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, April 30, 2007

Bad Wording - Buying a Home

I'm moving up to Cincinnati with the family and we're looking for a home. We've been through the buying process once already (after having looked in Ohio) and have upstarted twice after selling that. So this is our fifth go-around. We've seen our fair share of horror.

But right now we're where any computer-savvy fam/person starts: the internets.

If you've ever searched online for a home (in the format of having a realtor [realtor comes up as misspelling on Firefox 2.0? WTF?] and a full-access account to home listings, search capability, and comparison neighborhoods, etc.), you know you have the main list of stats, most of the time accompanied by pictures, but always with a paragraph of copy to help elaborate on what can't be said by simply looking at pictures or statistics. This, usually, is effervescent hyperbole.

Last week we were looking and found this paragraph of fabulous, time-saving description copy for a home listing:
LOCATION! LOCATION! Home was used as Barber shop and Dog grooming business. Prime spot on Dixie Highway next to Aldi. Seventy feet of road frontage. Great Oppurtunity (sic).
I don't think I have to go very far with descriptions. Let's bullet the high points:
  • Barber shop
  • Dog grooming business
  • Directly on a ("Dixie") Highway
  • Aldi
  • Aldi in retrospect of LOCATION!
  • "Opportunity" in retrospect of Aldi and LOCATION!
You'll be diggin' dog and people crud out of your corners for years to come! Have a pet? Have a kid? Ever see Pet Sematary? Yeah, kinda like that.

Good Lord. In shopping for a home, I'm sure there's more to come.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Commercial Recant: Frank Myers Auto Maxx

Yesterday I was writing about changes and exhibited a regional commercial from Norton's Furniture of Cleveland, OH. Oh, so sorry it sucked so badly. But there are worse. Or at least as bad. Depends on the location and girth of the suck nucleus in your brain (It is fabled that those with advanced levels of suck sensory perception actually seek suck to see how stagnantly it sucks).

In a moment of half-awake commuter reflection this morning I recalled in nightmarish clarity the...well, this:

And in some hellish, demonic, abysmal, "parallel universe" joke from some diety, they also have a myspace page. Holy hell.

Speaker warning for this round on myspace: drums and someone saying "everybody rides" over and over and over...

Norton or Myers. This is truly awful.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Watch for the Change-y-ness!

This blog has been a sort of sideways way of whining about how, as a consumer, you can be hosed. Don't worry, for those fair - okay, that fair reader who hits this blog once a day. It will remain as such.

But as a celebration of my two cleansing posts today (this makes three!), hitting all the past posts with tags, and alex's comments, I declare to reposition this blog.

I'll still whine about personal consumer caveats, but I'm going to expand it into bad commercial and marketing ideas, and may even have positive written awards in bold to offset the negativity.

Basically, I promise a posting at least once a week. Mrs. Shambles would probably not approve, as Cause for Concern and All Things Democrat already occupy a piece of my time. But it needs to be done.

So on this inaugural post, I shall spew forth filth that can only be found in the bowels of Cleveland, Ohio.

Norton's Furniture

No, this is not a joke. This commercial is seen on television late at night. Want to see all of them? Check out his myspace Page. Just turn down the speakers for Jefferson Starship's "We Built this City." Seriously. I'm not bullshiting you here.

Enjoy. Or *sigh* ...

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Miracle Gro - You could start a fire!

I sent this email last week. I have had no response.

Good day.
This very well may be the first such email you have ever received; I'm sure the situation is rather rare. What I would prefer to avoid is a static, autonomic response saying "Mr. Shambles...our studies indicate...if we can further not assist you...." You know. That kind of thing.

Here's the situation: For a year and a half, 3 medium-sized (gallon?) pots, filled with a mix of Miracle Gro Potting Mix and some organic, generic soil was used to grow flowers. It was always outside and once a week or so, we'd hit it with Miracle Gro Garden Feeder while watering our garden.

We moved. To an apartment. Being on the first floor, we set the pots outside so the flowers could be part of the door decoration. Already struggling from the move, the plants soon died and we began using the pots as ashtrays. This was six months ago.

The pots have remained dry, in the external hallway of an apartment complex, for the last six months. Yesterday afternoon, we came home to something smelling distinctly of burning. Because of the strong local wind, it wasn't until late in the evening that we identified the burning as coming from our ashtray soil pots. Well, the one we were using as an ashtray.

I put my hand over the pot. It was hot. Really hot. When the wind paused, smoke plumes rose from our previously-Eden-esque pot of wonder. Really, it was a new pot of wonder, growing fire instead of life. Obviously, once realizing the source of the fire smell, of the smoke, we dumped water into the pot. It sizzled like dumping a gallon of water on a barbecue.

The stats: Normal potting soil could not have done this, so it's either the mix of chemicals in the soil, cigarette heat, and wind, or it's a miracle of Christ. Since I don't necessarily believe in the latter in the presence of fertilizer (which can be used to make bombs), I'm just curious.

So the questions: Have you ever heard of a pot, kept dry for some time, turning into a furnace? None of the embers were visible, but the heat and the smoking, have you ever run into this? Is there something we can avoid in the future to avoid a situation where our smoldering grill-pot, sitting right next to our vinyl siding, might be kept safe?

Honestly, I'm just glad I caught it. I know it's probably a confluence of circumstance, but your product set soil a-smoldering. I just worry that it's something that might happen again.

I'll be happily awaiting your answers.

Thanks for your time,

What the hell? A flower pot turns into a furnace. It's reminiscent of the underground burning of the real-life Silent Hill Pennsylvania town. And until now I couldn't imagine how something like that could happen.

Updates hopefully...

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Subway Sadness II: The Apathy Machine

This is a different Subway story. The first one was never brought up by the individual store after that information was passed on by corporate.

Traveling to Danville, VA, I stopped on the way in Reidsville, NC.

Worst. Subway. Evar.

Two of the four employees were outside loudly conversing. As I walked in, the energy inside was that of a funeral parlor. The other two employees were loudly conversing in the restaurant, but quickly quieted when I entered. Four people were seated and eating. One of the employees shuffled behind the counter.

I walked up to the counter, chipper as ever, and it took about five seconds to realize that I was not going to get a "Hello," "Good afternoon," or even a "Hi." I let it stew a couple seconds more.

"Subway club, please," I said.
No response.
"Um, on wheat?"
"Okay." She never made eye contact.
She put the meat on the sub and stood in front of the veggies.
"I'll have..." blah blah blah. She wrapped the sub and slid it over to the second in-store employee.
Second employee, even worse.
No words. I just handed my card to her. After she swiped it, she held it in a limbo between the register and where I would be marginally expected to expect that it was being handed to me. I took the card.
I said "Thanks!" and walked out.

Read the last post. This puts it to shame. Totally deplorable.

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