The roads in a certain Iowa town are deliciously garlic-y. They’ve been using garlic salt to de-ice the streets.
On 8/26/08 I stopped by my local Panera Bread [in Waterloo Iowa] after work to pick up dinner for my wife and I. We’ve always been very pleased with the level of service and quality of food we’ve received from Panera in the past. Last night however was a slightly different experience…
Bruce sends in what he thinks is another victim of the Grocery Shrink Ray’s fell and indiscriminate wrath:
A new study shows that despite the best efforts of lawmakers and mortgage-service companies, little is actually being done to help homeowners facing foreclosure, says the Wall Street Journal.
A Pizza Hut delivery driver with a valid handgun permit has been fired after he shot an armed robber who put a gun to his head and demanded he turn over his cash. Now an Iowa state senator is calling for a boycott of Pizza Hut:
“You tell me any Iowan that was in his situation, that had a gun put to his head, how they would’ve reacted differently,” state Sen. Brad Zaun of Urbandale said. “I think it’s the wrong decision by Pizza Hut and I will not be buying any more Pizza Hut products.”
Pizza Hut says it’s against company policy for delivery drivers to carry guns, even with a valid permit.
I had a great customer service experience and I thought I would share it with you. My fiancee and I live in Mount Vernon, Iowa and like to frequent the old-school, single-screen movie theater in town called the Bijou. It’s a family run theater with cheap prices ($4/movie) and a great reputation as a family-friendly place. Before each of the showings the owner/manager greets the crowd, gives out prizes, and welcomes any first-timers in the audience.
This University of Iowa credit card scandal is getting more interesting every day. Today’s development: The University has “backed away” from allowing athletes to be used in the U of I alumni association credit card program.
We stumbled across a very interesting article in the Des Moines Register that discusses the methods public universities’ alumni associations (in this case, the University of Iowa and ISU) use to obtain and sell student data.
Employee theft is a serious problem for retailers. It makes prices go up and return policies more strict. So when we hear about an employee getting busted for such a spectacularly stupid, yet probably effective and routinely performed scam we are glad.
A family from Sidney, Iowa has filed suit against the owners of a KFC/Taco Bell after they were served food that was allegedly contaminated by an employee. According to the lawsuit, the couple’s 4 year-old son became “violently ill” after being served food that had been contaminated by an employee who “maintained ‘special servings'” of food contaminated with urine and saliva so that it could be fed to unsuspecting police officers.
The Chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin, has issued a stern rebuke to the telecoms that blocked their subscribers from accessing free Iowa-based conference call providers. Quoth the Chairman:
We actually contacted the companies that were listed in the press [reports] and said our rules prohibit you from blocking consumers’ access to any of the service providers… One had stopped blocking, but we heard complaints the next week that they were restricting access, sort of narrowing the pipe. We called them back and said, no, no, you can’t artificially degrade [service] either.
We think you should celebrate this reversal with your friends on a free Iowa-based conference call. If the service is blocked, or in any way degraded, don’t hesitate to fill out the FTC’s consumer complaint form. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
Under the settlement, individuals and businesses that purchased certain Microsoft software between May 18, 1994 and June 30, 2006 are eligible for benefits, as well as Iowa state and local governments that purchased software between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2006. The OSes included in the settlement range from MS-DOS all the way up through Windows NT and Windows XP, and the other applications include Word, Except, and various versions of Office.
Car-title loans have astronomical and unjustified interest rates, typically 264% and sometimes 360%. On top of that, the consumer puts his or her car at risk – the car-title loan company takes a lien on the car and actually takes keys to the car to make repossession easier.
Cingular blocked access to free conference call providers; Sprint and Qwest found Cingular’s chutzpah inspiring, and followed suit. At issue is a charge Iowa-based companies pass along to national carriers.
The 712 area code used by these services allow the local carriers to charge a number of subsidies to those carrying the incoming calls due to the location of the tiny, rural exchange. These fees are split between the local exchange and the “free” conference call company, which allows them to make a pretty penny. The fees for these calls made into 712 are higher than those charged by other exchanges, and AT&T/Cingular has in fact filed a lawsuit against these Iowa-based telcos for what Cingular claims are violation of a number of laws and FCC decisions.
Reader Mike asked Cingular to explain their action. Their response, inside…
The Iowa antitrust case gained notoriety for the now famous “If I didn’t work here, I’d buy a Mac” e-mail sent by Microsoft executive Jim Allchin, who is now retired. The Microsoft in-house e-mail from 2004 received some notice after it was released as part of Microsoft’s document production for the case.
This lawsuit was one of the last state anti-trust lawsuits left unsettled, and Bill Gates was scheduled to testify. Alas.—MEGHANN MARCO
When AT&T’s average monthly bill to one such Iowa telco, the Superior Telephone Cooperative, went from $2,000 to $2,000,000, it was time for Ma Bell to call the fine-suited folks at Sidley Austin LLP5 to try to close the loophole down….Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division, AT&T’s lawsuit seeks to stop FuturePhone as well as the telcos who provide local infrastructure from continuing with their operations that use regulatory-fee arbitrag1 and VoIP to provide international calls for only the price of a long-distance call to Iowa. Though the case was just filed on Jan. 29, it has already apparently caused FuturePhone to shutter its service, and has produced nothing but “no comment” replies from the Iowa LECs we contacted who were also named in the suit.
Party’s over, baby.—MEGHANN MARCO
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