Monday, July 13, 2009

Customer Service FAIL and fixed

You can have the best pillows, the most gourmand food, even the lowest rates, but what it all comes down to is - Is the Customer Happy?

I worked for many years in retail management, and while I never subscribed to the bs that is The Customer is ALWAYS Right, I do ascribe to What can I do to make the Customer happy or at the very least APPEASED?

Unfortunately, Starwood Hotels (more specifically the W Lakeshore hotel in Chicago) doesn't feel that way.

I am attending an event before BlogHer that has me staying at the W for one night. Unfortunately, those arranging the event did not arrange transportation service from the airport to the hotel, so I tried to do that myself. I called the 888 number and was told that the hotel would arrange it for me to contact the concierge. I was also told it would be $28 round trip or $15 one way. Since I will be using the car service of Erika for my return to the hotel I was pleased with the $15 charge.

When I contacted the hotel direct and spoke with the Concierge Claudia, her response was, "No, we don't do any of that, but I can give you a phone number for a local shuttle service." But why then Miss Claudia would the 888 number say you do? Perhaps you could check again for me. "No ma'am they are giving out wrong information, I don't know what you want me to do about it." Notice the quotation marks? Yeah you only use those when you are QUOTING what someone actually said. Yeah she said that.

Because I just can't believe what just transpired I called the 888 number again just to make sure that is what they told me and again I get the exact same quote. I explain to the rep what the concierge said and she agreed to call her herself. I held on, she came back, assuring me that she would transfer me and that the concierge would work with me to a solution. When she transfers me I hear a distinct click and without looking I realize I have been disconnected. Sigh.

Call the hotel and ask to speak to Claudia, she's busy but they take my number and she will call me back. Half an hour later she calls and reiterates what she said before, I am dumbfounded. But, but, but "you spoke with the 888 number and they explained that you were going to help me" I stammered. "I can give you the number to the shuttle service, that is all I can do, I don't know why the 888 number tells people things that aren't correct." As I am hanging up I tell her thanks for being ever so helpful.

Back to the 888 number we go, where a new person, poor Willy gets to hear the growl of my voice. He in turn reiterates the 888 spiel about the transportation being available contact the concierge $15 blah blah blah. Guess what Willy?! Your concierge? She isn't very congiergeish (get over it, I can make up any word I want to when I am angry). he couldn't help but chuckle at that and put me on hold to speak to his supervisor. I got a better idea, how about I speak to your supervisor.

Hold music ensues and Stephanie asks how she can help me. "I assume you have been appraised of the situation?" I inquire. "Yes" is all I get in return. ok, well if you have been appraised then what are you going to do about it?

She claims to call the Airport Express shuttle company that is supposedly who they contract with. Now, that is the name of the company that the Concierge was giving me, but when the 888 operators before would tell me about transportation, they would simply say the hotel. SO she comes back and says well, "they neglected to update us on their rate change, I have filed the necessary paperwork to change our information so this mix up will not happen again". "Ok, that's good, I appreciate the fact that you have done that, and that the next person will not have to go through what I have gone through. However, we still have the little matter of you quoted me one price, and are now telling me a price that is double that. I apologize if my quibbling to you over $15 seems like a pittance to you, but as a parent I equate $15 with being 5 gallons of milk. That is a lot of money for many people and I am one of them." "Ma'am the shuttle company didn't tell us about their price change it is their responsibility to do so."

At this point I am spent. this is when I went into my speech mode "So according to the concierge it is your fault because you gave out wrong information, but according to you it is the fault of the shuttle company because they didn't inform you. Where does the buck stop? When does someone say, hey we messed up, I apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you, how can we make it up to you? No one at your company has apologized sincerely, nor have they tried to make me happy. I am staying at your hotels next week not by my choice but it will be my choice to never stay in them again. I should also inform you that I am attending a Blogging event and will indeed be giving you a negative review on my blog (HI!) as well as letting the event coordinators know about the implorable customer service you have provided." I hung up, not giving her a chance to respond.

I can not believe in this day and age, when people are travelling less and everyone is under such economic restraints, that a company would so blatantly and insincerely treat a customer this way.

I have sent an email to the General Manager of the W at Lakeshore hotel in Chicago, and will update you if I receive a response. I am obligated to stay at the W on Tuesday due to a blogging event and the Sheraton Chicago Towers for BlogHer. I can guarantee you now that unless the general manager makes some great strides in appeasing me, I will never stay at another Starwood Hotel again.

The General Manager called me back, and has offered to reimburse me the difference in cost for the shuttle. That is all I wanted in the first place. $15. $15 is a lot of money to someone like me, who is not working full time. But most of all she apologized for my troubles and was understanding, empathetic and truly let the buck stop on her desk. Thank you Ms. Steenge. You have redeemed my faith in your hotel.

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Breast Cancer Awareness

PartSelect is hosting a Paint Your Appliance Pink Sweeps to help raise awareness and $10,000 for Breast Cancer Research. The sweepstake runs from July 1, 2009 – September 30, 2009.

It’s easy to enter! Contestants simply have to paint a pink ribbon on any major household appliance and send us a photo of the artwork. For each entry received, PartSelect will donate $25.00 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, up to a maximum of $10,000.

What’s in it for you?
Everyone who sends in a photo will be entered to win 1 of 3 Pink Prize Packages valued at $369.97, which includes a Pink KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Pink Mixer Cover and much more.

If you would like to help us reach our donation goal of $10,000, just check out our Paint Your Appliance Pink page for more sweeps details and enter for your chance to win!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


The bloggers writing reviews at The Product Review Place were tasked with coming up with the most useful product review tips.

These tips are designed to help those just starting out but can help even the most seasoned reviewers. Read on to learn what the product review experts had to say:I always try to get the company to realize the added exposure by offering a giveaway!If a giveaway is tied into the review ask sponsor to direct ship.
  • I HATE going to the post office and it takes me FOREVER to ship winners their things. Not only is it time consuming, but it can be VERY EXPENSIVE! I am going Saturday to the PO to send off things and I know it is going to cost me about $50! Two words: direct shipLisa from Mom of 2 Boys, Wife of 1
  • Be extremely organized. You need to keep track of items that come into your house and when you are going to post. I use outlook to keep everything organized. I organize all my e-mail into sub-folders and place everything I review on my calendar.Louise from Momstart
  • Don't be afraid to ask! The worst they can do is tell you no, right?Angie Knutson from My Four Monkeys
  • When I offer a giveaway along with the review, I always seem to get more hits on the post.If your not organized you won't know what product goes where or find your notes of what you planned on saying. Take notes on the product you are trying to review. Note everything, even if you don't think its can always weed out your notes later.Ask the company if there is anything that they want the readers to know about the never know what they might say.Jo from Jo's Blog Spot
  • I think stats are important. They might want to know: how many people are viewing your blog? your google page rank or how many followers you have? Be prepared with this information.Jaqueline from My Lil Guyz
  • Be detailed in your review. If your review is just 3 lines long with nothing more than general information in it, you're not helping your readers at all. Readers want to know more than what they can just read on the product's website. Plus, companies and PR folks will come back to you with other items in the future if they see you took the time to write a good review.Also, don't be afraid to post a negative review. Make sure you mention that it's your opinion only, but don't be afraid to say why the product didn't live up to your standards. Moms want to know if it is really worth buying, or if it is just going to gather dust or be thrown away!Storm from Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife
  • DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK. My first giveaways came from my persistence. I simply asked and I received.Keonte from The Verdict: Parenting on Trial
  • When approaching a company, include why you're a good match for their company in your pitch. Include specific references to their company and products in your request so that it doesn't seem like a form letter.Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot
  • Request a giveaway and explain that it improves visits to their site.Ask what link(s) the company would like for me to direct my readers to visit. I am always sure to send a link to the company once my post is up.I never, ever ship my giveaways unless I'm running them myself. I once did a week worth of them on my newest blog and let me tell you, I spent way too much money. The other issue I have now, but will soon be over, is that I don't have business cards. Sending items without them seemed so cheesy to me.Connie of Brain Foggles
  • My best advice (and this may not be too popular with the PR people) is to be honest. If you didn't like the product, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the review. Just give your open and honest opinion. Your readers are intelligent and can decide for themselves if they like it, especially if there is a giveaway attached.Adrienne of Adrienne's House

Product Review Tips from the Experts courtesy of The Product Review Place.

The Product Review Place connects bloggers and consumers with PR.The Product Review Place *** The Search is Over *** Reviews. Defined. Refined.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Carefree and Mom Central sent me a package of Carefree Ultra Protection and asking me to do a review and let you guys know about their great giveaway.

I received the Pads while the family was all in town and then I was away for a few days after that, then the whole fiasco with my car's transmission happened and now here I am telling you about their Fresh Start Fund contest on the LAST day available to enter. GO NOW!

Whether it is to change jobs, start a new relationship, lose a few pounds or even just get a makeover, who hasn’t wished they could make a fresh start?

Apply for a chance to receive $10,000 from the CAREFREE® Fresh Start Fund to help make that wish become a reality.

Tell us why you want to make a fresh start and how we can help for the chance to receive $10,000 in funding, a consultation from change expert Ariane de Bonvoisin of, and a trip to New York City to recieve your funding and be honored at the CAREFREE® Fresh Start event held in partnership with Step Up Women’s Network.

Carefree Panti Liners are something all girls have heard of, but did you know they make pads as well? I didn't. They have the necessity of a pad but the thinness and feel of a liner. It is refreshing to not have all that extra bulk where you don't want it.

They've asked me to write about a fresh start I have made in my life, to go along with the refreshing theme of the pads/liners. Where should I begin? I have made so many "fresh starts" in my life, I think perhaps I need to find a mechanic for myself to change my starter.

I hope one day to make my last fresh start, why couldn't I get it right the first time? Like Carefree did.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mangerial Responsibility

I just picked up my car from the mechanic.

Short Story? I do NOT recommend AAmco on Colorado in Glendale. I have not had the car back long enough to review them on their actual "work", but their overall customer service is teh suck!

Long Story? Have a seat.

I left you in the saga with me dropping off my car and them telling me it would be almost $3000 to fix. Fine. I was also told that it should be ready Friday but possibly Monday. Fine.

Friday comes, I call and they tell me the transmission is rebuilt but they need to install it and they won't be able to do that until Monday because they don't want to rush it to get it done before closing. But that it will be ready Monday afternoon. Fine.

Monday comes

"Sorry ma'am but we put in the wrong convertor and had to redo the rebuild and now the car won't be ready until Tuesday".

I offered some not nice words that revolved around "Why the fuck didn't anyone call me to let me know this?"

And was offered no response other than, "I didn't realize you were expecting it to be done today, I don't know what someone on Friday told you, I can't be responsible for them."

Me again, "I'm sorry, you're the manager and yet you don't claim responsibility for your employees? You need to lay the responsibility of the entire store at your feet and own up to it."

Him "Ma'am, I was not here n Friday, so I have no idea what was said. It is not my fault you are not satisfied".

I couldn't believe my ears and instead of going off on him with everyone reason why it WAS his fault, I simply hung up.

Today, I arrive at the shop to pick up my car. I expect him to have thought it over and to possibly even be contrite to offer me some compensation for my tribulations. I expect way to much obviously.

I am handed the bill and it is the amount he quoted, I ask for compensation for the extra time, and he offers me a car wash coupon. WTF?!

I am raging inside, I want to make a scene, but I just don't have it in me, I am so flabbergasted that he would justify his actions with a car wash coupon that I am pretty much rendered speechless.

So once again, I implore my local readers to NOT patronize Aamco on Colorado in Glendale. The emotional cost is way higher than the monetary one.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oldie but Goodie


How many of you remember this commercial?

I remember it. We never had Mr. Bubble our bubble baths consisted of dish soap from the kitchen. It bubbled up ok, but I just knew deep in my heart that if I had Mr. Bubble it would have been so much better.

Mr bubbleImage by adriennevh via Flickr

Mr. Bubble has updated their product a bit, with liquid instead of the boxed form, but other than that everything is pretty much the same. Same mascot, same cartoonish look, same quality. How do I know the quality is good? Because they sent me some to try with Caitlyn, and she loved it. I even took a video but the batteries died on the flip and I need to go buy more (whoops).

We used the Bubble bath (of course) and she made beards and planted flower gardens and played for almost 45 minutes in bubbles that never diminished. then I whipped out the Foam Soap (think shaving creamish) and she was just amazed. It came close to being squirted in her mouth since we had just done that before bathtime with the whipped cream. I didn't care too much for the foam soap. It really did have the feel of shaving cream and didn't lather on the body, so it didn't look to be cleaning anything, just kind of smearing around. To round things off we washed her hair with the 3 in 1. Now, to make things easier I could have just used this for all 3 stages, but I really wanted to try everything. This product worked well on her hair, nice lather and easy to rinse with minimal screaming about her EYES BLEEDING.

My favorite part of all these products is that they contained no frangrance, no dyes, no nothing. I am hyper sensitive to most frangrances with my allergies and Marisa and Caitlyn both have developed it as well. So Frangrance and dye free are very important to us.

Wanna know the best part? They want one of my readers to have some Mr. Bubble fun as well. All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment with a bubble bath memory. One reader will win all 3 product pictured and mentioned above. The contest will remain open until midnight June 4 Pacific time. The winner will be chosen by and notified via email.

Ready? Set? GO!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seal of Approval

SealImage by adriennevh via Flickr

Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval means alot to alot of people, me included. So when I found out that Build-A-Bear was receiving it, I was happy to be allowed to join in the fun. I mean really who could resist when they offer to send you this adorable little guy?

The Mini Good Housekeeping Seal is available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores for only $8, and 50 cents from each is donated to the World Wildlife Fund to protect endangered animals and their habitats. Plus, each Seal comes with a free 1-year subscription to "Good Housekeeping" magazine. $8! That's less than you would pay for a subscription to any magazine and you get an adorable little Seal as well.

But wait! There's more! With a purchase of $15 or more on May 2nd and 3rd, you get a cool HOT PINK and black tote bag that comes with a $15 gift card to Shutterfly. So you actually get your money back (in a sense).

And that's not all! If you act RIGHT NOW and leave me a comment you can win a $25 gift card to Build-A-Bear. That's right, all comments received before Sunday, May 3 will be enetered to win the $25 gift card to Build-A-Bear.

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