Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Taco Bell

Dear Taco Bell,

I would like to commend you for your exceptional service. About a month ago, I stopped at Burger King to get something to eat. I paid $8 for my dinner, the order was wrong, the service was terrible, and the bun was stale.

Conversely, at Taco Bell, the food is affordable, the service excellent, and it 's just a more enjoyable experience.

Thank you for being there for me when I need a quick, delicious, affordable solution. Many of my friends have also commented on your excellent customer service. High five, Taco Bell!

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole


ABC's comment template only allows 500 characters, so I was limited in my choice of words. Here's what I wrote.

Dear ABC,

Wipeout is amazing. I love it. I have two suggestions.

1. Best of Big Balls DVD. I really think there is a market for this.

2. Celebrity Wipeout. Rosie O'Donnel recently commented that she would "never ever" go on Dancing with the Stars, and that she'd rather go on Wipeout.

Just think: Rosie and the Hoff bouncing off the Big Balls. Now that's good television.

I don't really appreciate the character limit on your template, but I do understand.

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole

Saturday, September 11, 2010

24 Hour Fitness

Dear 24 Hour Fitness,

When I originally joined about 3 years ago, you were basically my only option. You were the closest gym to my home and work, and although you cost more than other fitness clubs, I was willing to pay extra for the convenience of being able to work out whenever I want.

I have since moved, and while there aren't tons of other options, there are some. My biggest concern is that you're not open 24 hours a day anymore. I work out in the evening because it's a good way for me to wind down. On Saturdays, the 24 Hour Fitness locations here in Phoenix close at 9 p.m. I've often had to cut my workouts short because of this.

I have other concerns about the cleanliness of the club and locker rooms, but any fitness club might have some of those problems. Basically what I'm saying is, it's ridiculous that for how much I pay, I can't work out when I want, especially because the NAME of your establishment is 24 Hour Fitness! You're not living up to that name.

I'm sorry, but I'm forced to look at other options that are more accommodating to my needs. You might want to re-think your choice in name, as it is misleading.

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole

Their poorly-written response:

Thank you for your email couple things. There are some 24 Hour Fitness locations that are open 24 Hours the other locations such as this one have to comply to city code and have to close by 9pm on the weekends. It has always been this way with certain club the hours have not been altered in the past 3 years and than some. The locations that are open 24 hours are Metro Sport (I-17 and Peoria), Mesa Dobson (Dobson and 8th street), and Gilbert (Val Vista and Elliot). The other thing I was not sure based on your email were you wanting me to go ahead and cancel out your membership because you said you are looking at other options or you are still trying to decide? If you have any further concerns feel free to email me back, Thanks!

In defense of 24 Hour Fitness, they did promptly cancel my membership at my request, with no drama. I joined Life Time Fitness, and I love it! YAY!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Dear Yogurtology,

I love frozen yogurt. I've lost about 30 lbs in the last year, and it's hard to find an acceptable and enjoyable substitute for ice cream. As you are well aware, there is currently a frozen yogurt craze going on! Yogurt Land, Mojo, Golden Spoon, to name a few. I've tried them all. I even wrote Mojo a letter suggesting that they offer both roasted and slivered almonds (most places don't carry roasted) and they didn't even have the courtesy to respond to me!

I love Yogurtology for multiple reasons. First of all, it's always pristine. I know when I go there it will be clean and inviting. Second, your flavors are amazing. I fell in love at my first taste of the oatmeal cookie flavor, and that love deepened with each bite of red velvet cake, coconut, and yellow cake batter. Then there are the toppings... oh, the toppings! The staff are always friendly, and I love the new reward program with the scan card. I just can't say enough good things about Yogurtology. I tell everyone about it. I encourage people to go there. I rave about the oatmeal cookie flavor.

I do have one suggestion. While I enjoy the fancy flavor selection, I do feel customers could benefit from a more chocolatey option. The chocolate frosty flavor is good, but it's chocolate malt. It doesn't go with a lot of the toppings. For example, if you carried a dark chocolate flavor, I could top it with chocolate and nuts or strawberries, but I won't top the chocolate frosty flavor with strawberries. It just doesn't go. And you can't forget about the undeniably delicious combination of chocolate and almond. Sometimes that's all you need in life.

Yogurtology, I love you. I know you're there for me when I need you. I know that you, too, have excellent taste, and that we value the same things. Do you think you could find it in your heart to supply a more chocolatey yogurt flavor? I'm a dedicated patron.

Thanks, Yogurtology, for being so wonderful.

Warm regards,
Michelle Cole

Their response:

Dear Michelle,

Wow, what a wonderful letter! Thank you so much for your support. Congratulations on your amazing achievement this past year!

We are currently working on getting our 'Wicked Chocolate' back (it is a darker chocolate);
in the meantime, you should stop by on a Monday as we offer a sugar-free chocolate, which does not taste sugar-free.

Thanks again for your letter; when we get letters like this it brings us much joy and really makes it all worthwhile.

The Yogurtology Team

My response:

Dear German, (the guy who replied was named German)

I find your response delightful for the following reasons:

1. Your prompt reply once again validates my feelings that Yogurtology is a quality establishment with employees who care about their customers.

2. Your proper and eloquent use of the semicolon is refreshing.

3. I am pleased to hear that my chocolate desires may be granted in the future.

Again, thank you.

Warm Regards,
Michelle Cole


This is an ongoing exchange. I'll keep you updated.

Dear Chipotle,

I’m a chipotle convert. I’ll be honest, I thought the burritos were overrated for a long time.

Near my work there is a Chipotle across the street from a Rubio’s. When the Chipotle first opened, I kept going to Rubio’s because the food is good and the line was never as long. But once I tasted a Chipotle barbacoa taco, I was sold. I love it and I go all the time.

I really do love the food. It’s delicious. The restaurant is always clean, the service is good and fast, and sometimes, if I play my cards right and the burrito guy is a sucker, I can flirt my way to extra meat for free. I really appreciate that.

My one complaint is that you don’t have a punch card. Chipotle is like a religion for people.
You have quite the following. I understand you have free burrito days, but these are always crowded and insane, clearly for reasons of supply and demand. I understand the food is organic and everything, which costs more, and you will probably tell me that you keep your costs low to begin with in order to keep customers coming back.

I really think if you had a punch card, people would get really excited about it. There’s something about knowing that the 10th burrito is free that motivates people. It’s like you’ll eat an extra burrito one week just to get that free one coming up. Case in point: I drive 40 minutes to Café Rio because I know the 10th meal is free – including a drink! I’m clearly spending more money in gas than I’m saving on the free meal, but the salad I get is delicious and there’s just something about knowing they will give me something for free that makes the trek out there totally worth it.

Chipotle, all I’m asking is for you to think about this. I’ll ask around and see how many people agree with me. In the meantime, I’ll still eat my barbacoa tacos, but I’ll be more excited about the free meal from Café Rio.

I love you, Chipotle. Keep up the great work.

Warm regards,
Michelle Cole

Their response:


Thanks for writing to us. I'm glad to hear we won you over, despite your initial skepticism. I also appreciate your suggestion to offer some type of punch card. You may be happy to hear we are actually working on something like this. We just don't want it to be the standard, buy-this-many-get-one-free promo many places have. We want it to be unique to us and something really beneficial.

For now, we sometimes give our food away for free for certain events and promotions. If you'd like to learn about these events, you might want to sign up for our e-mail mailing list.

This will keep you in the loop for grand opening events and other Chipotle-oriented things in your area. Sometimes, for our grand openings, we have give-aways or even free burrito days. I promise, it's only good stuff - no spam! If you're interested, sign up at http://www.chipotle.com/tunein.

Thanks again! We hope we'll see you soon.


Another letter from me:

Hi Shannon,

I would first of all like to thank you for your reply to my original message. I wanted to check up on the status of the punch-card situation and offer a suggestion. I recently started frequenting a frozen yogurt establishment called Yogurtology. (http://www.yogurtology.com/) They have an oatmeal cookie flavor that is absolutely divine. But anyway, they have started a rewards program with a scan card. So one evening I was buying my yogurt, and they asked me if I wanted to join the rewards program. Of course I said yes!

The checker promptly handed me an absolutely adorable scan card that goes on my key chain. Every time I go, they scan the card and I get points or something. I don't even know how it really works, I just know that I love the little card and I think it's an awesome idea.

I know you want to be unique, and I appreciate that, but I wanted to suggest something similar. Maybe there could be a point system with a website, and you could use the points for either coupons, merchandise, or other chipotle deals. Maybe there could be a free burrito day for members only or something. I don't know. I just thought I would run it past you.

Also, you recently got new menus with icon-type things for the cow and the onion, etc. I'm on the fence about this. It doesn't matter though, because the tacos are still delicious. I love you, Chipotle!

Thanks, Shannon!
Warm regards,
Michelle Cole

AT&T Park

Dear AT&T Park,

On Sunday, May 30, 2010 we attended a baseball game at AT&T Park. The Giants played the Arizona Diamondbacks, who suffered an embarrassing loss due to the fact that their bullpen and pitching staff completely suck at life. Since we live in Arizona, this was particularly sad for us.

Anyway, we thought we should write you to share some feedback we have about our experience. First of all, the ballpark is absolutely beautiful! We were quite impressed by the stunning ocean views and overall cleanliness of the facility. After a seemingly endless quest to find good food on our way to the field, we found a lovely sports bar with delicious steak fries. We approached the ticket booth hoping to find decent seats at a good price. The attendant, Doug, who is from Woodridge, VA hooked us up with awesome seats! He was very friendly, and we felt immediately at home.

Once we got to the right concourse, we walked out toward the field to see if we could find our seats. A delightful usher named Harley asked us if we wanted our picture taken in front of the field. Given that we had never been to AT&T Park before, we were excited that he was so eager to help us. He took our picture and promptly directed us to the correct section.

Overall, our experience at AT&T Park was quite delightful. We really enjoyed the hospitality of the staff, and the park was clean and beautiful. We were also impressed by the variety of food options, and wished Chase Field in Phoenix had as many options. Our only complaint is lack of signage. As new patrons to the field, it was nearly impossible to find our seats without asking people where we were going, and once we did get to our section, the only identifiable signage were the little numbers on the chairs. We suggest section numbers be painted on the floor and section numbers appropriately indicated on overhanging signs. It was also difficult to find the correct concourse, so signs indicating where stairs and ramps are would also be beneficial.

We would also like to express our feelings about Giants fans. The crowd was amazing, and Giants fans are clearly loyal to their team. The game was sold out, and we had a lovely experience visiting with patrons and staff.

Thanks, AT&T Park, for being there for us, and for making our visit to San Francisco memorable. We will definitely be back.

Warm Regards,

Michelle Cole & Shuana Kinghorn

Their response (Rick, I don't think you really read my letter)

Thank you for writing.

Thank you for your kind words, and thoughtful comments.

Best regards,



Dear Mojo,

First of all, thanks for being part of the frozen yogurt craze. I don’t eat ice cream anymore due to dietary concerns, and I had been frequenting Golden Spoon, but the location is not convenient for me. I quite enjoy the serve yourself situation at Mojo. It’s nice to be able to load up on as many toppings as I want in whatever quantity I choose.

I do, however, have one concern. My friend and I have a topping request. As a topping option, you carry only slivered almonds. Almonds are quite delicious, especially when paired with chocolate, but we do not believe slivered almonds are the best option as a yogurt topping. Slivered almonds are great in salads, or as mix-ins for things like cookie bars or toffee. Have you considered roasted almonds? The chunkiness of roasted almonds is quite delightful in contrast to the smooth, creamy texture of Mojo yogurt. This chunky texture is more satisfying than the weak, crumbly breakage of a slivered almond.

Because of this problem, we were forced to seek out other options. As you know, frozen yogurt is quite the fad right now. We found a lovely establishment of similar quality called Yogurtology, and they offer roasted almonds as a topping. Gratefully loading up on this delicious treat, we swore of Mojo until we get word of a roasted almond option.

Thanks for listening, Mojo. We’re just trying to help.

Warm regards,
Michelle Cole & Shauna Kinghorn

Mojo failed to respond to my letter. I have now boycotted them and replaced them with Yogurtology (post on that later).

Southwest Air

Dear Southwest Airlines,

On the afternoon of May 8, 2010, it became necessary to change my flight from my original destination of Salt Lake City, UT. I was supposed to fly there to see a boy, but he got cold feet, which is beside the point. I decided to take a trip with one of my friends instead. And that's where the trouble began.

My friend and I are faithful fans of two things: Atlanta Braves baseball and really good BBQ. For this reason we decided to look into taking a trip to Atlanta to satisfy our craving for both of these things. Since I had already purchased tickets to Salt Lake City, we needed to fly Southwest, but unfortunately you do not fly to Atlanta, nor anywhere near it. In fact, as I'm sure you're aware, you don't fly to Georgia at all.

We ended up going to San Francisco, which was quite lovely. We did still end up going to a baseball game, which, while quite enjoyable, did result in some anger due to the poor performance of the Diamondbacks closing pitcher, Chad Qualls, who is horrible. Had we been able to go to Atlanta, we could have seen our favorite team. Hopefully this would have gone well, but even if it didn't, we could at least have consoled ourselves by consuming some delicious southern BBQ or perhaps a few Georgia peaches.

My point is, I think it would be greatly beneficial if you could add Atlanta as an available destination. I enjoy flying Southwest, and would prefer the option for rewards points on all of my trips; however, due to this specific issue, I will be forced to frequent some other airline if I want to see Chipper Jones play in ATL before he retires.

Thank you so much for your consideration in this matter. If you could at least recommend some good BBQ in destinations available via Southwest Airlines, that would be greatly appreciated as a consolation.

Warm Regards,

Michelle Cole

Their response:

Dear Michelle,

We appreciate your interest in having Southwest Airlines bring our low fares and friendly faces to Atlanta, GA. Whether or not it will join our ranks remains to be seen, but, if it can generate the volume of local Customer traffic that is essential for sustaining our presence, we will consider it as we are always reevaluating ways to maximize our flight schedule. In the meantime, we will let our Schedule Planning Leadership know of your wishes.


Lyric, Southwest Airlines

What Not to Wear

Some of these posts are from before I was saving my letters, so I will describe the situation and post the response. I wrote What Not to Wear about Ted Gibson, the new hair guy, because he is so wonderful. The old guy, Nick, did a terrible job! He made everyone look ridiculous. WNTW was kind enough to send this reply, which was greatly appreciated:

Dear Viewer:

We appreciate your interest in What Not To Wear.

We appreciate your enthusiasm regarding new hair stylist Ted Gibson.

Please know that your comments are very important to us. Each comment is
forwarded to our program management team for review and consideration.

Again, thank you for contacting TLC.


Viewer Relations