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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Seafood + China = WTF?

I'm a little late on this one, but here we go, from WorldNetDaily:
According to a new report by Food & Water Watch, the aquaculture industry crams fish and shellfish into facilities to maximize production, generating large amounts of waste, contaminating water and spreading disease if left untreated. The industry tries to control the spread of bacterial infections, disease and parasites by pumping the food supplies with antibiotics and the waters with fungicides and pesticides.
Jesus, man. Ewww, gross! Anything and everything that makes me shiver about eating things I am unaware of eating is manifest in this article. Now, I have never gotten my seafood (or any food) from Wal-Mart, but knowing Wal-Mart eats up 10% of all China's exports, that's one more reason to demonize the disease of a chain.

China is questionable as a world power. Wal-Mart is a known consumer cancer. They both need to be deflected from their current trajectories.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Reaction to TGI Friday's Post

I was just going to respond to the comment, but the length of the retort warrants its own post.

Sometimes a comment comes across that is so ...wrong, that I spend the weekend talking to myself in the car, irritated and confounded by the stupidity. This is one such case. The only comment from the TGI Friday's post:
fullgrownjsbx said...

your are a douche bag of massive proportions. you are the reason why restaurants can't keep there prices down. always looking for a hand out. if you have a problem solve it then instead of writing this annoying blog. :-)
My retort:

Dear fullgrownjsbx,

I don't mind being referred to as a douchebag (that's one word) if, in fact, signs of douchebaggery abound. However, after careful review of this post, there is absolutely no douchebaggery afoot.

You see, fg, a restaurant is a for-profit business. A business exists for one sole purpose: to make money. For that reason alone, the idea that restaurants have any incentive or desire to keep their prices down for the benefit of the consumer is absurd; the only reason for a business to lower prices is to increase demand and overall profit.

In order to make profit, a restaurant should be good at what it does: provide service, food, and experience on par with expectation. For example, if you go to Dick's, you expect to be insulted. But Friday's is selling quality and unique food choices, quality service, and a better-than-average experience. For that combination, I pay a little more than I would at, say Applebees and much more than McDonald's or Skyline Chili.

I am not looking for a handout and have gone ahead and solved my problem quite efficiently. If I am patronizing a restaurant and do not receive the quality of service/food/experience that that restaurant promises and I am paying for, I am going to let them know. In this case, TGI Friday's fell very low on my list of dining options, putting them in the position of making less money from my disposable income. However, by making a $5 or $10 investment, they have raised their ranking, and when I go to spend that certificate, I will probably end up spending 4 to 5 times their investment, raising their profit.

To conclude: They promise and deliver and deliver. Then one time they don't. I mention my disappointment. They do what they're supposed to do (sorry!) and I follow suit (s'okay, thanks for thinking enough of it; I'll be back).

One more thing, asshat: proper grammar makes you at least credible as opposed to coming off as a complete choad, ignorance of the economy aside.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TGI Friday's Menu/Portion Shenanigans

Monday evening, my family and I went out to TGI Friday's, the Cincinnati/Hyde Park, OH location. The food was excellent and the Guinness (although somewhat flat) was $2 for some 12-14 ounces. Delicious.

Let's let the complaint letter do the talking:
While we usually have a very pleasant experience at TGI Friday's, this past Monday my wife, daughter, and I were quite disappointed in both a menu issue and how it was handled. My wife ordered the Cajun Shrimp and Pasta, pointing to the menu entry on the page with the salads. That entry was listed at $8.99. When the bill came, the meal was listed at $12.99. When questioned about the discrepancy, our waitress simply said "Well, I didn't know you wanted that size." We did not speak with the manager because this is a national/menu issue as well as one of poor service.

I appreciate that you are trying to help America get over its need for absurd portion sizes with your "Right Size" options, but from this angle, it looks more like a gimmick. The same food at different portions (and costs) appears on different pages. When ordering, the waitress did not even pause to ask which size was being ordered. And when we questioned her, the correct answer: "I apologize; allow me to correct that because I forgot to ask which size you wanted," did not even pass through her mind. Is this how you train your staff?

This is not a new game where a restaurant might get confused on how this new-fangled idea of smaller food might work: Both Applebee's and Olive Garden offer half and full portions, listed on the same page, and their servers always ask. Friday's has executed in a way that can only appear manipulative.

Aside from the menu and service issues, you also have a problem on your website. On this contact sheet, I cannot click ANY of the required fields to enter information. If I did not have the web savvy to tab through all the fields until it cycled through the browser and back to the page, I would not have been able to send this email. But, when combined with the above issues, one must question whether or not this is simply a purposeful deception.

If you so desire, you may view a copy of this communication at along with any updates or responses I might receive from you.

Thank you for your time,
Ricky Shambles
We were horribly disappointed and the intertubes trickery only compounded it. Luckily, with a new town we have much more to experience and explore than the regular chain restaurants. While comforting at some level, the ability to get the same food the same way wherever you go stinks of mundaneness. Where's the adventure in that?

As always, updates from corporate will be posted here.

6/14 UPDATE:
I just received a call from TGI Friday's Corporate! The woman on the phone didn't really introduce herself, but said she was from Corporate and wanted to address the email I sent into the company. I went over the story again, clarifying that it was the organization of the menu compounded with the misunderstanding and inaction of the server that made it a poor experience. She apologized, making sure that I understood that that was not the way the server should have handled the situation and wishing a manager had been brought in to correct it. She also wanted to make sure that the food was in good order: it was fine. Wait, no: It was up to the quality that we've come to expect while dining at TGI Friday's.

She said that they are going to send a letter of apology along with vouchers that can be used at any of their locations, as well as pass the concerns and suggestions on to upper management.

Yay! TGI Friday's gets a Quick Response Award which directly tips the scales (with vouchers) to an I'll Be Back Award.

Good show, TGI Friday's.

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