Sunday, November 28, 2010

Radisson at LAX: best of times, worst of times (apologies to Dickens)

So I really like the California Star Ball--it's a fun competition with very generous scholarship money.  I also like the front desk staff of the Radisson @ LAX:  they're gracious and helpful, as is the bell desk and the BREAKFAST staff at the restaurant there

But seriously--the food service at lunch and dinner (and at the bar) is woefully short of decent.  30-45 minutes for a simple meal in an uncrowded room?  30-40 minutes for take-out?

Example:  last night, we finished dancing at around 9, and we wanted to get a to-go order at the restaurant so we could watch the rest of the competition.  (We tried seeing what was pre-made at the bar.  The pre-made case was completely bare.)  So we waited 5 minutes at the maître d’s station, only to be told that we should order take-out at the bar.  (Lunch takeout is at the maître d’s station.)  So we went to the bar.  After watching someone rinse wine glasses for another 5 minutes, we asked about how we could get a fast meal to go.  We explained that we just wanted to order the meal that would take the least time to prepare.  The person behind the bar (not the bartender, but someone else with a Radisson badge) snapped that anything would take 30-40 minutes.

Anything?  Sliced tomatoes with mozzarella would take 30-40 minutes?  A plain salad would take 30-40 minutes?


Thank goodness for my roommate, who had the patience to stay.  I left, and Angela shared her meal (salad and fries) with me, after waiting 30 minutes for that order herself.

It's a shame that a basically nice hotel can have such a split personality when it comes to the restaurant.  I spoke to the hotel management, who told me that the restaurant isn't owned by the same people who own the hotel.  I also spoke to the restaurant's morning manager, who was (as always) very nice.  Everyone explained that no one had complained before.  Seriously?  No one?  Not even the person I'd seen complaining on Friday?

Here's the thing, Radisson:  I plan to make sure that I post a link to this comment on a lot of travel rating websites.  That old rule about customer service applies to me, too.  Do well, and I'll tell at least ten people.  Do poorly, and I'll make sure to tell many more people.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A fresh take on voting on Dancing With The Stars

I love DWTS, and I always have.  (I was able to go to a semi-final one year, thanks to my buddy Arnold Peter, who represents BBC America, among other clients).  And thanks to my buddy Jack Ayer, I can forward to you this NYT essay on how the voting really works (see here). 

Isn't it nice to understand arithmetic sometimes?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Best insurance agent--ever.

Recently, I had to make an insurance claim, and our agent, Perry Olson, did an exceptional job of dealing with some sticky issues of customer service (problems with a third-party appraiser).  We've had some good insurance agents before, but I have never seen customer service like Perry's.  He's wonderful!

Happy 235th birthday, Marines!

How many organizations do you know where you can count on the steadfastness of an entire group?  Where every member is trained to think of the honor of the members who came before him?  Where every member is trained to roll up his sleeves, "embrace the suck," and get the work done?

I know of one.

Happy birthday, Marines!