Best and Worst Businesses in Columbus

The Best

Columbus Floor Sanding--When we had problems with our previous floor contractor, Ken Wooten from Columbus Floor Sanding, came, and knew exactly what to do to repair the damage and give us the wood floors we wanted. He also was able to tell us what the other company had done wrong, so we had evidence to reverse the credit card charges.

Our Neighbor--I'm not giving his name because I don't think he wants too much business! But he's fixed what others have left undone. And for a general contractor, he's great! Also a great neighbor.

Lowes--I have never had a problem ordering or returning anything to Lowes. In fact, they have always gone above and beyond what I would expect to solve a problem.

Dog sitter--Elise von Borries of Complete Critter Care in Clintonville.

More to come as I think of them!

The Worst

Affordable Custom Flooring--Took on sanding and finishing our floors to look like the dining and living room floors. Did not know what they were doing. Stained them the opposite color. Used stain that was not floor-specific stain. Added too much pigment. Kept us living in the basement with no access to toilet or showers for a week. Horrible. We got our money back when we disputed it with our credit card company. . . and then Affordable turned us over to a collection agency. And yesterday they sent us a promotional mailing! Columbus Floor Sanding fixed everything, correctly and quickly.

Clintonville Appliance-- Check out my earlier blog for this story. But if it's not in stock, don't bother to get it from them. Little and late communication. Cost us a lot of money even though the original price was reasonable.

Ted Bachman--a contractor who I have been told has left the state. But he wasn't competent.

I am very good at picking bad companies to start with and ending up with very good ones! Learn from my pain.

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A Range Tale (A Friday Rant)--UPDATED


I bought 2 ranges from a Clintonville Electric on Monday, January 7, 2008. One was for my mother, a free-standing GE range; one was for me, a slide-in Bosch range. The company scheduled delivery for my mother on the following week and I scheduled an electrician for the same time to make sure the wiring was appropriate. I was asked to call at 8:30 am that morning to verify a 2-hr delivery time period. So I scheduled no work for that day, called at 8:30 and was informed that the range was not in. I called the electrician and rescheduled him. Both were rescheduled for the following Friday, when the range actually was delivered. So 2 days of work missed (a Monday and a Friday) because no one thought to tell me that it would not be in on the scheduled date. And an electrician that now will not return my calls. Mother's range is finished.

STRIKE 2--Now my range.

My Bosch range delivery was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 28, so I scheduled no appointments for that day. I also had my new electrician and my carpenter come on the previous Friday and prepare the counter space for the range and leave the old range in the entry for to be picked up when the new one was delivered. Not thinking that I would be treated the same way twice, I called at 8:30am on Jan. 28 only to find out that my range was not there and no one knew when it would be. So. no range, no work, no income, and no expectation of a range to come. I emailed them from their website with my issues on the 29th but no response to that.

NOTE: I was telling one client about my problems and she said I should have gone to Clintonville Electric. “I did,” I said.


My range was finally delivered on Saturday, Feb. 2. Or so I thought. They took away the old range and unloaded the new one only to find the top was cracked. I spoke to a manager who said he would call me Monday at 10am and tell me when the new one would be in.


You guessed it. No call on Monday. So I go to the store and when I relate that I haven't been called, the salesman insists that not only did he call me but he left a message. I pull out my phone to show him my call log, but figure, what's the point. So he tells me that the range will be in on Thursday and I tell him that I want it delivered Friday. He says fine. I ask what time. He says morning or afternoon. I say afternoon, what time? He says between 12 and 3. I reschedule my now, longsuffering, electrician for Friday.

Strike 3--

I guess this is no baseball game--we'll probably have to go beyond 3 strikes. Friday--My electrician comes and puts in the part. I continue waiting for the range, but the range never comes. I call. They don't have it and don't know when they will and I'm mad. They transfer me to one of the owners who promises me that he'll call me Monday at 10am and tell me something. Right. I ask if this is the same kind of promise I had the previous week--he assures me that he will call.

I'll continue the saga when I know something, but this brings to mind 2 things that I learned long ago:

  1. The customer is always right (i.e. Communication is vitally important.)
  2. Always return a customer's call or email within 24 hours (Communication is vitally important.)

If you haven't guessed already, communication is vitally important. I realize that something can slip through the cracks, because we are all mistake-prone and it is easy to accidentally delete an email or voicemail (however both Vonage and AT&T let you retrieve deleted voicemails.) But for communication to fail more than once in the same transaction, is just bad business. (It's interesting that everytime someone from Lowes or Home Depot has said they would call me, they actually have.) And someone who wants to sell you something should not make it difficult.

Strike 4:

You guessed it. No phone call at 10am. I go to the store about 11:15 and ask to speak to the owner. He comes out a few minutes later and tells me that the range will be in on Thursday and can be delivered Friday afternoon. He confirms the delivery address. I leave, actually expecting it this time.

You guessed it. Friday morning I receive a call from someone who says he is a rep for Bosch. He apologizes for all the trouble and says it will be Monday or Tuesday before they can get the range to Clintonville Electric. I check my call log and it's a 614 area code cell phone number. So, it's either a Bosch rep or it's someone pretending to be a Bosch rep. I go ahead and work Friday afternoon. Over the weekend my husband notes that we've spent more than $100 eating out last week. This has been a costly debacle. More updates later.

OK, it's later. . . Thursday we received the range, but after all we've been through they would not install it because it would require screwing 2 screws into the plywood to hold the stabilzer (little metal piece) in place. In fact, they couldn't find the stabilizer (aka anti-tip bracket.) They made a notation on a sheet of paper while I tried to hunt one down, but only a parts place in Westerville returned my call and they said that it would take a week to get one. Never an apology from Clintonville Electric. Not for anything. Anyway, as I was putting away the broiler pan still wrapped in plastic and paper--I never use one, so why unwrap it--I noticed a rattle. Yes, the metal anti-tip bracket was inside the broiler pan. So now I have all the parts, just waiting for my contractor to install the stove.

The moral of this story is: it isn't always better to do business locally. You may get better customer service from a big store, because they really do want you to come back. Clintonville Electric obviously doesn't care. But the stove works and I'm finished with them. The end.

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The Right Side of Pain

Expressed better than I ever could   (Read it here The Right Side of Pain).

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Internet Security Differences: Norton 360 v. Zone Alarm Security

Just a quick look. My preferred at the moment is Norton 360.

Norton 360

  • Easy to install and configure
  • Backup built in
  • Does not seem to slow down system
  • Not easy to configure if you want anything other than standard settings. Cannot change standard settings. Cannot choose which drives or folders are scanned.
  • Spam blocking and Parental Controls are a separate download.
  • No reporting.
  • Spam blocking does not work as well as Zone Alarm. Both false positives and missed spam.

ZoneAlarm Security

  • Easy to install and configure including advanced configuration
  • Spam Blocking and Parental Controls built-in (except no PC in Windows Vista)
  • Slows down some systems.
  • Does not backup your computer, but I recommend another program for that anyway.
  • Extensive reporting.

So, there it is, in a nutshell. I like Norton 360 for a set it and forget it for most individuals. I like Zone Alarm for its configuration and reporting options.

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Happy Valentine's Day

Ok, we all want gifts but sometimes the best things are what we don't get.  From the simplest:  we don't get wet; we don't get malnourished; we don't get sleep deprived; To the more technical:  we don't get computer crashes; we don't get viruses; we don't get hard drive failures; we don't get spam.  What was the historical context of Valentine's day?  Two Christian leaders who were murdered (martyred) about the same time in the 200's AD.  Valentine's Day short history

Nothing is as bad for us as that but here are some things to make life with your computer better and help make sure that you don't get something you don't want.

  1. Turn on Smart Drive Monitoring in the bios (better not do this yourself, call me!).  This can monitor most modern hard drives for signs of failure and alert you when the computer starts.
  2. Run chkdsk every few months.  Another way to keep your hard drive running problem free.
  3. If you are running Microsoft Office 2002 or earlier.  Upgrade.  Not for a bunch of new features (yes, they are nice, but for increased security (spam email filtering, and others nice things.)
  4. Your router contains a firewall (at least most do). Make sure it is enabled.  Check for firmware updates.
  5. And of course, run a good internet security product. My current favorite for ease of use and best performance is Norton 360.

Until next holiday,


Diana Harkness

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