I recently posted a review of Whole Foods on my Yelp! page that got some buzz on Facebook, so I decided to post it here, too. There is a good lesson in customer care that all retail places can learn from. The review follows in full below—you can also see and interact with it on the Yelp website.
Whole Foods is really not a place where one goes as a "need." Can we agree on that? Judging by other reviews of this location, everyone raves about the products and selection (accurate), but laments about the prices--also true, but its in-house brands are usually cheaper.
I wrote a line on my joke page, and I think it actually came true recently: "If Whole Foods' customers don't completely crush your soul, its employees will finish the job." Although not true in all locations, THIS location--about which I've written here before--has gotten. just. terrible.
On two successive visits to Whole Foods (referred to as "Food Hole" between friends), employees asked me the "need" question. After waiting for help in the meat section a few minutes, a guy dashed over and said: "what do you need?" I was taken aback. "I don't *need anything," I said in by best Manhattan attitude. "I'd just like some chicken cutlets."
A few days later, I was in the shopping center buying dog food so I ducked in The Hole. I really like WF's in-house gelato, so I went to the counter. Nobody there. I waited. Still nobody. I finally flagged someone down and asked them if they could help me, and she said she'd get someone.
A few minutes later, a gal with an apron came up to me in a rush. She didn't go behind the counter to assist, she just walked up to me and asked, "what do you need?" "I'd just like to taste the pumpkin gelato" I said. she walked behind the counter, dug out a taste with one of those plastic dollhouse spoons and started back to what she was doing. She left the counter, even though I was ready to buy.
These two experiences culminate in a check-out experience I had last week that was, in a word, surreal. The bagger and cashier had zero interest in me, what I was buying or how it should be packed to go home. Bagger Joe was retelling a story about his girlfriend and how she wasn't behaving right and how he was gonna set it all straight later. It was one, long, sordid, misogynistic, run-on sentence. The cashier said nothing, and I'm not sure he was even listening to him. (Bagger dude started to put the frozen stuff in the not-frozen bag, so I had to interrupt him.)
Mindfulness seems to be a bragging point of Whole Foods in general, with magazines at the check-out counters that urge you to become a vegan, cross-legged Shaman who only eats hemp, lettuce and twigs with an occasional organic fennel tea. But mindfulness and courteous behavior amongst employees at this location is not there, and I'm starting to lose hope it ever will be.
Will I still go for the product selection? yes. will I be ready for the "need" question? feels like I'll always need to be ready for that.
JJ Abrams accepting the gig to direct Star Wars: Episode VII creates a similar dis-ease. He may be able to save that operatic saga from the dark, cartoonish canyons of Jar Jar Binks, but it’s to the disillusionment of newly forged Star Trek fans. I have and always will be invested in both franchises, intensely so, but to put the same man in charge of both violates an unseen firewall that many sci-fi geeks place between the two. (read the post)
Simon Cowell (image courtesy of Macleans)
After Simon Cowell departed “American Idol,” the curmudgeonly Brit’s absence caused the show’s judging panel to take some notable turns. Most of them haven’t been positive, either: The show went from engaging analysis of singing (albeit with ridiculous marketing placement everywhere) to farce, blandness, skimpy outfits and in-fighting.
Jennifer Hudson (image courtesy of Hello magazine)
“It's taken a bit to get used to the new judges,” Oscar winner and “Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson recently told DigitalSpy. To say the least. Mariah Carey was rumored to be furious when Nicki Minaj was signed; TMZ posted video from an unknown source that seemed to show Minaj threatening to kill Carey. Oy vey.
These days, we exhausted viewers are way more likely to judge the judges themselves rather than witness the unlikely rise of an unknown star. So why not start right now? Click over to my post on AfterElton.com for my rank of all judges, past and present. The results may surprise you!
UPDATE: one story commenter wrote: “A harsh and biased review on Mariah.”
UPDATE 2: My longtime idol, Larry Flick, Tweeted this morning: “I agree with your list.”
UPDATE 3: Another commenter: “You're right on in praising the UNDER-rated Kara DeGuardio (who got a raw deal) and, surprisingly, Paula Abdul.”
Last night I went to bed ill, literally ill, because of yesterday’s “Support Chick-Fil-A” events. I saw a woman riding down the street on a bike with a, “I heart Chick-Fil-A” shirt. I saw the news “reporting” on the long lines and massive crowds waiting to “show their support” for their fellow Christians. And spoke to a dear friend who was oh so proud that she had gone and supported her fellow Christians in their stand for “the first amendment rights of Christians” in support of traditional marriage. It felt like I was stabbed in the heart. I am a married straight woman, in love completely with my husband and, on most days, happily married. I’m not going to try to fathom how this day has made my fellow human beings of the LGBT community feel. If I am this upset, I can only imagine this was a very painful reminder of just how little our country truly cares for their human rights and their equality. (read the full post here)
The connection is simple: the Syndrome, explained here, affects those of us who thinks someone is so cute it’s aggravating – to the point you want to pinch, bite, squeeze, punch or slap the snot out of them in protest.
JLo reacted thusly out of her VAS when she evaluated our first singer, Joshua Ledet, because she enjoyed his performance so much. I’ll post the video as soon as it’s up. Speaking of Joshua, let’s deep dive into the performances:
He werked that Stevie song, brought us back to church and, with help from ace mentor Mary J. Blige, he hooked in to the driving beat. Well done. He’s about as girly as Jacob Lusk was last season.
This girl can sing… but “I’m Your Baby Tonight” was totally the wrong song for her – as was “Greatest Love,” her original choice. She seemed visibly upset about her performance and I can see why.
Jermaine “Gentle Giant” Jones
Definitely evocative of Ruben Studdard – perhaps a better singer with a less-tubby charisma. “I Love You,” though, I don’t think is gonna do him any favors in moving him ahead in the competition. A snoozer.
Erica Van Pelt aka “EVP”
“I Believe in You and Me” was a bad arrangement sung by a fantastic singer. I was surprised by her presence with such a huge song. Whitney is a monster to tackle for any singer, and given what she had to work with she did a good job. She just seemed to be way more free and “comfortable” than Elise Testone. JLo was right in that she was playing it safe with her phrasing and delivery.
Given the fact that he’s out of his genre, big time, he was tonally on point and actually pretty in touch with the song. Randy was right about the notes flat and sharp – but he created an emotionally hooked-in “rock ballad” out of a Stevie classic. He’s pretty darn cute, too, qualifying for the evening’s Idol Slap Derby.
I get annoyed when I have to wait for singers to get out of their lower registers for the song to become interesting. “I Have Nothing” really did have nothing, though, even when she emerged from the head-voice doldrums. Very karaoke and pretty awful. Next. (PS: could this volleyball player have looked any more gargantuan next to Ryan?) Bad song choice for such a young girl.
We were thankfully spared DeAndre’s gratuitous falsetto, and with “Master Blaster” he definitely showed a reggae funk that was new to us. But it was bland and not nearly as good as the (frequently cheerleading) panel said it was.
This girl is one to watch – she was out of her element and she still did up “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” with some moxie. JLo was spot-on when she criticized the front half of the song; the second half was unrecognizable compared to the first. Very well done, as expected.
“All is Fair” was a tale of two performers – one with normally gorgeous tone (painfully sharp in one spot) and terrible diction. He doesn’t close his “t”s and other of those pesky consonants. The “Hugger in Chief” did a decent job but I don’t think he’s gonna go far, despite the fact that we love the goofballs.
Lacking in presence but burying the needle on cute, Hollie tackled “All the Man that I Need” and I gotta say I didn’t dig it as much as the panel did. Parts of it were good, other parts, “meh.”
Always doing too many runs with a voice that rivals many of the others, Jeremy’s “Ribbon in the Sky” was too breathy, and lacked control and gravitas. Randy was right to note that he didn’t believe it.
Flawless. Definitely a leading contender, especially since “I Will Always Love You” is one of the most iconic songs in the world to cover. I definitely don’t like the early coronation from the judges, though. Steven Tyler’s “you may be the one” is just lame. Just let it be a great performance and don’t pressure this young girl too much.
“Superstitious” was the best of the evening. Driving, percussive, tonally perfect – and delivered by the evening’s hands-down Slap. He’s yummy, entertaining and a fantastic singer. His charisma is natural and his confidence is breezy. This guy will make records, period. The most refreshing thing about him? He’s ALWAYS dressed-down casual, and speaking as a writer who works in his jammie pants, I LOVE that. More, please.
Predicted bottom gal and guy: Elise Testone & Jeremy Rosado (possible wild card for bottom dwellers goes to Shannon Magrane)
Best performances of the night: Phil Phillips & Jessica Sanchez
JLo fashion grade: A
Normally a train wreck, this blogger loved the dressed-down look. Keep it up, Jenny.
Oh and Joshua, just remember: that hand movement is not what you said it was. It is called “The Stabilizer.” The record has been set straight.
Writer’s note: this blog will also appear on BentBlog.com. Stay tuned!
(ATLANTA - 25 October 2011) “Too big to succeed.” And no, I’m not talking about AIG or Morgan Stanley.
Those horrible four words could be the new-new-new-new Facebook tagline. As the social-networking giant has grown exponentially, it has changed UIs (user interfaces), bells and whistles, functionality, and security preferences more than Tara Reid has changed boyfriends. While Twitter has streamlined and improved without blowing up their core product - and spawning a cottage industry of top-notch Twitter clients - Facebook has seized on an ill-perceived need to change, change and change again.
This issue came to a boiling point while running ARTvision Atlanta - which, smart as it was at the time, has a Facebook page for the sole purpose of expanding our earnings reach and branding. As many folks have noted (here and here), love it or hate it, Facebook is a critical element in growing exposure to charitable causes.
Among the myriad challenges that charities face, spending time fixing a fatal code bug on a Facebook page shouldn’t be one of them. (My Googling shows that this is a widespread and as-yet unaddressed issue.) Alas, this is the case with our page now. Without getting into the geeky-gritty of it: Facebook has inexplicably violated its own TOS (terms of service) by allowing administrators to inadvertently change the name of a group with 100+ members by indicating the location of said group. So now, ARTvision Atlanta - which was closing in on 500 members - now reads as its beneficiary, Positive Impact, and the name cannot be changed back.
A group’s name is, last time I checked, the very foundation on which fundraising stands. Our AV page has three years of activity, history, photos and proven sales history that we have abandoned for a new page until Facebook gets off its ass to fix the issue. Sending bug reports, posting on help pages and other pleas for assistance have been systematically denied - because, well, Facebook is just too damn big. At last count, the site has 800 million users and they, by sheer volume, cannot address everything individually.
But is that a good enough reason to refuse help when charitable funds are at stake? This bug rises to a different level entirely when we’re talking about charitable giving. We depend on the networks and reach of Facebook to get word out, and this fatal flaw in their code - being no fault of any user - must be addressed now. Lest the company go down in history as the giant who got too big for their britches and couldn’t care properly for their philanthropic micro-communities.
When it comes to charitable giving and fundraising, a different urgency should rise through the ranks. And if this post helps to fix the overall bug itself, fine by me. In the meantime, please visit our new Facebook page and forgive the occasional grumble from me. - WP
Big HT and shout out to WannaBAuthor for the awesome devilish FB image.
Blogger’s note: I will be blogging at the ARTvision site from here until the end of the year.
UPDATE: After hitting hard, Facebook came back and addressed the Group name issue. We now are back in business as ARTvision Atlanta on Facebook! Of course, they attributed it to our mistake. But I don’t care... as long as we have the real name back.
The attacks were ghastly and altering, changing our country’s composition down to its DNA. But what we did in response trumps even those dastardly deeds: we gave ourselves over to the very “evil” that attacked us in the first place.
“Pride” (Provincetown, Mass.), by Will Pollock
Please allow a bit of a parallel: If electing Kennedy allowed us to successfully avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missing Crisis, then how would a President Gore have handled the country before, during and after this assault? How would we have been led as a country in response to 9/11? Would we have sunk trillions of dollars in nation-building in Iraq, or perhaps used it as a rally cry to show attackers that we can survive and thrive, even in the aftermath of death and misery? “A lot of other people behaved badly” after that day, as Paul Krugman put it today. “The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”
Recent events show that we have been on a sad, downward spiral ever since the attacks. Our financial system has collapsed and is still limping; profiteers have bounced back with an assault on commonsense regulation; our previous administration is so demonized elsewhere that they risk arrest if they travel abroad; we tortured people in custody and are still protecting those responsible today; and, most recently, we’ve seen a culture emerge where folks who hate government are the very ones making policy. What’s our response?
I say, enough. Let’s remember today in a factual way, without embellishment or agendas. Let’s return our country to the very compassionate, understanding, engaged folks who make this country great: the people. Let’s elect representatives who reflect that value system, not those who want, need and manipulate for profitability or glory. When a politician fails us, as Bush and his team did - and still do, thumbing their noses at truth and fact - we only have ourselves to blame. And that includes the voters who didn’t punch the ballot for the offending party. We are all complicit if we are all Americans.
But if it’s about all of us, it’s still cannot be “us vs. them.” Peace and ambassadorship have been reframed, inexplicably, as weak and useless when juxtaposed against our lionized, “boot in the ass” politicians. I say, loudly, no more. No matter whom you vote for, make sure it doesn’t reflect the mistakes we made when slammed with the calamity on this day 10 years ago.
Today, I take pride in my country, and want to go forward with a people-first agenda. Where we come first, and yet all the while knowing that we are still the global leader that can think outside ourselves, and never take the world around us for granted. Superior actions, not superiority.
After this day of remembrance, returning this country to the people is the best step forward over the next decade.
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UPDATE: Jack Lessenberry imagines a fictitious United States response with Al Gore as president. Money quote: “Yet it would be nice if, a century from now, we remembered it as a sad milestone that started the process of greater understanding.”