Customer Service Watchdog

Just Not That Good

Posted by Bruce on July 08, 2018
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Whether people like it or not we still live in a country that allows a person to pass their opinion on something that exhilarates them or pisses them off. This week’s blog is all about the latter.
I think in general I’m a pretty easy going fellow. I’m generally a pretty positive thinker and I don’t go out of my way to be an asshole but there is one thing I cannot tolerate, crap customer service.
I take the T.T.C every single day. Multiple times in a day. I’ve paid for two monthly passes since my moving here in 2005. One thing is for sure, the price keeps going up and the customer service keeps going down.
The company can give me every excuse in the book but those bus drivers are really miserable people. Now don’t start throwing insults just yet. I have also met a handful of people who really do an incredible job! There’s one fellow who is always cracking jokes every time the station announcements go off. It’s amazing. There have been a couple of ladies that really go out of their way to welcome you aboard. There’s another fellow who takes time to explain to the kids how the bus works. Sadly though these people are few and far between.
I’ve posted numerous concerns on the T.T.C customer service Twitter account but I’m told to call in my concerns. I wonder to myself what that Twitter account is for. Clearly not concerns! Anyway, I did what they asked and called in my concerns and I have to tell you the person on the other end of the phone sounded like she actually cared. She took the information and thanked me for my call. I know the driver’s job is not easy. Customer service is not easy, but it is what they signed up for and so it’s their lot in life so let’s step it up. The truth is it’s just not great. For the most part they are a visitor’s first “go to” once they have gotten into the city and start their touring around. The transit system here with all the construction is a nightmare. Hell I’ve been taking this system for more than a decade and with all the construction I sometimes have no idea where I should stand! Being abused by customers is never okay but I’d say most of us are just trying to get around and need some thoughtful help to do so. I’m in customer service. I get that customers can be demanding but that never authorizes a poor responses from the employee. And just in case you want to go there, this is not a white privilege thing as some idiots posted on my Twitter account. I can’t stand when people go to these cliches. I’ve seen time and time again people of minority being spoken to very poorly by the drivers and with there smaller English vocabulary, in some cases they literally have to accept the way they’re being spoken to. I even heard a supervisor talk disparagingly about those drunk Indians. It’s gross. People have mentioned that with my experience I should apply for the TTC customer service but unfortunately that’s not a beast I’d want to be a part of. I’m not sure who could fix their image problem but one thing is for sure, they could not pay me enough. I will keep calling and speaking on behalf of myself and people who may not feel strong enough to speak up for themselves. It is a problem and it’s time for it to be addressed! I’d give them 1 kiss out of 5 on customer service but I’ll check in again with you folks to let you know how they’re doing!



Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

A word from the editor

I’m grateful for my peaceful drive in my private car every day! And my commute is 15 minutes!
I give people credit that sit in Toronto traffic for hours on a daily basis. They are much stronger people than I.

This weeks article sponsored by 


A Wonder Woman

Posted by Bruce on January 07, 2018
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I had another blog planned for today but at the last minute I decided to change my mind. I could have gone with my restaurant review but I’m still coming off of my holiday high and before I rip a local eatery a new one, I thought it might be nice to share one good story about outstanding customer service.
You may wonder why customer service is such an important career to me. Well that’s easy, I’ve been in customer service since I was 18 and I have always tried to give the best service I can. I worked for some tough companies that expect the best and I have always delivered. Sometimes to the point of breakdown which, thankfully has only happened twice in my long and distinguished career. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people pleasers that companies burn out because I’m usually always giving way more then my counter part and yet they still push, push, push. Such is the life of an elf but when I actually experience or hear of some wonderful act of customer service I get excited because the art of great customer service is as cold and dead as the Canadian winters.
But just when you think no one cares out there in retail land you come across a shining light that returns hope to the weary shopper.
This happened to my mom this past Christmas season. We have a pretty new tradition that she started only a few short years ago. I love Christmas tree decorations a lot and so my mom, over the years, has bought me some of the cutest decorations I have on my tree. Well this year she had her sights set on a super cute Wonder Woman tree ornament that Hallmark released. I have several from their collection from John. Yes, I’m spoiled. But anyway, this year to my mom’s dismay the ornament box had been damaged and there was no way she would give a gift in a damaged box. It wouldn’t have bothered me but my mom is a stickler for detail and quality so she told Sue, the customer service ambassador at this particular Hallmark, that sadly she wouldn’t be taking the Wonder Woman tree ornament. Well Sue took my mom’s name and number and said leave it with her. Now typically this is the kiss of death because most people would have filed that under “Garbage” and she would have never been heard from again. But you know this Sue called around to other locations until she found that box or a brand new one since this was her last one in shop that she had. And not long before Christmas this real life customer service Wonder Woman called my mom with the great news that my ornament was ready for pick up. Now this may seem like a small thing to do but at Christmas when I got to open that special little box with my mom at my tree side, it was no small moment. That is what Christmas is all about (well aside from baby Jesus). But you know I’ll never forget that Wonder Woman and I hope Hallmark doesn’t forget her either. She really cared and that meant the world to my mom and it meant the world to me.

Thank you Sue!


Bruce in the City

Edited by

Mary Ellen Monk

Pet “Not So” Smart

Posted by Bruce on July 30, 2017
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Every summer for the last many years I take a little trip out to Peterborough to see the folks. They’ve retired so it’s a life of leisure for these two lovebirds. Not that they haven’t taken on little jobs along the way. Both my parents have enjoyed being crossing guards since retirement. My mom just retired from that this year. They’re troupers.
I do enjoy Peterborough. I’d go crazy if I lived there but it’s quite enjoyable if you know you can leave. While I was there recently, (yes I took my buddy Agnetha with me), we decided to take my folks to the local Pet Smart.  Agnetha’s eyes were dry and I wanted to get her some tears. The general customer service in this quaint bong of civilization is poor but you try to ignore it the best you can. The local food is always great. I guess with nothing much to do, people eat. People are quite large in Peterborough.
We hit Pet Smart late afternoon on the last day of my visit. As soon as we walked through the sliding doors a sales staff had their snake pulled out showing it off to everyone. My mom, being deathly afraid of snakes, almost passed out. Totally irresponsible to have that lovely and large boa right at the front door. There was no way to avoid it and I really felt that was unfair to shoppers who may be fearful of something like that. And I was pissed to have to see my mom go through that. I asked the person to put their snake away. Maybe keep it closer to the reptile area so people who are not keen on these stunning creatures won’t be forced to face them coming into the shop. Seems pretty reasonable to me. Of course I got the “that guy is weird” look from them but at least they moved their hostage. I’m not a fan of these kinds of creatures being in captive for the amusement of human beings. That was the best part of our visit sadly enough. I asked a young woman to show me where the dog tears were because my dog has protruding tear ducks and it causes her eyes to become a little irritated. It’s like $1,000 to get that fixed so we go with the tears instead. At least for now. She took me to an aisle and showed me a few products and I noticed it kept saying tear stains on the package. I said I wasn’t looking to clean tear stains off Agnetha I was looking to put tears in her eyes. She assured me this is what I needed. I purchased the tears and went out to the van to apply the ointment. A few quick drops and my dog started crying and her eyes went red. I knew something was wrong so I read the back of the box closer. Do not put in eyes, will cause irritation. What an idiot!!! I rushed back in with my dog to get something to rinse her eyes. They were so slow moving I couldn’t believe it. I told the girl, “Get me the manager” while my dogs eyes burned away. Idiots! After several minutes he finally arrived moving at a glacier pace. I explained that I needed water or something to rinse my dog’s eyes because the woman had sold me the wrong product, that I wanted tears etc. He actually said I was wrong and that this was the right product. I glared at him and said, “Read this”. I showed him the print that indicated not to put in eyes. “Now get me some water for my dog’s eyes.” He went into the grooming room and began talking to the woman who had messed up royally. They actually started laughing. I went in and said, “What is so funny and where is the water?” They just looked at me like I was speaking Farcy! Finally the woman says, “Well we have these tears you can use but we don’t sell it” so… see she knew enough to know that the tears she had for the dogs they groom would help but failed to know tear stain remover was not the same thing? I flushed my dogs eyes out as they looked on trying to avoid eye contact with me as if I were not even in the room. I have never been so angry. They were literally useless. Literally. The worst Pet “Not So” Smart experience I’ve ever had!

The Worst!

PS: My puppy’s eyes eventually calmed down. She told me she never wants to go to Pet Smart ever, ever again.


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

A word from the editor: Ahhh poor Agnetha. Sorry she had to go through such an ordeal. Glad she is feeling better.

Mary Ellen!

The Real Dinosaur

Posted by Bruce on July 23, 2017
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Thanks for visiting my blog again this week. As you know, if you follow my little blog, I enjoy delving into the ups and downs of customer service wherever I go. I think it’s important people get what they pay for. One thing though that I have noticed is that customer service seems to be a truly dying art form. I’m not being dramatic about it! It’s just a fact from my ongoing experience. It’s not the real dinosaur however. It’s the big box store. Think about the last time you went into a huge box store like Sears or The Bay. We all know what is happening to many mega stores over the years. Eatons, gone. Zellers, gone. Sears, going! My prediction is that The Bay, God love ’em, is the next to fall in this retail ice age. Times are tough for the industry due to one major evolution; that ever growing critter “The Onliners” are quickly devouring the big box store in an unprecedented take over. Here’s what’s helping to assist this transformation. Less staff. Less and less staff. I walked through Sears and The Bay looking for some needed things and there was just nobody around. No staff to be found. Maybe for a whole floor I may have eventually noticed four or five staff. There was no help to be found. The Bay was even more alarming to me because they are not going into receivership. They are supposed to be doing very well. When I finally found someone they had no idea about the sales and there was a real disconnect. It’s no wonder shopping online is so alluring. If you’re not going to get any kind of customer service why drag yourself out there when you can get it sent straight to your home without the irritating brush off? So here’s the best part after that sad situation, when I got home the person had forgotten to take the security tag off my clothing so I had to go all the way back to the store to get them to remove it. Okay so I lied, here is the climax of a bad blow off. When I got back to the store, located at Fairview Mall in Toronto, the person that I tried explaining what happened, literally walked away in the middle of my story. I said “Hello” and the response I got, are you ready? “I don’t care!!!!” I don’t care!??? Can you even get your head around that? I was so shocked I literally fell speechless. She did remove the security tag which, of course I was thankful, being a dog in her midst to even receive that I’m sure she felt was plenty. I left the department and asked another sales associate I found on the other side of the store to please call me a manager. And again the fun began. “Why?”, he asked. I said, “I’d rather not get into it if you could call me a manager that would be great”. Again he pressed, “What for?” I’m now thinking, really? What is this? Believe it or not I’m sort of on the side of the salesperson. With companies cheating out on staff, people are being expected to work like monkeys. These few staff members are overwhelmed trying to take on the demands of the public. The public still thinks their shopping in the gay day of the 80’s when employees were four and five per area. Not today. One poor sucker is looking after a whole department on their own or sometimes even two or three departments. Nobody should have to be subjected to this while the manager is impossible to reach. Because she was! When she was finally located she attempted to dirty me into believing it was an inventory issue. What? She was a nice enough person but I was really just about getting real and I asked her if she felt whether she had enough people on to successfully run the floor? Seriously. There isn’t an excuse for over extending your team because you need to watch some budget so closely it is affecting the mental health of your employees. I’m seeing this more and more and at an alarming rate. Let’s be clear, it is mental stress and abuse. These box stores are the real dinosaur. If you can’t pay for it, close it and stop stepping on the backs of your staff who are just trying to make a little money so they can live the Canadian dream. Whatever the freak that is anymore! The ice age is here people but here’s a bit of news for you, you still have rights as workers in Ontario and I’d get educating myself on fair pay for fair work and labour board laws that are there to protect you.

1 kiss out of 5 (for removing the security tag)


Editir Mary Ellen Monk

Zombie Disco

It was Yorkville’s yearly Ice Festival that had me at that end of town recently. I do love a good ice sculpture. This year the weather was a little dicey but chilled off enough to keep everything nice and frozen. It’s been a while since I have been to Yorkville. It’s not usually my scene but once in a while I like to see how the other half lives.

The rich are so odd! I want to be rich and odd. When you’re odd and you are poor people just think you’re nuts, but when you have money people think you’re creative, eccentric and even talented. Who else can get away with their shenanigans like the rich? They can post nudie pics all over the place and everyone cheers them on. I posted my butt on instagram once and my friends almost wrote me off for crazy. I don’t know why. I want people to get to know the many sides of me. That happens to be one of my better sides.
I found out another crazy thing the young and rich get up to, “Silent Disco”. I stopped at Hemingway’s with some pals for a few drinks. It was my first time at Hemingway’s and I really wished I could give it a stellar review! It was slow. The service I mean. Painfully slow. We were just ordering drinks and a few appetizers and the person tending bar was slowwwwwwwwwww! I felt bad for our server who was very nice and an actress apparently. How very Rachael Berry! I even had to check on our drinks right at the bar to help move things along. I think the worst part was that one person at the table waited for her meal for an hour and a half. I didn’t realize this was happening to her until she mentioned it. She was at the other end of the table.
Well, when I caught word of this I couldn’t let that go. I mentioned it to the server but she didn’t recall the order happening at all. Now you ask, why would my acquaintance wait so long for the meal in the first place? But to me that’s not the point. Maybe she is shy. Maybe she doesn’t like to complain. All I know is when someone begins to share their concerns, people should take it seriously and do what they can to help. I wasn’t getting the vibe that this was happening so I asked for the manger.
The manager did arrive and I shared the concern about the missing meal and this is were it got interesting. He began to tell me his story about being in the military and how he is so disciplined and that his team is just as disciplined. Now don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good man in the military, but I wasn’t sure how this was relating to the missing sandwich. Was he on sandwich detail during his time protecting our country?
With my most respectful voice I repeated, “But the sandwich still hasn’t arrived”. He was very intense. I felt like saying, “Sir, yes sir”. In the end the sandwich finally arrived at the two hour mark and didn’t appear on a bill so that was a good thing.
OMG! Then the place went silent. The rooftop patio filled with young and old of all backgrounds. Apparently it was time for “Silent Disco”. So for $35 each for a set of headphones apparently people can party together with the DJ spinning tunes directly into their head. It was like a scene out of some zombie apocalypse. We unfortunately did not have the fabulous $35 headphones, so we were treated to a room full of a hundred people all singing the latest tune, out of key, dancing in a room filled with nothing but their creepy voices. There were couples on dates not communicating to each other at all. Just singing with deaf ears because of the headphone pumped in music and were completely unaware that when you are unable to hear yourself sing the ability to sing in tune reduces by like 1000! It felt like one very perverse social experiment gone really wrong! I knew for the first time in my life what Hell might be like. Creepy! Maybe I’ll check them out on a live music night instead!



2 kisses out of 5

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Fecal Matter Factory

Posted by Bruce on September 18, 2016
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Ok, so it’s only my experience so by all means don’t make your dining decisions because of me.  But as always I just have to tell you my stories since that is what I do!  My summer recap continues with a day at Ripley’s Aquarium.  I am a bit claustrophobic so I was a bit nervous about heading down into the hallowed tunnels of sea life.  Surprisingly it was not claustrophobic at all.  At least not for me and I’m a space wimp.  It was truly a must go situation if you haven’t been.  The experience is very much like the Butterfly exhibit in Niagara. You have to do it to get it!  After such a monumentally wonderful day we decided to take our American guests to one of our favorite spag spots “The Spaghetti Factory”.  I have been there more than a dozen times over the past 20 years but this visit took the cake.

Before we got ourselves to the Spag Factory, it of course was a small debate whether to take TTC or cab it and hands down the cab vote won.  Actually I was out voted but I executed the “I live here rule” and decided a cab would save us a lot of time.  The day was getting away on us.  I always choose Beck.  It’s my company of choice.  Although after our almost near disaster of the sleepy cab driver just a few days before, I was thinking maybe I would choose another company.  But I decided Beck was the way to go.  We hopped in our car and zipped along to our eatery destination.  When we arrived everyone hopped out but me because I offered to pay.  I mean it was my idea.  I needed some change from my partner after the driver put my card through.  Unfortunately before I had a chance to signal to him to pass me his change the driver called me a “Cheap Bastard!”.  Yep!  That’s what I said!  Can you imagine?  So I said to the guy, “I was just getting change for you but no, not now”.  He didn’t realize he said it loud enough for me to hear so he tried back peddling.  But since just a few nights before one almost killed us, I pretty much let him know a tip wasn’t going to happen and I was calling head office.  I have to admit they have tried reaching out to me but I have been super busy this week.  I emailed them on Friday.  I certainly hope they step it up. Because this is terrible!  I have to be honest, I’ve been a little more than jumpy in the cabs lately.

We got ourselves into the restaurant after my friends finished laughing there heads off at what had happened to me.  Hey, what are good friends for?  Everything started out great as expected inside.  Our server was wonderful and I wish I got her name.  Halfway through dinner I had to pop into the men’s room which was just beside the dining room.  I was a little alarmed to see the door to the bathroom was wide open.  Not only could men be viewed from certain tables washing their hands or drying them, going to line up at the urinal etc. but the idea of airborne bacteria landing on my food was not a concept I was comfortable with.

I decided to shut the door which seemed to annoy someone because it wasn’t long before security opened the door again.  I’ve had the experience of working for a restaurant chain and one thing I know for certain, the bathroom door is to be kept shut at all times.  Unless of course this rule has changed and we don’t care whether airborne fecal bacteria landing on our food is a big deal anymore.

I decided to very kindly speak to the manager of the restaurant and mentioned the issue I had with the exposed washroom.  For privacy reasons and the other obvious issue!  He seemed like he cared as we chatted away about the health department and food safety.  I felt like I had done something good.  I mean who wants diarrhea from contaminated food?

We paid and went out to stroll down the street.  After a moment I realized I was walking up beside the manager who I overheard mocking our conversation almost word for word about my issue with the door and food safety.  He was speaking to the bar manager I believe.  Well that just wouldn’t do so I walked up to him and asked if everything was ok.  I think he swallowed his tongue and that’s fine with me because he should have taken my complaint with dignity and respect even if he disagreed.  I wasn’t impressed and I won’t be back.

I left word with Toronto Health.  Maybe he will treat them with a bit more dignity!


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Killer Cab

Posted by Bruce on September 11, 2016
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I would have to say this summer was one of the oddest summers I have ever had.  The things that happened to me and what I got into couldn’t possibly be real.
Hi I’m Bruce in the City and I’m made for T.V.

John and I had some very good friends of ours visit from the States again this year.  It’s always hard to know what to take people to see when visiting Toronto because everyone has such different interests.  When I went to New York, I was like take me to the peelers!  Alas, not everyone finds that form of entertainment appealing.

We decided to take them to the next best thing, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with live cast.  I thought it was wicked.  Although, and this in no way is a sexist comment, but they had Rocky played by an actress.  She was great but have you seen Rocky?  It’s a bit of a golden bathing suit must.  Ok fine, I just wanted to see the hottie in the small eenie weenie golden bikini bottoms.

The couple that came to see us are hilariously funny in my opinion.  Out of the two I would have to say Paul is the funniest.  Sorry Chris, you’re funny too but that Paul, stop my nerves!  Bloody hilarious!  He is somewhat specific on the things he enjoys but very accommodating to try out whatever has been put on the slab.  I don’t think he was overly excited to see Rocky.  As a perfect guest though he agreed and there we were sitting in the darkened Bloor Street Cinema about to take in the irreverence of such a show.

For those of you who have never been, they actually use live props etc. and one can find themselves covered in toilet paper or candy or even water at any given time. Which is what happened to our poor guest Paul as a very full glass of cold water came speeding directly at his face. It’s almost like they knew he really didn’t want to be there.

It was an okay performance, but poor Paul soaked to the bone graciously laughed off the experience and knew from that moment on he was in for a bumpy ride.
Peelers anyone?

Of course it seems as though the story has come to a close but alas not on this occasion.  We went out for a few needed cocktails and then were good little boys and decided to call it a night.  We had another big day planned for them the next day so we needed our beauty sleep.  Well, they needed more than me but who was I to argue.

John and I grabbed a cab which was pretty normal for us.  We have our TTC passes but when it’s late (and it was) it’s easier to hail a cab. We, of course, were so tired having had consumed a few cocktails after the performance.  We got into our Beck taxi, which is the cab company we always take, told the driver where we were heading and began reliving the evening with some tired chat in the back seat.

As we began rounding a corner I noticed quickly the car wasn’t following the curve.  I screamed, “Holy Fuck!” and the driver was woken by my panicked yelp.  That’s right he fell asleep!  Let me just say that again, he fell asleep!  Our car was headed right for a threesome of parked cars and we were going about 30 clicks.  Neither John or I had belts on and the driver swerved to the left to avoid a head on collision.

Thankfully he missed the parked cars.  He barely knew what was going on as he was still coming to.  I yelled at him to let us out of the car immediately.  He was still trying to drive at this point but I insisted he let us out.  I got on my cell on the side of the road and if you can believe it the driver was trying to make us pay for the fare.  We were both in shock and I told him to be quiet, I was calling the office.  He kept saying, “pay me, pay me” and in my shock I said that he better shut up, he almost killed us.

The driver didn’t stick around he took off hoping we were too shaken to get his car number but I got it and called it in and had him pulled off the road.  It was surreal.  The scene playing over and over in our minds.  I explained what had happen to the operator at Beck.  I asked for another cab to pick us up and if you can imagine they made us pay for it.  We almost were in a serious accident caused by their driver falling asleep at the wheel and they didn’t even give us a courtesy ride home!

The amazing thing is this isn’t the last of the wicked weekend with cab drivers from Beck.  Now we take many cabs from this company weekly and I think it’s a company’s responsibility to offer a safe and secure driving experience.  I think their response to what we went through could have been handled better.

I have to be honest, last night when I was in one of their cabs again I asked to get out because the driver was nodding off.  What the hell? Anyway we will continue to use this company but they really need to get their act together.  I just have to ask where are they getting these guys?  I have seen some serious changes in the last six years.  They had better get with it if they don’t want Uber taking their business.

Until next Sunday!!


Edited by: Mary Ellen Monk

Gay Ole Time!

Posted by Bruce on July 03, 2016
Customer Service Watchdog, Really?, Restaurants, Shitty Shows / No Comments

This week has been crazy fun! Let me just get that out there. Pride month has been a fabulous success in the city. Of course I got to take in Café California’s Men’s fashion under garment show (undies supplied by The Bay, Men supplied by God only knows) but unfortunately the show did not live up to it’s hype this year.
There were many empty tables and the new management and staff were pretty cool at best. Ok, so I have to admit, I remain a fan of Leticia and her husband who owned the place for I’m guessing 20 plus years! They really knew how to put on a party but you can tell the new owners are out for the big gay bucks.
They cut the three course pre fix meal down to two courses leaving off the best part… dessert! They of course charged about the same price. My food came with a side of what I could only guess was pubic hair. It certainly was a short and curly. To top it off when I brought it to the bus boy’s attention he proceeded to wipe it off with his finger. Now Lord only knows where it was before it hit my plate but I never saw anyone ever use their finger to remove a possible pubic hair from a dinner plate. He walked of with my plate and about 10 minutes later our server stopped by to quickly mention she would comp me a drink for the hair raising trouble. A manager never bothered to stop by at all. Utterly unacceptable!
They had a raffle going by which you could only get a raffle ticket if you purchased their $6 fun and furious mixed cocktail. Mine was basically a ball of uncrushed ice with some berry squirt on top. Terrible and no options for non drinkers so they never got to play. Tacky and irresponsible!!! Not to mention an obvious cash crab! I’m almost certain that’s illegal but don’t quote me. The good news was our buddies Ron and Allan won the draw so that was a bonus.
Unfortunately the boys were nothing to write home about. Who am I to talk. I wouldn’t be caught fully dressed on that runway let alone in my gotcha’s! Really though, they didn’t look like they wanted to be there and unlike all the other years they didn’t even make contact with the audience at all. Well just to this one girl in the window seat. They must have been straight. There was one model who came up to us after the show to ask if we enjoyed it and we lied. He was too cute to break his almost naked heart.
Here was the kicker. As soon as the show was over they had another seating which is normal from past events there. Our show ended at 7:30 p.m. The next show was to start at 8:30. John went to order some dessert and our server actually said well we really needed to clear out for the next show. What!%$#@$%#%$#! Between us all we must have spent like $400 bucks and we can’t even see the F&^$67$n dessert menu? Now I was just pissed to the nine’s!
I smiled and calmly said it would be nice to have dessert!!!! Now here is the best part; our server knew I was blogging about the event. This was the best they could do? I feel sorry for the poor buggers who weren’t blogging. This was the worst experience I have ever had at any restaurant in this fine Gay city. I will never go back! Like never ever!
Ron and Allan did there best to avoid a scene but I’m certain they could not have been impressed either. They’re world travellers. How could this measure up in anyway to the outstanding shows and events they must get to enjoy around the gay cities of the world?
In short Café California 0 kisses out of 5 on this one! It’s was definitely no Gay ole Time!!
I hope you all have an amazing Pride day today. Did I mention I’ll be in the Parade? No bitches I’m not a float! Look for me on the double decker bus for Proud Anglicans! Lost of love and kisses and never let hate fade out your rainbow!!
P.S.: I had to ask my server for that free drink! It was an ill tasting Caesar!

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Merlot Meltdown

Posted by Bruce on January 11, 2015
Check it Out!, Customer Service Watchdog, Shops, Try It! / No Comments

I never thought it would happen to me!  I always take great care of the ones that mean the most to me!  If anything is needed; a cleaning, an upgrade, I’m there!  But I got sloppy people!  I was in a rush as usual and I thought I would grab my things and get out of work in a hurry following my shift.  I packed up my baby and my newly purchased bottle of grape nectar (Jackson Triggs Reserve Merlot), stuffed everything in my bag and headed off to my daily bus stop wait-a-thon.

A girlfriend of mine rang me up on my cell!  We were making some plans to get together when the worst thing happened.  My guard was down and my bag went with it!!! Clunk! Right on the ground. My bag strap broke “Oh my gosh!  No, No, No, No!”  I hung up immediately from my call.  I never even said goodbye.  I knew this was going to be bad.  People passed and did nothing.  I was in my own personal hell!  The bus went zooming past and that very delicious bottle of JT Merlot was engulfing the inside of my bag and my baby!!!!  It oozed out from my bag onto the sidewalk.

I reached in to find my computer drenched in red potent liquid!  I knew this was bad.  I knew my rush had ended badly!  My buddy.  My baby.  My Lapmance was dead in the wine!

I ran back to my store.  My staff was surprised to see me and knew I was a “Mansel” in distress!  My sad little laptop, dripping wet with a liquid that should have been happily ingested by my guests waiting for me at home.  It was Murdoch night and I had my libation obligation!

I remembered there was a laptop tech place across from the shop.  I dropped everything and ran across the street.  (Not even looking where I was going, a car slammed into me and I went right over the top of the car embracing my baby.  I miraculously landed feet first on the road!  LOL Sorry that part didn’t happen. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention!)

I did get inside the tech shop and my eyes weld up with tears.  “The Laptop Experts”, they have to give me my Bruce in the City miracle.  The couple behind the front desk could see the look in my eyes. I went into my rant.  I’m surprised they could understand my cry.  I was a wild mess!

They knew I was stressed and just chilled me out immediately.  They said not to worry.  They asked me a few questions and then proceeded to take my baby into the emergency room.  “It will be okay” the techspert said. “Come back tomorrow.”

I was actually shocked to think I was going to get my laptop back the next day and it be ready for use by the next evening.  I was hopeful, but was definitely a doubting Thomas!

I thanked them and left empty handed.  I would have to wait.

Next evening: “Your laptop is fixed.” Techspert

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Really? Like no problems and it’s working?” I asked

“Just a bit of wine staining on the screen and we could not replace the “L” on your key board” he remarked.

My cat Jasper had pulled it off months before so I was okay with that.  Their price was fair considering what I had done to the laptop, and I couldn’t believe how fast they worked.  My partner’s computer is in need of some T.L.C. so I will be stopping by for sure in the near future.

Thanks Laptop Experts!!! You rock!

Laptop Experts

Editor: Mary Ellen Monk


T.T.C (Try To Cope)

Posted by Bruce on December 14, 2014
Customer Service Watchdog / No Comments

I know, I know. This is the time of year when we try to put our differences aside and look past the annoying events that may get us down.  Well forget that!  I’ve got a beef and it isn’t roast beast!  Now before I get all kinds of hate mail from readers of this blog, I want to say first that in every complaint there is also a tonne of good people supplying some outstanding customer service.  Lately however I have been so unhappy with what I have been experiencing with the T.T.C (Toronto Transit Commission) or as I like to call it “Try To Cope”.

It doesn’t help that it seems the entire city has turned into one big industrial site with all this construction.  I mean it is literally to much.  I myself feel like moving out of town.  Clearly I am not going to, but hell it’s so bad that unless you come to Toronto during any rush hour you couldn’t possibly understand the pain.

Then you add the “T.T.C and their dysfunction and it is a mess on a mess on a mess.  You know when I signed up for my monthly pass I figured I would be zipping around the city enjoying it’s many attractions.  Not to mention my daily local commute to work.  I never thought I would experience such terrible transit trips.

I took my partner’s mom out with me a few weeks ago to take my pup for a grooming.  She travels in a wheel chair (my partner’s mom not my pup)!  We boarded the bus and I put Mum in a wheelchair space provided.  I locked her wheels and took my seat.  The bus driver took off and we were on our way.  I couldn’t help but notice how fast he was going.  I tried to not think too much about it.  I’m over sensitive to speed as it is so I wrote it off as my being all sensitive.

I noticed the other passengers faces.  They looked concerned too.  He was going really fast.  He sped around one corner over by the Flemmingdon Golf Course and Mum’s chair really started dancing back and forth.  I was feeling pretty annoyed at this point because it was obvious this guy was speeding.  I decided to move a bit closer to Mum; call it a hunch.

He must have been running late!  I don’t really know what was going through his mind but certainly not safety.  Suddenly he sped off on the green so abruptly and with such force that Mum’s chair literally rolled on its locked wheels over backwards!  I jumped up and grabbed her chair just in time before her head hit the steal/aluminum seat behind her.

I yelled for the driver to slow down.  He ignored me.  Everyone on the bus saw what happened and I was pissed.  In a moment he was continuing to speed and I yelled again slow down as it was affecting the safety of the chair.  I stood and approached the driver. “My Mum’s chaired tipped backwards because you are going to fast!”  He then proceeded to tell me I shoud be standing behind her holding her chair.  How unsafe.

I asked what the buckles were for and he said I was to do her up!  I had no idea what to do and apparently neither did he.  He proceeded to wrap the belt around her tires which made no sense to me nor did it look at all like the photo on the lifted seat.

He continued to tell me how I did not know how to look after my Mother and that I shoud have held her.  I couldn’t help but get on Twitter because I just couldn’t believe this guy was blaiming me for his speed and the fact that my Mum could have gotten seriously hurt if I had not caught her chair.

The T.T.C Twitter people told me he should have offered to buckle Mum in and that he clearly needed training in health and safety. Ya no kidding!

Thank God we did finally reach our destination.  A little shaken but looking forward to getting my pup groomed for the Christmas season.

I do wish this was my only nightmare story but it’s not!  I have experience so many horrific experiences with the T.T.C (Try To Cope) that I have decided to dedicate a new blog in January to the “Marvellous Mishap” of this third class city service.

Again I want to stress there are many good stories about the T.T.C but let’s face it, why should we have to praise every person that is doing what they are getting paid to do!  If I give crap customer service, I should be held accountable and that’s exactly what I intend to do with these T.T.C employees that are giving there employer a bad name!

Stay posted for blog details!  Now off to watch “Home Alone”.  Oh shut up! It’s a classic!


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