Thursday, May 19, 2011

All I want is a freakin' lime here people! Is that too much to ask?

As any random chef on Food Network will tell you, acid is important to a well balanced dish.  It brings out flavor, adds a "fresh, bright taste," and perks up your mouth!  Although vinegar works, in my mind citrus is better.  Why?  Because it's a fruit.  And putting fruit in my food instantly makes it healthy, right?

Random trivia fact: the organic molecules that provide the essence of lemon and lime are identical mirror images of each other.

But one thing that I will never be able to have locally, living in Wisconsin, is citrus fruit, right?  No!  Wrong!  Surfing the interwebs one day, I stumbled across some dwarf citrus trees that are intended to be grown as indoor house plants and that supposedly bear full sized fruit.  It sounds too good to be true!  (To be fair, it probably is too good to be true...).  Of course, I'm sure they take at least a few years to be big enough to bear fruit... but whatever.  Even if I never get anything, I like plants!

So, I ordered a few.  I found a site that had them fairly cheep, and the company was located out of IL, so I felt good about supporting a local business.  They had a "4 pack" - lemon, lime, and two kinds of oranges.  With shipping it turned out to be about $50.  Not bad, I thought.  Checked the reviews of the company on line:  Good product, slow shipping, and poor communication.  Whatever.  I can totally deal with that.  So I placed my order.

3 weeks pass.  Nothing.  Not even a confirmation email.  They charged my credit card the day I placed the order, so I at least know they got it.  Poor communication is right.  So I give them a call.  "I'm trying to find the status of my order," I ask.  They take some of my personal information to find my order.  I'd love to help out by giving them a confirmation number or something, but I never got one... "Your order hasn't shipped yet," I'm told.  "Do you have any idea when it might?"  "Sorry, but I couldn't say at this time..."  Okay, so you have my money, but you can't even begin to guess when you might ship me my goods?  And, to top things off, my credit card bill is due in the next few days.  I've never had to dispute a charge, but I remember reading one time that you can't dispute the charge after you've paid.  So I say "Okay, well just so you know, I'm going to have to call my credit card and see what the policy is on disputing a charge.  I do really want these plants, but I've never ordered from you before so for all I know you could be a scam.  I don't want to pay the bill and then never get my items."  The customer service representative actually laughed at that and said "I'll be sure to pass that on.  Maybe it will help them ship faster!"

So, I call my credit card company.  No need to worry.  I can always dispute the charge as long as I do so within 90 days.  Give them a little more time.
So I do.  Two more weeks pass - 5 total now - and I call again.  Any word on my order?

They take my personal information again - still no confirmation number.  "Are you calling about the order you canceled?"  I'm stunned.   "I didn't cancel any order.  I called two weeks ago to try to find the status..."

He puts me on hold.  About 10 minutes later he's finally back.  "It appears you called two weeks ago and were unsatisfied with the time it was taking to get your product.  You stated that you felt it was inappropriate that we charged your card before shipping your items.  Since you're a first time customer, it was determined that it wasn't worth the hassle and your order was canceled."


Shocked silence on my end.  Then "Okay... I'm going to need to speak to a manager."

A long hold again (at which point I checked, and the charges were refunded to my Credit Card), then a manager.  I explained the situation, especially the part where I wasn't worth their time and energy.  She apologized for the "misunderstanding" and asked if I would like to replace my order.  Since it's their busy season, I should expect it to be delivered in about 6 weeks.  "But I placed my order 5 weeks ago and you guys canceled it without asking me.  Can't you bump me to the front of the line?"

"Sorry, but our system doesn't work that way.  Would you like to re-place your order?"

Uh... How about no.

So, the moral of the story is, DO NOT ORDER FROM FOUR SEASONS NURSERY.  Seriously.  Whatever you do.  Don't go there.

Oh, yeah, and I ate stuff.  There are now real tomatoes, not even hot house grown, at the West Allis Farmer's Market.  They were AMAZING.  Two nights ago, Jeff and I had BSTs (Bacon, Spinach, and Tomato), and last night we had some awesome NY Strip Steaks on the grill with a tomato mozzarella salad.  We eat this salad pretty much all summer... considering I generally plant way more varieties of tomatoes and basil than my garden can reasonably be expected to hold.  The basil isn't local yet, but I just couldn't wait:

Tomato Mozzarella Salad 

2 large ripe tomatoes (L)
2 balls fresh mozzarella (L)
6-8 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic , minced (L)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 generous pinch salt
1 generous pinch fresh ground pepper
1 generous pinch ground mustard
1/4 cup olive oil

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella so they are approximately the same thickness.  Layer slices into a glass serving dish with at least 1 inch high sides.  Sprinkle basil leaves on top. Whisk together next 5 ingredients until well combined.  Slowly, pour olive oil into mixture while whisking constantly.  Pour oil/vinegar over tomatoes and cheese, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes for flavors to combine.

1 comment:

  1. It's very bad form to charge before shipping! Can't believe they get away with that.

    Your salad is very much like one I make. Mine uses dried basil and capers, but no mozzarella.