Saturday, February 1, 2014

G. Michaels Bistro & Bar


This now happens to be one of me and my honey's favorite date night spots: as long as date night is Mon-Fri 4:30-7pm. This is when it goes DOWN at G.Michaels via their happy hour! My MR. took me there almost a year ago, and I forgot to blog about it, so here it finally is. Located in German Village (Columbus,Ohio), I instantly thought parking would be an issue..it wasn't. It may have been because it was rainy and it was at the beginning of happy hour; near 4:30. Needless to say, we found a parking space in the ally right next to the bistro and quickly slid in out of the rain, while a young valet held the door open for me. The quaint dark restaurant was snug and comfortable, with people seated close enough to share a smile or exchange a few kind words but far enough away to talk privately with the person you came with. I immediately dipped into the bathroom to wash my hands (which I often do) and remember how much I loved the mirror. Ladies know why a good bathroom mirror is a bonus for any establishment!
When I returned to the table, the Mr. informed me that small plates were only $5 and, if I remember correctly, certain wine selections were $5 as well. We ordered 4 of their small plates and two glasses of red wine. Our waiter was courteous, but to the point. He didn't ask us our life story or try to win us with his personality, but he did his job - which I appreciated. I am not much of a talker so it was nice. He was all about the food. He explained exactly what we would be served and how it would be prepared. I honestly don't remember everything we ordered but I remember shrimp and grits and pork belly. I devoured everything he brought to our table. One glass of wine was perfect for the amount of food we ordered and we walked out of there having spent under $40.



Absolutely no complaints about this place. I can't wait to go back.

G. Michael's Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 14, 2013

IHOP


I know that you're thinking nothing could be wrong at your precious IHOP! Well, neither did we. As usual, my hubby and I were out and about and decided to stop in at the IHOP on Polaris Parkway in Westerville. We've frequented this IHOP several times, including once during their grand opening. The service, food, and atmosphere was superb and we've been back maybe four times since. Well, each time we've been, the service has been progressively worse. This time around, I HAD to blog about it. My hubby insisted. It was a weekday morning around 11am and the restaurant was quiet and warm on that brisk December day. We hurried in, expecting to be seated quickly, but were asked our last name so we could be wait listed. We sat in the empty waiting lounge for about 5 minutes when we were escorted to our table. Our waitress was a young bright eyed girl who offered us coffee. We both placed our orders when she brought our drinks: I ordered pancakes, sausage, hash browns, and eggs. We waited and waited in this fairly empty restaurant for 20 minutes, as our food arrived in phases. We received our pancakes and french toast first. My pancakes were noticeably smaller than I last remembered. I wondered if it was because I had declined the specialty pancakes that came with my order and asked for regular buttermilk pancakes. I asked the waitress if they made my pancakes smaller because I didn't get the specialty pancakes and she said no. Okay, no harm done. Our hash browns, meat, and eggs came out last and the hash browns were close to charbroiled. The waitress apologized for the delay in service but stated that the chef wanted to make sure everything was hot. Everything was indeed hot but the hash browns were overdone (see exhibit A).
EXHIBIT A:


The waitress brought new hash browns within a few minutes, cooked to perfection. The manager came out and asked how our meal was, starring at the burnt hash browns in front of him and apologized. Our bill reflected our inconvenience and one of our meals was complimentary. We will definitely keep them in our rotation of breakfast joints but they're being watched with a close eye.
The food is better than average and the service is acceptable. The wait time is unacceptable and management needs to closely monitor this and make adjustments.
Overall, we still luv IHOP!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

CVS Pharmacy & Their Vitamins


Went to CVS about a month ago and while I was in their picking up a prescription I saw that their brand of kid vitamins was on sale.



They were buy 1 get 1 free so I quickly grabbed 2 and darted to the check-out. Okay, my kids went through the first bottle just fine. They definitely are not comparable to Flintstone Vit's in taste but they were a lot cheaper (2 -60 count bottles for $5.49). They offer the same vitamin rerequirements and come in little animal shapes instead of cartoon characters. The kids only complained the first day about them being 'knock off' then after that everything was cool. Fastforward 30 days later and its time to open the 2nd bottle. I go to open it and the safety seal is already pulled up. I am obsessive about safety seals!! I have taken countless bottles of Walmart brand canola oil (GreatValue) back to the store because the seal always seems to be broken. I just recently took back a bottle of parmasean cheese back to Kroger because it had been opened. These type of hassles take up way too much of my time.
Anyhow, it took me a few days..or maybe weeks..before I actually made my way back to CVS. I, of course, was slightly paranoid that the kids would catch the flu because they weren't eating their vitamins. But thank God my faith is in Him and not vitamins. So, when I went back to the store the cashier tells me to just exchange it myself and don't worry about fooling with a transaction. Being in a hurry, this sounded like a good idea. I swapped bottles and left. On a side note..this rushing out of stores and always being in a hurry is why this stuff happens to me. I need to slow down and think things through, look at receipts, and check safety seals. Okay..so I got the bottle in the car and tried to open it...the safety seal was opened again! I think it opened when I unscrewed the top but there was no way of knowing for sure. So, too embarrassed to go back in the store, because this lady had just tried to make the transaction so easy and painless..and now here I was being complicated and paranoid, I just couldn't do it (I know, I have serious people pleasing issues sometimes). So the kids went another few days without vit's while I figured out a game plan.
I thought about going to a different CVS to exchange them, but now I didn't have a receipt for this particular bottle and it would've looked as if I stole them. So I went back to the original store and the same lady was working. She remembered me and said to just go get another bottle. She did says something disturbing..she said that I wasn't the only person who had come in to exchange those vitamins. Apparently, CVS had an issue with the safety seals and didn't pull them from the shelves. Shame on you. The final bottle I received was tightly sealed and satisfactory. I do feel I should have been offered my money back or some type of compensation for my repeated trips to the store. It definitely made me' less fond of CVS, but I'll still shop there...for now.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boughettos Soul Food


Okay my mom and dad recently visited a restaurant they found through Groupon called Boughettos. When she told me the name of the spot, I thought she was saying it wrong. Me: "Mom do you know what boughetto means? Mom: "No" Me: "Ummm..where is this place located?" Mom: "Near downtown" Me: "Mom, boughetto is a mix between bourgeois and ghetto. It means like, ghetto fabulous." Mom: puzzled look on her face.

This conversation was before her and my dad actually made the trek across town to 'Boughettos Soul Food Restaurant' in what they described as a scary, desserted, part of the "hood". Okay, let me say... I grew up on "Alabama Fish" in Over the Rhine (Cincinnati) so I know some of the best food comes from the "hood" and I love it! But when you think you're going to a nice sit down restaurant and you're going to a "hole in the wall" in the hood, that is not thebusinesssnob [dot] com! On top of being misled about the ambiance, the food wasn't even good. They were informed that the restaurant was out of dessert and that the mac n' cheese was usually made with "better" cheese (apparently, it had a layer of American cheese on top instead of cheddar). Since my parents used a Groupon (which was 2 dinners for $11), they were not allowed to get their food to go. Even though they were able to get a to-go box, my mom was leary about eating the left overs and they decided to throw them out.
My mom said the service was okay but they were the only 2 eating in the restaurant. It was uncomfortable and they were ready to leave as soon as they got there.
Now, since I love to support small businesses, I sincerely hope that Boughettos is able to class it up a bit, and put a better foot forward. The purpose of their business is to help women who have been victimized by human trafficking, so I would love to see them succeed.
Business Advice: Revamp the business plan. Find a good business manager who can help improve the ambiance and organization so that it is a clean, relaxed atmosphere with quick accurate service. Properly plan out menus so that running out of food is never an issue. Once you get a reputation for running out of food, it is hard to break. Consider making your establishment carry-out only,and providing a drive thru window if possible.
Boughettos Facebook

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lycos/Angelfire


Okay. This blog may very well be about all of the negative experiences we have with businesses, locally and abroad. I can't make it be what it's not or do what it dont!
I have to say, I couldn't wait to write today's blog about Lycos/Angelfire. My typing fingers have been itching all Labor Day weekend...
So, I had 3 websites with www.angelfire.com back in the mid 90's when the internet was just gaining popularity. I was actually a self-taught html queen. But I guess that's irrelevant. Anyway, over the years I got tired of having these outdated websites pop up everytime my name was "googled" so I decided to delete them. I deleted two of them with no problem...logged in and deleted them. The third account is where the trouble began.
I logged in and tried to delete but was given a message that said my account was premium and I first had to unsubscribe from premium service before I could delete my account. My account is not premium, but I clicked on the link they provided for me to "unsubscribe from premium service" anyway. That link took me to an order form where I could ONLY upgrade to a more expensive plan. There was no cancel option.
After 20 minutes of trying, I realized that I had to contact customer service. Since I didn't technically have a premium account, I was unable to talk to them via telephone. Yes, you read that correctly. So, I had to email someone. The customer service agent basically tried to convince to me keep my free account open and would not close my account, even after I gave him the information he requested. Below is a transcript of my email convo:

Hi ******, Thank you for contacting Lycos. I suggest to keep your account active without cancelling the account, as it is FREE. As an alternative you may edit or delete the content from the web pages. If you still wish to close this account, please provide us the following details for authentication, so that we can verify and close the account. Security question:What is your mother's middle name? State: Zip Code: Country: Date of Birth (MM/DD/YYYY): Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance. Have a great day! Thank you, R*****

My response:

I provided the requested info and then stated:
I don't understand why I need to give you all this info..if the account is free and I know my password thats all I should need to close it. I don't care that it's free, it's from a long time ago and I want it closed. Please close immediately.

Lycos Response:

Hi ******, Thank you for your patience. Unfortunately we cannot close your account without authentication. So I request you provide the required information, so that we can verify and close your account. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance. Have a great day! Thank you, ******

My response:

I sent you the requested info. Your system is faulty and says I have a premium account when I dont..fix your system and then I can close the account on my own by logging in and closing it like I've closed 2 others.

NO RESPONSE FROM LYCOS

My final response:

I have already sent the information you requested. Either close this account, fix your system so that I can close it myself, or I will be reporting to the Better Business Bureau.

Business Advice: None. I predict Lycos/Angelfire will be out of the website business soon enough.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tombstone Pizza


I promise this blog is not all about my bad experiences with businesses...but hey, I also cannot tell a lie. Many of the experiences I've had have not been positive and I think it's because customer service has just declined drastically overall...everywhere.

So, Tombstone pizza used to be my kids favorite store bought pizza. It was cheap, quick, and good. We bought one a few months ago that had brown pepperoni on it. I honestly didn't freak out about it and thought maybe it was just a little freezer burned or something. I went ahead and cooked it but as the kids took their first bite I felt uneasy. I looked at the packaging to check the expiration date and couldn't find one. I only found a set of random numbers that looked like they were a secret code. So, I told the kids to stop eating and I called Kraft Foods. The person I spoke with decoded the numbers and concluded that this pizza was expired!! It was 6 months passed the best buy date. He, of course, apologized and said he would send out free coupons. This was about 6 months ago and I still haven't received the coupons. My grocer said that the vendor that delivers Tombstone is an independent rep and they are responsible for making sure all products are fresh (basically, they made it clear that they weren't at fault). We're done with Tombstone pizza.

Business Advice: Hire people who are equipped to properly compensate disgruntled customers. Teach them to apologize profusely and assure that their complaint matters. Stop putting secret expiration dates on your product.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Lofts


Today's review is of the fancy pants hotel chain (By SPG) called "The Lofts". First let me say that I am no longer a fan of SPG hotel chains. My family and I only stayed at one because we had racked up so many points from disappointing experiences with them. Well, at 9000 points we had enough for 2 very cheap nights at "The Lofts" in National Harbor, VA (right outside of DC). The surrounding area of the hotel was more than expected: scenic view of the harbor, fine dining and shopping, boardwalk, and activities. Everything was within walking distance, which was great because parking was $11/night in the garage.

Although this hotel was clean and new...it was cold. The "green" ambiance they were going for came across as cheap and plain. I am used to feeling warm and comfortable in my hotel while I"m on vacation. This was too basic to be comfortable. The floors are made of stone and everything is extremely compact. While the lobby was nice, featuring a large rooftop patio with fire pit, the sound of "Tupac" rapping about his mom was not what I wanted to hear while relaxing poolside with the family.

The staff was friendly enough, but nothing extraordinary. A young lady did help us with directions to a local IHOP one morning. Other than that, service was mediocre. We ordered towels one evening and they never came (ended up with no towels the next day). When they cleaned our room one day they only left 2 washcloths and 3 towels for a family of 4; little inconveniences like that were scattered throughout our stay at "The Lofts".

Our room made me feel rather claustrophobic, but that's to be expected when staying near a major city, I suppose. WiFi and bottled water was complimentary and there was a small coffee maker with free coffee. Our room was ajoined with our "neighbors" room; which was definitely old school, and a little weird. Overall, "The Lofts" was worth the $60/night we paid (with our reward points), but I would not stay there again.

Business Advice: Offer a free breakfast buffet and maybe an evening manager's reception to add some warmth to your hotel. Guests need to feel welcomed and at home. When guests book their rooms, they need to know that there is a fee for parking...we weren't told that ahead of time.