Tag Archives: Tassimo

Customer service?

27 Jul

Almost all big stores, especially with chains, are going to have a customer service desk.

Well, that’s what they call it anyhow.  They really should call it the customer annoyance counter.

Why is customer service so hard?  Why is it so hard for companies to find employees that will honestly try to do their jobs to the best of their abilities while remaining courteous to customers?

I have a few ideas on the subject.

The first is that good old bottom line.  Most companies are not particularly concerned about the quality of employee they hire and retain, but rather how cheaply they can hire and retain someone that does what they are told.  Even retention of employees isn’t a huge concern for most companies anymore–it’s cheaper to rehire than retain, especially if there is a possibility of having to pay for benefits or retirement somewhere down the road.

Employees who really try to do their job are even apt to be penalized for doing so.  We’ve all seen articles about employees who did a good deed of some kind while at work, ones that didn’t cost their employers a penny, and yet they were terminated for some technicality.  Many of us have been the employee who was taken advantage of repeatedly by unethical co-workers and employers because we did try to do our jobs well, only to end up missing out on promotions, overworked to the point of burn out, failed to get promised raises, or had some other less-than-wonderful result from our hard work.  Immediate supervisors will often even deliver disciplinary action or termination as a result of trying too hard, simply because it makes other employees or the supervisor themselves look bad.

Corporations may have a lot of power in the political world, but they are also incredibly powerful in everyday life.  Everyone either works for one or is forced to do business with these large corporations because of the monopolies they have in many areas of our live in America.  Telephone, natural gas, cable television & internet providers, and electric companies are all privileged to have monopolies in most communities.    Other companies have apparently coordinated their needs with their so-called competitors, resulting in contracts that prevent customers from terminating service with them for a prescribed length of time, typically from 12-36 months.  In these situations, the corporations have very little motivation to try and please their current customers.  After all, if they don’t like the service or the customer service, what can the customer do about it?

Manufacturing companies have moved many of their production facilities overseas for cheaper labor and fewer regulations, and quality control seems to have become random in how stringent it is.  Companies that were once known for high quality products no longer can boast of that same quality.  Unfortunately, they have also often moved their customer service centers overseas too.

Then, the American consumer is inflicted with a customer service representative that may not understand their particular dialect of American English, and it is just as likely that the customer is going to have a great deal of difficulty understanding the representative’s  version of English.  A number of people have claimed (unverified by me) that these representatives are judged by how often they have “successfully resolved” the customer complaints, and that disconnecting the call is one way to successfully resolve the issue.  I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that with certain companies, disconnections are frequent as soon as it is apparent that the issue is not going to be resolved easily or if the customer asks to speak with a supervisor.

Even with American based customer service call centers, there is the “wrong department” issue.  It’s always that you have called the wrong department and then you will have to be transferred.  These transfers usually occur after an extended wait time for a human to begin with.  (I’ve waited as long as an hour.)  Then, without a number to skip the wrong department and go to where you are supposed to call, you end up disconnected.  How many hours do you want to spend on the telephone to get a warranty replacement of a $50 small appliance?

For businesses, the latest buzz has all been how to use social media to engage their customer base.  It’s gotten to the point of more annoyance than engagement, however, as they follow some plan dreamed up by a guy who didn’t shop there to begin with.  Do you really want to “like” that company or follow them on Pinterest to enter that contest or get that coupon?  The end result is that customers feel like they are being coerced, and it does little to endear the company or product with their potential customers, especially if they are using the current customer disservice model that most seem to be using.

So what is the real reason that companies no longer bother with good quality customer service?

It still boils down to that bottom line, folks.  It’s the fault of the consumer.

Accepting crappy customer service from any company, whether they have a monopoly  or not is allowing their bottom line to show that they don’t have to supply customer service.

So what can you do?

Complain.  Loudly.  Repeatedly.

  • Use the normal channels, whether it is a call to their call center or via their website.  Don’t scream or use profanity-that’s always counter productive and provides a good reason for your call to not be taken seriously.  Don’t use threats either.
  • Use promises.  Promise that you will never, ever shut up about how unhappy you are!
  • Record the calls.  If you get an exceptionally bad one, post it to YouTube. Keep the calls on file–you may need them later.
  • Write down names, phone numbers, dates and times.  It’s a great reference as your complaining becomes more prolific too.
  • If you are a blogger, blog about it.  Even years after I tossed my Tassimo machine, I still get hits daily on my experience with their crappy customer service.  It’s a great way to spread the word.
  • Review the product everywhere you can, including the customer service experience.  Many retailers will accept reviews on products even if you did not purchase it from them, such as Amazon and Walmart.  If you are reviewing the retailer or service provider, post those reviews anywhere and everywhere you can find as well.  Sure, it takes time, but what else do you have to do while you are sitting on hold?  I actually put my phone on speaker and then I can type with both hands.
  • Got Face Book? Twitter? Pinterest?  Speak up.  Tell everyone about your experience.  They may not be shopping for that item or service or company now, but they will remember what you said about them later too.  You may be surprised at how quickly someone from the company in question makes contact with you as well.  They may try and resolve the situation, which will make you happier than if you are ignored.  Some corporations often ignore social media complaints (yes, I’m talking about you,  Tassimo, Microsoft & Comcast!)  Smarter companies do monitor social media to engage dissatisfied customers and attempt to improve the customer service experience.
  • Post reviews to review sites such as Viewpoints.com as well.  For local companies and services, there are sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List (they require membership with a substantial fee,) Yahoo, etc.   Even lawyers, dentists, doctors, and medical facilities are reviewed!
  • Write the company an email.  Often, the corporate office is separated enough from customer service that they may not be aware of the type of experience you have endured.  Typically, the corporate website will have a “contact” tab at the bottom of the page.  Some have it in a bar at the top as well.  Be polite and explain the problem(s) clearly, along with your customer service experience, using dates, times, and names when possible.  Don’t forget to add what you expect the company to do to resolve your complaint as part of the letter.  Be reasonable with your expectations!

On the flip side of that coin is the excellent customer service experience.  When you have one of these, be just as vocal about your compliments, and use the same venues that you would use for complaints to voice your positive experience.   I had a terrible experience with Overstock.com once, and complained about it via Twitter.  Their representative on Twitter contacted me, we resolved the situation, and since then, I have enjoyed great customer service as usual with Overstock and would not hesitate to purchase from them again.  I also love shopping with Zappos.com and Penderys.com for the same reason–they provide good, dependable customer service.  I wish my representative and senators to Washington were as responsive to me as they are!

Expect reasonable and efficient customer service to be delivered with courtesy, and when you don’t get it–do something about it.  Do not ever accept it as just the price of doing business because it is not.  Make companies accountable!  That’s your job as a consumer!


How to deal with Tassimo customer service

19 Feb

It may come as a huge surprise, but I am often curious about those who read my blog, including those who find it via a search engine.  So, with that at the forefront of my mind, I checked the stats on this blog.  Most of them weren’t a surprise, but the really big surprise is how often people read it because of their Tassimo machine and its accompanying woes.

I can really relate to that.

I loved the machine, and despised the company and their utter lack of effective customer service.  I despised it so much that the machine was discarded.  Today, I get my coffee with a cheap $10 drip coffee maker, a stove top expresso pot or via my Melitta little plastic filter holder that sits on top of my mug and drips the boiling water through the grounds and into my waiting mug below.  If I want hot milk added, it is heated either on the stove or in the microwave, and then frothed with a little battery operated frother.

I’m certain that a huge chunk of the reason I ended up with high blood pressure was dealing with Tassimo’s customer service.

It really IS that bad.

It also made me think very hard about my priorities.

If customer service for a product is so bad that it causes me that much stress, does it really matter how well the machine performs?

In my case, I decided that the Tassimo machine was nearly the devil incarnate.  Yes, when the machine worked, I loved the coffee it produced.  I loved the convenience of having a hot latte, plain coffee, or expresso on demand, with no more preparation than plopping a disk into the machine.  That part was great.  It was attempting to order disks from Tassimo, as well as trying to deal with a malfunctioning machine, that drove me to the point of screaming fury.

Even worse, it wasn’t just once.  It was over and over as I tried to resolve issues and problems.

By the time the replacement machine arrived, there was such a bad taste in my mouth at even the mere thought of “Tassimo” that the coffee tasted like crap.  I still had several unopened packages of the coffees for the machine when I realized that until I got rid of it, it would be like some mechanical demon haunting my life, disrupting my personal pool of tranquility, and generally introducing chaos and conflict into it.

There was no other answer.

That machine had to go.  It had become my own version of “Christine” as a coffeemaker, with its own life and agenda, and they were in direct conflict with mine.  Judging from the sheer number of people searching for information on how to deal with Tassimo customer service, I wasn’t alone.  For those who want a summary of the blow by blow experience in 2010 with Tassimo customer service (and that term is used VERY loosely here!) I’ve listed the blog entries from that period of time.  The final chapter, the disposal of the machine, isn’t given its own entry.  I just wanted to get it out of my life without further incident.

  1. September 1, 2010 blog entry: Consumer anger and my Tassimo coffee maker
  2. September 10, 2010 blog entry: Quitting smoking and the Tassimo Fiasco update
  3. September 22, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo customer service round 2 plus Slovenia, China, Asia, Mexico and more!
  4. October 14, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo Customer (cough inserted here) Service–Round 3
  5. October 22, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo saga continues…
  6. October 26, 2010 blog entry: The Tassimo saga continues…and still no machine!
  7. October 28, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo Customer Service Saga continues-the first 24 hours
  8. October 29, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo does it again!!!!!!!
  9. October 29, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo does it again! Part 2
  10. October 31, 2010 blog entry: Tassimo miracle? IT ARRIVED
  11. November 3, 2010 blog entry: To be or not to be: the Tassimo

For those who are still dealing with Tassimo and their customer service, here are some suggestions.

  1. Call daily, even though it is inconvenient and aggravating.  Return the favor.
  2. Write down the representative’s name, the date and time of the call, and what you are told by that representative about your problem.
  3. If you get conflicting information or a non-responsive representative (almost guaranteed that this will happen) ask to speak to a supervisor.
  4. Write down the supervisor’s name, as well as the date and time and a summary of what you are told.
  5. Tell others about your experience, and maybe someone will be spared the indignities and aggravation that you are experiencing.  Post your reviews everywhere you can.  Some suggested locations are the retail website of the store from which you purchased the machine, Viewpoints, and Pissed Consumer.   Don’t forget Tassimo’s own website.
  6. Always stay polite, even when you really wish you could climb through the phone line and strangle the representative…slowly.
  7. Don’t give up.  For me, it took about two months to resolve the problem, at least “sort of” resolve the problem. Tassimo does not move quickly to give satisfaction to the consumer.
  8. Above all, don’t let the experience ruin your life.  It’s aggravating, but letting companies get by with crappy customer service is also not acceptable.

With all of that said, good luck with YOUR Tassimo.  I hope your experience is better than mine was.

When customer service goes bad

5 Jan

We are at the tail end of the biggest consumer season of the year as we start the new year.  We have bought all kinds of products, gizmos and gadgets by this time of year.  We buy them in good faith, expecting them to work, and wrap them up and give them to someone to make them happy.

But sometimes, they don’t work…or don’t work right…or are damaged…or the wrong size.  What then?

Sometimes the first customer service experience is at the store, standing in line with a gift receipt, to exchange that item for something more appropriate.  Sometimes it’s on the phone to call a customer service center.  And while we usually deal with someone who is courteous and efficient, there are times when it’s the opposite.  What then?

Don’t accept crappy customer service!  Demand to speak to a supervisor.

Sometimes though, not even a supervisor can help with your issue.  So what then?

Use your voice, and in the day and age of computers and reviewing websites, your voice can be heard.  Whether its a retailer, product, or manufacturer that fails to meet minimal standards, reviewing the offending party is just the start.

So what next?

Publicize your review.  Put links on Twitter, put it on your Facebook wall, put it in your blog.  Be heard, and be heard loud and often.  Write a letter to the publicity department of the offending company, along with any and everyone else you can find for the company, and include links to your postings.  Be specific about the problem and about why you are upset with customer service.

But be reasonable.  Don’t demand the moon because you bought green cheese!

Here’s some helpful hints when things go terribly wrong.

  • Document your calls, who you talked to and the day and time, as well as what they said.
  • Never ever use abusive language or profanity or make threats.
  • Always ask for a time frame for any action that is promised by the company, such as sending a replacement or returning your call.
  • Always be specific about the problem with the product or service.
  • Know what you expect from the company to rectify the situation (but remember, you are not always going to get it…if ever!)
  • Remember to go back to your reviews & postings and update them IF the company takes any remedial action to fix the problem.  State what the company did and how long after the problem occurred before the remedial action took place.

Most of all, remember to buy from companies that have GOOD customer service!  Be just as vocal about companies that do deliver good service as you are about the ones who don’t.

Why bother?

To not take any action is letting these companies get by with shoddy merchandise and terrible customer service, and that decreases the reasons companies have to deliver good service and great products.  If you support the idea of good old fashioned American quality and service, you have to take action to preserve it.  More and more companies are sending their manufacturing and call center jobs overseas to cut their costs, resulting in a loss of quality.  Many of us are buying their products, thinking we’re getting the best, when instead, we are buying one more cheap import.  Help other consumers avoid the problems you have faced, or at least have the opportunity to go into the transaction knowing that they are not likely to get good customer service. 

When you encounter companies with great products AND great service, yell it from the rooftops and share the news. We call that positive reinforcement as well as “word of mouth” advertising.  Let your word of mouth be your vote for quality companies and against those who fail to deliver!

Spam, spammers, and the Democrats are responsible for crappy customer service?

27 Nov


I’m not talking about the meat stuff that we all have childhood memories of, but rather the irritating assault of people trying to scam you, sell you something, or otherwise drive traffic to a particular website.  They love blogs, and keep hoping that we’ll turn off the moderation feature that WordPress offers.  Not likely.

Today alone, I had several offers regarding exposing Kendra, and none of them were g-rated exposures.  I had several where the English indicated the user was not a native speaker, and therefore had worded things very peculiarly, also complimenting me on various non-existent ideas in my blog entries.  One user wanted to drive traffic to a site selling smoked nuts (the tree kind, folks…get your mind out of that closet!)  and was “inquiring” about my opinion or whether I had bought nuts from them.  The strangest of all, the one that got the absolutely stupidest spam attempt of the week award, was the one that accused me of hating Democrats, etc., and was attached to an entry where I was discussing my experience with the Tassimo company’s customer service…and wanted to be a guest blogger for me.  Now what on earth did politics have to do with Tassimo?  Well maybe I was ranting about the general state of customer service, but I surely didn’t realize that that was the fault of the Democrats.  At least now I know who was to blame.

If you are interested in my political affiliation, I am a Conservative Liberal.

I really do question the sanity of these spammers.  They are consistently deleted, their entries never appear to the general public, and yet the same ones spam me daily with the exact same entry.  Do they hope that some day, they are going to get lucky and I am going to let their peculiar comments go through?  It’s okay to hate me or hate what I have to say, but at least make it make sense so I can leave it up for others to see.  I really DO let the comments go through when they are written in a manner that at least makes sense and doesn’t blatantly spam the page.

So I sit here and wonder…how many thousands of times a day do these spam bots hit blogs and post identical comments throughout the cyber world?  Who writes these bland and poorly worded entries?  Do they have to do the clicking or is that automated?  What is the real motivation?

Then I realize, it will all go away one more time with a single click of my all-powerful trackball and I can resume assuming the world makes sense.

Too bad I couldn’t do the delete thing with the Black Friday crowds, right?


Coffee makers, prices, and reality checks

24 Nov

I am a coffee drinker.  Not exactly a connoisseur, but I appreciate good coffee and despise bad coffee.  I hate weak coffee, where it tastes as though the coffee and the water were not on speaking terms.  I drink it with cream & sugar, but I want the coffee flavor to come boldly through without bitterness.  I tend to prefer darker roasts too, probably because of my fondness for bold flavored coffee.  Dark roasts, however, are often prone to a faintly burnt overtone, which I do not liked.  My current favorite for “everyday” coffee is Folger’s Black Silk.  I really like it, and it doesn’t have that burnt overtone.

The coffee maker is an important part of the coffee experience.  Over the years, I cannot even begin to count the number of coffee makers I have bought and used…and then thrown away.  They don’t last forever.

It’s funny how many machines I have killed over the years, especially when I compare that to the memories I have from other coffee makers.  My great grandfather had a Bunn coffeemaker that seemed to last for an eternity.  In my case, if it lasts a week for each dollar spent, I’m normally happy.  I have owned many cheap machines, and a few expensive ones.  What have I learned?

Sometimes brand names are just not worth the money.  That cone shaped filters seem to use less coffee per pot, but the filters are more expensive.  That the more features a coffee maker has, the more likely it is to quit working.

THE most dependable coffee maker I’ve ever owned is a Melitta ones.  Low tech, you simply put in a filter and add your coffee, then pour in boiling water.  The coffee drips into your mug.  Simple, effective, and dependable combined with very cheap and compact.  That coffee maker often sees duty while camping.

The worst coffee maker?  Anything made by Tassimo is guaranteed to start looking like a possessed machine once you have had to deal with their customer service.  I cringe every time I look at mine, despite the fact that it makes excellent coffee…some of the best I’ve had at home (it should at over $1 per cup!)  I cringe again every time I see them on the shelf in a retail store too, and pity the person that buys one, whether its the $89 model from Walmart or the $200 model from anywhere.

Right now, we’re using a machine purchased from Walmart that cost less than $10.  It was not chosen on price alone–I had one criteria as I looked at the machines.  It could not have a filter basket that was accessed by the same lid as the water reservoir.  That design happens to make me crazy…sooner or later, I end up dumping coffee grounds into the reservoir.  Many brands use that design, and I despise it enough that I refuse to buy a machine that includes it.  This cheap machine has a filter basket that slides in like a small drawer above the coffee carafe, and the water reservoir is accessed through the typical lift-up lid on top.  The coffee is good, and my sole complaint is that the warming plate does not actually keep the coffee hot, but more like passably warm.  We’ve been using it for 8 weeks now, and it does just fine.  We’ve almost reached the point where the machine has paid for itself (10 weeks in this case.)  I have no idea what brand it is, but would bet that it was not made in the USA.  Why?  It is cheap AND bought from Walmart.  Walmart sells enough imported goods that you’ll be hard pressed to find American produced ones on its shelves.

Two years ago, we bought the machine that at that point, was THE most expensive machine I’d ever purchased.  It lasted until the warranty was over and quietly died one morning without any sign of impending trouble.  It was a name brand.

The lesson learned?  Expensive does not equate quality.  Pay attention to user reviews on small appliances–and seriously, that one step before purchasing can save you hundreds of dollars a year and countless gray hairs from dealing with customer support.  That is also a two way street, though.  Everyone needs to review products–in regards to the product AND in regards to the customer support experience.

I guess I’m on a rampage to make customer service reach acceptable standards throughout corporate America.  I’m really fed up with substandard and outsourced customer service for products sold in the USA.  Some days, I feel like I will go insane if I get one more “I am never wrong” agent from India for anything!  (I have had them actually hang up on me so that they can retain their 100% accuracy rating rather than give me an answer.)  One of the biggest offenders in my eyes?  Microsoft.  They make me utterly crazy with their off shore customer no-service, which has now been downgraded to support via email and the standard request is “send me a screen shot.”

Screen shot of what?  In my case, it was billing and I wanted to know what I was being billed for each week.  I finally challenged the charges with the bank, canceled the card so they couldn’t continue billing me, waited for a response from them that I never got, and had my money refunded by the bank.  Do I know what I was being billed for?  Nope, never did find out what that was…and the amount never matched anything I’d bought.  I now pay for anything Microsoft with a pre-paid debit card loaded with the correct amount and no more.  That card is ONLY used for Microsoft billing too, by the way.  It costs me $3 each time I have to “load” that card, but it saves me considerably in terms of stress, aggravation, and hair pulling fury.

And that is one of the largest American corporations.  It doesn’t get any better with multi-nation corporations selling imported goods usually either.  Still, I use my cheap Chinese knock off camping stove that arrived with the directions written in Chinese (which I cannot read or comprehend) without any problems.  I don’t expect customer support with them, but the price paid was inexpensive enough that the lack of directions and support was to be expected.  I am furious when I pay a premium price for a name brand, expecting support…and get off shore no service in addition to shoddy goods.

As far as I am concerned, a warranty is worth the paper it is printed on.  If I have to use it, the product didn’t meat minimum standards.  Warranties also seem to match the expected life span of a product too.  I’m not impressed with a 90 day warranty.  A one year warranty means little.  A truly quality product should offer a 3 year warranty.  And customer service should provide service to customers…not aggravation.

To be or not to be: the Tassimo

3 Nov

I got the replacement Tassimo on Friday.  I did not get the promised email from Tassimo by Monday.  Instead, what I got was a horrible horrible surprise.

I turned the machine on, went to make a cup of coffee quick.  And low and behold, the same machine error code appears and nearly as persistently as the machine this one is to replace.  The owner’s manual said to turn off the power and let it stand for five minutes (I had just turned on the machine to begin with!) So I did it, and eventually, amid a lot of not-so-good-words, the machine brewed my coffee a few hours later.  Not exactly “fast” there.

So it screwed up on the third cup, and seriously so.  This is the same set of failures that predated the total failure of the old machine.  Should I call Tassimo and attempt to get a good machine?  Should I just write it all off and be happy that even though my $200 fancy machine is good for nothing more than being a door stop…my $9.95 machine performs perfectly?  Is the principle of the problem really worth the frustration I am going to be forced to endure?

I’m going to sleep on that.  I honestly don’t know if a $200 machine is worth that kind of aggravation.  I have gone through it twice and achieved nothing except being one step closer to hypertension.  However, on that proverbial other hand, if I don’t do something, I’m allowing Tassimo to continue marketing a substandard piece of junk as a premium machine without any repercussions at all (such as having to replace a high percentage of defective Bosch machines.)

Choices, choices…and all because I went with Tassimo instead of Keurig!

Tassimo miracle? IT ARRIVED

31 Oct

Friday was a very long day for me.  We had to drive to New Orleans for an appointment with a surgeon, and the twin spans weren’t even moving.  We ended up turning around, leaving the interstate, and using Highway 90 to get into the city.  I have no idea what the problem was, but after 45 minutes of not moving more than a car length, it was determined that we might not make it on time, despite leaving several hours early just-in-case.  My big plans of going to the appointment, leaving, stopping at Sam’s Club and a few other stores to pick up last minute items for the baby shower and campfire cookery demonstration were falling by the wayside fast, and not enhanced one iota with the fact that I needed to bake the desserts last night.  I bought a cake from Sam’s Club-chocolate bundt.  They are always very good, dense, and moist.  Today, however, they were overshadowed by THE most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever tasted, as well as the first time I liked frosting that I hadn’t made myself!  (Try www.frostingshop.com to see who made them.)

We didn’t get home until around 7 pm, and there were still unmade cheesecakes for dessert to handle.  I’m quick, and I had already laid a game plan in place to reduce the time investment–we did the cheesecakes in premade crusts rather than the springform pans.  The really big surprise was the box waiting for me, which soon proved to be from Tassimo.

I didn’t have time to deal with it last night, or all day today either, as the baby shower was my primary focus.  I was a bit amazed to see it was waiting for me on Friday evening, since I was anticipating a potential email giving me a tracking number on Monday.  No one at Tassimo seemed aware that this machine had been shipped either.  One curious missing item from the box was the cleaning disk.  It appeared to be the standard shipping of a new Tassimo, and included the filter, manuals, etc. but no cleaning disk, which is required to start using the machine according to the directions that came with the machine.  When I received my cleaning disks, they did not have anything familiar about them, as if I had never seen one before.  Therefore, I’m wondering if they are normally omitted from the standard retail package.  That might explain why I didn’t have one…if it wasn’t included the first time either.

The machine requires about an hour to set up to brew the first time, and it is noisier than I remembered it being.  That might well be because of now being in a travel trailer rather than a traditional wood framed home.  Lots of things SOUND noisier in here because of the smaller space and less sound deadening by the walls.

I brewed myself a Jacobs Latte Macchiato and a Kenya Carte Noire for GM.  I’d not had any Jacobs t-disks before, and I must admit, I prefer Maxwell House over Jacobs at least in this instance.

I found it amusing that the letter from Tassimo inside the box threatens me with being billed if they do not receive the old machine back within 10 days.  Does that mean I can bill them since I didn’t receive the replacement in a timely manner?

All in all, I’m glad to have the replacement, surprised it arrived on Friday, and still have  a bad taste in my mouth from the entire Tassimo customer service experience.  I would still recommend Keurig over Tassimo on that count alone.  I also  have little faith that this replacement machine will live longer than a couple of boxes of t-disks, even though I use bottled filtered water exclusively in the machine.  (I did in the previous machine as well–I prefer the lack of flavor from the bottled filtered water.)  I doubt I would go through the hassle again of obtaining a replacement.  It cost me more in aggravation than buying a Keurig to replace it would.  Having read the reviews of many people who have had even worse experiences with their Tassimo machine than I have, its actually probable that this new replacement will be dying a slow death around the new year, as a 90 day lifetime does not appear to be particularly uncommon.

I guess I’ll have a Tassimo day around the end of each month, celebrating its short anticipated lifetime.  In the meantime, I can enjoy excellent coffee at about $2 + aggravation per cup, since each time I touch the machine, I’m going to remember how much aggravation it took to get it here.  I’ll stick to t-disks that are available at local Walmarts & Targets, or available through Amazon, since I know better than to ever even dream of ordering direct from Tassimo.  I will never buy them in bulk either, since the machine is unlikely to have a very long life, and gives little to no warning of impending death and won’t be replaced with another Tassimo.

So drink your coffee and smile…I can have my single cup of latte, cappuccino, regular coffee, or decaf at night without resorting to instant.  On the mornings when we are in a hurry,  I can have a cup of coffee fast, rather than waiting for our very cheap ($9.95) drip coffee maker to cycle through and dribble our coffee into the pot.  (It too gets bottled filtered water, and has been slow since its purchase about 30 days ago.)  And someday, I’ll own a Keurig, which is cheaper initially, a bit slower to brew (but still pretty fast), uses cheaper K-cups with a wider variety of coffees available, can use a My K-cup with my Folgers Black Silk or fresh ground coffee, is considered more reliable by consumer reviews, and produces only a slightly inferior cup of coffee.  My mom is actually buying the mini version of the Keurig machine, which takes up very little counter space (important in a travel trailer but her regular  kitchen is still fairly small too.)  Since she will have a few months (at least) headstart on me with her new machine, I’ll get the nitty gritty from a regular user that I personally know, rather than just faceless reports from people who may not follow up their initial review later on in their ownership of the machine.  That’s important to me too.  I want to know how well small appliances satisfy at the 3 month, six month, one year, or longer marks.  Many times, like with the Tassimo, I am initially THRILLED, only to have things go south later on and my opinion changes without me updating a review I had put somewhere earlier in the process.  I probably review as many as fifty items in a month, ranging from books to appliances to products to restaurants.  Remembering to change something means that something very unusual happened–like being furious about customer service that made no customer service almost preferable or something that has performed so far above normal expectations that you feel over the moon about its performance–like a helmet that actually saves your life during an accident.

I have actually written to companies to thank them for a superior product that performs each and every time without variation.  I believe in positive reinforcement, whether its for a child, a dog, or a company.  I made sure  to compliment a manager at a Kentucky Fried Chicken last week–that restaurant  sparkled with cleanliness, each and every employee had a smile, and every employee appeared to be genuinely concerned about their job performance.  That indicated to me that the manager was excellent and far above the norm in motivating her employees and ensuring everyone performed well.  I have NEVER been in a fast food restaurant that was better run!  (If you are ever traveling I-10 through Mississippi near the Alabama border, try KFC off of Exit 69 [Highway 63] south of the interstate on the east side of the divided highway.   Even the buffet is above the norm in quality, cleanliness, frequency of change-outs on the food, etc.)  I’m actually going to suggest we try KFC for our next group meeting for Get Ready Go, and had inquired about the feasibility of doing so with the manager.  At only $5 per person, it makes for a very inexpensive location, and this particular one can easily accommodate a group of 12-15 people, whereas we found the KFC on Highway 90 in Pascagoula (Denny Ave) to be unsuitable to have a group meet there.  Compared to the other KFC just a short distance away on Highway 63 in Moss Point, it’s a noisy dive with indifferent employees.

So when you encounter good service, good employees, good products, etc.–don’t forget to tell them so!  Encouraging quality service & products means more than just griping when it isn’t the way it should be.  It means compliments, tips, letters of appreciation, future purchases, good word-of-mouth advertising, and excellent reviews.  For every negative review and complaint, I try to make sure I have at least two of the other kind, just so I don’t become a grumbling unpleasant customer who is always unhappy.  Fortunately, I’m frequently blessed with reasons to smile, and really rarely deal with the kind of service I have received in the past from Tassimo, Microsoft, Sprint, etc.