Valium Vickie

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Ramada: A Shining Example of Customer Service

I stay in a lot of hotels, and most of the time I don't bother to complete the obligatory "Satisfaction Survey" the hotels send me following the stay. But after spending the night at Ramada in Cockeysville, Md., I decided to fill out the follow-up survey.  For the most part, I gave the Ramada very high marks, with scores in the 8 to 10 range for virtually all aspects of my stay. However, I did offer a few unusual comments. Here are those comments, word for word:

Please share your comments here:

I can only assume that the walls separating your hotel rooms are very, very thin, which can result in some very uncomfortable situations for guests. I say this because for several hours during the night of my stay, I had to listen to my elderly neighbor loudly finger-banging who I can only pray was his wife. How do I know he was finger-banging this woman? Because, several times during the couple's loud expression of passion, the gentlemen yelled out: 
"I'm finger-banging my wife so good, right now. You like that? You like that? God, I'm finger-banging the shit out of you, honey!" 
And how do I know the gentlemen was, in fact, elderly? Again, he said it himself. I distinctly remember this gentleman screaming: 
"You're getting finger-banged so good right now, baby. And I promise you, if I wasn't so goddamn old, I'd be banging you for real (coughing sound) ... you know I would sweetie, right?"

As fate would have it, the couple ended up exiting their room at the exact same time I did. We both opted for the continental breakfast that morning and, while I have no complaints about the food or the service of at the breakfast hall, it was difficult to enjoy my meal because the couple sat directly across from me. Instead of savoring my bowl of Lucky Charms and pastry, I kept visualizing this elderly man (I'd estimate his age to be around 74) finger-banging the woman he dined with (late 40s by my estimation).

Please respond to let me know if I'm correct about the walls' thickness. If I'm wrong, I apologize. Perhaps the couple was just inordinately loud.

Jared Bilski

Of course, I wasn't really expecting any kind of response from this. I mean, what could they say? Mr. Bilski, I can assure you the thickness of our walls is more than sufficient, so this gentleman really must've been doing a number on his wife with the whole finger-banging thing. Please accept our most sincere apologies ... we value your .... If there's anything .... blah, blah, blah. To my surprise, they did respond and, even though they didn't reference the finger-banging incident specifically, they seemed genuinely concerned. Here's the email I received:

Dear Jared,

Thank you for taking the time to bring your concern to our attention and
allowing us the opportunity to address your needs. We are sincerely
sorry to hear we did not provide you with an excellent Ramada
experience. You can count on our team to help resolve your concerns.

To assist you in reaching a resolution, I've informed the Ramada
Cockeysville's general manager of the situation. The general manager
will contact you by 11/04/2011. As a company, we're committed to
delivering a great experience every time you stay with us, and I
sincerely apologize this did not happen in this case.

Jared, please know that we truly appreciate your feedback and the
opportunity to respond to your concerns.

Count on me,

Name Withheld
Internet Specialist
Wyndham Hotel Group
Phone 800-828-6644
Fax 888-565-7707

What's more, as the email indicated, the general manager did contact me. After listening to two voice mails in which the GM apologized profusely, I called him back. During our call, the manager said he was sorry at least four times, even though he admitted that he didn't really understand my comments. So I explained that I wasn't really being serious, that it was ridiculous to expect a hotel to be responsible for an elderly man's finger-banging prowess and that I was simply testing the Ramada's dedication to customer service -- a test, I informed the GM that both he and the organization passed with flying colors. He laughed nervously, but I get the impression he thought I was out of my mind. But that's besides the point. The point is this: No compliant is too minor -- or too bat-shit crazy -- for the Ramada, a member of the Wyndham Hotel Group, to tackle. Bravo, Ramada! In an industry dominated by lackluster customer service, you're a shining example of the way things should be.

A Lifelong Ramada Customer,
Rev. Jared Bilski

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Man up! Grab a Miller Lite You F$ckin Pussy

Miller Lite is best known for being a tasteless, semi-alcoholic beer that's usually on special (sold for a few bucks cheaper than real beers) at sports bars, stadiums, clubs and places where cover bands regularly perform. Not exactly the best reputation for a distinguished "triple hops brewed" beer. Maybe that's why the company decided to give its image a makeover recently. Miller Lite's new image: The only true light beer for men. The company put out a bunch of commercials that always show some poor guy getting his balls busted by his friends for making "unmanly" choices -- like screaming when he gets touched by a fish, riding around in a scooter and, of course, choosing a light beer that's not Miller Lite. Here's one of them.

Brilliant. Miller somehow found a way to make its shitty, watered-down beer seem appealing to a demographic other than young women who are concerned with their figures but still need to drink enough of something alcoholic to justify their poor decisions. I'm not sure how they did it, but I picture the genesis of the Man Up campaign going something like this:

(Setting: Five, sharply dressed marketing professionals are sitting around a over-sized conference table staring disconsolately at a single bottle of Miller Lite.)
Marketing man #1: How are we supposed to make this shit more appealing to men? I mean all Miller Lite has going for it is that it's cheap, it's not terrible and you can drink a ton of it. Alright, think: What is most powerful way to get a group of men to do something?
Marketing man #2: (Sarcastically) Tell them they're gay if they don't do it.
(The remaining marketing professionals break into a chorus of nervous laughter.)
Marketing man #1: Goddammit, you're right! We'll create a series of witty commercials with a simple message: If you don't drink Miller Lite, you're no man at all. If you don't drink Miller Lite, well, then you're a gay. I think I have a catch phrase already: Man up, grab a Miller Lite and quit being such a queer.

Miller knows it's not going to get all men with such a message. But I don't think it's targeting all men. I think Miller is mainly going after guys who work as IT specialists or financial analysts, guys who frequent happy hours, are in nine different fantasy football leagues and who use words like "Broseph."

Of course, Miller Lite isn't the only brewer that's come up with a solid way to entice men to switch over to light beer. Keystone Light knows there's an entire country of ignorant, white trash, no good, pieces of shit out there, and the company wants them all to enjoy the fruits of its labor while they're enjoying the view from their double-wide trailers. That's why Keystone created Keith Stone, a redneck superhero who's perfectly willing to believe she "really is 19" even though he met her at a high school football game. Keith Stone looks like a hybrid of Wayne Campbell, Mathew McConaughey's character in "Dazed and Confused" and Jack Black.