Archive | September, 2005

Customer Service Numbers

It’s not a big deal finding a toll free number for a company, but finding a toll free numer that can eventually lead you to a live human operator is becoming an ordeal. Thankfully the good folks over at Quickbase have a customer service chart with shortcuts you can take to avoid the typical corporate Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system – the press #1 followed by 2 followed by 3 followed by ‘Please Try Again – A Response Is Required’ system.

Two numbers I definitely need from the chart are for Amazon.com (800-201-7575) and for Comcast (800-266-2278). In the past my computer manufacturer’s number would have been on the list, but unlike Dell, Gateway has a much more friendlier and more efficient customer service team and as a result I’ve never had to wait more than 2 minutes to speak to a customer service representative. In fact just two days ago when I called to have my laptop CD-ROM drive fixed, the whole troubleshooting process and new shipment confirmation was done in less than 5 minutes.

As a consumer, if I can speak to a company representative in less than 2 minutes and get a problem fixed in less than 5, you’ve essentially got me locked in as a life time customer.

Ristorante Panorama Philadelphia

Restaurant week brought The Coffehouse of Friends back for a reunion at the Ristorante Panorama. The food was delicious and the restaurant definitely brought everyone the best deal for Restaurant Week Philadelphia. Located in Old City, the Italian restaurant has a wine collection that spanned a couple of pages in the menu. The food was simply delicious and I had the chance to savor potato gnocci (Pronounced nee-okkee and sold as Gnocchi al Forno con Salsiccia) snail (sold as Lumache in Gondola), quails (sold as Quaglia Ripiena) and poached pear (sold as Pera al Vino). There’s always a benefit to family meals. If you like Italian and have time during Restaurant Week Philadelphia then definitely add Ristorante Panorama to your list.

Marrakesh Philadelphia

Lil and I decided to extend our restaurant week exploration by trying out a Moroccan restaurant in Philadelphia called Marrakesh. Located close to South Street, I was pretending to know the Philadelphia road network by trying to find street parking. Bad idea #1. After a half hour of trying I finally found a spot only to end up without change for the parking meter. So after buying a drink just to get change for the meter we finally made it to the restaurant a half hour past our reservation. Bad idea #2. Marrakesh is designed as a restaurant at someone’s home. So you actually have to knock on the door before being let in. How would you feel if a guest showed up late? The restaurant was busy but I was still looking forward to the supposed 7 course meal. 7! not 3 – not 4 but 7. Bad idea #3. Apparently for restaurant week Marrakesh had downsized the menu to a measly 4 course meal – something I found out only at the end of the supposed feast. The trio of salads was interesting – I couldn’t really tell what I was eating since the restaurant isn’t lit that well but there was definitely enough salt to give my doctor enough to talk about when we next meet. The second course was a dish called Bastilla which is essentially layers of chicken, eggs, crushed almonds all put together in a delicate pastry and finally topped with powdered sugar. The third course was lemon chicken – delicate and extremely tasty. Alas, thinking that I still had four more courses to go, I was so disappointed when the waiter brought out baklava and mint tea and subtly hinted at the bill and increasing line of waiting people. Overall, Marrakesh didn’t meet my expectations and I wish the waiters did a better job of explaining the various dishes but who wouldn’t go back to a restaurant just for the baklava?