of “McDonald’s Parking Only” or whatever.  I even saw a guy walk out of the bar into his car.  Oh well, that’s not really in their control… or is it?

The drive through lanes were both backed up pretty hard, and I’m sure people were cutting in front of each other unhindered as usual… so I opted to just pull into a parking spot & go inside.  Bad move?  Perhaps.

Once inside, I took my place in line behind a woman and her daughter at the one open/operating register, and a lone dude in front of me.  The woman & daughter were mid-order, and there was something going on about apple pies being dropped (in what I can hopefully assume was the fryer) and only one pie being avaiable.  They were told there would be an approximate 10 minute wait, but that “it goes fast”.  The woman slid to the side as her daughter went to fill their drinks, and I assume find a table.

While this was happening, I saw another McDonald’s employee come up to a register, glance annoyedly at me and the dude in front of me, hit some buttons, then walk away.  I’m sorry.  Do these employees know that to make money, McDonald’s sells what they pass off as food… and that in order to pay her salary they need to sell vast amounts of lopsided hamburgers with ketchup all over the outside of the bun?  I was surprised at how backed up things had become as the drive-through appeared quite frantic & another potential customer came in behind me during a completely non-meal-rush time of day.

Leaving the sole struggling fellow employee at the line register kind of seemed like what I would call a “dick move“.  Alas, the mother moved to the left, and slid her tray containing rapidly cooling french fries along with her.  Up next?  Dude in front of me.

Dude must have also ordered apple pies… as he was told they just dropped.  When he asked what that meant, he was told that it meant there would be a ten minute wait for apple pies.   Was the young lady at the register trying to use a Jedi mind trick to dissuade the man from ordering apple pies?  I’m guessing that she was simply telling a customer that they didn’t want what they ordered.  I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to order one of those nasty mucus-like hot-pockets that are supposed to resemble a pie… but if he was willing to shell out his hopefully hard-earned cash for them, I say give them to the man!  Order begrudgingly placed, and man moves to the left… overcrowding the woman with her lone order of increasingly algid fries.

I was up!  Finally.  I was asked what I wanted to order, I requested two sweet teas.  I was actually told “Oh, thank you for being an easy one” much to the dismay of the dude directly to my left.  He was visibly not amused.  I struggled to internally process what had caused such dismay in the poor girl behind the counter as I was handed my receipt… but I was (and still am) at a loss.

Mission complete.  I had a receipt in my hand.  My name, email address, and blog url are not on the receipt.  Success!  “Just give me my cups” I thought, as the girl walked away.  A kid was leaving his shift… she told him goodbye and proceeded to walk over and talk to the remaining employees about how popular the departing employee was this evening.  It somehow turned into a rant about thinking that someone was going to come through the drive-through window at her.  Perhaps some other unsatisfied customers earlier this evening?

Then one of the other employees told the girl who had taken my order that it was time for her break.  “Break?” she exclaimed, and started to leave.  The one with some semblance of sanity said “but first I need you to take care of all these orders.”

I tried to shift to my left, but apple pie guy was holding his ground as I blatantly invaded his personal space.  Perhaps his movement was hindered by the woman in front of him with ice fries.  The woman behind me was a champion.  She pushed ahead to the register like a metal fan in a mosh pit.  I think her purse touched my bum.  I just want some cups.  The girl who took my order looked at me quizzically.  Perhaps I looked befuddled.  I know where the drink station is.  I know how to get ice.  I know how to work the knob on the iced tea dispenser.  I just need two of those Styrofoam sweet tea cups.  At this point, any cups will do.

Steely in her resolve to go on break, or perhaps obliviously, she took the order of the woman behind me.  Snack wraps.  She broke the code.  No apple pies.  Smart move, purse push lady.  Smart move.  The order was punched in, and she started to yet again walk away.

“C… Can I just have some cups?”  The words were out of my mouth before my brain knew that I was forming them.  I don’t know if I was anxious, or this was my flight response in order to remove myself from the chaos all around me.  The girl who took my order paused, and looked at me.  I’m sure ice fries and pie guy looked at me too, wondering why I should get my hands on some sweet tea before they were handed their precious disgusting pies.  For a split second, I was almost scared.  Had I crossed a line?  Had I invoked the wrath of a McDonald’s employee mere moments late for her break?

Relief.  She grabbed two Styrofoam cups and filled them with ice, then went back to her conversation about the drive through window or something that seemed to annoy her fellow employees.

The girl who had looked at us with disdain earlier while tapping a few buttons on the register reappeared, and asked ice fries what she was waiting for.  Ice fries lady (who’s daughter probably had come to terms by now that she was surely abandoned) said something to the effect of… “I’m waiting for pies, but can I have my sandwiches now, & have someone bring out the pies?”  This was like a record skipping in a TV show.  Several employees stopped and looked at her.  I’m not sure if there was an answer… but I did hear that “the pies would be ten minutes.”  Surely three to five of those ten minutes had already passed, but who was I to argue?

“Hooolllly coooowww!”  I did it again.  The words escaped me before I could contain them.  Damn you, Ernie and the Berts practice, for amping me all up.  By this point, I was looking around for hidden cameras.  Was I on a TV show?  I think I heard pie guy say “I know” but perhaps he feared the wrath of a pie-less future as it was almost imperceptible.

I was handed my iced teas… I’m guessing the tea dispensers over by the pop machines aren’t filled at night?  Makes sense.  Even though there was one of me and I ordered two drinks…  I wasn’t offered a drink carrier.  I wasn’t handed straws or napkins.  I sure as heck wasn’t going to ask for any.

I hastily made my was over to the condiment & drink station, got some straws & napkins, then walked back past the counter to the exit, ice fries, pie guy, and snack wrap lady still there… probably envious of my escape to sweet freedom.

I couldn’t help it.  As I walked by, I muttered a sing-song like “♪♫ Good luuu-uuck… ♪♫” to my fellow McConsumers.  I hope they were amused.

Eu não sou McDonald’s. Ich bin nicht McDonald’s. Io non sono McDonald’s. Jag är inte McDonalds. Je ne suis pas McDonald’s. Jeg er ikke McDonalds. Mimi si McDonald ya. Nem vagyok McDonald’s. Nid wyf yn McDonald’s. Nie jestem McDonalda. Níl mé McDonald’s ar. Non est McDonald’s. Yo no soy McDonald. Δεν είμαι της McDonald’s. Я не Макдональдс. אני לא מקדונלד ‘ס. मैं मैकडॉनल्ड्स नहीं हूँ. 저는 맥도날드 아닙니다. 我不是麦当劳。 私はマクドナルドではない。

I’m still not McDonald’s.


The McDouble, a cheeseburger from McDonald's.

Image via Wikipedia

Have you heard that I’m not McDonald’s?  I decided to write to my new friends in McNeed, and I got a great response out of Harmony.  She is apparently convinced that I am McDonald’s.  I got a somewhat puzzling response from Scott, the manager of the Canonsburg store.  I’ll share what’s transpired.  This is me, trying to clear up the message…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: krebs955@gmail.com, shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com
Cc: pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, Ella Jones <Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com>, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, skausky33@verizon.net

Hello Harmony, Shirley, & Amber,

 Thank you for taking the time to write to me!  While I understand your frustrations with your McDonald’s visits, I have to say… I am not McDoanld’s.

 I’m not sure how you all arrived at using the contact form for my website whilst thinking the message was going to McDonald’s.  While I applaud your vigor, it is sadly misdirected.  I do however feel that it would be an injustice if I left the messages fall upon deaf ears (or blind eyes as it were).  So, I am copying this message to the known addresses of several people representing the McDonald’s location on West Liberty Avenue in Dormont.  Hopefully they will follow-up with you directly about your respective incidents; runny oatmeal, lack of napkins & ketchup, lackadaisical manager (Jeff), and all.  Chaos apparently still abounds at this location.  It’s been quite some time since I have been there.

If you’d like to know what I’m talking about, or where this email is from… I encourage you to check out my blog:  I AM NOT McDONALD’S.  It also contains other avenues to explore (namely Twitter) should this email prove to be no help.

Until then, since the nearby Wendy’s is under construction and possibly worse than this McDonald’s, I encourage you to try Dormont Dogs, SLICE on Broadway, or Tom’s Diner.

Good luck in your journey form consumer advocacy to customer satisfaction, may you be amused along the way, & find what you’re looking for eventually.  Consider me your GPS.

 Don’t argue with the Garmin,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
World (and Lunar) Domination

Simple enough, right?  Harmony is not convinced:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

That is interesting since your e-mail address is on the receipts there lol.

It was almost immediately followed by this:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks for the helpful info though.

Can someone get me a receipt from that place, just so I can be sure?  I’m guessing that Harmony is using a phone, and thought she emailed Ella Jones… & didn’t realize she was using my contact form.

I’ve had positive interactions with Mr. Kausky before.  Apparently my repeated use of “I am not McDonald’s” pushed a button.

From: Scott Kausky <skausky33@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, Aug 31, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Dear Sir,

I am also NOT MCDONALD’S.   I do however, represent the Canonsburg McDonald’s.  I can assist you with anything from that perspective.  I might suggest however, to take the time and thank a soldier that gives us the freedom to criticize in the land of the free and be thankful that we can peacefully drive down the street and stop by and pick up a quick meal if one so desires.

 Thank You.

Scott is apparently unamused by my insolence.  The reason I copied him is that he’s the only one who gave a response before, and seems to actually take pride in his store.  I believe it also helped get a response from Ms. Jones.

I don’t know where thanking a soldier came into play.  I never voiced any disrespect for the government or military.  Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII, my dad served in the army, and I have uncles that served in the Marines & Air Force… as well as many other friends & extended family members who have served in active duty much more recently.  I appreciate all of their service, and the fact that I’m here and able to whine about the quality of fast food service because of them.

If we’re invoking patriotism inappropriately here: Maybe the next time a McDonald’s employee is screwing up an order, they should thank a soldier that they have the freedom to screw up that order.

I haven’t written back to Mr. Kausky yet, but I did fire this off to Harmony & company:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: “krebs955@gmail.com” <krebs955@gmail.com>
Cc: shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com, pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, Ella Jones <Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com>, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, skausky33@verizon.net

Hello again Harmony,

No problem for the contact info, good luck in your quest for customer satisfaction!

But, I must say that I’m confused.  You didn’t email anyone, you used the contact form at my website: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Is that what appears at the top of the receipt?

I’m guessing that more than likely it says “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” at the top of your receipt.  I’m not Ella Jones.  You didn’t email me.  You didn’t email Ella Jones.  You did a Google (or Bing) search for the email address, and landed on my page.

If it does say “https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com” at the top of a McDonald’s receipt, I’d love to see a photo of that.

Rock on!
-Eric

No response as of yet from Harmony, Shirley, or Amber (who all thought or still think that I was/am McDonald’s) …and of course as expected no response (to me anyway) from Ella Jones, Sandra Jaeger, Rick Sapko, or anyone representing the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s.

Should I write back to Scott & try to clear things up?  Should I leave well enough alone?  I know that pressing Sandra, Ella, & Rick will get me nowhere.

I AM NOT McDONALD’S


I am not McDonald’s.  I’m just sayin’.  This isn’t the 1st time this has happened.  I got this message in my inbox today:

From: Harmony Krebs <krebs955@gmail.com>
To: me_at_my@email.addre.ss
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 6:59 PM
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Harmony Krebs

Email: krebs955@gmail.com

Website:

Message / Comment: First, the oatmeal was filled to the top with water and extremely runny. The order taker didn’t offer a mango pineapple smoothie, and when I went back up to order an additional sandwich and small rolo mcflurry, it took 15 minutes to get them. There was only one guy taking orders, while 3/4 of the crew members were over by the drive through just talking and congregating.

How’d you find my blog?: It was on my receipt.

Time: Wednesday August 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm

IP Address: ##.###.##.###

Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Odd.  You may remember this gem:

From: shirley kelly
To: me_at_my@email.addre.ss
Sent: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 7:33 PM
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: shirley kelly

Email: shovelman11@yahoo.com

Website:

Message / Comment: went in Imperial store on Aug. i,2011, the service was horrible . They acted  as if they were doing us  a favor by waiting on us .There were no napkinks out , no containers for ketchup  both myself and  another had to ask for napkins,  when they gave them to us  it was like an effort to do so  The management at night is horrible

How’d you find my blog?:

Time: Tuesday August 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm

IP Address: ###.###.###.###

Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Really weird.  I AM NOT MCDOANLD’S.  I think I see what’s happening here, at least with the message up top.  See if you can follow along with me…

  1. Where I started my “WTF?” journey was the line “How’d you find my blog?: It was on my receipt.”  Um, I highly doubt that https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com was on your receipt.  So, we go to the next step…
  2. The WordPress stats page is awesome.  The only McDonald’s-related search term that landed someone on my blog today was “ella.jones@us.mcd.com“.  Avid readers know that Ms. Jones’ email address does indeed appear at the top of a receipt.
  3. What we’ve learned is that Ms. Krebs above has typed “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” into Google, and discovered my blog.  Luckily for Ms. Jones, the 1st for things that pop up (today anyway) send people to my blog.
  4. Here is where we have to make some educated guesses.
    1. Ms. Krebs thought that all my ramblings about McDonald’s were some sort an official complaint form.
    2. Ms. Krebs is unable to distinguish a web browser from a mail client (or webmail, as it is a Gmail address), or an email address from a URL, which could break down (even further) to…
      1. She thought ella.jones@us.mcd.com was a url, and the contact form on my site was to contact McDonald’s.
      2. She thought that by typing the email address “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” into the Google or Bing search bar, she was indeed sending an email.
    3. Ms. Krebs thought she was commenting on my blog, & instead of using the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom, she hit the contact link at the top.
    4. Ms. Krebs has a Smartphone, and no idea how to use it.

That was fun, wasn’t it?  Do you think I’m close?  I may have to change to look of my comment page to let people know who I am, and that I am not McDoanld’s.

I do love the interaction.  As a blogger I feed off of comments, replies, and feedback.  I do appreciate & empathize that you were so wronged by McDonald’s that you feel the need to express your frustrations via written electronic communication.  I totally get that.

If you have had a bad experience, and want to vent… please, I encourage you to share the experience (hopefully with a humorous bent) here with me & all the other people who’s McDonald’s-related Google and Bing searches have led them to my humble corner of the internet.

That being said, there are a plethora of comments on my blog: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave. – Brookline/Beechview/Dormont)

A lot of those comments seem to be directed at McDonald’s.  I am not McDonald’s.  I try to reply to each commenter to let them know where to direct their anger… but they must not have checked the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” box while they commented or ever check back, because they never seem to get my reply.

Wow.  As, I’m typing this blog… I got something in my inbox that is so amusing I’m going to pee my pants:

From: Amber Ross <pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com>
To: me_at_my@email.addre.ss
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:01 PM
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Amber Ross

Email: pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com

Website:
Message / Comment: Hello, i would like to inform you that i have visited your store twice today and both times the service has been extremely slow and very disappointing.  Both times i have waited twenty minutes in line and both times it was for something small. The line had at least eight people in it, that were not helped and the manager (Jeff) was at the drive thru window drinking a pop and not caring that people were waiting. i also would like to inform you that i will not be returning to your store along with my entire family. Thank You.

How’d you find my blog?:

Time: Wednesday August 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm

IP Address: ##.###.##.###

Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Seriously?  Is someone playing a joke on me, or is my website really at the top of McDonald’s receipts?  Ha ha.

I hope your disgruntled McSearch leads you here, because, I’d like to let you know that (say it with me)

I am not McDonald’s.

If you would like to read my McDonald’s-related ramblings, may I suggest the following?

If you’d like to contact McDonald’s, there’s a myriad of ways you can do so, although I cannot guarantee you a satisfying reply (or a reply at all):

McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.):

McDonald’s #4856 (Canonsburg):

The McDonald’s Twitter Team plus a few more:

Here are even more contacts, gathered from my Comments:

Oh man, I forgot about this genius:

jeffrey s miller jr | December 17, 2010 at 12:51 am | Reply | Edit

I was very unhappy with my visit from store 10848 delmont 6526 route 22 pa the servise was the worrise that i ever had and i had only had three things two frys and a fish sandwitch and i had a pice of chees on mu fish and the frys where cold and when i asked for ketchup they said i had to pay for it pleas email me back or i will call and complaine

Jeffrey; I am not McDonald’s.  While we’re at it… “sandwitch” & “complaine“?  …and “worrise“?  You clearly have issues to address, my friend.  Best of luck with that.

Wow.

Please, share your experience below (but, note… again, that I am not McDonald’s)!

I’d also love any theories on how/why peopel are using my contact form and comments sections… thinking I’m McDonalds.  (Which I’m clearly not.)

Our weekend of dining in PA Dutch country


Well, if you’ve been keeping up, you read about my plan for our trip, what we did on our trip, and maybe even the email from the Amish Village owner.  This one’s all about the food.  We ate a lot while we were out that way, but we didn’t hit the regular buffet/smörgåsbord places like Miller’s or Dienner’s.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know about my shellfish allergy.  Buffets can be a nightmare for someone like me… not only do I have to worry about cross-contamination in the kitchen (like on shared cooking surfaces, utensils, or fryers), but I have to worry about my fellow slovenly patrons carelessly flinging bits of deathfish on to adjacent foods, or better yet inadvertently dropping some off of their plate while at a different table.  No thank you.  No worries though, with the internet I was able to do a lot of research ahead of time on shellfish-free and allergy friendly restaurants.

FOOD

Prince Street Café
Prince Street Cafe on Urbanspoon Prince Street Cafe on Allergy Eats Prince Street Cafe on Facebook Twitter | @PrinceStCafe

Classic Breakfast Sandwich on Ciabatta

Classic Breakfast Sandwich on Ciabatta

The continental breakfast at the Super 8 in Lancaster was lacking, so we decided to check out the Prince Street Cafe first thing on Saturday morning.  We were quite glad that we did!  I had an email exchange going on before our trip with the manager that put me totally at ease.  I noticed there was no shellfish on their menu, but I emailed them to be sure.  It ends up that they do occasionally have a seafood soup and it would be in-house while we were there, but I wasn’t worried about the cross-contamination there after hearing how it was prepared and seeing that they acknowledged food allergies on their menu by offering gluten-free and nut-free options.  I can’t stress enough what a relief & pleasure this type of email exchange was.

The place was packed and we got there shortly after 9:00am.  The line before us went quickly & there were thankfully menus posted prominently in two places near to where you order.  My wife & I both chose the classic breakfast sandwich on ciabatta, I opted for the addition of bacon.  I also had an iced tea, and added some honey which was available on the counter… which made it absolutely perfect.  The sandwiches were great, the eggs were cooked perfectly (by a microwave of all things, I think), the cheese was beautifully melted & the ciabatta was nice & fresh.  I dug the nice slab ‘o bacon too, it didn’t overpower the sandwich.

All-in-all, this seemed like a great place to hang out.  The employees were friendly, there was a really diverse crowd, it was very relaxing.  We’ll definitely be back next time we’re in the area, perhaps for a lunch or even just some coffee.

Jakey’s Amish BBQ
Jakey's Amish BBQ on Urbanspoon Jakey's Amish BBQ on Allergy Eats Jakey's Amish BBQ on Facebook

Turkey Sandwich w/ Mild BBQ Sauce

Turkey Sandwich w/ Mild BBQ Sauce

I hadn’t  seeked-out Jakey’s before our trip.  I did find a business-card sized ad in the giant tourist brochure display wall in our hotel.  I saw the word BBQ, and it was all over.  I mean, I do love BBQ.  I did find a menu online before going in, and again no deathfish, but I did do the usual awkward asking if there is/was every any shellfish prepared there before ordering & after looking over the menu.  After a no from the waitress, a confused look, then a double-check with someone in the back, we were good.  My problem in general with BBQ joints is that I want everything.  Thankfully they usually have sampler or at least combo platters.

Since we were there for lunch though, and doing some touristy running-around, I came to the sad realization that I shouldn’t fill up on BBQ.  I opted for the barbecue turkey sandwich with the mild sauce, and my wife went for the chicken sandwich.  Sadly, you don’t see a lot of turkey BBQ ’round the ‘Burgh… so I was glad to have that as a choice.  I had a side of fries, & Bethany got the macaroni salad.  My sandwich was delicious.  The turkey was nice & juicy, and there wasn’t so much sauce that you couldn’t appreciate the taste of the meat.  I did grab the spicy BBQ sauce that was provided on the table… for the sandwich & for some french fry dipping.  It wasn’t really all that hot for being the “spicy” sauce, but it was really good.  I’d like to try the other meats & the Carolina-style sauce…  Maybe some corn fritters instead of the fries?  We’ll be through again when we’re back that way!

Added bonus, it had a real BBQ joint kind of vibe… it shared space with a T-shirt shop that sold all kinds of stuff, from religious to raunchy.  The tables had that red & white checkered pattern tablecloth, and there were while plastic outdoor type chairs.  The guy behind the counter who I must assume was the owner or at least a manager was very cool to his employees who seemed new, telling them they were doing a good job.  He even sent out extra fries for us, apparently there weren’t enough on my plate when it came out!  Ha ha.  Our waitress did quite well, especially if she was new.  The order was correct, quick, and we had sweet tea refills without even asking.  Add this place to my list of favorite BBQ joints!

Stoltzfus Farm Resaurant
Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant on Urbanspoon Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant on Allergy Eats Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant on Facebook

Family-Style Meal

Family-Style Meal

Now, this place was just incredible.  Again, I checked out the menu online beforehand, and asked the hostess about shellfish when we arrived.  No deathfish in sight (or hidden in the kitchen), so I was good to go.  It looks like a  quaint little farmhouse with a beautiful garden on the outside, and once inside it doesn’t really lose that farmhouse appeal.  We were seated in a room off to the side with smaller tables, as large tables filled the front room (& I believe around back) and were full of mostly families with a bunch of children.  Our waitress could have played Granny in the Tweetie & Sylvester cartoons if they were to be made into a live action film.

On the way in the door, you opt in for (& pay for) the buffet, and then if you make it through that, you can order desserts à la carte.  We didn’t make it to dessert.  Why?  Well, they managed to stuff me full of literally everything on the menu.  I actually had everything too.  It was quite comforting to not have to worry about any cross-contamination or hidden ingredients… and it helped that everything tasted perfect.  first they brought out applesauce, pepper cabbage (a kind of cole slaw with red bell peppers & a vinegar dressing), chow-chow, and apple butter w/ white & wheat bread.  It was my first time trying chow-chow, and I loved it.  It tasted like bread n’ butter pickles, but was a mixture of cauliflower, carrots, green beans, cucumbers (pickles), kidney beans, and maybe peppers and onions?  Next, she brought out everything else…  Fried chicken, sausage, hamloaf, green beans, corn, buttered noodles, potato stuffing (I’ve heard it called potato filling), & sweet potatoes.  All their meat comes from Stoltzfus Meats, right next door.  The fried chicken was excellent, the breading was perfect & the chicken itself was delicious & succulent.  I could eat potato stuffing all day… I mean carbs + carbs, covered in carb-filled gravy?  Yes please.

I could go on, but you get the point.  If you catch me on a craving & a free day… I just might drive out there to get a meal & come right home.  It would be worth the drive!  I wish I had room for the tapioca pudding.

Wawa
Wawa on Urbanspoon Wawa on Facebook Twitter | @gottahava

Steak & Egg on 6" Ciabatta

Steak & Egg on 6" Ciabatta

It’s odd mentioning it with the other places, but we did eat breakfast there.  I’m from the other side of the state where we have Sheetz & Get·Go… so of course I had to try a Wawa.  I’m a huge Sheetz fan, and had it in my head that I already liked Sheetz better.  I may be wrong.  The girl that made our sandwiches was really friendly, and offered to help us with the touch screen if we needed it.  (We must have appeared to be n00bz while we were blipping through checking out the entire menu.

My sandwich not only ridiculously large, but they eggs were really fluffy.  I think the menu said something about them containing cheese?  Whatever they do with them, it works for me.  I got a steak egg & cheese sandwich and it was delicious.  Wawa has the same problem as Sheetz & Get·Go as far as wrapping sandwiches though.  No matter where I get touch-screen gas station food, there’s always more sauce/ketchup/dressing on the outside of the bun than the inside.  You’d think that someone would have come up with a solution for that by now.  Perhaps it’s a tie.  Maybe Sheetz is still my favorite.  It’s pretty close though.  (Luckily, there was no deathfish on the menu, so it’s a safe place for me if not classy.  Ha ha.)

Strasburg Railroad Trackside Café
Strasburg Rail Road - Trackside Café on Urbanspoon Strasburg Railroad on Facebook Twitter | @StrasburgRR

Turkey sandwich, hamburger, & fries...

Turkey sandwich, hamburger, & fries.

We stopped here to get some lunch after the first train ride of the day at the Strasburg Railroad.  It was an OK cafeteria-style kind of joint, sadly cash only.  I checked out the menu when we got in there, & did ask if they ever cooked shellfish.  I was told they didn’t & felt safe.  I got a turkey sandwich & Bethany got a burger, and we shared some fries.  My sandwich was pretty good… but Bethany wasn’t a big fan of the burger.  The fries seemed a little old for some reason.  I think we both wished we had just went back to Jakey’s.  Ha ha.

Overall though, I guess we got what we paid for, it was a nice cheap quick & convenient lunch.  I did like the fact that they had up signs warning about the use of peanut oil for those with peanut allergies.  For a family attraction & with food allergies on the rise, this is a responsible thing for a business to do.

Splits & Giggles
Splits & Giggles on Urbanspoon Splits & Giggles on Allergy Eats Splits & Giggles on Facebook Twitter | @splitsngiggles
First off, best name ever for an ice cream shop.  Secondly, the guys that own & run the place are very cool.  I also can’t believe I didn’t pause to take a photo of the ice cream.  This was another place that I had scouted-out beforehand, and found through either Urbanspoon or Allergy Eats.  I saw that their menu was devoid of deathfish, so I sent the now standard just-to-be-sure email.  They had a soup containing seafood, but it hasn’t been in-house for a while… so I was safe.  These guys were really cool via email, and even dropped me a line about special hours for that Sunday when they noticed I didn’t stop in on Saturday.

I was hoping to make it there for a lunch or light dinner topped off with some ice cream, but as it happened we were heading home well after lunch & way before dinner, so we decided to ruin dinner & just have some ice cream.  It was a good call.  I had a hot fudge sundae in a waffle bowl, and Bethany went for rocky-road in a pretzel cone.  The ice cream was great, and the place was really cool.  It had a nice neighborhood vibe.  They even took a bowl of water out for some customers who were outside eating some ice cream whit their dog.  Next time we’re in the area, I’d like to get in & try one of their panini sandwiches.  They get bonus points for the line “Please alert us of ANY food allergies or concerns you have before ordering.” on their menu.

FOOD

Well, that was all of our meals while on our road trip.  I won’t include the Hardee’s that we hit on the way home…  it’s probably best for them if I don’t comment.

Ever been to any of these places?  Let me know what you think!

Props to the Amish Village!


OK, so in my blog about our trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country, I mentioned the Amish Village & their “interesting” tour guide.  The more I thought about it, the more a few things struck me as odd, so I slightly altered my original post to include the questions that were asked by the people taking the tour & answers given by the guide… and then I did something goofy.  I decided to contact the Amish Village to tell them about it.  I sent them this using their webform:

> From: Eric <my.email@ddre.ss>
> Subject: Tour. Guide.
>
> Message Body:
> Hello,
>
> My wife & I were in the Lancaster area this past weekend celebrating our anniversary.  You have a beautiful area, and an excellent attraction.  I enjoyed a view of the Amish lifestyle, and the stores & displays on site.  I did learn quite a lot about the use of propane for lighting, refrigeration, and retro-fitting things like electric mixers.
>
> You. might. want. to. audit. your. tour. guides. though.
>
> Confused?  Me too:  http://wp.me/pwqzc-Ap
>
> Just some things that I noticed that were contradictory to some other tours & info that we had heard…
>
> Thanks!
> -Eric
>
> —
> This mail is sent via contact form on Amish Village http://theamishvillage.net/dev

And this was their reply…

From: Shane Ackermann
To: Eric <my.email@ddre.ss>
Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2011 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: Tour. Guide.

Eric-

Thanks for emailing.  I’m glad you and your wife enjoyed Lancaster area.  We work hard to please our customers and have a unique attraction, after all, you are our life-blood.  I saw this blogspot earlier today via google alerts and have already spoken with our team.  Must have been an off day, he is one of our best.

Again, thanks for the feedback and please let me know next time you are through the area.

All the best-
Shane Ackermann
The Amish Village
Owner
704-726-6957

ps- great pictures.  Would you mind posting them to our FB page?  I just started it and it needs some customer pictures.

First of all, Google is awesome for picking up my blog with Google Alerts. Second, and more important… Mr. Ackermann is awesome for having them set up for his business, so he can actively keep up on any sort of press and/or online musings.  It’s great to see someone actively using technology to keep up with their business & help get the word out.  The ridiculously quick reply didn’t hurt either.

Check out their Facebook Page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Amish-Village/217619698257614  (Maybe check out their Twitter page too!)

Hopefully I’ll be able to upload some photos for them in the next few days.

Again, I’d like to stress that it’s definitely a cool/fun place to visit.  Just read up on the Amish first, & grill the tour guides when you’re there!  Ha ha.

PA Dutch Country Attractions


So, I already blogged bout my plan for Amish country, here’s what we did while we were there…

The Downtown Lancaster Visitor Center, the Heritage Center Museum, & the print shop upstairs by the .918 Club.  – Yeah, all of this was in one building.  The visitor center was my first stop because I had a decent dialog going before our arrival in the area with Henry at the center, and whoever is behind the goLancasterPA Twitter account. I wanted to say hello & give a personal thanks.

I printed this...

I printed this...

After a quick hello, we went on to the Heritage Center Museum for some cool Amish artifacts & hands-on toys, a quick history lesson, and a bunch of other area artifacts like some beautiful paintings, clocks, furniture, & more.

Upstairs in the print shop, we got an all-out printing demonstration from Mike Donnelly.  I’ve always found that kind of stuff interesting from printing & graphic design to the art of fonts & printing.  It was an unexpected surprise & it was right up my alley!  I even got to make a few small prints on some antique presses!

Angry Young & Poor – Yeah, not exactly in with the theme of everything else, but I used to order from this place back when paper ‘zines & catalogs were a thing… so I had to stop since I was in the area.  Dude behind the counter seemed cool, and I picked up a Sloppy Seconds CD.

HAven not Oven

HAven not Oven

The Dutch Haven – This was a store that looks like a windmill. While there, I bought some Amish root beer & tried a sample of shoo-fly pie.  It felt like a toruist-trap boardwalk kind of store, but you’ll have that in tourist areas.  They seemed rather nice.  Also, we learned that you need to go here before Jakey’s Amish BBQ, and you’ll get a %10 off coupon.

yuk yuk yuk
yuk yuk yuk

The Outhouse – It was a like a Cracker Barrel store & a Spencer’s crashed into each other.  It was full of local stuff, goofy stuff, kitch, and a bunch of silly coin-operated jokes.  Fun, but once we saw it, we don’t really ever have a need to go back.

Ed’s Buggy Rides – I had an amusing online exchange with Ed … or someone at Ed’s Buggy Rides.  It went sort of like this…

Ed's Buggy Rides

Ed's Buggy Rides

From: Me
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011
Subject: Prices?
Hello,
My wife & I are planning to be in the Lancaster/Strasburg area this weekend celebrating our anniversary.
I was wondering what your rates are for buggy rides?
Thanks,
-Eric

Simple enough right? (I mean, a website ought to list that sort of thing, but…)

From: Mrs Brenda Littler <klittler@verizon.net>
To: Me
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Subject: Re: Prices?

Please call 717-687-0360.

Pimpin' Amish Buggy

Pimpin' Amish Buggy

Heh.  Don’t email info@edsbuggyrides.com, just call ’em I guess.  The tour did prove to be awesome though.  We took the tour with another couple, and our driver/guide was quite knowledgeable about the Amish history & way of life.  He was able to easily answer any questions that we had.  We also stopped at a working Amish farm where I had a glass of homemade Amish root beer, and Bethany bought a Quillow from the craziest salesman ever, a 13 or 14 year old Amish girl.  We weren’t getting out of there without buying something.  She was showing us every quilt, wall hanging, toy, and canned good in the place.  I wish I could have taken her picture.  For having a seemingly communal/communist lifestyle (from each according to his means, to each according to his needs – right?), this girl was a killer capitalist!  (Oh yeah, that was J & B Quilts and Crafts – they’re at 157 N. Star Rd., Ronks, PA 17572)

Stop.  Yell.  Ing.

Stop. Yell. Ing.

The Amish Village – The Amish village was a tourist trap, but it was a cool visit.  The. Kid. Who. Gave. Us. The. Tour. Yelled. Syllables. Instead. Of. Speaking. Normally.  He also wasn’t very good with Amish trivia or history.  He said some stuff that contradicted the heritage museum, and other things that I’ve read.  He also didn’t answer questions very well, or talk about the Amish men’s clothing or the significance of their hats – which our guide on Ed’s Buggy Rides had already told us about.   He talked a lot about the dresses though, and knew a lot about them.  Did you know the outer part of an Amish woman’s dress is pinned on with straight pins?  Dude knew.  He also assured is that the pins don’t jab you, and you get used to it after the first few times.  Yeah.  If I were the owner, I’d make sure dude wasn’t in there trying on the dresses at night.

After the upstairs bedroom tour, a woman asked about the hats… he said there was no significance where our earlier guide told us about the distinction with the rounded vs. flat indicating if the wearer has children.  Then again, downstairs… a man asked about why they use animals in the field… the tour guide went on a tangent about rubber taking them too far away from home… where from what I understand they use horses to ensure that everyone tills a fair amount of land.

It was cool to see a mockup of a typical Amish house, and learn about their extensive use of propane in lieu of electricity for things like lighting, refrigeration, heat, and running things like retrofitted electric mixers.

The Hangover Part II – OK, we were out of town and decided to just relax and catch a goofy movie.  The Garmin found us a local theater, we went, we laughed our behinds off.  I’m guessing the Amish would not appreciate or even understand 99% of this film.

First Class!

First Class!

475

475

The Strasburg Railroad – We took a first class ride on this train and it was just awesome.  It’s the first time that either of us was ever on a train.  (Unless you count the T.)  It was fascinating just to see & feel how it worked.  This history behind the railroad in general is quite interesting.  We sipped drinks & took photos while the train chugged along and we listened to a narrative about the countryside & the railroad itself.  I would say this is a must for anyone going to the area.  Next time we may hit up the railroad museum across the street, or the toy train museum.  Also, next time, we’d like to ditch the Super 8 in favor of the Red Caboose Motel!  This was a relaxing way to spend part of the day, & there was plenty there to entertain us for a while.  Next time, we may do the picnic lunch where they drop you off for a picnic in a great little picnic area, then you ride back on a different train.

Choo-Choo!

Choo-Choo!

The Choo Choo Barn – The other area train attraction that we did go see was the Choo Choo Barn.  This was a model train display with amazing attention to detail, it reminded me of the one here in Penn Hills that they do around Christmas. There was a fire scene were a house “caught fire”, complete with smoke, every 15 minutes… then a little firefighter popped out with a hose and put the fire out with real water.  I mean, it was crazy.  I wish I had better photography skills to catch all the crazy stuff in there with the odd lighting & night scenes.

Attention to detail.

Attention to detail.

One photo I did manage to get though, was a blurry one… but proof of a man taking a pee in the top floor of one of the train stations.  You know the guy laughed for hours after putting that one in.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend in PA Dutch Country, and it was an excellent way to celebrate our 3rd anniversary.  We liked it so much that we hope to make it a regular trip!  We’ll never run out of things to do over that way.  I could spend all day taking buggy & train rides!

You can check out all the photos from out adventure here… from my Nikon D60, Bethany’s Fuji Finepix Z, and both of our phones:  Grid View / Slideshow View

Bethany in the garden outside the Sotlzfus Farm Restaurant

😀

The next blog will be about the food.  I had to break it down.  This post is already incredibly long!

High-Tech Amish Country Weekend


So, the internet is awesome. We just had a high-tech Amish weekend. I was able to find a bunch of area attractions and restaurants online before our trip. I even went crazy enough to make a spreadsheet beforehand of possible attractions. I had links to their site, other noted sites, and any online coupons that I found.  I even added the latitude & longitude thanks to Google maps, so I could make a custom POI file (complete with a custom icon) to export to the Garmin. We didn’t hit all the attractions that I had discovered beforehand, and we hit a few that I didn’t find ahead of time… but it really helped us plan our time so we weren’t rushed & so we were always moving in the right direction.  It was OCD-level madness, but it helped make an easy time of things once we were there…

..and it was easy to refer to once I popped it up in Google Documents, whenever we were at the hotel or some place with WiFi.  It was lightning quick to check prices, hours, and anything else I needed to know.  If they didn’t have something listed on their site, I emailed them ahead of time… and most were quick & gracious with answers.

Here’s a revised list of the places we did end up visiting:

…and a Google Map of all the attractions is here: Lancaster PA Road Trip

In the next few posts, I’d like to detail what we did & finally where we ate.  (Still waiting for UrbanSpoon & AllergyEats to add one more place where we ate before I do the full food review blog…)