Customer Service FAIL

Here’s where social media is a customer’s best friend.  

There’s a saying in customer service, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.”

24 seconds, to be exact.

Last September, I purchased a Groupon for a manicure at the now defunct Polish nail salon. Polish was bought out in late 2011/early 2012 and is  currently called Regina’s Secret (just mute the cheesy music). While the Groupon was a good deal, I don’t really live near this salon, so I actually found it really difficult to get down to the area for an appointment. One by one, the months passed, until I soon realized I only had one week left until the Groupon expired. I decided to go ahead and schedule an appointment.

My initial fear was that they would be booked all week and they wouldn’t have availability, but it was worth a shot to call and find out. Much to my surprise, I got a recorded message saying that they were closed while renovating the salon, and that they would reopen on March 7 (the exact day that the Groupon expired). I left a message and expressed that I had the Groupon, and I had hoped that they would still honor it.

The salon owner returned my call on March 9. He informed me that when he purchased the salon, he also purchased all the Groupons and would still honor them. However, he said the Groupon was now expired, so it would be considered a coupon toward any purchase. This is standard Groupon procedure, and I don’t dispute the policies of either Groupon or the salon IF this had been a normal situation. However, the business was closed during the time frame in which the Groupon was valid. Therefore, I felt it should still be honored.

When I mentioned that the salon was closed during the time of the Groupon, the owner replied, “Well, you DID have six months to redeem it.” Wow. Really? Odd comment to make to a customer, no? I told him (very calmly) that it was my prerogative when I redeemed it, and as long as it was during the stated time on the Groupon, it shouldn’t matter when I made an appointment. I asked him if he thought it was fair that his business was closed and I was unable to redeem the Groupon within the time frame, and he replied, “Well, no. But feel free to call Groupon.”

Insert shock here. Approximately 24 seconds into the call, I said, “Thanks, but I think I’ll take my business elsewhere.” Click. Apparently, being condescending to me was more important to him than my business. Call me crazy, but would it have been that big of a deal to just go ahead and redeem the Groupon?

For the record, I’m not trying to keep business out of the salon – I just want to demonstrate how NOT to try and attract and retain customers. Consider this a learning tool for small-business owners (or any business owners, really).

Needless to say, I think I’ve figured out Regina’s Secret … she hates my money!


Hooray, Vouvray!

I’m not a wine expert – shocking, right? (What gave it away? Perhaps my riveting blogs about Corey Feldman and Jessie Spano?) But, while this blog isn’t necessarily about wine, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of wine. To me, it’s much more than just a tasty drink or a way to catch a buzz.

Wine has a soul.

Each bottle tells a different story. How could it not? The life and history of the grape varies with the changes in temperature, weather pattern and type. With so many variables affecting the grape, the story each bottle tells is as unique as a human fingerprint.

That said, I freaking love Vouvray.

I adore reds during fall and winter, but Vouvray is my go-to spring/early summer wine. Vouvray, a white wine named for the region where it is produced in the Loire Valley in France, is almost always made from the Chenin blanc grape. The taste of Vouvray perfectly encapsulates all that is alive, vibrant and divine about spring. It’s light and refreshing, and a fabulous “starter” choice for those who don’t like wine (perish the thought!).  It has just a hint of sweet; the taste of Vouvray falls somewhere between Chardonnay and Riesling. Completely unpretentious, it’s perfect for sipping at a barbecue or during cocktail hour after a day at the beach. Vouvray will not disappoint.

If you’ve never tasted Vouvray, try it and let me know your thoughts. You can find Vouvray at any wine store or grocery store – it is very moderately priced (on average, $9.00 per bottle).

Now back to my regularly scheduled nonsensical posts about ’80s D-list actors. Cheers!


Jessie Spano is Pregnant!

And she’s SO excited! (Sorry, it had to be done.)

In a tribute to Elizabeth Berkley and her pending bundle of joy, I give you her two best clips EVER.

I’m SO Excited!

Versace

Congratulations Elizabeth and, uh, Mr. Elizabeth!


TV and Me: A Budding Romance?

I don’t watch enough TV.  (Feel sorry for me, please.)

Somebody recently asked me what shows I watch on a regular basis. I couldn’t name one. Not one? This is a girl who, once upon a time, coordinated her college classes around the CBS soap opera schedule. Suddenly, I found myself detached from pop culture and feeling like I lived in a hut in Uganda. Seriously, the last time I watched a show on a regular basis was when Ross and Rachel were on a break.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t want to watch TV. Because I work from home, I don’t really ever have the opportunity to “turn off” work and “turn on” the tube. Whenever I have a free moment, I am on my laptop working (or on FB or Twitter). TV got kicked to the curb a long time ago. (See? Even my terminology is outdated.) This needs to change.

I’ve sampled a few shows here and there. I liked Portlandia. But when is it on? I stumbled upon it, and now I can’t find it anymore, and I feel overwhelmed thinking about keeping track of it. I could do a Google search and find the schedule. But, ugh. I just can’t be bothered.

Next.

Okay, how about Hoarders? Too many roaches. Intervention? Same problem – too many roaches. (See what I did there?) How about American Idol? Nah. The last time I came close to watching a full season was when Ruuuuuben Studdard won. I have watched a few Real Housewives episodes, but again, I can’t ever remember when it is on. Ugh, this isn’t going to be easy. I want a show with substance, but not so much substance that I get emotionally involved. Then there’s the whole “reality” TV vs. scripted TV debate. Meh, this is getting super-complicated. No wonder I don’t watch much TV.

Sigh. I clearly can’t do this on my own. Any suggestions? What MUST I watch? Let me know your favorites – I am open to anything, unless it’s porn or HBO (I don’t have any of those fancy channels). I’m putting my television future in your hands.

Until then, Ross and Rachel it is.


The Best Piece of Advice You’ll Ever Get

One of my favorite Tweeps sent this to me today. (For those of you who don’t know, a “Tweep” is a friend on Twitter.) She and I have bonded over our love of cheese and, well, what goes with cheese best? I think we all know.

In the words of Brad Hamilton from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

Thank you, @Drneevil!


Stuffed Tacos = Satan’s Lair

Warning: Less-than-uplifting post ahead. 

Alllllrighty then. Twenty-eight days ago, I sweetly (a.k.a. naively) posted about the joy of tacos and their metaphorical meaning in life. I said to put lots of different things in your taco (haha can’t say that without laughing) and enjoy life, blah blah blah.

So here I am, nearly one month later. I did, in fact, overstuff my taco – just as I said not to do.  You see, five days before Christmas, I lost my steady income. In order to compensate for the loss, I have been working like a mad woman by taking every last writing job to fill those hours. I have been a slave to my laptop; I’m writing seven days a week, sometimes getting up at 4:30 a.m. to meet deadlines. I basically have no life. Needless to say, it wasn’t what I anticipated for the start of a new year.

Little did I know that this was the first of a string of random events that were, shall we say, less than ideal. Let’s recap the last 3.5 weeks:

  • I was in not one, but TWO car accidents – three days apart. Neither were my fault, but my car was damaged and I really screwed up my neck.
  • My debit card numbers were stolen. No charges were made, but (a-hole) Bank of America sent me an email to let me know that they cut my card off. Helpful information if you actually check that email account. I had not, and my card was declined in a store – insert walk of shame here.
  • My Yahoo email was hacked again, and spam was sent to hundreds of people. Sorry about that.
  • I caught that nasty winter sinus infection. Spent eight days in misery before trudging to the CVS Minute Clinic for some meds. I love that place, btw. So convenient.

A few other things have been happening, but for the love of God, let’s just move on – shall we?

I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer. I am still very optimistic and looking forward to what lies ahead. But let’s just forget stuffed, messy tacos and the January from hell. For the remainder of the year, all I want is calmness, consistency and a few bottles of vino along the way.

Is THAT too much to ask?


2012: The Year of the Taco

Life is like a taco

Happy New Year! I absolutely love all the promising aspects of a new year. We’re at our annual peak of hope and optimism. This is a time for renewal – to ditch what wasn’t working last year and try a newer, better way to accomplish our goals. As I assessed my resolutions, one image kept popping into my head –  a Mexican delicacy that always brings a big smile to my face (no, for once it’s NOT margaritas). Tacos! Yes, they are delicious. But their uniqueness also offers a distinct metaphor for how I’d like to live my life. They have a solid foundation that is able to support all of the different “stuff” that you shove into it. This stuff could be any number of personal things, such as dreams, ambitions and desires.  I also like that tacos are fun and independent, and that they can be different each and every day.  I want my life to be full of excitement and spice – a little bit crunchy, a little bit soft – and always satisfying.

That’s why I officially declare 2012 The Year of the Taco. ¡Arriba! Start building your taco today, and put as much stuff in it as you think your foundation can hold. But don’t go overboard – you don’t want your foundation to crack. Know when you’re at capacity, and you’ll be able to accomplish everything you’ve set out to do.

Cheers to new beginnings!


Top 5 Holiday Gift Ideas that FAIL

We’ve all seen them. Those holiday/Christmas commercials for awful products that play over and over again until we are yelling obscenities at the TV.

“Shut it, Kay Jewelers. Who the f### would wear that POS? And, no, every kiss doesn’t begin with Kay. It begins with alcohol.”

But the ads must work, because every year we’re forced to endure eight weeks of cheesy love songs and couples looking longingly at each other. These companies wouldn’t run these ads every year if they weren’t making big bucks. So, somebody is buying this unthoughtful stuff. Let’s take a look at the top 5 gifts that have a ton of hype, but nobody really wants. (And by nobody, I mean me. Don’t get your Snuggie in a wad.)

#1 Open Hearts by Jane Seymour

Alright, guys. If this is the best you can do, you might as well go ahead and purchase a one-way ticket to Patheticville because this is where you’re about to end up. What IS this? I mean, yeah, it’s supposed to be some “open hearts” bullshit, but it looks like a deformed swan or some sort of ancient alphabet letter. Or even tits (up top) and ass (down below). It’s like an ink blot test, for God’s sake. This horrid piece of jewelry completely embodies the soulless nature of holiday commercialism. Biggest. fail. ever.

#2 Pajama Jeans

Hee hee, ha ha! Pajama Jeans are hilaaaaarious to talk about, but does anyone really want to wear a pair? Of course not. Nothing says “I love you” more than a gag gift. Gee, thanks. We got a good chuckle out of that for about 22 seconds – now what? I’ve got no gift. I really hope you enjoyed your silly little prank, though!

#3 Forever Lazy Adult Footed Pajamas

In the same idiotic vein as Pajama Jeans, Forever Lazy Adult Footed Pajamas provide the same nonsensical element to gift giving, but I think there is a certain sector of the population that will not only wear these, but request them. I just know I’ll see someone wearing these at Walmart – and NOT in a jokey way. I mean, these actually have a trap door to go to the bathroom. Because why exert yourself and remove any clothing when you can just poop fully dressed? That’s the real American dream, right?

#4 Groupons

Hmm. Giving a Groupon is suddenly all the rage, but it’s iffy for me. While I am no stranger to the Groupon purchase (I have two hanging on my wall, staring back at me as I type), is this really an actual holiday present? Sure, it’s a great gift for your mom on a random Tuesday in August. But for Christmas? I mean, isn’t this sort of the opposite of why we scribble out the price of a gift – so the recipient has no idea how much we paid? Now we’re advertising discounted goods and services, AND how much we paid for them? Eh, seems wrong/cheap to me.  At least we don’t have to endure horrible Groupon TV commercials – silver lining.

#5 TOMS

Wowee. Where to begin with these? I get it – I am NOT in the TOMS demographic. I’m not a hipster, granola or any other hippy dippy term. But, come on guys. WTF are these, and how are they so popular? It’s like Keds made a loafer out of denim burlap and marketed them in Starbucks. And I don’t even want to know what they smell like on the inside after a day of dancing around in them at Bonnaroo. PASS.

Editor’s note: it has been brought to my attention that with the purchase of each pair, another pair is donated to a child in need. I feel sorry for that child. 

So there you have it. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. And thank you for reading my silly ramblings. See you next year. :)


Umm? This Old Man, He Meowed…

An oldie but a goodie…literally.

Ah, the elderly. Here’s an old man who trolls an interview using various animal sounds. This is the just the right amount of crazy.

First, the original:

Second, the AWESOME house remix:

I think I love him.


The Ideal Holiday Gift: Alice Cooper’s Alcohol Cookbook

I have found the perfect holiday gift. You can thank me later. 

As if Alice Cooper wasn’t awesome enough, I recently learned that he published an alcohol cookbook in Creem Magazine in 1973.

Needless to say, it’s pure gold. Print out a copy for all your friends and family.  Go on, do it.

http://rateyourmusic.com/list/JonFox/alice_coopers_alcohol_cookbook

Some of the highlights:

  • Lizard Skin (Courtesy of Alice Cooper)Directions: Hallow-out half of a large orange. Pour in one large jigger of brandy. Flame the brandy, then extinguish quickly. Drink!
  • Tunafish Malted – for Hangovers (Courtesy of Alice Cooper)1 can of tunafish
    2 scoops of pistachio ice cream
    4-ounces of cream

    Directions: Blend. Drink. Go back to bed.

  • Creme de Banana (Courtesy of Neal Smith)1 chilled shot glass

    Directions: Drink by the shot until you get there.