Tag Archives: consumerist

In Which I Allege Prime Meats Has No Clothes…Or is At Least Half-Naked…

I’ve been Yelping.

Mostly because I realized I have opinions about local restaurants and it’s silly not to share them…even though I remain terrified someone is going to call me out, a la the Lucky purse disaster on Consumerist. I guess this proves that despite all the book rejections that have come my way, I still haven’t developed very thick skin.

Nonetheless, I did a bold thing today: I posted a review of Prime Meats in which I alleged the restaurant is completely uninviting. Angry mobs may be assembling as we speak.

I’m not sure whether I’ll become a hard-core reviewer on Yelp — after all, there are so many places on the Internet where you can review things and provide your opinions…like, say, on Epicurious…and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to write it all.

But I also know a little cross-promotion can’t hurt…and am kind of proud of this review. There — I said it. (Which probably means it is terrible as that is usually the case whenever I like something I write.)

Nevertheless…for non-Yelpers, here’s my review:

I am going to make a bold statement. And I’m fairly certain it’s going to ruffle some feathers, but I’m going to say it anyway: I think, to a degree, Prime Meats — like the Emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale — has no clothes. Or it is at least half-naked.

The food is very good, to be sure. Prime Meats wouldn’t have garnered so much attention if that wasn’t the case.

I also think it was a bold move for the owners to focus on German cuisine – although perhaps therein lies their genius.

But somehow Prime Meats, despite its delicious food, doesn’t have the warm, inviting atmosphere of other restaurants of its caliber. That is not to say it is not aesthetically pleasing. But it is permeated by a sense of entitlement that belies the site’s humble history as a dry cleaning business.

On a recent weekday, one of the owners waltzed about with his French bulldog in hand with such an air of confidence, I wondered if he would actually get in trouble if a health inspector dropped by or if he could simply say, “Do you know who I am?” and get away with it.

I’ll repeat: The food is very, very good. You can get a fine steak here – and this is a neighborhood that cannot otherwise boast a good steakhouse.

But I think the fuss over this restaurant is partly psychological. In other words, I think part of the reason people rave about it is the same reason the head cheerleader and the quarterback of the football team are powerful in high school. It’s not necessarily because they’re good people…

Sam Sifton did an excellent job describing diners in his NYT review last May: “…brownstone bohemians, third novelists, people with Web sites, with good art at home.”

They are served by waiters in beards, skinny jeans and suspenders…or, as Sifton described them, “a crew of handsome men and women dressed as if ready to ride horses back home to Bushwick, where they trap beaver and make their own candles.”

I am admittedly a struggling writer with a degree that has so far not justified its pricetag…and perhaps if I had landed a job at the New York Times or Conde Nast, I would feel more welcome here. But I don’t. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of a restaurant where I’ve felt so unwelcome.

I could perhaps understand if I was dressed inappropriately or was spewing profanities. But I wasn’t. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And I live very close. I walk by virtually every day. And yet when I decided to drop by to take advantage of an oyster special and the restaurant was unoccupied with the exception of one other party, it took 15 minutes for our drinks to come and yet another 15 more for the oysters to appear.

“I’m sorry, but the oyster guy is backed up,” our waiter explained as the table next to us received their second platter of oysters and we checked our watches.

We were eventually served and, as noted, the food was good. But at no point did I feel my business was wanted or that I would ever be compelled to return…unless I was suffering from acute hubris and needed my ego cut down to size by a staff eager to imply that I wasn’t good enough to eat there.

It’s not just me. I’ve heard stories from neighbors who were deemed unfit to mingle with the clientele and who were encouraged to sit at the bar or move along.

Take Frank Bruni on Twitter, for example. On January 5, he wrote, “At Prime Meats last nite, didn’t think: I’m in BROOKLYN!”

In his defense, he went on to say, “Didn’t mull geography. Just ate well at super place. The borough has plenty.”

But, at the same time, a Brooklyn prejudice seems terribly outdated and pompous…and somehow completely fitting for this restaurant that calls the borough its home.

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In Which I Give the McRib a Fair Shake

It’s fair to say that the McRib is almost universally reviled, isn’t it?

And there’s still a part of me that longs to fit in with the cool kids, so I am reluctant to admit this and presumably face public scorn (much like T said he would never volunteer to do the Volkswagen Shoot-Out at Madison Square Garden because he wouldn’t want to be booed by an arena full of Rangers fans). But, as I discovered on Consumerist, the Web makes people braver and/or meaner, so I suppose I can cower behind my laptop as I say this: I used to really like the McRib.

And whenever McDonald’s brings it back, jokes abound and I hold fast to my secret shame and pray no one asks, “Have you ever tried it?”

But it’s been YEARS…and I was admittedly curious whether my tastes had changed or if – horror of horrors – I still secretly liked the McRib.

And I wasn’t actually going to even *do* it until I came home from work the day after mentioning this fleeting thought and T said, “I have a surprise for you!”

So…I’ll say this – there are definitely worse things out there, even on the McDonald’s menu itself. (Namely, anything with American cheese and/or eggs. Like, say, an Egg McMuffin. Shudder.)

And, call me Snooki, but…I really liked the pickles – it could have been my imagination, but I think they were more substantial than the usual McD pickles.

I think the slab of meat is a little weird – especially for something that is supposed to emulate its namesake. And that hunk of faux rib meat may be what gets everyone in a tizzy. But, at the same time, I don’t think it’s all that much different – read: grosser — than the hamburger patties that everyone gobbles up – it’s just a slightly different shape. The texture’s comparable, folks.

And I don’t know if I agree with McDonald’s claim that it is “tangy temptation” – I don’t think it was particularly tangy…or even overly BBQy. It was almost – dare I say it — somewhat bland.

And it would have been a lot better if the onions had been, say, caramelized instead of served raw.

In short? I think the McRib gets an overly bad rap. It’s not the best sandwich on the menu…and it’s certainly not as good as, say, the Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger…but, for those of us on the eastern half of the country, it may be as close as we get for now.

Image via DrPizza/Flickr

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My Beef with Lucky Brand Jeans Continues…

Wow — totally useless response from Lucky Brand Jeans regarding my defective purse.

Lucky, if you really wanted to piss me off, this is how to do it:

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for contacting Lucky Brand.com. We are always interested in hearing from our customers!

We apologize for your experience with our product(s) and appreciate you bringing it to our attention. We assure you that this is not standard for our product(s). Unfortunately, we are unable to process refunds or exchanges for product(s) purchased in stores. At this time, we do not have a repair service available. Please contact our Store Customer Service for additional assistance at: 888-943-2653 or email at: storecustomerservice@luckybrandjeans.com

If you require a more urgent reply please call us TOLL FREE at 1-866-975-LUCK (5825), Sunday-Saturday 7am-11pm CST or email us at customerservice@luckybrand.net. Thank you for contacting LuckyBrand.com. Sincerely, Lucky Brand Customer Care

1. I don’t think you can say that “this is not standard for our product(s)” as this Macy’s review clearly mentions that there is a problem with the handles. I am not alone.

2. No refunds, exchanges or repair services? In other words, nothing? Buyer beware? This does not inspire confidence.

3. An automated response? My complaint is not worthy of the attention of an actual human being? Sheesh.

I loved my first Lucky purse, but between the crappy handle and the crappy customer service response, I’m done. I wrote Consumerist, too. They may not publish anything, but at least I’ve done my part to warn the world of Lucky’s shoddy craftsmanship!

PS: I found a Fossil bag I like very much. I think it will be my new signature bag…

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A Letter to Lucky Brand Jeans, Regarding Its Defective Pathwork Mailbag

Anyone who has seen me in the past 3+ years knows my purse. As you’ll read below, I bought Lucky’s large patchwork mailbag about that long ago and absolutely loved it. However, when it came time to replace it, I couldn’t find the large version and settled for the smaller bag. It also came with a different handle…which turned out to snap off every so often, requiring constant repairs. It has been, in a word, inconvenient. (And if I was to give a really good scolding, I’d say, “Disappointing,” too.)

I just read a review online that warned of this defective handle — so I’m not the only one.

So — a warning: They’re cute, but be careful when considering a handbag from Lucky Brand Jeans…unless you have a leathersmith in your household who delights in fixing the shoddy handle.

I just read a story about a man whose parents had a relatively new GE stove and the glass on the front exploded and broke into a million pieces. The dad had trouble getting anywhere with customer service and so the son contacted GE via Twitter and they were enormously helpful and his dad was super-happy because the oven was fixed almost immediately.

I realize my case is in all likelihood a matter of “buyer beware,” but I was so mad the darn thing broke again the other night, I emailed customerservice@luckybrand.net *and* I called them out on Twitter. We’ll see if Lucky is as concerned about its online rep as GE was…

Dear Lucky,

About three years ago, I bought one of your large patchwork mailbags. I loved it. It became my signature bag. In fact, my mother liked it so much that *she* bought an identical bag and whenever she visited me, we walked around with matching purses…

Eventually, however, the bag became a bit worn out and I realized I needed to replace it. I wanted the same bag. Sadly, I could not find the large bag anywhere — not on the Lucky site and not on Amazon. I eventually decided to go with the smaller version. I bought it at Macy’s on September 26, 2009 — my birthday.

As you know, it is almost September 26, 2010…and the strap on the second bag has broken countless times already. At first, I was able to glue it back together and make said repair every few weeks (cheaper than taking it to a professional who works with leather, although, in hindsight, I could have perhaps saved myself a lot of grief by getting a pro to fix it in the first place). At the same time, however, it’s not like this is a cheap knockoff I bought off the street. Sure, there are lots of more expensive purses out there, but I still paid decent money for this one.

And, alas, I was out with friends the other night and the OTHER side of the strap snapped off and now the bag is completely useless again. I am tired of trying to fix this defective handle. It’s a pain to glue it and it’s a pain to take it to a repair shop and to be without a bag for several days. When I spend $150+ on a purse, I expect it to at least make it to its first birthday in one piece.

So…even though I loved my first large patchwork mailbag more than any other purse I’ve ever had before, I’m afraid I don’t trust Lucky enough to risk buying another bag that might have shoddy craftsmanship. It’s a shame, but my next signature bag will not be a Lucky. And you’ve lost what was once a very happy customer.

Images attached so show the defective handle from both sides, as well as the now-useless purse in its entirety.

Best,

Lisa Lacy

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