This was the first year since the inception of Wizard World Philadelphia (a.k.a. Philadelphia Comic Con, nee Wizard World East) that the convention began on a Thursday evening, offering those attendees with a 3-day weekend pass an additional preview night.

As an exhibitor (working the show for GrayHaven Comics, Shadowline comics and volunteering time for The Hero Initiative), I took full advantage to check out the Thursday evening preview.

The first thing I noticed was that the check-in process has changed a bit and all exhibitors, guests and attendees are now herded upstairs in the Philadelphia Convention Center to get passes (still insisting upon those annoying wristbands!) in a large room adjacent to the even larger two halls where the convention is taking place this year.

The convention floor is split into thirds, it seems.  The far left side of the floor is reserved for Artists Alley and the fan groups (the Jedis, Ghostbusters, Trekkers, etc. of the world).  The central part of the convention floor is reserved for the celebrity guests (with the biggest names stationed in the very rear end of the convention hall).  The far right side of the room is where visitors will find the majority of dealers booths, publishing companies (Avatar Press and Zenescope) and memorabilia.

This segregation can work for and against the convention in my opinion.  I’m guessing that once the media guests begin pouring in today throughout the rest of the weekend, you’re going to see traffic jams of people in the middle of the hall.  But it’s going to free up the rest of the space in the aisles near Artist Alley and the dealer booths so that lines are not winding along their area and blocking fans from seeing the show floor in its entirety.

Thursday evening’s attendance was rather sparse. There were no major crowds, artists alley was half empty (with many creators staying home on preview night) and some of the exhibitors were still setting up their booths as the clock was nearing 9pm and the doors were ready to close.  The only celebrities in attendance at that point were Lou Ferrigno (who I think was spawned somewhere in a back room) and Kevin “Dotcom” Brown from NBC’s 30 Rock.

I think it’s great that the convention is spreading out to a 4th day, if only for fans like me who like an unencumbered preview of what to expect.  I took advantage of the evening to touch base with some friends (new & old), scout out the show floor, and look for some items before the rest of the crowd showed up this weekend to buy them up before I had a chance.


Today, May 25th, is supposed to be Geek Pride day. And Towel Day (for you Douglas Adams fans). And the 35th Anniversary of the U.S. release of the original Star Wars film. As you would imagine all three of those things are tied in together in some way, shape or form because that’s just how Geek Culture works.

But for people like me, Geek Pride Day is every single day. I’m proud to be a geek. Damn proud, actually. And I don’t need a phoney baloney holiday to prove it.


Me (on the left) and Darth Aitch (on the right): Two big Star Wars geeks!

I’m the guy who reads comic books on the bus on the way to and from work every day. That’s a double dose of geekery with the reading of the comics AND the taking of the bus. I do so not only for my general entertainment but also in the hope that someone may see what I’m reading and strike up a conversation about comics. You’d be amazed at how often it actually happens.

I’m the guy who Tweets and Facebooks things about comics books and geek culture 90% of the time. The other 10% is usually about food. Or fart jokes. You may think it’s blatant professional pimpery, but it’s really borne out of love of the medium of comics and the various genres of geek culture.

I’m the guy who is always trying to bring other people into the geek fold by giving away comics to new readers, or trying to bring smaller groups of geeks together into one much larger gaggle of geeks. Think of me as the guy who tries to help form a Geek Gestalt.

I’m the guy who has three dozen various geeky t-shirts, a dozen of which alone are somehow related to Superman. And I’m almost out of my 30s.


Halloween 2011 saw me give Superman a Victorian flair

I’m the guy who tries to incorporate being a Geek into his Halloween costume year in and year out. It’s usually my lone chance to cosplay in front of friends and strangers, which inevitably leads to me wanting to cosplay on a more regular basis — even though I end up ditching the idea every single time.

I’m the guy who found himself a beautiful, smart and funny geek bride. A woman who was open to reading comics. Who hates chick-flicks and instead favors zombie thrillers and sci-fi epics.

I’m the guy who had the Throne Room song from Star Wars played as the recessional at his wedding. And entered the reception to the Superman Theme. And had his first dance with his bride to the song that was the theme to Roswell. We made our own wedding cake topper out of Sculpey. Can you get geekier than that in terms of a wedding?

I’m the hipster of Geeks. I was a geek before it was cool!

And I know there are so many more of you out there just like me, so I say to you on this day, REVEL IN YOUR GEEKERY! Be proud of what you are. But don’t do it just today. Do it every single day of your life!

Wear your geek pride on your sleeve. Possibly the sleeve of whatever superhero or Joss Whedon-inspired t-shirt you may be wearing at the moment. Let people know you’re a geek!

You just may be surprised at how many of us there are.

Chris Hemsworth, Stan Lee, ‘Star Trek’ Captains Q&A’s, Screenings, Comedy, Evening Parties To Highlight Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con Programming

Packed Schedule Includes 20-Year “Buffyfest” Reunion, Sessions With James Marsters, WWE® Superstar CM Punk™, Costume Contests, Kids’ Activities, Sci-Fi Speed Dating, Jedi Master Classes and More, May 31 – June 3 at Pennsylvania Convention Center

NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA, May 15, 2012 – Interactive Q&A sessions with top stars like Chris Hemsworth, Stan Lee, William Shatner and three other “Star Trek” captains, WWE® Superstar CM Punk™ and more than a dozen others, movie screenings, evening parties, kids activities, comedy and costume contests are among the wide variety of programming offerings at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, May 31 – June 3 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Panels are scheduled for all four days, spanning the entire pop culture spectrum.

Highlight programming at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con includes:

• Individual celebrity Q&A’s featuring Hemsworth, Lee, WWE® Superstar CM Punk™, Sam Witwer, Hayden Panettiere, Bruce Campbell, Jeri Ryan, Dean Cain and more
• Four “Star Trek” captains reunite as Shatner (“Captain Kirk”) Scott Bakula (“Captain Archer”) Avery Brooks (“Captain Sisko”) and Kate Mulgrew (“Captain Janeway”) compare stories of their respective times at the command
• James Marsters and Juliet Landau, known to most of the geek world as “Spike” and “Drusilla” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” share the stage in an entertaining discussion of their Joss Whedon experiences and other roles
• The Boondock Saints trio of Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and David Della Rocco rekindle memories of the popular 1999 cult movie and sequel 10 years later
• Screenings of the 2009 film The Loved Ones and last year’s Lloyd the Conqueror
• Party with fellow Wizard World revelers at the Drink & Draw on Friday at the Convention Center and the GeekNation Launch party at The Field House (1150 Filbert St.)
• Love is in the air with Sci-Fi Speed Dating, for those looking to “Terminate” their single lives
• Kids Day on Sunday, with a full slate of activities specially designed for the youngsters
• Laugh out loud (but hide the kids from this one) when Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling brings his unique brand of comedy – forged by many years on “The Howard Stern Show” and “Jackie’s Joke Hunt” on Sirius XM Radio
• It wouldn’t be Wizard World Comic Con without cosplay and costume contests – adults on Saturday night, kids on Sunday

Unless noted, programming events take place in designated rooms at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Many are included as part of standard Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con admission; VIP tickets or additional costs may apply to ensure access to select activities. Seating for panels is strictly limited and available on a first come first serve basis and each room will be cleared between panels. Programming subject to change; attendees should check the schedule board on site for updates.

Programming at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con is available at http://www.wizardworld.com/programming-pa.html, and scheduled as follows:

Thursday 5/31
5-9 p.m.: Superhero Pub Crawl
7-8:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)

Friday 6/1
Noon-12:45 p.m.: How To Fail In Comics: Big City Comics (Room A)
Chalk Talk With Mike Deodato Jr (Room B)
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)
Noon-8 p.m.: Superhero Pub Crawl
1-1:45 p.m.: Batman And Psychology: A Dark And Stormy Knight (Room A)
James Hong (Room B)
2-2:45 p.m.: Funky Winkerbean’s 40th Anniversary (Room A)
Dean Cain Q&A
2-3:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)
3-3:45 p.m.: Vampire Lore And Other Urban Myths And Legends (Room A)
Star Wars Q&A (Room B)
4-4:45 p.m.: James Marsters And Juliet Landau Q&A (Room A)
Philadelphia Ghostbusters (Room B)
Knife Demonstration (Show Arena – Show Floor)
5-5:45 p.m.: Sam Trammell Q&A (Room A)
Sci-Fi Speed Dating (Room C)
Behind The Magic With Jeff Menges, Winona Nelson And Phil Foglio (Room B)
6-6:45 p.m.: Sam Witwer Q&A (Room B)
6-6:45 p.m.: Stan Lee Meet & Greet (Room C) * Paid Event
Cosplaying Costuming And Fan Films (Room A)
7-7:45 p.m.: Wizard World Cosplay Photo Shoot Meet Outside Of Room A
The Dos And Don’ts Of A Career In Comics (Room B)
7-9 p.m.: The Loved Ones Screening (Room A)
8-11 p.m.: Wizard World Drink & Draw (Room B)

Saturday 6/2
11-11:45 a.m.: Stan Lee Q&A (Theater Room)
Greg Capullo Workshop (Room A)
Torchwood Q&A (Room B)
Noon-12:45 p.m.: Hayden Panettiere Q&A (Room A)
Troma Entertainment (Room B)
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)
1-1:45 p.m.: How To Create Comics – Breaking In With Dave Campiti (Room B)
Dualing Superheros (Show Arena – Show Floor)
1:15-1:45 p.m.: Chris Hemsworth Q&A (Theater Room)
2:00-2:45 p.m.: The Vampire Diaries Q&A (Room A)
Comic Con Costuming With The 501st (Room B)
Stan Lee Meet & Greet (Room C) *Paid Event
2-3:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)
3-3:45 p.m.: Bruce Campbell Q&A (Room A)
Comics To Ca$H With Mile High Comics (Room B)
Knife Demonstration (Show Arena – Show Floor)
4-4:45 p.m.: Star Trek Captains Q&A (Theater Room)
Evil Dead Q&A (Room B)
4-5 p.m.: Cosplay Photoshoot Meet Outside Of Room A
5-5:45 p.m.: Breaking Into Comics: International Invasion (Room B)
Boondock Saints Q&A (Room A)
Sci-Fi Speed Dating (Room C)
5:30-6 p.m.: WWE® Superstar Cm Punk® Q&A (Room B)
6:30-9 p.m.: Wizard World Adult Costume Contest (Room A)
9:30-11 p.m.: Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling Comedy Show (Room B)
9 p.m.: Geeknation Launch Party Presented By Wizard World (Field House)

Sunday 6/3
10-10:45 a.m.: Georgia Ball Strawberry Shortcake Reading (Room A)
Shannon Elizabeth Q&A (Room B)
11-11:45 a.m.: Jeri Ryan Q&A (Room A)
Theater Group (Roomb)
Noon-12:45 p.m.: Buffyfest 20th Anniversary Q&A (Room A)
Red Rocket Farms (Room B)
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)
1-1:45 p.m.: Quantum Leap Q&A (Room A)
Wizard World Kids Costume Contest (Room B)
2-2:45 p.m.: Melissa Joan Hart & Joey Lawrence Q&A (Room A)
Writing And Editing In Comics (Room B)
2-3:30 p.m.: Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Show Arena – Show Floor)
3-3:45 p.m.: Spartacus And Legends Of The Seeker Q&A (Room A)
3-4 p.m.: Sci-Fi Speed Dating (Room C)
3-3:15 p.m.: Federation Fitness(Room B)
3:15-4 p.m.: Wrestling Panel (Room B)

Join tens of thousands of fans as they converge on the Pennsylvania Convention Center at Philadelphia Comic Con Wizard World Convention to celebrate the best in pop culture. Philadelphia Comic Con brings it all – Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Graphic Novels, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles, Anime, Manga & More! Philadelphia Comic Con is brought to you by the group who produces the most widely attended Comic Con tour!

For more Philadelphia Comic Con guest and programming updates, become a fan of PHILADELPHIA COMIC CON on Facebook!

The episode I filmed earlier this month for Abington News & Views’ OFF THE RECORD will hit the airwaves beginning this Friday (May 11th) and running until Wednesday (May 16th).


Holt, Lombardi, Shortall and Sklaroff on Abington News & Views’ OFF THE RECORD

This episode, which dealt with Republicans and Democrats facing off about various local and national topics, was my first time on OFF THE RECORD.  It also marked my return to television since that episode of SPICE UP MY KITCHEN aired back in 2007.  What makes this even more interesting is that my debut as a panelist also coincided with my first time hosting a television show, especially one that is handled in a roundtable discussion format.  I had to play moderator as well as Democratic blowhard.  Not an easy task!  I got to pretend to be a slightly less Jewish and less gray-haired John Stewart.


The guests on the episode, besides myself, included Democratic State Committeeman Greg Holt, Republican advocate Dr. Robert B. Sklaroff, and Republican blogger Mike Shortall (http://crankymanslawn.com/).  There was no blood shed during the filming of the episode.

Abington News & Views reaches approximately 40,000 homes in all of Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Upper Moreland, Lower Moreland, parts of Horsham and Northeast Philadelphia. The show will air on Comcast (Channel 190) and some Verizon FiOS areas as well.  The times are as follows:

Friday 5/11 at 7:00 pm…

Sunday 5/13 at 3:00 pm…

Monday 5/14 at 7:00 pm…

Tuesday 5/15 at 7:00 pm…

Wednesday 5/16 at 7:00 pm…

The website for Abington News & Views, which hosts OFF THE RECORD, is http://www.abingtonnewsandviews.com/

That sound you hear is thousands of Philadelphia area geeks getting ready to storm the Philadelphia Convention Center at the end of the month, still riding the high from the remarkably successful theatrical release of THE AVENGERS.

Except this time around the heroes (and villains) are coming in all shapes, sizes and from various comic book publishers — because it’s time, once again, for Wizard World!

WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA, a comic book and pop culture convention that has now rebranded as Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, plays host to 500+ celebrities and industry professionals, part of North America’s largest pop-culture touring expo.

Their website states:

Whether it’s “The Avengers,” “Superman,” “Spider-Man,” zombies, vampires or just about any character ever, more than 250 talented creators at Artist Alley at 2012 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con have probably drawn them. Fans can meet superstars like Stan Lee, Mike Deodato Jr., George Pérez, Greg Capullo, Harvey Tolibao, Phil Foglio, Carlo Pagulayan, Yanick Paquette, Greg Horn, Arthur Suydam, Michael Golden and dozens of others at the event, set for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, May 31 – June 3.

The roster includes internationally-known artists and writers as well as top local talent from the Philadelphia area.

In addition to Lee, co-creator of many of the most memorable comics franchises in history (“Spider-Man”, “X-Men,” “Avengers” and “Fantastic Four” among them), some of the notables attending are Deodato Jr. (“Amazing Spider-Man,” “Wonder Woman”), Eisner Award winner Pérez (“Superman,” “Gren Lantern”), Capullo (“Batman,” “Spawn”), Tolibao (“Green Arrow,” “Silver Surfer”), Foglio (“Magic: The Gathering,” “Girl Genius”), Pagulayan (“Hulk,” “Silver Surfer”), Paquette (“Wolverine,” “Weapon X”), Horn (“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark,” “X-Force”), Suydam (“Marvel Zombies,” “Army of Darkness”), Golden (“X-Men,” “Daredevil”), Stephen Segovia (“Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates,” “X-Men”), Boris Vallejo (painter), Julie Bell (painter), Ariel Olivetti (“Cable,” “Punisher: War Journal”), Miguel Sepulveda (“Red Lanterns,” “JLA”), Carlo Barberi (“Deadpool,” “The Flash”), Ramon F. Bachs (“Batgirl,” “LoSH”), Nathan Edmondson (“Grifter,” “Who is Jake Ellis?”) and Alex Saviuk (“Spider-Man” newspaper strip, “The Flash”).

Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, produced by Wizard World, Inc. (WIZD.PK), will bring together thousands of fans of all ages and dozens of celebrities and industry professionals to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

Top celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, Thor), William Shatner (“Star Trek,” “Boston Legal”), Scott Bakula (“Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Quantum Leap”), Jeri Ryan (“Star Trek: Voyager,” “Body of Proof”), WWE® Superstar CM Punk™ and Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness, “Burn Notice”) are also scheduled among more than 60 special guests at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con.

In the past few years, the Wizard World Comic Con has seen less of a focus on the comic books and more of a focus on the celebrity guests showing up for autograph sesssions, making it (as I have mentioned in prior years) more of a Pop Culture Convention (as they now refer to themselves) as opposed to a pure Comic Book Convention.  In the past this has upset me, but after a few years of the new format I realize now that all of the wrestling and TV and movie and celebrity chasers are just new comic fans in the making, so this is a great thing for the inhabitants of Artist Alley (like myself).

I’ll be attending the convention representing both GrayHaven Comics and Shadowline Comics.

This is the first year that it will be a four-day convention lasting from Thursday May 31 through Sunday, June 3 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tickets start at $35. Visit http://www.WizardWorldComicCon.com to purchase tickets and learn more about the convention.  I will follow up in the weeks to come with more information about the show as it becomes available.

Not So Happy Valley

I’ve been lucky in the sense that while I’m a definite geek (and a proud one at that) I have not quite reached the level of dork (think of the guys from Big Bang Theory) because of a few important things. Chief among them is my love of sports.

And sometimes, like this past week, the topic of sports becomes more than just scores and the occasional injury. Sometimes, sports news takes a backseat to the people who are involved in them.

It’s hard to imagine that there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard about the scandal involving Penn State University stemming from accusations that former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky molested young boys on campus and that other school officials knew about it. And then there was the resulting hoopla when a number of those officials, including even the beloved head coach and school institution Joe Paterno, lost their job as a result of the accusations and the possible cover-up. As a result, Sandusky, Athletic Director Tim Curly and Vice President Gary Schultz are all on trial for various offenses.

Mike McQueary (Photo Courtesy of The Bleacher Report)

According to testimony, in 2002 when Mike McQueary (who at the time was a graduate assistant) saw Sandusky having sexual relations with a child in a school shower, he did nothing to stop the assault. He instead called his father and then, the following day, informed Penn State Football Head Coach Joe Paterno.  Paterno in turn informed his boss, Curley, who at some point also informed Schultz. At no point did McQueary, Paterno, Curley or Schultz contact the authorities to advise them of what McQueary saw.

Not McQueary, who saw it happening. He just told the coach.  Not Paterno, who was the first person of authority at the school who McQueary told. He just told his boss about it.  Then both McQueary and Paterno wiped their hands of the matter.

And that is where I think both men, while not breaking any laws, made the most egregious of errors in moral judgment and it’s why I think both men deserve to no longer work at Penn State.

When Paterno was brought into this story earlier in the week, my first thought was, “Why didn’t he do anything about it besides tell his boss?“  I thought the same thing about McQueary as well. While they did what was the legally required minimum of what has to be done, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t notify authorities.

Former Coach Joe Paterno (Photo Courtesy of Denny Moloshok/Getty Images)

Paterno’s supporters say that he’s a scapegoat, that Sandusky is the criminal and not only did Paterno  not break any laws but that he is just being swept away by a tide of over-reaction. They say that the University’s board of trustees came to a conclusion too soon and before all of the details were out.

I asked myself, what would I do if one of my co-workers came up to me and said they saw a crime happen in my office? Would I call the police right then? What if all I did was tell my boss about it, like Paterno did? Shouldn’t I say something if I see that same employee walking around the office days later as if nothing happened?  At the very least, shouldn’t I confront that co-worker? Or confront my boss to see why they didn’t do anything.

I sympathize for fans of Penn State and fans of Joe Pa. I feel bad for Joe Paterno. I really do. But I feel even worse for the children who were the alleged victims of these crimes. I feel worse for the families of these children who not only have to deal with their own grief and anger over these events but also must help the victims come to terms with what they experienced.

Paterno had to have realized that when he saw Sandusky around campus and at Beaver Stadium or at other Penn State related events that nothing happened after he informed Curley of what he had been told. He and McQueary both should have immediately questioned someone about what happened after Sandusky was contacted after the scene in the shower was witnessed. Paterno and McQueary were morally obligated to make sure that someone was looking out for the victims, and not for the reputation of the football team or of Penn State.

Paterno may have done some wonderful things in his life, and made some incredibly philanthropical donations to organizations, but his failure to do anything here is tantamount to seeing the alleged rape and ignoring it.

Was everyone at Penn State wearing blinders to protect the team?

His failure to act has cost him his job. And in my mind, rightfully so. McQueary, who for some reason is still with the team, should be the next to go.

Penn State needs to get rid of everyone who knew about this and now that even McQueary is gone, hopefully that is the case and no one who could have been involved in a cover-up will remain at the University.  The reputation of the team may have been irreparably harmed. And Paterno’s legacy is ending in a way that no one could have ever imagined.

Paterno could have done something about this. But he didn’t and that is the crux of the issue. All he had to do is what was right, not just what was required.

Before you pity the loss of Paterno and what it means to Penn State, think of the loss of innocence of the victims and what it means to them.

It makes it hard to think about the team when you think about the people instead.

(NOTE: About 15 minutes after this blog was posted, Mike McQueary was put on paid administrative leave by the interim President of Penn State)

Once upon a time, when someone bought something they were unhappy with they would have to write a letter to the manufacturer and hope to receive a call or a letter back in the mail offering some sort of reparation for the unsatisfactory product.  If a person was at a store or in a restaurant where the service was terrible or there was a problem, that person could always ask for the manager but he/she always tried to avoid making a scene.

Now, however, things have changed. We live in an electronic world. A world of instant gratification. A world where everyone has two things: an opinion and a blog. And even then, blogging about it just comes off as complaining with very little chance for ending up happy with the results of the bad experience.

What seems to have become a bigger, better way of getting almost instant gratification when it comes to customer complaints is posting about the issues we have had via Social Media

SearsEarlier in the year our dishwasher died. It was an expensive, high-end prototype dishwasher that was created by a foreign brand but had the AGA name on it.  It happed to come to my wife and I via our kitchen makeover on HGTV’s Spice Up My Kitchen…but that’s another story. The point is, it was more expensive to buy the one part to fix the dishwasher than it would have been to buy a new one.  So we headed out to Sears and ordered our dishwasher of choice and scheduled the delivery.

My wife took off a day from her job to wait for the delivery and scheduled a few other appointments for the same day so she would only miss one day of work. A few days before the planned delivery we received a call confirming the delivery appointment.  Then two days later we were contacted by Sears to tell us that the dishwasher wasn’t in stock. They offered to deliver a few days later than planned but that wasn’t going to work.

TwitterSo my wife hit Twitter and complained about Sears messing up the order but not to anyone speficially.  Within an hour she received two different messages on Twitter from both the @MySears and @SearsCares accounts asking how they could make things right. The end result was that they were taking 10% off the order and were going to give us free delivery and takeaway of the old dishwasher.  Near instantaneous service to create a solution.  Unfortunately, we then learned that Sears canceled my wife’s Sears Card and instead opened up an entirely new line of credit with a Sears Visa Card. This infuriated us both to the point of cancelling the order with Sears and once again taking the issue to Twitter.  This time they never responded, which I think was probably a wise move considering how incensed we were.

I have friends who have had similar experiences as well when taking to the net to voice displeasure.

Jeremy and his girlfriend Erica live near a restaurant called Beet in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and decided on a whim to finally try it, especially after getting a 20% deal courtesy of Yelp. The service was brutally bad, the food was not delivered as ordered and to make matters worse, the waiter refused to accept the coupon. As a result, Erica posted a negative review on Yelp.

Yelp“The owner sent her a message through Yelp apologizing profusely for the service,” Jeremy said. “He was so appalled that he said he’d cut the said waiter’s hours. Little did we know what kind of reaction this would illicit.” What they ended up getting in return was a free meal. “The staff was attentive, the food was great, and they even provided us a free round of cocktails which we didn’t plan on ordering.”

Another friend, Gregory, was part of a group of folks who were in Atlanta attending DragonCon. A week before the convention they were bumped from the Hyatt Regency, a host hotel for the convention. Because of renovations the Hyatt was offering accommodations in the nearby Omni Hotel at the CNN Center. Hyatt would pay for one night and the Omni would extend a discounted rate for the rest of the length of the original reservation. They Hyatt also threw in free passes for MARTA (the Atlanta subway), free shuttle service from the Omni, and priority reservations for next year’s convention at this year’s rate.  It was a great deal.

“My cage was rattled,” said Gregory. “I was worried that the consolation package would be miscommunicated between the Hyatt management, Hyatt staff, Omni management, and Omni staff. I wanted that deal in an official communication so I could provide it to the front desks.” He noticed the common response was to take it to Twitter but he didn’t have a Twitter account.  He joined, sent a message to @HyattConcierge asking for a PDF of the consolation package.

“I got an answer within five minutes,” said Gregory. Later that day he had in his hands a complete list of the consolation package from a Hyatt Regency Reservations Manager.

Another friend in Milwaukee (who wishes to remain anonymous) was having issues with his cable. He posted on Twitter about it and almost immediately Time Warner responded.

“They had me add them to my follow list so they could direct message me,” he said. “They walked me through some trouble-shooting steps. It was seriously a matter of a few hours before we realized that my cable signal was just plain finally disconnected.  It was incredible how fast and helpful they were.”

Last week I finally lost my patience in regards to a tree in my neighborhood that had some limbs and branches hanging precariously low to the ground for quite some time. So low that I would routinely have to walk in the street on the way to work on a busy Easton Road to avoid getting smacked in the face by a branch.

Sussman HondaThis tree was on the property of Sussman Honda, so I sent a message online to @SussmanAuto mentioning that their tree has been that way for a while and wasn’t just unsafe but also against township regulations.

They tweeted me back saying they would look into it.  Sure enough, two days later on the way to work I noticed that my path was no longer blocked.  They sent me a follow-up message that same day letting me know it was taken care of and I responded my appreciation in return.

We can take solace in knowing that issues big and small can get resolved when taking them online and shouting to the masses about our displeasures. More and more companies are creating social media accounts in order to cut off customer service issues as quickly and amicably as possible.

And more and more people are learning that if we’re not happy, Tweet about it.