Monday, February 21, 2011

Life Time Fitness

Dear Life Time Fitness,

I just wanted to take a moment to say how much I love you! I joined about 6 months ago, and I could not be happier about that choice. The club is clean, the employees are nice, and the service is amazing. I can't say enough good things.

I would also like to specifically mention Jason, my membership coordinator, and Geoff, my personal trainer. They are both wonderful! Jason is always there to answer any questions I need, and I can tell he genuinely cares about how I'm doing. Geoff is SO nice, super friendly, and an awesome trainer. He kicks my butt, but he does it with a smile, and I know he's committed to helping me reach my goals.

You're awesome, Life Time! I tell everyone about you. Thanks for being a vital part of my well-being.

Warm Regards,
Shelly Cole


Hi, Yogurtology!

I've written you before to tell you how much I love you. Yogurtology is a life changing product. I'll never be satisfied by another frozen yogurt.

A while back, I asked about a more chocolatey chocolate. I was assured there was an attempt to get a richer version than chocolate frosty, but I haven't seen one at the Biltmore store. I may have missed it, but I doubt it. Any word on this? I really think it offers more flavor combinations than the slightly malted frosty flavor.

I also have some suggestions. My dad was telling about a cupcake he saw on cupcake wars that was part carrot cake and part oatmeal cookie. Of course, whenever I think oatmeal cookie, I think Yogurtology, so I thought, why don't they have a carrot cake flavor? I think it would be DIVINE! Also, you could make a cream cheese frosting flavor, which would pair well with the red velvet cake and the oatmeal cookie in addition to the carrot cake.

Think about it. That's all I'm asking. I love you!

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole

US Airways Center

Dear US Airways Center,

About a month ago, I attended a Suns game. I hadn't been in a while, and I was reminded of a time when the Suns were a dream team. I was in about 4th or 5th grade when Majerle, KJ, and Barkley were on the team. It was such an exciting time! I remember cheering for them. I thought of these things as I purchased my nachos and red rope from the concession stand. Apparently you are nostalgic for those times, too, because I think the red rope I bought was probably purchased around the same time Barkley started saying, "I am not a role model."

I tried to gnaw through that thing, but it was so hard and tough that I couldn't even finish it between half time and the end of the game. I mean, I only spent a few bucks on it, and I realize the Suns aren't making as much money as they once were, but I think you could spring for some fresher licorice. Just a thought. I did enjoy the game, though. Thanks for listening!

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fry's Electronics

I'm posting this letter on behalf of my mother. Now you see where I get my skills. I learned from the master! This letter is incredible. You rock, mom!

Dear Fry’s Electronics:

Times must be good for your company. I am assuming times are good based on my recent sales and services experiences at my local Fry’s. In my experience, when times are good, companies and their employees seem less concerned about the consumer’s store experience. And that seemed to be the case on Monday, January 17th.

Before I relate my experience I would like to provide some background information. My husband and I purchased two refurbished HP Pavilion Laptops from our local Fry’s in 2006. They have been fabulous laptop. However, I now need a smaller, more portable laptop. Based on my previous experience I wanted to look at Fry’s. Imagine my delight, when on Saturday, January 15th, I dropped by and found a Toshiba Satellite T135, refurbished, on clearance for $400. I was very excited. I had wanted that type of laptop, but most were nearly $600-700, out-of-range for my start-up business. I happily purchased the last one and added a three year warranty with the replacement coverage.

I took the laptop home and was ecstatic with the performance and light weight. I added software and felt I had made a wonderful purchase. Unfortunately, I realized the battery was not charging. So, Monday morning I took the laptop back to Fry’s, thinking I had my bases covered and regardless of what they found, I would have a computer.

I went to the service department and was amazed that you had nine service people. Even more amazing was that half of them appeared to be on their phones, and two or three were helping one customer. The line got significantly longer behind me and department managers and employees carefully avoided making eye contact with any of us in the line. Finally, someone decided a second service attendant might be necessary. I believe at that point there were at least ten people in the line behind me.

My computer was checked and the service technician wrote down that either the battery was bad or the mother board was bad. He gave me a slip and told me I would need to go returns since my computer was broken. I went to returns and did not have to wait long, fortunately. However, I was told I could not use my warranty because I was in the “15 day return window.” They gave me my green credit slip and said I could use that towards my new purchase. I was beginning to feel somewhat disgruntled at this point. I thought I would have a replacement. I knew from my previous trip that there were no $400 laptops like I wanted. But, I went back hoping someone would help me replace my laptop.

I went back to the computer section and asked the manager if there were any Toshiba’s like mine at another store. He reported there was only one in San Diego, but he would get a sales person to help me. We looked at the displays, and sure enough, there were only two laptops, each $599. The sales person was kind enough to check in the back to see if there were any open boxes or last items. While I was waiting for his return, another sales person came up and asked me if I needed help. He said I looked, “sad or upset.” I told him I was very frustrated and why. He told me “I needed to let go of my negative energy and find positive energy. My frustration would not change the outcome. I should look for something positive to take away from the situation, like ‘I would go home with a laptop because he was sure they would price match and take care of me.” I must admit, I was a little put off by his comments, but tried to put on a face of “positive energy.”

The sales person came back and told me there were no open boxes or last items. At this point, I felt desperate. I started to wonder if there was a way to keep my original laptop. So, I went back to the service department to see if we could get a battery for the computer and determine if that was the problem. Andy, said sure, and told me to go back to computers and ask them to get me a battery. I went back to computers and asked the manager, Martha, if they had any batteries. Martha, looked very busy, but took the time to look up and me and say “no, we don’t have any batteries.” I was surprised, and asked again, and she said “no, we only have the long Toshiba batteries.” I was impressed with her ability to keep the battery inventory in her head, she had not even needed to look it up. She did suggest I go to components to see if they had a universal battery. She was a little brusque, and I had the impression I was interfering with other more important matters.

I dutifully went to components where I met Ben. Ben looked for a universal battery, but there were none. After I explained my dilemma and frustration, he was kind enough to take me back to see Jim in computers whom he thought could help me. Jim went to the back and came back with a battery, but it was the wrong one. He told me I needed the actual battery from the computer so he would know what it looked like. In fact, he said the probably should have brought the battery from service the first time.

Once again, I went back to the service department. Andy got the battery and went with me back to computers. Jim went to the back and found a new battery. I guess Martha missed it in her mental inventory. Andy and I went back to service and he tried the battery. Unfortunately, the computer could not see the battery. And so, after over two hours of back and forth, I took my green slip to the cashier and left with my $580.00 and what little “positive energy” I had left. I was disappointed, frustrated, and disillusioned by my buying experience at Fry’s.

My son suggested I call a manager when I was calmer to discuss the situation. He wondered if my experience would have been different if I had waited two weeks to take in my laptop. Then, I would have qualified for my warranty. So, today I called my local Fry’s. Unfortunately, when I asked to speak with a computer manager, they said they were going to transfer me to Martha. I hung up, I couldn’t imagine I was going to get any satisfaction from Martha, who was not helpful on Saturday.

I then decided to try the other Fry’s in town. The sales person was helpful. I explained I had a “bad experience” at the other Fry’s and was hoping he could help me. I told him I had been looking at Amazon and gave him the prices for similar computers. He found one Toshiba Satellite, which was a newer model, and it was an open box. The manager was willing to come down to the Amazon price or the open box price, but not both. Either way, I would still have sales tax at Fry’s and the warranty was $20 more than the one at Amazon. (the computer I was looking at was not on display, it was the last one, and in an open box in the back…so when was it going to be sold at all?)

Although I received help and some discounts, I decided I did not want to spend the additional $180.00 to have the computer and three year warranty. I did not think it made sense as I could get the same thing at Amazon for only $130.00 more. Once again, I left Fry’s with my $580.00.

In conclusion, if Fry’s had honored my warranty, even though I was in the 15 day window, Fry’s would still have my $580 and I would have a laptop. So, I conclude Fry’s must be making a lot of money since my $580 was not significant enough for anyone to really make an effort to save the sale and have a satisfied returning customer.

I would like to thank Ben in components, Jim in computers, and Andy in service. They each used what power they had to try and help me out. I wish your managers had been more motivated and caring. Perhaps, I have come to the wrong conclusion. Maybe the managers are the ones making money not the Fry’s store.

I hope you can use the information to improve your customer service. I look forward to your response.
Terry Cole

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chipotle Follow-up

Dear Chipotle,

On September 21, 2010, I wrote you inquiring about a Chipotle rewards program or punch card. I was told that this is in the works, but as of the last time I ate at Chipotle (last week sometime), I didn't see any news about this. Is there any progress with that?

I also sent a follow-up email about an idea for a point system where customers can select from a menu of benefits such as free chips or guacamole. I never got a response on that.

I wanted to commend you on a small detail. I've always been annoyed that the lemon slice tub by the drinks didn't have tongs. There was always a plastic fork in there, but it wasn't effective and people would always just end up putting their hands in there. I thought about writing to suggest tongs, but before I even got the chance, they magically appeared. I now feel much better about the sanitation of my lemon slices.

Chipotle, you still have the best barbacoa tacos ever. I love you! Ole'!

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole

Chipotle's Delightful Reply:

Dear Michelle,

Thanks for writing to us. Our loyalty program is still in the works but not quite ready to be rolled out yet. We are working hard to make sure it is very unique to Chipotle and unlike anything you've seen at any other restaurant or business. It's taking us a bit longer than we originally thought, but I promise we'll roll it out, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I apologize that you never received a response on your second email regarding a point system. We do respond to every comment we receive so I'll look into seeing where that one might have ended up. I just searched our system and didn't find anything from you. Did you, by chance, send it under a different email address?

We are happy that the appearance of tongs for our lemons made you happy and that you love our barbacoa tacos. Thanks for the positive feedback.

We hope to see you again soon!

Wipeout Follow-up


On Tues, Sept 21, 2010, I wrote with a suggestion to create a Best of Big Balls Wipeout DVD. Is there any progress on this? I really would like a good hour of nothing but the big balls for my entertainment.

I also really think you should get Rosie O'Donnell on the show.

I'm so excited for Winter Wipeout, but the obstacle course at the end seemed far too easy on the first episode. Will improvements be made to make it more difficult?

I love you.

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole


Dear M&Ms,

I would like to start out by saying that I love M&Ms. I have been a huge fan of the green M&M since long before her popularity in mainstream candydom. I actually wrote a persuasive speech in high school about the voting of the blue M&M. (I'm still slightly bitter that the new color replaced the tan M&M and no one was informed that it was a trade and not an addition, but at this point I should probably get over that. I mean, that was like ten years ago. I digress...)

I recently visited M&M World in Las Vegas, NV. This was a delightful experience, although I did feel the custom color mix M&Ms were grossly overpriced. I suppose that's what happens in Vegas, though. I'm wondering if you have M&M cuff links. I saw tie tacks there, but not cuff links.

Anyway, the primary reason for this email is to inform you that I recently had an unsatisfactory M&M experience. I purchased a 17 oz bag of Peanut M&Ms from a Fry's Grocery store in Phoenix, AZ where I reside. I opened the bag a few days later for a party only to find that about 1/3 of the M&Ms in the bag were completely broken. This left the others dusty and dull from all the debris in the bag.

Now, I realize this may be a handling concern on the part of the grocer, but I thought I would inform you as well on the off chance that it happened to be a quality control issue on your part. I was disappointed, but I will have you know that even broken peanut M&Ms have an addiction power roughly equivalent to that of heroin, and by the end of the night there was nary an M&M fragment in sight.

I've always loved you, M&M, but your bag of shattered candy coating cracked the candy coating of my own heart. I expected a bag of glossy, delicious M&Ms and instead got a bag of broken candy dreams.

Warm regards,
Michelle Cole


M&M Mars sent me an email asking me to call them with more detailed information (UPC, my address, etc.). I called them today, and the girl on the phone was wonderful. They are sending me replacement coupons that can be used for any M&M Mars product. Hooray!