Category Archives: Consumer

Companies to Avoid Due To Their Actions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are many “bad actors” out there trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. Some large, very profitable businesses are requesting grants or loans meant for small businesses, the backbone of the economy.  Some of these companies have returned the money, but only after a backlash from the media and public. The mear fact that they asked for it should warrant you and I to not use their products or services, once we all go back to work and life goes back to a new normal.

I will update this as I hear of these companies. So check back often.

Restaurants

J. Alexander’s

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Kura Sushi

This restaurant requested $6 million and has a market cap of $78 million. They have locations in California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Washington D.C., Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, and New Jersey. In 2019, they had $36 million in cash assets with total assets of over $76 million!

Lyndhurst Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Merus Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Overland Park Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Pollo Tropical

This restaurant, owned by the Fiesta Restaurant Group requested $10 million and they have a market cap of $189 million.

Potbelly

The sandwich shop requested $10 million. They said they will return it. They have a market cap of $85 million!

Redlands Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Ruth Chris

1280px-ruths_chris_logo.svg_The steak restaurant, Ruth Chris requested $20 million. The owner of the Ruth’s Chris Steak House has said it will repay $20 million in federal loans after facing backlash for its access to the money, which was meant to aid small businesses. But the company has also enjoyed several years of profits. Last year, Ruth’s earned a profit of $42 million on revenue of $468 million. In turn, the company last year spent about $42 million on share repurchases and paying out dividends.

In 2018, Ruth’s Chris CEO and President Cheryl J. Henry’s total compensation package, including salary and stock awards, was more than $6,100,000. There are more than 150 Ruth’s Chris steakhouses in the US.

Shake Shack

This restaurant requested and received $10 million. They have reportedly returned it.

Stoney River

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Taco Cabana

This restaurant, owned by the Fiesta Restaurant Group requested $10 million and they have a market cap of $189 million.

Sports

L.A. Lakers

los-angeles-lakers-logo-purple-trademark-kitchen-dining-tables-nba2000-lal-c3_1000The Los Angeles Lakers requested and received $4.6 million. They have reportedly returned it. The team is worth $4.4 billion! This is just bad sportsmanship!

Food Manufactures

Unfortunately, many of the companies that produce out food in America are forcing workers to work without proper testing and PPE!

JBS USA

JBS USA Holdings, Inc. is an American food processing company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS S.A., a Brazilian company that is the world’s largest processor of fresh beef and pork, with more than $50 billion just in the United States in annual sales as of 2017.

JBS brands include 5 Star Beef, Aspen Ridge Natural Beef, Blue Ribbon Angus, Cedar River Farms, Chef’s Exclusive, Clear River Farms, G.F. Swift 1855 Brand, Liberty Bell, Moyer, Packerland, Showcase Premium Ground Beef Swift, Pilgrim’s Chicken, Swift Premium.

Smithfield

Smithfield Foods, Inc., is a meat-processing company based in Smithfield, Virginia, in the United States, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of WH Group of China. Founded in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company by Joseph W. Luter and his son, the company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world.

In 2016, Smithfield had sales of over $10 billion in just 9 months. So why can’t they take care of their workers?

Smithfield’s brands include Eckrich, Nathan’s Famous, Farmland, Armour, Farmer John, Kretschmar, John Morrell, Cook’s, Gwaltney, Carando, Margherita, Curly’s and Healthy Ones.

Tyson

Tyson Foods, Inc. is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork after JBS S.A. and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States.

In the past 6 months, Tyson had sales of almost $22 billion dollars! So why can’t they take care of their workers?

Tyson’s brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Hillshire, Ball Park, Raised & Rooted, aidells, State Fair, Nature Raised Farms, Sara Lee, Wright Brand, Bosco’s, Gallo Salame, Bonici, The Bruss Company, Chairman’s Reserve, ibp, Lady Aster, Mexican Original, Open Prairie Natural Meats, Star Ranch Angus, Wonderbar, AdvancePierre, Barber Foods, Big AZ, Fast Fixin, Hot ‘n’ Ready, Jamwich PB, Landshire, Russer, Steak Eze, Orginal Philly Cheesesteak Co, Bryan, True Chews, TopChews, Nudges, and Ruben.

Other Companies

Here are more companies you might have never heard of to avoid.

  • Adamis Pharmaceuticals: Requested $3.2 million and has a market cap of $26 million. In one quarter in 2019, they had almost $6 million in sales.
  • Air T (holding company): Requested $8.2 million and has a market cap of $37 million. In 2018 they had $194 million in revenue!
  • Aquestive Therapeutics (pharmaceutical): Requested $4.8 million and they have a market cap of $122 million.
  • Broadwind Energy: Requested $9.5 million and have a market cap of $24 million. In 2019, they had sales of over $178 million!
  • Conformis (hip and knee replacements): Requested $4.7 million and they have a market cap of $47 million. Their revenue in 2019 was almost $77 million!
  • CPI Aerostructures (aircraft parts): Requested $4.8 million and they have a market cap of $35 million. In 2017 they had reported over $81 million in revenue. Also in 2017, they had over $124 million in total assets.
  • Crawford United: Requested $3.7 million and has a market cap of $36 million. Brands are AIRENTERPRISES, CAD ENTERPRISES, data genomix, Federal Hose and MPI. In 2019, they had sales of $21 million.
  • Digimarc (software): Requested $5 million and has a market cap of $192 million.
  • DMC Global (metalworking): Requested $6.7 million and has a market cap of $405 million.
  • Emmis Communications (American media conglomerate): Requested $4.8 million and has a market cap of $23 million. In 2019, they had revenue of over $114 million!
    They own radio stations in New York, Austin Texas, and Indianapolis Indiana.
  • ENGlobal (engineering services): Requested $4.9 million and they have a market cap of $24 million.  In the first quarter of 2020, they had sales of over $19 million!
  • Escalade (sporting equipment): Requested $5.6 million and they have a market cap of $104 million. They make the brands: Bear Archery, Trophy Ridge, Whisker Biscuit, Cajun Bowfishing, Karnage, Fletcher, Rocket, SIK, BearX, STIGA, Ping-Pong, Goalrilla, Goaliath, Silverback, Hoopstar, Goalsetter, Vuly, Woodplay, ChildLife, The STEP, USWeight, Lifeline, Kettleworx, Natural Fitness, PER4M, Atomic, American Legend, HJ Scott, Triumph Sports, Mizerak, Lucasi, PureX, Rage, Players, Cue&Case, Unicorn, Accudart, Arachnid, Nodor, Winmau, Zume Games, Pickleball Now, Onix, Viva Sol, Triumph Sports, Victory Tailgate, DURA
  • Flotek Industries (specialty chemicals): Requested $4.8 million and has a market cap of $52 million. Their revenue for 2018 was almost $178 million!
  • Frequency Electronics (satellite telecommunications): Requested $5 million and has a market cap of $86 million. In 2019, they had almost $47 million in working capital!
  • Legacy Housing (manufactured homes): Requested $6.5 million and has a market cap of $229 million. The website seems to be down or gone!
  • Lindblad Expeditions (cruise ships): Requested $6.6 million and has a market cap of $264 million.
  • MannKind (biopharmaceutical ): Requested $4.9 million and has a market cap of $273 million.
  • Misonix (medical equipment made in China): Requested $5.2 million and has a market cap of $198 million.
  • Natural Gas Services: Requested $4.6 million and they have a market cap of $65 million. In 2018 they had total assets of $305 million. In 2018, the CEO made a whopping $3,032,250!
  • New Age Beverages (natural beverages): Requested $6.9 million and they have a market cap of $137 million. The beverages they make are Xing, Volvic Water, Nestea, Bucha, WATERisLIVE, and ‘NHANCED.
  • OptiNose(pharmaceutical company): Requested $4.4 million and has a market cap of $180 million.
  • Quantum Corp. (storing and managing video content): Requested $10 million and has a market cap of $151 million.
  • PolarityTE (biotech): Requested $3.6 million and they have a market cap of $44 million. In 2018 they had an income of $673 million!
  • Prema-Fix Environmental (nuclear waste treatment): Requested $5.7 million and has a market cap of $74 million. In 2019 they had over $73 in revenue!
  • Protech Home Medical (medical equipment): Requested $6 million and has a market cap of $65 million. In just one quarter in 2019, they made over $21 million.
  • Ultralife (power solutions & communications systems): Requested $3.5 million and has a market cap of $99 million. They made $25.8 million in the first quarter of 2020!
  • U.S Auto Parts: Requested $4.1 million and has a market cap of $81 million. Brands include carparts.com and JCWhitney. Gross profit in 2019 was $84.2 million!
  • Veritone(an operating system for artificial intelligence): Requested $6.5 million and has a market cap of $101 million.
  • Wave Life Sciences (biotech): Requested $7.2 million and has a market cap of $286 million. Headquarters in Singapore.
  • ZAGG (consumer electronics): Requested $9.4 million and has a market cap of $101 million. Their brands are InvisibleShield, mophie, BRAVEN, IFROGZ, Gear4, and HALO.

Summary

What are your thoughts? Should there be others on this list? Please let me know by making a comment below.

Customer Service Failure: Vons

Last weekend I received an email from Vons to get a free delivery from their home delivery service. Since I was stuck working all weekend, I thought I’d save some time and take them up on their offer. I have used their service before when I was unable to make it to the store. Once I went to their website I quickly remembered how slow and difficult using their site is. The following is what I wrote them:

“I’m writing about your shopping online. To save some time I thought I would make an order (not my first time). But it took so long and was so frustrating that I gave up. It would be faster just to drive to the store.

I’m a software developer and know that you are using a framework that is no longer supported and has been out of date for over 10 years!

I might use it when I have to (such as recovering from surgery) but won’t for anything else.”

Here is their reply:

“We apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail. 

Thank you for providing us with the error message you received. Our records do indicate that we were experiencing web site technical difficulties at the time you reported this issue and the matter has been resolved. ”

What? I don’t think anyone actually read my comment. This sounds like an automated response. I don’t think they have a clue on what customer service is at all! The issue is not “technical difficulties” at all, it’s the crappy website design using a framework that has not been used for over 13 years! Hire a new CTO Vons!!!

McDonalds Likes to Pass the Buck

I wrote to McDonald’s the other day letting them know I was over changed AGAIN at the local store near where I live. Also to complain that they continuously leave an item out of my order. Below is their lame response… nice way to pass the buck guys!

Hello David:


Thank you for your comments regarding prices at your local McDonald’s.

It’s important to know that approximately 85 percent of our restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent business
people known as franchise owners. Each franchise owner determines his
or her restaurant’s prices by taking our recommendations into
consideration, as well as their unique operating costs. This is why
prices may vary from one McDonald’s restaurant to another. Also
franchise owners make decisions regarding charging for condiments.

We are sorry for any dissatisfaction you may be feeling as a result of prices at a McDonald’s restaurant. Overall, McDonald’s Corporation
works very hard with our suppliers, research and development, and
internal departments to consistently offer a broad menu that can be
offered at a good value in our restaurants.

We appreciate your feedback and will share it with the appropriate
people at McDonald’s. Regarding your local McDonald’s pricing, we
encourage you to share your feedback with the restaurant Manager. We are sure the franchise owner would be interested in you comments.

Thank
you again for contacting McDonald’s. We appreciate your business and
hope to have the opportunity of serving you in the future.

Matt
McDonald’s Customer Response Center

Do Not Get Fooled by the Circuit City Going Out of Business Sale

So I’ve seen the commercials on TV, Circuit City is (finally) going out of business! So I thought I would take advantage of it and while doing errands today thought I’d stop by the one nearest to me. I had a few items in mind, not that I can afford it but I have been looking to get a flat-screen TV, I do need a new wireless router and few other items. I looked at the flat-screens and found a LG model that seemed like a good price. I thought I’d check the price on Amazon.com using the application on my iPhone… to my surprise it was cheaper on Amazon! Then I looked at the Linksys router and I found the same thing and the same goes for the other items I looked at. I even told some of the customers that were looking at the same type of items as I was that they could find it cheaper online.

So, I’m not a big time business guy, but it stands to reason that if you are trying to unload inventory, wouldn’t you sell it at a huge discount? It seems Circuit City is marking all of their items at the original retail price (or more) and then applying the discount to that, which is still more than what you can purchase it from on Amazon (which includes free shipping over a certian purchase total). It’s no wonder why this company is going out of business… it never kept up with compitition. So for one last screw over on the average consumer, now they are predending they are giving them a deal! (this of course does not apply to out-of-the-box prices)

I’m glad to see Circuit City go… the faster the better! I just feel bad that thousands of people that didn’t deserve it will loose their job due to exceutives that can’t get their greedy heads out of their butts.

Your thoughts?

Followup:
I sent this to KGTV Channel 10 here in San Diego and they are doing a story on it on 2/12/09 at 11pm. Tune in and see what they say!

FedEx Nickel and Dimes Your Shipment Cost

For the first time in a long time I shipped something via my account with FedEx. I was totally surprised when besides the shipment cost they also charged me with:

  • Home Delivery! What gives. Are they penalizing us if we want to ship to a personal address?!?!?!?!?!
  • Fuel Surcharge??? Didn’t the cost of gas go way down??

They also wanted to charge me for:

  • Signature
  • Pickup

But I took those off as soon as I saw how much they wanted. Dang, don’t think I will be using them anymore! USPS only from now on.

Customer Service – Not What It Use To Be

In this day of age with the Internet, you would think customer service would be better? Well I’m amazed at how many large companies totally ignore you when you send them an email or submit a support request. Below are companies that I never hear from or they take a long time. I will also list the good ones (one day or less turn around).

Bad Customer Service

  • I sent Corel (the makers of Paint Shop Pro) a support request the week of 1/7/2008 because the dang program will not accept the serial number from the invoice when I purchased the program. I even followed their online instructions that that did not help. I never heard back from them.
  • I sent Epson a message about their free program that prints graphics on inkjet printable CD’s two weeks ago and have not heard back. This program does not appear on their web site anymore 😦
  • Sent a message to iLike.com because a feature is not working and I got this in reply: “Your message has been sent to our support team. Please allow up to 2 work weeks for a response.”! Dang, two weeks?!?!?!?!

Good Customer Service

  • On 1/22/2008 I sent an email to Symbol about .NET Framework install for Windows CE for one of their barcode scanner devices. I received an answer back in less than a day!
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