Customer Service

Back in college I took a class on hospitality and customer service for some reason. In this class we read the book Raving Fans by Sheldon Bowles and Ken Blanchard. The book’s message was telling companies/brands to have great customer service so that they have “raving fans” rather than customers.

Let me start off by saying that I am not a bamboozler. I do not lie to get free stuff. The stories below are completely true and this is a teaching moment for you — my fans. Only use this method of reaching out to brands/companies if you had a less than wonderful experience.

Customer Experiences

Have you ever had a bad experience with a product or service? Maybe a slightly inconvenient experience? We all have and I’m here to tell you that as long as it’s a small accident you don’t have to go public with it. Don’t be like Topanga’s husband who tried to say there were shrimp tails in his cereal when they were probably just funny shaped sugar strips (I actually didn’t keep up with this story so I have no idea what they ended up being).

Most companies today have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and possibly multiple social media profiles. They’re mostly run by ad agency interns. This is why when something goes wrong I find a company’s Twitter profile and send them a DM (Direct Message). It’s also good to send a picture, when possible.

This is the story of three different customer experiences I had with three different brands — one bad, one slightly inconvenient and one that I’m not even sure affected me in any sort of way. It’s also a story of redemption and how these three companies stepped up and admitted they were wrong and made it up to me.

THE BAD: FRESH STEAKS

I shop at The Fresh Market weekly and I have stated this before in other posts. Earlier this month I bought two steaks (Filet Mignon) to make for dinner for my girlfriend and myself. It was Easter weekend, I purchased them on Friday and by Sunday they had transformed into rotten, ugly zombie meat. I had to toss them.

I’m not really sure how long Steak should keep in the fridge, I usually freeze them if I’m not cooking and eating them within one or two days. I would guess two to three days would be the max.

My next visit to the Fresh Market I asked someone in the meat department how long a Filet Mignon should last in the fridge, they told me a whole week — 7 days! I thought that was a crazy thing to say, but instead I just said, “Sure, ok.” and nodded my head.

I didn’t want to be a Karen and talk to the manager of the store, although I have met him and he’s a nice dude. Instead I went to Twitter and DM-ed the Fresh Market directly.

I also mentioned that I was told that a steak would keep fresh in the fridge for up to one week. They immediately made things right and sent me a $25 gift card. The two steaks were probably somewhere between $10 and $20, so I think this was a good job by them.

Thank you Karla!

At no point was I going to stop going to Fresh Market, it’s still my favorite grocery store. And even after having this and a few other small problems from time to time, they have always been great about making it up to me.

THE SLIGHTLY INCONVENIENT: WHERE’S MY BOLOGNA, OSCAR?

The second experience was with a classic Lunchables meal (Bologna and Cheese). I do eat more Lunchables than someone in their 30s should eat, but Lunchables are always a quick, easy and delicious meal.

There I was enjoying my Lunchables cracker sandwiches. Yes, I double up and instead of making six one layer cracker stackers I make three sandwiches instead with two of each item.

Cracker + Meat + Cheese + Meat + Cheese + Cracker.

I was on my last cracker sandwich when I realized that there had only been five slices of Bologna this whole time instead of the usual six. My last cracker sandwich was a disappointment.

Cracker + Cheese + Meat + Cheese + Cracker.

Yes, it was still good but I wasn’t satisfied ending my lunch(able) on an incomplete sandwich. I went to Twitter.

I mentioned a FREE Nintendo Switch there because until December of 2020 Lunchables was holding a free Nintendo Switch contest which I entered multiple times. This is the reason why I’ve eaten so many Lunchables recently. Also, I probably would have eaten the same amount of Lunchables without a contest.

No Nintendo Switch… but a nice letter and $3 coupon.

Lunchables sent me a nice letter and a coupon for $3 off of a Lunchables to make up for my incomplete lunch(able) that day. I hope Lunchables don’t cost more than $3? Either way it doesn’t matter, this coupon has expired since I was holding onto it just for this post. Oops.

I guess I should just frame the coupon and put it up on the wall now that it’s expired. This will show people my friendship with the Oscar Mayer company.

THE I’M NOT SURE WHAT TO CALL IT: NOT ENOUGH M&M’S

The last instance wasn’t really a problem at all. I was truly just informing the Keebler elves that I had purchased a bag of Keebler M&M cookies and every cookie in the bag either had one or two M&M’s only.

I have eaten tons of one or two M&M cookies in my day. It’s usually only a few of the cookies that don’t have the proper amount of M&M’s. When it’s a small percentage of the cookies that are missing M&M’s, it makes them special. When the whole bag has zero cookies with the proper three M&M’s, something has gone completely wrong.

I felt it was my duty to inform the Keebler elves of their mistake. I didn’t want other people to go M&M-less too.

My message to the Keebler elves. They must have a strong wifi signal in that tree, they got back to me right away.

Even though I wasn’t trying to get them to send me anything, the Keebler elves still sent me not one, but two coupons for their family of products. These just came in the other day so let’s hope I use them before they expire.


These are just three small experiences I’ve had like this of many. I’ve reached out to many companies with feedback and complaints and have usually received some help . I’m still a fan of these three companies. I will continue to shop at the Fresh Market weekly, and I have many Keebler Elf cookies and Lunchable to eat in my lifetime. 

That’s all.

The History of Face ID (according to me)

When the iPhone first introduced Face ID in 2017 it was the coolest thing ever (to some people). Unlocking your iPhone felt like being an international spy or living in the distant future. Apple and many other tech companies started off with fingerprint scanning, but when that became the norm they had to step it up.

Unofficial Apple Meeting Transcript (2016) 

TIM: What if we can use their faces as a fingerprint?

BOB: What? Like a face print?

TIM: Yes, but don’t call it that.

SHIELA: What about Print Face.

BOB: Face Reader?

SHIELA: Open face???

TIM: I hate all of those.

SHIELA: Face ID?

TIM: Yes, thank you Shiela! Face ID! Make it happen nerds…

Now, in 2020 and 2021 the face recognition technology has become slightly obsolete. Not all the time, but most of the time thanks to the pandemic. Now that we’re all wearing masks we’ve gone back to entering our pins and being forced to remember our hundreds of saved passwords. It’s madness.

The sad part is that Apple took away the fingerprint reader from our iPhones, so now we’re forced to enter our pins instead (like it’s the early 2010s). We’ve regressed not only one but two generations to entering pin codes.

I don’t understand how my iPhone recognizes my face with and without glasses on. Each time I unlock my iPhone using my face I try to stump it by making a different silly face, but it always recognizes me somehow (and I know many of you do the same). This is why I don’t understand how it doesn’t know who I am when a mask is covering the lower third of my face? There’s still two thirds of my face for you to read iPhone!

Disney is now testing out face recognition software to enter the parks, but again we’re still wearing masks. At first I thought maybe they were having trouble with imposters pretending to be their friends who are passholders, but they already have our fingerprints (and I’m guessing it’s hard to fake that, unless once again you’re some kind of international spy).

I’m starting to think this whole Face ID and facial recognition software craze is just a ploy for all of these big companies to sell more of our information (aka our faces) to advertisers everywhere. We should have never given Apple our faces, but now it’s too late, they have everything and soon our world will become some dystopian Cyberpunk future.

Until then — Good luck, everyone…

I was yesterday years old when…

There are many items and products that we consume in our every day lives, without ever really thinking much about them. How was this created? Who created this? Where did the name come from?

Some products are named using multiple words which together make up that products identity, but on their own they may mean something completely different. In some cases there may even be a hidden meaning or a pun behind the name. So much goes into naming and branding nowadays. And most consumers don’t pay much attention to it, at all.

It’s not that you’re dumb and missed something. You just probably never thought about it. Just as we’ve all said things like, “Give me a Kleenex,” instead of a tissue, because Kleenex is the brand we associate with tissues. So much so that some of us think tissues are actually called Kleenex. Or, for the older folks you may have said, “Make me a Xerox of this,” another brand used in place of the phrase “photo copy.” Or Band Aid vs bandage.

Because these names are so commonly used in our vernacular we don’t stop to think about what they mean. Now, Chips Ahoy! is not something anyone says daily, unless they are actually specifically talking about enjoying some delicious Chips Ahoy! cookies.

The other night, while eating Chips Ahoy! cookie(s) (I won’t disclose the exact number, because I’m never sure how many cookies I’ve eaten in any given day or moment in time), I had an epiphany. While staring at the logo I thought of the name. I know Ahoy! is something associated with captains and boats and pirates and whatnot. So I started thinking what that had to do with cookies.

Then I began thinking about the word chips, yes for chocolate chips or whatever chips they put in each cookie. But why did they use chips and not cookie or biscuit or anything else. Then I realized that it was a play on Ships, Ships Ahoy! that’s what captains or pirates would say.

I went a bit further and did some research and all I learned from the internet is that the name Chips Ahoy! must have come from one of two places. Either it came from a Charles Dickens story from the 1800s or it came from a Donal Duck cartoon in the 1950s.

After figuring this whole thing out I kind of felt like an idiot, but I know that at least one person will read this and realize that they too are an idiot like me. So, to that one person, “You are no idiot, you are just as smart as I am.” And, you are welcome.

I will also spend the rest of this week analyzing the name of any food I eat.

Here are some fun Chips Ahoy! ads to enjoy while you think about how you’re going to get some Chips Ahoy! cookies next time you go to the grocery store (or Instacart some groceries).

1980s Chips Ahoy! commercial starring Blossom’s older brother, Joey Lawrence… Whoa!
And here’s something a bit more recent…

Enjoy your cookies!

NO COMMERCIAL BREAKS

Cloud 0FL title

A few months ago, I began watching SUPERSTORE on Hulu. I had heard it was a fun, goofy show, and I’m a fan of “Jonah” (who plays the lawyer on Silicon Valley). I also liked that there were already four seasons to watch, so I knew it would take me some time to get through it all.

I’m not a binger of shows. I don’t enjoy watching a whole butt-load of episodes of one show in a single weekend, unless I have already seen the entire series and it’s playing in the background while I’m cooking or doing other stuff. I like to treat my shows like a fine Merlot. I take in one episode at a time, maybe two or three in a full day, at most. I let shows breath so that entire seasons don’t become one mega episode of mush in my brain.

Superstore has so much, “REAL” product placement in it, that it should not have commercial breaks. As someone who isn’t a fan of forced product placement in movies and TV shows (like Michael Bay’s 2-hour Transformers Car Commercials, AKA the ones after Shia Lebeouf), SUPERSTORE does a great job with having all the products on the shelves, but not in your face.

SUPERSTORE takes place inside of a Walmart clone, called Cloud 9. Cloud 9 carries only real products that you would find in Walmart and Target and other real-life superstores. Most times when you see a product on a TV series, it’s usually a fake brand they created just for the show, so they don’t have to deal with the companies who make these products.

I’ve only watched SUPERSTORE on Hulu, so I’m not sure if it actually has commercial breaks when episodes play on prime time (if it doesn’t leave a comment below and let me know). If a soccer game can get away with not having commercial breaks just because each player is a walking ad for the team sponsor, then SUPERSTORE should definitely not have commercials.

Perhaps SUPERSTORE can do what pod casters do and create their own ads within the show, where they get to say whatever they want. Sort of like how pod casters just say whatever they want when creating ads for strange internet brands, like MeUndies, Blue Apron and Third Love. 

SUPERSTORE is showing off so many products that we all know and already buy. While watching episodes I sometimes add things to my grocery list (this makes the show not only entertaining but also convenient). Usually, this would annoy me, but since they never really talk about the products or have the camera zoom in on certain ones it doesn’t bother me. It just makes the world seem more realistic.

On the show I’ve seen everything from La Croix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Doritos to Reed’s Ginger Beer and Squatty Potties. I hope all of these brands are paying SUPERSTORE to carry their products on the shelves of Cloud 9, and that is how SUPERSTORE will stay on TV forever, taking money from all of these rich companies to create entertainment as I slowly watch it on my friend’s Hulu account until the end of time.