Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Customer is always right?

My mind has been lots of places these last few days but last night at work and on the way home I thought about the saying "The customer is always right." I found on Wikipedia this morning that the phrase is over 100 years old. Said first by Marshal Field or Harry Gordon Selfridge who worked for Marshal Field department stores and later started his own department store in London. 

Now I find this tidbit of information to be ironic. These same two fellows were the first people to use the __Days left until Christmas countdown in advertising. This is AMAZING that the same guy who said to make the customer first also initiated the mad dash for December 25. If you do not find this to be a ironic you have probably never worked in Customer Service or Retail. 

People who don't work with customers that push paper or whatever it is that people do in dark cubicles at the end of the hall where only lost people stop and say hello may never have the opportunity to be face to face with their adversary, sorry I mean customer. I think that people that do not have contact with the person on the other end of their transaction are less likely to feel compassion for them or empathize with the customers situation can easily deny a mortgage or insurance claim. There is no face attached to the piece of paper no heart or soul shown. Same can be said when the customer receives back the claim that was denied or the foreclosure order. There is no heart or soul exposed. Maybe that is why we assume the person who made the decision is heartless or has no soul of their own. I know I can be easily side tracked but I am getting somewhere. I can understand that it could be easier to make a decision based solely on the facts if you do not have to look the person in the face or hear their disappointment over the phone. So this blog is for you. Those who think you are always right and know there are only 24 days left until Christmas.

Please keep in mind that as you stand on the side of the counter closest to the door or are on the end of the phone that it has somehow become acceptable for you to hang up abruptly on the person trying to assist you that the person on the enclosed side of the counter and on the end of the phone that they are told to be polite to the customer that person to has a heart and a soul. They have feelings and they do understand your situation. They have dealt with many of you before and will help many more after you are gone.

I know that on my end of the phone I do not know that your kids are sick and you do rely on your home phone service to leave them home alone while you go to work because you can not afford to take off work. I know you are frustrated that I told you that you will have to wait a day and a half for a technician because we are backed up because of the holiday last week. I will try to accommodate your availability but I do have restraints that the company mandates but they do give me the leeway to break the rules to help you. But sometimes even then. Even after all that I have tried and my years of experience I can not make something work that is broke all the time. Now, you have been fine but your wife in the background is furious and yelling. Not sure why but I try to understand her frustration.  As she takes the phone from you and starts yelling at me I am still trying to be understanding and sympathetic and accommodating. I am now being cussed at. Sworn at. Screamed at. Now for you the mortgage processor or insurance adjuster that does not ever have the benefit of this sort of transaction let me tell you to be on my end of the phone SUCKS.

I will now flip the coin for you. I came to work today because I would feel guilty to take time off from work even though yes, my mom did have a stroke over the holiday weekend and yes, she is in the hospital but she is doing so much better than on Saturday when I could not understand a word she said. My brother went to work today even though he had to call 911 after having trouble getting her to respond after taking a face plant on the back patio. My sisters all went to work as well after dealing with the stress of this situation on our holiday weekend as well. Ironically we all work in the public. My brother does not have as much contact as the rest of us but he is out in the world dealing with the people that get in the way of his lawnmower or blower. But my sisters and I put on the happy face and did our job. We all help people all day long in different jobs but we are on the side of the counter that we can not easily walk away from the situation. 

So let me get back to where I was going. I remember lots of customers by their situations. I do not remember names or any personal information. My head hits the delete button as soon as the information passes through my ears and past my eyes. I only mentioned once last night that my mom was in the hospital. Don't remember anything about the lady but she was sweet and she asked my moms first name. I told her Jeanne. She said, "I will say a prayer for your mom tonight". As the tears welled up in my eyes I finished that call and moved on to the next. That is my job.

But time after time last night I ran into people that were livid about their services not working. This is not unique to my line of work or in retail.  In retail establishments all across the country there were people that saw an ad in the paper for a flat screen TV for $98. Limited quantities. This to me says get there early or you may not get a TV. If I do not get the price I move on. If it was life or death I would have been standing in the store at 4AM when the sale started. But no TV is that important to me. No object is that important to me. I always keep in mind my roots on the back side of the counter and try not to be the customer that is letting loose on the cashier or the agent on the phone. I am not perfect and I have done it. It was probably 6 months ago and I could not deal with one more thing and a person called me and told me I that what I believed to be so as far as my service went was not the case. I did yell and I did cry and I did say I am sorry and I do not mean to be this customer and I need to hang up. The guy gave me his number and said to call him back. I have never called back. Not because I am embarrassed but because I still do not want to deal with the issue and it still makes me mad. 

Alright so where is all this mumbo jumbo going. There are 24 days left until Christmas. That is a fact. The objects which you wish to give your friends and family members do not replace love nor does the dollar amount of the gift prove their value.  So keep all of that in perspective and value the time that you spend with your friends and family these next few weeks. You do not know when one of the people that means the most may be gone. You do not know what the person on the other side of the counter or on the other end of the phone is going through. I am not expecting to undo a 100 years of misinformation in one Christmas Season. But I would like to see each of you stop and say Thanks to the person that helps you find that perfect object and cashier that rings you up. Maybe stop and drop some change in the Salvation Army's bucket instead of walking by complaining of the obnoxious bell. Be thankful for the work they do. The people they help are thankful for your donations even though they do not see your face and can not shake your hand and let you know personally. They know that whomever made the donation must be a generous, compassionate human being. 

So I will turn that upside down on you. When you call and ask for help or walk into a retail establishment imagine that you are the person in need and the agent on the phone or the cashier or store associate is the generous, compassionate human being that just want you to be well. And they are willing to give their last few cents or their knowledge to help you get what you need to make you happy and healthy and keep you safe. 

That is what the customer is always right means to me. 


Friday, September 13, 2013

Again the news.

So it has been a few weeks since I wrote anything. I am torn on subjects. So many things have been on my mind lately. I have been thinking about what we watch on TV and how it has changed. Everyone knows I no longer watch the news but that does not mean I do not know what is going on in the world. I get the worst. A quick blip on the news channel as I change channels. As soon as the word animal is mentioned in a news story Brian picks up the remote. I can not bear to know what someone did to hurt an animal and can not look at pictures. But I find nothing quite as disturbing as seeing people killed on TV. Used to be they would not show an animal tortured but no now somehow it is acceptable to show human beings. I credit my employer at the time I heard the story on Bay News 9 they would not show the pictures. Other networks could not make that same clear and obvious decision. This I can not understand.

I do appreciate that CBS cares and will at the end of a show dealing with a particular subject offer support through a website or 800 number. I am not sure why the news does not do the same. Some of the subjects that are on the news deserve more attention to what got the person there than the final act that actually got them on the news. 
Today it was a young girl who apparently committed suicide over being bullied. This I find to be terrible. I saw her picture on the news and on the website. I heard part of the Sheriff explaining the events that lead up to her death. If this much effort went into helping this girl deal with the bully would her parents be planning a funeral today. The money spent on looking for her once missing could have provided an army of support while she was still alive. And I know there was efforts made to help her. 

This young girl seemed to find peace with animals that others would find unapproachable. But she I imagine would sit and maybe cry at this abandon building. She probably did not have to find the animals but they found her. She probably told them her problems. I can understand. They listened and did not judge. They loved her for who she was. A soft touch they did not get from others.  I only wish those animals could have told her that the people badgering her were really worse off than she. And to with time all of this would pass.

But the bully to pick and pick and pick on someone. To blatantly focus all your negative energy on one person to the point they can no longer take it. How does that person feel now. Like they accomplished their goal. They need help and it is too late for punishing  the act of bullying. That will make some feel better but this to is probably a classmate of the same age. This child has a life time ahead. And if things are not turned around now. Where will they end up.Well of course. On the news themself. Mug shot and a description to their latest victim.

So I saw one story on the news today. One story. I saw one last week about the Syrian people. See why I can not watch the news. It truly bothers me. And my head just does not let go of this girls picture or that of the Syrian people being tortured to death. I will now go watch an episode of Mary Tyler Moore or Bewitched and forget what is going on in the world around me.

I am not sure that by watching these horrible events we call news on TV we are not becoming a 21 century of Gladiators and Vikings. Acts that in a few 100 years will seem intolerable and less than human and definitely not civilized. The bully of today could be the slaves master of the past. If you look at it that way it will take more than 100 years to correct what has become an epidemic among the young.

I will however say that if anyone is having these issues being bullied or tortured and need help ask for help. Make someone help you. Your live is more valuable than you know. You may be the next President or the person that is to find the cure for cancer. And if no one else will listen. I am here and would do anything for any other person When you are down it is hard to pull yourself up and sometimes just a hand is all you need or a good ear to listen.

After writing this blog I searched for a quote and found this one below and it tied in perfect. I did not know who the author was so I looked him up on line Dr. Love a motivational speaker popular in the 1980's. Ironically he studied the human disconnect and the meaning of life after a student's suicide.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

I just wonder how do I write about something. And use some of the same words to describe my feelings about what might have made this situation better and this man I have never heard of before said the same things 30 years ago. There is something out there in this world that directs me to write and helps me feel better. I hope that same source directs someone to read this that needs to as bad as I needed to write it and I hope they can find the help they need as well.

If you need help talking to your kids about Bullying. I have listed some websites below.

    http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

KidsAgainstBullying.org

TeensAgainstBullying.org

    http://melmonsta.com/



Friday, May 24, 2013

Walden

I purchased the book Walden maybe last summer and thought I should read it. I thought I hear people refer to it and thought it must be worthy it was published in 1854 and is still being reprinted today. Always makes for a good Jeopardy question.

So between calls for the last few weeks I have been reading and trying to absorb what he is saying about his life on the Pond. Two years, two months and two days. He lived near the pond about 2 miles outside of the town of Concord, Massachusetts in the mid 1800's.  To me this would be wilderness but to him he was just outside town.

I thought tonight I wanted to start with a quote and I love the website Brainy Quotes and found this one:

Ironically the book is laying on the couch and I got up and decided I wanted to write a review even before I finish to encourage some of you, maybe just one of you to pick it up or borrow it and read it.

I read his description of the pond the other day and thought no normal person today or any day could have written this description. Most people I know could not sit and observe the pond long enough to learn this much. Which lead me to believe that a true writer has to have patience beyond belief. There is no other way for them to see what they see even if it is inside their head without viewing it from different angles or different perspectives or the same perspective on a different day. You could not walk up to the edge of the Grand Canyon and stand there in awe of it for 10 minutes and go yep it is deep and get out of it what a photographer that has spent weeks observing the light and shadows a then determine just the moment that he wants to capture forever. It is not to say that the casual viewer can not take a beautiful picture but they can not see the transformation through the day and decide just which view is the perfect one for them.

In his two years or so there he lived and observed the sights, sounds, smells. Describes views from the road or as someone walks through the wood to the the pond to go fishing or for a swim. How a hollowed out tree canoe could be left and shared by whomever shows up. Unbelievable. What would someone do today if their boat they never used was borrowed and safely returned. Crazy. But why. You aren't using it why not let the neighbor. Hmmm.

I also learned new words or old words I should say that are no longer used. Thank God for Google. I had to look up the word rod as in a term of measurement. The term was used to survey the land. A rod is 5 1/2 yards long. He uses it to describe distances throughout the book.

I find his words amazing. He describes the color of the water in the pond as a reflection of the trees, the sky or the sand on the bottom. And compares it to looking at a pile of broken glass and how it has a green tint to it but a single piece of glass is clear. How is that. The images are so clear. You don't have to imagine, his words paint the picture.

A man riding by in a wagon comparing his field of beans to the field a mile or so away. A train going by doesn't stop yet the conductor remembers the view of the pond that evening. A person leaving the pond after dark and can not find his way out. The night is clear but no moon. No light. Your feet must find their way because your eyes can not see it. These are not his exact words but the visions in my head from what I have read.

I will try to finish this weekend but it is not an easy read. I have to stop and re-read some sentences the words are not spelled the way we do today, or are not used as we would. But the images if he were a painter everyone would be able to see the beauty. Even those without the patience to read the words that paint the pictures.

I glanced to the Conclusion tonight to see what is coming and he directs his view inward as he says:

"Direct your eye right inward and you'll find
 A thousand regions in your mind
 Yet undiscovered. Travel them and be
 Expert in home-cosmography."

In other words there are places you have never been inside your mind or as I envision in your own yard. Check them out. They may be as beautiful as a place distant and will not cost you near as much to travel to and if in your head you can find these places of refuge on your own instead of spending a fortune to let drugs or a doctor lead you there. You are better off for finding your own way than being pointed in a way someone else has already been.

So I guess I am saying don't read the book because I did. Read so that you can say that you did and then you will know Walden pond the same way Henry David Thoreau knew it 150 years ago.

Makes me want to go.

Goodnight.








Monday, May 13, 2013

Comments

Whenever I read an article online I am always amazed and ashamed for the comments people will make about people they do not know. Subjects they are no more an expert on than I. Yet for some reason they feel that their opinion no matter how unthoughtful and unkind or just plain mean it may be.

When I was a kid I used to find it funny or silly that my father would watch the news and talk back to the TV as though Walter Cronkite could hear what he had to say. As I got older I found myself doing a similar act but instead to Dan Rather or Peter Jennings. None of them could ever hear our comments. Never hear my criticism of how the world is being run no matter how wrong something was.

Today it is different if you want to shout back at a reporter or the weatherman or anyone else and say your opinion you have the forum to do it and for some reason it is encouraged.

The encouragement is the part I do not understand. If you want to say your friends new hairdo on facebook is beautiful or your not sure what she was drinking when she did that. It is between the two of you and the friends that view the posts. But when it comes to a news story or even the weather. There are people out that for some reason read a story and immediately believe that they need to put their 2 cents in. Not in a polite way but in a unfiltered, unedited yet anonymous way.

If you are willing to put your opinion out why not put your name on it. Well this is where I believe that we have somehow grown to believe that by using an alias the words said are less harmful to speak. That racist, pig headed beliefs spewed on the Internet have no back lash other than in the online world. The person writing them may even think it is funny to get someone else fired up over something they just shouted out without thinking.

I have read things written about people I know that are not true and their is no taking it back once it is out there. Even the media rarely corrects the article that is wrong. There may be a correction but they do not actually correct the original article or even attach the correction to the original article. So it is like the TV commercial says. Well I saw it online and you know they can not put anything that is not true on the Internet. Oh here comes my French model boyfriend.

Are we really that stupid. Now I have noticed that recently that some news organizations no longer show the comments attached to the articles. I don't know why I ever looked. I guess I thought there might be some insight on the story or some new information but usually all I read is about how stupid the person is that is the victim and why were they in that situation and things of that nature.

Why would someone feel that this sort of comment is appropriate. How could it ever be. In the real world where I live if you want to say something you say it with your face showing. You should have enough intelligence to speak knowledgeably about a subject so that you do not look like a fool to those listening. But somehow somewhere it has become acceptable for people to make comments online that are not called for ever, even in your own home.

I understand speaking your mind. I have always been one to speak out when I felt something was wrong. I have gotten in trouble for things I have said and sometimes my mouth has been unfiltered but I never denied saying it. I did not blame Jane for something I did. (I made up Jane.)

So who are these people that are so smart and have so much to say but don't show their face or their name. I guess they are just big chickens that live in their mom's basement and their only communication with the outside world is the Internet. And instead of shouting that they need a friend or help they shout out absurd things about people they do not know.

I don't even know if making people put their name or face on an article like a reporter has to or quote a source would be enough but it might be a start for people to think before they post a comment online.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Politeness

By definition is the practical use of good manners or etiquette. Showing consideration for others, tact and observing acceptable social graces.

Hmmm.

So why are we losing this. Do we no longer practice what we preach. Teaching our children to say please and thank you. When on line people say things like "WTF". (If you don't know what it means, What the ----?) and I will just pretend it the last word is heck. For the sake of being polite. I find this to be one of the most offensive things a person can type or say.

I used to work where this sort of terminology was used to talk to the employees. By the same man that would have flipped his lid if it would have come out of a kids mouth at the dinner table. See how I used flipped his lid instead of something less polite but yet you all understand what I am saying. I see this on the Internet and television as well. Posts from people who are again parents that use profanity as though it is just any old word. Maybe I am a little prudish? But I was taught not to speak that way in public. I had quite the sailor vocabulary when I worked in the store. I did start off working for a Navy guy but I don't think picked up any bad words from him. But as I moved up the corporate ladder (just a few rungs) I learned people do not speak that way at work in an office situation. Funny how a few years later I would be spoken to in vulgar manner by my boss. But enough about him.

For the rest of us who live in a polite society in public are polite but willing to use abbreviations and vocabulary on Social media sites as though they are in their bedroom with the door closed talking to there best friend.

Have people forgotten how to act? People on the phone have lost this as well. I understand being frustrated and angry and even annoyed. I do not understand being so mad that you are willing to cuss and yell at the person on the other end. Guess what I did not cause your problem and unless rebooting your modem will resolve it or it is a bad code on your account all I can do is schedule a tech. I can not come fix the problem even if I know how. I will schedule a tech that as far as I know is correct for the problem I find. Now just like most things it only takes a few to spoil a perfectly good day. Some days you can talk them down others nothing is going to make it better. Which leads me to believe there may be more than one thing going on wrong in their life and I am only one who will listen to the screaming. I heard another employee on the phone last week say in the politest voice. Ma'am I do not need to be spoken to like that to understand that you are having a problem. You laugh when you aren't the one but you know your turn is coming. Could be just a call away.

So how did we get to this place. Is it TV or the Internet. Is it the fact that you are not speaking to a person face to face that makes some brave and rude all at once. Are the words coming out the ones that are in your head and there is no longer a polite filter that stops the words from crossing your lips. I say yours I probably should not. I know there are some people out there that think like me and would not speak in a rude manner online or on the phone. Never in public.

George Carlin said there are 7 words not said on TV but after reading his list I feel there should be more than just those 7. Those 7 should not even be said by sailors. I am not going to list the words but in this day and age. I think we need to pick up Miss Manners and consult with Emily Post and fine tune our vocabulary. Instead of consulting with likes of Captain Jack Sparrow and Bart Simpson.I would not suggest South Park , Jerry Springer or the likes of a show like Cheaters either. I have never seen Pirates of the Caribbean and will not watch the Simpsons. I accidentally saw South Park once it was a Halloween episode. I had nightmares. Wouldn't watch Jerry Springer, or Cheaters nor Cops. Need I continue

I could list more shows that I will not watch than the ones I will. I feel the same way about things people post online. I will end with, Just think about what you are saying before you say it and if you do not think you should say it in front of your Mother or Grandmother, Don't say it to me either.

Thank you.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Set some rules

Everything in life has rules. I have my own.

1. Never write anything down you don't want everyone to read.
(Anyone can post a comment but I have veto)

2. Don't post anything on the internet you don't want your mother to see.
(No foul language. If my mother doesn't use it I probably don't either)

3. The internet is an unforgiving place.
(You can never take back anything only appologize)

My favorite TV character's rules are those of NCIS Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I think he has about 50 and they are all very important to him and his agents. Keeps things in check and the funnies part is he got them started from his wife.

Gibbs #8 Never take anything forgranted.

#39 No such thing as a coincidence.

#51 Sometimes your wrong.


So now that the rules are done. I want to share a few things about me and my blog.


I am 44 years old. Lived in Clearwater, Florida all my life. I have been married to Brian for 13 years and we lived together for 5 years before.  I have had 3 full time jobs in my life and only owned 4 cars. I am always on time. In my adult life I have had 6 cats and 2 dogs. I enjoy photography, genealogy and puzzles. And you don't ever want to make me mad.

My three jobs:

1. Eckerds
2. xxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx (Only exists in my memories)
3. Brighthouse

My four cars:

1. 1978 Ford Mustang II
2. 1987 Ford Mustang
3. 1993 Chevy Cavilier
4. 2005 Chrysler Sebring

Favorite Singers and Songs:

1. Top of the World, Carpenters
2. Day Dream Believer, Monkees
3. Annie's Song, John Denver
4. Through the Years, Kenny Rogers
5. Memories, Barbara Streisand

I will  one day share some of my more obscure favorites. As you can see the ones listed are life long favorites. Through the Years is Brian and my song.

My Animals:

1. Mary (Part Siamese cat)
2. Tiffany (Persian cat)
3. Lillian (Fat Black cat)
4. Blake (Fat Orange cat)
5. Gauge (Tiffany's kitten)
6. Kody (Lab Chow mix dog)
7. Boo ( Very Fat Black cat)
8. Princess (Lab Sharpei mix dog)

Some of what I want to share. My views on the world, life and people and animals. I will probably write more to begin which I am sure most do. I expect to get to where I have a posting a week.

I am going to explain and share some crazy things that have happened to me. Some you will be able to relate to and some you will walk away in shock. I will never use anyone's name that does not want me too. I am not here to talk about others. I am sharing about myself.

I have found in my life that there are so many layers that some only see the work layer, or the family layer. I am never fake. I just can not always show everything at once. Most would be scared off.
For my friends and family I will do anything. All you have to do is ask and they do.

For everyone else. It does not take much more. I am my happiest busy helping others. Some have said Co-dependent. Now you have had a peak inside.

I hope this is an enjoyable experience.

Jeanne Holmquist

August 31, 2012





Monday, January 21, 2013

New Day

So, Today is Monday January 21, 2013. It is Martin Luther King Day a sometimes celebrated only in some neighborhoods holiday. It is also Inauguration Day. How ironic we are swearing in a President on a National Holiday for a man that supported the idea of equality among all of us.

I got up this morning and turned on CSpan and watched the Pomp and Circumstance. I love that stuff. Called my sister and reminded that this only happens once every 4 years and the kids should be aware. I am one who pays attention to what Michelle wore today. Elegant and classy. I would say like Jackie Kennedy but some would be offended. Oh well. She looks lovely and so do her daughters. Growing up in the White House has to be one of those surreal things. Growing up in the only American Castle.

On this day there will be celebrations across the country celebrating the Freedoms that people have gained in their life time. If you consider that a woman or black man could have only dreamed to be President in the 1960's. Some were shocked that a Catholic white man could be elected then.  The future of children today the sky is no longer the limit. There is no limit to what someone with an education and the will to try can accomplish. 

When you look back, and forward at the same time the present is right in front of you. George Washington said that electing and sitting a first president did not make this country great but it was the election of the second president and transferring of power is what will make this country different. We have now done this 50+ times in this countries history over the last 200 years. We can as a people accomplish anything we set our minds to. I do not think the our For Fathers were so incredibly smart beyond our understanding. I think they were very careful with their chosen words. They did not expect their document to last 200 years they were expecting to re write the document. But now it is revered like the Bible. Words written in a time so long ago that they never could have known what time and technology would bring us. But here we are 2000 years after some of the bible stories were first told and 200 years after our country was formed. We still argue over some of the same things. Freedom, Gun Control, Liberty.

Lets see there may not have been guns but 2000 years ago there were wars fought over land, personal freedom and religion. And 200 years ago wars fought over again land, personal freedom and religion. So I can only imagine that another 200 years or 2000 years if men and women still walk this earth there will still be people fighting over the same things. Yet hopefully there will still be Presidents being elected and Popes being selected in the same fashion as it has been happening for generations. There is some stability in this world and one day we will find away to find Peace as well. Maybe not in controlling guns or land holders and there will no longer be slaves in any form not only in our country but in the world.

Tonight when the news shows Michelle and Barack dancing at the inauguration ball. Notice the smile on their faces the love they have. The joy that they can share these moments with their children and the world. This great country allows such a freedom for a black man to not only be elected president but to be re-elected. And even if all the events are not open to the public you can watch them happen on TV. Take pride in the fact that you live here and have the right and obligation to not only live in this country but to participate in the process. Jury Duty, Voting, serving in the Armed Services, teaching our children the ways of the past and show them how bright their future can be if they only have the will to succeed and they get a good education any American kid can grow up to be President of the United States of America.