Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Five Favorite and Least Favorite Companies

We’ve all had terrible experiences with companies. I’ve had two recently that will serve as the inspiration to this column. One of them is going to get a blog post of their own since they’ve managed to drag their particular saga out for so long. But don’t we also have favorite companies? Ones we recommend to our friends, shop at repeatedly, and give our loyalty? Holly is downstairs watching Twilight: New Moon by herself, a movie that I couldn’t stand once, so I won’t touch twice. What a perfect opportunity for a Random Blog!

My Five Favorite Companies

5) Best Buy

I read once that Best Buy prices albums so cheap because they don’t intend on making profit off of them. They simply want to create foot traffic for their larger and more profitable items. For me—a man who shies away from large purchases—this is a fantastic thing. But Best Buy doesn’t stop there. Unlike their Walmart competition, Best Buy stocks a very wide range of music directed at all tastes. Whether you want Eminem, Mozart, or The Hold Steady (yes, you do), you’ll find it at Best Buy, and usually for cheap.


The online banker used by many of us military-folk has won numerous awards for customer service, and for good reason. No company does a better job treating you like a king (or queen). From the minute you call in you might as well be calling home. All through my banking, insurance claims, and anything else, they’ve been pro.

3) Dr. Pepper Snapple Group

Not only do they make the world’s greatest soda (Dr. Pepper), this company is responsible for all Snapple products, both IBC and A&W Root Beer, Canada Dry, Diet Rite, Squirt, and so many others. Delicious I say! PepsiCo could have given them a run for its money if they hadn’t parted ways with Taco Bell!

2) Disney

Save me your evil empire comments! Disney theme parks are the fun centers of the universe. No place makes me you feel quite the same as Disneyland. It gets better. Not only do they now own Marvel and all their fantastic movies, but they also own ESPN, the Greatest TV Station in the World. ESPN is the default channel of my life, broadcasting endless amounts of college football, Baseball Tonight, and Sportscenter. It also gave the world Erin Andrews, Rob Neyer, and Tim Kurkjian. It does not have Tim McCarver or Joe Buck, which is also good. So why is Disney a top company? Because ESPN + Marvel + Disneyland + Beauty and the Beast = Top Notch.

1) Netflix

Oh Netflix, I love you so much. You deliver to my house all the movies I want at a price so low that you could double it and I’d be just fine. Then you throw in instant streaming movies over my X-Box? Unheard of. You see, Netflix is a company that is so perfect that it has bankrupt Movie Gallery and driven Blockbuster’s stock price so low it’s been delisted and now trades for 7 cents a share versus the $28 you’d have to pay for it in 2002. What could make this company any better? Investing in it when it was worth $19 and watching it go up to $145. That’s 600%. I love Netflix. I would marry Netflix if it was a girl. Holly likes them too, so she’d agree.

Shout-outs: Amazon, Microsoft, SubPop, and Motley Fool.

My Five Least Favorite Companies

5) Pizza Hut

From Mountain Home, Idaho to Roswell, New Mexico I’m finding that Pizza Hut is good at two things: 1) taking a really long time and 2) not bringing the right thing. My trip to Roswell included me waiting one hour and 15 minutes for my food. Sure, that’s partially my fault for waiting that long at all, but I was tired and they kept telling me it was coming. Really what it has come down to over the years is that Domino’s and Papa John’s make perfectly great pizza, so who needs Pizza Hut?

4) Motel 6

These places are just way too hit and miss. Just on our trip out to Ohio we stayed in a Motel 6 in Douglas, Wyoming that left our socks nearly black on the bottom just from walking around. The next day we stayed in one in Wall, South Dakota in which a completely naked drunk man was sitting on the bench outside our room at 2 AM. For every perfectly serviceable Motel 6 that provides a cheap rate I can show you two Motel 6’s that are nightmares.

3) Qwest

They jacked with my friend Molly. They jacked with my sister. And now they’ve jacked with me. Apparently after a phone conversation in which they told me all was settled and AFTER they send ME a check for $69.99 overpayment, they inform me without ever seeing a bill that I’ve been sent to collections for not paying my final $100+ bill when my entire time with the company I was on autopay. This is what I’m dealing with right now.

2) Subway, specifically the one in Newcastle, Wyoming

This will get a post of its own, but suffice it to say that I’m debating whether or not to eat Subway again. The answer, I believe, will be yes, since “corporate” Subway came through for me where the Newcastle branch failed.

1) Satyam Computer Services

The “Enron of India” lost me 98% of the money I invested in it after it was revealed that they had falsified their books. The lesson? First, diversify your investments. Second, tread lightly with international investments. If you think regulation is bad here, just try it in India.


  1. Where is JetBlue on your list of five best? And you're even an investor!

  2. I'm sorry to report that JetBlue is not on my list. I recently sold my position after it lost me 50%. :-(

  3. Hello Steph from Qwest here,

    I'm sorry to hear about the billing situation, and would be happy to review what is taking place with it or make any necessary corrections. Please email me at with:

    1) your billing phone number
    2) your billing address

    Thank you

    Stephanie Lake
    Manager, Talk To Qwest Team

    "At Qwest your account information is confidential and protected by law, so I need your permission to access the account.”