Posts Tagged Portland

Gnomes, belts and eye-sores

As promised, here is a picture of the new Gnome that myseriously appeared in our yard.  I like his optimistic expression.
Minor Gnome 49'r
On a separate topic, the local the last time I had my oil changed, the Toyota dealer told me that I needed to replace the main drive belt in my ’03 Toyota Tundra.  It had just rolled 45K miles.  They wanted $122 to replace the belt.  I told them “no thanks”, thinking I could do the work myself.  Well, I did.  The replacement belt cost $32.99, and took me about an hour to install.  It was the sort of thing that required two pairs of hands, and I only had one.  The funny thing is that the old belt was just fine.  A few hairline cracks, but according to my repair manual isn’t anything to worry about.   I guess it just goes to show that the dealer isn’t motivated by what is really needed, but by some magic count of miles on the vehicle.  The “Gatorback” belt I bought is supposed to last longer than the OEM belt anyway, so I won’t need to replace it anytime soon. Old Drive belt
The construction at the end of our street seems to be nearing the end of the street blocking phase.  Thank goodness.  I had to drag the “Road Closed” sign from in front of our house back to the site yesterday, which I find irritating.  The guys that work on the site don’t seem to give a darn where the leave it when they aren’t using it.  I don’t particularly like staring at it out of my living room window, nor do I like it taking up a parking space in front of my house.  Sometimes they leave it in the street blocking the sidewalk.  Nice eh?  They took out a walnut tree that was planted in the right-of-way, I wonder what kind of trees they are going to plant?

Condo Construction

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Customer Service Experience at Hawthorne Fred Meyer

My wife and I have been frequenting the Hawthorne Fred Meyer, even though it is in a state of great disarray.  They are doing a remodel of the entire facility, and it has been in various states of chaos for many months now.

One of the additions is a new deli.  We went there thinking we could order some sandwiches for dinner since we were running later than usual.  The person behind the counter suggested Lisa look at the paper menu that lets you order sandwiches.  We picked out what we want, which took a couple of minutes and she went back up to order.  She returned in short order with a look of disgust on her face.  “They close at 7:00 and stop making sandwiches at 6:50 because they can’t stay late.”  It was 6:51 on my watch.  With this kind of lack of appreciation for the customer, this latest expansion is not likely to be a success, in my opinion.

We had a cart load of groceries, so we went to check out.  Given the volume of groceries, and the line at the U-Scan, we opted for a line with a person.  We waited, as things seemed to be going slowly.  Three quarters of the way through groceries for the person at the front of the line, a manager stepped in and said to the checker that they had to switch her out because she was on overtime.  This was an unfortunate decision because it took a couple of minutes to make the transition.  No apology was given to the people waiting in line from the manager, nor any acknowledgement that we actually existed.  Normally,  I would have gone to a different line, but I had put about half of our stuff on the belt.  Lisa took the kids to the car, and I waited, and waited.

It look a  very long time, and I was pretty soured on the whole experience.  I think the Fred Meyer employees at Hawthorne could really use some customer service education.

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Ate at India Grill

Lisa, Georgia and I ate at the India Grill last night. Neither Lisa nor I was feeling up to cooking (we both have some virus thing dragging us down), and Lisa was craving Indian food. Unfortunately, we won’t be going there again.

The food was decent, but there were several strikes against it: there were ants crawling around on the table, flies buzzing around our heads, and the food seemed expensive relative to other Indian places we have eaten. Georgia was a well behaved, which made things more pleasant, but Lisa was not at all happy about the critters on the table and wondered to herself (and out loud to me later) what the kitchen was like if there were ants running around the dining room.

I’m a little forgiving, the restaurant is in an older Portland home that has been converted, so I would expect a few idiosyncrasies. We had a nice selection of food, with three dishes, and an appetizer, a beer for me, and a mango lassie for Lisa all came to ~$50, which seemed a bit steep. Maybe I’m just getting old.


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