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The Great Down-Sell

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Some of you long-time loyal readers might recall Jason English's funny/sad saga back in 2007 about the time his cellphone provider over-billed him for more than $600. Sure, we've all had bad experiences with big companies. Maybe not as epic as Jason's - but for each of us, these moments (those smite-your-brow-in-horrific-disbelief moments), when you feel like it's little old you against the machine, feel epic enough that we often never again use the product or service the machine provides.

In my four decades, I've definitely had more than my fair share of such situations. However, recently, I had one with a customer service rep that was SO positive, it almost felt like I'd won the lottery! It almost made up for all the poor experiences I've had over the years and inspired me to want to tell the world about it. (If this were a musical, about here is where we'd burst into song.)

It all started when I got an e-mail from AT&T saying that my wife and I had exceeded our texting limit last month and we were going to be charged extra for every text over. Now, I'm not a big texter, mostly because I've got thumbs the size of kielbasa, but I also don't like spending more than I have to if possible. The e-mail said there was a solution: call up AT&T and pay an additional $5 per month for the all-you-can-text plan. The $5 was much less than paying for the overages per text, so I figured, okay - especially when they said they'd back-date it to the beginning of last month.

Here's where the story gets juicy. Without being prompted, the guy then offers to look at our rate plan and see if we're using all our minutes. Next he starts telling me that we're paying too much per month based on the amount of minutes we're using. I repeat: he says we're paying TOO MUCH! And then proceeds to down-sell me on another plan that not only includes the text-until-your-thumbs-fall-off plan, but costs $20 less per month! I was stupefied!

Has this happened to anyone else? Where I come from (aka, Earth), customer service never offers a lower plan unless you specifically ask for one. In fact, I don't think I've ever been down-sold in my life. Saving money in this economy is awesome, but it was his personable service and friendly "let-me-fix-that-for-you-sir" attitude that really got me excited. I'm telling you folks, AT&T! They may have a helluva lot of dead spots across the country (the area between Rite Aid on Crenshaw and Olympic and my house, for example, leaves a lot t  b  de ired, if you're monitoring this AT&T social media people), but WOW! I'm a customer for life now, thanks to that down-sell.

Any companies you guys wish to laud for their customer service? Ever been down-sold? Leave your interesting stories in the comments below.

(cartoon via buhaycallcenter.wordpress.com)

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
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Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

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