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 21, 2008

Tycoon Harry's: Quality Men's Grooming

Good Business! Good Business! Good Business!

As promised, All Business, Good & Bad will be dealing not just with poor businesses or disappointing customer service, but experiences that require superlatives.

Tycoon Harrys in Mariemont

The first of these is Tycoon Harry's in Mariemont (Cincinnati), Ohio. As you can see from that graphic, it says "Grooming for Men." That's right: Tycoon Harry's is a full-service Men's Salon.

Yes, I am straight. In today's modern world, men are finally starting to turn from their stressful lives to find that they, too, deserve some pampering, need some pampering; a barber just doesn't do it any more. Which is exactly what went through my mind when I decided I needed to cut a couple inches cut of my mop, face clients like a respectable member of society, and basically get all "clean cut" for "The Man."

The Owner, Jennifer, was my stylist, and greeted me warmly and took me right on time for my appointment. I didn't have a very clear image - or preference - on what I wanted the cut to look like, so after some discussion on the purpose of my drastic change, I left it in her capable hands. I was not disappointed.

The first step was to get rid of a good bit of my hair (incidentally, there was another gentleman there at the same time as I was getting even more hair cut off than I was), so right to the chair for the chopping. Conversation, which can sometimes be so automated or even unbearable, was gentle and genuine throughout the process. After the primary cut, we went over to the basin and I got an excellent wash and conditioning with Crew's Green Tea line, and - damn! - let's just say when I have some more expendable income, I'm going back for that product.

After the wash and conditioning, I struggled to stay awake as a steaming towel warmed my face and blocked out everything else. The following brief neck and shoulder massage relaxed me even further. Jennifer led me - at this point, putty - back to the cutting chair where she fine-tuned my cut and trimmed my apparently-advancing eyebrows. When we were completed there, because I was having a rough week or she was pushing for overwhelming impression, I was offered a sample manicure. Jessica and I chatted with each other while she tended to my cuticles, filed, and buffed to a high shine. The full treatment includes a hand/arm massage.

When I was done, I was wonderfully relaxed and in a much happier state of mind. And the whole treatment cost me only the $25 for the haircut. Except for the manicure, all the extra pampering in included in the price. I left a decent tip for both ladies and walked out the door simply feeling better about being alive.

Seriously, for any men rolling their eyes at me right now: a little pampering, a little time to allow someone else to take control and take your mind off the world can change your outlook for days. Days.

The women at Tycoon Harry's deserve every accolade available to male pampering. They offer a full range of services from the basic cut and coloring to manicures, pedicures, facials, and waxing. All prices are listed on their site. The environment is clean, professional, and relaxing.

Bottom Line: As opposed to not thinking about where I'm going to get my next haircut, I am very much looking forward to returning to Tycoon Harry's and wondering only if I'll be adding a full manicure or a facial next time.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adidas: Shitty Shoes

Defective Adidas Shoes

Got a pair of great shoes at JC Penney about a month ago. I work at home and do not wear them every day, not even every other day, and when I do, it's for short periods of time.

So imagine my surprise when I was slowly becoming aware of the rapid creation of noticeable rips on the sides of the shoes.

Defective Adidas Shoes Rip

At first I thought it was a gimmick, a purposeful flaw that slowly helped the shoes develop even more character as they aged. But it was happening so fast and inside the rip was not a canvas cover, but soft padding and beyond that, my foot.

So I get to take the trip back to the store to get my money returned to me, which is a shame because the shoes are very comfortable. If you have the choice, don't invest in these shoes.

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Proactiv Solution - Good and Bad

About 4 weeks ago, I ordered the 3-piece Proactiv Solution comprising of the cleanser, astringent, and lotion. As a man of slightly over 30, I realized several years ago that when they told us in high school that skin problems usually drop off for men around 20 that they were fucking lying. I'm by no means a pizza face, but have always had a couple small blemishes on a regular basis. Time to make them go away.

The Good
Proactiv Solution is amazing! After a little fine-tuning (I only use it once a day and add supplementary moisturizer to avoid excessive dryness), my skin is perfect and has been so for over a week. Not a spot or blemish or hint of such. Yay!

The Bad
Proactiv Bleached Shirt

Note to Proactiv: If your product bleaches fabric, you might want to mention that someplace other than in the absurdly small print under the directions label that's virtually impossible to remove, let alone read. I lost 2 shirts and a towel in the first couple days.

The Ugly
Today I noticed my bank account was overdrawn. Why? You guessed it: Proactiv took it upon themselves to - without notification - ship me more product and charge my card which is attached to my account.

When I signed up, there was no language or any warning that I was joining a recurring subscription. When I called customer service, they explained that "it says on the internet" that I was creating an account and that constituted a membership.

Okay, maybe, but I have a membership to half a dozen email newsletters; I have a membership to Web MD; I have a membership to Technorati. These things cost me nothing. The point I'm making is that in the world of quick internet sign-ups, the word "membership" can and often does mean nothing more than "now you have a login to our site and we might sell your email address."

There is nothing implicit or explicit in the meaning of the word to imply that they would charge me automatically for more product. And genuine give-a-shit-ness for the customer would at least warrant a notification email, a reminder that: hey, in a week, we're going to send that automatic shipment you signed up for whether or not you knew that for sure. Heck, they even allow you to manage exactly how long you would like between shipments.

Because of this, the statement must be made: Proactiv Solution engages in misleading and shady consumer practices. Be aware that your "membership" implies automatic shipments and charges without so much as a fart in your direction. No warning. No email. No regard. And it bleaches your clothes.

The Verdict
Proactiv Solution probably makes tons of money due to its shady practices, and I think that's what pisses me off the most. They don't need to. They have an amazing product that does exactly what they say it does: clears up blemished skin to near or at perfection.

So I'll write an official complaint to customer service. I'll point them to this blog. But I'll keep using the product, probably even keep the shipment they have in transit. Why not? It's an amazing product.

But Proactiv: why all the shady?

UPDATE: Since my primary post, I've received some great comments on the post. I've also seen a huge improvement in my red cheeks. A little background: I have keretosis pilaris rubri facii. The first two words mean that I get clogged-pore bumps on my upper arms and thighs. The second two words mean that it's the form of the skin disorder that causes ruddy cheeks. I've had noticeably red cheeks since I was a child and only now - at 32 - has Proactiv anti-flushed them to match the rest of my skin. A minor miracle.

Coming soon: Does Proactiv work on my arms? Watch out non-white clothing!

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