Category Archives: letters

Impressive

Super impressed by the speedy response of one of my favorite brands, that quite unfortunately, failed me at retail last week.
 
I sent this email to customer care on Wednesday, August 24 @ 9.10 AM:

Hello,

I couldn’t wait for you to open in Rockefeller Center and now I regret my decision.
 
1 – I had a partially filled gift card and without fail, every single time I visited (4x) there was a problem with it. Eventually it worked but not before I felt like I was a hassle to the team. Once I was asked to pay with another form of payment, even though there was more than enough on the card. 

2 – Which prompted me to write today — I paid for my purchase (half with the remaining balance on my gift card and half in cash) — of course it took forever to pay so my drink was ready before I even stepped away from the register. I was handed the drink, handed my money.

Sure enough a few seconds after I walked away from the counter, my drink started to leak, and leak. The cap popped off and I was the woman holding the leaky Orange Dream Machine in the elevator. I wasn’t given any napkins, of course, so it was my receipt that I was trying to use as a makeshift napkin until I could get up to my office.

Of course in the meantime the drink was spilling – down my dress (which I had JUST picked up from the dry cleaners) and down my leg. My hands were sticky and of course I had to reach into my pocketbook for my work ID so who knows what has orange stickiness on it now. Since Orange Dream Machine is part milk product, and I hate the smell of sour milk, I now feel gross and sticky. And my day has just started.

So much for Jamba brightening my day. It has, no pun intended, completely soured it.

Perhaps I will stick with the Dunkin Donuts just next door.

I also used Twitter …

@JambaJuice soured my morning. My drink was over filled, lid popped off and #Orange Dream Machine dripped down my leg and stained my dress. 
 
I received this response to my email on Wednesday, August 24 @ 1.29 PM [less than four hours later, and I think it only took that long because they are on the West Coast]. There was no Twitter response then, or now, a week later.

Hello,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.  Although we are sorry to read about your experience, we find your feedback very helpful in that you point out specifics and give us direction as to where we need to improve.  On behalf of all of us here at Jamba Juice, please accept our sincerest apologies for the poor service and product we provided you at our Rockefeller Center location.  From what you have described, we have some additional training and coaching to perform right away.

 We have shared your feedback with our field management team for review and follow up with the members of our team at this location.  We pride ourselves on offering our customers a positive, uplifting experience.  We greatly appreciate you allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns and to make things right.

If you would please provide us with your mailing address, I would be happy to mail you a couple complimentary 16 oz. beverage cards for you to use on your next visit. More importantly, we will address these service issues right away.  

Thank you again and have a nice day!

Sincerely,

My final response:

Hi, 

Thanks for your prompt response. Because of the busy, and therefore, ideal, location, additional training is a must.

I have worked in many consumer-facing jobs, and I believe good customer service and a good product are of utmost importance. I’m glad you think so too.

Thank you for the gift cards. My address is X.

Thanks again.

I received three gift cards in the mail exactly one week later.

Way to go Jamba Juice. It’s not about getting free stuff. It’s about a solid and immediate  response. The real test is my next trip to Jamba. I’d like to avoid being that girl in the elevator (again) with the dripping drink, thanks very much.

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Suggestions for Keychain Scrabble

I’m totally addicted to Scrabble – real life, with a board and online. So waiting at the airport for a flight earlier this year, I decided to purchase travel Scrabble. It was an impulse buy and I should have immediately known there would be a problem when it was called Keychain Scrabble.

Below are my thoughts on how to make it better. No response to my concerns. Clearly there are enough suckers that buy it, myself included, there is no need to make any changes. Lesson learned. It truly only serves a purpose of, a keychain.

***

Hello,

I recently purchased a travel Keychain Scrabble game at the airport during my most recent trip. Unfortunately I was not able to play with it.

But, here are some suggestions on how you can improve the next iteration of the game so other consumers aren’t as disappointed as I was.

1. The board should be bigger. In fact, it can be a folding board and you can make it big enough to fit on airplane tray table. This hardly fills up my whole hand.
2. The pieces should be bigger than they are. They were tiny and very hard to use, and very easy to lose.
3. Include more letters so that we can take more than three turns each. Much prefer to have as many pieces are in the standard game.
4. Lightweight. It’s too light. Pieces stick to your fingers. There’s no weight to the pieces.
5. Letter bag should seal so pieces can’t be lost if bag happens to flip or fall.

I would be happy to provide more insight as Scrabble is my favorite board game of all time. This is sadly, just a Scrabble keychain.

Best,


House of Hell_Final

Seriously. I wasn’t lying when I had hellish living situations.

Want to explain that the subject of this blog is not a typo. It is, in fact, the final document name of a letter that my roommates and I sent to the better part of everyone who is anyone to help with renter’s rights. This was sent back on July 28, 2005 and nearly six years later still makes the three of us laugh, cringe and wince that we actually made it there for a full year. What were we thinking is right?!

As with all my letters posted on this blog, names have been removed, or use initials, and funny identifying details have been placed [in between these little doohickeys].

I can already hear the gasps when you start reading this letter…

***

Dear All [all is everyone and anyone that would have been in a position to help with renter’s rights – there were many names on this list, as well as cc’d]:

We are writing to have a formal complaint noted on record against our landlord, [landlord from hell who will be referred to as LFH throughout this letter].

Please note we have placed several complaints to City Hall, but as you read on there is not much they can do because of the type of dwelling we live in.

We have had no assistance to date other than sending letters to the landlord from City Hall requiring him to clean up vermin. As you read on, you will find that is probably a minor concern along all of the other disasters occurring in our apartment.

Your help is urgently needed to stop this landlord and others like him.

Also note, we are writing this and copying many different people and departments because our goal is to:

1. Make as many people as possible aware of our situation
2. Beg for help in resolving this situation

With that said, no help has been given, no results have been gotten and we are living in what can only be called an unfit living situation.

As ridiculous as the reality genre has become, perhaps this can be Real World: Hoboken or perhaps Bad News for the Landlord. Maybe Saturday Night Live needs a few skit writers. Well, they can find them in this letter.

Before going to the formal complaint, please know that we have exhausted all of the resources that we know of – the landlord himself and City Hall, to no avail. You are our last resort. Please don’t let us down.

The Situation:

We had telephoned in a complaint earlier in the year, February, 2005, regarding vermin in the apartment. Before that complaint was filed, we had approached our landlord directly about exterminating the apartment after several mice were found in traps that we had set down. He gave us more traps and steel wool and told us that “the mice won’t hurt you. They are looking to stay warm.”  Cute or not, the three of us do not wish to share our apartment with vermin. Therefore, we did not accept this excuse and telephoned the complaint in to the Board of Health, which had sent out a letter requiring him to hire an exterminator to comply with being a landlord in Hoboken.

We have been living with exposed poison and traps, since then, but finally the problem seemed to be resolved, until recently.

We have found half eaten and completely eaten blocks of poison. Traps have been moved and feces have been sighted.

The laundromat workers at [the laundromat the landlord owns on the ground floor of the building we lived in] told us that the [landlord] is out of the country for several weeks. They had not informed us of this themselves and now we find ourselves with a mouse problem coupled with several other issues.

The water leakage has been a recurring problem since we have moved in and with the amount of rainfall expected in the next few days, that leads us to a leakage.

Above the bed in one of the rooms, the ceiling continuously falls each time it rains.  Our landlord’s “solution” to this was to have the ceiling repainted back in November.  A second “solution” was to cover the roof with a garbage bag to hold the rain and prevent further water damage.  Both “solutions” clearly did not work, as they had nothing to do with fixing the ceiling and were merely cosmetic.  Since the time of the repainting, the paint chips fall on the bed, bedspread, and even S, as she sleeps.  This is an unacceptable living condition for one who is paying money for a solid “roof over her head.”

Please note: the health department is sending a NOV (notice of violation) citing unsafe living conditions

Another issue occurred in mid-May 2005, when [LFH] decided to fix the stairs, which had been shaky since we first moved in.  We had complained several times to him that it felt as though the stairs would simply going to collapse at any time.  Clearly not taking this complaint to heart, he finally brought in two “workers” to repair the stairs, some seven and a half months later.  We would have been elated about this, had he informed us when these repairs would be made.  However, he did not.  M came home one afternoon to discover that the staircase leading to our apartment was gone.  In its place were beams and two “workers” constructing what appeared to be the beginnings of a staircase.  With no idea how to get up to her apartment, one of the workers suggested he give her a boost.  Since she had to change to get to work, this seemed like the only option.  One “worker” then literally tossed her through the air where she clung to the upstairs landing, hoping against hope, not to fall to her death.  Upon exiting her apartment some 45 minutes later, she discovered only one stair had been built.  She was now required to climb down the fire escape into her downstairs neighbors apartment to leave, as the “leap of faith” did not seem as though it should be tested twice.  Again, these are not living conditions that any person who is paying decent money to occupy residence within a building, should have to sustain.

Another problem we would like to report, which has since been resolved were lights, Christmas lights, which hang around the awning of the Laundromat. The lights have fallen down and now block the entrance to our doorway. This is a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible because the outlets in our apartment are very old and [LFH] himself will not touch them. For example, the lights in L’s bedroom went out a few weeks after we moved in and his solution was to provide a freestanding halogen lamp so that he wouldn’t have to bring in an electrician. Well, if he is afraid of the lighting, we are too. And would prefer someone with a knowledge of outlets to take care of this problem. [Please note: the health department told us to call the department for fire safety and they were called at 3.35pm on Monday, July 18, 2005 and made the fix.

With that said, we have another problem to site.  The bathtub does not drain water when showering.  We have tried everything from Liquid Plumber to Drano to plunging the tub and still, when one takes a shower, you exit from a bath. In fact the water is so high the body would displace the water over the tub if you were to take a bath.  With three girls all having tight schedules in the morning, this makes for yet further unacceptable living conditions.  We are literally forced to shower while standing in the previous occupants water. We have complained several times to our landlord, but he has yet to take action.  Now, when it is at its absolute worst, he is conveniently out of the country. And we are out of the bathroom. We are forced to brush our teeth in the kitchen since the water in the sink fills up without draining – and better yet, we are forced to find alternate showers around town — either at friends’ apartments and at the gym.

Finally, we would like to point out that the Hoboken Housing Authority told us that if there were three or more units in the building, housing would take over. Unfortunately, with only two units in the building, we do not fall into that category. Instead, we are considered a one to two family house and are exempt from a good portion of the housing standards that other buildings need to comply with.  We were told that the city needs to adopt certain buildings and we have not been adopted. With these violations, we would strongly recommend the city reconsider their guidelines.

We would also like to note that between the three of us in the apartment, we are not newcomers to Hoboken. Combined, we have been living in town for over ten years and have been exposed to a variety of apartments, landlords and procedures since each of us has lived in different apartments around town. This is the only living situation that we have all encountered that has no procedure and where the landlord has not a care in the world about his tenants.

We also plan on attending the renter help meeting we were informed of, that takes place at St. Matthew Parish House on the corner of 8th and Washington this Thursday night. They have a drop in center that offers free advice to tenants and landlords.  Hopefully we can be helped, since clearly there are major violations going on here.

In the interim we would like to have this letter on file as a formal complaint by the residents of [our address].

We have taken many pictures of the disasters in the apartment, overturned traps, flooded floors, tubs and broken mirrors that have not been replaced.

We have also attached renters rights act as we have it. We believe Mr. [LFH] is in violation of several of these rights.

Please let us know if there are any necessary next steps to take. Please do not tell us to suck up the next few weeks because we refuse to do it. And he should be stopped – this is unfit living and no one should have to endure what we have.

Best Regards,

[disgusted tenants]


Smoker Stench

Sigh.

With the weather turning nice, we’ve been able to open the windows and the door to the balcony. And then we have to close it. Why, you ask? Someone near us is smoking and the stench is coming into our apartment.

I’ve lived with scaffolding, lived with horrid plumbing, lived with rodents (and I will share those stories) and now I’ve got to live with smoke? I mean, I’m shocked it’s taken this long for me to have this problem show up in apartment living.

The worst part is that it’s hindering my ability to sit outside on the balcony. Which is the BEST part of the apartment. We’ve been sleuthing and we thought it was coming from right below us. The smoke is new, so we figured we had new downstairs neighbors. After I sent a letter to the management company (see below), they were able to “confirm” our downstairs neighbors don’t smoke. That doesn’t mean the apartments next to them aren’t the smokers.

Here’s the correspondence thus far…

My email to the management company (not my first, but my first about this situation):

Hello,

We have a neighbor, directly below us, who chooses to smoke throughout the evening on the balcony. We’re not sure if this is a new neighbor, or they have just recently taken up smoking, but it’s been a couple of weeks and it’s becoming a problem.

We can no longer leave the balcony door or even the windows open as the smell permeates the apartment.  Smoke rises, so it comes into our home. I can’t imagine  we’re going to want to sit on the balcony come warmer evenings because the smell is very unpleasant.

This upsets us because that’s the best feature of our apartment, and I’m sure we’re paying a premium for it, but I simply cannot take the smoke. If this continues throughout the summer, we’re also going to be paying a premium on the air conditioning because we won’t be able to enjoy the breeze off the water if it’s accompanied by the stench of smoke.

Short of going downstairs and making them aware of the situation (which can have several outcomes), as we plan to do this week, have you had any tenants encounter this problem before? We are forced to breathe in secondhand smoke, in the comfort of our own home, and short of shutting the door and windows, it still seeps in. And obviously being on our balcony is out of the question right now thanks to the toxins coming up from below.

Is there anything you can suggest as an option before we go to speak with him/her? Any suggestions you can provide thanks to previous experience you may have had would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Response from the management company:

Hi,

We have experienced similar situations in the past but as [your building] is not a smoke-free environment it can be a little tricky.

That being said, sometimes people are responsive to complaints/requests to limit their smoking or to do it elsewhere but this is usually a problem we have with people smoking in their apartments and the odor permeating into the hallway or the apartment above or below through a bathroom vent.

In any case, I just spoke with your downstairs neighbor and neither his girlfriend nor he are smokers so the cigarette smoke must be coming from another balcony.

If you need further assistance from me please do not hesitate to ask.

My response:

Hi,

I realize this is a very tricky situation. Even trickier, because we were convinced it was coming from straight below. Thanks for checking with the downstairs neighbor on our behalf.

Now I’m at a loss because the smoke is coming from somewhere. Maybe next to the apartment on either side, though I think there’s an empty apartment towards out right. Even so, that former tenant did smoke occasionally but the stench was not nearly as bothersome as it is now.

Will try and figure out who is smoking and reach out to you before we reach out to them.

Thanks,

***

That’s all the correspondence thus far. Am certain there will be more once I can pinpoint the offender(s). Now we’re (okay, it’s probably more me than the boyfriend but whatever) determined to figure it out. Our neighbors dogs pee in the elevator, they poop right outside the building and I can’t do anything about it (really, I have tried). I refuse to let someone ruin the best part of my apartment living in the spring and summer with their damn cigarette smoke. Yes, I realize it’s public property, but it’s making me breathe in secondhand smoke against my will. I cannot go anywhere to escape it because even inside I can smell it with the doors and windows closed. I like sleeping with the windows open. I like coming home and drinking wine on my balcony. I do not like being forced to breathe in secondhand smoke. It. Is. Gross.

But ironically the night I sent the letter was the first night I did not smell smoke. Fascinating. I’m sure this saga will continue because I want to enjoy my balcony! In the meantime, I’ll share some of my apartment woes in upcoming blog posts.


US Airways Made Good

Received this email from US Airways in reponse to my note. Good job US Airways.

Dear Ms. X,

Thanks for your feedback about the email you received last week. Though we made a mistake, we’re pleased to tell you we’ve posted the 1,000 bonus miles to your account. Please go to usairways.com to see your account balance.

We value your business and want to thank you for your continued support of US Airways.

Sincerely,

X
US Airways Dividend Miles


They’re waiting in your account…NOT!

Email received from US Airways – Dividend Miles on Tuesday, April 5
Subject: They’re waiting in your account!

Email message: Miles make you smile…And they get you where you want to be
We know you love award travel…and we love seeing you happy! So, we added 1,000 bonus miles to your account. We hope these miles get you a little closer to your next award trip. Keep flying and using Dividend Miles partners and you’ll be on your way in no time!

Email received from US Airways – Dividend Miles on Friday, April 8:
Subject: Oops!

Email message: Earlier this week, we inadvertently delivered an email message to many of our Dividend Miles members’ email accounts. Unfortunately, one of those accounts was yours. Worse, this email incorrectly stated that we posted 1,000 Dividend Miles into your account. This was not accurate and the email message was sent in error. We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you and appreciate your understanding.

Email sent on Tuesday, April 12
Subject: Seriously US Airways?

Email message: So you’re basically telling me miles make me happy, yet you take them away a few days later? You could have just done good and left it at that. 1,000 miles are practically worthless and you made a big stink retracting them from your loyal customers. Seriously? It was that important for you to take them away, then just let it be? I didn’t even notice that I got the first email…UNTIL I got the second.

It’s not about the 1,000 miles. It’s that you are so cheap that you can’t leave them there. It’s not like they have any significant cash value. I have enough miles for a free flight on US Airways so the 1,000 miles didn’t get me any closer to the next level but for you probably teased a lot of people. 

I am on the search for a credit card that awards me miles. You’ve just taken any US Airways cards out of the running. Who knows what you’ll retract if I were to become a cardmember.

Perhaps someone in IT did not connect with someone in PR. Either way, the miles should not have been moved. It was a mistake that did not need to be corrected. Instead, you should have chalked it up to a nice gesture to your Dividend Miles members. So much for that.


Buggery part two – phew!

Success.

Received the report from Risk Management, confirming there were no bed bugs in the room.

As I say, rules are made to be broken. Clearly, their “policy” about not sending the report is a flexible one. Am certain my letter to the CEO helped get me that report. Not as quickly as I would have liked but 8 days is not so bad. 

Power for the people!

Inspection Report