San Francisco Gifts Ltd

Sleezy!! Oh for the love of Pete, please don’t spend a penny here. This company wins the sleezebag award of the century. Let me first describe my experience:

“I’d like to return this unopened product that I purchased here [at San Francisco Ltd., McAllister Place] a couple of days ago, here is my receipt”

“We don’t do exchanges or refunds”

“What? This is not written anywhere on my receipt or in your store..”

[employee slides shit on counter to reveal a hand written note secured with a strip of scotch tape] “Yes it is, it is written right here” [points to shitty note]

“Can I please speak to your manager?”

“I am the manager”

“Can I please have the contact for your head office?”

“We don’t give that information out”

With the magic of a simple google search, I was able to find said contact info: 12210 Mount Lawn Road, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6E-0A9  fax (780) 436 3155, phone (780) 438 4412, along with documentation on a slew of charges against the sole proprietor of this sleezebag company, Barry Slawsky, for being a sleezebag in the sleeziest of sleeze.

Six years ago, police raided Mr. Slawsky’s (pictured) office in an Edmonton warehouse and found a stash of counterfeit safety labels and a letter from the Chinese manufacturer threatening to go to the authorities about the labels. The counterfeit safety labels were for lamps that were lighting on fire after customers brought them home and plugged them in. Rather than pulling the faulty product from the shelves, and tucking his tail between his legs for being a total douche, genius Slawsky had his genius employees lie to authorities and continued to sell the cheap shit lamps from his 50 stores across Canada. This led to multiple police raids and discovery of further sleezebag offences leading to more sleezebag charges for total sleezebag activity within his stores.

The judge called Slawsky’s case “a despicable fraud,” adding that if Slawsky had pleaded guilty personally (rather than through his company), he would have imposed “a term of imprisonment.” (CBC 2006)

Burning down customer’s houses and fabricating fake labels in order to make a few bucks selling cheap shitty lamps is an awesome idea in the eyes of Slawsky.

I think it would be equally awesome to blatantly rip people off on a daily basis, sell cheap disgusting sex related junk in the back corner of your stores, and ensure your underpaid employees provide super shitty customer service…  there’s no better business model really.

Save yourselves.

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Opera Bistro and Symphony NB [perfect pair]

Raptured. Last night, we had an evening with New Brunswisk’s Symphony. We made dinner arrangements at the ever amazing Opera Bistro, where Margret Begner treated us better than royal house guests, with 4 courses of amazing talent, artistically plated by the ever talented chef, Axel Begner. Courses were perfectly timed, portions were just the right size, and our wine glasses were always half full of Wolfblass Cab Sauv. – the perfect pairing for our German Beef Roulade, that arrived nestled into a bed of steaming buttery mashed potatoes.

Arts and culture is alive and well in Saint John. I remember back to my first CD, (you know, those round disk things that you used to put into music players?) which included Mozart’s Ninth. I loved the drama, the intrigue, the feeling of luxury and class it evoked. It was like listening to a universal language of human expression. 

I was first introduced to the intrigue of a live orchestra in Salzburg, Austria, birthplace and home of Mozart, in 1997. I couldn’t believe the feeling. I became completely enveloped in the ecstacy of sound, it was like being inside a capsule of whirling sentiments.

Once inside the grandness of Saint John’s Imperial Theater last evening, I entered that capsule again when Chopin started.

It was rapture, it was elation. The music had replaced my thoughts with a kaleidescope of rumbling colors and spining shapes. During those soaring moments I was in the best place in the whole world, the envy of all humankind. Experiencing the sounds of a live symphony is supernatural, something that every human being should experience.

Get out and do this Saint John. We are so lucky to have this experience ready for us right next door.

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United Breaks Guitars

A shout out to an impressively effective and creative consumer review by a fellow maritimer.





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The Baking Stone

Bread1%5B1%5D(2)Disappointed. I really wanted to love this place. I still really, really do want to love it. But like any dysfunctional relationship, I envisioned The Baking Stone to be something that it unacceptably was not.

You had me at organic pastries.

This quaint little business, snuggled into the Saint John City Market, first opened it’s bakery doors in October 2001. With products ranging from fresh crusty breads, to dangerously delicious pastries (try a melt-in-your-mouth “Lobster Tail”), TBS boasts products that are of highest quality, naturally preserved with no artificial additives, sweeteners coloring or preservatives. What is not to love?!

Well, it appears that TBS has expended so much of it’s energy creating quality fresh baked goods, that there was no energy remaining to invest in the other important half of the quality equation, that is: customer experience. Unfortunately consumersj can not be happy on quality products alone.

It goes like this: in order to run a successful retail business, you should make it ridiculously easy for me to give you my money. Telling me that you take cash only is not a good example of this (psst.. Tim Horton, are you listening?). So fair enough, I will do my part and make a special trip to the bank machine to withdraw cash before I visit your venue. But remember, on the days that I can’t be bothered to do this; my money will simply go elsewhere.

Last Saturday, in preparation for an evening dinner party, I did just this. I made a special trip to the bank machine, money in tow, trotted directly to TBS to scope out the seductive display of desserts from outside the refrigerated glass. Beautiful music began to play in my mind as I imagined my guests biting into a sliver of delectable che….

Sound Record Scratch

 “I’m closed.” I heard from behind the counter.  I looked at my watch: 4:45pm.

“I thought you closed at 5?” I questioned.

“We do, but I need to count my cash early so that I can get out right at 5pm.”


“Well then, what happens to all of these desserts here in your cabinet [seducing me]?”

“They’ll go in the freezer.”


Exit consumersj.

A few things:

1. If you care more about ‘getting out at 5’ than taking my money, you don’t want your business to succeed.

2. If you can’t even ponder a way to take my money [and perhaps apply it to the next business day’s float -or something!?], you don’t want your business to succeed.

3. If you are a ‘cash only’ retailer, you don’t want your business to succeed [in 2009].

4. If I’ve got money in my hand to offer you for the products you are selling, and you turn me and my money away for any other lame rationale, you don’t want your business to succeed.

5. If you are not competing with the hours of other City Market vendors right beside you, you don’t want your business to succeed.

It’s not you Baking Stone, it’s me. I just need some space.



City Market
Saint John, NB  E2E 5Y2

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Mulct and the City


Bad. This is really, really bad. Consumersj needs to understand what the City of Saint John Parking Commission has against us. Do they only want uptown residents and business folk shopping uptown? An attempt at status quo for urban development? I think maybe there’s a case of Bud Light for the officer who has issued the most fines at the end of the month. Perhaps their (ahem-arrogant-looking) red and white documents we find on our windshields are simply a Hallmark alternative for saying: go to the East Side to spend your money where you can park anywhere, for free. …or maybe it’s just plain sadism and machoism, rent-a-cop style.

But wait a minute, speaking of S & M, I can even be incarcerated for my unpaid uptown Saint John parking tickets! From the website:

“Unpaid Parking Meter Tickets that have gone to warrant must be paid at the Provincial Court Office, 3rd Floor, City Hall. Police have the authority to place any person under arrest who has not paid their outstanding parking meter ticket warrants. The person who is picked up by the police officer for an outstanding warrant will be taken to the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre to either make a payment or payments or to serve jail time.”

The more money (slash jail-time) I am obliged to give to the Saint John Parking Commission, the less I have to invest in uptown businesses.

There are other Canadian Cities with designated parking areas within their inner city where you can park for free (with 15, 30 minute to two-hour time limits). Courtesy parking let’s call it. Something like a, “Thank-you-for-choosing-to-leave-your-money-with-us” type of thank-you. For courtesy parking, I really only want the five minutes that it takes to grab a coffee, or to pick something up quickly from somewhere without getting nailed for $15-$35 or a JAIL SENTENCE each time my ticket runs out, or I (heaven forbid) run into Java Moose to buy a coffee without doubling my time to go to the meter and complete the absolute rigmarole of having my visa card ‘not recognized’, scrounging up some change (who still carries this?), inserting my nickles and dimes, killing the tree, running back to the car to place said dead tree, so I can buy a coffee.

Did you know that there are actual ‘Pay and Display’ parking jurisdictions? It’s true. If you pay for 2 hours of parking, you cannot move your car an hour later to the next street or you will get a Parking Commission Hallmark greeting. On another circumstance, I was ticketed en route to buy my parking pass. I was able to omit this, but not without investing 30 minutes of my time (that I will never get back) to fill out an application, go to city hall, and submit a series of documents: Parking Commission Hallmark and other useless tree particles.

Seriously people, this is a problem.

As this continues, expect me to be recommending you spend your money in some place where you feel like a customer, not someone’s target practice.

I won’t get started on the recent snow-ban debate…

City of Saint John Parking Commissionpay_display_solar

11th Floor, City Hall
Weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Tel: (506) 658-2970
Fax: (506) 649-7938

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Fusion Saint John and Faces of Fusion


Networking. Happy 5th Birthday Fusion SJ! For this year’s celebration, Fusion will have three of it’s members speaking about Fusion’s past, present and future. In addition, the keynote speaker William Draves, will address leadership and how it applies to organizations like Fusion.

Consumersj would like to assure you that WD is one of the most brilliant speakers and author (Nine Shift) ever encountered. Even if I wasn’t a supporter of Fusion SJ (which I am), I would be attending this annual ‘sold out’ event just to hear this man speak.

So, for the meager price of a bottle of Wolfblass at Lemongrass (see below), you will get a 4 course meal, the chance to win a Fairmont Algonquin getaway, a night of networking with Saint John’s hippest, and the opportunity to be enlightened by a truly brilliant man, author and visionary – William Draves.

Visit now to purchase your ticket online, or visit Enterprise Saint John to buy your ticket TODAY!

About Faces and Fusion
Faces of Fusion is Fusion’s annual networking dinner held in May. The first ‘Faces’ dinner held in 2005 was a huge success with a sold out event at the Union Club. The event has continued to be Fusion’s most highly anticipated event of the year. Faces of Fusion provides the opportunity for Fusion to explore relevant issues in Saint John while complimenting a vision of Saint John as the ideal place to live, work and play. Faces of Fusion is the largest networking event for young civic minded Greater Saint John residents to discover new connections and opportunities to make an impact on the future of our city.

Every year brings new challenges to find exciting themes relevant to Fusion’s membership and Saint John. Previous themes have included immigration, NB license plate slogans highlighting what we love about Saint John and NB, Vision 2015, The New Face of Canada and this year we will celebrate Fusion’s 5th anniversary and focus on leadership.

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Je Suis Prest Boutique – /jě swit preɪ buˈtik/

PrintReady. I know now what Adam Duritz was referring to when he sang about accidental love. En route from the gym to a meeting, both in the Brunswick-Market Square plaza, I fell accidentally in love with Je Suis Prest Boutique. I didn’t mean to, in fact I didn’t even have my wallet.

I am very excited to introduce to you my new love, JSP. A long awaited addition to the shopping precinct of Saint John. Perfectly located in our popular uptown plaza (formerly Nagles menswear) is a classy new boutique, only 7 business days old.

Laden with super tastefully chosen duds by such designers as: 172grams, NoaNoa, Odd Molly, Paige Premium Denim and Lily + Jae to name a few, you feel like you are walking into the super-enormous engagement closet of Carrie Bradshaw, with items in every size, for every occasion hung on intricately detailed silver hangers for your choosing pleasure.

Saint John, meet Keira Fraser’s in vogue New York flare! Another twenty-something chic-lady entrepreneur who commissioned her father’s investment dollars, her mother’s expertise, her own business degree and big Apple fashion sense to launch this family boutique in the foggy city.

There is no doubt in my consumer mind, that this family business is about to soar. I only hope that Keira is living up to her business name and Fraser family motto, for the flood of hungry shoppers she is about to contend: Je Suis Prest, meaning “I am ready.”

The downfall: This discovery of my new love may lead to the potential demise of consumersj, as I will have no further dollars left to spend.

Prest Boutique

Brunswick Square
Level 2
39 King Street

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