need some more merry festivus? try brandywine view antiques in chadds ford!

We had an appointment down in Chadds Ford late this afternoon so I asked my husband if we could stop at Brandywine View Antiques.

Brandywine View Antiques is locates at 1244 Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford, PA 19317, incidentally.

I adore the owner of Brandywine View, Lisa. She is just an awesome human being and I love to be around her. She’s a straight shooter and real. And she has an awesome eye.

When the holidays roll around, Lisa is always is on point. She has a carefully curated collection of old, new, and vintage. This year is even better than last year and I didn’t think she could top last year.

I went for some reproduction decorations including red mercury glass pinecones. I have been looking for red and green ones. I walked into Brandywine View and there they were!

Now because of the state of my knee I could not venture upstairs at Brandywine View Antiques. There are literally three floors of fun!

Anyway, there are still a few days of Christmas shopping left so don’t forget about places like Chadds Ford and Kennett Square too! Brandywine View Antiques is the perfect place to start!

I am not compensated in any way for this post. I am just a happy customer.

the grinch ate my mail and other holiday tales of the ridiculous.

I am frustrated right now. I realize the post office is super busy. I realize my post office is down a postal employee. But the supervisor who works in the office isn’t exactly helpful at times. This is one of those times.

I had something on redelivery that was a giant hassle yesterday. I missed the initial delivery because I had an appointment and the mail delivery was earlier than normal. I called to try to get it yesterday and the supervisor wouldn’t call the carrier who had our route. I was just trying to figure out if it was getting delivered yesterday. Not looking for special treatment….unless basic information is special treatment?

So yesterday I subsequently filed a redelivery request on the USPS website. Have you ever attempted to navigate the USPS at peak times of the year like the holidays? I must have entered the required information seven or eight times. Then I still wasn’t sure if it was in because at one point it told me my request could not be completed or handled or something I forget what the language was, so I called my post office. The USPS supervisor assured me it would be on a truck tomorrow (AKA today), after he tells me he never heard of that error before.

Just swell. Nothing like not being able to drive because you’re waiting for knee surgery and it’s your husband’s Christmas present. Only you aren’t quite sure where it is other than somewhere in the area.

Not helpful.

So the USPS truck shows up this afternoon. A different substitute driver. Very nice, but as I am calling to him to wait because the package I had on redelivery wasn’t there, he is not hearing me and starting to pull away. The reason he wasn’t hearing me is he had earbuds in. For some reason, I thought you couldn’t drive with stuff in your ears like headphones or earbuds that prohibited you from reacting to traffic and what not but I digress….

Anyway, the substitute carrier guy couldn’t have been nicer but he told me it wasn’t on the truck. So I went inside and I looked up the number and called my post office again.

I got the same supervisor on the phone as yesterday and it was a conversation for the record books.

Hi sorry to call again, but the package you said would be redelivered today wasn’t and the mail carrier just left.” I said

His reply was something along the lines of there were several trucks out. So I asked him if that meant my package would be delivered later. His response was a rather oblique “maybe, possibly.”

I asked him if he could define that answer a little more and he said again maybe possibly.

So I asked if there was anyway to check with carriers to see if my package was on a truck or if it had gotten left behind. I figured that was a possibility since in the frustrating conversation of oblique replies he told me the substitute mail carrier who had been out to the house yesterday was off today.

His response to me was along the lines of “Well, if you asked the carrier to check his truck and he didn’t find it there’s really no point in me calling him.” (I am paraphrasing slightly but that was the jist of the response.)

So I asked him if it would just come out later today and it was another non-answer answer. He’s the supervisor so what does he know? It’s very confusing.

So I called a neighboring post office to see if they had any suggestions. Or if I was doing something wrong. The supervisor in that office couldn’t have been nicer. 

A couple of hours later, the missing package appeared like magic. I think I must have a secret Santa in that other post office.

I know the post office is slammed. I am truly sorry. But when you call for customer service, you should get actual customer service. I know people don’t like being told no, and I am no exception, but I would prefer an honest answer to a non-answer answer.

So all’s well that ends well for me today, but this is the second problem lately. And it felt like the Grinch ate my Christmas mail, right or wrong.

Quite frankly I am dreading putting my Christmas cards into the mail. But Santa says I must. Can’t be a Grinch……

dumbest credit card thief…ever

The above arrived today via UPS. My husband had to bring it in because I can’t lift anything heavy right now.  It was from Mieli.

We opened the packing box. It came shipped to me in my married name, and billed to me in my married name. A very expensive vacuum cleaner.

Only I did not order one.

I thought it was a present from one of my family members for some reason so I called Mieli to find out who it was from.

The customer service lady sounded confused. Told me that I ordered it. And I said “How would I have ordered it?”

“With a credit card.”

Ding ding ding. All of the alarm bells go off in my head. I said to the woman can you please tell me the credit card number. She gives me my Visa number.

I don’t use it very often. And the only time I had used it recently was for a meal (not grocery but take-out) delivery service and I had ordered fruit from a grower in Florida.

Oh and did I mention I’ve had this Visa card so long it was in my maiden name? Yet this vacuum cleaner came addressed to me in my married name. I do not know honestly how this ended up on my doorstep because I am not a customer of Mieli.

So I initiated a fraud investigation and claim with my credit card company. They suggested I call Mieli back and initiate a return of this gold plated vacuum cleaner. So I did that. And the customer service lady said she would email me some number and I got off the phone.

Then lightbulb went off. How could she email me? I’ve never purchased anything from this company nor received anything from this company as a gift or even seen a catalog from this company.

So I called Mieli back again. I told them I wanted a copy of the original receipt but I also wanted to know right now what was the email address used to fraudulently purchase this item? They gave me the email address.

If your email address is thunt031@comcast.net you had better run. A fraud department is hot on your trail. And quite possibly the police as that is my next call.

My bank theorizes that somebody was supposed to call the Mieli back and change the delivery address or call UPS to change the delivery address and screwed up and didn’t. Or maybe they were just going to show up and steal it from my porch.

I also went through all of my transactions on this card which aren’t very many because I don’t use it very often.

I am quite sure my Nancy Drew activities have exhausted my poor credit card bank. But I was also able to give them the little detail that the phone number used was close to but not my home phone number.

Oh and did I mention that I think this was purchased on Black Friday? I didn’t do any physical or virtual shopping on Black Friday. And a $500 vacuum cleaner is not something I’m going to buy. 

So chalk this up to a learning curve and it could’ve been worse. I am very grateful that my bank is so on the ball. But Fa La La it’s the holidays so be careful where you use your card.

don’t use grubhub

I decided to give GrubHub one more try. They screwed up again with a super delayed order, and then delivered stone cold food.

See that burger? Do you know how gross cold, congealed melted cheese is? I bit into that burger and know now.

Disgusting, utterly disgusting, and not the restaurant’s fault but GrubHub’s

I have torn the meniscus in my left knee and my poor husband had to rush home from work to take me to Chester County Hospital, only to have to come home again because I did not break a bone so I need an MRI and you can’t get that from the ER (did not know, all I know is I was doubled over in pain, don’t like to go near hospitals but you are told to go if pain is that bad, right?)

So I ordered GrubHub as a treat. Only once again they were horrible.

The order that took about an hour plus longer than it should have. Their customer service was abysmal. I tried calling first but couldn’t get through. Perma-hold. So I try the “chat”.

I explain to “Jesus” the agent the problem…and the fact the driver did not reply to a polite text looking for the order when it became super late.

Do I want like GrubHub dollars or something.

No I kept saying, I want my order and should get an adjustment to my bill.

“We can’t do that.”

So yeah, I said here comes the blog post and Twitter. I also told them that they are SO bad around here that this was the SECOND restaurant this year to suggest DoorDash and Caviar!

That resonated and all of a sudden from online Jesus to his Supervisor Athena we went from $5 back to slightly more like magic.

In the end, a refund on less than half of my total order was what they promised, if they actually refund it. Nothing has been initiated as a refund. They took money out of my bank account initially in maybe 30 seconds.

So I am deleting their app and NEVER using them again. You can’t trust them.

They suck and there is always a problem. I haven’t used them that much, but every order has been a problem.

If you look on social media sites like Twitter, there is no “GrubHub” love…just complaint after complaint after complaint…from all over the country! (note the random examples I posted)

Ditch GrubHub.

why we change banks, or reaffirming why finally leaving pnc was the right move.

pizap

In 2015 I wrote  two posts about PNC Bank.  I also wrote about them in 2012 and 2013.

Human nature dictates we are creatures of habit and it took until this year to actually divorce and leave them.  Yes, I stayed in an abusive banking relationship for far too long.

I had been a customer for close to 30 years, if not more than 30.  I knew how their website worked, I knew my account numbers, and for years I even knew my tellers and branch managers.

Then I moved.  New branches and new tellers and unpleasant experiences like trying to open a business checking account at a purported “full service branch” only to be told I had to come back another day because they weren’t really full service even if ON THE WALL it said “full service”.

Then there were other things like spite finance charges after I closed and paid off a credit card.

Soon it became if I used a teller I would get charged so just use the machines they said.  Well, sometimes you just need to go to a branch and interact with someone face to face.  I came out of banking and finance, and there is absolutely NO substitution for face to face customer service. Unless you bank at PNC of course.

When you need help in person at PNC they always try to UPSELL you to products you don’t need or want.  Every time I went into a branch physically the past few years it was the hard sell for something. Every time. And when you tell them NO I don’t want any additional services it is like they are robots reading from a script, because they just launch into the upsell spiel anyway.

Then there were the nickel and diming fees that always felt like a moving target.  It’s like you are punished for being a small customer not represented in the top 2% in this country.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back was this summer when I had to go into a branch in Exton because their ATM machine was half broken and it would not let you make an ATM machine deposit.

So I went inside the branch and the bobblehead playing teller proceeded to quiz me (loudly) on why I hadn’t moved everything into my married name from my maiden name.  In front of other customers who were then staring at this entire exchange. How about because it is none of your f-ing business, lady? It was like a public shaming for still using my maiden name on things.

That was it.  I took my banking elsewhere.  When I opened and seeded my new accounts at another bank, I began the process of winding down my PNC accounts.

I had an excruciating call with a customer service representative on the phone during this closing process. She wanted to know exactly WHY I was closing my accounts so I told her except it should be “We are sorry to lose you as a customer and I am happy to assist you.”

During this conversation I asked questions like could I get copies of all of my 2019 statements year to date mailed or e-mailed to me since I am paperless as well as physical statements mailed to me at year end for tax purposes. I was told TWO separate things. I was told I could just log into my old closed accounts and download statements.  I was also told alternately that all I had to do was call customer service.

This afternoon I had time and I wanted to reconcile my closed accounts and make sure I did not miss anything.  So I went to retrieve my statements.  Only because I closed my accounts, in spite of what I was told by PNC customer service representatives I can’t actually access my records. So I called PNC customer service this afternoon.

Another stellar experience.  A real service turd.  Customer Service Turd said because my account was closed I could not access my statements online.  So I asked if they could please MAIL or e-mail me statements, including year end statements. The answer was….NO.

If I want anything, I have to go into a branch.

I don’t want to go into a branch.  I have proven my identity and all I am asking for are statements mailed to the address of record they have on file for me.

NO says the Customer Service Turd again.

I mean WTF? I am debating taking this to the Pennsylvania State Banking Commission. These accounts have been closed about 30 days. Not 30 months. Not 30 years.

Of course calling corporate PNC is nigh on impossible.

Here are the contacts I found:

Michelle Neidhardt
Customer Experience Director/EVP
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
412-762-0454
Michelle.neidhardt@pnc.com

Karen L. Larrimer
Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking & Chief Customer Officer
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
karen.larrimer@pnc.com

Chief Executive
William S. Demchak
CEO
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
william.s.demchak@pnc.com

PNC Media Relations
(412) 762-4550
media.relations@pnc.com
INVESTOR RELATIONS- 412-768-4143

PNC Executive Office Phone Numbers:

877-762-5555412-803-1294

1377035_541697082573166_1631774160_nI will send the PNC executives this post.  I want my statements and I should NOT have to practically give blood to get them. But this is a good reminder as to why I left PNC.   Except really, I have to wonder does old fashioned customer service and old school neighborhood banking exist any longer or are we all lost to giant conglomerates, offshore call centers and unless we are worth millions to banks we are worthless?

Things to ponder Corporate America and dear readers, things to ponder.

My final word is my new bank doesn’t know me from Adam’s House Cat but whether online, in person, or on the phone they treat me with professionalism and respect.  Thank you Citizen’s Bank. It makes a difference.

 

 

p.za kitchen in exton trying to work out the kinks

9/27/2019 6:45 PM UPDATE: P.Za Kitchen Exton ran my disastrous order from last night again, and as Donna the manager promised it was like night and day. She took my suggestions to heart on where the food could improve and they actually improved it.

The pizza is more like it looked like in their ads, and it’s not super salty, greasy or soggy tonight. Same with the salad and the avocado and greens are more fresh.

For those who asked, they do not have a storefront they run a ghost kitchen out of another restaurant and are delivery only.

It takes a lot for a restaurant to admit they could improve and it’s very unusual I think that they actually do so quickly. I hope they keep this consistency up. If they do, they are definitely going to be a contender around here for pizza.

📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌

BEFORE:

9/27/19 4:45 PM UPDATE: The manager of the Exton location called me a little while ago. She couldn’t have been nicer. She owned the problems last night – it sounds like she had already left when my order came in. She has no explanation for why they couldn’t contact me even through Grubhub to say there was a problem with the order or it would take longer. And she also on the fact that the restaurant staff last night dropped my pizza that was missing a slice and then put it in a box.

That takes a lot to own all those things and be nice and professional and friendly on the phone. They have asked to re-run my order on them and at first I didn’t want to do it because my husband said he absolutely would never want to eat their food ever again. But I spoke to him and he said yes.

I will update when I receive my order. I am impressed by the manager. This is how you deal with a problem as opposed to the way Brick & Brew treated me when I reviewed my experience in July.

📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌📌

I understand P.Za Kitchen is new in Exton, PA, but I ordered two pizzas from them and one of them was missing a slice. Yes, missing a slice. How gross is that?

I did my order on a delivery from GrubHub and it wasn’t the GrubHub guy, it’s the restaurant. So they sent two free bottles of water to make up for the pizza that was missing a slice. This is a restaurant that you can’t dine in, they are delivery only.

Upon arrival, the GrubHub guy warned me that something was wrong with the order because they apparently kind of pulled him aside when he was picking it up. But the restaurant didn’t call me and they had my phone number via GrubHub.

When you have a problem with a delivery and you have the customer’s phone number you call them. No one called me. No one messaged me through the GrubHub app either. They just delivered pizza missing slices and both pizzas were greasy, salty, and soggy. WTF???

The salad I ordered was very good except for the avocado bits that were both brown and minuscule .

I’ve had Roman style pizza and what they delivered doesn’t quite cover it. Hell, Stouffer’s frozen French Bread Pizza would be more appealing.

Here’s hoping they get their act together because it was an expensive mistake to make to order from them. Never again.

What order was SUPPOSED to look like.

The order arrived warm with GrubHub but I won’t be coming back to them. I will note I tried to contact them by phone but it’s a toll-free number you call and when I called it it said “the party you are trying to reach is currently unavailable . “

Please also note they are still open!

P.za Kitchen is located at 300 Main Street in Exton. The phone number that no one can answer is 888-799-6601.

And again I ask, have you ever had a pizza delivered missing a slice?

Because I could not reach them I contacted GrubHub. GrubHub, although I didn’t ask for it , asked them to give me at least a partial refund and they refused. They would give me a coupon.

I will note again the problem is not with GrubHub here. They lived up to their part of the bargain. The problem is with this place P.Za Kitchen.

What they deliver doesn’t even look like what was shown on their menu!

P. Za Kitchen doesn’t know customer service. And their Exton location also doesn’t know what true Roman Pizza is either.

Sign me dissatisfied and never again.

happiness is a meat order from your family’s butcher

Cappuccio’s on 9th Street in Philadelphia. That is the Italian Market to the rest of you.

This was the Saturday morning destination at least twice a month when I was growing up, even when we moved to the Main Line.

And yes, my family has been going here since before my grandfather Bill Zambelli put the abattoirs in this butcher shop.

Cappuccio’s was opened in 1920. Here is their story from their website:

Domenico Cappuccio was born on his family’s farm in Messina, Sicily during the late 1800’s. After his father passed away when he was in 2nd grade, Domenico was forced to leave school to help work the family farm. In 1910, as the rumblings of World War I began in Italy, Domenico decided it would be wise to join his brother in America. However, he was still drafted and this time would be asked to fight for the Americans.

Following his service, Domenico was offered a path to citizenship if he could find an American sponsor. After working several jobs in Southern New Jersey, Domenico ended up in Philadelphia’s Italian Market where he met a man who offered to provide him with sponsorship. This man, Charles Guinta, not only sponsored Domenico but gave him a job in his butcher shop and a place to stay above.

While working at the butcher shop, Domenico met his future wife, worked a fresh produce stand also in the Italian Market. After several years, Mr. Guinta felt that Domenico was ready to go out on his own and suggested he start his own shop down the street. After getting married, he took Guinta’s advice and opened up Cappuccio’s Meats at its current location. The couple would have three children, one of whom, Antoinette Cappuccio, would go onto run the shop with her husband Harry Crimi.

After Domenico retired, Harry and Antoinette Crimi took over Cappuccio’s Meats and continue to run the business today using the family’s traditional values with their son Dominic Crimi.

Now the funny thing about World War I bringing Domenico Cappuccio to the United States is it also played a role in my paternal grandfather’s life.

When my grandfather was a little boy, his mother who had emigrated to the USA as a young woman, took a ship back to Italy so her family still in Italy could meet her son. The problem was, World War I broke out when they were there and they had to stay with family in a little village until the was was over and Trans-Atlantic ship travel resumed.

My grandfather, a little, little boy, was called l’Americano by the villagers during that time. He went on to build a boiler company and factory. During World War II the company had to change it’s name to seem more American- people being suspicious of people born in other countries is sadly nothing new in this country. Both of my grandfathers (my maternal grandfather was Irish) were discriminated against.

But I digress.

Cappuccio’s is a familiar and well-loved place for me. Going there and to the Italian market with my father on weekends was sort of magical.

The ding of the bell on the door and you walk in and there was sawdust on the floor and sometimes sides of meat hanging from a hook in the window. I would sit on a barrel next to one of the front windows and watch everyone get waited on. The counters were wide and clean, knives in holders in between the counter sections.

Sometimes old Domenico would talk to me half in Italian and half in English. He had glasses with big black rims and a very sweet smile. Sometimes his daughter Antoinette who married Harry Crimi (who was close to my father’s age) would let me come back behind the sales floor.

My father and Harry would patter back and forth in English and Italian about whatever daddy was buying. I loved going there. I would watch as Harry would sharpen a knife to cut whatever we were buying. And then each item would get wrapped in butcher paper, marked, and placed in paper sacks, or a box depending on the size of the order.

As I grew up, I watched Harry’s son Domenick , who is about my age and whom I know as an adult, come up in the business. Now he runs the store!

A few weeks ago I got to thinking about the Italian sausage we used to buy there. My great aunts, grandparents, and my parents all made sauce (or gravy) with it. It is the best sausage you have ever tasted made the old school way with fennel.

I also started thinking about the other cuts of pork, beef, and lamb we used to get from Cappuccio’s. So I contacted Domenick and asked him if I could get an order – but it would have to be shipped or delivery because 9th Street is just a wee bit out of the way living in Chester County.

So Domenick said for me if I was willing to pay a delivery fee, he’d deliver.

My order got delivered a little while ago. All neatly and perfectly wrapped in brown butcher paper and bags with wire-tied tags with my name on it. Just like when I was a kid!

It sounds silly to some I am sure but this? This makes me happy. A piece of 9th Street in my freezer. And Domenick even bought me a bag of lamb neck bones- the best secret ingredient of any Sunday Pasta Sauce!

I mean no disrespect to my lovely local butcher, Worrell’s, but Cappuccio’s and me? We’ve got history! So I am going to be splitting my love going forward.

Cappuccio’s is an amazing old school artisanal butcher shop. They have been doing it the same way since 1920. Give them a try, and if you live closer to them then I do, go visit!

Cappuccio’s updates their Facebook page often. Seriously? Visit them, try their meats. You’ll be glad you did 😊

We had fresh grilled sausage for dinner. It was just as awesome as I remember it.