08-Mexican-Shirt

Costa Cruise Lines Laundry Fail

On January 2nd, we sent an email to Costa Cruise Lines after discovering that they had written DIRECTLY on the fabric of garments we sent for laundering, just prior to leaving the ship.

It has now been a week and the only response we have received so far was an email on January 3rd (probably automated) stating:
Dear Mrs. Wells,
We have received your email concerning your cruise holiday. Rest assured our Guest Relations Department is reviewing the situation you presented and will respond to you as soon as possible.
Sincerely,
The Guest Relations Department

Email sent to Costa on January 2, 2017
This is the exact email we sent to Costa, along with all of the photos of the clothing.

We were guests on the Costa Deliziosa cruise – December 21-28, 2016. Our Costa Card numbers for this cruise were – Geoffrey Wells – ********* and Victoria Wells – *********.

Just before leaving the cruise we decided to take advantage of your $29.99 laundry offer.

As we received the laundered items back in our cabin the evening before disembarking, we just packed them into our luggage.

After arriving at our hotel in Miami on the day we disembarked (Dec. 28, 2016), we discovered that our clothes had been marked, using black magic marker, DIRECTLY ON the clothing itself or on a size tag on the clothing. The mark on the size tag on the formal shirt was already rubbing off onto the shirt itself.

Some articles of clothing (the dark ones) had a label stapled to them. Not an optimal solution, but certainly a more acceptable way of marking the clothes than having our laundry number (Number 44) written DIRECTLY ON the clothing.

As far as we are concerned, these items are now ruined. The worst one was Victoria’s white shorts. The number 44 was written directly on the fabric on the inside of the FRONT of the shorts, but because they are white shorts, it was also visible from the outside.

Geoffrey’s Clothing
1 pair navy pants – value $50
1 blue shirt “Bay to Breakers” – an irreplaceable souvenir item only available to participants of the event – value $30
1 pair beige shorts – value $25
1 formal shirt (worn with tux) – value $70
1 white shirt (Mexican style) – value $40
1 blue floral shirt – value $35
1 black casual shirt with floral band – value $40
1 grey t-shirt (T-Rex) – value $30

Victoria’s Clothing
1 green plaid shirt – value $30
1 pair white shorts – value $20
1 pair orange shorts – value $20
1 pair green shorts – value $20
1 blue sweater tank top – value $35

Total value for all items – $445

We have been on many other cruise lines before and have availed ourselves of their laundry services. Usually there is a fabric tag that is easily removable. NEVER before has anything been written DIRECTLY on the garment itself.

We have attached several pictures to illustrate our concern.

This is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE and we await your reply on how you intend to rectify this situation.

Sent This Complaint to Several People at Costa
We sent this email to their customer care email address on their website – [email protected]

We also sent copies to:
Andrea Cortese, International Marketing Communication Director at Costa Crociere – [email protected] – this email address – taken from their website – This email address BOUNCED

Paul Soulsby, Senior Vice President – [email protected]

Michael Thamm, CEO – [email protected]

NOT Happy
We were not happy with Costa Cruise Lines at all (food, service, etc.) and this was just the last nail in the coffin. The other reasons for being unhappy will be shared in other blog posts. However, we wanted to get this out there to see if anyone else has experienced this kind of thing with Costa Cruise Lines.
We’d be happy to hear from you, if you have.

Pictures of the Ruined Clothes
Here are the copies of the pictures we sent them with the complaint email. It’s pretty clear that they marked either the fabric directly or one of the tags on each piece of clothing, with the number 44.

Please Share
Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know that may be interested or that may have experienced poor service from Costa Cruise Lines.

Update When Response Received

We will update this post when we receive a response from Costa.

Update – January 11, 2017

We received a response (sort of) from Costa today. It read:Dear Ms. Wells,

Your claim has been sent to our Risk Management Department for review. As soon as they provide a response, we will be in touch with you.

Sincerely,
The Guest Relations Department

Our first email to them was on January 2, 2017 – this seems a long time to wait just to be told we still have to wait for a response – with no indication of how long that wait might be. NOT happy.

Update – January 30, 2017

We forgot to record when we got the next correspondence from Costa, but the Risk Management Department asked for our banking details.

We were a little hesitant to give them such sensitive information, but we did.

And … on January 30th … a deposit appear in our bank for the COMPLETE AMOUNT of our claim – $445.00!

While it’s unlikely that we will sail with Costa again, they certainly stepped up and made things right.

Questions?

Why do the Locals Treat Europe Like an Ashtray and a Urinal?

A Year Ago Today

This is my rant from a year ago today (September 24, 2014) about how most Europeans seem to treat their countries like an ashtray and a urinal. We encountered this behavior mostly in France, Spain and Italy.

Note: There are No Pictures with This Post

You’ll notice the lack of pictures with this post. Considering the subject matter, trust me, it wouldn’t be pretty.

A Conundrum

We have found it very odd that most Europeans seem slim, fit and health-conscious, yet, on the other hand, a large majority of them smoke.

Treating Europe Like an Ashtray

Not only do an inordinate number of Europeans seem to smoke, and a lot of them chain smoke, but they don’t seem to care about disposing of their cigarette butts properly. Just dropping them on the ground – or the beach – or the sidewalk – or in the street – seems to be the method of choice.

Do they not see that this makes the entire place look like a massive ashtray?

It seemed almost everywhere we went, in Spain, Italy or France, we couldn’t escape the huge number of cigarette butts – everywhere!

Thankfully, cigarette smoking is no longer allowed on buses in Europe. On this visit, we took several, long bus journeys and would not have been able to stand it if they had allowed smoking on the buses.

And don’t get in the way of a smoker when the bus stops for a break, they’re likely to run you over in their rush to get their next fix. They often exit the bus with a cigarette already in their mouth and a lighter in hand,  before they are even fully off the bus.

There didn’t seem to be any particular age group that was so hooked. Both young and old were held hostage to this filthy habit.

It’s not that there aren’t any smokers in North America. Of course there are, but it is really rare to see cigarette butts littering the streets, parks, beaches, etc. Europe, on the other hand, seems like one large ashtray.

When we stopped at a small beach restaurant to enjoy a couple of beers, the waiter was serving food while a lit cigarette dangled from his mouth. Amazing!

One of the exceptions we noted in Europe was Paris. It’s a beautifully clean city, but they work very hard to keep it that way.

Treating Europe Like a Urinal

The other thing that made us wonder about Europeans, in general, was their lack of outrage at public urination.

Many times during our travels we saw men (yes, it was always men – easier for them, I guess), urinating in public – either at the side of the road, next to a tree, in a public park, you name it, we saw it all. But, besides that, even when urinals are provided they are often built so that the occupants are visible to passersby – and that was even in Paris!

Pet Poop

While we’re on the subject of public urination, let’s talk about the overabundance of pet poop. While we saw many people doing the “stoop and scoop” thing and cleaning up after their pets, they were the exception and not the rule.

While we were staying in Spain, we had to avoid way too much dog poop on our morning and evening walks. And dog poop deposited directly on the walking paths – right in the way!

I guess one person thought they were “cleaning up” by placing a paper towel over the pile of poop and then just walking away!

Animals at Restaurants

While I’m on a rant, maybe it’s time to mention the number of people that bring their pets, usually dogs, to restaurants.

Okay, maybe at an outdoor café it’s not too bad, but some of these people, with smaller dogs, would put them on their laps and even on the tables!

Are there no health codes for restaurants in Europe?

Fly Naked!

Flying days always start out okay. Up and packed in lots of time, the free hotel breakfast is uninspired but adequate, the shuttle gets you to the airport then you get to airport check in. The process just gets longer and longer. We had already bought and paid for our tickets, we had used the machines to check in and scan our passports but we still had to shuffle our way along the line snake to pick up a boarding pass. Of course the experienced traveler knows this is just the beginning – next comes the baggage check line.

Fly Naked!

If we really want to send the terrorists a message that we can’t be intimidated we should start flying naked. Think about it – no need for x-ray machines or endless discussion on the merits of the new full body scanners. Just let it all hang out with nothing to hide. You’d know your fellow passengers could be trusted because only us morally decadent infidels would stoop to such behavior.

The lineups would disappear and the skies would once again be safe.

But There’s Still the Weather

For whatever reason, it seems airlines will avoid telling you the truth about delays. The announcer just says flight so-and-so will be 2 hours late and passengers for flight this-and-that have been transferred to flight whatever leaving tomorrow.

We just sit and sit. I daydream about sitting next to Angelina Jolie on a Naked Air flight.

It’s now long past the time we should have arrived home and we still haven’t left Miami.

Turns out there was a major storm front that passed through the area and everything was grounded. Anyway, eventually we are on our way and to make up for the delay, American Airlines has a free open bar. Too bad it is such a short flight but since we have been stuck in an airport and haven’t eaten all day, that is probably just as well.

Funny thing about coming home, the familiarity of the surroundings starts to erode the memories of your trip. In a day or two it is almost like you never left home.

Guess we’ll just have to take another trip very soon.

Tipping-Gun

Do You Remember When You Tipped for Good Service?

When did tipping become a requirement instead of a reward for good Service?

Tipping-Gun

The whole point of tipping your waiter, taxi driver, hairdresser or anyone else in a service industry was to reward the person that went above and beyond the basic requirement of the position.

A taxi drive takes you from A to B for which he (or she) generally receives a percentage of the fare. If they also open your door and help with your luggage then they are entitled to a tip. Hell, I’d even settle for a pleasant disposition. But, I really get pissed when the cab is dirty, the driver is unpleasant and smells, I struggle with my bags and then the driver holds his hand out for the customary gratuity.

My wife and I were at a restaurant in Key West a few years ago called “Red Fish Blue Fish”. We had never eaten there before but the menu looked interesting so we decided to try it.
The food was excellent and our waiter was polite and attentive. He pointed out his menu recommendations and checked back several times during the meal to make sure we had everything we needed. We enjoyed the meal so much we decided to return the following day.

Unfortunately our waiter from the previous day was not working this night, so we were seated by someone else. This one took our order and delivered our food – presumably the basic requirements that he is paid to do. At the end of the meal I paid the bill and added the customary 15% because I have become a politically correct, spineless whimp that doesn’t have the ‘cojones’ to make a stand for decent service.

At least, I thought I left 15%. Perhaps my unconscious was doing what my conscious mind couldn’t. Anyway, regardless of how much the tip was, it wasn’t enough for this waiter because he followed us out the door hurling abuse. It was one of those, you want to curl up in a dark hole moments. I should have demanded to see the manager and had him fired but I missed the moment.

The point is, why are we now required to supplement the wages of service workers that provide no more than basic service? Worse yet are the restaurants that automatically add a service charge to the bill. If you don’t notice it you can easily double tip.

The corporate takeover of independent restaurants has meant rising prices well beyond what can be blamed on inflation. A fairly ordinary meal for two can easily approach $100. At 15%, or the now suggested 20%, that’s 20 bucks for carrying two plates from the kitchen to your table.

If you are in a service industry and rely on tips for your income, I’m sorry but you are going to have to start earning your tips. I for one am fed up with playing the politically correct games and handing over my hard earned wages and getting nothing in return.

What do you have to say? Do you agree or do you think I’m just a cheap SOB?

Baked-Beans

Remember When Baked Beans Filled The Can?

Baked-BeansWe both work pretty hard each day keeping our stores healthy and responding to customers but Vicky seems to do the bulk of the work so I at least try to make lunch for us. Nothing fancy, just soup or a sandwich. Today I was craving some baked beans on toast but when I opened the can I couldn’t see any beans.

I Remember When …

Do you remember when there were so many beans in a can of baked beans that there was hardly any room for the juice. They used to be packed in the can so tightly you had to slap the bottom of the can silly just to get them out. Then they sat in a lump in the bottom of the saucepan until you pried them apart with the serving spoon.

Things Have Changed

Nowadays you can pretty much count the beans as they float in the watery liquid. Forget about having beans on toast because after you drain all the juice there aren’t enough beans left to cover the toast.

Did I miss the memo about beans becoming a rare commodity or are the food companies just getting incredibly greedy and splitting the contents of one can between three.

I understand about inflation, costs of everything go up and I would gladly pay the extra few pennies if they would just fill the baked bean cans like they used to when I was a kid. I don’t want half a can of watery tomato or molasses juice, I just want beans.

Make You Own

Fortunately I’m married to wonderful cook and making a big pot of home style baked beans is no challenge at all. Here is Vicky’s recipe for her special Baked Beans. Please let her know if you like the recipe. And if you know any brand that still packs the can full please let everyone know about that too.