The WAR on Police Departments

What’s it all about, this war on police?copbeating_L

Is it really about racist cops?  Is it about cops that want to kill today’s black youth?  It’s more about blacks in poor areas being treated like criminals.  They are tired of getting pulled over for no reason, at least that’s how they see it.  But I don’t see it that way and neither does most Americans.  If you live in a high crime area, you have a greater chance of being treated like a suspect.

Who is starting this War on the police?  Mainly the black population, however it is being supported by some of other races, mainly due to some basic reasons like they are not informed, just reacting to the issues.  Blacks in high crime areas should feel good that the police are checking them out, it tells them they are doing their job, which is to protect the citizens against the criminal element, including theft, murder, assault, as well as other crimes.  Instead they are tired of getting looked at as the criminals who live around them.

It seems crazy that we would even consider a war on our police departments.  Sure there are bad cops, and some of them shouldn’t be given the power they have over us, however most officers are not like that.  Yes many are arrogant and some think they are superior, however these cops are of all races and genders, and that doesn’t make them bad, just irritating.  If I lived in a high crime area, and was leaving an area known for drug use and sales, I would expect to be suspected of buying drugs.  If I look like a criminal, I expect to be treated like one, even if I am not one.  My choice is to deal with it or move somewhere else.

PERCEPTION

2pac1This brings up the question of perception.  I too have been guilty of thinking a Black or Hispanic or even a white person is bad and may want to hurt me, just by how they look.  I have avoided walking next to someone I thought to be out to hurt or steal something.  It’s not racist to think someone is a thughunter-hunted because they look like one, and thug means a bad person and has nothing to do with them being black.  If “Thug” depicts a black person, then it comes from black people, because I have always seen a thug as a bad individual, mostly mafia types when I was young, mostly anyone who beats up on people now days.  I’m sure that is true for most white people my age.

People can’t be that Stupid, can they?

Are people so stupid as to think they can run from a police officer and not get in some kind of trouble?  There is a law that states it is illegal to run, and you can be charged with a crime, and if you were not guilty at first, you will be guilty of something after you run.  At that point, nothing you say or do will stop the police from completely checking you out.  Just as it is illegal to run, it is also illegal to lie to the police.  Middle eastern people do not like to be treated like they could possibly be a terrorist, but almost 100% of terrorists come from the middle-east.  There was a news report today that in Texas a middle-eastern man lied to the FBI about where he was traveling to, 2v8pvra2saying he was going to Iraq to visit his family, when in fact he went to Syria, and traveled to Mexico first as a cover-up, they grabbed him when he returned and charged him with lying to police.

And why is it that some people think they have the right to fight with a police officer?  They are armed for one reason, to protect themselves and others from the bad guy, and if you are fighting with a cop, I’m sorry if you don’t understand, but YOU ARE THE BAD GUY!

How does the officer feel about you?

Most officers are human and do care about those people they are dealing with, until they determine those people are or have committed a crime, all of a sudden they have less respect, however they will still treat you with respect, as long as you treat them with the same.  If you want to be tazed, beat-up or shot, try showing them complete disrespect by fighting with them or trying to take their gun or Taser.  If you are calm, they will be calm.  All they want to do is finish up with you and go home to their families.

A cop told me recently that if she was thinking about becoming a police officer today, she would have second thoughts, and probably not become one.

If this war on the police continues, there will be more police shootings not less, because the police are on edge now, always thinking that next stop might be the one.  We need to rise up against this war on cops and put a stop to it now.  It’s not going to get better if we don’t…

We need our Police Officers. 

Can you imagine what this country would be like if we didn’t have the police?  Does Ferguson, MO or Baltimore, MD come to mind?

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Using a Debit card at Restaurants

Recent incidents have raised this question;

“Should you use a Debit card at restaurants?”

I went to BJ’s Brewery in South Arlington a couple weeks ago.  We had Pizza and Beer, and the meal came to $55.07 with tax and after the tip of $7.65, the total authorized aBJ_restaurantmount was $62.72.  Now I normally don’t check on these things but I was looking over my checking account activity and found the actual debit was $65.72.  It’s only $3 but that’s $3 I didn’t authorize.  I sent an Email to the restaurant from their online form, and received a call immediately from a manager named Jonathan, who agreed it was wrong and said he would take care of it immediately.  Two weeks later I have heard nothing, so I sent another Email and nothing.  Another week I called the restaurant and spoke to another manager, Ryan.  Ryan told me he saw my second Email and immediately sent it to the corporate office for resolve.  However he never contacted me to let me know, he said he tried to reply to my Email but he received an error that the Email address was not a good address.  The address in question is my address I have used for over 10 years, and is associated with this Web Site.  I receive Email everyday…

Now I agree that this was a mistake by the person entering the amount and I should let it go, (except I want my $3 back).  I would not even write about this if it wasn’t for the next story;

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We went to the Studio Movie Grill, also in south Arlington, Texas.  Movies there are very expensive, besides the $30 price tag for 3 tickets for a newly released movie, but the food was outrageous.  I spent $45 for very little food, and no alcoholic beverages, (it was Sunday and we all had to work the next day).  The food total was $45.89 and I paid in advance, and the tip was paid in cash, so the total of the debit was the $45.89 only.  The date was 5/3 but the charge of $45.89 appeared on 5/5.  Then I noticed another, pending charge on 5/6 for $0.27.  Now I know that was only 27 cents, but why?

At the time of this writing both issues have been cleared up, but I still don’t have an explanation as to why the 27 cents.  I see it as a test to see if I was going to notice, and if I hadn’t been dealing with BJ’s overcharge, I might not have been looking as closely.  Until I have a better explanation from the restaurant, I will be thinking that someone at the restaurant tested my account to see if I would notice.

I’m seriously thinking I’m going to be using either gift cards or cash from now on.  If I use a gift card, I will make sure it is less than the total amount and supplement the amount, and/or tip with cash.  It’s not too much trouble to pull out some cash on the way to the restaurant.  Credit cards and Debit cards are too easy for me, and too vulnerable to unauthorized charges from someone who saves your credit card info.  Debit more than credit I take it.

I enjoy going out to eat, but as you can tell, my blog is filled with issues with places to eat…

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Did George Zimmerman get Justice?

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You may or may not have followed the high profile case about the Hispanic almost 40 year old George Zimmerman, who, 16 months ago shot a 17 year old during an altercation in the common area of his home owner’s association.  Some say he should have received a 2nd degree murder conviction.  Instead he was acquitted of all charges.  And in fact, the case should never have went to trial say most lawyers because the evidence all pointed to a clear case of self-defense.  But because of racial pressure, and a statement from the President of the United States, the local DA was pushed aside, and the chief of police was fired, and a special prosecutor was assigned to bring it to trial even though the evidence was not there.  That special prosecutor decided not to take the case before the Grand Jury because she knew she would not get an indictment.  And during the trial you heard the DA say to the jury of 6 women, “use your emotions”.  What?  How about “Follow the law”?  The DA was looking for “Justice for Trayvon”, which is not the job of the DA, and they were not “Looking for a conviction” which is the job of the DA.  They were just trying to keep the black community from rioting.

But this is not over yet!

But this is not over for George Zimmerman, and I hope it’s not over for the Florida State Attorney’s office either.  What I mean by it’s not over for George, is that it is still being played out in the court of personal opinion, and in the media, including social media, e.g., twitter.  George, although acquitted of the charge of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter will never have a normal life because so many, (primarily blacks) are not happy with the verdict and have made comments like they want the President to get involved again, and the US Attorney General.  If that happens, you will see an even greater divide in this country along racial lines, that will be so huge that it will take another 100 years to fix.  And what I meant about the State Attorney’s office is because there were several things that were done that were either illegal or immoral, or both, and if the State of Florida wants people to respect the office of the State Attorney, someone will investigate.

Guilty until proven innocent! (The media bias)

I understand the parents of Trayvon Martin are upset, they lost a child, but they have also lied to us.  Trayvon was not this innocent child that everyone including most of the media is portraying him to be; he was a thug.  It is known that he smoked pot, tried to purchase an illegal firearm, and may have been involved in burglaries because he had a picture of a pile of jewelry that looked as though it was stolen, but did you hear any of this on the news?

The media started everything out by placing a photo of Trayvon at the age of 12 next to George.  Why was that done?

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This 12 year old boy was not the person who confronted George Zimmerman that fatal night, yet everyone including the media right now are still trying to make us believe this kid was shot and murdered by this cop wanna-be.  But in reality, Trayvon was just as responsible as George for his death.  If George Zimmerman was a wanna-be cop, then Trayvon Martin was a wanna-be thug;

Here are some more recent pictures of Trayvon, you make your own decision as to who he really was;

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The True Trayvon Martin…

So early on we saw media bias.  It makes you wonder what is true in the news these days, can we actually believe what we are seeing or hearing from the news?  I think not, in fact I think we should do everything we can to discourage this type of bias in the media.  This photo snafu was not the only thing that happened to George before his trial.  The media giant NBC rearranged the voice of George during a call to the police to make it sound like George was after Trayvon because he was black, and it may have major implications on what happens now.  George has a good case against NBC, and may have a good case against the State of Florida.

In fact the media was so bad on Zimmerman and was so involved in injecting race in the situation with the help from one of the most racist blacks in this country, Al Sharpton, and another race driver, Jessie Jackson Jr, the media spent several months driving in the racial nail.  Click the link below for a pretty compelling story of how bad it really was;

Guilty until proven innocent

It would be at the best interest of this country to stop here.  The media needs to drop it now, not another word.  The State attorney’s office of Florida needs to be investigated for illegal tactics they are accused of doing by withholding evidence, and firing the IT guy who brought it to light.  The Chief of Police of Sanford should be re-instated, and it sure smells of racial tones to know the chief was replaced by a black man, another clear case of appeasement.  When the President said “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon” it was the most dividing racial thing our current President has ever done.  And that statement along with Martin’s family portraying their son as an innocent kid, and blacks marching all over the place, the political stress on the local government in Florida, a major mistake was made in our justice system.  This Case should have never have gone to trial.

No one seems to care that George Zimmerman has to live with the fact that he took a life.  I care!  I wonder when the media will care?  When will George Stephanopoulos bring it up?  When will NBC apologize for making a serious mistake?  Should NBC remain a media giant?  Do you believe NBC anymore?  I don’t watch much NBC anymore, especially not their news.  I mostly watch Fox and ABC, but ABC was also involved in the media prosecution of Zimmerman when Matt Guttmann said that Zimmerman shot Martin because he was black.  He said that.  And since then I do not like Matt Guttmann and I think he should go away too.  Maybe he should go to work for NBC.

And how dumb was the DA?

I watched the head DA make a speech after the trial; she was asked about the screaming on the 911 tape, and what they thought about not being able to prove it was Martin and not Zimmerman, and she said “the screaming stopped when the gun went off, it’s common sense”.  Is it really?  Common sense says that the guy on the bottom being beat up would be the one screaming.  Common sense says that once the gun went off the guy screaming had nothing to scream about, and was probably stunned that he had shot the guy beating the sense out of him, I would be.  She also commented on the what she calls fact that if George was in the position he said he was and if Martin was on top like he said he was, there was no way George could get to his gun.  Now I’m no expert, but George said he felt Trayvon moving towards his gun, the kid had noticed the gun and was moving towards it, meaning he had to have moved away from George’s hip to go after the gun, at that point George got it first.  I’m sorry but that just sounds like the DA is really dumb to me.  Am I the only one?

The proof the special prosecutor was so dumb is she accepted to take this case to trial knowing they had no evidence.  It was so bad that the prosecutor’s case during the first week of trial was basically for the defense.

Politics and racial tensions were the driving force for a wrongful prosecution, a sad day for the Justice system in our country…

What now?

Now I think we’re in for a long ride.  I think race will grow to be a huge problem for our President.  I think his legacy will be this major race divide unless he does something now.  I think the media will change greatly if they don’t drop it right away.  They are focusing so much on the black opinion, that the white race in this country will have enough and rise up.  I think it’s all coming to a head, and I hate the thought.  I am not a racist at all.   But I have made some racial comments, but so have you.  I seriously feel that race is still an issue because of the blacks that are making it an issue; there may be some whites, but it’s obviously blacks.  I don’t ever remember ever having a slave.  I have never seen segregation, and I am almost 60 years old.  I grew up in northern California, and race was never a big issue.  We had our Martin Luther King Blvd. which for some reason was a very bad place to be, but it wasn’t because of the Blacks, although many Blacks had a part in it because of gang activity, it was also Asian gangs, Hispanic gangs, etc.  It’s not race as much as it is thugs of all races.  We all need to stand up and eliminate the thugs, even if they are someone’s child.  Face it, if your kid is a thug, you failed as a parent.  We need to unite against the thugs.  We have a local county commissioner who is Black, and one day he told all of the “White people” to get out.  Nothing happened to him, he is still a Dallas County Commissioner.  Go figure…

Did George Zimmerman get Justice?

No and he never will.  Sure he was found Not Guilty by our justice system, but like Geraldo Rivera said last night, “he wasn’t found innocent, he was found not guilty” and one of his followers on twitter said, “he was not found innocent because you are innocent until you are found guilty”.  Shut him right up!  George will not find peace, unless he finds a neighborhood that will welcome him in and protect him.  He will always be looking over his shoulder.  He will now have to face frivolous lawsuits, and situations that will challenge his sanity.  Even though the Martin family said they would accept the verdict, they don’t.  Just more gasoline for the fire.  I feel sorry for George, he was used as a scapegoat by the State of Florida to ease racial tensions.  He needs our help, to make this better he needs as much support as the thug is getting.  Move here George, I will help you!

Is that really what they want?

Does the Black community really want to idolize Trayvon?  To make a thug as a representative of racial oppression?   I am relieved that George got off because you may have had to make a decision; “Should I let this guy kill me, or do I save myself only to face life in prison”?  Really, Justice was served in court, but justice was not served in the media.  When will that change?

The truth will set you free!  THE TRUTH!  Not media fiction.  Just because you say it does not make it real…

Thanks,

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The U. S. Postal Service Does it again!

I recently moved and when you move you have to put in a “Change of Address” request with the Post Office.  This year I submitted mine online, it cost me $1, they said to verify that I am really who I said I was.  I was concerned it was a scam because the link said “Free” but the link went to the same place no matter where I started so I trusted it, and it did work.

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And you pretty much take it for granted.  You submit a change of address and all of a sudden your mail starts to arrive with yellow stickers on it redirecting your mail to your new address, so I thought.

One day I received a piece of mail from Blue Shield of California, mailed from a town in Northern California to a recipient in Southern California.  That’s right I just said the envelope was addressed to someone in Southern California and some how that envelope received one of my yellow stickers and the letter was re-directed to Texas.  My guess is that the machine detected a letter to me and missed my letter and the yellow sticker got stuck on theirs.  I wonder if I ever received my letter?

delivery

A mistake like this could be devastating to a company like Fed-X or UPS.  They asked me during an online survey after I was contacted by the lady who followed up with me over the phone, if I had ever told anyone about the issue or suggested they not use the postal service in the future.

You hear about how the U.S. Postal Service is always losing money, how they have to cut the number of days they deliver to save some money all the while they are raising the first class stamp.  Don’t they realize that with every increase of a penny or more of that stamp, 20 million less letters are mailed? (That was a guess by the way).  It just seems like the USPS is not being operated like a company that must turn a profit or go under.  Instead it is more like it is too big to fail, and the Tax Payers (you and me) are there with their pockets open with aid to keep it afloat.

Maybe it makes sense to stop delivery on Saturdays, UPS or Fed-X don’t.  There must be something to it.  The USPS should be run like a company with the Tax Payers as the stock holders and the Board of Directors should be just like a public run company, with citizens and not politicians running the show.  Either that or turn to whole thing over to a private company and give them requirements to follow, because it seems like anything that has to do with the Federal Government also has to do with waste.  It’s like they both go hand in hand.

No one is responsible for anything in the Federal Governments.

What made me the maddest about my situation was the person who called me back after I filed an online complaint couldn’t do anything but say she was sorry.  She couldn’t tell me how it happened.  She couldn’t tell me where my letter is that was missed by the machine, (it was me that told her my theory on how it happened), and she couldn’t tell me that they would make some changes to prevent it in the future.  It was like she called just to console me.

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On the news today, while watching a very political story about how politicians make up stories to make their cause seem more important, they give unreal statistics to make it sound better or worse depending on the situation and side they are on.  The news caster said “Wake up America” about one of the issues they were discussing, and the first thing I thought was, “We are awake”, the question is what can we do about it?  When the government screws up there is not much we can do.  They say “Vote them out” but you are just one vote.  That is not so easy to do these days.

What we need to do is create some all volunteer groups to go to Washington and perform inspections on every department in the government.  I heard on the news the other day that there are are couple hundred million dollars that the government can’t explain where it was spent.  100’s of Millions of dollars, up in smoke?  And we can’t do much about it.  And if people demanded to know who caused it we would hear the same thing, they don’t know.  And if we demanded they investigate, it would cost hundreds of millions to find out nothing.  But someone’s brother or uncle would make a good living during the investigation.

Corruption in government and a lack of responsibility.  No one is responsible.  Not even the President when he makes the comment, “Hold me responsible”, all he is saying is to blame him, he can live with the blame, but you can’t make him pay for it.  Because remember, no one is responsible, not even congress.  Congress blames each other, but no one admits responsibility.

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Police Shootings – Is it the job of the officer to fight?

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From the Dallas/Fort Worth area – July 2012

We have seen on the news lately where local Dallas area residents are having problems with the killing of an unarmed drug dealer by a Dallas Police Officer, who was assaulting the officer at the time.  The area blew up in what almost became a riot because of media reports that the assailant was shot in the back.

The story as reported by the Dallas Police Department the next day;

The officers arrived on scene responding to a call about a drug house.  When they arrived several people ran from the house.  The officer involved in the shooting followed one of those people.  After running through fields, yards and over several fences, the officer was tired, out of breath, and had been involved in a hand to hand fight with the perpetrator a couple of times during the chase.  The perpetrator had already assaulted the officer more than once.  During another fight, the officer was trying to protect his weapon, fearing for his life pulled his weapon and shot the guy twice, killing him.  Before he shot him, the guy told the officer, while beating on him “you will have to kill me”.

People started showing up at the scene of the drug house and the police officers had to move the police line several times to keep the crime scene in tact.    When the media from the local TV stations showed up, they talked to the crowd and heard someone say, “he was shot in the back”.  Of course the media started broadcasting what they heard, knowing it was here-say.  At that time the crowd started to get rowdy yelling at the officers, these officers who were not involved, they were only there to control the crowd.  One officer had to fire pepper balls at the ground around the crowd to move them back out of the face of the officers.

We need to respect our police officers. Thank them when we see them. Buy them lunch, or a cup of coffee. They are people just like you and me.

Since that day several of the local clergy, city counsel, and prominent residents were on the local news saying that the officer should have used his pepper spray, his Taser or just let the guy go.

When is it the job of the officer to fight the perpetrator?

Officers put their lives on the line everyday, all day long.  Every call has the potential to be deadly, and they know that.  They are also scrutinized for everything they do even though they make decisions during maximum stress levels, they are held to a higher level.  What people don’t think about is that officers should never have to get in a fight.  Fighting with an officer is a felony offence, “Assault on a Police Officer” or public servant, carrying a penalty of up to 35 years in prison, as well as fines.  Police officers are not there to try and save the life of someone out to kill them.  They are there to control crime and police the streets for people just like the guy who was shot in this situation.  It’s no question why we have a hard time filling police officer positions with qualified candidates.  The pay is low, the hours are tough and the bad guys are getting worse.  The number of bad guys brave enough to commit assault on a police officer is growing.  An officer has no idea if today will be his/her last.  And out of that we see disrespect from the citizens of the area where this drug house was operating.

Did they care that this was a Drug House?

It was almost like they don’t care that the drug house was operating in the neighborhood.  One guy made the comment, “his police record is history, the only person that history is important to is a history teacher”, talking about the perpetrator’s lengthy criminal record which included Assault on a police officer, “he’s a good dude”, he continued.  Are you kidding me?  Had this been many other neighborhoods in the country, people would have been protesting the drug house and calling the police on this guy, and possibly his friend.  Looking at the crowd at the time, most of them were most likely either buyers or sellers, and very few were actual residents.

The police department thinks the call about the drug house was from a competing drug house wanting them put out of business, however after looking into all of the evidence and information surrounding the situation, we find out that the drug house has been under surveillance for months and undercover officers had already bought drugs from there more than once.  Even after all of this information the people, counsel men/women still question the officer’s decision to shoot the assailant.

The latest news on this subject was that the assailant does not have any bullet holes in his back side, from either going in or coming out.  He was shot in the chest and hand.

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Did I mention that the assailant and most of the neighbors are black?  They don’t care that the guy who was shot was selling drugs in their neighborhood, in fact they say he is a good person and never carried a gun.  They don’t care that the assailant had a history of assault on the police.  They don’t care that several drugs were found in and around the house, and the police know someone left the house running with a gun.

Recent news about the area exposes some extreme numbers making one think that almost the entire neighborhood is either involved in crime of some sort, or not able to do anything and must let these thugs take over the neighborhood.  Crime stats from the area around the drug house involved are as follows (obtained from WFAA News 8);

According to Dallas police, in 10 years in the area around Bourquin, there have been 91 murders, approximately 100 officers assaulted, more than 3,000 narcotics arrests, nearly 1,500 kilos of drugs seized ranging from cocaine to meth, 284 weapons seized and $400,000 in cash confiscated.  They’re staggering numbers, considering the size of sector 310. It’s just a six-square mile area.

We need to respect our police officers.  Thank them when we see them.  Buy them lunch, or a cup of coffee.  They are people just like you and me.  It is true that they are type A personalities, but that is what it takes to be a cop.  Officers can’t be complacent or trust everyone, that is a good way of getting shot.  We need to make sure we support our officers, even when or if they make a mistake, (I’m not saying this situation was a mistake).  Try to put yourself in their shoes, think what it would be like to have to make a split second decision while having screaming people running at you.  Or bullets flying over your head.  Could you make the right decision 100% of the time?  They have to, it is a matter of life or death, either theirs or the assailant’s.

The job of a police officer is a thankless job!

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BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Paint. Does “Ultra” mean better?…

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Ul-tra – Adverb – Very; extremely – I am speaking of Behr Premium Plus “Ultra”.  The paint that claims to have a primer built in.  Although the Behr Premium Plus paint also claims to pre-prime, it is sidelined by their newer paint, the Behr Premium Plus Ultra.  This paint costs about $5 to $7 more per gallon, and claims to cover with less coats, but the claims are bogus.  I’m not sure why a company would come up with an inferior product and call it superior to what we already feel is a great product.  Now we’re not so sure about the Behr brand.

         before                after

                  The color is Amazon Jungle and looks much better painted completely…

When Marisa opened the can after getting home with the paint, she noticed how thin it was.  She made the comment to me, “I don’t think this paint will cover in one or even two coats, it’s too thin”.  Then she started painting.  “OMG” she said, “it’s not covering at all”.  I don’t think I have ever seen a premium paint that covered so poorly.  Was the color too dark?  No, we had similar painting situations in other rooms and had no issues.  We actually used the Behr Premium Plus paint with no complaints.

After a second coat to one of the walls, and after using up half of the gallon of paint, we saw that this paint would not cover the 4 partial walls of this small full bath with just one gallon.  Just to give you an idea, the bath is very small and has only 4 walls, but on each of the walls is something that takes up a majority of the wall.  Wall 1 has a shower and a mirror and a sink and counter, so there is about 1.5 feet of wall above the shower and mirror.  Wall number 2 has the end of the counter and a door going into the hallway.  Wall 3 has a door into the office and wall 4 has the shower and a small window.  So basically the amount of paintable surface in this bathroom is minimal.  One gallon of most paint would be more than enough, because the ceiling is being painted by another color.

After painting the wall with a second coat and being able to see lines and we felt at this point it would take 3 coats at least, we took the paint back to Home Depot.  We did not get any argument about returning the paint, it was all just in a day’s work according to the folks who work at HD.  I was not happy about using up a roller and a day of time to find out the paint they sold us was inferior, and we would have been better off just buying what we normally get.  But the Behr Premium Plus did not have the same color that the Behr Premium Plus Ultra did.  When I took the can of paint to the paint counter, I was met by an old guy and when I tried to show him the picture, he said with a grump, “I can’t see your picture”.  When I asked him if I could speak to someone who can see the picture, he responded, “I know what you are saying”.  He disagreed that the paint was thin, watery thin, and said the problem was that we chose semi-gloss and such a dark color.

Now let me set the scene; We removed some wallpaper from the bath, sealed the walls with a premium primer paint.  Then we shot on texture and was ready to paint.  That is when we purchased the Ultra, thinking we had unsealed texture so the primer would be a good choice, (even though the other paint said it pre-primes).  We are just a consumer in a World of crap and bogus claims.  What does one do to make sure we are getting what we think we are getting.  Well we should have Goggled it…

Ultra in this case means “Ultra Profits”, or “Ultra Scam”, but in no way does it mean, a better product.

I don’t think I need to mention that I notified both Behr and Home Depot.  I sent a letter (via Email) to Behr about the fact that their new “Ultra” product did not perform as expected, in fact it did not preform as well as a paint costing $10 less per gallon.

I sent an Email to Home Depot Corporate about the care-less attitude in the folks who helped us return the bad paint and get a replacement.  When we purchased the original gallon of Ultra, we got $5 off at the register, but when we purchased the replacement, we were told that we need to mail in a rebate request, but when we showed our receipt, we did get the $5 off on the replacement, otherwise we would have paid about the same, and it would have made the whole trip that much worse.

We have heard from both BEHR and Home Depot about our letters.  Home Depot said they were sending it on to the local Home Depot where we purchased the paint.  Behr just said they sent it on, with no mention if anyone would get back to me, but that’s ok.  I will post here what I hear, as I hear it;

Thank you for contacting Behr.

We are truly sorry to hear of the difficulties you recently experienced in your project. We understand how upsetting it can be when a project doesn’t turn out so well and appreciate the time you have taken to share your experience. Please be assured that we take our customer feedback very seriously and all information collected will be shared with the appropriate people within the Behr organization.

We at Behr appreciate your being a customer and would like to thank you for your past patronage. In addition, we look forward to any opportunity to regain your faith in our products. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us, we would be more than happy to assist you.

Sincerely,
Irene B.
Web Communications

This one is impersonal;

Hello,
We appreciate your feedback. Listening to our customers is very
important to us. Your information has been received by Home Depot’s
Customer Care Department and will be responded to as soon as possible.
Customer Care will create a record of your feedback and ensure it is
given to the appropriate individuals for review. If further action on
our part is needed, a Customer Care Professional, or a member of our
Home Depot store’s management will be in contact with you.
Again, thank you for providing us with your comments.
Sincerely,
Home Depot
Customer Care Department

This one is a little better;

Dear Mr. McCann,
We are sorry to hear that the performance of the Behr paint purchased
from The Home Depot did not meet your expectations. We also apologize
for the quality of service you received with the return of the Behr
paint during your recent visit to the Keller TX Home Depot store. This
is not the way we intend to run our business.
We always strive to have attentive, knowledgeable associates available
to service our customers, in all of our departments and at all times.
We know you have a choice in where you spend your hard earned money, and
we do appreciate you letting us know that we dropped the ball.
We have forwarded your comments to Keller TX Home Depot store leadership
along with a request to follow up with you within the next 24-48 hours
to personally review your concerns. A customer service representative
will also follow up with you within 48-72 hours to ensure that you have
been contacted and your issues addressed.
Your Home Depot Customer Care reference number is 51369461. Thank you
for your patience in this matter.
Sincerely,
Helen Jackson
The Home Depot SSC – Customer Care
Resolution Expeditor E-mail Team
2455 Paces Ferry Rd, Bldg B-4
Atlanta GA 30339
Phone: 1-800-654-0688 ext. 76271

Stay tuned to this Blog to find out where this all goes.

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Seriously? Pink Slime? WTF?

            In the news lately has been information about something that is just disgusting that is being put in our food without our knowledge and it turns out, our government is right in the middle of it.  I am talking about “Pink Slime” which is touted as edible beef trimmings; the part of the cow that is close to the skin and is not mussel meat.  The trimmings that are left over after the cow is cut up into steaks, ribs, and roasts.  It is easily contaminated and prior to this, it was used only as ingredients in dog food, (because dogs can consume contaminated foods without sickness) or cooking oils, (animal fats).  But someone came up with the idea that they can spray it with ammonia gas and make it safe.  Seriously,  ammonia?  They call this pink slime, “Finely textured lean beef”, but they admit it is not meat from the mussel, but because they use low heat to loosen everything from the bone, and then spin it to separate the fat from the meat, and then zap it with the ammonia gas, it is fit to eat.  However you would not eat it in its current state, you use it as filler, so in reality, if you knew it was in there, you wouldn’t want to eat it.

          I read that they have been using this stuff in School lunches for some time, because the government has no problem feeding crap to our children, no problem at all.  I guess that is what we get for trusting our government.  I am glad that my kids are out of school, but then again, I have grandchildren.  It seems that the head of the FDA is the one that made the decision; “it’s pink, therefore it must be meat”.  I read in an online article by ABC News that Kroger responded with a comment about pink slime; Kroger “We do not use finely textured beef in our fresh ground beef. … We are routinely presented the finely textured beef as an option, but have always refused.”  Thank you, Kroger for always refusing.  You know where I am going to be buying my ground beef from now on?  That’s right, Kroger.  I might also buy some ground beef while I am at Costco.  I love what they said about pink slime; Costco Does not use pink slime. “Anything that we sell at Costco we want to explain it’s origins, and I personally don’t know how to explain trim treated with ammonia in our ground beef,” Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance for Costco, told ABC News. “I just don’t know how to explain that. I’m not that smart.”  I’m not sure how long anyone will continue to use the stuff in ground beef, people all over the country are talking about it now, and asking their local meat markets if they use it.  Several local stores said they don’t know if it’s in their meat.  Seriously?

          Not that long ago McDonalds and Taco Bell were found to use the filler in their burgers and taco filler, but both have since said they no longer use it.  I think their sales dropped drastically after that little bit of news got out.  If we don’t want it in our food, then we shouldn’t have to worry about it being in there.  Thanks to our government, this stuff is labeled as “Beef” and therefore does not have to be added to the label. 

           The hell it doesn’t.  What needs to be added to the label now is, “No Pink Slime Added”, or “Does not contain FTLB”.  We must all do our part to make this thing go away.  Don’t be afraid to ask your store manager if they use Pink Slime, and if they don’t know or won’t say, tell them that until they can, you won’t be buying your ground beef there, and leave.  Remember you can get it at Kroger and Costco, and its just a matter of time, more and more stores will follow suit.

          The power of the people can make changes in today’s World.  If we all start demanding that we are told what contains this crap and then refuse to buy it, they will stop using it real fast.  The more people get involved, the faster this will happen.  Don’t be afraid to ask, you have the right to know.  And really, do you not care what you eat?  I know i don’t always eat the right foods, but when I find that something like this is being put in my food without my knowledge, I get MAD!

 

 

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Carl’s Jr. in Texas – Updated since the original post

          We (the wife and I) were on a shopping outing the other day.  We were in the town of Arlington Texas and decided to stop at one of the only Carl’s Jr. Locations in the DFW area.  The restaurant is located in south Arlington.  We stopped in around 1:00 PM or so and ordered our favorite;  Western Bacon Cheese Burger, an order of Zucchini and Ranch Dressing and a Drink.  The problem is that we are native Californian’s and we know what Carl’s Jr. should taste like.  We have never really had a bad experience at a Carl’s Jr. until now.  We have eaten at many Carl’s Jr. Restaurants in California, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas, and until now we felt that no matter where we go, we will have a good experience, NOT!  The fact was that the hamburger was smashed to a flat sandwich, when we opened up the burger we found a single slice of the thinnest bacon you ever saw, and on the bottom was a single onion ring.  Normally you can taste the bacon and onion rings, and then there was the BBQ sauce.  It seemed that the sauce was watered down because the burger had less flavor than we remembered.  It has not been that long since we were at a Carl’s Jr., we stopped in on our way to San Antonio, and the place was packed.  We also noticed that this location in Arlington was empty, only us and some huge guy that pounded down 2 doubles.

One thing I love about Carl’s Jr. besides the Western Bacon Cheese burger is the Zucchini and Ranch dressing.  It is real good and unique to fast food, and even here in Arlington, the Zucchini was excellent.

If you like BBQ burgers, this Carl’s Jr. burger is the best as far as I’m concerned.  With the exception of some places that are more concerned about saving a penny at the cost of quality, most of the Carl’s Jr. locations we have visited have been good food and a wonderful experience.

Zuchinni and a Western Bacon Cheese Burger (images taken from the Menu of Carl’s Jr.)

I have also included images of both the Double Western Bacon Cheese burger which just has double meat, and the Western Bacon $6 burger which is more everything, at least according to the Menu image; 

 

 

 

 

Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger                           Western Bacon Six Dollar burger

I don’t want to turn you off about Carl’s Jr. restaurants.  Visiting several locations and only this location was an issue.  Maybe with more complaints they will change things.  Carl’s Jr. needs to remember that their customers will either make them succeed or fail, and cutting costs to save penny’s can cost them millions in the long run.

Update:  On February 16th, I received an Email from Lisa of Guest Relations for Carl’s Jr. Resturants;

Dear Gary,

Thank you very much for taking the time to inform us of the experience you had at our Carl’s Jr. restaurant.

At Carl’s Jr., we strive not only to provide a delicious meal with great guest service, but we also make every effort to create a safe, clean, and friendly dining experience. I assure you that every effort is being made to address this situation. I have contacted the appropriate management regarding your experience at this particular restaurant and have requested that appropriate management follow up with you.

I appreciate the time you have taken to express your concerns. It gives us the chance to learn where we need improvement. It also allows us to resolve any problems that may arise from time to time. Guests like you, who make us aware of these problems, are our most valued guests.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call (877) 799-7827.

Sincerely,
Lisa
Carl’s Jr. Guest Relations
On the Web at www.carlsjr.com

Unfortunately since then I have heard from no one.  The promise from Lisa that the manager will followup with me on this issue was a let down.  Can it really take them 2 weeks to prepare for a phone call?  Maybe I should give Lisa a call.  I did send an Email to her about the fact that I did not receive a followup contact from anyone.  I will not take the chance to try this location again until I hear from the manager, and then I will try it only to find out if they are serious about making their customers happy, or more serious about making that next penny.

Re-visit this post often to see what will happen next.  What will happen when I tell Lisa about my Blog?  Stay Tuned…

Update!  I received a call from the manager (possibly owner) of the Carl’s Jr. location in south Arlington.  He was very defensive about his restaurant and offered to buy my lunch to make it up to me.  There was only one problem, I had to put my name on a list and his employees would know who I was.  I told him right up front that I was not comfortable with that arrangement, but went ahead and agreed, figuring I would trust him.  One Sunday afternoon we decided to go by the restaurant and have that free meal on Mr. Michael Christiani, owner/manager.

Bad idea!  We ordered what we normally order and this is what we got; Marisa ordered the regular Western Bacon Cheese Burger, Zucchini and a coke, and I thought I would try the $6 Western Bacon, which I haven’t had in a while.  Marisa’s sandwich had 2 pieces of cheese, 3 pieces of bacon, and 3 onion rings, (the recipe calls for 1 slice of cheese, 2 pieces of bacon and 2 onion rings), so already we were suspicious.  Also, the worker kept coming over and asking, “are you having a better experience this time”, I just wanted to scream.  My burger had the same, although I don’t know exactly what the recipe calls for.

That night we were so sick that we couldn’t sleep.  I drank a half a bottle of Pepto, and several Tums, and finally went to sleep.  Marisa had a tougher time than I did.  I am not sure what happened, maybe it was a coincidence or maybe not.  Our visit did not convince me that they are going to make things better, it just convinced me that they can do a good job for you if they know who you are.  And I do not trust the manager/owner at all because we felt sick that evening, there is a good chance they put something in the food.  I would hate to think that but one thing is for sure, I will never accept an offer of a free meal by putting my name on a list.  I don’t know what else was on that list, like “Make them pay!”  I don’t need a free meal, and that is not why I complained.  My main interest here is finding a close Carl’s Jr. restaurant that serves good food, like I expect when I go out to eat.  Fast food or not, I expect to get what I pay for.  Cheap or expensive, I expect to get something totally edible and good tasting.  I don’t expect to get taken for a ride…

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Cotton Patch with a Catch

         

 

 

          When you go to a restaurant you expect a wait, especially here in Texas and on a Sunday afternoon, Church gets out and all local restaurants are packed.  I usually find it acceptable for a 15 to 20 minute wait, and in some cases, even longer, depending on the popularity of the place.  When they tell me there will be a 15 minute wait, I am ok with waiting even 20 or so, but when I go in and wait 15 minutes, and then ask them, “how much longer?”, and they tell me, “it will be another 15 minutes because we are out of dishes and the kitchen is backed up”, I have a real problem with that.  Ok I can understand that if they are out of dishes, they don’t want to take any more orders until they get somewhat caught up, I understand that, but wait a minute, OUT OF CLEAN DISHES?  However in this case, they were clearing off table’s right and left.  They had 2 open booths from where I was sitting, in the crowded waiting area with 20 other people.  I asked, “Can’t you just sit us and let us wait at the table?” thinking the padded seats are more comfortable than the hard wooden bench we were sitting on.  I was told by a young girl, “no, besides there are 2 groups in front of you”.  At this point I am thinking; “That Was Rude!”  They couldn’t have sat those two groups, (a group of 2 and one of 4) in those two tables I could see, and then seat us in the one on the other side that they didn’t think I could see?  This was truly poor organization, partly because one of the persons doing the seating was very young and inexperienced.  But that doesn’t say much for the other one, who seemed somewhat experienced, but clearly she did not know what she was doing either, (as the restaurant got fuller and fuller).  Not to mention, this was our first visit to the Cotton Patch Cafe, (my first visit Ever), as Marisa had been a few years before.  They did not set a very good example, and I can only think of one thing that is good about this situation, they can only go up from here.  I do have to say the Fish & Chips were good, and the prices were right, (considering the amount of food).  I do admit the Fish & Chips at the Cheese Cake Factory are better tasting, but you do get less food and it is twice the price.  Overall I have to give the Cotton Patch Cafe a rating of 8 because once we did get seated, the service was first rate and the food was good.  Kind of “Home cooked goodness”, so I can’t wait to try the Chicken Fried Steak, a so called Signature Dish on the menu.

          This restaurant was fairly small, tucked in a corner location of a Target strip mall.  The total number of tables couldn’t have been more than 25 or 30.  It was unique looking, (if you have never been to a Cotton Patch Cafe), it looked like we were outside when we were in.  One would think in such a small restaurant; “how could they run out of dishes?”  I also saw a small group of 2 person booths along a wall, where no one was ever sat.  Later I noticed an employee using the removable seat as her personal locker for her purse, so that explained that.

          So here is what I would suggest they do in the future.  Seat as soon as they can, the longer people wait in the waiting area, the more chance they will leave, and how I see it, that is a dollar you will never get back.  Give them their table; let them look at the menu, and even order.  If the problem is not enough dishes, let the kitchen control that.  Any good restaurant will be able to control how fast, (or slow) the food is served, and a short wait at the door with a little longer wait for the food, I would have never known anything was wrong.  They’re handling of the situation was less than professional.  That is of course, my opinion.

          It is no doubt a popular place here in Texas.  I have never seen one in California, (I’m sure there are none), but this restaurant is known for their “Home Cooking”, and so it is more like, (in California and Texas) the Black Eyed Pea.  My mother used to take us there because it was my grandmother’s favorite place to eat.  It reminded her of her own restaurant, where you could get a “home cooked meal” for a reasonable price, and believe me, it was good food; Grandma’s place that is.

          All in all I can’t complain about the food or the service, but the hostess is the first person you come in contact with, and thus represents the business to the patrons.  If you fail at the door, chances are, you are losing business.  Some will leave during the wait; in fact we were seated second because one of the groups in front of us left.  I don’t think it will break them, but it may make the difference between a restaurant and a good restaurant, between maybe we’ll go there to, I’ve been craving their food.

Just my opinion…

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Nike – Just do it anyway!

           I have always admired the Nike brand.  I felt it was well made, and I also felt that this was a company that cares about it’s customers.  Well that was before.  Before the last straw, meaning the situation we found ourselves in, and we tested that loyalty to it’s customers and got the “Cold Sholder”.

We purchased some new socks from our local Khols department store.  They were packages of 6 pair, for $18.  We felt it was a little steep for even Nike brand but Khols was having a sale so we purchased 2 packages of 6 pair each and got the second bag for half off.  Still somewhat expensive, but hey, it’s Christmas time.  We purchased the socks for our teenage son, 6 pair of black socks and 6 pair of white.  They were the sport socks with the low tops.  My wife washed the black pair after having our son try on a pair to make sure they fit.  After a couple of days, I was doing the weekend laundry and so I opened the bag of white socks and dumped it into the pile of whites.  I didn’t bother counting to see if they were all there, hey this is Nike.

We always make sure we select an un-opened package, to be sure we are not shorted, or at least to be sure someone didn’t return the item or try one on, etc.  Once the laundry was done and it was time to pair up the socks, I found I was shorted 3 socks, 1 1/2 pair of the $3 a pair socks.

I thought about taking the socks back to Khols, they do have a real good return policy, however I had already washed the socks, and I also threw the bag away.  My wife and I were discussing it and she went to find the bag just to make sure I didn’t throw away 3 of the white socks.  I thought I couldn’t have done that, but it could have happened, Laundry wasn’t the only thing I was doing that morning.  But she found the bag and it was empty as we thought.  So I figired I would contact Nike about the issue, I mean they would be interested in a manufacturing error like that.  And after all, this is Nike!

It was hard to find a “Contact Us” section on their Web Site and most of the inquiries were about your online order, not one selection in the list was for a complaint.  I sent an Email anyway, selecting “Other” from the list, and I got about half way with my message and even though the box I was typing in was large, my typing stopped, but I was still typing.  That meant it was limited in the number of characters you could enter.  So I made it short and sweet, here is what I wrote;

Where do I go to complain about a purchase at a retail store?  Do I go to the store?  Or will Nike be responsible because the complaint is about the number of socks in the bag once I brought it home?  I purchased 2 bags of socks, 6 pair each from Khols in Southlake Texas.  1 black and 1 white, both were bags or 6 pair each and factory sealed.  We only found 4.5 pair in the bag of white socks.  Where do I go to complain?  Each bag was $18 for 6 pair, at $3 a pair, please explain?

I received a response within the 48 hours;

Hi Gary,

It’s great to hear you bought a six pack of white and black socks. When it comes to socks I only wear Nike.
Because you bought the socks at Khols and they didn’t come with six pairs, I would take them back to Khols. Khols should be able to return them for a full six pack.  I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

Sincerely,

Miguel
Nike

You know, I like Nike socks, but I will not go as far as saying they are the only brand I will wear.  Basically he is telling me that Nike does not stand behind their products, maybe it was because these socks were made in Mexico, or maybe they just don’t want to hastle with it.  He is saying I need to go through the hastle of packing up the 4.5 pair of socks, drive all the way back to Khols department store, explain myself to the Customer Service department, just for 3 socks.

I’m looking at it like this, this time it is my loss.  Next time it will be Nike’s loss!  Here is my response;

I appreciate your response, and suggestion, however I thought of that before writing Nike, thinking that we had opened the package and washed the socks before we realized the package was missing 3 socks, and I thought you would like to know because it is a manfacturing error, not a store error.  I don’t want to hastle with taking 9 washed socks back to the store and have to explain my situation.
 
What I will do is;
 
1. Tell all of my friends and family about your response
2. Post this E-mail response on my blog
 
and
 
3. Think twice about buying Nike products in the future
 
Thank you, and have a great day!
 

I am not expecting to see another response from Nike.  I am not expecting an offer for a couple pair of socks either.  I am no longer expecting anything from Nike, and as I state above, I will think twice, and it will be a cold day in hell before I choose a Nike brand of anything.

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Chili’s Grille and Bar – Re-visited

I wrote the original blog about Chili’s over a year ago about our experiences at Chili’s Bar and Grill in North Richland Hills, Texas.  When we go to Chili’s, we usually go there because it is the closest location to our home, we never did take Reggie up on his invitation to let him know when we came in again so he could treat us like VIP’s.  There is something about the manager knowing who you are that would just ruin my meal.  There are at least 2 more Chili’s close by, but this one is the closest.  We continue to go to Chili’s because we like the food, and even though they change things often, there are still some favorites left on the menu we can enjoy.  I do want to say that we don’t go to Chili’s nearly as often as we used to.

Discount Cards – On this visit, we took our son, Brandon with us.  We purchase these discount cards that the local High School Football Team sells every year for $20, and we had our card at this visit.  When Marisa pulled out the card, she mistakenly pulled out the old (last year’s) card, which just expired the end of the previous month (about a week before this visit), and Brandon read off the free item; “1 free Queso and chips with a purchase – a $4.50 value”.  We ordered the Queso and chips and the rest of our food and experienced the same missing waiter that we normally experience, he only came by once during our meal, so we had to do without something to drink throughout most of our meal.  What was strange is that since our experiences last year, they made some changes, one being that 2 waiters are assigned to each table.  Well, we never saw the other waiter at all, at least we didn’t remember seeing him, we don’t know what he looked like, we were just told his name, but of course we don’t remember that either.

At the end of the meal the waiter, (young and inexperienced) showed up and said, “I spoke to my manager and he said the free item is no longer the queso, but is the salsa and chips, a $2.50 value.  So I asked him, “can you deduct $2.50 from our tab instead of $4.50?  We had the new card with us also and showed him.  You could tell he was confused, he said “no”, because we didn’t order the salsa and chips originally, (although we had salsa and chips on our table).  Where do they find these people?  Needless to say, his tip was not a good one.  Later Marisa said, “all he had to do was offer us the free Salsa and Chips to go”, yea that would have worked for me.

It’s sad that Chili’s gave away the Queso and Chips last year and reduced the value to just the Salsa and chips for this year, which are free at most TexMex restaurants around here.  They used to be free at Chili’s too, I can’t remember when they stopped giving them away, it’s been many years.  But it is even sadder that when you show you have a discount card, and have used the discount card there before and the restaurant is listed on the card, the waiter refuses to let you use it because he is inexperienced and has no clue.

Another Feedback Email – I would have made a complaint at the restaurant, asking for the manager, but Marisa would rather I not make a scene, and send them an Email instead.  Of course I did send another Email, and this time I ran out of characters, they even limit you the number of characters you can use in the feedback box.  I explained as much as I could and then said; “please call me as I have more to say”.  I did receive a call within a day or so, from a female manager this time.  She apologized and said she is new and things are changing around there.  She agreed with me that the $2.50 deduction would have been the best way for the waiter to take care of us, and that we should not have had to leave the restaurant without receiving our free item, either taken off our tab or to go.  She said I should have brought it up to the manager on duty at the time.  I explained to her that my wife preferred that I not.

One thing I do want to mention.  I signed up for the Emails awhile back, thinking it will just add to my junk Emails, but just in case, I went ahead and signed up.  I mostly got “Kids Eat Free” coupons, and if they included 18 year old kids (19 now) that would have been good, however we don’t have any kids in our household that fall into that category anymore.  But one day I got a coupon; “$35 for Two, Share an appetizer, 2 entrees’, share a desert, and 2 Top Shelf Margaritas.  They normally have on their daily menu, “Dinner for Two for $20”, so the extra $15 gets you 2 margaritas and desert.  But then they topped it by sending a coupon for $35 Dinner for Two and for $1 more you can upgrade the margaritas to the Presidente’, a really good margarita that comes in a shaker, and did I mention they are really good? 

 You have to choose from a special menu, but the portions are mostly the same, except for the ribs, you only get half a rack, but hey, with an appetizer and desert, half a rack is plenty, and did I mention the Margaritas?

Chili’s like other restaurants where you normally go to sit down and eat, is in competition with many great places, and more and more are opening up creating a fierce competitive marketplace.  If you don’t like the food or service, you can always go somewhere else.  But I can tell you from experience, you will find the same issues where ever you go.  Poor to bad service, problems with the food, i.e., receiving the appetizer after the food arrives, or something else like changes in the menu.  Of course if you go to a restaurant more often, you will know about the changes to the menu.  If you go once in awhile, you may be surprised that your favorite is not only gone, but it has been gone for some time.  Bring back the Awesome Blossom!  You can get something like it at the Outback, the Bloomin Onion…

We shop where we want to and give feedback when we feel it will make our next visit somewhat better than the last, if only to last a few more visits.  If you don’t like the place to begin with, why bother, i.e., Macaroni Grill, we have not had a good experience there in several years, we just stopped going.

If you like a place, and want to continue going, then send them an Email to let them know their failures.  If the place is concerned like Chili’s, they will respond.  If the place is arrogant like Wendy’s, you may not hear back, but then again, you may not bother to send them a feedback Email.

The worst customer is one who is silent and leaves without saying a word, and never comes back, and it’s real bad if they blog about it! (See Wendy’s below)

I would like to Recommend the following;

The Olive Garden – Soup and Salad lunch * Red Lobster – Shrimp Feast – (Whatever happened to All-You-Can-Eat Crab legs?) * Joe’s Crab Shack – Crab Legs * PF Changs – Asian Food and Appetizers * El Paseo – Authentic Mexican * Chapps Restaurant – Nasty Burgers (juicy good) * Chili’s – Quesadilla Explosion Salad (hold the balsamic dressing, extra Ancho Ranch dressing) – Enjoy!

This just in – In-&-Out Burgers is opening several locations in North Texas, Dallas and Fort Worth.

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Wendy’s New Thick and Juicy

My wife and I went out for a burger one evening.  We were headed to Sonic, we hadn’t had a Sonic burger in awhile and it sounded good.  We have a good choice of burgers in our town, What-a-burger and Sonic are close, McDonald’s is closer, Burger King is a ways away, but closer than Burger King is Wendy’s, of course there are other burger places, some are what I like to call “Nasty Burgers”, like you would get at Chili’s.  Out of all of the burger chains listed, Wendy’s seems to be the most expensive.

We were detoured due to a major traffic accident away from Sonic and McDonalds.  What-a-burger was in reach but we headed down the road towards Wendy’s.  Not remembering the recent advertisements about their new “Thick and Juicy” burgers, we decided to go to Wendy’s, although there was another Sonic just around the corner from the Wendy’s, we turned into Wendy’s parking lot.

We went into the restaurant because we don’t do drive thru unless we have cash and it’s just for a drink.  There are too many issues with drive thru these days.  We ordered 2 of the singles with “no cheese” and medium sized the meals.  We got 2 single burgers with cheese, and they actually argued with us saying the burgers come with cheese and until I said fairly loudly, “Can I have my burger without cheese”, he (I believe was the manager) said, “of course”.  We received the 2 burgers again, 2 medium fries and a small coke and small frosty.  We asked why the drinks were small when we ordered a medium meal.  We were told that they thought we just wanted medium fries, OMG.  I believe part of the problem is the fact that most of their workers do not speak English, and another reason is that it is a minimum wage position, so finding someone who speaks English that will stick with the job is close to impossible, at least here in Texas.  NOT!

We took our burgers, fries and drinks home  to eat.  As we ate our food, I noticed one thing about the burger.  It had little or no taste,  Wendy’s burgers were always close to taste with In-&-Out burgers, or 5 guys, meaning the burgers tasted close to home made.  But this burger had no taste, the flavor was gone.  What came to mind was that the burger was still a quarter pound patty but it was thicker and juicer, and what would make them thicker and juicer without making it more meat?  Water…

The natural fries with sea salt were fine but nothing to compare with McDonalds fries, and the attitude of the staff makes it a place we don’t really need to go back to.  I sent an Email to the corporate office, or what I thought was the corporate office and got absolutely no response.  I sent an Email to Jack-in-the-box about the smelly restrooms that was coming out into the restaurant and received a response immediately.

Wendy’s this blog is for you, for not responding to my complaint about your arrogant manager and stupid counter person, and for your new tasteless burgers and changes that makes Wendy’s worse than they were before.  It all has to do with corporate greed, and if I were Wendy, I would lose some weight before I became the spokesperson for the chain, because it looks like she lives on the burgers.  And what’s up with just offering “Cheese Burgers”?  Not everyone likes cheese on their burgers, and every burger chain offers both, but for some reason, when you go into Wendy’s you have to ask them to take off the cheese.  I hope Dave doesn’t turn over in his grave!

When the competition is as strong as it is for fast food these days, one would think that they would want to get it right the first time.  I remember when Wendy’s just about went out of business, closing most of their stores several years ago.  I think that is going to happen again to Wendy’s, and possibly this time they may not survive it.  The staff are those who see your customers face to face, and many decisions are made from the experience with the staff.

Good luck Wendy’s, we won’t be back anytime soon.  Maybe once we forget our experience, or maybe to a different location but we first have to have the urge for a tasteless meal.  When will that happen?  Panda Express here we come…

I want to add that we really miss having Carl’s Jr. around.  The nearest one is somewhere in Dallas Texas, and there are several if we want to take a 4 hour trip to San Antonio.  I don’t remember ever having a complaint about Carl’s Jr.

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Halloween

I have the Halloween bug, meaning that every year, near the end of October I get this feeling like my yard is an old cemetery full of old tomb stones and my house is a castle, and you have to go through the grave yard to get to the front door.  It has no cure and seems to go away around the 1st of November to come out again the next year.  I have always had it, and it’s only gotten worse as the years go by.  I have created many of my props, but also purchased a few.

Change Halloween on the calendar – There has been talk that they (I’m not sure exactly who they are) want to make Halloween on the last Saturday of October so the kids can enjoy the day and it will always be a non-school night.  Even though I am an Halloween-a-holic and having Halloween always on Saturday night might be good for the haunted house thing, but it just wouldn’t feel the same.  The talk is nothing new, it happens every year that Halloween is on a school night (the next day is a school day).  Next year, 2012, Halloween will be on a Wednesday and by 2014, it will be back to the weekend, with Halloween 2014 on Friday night.  So we will hear this suggestion 2 more times before it is put to sleep for a couple of years, by 2016 it will be back to Monday night.  What we should do is make the day after Halloween a national holiday and all schools are closed on 11/1, that would fix the problem.

We had a good turnout this year.  I never count how many visit our haunted graveyard, I usually go by the bowl of candy.  This year the bowl was close to being empty.  The bowl is real large!  I took several pictures leading up to the night, and including the night.  I also have a Web Site where you can view my pictures as well as pictures from previous years.  Go here to see the Web Site; http://www.the-mccanns.com/halloween/halloween2011.html if you check it out, please enjoy.

I want Halloween to remain on October 31st because it is the day we all know.  October 31st is Halloween.  We all grew up with it, and just because THEY want to change it doesn’t mean it’s the majority.  I’m afraid that THEY will change things for what THEY think is for the better and in reality, change things for the worse.  Many times when a change is made with good intentions, things turn out with unexpected consequences.  The interest about Halloween may fade, who knows, it may be a cure!

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Stupid Nigerians

SPAM is a well known side effect of Email.  I am amazed as to how much or little SPAM I receive on a daily basis.  I always forget and give out my main Email address thinking that the page I am using it on will be careful and not allow my Email address to be used for SPAM.  At one time I received 30 or 40 SPAM Emails a day, without doing anything different, today it’s around 2 or 3.  I am also naive sometimes, especially about things like trusting Web Sites with my Email address.  However I am not naive when it comes to the actual SPAM messages.  My Great Uncle in Nigeria, or some Barrister who wants me to help him rip off the government.  I know that most if not all of these messages come from Nigeria, and I’m pretty sure I have no relatives in Nigeria.

Craig’s Listing – I placed a couple of computers and a monitor up on Craig’s list thinking it would be a good place to sell these small laptops for a good price, not thinking about those folks in Nigeria.  My first response for the ultra-portable laptop was from a (what seems to be) lady, Lizzy Gold.  I made the mistake of responding to the first inquiry, “Do u still have it for sale.”  Now she had my Email address because Craig’s List hides your Email address from the first inquiry, but if you reply, they then have your actual Email address, (which ever address you replied from).  I didn’t think anything of it until I got the second response; “You will be posting it to my nephew where he’s schooling in Nigeria,23401. and i will pay for the postage charges fee, so please let me know the postage cost okay,i just wanna let you know i’m keen to make the purchase because i already promise my nephew to help him make the purchase online and he’s been looking forward to receive it in few days time. best regards.”  So the first thing that comes into my mind is, Nigeria?  So this was my response; “Cash only.  You can purchase it and ship it yourself, we will not ship it.  Scams will not be tolerated!  Well the next response was not expected at all;  “i would have prefer to come pay by cash on delivery but I’m not available for the exchange,that’s why i said i will be paying you via PayPal and if you do not have a PayPal acct you could easily set up for one at PayPal.com to receive your money its only few steps.and if you have quickly log into your PayPal acct and email me an Invoice and i shall proceed for the payment once its send ,i will also include the postage charges fee altogether once,so do get back to me if you’re keen to sell.  thanks”.  and of course my response; “Sorry, no PayPal account, no shipments.  Cash only  Thanks anyway”.  And they gave up.

SPAM – I receive these SPAM messages all of the time and my Yahoo Email is real good about filtering some of them out, but I still look them over in my SPAM Mailbox to make sure no good Emails got squashed.  They are getting so desperate to catch a fool that I found this great example of how dumb these people are.  Here is a notice from the Internal Revenue Service, sent to the WebMaster of the Pantego Police Department about an undelivered Fed-X shipment;

And of course it contained some zip file (virus bug) labeled “IRS_Calculations.zip”  I just think these guys need to slow down to get it right.  I can understand how their Phishing expeditions don’t seem to pan out.  Although I will never fall for one of these, and some may not notice that the IRS sent you something from Fed-X.  I think it was my Taxes being returned to me in a Fed-X package even though I e-filed.

I hope some day they disconnect Nigeria from the WWW (World Wide Web) but until they get a clue and stop this crap from their side of the ocean, we will have to deal with them, and the only way I know is to ignore them and blog about them.

Hackers from China – We hear on the news lately about hackers from China trying to hack into our power plants and other sensitive areas to steal information.  it sounds like they are not successful or at least haven’t been yet.  So why don’t we hack back?  We have so many talented people here in the U.S. so we should be able to set it up so when they (the hackers) try to access sensitive areas, they get something they didn’t expect, a nasty virus.  One that would open up the doors to their side of the WWW.

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Keller, Texas’ Tribute to September 11 (911)

Today is September 11, 2011, ten years after the tragic attack on our country and the start of a war that my son has been in since its start.  I think it’s pretty cool for our home town to put together a tribute to this event, on the tenth anniversary, it means a lot to many Americans, I would hope most Americans, and it’s not possible for us all to make the trip to New York to visit the memorial, but our little piece is kind of nice.  We can pay tribute to our fallen heroes and to those who lost their lives just doing what they do every day or those who were just making a trip somewhere.

Keller, Texas is a fairly small town by Texas standards, but a large town by California standards.  It is about the size of Citrus Heights, in the Sacramento area, but we have many more citizens and way less businesses.  There are so many families here in Keller, we have 3 high schools.  We went down to Keller Town Center and took these pictures.  The fields were set up in a way that showed 1 flag for each lost soul on every airplane and in each building.  Laid out in sections in 2 large fields around the Town Hall building.

The passengers of each plane were laid out in triangles beside the flags representing the lives lost in each building.  There are 4 signs representing each aircraft and the main sign above representing the twin towers.  It is sad to think that there are people on this Earth that are so evil that they can take a few thousand innocent lives and laugh and rejoice that they have hurt freedom, and taken from us.  It is a good feeling that they did not win that day, sure they were successful at killing working people, first responders, air line passengers, but they did not succeed in ending our freedom.  What they did succeed in is changing their own lives, because we will never forget.  They also succeeded in bringing together our country, and making us stronger.  You can tell this by the fact that there has not been another large scale man made disaster like this one since.  Sure there are small single attackers, which will always continue because there are so many sick people in this World, but nothing organized on this scale.

I’m sure this will be a big issue in the news for years to come.  The part that gets me the most is listening to the children of the people lost in this tragedy talk about whether they knew their parent, or they were born shortly after 911, 2001, and never knew their parent.  This one kid wrote a letter to his father who he never knew and explained how he was doing and that he has a dad but he remembers he had a father who was a hero.

There was a story on ABC that showed the kids pictures next to their parent who was killed and some of them look like smaller versions.  It’s amazing to me to see how some kids take on the looks of one or the other parent.  I will continue to watch the 911 tributes and take pictures of local events honoring that day, and may God bless our country, our troops and our first responders, you never know when someone with evil intentions will strike.  Be Safe!

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The Tea Party

I am or maybe not a member of the Tea Party.  I agree with the “Stop Spending” part of it but I do not agree with the comments that my 30+ years of Social Security payments are just an Entitlement that I should not get or what I get should be reduced.  I understand that our great politicians borrowed the money several years ago to spend it on other things and now Social Security is in trouble.  I’m also in agreement that making the retirement age a little higher will help and I don’t feel like I will be retiring anytime soon, (65 in about 8 years).  I am not in complete agreement with the Republican Party either.  I am more of a Pro Choice kind of person, but there are more things I don’t agree on with the Democratic Party, so maybe I’m a Libertarian.  There are so many things I agree with Libertarians that if there was a Party, like the Liberty Party, that is what I think I would be.  But as with other parties, I don’t agree with everything.  These days I don’t think you can group people of the U.S. into only 2 groups.  Beliefs are so diverse that there should be 5 parties or even more.  Maybe if there were more parties, that our Congress wouldn’t worry so much about the extremists on either side and just make policy that makes sense.  I don’t trust any of our politicians because it is so easy to fall into the same ol same ol in Washington.  There are so many things that our government has done to make their own lives better, but so few things they have done to make our lives better.

I don’t think the Tea Party is a racist party, I do believe there are racists in every party including the Tea Party.  But the Democratic Party is also guilty of racist actions, although some would call it reverse racism but racism is racism, whether Whites to Blacks, or Blacks to Whites, Blacks to Hispanics,  etc.

The Tea Party is not really an organization, but massive enough to get the word out to Capitol Hill, and to millions of voters.  I think other protests will come out in the future because of the success of the Tea Party, which may include Liberal groups.  What I don’t agree with is illegal Hispanic groups protesting laws that fight illegal immigration.  I think that anyone that shows up at a protest against a law that is setup to protect the population should be scrutinized and their legal status be checked.  They should be treated no less than if I were to take a flight somewhere.

I am not a Liberal but I do have some Liberal views.  I am not a Conservative but I do have some Conservative views.  I may be a Libertarian because they stand for freedom and smaller government, less laws and regulations, but I don’t go so far to say we shouldn’t have any laws, just not so many that we feel like anything we do will eventually be against the law.

Who are you?

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Shopping for a Car aint fun!

Back in May of 2010, Marisa was rear-ended in her BMW at 60 mph on the freeway, while she was stopped for traffic.  Her car was totaled and the worst thing was that as soon as the insurance company determined the car was totaled, they eliminated our rental, so we were down a car for over 2 weeks while we negotiated with the insurance company, (in this case State Farm), and then after we agreed on the amount, we started looking for a car and found that used car prices were up 37%.  Yet State Farm did not mention that and did not compensate us for the increase.  So if you are in an accident, and you have money coming for your car, do some homework first and shop around before you agree on an amount.

We went to many different car lots and found that each lot is very different than the next.  We went to CarMax and found they are on the upper end of the price on all cars and actually charge you to transport a car to where you are.  We know someone who has purchased cars from CarMax and they are not real happy with their purchases, (spent lots on repairs) due to no warranties.  We went to the Lexus lot, wow; did you know that Lexus are made of gold?  We went to a couple of lots where when you meet a salesman, right away the manager greets you too and follows you around like the salesman is not there.  We found a Toyota lot and Nissan lot, both had that system.  It was so irritating that we didn’t stay long.  In fact at the Nissan dealer which was in Grapevine, we test drove a Maxima and wanted to know how much because none of the cars had prices, the manager said what are you looking at spending?  I said around 20k, and he went away and came back and said the price of the Maxima was, you guessed it, $20,000.  I just looked at him and said, you’re kidding right?

We finally went to a small Honda lot, and met a salesman that was worried he couldn’t find what we were looking for because we had so many specifications.  Then all of a sudden, there it was, a 2007 Honda Accord, with low milaege, and a sticker price we could live with, and by the way, all the cars had stickers on them showing the price, OMG.  This car was sporty, powerful, had leather seats, sun roof, good sound system and a 6 CD changer to boot, it had low miles, and more.  We went inside to do the, you know, negotiations.  Not one time did we ever see or talk to a manager.  The salesman took care of the whole thing.  Of course he had to get offers approved, but he was quick to get that done, and we drove the car home that day.  No games, wow.  The car lot was Huggins Honda in North Richland Hills, Texas, and the salesman was David Diamond.  If you need a good used car, go see David.

If there is anything we hate most in life it’s looking for a car.  We have had a few good experiences but most want to play the game, and we don’t play the game.  When you go to a car lot, and meet a salesman, if you are immediately greeted by the “manager”, get out, the game is about to begin.  Also make sure you stop by the Mini Cooper lot and test drive one.  You most likely won’t buy it, unless you are looking for a toy, but you will enjoy it.  Some day Marisa will get another Beamer, but we stayed away from used BMW cars because without a warranty and maintenance plan, the cost of repairs are way high.  Marisa bought her BMW 325i new and made sure every maintenance was performed and any issues were taken care of, but not all BMW owners are like that.

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Chili’s Bar & Grill

Chili’s used to be my favorite place to eat out.  I was going to Chili’s at least once a week, eating a big mouth burger or salad, getting a side of chips and queso.  But lately, (within the last 2 years) it seems that Chili’s is more in competition and less in caring about their patrons.  For example, the first thing that bothered me was the elimination of the Awesome Blossom.  We didn’t eat it very often but when I got a taste for one, we would order it, but no more.  Then they changed the dressing for my favorite salad, the Casadia Explosion, without the balsamic, just the Chipotle Ranch, but then they changed it to Ancho Chili Ranch. WTF was wrong with the Chipotle?  Every visit something happens that we have to complain, the last visit they had completely changed the recipe for the Caesar Salad, my wife’s favorite salad, and before the other day she could depend on Chili’s to get a great salad.  They changed the dressing; added chunk cheese instead of shredded, and added a large amount of pepper to the top of the salad.  Most of the time they get the appetizer wrong or serve it at the same time as the meal.  One day the service was so bad the manager comp-ed the entire meal.  We don’t expect to be comp-ed on a visit, but we do expect to be given good service and a good quality meal, especially at today’s prices.  On the day the manager paid for our meal, the second waiter was so good we tipped him about $11 on a $30 meal. At every visit the price goes up and the quantity goes down, and the service just gets worse, and the menu is new.  The day we went for salad, my wife said she didn’t want the changed salad and ordered the same as I did.  The salad was more expensive, and believe me, we were charged the extra couple dollars, which we in turn took back via the tip.

On our way out we ordered a burger for Brandon, and of course, as expected, the burger he wanted was no longer on the menu.  I explained it to the waiter, he was young and seemed new to waiting.  He said he had it down, but he didn’t.  I think it was a Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger, but the only burger close to it on the menu had Maple flavored bacon, yuk!  We got the burger home and Brandon, waiting at the door, (I guess he was hungry) said, “why didn’t you get the thick bacon on it?”  I said, “I did, I explained it to the waiter several times”.  Just another reason they should just leave their menu alone.  They have changed their menu so many times I can’t count, and what we order is the same as it was in 1998.


Is Chili’s still my favorite place to eat?  Today I have to say NO.  I really don’t have a favorite place, I like a variety of food and today we go to Chili’s maybe once every 2 to 3 months.  And we always expect a change when we go there.  I sent an Email to Chili’s corporate each time we had a bad experience, and I have received exactly “0” responses from them.  Yes that is a zero.  We used to like TGI Friday’s also but they too started changing their menu so often that you never know what they will have that you will like, and I am sure there are more people like me that like to know where to go for a good meal, and not have to guess or take the chance that your only night out for the week will be a bad experience.

 

News Flash!  The latest meal mentioned above and the reason for this post was on Friday the 13th, 2010.  On Thursday the 19th, I received a call from the manager at Chili’s, the location where we ate that day, in fact I don’t think we have eaten at another Chili’s here in Texas since we moved here in 2005.  Reggie was his name, and he was telling me that he, like many managers does not agree with so many changes to the menu and believes that many popular dishes will return to the menu, although not always named the same.  He was very concerned that no one had responded to my complaints in the past, (remember the 0 above?).  He said they have had many complaints about his location and I want to make this clear, he is a new manager to that location, starting just a week before our last visit.  He invited us to come to his restaurant and he said he would make it right.  I don’t know if I really want the VIP treatment at Chili’s, but it is good to know that I can complain directly to the manager, asking for Reggie, and as long as he is still there, I can think that the chain of restaurants cares about the little guy, the individual customer.  I’m sure I am not the only one who complains, but you can also figure that for one customer that complains, there could be 5 to 10 more that feel the same but won’t complain.

AND Wow!  Look what the corporate office sent us to compensate for our bad experience.  2 $5 coupons, I hope I can use them both on the same visit, cause one will not even buy a salad.  I wonder if they give change?

I would like to recommend the following;

PF Chang’s for Asian

Animia’s for Tex-Mex

Red Robin for Burgers and fries

Hooter’s for Hot Wings

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About

I am just an ordinary guy living an ordinary life in an ordinary town in an ordinary State.  My thoughts are based on what’s going on in the World today, and what I think of our government, business, events, life in Texas and family and friends.  Hope you like what I have to say, but if you don’t, all I can say is this is just the opinion of an ordinary guy.

I will be posting more blogs here in the near future. Come back often to see what I have to say. You may not like it, then again you may. Everything here is my opinion based on my experiences. I won’t put anything up for revenge, but I will post bad experiences, not to get anything out of it, just to be informative. I believe that in today’s World, we can communicate to millions more people than in the past. You don’t have to have a Web Site or work for a News Paper or News Channel to get the word out. Just a small blog will do it. I really don’t know how many people read my blogs, and I don’t know if they are even interesting, but I will keep going. If you read them, please comment. If you like them, please forward the link to a friend. Someday I may move to You-Tube, or not…

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