Good Experiences

This page is devoted to good experiences I’ve had with companies and products. Partially I want this page because I believe as a society we are too focused on the negative, and, well, to balance out all the negative stuff on my BadStuff page. To be noted on this page means that to me the company or product is above average, sometimes significantly.

Companies

Jerry & Walt’s
Alignment shop in Eugene, Oregon, but they do some other types of auto repair as well
Can’t say enough about these guys. Trustworthy/honest in every respect, they do quality work. Will be upfront about what they can and cannot do. For me that has meant going elsewhere for electrical and transmission work, but they’ve handled other things like tune ups, subframe work, gas pumps, AC systems checking (and probably replacement here pretty soon.) They do a lot more, just ask. About the biggest negative thing I can come up with is the place looks like an average mechanics. Highly recommended.

America’s Tire
Tire/wheel store, nationwide
I purchased a cheap set of tires from them, entirely of my own selection. I tried and tried to like them but the tires were loud both in a straight line and while cornering, wore unevenly despite proper alignment, and had poor traction in dry conditions. The only positive things I can say about those tires is they were cheap and didn’t lose a lot of traction in wet conditions, but traction already sucked so yeah. I went in to get the tires rotated, the employee asked I how liked them and I said I hated them. In response I was offered the full retail price of those tires towards another set. Even though the tires had 3,000 miles on them! Unbelievable. This kind of service combined with price matching against tire rack means I haven’t even considered going anywhere else for tires.

Costco
Trying to keep this page to personal experiences but I have to make an exception for Costco. To me they represent a model nationwide company. Workers get reasonable compensation/treatment, the CEO makes good money but not a crazy multiple of the average worker like nearly every other corporation. They stand behind the products they sell, bending over maybe a little too much in some circumstances.

Products

Weber Genesis E-310 gas grill, purchased May 2007
A BBQ that’s built to last. Exceptional heat distribution from corner to corner. Lots of other grills have thermometers and propane gauges built in, but I like those features so I’m gonna mention them anyway. I also dislike having space taken up by auxiliary burners hence this model. Oh yes and mine has the porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates, in english this translates to “cooks well and easy to clean.”

Universal Remote Control MX-500
10 device learning remote control
So far I have never used a touchscreen I liked, including ones costing up to $3500. This remote uses hard buttons next to an old-school LCD. It is highly programmable. The remote is on it’s 4th or 5th revision, can’t remember. This is basically the remote which sparked the uber-remote control market. That being said I do not generally recommend this remote, only those technically-inclined will be able to make use of it. You can find it for under $100. It offers the customization of a much more expensive remote, minus the USB connection, nice programming software, and fancy screen. Definitely worth it to me.

SVS PB-13 Ultra Subwoofer
To me, having a solid foundation of sound gives music and movies a pulse. What pulls you in and keeps you there – or, put another way, what enables a piece to pull you in. This subwoofer is among the top performers in the consumer world, and the only reason I was able to afford it is it trades size for price. i.e. it’s HUGE. Not redefine-your-living room huge, but you better make some space for it and whomever lives with you better be okay with it too.
If you think of bass as loud thuds then I can redefine your notion 😀 My favorite demo track (which I’ve played a thousand and three times now) is from Master and Commander for precisely this reason. The cannon bursts are delivered with a textured bass that’s just impossible to reproduce without some pretty good gear. To put it in perspective, I’ve only been to two theaters with bass like this in my entire life, and only one home theater (though, my job has exposed me to lots of home theaters that I didn’t get to listen to, so maybe a couple more!)
Although I haven’t experienced it myself, I’ve seen many cases on forums where people had great support experiences from SVS. Actually, scratch that, when I ordered my sub they were out of the metal mesh front screen (the one I wanted,) so without even asking they sent me the cloth one for free, then shipped the mesh one when it was available many months later. Very cool.

Michelin Tires, specifically the Pilot Sport A/S series
A lesson in “you get what you pay for.” Dry traction 98% as good as the drastically softer KDWs I replaced with far better wet traction, very low noise for a performance tire, even wear (if your alignment is good & you rotate regularly,) and long life.

Klipsch Promedia 2.1 computer speakers
They’re about $180 or so but if you want good sound on your computer I highly recommend these.  When I worked at a place selling computer speakers, I routinely auditioned any in the same league as products cycled in and out. Never found any better. Their weak spot is one you’ll likely only run into once, when you are connecting the speakers to the sub be gentle as the terminals don’t handle pressure well. Here’s the manufacturer link, because I have seen others under the promedia name and they’re not as good: http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.aspx

Ghirardelli White Ground Chocolate
Used in making mochas ‘n stuff. This is what many companies use to make white chocolate mochas, in fact the can has statements like “your customers will love [blah blah blah.]” heh. But seriously, I’ve tried literally every white chocolate locally available and they taste like crap. Even from companies which normally make great products.

Antec Solo, computer case
I’ve built many PCs from scratch and without a doubt this is the best case I’ve used. Mainly I like it’s sound deadening properties, but also how easy it is to remove the side, the function of the front panel (opening/removal/access,) the rubber or suspension mounts for hard drives, general ease of access… it just does everything well. Cons are cost and weight.
http://www.antec.com/usa/productDetails.php?lan=us&id=18500

Last updated 11/22/08

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A place for random thoughts.