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Friday, June 23, 2017

Eureka, CA: The Potatoes Weren't The Only Thing Stuf't By The End Of The Night

Stuf't Potato
3220 South Broadway, Suite 8
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone number (707) 444-6200
Website: stuftpotato.com
Prices: $$$$

The restaurant is simple, a nice little place in a strip mall near the southern edge of town. The service is friendly and efficient, and the food made to order. The chef readily agreed to substitute chicken with pork for the schnitzel cordon bleu ($17.95), but they would have received 7-8 Bombs Out Of 10 had they fulfilled my request for a little Hunter sauce (gravy) with the cordon bleu I ordered. When a customer makes a request, it should be fulfilled. It's not that hard to whip up a little gravy, particularly when you are pan frying the schnitzel anyway.

My wife had the Fried Spätzel ($13.95), a huge skillet full of spätzel, ham, Gruyere cheese, saüerkraut, and fried onions all mixed together. It was a lot of food, very unique, and quite good. Fresh bread and a cream cheese spread with spices accompanied the meals.
As I mentioned, I had the schnitzel (pork) cordon bleu with fried potatoes and sweet and sour red cabbage. The dinner came with soup or salad and bread, so I ordered the beef goulash soup which was a bit greasy, as it should be, but good. The potatoes were good, the cabbage OK (I'm not a huge fan of German red cabbage), and the cordon bleu very well prepared except for the fact that it was extremely dry. A little hunter sauce (mushroom gravy) would have rounded out the dish quite nicely, but it was not meant to be.
The beer comes in bottles, nothing on tap, and is a bit pricy ($5.25-$5.95) for a 12-16 ounce bottle of beer. The house wine is $5.25 a glass and the glass was quite generous, a much better value than the beer. We enjoyed our meal and the chef obviously knows how to prepare German food, but a little more flexibility, not an easy thing for many Germans (I'm half German, so I know all too well), would have gone a long way.

CombatCritic Gives Stuft Potato 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
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Read Chris S.'s review of Stuft Potato on Yelp

Title: Eureka, CA: The Potatoes Weren't The Only Thing Stuf't By The End Of The Night

Key Words: Stuf't Potato, stuf't, stuffed, potato, potatoes, German, schnitzel, Eureka, California, beer, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"

Portland, OR: Live Music, Cheap Food And Drinks, HOOAH!

Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge
4830 NE 42nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97218
Northeast Portland, Cully
Phone number (503) 287-5800
Website: thespareroompdx.com
Prices: $$$$

Cheap drinks (Jim Beam and Coke - $3 - All Day/Every Day), food (ample menu and specials), and music (live/DJ/karaoke/free/cover) ... what more could you ask for!

Around the corner from my new temporary digs, I stopped by on Thursday night for a couple drinks and free, live music, unfortunately country on this night, but beggars can't be choosers. The bartender/hostess/server was very nice, well dressed, attractive and, most important, friendly. She also pours a strong drink ... HOOAH!

I did not stay long because I can only handle country in short bursts, but will return soon for one of their dinner specials (surf and turf, prime rib, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, etc.) and, hopefully, some rock and roll, jazz, or blues. The place is big and dark with an old fashioned feel, not extravagant and not seedy, just right. Two bars and dance floors in two adjoining big rooms with other spaces which I did not have a chance to explore. They also have gambling-type machines at the bar although I neither know Oregon's gambling laws nor if these machines are for used betting.

Most people seemed to know each other, but other than the bartender/server, nobody said a word to me or even looked like they wanted to although hugs abounded and conversations surrounded me. Not the welcome I would have liked, but as the new kid on the block, I expected little else.

CombatCritic Gives Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge An Initial 7 Bombs Out Of 10 With Room To Grow ... More Bombs Are Better!



Seven Bombs Equates To:
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Read Chris S.'s review of Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge on Yelp

Title: Portland, OR: Live Music, Cheap Food And Drinks, HOOAH!

Key Words: Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge, spare, room, lounge, bar, music, live, karaoke, Portland, Oregon, NE, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Portland, OR: On Again, Off Again ... C'est La Vie (That's Life)

Petite Provence
1824 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211
Phone number (503) 284-6564
Website: provencepdx.com
Prices: $$$$

Yay! I love French food and am not easily impressed, but I was impressed, at least on my first visit. That visit was for their Happy Hour, so I will reserve a couple of stars for future visits, one way or the other, depending on how dinner, lunch and breakfast pan out. Based on that single experience, I did not think things would digress, but time did tell and I was not nearly as impressed on my second visit.
Visit #1 - I had an IPA ($4) to start things off, then we ordered from the Happy Hour Menu (3-6PM - M-F), all about $5 each. In order to sample as many things as possible, my wife and I shared four Happy Hour plates, a Mushroom and Gruyere Crepe, Macaroni and Cheese Au Gratin with toast, Mussels in a Coconut Red Curry sauce with pom frites (French fries), and a Kobe Beef Slider also with pom frites.

The slider was good, but being only one small burger with aioli sauce on a bun and a paltry amount of fries, it was not the best value on the menu. The Mac and Cheese was plentiful and delicious with sauteed onion inside and baked with cheese and breadcrumbs on top, served with three pieces of grilled baguette toast. The crepes were small, a half each for a total of one full crepe, but savory with a nice white cheese sauce and sauteed mushrooms. Finally, my favorite, were the red curry mussels with 10-12 fresh mussels in a creamy, spicy, yummy red curry sauce with a decent portion of seasoned fries on the side.


Being one of four parties inside, the service was attentive, friendly and excellent. The place is quaint with lots of wood and a European feel and they even have tables on the sidewalk Parisian-style. They also have an array of baked goods (pastries, breads) and a huge display case full of delightful, sweet cakes, pies, tarts and other delectable morsels that dazzle the eye as well as the nose and tongue. My single complaint was the absence of paper towels in both (unisex) bathrooms, having had to dry my hands on toilet paper or toilet seat covers ... YUK.
For $28 and change plus tip ($35), we ate quite well and were stuffed by the time we left. No room for dessert, even though my wife has a sweet tooth the size of Manhattan and rarely passes on the final course. 
Visit #2 - I visited PP for the second time on Father's Day, arriving around 9PM after a round of golf (they close at 10PM). The sign said "please wait to be seated", so I stood there like a gidrulo (Italian dialect slang for "dumb ass", but literally meaning "cucumber") for a good five minutes while employees walked back and forth, ignoring me as if I were not there and not even saying "welcome, we'll be with you in a minute". I was finally approached by a server with a man-bun, taking me to a table outside on the sidewalk on the beautiful, mild late spring evening. 
Everything was going fine. Knowing they were closing in less than an hour and not wanting to waste time, I ordered an IPA and then asked my server for a bowl of French onion soup ($6.95) and the Chicken Cordon Bleu ($16) for my entree. Less than 10 minutes later, man-bun arrived with my soup AND entree ... at the same time! 

For those of you who know me, you know all too well that if you really want to piss me off, bring my entree while I am still eating my appetizer, soup, and/or salad. It is my ultimate pet peeve, so when the soup and entree arrived together, I was far less than pleased, asking the server to please take the entree away until I was done with my soup. Anybody who has been a server for a week or more knows that you never bring different courses together unless specifically asked to do so which I had not.
The soup was very average and I would not order it again at $6.95. Nuff said. The chicken was good, but a tad burnt, a little dry, and extremely hot (likely having sat under the warmer for 15-20 minutes while I ate my very hot soup). Sitting atop a very small portion of runny mashed potatoes with some green beans in between, the tarragon beurre blanc (tarragon, butter and white wine) sauce was tasty, but there was not nearly enough of it either. A little more sauce would have made the dry chicken a bit more palatable.
What a dilemma! Such a good experience on visit #1 only to be followed by a very mediocre experience on visit #2. I thought I had found our new Portland go-to spot on Alberta, but now I am not so sure. 

I look forward to returning at least one more time for happy hour, breakfast, lunch and/or dinner and hope all will be as delightful as it was on our initial experience. If not, we may not be back and may head down the street to Swiss Hibiscus or across town the Chez Machin where I know I will get a good, consistent meal and service.
CombatCritic Downgrades Petite Provence (Alberta) From 8 Bombs Out Of 10 To 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... A Very Modest And Generous Deduction For Such Inexcusable Faux Pas ... More Bombs Are Better!
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Title: Portland, OR: On Again, Off Again ... C'est La Vie (That's Life)

Key Words: Petite Provence, French, cafe, bakery, boulangerie, Alameda, outdoor, seating, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, Portland, Oregon, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

TravelTech: Garmin Vivoactive (Vivo = "I Live") Is MortoInactive (Morto = "Dead") ... BOTTOM LINE: DON'T BOTHER!

Garmin Vivoactive "Smart" Watch

If you travel as much as I do and are active (walking, hiking, golfing, swimming, etc.), a good activity monitor or smart watch is indispensable. I bought one from Amazon.com a little over a year ago and am I sorry I did.

The Garmin Vivoactive ($179) worked fine for about six months, monitoring sleep and the golf function worked OK. When walking (golf) or during travel (we walk a lot), it kept track of steps and was quite useful, but I use an elliptical trainer for much of my cardio and the Vivoactive was/is totally useless unless your arms are swinging.

After 5-6 months, it quit syncing sleep on a regular basis and a month or two later the golf function stopped working altogether. For golf, it give you basic yardages (front/center/back of green) and keeps score, but that's it. It has difficulty recognizing the golf course you have just arrived at, even with GPS, so you have to remember to sync it via Bluetooth with the Garmin Connect app on your phone, a real pain in the butt. 

For the past several months the golf function, one of the primary reasons I bought it, quit working altogether. It can find the course, but when you click on the course you want to play, it starts "downloading data" and "transferring data", but then goes back to the main menu. Once on the course, it sometimes would start working, but FOR THE WRONG COURSE. The course I play has a short Par 4 2nd hole, but the Vivoactive lists the 2nd hole as a Par 5 and the yardage does not work at all.

This "smart" watch is a piece of junk. I wasted $179 for a digital watch when I could have paid $30 and gotten a better Casio with more functions than this thing has. Garmin came out with the Vivoactive HR just weeks after I bought this garbage, but did not bother telling me that I could have bought an upgraded watch with a heart rate monitor for a little more if I waited a few days. I do not know if the Vivoactive HR is any better than the Vivoactive, but it could not be any worse.

CombatCritic Gives Garmin and Their Vivoactive 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!





Two Bombs Equates To


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Title: TravelTech: Garmin Vivoactive (Vivo = "I Live") Is MortoInactive (Morto = "Dead") ... BOTTOM LINE: DON'T BOTHER!

Key Words: Garmin, Vivoactive, vivo, active, smart, watch, activity, monitor, golf, swim, water, resistant, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, review, Amazon, Amazon.com

Translation for Civilians: Tango Uniform = "Tits Up" (Dead)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lawrence, Kansas: A Pleasant Surprise - Good Indian, Decent Prices

Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar
947 New Hampshire Street, Ste 120
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 840-0855
Prices: $$$$

We have been wanting to try Bayleaf since they opened, but had not until tonight. The food was ready as promised, 20 minutes exactly after I ordered on Eat Street. The place was empty at 5:35 on a Saturday, a bit odd, but the friendly server gathered our order post haste, listing the contents by memory exactly as we ordered them ... meat samosas - check, beef vindaloo - check, palak paneer - check, plain and garlic naan - check. She handed me my bag and I left.



With the $7 Eat Street discount, the tab came to just a tad under $32, not bad. But $39 for one appetizer, two entrees and some bread - no soup or salad, no drinks, no dessert - without the coupon it would not be a great value.


The Meat Samosas ($4.95), savory pastries with a chicken and vegetable filling and two dipping sauces (a red sweet and sour and a mild green) were big and good. The Naan (Plain - $2 and Garlic $3) were large and as fresh and good as any I have eaten.

My wife's Palak Paneer ($10.95) with fresh spinach and homemade curd cheese in a mildly spicy sauce was also as good as any we had during my four months in India. The Beef Vindaloo ($14.95) had plenty of beef and a few potatoes in a tomato and onion curry that was delicious. Both the palak paneer and beef vindaloo came with basmati rice, but $14.95 for a medium size curry and rice is a bit on the pricey side. At $8.95 and $11.95, they would have been a much better value, but the Indian restaurants in Lawrence seem to think they can get away with charging $15 for a curry and rice, so they do. That is why we do not eat at the two Indian restaurants (across the street from each other) in town all that often.

OK, maybe I am spoiled, but having eaten similar, but much better, meals for two in India for $10-$12 max, I find it difficult to shell out nearly 4 times as much stateside. If it were not for the $7 Eat Street discount, we probably would not have bothered, but I am glad we did because the food at Bayleaf was very good. Having lived in England for three years and traveled India for four months, I am used to good Indian food at reasonable prices. The Indian restaurants in Lawrence need to drop their dinner prices if they hope to fill their tables, which they are not doing currently.

I am basing my rating on a dinner for two for $31.50 (7 rating  - with coupon), not $38.50 (5 rating  - without coupon) ...

CombatCritic Gives Bayleaf Indian Restaurant 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!



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Read Chris S.'s review of Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar on Yelp


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Bayleaf Indian Restaurant and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato




Title: Lawrence, Kansas: A Pleasant Surprise - Good Indian, Decent Prices

Key Words: Bayleaf Restaurant, Bayleaf, bay, leaf, bar, Indian, India, curry, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Portland, Oregon: Ford Retaliates Against Disabled Veteran After Complaints Of Lying And Unprofessional Behavior By Dealer's Staff

Damerow Ford
12325 SW Canyon Road
Beaverton, OR 97005
Southwest Portland
Phone number (503) 644-1131
Website: damerowford.com
Prices: $$$$

BOTTOM LINE: More than anything, this story is about automaker - some, if not all, of them - practices regarding customer satisfaction surveys and dealer/salesperson compensation based on the results of those surveys. 

I was told by the Ford Sales Manager at Damerow Ford in Beaverton, Oregon and it was verified by a salesman for Alan Webb Nissan in Vancouver, Washington that salesperson and dealer compensation is tied directly to the results of customer satisfaction surveys. I was told: "a salesman's compensation (bonus) is directly tied to customer satisfactions surveys - if they fall below a 95% satisfaction score in any given month, the salesperson's compensation (bonus) is negatively affected (or eliminated) altogether".

Are you kidding me? Are they serious? Automakers are apparently incentivising customer satisfaction ratings to skew them in a positive light rather than seeking honest customer feedback about their products and/or customer experience at their dealerships so that they could improve their processes. This is exactly why I (a retired military officer and combat disabled veteran) was denied the purchase of a 2017 Ford Escape SE by Damerow Ford. Their general manager refused to sell me a car because he was afraid that I would give them a bad Ford survey review, beside the bad reviews they would also receive on my popular blog, Yelp and elsewhere where I have over 500,000 readers each year). No car sale, no customer, no bad review ... problem solved!

I am also writing this story because of its absurdity and how it potentially affects uncounted car buyers each year. These ridiculous practices need to be known by all consumers. W.E. Demming, American "quality" guru and source of the "best customer service practices" on the planet, would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that these practices were going on.

I usually do not write about businesses without some sort of connection to travel and travelers, but I felt an exception was needed here. You will not believe what this Portland Ford dealer did!
Several Midwesterners I have talked to about our upcoming move to Portland, Oregon and familiar with the area have told me: "they don't like military/veterans out there" and "as a retired military officer moving to Portland, you will not be welcome there, they're way too liberal". I took it with a grain of salt because I have experienced no negative attitudes during my previous visits, but I have also not spent a great deal of time in Portland and I do not readily advertise my military background. I also do not generalize about people, lumping them into categories based on limited information, where they reside being a perfect example. After the experience I am about to tell you about, I have to admit that I am starting to have a few concerns.

When you see a business on yelp* with 117 reviews and an average rating of less than 2.5 stars out of 5, there is something definitely rotten in Denmark or, in the case, Portland, Oregon. It is called Damerow Ford and here are some comments by their customers ...
"I will never return to Damerow Ford for anything. What a bunch of unprofessional, idiots." - Courtney K. (May 2011)
"Landmark was very easy to work with and much more trustworthy, don't bother with these guys." - Zach B. (November 2011)
"Damerow Ford is the worst company I have ever dealt with. I regret buying my car from them." - Carly N. (October 2012)
"Terrible customer service and communication" - Megan H. (June 2015) 
"Terribly unprofessional. The sales guy was very friendly and helpful. The manager Brian (Ronstadt) was rude and totally inappropriate." - Geezer B. (January 2016)
"Absolutely the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my entire life." - Nathan B. (April 2017) 
Check the reviews on yelp* for yourself, it is all there in black and white. Now on to my experience. As a Ford shareholder, I expected much, much more from a company I own a fair amount of stock in.

I was referred to Damerow Ford through the USAA Car Buying Service, a program for military and veterans in which if you purchase a vehicle from the referral dealer, you receive a discounted price. The USAA program is a subsidiary of or partner with TrueCar and when I told them what I am about to tell you, they were furious. My case was elevated to "urgent" and forwarded to TrueCar for resolution.
The salesperson, June Jermany,  and managers (Ali Bulgasem - General Manager, Brian Ronstadt - General Sales Manager, and Kiyoshi Tsuji - Sales Manager) at Damerow Ford wasted countless hours of my time for well over a month while I was trying to buy a 2017 Ford Escape (see photo above) from them. They lied constantly, failed to read my emails or answer my questions, then had the nerve to REFUSE TO SELL ME A CAR because they were afraid of a poor review, retaliating against me for making well substantiated complaints in my emails. As you will see in the evidence below, I started off calm, friendly and courteous, but as time went on and I became more and more frustrated, the tone of my emails changed. Here is one of the first emails where the salesman failed to answer simple questions (note my pliant and courteous request for answers):
From: Chris
Sent: 4/4/2017 3:11:00 PM
To: June
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford 
June,

This looks like a winner. Where is the vehicle? I didn’t see the tow package on the sticker. Where is it listed?

I’m assuming we can get a cargo cover and all weather mats once we decide on a vehicle. Correct?

Let me know what we need to do to hold this vehicle. If you can send any photos of this particular vehicle’s interior/exterior, we’d appreciate it.

Thanks 
Chris
----------------------------------------------------- 
From: June
Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:56 PM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

Sorry that one didn't have the tow, you can add one from U-Haul if you like it is about $400, or look at this one and you will see the tow package on it. 
MSRP $30,130
Internet Price $27,943
Rebate $4000
Price $23,943 
June
See me at the Truck Ranch! 
--------------------------------------------------------  
From: Chris
Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 6:07 PM
To: June Jermany
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford 
We don’t need the tow package right now. I would appreciate answers to my other questions though:

1. Where is the vehicle?

2. I’m assuming we can get a cargo cover and all weather mats once we decide on a vehicle. Correct?

3. Let me know what we need to do to hold this vehicle. If you can send any photos of this particular vehicle’s interior/exterior, we’d appreciate it.

Chris 
Just 10 days after first contact, they were ready for me to buy an Escape with the intent to enter into a contract:
From: June
Date: Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 11:57 AM 
To: Chris 
Subject: June at Damerow Ford 
Are you ready to proceed yet?
June Jermany
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Kiyoshi
Date: Monday, April 10, 2017 at 3:56 PM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford 
Yes we're going to be selling the Escape to you $500 better than your other offer which puts you at $22,248 out the door (this is for standard title, registration, and licensing. Does not include any additional fees if any for specialty or customize plates, or county specific fees if any.) 
Sincerely, 
Kiyoshi Tsuji
Here is another example of June not reading or answering questions in my emails. Please note my calm, pleasant, but firm request to read my emails and answer my questions:
From: Chris
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 10:27 PM
To: June
Cc: Kiyoshi
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford 
June,

Did you read my email? I asked for a document as well as having asked a question and for a favor:
1. There’s also an application, but my Mac won’t let me open it:
a. http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/6736fill.pd 
b. If you could print the application and send it to me, I’ll fill it out and bring it with me when we purchase the car.
2. Please confirm how many years will be registering the car for. I believe it’s four years. Correct?
3. I also asked you to “Please ensure that all documentation is saved in our file and that ALL of the appropriate paperwork is completed accurately to ensure there are no undue delays in registering, titling, and licensing the car on the day of purchase.”
If I get there to take delivery of the car and the paperwork is inaccurate or am missing something because you didn’t understand my concerns, I’m not going to be pleased. Please take the time to read my emails and address my concerns or I’m not going to be able to do business with Damerow Ford. I have enough on my plate and don’t need to waste time writing emails that aren’t going to be read or sit around waiting for the paperwork to be redone.

Thank you.

Chris  
 --------------------------------------------------

From: June
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 8:59 PM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

Ok will see you when you get here. 
June
I asked him to reply to five different concerns, TWICE, and all he could say was "Ok will see you when you get here", which is not even a complete sentence.

Here is a series of (some of the 80+) emails where Damerow employees promised to send me the paperwork to finalize the deal (twice), changing their mind (twice), refusing to do so after making commitments, and eventually ending with their refusal to sell me a vehicle I spent a great deal of time and patience trying to buy (note the tone of my emails, starting politely, but progressively becoming more blunt and direct as I became more and more frustrated):
From: June 
Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 12:35 PM 
To: Chris 
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford  
I will check for you, but we will get all the paper work ready and overnight it to you with a return envelope. I can get this done today if you like. 
June 
Internet Sales Manager
See me at the Truck Ranch
----------------------------------------------------

From: Chris

Sent: 4/20/2017 11:59:00 AM

To: June

Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

Sounds good. We test drove the SE w/ 2.0 EcoBoost and loved the power and ride, so there’s no need to see or drive the car, assuming it will be in “new” condition with very few miles when we take possession.  
Thanks  
Chris 
------------------------------------------------------------------
From: June 
Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 3:59 PM 
To: Chris 
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford  
Can you send me the front and back copy of both of your driver's license and a copy of your valid insurance it can be for any vehicle.  Are you registering it to the Gresham address? I'm just getting the paper work ready, I will have a finance manager call you what might be a good time. 
June 
Internet Sales Manager
See me at the Truck Ranch! 
--------------------------------------------------- 
From: June
Date: Monday, April 24, 2017 at 1:22 PM 
To: Chris 
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford  
Chris sorry for the delay, they have decided to just hold the Escape here for you with the additional $3k down.  You can just sign the paper work when you get here.  With the $3k extra down that is enough to hold it till you get here, does that work for you. 
June
Internet Sales Manager 
See me at the Truck Ranch  
------------------------------------------------ 
From: June
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 1:07 PM 
To: Chris 
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford  
You know there is no problem we just trying to make it as easy as possible on you ...  I will get the paper work out to you today 
June 
Internet Sales Manager
See me at the Truck Ranch!
------------------------------------------------- 
From: Chris
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 7:33 PM
To: June
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford

... I prefer to just wrap it up so we can simply pick up the vehicle upon arrival. Please send me the details (final price, including military appreciation incentive, registration/title details, including the “trust” verbiage, and disabled veteran plate paperwork) via email BEFORE sending the paperwork in order to ensure everything is correct. I don’t want to waste time and postage with documentation that may be incorrect/incomplete.

Please let me know when I can expect the email and subsequent paperwork.

Chris 
--------------------------------------------------- 
From: June  
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 12:26 PM 
To: Chris 
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford 
Talked to my manager and he doesn't want to overnight the paper work to you.  He would rather wait till you get here reason being the rebates will change at the first of the month and we would have to do it all over again anyway ... Sorry for any problems this has caused for you. 
June
-----------------------------------------------  
From: Chris
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 3:45 PM
To: June
Cc: Kiyoshi
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford

June,


I called and left a message. Please call me and explain what the problem with your manager is, what the rebate issue involves, and what that has to do with sending me the paperwork. I’ve never had so much difficulty giving somebody $23,000. 

First you were overnighting the paperwork to me last week, then you weren’t, then you were again and now you’re not. I don’t see what the rebates changing at the end of the month have to do with anything, so please call me and explain this to me because I have about had it. When people tell me they’re going to do something, I expect them to do it. It’s called “integrity” and something I live by.
  
Please call me.

Thank you,

Chris  
--------------------------------------------------------- 
From: Chris
Date: Friday, April 28, 2017 at 10:19 AM
To: June
Cc: Kiyoshi
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford

June,


You promised me that you’d send the itemized price breakdown yesterday morning. ... If you want $3000 like your manager insisted, I’d recommend keeping your promise and sending me the information we agreed on the day before yesterday when you had to leave for your dentist appointment.

I don’t seem to be getting any respect. Your managers have no integrity and you don’t follow through with your commitments. I have had about enough. Either start doing what you tell me you’re going to do or refund the $500 you took on 4/11 and I’ll buy a car from someone else.

Last chance.

Chris
---------------------------------------------- 
From: June 
Date: Monday, May 1, 2017 at 6:23 PM
To: Chris Sorentino <combatcritic@gmail.com> 
Subject: June at Damerow Ford

Just ran the [credit] card ($3000)


June

Internet Sales Manager
See me at the Truck Ranch!
------------------------------------------- 
From: Chris
Date: Friday, May 2, 2017 at 6:15 PM
To: June
Cc: Kiyoshi
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford
This has literally been a nightmare June. Your management are worse than civil servants who look for ways NOT to do things instead of LOOKING FOR WAYS TO "DO" THINGS.

I'm honestly at my wits end am considering cancelling and getting a refund, buying a car from a dealer that knows something about customer service. If surveyed, it won't be pretty.
Chris 
---------------------------------------------- 
From: Chris
Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 8:59 PM
To: June 
Cc: Kiyoshi
Subject: Re: June at Damerow Ford

June,

If you had read my email or checked the DMV website, you would see that I meet all criteria for an Oregon driver’s license, the main one being:

Proof of Your Residence Address – I have several documents with proof of my residence address.

I know you’re busy and have many more customers than me, but I’d appreciate it if you would READ MY EMAILS and tell your managers to STOP WASTING MY TIME. We have spent far too much time on a transaction that I have completed in less than 30 minutes in the past. I have far too much to do than spend time emailing and calling you over and over about the same thing. I’m selling a house, moving, renting a temporary house while looking to buy, and TRYING to buy a car. Please stop wasting my time.

Chris 
------------------------------------------------ 
From: June
Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 10:47 PM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

I read your emails all I was trying to do was make sure all bases where covered when you arrived so you could come and go with out any hang ups.  Just trying to pass on information to you so there where no suprises.

June

Internet Sales Manager

See me at the Truck Ranch!
-----------------------------------------

From: Chris

Sent: 5/3/2017 7:41:00 AM


To: June Jermany" 


Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford


June,


This email is a perfect example of what I have experienced at Damerow Ford. Instead of trying to find a solution for your customer, you throw up your hands and tell me what you can’t do or offer no solution at allOr you tell me that “management” has changed their mind on promises that were made, or offer some other sad excuse for what you “can’t do”. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to buy a car from you since March 3oth WITH 78 EMAILS having been exchanged during that period … 78!

I’m contacting the Ford Consumer Assistance Center today at 800-392-3673 where they handle “dealer issues” because of all of the lies I have been told and wasted time caused during an extremely busy and stressful period in our lives. I have all of 78 emails where I was “promised” the paperwork was coming (twice) and all of the other things I was told that turned out to be untrue or incorrect, including you ignoring my comments, questions and concerns on a regular basis. I will also send a letter and copies of pertinent emails, including this one, to:

Board of Directors
Ford Motor Company
P.O. Box 685
Dearborn, MI 48126-0685
U.S.A.  
As Kiyoshi promised in his April 5th email above, please refund our $3,500 immediately so we can buy a car from another Portland dealer, most likely not Ford or any other U.S. based dealer after what we have gone through and the experience we have had at Damerow Ford. Thanks June. Thanks for wasting a great deal of my time. Thanks for nothing.

Sincerely,

Chris
---------------------------------------------------- 
From: June
Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:08 AM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

sorry you feel that way no one here has lied to you, your perception is different than ours.  I understand that their are two sides to every story and that you don't know all that is involved in getting the proper paper work done in order to save you valuable time.  I have been upfront with you all the way in trying to tell you what to expect and how to get it done, sorry you don't like my efforts to make this as quick and easy as possible.  There are certain things that I tried to inform you about before you got here so it wasn't a surprise to you.  

June

Internet Sales Manager

See me at the Truck Ranch!
 
After complaints to management about their constant lies, unprofessional behavior, and not reading my emails or answering key questions, sales manager Kiyoshi Tsuji called me on May 3rd (see email below) and told me that he was hesitant to sell me the car because he thought I would give the dealership bad reviews no matter what happened. 

Kiyoshi then told me that the dealership was "losing thousands of dollars on this deal". To which I replied, "wait a minute Kiyoshi, don't tell me you're losing thousands of dollars because I know that's a lie ... I know all about the incentives and bonuses you get from Ford and there's no way you're losing money." Without admitting his lie, he quickly changed the topic. However, as a man of my word, I told him: "Even though you have lied to me on numerous occasions, that's water under the bridge Kiyoshi ... If there are no problems when I pick up my car on 5/13, everything is in order when I get there and I am happy with the transaction, I will absolutely write a positive review." 

Being deceitful himself (having promised to send me the paperwork by mail to complete the transaction not once, but twice, then refusing to follow through), Kiyoshi is apparently not used to dealing with people of honor, people with integrity. At the end of the conversation, which like all questionable phone calls I record, he agreed to "trust" me. He even offered to pick me up at the airport when I arrived and drive me to the dealership to take delivery of our new car. All he had been worried about was the negative Ford Customer Satisfaction Survey, which are artificially inflated and a joke,  and yelp* reviews I could possibly write, potentially costing them Ford incentive money, not about making an unhappy customer happy. The email chain continues ...
From: Chris
Sent: 5/3/2017 6:46:00 PM
To: June
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford 
June,  
I didn’t say you lied, but I was told things that turned out to be untrue, a lie in my eyes because your manager didn’t back-up what you promised me on two occasions. I don’t have a problem with you and know you’ve spent a great deal of time and effort trying to help.   
I spoke with Kiyoshi this morning and believe we have come to an amenable, equally agreeable solution. Please let me know if I should take the train to Beaverton from the airport on Saturday night and where I should get off. There’s no need to pick me up at the airport as Kiyoshi mentioned unless you have a burning desire to do so.  
Please let me know what works best for you.  
Cheers,  
Chris
----------------------------------------------- 
From: June
Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 12:31 PM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

Depends on when you get init quickest for me to come get you if you are coming out Saturday night.  You have my cell phone we should talk before you leave that day.  That way we can set everything up.  Thanks

June

Internet Sales Manager

See me at the Truck Ranch!
 ---------------------------------------------------------- 
From: Chris
Sent: 5/4/2017 6:08:00 PM
To: June
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford 
June,

I know you’re busy and we have exchanged nearly 80 emails now, but I told you when I was arriving in my April 30th email: 
"-----Original Message-----
From: Chris
Sent: 4/30/2017 11:20:00 AM
To: June
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford
Hi June, I’m arriving at PDX around 6PM on 5/13 and would like to pick up the car that night (Saturday – I see you’re open until 9PM). I should be able to be there around 7 or 7:30 depending on if I get a ride from a friend or take the train. Will that work? I know this is a more complex transaction than you’re probably used to so I don’t want any last minute surprises or hiccups, finding out that the paperwork is incorrect or that I wasn’t told to bring a vital piece of information/documentation."
This is a perfect example of either not reading my emails or a simple lack of attention to detail. I told you when I would arrive and I also asked you IN BOLD “what I need to bring with me”.

You have to understand how frustrating it must be to have to ask the same questions over and over. We are extremely busy right now ... I have been trying to buy a car from you for OVER A MONTH, having exchanged 80 emails and making a few phone calls, having finally resolved all of the issues just yesterday.

Can you understand my frustration when you look at it from my perspective? I NEVER had a problem with you (other than not reading/paying attention to my questions and concerns) and know you have been working hard for us, only to be thwarted my management. I get it!
Please answer or address all of my questions concerns. We still have a little over 8 days, but it can’t wait until the last minute and I can’t run home (1,800 miles) to get something because somebody forgot to tell me to bring it.

Once again, thank you for your patience and assistance. I know this has not been an easy transaction for numerous reasons. All of that is water under the bridge and I’m looking forward to a quick and seamless delivery of our new 2017 Ruby Red Ford Escape w/ 2.0L EcoBoost engine, tow package and cold weather package before Damerow Ford closes at 9PM on Saturday May 13th, 2017.

I will keep you posted by phone on Saturday 5/13 should there be any hiccups in my schedule, like being dragged off of the plane or God knows what.

Cheers,

Chris
---------------------------------------- 
From: June
Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 9:10 PM
To: Chris
Subject: Re:June at Damerow Ford

I know that I was coming from the point of if your flight is late or anything like that.  Just wanted to make sure that you got on flight and where on your way, that's all. 
June
Internet Sales Manager
---------------------------------------------------- 
From: Chris
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 4:14 PM
To: June, Kiyoshi
Subject: Bad Move

June/Kiyoshi,


Your general (sales) manager (Brian Ronstadt) just called and, as has been the case all along, Damerow Ford obviously has some serious integrity issues. You have lied to me constantly and now you back out of a deal that we have wasted countless hours putting together?

You obviously have zero compassion for a person that is under a great deal of stress right now, made worse by your total lack of professionalism and time I have wasted dealing with the two of you.

Prepare for the onslaught of terrible reviews and complaints to the Ford Board of Directors, Better Business Bureau, and anybody else I can think of. There’s nothing that pisses me off more than a person/company that lacks integrity and you guys top the list. You really aren’t going to enjoy having made an enemy of me. I can buy a car from anybody and your GM just made a huge mistake!

“No friend ever served me, no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full” – Lucius Sulla

Chris 
Ford provides incentives for good reviews or docks dealers for bad follow-up reviews from "customers", those who eventually purchase a vehicle. Thinking that I would give them a bad review because of their deceit and unprofessionalism, even though I gave my word on my honor as a retired Air Force officer that I would not if they FINALLY followed through with their promises, management decided not to take the chance. As you read in my email above, their general sales manager, Brian Ronstadt, called me on May 5th, 2017 and told me that he was REFUSING TO SELL ME A CAR, retaliating against me for my complaints of lying and unprofessional behavior by his staff and protecting their precious survey record and bonuses from Ford.

Car salesmen and dealers are notorious liars and manipulators and Damerow Ford sits right at the top of the list. I have written many great reviews and a few bad ones, but Damerow Ford has earned the Top Spot on my "Wall of Shame". Shame on you Ali Bulgasem (Damerow Ford General Manager), shame on you Brian Ronstadt, General Sales Manager, shame on you Kiyoshi Tsuji (Sales Manager), and shame on you June Jermany (Internet Sales Mananger) ... everybody seems to be a manager at Damerow and you know what they say about "too many chiefs".
I value honor and integrity, values that I live by every day of my life, having done so before and during  my 20+ years of military service to our great nation and ever since I retired in 2005. I simply do not tolerate liars, cheats, swindlers or unprofessional treatment of customers. 

My maxim during my many years of military service was to provide "outstanding customer service" to those who had no choice but to come to my squadron when they needed a car, to have it fixed, borrow (rent) a car or get a ride somewhere on base, or ship something anywhere in the world. That attitude earned me MAJCOM-level awards and my squadron the honor of being chosen "Air Force Transportation Squadron of the Year" and "National Defense Transportation Association Military Unit of the Year". Here is the video that the Air Force produced for the award ceremony:
I basically ran a car dealership, taxi/bus/car rental company, and FedEx hub all in one ... in a combat zone ... and it was much larger than Damerow Ford, with 1,300+ vehicles, 100+ mechanics, 70+ drivers, 40+ freight specialists and several administrative staff members. So, I know a little bit about running an efficient, customer-oriented organization. Ali Bulgasem, General Manager at Damerow Ford and Brian Ronstadt, the person who called me to tell me that he refused to sell me a car, and their employees at Damerow Ford have the worst customer service skills I have ever seen.

Why would a car dealer refuse to sell a car to a customer? Because they had something to lose, that is exactly why. Their "perfect" customer review rating and that Ford cash incentive for positive reviews were more important than honoring a contract and treating a customer professionally and with dignity and respect. They also do not like people who complain about poor service and unprofessional behavior, so Ali Bugasem and Brian Ronstadt retaliated against me by refusing to follow through with a contract in which I had put more than 15% ($3,500) as a down payment on the vehicle in good faith and spent countless hours over 40 days trying to purchase that vehicle.

Am I a demanding customer? You can bet your sweet ass I am. I demand professionalism, honesty, integrity, compassion, and to be treated with dignity and respect when I spend my hard earned money, nearly $23,000 in this case, at a business. Don't you?

I am still waiting for the $3,500 refund on the down payment I made on my credit card, having promised me they would hold the car until I got there on Saturday (5/13). That would be considered breach of contract in any court of law, but I will not even go there. Now I have to rent a car when I arrive in Portland instead of picking up the vehicle I put a large down payment on, costing me hundreds of extra dollars unnecessarily as well as more wasted time looking for a vehicle to buy. Military Appreciation ... what a joke!
The last Ford I owned was a 1960 Ford Falcon station wagon, my first car. I have purchased mostly foreign cars over the years (Honda, VW and Nissan - all great cars), but decided to buy American-made this time, being a patriot and having heard that Ford had improved their products, safety, and reliability. Their cars may be better than they once were, but their customer service is the poorest I have seen in recent memory. Is it a coincidence that Ford's stock has tanked over 20% in the past year?

Complaints have been filed with the Oregon Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau (Northwest) for breach of contract. I also sent a letter to the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors which, based on previous experience, will likely be ignored. The Oregon Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission, and Northwest Better Business Bureau are all taking my complaints very seriously, having responded to my concerns, contacting Damerow Ford, and keeping me up-to-date.

When I told the USAA Car Buying Service representative about my horrifying experience at Damerow Ford, the dealership they referred me to, they were shocked and extremely apologetic. My case was immediately elevated to TrueCar (who runs the bones of the program for them) in "urgent" status and I was promised it would be resolved post haste. 

I could sue Damerow Ford and likely win, but it is not worth my time, money or energy. I will just buy a new car from another dealer and manufacturer, unfortunately probably a Japanese or Korean company. So much for my attempt to buy a domestic car ... "Made in America". You cannot say that I did not try.

From: BBB Northwest
Subject: Complaint has been sent to the business 
 
Date: 5/12/2017 
C.T. Sorrentino
Gresham , OR, 97080

Dear Chris:  
Thank you for contacting Better Business Bureau. This message is in regard to your complaint submitted on 5/11/2017 against Damerow Ford Company.  Your complaint was assigned ID 12151088.
Your complaint has been sent to the business for their response. Once they have responded to BBB, we will contact you again. In the meantime, if the complaint becomes resolved please inform us in writing. Please remember that copies of your future correspondence will be sent to the company as well.  
Sincerely, 
Nick Epps
BBB Resolutions Consultant
What a nice "welcome" to our new home, Portland, Oregon. I hope this is not a sign of things to come. In my 60 years on Earth, I have never experienced such flagrant unprofessional and aggressive behavior at a business, particularly one where I was trying to spend $23,000. Is it a fluke or were my Midwestern friends right? I hope it is the former because we have invested a lot of time, money and emotion in a cross country move to a place we hope to spend the remaining years of our lives ... feeling welcome and happy in our new home ... maybe. 

Welcome to Portland?
POSTSCRIPT: Well over 500,000 people read my reviews each year, so I get a lot of feedback. I have been contacted by numerous consumers since writing this article with stories very similar to my own. Here are stories from just a few of the many people who have contacted me about their recent Damerow Ford horror stories or just to show their support:
"Epic review. Thanks for your service. Sorry these losers treated you so poorly." 
Cassandra T. (Portland, Oregon - May 17, 2017)

"Have you considered taking legal action against Damerow Ford? They also did me dirty and committed fraud. 
They ran my credit without my consent, yo-yo financing, and forged signature and falsified information on (my) credit application. I signed (a) contract with gap and warranty and when I called (the) finance company, they said there is no gap and the amount of loan was thousands more than what I signed for.  
This is what the finance company has me owing with no gap and [the] payments went from 72 to 84 [months]:
  
We took the truck off the lot same day and the next day they called and said the bank that was financing my Tahoe didn't go through. They also didn't give me what they said they were going to for two (2) trade-ins, a Tahoe and a Lincoln LS.  
We tried to walk away from it and Jay in finance said he had a signed contract, which is not accurate because the bank would not approve the contract I signed, then he said that they did not have to give me my down payment and vehicles back. 
And to top it off they lied about how the truck was equipped. I found the sticker price in the owner's manual in the glovebox and the truck brand new in 2016 with zero miles was less than what they charged me (with) over 17,100 miles and a year later. It's a Toyota.  
This is the Toyota sticker price that they forgot to remove from the glove box:
They (raised the) interest rate and had to pay more down. I am going to report them. I also want them to be investigated by the Feds. I haven't done anything yet. I was looking for a lawyer, but I am definitely going to contact the the attorney general and FTC." 
- Kaley V. (Portland, OR - May 20, 2017)

"I had a similar experience to you at Damerow Ford on 4-18-17, pretty much the same time as you did.
Thank you for the extensive and documented review. Feel free to contact me if for any support in going after these Damerow bastards.
Regards"
- Jeff B. (Portland, Oregon - May 5, 2017)
Having had such an overwhelming response from other Damerow Ford victims in such a short period, I am afraid, make that certain, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have been a victim of Damerow Ford or would like to comment on the story, please feel free to contact me.

CombatCritic Gives Damerow Ford 0 Bombs Out Of 10 ... The Lowest Of The Low ... But The TOP SPOT On My "Wall Of Shame" ... Shame on you Ali ... shame you Damerow Ford ... Shame on you Ford Motor Company!

0 Bombs Equates To "Lower Than FUBAR" ... Look That Up In Your Funk And Wagnalls Or Simply Visit My Blog. Just Google "CombatCritic"!


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Title: Portland, Oregon: Ford Retaliates Against Disabled Veteran After Complaints Of Lying And Unprofessional Behavior By Dealer's Staff

Key Words: customer, Damerow, Damerow Ford, disabled, Ford, incentive, liar, lies, lying, Nissan, Oregon, Portland, review, satisfaction, survey, unethical, unprofessional, Vancouver, veteran, Yelp

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


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