Friday, December 30, 2011

Good customer service exists?

In an age of consumerism, it's nice to know when your voice is heard, and a company is willing to provide good customer service to retain you as a loyal customer.   My mother in law mentioned in one of our early conversations that she writes to companies that provide her with a good service, and many times they respond in kind with coupons.

I've done this a few times with a good return but I was never as loyal of a customer as I am to Martinelli's.  You know, the company that makes those green bottles of sparkling cider for those of us that like to look like we are drinking without actually having to imbibe alcohol?  Sugar is a better drug, but that's beside the point.

About a week ago I bought 8 bottles of Martinelli's from the Safeway down the road from me because they had a sale which made them cheaper than buying them at Costco, which is where I always just buy the packs of four that my husband will consume far too quickly.  I happily got them home and later we opened a bottle. My husband mixed it with a little pomegranate juice and eagerly held it out for me to taste.  Expecting something wonderful I was grossed out when I tasted...vinegar? What the hell? I told him that I thought something was wrong with his drink, but I don't think he has a particularly sensitive palette because he couldn't really tell.  We opened another bottle...same vinegar.  Then I realized that they were the same lot.  I decided to write to Martinelli's expressing concern that an entire lot of their juice might be spoiled and being sold.

What followed was a lovely conversation between a representative of Martinelli's and I, who informed me that the juice wouldn't make anyone sick, since it had been pasteurized. I realize it just turned into apple cider vinegar...which is great in salad, but not so much in my glass.  Last night, after pulling out all the bottles from the first 'sell by date' we opened a bottle from a different date. I made the husband take the first drink.  He didn't have an issue with it, so I tasted...and spit it back out. SAME thing.  So, apparently all of Safeway's juice had gotten too warm and was turned.  I would like to mention here that after this incident, I had some Martinelli's from a bottle purchased at Costco with no issue.

Martinelli's is sending me a refund, since Costco, where I generally buy it, doesn't accept coupons.  I'm conflicted over contacting the store where I purchased the juice to begin with, because they don't care if I am a loyal customer, and they just want to move their stock.  I contacted Martinelli's, not because I wanted them to furnish a refund (I actually didn't know they did that), but because I wanted to make sure people weren't getting sick off of mishandled bottles.

Moral of the story--write to companies. It is worth it for them to send you a refund if they can keep you as a customer.  I just went and bought 12 bottles of cider for my party this weekend (from Costco, the other amazing customer service provider). I'm a loyal customer, and their kind treatment ensured that I would stay that.
Here is a pretty picture I stole from google:)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Magfest preparation--lots of earrings!

Earlier in the year, one of my friends asked if I'd like to share a table at Magfest to sell some of our geeky wares.  Around this time I bought a bunch of beads out in Oregon and started working on researching better techniques, practicing techniques and looking online for different designs.  I killed a lot of head pins learning how to make my wraps better, but my jewelry looks much more professional as a result of all that practicing.

A side effect of all of this is the realization that making jewelry relaxes my mind, and puts me at ease. I'm not sure if it is concentration needed to do it leaves no room in my brain for anxiety, or if it is the creation of something tangible that is left behind.  I'm one that generally gets frustrated when I screw something up, but with jewelry, I have no issue cutting up something that took me a half hour to make, simply because now I see a better way to make it.  

Here are some pictures of the earrings I've been making--comments and such are greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me for costs, because I would love to sell and support this jewelry making habit!  I was really enjoying taking pictures using my favorite stoneware mug, so that's why there are birds in the background of some of these!

Crystal and amethyst

The first three are crystal and amethysts. On the right is
gold stone--my new favorite!

Some chainmail done with jumprings. Fun to make, but
inevitably annoying.

Pearl with...agates, I think. I did a long wrap
on these.

Crystal bicone and chain. They look better
in person...

Wrapped amethyst. Fun to make!

How many jump rings can one person go through?
A lot!

Part of my pearl/cloisonne bracelet. So pretty!

Crystal and sodalite. 

Crackled CD's that I am making into coasters!

No two are the same! My husband was ecstatic to get to put CD's in
the microwave. I wonder why...
I have lots more goldstone earrings, since I was on a kick the last week and made a bunch of different designs. I am also making coasters out of the middle of vinyl records, and bowls out of records. I'm currently running outside with the coasters to spray them with waterproofing every time the weather is clear, but I'm thinking of just picking up hodge podge for the rest of them, which I can do inside and NOT fumigate myself. I've also got dozen hats, and some mario type mushrooms. At this point, I need to stop making new stuff, and finish all the different projects that I've got started!