Thursday, April 05, 2007


Germantown, WI

Tom McMahon had a less-than-pleasurable experience at a Germantown PETCO. The title of his post alone says a lot:

My Experience At The Germantown Wisconsin PETCO At 5 Minutes Until Closing: The
Manager On Duty Tells Me Sorry, We Will Not Sell You Those Two Large Bags Of
Ferret Food Until You Move Your Van From In Front Of The Store

Tom was in a tough place, having to decide whether or not he should give his money to this store considering the experience even though it might mean his ferret would go unfed. Fortunately, he opted to spend as little money as possible, as opposed to the $40 he intended on spending.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

C U Later, Blandfark

Silent E had some experiences at his credit union that he'd like to share. In the comments section on this post, you'll find out who "Blandfark" is (in case you need help figuring it out).

I should’ve known better. It’s called a Union so I should’ve just stayed away. Teacher’s Union, no. State Employee’s Union, nope. I’m talking about Credit Unions.

A while back I was wooed away from my trusty bank, Grafton State Bank, by lower rates, promises of great service and better locations from a credit union. I don’t want to name names so I’ll just call the Credit Union “Blandfark”.

After switching to Blandfark, I found that about the only benefit that I received was a slightly closer location. That’s it. If you deposit a check that is not from a Blandfark customer, they’ll hold it for 5 days. No ifs ands or buts. I’m not a guy who sports an over abundant amount of cash so this 5 day thing can be a killer. On day 4 of the 5-day process, they bounced me for a $0.04 overdraft. That cost me 25 bucks!! What a load of crap. Grafton has that money in my account the next day. Now that’s service. I recently paid off a couple of loans that I had at Blandfark, one for a van and one for a boat. When I asked about the title clearance, they said “Well, we hold this open for 10 days until the check clears then the titles will clear in about 2 weeks”


10 freakin' days……… What a load of crap. On top of that, they said that the boat title wouldn’t clear for a month because they only do that on the 1st of every month and she didn’t think this payment would clear in time.

Crap crap crap crap……

If Blandfark should want to become competitive in the banking market, maybe they should update their banking software and try hiring actual bank professionals instead of some 18 year old eye candy with an IQ that’s second numerically only to their shoe size. Stupid ain’t cute. When I went to a branch of GSB in Franklin, all of the employees were dressed professionally and they were all friendly and knowledgeable. As I alluded to formerly, knowledge is not abundant at the Credit Union.

Another thing that bothers me is the fact that these Credit Unions don’t pay their fair share in taxes. I do remember a time when Credit Unions had members of certain labor unions as customers or “members”. (I’m not sure why that made them exempt from taxes but that’s a discussion for another day). The teachers had their own “bank”. When I went to college in LaCrosse, I remember seeing that the employees at the Trane Company had there own “bank”. When you purchase a car at a dealership, the first place they talk to about financing is a Credit Union. If you are approved for financing through that Credit Union you have been approved based on credit score, nothing else. There are no special criteria you have to meet to become a member. The criteria are exactly the same as becoming a CUSTOMER at a traditional bank. This whole premise of being a member has somehow been lost over the age’s .Now, you’re not a member so much as you are a customer, which makes a Credit Union no different than a Bank. Banks pay taxes. Please tell me why Credit Unions are exempt from paying taxes. With all the financial difficulties this state is having, maybe our illustrious Governor should purpose taxing the people who should be taxed, not the people who are already carrying the burden.

What it comes down to in the end is that I’m all about customer service and good business practices and I’m willing to pay a bit more for it.

I’m now banking once again at Grafton State Bank and I’m happy with my decision but I would like to make a suggestion. More branches in Southwestern Waukesha County please!!!!!

I’m looking forward to that day when my “membership” at Blandfark is cancelled for good.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Greasing the Hog

I've been buying Bob & Brian albums for more than ten years now. For the first five or six years my annual tradition was to arrive at the Exclusive Company store in Brown Deer at 5am to hang out with the other lunatic fans there. This store was always the first on the autograph tour, so it tended to draw a crowd. We always challenged each other to be the first in line next year. Eventually, one particularly frigid and rainy November morning ended that tradition for me, after all I'd been living on 76th and Howard for a while. There's an Exclusive company RIGHT THERE!

Last year I tried ordering online, with mixed results. I felt funny waiting for the album when I could just go and get it, but I was able to order a box set with a copy of an album that I'd managed to ruin.

This year, someone at WHQG has their head up something warm and smelly.

1. They ditched the Exclusive Company. Obviously, this was a decision guided by little green bits of paper. But, come on! I've been buying this thing from the Exclusive Company for years. If you want the album this year you need to go to... The Charcoal Grill??? Can I buy the latest Metallica album there, too? Geez...

2. You can download the CD online. Cool, no wait right? I thought this was a great idea!

Pay attention to the fine print. I ordered the album and then went back to order the bonus tracks. On the second order, I noticed my mistake. Granted, the web dudes did place the warning on the page in nice, big, red letters. But, they still let you place an order that's doomed to failure. Take note, people: if you have a or email address you will not receive your download instructions! You will, however, be billed for your order. Thank you sir, may I have another? Somebody ought to have a talk with these radio promoters about their web gimmicks. This isn't the first time I've seen a "professional" web site that made me want to hurl.

Who hires a web developer that can take your credit card order, but can't write code to reject an invalid order based on a simple text search?

Maybe we could've tested a email address? They are pretty common.

Another note on the download: you get one shot at it. This one was dreamed up by lawyers, I imagine. If you get dropped or fail somehow there is a form where you can apply for one last try. Well, there's supposed to be a form. Click the link and you get an error message, I did anyway. Maybe I need to use Internet Explorer?

The Hog laid a big steaming pile this year.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Red Robin

7575 Edgerton Avenue
Greenfield, WI 53220

Jay Bullock thinks Red Robin deserves a spot on The S**T List.

And then we waited. Made pleasant conversation. Got a refill. And waited.
And waited. And waited. Well, we thought, they just opened, it's a Sunday lunch
crowd, we'll give them some slack.

And we waited.

Seems to me he's right.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

One All Beef Patty, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese...

Fast food already has a bad reputation. So, it's really hard to decide what qualifies as notably bad service. I just have to mention the McDonalds in Hales Corners (6000 S 108TH ST. HALES CORNERS, WI 53130-2523) because I don't see how it's even possible to screw up the signature burger.

Don't they pre-package the burgers and ship them out to the restaurant as a unit? How do you forget an entire slab of meat?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Too Demanding?

As the person who started both The S**T List and The N**E List in hopes of highlighting the good and the bad in customer service, you might be somewhat surprised to learn that I've never necessarily felt "the customer is always right." In fact, many years ago I wrote an award-winning market research paper on the very topic.

The paper focused on retail banking and customer retention. Most banks have (or, at the time, had) policies limiting the types of transactions conducted at the drive-through. While some of these rules were intended to prevent fraud, many of them were in place to maximize efficiency. Transactions such as issuing cashiers checks, large cash deposits or multiple transactions were restricted because of the time it took the teller to complete them. Considering the drive-through is intended for more speedy banking, tying up one lane and one teller (keep in mind most drive-through tellers are handling multiple lanes) was simply counterproductive. Invariably, you'd find that each bank had its pool of repeat offenders living under not only the "customer is always right" mantra but also a belief that their excrement had a pleasant aroma. The problem was that if the bank attempted to make that one customer happy, many more sat in line behind them growing quickly impatient and dissatisfied with what was supposed to be an efficient and quick stop at the bank. One happy customer has resulted in several more unhappy ones.

More recently I had the opportunity to witness how such a customer may not necessarily impact the satisfaction of other customers but actually cost the business money. Two nights a week, Eagan's on Water runs a half-priced bottle of wine special. The only caveat on the special is that it does not include wines on the reserve list. These are very pricey vinos that if Eagan's did offer them at half-price it would actually be at below their cost and they would incur and instant loss. One regular customer who we've nicknamed "I'm Better Than You" asks for bottles from the reserve list on at least a weekly basis. Each time the bar manager explains to him why those bottles are not included. Unfortunately, one evening the bar manager was off and IBTY, knowing he could sneak one through, got his half-priced bottle from an unsuspecting person unfamiliar with the policy. Eagan's took a loss and a very popular special is now jeopardized.

The point is that The S**T List strives to make other consumers aware of egregious shortcomings in customer service. Before making any additions to it, I'll always be sure that the demand I'm making of the business is reasonable and that in fulfilling it they're not doing so in a manner that loses them customers or money. If neither of those are the case, then I think my expectations of the business are fair and reasonable.

So when staff writer Jason McDowell attacks Jimmy John's service because they won't let him bring his dog into the restaurant but also won't hand deliver his food to the sidewalk outside the store during the lunch rush, it's interesting to read how so many readers reacted to his gripe.

Hopefully you'll never find a complaint like that on The S**T List.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Southridge Mall Food Court.

Mrs RealDebate and I had a late lunch yesterday at the Southridge Mall Food Court.

After checking out the offerings we decided on sammiches from the Steak Escape. We had eaten there years before and always enjoyed the experience.

While placing our order Mrs RealDebate noticed they had coke products and decided to step next door to Arby's for a Pepsi. (she's Pepsi, I'm Diet Coke)

I waited for and received our lunch while Mrs RealDebate stood in the Arby's line. I pointed to the general direction I was heading and she nodded that she would follow.

Looking around I started the eternal search for the cleanest dirty table and found a spot with a view of the happenings at Arby's. She had made her purchase and moved from the order line to the delivery line where she waited.

And waited

And waited

And waited some more.

Five minutes from order to delivery of one Medium Pepsi. They had to flitter around and drop fries and refill napkins, etc instead of filling the easy quick order.

Holy lousy customer service Batman.

While waiting for Arby's the get their Pepsi on our other food sat there and got cold. The sammiches were no where near as good as we remember them, and our fries (usually a yummy treat from the Steak Escape) were nothing but schnivels with narry an example over half an inch in length.

Throw in the gossiping complaining teenage girls at the table next door, and a quadray of screaming children and I would label our entire dining experience an F-.

We might of felt better about the whole experience had we opted for the Cinnabon, but we were so turned off by the whole experience we decided to make like the Democrats and cut and run.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Simultaneous Honors

Let this be the first dual posting to the S**T List and the N**E List: The Orkin Man.

The bad

This award goes to the Orkin call center. We called Orkin to deal with our flea problem. The timing was convenient because Kelly and I were about to leave on a four day vacation. Kelly explained to the representative that we needed to have the work done on the day we left because she's pregnant and would not be able to reenter the house. Kelly had already consulted her doctor, and was told to stay away for at least two days. Several times during the conversation, Kelly requested clarification about flea treatment and the effects on her pregnancy.

The representative assured her that the treatment was safe and she would be able to reenter the house after half an hour. He even went so far as to say that he had his house treated every month while his wife was pregnant. We didn't believe any of this for a second, but scheduled the appointment anyway.

When the Orkin team arrived it became clear that they weren't aware of the situation. When we said "fleas," the technician said that his paperwork was for "occasional invaders." Fleas, he said, are a whole different ball game and a more expensive service. Then, we mentioned the pregnancy and he just about hit the roof.

I was starting to sense that we may have to reschedule this appointment and I started asking probing questions to see if we were going to get the run-around.

The Good

Thankfully, the technician/manager from the local response team directed his disgust at the call center and not us. When I asked him if he came prepared for fleas he said that they brought everything along, because you never know what you'll find once you're in a house. That was a minor relief, because now I knew we were getting service regardless of the situation. I really didn't care that he said the flea treatment was an extra hundred dollars. I just wanted this work done!

While I showed the trainee around and explained what we needed, the technician was on his phone dealing with the call center. He was obviously upset that his paperwork said nothing about fleas or an expectant mother. Incidentally, the technician was a large and intimidating black man. I'm certain that the person on the other end of this conversation was having a very bad day by the time he was through. I know I wasn't ready to argue with this guy.

This manager deserves a N**E List award because he dealt with the entire situation without questioning or arguing with us, the customer. He also stuck to the original quote without any attempt to haggle. I didn't have to ask, he simply offered to do the work at the same price! Where do you find those kind of ethics these days?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Surviving the Blogstorm

Here's a great article on how businesses need to make themselves aware of how bad publicity on blogs can adversely impact them.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I Haven't Forgotten You, Ashley Furniture

It's been a while since I last blogged about Ashley Furniture (Franklin store), and for good reason. The mere thought makes my blood boil. I recently got my new store card in the mail. When I get around to it, I plan to do a video blog here of me shreading the thing. The only way you could get me into an Ashley Furniture store would be to give me store credit. I might be able to suck it up long enough to pick out some free decorations off the show room floor.

I will never again buy anything that requires shipping. Once Ashley has your money, they've got you by the short hairs. I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories about bad furniture deliveries, only to spoil the ending by asking if they ordered from Ashley Furniture. Better yet, most of the stories involve the Franklin store. Only after our year-long ordeal did I check the Better Business Bureau. The results are embarassing. Note the number of customer service and delivery complaints. These were people who were hacked off enough to report it. We haven't filed a report, mostly because I've just felt so defeated by the whole process that I don't want to think about it anymore.

The furniture we have now still isn't right. The color match is tolerable, but noticably off. We settled for what we have because every time the technitians touch it they make it worse! The stain is supposed to be a very deep red (it's called "merlot"). Whenever the techs patch up our furniture they paint it black. We've received no discount for accepting a floor model after three shipments that didn't match, and they haven't been apologetic at all.

Kelly and I were thinking that Ashley would be a good name if we have a daughter. Then, I realized that the poor child might develop a complex because of all the times we look into our dining room (or see a commercial) and cuss at the furniture.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bar Louie

1114 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

It's not a good sign when a new business opens and quickly ends up on The S**T List. For some reason, though, I'm not too surprised.

Bar Louie, with locations nationwide, recently ventured into Wisconsin and the drunkest city in America by taking over the space formerly occupied by Brew City BBQ. Admittedly, when I first heard about Bar Louie and that it was opening on Water Street, I wasn't very keen on the idea. In a town that prides itself on the neighborhood tavern, a "corporate bar" just doesn't seem to fit. But I gave it a chance. Twice.

The first time I went in was with Buzz (related here) and the experience was a tad odd. We were their first real customers. And you could tell the servers were just dying to get their first real tips as close to twenty milled around the hostess station salivating in our direction. But alas, we were only there to quickly check the place out and simply have a drink.

This first experience wasn't horrible by any means (aside from the bartender confusing bourbon and scotch), but it left me with an uneasy feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on.

Within a week, though, the rumblings started. Nearly everyone who visited Bar Louie, while impressed by the decor, was highly disappointed by the service. One group of people that work with Buzz and I stopped in for lunch one day. Without going into great detail, let's just say one meal was completely removed from the bill while the rest received a 30% discount. Bar Louie deserves credit for attempting to rectify the situation, but based on the repeatedly bad service people are receiving, those discounts will put them out of business within a year.

The final straw, though, and what got Bar Louie on the List, happened just this past week. Buzz, who loves his beer, really wanted to stop in and try one of the 40 malt beverages on tap. It was a Monday night and the crowd was surprisingly large. The formerly bored waitstaff had its work cut out for it.

At this point, I'd like to interject a little something here. You see, I believe a bar needs to have a personality. And that is best revealed in its bartenders. Bars with crappy bartenders, or those who are just plain jerks (and there are plenty of them out there) are just bars. But bars with friendly faces behind them who do more than drop a drink in front of you and take your money are treasures. Think Cheers.

Bar Louie is no treasure. The barstaff spent most of its time filling drink orders for tables. Approximately 15 people sat around around the bar contesting for the attention of either one of two bartenders. When I finally managed to get the attention of one bartender for longer than a couple of seconds, I tried to strike up a brief conversation with something like "how's business?"

He wanted none of that. Instead, he handed us menus (which we had already said we didn't need). When he came back I asked him if I could make a suggestion. It was something along the line of "you guys could probably use another bartender back there. I can tell you're really busy filling the tables' orders, but that doesn't give you a chance to focus more on the bar customers. You wouldn't believe how much more people tip when the bartender chats with them."

His response: "It's a corporate bar. We don't care."

And that's what got them on the list.

If there's one thing Bar Louie is not, it's a bar. Sure, there's a bar in there, but in my opinion the only reason it's there is to hold people while they wait for a table. Bar Louie is nothing more than a hip TGIF with the personality of white bread. If you choose to go, don't be fooled into thinking you're walking into Milwaukee's next hot spot. In fact, I'd recommend you not go at all.

Bar Louie...welcome to The S**T List.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Your Stupid Ideas In Tosa

This is something of an open letter to Mayor Estness. Why? Because the damage is done and is irreparable. It can only not be duplicated. And, she won't respond to the Early Spin, so why the heck would she respond to me.

I have a few pet peeves in life. They are as follows:

- Door Dingers
- Cigarette Butt Throwing Drivers
- Tarring and Stoning Roads

From where I live, it's nearly impossible to get into Tosa because they've tarred and stoned over all the roads that lead to the business district. Guess where I spend 65% of my income? Tosa.

And no, I'm not going four miles out of my way to go around it. Gas prices, remember?

"Oh but ma'am, that was a week ago that we did that. Don't worry!"

Well, it's a hot day. Know what that means? Your oily mess is all melted. You know, the mess you put all over perfectly good CONCRETE ROADS. For those of you who aren't up on your civil engineering, that's the good stuff. Good use of taxpayer money.

I can't get in there. I won't get in there. I have a nice automobile that I've taken extraordinarily good care of to the point that it looks new.

So Starbucks won't get the three bucks I spend sometimes twice daily. Outpost and Sendiks won't get the grocery money that I spend weekly. I won't go to Chancery or Leff's for drinks with friends. I won't be tipping anyone. Forget about your new Applebee's and Walgreens. If you're lucky, I'll go to Gillies now and then and still buy my 99 cent kiddie scoop of custard. It's a far cry from what I once spent.

And that's all you're going to be getting out of my paycheck for a long, long, long time.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


First, let me disclaim by saying I haven't yet addressed this with the Company's management, I'm simply making an account of what I have seen consistently at the Tosa Baskin Robbins.

It's not pretty.

I've been going to this location since I was a kid. When I was a teenager I'd ride my bike there. As an adult, I sneak away after dinner for a scoop at least four times a month.

But in the past year, some very disturbing things have been observed by me:

- Nothing is cleaned up, ever
- Employees eating on the job, and then serving people.
- Employees futsing with their hair and putting it up under their hats, and then serving people.
- Crap all over the fronts of their shirts, all the time, every day.

Now, the piece de resistance. Last night I was there, and a woman of about 45-50 years of age was about to serve me. She wiped her nose on the back of her hand. Yes, she did.

I placed my order, and she went into the back room. Maybe she realized what she just did and went to wash her hands.

Nope. She brought back a tub of ice cream. She proceeded to serve me. Then, she wiped her nose again.

I had enough. I said, ma'am, don't wipe your nose on the back of your hand when you're serving people.

She said - and I quote "I used the back of my arm". Snotty too. Wouldn't you expect that from a five year old??

Then very condescendingly, she said, "Can I help the next person in line".

I have the manager's name but I didn't realize that BR is a franchise operation. I plan to report all of the above to the corporate entity, but in conjunction with this, I am going to report them to the health department. It's very clear that the owner/manager is aware of how unkempt and unclean the place is, but Tosa is full of young families and is the only ice cream joint around. I imagine their business won't be affected. Unless it's closed.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nothing Like…

A Burger King Croissandwich to get the bowels moving in the morning.

If I squeezed the sandwich out, I could have used the grease to fry a couple of chickens.

But there are positives. For instance, I won’t need to eat a bran muffin for a couple of days. And I won’t need to put any chap stick on my lips today either.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The SpottedHorse Doesn't Like NWA

Chris had some problems with Northwest, or as he calls it Northworst, Airlines with his trip to San Francisco.

Quick name the Worst Airline in the history of Air Travel

Survey says, Northwest Airlines(NWA), or as its known by people who have had the misfortune to fly it NorthWorst Airlines.

Getting back to the present, So it was with a large amount of foreboding that I bought the NorthWorst ticket to San Francisco. How bad could it be right? Well 20 minutes into the flight I was repeating my mantra of "Never fly Northworst, I should have paid more to fly Frontier" The NorthWorst planes are old and dirty they have no inseat TV screens and the aircrew is old and surly. I am a short round guy so my first acting when I get in my seat is to fold myself into a small ball so I am not being hit by everyone walking the aisle. My rule of thumb is if the drink cart isn't hitting you your ok. Not on this flight everytime I would try to sleep bam one of the "Fight attendants would bang into me" So unlike my last trip I just wanted to get to SF and get off the dirty nothing to do plane oh and I really liked being glared at when I requested ice for my water.(I am sure those 2 cubes broke the airlines back)

In the end I did get to SF and had a great weekend right up till we got to the airport on Sunday to go home. The ticket counter lady was only interested in getting rid of us. Even though the flight said delayed she said "No I am not showing it being late" Lie number one. Then the GF tried to tell her she needed her bag checked through to NYC since she was going there via Milwaukee(she had bought the MKE ticket then had the NYC trip come up so she had two separate tickets but they should have been able to check the bag through) This became a problem when the flight out of San Francisco left ..... Wait for it 2 hours late so we knew it would be tight in Milwaukee so when we got to Minneapolis we talked to a gate agent and watched her say we can do this(a rare Can Do attitude for a NorthWorst employee)she tried to set up a reroute for the one bag. We even heard her talk to someone in Milwaukee to make sure they would grab the bag and put it on the NYC plane. Oh a final bitch about the San Francisco NorthWorst gate agents if you know your plane will be 2 hours late maybe come down to the gate and answer people questions and try to fix some problems during that delay. Instead of rushing down and just worrying about herding the cattle onto the aircraft when it arrives.

So we get on the plane to MKE and we decided I would wait at baggage until all the bags came out to make sure her bag went to the NYC plane. Yeah Like Northworst could get that right nope they couldn't move the bag from one plane to another 2 gates away. I was standing at the baggage carousel when her bag showed up I was able to reach her on the Cell and she asked them could they hold for a 5 minutes while I ran the bag up . Nope they could have done it if there had been 2 agents they said so but nope not this time. So she got off the plane and didn't go, going without the bag would have been a waste of time. Its funny they have no problem being hours late when its their problem but hold for 5 minutes to help out a passenger no Fraking way.

Me - I am a Midwest Express fan. I can also concur with the negative experience with NWA. I won't fly them anymore either.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Taco Bell - Silver Spring & Port Washington Rds, Glendale

In all fairness, I should let everyone know that I visited this particular Taco Bell today knowing a S**T List post would come out of it. I've called both the store manager and corporate to complain about this place on a number of occasions. Why, you might ask, do I bother going back?

One, it's the nearest Taco Bell to my house and, two, I love my encheritos!

But in spite of all my complaints, it seems we need to get back to basics, yet again:

1) When calling the next person in line, say something like "may I help the next person," or, at the very least, "next." Staring someone down with a look of death as they approach your register is not the most appropriate greeting. And yes, we all know you're stoned. Try eye drops.

2) I know the girl behind me was far more attractive that I am. But that's no excuse for staring at her the entire time I try ordering. Might I add that you stared at her with the same look you gave me. I bet you get a lot of girls that way. She also knew you were stoned. As an added benefit, by paying attention to me it will be much easier to enter my order into your register. That way I won't have to repeat it to you. Twice.

3) Tell me what I owe you! It's bad enough that you haven't bothered acknowledging me the entire time, but when the point comes where you need to "close the deal," the least you could do is tell me how much of my money you want. I realize there's a little display there to show me what I need to pay, but that doesn't excuse you from not saying anything as you hold your hand out waiting for my cash.

4) You have the cups on your side of the counter. I feel uncomfortable leaning over that counter to get my cup. But I'm feeling like maybe that's how it's supposed to work, considering I ask you for my cup EVERY SINGLE TIME. Has that much time passed since I ordered a soft drink that you forgot I needed something to put it in?

5) The top of a taco is open to allow the addition of filling. The bottom of the taco keeps those fillings inside. The design is beautiful simplicity. One major flaw is that when placed upside down in a bag, all the fillings fall out!

6) When you place my encherito in a mexican pizza box and I say you may have given me the wrong order, don't yell "we're out of boxes!" Rather, politely reassure me that you were out of encherito containers and had to use another box. I will understand. Trying to intimidate me into pseudo-Mexican-compliance won't work.

7) Please. Thank you. I shouldn't be the only one saying them.

Water Street Brewery Woes


Memo to Jess, the blonde waitress that served me last night at Water Street Brewery on Water Street in downtown Milwaukee:

There is a reason that you only received a $.78 tip on a $48.22 tab last night.

You should actually consider yourself rather lucky. My wife does not like it when I speak up about service and food issues at restaurants. Since I am working today, last night was her Mother’s Day dinner. I did not want to upset her and further ruin her dinner by letting you know how ignorant you were to such bad food and service.

Having grown up in a restaurant I feel that I can provide a few common sense areas in which you should improve. Areas #1 & 2 are for you Jess, the other two are comments on the restaurant in general.

Area #1

Don’t serve burnt food. How you could have made it all the way from the kitchen to our table without smelling the raunchy smell of the food, I don’t know. Unless, you are so used to serving burnt food, that it didn’t faze you. In which case you should look for a different restaurant to work in. Although, you should improve in area #2 first, or else where you work won’t make much of a difference.

As a matter of fact, Usinger smoked beef sausage and smoked link kielbasa should not be served BLACK. They were not just charbroiled they were black. They were burnt so bad that I could not tell which one was which. The stench from the burnt sausage was horrendous. How could you have possible served it?

If I were a marketing VP at Usinger, I would cut off your restaurant from using the fine Usinger name until you kitchen staff learns to cook.

Area #2.

When you come around after the meal is served and ask if the food is OK, I would recommend only listening to the adults at the table. Don’t listen to the eight year little girl eating her cheese pizza. The only exception to this rule is if the 8 year old is paying for the meal.

You could have dropped the pizza on the floor in front of her, stepped on it and still served it too her. She would have still eaten it and loved it. It is a cheese pizza for crying out loud. Of course for her it is fine.

When you asked if everything was fine, you walked away as soon as I started to speak. THAT PISSED ME OFF. Once again you can thank my wife. If she were not there, I would have started speaking loudly to you from across the room. Had you still ignored me, I would have followed you into the kitchen. And yes, I have done that before when waitresses/waiters have ignored me.

Area #3

Beer Cheese soup should consist of more than melted Mexican Velveeta and a shot of beer.

Area #4

Your menu claimed that the Jambalaya would have Andouille smoked sausage,boneless chicken, smoked ham. One small piece of each meat, buried in the rice was extremely disappointing. In addition the side salad that was served on the same plate should take up less room than the main meal otherwise it isn’t a side salad.


The Raspberry Weiss was a good beer without being overly sweet.

The freshly sauteed spaetzle was edible.

I knew as soon as we arrived at your facility and were told that we would only have to wait 10 minutes that we would probably have a bad experience. There is an unwritten rule in Milwaukee. If you go to a restaurant at 6pm on a Saturday night, you can tell how good of a restaurant it is by the wait time to get a table. If you have to wait more than one hour, it is a good place to eat. If you have to wait about a half hour, it will be so/so. Any wait of less than 15 minutes, and 90% of the time, you will get bad service or food. My experience Saturday night continued to validate that theory.

There is a reason that on a Saturday night, I could be seated almost immediately. Anyone who had tried your facility would rather wait more than an hour to eat somewhere else. Quite honestly I can’t blame them. I will now be waiting with them at a different restaurant next time my family goes out to eat.

UPDATE I have sent an email to WSB informing them of my displeasure and stated that I am willing to post any replies on this post. I am not holding my breath waiting for a reply.

UPDATE2 (5/16): I have received an email from Sean, the Director of Operations for Water Street Brewery asking my to call him to ‘discuss this further’. Obviously he did not want to discuss this further via email. I will update the post after our conversation.

UPDATE3 (5/16): I have spoken with Sean. He will discuss this issue with his staff in hopes of improving service and quality. He offered to bring me back into the restaurant for a meal on him. I told him that I have no desire to fight downtown Milwaukee even for a free meal. He will instead partially refund my meal price. Sean wanted me to make sure that I understand that the service received is not how his business normally operates.

If anyone goes there in the future, feel free to leave you comments here. I for one will not go back.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

North Shore Bank/MasterCard Issues

Another bad experience -

This is from Patrick @ Badger Blogger

Note: In order to place blame squarely were it belongs, North Shore Bank, I have added [North Shore Bank] to the original post.

Master Card [North Shore Bank] has screwed with me for the last time! This ( domain was about to expire, so of course I went to the domain registrar that I have been working with for 6 years and have registered or helped others register dozens of domains. They are out of Australia, but they have gone above and beyond the call at very reasonable prices for us in the past, so they have my loyalty. But I have gone through all sorts of hell with Master Card, they denied the payment last week and locked down my account because they have a problem with Australia… even my less than $20 transaction.

When I finally got to customer (non)service, the pleasant young lady on the phone explained what the problem was, and she assured me that they would take care of thing, including authorizing the payment to Australia, but it would take a few hours, she would call me back when it was all cleared up.

About three hours later, I got the call, but things didn’t go as expected, I was told that my card had been reactivated, but they would not authorize the payment to the Australian based company. I am proud of myself, I didn’t express myself with any colorful language, and didn’t hardly raise my voice. I did make it clear that since their product was not compatible with today’s world economy, I would be contacting VISA as soon as I got home and I would then see how well their Master Card
[North Shore Bank] shredded.

On the way home, I stopped and bought a prepaid VISA card and was able to quickly renew all three of my domains for the next two years, so I guess you have to put up with me for a while longer.

Thanks for letting me vent. And if you need a domain, is awesome… as long as you don’t use a Master Card [North Shore Bank].

One quick point of clarification and Aaron said it in the comments of the post

Patrick, works kind of like a franchise store.What BANK issued you the card? I won’t deal with Chase anymore because they tried to screw me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pick 'n Save - N. Oakland Avenue, Shorewood

Stopped in at that Push and Shove tonight for the first time in nearly a month. After being fed up by nothing more than horrible customer service, I decided I just wasn't going to shop there for a while.

But tonight I didn't feel like stopping in at Sendiks, just down the street from PnS, and figured I'd give the old girl a chance.

It was absolutely dead. Parking was unusually easy. I strolled through the store, made myself a salad at their somewhat sparce salad bar, grabbed 8 lbs of oranges and headed to the checkout.

And it's at the checkout that I always have problems with this particular store.

The cashier was more concerned about having a conversation with her co-workers. She didn't say hello to me. I had to get her attention to hand her my Saver's Card. Since PnS cards anyone regardless of age and I was buying a bottle of wine, I had my ID in hand.

It was the first time since they instituted the policy that I wasn't carded.

I paid with my debit card and wanted cash back. Three times I said to her I wanted cash back. There wasn't an inkling of acknowledgement.

The only person who took notice of my presence was the bagger who thanked me for my patronage.

On the way home I figured I'd had it. I called the manager. I told him about my experience. I calmly explained everything that happened and told him this was the second time I'd complained. I also explained to him that I would never be back in his store and I would let as many people know as I could that they shouldn't shop there either.

So now you know.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Here's the S**T list!