Becker Furniture World, Burnsville, MN



My sister and I were in Becker Furniture World yesterday. A very helpful salesman named Kim spent a fair amount of time answering our questions, showing us around, and helped us find exactly what we wanted. He wasn’t pushy or intrusive, and we thoroughly enjoyed our interaction with Kim. Our purchases were close-out items, and we got some great deals.

However, the final part of our visit was the financing, and our transaction was handled by the desk person. Both my sister and I found her demeanor to be condescending (mostly to Kim) and unfriendly. Maybe she was having a bad day, but projecting a professional and respectful attitude should be second nature to someone dealing with the public on a regular basis, regardless of her mood at the time. I feel bad that Kim has to tolerate that type of behavior from a girl probably half his age.

I will, nevertheless, continue to do business with Becker Furniture (and Kim), but I hope a different person is handling the desk work next time.

Into the Woods


Although I’m not a huge fan of musicals, I found Into the Woods (rated PG) to also be a very entertaining stand-alone movie. Meryl Streep was outstanding as the witch, and the singing voices of the entire cast were above reproach.

The movie entwines four Brothers Grimm tales together, with a witch and a baker/baker’s wife being the constants throughout. As with most Grimm tales, there is tragedy and adventure in this story, but the tragedies are downplayed quite a bit. A character is there one minute and then — oops! — they died. (My 13-year-old son commented on how everyone seemed to lose someone at some point but not in a dramatic way.) A young child (under 8 or so?) may be upset by the witch or the giants, but my son found the entire movie to be very entertaining and not at all frightening.

I really enjoyed this movie. At times, I felt like I was watching a Broadway show — the cast was that talented. This one may end up in our DVD collection.

Grand Slam, Burnsville, MN


Lots of Variety, Fun for All Ages!

5 of 5 starsWe have taken our basketball team to Grand Slam for several years, and the boys always have a great time! There is a lot of entertainment packed into this free-standing, newer building — laser tag, bumper cars, video games, batting cages, miniature golf, etc. Our son also prepares for baseball tryouts using the batting cages (varying pitching speeds), which helps tremendously.The staff is friendly, helpful, and respond to questions/issues promptly and courteously.The snack bar has a good variety of kid-friendly food, very affordably priced, and it’s a nice way to take a break from the action.

The prices are reasonable for the packages (starting around $11), and for unlimited play, is a bargain.

Be prepared for some noise if you’re going on the weekend!
We will continue to frequent Burnsville’s Grand Slam — a nice little oasis, especially on a cold Minnesota day!

Champion Plumbing, Eagan, MN


Really, Champion? I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this disappointed with a company.

We had (still have, actually) a leaky faucet in the bathtub. A friend had recommended Champion, and they were out here within hours of calling. The guy took a look and said we needed a new cartridge, charged us an $85 “truck fee,” and said they’d be in touch. The following week, another Champion guy came out, removed the cartridge and took it to his truck, came back and said this particular cartridge is no longer being made. He said he’d cleaned it up, though, and it had stopped leaking. He then charged me $75 ($160 service call less the initial $85 truck fee, I assume). When I went to the bathroom to check it out, the faucet was still leaking. Really, Champion? $160 and nothing? He also gave me an estimate of $686.20 for a new shower valve with installation.

I called their office and reported the still-leaking faucet and was told I could leave a message for the general manager, Troy, which I did not do at that point.

The next day, Champion calls and says, “Good news! We found your cartridge online and can return to install it for $385.” I asked about the $160 we’d already paid, and there wasn’t anything they could do about that…it’s $385 for installing the new one. I said I’d get back to them.

The following day, another call from Champion with a 20% discount offer on the $385 price. I responded, “So, for $469 ($309 plus the initial $160) you’ll install the replacement cartridge? That’s almost as much as your quote for an entire new valve setup. No concessions for the $160?” Nope.

My husband has left several messages for the elusive Troy to get back to him, with no response. We have since found a handyman to come out this week to take a look at the situation. I guess we’ll consider the $160 a pretty expensive learning experience…”Champion” Plumbing’s service is inferior, at best, and criminal, at worst.

Matt’s Bar, Minneapolis


3500 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 722-7072

Matt’s on Saturday for lunch? Yep, we did it. The wait standing in line for a table was the same as the wait for our food (about 20 minutes at 12:15), but with an open mind and a healthy appetite, the experience is always worth it. Our waitress had a bit of an edgy, sarcastic attitude (don’t expect a return visit after your food is delivered, either), but with the constant buzz and chaos, a natural human response. Jucy Lucy’s are now $6.50 each, still not a bad price for this little iconic eatery. FYI: We left around 1:30 and the line was overflowing onto the sidewalk outside, so earlier is better on a Saturday.

P.S. Cash only, no credit cards accepted.


No Birthdays at Red Lobster

We were recently out celebrating my sister’s birthday at the Red Lobster in Bloomington. When our server saw the gifts, he asked if it was someone’s birthday, and subsequently bestowed birthday wishes upon my sister. When it came time for dessert, I asked if they offered a birthday treat, and he said, “No, but we can try to sing,” to which we declined. Since this particular chain seems to have fairly hefty prices for simply adequate food (cheddar bay biscuits notwithstanding), a little birthday treat does not seem out of line for the amount of money spent (over $100). At least the Olive Garden offers a variety of tasty birthday treats, candle included.

No Problem!

A plea to owners and managers of the retail and service industries: PLEASE train your staff to respond to “thank you” with “you’re welcome.” To scan groceries, hand over a receipt, deliver a meal, or take a reservation, which is what they get paid for, should not be a problem, so the response of “no problem” is flippant at best and disrespectful at worst. Better yet, “my pleasure” will go a long way to ensure repeat business. Some time ago, our server at the Cracker Barrel in Lakeville ( consistently threw out “my pleasure,” and although I was tempted to get on one knee and propose to him, I compromised with a large tip and a note to the manager about this young man’s impeccable manners. (He was originally from North Dakota, by the way.)

Coming soon: “Done” or “Finished” — I am not a pot roast.

Jensen’s Food & Cocktails, Eagan, MN


A friend and I had lunch at Jensen’s on Thursday, October 9th. We were seated right away, and the restaurant was not busy. Our server was prompt and told us about the drink specials being offered.

We both enjoyed our food very much (I had the chicken bacon chop sandwich with shallot yukon potatoes for $14), and our server, Trisha, gave us some of the best service I have had in a very long time — can’t say enough good things about her!

Jensen’s is located right next to the Twin Cities Premium Outlet Center, has had a recent makeover, and is a great place for lunch.

Massage Haven, Eagan, MN


I just returned from a massage with Megan at Massage Haven. This is maybe my fifth massage here in the past couple of years, and I have never been disappointed. These therapists are definitely nothing like the run-of-the-mill franchised professionals; they use a variety of manipulations to produce the best results and are very concerned with the client’s comfort level. I highly recommend Massage Haven. Rates listed below are copied from their website. (Watch Groupon for specials throughout the year.)

Regular Rates

$38 for 30 minutes 
$70 for 60 minutes 
$99 for 90 minutes 
$125 for 120 minutes 

Purchase a “5-Pack” (60 minutes each) for only $295 
(That’s $59 for each 60 minute massage. A $55 savings!) 

Purchase a “10-Pack” (60 minutes each) for only $525
(That’s $52.50 for each 60 minute massage. A $175 savings!) 

Aromatherapy Massage: Choose from a variety of scents to enhance you​​r 
​massage experience. 
$75 for 60 minutes​

McDonald’s Restaurant, Eagan, MN


The McDonald’s on Silver Bell Road (near the new Premium Outlets) has always been a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to order-filling accuracy, but tonight’s incompetency would have been laughable if I didn’t have to make a return trip and then finally come home to cold McDonald’s (ugh, the worst).

Items ordered and received (confirmed on the order board):

2 cheeseburger meal, only ketchup (correct item received)

10-piece McNuggets, SS sauce, BBQ sauce, Buffalo sauce (no sauce in bag whatsoever)

20-piece McNuggets, same sauces as above (again, zero sauces in bag)

Filet-O-Fish, no tartar sauce (received fish with little to no cheese and no tartar)

Filet-O-Fish, regular (correct item received)

1 cheeseburger, ketchup only (received a cheeseburger with everything on it)

Side salad with Southwest dressing (no salad, no dressing in bag)

Medium Sprite (got that one right)

Of course, we discovered all of the mistakes when we got home. (My son thought he’d checked the bags pretty thoroughly in the parking lot, but obviously not.) I usually let their mistakes slide, but five inaccuracies put me over the top, so I drove back. After waiting in line inside, they brought over a salad in a bag, like they were expecting me to come back for it. (I had even asked in the drive-thru if they’d given me everything that first time around — yep, all there!

While waiting for the fish filet, the young man pulled out three containers of sauce for the chicken nuggets. I said, “We have 30 McNuggets,” and he said, “These are the three sauces you ordered.” I said, “Yes, but we have 30 McNuggets, so we need at least 2 of each sauce,” which is exactly what he gave me. I took a quick peek in the salad bag, and, sure enough, there was a packet of French dressing, not Southwest. I didn’t even mention (forgot to bring it back with me) the cheeseburger that had everything on it.

I will drive out of my way from now on to avoid this particular McDonald’s. Not only was the service bordering on absurd tonight, but there was absolutely no effort made to placate a very inconvenienced customer.