Well, I finally sold my car.  After several weeks of listing, relisting, and re-relisting on craigslist, fielding numerous emails and questions, and riding along on various test drives, my hard work, patience, and determination finally didn’t pay off. 

That’s right.  It didn’t.  I got fed up and took my car in to a local dealer who snapped it up for – well, less than I could have made under ideal circumstances but surprisingly more than I expected.  I could have saved myself the trouble and done this last year.  In fact, I should have, but the dealer I spoke with at the time strongly urged me to try my luck on craigslist.  I told him I didn’t want to go through the hassle but he was pretty insistent that I should give it a try.  I relented, reconsidered, and sat on the car for six months before eventually trying my luck on craigslist – and went nowhere.  And so, rather than go back to that original dealer, I went to another one who proved far more receptive to my request.  And, while I was there, I checked out a new car.  I’m thinking of downsizing from my remaining Q7.  If I do, I’ll probably end up buying from this second dealer as well since he seemed far more receptive to my business.

Look, I get it.  That first dealer was presumably looking out for my best interests.  Only problem was he didn’t really pay attention to where my best interests lay: not in how much money I could wring out of the sale of my SUV but how much less of a hassle I would have to go through to unload it.  

If I do end up buying the car I’m considering, that will make my fourth straight Audi.  I’m all about loyalty when it comes to friends, co-workers, and cars.  

I used to drive a BMW.  It was an excellent car and the service provided was beyond reproach.  Then, when my lease ended, I elected to buy it out and sell it to a co-worker.  At which point that stellar BMW service took a turn.  Suddenly, I felt like I was trying to break up with a crazy ex-girlfriend who was doing everything in her power to make things as unpleasant and difficult for me as possible.  That experience effectively turned me off BMW and ensured that I would never, ever purchase another car from the company – nor ever recommend the company to anyone.

My next car was a Mercedes and, in that case, it was a little more straightforward.  No bait and switch there – it was a terrible car from the start.  Never again.

Which eventually led me to Audi.    To date, Audi products and services have proven excellent.  My loyalty is their’s to lose.  

Speaking of which…

Companies that have above and gone beyond the call to win my loyalty:

Audi

Bella Gelateria

Beta 5

Bose 

Campagnolo Restaurant/Campagnolo Roma

Granville Island Animal Hospital

Minami Restaurant

Peninsula Hotel (Tokyo)

Companies that have disappointed and, quite frankly, pissed me off:

Blackberry 

BMW

Mercedes

Rogers Communications

I’m curious about where you all stand with regard to product loyalty. What companies have earned your respect and repeat business?  And what companies have so pissed you off that you will never do business with them again?

34 thoughts on “April 25, 2013: Brand Loyalty!

  1. Company’s that have my complete loyalty:

    B&H Photo in New York. I buy ALL of my camera equipment and a good amount of my computer tech there.
    Lynn’s Model Trading Post in Michigan (I collect Breyer model horses), she accommodates my shipping preference without question.

    Company’s I would never do business with:

    Verizon (long story)
    Burger King (got food poisoning twice there).

  2. Will always have my business:
    Chrysler
    Sawasdee restaurant in Ventura, CA
    Vagabond Inn coffee shop in Ventura, CA
    Mandarin Lotus restaurant in Agoura Hills, CA

    Will never again have my business
    Bank of America
    DSLExtreme
    Cafe 126 in Ventura, CA

  3. Brands that have won my loyalty – at least for now:

    Heinz
    Red Hot
    French’s yellow mustard
    Grey Poupon (I have a thing for condiments…)
    Bush’s (as in, beans)
    Scotties
    Q-Tips
    Lysol
    Dawn
    Tide
    Windex
    Dixon Ticonderoga
    Sharpie
    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
    Pledge
    HP
    DirecTV
    Verizon
    Honda

    There are more, but it’s late. Some are for quality of product, some for outstanding customer service, some just because I like the taste better than that of similar products. I do tend to be a brand loyal person based on many, MANY disappointing experiences when going off brand. Sometimes it’s not worth it just to save a few pennies because, in the long run, it ends up costing you more.

    Brands that have pissed me off:

    Comcast
    MCI (before the Verizon buy-out)
    Dell
    Most computer ‘necessities’, like my temperamental browsers, Real, Quick and whatever times and players, Adobe, Java, and anything else that threatens to make my browsing experience sheer misery if I don’t update…NOW! Pretty sure i hate Apple and Microsoft, too. I know technology isn’t a brand, but I’m about ready to toss the computers in the trash and go back to communicating the old-fashioned way – by yelling out the winders! (Hey, it’s how we did it back on the farm!)

    I know there must be more, but those are the only ones I can come up with right now. I can’t think of any household items that I’m holding a grudge against – in a pinch I will opt for something lesser even if I’m not as fond of the product as my regular choices. So I guess that’s it for now!

    das

  4. Grrrr…forgot to put Bank of America on the shit list. Finally got my mortgage out of there…best thing I ever did.

    das

  5. Good:
    My veterinarians and the chemo vet.. TriCounty Animal Hospital, Cumming GA and Joann Roesner in Alpharetta. Unparalleled care.

    LeilaLove French Macaron… superb product and care for customer satisfactions.

    My mechanic and his son.. can’t always do the work, but honest and tells me when I need a specialist.

    Joe’s Appliance.. No joke, I call, he has me explain the issue and over half the time tells me exactly how to fix it myself. If I don’t WANT to, he’ll come or if it’s beyond me/needs parts. I’d give him my first born son if I had one. About 15 yrs of utter integrity and help.

    Never again:
    long list but top on mind now is local lock smith who gave one quote, came with double, tried to PRETEND did the work (replace steering ignition which was bad and causing security issues), made do it actually. Schmuck. He did NOTHING but probably lube it, I threw a fit and he then actually replaced which .. ahem.. needing a telling NEW KEY.

  6. Strangely, my list of companies I’m loyal to end up on other folks’ shit list:

    Wells Fargo Bank: Been with them for almost 25 years and they always look out for me, never give me any hassles — even with yearly credit fraud issues — and actually provide amazing phone customer service.
    Verizon: Might be because I have them for work and personal accounts, but they are always easy to work with and adjusting my accounts to meet my changing needs, sometimes monthly, is no sweat.
    Zappos: I have a hard to find shoe size for a girl and really appreciate their speed and great customer service. No hassles, ever.
    Netflix: Have you ever called them about an issue or problem? You should make one up and call them just to check it out. They are — bar none — the happiest, perkiest, most enthusiastically helpful phone reps you will ever encounter.
    Trader Joe’s: A great market that always has just what I need/like, but without the obnoxious airs, and inflated prices, of Whole Foods.
    Curry House restaurant (West LA branch): My friends and I go here anywhere from once to 4 times a month, on weekends, and have for many years. Always good Japanese curry, and to this day we are still not tired of ordering our regular dishes! The staff is wonderful and are always so thrilled to see us.

    Oddly, I can’t think of anyone to add to a never-again list, probably because if a company or business fails me once, I walk away. So, it’s really only memorable to me when I make a point of bringing my business back to a place/brand repeatedly.

  7. I have no brand loyalty. I don’t think I’ve ever owned the same make of car twice. Let me think . . . Ford, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Vauxhall (a.k.a. Opel, GM or Holden depending on which continent you come from) and Peugeot. Yep, no repeats.

    I’m a tight-ass so I’ll shop around for the best deal. But I’m also lazy so convenience has the same priority as price. If I find something I like I’ll stick with it but I have a short attention span so have no qualms trying something else. I’m an enigma wrapped in a conundrum.

  8. Joe, you must have better luck with audi’s than RDA. I guess it depends on the model. 😉

    Brand Loyalty:
    Hp
    Ford
    Hoover
    Coke
    Lysol
    Pinesol
    Windex
    Comet
    Barilla
    Prego
    Bose 901 speakers(wish I could afford nowadays)
    Pentax cameras(wish I could afford)

    disloyalty
    Dell
    Apple
    android
    BOA…but no other choice that has free checking
    Wells Fargo
    Cox communications….no choice

  9. Mercedes have been great with us. Up till now the cars have run like a dream and when its comes time to replace, they have gone out of their way to keep our business. I just need to convince hubby to get a nice little two seater next time!

    As for other brands, I tend to shop around. From my working experience – I deal with customer complaints – I’ve found that good brands from five years ago may not be the best today (that goes in reverse too) but I love my bank. RBS may not have had the best press during the last couple of years but their staff are wonderful. They always greet you with a smile, and their service is second to none and after all, that’s what really matters to the customer.

  10. Loyalty:

    Virgin Atlantic – makes long haul flight an absolute pleasure

    Fairmont Hotel Group – best Loyalty plan ever – 2 room upgrades & a free night on my last trip to Seattle & Vancouver

    Eurotunnel – where else can you drive your car onto a train and in 35 mins be on the road in Europe

    Virgin Media – great broadband and cable tv for the UK

    Waitrose/John Lewis Partnership – amazing food & excellent delivery & service on all household items purchased

    Nissan – our X-Trail is 10 years old, has done 124,000 miles all over Europe & the UK & still looks & travels like new

    Stargate SG-1 – still watch it every day when it comes on re-runs, still spend hundreds of pounds a year and thousands of miles on air travel to go to Cons & meet the actors etc and can’t ever see an end to it

    The BBC – can still churn out endless quality drama and wonderful wildlife programmes & worth my licence fee for these alone

    Absolute Stinkers

    British Airways – flight service & customer service – the World’s Favourite Airline? – I think not!!..gave up fighting with them after the flight from hell from LAX and only use them for saved air mile travel now

    BT – ’nuff said – lazy arsed monopoly who had it good for too long

    Reality TV – should be consigned to hell for ever and ever – apart from Deadliest Catch & Ice Road Truckers

    Footnote : and you’re right about Bella Gelataria, thanks to you I discovered it last summer…amazing ice cream – best in the world!

  11. Gaming
    Love Sega & Nintendo. All my Sega & Nintendo consoles still work, even decades later.
    Hate Sony. My Sony Consoles seem to have borked about a year or two in.

    Food
    Love Warburtons. UK Bakery, makes lovely bread. Even that one time I found an odd eerie bug in the loaf hasn’t put me off buying the stuff!! One in a thousand. Shit Happens!!
    Hate .. That one local shop that always seems to rebrand itself as a different store every year or so, but you just know it’s the same people running it, and it’s never actually any different. This year it’s called KwikSave!

    TV
    Love BBC. It’s not until recent years that I started to notice just how much BBC stuff I actually watch. Before it was the occasional this or that, the specifically BBC Branded stuff that I particularly remember being BBC shows. But since iPlayer’s come along, I’m noticing just how many BBC shows I tend to watch. And it’s a LOT!
    Hate ITV. I’m struggling to remember anything that I’ve watched on ITV in a long time. ITV is the UK’s third “Main” channel, and should have at least something worth watching, but. There isn’t!
    There’s lots of Soap Operas. ITV’s idea of “Prime Time” is apparently “How many Soap Operas can they cram into your eyeballs” territory.
    Depressingly bad.

    TV – In Particular
    Love House. I never originally bothered to watch “A medical drama?!”, but people kept banging on about it, so I figured I should give it a go. It took about 2 or 3 episodes before I got over the “Hugh Laurie doing a fake American accent” thing, and then I grew to love it.
    Hate Glee. When the show started, A man I trusted said on his blog that it was going to be a great show. It wasn’t. It really really wasn’t. And it’s gone on to take over everything, and I hate it so very very much!

  12. I’m careful about brand loyalty because by the time a high-priced item has lasted long enough to impress me, often something has changed at that company and a new purchase won’t pan out the same.

    Except for cars. Cars are increasing in quality in terms of low maintenance cost. So, I’m also careful not to be too impressed when a car lasts longer than a previous car.

    The internet gives me more up to date feedback about quality than my previous experiences can.

  13. Companies on my loyal list:
    Bach Trumpets
    Apple
    Sweetwater.com
    Johnston & Murphy

    Companies on the anti-loyal ist:
    BlackBerry
    Sprint
    Mercedes

  14. My husband likes Dodge trucks.

    Verizon does well for us for phones, but that’s because they have coverage in areas no other carrier reaches, important for a trucker.

    Bose and Pioneer

    Lots of little local restaurants, Golden Dynasty, Eastside Diner, Sitara. Not fancy, but reliable and friendly.

    I HATE certain chain eateries. We keep getting gift cards to them for Christmas, I just regift them rather than try the places ever again. Our local IHOP is a pit of despair. Olive Garden fills me with rage and Chilis is wall to wall families with horrible children who step on my toes. Oh. Hell. No.

  15. With regards to brand loyalty to anything really. If it works, doesn’t give me any hassle and I like it. It has my vote.

    And with food, if I like it, and it’s the right price. I’ll happily come back 🙂
    (Really, cost is never an issue here).

    That’s about as basic response as you’l see Joe but pretty much covers my thoughts lol

  16. As far as cars are concerned, my loyalty used to be with Saturn and more specifically with a particular salesman. The quickest way for a car salesman to lose my busines as a repeat customer is to treat me like a second class citizen once he has closed the deal and no longer has to “make a sale”. I went to Saturn for the first time back in the mid ninties and met a salesman named Joe. He took the time to talk with me and recommend a used car in my budget. Two years later, I had an issue with the radio that GM, the car maker told me would cost $200 to fix. I called Joe because I was frustrated over not being told that the car would experience this problem. Not only did he research the issue for me and find out that there was a simple and no cost solution to it, he personally came to my place of work and fixed it for me on my lunch break. Over the years, I bought three more cars from Joe and Saturn. Sadly, Saturn is out of business and Joe has retired. Now, I hold every car salesman to the “Joe Standard” of salesmanship and customer service.

  17. Je suis généralement loyal à une marque, une fois que mon choix est fait. Plus par paresse que par vertu. Mais la pire expérience qui me soit arrivée et m’a prouvé que ma paresse avait un prix: BELL CANADA.
    J’ai été leur client pendant 30 ans. Il y a 2 ans, écrasé par la culpabilité comme celle du jeune marié qui trompe son épouse, je m’informe des tarifs de Videotron qui m’offre les mêmes services pour 50% moins cher!!
    J’appelle Bell et immédiatement on me propose de diminuer mes coûts de moitié!!!
    Bell ne me l’aurait jamais offert de lui-même.
    J’ai annulé mon abonnement.

    ENSUITE Bell m’a appelé une fois par semaine pendant des semaines jusqu’à ce que je les menaces de poursuites. J’ai reçu pendant 2 ans des lettres à mon nom pour me souhaiter bonne fête, me dire combien ma clientèle est importante etc jusqu’à ce que j’écrive au directeur pour le menacer de poursuite pour harcèlement !!!
    …une hystérie incompréhensible…
    à te dégoûter d’être fidèle à quoique ce soit pour le reste de tes jours!

  18. In terms of cars, used to love Toyotas when I was out in Ontario, but the service from dealers in Alberta was so bad that I was willing to try Subaru. Absolutely, totally love my Subaru and the dealer is great. Just before Christmas, we hit a moose and survived thanks to the Subaru quality and the SUV was repairable. It also is amazing in snow (6 months worth here). Absolutely hate any permutation of GM–have way too many instances of horror stories in dealing with them.

    In terms of horses, Quarter horses all the way!!

  19. I’m happy for you that you sold your car! I’m surprised that Mercedes didn’t do it for you. How about an Acura? Volvo? One my friends got hit hard on the driver’s side door while driving a Volvo. It was a miracle she lived through it with only minor injuries. Volvo must have a great safety rating.

    I have several friends that hold yard sales and they can never understand why I won’t do one. Yes, I know you can make money by holding an all-day yard sale but it’s not for me. I’d rather help out someone by giving my old stuff away or donating it. I don’t need the hassle. I’d much rather have a weekend.

    Comcast is my list. Sucky internet providers must be a worldwide problem. Narelle even complained about her internet provider in Australia.

    I’d also have to put my former bank (First Tennessee) on the list. When my purse was stolen and my account was accessed, they accused me of faking the whole thing. It was a long drawn out mess but because my hubby worked for a competing bank (we had just got married)-the manager of hubby’s bank “knew someone” higher up at F.T. and got it straightened out. Plus, after I paid off my first Honda, they lost the title. Twenty years ago but it still leaves a bitter taste. I take great pleasure in ripping up junk mail from First Tennessee. Sorry to rant.

    Hope y’all have a great day!

  20. The companies I’m loyal to are Duraband (CD players) because I had one of those in college and I rode what’s called an accordion bus to school and you feel every bump on one of those things, during one such bump my player went flying and slammed on the ground so hard the lid popped off and the disc popped out, I freaked and hurried to put it all back together and…the thing worked! Like it had never ever had a probable. So Duraband is really really durable! That’s got me going back to them over and over, great quality. My second loyal to company is Compaq (for computers). I have laptops and desk computers that are well more than ten years (desk comp.) or five plus at least (laptop) and they’re still running fantastically. These things were built to last for someone on a low-budget and they run great. Again quality stuff. At least for me they are.

  21. Ohhhh so many likes and dislikes… off the top of my head… based on customer service…

    LOVE
    -Cheezies – they made a little girl just learning how to write (yup the big red pencil) very happy… as a writing exercise the teacher assigned us to write a company whose product we liked. I wrote to Cheezies and a couple of weeks later a huge box arrived at my home FILLED with Cheezies, big bags, medium bags, small bags. It just blew my little grade 2 mind away. They are my gold standard and to this day my favourite example of excellent customer service.

    -My mechanic

    -Johnson & Johnson – After my bathroom renovation, I used their drain cleaner and it turned my new bathtub drain fixture black. I had the part replaced AGAIN, sent the damaged one to them with a copy of the original receipt and they mailed me a cheque along with a letter saying even though they were not technically responsible for the damage but for the sake of customer service blah blah… it’s kind of ironic they make my like list when their product tanked, but I’m big on customer service…

    -Kraft

    -Thermapen – ordered from the States, product arrived in TWO days. My fellow Canadians will understand what I mean by this modern day miracle. TWO DAYS. Usually ordering from the States seven-day delivery is being optimistic. They need to give everyone else lessons.

    HATE
    -Purolator/UPS – they say they “attempted delivery” but I know they didn’t because I would be home all day with no ring of the bell or knock on the door, so then I have to go to their depot and pick it up. They do this ALL. THE. TIME. So %$#@% annoying.

    -Canadian Tire car repair – just no

    -my ex-realtor

    -Companies that won’t deliver products to Canada (Yes Amazon I’m lookin’ at you, why won’t you deliver food to Canada? And don’t get me started on “Fulfilled by Amazon”)

    -Breville Toaster – beautiful (for a toaster) with some great/unique features but it can’t toast worth a shit, I just finished cursing it out.
    http://www.thebay.com/eng/home-smallappliances-toasterstoasterovens-Diecast_2slicesmart_Toaster-thebay/154851?gclid=CM722dD16LYCFUNqMgod0G4AZQ

    Other random things I love
    -BBC
    -My sleeping medication
    -Grumpy Cat AKA Tardar Sauce – not really a product or service but how can you not wuv her widdle face? The mellowest/chill cat in the world.
    -THE INTERNET except when I don’t, technology is a love/hate thing with me. Today it’s in my love column.

    K

  22. @Joe:

    Congratulations on selling your car.

    On the customer/brand loyalty: whoa…this has got to be a hot button topic with people!

    On my loyalty side, if your product works, is fairly priced, and you stand behind it, I’ll be loyal. If you fail, expect me to go elsewhere.

    My best experiences lately have been with Ford, Summit Racing, and Netflix.

    Ford – Our recent Ford purchases have been great, with only normal maintenance items to deal with (well, other than my own “upgrades” anyway).

    Summit Racing – Bought a bunch of engine items for the Corvette and found that the catalog description was wrong on one item, and I accidentally ordered the wrong part on another. Summit sent me a no cost shipping return label and supplied the correct parts with no hassle and free shipping.

    Netflix – Easy installation and use, and it does what I expect.

    My worst recent experiences have been with GM, AT&T, and my local village’s water board monopoly.

    GM – I had a 2003 Buick Rendezvous before the Fords and faced a number of issues with it, such as: bad head gaskets, bad intake manifold gaskets, three bad suspension air pumps (all under warranty), HVAC and battery post failures (the post just snapped off one day stranding us), paint failure (corrosion under the paint at the seams on the hood at 65K miles…not under warranty), and the final straw; the rear-end started going out at 95K miles. GM quality in the 2000’s seemed to take a real nose-dive and I don’t think they have recovered.

    AT&T – It’s been a long-running, over-priced battle with this monopoly. The only alternative is Comcast, which in the end is not really an alternative at all.

    Water Board – They doubled the rates and then hid some of that by changing from quarterly billing to bi-monthly billing. There has also been issues with the water quality and hardness, which the village has been very slow to respond to (14-months of hard water before they finally fixed it!) I’d go to well water, but they’d never give me the permits to drill.

  23. Funny, I can only think of companies on my out list:

    Burger King
    Taco Bell
    Subway
    Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s
    McDonald’s
    Wal-Mart
    Disney

    There’s plenty more, trust me, but these are the biggies. The food stuff is just my systematically getting rid of all fast food from my life, but these places in particular I’ve either had food poisoning or their service and selection have ceased to impress me over the years. I haven’t been to a Taco Bell in about 18 years, BK is about 10, CJ/H is about 7, McDonald’s is ok for a quick breakfast on a road trip or something but certainly NO other type of food will I eat of their’s, and Subway….I’m tired of mustard dominated sandwiches with meats and veggies that have absolutely no flavor.

    My Wal-Mart story is a long one, I’ll just hit the main points: I was in “hardware” for 45 minutes until someone finally came to help me, all the while, 5 workers passed me by with “How can I help you?” printed on the back of their vests. I was so flabbergasted and sarcastically amused by the lack of help, I went over and grabbed a lawn chair, unfolded it, and sat in it with my feet resting on the counter while I waited. All I needed was someone to grab the key for the locked up spray paint cans and fetch me two of them! That’s it! The guy finally comes back and says he was on lunch. Aaaaaand that’s when I lost it….. I’ll leave it at that. They didn’t get my money that night, nor will they ever again. I haven’t stepped foot near a Wal-Mart in about 7 years. It’s a great, great feeling.

    Disney…..that’s another story for another day, but more and more people I know are becoming sick of that money juggernaut.

    -Mike A.

  24. Big congrats on selling the car, Joe!

    For my favourites, I would have to say:

    1. LL Bean: Their customer service is absolutely above reproach. Everything from when you call in an order and a person actually answers the phone, to their forever satisfied guarantee, i.e. if you EVER are dissatisfied with a product, you can return it. I was speaking with someone recently who said they had a backpack that finally had a strap fail after 15 years of use. He returned it and they replaced it, no questions asked. That sort of story is the norm, not the exception, with them. Great product quality and great customer service – it’s an exceptional combination.

    2. REI – this outdoor gear store is pretty much on the same level with LL Bean – one of my friends that recently went on the Grand Canyon hike with me bought a pair of boots there before the trip and wore them on the four day Canyon trip. They weren’t comfortable, so he returned them and they gave him a refund, no problem. Again, exceptionally good customer service.

    3. For cars, Chrysler is my favourite (Jeep especially) because I’ve always had good luck with them and they just “fit” me better ergonomically than anything else. They went through a bit of a hard time under German ownership (there’s that obnoxious Mercedes issue again), but now joined with Fiat they seem to be making some real gains.

    Anti:

    1. Rogers Communications. Well, any of the Canadian telecomms really, but Rogers has been the worst in my experience.

    2. Air Canada. I was actually tempted to put them in my “favourites” column, believe it or not. The experience is so wildly variable. But then, I wind up flying on a US airline sometimes and then appreciate Air Canada to no end. So, maybe this one should be “on again, off again” category.

    3. Ford (with a close follow by Toyota). I’ve only ever had either as rentals, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a Ford rental that didn’t have a rattling interior piece somewhere, and they all have this weird “feature” on their sun visors where if you adjust them to a certain point toward the windshield, the suddenly spring ALL the way to the windshield. I want the sun visor where I set it, dammit! Picky, I know, but there ya go. And every Toyota rental I’ve had has been terribly uncomfortable. Ugh.

    4. I agree about Wal-Mart – I will not shop there. That probably mostly because of the way they treat their labour, but generally their rush to get the absolutely cheapest product winds up getting you… the absolutely cheapest product. I decided sometime ago that I would rather have fewer things, of better quality.

  25. Loyalties:
    Apple
    Zappos
    Target
    Netflix
    Hawaiian Airlines
    Southwest Airlines
    My cleaning lady Alma 🙂

    Anti-Loyalties:
    Walmart
    Volkswagen (horrible, awful Jetta)
    BMW (expensive, silly things breaking)
    United Airlines

  26. Favorites: Dell Computers (I’m on my third Dell laptop. I am not easy on my laptops- they’ve been dropped, hung out in Iraq, and manhandled), Nissan (one Sentra, one Xterra- both made it past twelve years), Ascis running shoes.
    Unfavorites: Apple (just because their users are so smug), Microsoft (Windows 8- WTF), any chain restaurant started by a celeb chef.

  27. Well, I do have a number of things to say, Jospeh.

    1) Ever since i understand that buying a ready computer from shitty companies like Dell or gateway, etc is a very bad idea, I have stuck with making custom made computers.

    2) as for other companies, (as you know Rogers and Bell are the two demons of canada), I would say Bell should be boycotted and banned from selling items and services to people. One time I have a cellular telephone with Bell (when I was still in York University about nine years ago), and just after Christmas, even though I only used my telephone for a few mniutes during those weeks, january rolled around and they had charged me over 500 dollars!! yup! FIVE. HUNDRED. They said they would review my account, then sent me my next bill and they still had me pay over 100 dollars!
    So when I saw that – long story short – I used every curse word known to man.
    Anyway….
    But In general, Bell and Rogers should be avoided at all costs. They don’t even provide unlimited internet!! what is this?! the age of dial-up modems!?
    Fortunately I found a company that DOES provide that. Which brings me to companies that I trust very much:

    3) Distributell rents a line from which ever company you have for your telephone). In my case, unfortunately I have Rogers. So Distributell rents the line from them, and provides me with unlimited internet!

    4) Even though I LOOOOOVE Futureshop, they have pissed me off several times (years ago) by telling me I could buy something by paying installments through THEM. I made that mistake twice. Never again. ——–

    5) In terms of other types companies that I have ALWAYS trusted because of their top quality products:
    – PONTIAC (obviously) (but nothing made after 1985)

    6) As a customer, I also trust EB Games (not implicitly as you’ll read on…). What I am implying by that is I was buying PWE game cards for Star Trek Online, but they were the only ones that kept charging tax on them! (Futureshop for example never charged tax on these specific game cards. Because of that I told EB Games several times to stop charging tax on them, and they finally did. Also I’ve always bought games from there, and have always been happy. I never trade in my games to them because their exchange policy is basically a scam. That, and the fact that I’ve heard MANY horror stories from people who have WORKED for the company. So really I only trust them for certain things.

    7) General Electric. I trust them because of their quality products

    8) I used to trust and like Steinway (since i’m a concert pianist) – but ever since they changed ownership they’re quality has dropped. So i’ve shunned them. Now I’m only using Yamaha pianos (only because they gave it to as a gift in japan when I was on tour there in four cities), and Bösendorfer pianos (almost exclusively when I perform). (I always bring my own pianos to my concerts just like Liberace did).

    9) Since I already mentioned computers, I would have to say I trust ASUS implicitly. They always have amazing products. And for gaming peripherals, i trust Steelseries products.

    10) for other electronics I would give my left nut for Zenith. But ever since they were bought by an oriental company LG (Lucky Golden), I’ve become very suspicious of the Zenith televisions that they still produce. Zenith was the on professional American company that was a professional make. I had a cathode-ray television for OVER 20 YEARS from Zenith and it NEVER broke down. Finally it gave in, and the colors started to look weird.

    Anyway that’s my short list of companies that I distrust and trust.

    Until next time,
    I remain
    Johnny M.

  28. Hmmm, interesting question!

    I’d have to say my “never again list” includes:
    HP (2 lemons!)
    Bank of America (never banked with them, never will)
    Home Depot (they treat their employees like crap, basically)
    Sprint (crappy everything)
    Anything owned by the Koch brothers
    Cargill (I try my best to avoid them)
    BP
    Exxon

    The last two are hard since I don’t know if my local Breaktime uses them or not, but I at least stay away from their specific gas stations.

    My loyalty list:
    Starbucks (it’s “selling out” I know, but any problem I’ve ever had they’ve corrected promptly and I just love their coffee)
    Victoria’s Secret (they have some problems on the fashion end, but great customer service and product quality)
    Toyota (my car is a POS, but it’s a POS that keeps going despite all odds and I fully plan on my first “real” car purchase being a Prius)
    my local bank (I moved 2 states away and I still use them)
    Sony
    Verizon
    Amazon.com

    I know there’s a whole bunch more considering I tend to buy the same food products over and over, but those are sort of the main ones.

  29. Wow, I have a lot of loyalties to brand names of products I use. I’d have too many to list. People/companies I’m loyal to:

    1. My 13+ doctors and therapists and Patrick’s pediatrician. I would wait a whole day in their waiting room to see these people because they are that good. They get my weird biochemistry, they don’t make me feel like their hand is on the door. They ask me about my family and what is going on in my life. They are conservative in their treatment recommendations because they understand the delicate balance I have to maintain in order to feel good. And when I come in and tell them something is wrong, even if it is only a feeling without any hard evidence, they don’t think I’m a kook (at least not to my face, LOL).

    2. DirecTV: If I’ve ever had a problem, they resolve it quickly and we’ve been a customer so long we get anniversary gifts now.

    3. Mariam Warrad: She does the color in my hair. This last time, she did the highlights really weird and when my hair got cut, you couldn’t see the beautiful work she did. I showed her, and she told me to have a seat and fixed it. Then she asked the woman she is in business with to cut out a few things from my hair and that woman did. They did this without asking me for another penny. When I was doing the television news things back in 2008, I would call her panicked because I didn’t want my grey roots to show and she would work me in. In about an hour from now, I’m going to that other woman to get my hair cut.

    4. Daniel Kainer DVM: He has been our vet for 20 years. He’s been through a few dogs with us. He is very kind and gives us an employee discount for our care and meds, etc. He knows how much trouble we are in financially because of Patrick.

    5. This blog. And this is not a kiss-up. Yours is the only one I try to read daily. The only other one is Olympic diver, Laura Wilkinson, who I know because her coach Kenny Armstrong was my neighbor.

    6. Netflix: Because I’ve never had a problem with them.

    7. Yoplait yogurt: Because they took the high-fructose corn syrup out of their yogurt. I’m sure it was just not me complaining, but I sent them the independent study that showed there was mercury in some of their yogurts likely because of the pesticides their third-party was using to put on their corn crops.

    8. Honda. We have one gold and one silver. We will always do business with Streater-Smith Honda. They have done good work over the years. Recently our engine block cracked (apparently there was a recall) and they worked hard to get it back to us as soon as possible (about 7-10 days).

    9. Including Kids: Patrick’s school. They have done tremendous, amazing things with him and I plan to volunteer there long after he has to leave (when he is 21 or 22 so we have awhile to go).

    10. The Woodlands, Texas: It’s is a beautiful place to live and I plan on staying here the rest of our lives. I’m not too crazy about Texas and the politics and some really kooky, crazy people, but we have to stay in Patrick the rest of our lives because of Patrick. If we were to move he would go to the bottom of that state’s waiting list for services. It took him 10 years to get assistance here; we could not afford to care for him on a waiting list somewhere else. So if we have to stay put, this is a great place to be.

    There are more, but I have to leave now to go put makeup on my face to leave in a half-hour to get my hair cut. It always looks better when you have make-up on. Then I have to head to the mall to buy some things, and then I have to find more jelly beans for the teacher appreciation gifts being sent for tomorrow. It’s tough finding inexpensive jelly beans when it is no longer Easter. And then I plan on coming home and collapsing before Patrick gets home.

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