Merry Christmas 2020 – From the Carroll Family!


Our church put out a call for video submissions for the Christmas Eve streaming service. Here is what we contributed.

I threw it together into one video and added some cheesy effects and titles.

This is…

  • The Christmas Carrolls performing “Away in a Manger”
  • Molly reading The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher
  • Ian doing some prayers on the fly – take 1 & take 2. (We only sent take 2 to the church.)

Check out live & archived videos from the church here: https://www.facebook.com/hillschurchexport/live

Wait. What? (The Bob Evans saga continues.)


I never emailed these names.  Seriously.  Someone must have sent Jon the text of my blog, or a link to my blog.  My original email contained the names which I then changed to something I thought would be ridiculous and obvious, so I didn’t accidentally call out another real employee.

Am I being trolled?

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 8:54 PM, “0503, BER” <Unit_503@bobevans.com> wrote:

Hello,

                I am following up on a bad review that we had charge to our store.  I was hoping to get some more information, as we believed our location received this review in error.  We don’t have servers by either name mentioned in the review (Maleficient and Lincoln), and would like to find out which store you were actually at.  Then we can send this along to them, so that they can address these issues.  Thank you for your time.

Jon Herrmann
General Manager
Bob Evans #503
Bridgeville, PA
(412) 257-1369

Shenanigans. ☘

I wrote back.  Nothing interesting besides pointing out that I never sent those names in an email.

I also got an email from LeAnn confirming our Dormont address, so I passed along the new one.  I wonder if I’ll get a T-shirt?

If it’s gift certificates, does anyone know of a charity that accepts them or of a family in need?

Maybe they’re sending someone to dispatch of me.  Maybe I should ask King’s to weigh in?

This still makes me laugh uncontrollably:

YOU GET A CRAYON!

Smiling & coloring rule.

I did get a really insightful comment on the last post though. Doesn’t seem like it’s gone down that way so far.

 

Bob Evans: 1 • Eat’n Park: 1½


So, did you read about our most recent experience with a waitress we’ll call Maleficent at the local Bob Evans?  If not, you may want to read that first.

I recently got the expected response from Bob Evans, and it’s nowhere near as enthusiastic as last time.  They are probably more displeased with my over-the-top approach to storytelling than the actions of Maleficent.

——– Original message ——–
From: “Barga, Leann D.
Date: 11/11/2015 9:23 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: me@my.email.address
Subject: Bob Evans – Reference # 1106568

Good Morning Eric,

I am so sorry to hear that you recently had a poor experience at our Bridgeville location.  The behavior demonstrated by one of our servers was unacceptable, and for that we truly apologize.  We expect all of our employees to treat our guests like family, and want our guests to be completely satisfied – it is clear that we let you down with your initial server during this visit.

On the other hand, I am happy to hear that Lincoln ‘saved the day’ and made the rest of your time with us an enjoyable one.

I will be sharing your comments with the general manager and area coach of this location so any necessary action can be taken to ensure that all of our servers are meeting our and our guests expectations.

Sincerely,

LeAnn Barga (formerly Purdy)
Representative, Guest and Consumer Relations
8111 Smith’s Mill Road
New Albany, Ohio 43054
Phone: (800) 939-2338
http://www.BobEvans.com

It seems that Leanne is still rocking it with Bob Evans, now with a new name.  I hope she is doing well!

Not sure what this means (if anything) for Maleficent and Lincoln.  Will anything actually be said?  Will general management or area coaches write back to me directly?  Will I get a dirty look from Maleficent next time we’re there?  Hopefully Lincoln is on the clock.

Of course I can’t just let things like this be, so I reached out to Eat’n Park on twitter. Their response was glorious

Ha.  Eat’n Park for the win.

EVERYONE GETS A CRAYON!

Checkmate.

All we wanted were some crayons.


So, this past Saturday night we had an interesting experience at the local Bob Evans.  I have blogged about one of our experiences with an angry server there before, but haven’t touched upon the 3 or 4 other times that “the kitchen held up the order” while she talked to other customers at great length about slot machines at the Meadows, or the time that she rolled her eyes at me while the wife and I were discussing the seasonal shrimp on the menu in regards to where it was cooked and my allergy.  This time we were most likely doubly annoying as we had two small children with us.  The saga begins…

From: Eric Carroll <me@my.email.addre.ss>
To: Leann D. Purdy, Nathaniel A. Riggs, BE-mail

Hello Leann and Nate,

I hope this message finds you well, and that you’re both still with the Bob Evans team!  You may remember that I had contacted you in the past about the #jelly3x rule and a bad experience at the Bob Evans in Bridgeville Pennsylvania, and blogged about that alongside your enthusiastic response, and even more thorough follow-up.

We have since had a few other experiences with that waitress, including one where she rolled her eyes at me and said “well, you don’t have to order it” when I was discussing the shrimp stir-fry available seasonally.  Clearly, she has absolutely no grasp of cross-contamination.  The running theme with her seems to be that the kitchen is always late & to blame with any service issues.

Being that we have generally excellent food & service at the Bridgeville location, and it’s now even closer to home since we have moved to Bridgeville, we have gone in to dine and simply requested with the host or hostess to not be seated in her section.

Sadly this weekend, we didn’t spot her upon our arrival and did not inform the hostess of our preference.  We were quickly welcomed by the hostess, seated in her section and decided to go with it as it had been a while since we had Maleficent as our server.

Nowadays, we have a 2½ year old and a 7 month old in tow.  Bob Evans is a great place to get a full meal for a family without breaking the bank, yet another notch in the proverbial “pro’s” column.  (I mean, have you spent the same amount of money at Panera or Steak n’ Shake? It’s not even half of the food.  Maybe local heroes Eat’n Park can almost compete.)

Maleficent quickly came to the table and took our drink orders.  Our eldest ordered apple juice, I asked for an iced tea, and the wife went for water.  Our drinks were brought quickly and our waitress shot a nasty look to the table beside us as the hostess sat another family with 3 older children as she set our drinks down.  She came back a bit later to take our food order and my wife politely asked for straws which we didn’t get with our drinks and some crayons that weren’t included with our kid’s meal place-mat menu.

Maleficent Immediately huffed as she slammed down the straws and remarked that she didn’t have time to get crayons because she just had two other tables seated in her section.  We were only wanting crayons because it had taken her a while to come back and take our food order, well before anyone else had been seated in our section.

I forget exactly what the exchange was that followed.  I know my wife had mentioned that we had had several problems in the past with her service. I was pretty much shocked into jaw-agape silence at that point.  My wife ended with standing up to go speak to the manager, and Maleficent yelled (yes, yelled) “Lincoln, take tables 54 and 56!” or something to that effect.

After my wife came back from a conversation with the manager, one of the aforementioned customers beside us said “Wow. I can’t believe she told you no on the crayons.”  We gave the super-condensed version of our history with Maleficent as they continued in their wide-eyed disbelief.

Maleficent continued to serve that family, but we and another nearby table had been reassigned to a young man named Lincoln (Linkin?), on either Maleficent or the manager’s authority.  I wasn’t present for my wife’s conversation with the manager, but it was apparently full of knowing nods and angry head-shakes as she regaled the manager with tales of our past adventures with Maleficent.  I do know that my wife apparently characterized me as a madman about to lose all patience to bolster her point.  Perhaps that’s why the manager never came to the table to offer either an apology or an explanation.

Now, reading back on this, the story so far does sound like we are being absolutely ridiculous over the exclusion of two crayons for the amusement of our child who’s behavior, rearing, and amusement are wholly our responsibility.  Do you also see how the past history and an apparently poor attitude towards customers and a potential tip factor into this moment?  It must have been some serious shenanigans in order for the next table to notice.

The lesson I have learned is that we will keep crayons and a coloring book in our family vehicle for just such a purpose.  It is not Bob Evans’ responsibility to develop my child’s creativity and fine motor skills, nor to provide a means to pacifying the insatiable need for constant activity or the lack of patience to wait for a delicious prepared meal.  Despite evidence to the contrary, we were indeed prepared parents with our own plastic mess-prevention and environment-sterilizing place-mat for our son.  He can’t color yet, but he can shovel tiny bits of food into his mouth at a rate destined to require another kid’s meal sooner rather than later.

This leads us to Lincoln (Linkin?). Lincoln was certainly on top of his game after being saddled with two more tables in addition to his already presumably busy/full section.  He came through and delighted our daughter with a two-pack of pink and purple crayons. Lincoln took our order with a smile, brought the food out quickly with no conspiratorial kitchen issues, and was just all-around pleasant.  We even had to ask for a replacement fork as we had somehow lost one.  It was brought out amid a flurry of what I presume to be normal Saturday restaurant activity with no hesitation, and rather quickly.  We even got jelly on one request.

After our meal, we thanked him for being such an incredible server, and I remarked that I was glad he was so understanding because I was nervous about being labeled as some sort of problem after requesting a new server.  He indicated that it was not a surprise, happens regularly, and that he didn’t come to us with any preconceived notions.  He also added that people inexplicably (my words, not his) come in and request to be seated in Maleficent’s section and Maleficent’s section only.

We will request Lincoln’s section in the future, and barring that option we’ll just request not be seated in Maleficent’s section.  I can play that game.  We cleaned up as best we could from our inevitable child-induced mess, left close to a 50% tip, and found the errant fork before we left.  The table directly beside us (I assume the other table taken by Lincoln at the same time we were handed over) also rather audibly and publicly thanked Lincoln for being such a great server.  I’m not sure if they also had issues that we weren’t aware of?  I told the cashier how happy we were with our service upon checkout.

I don’t want to pick on a server.  I do want to illustrate the contrast between what I see as poor service as it relates to incredible service and how it didn’t seem to be any more difficult than you make it.  I do hope Lincoln is rewarded for a job well done and his overall attitude.  I’m sure it reflects in his work effort and in his gratuities.  I would hope that you can again pass this email along to all of the appropriate parties.  Area coaches and the store management, correct?  I really feel like we were nothing but polite and reasonable up until we were denied crayons, and we remained polite and reasonable immediately after that whole exchange.  That seems like an absolutely insane sentence for one adult to write to another.  Do I have a valid point, or am I just super way out of line here?

I would just drop the entire issue and move on, but Bob Evans is one of the few places that I can safely get a meal with my shellfish allergy, I can comfortably order anything on the menu (outside of the seasonal Lent-deathfish), it’s very close by, and I feel like we really get great value for a dollar when we dine at your establishment.

Last time you sent out some gift certificates.  Please save them this time.  I don’t want free food, I just want a stress-free dining experience.  If you must send gift certificates, can you direct them to a Pittsburgh charity that can give them to people who do perhaps need a free meal?  Thankfully I can put food on the table for my family while many others struggle to do so.  We need to get our butts out on a kids-eat-free promotional night if we want a free meal.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my complaints are trivial.  I realize that some would enjoy any meal regardless of the way in which it was delivered.  What if though, this had been that meal for someone?  What if this was one night out that they looked forward to and it was met with the kind of service that we regularly receive from one apparently disgruntled waitress?  Is this how Bob Evans wants to be perceived?

I plan to blog this adventure also.  I do less of that these days, but this seemed to be appropriately entertaining.  Of course, the names will be omitted or changed.

I also look forward to your response and insight.  Thank you once again for your time and assistance!

Just crayons?

-Eric

https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

me@my.emailaddre.ss

I can’t wait for a response.  Sadly, I see from the Yahoo! mailer daemon that Nate is no longer with Bob Evans.  I think I knew he outgrew them a while back.  I may try to ping it out to a few more people.  I have contacted others at Bob Evans in the past, during my pre-Wordpress days.  I even had someone send me a “safe” list of where things were cooked and what would be OK for me to eat while they had shellfish on the menu.  Overall they have stellar corporate customer service, but we just have this continual issue with a crazy server who reminds me of the mailman in the movie Funny Farm.

Bob Evans - Tuesday Night is Family Night

Tuesday Night is Family Night

When I tip, you tip, we tip. [#Tipping?]


So, I’ve written about tipping at length before.  I won’t get into all of it again, but I have heard the subject come up lately, and I just want to know where I fall.  This is all about discussion.  I want feedback.  How do you tip?  Some questions I’d like answered…

  • Do you tip 20% when out to eat, or are you still at the 80s 15% standard?  (Please don’t say it’s 10%.)
  • Do you round to the nearest dollar or leave exact change?
  • If you only get a slice of pie and a cup of coffee (or less), do you throw percentage out the window and go for a minimum amount?
  • Is it cool to leave the tip on a receipt if paying with a credit card, or does the waiter/waitress think you stiffed them?
  • Do you tip if there’s an automatic 18% gratuity for a large party?
  • Do you tip better (or worse) based on service, or should it be automatic?
  • How much do you tip a pizza guy/girl?
  • Does the pizza tip change if you have more than pizza or a ridiculously large order?
  • Do you adjust tipping a delivery person in inclement weather, on or near a holiday, or on a day like thanksgiving or New Year’s Day when everyone else is ordering out?
  • Is your delivery tipping based on a percentage of the total, or on a flat per-trip fee?
  • Is it cool to leave the tip on a receipt if paying with a credit card, or does the delivery driver think you stiffed them?
  • Do you tip on take-out when you pick it up?
  • Do you tip at Starbucks or a mom n’ pop coffee place?  Is there a difference?
  • If so, is it change, or paper?
  • Do you tip per beer/drink at the bar, or per round?
  • How much do you tip for a $15 or $18 men’s haircut?  How much more for a beard trim or a shave?
  • Who else do you tip that may not be so obvious?  The garbage man?  The mailman?

I try to tip well as with my food allergy I have a small circle of places where we dine out or get delivery with a high level of comfort.  I want to make sure I’m in the right place.

Please, discuss!

As a reminder, you can comment here without a WordPress account if you’re already logged into Facebook or Twitter, just go to town!

Moo.

Moo.

💵 💸 💳 💰

Thanks to @RowdyBBQ for the box in the mail today! #BBQ


If you know me, you know I dig BBQ.  You also probably know that Rowdy BBQ is one of my favorite BBQ joints, if not the favorite.  Different moods & days for different BBQ, right?  I could eat from Rowdy BBQ every day.  Health be damned!

This all started last week when I Instagrammed/Tweeted this:

And I got a reply:

Like I said, the pulled pork was absolutely delicious.  But, I’m not gonna turn down free brisket twice.  What am I, crazy?  So, I emailed them.

Today, the mailman left a nifty surprise on our porch:

Rowdy BBQ - Gift Certificate & BBQ Sauce

Rowdy BBQ – Gift Certificate & BBQ Sauce

Rowdy BBQ - Box in the mail!

Rowdy BBQ – Box in the mail!

Rowdy BBQ - Goodies!

Rowdy BBQ – Goodies!

Rowdy BBQ - Business Card

Rowdy BBQ – Business Card

Thanks to “Rowdy the Rooster” & Steve for taking the time to go way beyond simple customer satisfaction!

Speaking of Rowdy…  I hope he’s only temporarily headless?  I noticed that the famous (infamous?) sign only had hands when I was there.

If you’ve never had the BBQ here, I recommend everything.  Ha ha.  Generally I go with the sampler so I get ribs & chicken or a brisket if I have a somewhat slightly smaller appetite.  The Big Pig is also incredible, pulled pork & cheese sauce on a giant bun.  I also like the pierogies.  Mmm.  I’m going to have to use this gift certificate pretty damn soon.

I look forward to using this sauce at home.  Lately I’ve been using the Yuengling Black & Tan Honey Barbecue sauce, but this will be all kinds of delicious.  I can say though that it can’t be nearly the same as when they cook it.

Thanks again, Rowdy BBQ!

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.

The One Hour Dry Cleaning Myth


Don’t ever go to Century Cleaners on Brookline Blvd. in Brookline.  They’re incredibly rude, unprofessional, and a bunch of false advertisers.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

We had a large amount of things going on this past weekend.  My wife’s grandmother passed away early on Thursday morning, her parents were set to close on their old house (her childhood home) & the new one on Friday, we were helping them move along with some extended family on Saturday, there was the viewing Sunday and the Funeral was Monday.

I had just worn my suit in a good friend’s wedding last Tuesday morning, which is another story entirely… but I needed my suit cleaned.  No one wants to be the smelly kid, & I had some wrinkles on the butt of the jacket.  I wanted it to look sharply pressed for the weekend.  Unfortunately, I only have one suit, and planned to wear it twice this weekend with a different shirt & tie.  With the frequency which I actually wear it, one has suited (pun intended) me well.  Perhaps another is in order.

Bethany had the day off on Friday to process everything going on with her Grandma, her parents’ move, & more… so she decided to use it to get some errands done.  I found what I thought to be a one-hour cleaner or at least same day service cleaners online Thursday night, as Model Cleaners (where regularly take stuff) doesn’t offer a same-day service.

I quickly came up with the Century Cleaners profile at the Dormont-Brookline Patch, and this is the description I read:

Dry cleaning establishments have long been a fixture at 1200 Brookline Boulevard and Century Cleaners has done business in this location for eight years. They offer same day service, as well as alterations, drapery cleaning and rehanging and wedding gown preservation. All of Century’s work is done on the premises.

  • Hours: Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm; Sat, 8am – 2pm
  • Parking: Free lot, On-street: free
  • Services: Alterations, Dry cleaning, Ironing, Leather cleaning

These were among the photos that I saw at the listing…

Century Cleaners - False Advertising

Century Cleaners’ Blatant False Advertising (Photo Credit: Annette Bassett Sanchez, Dormont-Brookline Patch)

So, that little sign on the side advertises “SAME DAY SERVICE” pretty largely, right?  The neon sign right in the middle of the name above the door boasts “1 HR. DRY CLEANING“, right?

They clearly had no intention of providing either service on Friday.

My wife was there in the 9:00 hour, and asked about the 1 hour service.  This was the first of several local errands for the day.  Right away she was met with resistance, and asked what the suit was needed for.  At this point, what does it matter?  Whether it’s needed for a job interview, a funeral, a wedding, a TV appearance, for first contact with aliens at midnight, or just lounging around the house… urgent completion was requested.

She then asked about same-day service.  Again, “When do you need it by?”

Again, what does it matter?  Whether we’re meeting the pope and the president this afternoon or going to shoot a porn movie, what business is it of theirs?  She requested one hour service, is now deferring to same day.  It was 9:00am and the were open until 6:00pm.  The sign boasts that they do the work there & don’t send it out.  Surely that would be enough time to clean a suit… even if there were many other urgent cleanings ahead of us in line?

I could almost see being denied same-day service at 4:00 or 5:00pm, but 9:00am?  That’s just ludicrous.

Already harrowed from everything going on, and in shock from being argued with by someone behind the counter at a service-oriented business, she told them that we needed the suit for a funeral on Saturday, and they negotiated to a pickup first thing in the morning.  She asked what time they opened on Saturday and they said 7:00am, so that was that.  We thought.

We were to be at her parent’s old house by 7:30am that Saturday to start to help with the move, so 7:00 was cutting it close.  We stopped & bought donuts, got some ice for the water in the cooler, and were parked on the street in front of the dry cleaners’ at 6:55am.  A woman arrived shortly before seven, propped the door open, & went inside.  I gave her a few minutes to get settled then walked in shortly after 7:00am, ticket in hand.

The woman was in the back of the room behind miles of clothing hung on racks, and I had a few minutes to soak in my surroundings.  Paint and/or wall-paper of several different layers was peeling from the walls.  There is a cluttered desk by the front window that must serve as the office… not sure why it’s not behind the counter or the counter isn’t adjusted to make it fit.  It seemed rather unclean for being a professional cleaning service.

The woman wove her way up front and greeted me friendly enough.  I handed over my ticket and declared that I was there to pick up my suit that had been dropped off yesterday.  She looked at my ticket, and then at a ticket hanging by itself on a wire behind the counter next to a few articles of clothing that held their tickets.  She looked at the ticket hanging by itself, then back at me.  She asked what it was for.

I was exasperated at this point.  What does what it’s for have to do with anything?  Maddeningly irrelevant questions and repetition of questions are the two things that get under my skin instantly.  I remarked that it was for a funeral.  She said “oh, it’s not for a wedding?”

This has nothing to do with the location of my suit, or why its matching ticket was hanging alone on a wire behind the counter.  I reaffirmed that it was not for a wedding, but a funeral.  My answers undoubtedly became short and quiet at this point, but I remained polite.  Seeming to be the only one capable of asking relevant questions I asked “So, where’s my suit?”

At this point, the phone rang and she was asking someone about the suit.  I told her that my wife had been there at 9:00am the previous day, had requested one hour, then same day service… and was told the earliest we could get it was upon the shop opening in the morning.  She asked what time I was told we could get it.

Wow.  I reiterated that we were told it would be ready at 7:00am.  I’m sure I was visibly agitated at this point.  The woman looked at me like I was a bomb about to go off.

After a hushed conversation with the mystery person on the other end of the phone line, she disappeared into the mass of clothes hanging behind the counter.  She eventually popped back out with my suit.  It wasn’t on a hanger.  It was much more wrinkled than it was when Bethany had dropped it off.  It was apparently on the side of a bin or on the floor somewhere in the back overnight.

She stuttered as she told me that it hadn’t been cleaned and asked when I needed it by.

Really?

I said, “Well, yesterday.”

If I was going to be asked stupid questions, I was going to give stupid answers.

Pointing to the sign in the window, I asked how they could advertise 1 hour service if they clearly have no intentions of providing such a service.

The woman muttered something about it being an “orange” ticket and it meant it was a rush… but then it trailed off. She never even acknowledged my question.  She picked the pinned tags off of my suit and placed the rumpled mess on the counter.  I wasn’t offered any solutions.  I wasn’t offered an apology.  I wasn’t offered a free service.  I wasn’t offered a rush cleaning & delivery.  I wasn’t offered anything but my suit in a ball of wrinkles.

I never raised my voice.  I never uttered a curse word.  I never asked her how she was going to rectify the situation… because at this point I had absolutely no confidence in any service that they could possibly hope to provide.  The only acceptable thing at this point would have been for them to pay for one hour service at some other dry cleaner… but I’m sure that wouldn’t be an option to them.  They could offer me free dry cleaning for life at this point and it wouldn’t get me to ever drop anything off there.

Even if they had offered to clean it, they closed at 2:00pm, and with the move happening on the northern end of town, there was no way I could be back by then.  I mean, we had to go through a tunnel and over a bridge.  This is insanity in Pittsburgh.

I got back into the car and uttered something to the effect of “I can’t believe it, they didn’t clean my suit.”  Although, it was peppered with and punctuated by expletives.  My wife looked at me like I had just told her that I was Batman.  It was a look of utter disbelief.  She knew I wasn’t joking because I was quiet.  Generally I get quite quiet when I’m angry.  She said that she shouldn’t have left it there in the first place… but what were we to do?  They were the only place that advertised 1 hour or even same day service… even if they didn’t deliver.

We swung over to another local cleaner in Dormont.  They don’t advertise 1 hour cleaning or even same day service… but I thought it may be worth a shot.  They didn’t open until 7:30, and it was still only about a quarter after.  I had my wife call her dad because he had told us of a place in the north hills that does do same-day service as advertised.  That was the direction we were heading, so it was probably the only chance I had of getting a clean suit at this point.

My father-in-law recommended Don Royal Cleaners on Mt. Royal Blvd. in Shaler.  That’s where we went.  It wasn’t far from where they were moving, so it wasn’t too out of the way to make the drop-off.  My wife called the cleaners as we were en route to make sure they they did indeed offer same day service and what their hours were.  They were open.  We stopped.  The place was spotless & had elegant marble counter tops.  The girl at the register was friendly.  She took my wrinkled suit and smiled when we asked what time we could get it back that day.  I think they told us 2:00 or 3:00pm.  They were open until 8:00pm, so that gave us plenty of time to help her parents with the move & to swing back down to Shaler on the way home to pickup my hopefully clean & pressed suit.

The move went off without a hitch, and the suit was picked up without a problem.  We attended the viewing & funeral in Fairchance on Sunday & Monday and I was looking like a car salesman or like I was about to knock on your door & hand you The Book of Mormon or a Watchtower pamphlet.

Perhaps I should have had my weekend itinerary typed up for Century Cleaners?  Was it my error?  I could have pinned it to the suit or put it in the pocket.  I’m going to have to work on some amusing answers if I’m ever asked such irrelevant questions in the future.  What’s the suit for?  It’s for a a con scheme where I have to appear well-dressed and wealthy in order to swindle someone out of their money.  When do I need it by?  1:15am, on October 25th, 1985.

When you order a pizza, the person taking your order doesn’t ask what it’s for or when you need it by.  Can you imagine calling a pizza joint and them asking “Is this for a birthday party?  Can you pick it up tomorrow?”

How can these places advertize that they’re “1 hour” or “same day service” when they clearly can’t handle it, or don’t even intend to?  Do they think you’re padding when you need something by?  It shouldn’t matter.  You should get it when you ask for it to be done.  You’re paying them to provide a service.

I’ve run into this years before with a cleaner in Murrysville (They have a different name/owner now, so I won’t call them out).  They too never answered the one-hour question.  They just stared at me blankly.  I believe that was just a shirt & tie… not even a full suit.

Is this a conspiracy?  Does it involve the Freemasons & the Illuminati?  Should we call Brad Meltzer and the History Channel?

I see from searching online that another place nearby does offer same-day service… Has anyone dealt with Suburban Dry Cleaners?  They look rather reputable and they have a nice clean website… something Century Cleaners lacked.  Then again, I can’t find one for Don Royal either, and they were great.

So, how should they have handled the situation?  What should they have done as compensation?

Should I write them a letter or send them this blog?  Should I write & ask why they don’t provide 1-hour service?  I could call, but that’s not entertaining for the reader unless I can learn to record my phone calls.

Should I just put up a bad review on every review site I can find?

Should I complain to the Better Business Bureau?  How does that even work?  It’s only the cleaning of a suit, it’s not like they lost or destroyed it… or it was a thousand-dollar service.  It’s just incredibly aggravating.

Should I write to other dry cleaners and ask them how they would have handled such a situation?

Has this ever happened to you at the dry cleaner, or anywhere else?

How would you handle or how have you handled this situation?

Does 1 hour dry cleaning even exist anywhere?  How can they get away with advertising a service that they can’t or won’t provide?

Tipping is not a city in China


Tipping is not a city in China

Has anyone checked? Maybe it really is.

“Tipping is not a city in China” always struck me as amusing since the first time I saw it written in sharpie on a piece of paper and taped to the tip jar residing at the Misfits merchandise table in the late 90s or early 2000s.

I have seen the subject of tipping come up repeatedly lately on Facebook , in the news, and other sources (like actual conversations face-to-face with real live people).  I’ve probably even talked about it here before. Check out this snarky yet brutally honest article by a blogger (& waiter?) that I Re-Tweeted +1’d pinned shared on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Who sets the standards?  The people being tipped (tipees?)?  Their bosses?  The tippers?  Society at large?

The whole process has always confused and bewildered me (& will most likely always continue to).  I was raised thinking that for a waiter/waitress that 15% is a good tip.  For the past several years, through the magic of the internet, I have been told that 20% is a good tip.  So, 20% is the new 15%.  I’m not sure if this varies per area, or if this is all over the US.  I’m not sure if everyone agrees with this, or just your server.  I know some people that still think 10% is acceptable, and it puckers my butt-cheeks.

Things I know:

  • It’s crazy to get out the tip calculator & lave a tip to the penny.
  • In fact, don’t leave change.
  • Waitresses sometimes have to tip busboys, bartenders, and other employees.
  • A tip is expected, even for bad service… just a little one.

Things I don’t know:

  • Say I’m at Bob Evans and I don’t have any cash on me… I tip with the card.  Does my waitress think I stiffed her?
  • When will they just pay waitresses & waiters what they deserve?
  • Is “keep the change” acceptable if it’s an adequate tip, or is that just a pain to figure out?

I always try to leave decent tips, simply because I don’t have a large circle of places to go where I feel comfortable.  (You know about the deathfish, right?)  I’m sure I’ll be back if I find a place that I like.  Why not tip well?  Hopefully I’ll be treated well the next time, & the next time, & the next time..

Here’s where it gets weird…

One waitress at a Diner could come across all of these issues:

Breakfast

Cup of Coffee

Lunch Special

Casual Dinner

Meal Total

$17.95

$1.95

$6.50

$28.40

# of People

2

1

1

2

Table Trips

6

6

3

3

Refills

2

5

0

1

Hours There

1

½

1

20% Tip

$3.59

39₵

$1.30

$5.68

So, in all of these situations, is 20% rule appropriate?  Is it the “no less than $5” rule?  Is there a “no less than $5” rule? Do you get $6 for dinner because of the price of the meal, despite less trips than say a breakfast where you get tons of cheap sides?  What do you tip when you drank a butt-load of coffee?

I used to work night shift on an assembly line at Sony & a bunch of us would hang out at Eat ‘n Park in New Stanton with the late-night UPS employees.  I know I’d always get free stuff… bowls of soup, drinks, grilled stickies…  But I always tipped to include for the amount for that item.  We were hanging out for endless hours, and tables weren’t turning over, so it was only appropriate.

What about a trip to Sonic?

  The Carhop

The Drive Thru

Takes your order:

☒ No

☑ Yes

Reads It back:

? Sometimes

☑ Yes

Takes Your money:

? Sometimes

☑ Yes

Walks (or skates) out of the building:

☑ Yes

☒ No

Hands it to you:

☑ Yes

☑ Yes

You tip the carhop, but probably don’t tip at the drive through… the only real thing that they do differently is exit the building.  For that they get a tip?  (OK, rollerskating carhops deserve a mad tip.)  Why doesn’t the drive-through person get a tip?

How & what do you generally tip?  Do you have any personal guidelines?  What were you taught?  Percentage or straight dollar amount?  Always?  Never?  On Holidays?  Who taught you?

  • The pizza guy (or girl) (…or other food delivery.)
  • Haircut / Wash
  • Car-wash (Magic ash type drying people, and/or fundraiser.)
  • Six Pack Shop / Beer Distributor
  • Doorman
  • Cab / Limo driver
  • Person who takes your bags at the airport
  • Bellhop
  • Furniture delivery
  • Mailman / UPS / FedEx
  • Movers
  • Garbage man
  • Coffee shop or ice cream parlor with a tip jar
  • Touring band’s merchandise table
  • Any sandwich shop, deli, or pizza place where you “eat in” that has a tip jar.
  • Gas station attendant?
  • A masseuse?
  • Anyone I forgot?

If there’s a jar asking for tips…

  • Are you more or less likely to tip?
  • What if it’s funny?
  • What if it’s begging?
  • What if it’s “whiny” or demanding?

I just really find the subject interesting & I’d like to get a discussion going in the comments here.  GO!

(I fully expect my friend Laurel to rant here in the comments, please don’t let her do it alone!  Let’s engage in intelligent discussion.)

TIP JAR

Netflix: “Oops”.


A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint.

Image via Wikipedia

Searched for this after some buzz on Twitter:

“We underestimated the appeal of the single web site and a single service,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He quickly added: “We greatly underestimated it.”

You think?  Apparently a lot of people thought the same things that I did about the whole plan.  The whole article is interesting, and can be found here: Netflix Abandons Plan to Rent DVDs on Qwikster

Maybe now they can work on deals to stream more new movies… and a better back-catalog of older movies.  (Like the entire Star Trek movie series?)

I still love that Oatmeal cartoon.  I hope they do another one.