During our 6 years in the Tampa bay area we were unfortunate to be involved in 2 minor accidents & 1 car break-in. (That's Florida for you). On all those occasions we took our cars to Roberts. They gave us a tour the first time we went, and their workshop was clean, tidy & well-maintained. (A good indication of how your car is going to get treated). They were working on a couple of BMWs & a Ferrari at the time, so we knew we'd come to the right place for our luxury cars. The repairs were excellent, and it's almost impossible to tell where the damage was. On one occasion we had to get the car keys reprogrammed, and one of the staff drove us over to the Lexus dealership to get this done. Other places would have just told you to go there by yourself. Whereas at Roberts they want to ensure the customer is happy.
PROS: Excellent workmanship & customer service.
CONS: Pricier than other places, but that's what your insurance is for.
We stayed at Post Rocky Point for a couple of months whilst we'd sold & moved out of our first Tampa home, and were waiting for the builder to finish our second Tampa home. All our stuff was in storage, so we opted to stay in a furnished one-bedroom apartment. The apartment was 900 sq ft, so it was a lot more room than say a hotel room. All the furnishings were fairly new, so it was as nice as a hotel. Plus we had the added benefit of a fully-equipped kitchen. Post accept dogs, and that was a big selling point for us. The only criticism was that even though it was a gated community, the gate was operated by a card reader. This deters the casual visitor, but not someone intent on getting in. In fact when we were there for those 2 months, a burglary took place in one of the other buildings in the community. However luckily a resident heard the commotion and called the police. Since there's only one road to & from the community, the police were able to pen in & apprehend the criminals.
PROS: Location. Walking distance to bars & restaurants. They accept dogs.
CONS: No guard at gate, so the automated gate only deters casual visitors.
Went to this Sylvan Prometric testing location during the summer of '99 whilst I was taking the 4 exams for the Oracle OCP (a type of IT certification). The premises are off Hercules Ave, and surrounded by suburbs & subdivisions. Therefore this location is really quiet. They may only get one exam candidate a week! The offices themselves are really quiet also. You're in a room by yourself. Good sound-proofing. Nothing much happening in the rest of the offices. I like silence during an exam, and you get it here. Only gripe was that once I'd passed all the tests, and got my certification, the receptionist was really pleased for me, and showed it to a couple of the staff/managers there. They seemed very nonchalant, and that ticked me off, and took some of the lustre off my brief glory.
PROS: Quiet & peaceful location to take a test in.
CONS: The staff don't care about the customers. They just want your money.
Subscribed to the Tampa Trib for almost 2 years. Great news coverage for Hillsborough County. I looked forward to the real estate section in the Sunday edition, as house prices were going crazy, and the Trib always had the latest news on new developments, plans in the pipeline, etc. Also enjoyed the Money section in the Sunday edition, as they would use local people's situations to illustrate whatever story they were covering. Subscribers got a small discount. Delivery was consistent, with no problems. Very easy to put the paper on vacation-hold, etc.
PROS: The Sunday sections covered a lot of pertinent local issues.
CONS: I only wanted to read Sat & Sun. Why make me pay for Thu thru Sun?
Subscribed to the St Pete Times for over 4 years. Great local news coverage, especially for things happening in Pinellas County. Meaty real estate & classifieds sections at the weekends. Subscribers got a nice discount. Delivery was consistent, with very few problems in 4 years. These were resolved with a simple phone call. Very easy to put the paper on vacation-hold, etc.
PROS: Consistent delivery. Easy problem resolution. Discount for subscribers.
CONS: Need a weekend delivery package.I wanted Sat & Sun only, not Thu thru Sun.
We bought a house in the Ashington subdivision of Tampa Palms North, and were there for 2 years. As a homeowner of Tampa Palms North, you are required to be members of Club Tampa Palms, and therefore pay the monthly $82 fee. We really liked the house we bought, so we only breezed through the Club for a look. After moving in though we tried it out for real, and what a disappointment it was. There is very little gym equipment, and often there is only one of something. Therefore if you go with a partner, you're off doing separate exercises, and not really "working out" together. The pools were nice though, and they have them separated into kids & adults. Even then, when there's a ton of kids screaming around, it's hardly relaxing or peaceful.
PROS: Can walk to club from most the subdivisions in Tampa Palms North.
CONS: Expensive. Limited equipment & services. Not good value at all.
We are big fans of Scandinavian furniture (love IKEA), so this place is like hog's heaven. Unlike their store in Tampa which is a massive warehouse, these premises are smaller - however they fill it efficiently, and with a great assortment of pieces. We ordered a dining table & 6 chairs and a large office desk, which arrived in a couple of weeks. We also ordered a large entertainment unit, but since we customized the drawer & cabinet layout, this had to custom-built in Denmark and shipped over. We received it 3 months after ordering. In total we spent over 10 grand, but you have to pay that for European furniture. If you want to spend less, go buy something domestic.
PROS: Great selection of Scandinavian furniture. Can custom order too.
CONS: Custom orders can take a few months.
We went to this store because they claimed they could design, build & install custom furniture to our specifications. We were happy with their designs & measurements, and the fact that they could deliver within 3 months. As a deposit we paid half of the 5 grand cost. After 3 months we started leaving them weekly voicemails. No calls were returned. After 5 months we sent them a letter to inform them that they were in breach of contract. Finally that got their attention, and they returned our call. They claimed that their furniture manfacturer needed some more measurements. We called the manfuacturer direct, and she gave us a different story. Apparently Expressions owed them a lot of money, and she was not going to do any more work until WE paid her the FULL amount for the furniture. We relayed this to Expressions, and they just gave us more waffle. Finally, 6 months after placing the order, we contacted our credit card company and had the initial deposit charge ($2,500) reversed. No monetary loss on our part, but 6+ months without furniture.
PROS: Plenty of hot air available, if you're in the market for a balloon.
CONS: Untrustworthy, deceitful, won't return calls - need I go on?
When I lived in Tampa, I worked round the corner from this place. Plus we'd just bought 2 brand new cars, and I needed someplace that could take care of my babies. During a service visit to the Lexus dealership on Dale, they gave me a coupon for a free car wash at Octopus/Buccaneer. Thought I'd try it once, and ended up going every few weeks for almost 5 years. They did an excellent coupon booklet where you got 5 washes for $35. Great deal since a lot of these gas station car washes can charge $6 or $7. So you get the personalized touch for the same price.
PROS: Hand-drying & wax buffing. They check wheels, door sills, dashes at the end
CONS: Could really do with someone removing insects from front.
After firing our initial pool company who would miss the regular weekly visits, we went with Anchor and stayed with them for almost 4 years. Not a single problem during that time. They showed up on the same day every week, and roughly the same time. (Useful when you know when to be out of the pool). They did a great job with the chemicals, and we never had any problems. They only had to "shock treat" the pool once, and that was at the beginning, due to the previous company's negligence. The staff were friendly, and offered good pointers on general pool maintenance.
PROS: They'll come every week rain-or-shine, and do a competent job.
CONS: They don't use the vac/hose for cleaning. Just sweep debris into drain.