Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Corporations on my shit list
Lately, The Man has really been getting me down, or at least The Man as represented by large national companies. I love to support local businesses, but let's be real, the fries at McDonald's are pretty bomb and sometimes, there's just no substituting them when you're starved at 1 a.m. and nothing else is open.
But McDonald's isn't really pissing me off actively right now. I actually find the discontinuation of the dollar menu between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. at my local McD's more amusing than irritating -- if you ever need a good laugh, I highly recommend watching drunk people try to order dollar fries and shakes and be told over and over again that they have to buy an entire extra value meal. This goes on every night at the McD's at the corner of Commonwealth and Harvard Avenue in Allston, MA. Comedy gold.
No, today my ire is aimed at Dunkin' Donuts, Panera, and Best Buy. Let's start with the most minor offender: Dunkin's. Recently, they stopped offering an egg white option for their breakfast sandwiches. I guess high cholesterol and obesity are back in vogue. There is still the egg white flatbread, but it's disgusting -- dry, with alleged turkey sausage and flecks of green and red that I suppose are meant to resemble peppers. Not that the regular breakfast sandwiches were any culinary masterpiece, but at least you could get them on an English muffin, which is approximately 1,000 times tastier than the mealy flatbread monstrosity.
There was also some deception that transpired at the Boylston/Tremont location -- I came in one day and was told they were "out" of the egg whites that I had gotten in the habit of ordering on an English muffin with cheese. I was informed that they just ran out but would have them again soon. LIES. Two days later, the same thing happened, but I was again reassured that it was a temporary outage, no cause for alarm. About a week after that, they finally dropped the ruse and broke the news to me that egg whites were a thing of the past.
Dunkin' Donuts, you are dead to me.
Next offender: Panera. I'm actually writing this from a Panera right now, fueled by their subpar coffee and injustice. Let me say that it pains me to muckrake a corporation that began as a local chain in my hometown of St. Louis. Once upon a time, Panera was St. Louis Bread Company, a great little cafe with delicious pastries. From the ages of 8-18, I ate countless tuna-salad-on- honey-wheat sandwiches. As Panera, the food is still pretty solid. I particularly enjoy the Fuji apple chicken salad, despite the fact that the dressing is the exact color and consistency of semen.
The location in Brookline advertises free wifi, so today I came for lunch and brought my laptop. When I logged on to the network at 12:45, I saw a disclaimer that between the peak hours of 11:30-1:30, I could only be online for 30 minutes. I was slightly annoyed that this policy was not made clear on the numerous "free high speed wireless internet!" signs, but whatever, I thought, I'll have to be disconnected for like 15 minutes, from 1:15-1:30 and then I can get back on.
As expected, I got bumped off at 1:15. I waited till 1:30....couldn't get back on. 1:40....still nothing. I asked an employee (Charissa) and she told me the peak hours are actually from 11-2. I told her this is not what it says on the "log in" home page. She also said that sometimes it's limited to 30 minutes even not during peak hours because they have a problem with students camping out for hours and occupying tables. By the way she snarkily informed me of this, I could tell she thought I fell into this category. I told her I have been here less than an hour, bought and ate lunch here and was in the middle of writing an important e-mail when I was kicked off (this was true). She offered me a complimentary cookie. I told Charissa to go fuck herself and get a real name.
Ok, the last part isn't true. But I did turn down the cookie. I have some principles. The good news is that the town of Brookline has a cheap wifi service you can sign up for, so I am now taking up a large booth to blog about this. Suck it, Panera.
Finally, the corporation most deserving of my hatred -- Best Buy. Last year, my dad bought me an Insignia flatscreen HD TV with a built-in DVD player. In March, a little over a year after acquiring this TV, the DVD player stopped working. I took it in to Best Buy since it was still under warranty. It took them 2 weeks, but they repaired the DVD player. I brought the TV home and about a week later, the DVD player stopped working AGAIN. I called Best Buy and asked if I could get a new TV since this one was obviously a piece of garbage. They told me that per my warranty, they won't replace the TV until it's been sent out for service FOUR TIMES. It has to break FOUR TIMES before they replace it, and remember, each time it goes out for service, it takes 2 weeks to fix. Unacceptable.
My dad, who loves lost causes and in his semi-retirement writes a lot of angry letters, was pretty pissed that this policy was buried in the fine print of the extended warranty agreement he signed. He chewed out a Best Buy supervisor named Troy, based in Colorado. I guess it brings me a little pleasure to think about Troy (employee ID #153162) in Colorado getting yelled at by a 65-year-old man in St. Louis who's furious that his daughter's DVD player in Boston is broken. My dad threatened Troy that he would "post a blog on the internet" (I didn't have the heart to tell him that statement's redundant) and bring Best Buy to its knees, defaming Troy and all the Troys in the Best Buy corporate machine who rip off the little people.
Then Dad ordered me an external DVD player. From Walmart. We'll see how this plays out.