All Business, Good & Bad

Sometimes, an awful consumer experience. Let's call them out. Okay, mostly. But sometimes awards. Yes? All the accounts are truthful. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike. Email me with your stories and I'll include them.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Banfield Pet Hospital Fear Campaign: Bad Business

My SO and I had the unique pleasure about a year ago to have a little kitty walk right out of the woods behind our house, crying and in need of a home.

After doing some research, we took her to Banfield (inside our PetSmart) and snagged the Optimum Wellness Plan. The OWP is basically a way to spread out your payments on things like a spaying and front declaw, any other necessities that might come from a new cat directly from the woods, with the bonus of discounted prescriptions and 100% free regular visits ("Our cat is doing this, can you have a look?")

 It's not a bad plan, and for the first year, it was exceptional. It still is, I guess. I just made the call to cancel after the first year because they will auto-renew and lock you into a new year if you even bump into that renewal date.

All good though: they did what they said they'd do, our cat is happy and healthy, and we now have more time to look at local options.

 And then this came:

(identifying items have been removed)

 Apparently, our super-healthy cat that has dental disease. Did I get even the slightest notification at my last visit? Nope. Is there any indication I can see? Nope. Is animal teeth-cleaning expensive? Yep. Is it recommended by Banfield every year? Yep. Could I possibly, somehow, I don't know ...UPDGRADE my OWP to take into consideration this very expensive and necessary procedure? You bet!

I understand this is marketing, but this is one of the most awful examples I have seen when it comes to pet marketing. I have time on my plan before a cancellation is necessary and was even considering running the numbers on continuing it. But this in my mailbox made me downright angry and prompted me to shut it down without question.

 So, Banfield Pet Hospital, you get a Bad Business award. You appeal to fear and emotion and use our pets to do so. That's incredibly low.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2016


My girlfriend and I collect glass ornaments for the Christmas Tree. Glass ornaments of the geek kind? Awesome!

So you could only imagine when we saw a sexy red Dalek, it was time for Christmas! Except it wasn't. See the little plastic highlight pic?

We got a plastic Doctor and screwdriver instead. After hours of arguing and multiple venues, we have a refund, but still no red Dalek, and as of right now, the ThinkGeek Dalek Ornament Page still exists to fool the shoppers. Boo and Bad Business to ThinkGeek until they fix it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Good Business: Wendy's

I'm not a huge fan of fast food, but sometimes it is a necessity. I've been craving Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt as soon as I saw it and today found myself near a Wendy's at lunchtime.

Wendys Bacon Portabella Melt

The only problem? I don't eat beef.

So I went in during lunch rush and asked if I could have the sandwich but sub chicken for beef. The cashier asked another employee and I got a curt "NO." Boo.

I can go anywhere for lunch, so I respectfully emailed Wendy's website explaining the situation and asking if there was some other way I could order it because a chicken version just sounds frickin' amazing. I sent my contact through the website at about 1pm and before 5pm I had this in my inbox:
Dear Mr. [Shambles], My name is [guy] and I'm the General Manager at the [location] Wendy's you visited today.

I would like to apologize for the trouble you had with trying to get a Portabello sandwich with chicken instead of the burger. There is no problem with swapping the chicken for the burger and I again apologize for you not being able to get that today. The young man who made the decision not to do that for you, was not a manager and tried to make a decision on his own, unfortunately it was a very bad one.

I have left a credit at the store for you for a free combo or your choice. I hope you will give us a chance to make this up to you. If you have any questions or problems in the future please feel free to call me.

Thank you for making me aware of this and I hope this might help to prevent it from happening again.
So I went to a "fast food" restaurant, failed at customizing my experience, and they get back in touch with me (not just corporate, but the manager of the actual store) and admit a mistake and offer me a credit for sorry?

(Sidenote: I posted it on their Facebook page as well and also received a quick response with info to report it and a sorry.)

Wendy's: You're doing it RIGHT!

I had a decent sandwich today, but it was not what I was looking for. Wendy's replied to me within the day of the issue I was just hoping was addressed.

Wendy's is Good Business. Hands down.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Bad Business: Royal Shredder: VF1012MX - Plastic Gears?

About seven months ago, Mrs. Shambles and I purchased a Royal brand multi-shredder (VF1012mx) because we were long overdue for a decent shredder.

Brilliant! It was really a nice shredder. It was on casters, for one, but it had dedicated slots for credit cards and CDs. Up to 12 sheets of shredding. Woohoo!

And then, last month, after moderate usage, we got lots of the whirring, not so much of the shredding. Oh, man!

In order to figure out what the hell was going on, I was required to do some minor surgery. And what I found? Not so happy. It turns out that one of the major gears of the assembly, one in touch with a bunch of metal gears, was plastic.


So I did my research on the Royal Shredder VF1012mx and found that the failure of VF1012MX-08 Gear #2 (that plastic bugger) was the focus of abundant complaint. Not only that, but I could call their 1-800 number and get another gear.

And then I did call Royal's 1-800 number, and I found out a few things:
  • The cost for me to purchase a new gear? $2.60
  • Shipping and Handling? $4.00
  • And because this dang thing is probably failing above projections, it's going to be 6 weeks on back-order.

I don't have a problem if a company puts something together and - oops! - they calculated something wrong or forgot to test something. But this is fraud. You don't design a gear assembly that is purposed to abuse and high torque and then make one of those main load gears out of plastic - unless you think the fail would be a cash cow in replacing $0.40 gears for $6.60.

And then what? I spend the $6.60 and *hope* *fingers crossed* that my mid-level mechanical savvy will be able to disassemble a gear assembly, replace a gear, and put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

And then what? In about 6 months, I get to do it all over again.

BAD BUSINESS to Royal Shredder VF1012mx. DO NOT WANT. They should've made it correctly the first time.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bad Organization: US Census

If you read my other blog, I'm no "The US Census is the Devil!" Glenn Beck supporter. In fact, I was looking forward to the census. Unfortunately, we live in a very active household where we get lots of junk mail and - long story short - the census form made its way into a trash or shred pile at some point.

Two weeks ago, I received a visit from a census worker. I expressed my willingness to complete the form and camaraderie with her cause and function. But I was about to get a call from a client and was shooing the dog from the door and didn't have the time or fortitude to fill it out on my front porch. I asked her if I could just fill it out, explaining the situation, and she said no. However, she informed me we could do it over the phone. Sold! "I'll call you tomorrow after 1pm," she said.

And that was 2 weeks ago.

I don't have her number, so I can't call her to complete it. She has never called me back. So I called the only number I could find: The US Government.

The gentleman on the phone explained that he could not just send me another form. He kept reiterating that the woman should've called me back and was surprised that I didn't have her number, as though I should have anticipated her failure to do her job. He said he'd take my information, but was worried about her contacting me afterwords. He mentioned not being counted twice if we did that and she called (oddly, my least worry at this point).

I suggested I'd wait for her to contact me for another week and if not, call back.

The Right is all a-flutter about how filling out the census is an invasion of privacy. We actually want to fill it out. Why isn't there a standard "If you lose it, we'll give you another one" policy? People are f'ing busy these days. Things fall through the cracks. Why the supposed protocol on an obviously badly-planned system?

I'm calling Bad Business on the US Government for the census. There's enough negative publicity coming from audible conspiracy theorists. The last thing you need is busy, working people who misplaced a piece of paper to turn against you too.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fifth Third: Still Raping!

I own a small business. This means I have a business banking account. That account is at 5/3 (Fifth Third) Bank. Overall, they're not any better or worse than any other bank. Basically, they'll try to turkey baster money out your rear any chance they get.

So in today's world of electronic files and internets and "Why not check your statements online?" it appears that this is yet another way to screw the customer. As it is past the end of the year, I was online downloading my banking records into Excel format to process the numbers more efficiently. But something weird was happening: I couldn't pull any numbers before July. Hrm?

Well, Fifth Third Bank only allows customers access to 6 months of records online. So I called customer service. What's their deal? Well, they can knock through 18 months over the phone no problem. But they'd be happy to print out and mail or fax the first six months of paper statements to me for the small fee of $8 per.


So the rundown is: If you subscribe to the "green" method of checking your statements online and save Fifth Third a little extra moulah in materials and printing and postage, they will return the favor by making sure you have to pay them $50 at the end of the year. You're welcome!

Granted, you can just download or print out your information every month. But I didn't know that 6 months ago when the information would've helped.

No huge rage or surprise, just another way a bank can turn a little allotment that could increase service incredibly into a way to put a buck in their pocket and making you feel dirty.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Orleans To Go - Cincinnati - Great Business!

I dump too much. I also write too little. Still have a pending update on several brilliant restaurant experiences.

But let's forget all of that for now - except the brilliant restaurants! A week or two ago (okay, February - I don't write enough), Mrs. Shambles, Irish Dancer, and I were out west of 75 off of 275 and found this place. Aah, this place.

It's called New Orleans To Go and - damn - it's authentic.

The gentleman who owns it is not from New Orleans. But his wife is. The cook is. His mother-in-law is. There are probably 25 seats in the place, but if you're going in for a sit-down, it's as comfortable as home.

A large menu on the wall lines up your options, including the recently-added cocktail list. Prices generally range from $5 to $15 for your meals, depending on the complexity and girth.

So aside from all the logistics, how is it? It's fricking amazing.

I had the 1/2 & 1/2 po boy (oysters and shrimp) with everything, which means lettuce, tomato, mayo. Mrs Shambles had the special Shrimp Etouffee. Irish Dancer had some fried shrimp as she was picky that evening.

Did I mention amazing? My po boy was hot, fresh, delicious, and served with both speed and personality by the owner himself, as were all our plates. Mrs. Shambles said she's never had an etouffee as tasty. And Irish Dancer actually asked if she could have another order. Mrs. Shambles and I both stopped short and took some of our meal home - just so we could experience it again the next day.

All in all, with taste, price, personality, and comfort, this is a serious 5/5. It's not white cloth napkin, but places that feel like home never are.

Keep it up!

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