For those that know me, I never shop Walmart. The only time I was in there was when a friend that apparently didn’t know me well gave me a gift certificate for there. When it was about to expire (I wouldn’t let Walmart steal that money also), I broke down and went in my first Walmart. I swear I had cold sweats walking in the doors. :) I canceled my Citi Bank credit card as well as the other main bank’s cards years ago. I like small and didn’t like corporate greed before they almost brought down this country. No, I’m not some radical, I just like small personal services. I like going to small local restaurants and those that have stayed here, have never heard me recommend some chain restaurant. Guests are always thanking me for sending them to a place they never would have found on their own. (I don’t recommend a restaurant just because it’s small and local, it also has to be good).
So yesterday, I had closing at Slovak Savings and Loan bank yesterday. Currently a one branch bank (they’re looking for a second location as we speak), with VERY personalized service. I have refinanced (or attempted) many times in the ten years I have owned my own business. I’ve also been a bureaucrat working major hotels and sometimes I think they based the TV series MASH on my exploits in the army as the company clerk. Forms have to be filled out, you have to use a pen with black (or blue) ink when signing documents, everything has to be done in such a rigid way. (Again, I understand the importance of a bank insuring their loan, but sometimes they go overboard). One of the things typically required with a loan secured by property is an official appraisal. Because the ratio off the county’s market value to the loan amount, Jennifer, my loan officer, waived this fee that would be several thousand dollars. OMG, someone that thinks and can make command decisions. During closing, Dan, I’m not sure of his actual title, but the guy in charge of this institution “stopped in to meet me face to face”, we’ve spoken on the phone. Their building isn’t pretty on the outside (their inside offices are quite impressive), but they epitomize whom I want to deal with.
While I’m on my soap box, if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue with my TV saga in the Bird of Paradise guest room. I bought a brand new Vizio HDTV back in January. A long story short, after HOURS of my time on the phone with DirecTV and Costco Concierge (where I bought the TV) and Vizio and the TV still turn on pink and no sound, I had my DirecTV installer, Global Satellite sent a tech in to figure out the problem. To be fair, the second to last time I spoke with DirecTV and Costco/Visio, Visio said the problem sounded like the mother board in the TV was bad and they sent me a replacement. I got the replacement and the same problems occurred. When I called Costco Concierge, they got Vizio on the line and we talked. I own a Bed and Breakfast, not an electronics store. I can cook eggs and make beds. I look for support services to help me with the other issues. My second to last phone call, I explained the problem to Costco and then to Vizio. The “tech” from Vizio was SO consumed with “they sent me a new TV, it has to be DirecTV.” I identified my lack of technical expertise, but it seems to me that there’s a problem with the TV communicating with the satellite box. The Vizio tech insisted it was DirecTV, they had send me a new TV. So my guests over the weekend had to be instructed on how to push the RES button so they could watch TV. I called Global Satellite yesterday and Denny sent a tech today to fix “my” problem. When he arrived today and I explained the problem, he IMMEDIATELY said “It’s your dpi settings, Vizio sets it at 480 and it needs to be 1080.” With a few short strokes, he went into the TV and changed it’s pre-programed settings. FIXED. So I called Costco this afternoon. I spoke with a rep whom referred me to his supervisor. I explained what had transpired and I wanted him to get a Vizio supervisor and listen to my complain. When the Vizio rep answered the phone told me he’d call me back “in a minute” with a supervisor. I told him that would defeat the purpose of having Costco listen to the conversation. At least ten minutes later, I got a supervisor for Vizio. He repeatedly apologized and said he knew the last Vizio “tech” was and he would speak with her and address proper training. Did I say he repeatedly apologized?
I had DirecTV in the middle 90′s, I wasn’t impressed with them. Since moving to PGH, I now have DirecTV. I applaud their service now. There is a very short wait time to talk with them, they are pretty knowledgeable and accommodating. But the people you speak to constantly apologize. It’s like the boy that cried wolf, you say it so much, it looses it’s punch. There are times to say I’m sorry, repeatedly saying it cheapens it. The supervisor from Vizio said “I’m sorry a zillion times” (OK, I’m exaggerating). Finally, he specifically thanked me for taking the time to tell them my feed back. The only thing that hit me as sincere. He more or less said the only thing he was approved to do was apologize. He could have offered to pay for the service tech to fix Vizio’s error (I really wasn’t looking for this, I wanted something sincere). I mentioned that nothing was happening to satisfy me, HIS supervisor could call me (hint). We ended the conversation. I never heard from his supervisor. When I was an executive with hotels, I always told my managers and supervisors they had the authority to “comp” anything they thought was necessary. They had to justify this decision later to me, but as long as I understood their thinking, all was OK. What is a supervisor if all they can do is say “I’m sorry”. Vizio’s TV seems to be a good product, although I’ve only owned one that actually worked has been short. Their service stinks. It’s nice to buy a product owned by an American company made in America. But I’m trying to make a living here and my time is valuable. I may buy another Vizio product, I may not.
Sorry Jill, it’s late and I’ll talk about RJ tomorrow.