Harry bought a KitchenAid oven back in 2006, but he doesn’t use his oven very much. He was deployed in the military, and hasn’t even been home for much of the time that he’s owned the appliance. Cleaning his house in preparation for his upcoming wedding, he tried out the oven’s self-cleaning feature for the first time. This turned out to be a bad idea.
Yes, he can get the oven fixed for less than a new oven would cost, but that isn’t the point. Harry doesn’t understand why a known defect in an essential home appliance is something that a customer has to take care of himself.
I noticed that the oven has a self cleaning feature, and me being a guy thought, hey, multitask! I can put the self cleaning on and mop the floors in the meantime. So about 4 hours later I decided to take a lunch break and check on the stove. The stove was off, all of the power to the unit was dead and the oven door remained locked. I searched the internet for help and ended up finding pretty much that this is a widely known flaw with Kitchen Aid/Whirlpool appliances. To sum up what happens the oven heats up so much that the thermal breaker melts and trips. Since it’s not a resettable breaker you have to buy a new one and install it.
This is the first time that I have ever used the self cleaning feature. Even though I purchased the oven back in 2006 I have been deployed overseas for around 4 1/2 years so the oven just sat in my house.
Harry contacted KitchenAid to see whether they knew anything about ovens shutting down after running the self-cleaning cycle. What? No way. They had never heard of it, even though Harry found hundreds of similar complaints online about other appliances in the Whirlpool family.
“I would not have used the self cleaning feature on a brand new oven within a few months of purchase, and with all of my deployments the oven hasn’t had a lot of use, so I never had a need to use the self cleaning feature,” he pointed out in his e-mail to Consumerist. He bought a whole suite of KitchenAid appliances for his home, even a microwave and stand mixer: he wonders, why won’t the company respect his loyalty and at least send him the $50 replacement part that would make his oven door open again?
KitchenAid has a very responsive Twitter presence, which might provide some help. KitchenAid is a division of Whirlpool, so the executive customer service information for Whirlpool that we published a few years ago might help if you’re dealing with a similar problem.
When Consumerist reader C. boarded a New York-bound Megabus in Philadelphia this morning, employees for the bus line were selling seats to walk-up customers. All was well and good as the bus departed.
But that happy feeling only lasted a few minutes. When the bus pulled into the next stop, still in Philadelphia, there was some confusion.
C. says that passengers who had reserved seats on the bus were unable to board because those seats had been sold to the walk-up passengers at the previous stop. According to C., the driver demanded that the walk-up passengers give up their seats in order to make room for those who had reserved seats.
When these passengers refused, C. says the driver threatened to call the police. And it was apparently not just a threat, as C. photographed the driver talking to two Philadelphia police officers.
The driver’s plea to the police was apparently not enough to get the walk-up passengers off the bus, as C. says only two or three of the seven passengers trying to get on the bus at the second stop were able to get on board.
In the end, the driver simply got back behind the wheel and didn’t say anything to the passengers, according to C.
A rep for the Philadelphia Police Dept. confirms to Consumerist that officers were called to the scene:
Officers from the 6th Police District did respond to 600 Market Street for a ‘Disturbance’, on the MEGA bus this morning approximately 9:45 a.m. Upon their arrival they were informed by the bus driver that things were worked out and no police service needed.
When reached for comment, a rep for Megabus responded:
Regarding the situation that occurred at 9AM this morning an incorrect ticket sales procedure was used which led to an overbooking situation at the second Market & 6th Street stop. Apologies were made to the overbooked customers who were then accommodated on the next megabus.com departure at 10AM. Proper procedures will be discussed with both the driver and Ground Service staff person involved.
As the saying goes, if you don’t read the amount of calories, fat and sugar contained in a food, none of that counts and you can eat as much of it as you want. Well, that might at least be the mindset behind one Wisconsin ice cream company’s slogan, “You want nutrition? Eat carrots.”
In other words, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, straight out of Madison, Wisc., isn’t about to waste your time trying to convince you that ice cream is actually super healthy (unlike the candy industry), so just eat it and enjoy it without ruining the buzz with your bothersome calorie counts.
Instead, these guys really know how to go right for the gut (mmm, cream). And while they’re darn proud about their unabashed pride in their product, for those health sticklers out there intent on taking the joy out of dessert, the company website does include nutritional info. Bothersome legal regulations!
Consumerist reader David snapped this pic of a Chocolate Shoppe truck in the wild, so of course we had to check in with the company and make sure the image was legit. Not only is it the real deal, but the very pleasant fellow I spoke with on the phone rattled off the entire spiel verbatim — all from memory. Now that’s dedication.
Staying with her dad for the weekend, a Colorado girl wondered why it took so long for her dad to run to Safeway for some ice cream. When he got back, she asked him what too so long. “I had to break up a robbery,” he said. Yeah, right. But unlike when your dad kids about being a superhero, it was true!
Saturday evening was a quiet time in the Safeway store, and a would-be narcotics thief took advantage of the slow time to rob the pharmacy. The man, who was buying ice cream at the front of the store, heard a cry for help from the pharmacy and acted to help without really thinking about it. He tackled someone who was making a break for the door and who may or may not have been the robber, keeping the suspect in the store until police arrived.
“I’m assuming the guy was the robber, I had no idea at that point,” the man told CBS Denver, but the man he stopped was trying to escape the store with some vials of Vicodin. And a knife.
Don’t worry: the robber-tackling hero of this story got his ice cream for free.
Safeway Shopper Thwarts Pharmacy Robbery [CBS Denver]
In an uprising reminiscent of backlash against those oft-despised doorstops otherwise known as the Yellow Pages, residents of one Chicago neighborhood are fighting for the right to not be bombarded on a weekly basis with coupon circulars. Despite opting out, the residents claim in a lawsuit that the coupon packages keep showing up, like some sort of plague of paper zombies.
About two dozen residents of the Logan Square neighborhood have filed a lawsuit against the distributors of the circulars, the Chicago Tribune and Valassis Communications, reports, fittingly, the Chicago Tribune. According to the lawsuit, residents keep trying to opt out of the coupon deliveries, but yet there they are, piling up on doorsteps week after week.
The plaintiffs want the coupon barrage to stop, and also are seeking $50,000 in punitive damages for each resident included in the lawsuit.
“Our neighborhood gets flooded with these damn papers every week,” said the Logan Square attorney representing the residents. “It’s ridiculous it had to come to this, but we need to get their attention to stop the distribution of this thing to people who don’t want it.”
The lawsuit claims that sometimes more circulars will show up in a week than there are even units in an apartment building. Extra scrap paper for anyone who has a paper shredder but not enough documents to feed it, perhaps?
In all seriousness, however, some residents feel that the plethora of paper blowing about makes it look like the properties are abandoned, or someone is out of town. One plaintiff claims he was burglarized while out of town and blamed that in part because of how many coupon mailers had piled up on his doorstep.
The Tribune issued a statement saying residents can simply opt ouf of receiving the mailers. Which doesn’t explain why the residents are claiming they’ve tried to opt out and can’t, but anyway:
“While we do not typically comment on lawsuits filed, we are aware of the pending litigation regarding the delivery of weekly ShopLocal packages to select Chicago properties,” Maggie Wartik, a Chicago Tribune spokeswoman, said in a statement Monday. “We understand the frustration felt by some who wish to opt out, and we are revisiting that process in order to improve the customer experience. If a resident wishes to stop delivery, please call 1-800-TRIBUNE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Logan Square residents sue Tribune, partner over coupon circulars [Chicago Tribune]
It’s been eight years since Microsoft launched the Xbox 360, a wildly successful gaming console that has gradually evolved into a home entertainment hub for many users. Today, the company finally got around to releasing details of the “Durango” project, its code name for the next generation of the Xbox.
“For the first time, you and your TV are going to have a relationship,” Microsoft declared in the opening of its announcement on Tuesday.
Promising an “all in one system,” Microsoft finally unveiled the Xbox One, a black box with a single slot for inserting a disc. There is a glowing Xbox logo, but no Red Ring of Death that we could see.
The new Kinect motion and voice-control sensor is also larger than the existing version. But it shoots in 1080p, with motion detection capabilities and more conversational voice-recognition. Microsoft claims the Kinect can detect your heartbeat while you work out. It is separate from the console, which only makes sense as having them integrated would require you positioning the console in front of your TV. Though they are separated physically, the Kinect will come with all Xbox One consoles.
The controller for the Xbox One is mercifully almost identical to the ones users have mashed for almost a decade. However, the company says there have been more than 40 tweaks to the controller, including “dynamic impulse triggers” that provide feedback right in the triggers themselves. The new Kinect can also identify the controller as something separate from the player, allowing it to be detected and tracked.
Via Kinect, the user can use gestures and voice to not only control the Xbox One, but also other connected devices like a TV. You can also launch Internet Explorer right onto your TV. No more switching of inputs — or at least that’s what Microsoft is claiming.
The Xbox One guide will supposedly have your channel listing and programming information right there on the screen for you, allowing you to jump seamlessly — and quickly, per the demo — from channel to channel without ever leaving the Xbox
The integration of Windows Snap Mode into the Xbox interface allows users to multitask. You can watch a movie in one window while browsing the web off to the side. You can have Skype call without interrupting what is going on elsewhere on the screen. The notion is that you no longer need to use your computer, phone, or tablet as a supplementary screen; you can have it all right there on your TV.
“The one place where you are at the center of your entertainment,” says Microsoft. “This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV.”
Video game giant, and reigning Worst Company In America champ, Electronic Arts was on hand for the announcement, saying it will have four of its big sports titles — Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, NBA Live, and UFC — coming out for the Xbox One within the next 12 months. Among the updates — 3-D crowds and a “daily stream” of new content that impacts the game.
Microsoft Studios showed off the Xbox One version of driving game Forza, which will be available at launch for the console.
There will apparently be 15 games made exclusively for Xbox One in its first year, with 8 of those being new franchises.
No release date yet; just “later this year,” and no pricing discussed. Presumably, this will be announced at the E3 gaming trade show later this summer.
Microsoft isn’t abandoning the 360 just yet, which is good, because there are many, many millions of them out there and people have invested billions in those games.
“Xbox 360 remains a vibrant platform,” said the company, which plans to unveil more for that platform at E3.
Has anyone invented a time machine so I can go back to all those occasions when my parents informed me that I couldn’t have candy for dinner because it’s not good for you? I need to tell them all about the results of this fascinating new study funded by the National Confectioners Association which says that eating candy frequently is totally cool and probably won’t result in pesky side effects like “elevated waist circumference.”
PopSci points out the delicious findings published in the Nutrition Journal recently, which was paid for by the NCA, a trade group representing the candy, chocolate and gum industry.
Instead, the study has such gems as (bolding ours):
“Frequency of candy consumption was not associated with the risk of obesity, overweight/obesity, elevated waist circumference, elevated skinfold thickness, blood pressure, low density lipoprotein (LDL) or high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, or insulin resistance.”
And then there’s:
“Increased frequency of candy consumption among adults in the United States was not associated with objective measures of adiposity or select cardiovascular risk factors, despite associated dietary differences.”
To be quite fair here, the study itself says it can’t be concluded that “candy consumption does not cause obesity or untoward levels of cardiovascular risk markers” because only frequency of candy consumption was studied, and not how much a person was actually eating of the stuff, among other factors. So it doesn’t say it does cause obesity but it doesn’t say it definitely doesn’t. Get it?
It seems the NCA sees this whole thing as a win, as evidenced by its press release on the topic (again, bolding ours):
“There is a place for little pleasures, such as candy, in life. A little treat in moderation can have a positive impact on mood and satisfaction, and as emerging research suggests, minimal impact on diet and health risk.”
While I wholeheartedly agree and believe in treating myself whenever I so choose (although I no longer want to eat stacks of chocolate drizzled with frosting for dinner), one should definitely take a study funded by the candy industry with a grain of sugar.
Candy pushers pushing the awesomeness of candy via a sponsored study sounds a lot like a headline from The Onion the Consumerist team had a good chuckle over (SPOILER ALERT! NAUGHTY LANGUAGE AHEAD!): “Sponsored Content Pretty Fucking Awesome.”
Like something out a romance novel sponsored by Yum! Brands Inc., a number of models and actresses — Sports Illustrated’s Chrissy Teigen, Miss California 2012 Leah Cecil, Awkward’s Jessica Lu, and others — have been the recipients of one of the stranger marketing ideas we’ve heard of, especially coming from a company not necessarily associated with model-types.
“A wise woman once said, ‘If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it’ We like you,” reads the note sent to Teigen. “So we wanted to give you this custom Taco Bell ring … You’re funny, cool and you like Taco Bell.”
The creepiest one we saw was this note to a model named Acacia Brinley:
“Following you on Twitter was the best decision we ever made. You’re cool, a great friend and you like Taco Bell! We have to get you into the test kitchen this summer. We only let really cool people see our test kitchen, so you should be psyched. Keep Tweeting & more awesome things like this custom Taco Bell ring will come your way. Hope you like it.
Of course, even if Taco Bell had tried to woo us with ugly rings and sloppy handwriting, we would have had to give it all back, as our policy forgives accepting freebies.
You can see more of the notes and the recipients’ responses on Racked.com.
Are you a property owner? If someone sends you a solicitation or a bill asking for money in exchange for a copy of your deed, throw it away. That isn’t a thing.
The letters might come on fancy letterhead from a place called “Record Retrieval Department” or “National Deed Service,” and explain that you need a “certified” copy of your deed for some kind of important purpose. The solicitations are barely worth the paper they’re printed on.
In Vermont, for example, homeowners received letters claiming that the “State Record Regulation Department” recommended that people have a copy of their grant deed on hand. The problem: a fancy “grant deed” that costs at least $83 isn’t a thing, and there is no “State Record Regulation Department” in Vermont. The company behind the solicitations settled with the state attorney general.
Of course, if you get such a solicitation and you aren’t a property owner, that’s a definite indication that it’s some kind of scam.
Don’t be scammed into paying for a copy of your property deed [Consumer Reports]
document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-bd1bb41b51d196a5f32b238d4e2560b7').submit(); Finding a parking spot in many major cities can be a pain in the butt, as you not only navigate the streets but have to be mindful of “No Parking,” “No Standing,” and any other number of signs that regulate where, and for how long, you can deposit your car. So once you find a spot and check all the signs, you should be good, right? Not if the city comes by and changes the signs on you.
CBS 2 in New York has security camera footage of this exact thing happening outside of a Manhattan building recently.
Cars parked along one side of the street shown in the video are parked legally when the video begins. But this stretch of road will soon be home to one of NYC’s new bike-share program, meaning there can be no parking in front of the large bike rack to be installed. And so, as you can see on the video, a city employee comes in and installs a new No Standing Anytime sign.
And within 25 minutes of that sign going up, a parking enforcement officer is swooping in to issue tickets — $115 each — to cars that had been legally parked before the sign was changed.
When contacted by CBS 2, a rep for the Department of Transportation simply said that “any motorist who believes they received a ticket in error can contest it through the Department of Finance, which adjudicates violations.”
As a certain political candidate once put it so very accurately, “the rent is too damn high.” New York City dwellers know this all too well, which is why services like Airbnb can be a boon to anyone who doesn’t want to waste rent money on an empty apartment or bedroom should they be out of town. But one man who rented out part of his apartment to an Airbnb customer now has to pay $2,400 to NYC, all because of a city law intended to discourage illegal hotels.
The city had at first ordered the man to pay $7,000 total in fees, notes CNET, but after Airbnb stepped in an administrative judge ordered him to just fork over the $2,400. According to a 2011 law, it’s illegal in NYC to rent out a home for fewer than 29 days. That law is supposed to ensure that property owners don’t gobble up residential properties and then turn them into hotels.
It’s the city’s view that the apartment ”may only be used as private residences and may not be rented for transient, hotel, or motel purposes.” But what about the flourishing business Airbnb does in NYC? It seems right now that the city only enforces the law when someone complains — and in this case it’s unclear who may have done that, although it’s worth pointing out that the guy had a roommate who was at home during the time he rented out his room.
To that end, however, Airbnb has been pushing legislators to tweak the law so that people can simply rent their homes out temporarily and aren’t trying to actually run a hotel.
As such, Airbnb issued a statement saying it’s bummed about the administrative judge’s decision to fine the man for renting his room:
This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed. But more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes. There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like [the man] were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like [redacted], who find themselves targeted by overzealous enforcement officials. It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. Eighty-seven percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in — they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.
If Airbnb can’t change the law, it could lose a big chunk of NYC business over concerned apartment owners or renters who don’t want to end up being fined for renting their place out for a couple of days here and there.
A strange gas station scam in Minnesota didn’t hurt customers, exactly: it benefited customers. The scam victim was the owner of the gas station, who thought that they had sold the place to credible new owners. Instead, after a glorious one-day sale with everything in the convenience store half off and gas about forty cents per gallon below the local market price, the sale collapsed. The owner says that the down payment check bounced, the buyers disappeared, and $50,000 in cash was missing…along with the gas and merchandise that local customers pounced on during that too-good-to-be-true sale.
According to the all-knowing crowdsourced site GasBuddy, gas prices in that part of Minnesota are $4.29 per gallon today. On Saturday, customers lined up all the way out to the street to buy gas priced at only $3.85.
The pretend gas station purchase is a bad crime and all, but this crime really caught the attention of local authorities because of the fuel sale. It’s against the law to undercut competing gas stations so dramatically, you see.
The question remains: was this an elaborate scam, or the biggest convenience store robbery of all time?
Though the overall ACSI score for the subscription TV industry enjoyed a bit of a bump, from 66 in 2012 to 68 this year, that is still not high enough to get these companies out of the doldrums, leaving only newspapers and Internet service providers (most of whom are also cable companies) with a worse industry index score.
For the second year in a row, Verizon FiOS came out on top of the rankings, with a score of 73, down one point from the previous year. DirecTV enjoyed a huge 4-point bump from 2012, increasing its score to 72, while the score for AT&T U-Verse increased by three points to 71.
The biggest improvement over 2012 came from Charter, which had come in dead last in 2012 with a score of 59. This year, its score increased by 5 points, allowing it to leapfrog Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Comcast actually improved its score from 61 to 63, while TWC saw the biggest drop on the ACSI survey, going from 63 down to 60 in a single year.
Industry-wide, customers were reasonably happy with picture quality, ease-of-use, and signal reliability. In fact, the only customer experience category in which the subscription TV industry scored poor marks was “call center satisfaction,” which had a score of 70 — four points below the average score of 74 for all industries.
For the first time, ACSI looked at customer satisfaction with Internet service providers, and… the top and bottom scorers are very similar to what we saw in the subscription TV rankings, with Verizon FiOS the top scorer (71), while Time Warner Cable (63) and Comcast (62) brought up the rear.
And once again, call center satisfaction in this industry was dismal, with a low, low score of 65 — a full nine points below the ACSI average of 74.
So, basically, this all but confirms that next year’s Worst Company In America bracket will once again be chock full of cable and Internet providers.
Because not knowing where your food comes from means that your food could’ve come from an unsavory source (horsemeat, anyone?), the United States is supposed to propose new rules this week that would require any meat products to be labeled with the basics: Where an animal was born, what it was fed and where it was slaughtered.
But those rules aren’t being celebrated by everyone beyond the U.S. borders — Reuters says Canada and Mexico are ticked off and blame those kinds of labels for a decline in their beef and pig shipments.
The new rules are supposed to be in line with an order by the World Trade Organization, which told the U.S. it’d have to change the labeling requirements after Canada and Mexico complained back in 2009. The fresh set of labeling requirements are expected by a deadline of May 23, and Canada is already warning that it’ll fight back if the rules aren’t what they want.
“What the Americans have proposed as a response to the WTO ruling does not get the job done. It actually makes things worse,” Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said, noting that his country would likely penalize U.S. beef and pork imports.
Those two countries say that having the country of origin on labels discriminates against imported livestock, while proponents of the labels say it’s an effort to provide consumers with more info about the safety and origin of their food.
The U.S. didn’t relax its rules after the WTO ordered it to change them, but instead regulators argue that tougher requirements would be in compliance with the WTO because the U.S. has to comply with them as well as other countries.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Reuters he’s confident the rules will pass muster with the WTO.
“I don’t think it’s our responsibility necessarily to respond to what Mexico or Canada say we need to do,” he said. “I think our response is to be consistent with the WTO directive, and as well understand what the WTO said — that while every country has the right to label, the labeling that we had developed was not adequate.”
First of all, don’t be fooled by that 00:00:00 countdown in the photo accompanying this post — it’s part of an email forwarded by Consumerist reader Kaleb, and presumably the ticking clock works in the offers sent to customers on the OfficeMax mailing list. But let’s not lose sight of what it really is, at its essence, which is a countdown clock to a “halfway to Cyber Monday” sale. Yes, holiday shopping creep is a thing now and we’ll all have to deal with it.
Note — at first we thought this was a countdown to the actual Cyber Monday, but Kaleb wrote in again to clarify that it was simply the minutes left until the sale was over. But it’s still a sale making much ado that we have six months left before Cyber Monday. Oof.
Not only should we all apparently be ticking days off on the calendar for actual holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we should also be keeping track of how many months (six!) we have until we all get on the computer and buy more stuff than we did on Black Friday.
And what’s better to celebrate this breathless anticipation, this tallying of the months remaining until our lives are fulfilled through shopping than other deals on office supplies right this very moment? The rest of the email highlights other sales going on at OfficeMax, which is all well and good, but do we have to peg every sale to a holiday, or in this case, a future holiday sale? We have so many questions.
Promotional sales promoting future sales must be some kind of weird Inception dream state and we’re now very afraid we’ve fallen into it.
Amy’s Baking Company Cancels Press Conference Under Lawsuit Threat From Gordon Ramsay’s Production Company
Operating on the sound principle of “if you can’t say anything nice, shut your trap,” the couple who own Amy’s Baking Company, the famed self-immolating bistro in Arizona, have canceled this afternoon’s press conference. Why is that? Did they decide to dedicate the afternoon to training their new staff and revamping the menu instead? Have too many Yelpers threatened to show up? Well, no–the production company behind Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” sent them a letter reminding them that if they “disparage the show, the host, or its producers,” they’ll owe “liquidated damages of $100,000.” Keeping this in mind, they just went ahead and canceled the press conference.
According to the letter, which the Phoenix Business Journal has posted, the program’s participants are allowed to acknowledge that yes, they were on the program…and that’s about it.
More than 1,500 people have tried to get reservations at tonight’s grand-reopening event. If you’re one of the lucky diners, we’d love to hear from you. Just don’t open up your smartphone’s Yelp app while in the building.
Amy’s Baking Company gets lawsuit threat, nixes conference [Arizona Republic]
What should be a happy photo of a mom hanging out in the yard with her two boys in their cool new Pixar-themed pool is horribly, terribly, tragically transformed into something much darker, all thanks to an apparent error at the printing press that managed to slip through unnoticed.
Earlier today, someone posted this photo on Reddit of the image on the packaging for the inflatable pool.
Quite obviously, the woman’s left hand is not meant to be positioned on the young boy’s private parts. Some on Reddit immediately accused the poster of a bad Photoshop job.
And yet there are multiple sites selling this pool with the same botched image, so if it is a Photoshop job, it’s not the Reddit poster trying to trick people.
In a former life (better known as my early-mid 20s), I worked in print production and what seems to have happened here isn’t terribly uncommon, though the results are rarely so terrifying.
As with many photos on product packaging, the image here is actually a composite of multiple photographs. You can tell as much from the above image because the woman’s crudely cut-off legs are floating in the foreground when they should be behind the pool.
This is confirmed by this image from the packaging of another Disney inflatable pool, featuring the exact same woman in the same position, but a different pool, bathing suit, and two young girls instead of the boys:
More than likely, when someone was Photoshopping the mom’s bathing suit, he probably forgot to move her back a couple of layers so that her legs were behind the pool and her hand was comfortably on the grass and not on the young boy’s privates. Errors like this are usually caught in the proof stage, but do occasionally slip through.
It could also be the result of a corrupt file with a bad clipping path that suddenly disappeared when it came time to make the printing plates. That type of error doesn’t always show up on the proof but can be caught by watchful press operators.
As the Reddit poster notes, the pool he photographed was the only one at the store with the printing error, so the mistake was fixed at some point. That being said, every image we’ve found of the non-icky photo has the mom in a slightly different, more upright position, meaning they either manipulated that image even further or just used a completely different photo of the “mom”:
If you’ve got the bucks, you can get celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s food at your private event. The Wolfgang Puck Catering & Events company bears a famous name, and now it’s being blamed for adding services charges to its customers’ bills without then handing over gratuities to its servers.
In the class action filed in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, some staffers claim that despite billing some venues a 22 % service charge, bartenders and servers never saw that tip money, reports the New York Post.
The attorney for two of the named plaintiffs says the company owes all employees who worked private events hundreds of thousands in gratuities, going back to 2008.
Those two, a waitress and a bartender, say they were paid between $10 and $18 per hour for events, and didn’t get money for up to 30 hours overtime, allege the court papers.
“Any charge for ‘service’ or ‘food service,’ is a charge purported to be a gratuity and therefore must be paid over to service employees,” the lawsuit says, claiming that billing customers for a “service charge ” and then not passing that money along to servers violates state and federal law.
One of the plaintiffs says she asked a promoter working with Wolfgang Puck about unpaid tips, and was allegedly later told by a supervisor that “if she inquired any further about Defendants’ violations of the labor laws she would be fired.”
Instead, she and the other plaintiff left the company in 2012 after working there for two to three years.
Wolfgang Puck catering firm slammed for skimming tips: suit [New York Post]
Monti Carlo is a host on My 103.9 in Phoenix, and also a veteran of last summer’s MasterChef, one of the 4.2 trillion shows Ramsay hosts for FOX. Perhaps calling upon their shared experiences with Chef Ramsay, Monti managed to get Amy and Samy to sit down for an interview in which Amy managed to (mostly) keep her cool and Samy was basically muzzled.
Of course, not all of the interview is uploaded to YouTube yet, so maybe we’re jumping the gun on those statements.
Regardless, Amy claims that their goals for being on Kitchen Nightmares wasn’t to get an upgrade to their menu or decor, but to show people that all the naysayers on Yelp were wrong.
“We simply wanted to bring attention to our beloved restaurant and show the world and really stand up to online bullies because we’ve been subjected to that for the last three years,” says Amy.
It was, according to Amy, Yelpers that actually brought the restaurant to the attention of the Kitchen Nightmares producers. She says that the show asked Arizonans which area restaurant most needed Ramsay’s help. Given Amy’s past overly heated exchanges with Yelp reviewers, it’s no surprise they picked out Amy’s Baking Company.
“We didn’t feel they had anything to come to us for,” she tells Monti. “The only problem we’ve ever had is with online bullies.”
She says she was misled by producers.
“They told us they were coming to help and we believed them,” explains Amy. “That’s why we invited them into our kitchen; we had nothing to hide.”
As for the now-famous incident that occurred on the first night of filming — before Ramsay ever stepped foot in the place — in which Amy and Samy chased a couple of disgruntled customers out of the restaurant, screaming profanity and threatening to call the police, Amy puts the blame for that scene on Yelp.
“The Yelpers that I knew about — These people that consistently for three years had been badgering us and threatening to kill, saying the most horrific things, those people I knew that they were going to come to the restaurant,” she recalls. “I knew they were gonna come just to set us up to make us look like we didn’t know what we were doing on national television.”
She says that when things started to turn sour during that evening, she knew it was those darned Yelpers.
“I started to notice a few people come in the restaurant that looked familiar to me, and as I saw how things were going and how out of control it was getting… I grabbed the producers, I said ‘They are Yelpers. I know two of ‘em for sure are. I have their names and there profiles right here,’” she tells Monti. “My husband and I started to feel that we were being surrounded by Yelpers, completely set up. We didn’t feel that we were going to have a true, authentic way to show our product. We were right.”
She adds, “The people that were there, the people that we are screaming at — when I am screaming ‘call the police, call the police’ — and the people that my husband is screaming those obscenities at, they are not our customers, they are Yelpers.
“I can prove it; they even went on Yelp and talked about it after.”
Amy says the Yelpers went to her restaurant that night “with harmful, malicious intent.”
“My husband and I said, ‘Wait a minute, we are not comfortable. You are endangering our lives.’”
A much better radio host than I could hope to be, Monti manages to not only avoid laughing at that statement, but also to suss out what Amy actually means to say — that people who write negative reviews and attempt to make you look bad are endangering your livelihood, and by extension, your life.
There’s apparently still more to this interview, as the radio station has only managed to upload 4 of the 7 parts to YouTube (and part 1 is just a preview). We’ll keep our eye out for the remaining segments but you can also look on the My 103.9 YouTube page.
Anyway, Amy’s is having a grand re-opening Tuesday night, for which it hosted a job fair to find people willing to work for a place where the owners admittedly kept tips from the wait staff, and fired others for simply asking reasonable questions.
If anyone manages to attend the re-opening, we’d love to hear from you!
Below are the clips from the radio interview that have been uploaded to YouTube:
There must be something in the water lately and if there is, we need to get ourselves a big ol’ glass of it: Just last week a customer left a $446 tip on a $6 Steak ‘N Shake bill, and now another generous patron has splashed out with a $1,000 tip on a $60 restaurant tab so the waitress can finally go on that trip to Italy she’s been hoping for.
The woman’s daughter explains on her Tumblr how this all came to pass, posting evidence of the hefty tip. Next to the $1,000 the customer wrote: “Your ticket to Italy. Enjoy!!” All of this, apparently from a casual conversation the waitress had with her customer. Service with a smile goes a long way, it seems.
The daughter writes (we’ve changed the format from all caps for easier reading) that she and her mother have both been working as waitresses for about 5-6 years:
Anyway, about… 15 minutes ao this guy she waited on left and told her to take care. Just that. Prior to this she had talked to him about Italy. Her people are from Florence, this and that, and she said she’s never been. She’s got 8 years of art education and she’s working a waitress job. It’s pretty… sad and disappointing, I guess. Her and my father divorced 6 years ago and she hasn’t had a real job ever. Just been stuck in a small town she’s not from.
This man who we have never seen before tipped her 1000 dollars for a trip to Italy. Walked out, not another word.
… You know. Just when I start to lose faith in humanity… Hm.”
Hmm indeed. This could be a runner-up to the biggest tip we’ve heard of from a year ago, when a waiter lucked out with a $5,000 tip on a $26.95 bill.
Just keep trying to outdo yourselves, you generous folks out there. I wouldn’t mind someone paying off my student loan debts, if there’s money that needs to be tossed around. Just sayin’.