The other day I was at the mall just wandering around when I got really thirsty. I happened to be in Zellers at the time, and the only refrigerated bottled water available was Dasani Lemon. It cost $1.37 or something ridiculous for the bottle, and it tasted gross. It is artificially flavoured, and tastes like chemicals, leaving an odd sticky aftertaste. I would not recommend it.
Archive for February, 2008
I joined Facebook rather late compared to most people I know. I always thought that if I wanted to contact people online, I’d just use email or instant messaging. If I wanted to share photos, I could email them or put them up on my website or on one of many sites dedicated to that purpose. I didn’t think it was necessary to join some “social network” in order to stay connected to friends.
That all changed in February 2007, when I finally cracked and joined Facebook. I remember the first month being pretty exciting as far as online events go. I would get emails every day telling me someone added me as a friend or someone added new pictures. This quickly died down once I was linked up with just about everyone I know. It was kinda cool to reconnect with some old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and to see what people were up to. I found it easy to get sucked in, and I know a lot of people who were obsessed with Facebook for a while.
A year later, Facebook is not nearly as exciting or relevant, at least among my group of friends. I remember back in the day there would be so much activity on my news page every single day. Now I can go several days without checking Facebook and find that very little has changed.
Another reason I think Facebook “jumped the shark” is allowing third-party applications to be installed. I was never emo enough to have a MySpace page, and I liked the clean layout of Facebook, which is part of the appeal that led me to join. While there are some interesting apps out there, most of them are ridiculous and annoying. Oftentimes, if I want to leave a message on someone’s wall, I’ll have to scroll through their zombies, vampires, pirates, ninjas, funwall, superwall, daily babe, top friends list, booze mail and stripper name just to find it. All this clutter is reminiscent of the many hideous MySpace pages out there, and ruins the sleek, original design that I liked about Facebook so much.
The way I see it, Facebook has become a marketing machine, with little relevance to my life anymore. I’m disgusted that it’s been valued at 15 billion dollars. Facebook is no longer cool, but I’m still hanging on, and I won’t be deleting my profile anytime soon.
Continuing where I left off last week, I recently sent off a letter to David Kong, the president and CEO of Best Western International. In this letter, I explained the situation we experienced while we stayed at the Best Western in Nashville, and asked for his help resolving the matter. Most people told me not to expect much to come from it, but I definitely hoped for some sort of positive outcome.
During the first week of February, I received a letter from Best Western International. It wasn’t from the president directly, but from Greg Trotter, who is manager of Customer Care. According to the letter I received, Mr. Kong was made aware of our situation and the issues we faced while in Nashville. In the reply, I received an apology for the poor service, as well as some comments about how Best Western strives to provide excellent service and value for all of its customers.
Mr. Trotter went on to explain that he’s aware travelers have a lot of options available when selecting accomodations, and he hopes we will consider staying at a Best Western again in the future. To make things right, he is sending me a check for $80 (Canadian) to cover the cleaning fee and is also sending me a Best Western travel card worth $25.
Best Western locations are all independently owned and operated, so I can see why, despite their best efforts, the level of service provided is not always up to par. It sucks that I had to write a letter to the president to get any sort of help, but I am happy with the way they handled the situation and the end result. My faith in Best Western International has been restored, but I don’t think I’ll stay at their Nashville location again.
Back when we visited Nashville last November, we stayed at the Best Western and had a lot of problems. We were treated poorly, they lost our property and we were overcharged, which resulted in a shitty Best Western experience.
Everything was fine from Friday until we came back to our room Sunday afternoon and our keys wouldn’t open the door. We went down to the front desk to inquire, and they informed us we had been checked out and were facing a $200 fee to clean our room. There really wasn’t a big mess at all, and we arranged to clean the room ourselves if they would remove the ridiculous charges. We spent ten minutes cleaning, which is all it took to get the room up to Best Western’s standards. The head housekeeper inspected everything and agreed it was up to par. We later heard there would still be a $75 fee, which we could discuss with the manager the next day.
Monday morning arrived, we got up at 6:30am and got packed up and ready to leave for home. We complained about the $75 fee, but the people at the front desk claimed they couldn’t do anything about it. We kept getting bounced around while they gave us names of different people who could supposedly help us. It was very unprofessional.
We contacted the valet to get our car, and he couldn’t find the keys. After about half an hour of searching, they realized they had lost our car keys. They called in a locksmith who was able to cut us a new key in under ten minutes. When he tried to start the car, it just clicked, since they left the ignition switch in the accessory position, which drained the battery overnight. This was actually the second key they’d lost that week. The first one was a fancy Mercedes key that cost Best Western over $800 to have cut and delivered.
At this point, we were pretty pissed off. We were being overcharged for no reason, they lost our car keys and killed the battery in the car we were about to drive 1200km home in. We decided at this point we would wait for the general manager, David Legg to show up.
We hung out with the other valet, Tony (the one who didn’t lose our keys). He was a cool guy, and he really helped us pass the time until David Legg finally showed up at 8:30. David knew we were waiting to speak with him, since he was called several times that morning by front desk staff. Still, he made us wait a good 20 minutes until he came to talk to us. David Legg was a total arrogant prick. We went and looked at the room, which was spotless, and he basically told us we were lucky he let us stay there the additional night. He definitely wouldn’t drop the charges on our bill.
After some time discussing/arguing with him, Adam (the car owner) told Mr. Legg he wanted to be compensated for the damage to his vehicle. Once Leggers saw there was potential for some trouble, he changed his tune and told us he would drop the $75 charge if we didn’t pursue any car-related damages. He basically said we’d just call it even, which is all we wanted in the first place.
We should have insisted upon getting a new receipt printed right on the spot, showing the adjusted bill, but we trusted the dirtbag. Once we were back home in Ontario, I checked my credit card bill to find I had been charged the full amount.
About two weeks after we returned home, I was in contact with David Legg who said he would get back to me “within half a day”. I still haven’t heard back from him. I talked to Best Western customer support, who weren’t very helpful, but they did at least contact the Nashville location to get a statement. In the end, I paid the bill.
A couple weeks ago, I got all riled up about the issue again, and decided to write a letter to David Kong, the president and CEO of Best Western International. I’ve had pretty good success with my letters in the past, so I really hoped something good could come out of this.
Stay tuned for part two…
After being reconnected the other day, our Internet access went down again. We called Rogers back, and there was a recording saying there were known outages in the Whitby area, so we figured that was it. However, after three days with no Internet access, we called back to be informed we were suspended for a week because we still had a virus on one of our computers.
As I mentioned yesterday, I agree with the idea as long as we are given notice. When Rogers just cuts us off without any warning, it does nothing to help us. Now we’re stuck without Internet access until February 11th.
It’s pretty inconvenient, and I think Rogers could have handled the situation better.