Saturday, November 11, 2017

Taco Salads-2017 Local Reviews

If you've been following us on Twitter (@TheBusinessSnob) you know that I am a doughnut expert. But you may not know that I also enjoy a good taco salad. I have experienced taco salads from Skyline Chili, Wendy's, Taco Casa (Cincinnati), Jason's Deli, and Taco Bell. I'm sure there are others but these are the ones that stand out in my mind.

I've decided to rank them for anyone who cares:

#5- Wendy's: This salad is a little bland for my taste. The chili doesn't have much flavor and tastes like tomato sauce, to me.  I'm also not a huge fan of their cheese; which tastes like imitation. Don't get me wrong, if I'm in a pinch and  really want a taco salad, this one will get the job done. I do like the fact that they offer a half size for a few pennies less.
Full Size: 660 calories | 32 g. fat (Menu.Wendys.com)


#4- Jason's Deli: Jason's is known for being healthy/all natural. The fact that this salad is supposed to be "clean" (nothing artificial), is why I will likely order it again. I get the lighter portion chicken chili salad which doesn't fill me up. The lettuce is crisp and cold, which I like. The taco chips are crunchy and lightly salted. If you want something light and "clean", this is probably your best option. But watch out for the calories and fat...
Taco Salad-Chili-Lighter Portion | 870 calories | 50 g. fat (JasonsDeli.com)

#3- Taco Bell: Although I typically eat all natural home cooked food 90% of the time, this taco salad is my go-to cheap comfort food.  The "old school" version is loaded with beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, taco chips, salsa...all in a crispy edible taco bowl! The updated version has rice, which I request on the side. Salsa and sour cream come on the side too, which gives me more portion control.
Taco Bell Fiesta Salad (beef) | 760 calories | 39 g. fat (TacoBell.com)

#2-Skyline Chili: My mom was eating a three-way chili when she went into labor with me and I haven't looked back since! Their nacho salad is superb. It is small, simple, a little pricey but worth it.The salad consists of crisp lettuce topped with warm spicy chili (on the side), mounds of orange stringy cheese on a pile of salty taco chips. However, looking at their recent menu I don't see it offered anymore. I hope this is just an oversight.
Skyline Nacho Salad | 570 calories | 33 g. fat (Skylinechili.com)

#1 Taco Casa: Whenever we are in Cincinnati, my goal is to stop at Taco Casa. I've been eating their taco salad since the 90's. They have a similar salad to Skyline, but what sets them apart are their chopped onion, pinto beans, creamy ranch dressing, and thick golden taco chips. I have never had a taco salad with so much flavor. It also comes in 3 sizes!
couldn't find dependable nutrition info | who cares | enjoy your food! (tacocasacinti.com)




Sunday, November 5, 2017

Whole Foods- Easton

We have been  long time shoppers at Whole Foods, way before it was trendy to shop there. We actually used to spend a small fortune each month shopping there about a decade ago, when the prices were crazy high and everyone in there was vegan. We only visit rarely now. But my hubby has swore them off pretty much since we had a stupid run in with a guy behind the meat counter.

Back in the day, the Whole Foods in Dublin used to have a lot of comp services. They would allow you to taste things throughout the store (like really, you could literally open up a  bag of chips and taste them to see if you liked them). They would even take your purchased meat and season it or grill it up for you! We thought that these services still existed and would be available at Easton. We actually had just asked someone to season our chicken cutlets at Easton a few months prior, and it was gladly done.

Well, on this particular day the meat guy looked at us like the request was crazy and a waist of his time. He had a horrible attitude before he even addressed us. I believe he left us standing at the counter while he finished his conversation with a co-worker.

So after an irritated greeting, my husband asks him to season something for us. He reluctantly takes the food from my husband and then says, it's going to be an extra $3 to season this. By this time, my husband has had it with his bad attitude, and explains how this service has always been free in the past. The meat guy argues with him, but before it escalates, we just walk away (real business snobs never argue: we call managers, owners, and head quarters).

We immediately leave the store and drive down the street to Fresh Thyme in Gahanna, which we like better anyway. While standing in front of Fresh Thyme, I decide to call Whole Foods to speak with management and tell her where we are and why we aren't spending money in her store. She apologized profusely and said knew exactly who we were talking about in the meat department, as if he had a reputation for being rude. She asked if there was anything she could do to get us to come back, but we told her no.

 My husband has avoided Whole Foods ever since.

It didn't help that a few months prior, we purchased a very pricey crab cake that smelled like ammonia when we opened it (within 15 minutes of purchasing it from their fresh sea food department). It was obviously rotten when we bought it. My husband took it right back to the store. We were offered new cakes, but we just wanted our $9 back. We haven't purchased sea food from Whole Foods since.

Amazon, you have your work cut out for you. Good luck.




Done with Redbox

My hubby has never been a fan of Redbox, and we swore them off for a while due to the fact that rentals aren't necessarily 24 hrs (they're due back by 9pm the next night no matter what time you rent it the day before).  But somehow our kids always get us to rent from them again. So last week I had a coupon for .75 off my first night's rental and decided to rent something for my son. We returned the dvd on time and everything seemed as it should.

When I looked at my debit card statement, they charged me two separate fees. One was correct and I had no idea what the other one was. I called them and the agent told me that I failed to return a dvd on time, 3 months prior, and they decided to go ahead and charge my card for the late fee.

I had never received a notice that any dvd wasn't returned on time. I am a stickler for making sure those things get turned in on time (because I'm SO thrifty), or at least preparing myself for the ridiculous late fee. But this had been 3 months ago and there was no reason for me to think that we owed Redbox anything. I don't know many businesses that will allow you to owe a late fee for 3 months, without a word. They even continued to send promo coupons and bait me to rent from them. Now, I see why.

They apparently waited for me to rent another dvd and then used my card to pay off some late fee that I was totally unaware of, from 3 months ago. I didn't even bother to take the time to see what dvd they were referring to. I explained what a dirty business practice they had and told them they would never get another penny of my money.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Velvet Ice Cream Factory-- Utica, Ohio

The hubby and I went on a little date the other day to a peach farm in Newark, Ohio. It was a place his co-workers told him about called, Legend Hills Orchard.

We didn't do any picking but we stopped in their cute little store and purchased a few small snacks. I bought two black licorice candy sticks that were exactly what I was craving that day. They tasted like heaven and were only .20 each.

My husband bought a mini apple pie and a package of garlic cheddar biscuit mix.

I think we spent less than $5.00. The prices were very reasonable and the service was friendly, but it was sadly underwhelming considering we visit the immaculate Lynd Fruit Farm several times a year.

Lynd is the place to go if you like fruit farms, in my opinion.

As we exited the shop, in search of our next adventure, we decided to follow the billboard signs to Velvet Ice Cream.

This is the gem of Utica.

This is more than an ice cream shop. There is an ice cream factory with free tours and demos, an old time ice cream parlor where they serve unique and traditional flavors, a cafe that serves hot food, a large mill, hiking trails, a pond, picnic tables, and a playground.

It felt like we had traveled to another state, but it had been right in our own backyard all these years.

While I have no complaints about this place, the only thing I would suggest is to either pack a lunch or plan to purchase a meal because you'll want to stay for a while. Go on a sunny day so you can enjoy the beautiful grounds.

Velvet, we'll be back!

Walgreens--FSA Fiasco

I promise I don't go into stores looking for problems.

I was in Walgreens the other day, shopping for sunscreen. This was my second trip to this particular Walgreens for personables. The last trip ended in frustration as I tried to use my Flexible Spending Account to pay for my purchase (which I knew was totally fine). I chalked it up to poor employee training and hoped I would have a different cashier this time.

At check-out, I put my items on the counter and  politely told the cashier that I was going to use my FSA. I explained to her that the last time I used my account in their store, we ended up having to ring up each item separately or the transaction would decline.  She cut me off in mid sentence and stated rudely, "We don't have control over transactions declining."

What?

I explained again: "Well, if you ring every item up separately, it won't decline".

She repeated that they don't have control over FSA accounts. She tried to tell me that Walgreens has no way of knowing what items qualify and which ones don't. I explained that the Walgreens website has a list of FSA qualifying items. I also pointed out that if she looked at the transaction screen, the qualifying items had "FSA" listed next to it.

She shrugged off my statements and began ringing up my items as one transaction. Of course, my payment declined.

I was growing warm with impatience, as she tried to tell me there was nothing they could do to help.

I asked her was she the manager because her attitude was horrible and I couldn't believe someone so unprofessional was in charge.

She was.

I once again explained to her that I had already been in her store a few weeks prior and had the same issue. I told her once again how to resolve it.  She looked past me at the other customers waiting in line and addressed them with deep sorrow, "I'm so sorry. I will call someone else to help you".

Now I was angry.

If she had just done what I asked from the beginning, we could've been done.

She had to go to a different cash register for some reason, to restart the transaction. As she rang up my items one by one with a frustrated unapologetic attitude, I stated how badly they needed to be trained on FSA accounts and that it was not the customer's burden to know how they work.

Each of my transactions went through this time.

A 2 minute transaction took 15 minutes because I knew more than the manager. Story of my life.

Walgreens: train your staff on FSA transactions. There are too many other stores I can spend my pre-taxed dollars in.

Friday, August 11, 2017

IKEA- One Banana Didn't Spoil the Bunch

This will be brief and to the point. Our family ended up in the new IKEA in Polaris on Father's Day somehow. Wasn't planned. Just sort of happened that way. As we stepped into the building, I was immediately drawn in by the low prices, organized showroom, and hustle and bustle of 30 somethings who looked like they knew exactly how it all worked.

While everyone whipped around us with their weird looking carts, we crept through the large warehouse, hoping we didn't get lost.

But of course we did.

It didn't take long to find someone in a blue shirt to help us. I explained to her that we needed help getting back to the front of the store. In an irritated and frustrated voice (yes, both) she basically asked if we were stupid, "Do you know how you came in? Just go back that way."

Blank stare.

We proceeded to explain to her that if we knew how to just go back the way we came, we wouldn't be lost. She angrily put down whatever item she was stocking and proceeded to speed walk to the route we needed to take. In her fury she left us in the dust. We became separated by a crowd as she faded into a sea of shoppers.

Thankfully we bumped into another employee who had already helped us earlier. She asked were we okay. We explained the situation and were kindly escorted to the entrance. She was our IKEA angel.

Overall, we liked IKEA and even made a purchase that day. We plan to eat at their restaurant during our next visit.

Pros: Immaculate showroom,  low prices, better than expected quality
Cons:  None. One banana didn't spoil the bunch... this time.





Are These Businesses Taking Advantage of Kids?

We've had this incident happen 3 times at 3 different retailers. Cashiers appearing to take advantage of our teen daughter when she shops alone.

Our daughter was dining at Rusty Bucket with some friends. When it was time to pay her bill she gave the waitress, let's say $10. She was supposed to receive .20 cents back. The waitress told her, "We aren't able to give coins back as change."  Apparently, all of her friends were told this.

What? Excuse me?

My daughter came home and told us what happened, just as a regular part of her story of how dinner was with her friends. Apparently teens these days don't care much about change. I overheard a mother talking about how her daughter throws her leftover change on the ground, like trash.

Well we're teaching our child the value of a coin and we explained to her that people are required to give her change back, even if it's a penny.

We called Rusty Bucket and spoke with a manager. She was very sympathetic and offered us a free meal the next time we came by. Unfortunately, this happened to our daughter more than once at this same establishment and her friends complained that it happened to them frequently.

Another incident involved Aldi grocery store. Our daughter was buying something and when it was time to get change back, you guessed it. The cashier asked if she wanted it back! By this point, our daughter knew enough to look at the cashier like she was crazy, and she politely held out her hand to receive her just due.

We never called to complain about that one.

This last incident involved tax free shopping day. We purchased several items from the discount store, Five Below, with no problem. The transaction was smooth and no tax was charged. When we sent our daughter in for something else, a few hours later, she was charged tax! We literally couldn't believe it.  We had to go back into the store and go through the hassle of a refund. No apology. No explanation at all.

We wish we could say this has taught our daughter to pay attention to her transactions, but she still comes out of stores with the wrong change way too often. We're not sure if businesses are taking advantage of her youth or her absent mindedness. That will all change, as soon as it's her own money she's spending and not ours.  We're certain.