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Steer Clear of Pittsburgh Auto Repair Shop – Graceland Auto

11 Jan

Today we’re going to take a quick break from posts about eating healthy and working out for a little public service announcement. For those of you who don’t live in Pittsburgh, you probably won’t be interested in this, but for those of you who do, read up.

I want to share my simply horrid experience at Pittsburgh auto body shop, Graceland Auto, with you so you won’t have to experience the simply disgraceful customer service that I did. My car was towed into Graceland Auto last month, after my insurance company, Geico, recommended it as one of the good car repair shops in the area. I quickly realized that either all Pittsburgh auto repair shops are terrible, or Geico has pretty low standards. Not only did I receive terrible customer service at Graceland Auto, they also did not properly fix my car, sending me onto a wild goose chase for an entire month until it was finally fixed.

Here’s a quick summary of my experience with Graceland Auto:

  • I called the receptionist to ask for an estimate of when my car would be ready for pick up and was told they would call my insurance adjuster, he would then call me and I should call him with any questions. In other words, don’t call us, we’ll call you.
  • My car was finished just before 5pm on a Friday, the receptionist basically pushed me out of the lobby, turning the lights off and locking the door before I barely even crossed through the doorway.
  • The employees didn’t show me any of the work that had been done on my car, or even give me a chance to look at it. My car was driven to the parking lot from the garage and the employee driving it immediately ran back into the garage.
  • By the time I got home, I noticed a loud squeaking noise coming from my car and that it was completely mute. In other words the horn, the panic button and the lock button weren’t making any noise, as they are supposed to.
  • I had to take a day off to go back to Graceland Auto to have them fix the horn and the squeaking noise. They fixed the horn and gave the reasoning that sometimes the horn wires comes out of the socket. I’m no mechanic, but even I can tell a good car lie when I hear one.
  • As for the squeak, they told me they’d have to test drive it and I’d have to come back another day. After taking a day off work and having my insurance adjuster make an appointment for me to get their careless mistakes fixed, I was understandably not having this. We went a few rounds of ‘the squeak wasn’t there before the accident,’ and the workers running back to the garage to look at it, I was finally told it might be a suspension problem, which they said is something that only my car dealership could fix.
  • After the car dealership didn’t want to get involved in my existing insurance claim, my insurance adjuster had me call the owner of Graceland Auto to discuss the squeak that his employees refused to fix. The receptionist wouldn’t just let me leave a message, she asked me 20 questions, gave me an attitude, then maybe gave the owner my message, maybe didn’t, but he never returned my call.
  • Eventually my insurance adjuster sent me to a fabulous car dealership who took my squeaky car in, test drove it for five minutes and determined the squeak was not a suspension problem as Graceland Auto had suspected, but in fact simply a loose coolant bottle. So after a month of trying to get Graceland Auto to fix this mystery squeak, the other repair shop diagnosed and repaired it in under an hour.
  • The fabulous car dealership also found that Graceland Auto failed to secure one of my headlights properly and it was pointed up to the sky. Way to go Graceland.

Moral of the story, if you need a Pittsburgh auto repair shop, steer clear of Graceland Auto. Not only are they rude, but they also don’t do very good work. I feel so strongly about this that I’m switching insurance companies from Geico, because if they feel this is good service, I don’t want to be their customer.

You Might Be a Yinzer If…

26 Sep

A true yinzer claims to bleed black and gold.

If you’re not from Pittsburgh, you might not be familiar with the term “yinzer.” That’s because this particular breed of person is only found inside the confines of the Western Pennsylvania borders. Continue reading only if you’re planning a trip to the area. If you are from Pittsburgh, consider this a reality check. You might be a yinzer if…

  1. You wear t-shirts out to bars, in public, that say things such as ‘jagerbush drinking team.’ Not only do you have a potential drinking problem, the fashion police also have a warrant out for your arrest.
  2. You’d let Big Ben date your daughter.
  3. You’re the first one to turn on the Steelers as soon as they lose a game, yet you cannot run from your couch to your refrigerator without stopping for a break.
  4. Not only do you live by the intelligent mantra ‘If you ain’t a Steeler fan, you ain’t sh*t,’ you have this message tattooed somewhere on your body.
  5. You’re a grown a*s man who has a deep love for wearing graphic tees. Bonus points if you’re 40 and over.
  6. You wear your Steelers jersey everywhere – to work, on dates, to pick up members of the opposite sex at the bar. Whatever. You don’t go anywhere that your Steelers jersey is not welcome.
  7. You can name every player that has graced the Steelers roster since 1975, yet you cannot name all 50 states.
  8. You consider it ‘eating healthy’ when you order a salad smothered in mozzarella cheese, fried chicken, french fries, and ranch dressing. After all a salad is a salad, right?
  9. You had your bachelor/bachelorette party on the South Side. You wore a blinking tiara. (If you were 25 or under at the time, you are excused).
  10. You have an entire room in your house dedicated to the Steelers, the Penguins, or both. While we all know that no one actually has a room dedicated to the Pirates, but if you ever decide to do this, mark another strike for yourself down.
  11. When you leave the city, (to go to english speaking places like Ohio) people do not understand a word that comes out of your mouth. This could be due to the fact that your vocabulary consists of fake words such as “dahntahn,” “yinz,” “git,” “n’at,” and “apost tu.” I hate to break it to you, but Pittsburghese is not a real language.
  12. No one in your family ever moves out of your hometown. Therefore, you went to the same high school where your parents met. You met your sweetheart there. Now your children go there.
  13. Your idea of going on vacation is spending a day at Kennywood.
  14. You consider the Cheesecake Factory a five-star restaurant.
  15. Forget the ketchup, you cover all of your food in ranch dressing.
  16. You haven’t left the house during a Steelers game in 15 years.
  17. Your idea of a family picnic is tailgating on the North Shore.
  18. It’s not a good night out unless you’ve had at least one jagerbomb.
  19. You danced to the “Pittsburgh Polka” at your wedding. And it was your first dance as a married couple.
  20. You considered Jeff Reed a standup guy until he left the Steelers.

Batman Movie Set Invades Downtown Pittsburgh

11 Aug
Photo taken by Rob Schultz

Downtown Pittsburgh isn’t usually the most exciting place to work, but today was the exception to the rule. Before I even made it into my building, I got I was greeted by Bane’s batmobile parked right outside.

It's pretty cool to look out your window at work and see a movie set.

I haven’t seen any of the Batman films since the early 90’s, but I’m going to have to check this one out.

Fake snow on a movie set is the only snow I like.

I should have volunteered my car to be in the movie.

The batmobile was hiding from the paparazzi (me).

Where is Christian Bale? Batman must’ve been hiding from the revelers on Smithfield St.

That's no Pittsburgh school bus!

What's a movie set without a tanker?

Just another day on Smithfield Street…

I love this thing.

I assume this monster fan is responsible for making the fake snow blow around into a fake snowstorm?  Ohhh how I love Hollywood in Pittsburgh!

You don't see a movie set sign on Wood Street everyday.

If I were to have gotten lost while walking back to work today, I could’ve just followed the signs to the movie set. Just sayin’…

Movie set "snow."

Today I learned that "snow" on an outdoor movie set in August is made of small, styrofoamish pellets. Basically you could pack a box of wine glasses with this stuff, and expect them to arrive in tact.

Watch the batmobile cruise.



10 Aug


Batman is filming outside my building at work today. Check back tomorrow for more…

Urban Target

30 Jul


Shopping carts get their own escalator at the new Shadyside Target, in Pittsburgh’s east end.

Pittsburgh Fashion – The #3 Biggest Fashion Disaster in the Country

19 Jul

It’s official Pittsburgh, according to GQ magazine, we are the #3 worst fashion disaster in the country. The only cities that ranked worse than
us were Boston and Los Angeles. Even our favorite places such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, and the freaking JERSEY SHORE received higher ratings than us. Yowza.

I can’t say that I disagree with the writer’s main point though — Steeler’s jerseys are not an acceptable form of daily attire. You’d never know this by walking the streets of anywhere within a 50 mile radius of this city though. Yinzers wear Steelers jerseys to work, to the store, out to the bars, and to every other public establishment on a year-round basis. It’s easy to forget this living in Pittsburgh, but normal cities wear their team’s football jerseys on game day, or maybe even game weekend, but not to like their weddings.

Come on guys, you've got more than a fashion disaster on your hands if you think wearing this guy's jersey on a date is a good idea.

Men of Pittsburgh — you are a nationally ranked fashion disaster. Step it up. It is not okay to pick a lady up for a date wearing a Steeler’s jersey, unless you are taking her to watch a Steeler’s game. If your date does not involve watching the Steelers in a football game, put on a real shirt.

Same goes for you ladies. Have some shame. Do you really want to go out on a date wearing an article of clothing that the guy probably has in his own closet? Ya, that’s real hot. Leave that Steeler’s jersey at home, unless you’re actually going out to watch the game.

Wear a Steeler's jersey to a football game, during football season, not to work on a Wednesday in July.

Think Before You Buy – Choosing Online Deals Responsibly

5 Jul

I love finding online deals, a lot. Probably even more than the average person does. I get excited every morning to see what the daily Groupon deal, CBS local offer, and Living Social deals are. Thankfully, I’m also cheap enough not to just buy these offers to satisfy my yearning desire for a sweet discount. These online deals are completely fabulous and can save you tons of money, but only when purchased responsibly.

Purchase online deals responsibly, then swim in the money you saved.

Follow These Golden Rules When Scouring Daily Online Deals:

1.) If you’re the kind of person who likes to explore new restaurants, hair salons, and other new-to-you businesses around the city, great, but if you’re not, keep that in mind before buying. If you find a Groupon deal, or any other daily online deals, for a business that you already go to, then by all means buy it. Otherwise, it might be best to pass on the offer, as you’re likely to end up not using it.

2.) Look for Living Social deals, and other online deals, near your home or office. Sure, a 50% off deal for a fancy restaurant is fabulous, but if it’s an hour away, there’s a good chance you’ll never end up using it.

3.) Whenever possible, look for online deals when you’re in need of a hair cut, manicure, pedicure, facial, waxing, or another salon service. There’s multiple offers of this sort offered each week. As long as you’re flexible as to which salon you go to, you can get an amazing deal.

4.) Use these deals as an excuse to try new restaurants in your neighborhood out. If you’ve been wanting to expand your horizons and find some new favorite spots, snap these deals up when the opportunity presents itself, and then go exploring.

5.) Keep track of your deals. Transfer them to a folder in your inbox, print them off, or whatever works for you. These hot little gems expire, so it’s important to keep track of them, so they don’t go to waste.