The Missus and I made a quick trip up 48th Street yesterday evening to visit Boston Market and Schaefer's.
I only get to Boston Market about once each year, if that often. Yet every time I go I leave fairly impressed. When you strip it down to its essentials, Boston Market is basically just a fast food joint. From that perspective, BM has to be near the front of the pack. The facility is clean and inviting. The crew working last night were friendly and efficient. The quality of the food was high and it was presented well. The whole experience goes along pretty well until they hand you your food on a plastic plate, along with plastic utensils in a flimsy plastic wrapper. Prices are on the high side for fast food, but I think what you get is worth it. For example I ordered meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a piece of corn bread for $7, while Robbie's mac & cheese, fruit, corn bread and milk were $3.70.
Next stop: Schaefer's. I hadn't been to Schaefer's new facility yet. I was very impressed. It is a wonderful showroom for appliances (we didn't get to the electronics side of the store). Yet something was off. Despite their commercials' promise that "the only thing better than our prices is our service", after 15 minutes of looking at refrigerators we weren't approached by a single sales person. For that matter, we didn't even see a sales person. It wasn't like we were lurking in the shadows; we had a two year-old with us, after all. I'm willing to brush aside the lack of attention as an uncommon glitch. But the experience at Schaefer's does stand in contrast to our subsequent visit to Lowe's. At Lowe's we were quickly asked if we needed any help; the salesman answered my question knowledgeably; he told us about an upcoming sale (bonus points!); and then he left us alone when I said that's all the help we needed. Good stuff.