Tag Archives: consumer reports

Restaurant Rage

Your Hipster waiter will take your order now, if he must…

And now, a little Friday fun – or frustration (your mileage may vary.) Consumer Reports has published a fun graphic noting “America’s most common restaurant complaints.” I believe it can be a matter of perspective. I admit that I sometimes go into a place looking for trouble and, if you’re looking for it, you find it. Other times, dissatisfaction is thrust upon you. Once at the Tattooed Moose in Charleston SC, about seven of the things on the following list happened even before our order was taken (so, like, we left!)

Anyway, what are our top beefs? Take a look…

  • 76% Dirty utensils. That piece of spinach baked on the fork isn’t harmful in any way, but still…
  • 73% Dirty restrooms. I’m going to guess that the Men’s room is worse…
  • 72% Impolite or condescending servers. Yeah, see illustration above, from the aforementioned Tattooed Moose
  • 67% Sloppy or dirty-looking wait staff. Same…
  • 66% Hot food cold, cold drinks warm
  • 62% “That’s not what I ordered.”
  • 61% Feeling rushed to leave by the server. You know, the girl who you never saw throughout the meal, but now won’t leave your side as you write out the tip?
  • 51% Slow service. Cousin of No Service. Or, watching the staff fawning over “regulars” while you die of thirst waiting for a drink refill. Or, my favorite, waiting forever for the check (I call it the Hostage Situation.)

What’s missing from this list? HIPSTERS! Either ones dining next to me, ones affecting the menu (Pabst Blue Ribbon, anyone?), or ones waiting on me (um, see illustration again.)

It’s a fun list, and there’s lots more at the original piece, so check it out! How about you? What are your top complaints when dining out? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Consumer Secrets: Household Edition

As a follow-up to our last post, here is another sampling of Consumer Reports 101 Consumer Secrets. I think many of these tips share a common trait: that we have forgotten common sense, old-timey “home remedies” in favor of the constant need for something to be NEW and IMPROVED! Hey, I’m in marketing. I get it. Anyway, here are some tips. As they say, your mileage may vary.

  • Refrigerator: The area around the vent is the coldest, the shelves on the door are warmest, so store accordingly.
  • Rice: May contain arsenic. So cook it twice the amount of time the package recommends.
  • New and Improved? Maybe not. Moldy oldies like Pine-Sol and Fels Naptha are still tops among cleaners.
  • Coffee: Clean coffee pots with dissolving denture tablets. Weird!
  • Carpets: That super-low setting is great for getting out dirt and sand. For regular use, however, it will really wear out your carpet.
  • Fire! That fire extinguisher under the sink has an expiration date. Learn it!
  • More fire! There are 2 types of smoke detectors – ones that detect fast-moving flames and ones that detect slow-smoldering fires. You might need both, but at least be sure what you are getting.

Of course, not all common sense solutions are created equal. I remember one such piece of advice: “Did you know Coca-Cola will clean your toilet just as well as Comet?” The part they left out: “Did you know Coca-Cola is about 3 times as expensive as Comet?”

More tips at the original article, so check it out. And have a great weekend!

101 Consumer Secrets!


Don’t worry; I won’t make you read all 101! The latest edition of Consumer Reports has a nice roundup of 101 tips ‘n’ trix from their writers and editors. These cover household items, money and finance, electronics and more. Here is a sampling from the electronics pile:

  • Drop your phone or camera in the water? Don’t freak out and run out to buy a new one.  Try letting it dry. You can even put it in a Ziploc bag with some rice.
  • Don’t turn off your printer. Standby mode really doesn’t use much power compared to restarting. Also, if your printer must recalibrate every time, that wastes ink.
  • Just like the dumb commercial says, a full hard drive is a slow hard drive. There’s an actual mechanical process the PC uses to find your info, and it takes time. So, clean up your hard drive, get an external drive or store things on a Cloud.
  • PC or Tablet? Never thought of it this way: PCs and laptops are good at CREATING content. Tablets are good for CONSUMING it.
  • WiFi: Get a wireless hub for your house. You will save on your data plan in a big way. However, when you aren’t near a WiFi hub, your device will waste power searching for a signal, so turn it off when you are out.

That’s just a sample – there are only about 95 other tips at the original article! Next time we will sample a few more. Do you have any useful tips? Let us know!

Naming Names, Naughty and Nice

The watchdogs over at Consumer Reports have cracked open the suggestion box and put together their annual Naughty and Nice list for the holidays. The list includes input from CR staff and Facebook fans. There were 100 nominees, and CR narrowed it down to the 10 best and worst.

Companies were dinged for hidden or tricky fees, fine print, and unfriendly practices; others were lauded for generous and outstanding customer service.

And to keep it fair, the list looks specific policies and practices such as hidden fees, return policies, etc. “They’re jerks!” doesn’t make the cut!

Anyway, here are some of the more famous names on the list, with an eye toward holiday shopping:

Nice: Home Depot, Honda, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Red Wing Shoe Co.

Naughty: CompUSA, Forever 21, Abe’s of Maine, Vonage, Tiger Direct

There are many other examples of policies – good, bad and mindless – at the original article, so check it out!  Do you have any examples?

Speaking of nutty hidden fees, remember this post about RyanAir?