Posts tagged FAIL
I’m sitting on Virgin Airlines flight 312 from LAX to MCO after an insanely productive weekend in Los Angeles. Seriously insanely totally mega productive.
It was great.
The low point, though, is sticking in my brain and annoying the hell out of me – so here I am writing about it.
This trip was my first time staying at a Crowne Plaza Hotel. I’m willing to be that it also my last time staying at a Crown Plaza Hotel after the consistently failed service I received from that one hotel. Here’s the skinny:
I got in town last Thursday night and, after a short business dinner, checked into the Crowne Plaza Anaheim. I self parked in a spot on the side of the building, walked in, checked in, and went to sleep. I had to be up at 5:30 AM for 8:00 AM meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Friday was filled with back to back meetings peppered with some locally touristy goodness. I was all over the place, and the evening was topped off with my driving to Los Angeles to have dinner with a friend and his wife and then driving BACK to Anaheim to meet my fellow work makes for a midnight showing of The Avengers because… you know. We’re geeks.
I got back to the hotel at 3:30 AM in the morning which, to my body, felt like 6:30 AM (YAY TIME ZONES.) I drove the rental car along the side of the hotel and discovered that their parking extended WAY back away from the hotel itself. It was literally almost a block away and I couldn’t find a spot. Thus I assumed I had gotten lucky my first night and realized I should just valet the car going forward. No worries.
Or it SHOULD have been “no worries.”
I pulled the car back around to the front and got out. There was no one at the valet stand, so I walked into the lobby to find someone to assist me.
There was no one there, either. I wandered around for a minute and finally hovered around the registration counter on the verge of calling out to see if anyone there. A young man in glasses finally appeared and asked if he could help me.
“Yes,” I said. ”I’d like to valet my car.”
He explained that valet was closed. At this point I was beginning to get a little agitated. His next comments completed my journey to “a lot” agitated.
After he told me that valet was closed, he informed me that was still a way to valet my car (implying he would be more than happy to charge me.) He himself couldn’t park the car, but *I* could park it in valet myself and leave him the keys.
Seriously? The hotel wanted to charge me $16 to let me park my own car in a valet space since they had no space in their own parking lot? I was fuming but not showing it. I merely told the guy at the counter that I would pass and got back in the car determined to find a spot.
I did – in the parking lot for the hotel next door on the opposite side of the hotel along another road away from the Crowne Plaza. Thus I trekked my ass across a long empty parking lot at 4:00 in the morning while exhausted and just “done” with it all.
I posted the following on Twitter when I got back to my room:
(1/4) Hey @CrownePlaza Anaheim: this was my first stay at a #CrownPlaza resort & it will also be my LAST. Tried to valet…
(2/4) park when I got back from a movie, but the front desk guy said he couldn’t drive my car – but would charge me valet fees…
(3/4) to move the cones & let me park it myself. Went to park in general parking instead: no spaces. None…
(4/4) So I had to park in the lot of the hotel next door. Seriously. @CrownePlaza #Service #FAIL
I went to bed. Annoyed.
The next morning I saw this post on Twitter from InternContinental Hotels Group (@IHGCare)
@TomCroom Pls let Duty Manager know or DM details(confirm #,hotel,dates)or email address on profile.We’ll respond.@Crowneplaza ^am
I sent my name, room number, and cell phone number to them via Twitter. Afterwards, I walked down to the lobby ready to start my day and decided to pass the word along to the Duty Manager as advised.
Or, I tried to pass the word along.
When I got to the counter and asked to speak to the manager, the young lady pointed out a woman to her right on the phone. I decided to wait for a moment and, while standing there, the valet employee for the hotel was also trying to talk to her about someone out front waiting for their car. The employee mentioned the make of the car and the last name Perez and I interjected, “are you talking about Marc Perez?”
The employee said yes and asked if I knew him. ”Yes, we’re both staying here while working together.” The valet pointed out that Marc (and Ann Marie) were sitting out front.
Since the manager was STILL on the phone, I walked out to say good morning and discuss our day since we were all heading to the same place. Marc looked annoyed and explained that they had waiting there for a while for the valet to get their car and (as a result) they were starting to run late for errands that needed running before our mutual noon meeting. At that point, I saw that hotel staff as a lost cause and opted to just leave without waiting for the manager to get off the phone.
Saturday was ANOTHER crazy busy day and I rolled back in the Crowne Plaza Anaheim’s hotel about 11:30 PM. This time there was a valet there and he took my keys. I walked upstairs to chat with Marc for an hour then went to squeeze in a couple of hours of sleep before having to get up and drive to the airport.
During the day, I had received a message via Twitter from the Intercontinental Hotels Group:
Hotel Mngr. Brenda will be in contact with you today to discuss the situation. Sorry for the inconvenience. ^bj
When I got to my room, I saw the light flashing on the telephone there. My assumption was that, since I never got a phone call on my cell, I must have a message from “Brenda.” I picked up the phone to retrieve the messages and pressed the red button (as instructed by the words printed next to the flashing light.) Nothing. I tried messing around with it for a few minutes. Still nothing.
I went over to the other phone in my room. It was a simple model, but still had a flashing light on it. I looked it over and found no button for retrieving the messages.
I was dumbfounded.
Thus, I hopped in the elevator and headed down to the lobby to ask for help. The person working the registration desk? That’s right. The same guy in glasses from the night before. I explained that the phone in my room wasn’t working and that I had a message light. My hopes were that 1.) he have someone come fix the phone or 2.) he just retrieve the message.
Neither of these were the case.
“Um,” he said profoundly. ”I think you can check the voicemail by dialing 5656 on the phone.”
Close enough. I went upstairs to my room and tried this with the smaller handset. It told me I had no messages.
The light kept flashing.
I tried to dial it on the larger phone on the hotel room’s desk. It didn’t work because it didn’t use touch tone dialing. The phone operated on the old click system used to electronically replicate a rotary phone.
NOTE: Many of my younger readers will have no idea what I’m talking about here. That fact alone questions WHY this technology is set up in an allegedly modern hotel.
I gave up. I couldn’t get the messages. It was frustrating as hell.
The next morning (this morning) I was up an moving at 5:00 AM and down in the lobby ready to hit the road by 5:30 AM. I walked out front and looked for the valet who was NOWHERE to be found.
I wandered back into the lobby and walked up to the registration desk. A hotel employee came out from a back room and greeted me. I asked him where the valet was and he informed me that the valet wasn’t available. I explained that I needed my car that was parked in valet and the employee told me I could just go get it since the valet parking lot was “right there.” He grabbed my keys for me and I walked out.
“Right there” it seems means duck under the construction to go get your car:
(Mine is the bright green one.)
I ducked under the yellow tape, traversed the little construction zine, got in and left… or I tried. There was a series of cones and rusty valet sign blocking the way. Thus, I had to stop, get out, and grab the dirty grimy metal object and haul it out of the way to I could leave.
My hands were disgusting afterwards making a perfect symbolic moment of how this hotel had me feel.
I am posting this and passing the tale on to Intercontinental Hotels Group because (I would hope) this isn’t the standard for their hotels. Or maybe it is. Either way, it would take some sort of small miracle for me to ever consider staying at another IHG property based on my first exposure to their brand.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to relax and continue to enjoy my Virgin flight home since I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their brand.
Methinks it may be time to pick up a phone and call the Better Business Bureau. Before I left for Japan last month, I ordered pizza from a Mossimo’s Pizza in Vero Beach, Florida (formerly Vitorrio’s II) and experienced one of the worst customer service experiences ever.
You can read about it here: http://www.tomcroom.com/?p=8673
You’d think that would be that and everyone would move on with life… but for some reason I am *still* dealing with this company. This morning I was reviewing my bank account and balancing the checkbook when I noticed some odd transactions. Check this out:
So I ordered the pizza on the 7th. The funds cleared on my account on the 9th. THEN they refunded the amount on the 23rd (two weeks later!) AND THEN they charged my card again… five days after that.
WHY do they still have my credit card on file? How long are businesses like this allowed to hold the info?
Why is Mossimo’s Pizza still f’ing around with my card?
I’ll be calling the BBB and Bank of America later today.
Everyone makes mistakes.
It’s going to happen and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. So when the delivery guy showed up at my front door tonight without my complete pizza order, I kept that in mind. The actions that took place afterwards, though…
Let’s start at the beginning:
There was a pizza place in town called Vittorio’s II Pizza. The “II” was because there is more than one. I think the other one is across town – but I digress. We recently curbed our pizza ordering habits (read: I need to lose weight) but I still would order a pie for delivery about once a month.
A few weeks ago, the place changed its name to Mossimo’s Pizza. It has a pretty new sign outside but, as far as I could tell, it’s damn close to what was there before.
Not the same.
Tonight, we ordered a large pizza, garlic knots, and a two liter of soda. It’s been a stressful day and we just wanted to sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours and eat dinner. Pure lazy awesomeness.
The delivery guy showed up tonight and informed us that they were “out of Coke products.” He said he’d refund us the $2.50 for the soda. I asked why no one called to tell us that they were out of Coke since, you know, I’d drink Sprite in a pinch. At that, he offered to drive back an get one for us.
I explained that doing so would defeat the purpose of dinner since the pizza would be cold.
Shannon, being the nicest person ever, still tipped him $5. Instead of declining, he gave her $3 back as a refund for the soda we didn’t get.
As soon as he left, I picked up the phone and called Mossimo’s back. I got the nice young lady who took my order earlier and I politely asked to speak to the manager. She asked what it was in regards to and I explained that I had just received my order and it didn’t come with the two liter of carbonated goodness we asked for with it.
She asked me to hold on a moment and (after, literally, about one second) she just continued the conversation. I could hear a guy talking in the background, but couldn’t understand him. She said that when the delivery guy came back that she would send him back to my house with the soda. I asked how since they were allegedly “out of Coke products.” The young lady informed me that they were NOT out of the products and it was “his fault that he forgot.” She also told me how upset she was with him.
Like I should care.
I explained that there was a Marco’s Pizza right down the road and I’d most likely order from them going forward.
Like I said at the beginning of this post: everyone makes mistakes. The important thing, though, is how to handle them when they happen. Here are a couple of options that would have made sense:
1. Hand the manager the phone. If he’s busy, ask if the customer can hold.
2. Corrective measure Option A: Apologize and offer to refund the pizza.
3. Corrective measure Option B: Apologize and offer the next order as free.
4. Corrective measure Option C: Apologize and offer a discount on the next order.
(All options involve having the manager come to the phone.)
If they hold this level of service with all the locals, it’ll only be a matter of time before they are as closed that the buffet that used to be next door.
Stay classy Vero Beach businesses.
I just stumbled across the MSNBC story where they interviewed Ocean Marketing’s Paul Christoforo – the man responsible for the ultimate public relations failure in the history of the Internet.
(For some back story, read this: http://penny-arcade.com/resources/just-wow1.html)
So after getting his ass handed to him on the Internet, he decided to tell his tale to MSNBC in this article:
Here’s the part that annoyed me…
“If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better.”
Referring to the email thread that started the whole mess, Christoforo said that he didn’t know who he was talking to in his initial, flippant response to Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik.
“I didn’t know who that guy at Penny Arcade was,” he admitted. “If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better. PAX is a great show. What he does is what I’ve been idolizing since I was a kid. It’s admirable he’s put that together. He has a lot of connections, ones I want too.”
No, asshat. There’s no “If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better.” There was nothing more that needed to be known when dealing with the person who contacted you first: Dave. You treated him like a dick and it escalated because he happened to show someone with some influence in the gaming community.
I am only left to wonder at this part:
Yet despite all the drama, Christoforo said he hasn’t lost any of his other accounts, aside from Avenger. “It hasn’t affected my business yet,” he said. “Clients have brought it up, but they’ve mainly laughed about it. I haven’t lost any clients.”
Seriously? Do his other clients not read the news? Are the located in some strange corner of the universe that doesn’t have newfangled Interwebz access? I’d love to know who these other mysterious clients of his are…
The final post in this series…
- NCL Bahamas Cruise Part 1: Miami Beach, Florida
- NCL Bahamas Cruise Part 2: The Trip to the Bahamas
- NCL Bahamas Cruise Part 3: People on the Cruise
- NCL Bahamas Cruise Part 4: Stuart Cove’s SUB Adventure
If I had to grade the cruise experience with Norwegian on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best) I would have to put it at a 6.5. Now, if you’ve read my other posts about our trip you’re probably thinking something like “Why? You said you had such a great time and the food was awesome and and…”
Well, the bulk of the experience was great. Unfortunately, my value of money spent on the cruise dropped significantly the moment we arrived to Norwegian’s private island: Great Stirrup Cay. The trip, in effect, turned into a great movie with a really bad ending that almost ruined the whole flick.
First off, our itinerary got reversed due to a storm floating around the Caribbean. Originally we were supposed to go to Great Stirrup Cay first and then Nassau. This wasn’t Norwegian’s fault (obviously) but the result of doing so really accentuated the island’s issues. You see, there were a limited number of things to do on the island and (as a result of the nearby storm and choppy waters) a number of excursions were cancelled.
So Great Stirrup Cay went from very little to do to almost nothing.
Then there’s the island itself. The best description I can give of (Not So) Great Stirrup Cay is this: instead of being an island with some construction going on, the place was a nothing more than a beach on a busy construction site. Check out these photos:
I understand that destinations like this will occasionally be under renovation, but Great Stirrup Cay was like eating at a restaurant with a half finished dining room and a kitchen that wasn’t ready to open. The cruise line shouldn’t be promoting this destination or even letting people on the island when it is painfully obvious that it is nowhere near completion. Read: I felt like I wasted my time and money going there.
At my office, I have a friend who LOVES going on cruises. She and her boyfriend were excited at the prospect of having another couple to travel to islands with. I was happy to report that Shannon can, in fact, survive sea travel… but it was disappointing to report that (for my money spent) Norwegian Cruise Line really dropped the ball on an entire day of our vacation.
I guess that’s why there are so many others to choose from.
So it goes.
I don’t know what my percentage is. I’m not the 1% since I drive a Ford and not a Ferrari. I’m not in the 99% because I don’t feel entitled to my “fair share” based on my years spent in college which (for the record) are few, scattered and involved a lot of parties.
I’m not a “percent.” I’m a person that expects companies (large and small) to respect my time as much as I respect theirs. With that in mind, here’s the situation I am dealing with today:
MY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION PLANS TO DROP COMCAST (XFINITY) in order to lower our monthly fees. It all comes down the current state of the economy and I (for one) see how this is a good idea. As a result, Comcast/Xfinity has has been flooding my house via US Mail and flyers in my door over the past month about the change happening and how they’d like to offer a special package for the neighborhood. Some of the deals looked pretty good… good enough to have me leave AT&T.
I AM A WHORE FOR NUMBERS. As a result, I usually let math make my decisions when looking for service. I revisit the cost of the needed phone lines and Internet along with Shannon’s want for cable television about once a year. Each time the numbers have proven that I should stick with:
- Cable – Comcast
- Phone – AT&T
- Fax – AT&T
- Internet – AT&T DSL
(Cell phone lives elsewhere… I’m an Android, not an iPhone)
COMCAST/INFINITY makes an offer that is really good. It takes a two year agreement and my fees go up $20 after the next year, but for Cable, Phone and Internet it’s still a great offer. I speak to my rep (who I met walking my neighborhood and then via phone later) and set up the deal. Scheduling was difficult because (for those that read my blog) I am constantly on the road for business, I am booked SOLID between now and mid-December.
LUCKILY, I NEED(ED) TO GO TO THE DENTIST. This was to make some long overdue wisdom teeth go away. So I worked with Paul (my Comcast rep) to get it scheduled the same day. PERFECT. I even took time to purchase an updated wireless router to set up during the installation. We confirmed the date.
THIS MORNING, I HAD A DENTIST PUMP ME FULL OF DRUGS AND KNOCK ME OUT. All I know now is that I have a bandage on my hand and my mouth feels sore. Talking hurts.
THIS BRINGS US TO JUST A FEW HOURS AGO… At 3:15 PM, my wife roused me from my drug induced slumber and stated that Comcast/Xfinity never showed up. Groggy from pain killers, I asked her to bring me my laptop. I found this email to double check:
SO I STARTED TO MAKE PHONE CALLS. This is, of course, the single worst thing to do after having teeth extracted. In the world of Comcast/XFinity, though, getting a quick answer is impossible.
Here, in order, are the excuses:
- Paul didn’t know why they weren’t there and would call back.
- Comcast Customer Service stated that the appointment had been moved to Saturday. They didn’t know by who or why. They just knew it was moved.
- Paul called back and claimed it was his mistake and had to due with another house in my neighborhood with a similar account number. Someone could come out Saturday.
- Paul said he would try to see if someone could come out. I told him I’d be up late. Anytime before midnight would befine.
- I called Comcast Corporate. Same non-answers as the Comcast Customer Service.
- @ComcastWill got involved via the @ComcastCares Twitter account. He asked for Paul‘s phone number. I gave it to him.
- Paul called and said there was no way to get someone to my house as promised.
- Comcast Corporate called and had a WHOLE NEW STORY! It seems that the reason the appointment was moved was because my phone number from AT&T wouldn’t be ported until Friday and (therefore) the installation couldn’t happen until then. ALLEGEDLY this was the actual reason.
I expressed my disappointment and the Comcast service rep agreed that there was a failure of communication on their end and that, yes, I should have been notified. I let her know that I would change MY travel plans this weekend to leave town on Saturday morning instead of Friday so I would be available Friday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
She said she couldn’t confirm that.
Because that office had now closed. I had been trying to get answers since 3:15 PM and it took until 6:00 PM for Comcast to “solve the mystery.”
So here’s where things stand: Comcast will call me tomorrow to let me know if it is convenient for them to have someone to my house Friday night. If not, I will find it inconvenient to do business with them.
AT&T and anyone else in the Indian River County area? Now’s your chance to contact me for why to switch: email@example.com. I prefer companies that work for their customer’s business… not vice versa.
So it goes.
Tonight I was getting some work done on uploading some old anime convention photos to the Wasabizilla Facebook page. One set was from Anime Express in 2002.
Anime Express took place at Embry-Riddle. I checked the spelling of “Embry” by Googling it. Here’s what I found.
(click on the image for the full size)
Note the third link. It seems the University can’t spell “University.”