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By C.T. Sorrentino “His Holiness”. I first saw him on TV, a documentary, 60 Minutes, I forget exactly where or when, but he i...

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

CombatCritic's "TravelValue' Passes The 100,000 Visitor Milestone In Just 3 Years ... Thanks To You!

Thanks to you ...

Pageviews last month: 4,207

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100,000 visitors in just 3 years and growing exponentially!

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CombatCritic

"On The Front Lines In The Battle Against Mediocrity"

Select Homes - KC Team Real Estate "Talks The Talk", But Does Not "Walk The Walk"

Select Homes - KC Team Real Estate
Real Estate Agents, Real Estate Services
8500 W 95th St
Overland Park, KS 66212
Phone: (913) 660-0822
Website: kc.selecthomes.com

Part of traveling includes trips to exciting new places and the possibility of picking up and moving to a different city. We visited Kansas City in 2007 never expecting to move there. Now it is time to move on, so we are selling our home. 

After hearing Martin Taggart, Team Leader and Lead Listing Specialist for Select Homes - KC Team Real Estate, on a local radio show, he seemed to say all of the right things so I asked him to possibly list the home we are planning to sell. During our first meeting he seemed personable and savvy, but a couple things he did and said did not sit well at gut level. For example, after viewing the house the tenant had to get her kids to their soccer game, so Martin invited us to Caribou Coffee to make his pitch and, hopefully for him, seal the deal. When it came time to pay for my, my wife's, and his coffees, about $11 total, Martin did not even attempt to pay, hanging back while letting me pay and deliver his complimentary coffee to him. What kind of professional lets a potential customer capable of generating over $20,000 in commission pay for their own coffee AND HIS after extending the invitation? I should have listened to my gut and parted ways then and there, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

His Gold and Platinum "Worry Free Listing Addendum" scheme is nothing more, a scheme to get another 1% commission out of sellers (for a total commission of 7% - Platinum). The Worry Free Listing ADDendum also ADDs an ADDitional $595 "Transaction Fee" on top of the already exorbitant standard 6% real estate commission (or 7% in the case of Martin's Platinum scheme) charged on all real estate transactions, something I have never seen in all my years of buying and selling houses. When I asked him why I had to pay a transaction fee on top of even a standard 6% commission, he quickly told me "I'll waive it and pay it out of my own pocket", as if it were something he would owe someone else rather than an invention to produce more profit for his company that it actually is.

Martin was anxious to get the house on the market within two weeks, so he promised to help us expedite the listing and sale by referring contractors he claimed he has "special pull with" to perform needed work on the home in preparation for sale, but none of them panned out, either not following-up or not being available to perform the work soon enough to list the home according to Martin's recommended timeline. Clearly there was no communication between he and "his contractors" about the schedule, wasting my time with numerous phone calls, emails, texts, and a 100 mile round trip to meet one at the subject home in Kansas City. In the end, not one performed as promised, another indication that Martin's words carry little weight.

He also led us to believe that Select Homes - KC Team Real Estate located in Overland Park, Kansas is #9 in total units sold in the US and #1 in Kansas, "according to the Wall Street Journal", but upon closer inspection of the link he sent me to confirm these supposed "facts" (see table below), I found that it had nothing to do with the Wall Street Journal at all and the numbers he was quoting included sales for four offices throughout Kansas, including Hutchinson (219 miles from Kansas City). Newton (182 miles from Kansas City), and the home office in Wichita (199 miles from Kansas City).


2015 Teams by Transaction Sides
Rank
Team Name
Company
MSA
City
State
Transactions
Website
9
Select Homes - Team Real Estate
Wichita, KS
Wichita
KS
952.00
15
ReeceNichols - Leawood
Kansas City, MO-KS
Leawood
KS
738.00
24
ReeceNichols - Lee's Summit
Kansas City, MO-KS
Lee's Summit
MO
628.00
Source: https://www.realtrends.com/rankings/real-trends-1000-teams-by-sides15

How can someone include home sales in cities 200 miles away in the numbers that lead people to believe that their Kansas City Team is one of the "top-10 teams in the country"?

Here is Martin on KMBZ Radio, leading listeners, as he did me, to believe that his "Kansas City Team" sales numbers include those of the franchises' offices in Wichita, Hutchinson, and Newton, Kansas:
I followed-up in an email, asking Martin: 
  1. "You claim being one of the top (#9) teams in the country according to the Wall Street Journal and Kansas’ #1 team, but you don’t mention Kansas City. Why? 
  2. Why can’t I readily find these accolades on your website?
  3. Where can I find the sources for your claims?". 
His response was "Our team outsold the #2 team in the Metro last year by several hundred units", referring to a team whose sales numbers included ONLY the Kansas City Metro area, not the entire State of Kansas

When I held his feet to the fire and questioned him about the authenticity of the data he was quoting, requested that he provide objective comparative data in regard to sales in Kansas City alone, and asked him to answer numerous other questions I had, including why he was comparing apples to onions (a Kansas-wide franchise group compared to a single Kansas City based real estate team), Martin refused to answer and quickly replied "I respectfully withdraw our offer to engage in the listing of your home".

There is an old saying in the military about talking the talk and walking the walk, and Martin Taggart can clearly "talk and talk and talk the talk" ... I will leave it at that.

Martin Taggart and Select Homes - KC Team Real Estate Get One Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!


One Bomb Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Select Homes - KC Team Real Estate "Talks The Talk", But Does Not "Walk The Walk"

Key Words: Select Homes, KC Team Real Estate, Martin Taggart, Martin, Taggart, Kansas City, select, homes, real estate, realtor, agent, real, estate, TravelValue, travel, value, service, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Monday, April 25, 2016

If You Have Food Allergies, STAY AWAY From Mi Ranchito!

Mi Ranchito
707 W. 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone: (785) 727-2005
Website: miranchitokc.com
Prices: $$$$


If you have food allergies, STAY AWAY!  For the umpteenth and last time, my wife (who is allergic to tomatoes) was brought her food order with tomatoes in it even though we specified "NO TOMATOES ... SHE'S ALLERGIC!"

They also brought me a house margarita "on the rocks" instead of "blended" as I had ordered and my machaca (shredded beef) fried tacos came with ground beef, but by this time I was fed up and ate them anyway.  The blended margarita ($6.50) had little if any alcohol or taste.

We have been to Mi Ranchito on numerous occasions, but stuff like this happens every time we eat here.  I have explained to management several times how dangerous it is to ignore customer identified food allergies, but it obviously does little good.  The manager brought us a coupon for "Buy one lunch entree, get one free!", but we do not go out for lunch, so ... there you go ... it's absolutely useless and worthless as far as we are concerned.

The food is not bad by Lawrence standards, if you get what you order, but the lack of concern for their customer's health is a major concern and will likely only be rectified after someone with a life threatening food allergy receives the food they are allergic to with potentially lethal consequences. 

Adios Mi Ranchito!

CombatCritic Gives Mi Ranchito 1 Bomb Out Of 10 ... I Cannot Give Them Anything Higher Due To Their Blatant Lack Of Concern For Customer Safety ... More Bombs Are Better!
One Bomb Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!





Title:  If You Have Food Allergies, STAY AWAY From Mi Ranchito!

Key Words: Mi Ranchito, mi, ranchito, Mexican, allergy, allergies, food, Lawrence, KS, 66046, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Thursday, March 24, 2016

South Korean Company + Chinese Product + Filipino Tech Support = Huge Waste Of My Time And Money

Electronics Review: Samsung SL-M2885FW/XAA Wireless Monochrome Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax

Samsung Electronics America 
Corporate Office
Address: 3351 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Phone: (800) 726-7864
I usually do not post non-travel related reviews on this blog, - although if the printer worked, I could theoretically print at home from anywhere in the World - but I had to let you know about this lousy product right away.

I will not waste much time on this review as Samsung has already wasted far too much of my time with their poor printer software and incompetent off-shore, outsources technical support (which takes jobs from Americans of course, but that is another story),

I purchased a Samsung SL-M2885FW/XAA Wireless Monochrome Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax on Amazon.com on Thursday, March 17, 2016 and even though it was supposed to arrive in 10 days, USPS delivered it on Sunday, March 20th. Great start, right? Well, it was all downhill from there!

I spent over 6 hours trying to install the printer software, wasting an entire evening and another afternoon, but after over an hour on the phone with Samsung Tech Support and after trying every possible solution myself, their representative in the Philippines told me they could not help me, making an excuse that it was my router:
"Our printer does not operate on 2.5 GHz, only 2.4 GHz. You have to contact your Internet provider. There is nothing more I can do."
I explained that my Internet provider only provides the modem, that the router is mine, and that it is in-fact operating at 2.4 GHz, but she insisted that I must contact my Internet provider. She obviously did not have a clue, so I told her I would return the printer to Amazon.com, to which she replied, "that is certainly an option". Wrong answer!

Samsung and The Samsung SL-M2885FW/XAA Wireless Monochrome Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax Get 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On CombatCritic's Wall Of Shame ... More Bombs Are Better!




One Bomb Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Japanese Company + Chinese Product + Filipino Tech Support = A Huge Waste Of My Time And Money

Key Words: Samsung, printer, all-in-one, scanner, fax, laser, CombatCritic, TravelValue, value, product, review, Yelp, Amazon.com, Samsung.com, wall of shame, shame, technical, support, China, Korea

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Sunday, March 6, 2016

TravelTech: The Misfit Flash Is A "Flash" In The Pan, Don't Waste Your Money

Misfit Flash 
Fitness Monitor
Sold by Amazon.com
$25.97 Plus Tax


Being a gym rat, avid golfer and frequent traveler, fitness is important even while on the road. With aerobic machines rarely available while on vacation, a fitness monitor provides a quick and easy way to ensure I get enough exercise, at a glance, so I bought the Misfit Flash through Amazon.com.

When the Flash synced with the Misfit app, it seemed to work well enough. The "points" (steps) were sometimes off (low) and sleep stopped tracking if I awoke after 5am, even if you go back to sleep, but for $30 it was acceptable until it stopped syncing altogether. The instructions that came with the Flash were totally inadequate and their website provides little, if any, technical information or support (for example, they do not bother telling you how to change the battery).

Even though I had the Flash for a little over 30 days, 32 to be exact, Amazon at first refused to allow me to return it. The device worked OK in the beginning, but recently only synced intermittently with the Misfit app. I had bought one for my wife a few days after getting mine (because it seemed to work OK at first), but her's did not sync for weeks and then would not even pair with the Misfit app via Bluetooth. 

I contacted Misfit on numerous occasions (February 4th, 6th, 27th, 28th and March 2nd to be exact) about a fix, but they either refused to respond or sent me the same lame cut and paste instructions that are available on their website. They dragged their feet long enough that I was 2 days out of warranty by the time I got around to contacting Amazon about a return. Fortunately, my wife's Flash, also bought through Amazon, was within the 30-day return policy, but I thought that I was apparently out of luck.

I ended up returning my Flash in the same box I was returning my wife's in, even if I would not receive a refund, contacting Amazon (not an easy thing to do by the way) and letting them know of my dismay. Low and behold, I received an email the very next day telling me that they were processing a refund for my former Flash in addition to my wife's. Maybe their motto, "We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company", is true after all! 

The Misfit Flash is junk and Misfit obviously doesn't care about their customers, so do not waste your money.

CombatCritic Gives the Misfit Flash (and Amazon.com's published return policy) 1 Bomb Out Of 10 and a spot on my Wall of Shame ... More Bombs Are Better!

One Bomb Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: TravelTech: The Misfit Flash Is A "Flash" In The Pan, Don't Waste Your Money

Key Words: Misfit Flash, Misfit, flash, wearable, activity, tracker, monitor, fitness, sleep, Amazon, Amazon.com, technology, tech, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lawrence, Kansas: Burger Princess ... Home of the "Whimper"

Burger King
1107 W. 6th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone: (785) 371-3184
Website: bk.com

What is the world coming to? This review will be short and not so sweet.

Question: What's small, flat, cold and cost $16?

Answer: #1 and #2 Burger King Value Meals
I remember when Whoppers were "whoppers", reasonably priced and cooked to order. Now they "nuke" the meat and a Whopper is more like a "Whimper", half the size of what you used to get. The value meal fries should be the baby's menu and a slice of American cheese is an extra 80 cents.
Maybe they should change the name to Burger Princess to reflect their portion sizes ... never again!

CombatCritic Gives Burger King 2 Bombs Out of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Two Bombs Equates To
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!



Title: Burger Princess ... Home of the Whimper!

Key Words: Burger King, burger, king, whopper, home of the whopper, bk.com, fries, Coke, Lawrence, Kansas, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, restaurant, menu review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform = "Tits Up"