Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oh the places you will go, the people you will see.

you stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I don't need no carryin' on

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day
Daniel Powter 

Yesterday, as I do about three days out of the week: I had to take Denise to work. This, was not a big deal, except it involved me getting up at 5:30 so she could get to work by 6:00.
I threw on clothes, threw water at my face, gave a promissory swipe to my teeth at which my toothbrush I am sure just shook its bristles at me, and went out to the car drove Denise to work. 
Stopping in front of Denny's I smelled something burning, and thought: Something is on fire, looked at the gauge and thought in horror:
 "It's me!"
I pulled the car into the nearest parking space, hopped out and popped the lid. Yes, lid. Oh all right hood.
The reservoir for the radiator was boiling over, hot with brown slush oozing out of it. 
That's not good I thought. 
Since the radiator was full, it couldn't be the source of the overheating, I checked the oil and found it didn't even register on the stick, so I quickly went in and told Denise she had to cough up some money since I had none. 
Yea, well my purse was MIA at this point.
Denise gave me the money and off I Went to Sunoco, where they happily charged me $4.99 a bottle for oil, this made me frown, but after I asked if I could buy a Icee cup for a funnel, The clerk perked up and told me they had free funnels: To make things convenient.
That didn't make up for paying $4.99 for oil I could've gotten at Wall Mart for $2.00, but it helped. 
I went out to the car, and all of these truckers were standing around their trucks, whispering and watching me. I took a quick look at myself, made sure everything was buttoned, put away and I was otherwise decent. Everything seemed ok. 
So I just shrugged and proceeded to put the oil in the car. 
The truckers watched a minute then started to get in their trucks or go about their own business, about that time the cashier came out to dispose of some garbage and I asked her what the problem was.
"Oh," she stated "don't worry, they just wanted to make sure you didn't put the oil in the wrong place." 
Wrong place?
"Yep", she said "one lady put the oil in her transmission, the truckers felt badly so now they kind of I guess check it out."
Do you have a lot of women stop here for this purpose?
"Oh yes mam," she shrugged “we run out of oil right quick. Some people just forget I guess."
So now thoroughly embarrassed I threw the oil containers away, crept into my car and drove off, only to overheat yet again, 1 block down the road. And the truckers were where? Right nowhere to be found. 
I stopped, pulled over and waited for it to cool off. Let it suffice to say, I got home this way, turning off the car at stop lights, and spending 1/2 hour at a shell station one time. But I made it. 
Eric took it to Midas, and we got the Midas touch, literally. $123.00 but the car runs.
And me? I plan to check the oil, every day from now on, just in case I am bringing a book everywhere I go. Not to mention not giving my teeth more than a promissory swipe anymore. And forgetting makeup:
You never know when you are going to run into a station full of truckers.
Well, I am single.

 Repost from 2011

Saturday, August 16, 2014

And so it goes..customers

Customer: I have an emergency, can you deliver overnight?
Me: (somewhat baffled) Emergency? I’m sorry sir what kind of Emergency?
Customer: Isn't this the place that sells the testosterone?
Me: uh, yes.
Customer: I’m 57 and my wife is 43! Can you ship overnight?

Sam Walton’s slogan was “the customer is always right,” If you have worked customer service, you know how hard it is, sometimes, to live by this rule. Some days P.T.Barnum’s “There’s one born every minute seems more of the reality.
Those of us that make our living serving customers usually come home feeling somewhere between really?? And oh no that did not happen.

I worked for Walmart, the biggest retailer in America. Every day I would hear at least one, most times more. “I hate Walmart,” I am not coming back to this store, ever!)
Only to be face to face with that same person the next day. I wonder if they think we don’t remember them.
There is something magical about the number “30”
At Walmart:
I was called from the floor to open a register:
Me: “This register is open”, choosing the next customer inline at the register on the left. (Walmart protocol)
I felt a strong breeze and a lady with short red hair, flaming green eyes in front of my register, the customer I chose is picking up onions off the floor.
I haven’t the slightest idea where she came from she wasn’t in any line I saw, She proceeded to unload her purchases on the belt, and growled at me she had
Waiting 30 minutes. I am not sure where she had been waiting thirty minutes, I hadn’t seen her anywhere.  But, at Walmart, everyone has been waiting 30 minutes even if they have only arrived at checkouts, Perhaps Scotty, tired of her attitude beamed her down.

Customer Service agents are charged with being the representatives of any company. We are how the caller/and or customer perceives the company to represent.
It is not just retail.
UPS store
Customer brings in boxed filled with electronic parts, the product is going to several different departments of the same company. The associate suggested she call the company to see if they could send the items together in one box, or they need to break it down, the customer stepped outside to call.
While the two associates were waiting, a little head popped up, and made its ways to the top of the components.
One associate slammed the box cover; her coworker quickly sealed it. When the customer came back, she told them it could go in one box. What do you do, embarrass the customer? No they took the box outside, unsealed it and repacked it..sans the cockroach.

On the other hand. a customer came in to the shipping office and wanted to have her photograph photo shopped  for so she only looked 52.

Wendy’s: Very busy day on the drive through, the associate finishes with one customer
and asks the new one to hold on for just a moment so he can clear his desk. The customer starts in with a really long order, about 15 items. The associate come back and says, thank you for waiting May I have your order please?
Customer is stunned. Do I need to repeat all of that? No, luckily the associate had his headset on and caught the order. Still, courtesy works both ways. The customer left, learning to listen to what is said and not just expect someone to be at the window,
Customers come in all shapes and sizes. For the most part they are courteous, helpful; and reasonable. But, everyone has a bad day and we, in customer service will always be here to see you through your transaction.

I guess it is just somedays you are the trashcan, and somedays you are the trash.

Do you have a customer service story? Share it please!
Pictures courtesy of: Customer service pictures and

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wheres the Light?

Where’s the light

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’
Professor Albus Dumbledore – Hogwarts Academy

The month of August is the worst month of the year for me. This month started the surgeries, that were supposed to prolong Sharon’s life; but instead ended it.
Even  after so many years memories flood my mind and heart. Memories of all of my kids when there were three.

I am fine one minute, overwhelmed with tears the next. The emotional turmoil is horrendous. What’s even worse is the fact, there is not anyone you can share it with. Most people feel you should move on, well those that have never lost a child anyway.

This year I was partly saved by the fact dear friends from Virginia chose this time to visit. They knew my Sharon and felt the loss with me at the time. The peace is incredible.
Don’t knock old friends. They are like a breath of fresh air when all you are seeing is fog. Old friends know things about that no one else does. They have felt your pain, they have lived with you.
This friend has lived through the infancy of my children, my divorce, the passing of my daughter, the teen delinquency of my teens, (temporary but still there) my bratty years, and still they love me
So are  you looking elsewhere for your sunshine? It’s not in your job, it’s not in money. In fact. it is not in anything material;
It’s in the people that surround you. The life-force they infuse into you when you haven’t any left, just by being there.
This month is still going to be the worse month of my life. But, someone turned on the lights for me. They came to visit and reminded me that the love of friends and family is our earthly strength.

I thank them, and I thank God.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Everything I learned in life, I learned from the town of Mayberry.

Mayberry was a cozy little town in North Carolina. The High Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) knew every one.  He handed out judgments like Solomon, he always got his man like the Mounties. He was quiet, strong, attracted the ladies and solved all crises much like 007.
He had a strong sense of family and obligation to his neighbors, so these are some things I learned from Mayberry.

1.   Never give up. Barney tried and tried to be the macho deputy and him always landed on his backside with his foot firmly entrenched in his mouth. He was a great source of amusement to the townspeople; still he was right back up on his feet by the next show. He persevered .I tried to teach the same value to my kids. I have been lucky all of us have had periods of looking at the world from the bottom up and climbed back to the top. Just like Barney
2.   Be Frugal: Aunt Bee was always looking for bargains and deals. Clara, her friend always steeled her towards cocky deals that somehow went astray. Still Aunt Bea fell for it every time. Denise can squeeze the buffalo right off his mound on the nickel. She shops the ads, clips coupons, and buys off brands. She goes to the grocery store because she has the knack of adding items in her head and almost hitting the total on the head. I am forever impulse buying. Denise would never listen to Clara, she would explore it herself.
Denise and Bree after paddle boarding

   Always be willing to try new things. Opie wasn't ever afraid to dive in and find new friends, learn new games, as well as accepting the consequence. For instance he killed a mama bird and raised her babies to atone for it. This past weekend, my beloved family decided to go paddle boarding and Kayaking. I love the beach, and I could live there. But, I can’t swim. Even so, we piled in the cars, met Bree and Eric at the Cooper River to try this new sport. It was a warm and muggy Charleston evening. Quite humid because it had been raining that morning. Denise asked me to tag along and take pictures of her falling off the paddle board, as well as pictures of
Eric and Natasha Paddle boarding.
Natasha dumping the canoe, Eric and herself in the Cooper River. Luckily neither of these things occurred well a boat did try to run Denise over, a boat landing jumped up and pushed her into the water where she made friends with several oysters nestled together in an oyster bed. Well maybe a few more then several, maybe 500.What they did see was dolphins, serenely swimming and sneaking up to the boat and the paddle board to see what was going on, schools of fish and the Cooper join gently with the Atlantic. We ended the day with Denise soaked, bruised, Tasha slightly wet Eric and Bree no worse for the wear and tear.However, when Denise and the oysters met, she did cut her leg up pretty. But no Oysters were hurt in the fall.

4.   Families are not perfect. Opie got in trouble, Aunt Bee felt inadequate, and Andy had women problems, neighbor problems, Barney problems and escaped convicts. Your family loves you, stands behind you and the ones you run home to for comfort. Families are also so close together they bicker, snicker and are irritated with one another July Fourth we all went to fireworks poor Bree had already put in a full day’s work, Denise was on her 7th day after working 6 12-14 hour days. Everyone had to work Saturday. Tasha was complaining and whining because she was hot, tired and walking while carry a chair(mind you; it was a portable chair weighed at most 3 ozs canvas and all) was a kin to child abuse to her, she was just about ready to call the county and complain. After hours of whine, any one of us would have handed her our phone, (kidding). The thing is even though we had the perfect recipe for disaster, we tiffed a bit, and pouted some, became inpatient; the thing I remember most was I spent the day with my four favorite people in the whole world. Nothing else mattered and I still feel warm and fuzzy about the whole day. Love conquers all, and I love my family.

5.   In the end everything will be all right. At the end of every episode everything was resolved; Mayberry returned to normal, Granted, it doesn't always work that way for us. Life is not tied up in a neat little 30 minute drama that is quickly solved. My grandmother used to say everything has a season, so it does, it would be nice if our seasons were only a half an hour every week, or even and hours. I would love to have the problems Andy does. But of course, that is ridiculous. Life is not like that. Losing a loved one whether it is a Child, wife, father, husband that season never ends. Losing a job. Having to choose between rent and groceries. Watching your baby graduate from high school. Holding your first grandchild, (how can I be a grandmother? When did my child stop being my baby?) Watching your kids fall in love. Your heart breaks when their new love hurt them. Mayberry taught me that things happen, but life goes on. In the end everything will be all right: if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.

   Of course The Andy Griffith show is just a television show from the 50s and 60s. In reality, wouldn't life be great if we all lived in Mayberry? Alas,  not possible. But if we can just remember the basic morale and tone of this fiction place...well you know.