Monday, December 11

4 Stars for Liberty Richter

While this blog is my collection of horrible customer service anecdotes, I have on occasion given accolades. This is one of those occasions.

I am involved in the "food allergy community" (I hate using the c-word for everything . . . perhaps I should say "underground"? LOL.) Both of my daughters have food allergies; one of my nephews does, too. Reading every label on every food product is second nature to me, and I am always on the lookout for safe food alternatives.

One of the products my sister buys for my nephew (and many parents in my Community/Underground buy) is called VeganRella, manufactured by Liberty Richter. It's a cheese substitute that contains no dairy, no soy, and no legumes, making it unique in the allergy world.

Last week, VeganRella changed its recipe to contain expeller-pressed soy oil. This came as a very unwelcome surprise for parents (and kids!) whose only source of "cheese" is VeganRella. A grassroots effort was launched, with POFAKs (that's Parents of Food-Allergic Kids for those of you not in the peanut-free gallery ;) calling to voice their disappointment.

In a phenomental move, Liberty Richter has decided to resume the production of VeganRella with canola, instead of soy, oil. Until this incident they were unaware that their product was so popular in the allergy world. And in the meantime, they even offered my sister (one of the moms who called) a small stash of the canola oil version to last my nephew until the new canola oil batches hit the stores in a few weeks-- after a thorough cleaning of their production equipment, to reduce the potential for soy contamination.

This kind of service is virtually unheard of; some day I will rant about Hain Celestial, maker of Rice Dream products (and many, many, many others.) To have Liberty Richter address this issue promptly and resolve the matter in a way most beneficial to both manufacturer and consumer is, simply, fanfrickingtastic.

Wednesday, December 6

Fun With Maintenance

The heat distribution in our apartment is pathetic. The other night I woke up drenched in sweat. I used my nifty desk thermometer to determine that our bedroom was 83°. I put the same thermometer in my 2-year-old's bedroom; 61°. Every vent in the apartment is closed except the one in her room. We had this problem last winter, too, but I didn't have a 3-month-old coughing and sweating by my side at the time.

So I called maintenance. Hee hee.

Two men showed up, determined the vent in her room is indeed blowing, and decided it would help if her window weren't poorly sealed and allowing cold air in. We'll get you new weatherstripping, they said, and left.

Of course, they never came back. Instead, the next morning, I got an e-mail from the management office declaring my support ticket closed.

I dialed maintenance and identified myself. Where oh where is my weatherstripping?

She put me on hold while she checked. She returned. "Oh, they had to order it. It will take a few days."

"Okay, then why is my support ticket closed?"

I could hear the unspoken duh as she replied, "Because the issue is resolved."

"Not on my end," I told her. "My bedroom's still cold!"

"But they'll come back," she insisted.

"How will they know to come back if the support ticket is closed?" I wanted to know.

"They just know," she retorted.

Are there really people for whom this is true? Because if I had to give Vegas odds on this one . . .