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IHOP – International House of Pancakes

Ah, a bit of deja-vu… Last St. Patty’s day I found a special for IHOP, free short stack of pancakes if you wear green. Of course, I only scanned it quickly and did not see the part that said to call to find out if they were participating…nice way to get people in there, everyone knows nobody reads the whole ad!

So, as we are walking up the sidewalk to the front door, we can see a few families sitting on the benches in the atrium, which I thought was weird for a Monday, then I noticed many empty tables inside, so it became really strange! I should have turned around right then and gone elsewhere… Anyway, we arrived at the entrance to find a note apologizing for the inconvenience, but they were not participating in the giveaway. Strike One! (this is a new IHOP btw…has not been open 6 months yet)

So, we sit and wait for a table, even though there are empty ones everywhere, for about 10-15 minutes. We get escorted to a nice booth, close to the exit, and the floor decorated with some lovely bacon. The server comes right away with menus, asks us what we would like to drink, and we place our orders. She goes away, presumably to get the drinks. A few minutes later, our water and oj arrive. Then we sit and wait.

About another 15 minutes later, she passes by and says that our food will be up soon. Then we don’t see her for almost another half hour. Finally the food arrives, and the “well done” steaks are still pink inside, but nice and hot. However, the broccoli is lukewarm.

I began to eat, fuming that we had to wait 45 minutes for cold broccoli and undone steak. After a few minutes, I asked the busboy clearing a nearby table if I could speak to the manager. He comes over shortly to find out what is up, and I explained all the lack of service and notification, and he started making excuses about short staff, blah blah blah…

I asked him “This is my problem why exactly?” He apologized profusely, and said he would take care of the check and speak to the server, who came back to the table immediately to ask if the food at least tasted ok. She said she had put the check in the system at 8:02 as shown on the receipt the manager gave us to show it was no charge, and blamed the cook, saying that she had gone to ask how were the steaks coming about 15 minutes after she put in the order, and they had not even started them. She also asked us to come back, and see her, and she would make sure we were well taken care of.

Would you go back???

(ps: the Déjà vu feeling was because we had a very similar experience at a Denny’s about 5 years ago, long wait for cold food, which is why we have never gone back…)

[whohit]ihop st patty[/whohit]

Cielito Lindo Restaurant Vineland, NJ

I have mixed feelings for this place, as I have visited many times.

The décor is nice, the food is excellent, but the service that used to be wonderful is now lacking.  On my last visit on a Saturday evening, as well as the prior one, the wait for food was well over 30 minutes, even though the place was almost empty, only 1 or 2 other tables occupied besides ours. That small of a crowd is rather strange for a Saturday after 7pm if you ask me.

On the last visit, 2 days ago, the temperature in the restaurant was about 10 degrees higher than outside, which was fairly warm at 70+ degrees. I noticed that no air conditioning was on.  I also noticed the vents in the ceiling, but I was told by the one employee we saw the whole time we were there that they did not have AC.

The menu has many culinary delights, but, alas, no desserts or fruit or even salads are listed. I ended up eating the Chile Relleno, which, to my surprise, had not a drop of any sauce anywhere on the plate, only a drizzle of sour cream. It was very tasty, but not overly greasy (just a bit) from the frying oil.  It also was not too spicy, which is always a plus for me!

I do have to rave about their Horchata beverage, it is in a huge round cup on a pedestal, I believe they are also used for margarita drinks, but this place does not serve alcohol.  The price is not bad, at $2.50, but I think that is part of the racket they have running, that you get so thirsty from the heat that you have to have more than one full glass of something to drink.

I think with a little more staff, fix the AC and some advertising this would be a great little restaurant!

Just sayin’

SugarDoodle.net

Are you LDS and have a calling? SugarDoodle used to be a great site for finding ideas for activities, classes, visiting teaching, etc. Have you tried searching for something on that site lately? Been disgusted with how many pop-ups and ads are all in your face? I know it does state at the bottom of the page that it is not an official LDS site, but have you seen the ads on there? I saw one for a new movie called The Seventh Son, part of a series of severely violent movies…also for a product that is used for…shall I say, intimate times? Talk about selling out…just because they get so much web traffic…

Well, I did something about it! I started up a new site: sugarnoodle.org It will have the same types of ideas and opportunities to share them, but will NEVER have paid popups or ads all over the place. The only thing I might add is a page of links to LDS owned businesses, which will be FREE of any charges.

The home page offers a form for anyone to share their ideas, any time. You can even suggest a category to help organize the posts. Feel free to share this post, or the website, on any media you feel like…

Thanks for reading! and sharing…

eCommerce shipping service called Shipstation

Where I work as a CSR, we sell stuff online, and we had been using an old Windows program to print shipping labels for the packages, where we had to copy/paste the shipping address to the label program, then copy/paste the tracking and input to the website.

The business owners found a service online that supposedly “integrates” with the eCommerce website, and it looked great, so we tried it out. We have been using it for the better part of a year so far.

The way it works is: it “updates” the orders into their system, then has on their website all the order info, where it integrates shipping methods and their payments with our orders, tracking info, and sends label information to printers. It can even do packing lists/invoices too, and sends the tracking information to our website, marks the order complete, and sends the customer a tracking email. It verifies shipping addresses against the shippers’ databases, including the US Postal Service too.

It works most of the time. But sometimes it doesn’t work so well. There are a few things that they seemingly refuse to fix, saying it can’t be done.

 1-For shipments to Puerto Rico, Guam and Armed Forces, which are sent via Priority Mail, they assumed you needed to print the international type of label, they won't even give the OPTION to print a regular Priority Mail label. They did fix it for Puerto Rico after a few months, which is not even part of another country (it is a territory of the US), but Guam and Armed Forces Priority Mail we still have to do using our old method.

 2-When verifying addresses, it seems the code compares line 1 of the address to line 1 of the comparison database, line 2 compared to line 2, etc...The problem with this is that you get a LOT of unverified addresses when sometimes the apartment, suite, unit, lot etc number is on the 2nd line in our address but on the first line in the comparison database, and vice versa. Having written code myself, I know it is very easy to concatenate the 2 fields together and THEN compare. This would save a lot of extra work having to go check on the unverified addresses, as it happens daily with several addresses! I have complained about it often, but it still has not been changed.

 3-If there is a character other than a letter or number in one of the address fields, (which happens often!) then the address will verify, but when you try to create the label, it chokes on the character (does not create the label and gives an error message), then you have to go manually remove the character. This will happen for example with an apostrophe as in O'Connor in the name field. Again, it could be sanitized programatically very easily using regular expressions.

 4-Updating the orders, this is another big time-waster. You cannot just hit the F5 key to refresh the page and reload with the new orders, you have to mouse over the menu item, then click on the drop down item "Update All Stores". I assume this has something to do with they way they process the multiple marketplaces, but we have only 1 at the time of this review. Then you have to click on the tiny Reload link to actually see all of the new orders that have been updated. Oh, and it takes at least a minute to do all this updating, which has to be done however often you check for new orders...and there is no way to automate this like, say every minute or two.

 5-They are constantly re-working the site!  After a few months of using it, they completely revamped the whole look of it, changing where everything was and how it worked, saying it was "improved"...  They also now do what seems to be at least weekly updates, after which there are almost always issues causing lost time, labels and tempers. Like the latest one now has a tutorial every time you login, which will not let you do anything until you either see and click on the tiny, very light grey "x" in the upper right hand corner of the small box, or go through the tutorial, clicking on the Next button all over the screen 13 times.

 6-If there is any deviation from the normal ship the order and done, such as re-shipping a missing or wrong item that was sent, ShipStation does NOT send any further information to the "marketplace", meaning you have to do it manually. Also, if you mistakenly print a label for an order, it has updated the marketplace already, it does not go back to the order and remove the tracking information, you have to do that manually too. 

Try to get support chat right after an update, usually on Monday when we are the busiest, and the “hold” time has been up to 38 minutes. Then when they get online with you, they always seem to blame the user’s computer settings or else they say that it just isn’t doable what you expect the site to do, like automate the label printing process. What are we paying for then???

Sam’s Club in Turnersville NJ

Sept. 9, 2014

I needed 4 tires for my van and a new bed, so my husband and I decided to visit Sam’s Club. I was at the store by 9:30 am, on a Saturday, and was told the tires would take about an hour, so I went shopping for a bed.

I found that the some of the pricing signs seemed misleading, as they were attached to a sample bed which was not what any of the price signs were for (It was a much more expensive set!).

Also, I needed assistance with the mattresses, but I had to go all the way around the store to finally find an employee at the front, and I was promised she would send someone, so I went back to the beds and waited around 10 minutes. Nobody showed up, so this time I called the store from my cell phone, and again was promised help, but after another 10 minutes, I gave up and went back to the tire dept. to wait for my car. The bed I wanted was over $600, so that sale was lost for your store.

Then was waiting in a short line of 3 people at the tire counter. (It took them around 20 minutes to just take care of 1 problem, with a manager being called. I don’t understand why that issue was not handled at customer service!) I finally got the attention of someone, only to find out my van was still not ready, after well over the 1 hour time I was told it would take.

My husband was hungry, so we got 2 “all white meat chicken” sandwiches, which were some sort of patty made from what seemed to be TVP. If there was any chicken meat in it, it was ground up way past any recognition, the particles were about cornmeal size, if that big. I don’t for a moment believe that it was all chicken, (maybe all the meat in it  was white meat, which I would estimate around 1% of total content?), as chicken is not soft and spongy like that tiny patty was.

I sat near the tire counter for another long while before going up and asking again, when I was told it was almost done. When it was finally done, after about 2 hours from when I left my keys, I was also notified that my request to have one of the old tires put on my spare rim (at extra cost of course!) was not done, because the tech “could not get the spare out”. I wonder now if my tires will not fall off soon, shouldn’t they know how to get the spare off of any vehicle, if they do nothing but tires????

So then I had to go wait in another line at customer service for a refund of the extra charge, which took almost another half hour. I really could not believe all of the cheapness, disorganization, and lack of customer service at this store!!!

I hope this message gets to the manager of the Turnersville NJ store, and he or she realizes that in saving a little money on employees’ wages and cheap food-like substances being sold as food, he or she is losing sales and current and future customers.

This is partly due to the fact that I have been telling everyone about all this waste of my time and ranted about it on my blog. I work 6 days a week at 2 jobs, one being my own business, and I don’t have time to waste like that!!! It’s really too bad, because I now don’t plan to visit your store anymore…BJ’s Club, here I come! Oh, and by the way, a copy of this is being sent to corporate headquarters, not that I think they will do anything about it, but just sayin’….

UPDATE Jan 14, 2015

Well, I had to go back (first time since the tires were put on the van), because of the warranty on the tires, which I needed to use as one of the tires had developed a slow leak. Turns out it was the tire stem, which had corroded, (ALREADY??? REALLY??? AFTER LESS THAN 4 MONTHS???) Let’s see how soon I have to go back…At least I didn’t have to pay anything this time…

Most Wanted: Pain Is Good – Habanero Sauce

This is the best hot sauce my husband ever tried! He raves about it and shares it with anyone who comes to eat with us! And believe me, he has quite a collection of bottles of hot sauce…

We originally bought it at Marshall’s, but when we went back to get more, they didn’t have it anymore…so I got the bottle and looked it up online.

Turns out it IS sold online, by the company that makes it, and their website is originaljuan.com.

Besides the Habanero sauce (and the Chilpotle version, which we will be trying next) in the brand “Most Wanted: Pain Is Good”, they offer many other brands, some of them which have a sauce that is $40 a bottle, and has 1.5 million on the scoville chart. We’ll be trying that one soon…

 

 

Providers that work with Medicare

I work for a company that sells cpap machines and supplies for treatment of sleep apnea (out of pocket, not through insurance). Around July of 2013, Medicare put in place the new providers with whom they now contract, all the big companies like Apria and Lincare that outbid the small DME providers. Ever since then, more and more often, we are getting call and chats asking how often parts need to be replaced and how much they cost, along with the inevitable question: Do you work with Medicare? I have been having a hard time contacting the provider they assigned to me, and I am looking for a new provider.

I am hearing some real horror stories about how much they are paying for the machines, including monthly rental payments, and how often they are receiving supplies, which does NOT match up with the manufacturers recommendations! 2 days ago, I had one caller ask how often cushions needed to be replaced, because he was suspicious that the provider had sent him enough mask cushions to change them every 2 weeks for 6 months, and wanted him to sign an agreement to pay whatever Medicare doesn’t. (hmmmmm, what’s wrong with this picture?) The manufacturers’ recommendations for cushion replacement is 1 every 3 to 6 months, or when they start to leak too much.

The next call was from an elderly man asking how much a bipap machine costs. I gave him the price for the best model we have, the automatic one, which was $1,868.00. Want to guess how much his Medicare provider, Lincare, wanted to charge? Wait for it…$8,000!!!!! Unbelievable!!!

I will add others’ stories as they come along…

Please share this with anyone you know that uses Medicare, so we can shut down this travesty of wasting our tax money! Please send REDACTED pictures of your bills or any other proof to post along with this information, without any personally identifiable information. I will research and see where actual complaints may be filed and add any links or phone numbers I find to this post.

Thanks for reading!

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Liquid Web, My First Rave! (No, I am not paid for this!)

Since I was sick and tired of slow loading webpages, waiting more than a half hour for chat/phone support, vague answers to my concerns, and customer service agents who take at least 3 minutes to answer you in chat (either they are using a translator or had too many chats going), I decided to do some serious checking out of my next hosting company.

I stumbled upon Liquid Web, and I have to say, they are great! Chat answers within 30 seconds, they answer your questions even faster, (which indicates that they do not speak English as a Second Language) and actually seem to know what they are doing.

They OWN, not RENT all the servers too, which are located in centers across the US and worldwide. They also don’t overload the servers with too many hosting accounts/sites, so they don’t take 10 seconds or more before STARTING to load, like one of my former hosting places that I shall not mention in this post (I don’t promise not to mention them elsewhere 😉 ).

ps: My only peeve with Liquid Web is that they made changes to my account instead of letting me know what to do. I do like to learn to do things all by myself!