Wednesday, July 25, 2007
  When Bloggers Meet

Are they cute , or what? The handsome young man on the left is the son fellow blogger Practigal. The tow headed toddler is the CP

On Sunday I doubled the number of on- line friends I have met in person. From one to two. Not only did Practigal and I get a chance to talk face to face, but we included her husband, The Pickleman, my daughter Sarcas-sis and her hubby, and of course the boys in our soiree. The adults were chatting away immediately, like the old friends we are. The boys, well they kind of regarded each other from beneath lowered eyelids, and from behind mommies. We tried to steer the conversation to Thomas the Train since they both like blue choo-choo. Still they played shy. Right up until Practigal and Pickleman decided it was time to be on their way. Then they bonded. Apparently, "you can't get me" is universal boy for "let's be friends". Frivolity ensued, involving some rearranging of the furniture in the lobby of the Hyatt Summerfield Suites. When they absolutely had to part they shook hands like the two little gentleman they are.

Monday, July 23, 2007
  Harry Potter vs. Bobby Flay

Last night I had quite the dilemma. Should I continue reading Harry Potter, or put the book down and watch the final episode of The Next Food Network Star ? Trying to do both at once just wasn't working out. You know what I chose, right? Just to be on the safe side, don,t tell me how either one ends!

Friday, July 20, 2007
  Here Comes the Weekend

Anyone who works in retail can tell you, that weekends off are few and far between. Due to some goings on at work I had to forgo my usual day off (that would be Wednesday.-Wednesdays off. Get it?) and my boss said-take Friday or Saturday instead. So here I am. With a whole weekend spread out before me. And I plan to use it wisely. Actually 48 hours may not be long enough.

Some of my days will have to be spent doing housework, but I actually don't mind as I function better when things are neat and clean. Which at the moment they definitely are not. I do have a small quandary to ponder. Tell me what you think. For Father's Day Sarcas-sis gifted Sarcas-dad with the delivery of the New Harry Potter book when released, That means it should be delivered tomorrow. And I'll be home. But it's not mine. And it is as gift. Not that Sarcas-dad won't share. Of course he will. But here I'll be Just me and the book. But a gift should be opened , and used by the giftee first. It's not that I want to be among the first to read the book. I just don't want to know the ending before I get there myself. I can only imagine that dodging spoilers will be tough. And while we are on that subject, if you find out what happens before I do, PLEASE DON'T TELL ME!!!!! So what do you think? Can I crack the spine before Sarcas-dad? We could read it simultaneously.

And, in a n incredible stroke of fate, a fellow blogger is visiting the Philly area on the same weekend I happen to be off. We are still ironing out the details, but hopefully I will get to meet Practigal, her adorable train loving son, and her flow-bee wielding hubby.

So, this is a weekend huh? I think I like it!

Sunday, July 15, 2007
  Once More With Feeling

*This post is rated BC for beyond cute. It is known to contain unabashed bragging by a doting grandmother, and may be unsuitable for anyone in a bad mood, or ,who does not like children. On second thought, if you are in a bad mood or don't like children maybe you should read it. It could improve you demeanor.

The CP stayed over last night. We spent most of last evening's playtime out in the backyard. We were in the sandbox * as the daylight waned. The CP pointed up to the pink streaked remnants of blue and said.

"Look Mom-Mom. A sunset. "

He is brilliant for 2 and a half. Have I mentioned? He put down his shovel, leaned back against me and we watched natures show for a bit. I said it was nice and he said yes it was. Then the fireflies came out. I said it reminded me of being at camp. The CP immediately held his hands out as if over a campfire. ( Brilliant I tell you). We pretended we were roasting and eating marshmallows. I wanted to teach him a campfire song. The only one that came to mind was an old Girl Scout Standard.

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver
And the other gold.

I sang each line and he sang it back. Then he had a go at it by himself.

Make new friends
But keep the old friends
Because they're good.

That works just as well, don't you think?

* yes , I was in the sandbox. It's green and shaped like turtle. It was a bit of a tight squeeze. and yes, I am aware of how silly I must look. My neighbors have been highly entertained by my antics since the CP arrived. Pride goeth before a grandchild.

Thursday, July 12, 2007
  Can I Help You ?

By now you have most likely heard of Sprint telling about 1000 of it's wireless customers that it is terminating their service because they complain too much. Or as Sprint so delicately put it:

"While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time had led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs,"

What I don't know is whether you heard me, applauding. I was stomping my feet and yelling "Go Sprint ! Go Sprint ! And I wasn't alone, because those of us in customer service, well, we are legion.

It was about 1000 people who were given the "Dear John" treatment by their wireless service provider. I have no idea how many subscribers Sprint Wireless has, but I am guessing many, many times 1000. And I am supposing that as they are a service based business they carefully weighed the pros and cons of such a bold move. And then they did it. One has to wonder just how heinous the Sprint 1000 are. How much you wanna bet at least one of them sues ?

The customer count at the Big Supermarket Where I Work varies a bit week to week, but I am comfortable saying that we have twelve to thirteen thousand customers a week on average. So, doing a rough extrapolation in my head, I figure if Sprint can cut loose 1000 whiners without repercussion, then I should be able to give , oh maybe two of my biggest complainers, the old heave -ho. What do you think? Sound fair?

But who?

Let me say here and now the majority of my customers are very nice people. They come, they shop, they say "hi" and they leave. And now and then they have issues, and I help them, because that is my job. Of course there are some people who are chronic complainers. They shop, they complain. They can't help it. I had one customer at another location who complained every time she shopped. In fact one time she stopped to tell me that she had shopped and couldn't find anything wrong "BUT", and then she complained. I wouldn't show her the door. She was a challenge, but it was just her way.

We have another customer now, Mrs. Z., who uses gift cards when she shops.Mrs Z is approximately 106 and her husband is older. When gift cards are used up and have a zero balance, the cashier usually disposes of them. Mrs Z. doesn't allow that because she needs to go "over her accounts" when she gets home. What that really means is that she is sure we are ripping her off . Without fail. Mrs. Z. will come back in with a depleted gift card, insisting that she never used it. I have to email the main office with the gift card numbers, they look up all the transactions and assure Mrs. Z. that no one used her card on the sly. That of course is not good enough, and I compile copies of all the transactions and send them to Mrs. Z. So she can "go over her accounts". Mrs Z. is a challenge. And she is time consuming. But she is harmless. I wouldn't give her the boot either.

Oh and the Prune Juice Lady. She originally bought a bottle of Sunsweet Prune Juice in 1999. She drinks half and returns it because "it's bad", and then gets another bottle. continuing the cycle. She is annoying, and crazy, but I wouldn't give her the ax either. She is rather sad actually, and her equally crazy husband is mean to her.

So who would I choose? Honestly, no one, or two exact people come to mind. But it would be one of the mean people. One of the ones who makes it personal. The customer who holds me personally responsible for their not being smarter, richer, or more popular. The one who can't win an argument at home so they come to the market intent on showing the checkout clerk who is boss.

The phrase "the customer is always right" is often credited to Marshall Field. It is the standard of customer service. So when the customer is insistent that you are incompetent; that despite your best efforts, you have not make a wrong right; that even though they have talked to your supervisor's supervisor's supervisor and the answer is still not what they wanted to hear; we, the customer service professionals should admit that they are right. And then wait on someone we can actually help.

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