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Category Archives: What’s In Store…

A variety of blogs about awesome and unique retail experiences…

West Coast Flying Trapeze

At a Social Media Meetup, in 2016, we met the folks from West Coast Flying Trapeze, a new business, located in Pitt Meadows.

They are a business that offers training in various circus-related skills:

  • Aerial Silks
  • Aerial Hoop
  • Juggling
  • Hand Balancing
  • Trampoline
  • Tumbling
  • Flying and Static Trapeze
  • (And they are adding more services, all the time!)

Their facility is housed in an expansive 8000 square foot hanger, located near the Pitt Meadows Airport.

Check out their video below, for an overview of the fun!

Because I’ve had a few incidents with whiplash, I wasn’t surprised to hear that the Manager suggested that I *NOT* try the trapeze… which was my first indication that it was a top-down, safety-first facility.

The staff was all professional, and their incremental method of teaching the students, seemed to be designed specifically to maximize the opportunity for the students to succeed, as much as they could.

From the West Coast Flying Trapeze brochure:

“Circus does not require a ton of strength, a high degree of flexibility, or a certain body type.  All you need to do is show up.  Our Coaches will guide you through the rest.  At West Coast Flying Trapeze, it’s not about what your body looks like, it’s about what your body can do!”

If you are looking for a fun activity for just about anybody, I would suggest checking out West Coast Flying Trapeze… they are a Circus School for everyone!

They are located at Unit 105 – 19055 Airport Way, Pitt Meadows, BC.  (At the intersection of Airport Way and Baynes Road)

You can find more information about their services and their prices, on their website: WestCoastFlyingTrapeze.com

It is a fun venue, for both the participants, as well as observers… not only from the Circus training, but also from the perspective of the highly-entertaining four-legged friends: Russell and Tally — two very different dogs, who (seemingly) love to cuddle and entertain “audience” members! (Video below)

 

* I have said it before, but it bears repeating: The endorsement of this business was not bought. Nor was it paid for, by credits, free classes or anything else. Any outside businesses, which are endorsed on the “What’s In Store” category of the Blog, are endorsed, because they are good businesses, that I frequent (or have frequented) and believe they are worthy of mention. I do not accept remuneration of any kind, for my Blog Posts.

 

 

 

Garden Fairy Doors

TreeMax Fairy Door Realty - Helping find homes for Magical Creatures since 2015 - BobBlahBlah.comRecently, Lorie and I started crafting and selling small doors for magical creatures… and so, whether you need a home for your Gnomes, Hobbits, Pixies, Elves or Fairies… we have a door that is just right for your needs!

Some are fanciful… others quite rustic… some are colorful… and others understated.  Something for every taste.  Each is one-of-a-kind, and hand-crafted.  (Honestly, I would post pictures, but they change ALL. THE. TIME.)

Lorie has also made some fun and funky whimsical accessories… banners, flags, wind chimes and more…

You can find the full assortment of what is currently available, in our Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/GardenFairyDoors/

For fun, we also created TreeMax – a “Fairy Tale Realty Company”: http://treemax.ca/

And, if you want the full story on how we got started making Fairy Doors, you can find the details here: http://gardenfairies.ca/

 

 

Haute Note – Personalized Note Cards And Stationery

As some of you may know… on October 1st, Lorie and I bought an online card business… Haute Note!

A company that produces custom cards, personalized notes and stationery.

We have a variety of note styles, as well as designs for every reason and every season.

We feel that in this day and age, when pretty much everyone on the planet has embraced the technology for sending emails, texts, PINS and communicating through any number of Social Networks — there are still occasions when it is “special” to get a card.  A keepsake, or reminder of a moment in time.

Whether a photo Holiday card, personalized Christmas cards, birthday invitations, wedding or baby announcements, save-the-date cards, or something else completely… we can customize and personalize any of the hundreds of designs of cards.

A set of 8 Signature cards makes a lovely hostess gift, a thank you gift, something nice for Aunt Sadie or the perfect something for the hard-to-buy-for person who has everything!

Below are a few examples, chosen at random from hundreds of styles and themes.

You can find more examples at HauteNote.com

(Click on any image below to open the images up in a Gallery Viewer)

phot_hpch_crem phot_cndy_gren_1 drea_popy_redd phot_scpt_taup_script_taupethanks_t2_1
flat_gree_hell_greetings_scripthello_3 phot_scpt_save_script_savethedate_t2 phot_hchr_strp_holidaycheer_stripes_t5b phot_bbra_blos_2
holi_holi_tree phot_anim_gren_animalcrackers_green_t1b drea_bran_cher holi_fest_juni
flat_crow_prin_crowns_princess_2 flat_crow_pair_crowns_royalpair_3 flat_addn_pinb_addition_pinblue_5 clas_nost_sugr_1
clas_tree_weve_1 clas_long_kngt_1 clas_holi_gift_1 clas_cbrn_plum
clas_nost_midn_1 cele_wedd_cake cele_gath_cups hn-crown-avi-reverse-w-border-500

(Click on any image above to see the cards in a Gallery Viewer)

Should you need a personal or corporate Christmas card… a card to announce a birth, or a birthday party… a wedding announcement or a BBQ invite… we have all these, and many more! Check us out at HauteNote.com

You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

 

Tim Horton’s Camp Day 2013

Tim Horton's Coffee
Tim Horton’s Coffee

Hard to believe another year has flown by, and this Wednesday, June 5th is Tim Horton’s Camp Day 2013 !!!

(The one day of the year when I *ALWAYS* switch from tea to coffee !!!)

This Wednesday, head to your local participating Tim Horton’s and buy a coffee to support sending kids to Tim Horton’s Camps.  (And check out the fun and different fundraising ideas the individual franchises have come up with, to raise money for this extra special day !!!

If you don’t drink coffee, or would prefer to make your donation online, you can support Camp Day, here: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/social/childrens-foundation.php

Here are some details about Camp Day, from the Tim Horton’s website:

What One Cup of Coffee Can Do

Every time a guest buys a coffee at Tim Hortons on Camp Day they will help send more than 16,000 kids – who could otherwise not afford it – on the camping adventure of a lifetime. All children who attend one of the Foundation’s six camps are selected from within the communities where Tim Hortons Restaurants are located. Tim Hortons Restaurant Owners work closely with local youth organizations and schools to select children, between the ages of nine and 12, to attend a 10-day summer camp session or seven day winter camp session.

“It’s overwhelming each year see how our guests come together support Foundation,” says Bill Moir, President, Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. ” On Camp Day, buying cup of coffee and participating the many activities helps contribute to positive change in child’s life. And that’s a good feeling.”

So… hope to see you at the local Tim Horton’s, this Wednesday !!!

(And on Twitter, using the hashtag #CampDay)

 

 

Rogers Wireless – Good, Bad And Indifferent

Recently, I’ve had a LOT of interactions with the folks at Rogers Wireless.

Rogers Wireless - BobBlahblah.com

 

To say my experiences have been uneven, would be an understatement.

I am a Blackberry guy… One of those die-hards that love our phones, and cling to them with a fear that an Android or I-Phone user will somehow snatch it from us.

I have been trying to hold out for the BB10 OS phones, but they keep getting delayed, and the trackball on my old BB9000 keeps dying.

It locked up a few weeks ago, and literally, as I was on my way out the door to go to the Rogers Store, I got a call from Rogers, asking if I wanted to upgrade my phone.  (Insert Twilight Zone music here)

I said yes, and discussed with the gent on the phone the options I wanted, and he suggested the 9810.  He also suggested tweaking my plan, to better suit my needs.

I then got passed along to a “Order Confirmation Specialist”, who confirmed all the aspects of my order, the changes to my plan, and confirmed my account information.

Two days later, I got my new Blackberry… in White.

(I’m a slob, and cannot wear white shirts, drive a white car, use a white computer or have a white phone.)

I called up Rogers, explained the problem, saying that my assumption was they would send me a black phone, like the last three phones… they said “No problem. Ship it back, and we will let you know when we get it back, and you can go to a store, to pick up the one you want.”

Slight delay, modest frustration (my trackball wasn’t working properly) but I dealt with it.

Call Rogers a week later, and yes, they have received my phone back, and I can go pick up the phone I want at any Rogers store.

I went to three different stores, and none stock the 9810… which made me ask the question: “Why?”

I gathered, without anyone saying it, that it just wasn’t a popular phone, so perhaps I would be happier with the more popular 9900 ?

Yes, I am.

The gent (Ravi Chima) who helped me, at the Coquitlam Centre Rogers Store, was awesome.  Going through the details of the phone, the contract and touching on a few of the features I might not know about.

Then, this morning, I get a call from Rogers, asking me if I would like to review and adjust my plan…

“I just did that a week ago”

This call is not being charged to your cell phone…

“No, it is not… You called me on my home phone.”

* Long pause *

Can I please have some personal information to verify your identification ?

“No.  You called me.  If you don’t know who you are speaking to, where you called them, or whether I have updated my plan recently, I’m not giving you ANY information.”

She thanked me for my time, and gave me a number to call, in case I had any questions.

 

I am ALL FOR good customer service.

But there is a difference between “busy work” and “customer care.”

Busy work, is always moving, always working… but not working SMART.  Not taking into account the customers’ needs, or assessing them as individuals.  It puts ALL customers into one category, and assumes all customers need the same things.

An awful lot of people at Rogers seem to be engaged in busy work.

It takes lots of energy, but is FAR from effective.

I would call them, but the last time I made a comment on their customer service, they robo-called me three times, asking for feedback on my customer service phone experience.

I love energetic and enthusiastic customer service… but there HAS to be a level of autonomy and intelligence applied.

Customer Service Reps shouldn’t be script-reading robots… If THEY are calling me…  they should ask if I like my new phone, if I have any questions or concerns, and then thank me for my business and my time.

Don’t make me second guess my choice, right after I made a purchase.  That is just busy work.

* NOTE: Less than one hour after posting this, I had received the following comment:

Hi Bob,

This is Nicolas from Rogers.

Our apologies for some of the experiences you’ve had. You’re raising some valid points and I shared your blog post with our internal teams.

For future, don’t hesitate to reach out to us via Twitter @RogersHelps or Facebook and we’ll help!

@RogersNicolas

Maybe it is lip service, or maybe something was gained. It will be interesting to see !

 

 

Tim Horton’s Camp Day 2012

Tim Horton's - Camp Day - BobBlahBlah.comWednesday, June 6, 2012 is Time Horton’s Camp Day.

Every donation makes a difference.

You can support sending a child to Camp by:

  • Purchasing Tim Horton’s Coffee…
  • Buying a $1 Rent-A-Tent card…
  • Buying a $5 Rent-A-Cabin card…

Or by going online to Tim Horton’s website to

purchase “virtual” items to help kids enjoy the camp experience !!!

 

 

 

Fly Zone Bodyflight

Tonight I had one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.

For my Birthday, Hayley and Chloe (two of my nieces) and my Sister-In-Law Shelley, bought me a Groupon for the Fly Zone Bodyflight.

At first, I wasn’t sure WHAT I was being given… and then I remembered that I had seen something on Rick Mercer a few years back.

Turns out they put a really high powered fan underneath a plexiglass tube, and you can “fly”!!!

(Effectively, it is like parachuting, but instead of jumping out of an airplane, you start on the “ground”, and get blown up.)

With all our busy schedules, it was tough to get an evening when we were all available, but tonight was the night.

Two words:

AAAAA…. MAZING!!!

(Yeah, I know… usually one word, but that is just how much of a wild experience this was.)

We arrived, handled the paperwork transfer, signed the disclaimer, and got a chance to watch some other video bloggers who were in the group ahead of us.

What was really amazing was watching the staff have a blast, doing flips, barrel rolls, sailing up, and swooping down.

Just like birds.

After a while, the rest of our group assembled, and we were taken into a small room with a sort of a pommel horse/vaulting box in the middle… (sorry for that ugly gym class flashback) … and we were told about the proper “flying” position, what we should TRY to do… and what the hand signals were, for when we were NOT flying correctly.

(Because of the noise from the fan engine, and the earplugs worn under the helmet, even shouted instructions would be unheard, so thus, the hand signals.)

Fly Zone BodyFlight - Hey, I'm Flying - BobBlahblah.comAfter the quick lesson, we zipped into our flight suits, put in the ear protection, put on goggles, pulled a helmet on, and we were set to go.

Standing even a few feet away, you have no sense of the power of the fan.  You just get a sense that it is loud.

You start off lying, face down, on your stomach, with your chin up, your hands in front of you, and your feet off the ground.

Then the fan starts up, and you suddenly aren’t having to hold your feet and hands up… they stay that way.

And you also suddenly notice that your stomach isn’t on the ground any more.

You’re flying !!!

For beginners, like everyone in our group, there are two instructors in the tunnel with you.  One on each side.  Our flight suits come with handles, so they can “guide” us through the flight… but the goal they have is to get you flying with enough stability, that you can “solo”… fly without them holding on.

Hayley and Chloe did much better than I did.

We signed up for the deluxe package, which includes two sessions of two minutes each time.  (Normally a $99 value.)By our second go, each of us had figured it out a little better… (again, the girls, more than I) …but the second session was after dark, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Below is some video Lorie shot from the first session:

And some shots taken by the folks at Fly Zone:

Fly Zone BodyFlight - Hey, I'm Flying - BobBlahblah.com

If you want one of the best experiences of your life, call the folks at Fly Zone Bodyflight.Fly Zone BodyFlight - Hey, I'm Flying - BobBlahblah.com

They are located at 7150 Tilbury Road, Delta, BC, and are open Wednesday to Sunday.

It is both literally and figuratively… a BLAST !!!

Bean Around Books

Today was one of “those” days. Regardless of where I went, or what I did… The people immediately in front of me were beset by problems.
At the bank, there was a gent ahead of me, who was (apparently) transacting the whole year’s business for his medium-sized country.
At the pharmacy, the individual ahead of me needed some sort of celestial alignment to occur simultaneously with his purchase of a very convoluted, yet enormously precise selection of lottery tickets. Throw in a new cash register system, and you can see how I spent a fun hour in line.
A couple of other similar stops, with the same kind of “luck.” None of these events were, by themselves, remarkable. But after spending three hours, on what would (on a “regular” day) take 20 minutes, I felt I needed to stop the merry-go-round… And hit pause on the frantic for a few minutes.
As it happened, I was on Lougheed at 226th, right by a place I had been wanting to get to for a while, so I pulled in and took a breather.
Bean Around Books is located at 22626 Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge.
They sell used books, coffee, and loose leaf tea.

Bean Around Books - Maple Ridge
They offer a nice seating area, free wifi, and it looks like they support local artists (from the art on the wall.)
Dan Ruimy, who runs the place, is very knowledgable about authors, and while I was lamenting the recent passing of Robert B. Parker, (one of my favourite authors,) he was able to suggest a couple of series of books for me to try.
Add a great selection of tea blends, and my day was quickly back on track.

Whether you are looking for a caffeine pick me up… or a book you can’t put down… Bean Around Books might be the best place for you !!!

You can find more info on their website at www.BeanAroundBooks.com

TomTom GPS and Customer Service…

A little over a year ago, in advance of the “Drive Hands Free” Cell Phone Law being enacted in British Columbia, my wife bought me a TomTom Go630 GPS.

It was something I had always thought about, but had never even looked at for myself, and I was excited.

Tom Tom Go 630 - BobBlahBlah.comIt was difficult to sync up to my Blackberry initially… even the guy at the Future Shop, when we went back, had some difficulty, but he eventually got it working.

The Golden Ears Bridge opened a few months later, and I was disappointed that for many months after that, TomTom had no update for their maps, but otherwise it was great, and we were pleased with it.  I did post a comment on their website, and on Twitter, about the lack of updated Maps, but received no reply to either comment.

A few months later, my TomTom GPS lost its ability to connect to my Blackberry, at all.  It would “see” it, but it wouldn’t connect, to allow usage.

I wasted several hours, over a number of days, loading and re-loading software, and trying to get it to work… and then my wife reminded me that she had purchased the extended warranty, and that I should take it to Future Shop, to ask them for help or suggestions.

So, the next day I went off to the store, and, as one gets in this type of situation, was a bit… unsure… how this situation would get settled.

Well, I needn’t have been concerned, because no sooner had I walked up to the Customer Service counter, than the fellow there asked me, “Did it stop working with your Bluetooth ?”

I nodded, and he called to the appropriate department over the phone, and said to the person on the other end, “Yeah, got a customer with a TomTom… yeah… yeah… GO 630… can you bring it up front ?”

And, so it was, that I realized that I was just one of a number of customers who had had a similar problem.

Fortunately, I had used a removable SD Memory Card to store all the options, voices and custom maps, so when they handed me a new GPS, I popped out my Memory Card, and I was on my way.

Back at home, I logged into my TomTom account, connected the new machine, registered it as mine, got map updates, connected it to my Blackberry, and I was good to go…

Until a few months later, when, again, it lost its ability to communicate with my phone.

So, I went back to a different Future Shop…  but again, had a similar experience, except this time the lady didn’t even ASK what the specific trouble was, she just called the Manager, and asked him to get me a replacement.

I came home, and logged into my Tom Tom account, hooked up the replacement machine, and tried to connect it, and was informed by a Pop Up Window that I wasn’t allowed to change GPS’s, because it hadn’t been six months since the last change.  It also went on to say that if there were any issues, I should contact TomTom Customer Service.

I send a message to TomTom, both by e-mail and Twitter, and a few days later, get a reply with instructions on how to connect a replacement phone to my TomTom GPS.

By now, I am getting frustrated, so I let a few days pass, to cool down.

But, I hadn’t read that if I didn’t reply within 72 hours, they would consider the issue resolved.

So, I started again, with a new letter.

Three days later, I get an acknowledgement of my request, and the following statement:

In order to resolve this issue, please provide us with the Proof of Purchase for the device. Attach the Proof of Purchase (invoice copy) in .pdf, .bmp, or .jpeg to this incident by following the steps provided in the link following. An original copy of the receipt or the invoice showing the date of the purchase, the model and the dollar amount.

I’m not sure WHAT difference it makes, that I have a cash register receipt that shows that I exchanged it… but, shaking my head, I sent it off to the good folks at TomTom this morning.

In the meantime, I have a TomTom GPS that is a Bluetooth phone connection, and little else.

I find it stunning that TomTom has no Customer Service Reps who reply to customers on Twitter.

I find it appalling that I am being made to jump through hoops, to prove that I AM a TomTom customer.

Christmas in Mexico - BobBlahBlah.comIn a time where technology is becoming less about brand name, and more about options, features and price… as a commodity, when something goes wrong, you HAVE to have good customer care, otherwise your Brand will develop a stigma.  And stigma in the marketplace is very hard to remove.

My experience has been bad, and yet I am still forced to use their product, until my warranty is up… so TomTom have me trapped as a customer.

I know that the next time I buy a GPS, it will not be another TomTom, nor would I ever recommend TomTom to anyone.

This type of customer relationship is NOT GOOD for either side.

I hold out faint hope that someone at TomTom may care, and may yet be able to pull something out of their hat… but I fear that TomTom may have locked the castle gates, and are huddled inside, listening to one angry villager pounding on the doors, but unwilling or unable to help or talk.

_______________________________

As I re-read this post, it is a tad ranty, and I apologize for that.

When we get new technology, it is bright and exciting…  and we want it to work, and to have a good experience with it.

Sometimes the experience is not what we expect, such as my NetBook purchase… where I realized belatedly that my needs require a larger screen than the NetBook affords me.  However, I still use my NetBook, and enjoy it for what it is.

When we purchase technology and there are continuing issues… the experience is not enjoyable or beneficial.

I don’t think I have EVER had a similar situation to the one I’m experiencing with TomTom… where the product has repeated “issues” on multiple devices, and the Customer Service seems to be delayed, and inconsistently attentive.

_______________________________

Subsequent to writing this Post, I received another e-mail, asking for the Device Code of the new device, and saying in part:

Thank you for updating the incident. We appreciate your time and efforts in contacting us.

I apprehend that you are upset with TomTom Customer Service that you have experienced. Please be assured that we always have the best of intentions of providing outstanding customer service to our customers, and we will do our best to address any issues you may have.

Kindly note that I have escalated this issue to the concerned team for further assistance. We will contact you when more information is available.

In the meanwhile, I sincerely request you to please provide us with the device code of your device. You can find the device code with the instructions in the following link: (No longer working, as of a Tom Tom site do-over)

Once we have the device code we will ensure that we will resolve this issue instantly.

I know how exasperating this experience has been for you, but we know the importance of our business with our valued customers.  Let me assure you that what happened in your case is not typical of our level of customer service. We continue to be committed to providing you and all of our customers with the highest standards of service in the industry.

Maybe they will pull this one out, and I won’t have any further problems…  Time will tell.

_______________________________

Something… somewhere… has obviously clicked, because after 8 days, I have had 2 e-mails within the span of an hour, both most apologetic about the delays in getting me a resolution to my problem, and now my TomTom GPS is a functioning GPS again.

I just hope it doesn’t break again….

_______________________________

And, in a further update, TomTom just contacted me to ask me to give an assessment of the Customer Service Care that I have received.  It will be interesting to see if I receive any further response, as I called into question their willingness to stand behind their products which are sold, but have an apparent defect.

 

 

Selling Versus Stealing A Soul…

When we were recently down at the Bellevue Festival of the Arts, I was, as always, struck by the talent and artistry of the participants.

But, this time, for the first time, I was aware of the number of booths where they had large, glaring “NO PHOTOS !!!” signs.

I can understand if someone has a painting, or a photograph, that they may not want someone to be able to go to the local photo lab, and create a copy of their image… but I saw these signs also in booths with Furniture, Ceramics, Jewellery, Hats and other goods.

On the OTHER hand, I came across Greg Delaney.

His whimsical brooches, sculptures and whatnots were fun, enchanting and frivolously captivating.

He puts his stuff online, writes a Blog, and allowed me to take his picture, while he was working on his product:

(The quality of the photograph, is a result of my Blackberry, and not a reflection of his work !!!)

He appeared to be secure in the knowledge that anyone taking a photo would not “steal his soul”, even though he seems to inject a little bit of himself, into every piece he makes !

You can click to read his Blog, The Daily Delaney, here.

You can also see some of his wares on another website he has… http://sites.google.com/site/gregkevindelaney/

It struck me as a massive insecurity on behalf of the OTHER artisans, that anyone taking a picture, could draw up the resources, bypass the development process and produce a product comparable to theirs.

I looked at the whimsy and fun he injects into his pieces, and while someone may try to imitate him, he alone can create the pieces you find on his site.

 

Similarly, My Sister-In-Law Shelley, has made up a number of pieces of jewelery, and posted them on the web.

Part of their charm… (IMHO) …is the stories she creates for each item: http://www.ShelleyWoodin.com/

 

In today’s marketplace, I believe that the true artists have to embrace the opportunities that the Internet and Social Media afford them… to reach a larger market, and not be afraid that someone… somewhere… might be able to make a copy of their idea.

Kudos to Greg and Shelley for having fun, and fearlessly putting their stuff “out there” !!!