Char-Broil: The Bonnie and Clyde of Grilldom

28 06 2017

Okay. You’re shopping for a new grill and after an hour of checking out what’s available, you have it narrowed down to two. Then you notice a huge sticker glued to the top of one of your two finalists.

“MANUFACTUR’S WARRANTY:

Ø  99 YEARS-STAINLESS STEEL PARTS REPLACEMENT

Ø  FREE BURNER REPLACEMENT FOR AS LONG AS YOU OWN YOUR GRILL

Ø  10 YEARS-ELECTRONIC IGNITION

Ø  2 YEARS-ALL REMAINING COMPONENTS

MODEL 463242304”

I don’t know about you, but I interpret that to mean if I buy this grill, Char-Broil will replace stainless steel parts for 99 years and burners for as long as I own the grill. Now, that’s a great warranty. In fact, it was the warranty that made the choice an easy one.

 

Now, you get your new grill home, get out your tools and remove everything from its huge cardboard

Char-Broil Customer Support

container, including the manual which is still sealed inside a plastic bag. Finally, having completed the assembly of your new toy, you can relax and read the warranty. No. Of course you don’t read the warranty. Heck, you barely read the assembly instructions. Besides, why read the warranty? You already read it. What more could it say that wasn’t plastered all over the grill top on that sticker?

 

That was back in 2003. Every two or three years since, as my burners and stainless steel flame tamers needed replacing, I contacted Char-Broil, told them what I needed and paid them for shipping.

 

Recently, I called Char-Broil Customer Support to order replacement burners and flame tamers. I was told they would not be covered under warranty because I had exceeded the original price of the grill in free replacement parts. Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. After a brief, but calm protest, I was directed to the warranty printed inside the owner’s manual, which I still have…you know, the one that was sealed up inside the plastic bag and hiding inside the grill neatly packed in the large cardboard box that took two men and a Towmotor to get to the deck.

 

Char-Broil Director of Marketing

I took my protest to a higher level and spoke with a supervisor. He told me to send pictures of the grill, both inside and out, the burners and flame tamers and the sticker with the fake warranty. A few days later, I got their response. Char-Broil had denied my request but would offer me a discount on the parts. Well, I don’t see that happening because I’ll spend a thousand dollars on a new grill before I’ll spend another dime at Char-Broil.

 

The marketing gurus and legal team at Char-Broil know that few people will read the warranty, especially after they have plastered fake warranty information on a 12 by 17 inch sticker on the top of the display model. I believe there’s a name for that. It’s called bait and switch and I believe that’s illegal.  At best, it’s deceptive advertising. No, let me rephrase that…it’s lying. Of course, they blamed me for not reading the warranty inside the manual which was not available to me when I made the purchase. But any way you cut it, Char-Broil lied.

 

So, what’s the point of this minor diatribe? Just to warn anyone who reads it to be very careful when considering a made-in-China Char-Broil product. You may not get what you think.

 

 

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Finally- April Gives Birth!

23 04 2017

Will this kid ever come?!

I got up last Saturday, turned on Fox News, and they were talking about April, the eternally pregnant giraffe, going into labor. I knew, for some strange reason, my wife would want to see this since she, like so many other women, had been glued to her iPad in anticipation of seeing the little booger hit the ground. So, I woke her up. Now before you call me sexist, I know men have been watching it too; but, polls show the female watchers outnumber males by 1500-1.

 

By the time she got up and got tuned in, a foot was sticking out. Then April paced around for another couple of hours or so before, PLOP, there it is.

 

“Oh, look at this!” she said with the excitement of scratching off the winning numbers on a lottery ticket. One would have thought we had just had another grandchild. “There’s the placenta,” she went on.

 

I looked at this little guy, a slime-covered, gangly legged, pile of giraffe sitting in the sand, his head bobbing around like a bobble head on the dashboard as if to be thinking, what the heck just happened? Then something occurred to me.

 

Now, as I understand, this wasn’t April’s first trip down baby lane. But what was it like the first time? I mean, when those two feet popped out from her backside, she probably thought, oh well, here I go again. But what went through her mind the first time she got pregnant and wasn’t familiar with the experience?

 

With baby number one, in similar fashion, when that first foot popped out, her first thought was probably, Not now, Oliver. I have a headache. Then, upon realizing Oliver was nowhere around, she probably looked rearward and saw that foot sticking out and thought, Whoa! What the heck is that?

 

Mama’s baby

It’s amazing how God gave mothers of any ilk the instinct to know what to do when they have babies. When his

face hit the sand, April jumped right in there and began cleaning up her baby. What was really cool was later, watching an extremely agitated April in the adjacent stall, when one of the zoo workers went in to do whatever zoo workers do to newborn giraffes. She wanted desperately to get to her baby to protect him from the intruder.  Maybe that’s it. I don’t care if you are a woman, a dachshund, or a long-neck giraffe; all mothers have one thing in common-a nurturing and protective instinct. That same instinct goes back to mama one. It was something she was born with and not something that evolved. That’s the common bond women share and what draws millions of women to computer screens to watch even a four-legged animal join the bonds of motherhood.

 





With Authority Comes Responsibility

12 01 2017

We’ve all seen the pictures of some poor schmuck in some third world country standing at the top of a pole, 77b597ff2e64070f7b16877a0e4fc36auntethered, while trying to do his job and avoid electrocution. Well, there was a day when working in this country was just as dangerous (and still is in some corners of the country). I see it all the time.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I am a safety consultant. I enjoy what I do. In my job, which I have been doing since 1988, I go around the country training workers to be safe, training managers to manage safety programs, identifying hazards by conducting mock OSHA inspections and program audits. To sum it up, I’m only trying to help management fulfill not just a regulatory but a moral obligation, as well as to provide safeguards for their workers. If you hire someone to work for you, you are responsible, by law, to provide those workers with a workplace that is safe and healthful. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts it this way: “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

 

This is known as the General Duty Clause and is found in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

 

In the years preceding the passage of the OSHAct, there were a reported 15,000 work-related fatalities each year in this country alone. But the sad truth is, it should not have taken legislation to force employers to make the workplace safer. Even before there was a regulatory requirement, there has always been, or at least for the past 3400 years, when Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, that moral obligation.

 

So, who was the first safety consultant? God. Through Moses, in the Book of Deuteronomy, God told the Jewish nation to safeguard those for whom they were responsible. Deuteronomy 22:8 says, “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.”

 

It was God’s position that if one should place himself/herself in a position of responsibility for another, he/she should take precautions to safeguard those under their charge.

 

I will say that in my 39-year career as a safety professional, I have seen vast improvement in management attitudes and recognition of their moral responsibilities; but, once in a while I go into a workplace that takes me back to the pre-OSHA days when there were no national workplace safety laws and employers put the lives of their workers at risk for the sake of the bottom line. Unfortunately, when I go into a workplace, I can only preach OSHA and not the Bible.





Learn to Lose!

19 12 2016

In the aftermath of the recent presidential election, I have been amazed at the reaction of those who are grieving over the results. Many of those liberals, who claim to be so tolerant, are acting like children who just dropped their ice cream cones on the sidewalk. Protesting, crying, incapable of everyday living, even rioting has been their child-like reaction to a Trump victory. They simply cannot accept the fact that Hillary lost the election. And to make matters worse, universities, or bastions of liberalism, are pandering to their childish intolerance by providing support groups, counseling, therapy dogs and even cancelling final exams.

Time Out

Time Out

 

I believe the grief of many is real, but that doesn’t justify such childish behavior. Instead, it begs the question, why? Why have these children of all ages gotten so upset that they need therapy? The answer is simple. When they, and in many cases, their parents and professors, were just munchkins running around the soccer or baseball field, there were parents and coaches insisting, we don’t keep score. There are no winners and losers. Everyone is a winner. Everyone gets a trophy.

 

Here’s the Biblical truth…you reap what you sow and you have sown, with your liberal, no-loser dogma, a generation of young people, many of  whom never learned how to lose. And, our so-called institutions of higher learning are merely perpetuating this deception. Newsflash…in life, you won’t always win. Someone has to finish second, third…last. Only one applicant will get the job. Where will your support group be when you are turned down for a car or home loan? Where will your therapy dog be when the jerk in the next cubicle gets your promotion? Will your professor be there to help you through your anger and grief when your vacation hotel tells you they have a no pets policy so you can’t take Daisy, the dachshund, along on your trip to Hawaii? It makes no difference who you are, you can’t always have your way; and, those who don’t learn that have some hard times ahead. They will one day learn that those thirty-seven participation trophies in their parents’ attic won’t even get them an empty Starbucks cup.





Following in the Footsteps of My Twin

18 12 2016

Where does this fall on your weird-o-meter? Last week I was doing work for a company in Jackson, Tennessee. Jackson is a small town about halfway between Memphis and Nashville. Because of the distance back to either airport, I planned to complete the work and drive back to a hotel near the airport so I could fly back home the following morning. I chose to fly into Memphis because I knew, from past experience, given the location of the two airports, driving back to the Memphis airport would be much easier.

 

On Tuesday night, my second night in town, I went to what turned out to be a diamond in the rough. It was an Italian restaurant named Baudo’s. Baudo’s isn’t much to look at from the outside, but the food was really good. Anyway, the hostess seated me at a small table off to the side of the dining room. Only seconds after being seated, a perky, young waitress came bebopping out of the kitchen toward me like she had just gotten to work. Actually, she had. I was her first customer. That’s one of the advantages of getting old. You get out to eat early, before the server has been worn down by demanding customers and 500 trips back and forth into the kitchen.

 

“Welcome back!” she said, cheerfully.

 

I told her this was my first time at Baudo’s.

 

“Well there was a guy here last night who sat in this same seat and looked exactly like you. You have a twin.”

 

Okay, there’s nothing unusual about that. I’ve always had people tell me I look like so and so. When I was younger, it was Dan Rather. Then as I got a little older, people told me I looked like Martin Sheen. So, I wasn’t very surprised at this.

 

Then I ordered my dinner…salad with house dressing and veal piccata with mashed potatoes.

 

“That’s exactly what your twin had last night,” she told me.

 

Now, that seemed a little odd but still not that big a deal.

 

The next day, I completed the work and made the two-hour drive to my hotel near the Memphis airport. It was actually in Southaven, Mississippi, about 8 miles south of the airport.

 

Even though I was surrounded by a plethora of restaurants, I decided, for a number of reasons, to stay in and just eat at the hotel restaurant.

 

The waitress was a generation older than the waitress back at Baudo’s, but no less energetic. I forget what they called it, but I ordered a cheeseburger with roasted red bell peppers and onions. About halfway through the burger, which I highly recommend, the waitress came by to check on me.

 

“Is it as good as last night?” she asked.

 

For a second, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Then I told her I hadn’t been there the night before. In fact, I had never been to that hotel before.

 

“Well there was a man here last night, sat right there where you’re sitting and had the exact same thing.”

 

Now that’s a little on the weird side. I was afraid I was going to return home the next day only to have my wife ask me if I enjoyed the back rub she gave me the night before!!





Scammers, Con-Men and Thieves, Oh My!

6 11 2016

In this age of scammers and scumbags, who can you trust? Hardly a day goes by we don’t get a phone call from somedna-1 dip-wad with a heavy Middle Eastern accent calling us right out of the blue to help us fix our supposedly ailing computers, or threaten us with arrest because we supposedly owe the IRS some huge sum. It’s made us wary of anyone who calls. Now, I understand that some readers will think I’m not being politically correct because I mentioned someone with a Middle Eastern accent. Well, first of all, I don’t give a fat rat about political correctness and secondly, I dare those readers to deny the truth. If I hear someone saying he had a hard time finding somewhere to “pok his cah,” I can’t help but notice the accent. And, I’m not thinking he’s from Valdosta, Georgia. No, I’m a little more inclined to think he’s from one of the New England states…probably somewhere between Boston and Bangor. So, when I hear a Middle Eastern accent, I can’t help but think, this thief is from the Middle East.

 

So, have you seen the television commercial for Ancestry DNA in which the guy, or guyette, says something like, “I’ve always told everyone I was of German descent; but, when I got my results from Ancestry DNA, I learned there’s not a single cell of German in me. I’ve just always had a hankering for bratwurst and wiener schnitzel. My ancestry is British Isles, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, and 5 percent southern Israel. My ancestry has more varieties than a case of Heinz 57.”

 

Here’s the way it works. You send them 99 bucks and they send you a DNA test kit. You return the kit along with a little bit of your spit and, Voila!!, in 6-8 weeks you get a report back with a pie chart describing your genetic ethnicity. I’m not saying it IS one, but could there be an easier scam? I mean how does the recipient know that the pie chart is the real deal and not something made up by Rajesh Jones sitting at a computer in New Delhi, or some out of work criminal politician in Chappaqua, New York?

 

Ancestry seems to be a reliable company, so it is probably legit; but, then, that’s what grandma thought when she sent Sanjay twenty-five $100 gift cards from Target to pay her debt to the IRS.

 

All I’m saying is beware. Shalom, ya’ll!

 





Hurricane Supplies

9 10 2016

How do you spell “hurricane?” Well it seems that folks around here spell it s-n-o-w. Let me explain.

 

Around these parts if you even mention the word snow, word spreads faster than a cup of coffee through the plumbing.082611-bloom-bread-isle-empty   Before you can say, “Did he say snow tonight?” every loaf of bread and every container of milk has flown off of the shelves. It’s like people think that snow will scare all the cows from ever giving another drop of milk so they have to scarf up all they can before it runs out. When I was a kid, I would envision people sitting around the house during a snow storm eating bread and chugging milk. Why is it they don’t clear the shelves of peanut butter and pimento cheese? What are these snowbound Southerners doing with all that bread and no spreads to put on it? Truth is, no one understands this bread and milk obsession. I guess it’s just a tradition. 020111snow7

 

Hurricane’s A-Comin’

Well, today is the 8th of October so we’re still a couple of months away from snow season;  but, we are still in the hurricane season and Hurricane Matthew is churning his way up the North Carolina coast, dumping a tremendous amount of rain here in the Durham area.

 

This morning, I went to do the grocery shopping. My wife tried to encourage me to wait until tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be nice, but I wanted no part of that. “Why”, she asked, “would you want to go out in this rain?” First, as long as it isn’t cold, I don’t mind the rain. Second, I like to get it done and get the task behind me. Besides, I was thinking the crowds should be light since no one in his or her right mind would go out in this weather. They’ll all put off shopping until tomorrow when the sun will be shining, I thought. I know… I know…but, I never claimed to be in my right mind.  I figured, I would pretty much have the store aisles to myself and my pick of checkout lanes.  Well, when I first got there it wasn’t too bad; but, as I was shopping, I began to notice the crowd size increasing. And they didn’t seem like your normal Saturday shoppers. There weren’t any couponers with their volumes of coupons stretched out across the carts. Also, I was able to discern several foreign accents… Boston, Brooklyn and a few I didn’t recognize. People, Yankees and Southerners alike, seemed to just wander the aisles like zombies wondering, where’s the milk. Many didn’t seem to belong there. By the time I got to the milk case, there were only a handful of milk containers left. What…did someone say snow?

 

I got through checkout and made my way toward the door only to come up behind a crowd too afraid to step out into 17dce653ed1b9d819fa1c160c05f0494the rain. They were just crowding inside the door and I had to fight my way through. Come on, folks. It’s just a little water. If you didn’t want to get wet then why did you come to the store in the middle of a hurricane in the first place? Oh, I know…to get your milk and bread. I will admit it was raining much harder than when I first got there, so I just excused myself past the crowd and back stroked my way to the car, along with my bread and milk.