Monday, May 07, 2007


Fortune is a magnificent word. As I type today I am filled with swirling emotions that cloud my mind and tears that cloud my eyes.

This is move week. After Saturday I will no longer live in this apartment. This is the apartment that I brought my two babies home to. This is the apartment that I have rearranged a million times to feng shui, or make more inviting, or more baby friendly.

When I walk outside I am surrounded by beauty - every season. I can spy several friends houses from my front porch. I can feel memories in every space I walk in, indoors and out.

The past few weeks I have felt so self-absorbed as I have tried to pack things, play with my kids, and not loose my sanity. I've been focused on boxes, on donation trips, on what to keep and what to sell. I've been consumed with being a full-time Mom with long nights alone and little sleep. Mostly I've spent my time trying hard NOT to start saying goodbye and not to let my emotions run me over.

Yet, as I sit here finally lost in my emotions (thanks to a movie clip from my Mom), I am overwhelmed with one feeling. Fortune. What a great fortune I was given here in this town. How incredibly fortunate I, no, we, have been to be enveloped by the friends here. Some we have had for what seems like a lifetime. Others that I know I will regret not knowing a lifetime. And incredibly fortunate for the family I have - the husband who is willing to leave for a month to start a new job with 100% faith in me that I'd get things done without going completely crazy. And I am grateful, as compared to the video, that it was only a month.

There is just so much. That is how I feel. There is just so much to say goodbye to. There are so many memories to try and hold on to. There are so many people to hug one last time.

Thank you everyone. For really making this place much more than a stopping point in my life. Thank you for the education, frustration, support, energy, new lives, and library of memories.

And please forgive me if I ignored you a little too much - or didn't always have the time to spend with you - or did not return all of your phone calls. It is a complete reflection of me and my crazy world, and not my love for you at all.

I feel like our move is a little like a fortune cookie. You get it, it has this great message, but you aren't sure what to make of it. California feels a lot like that for me. I'm not sure what to expect or what to envision. A lot like when I first moved here. So maybe fortune will be on my side again....

For now, consider yourself fortunate because there will be no more posting from me until the move is officially over!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Customer Service 101

I have been accused of some interesting things in my life. Some, unfortunately true. Like the time I told someone that I'd had 'Sex on the Beach'. I was referring to a drink - which I didn't have either. Nevertheless, it was a lie. And the guy I told it too soon after called me a liar. Some, fortunately false. Like the call I got from the Better Business Bureau when I worked for K, accusing me of some unfair business practices and horrid customer service. After a nice, drawn out letter-written battle, I got a respectful apology from the BBB and from the once offended student.

Being a red/blue personality has led me to some hard predicaments. My red personality wants to be fair in all my encounters, and my blue personality wants me to take all personal situations into account. This being said, I have always struggled to do what is right for the company and also for the customer.

You see, the customer is not always right. At least not be right in terms of being correct. Someone who only gave a ten dollar bill but swears they paid with a twenty, is not right. However it is also true that one negative comment or experience will spread like wildfire. A good comment or experience will only be related occasionally. I know this from having worked for fifteen plus years in the service industry. I know this from reading business strategy and methodology books. I know this from the anecdotal data on my Mommies Forum where women get together to chant, and where one discussion board is devoted solely to 'Businesses we love or hate'. Trust me, there is more hate than love there.

So it shouldn't surprise you now that I am about to share a 'hate' story with you. I have lots of good and lots of love - and sometimes I will post about the great service I always get at my neighborhood grocers , or the incredibly warm and respectful treatment I get from Wi&Wa's Dr (she has no website), or the fresh, delicious, and highly addictive food that I adore from Costa Vida.

Today's story isn't as lovely as any of the above mentioned. In fact, it is better worded here in it's original context:

A Load of Bull

What made me even madder was reading the comments. Several people talk about how the military wife shouldn't get special treatment since her hubby is in Iraq. That is neither here nor there. The radio station was having a contest FOR family members or stationed soldiers.

One person, Lloyd, even comments that given the nature of contests and people who try to win them, that no one can be trusted. He says:
"Ok Ok Ok, any radio jock will tell you that people will do whatever they feel is necessary to get ‘free stuff.’ They will beg, they will lie, they will even make up stories to make you believe that they really won something when they didn’t."

Later, in response to another comment which stated that KBULL's customer service needed some help, he replies:
"Customers? I think we will call them listeners. The radio stations do incredible work to prepare shows, showcase new music, AND they give out free stuff."

Wow - the absurdity is just leaking all of the place in those statements.

1 - Radio station listeners are customers. Any good program manager or program director will recognize that. Given that radio stations get money from sponsors and advertisers it is in their best interest to play the music that will be attract their 'customers' as well as produce commercials that are alluring to the 'customers' who are listening.
2 - The fact (or at least statement) that radio stations do incredible work to prepare their shows and showcase new music means nothing. This is their job. Should they fail to do a good job it doesn't hurt the listeners - there will always be other radio stations. Doing this says nothing about their good work ethic and relates directly to their attempts to stay in said business.
3 - 'AND they give out free stuff'. I just don't know where to start on this one. The whole notion that we are so indebted to radio stations for their act of giving out free stuff is just mind-boggling. Since E worked for two prominent radio stations I feel factual in saying this - RADIO STATIONS RECEIVE MOST OF THEIR FREE STUFF, FOR FREE! They are not buying concert tickets and then giving them away. The get promo tickets. Those amazing coffee mugs, foam fingers, and t-shirts - promotional items, usually made available to them for free by one of their advertisers.

While the situation with Emily's friend is unfortunate - and I've already expressed my opinion to K-BULL regarding it - my real sadness comes from the lack of common sense and customer service etiquette from both K-BULL and some of the bloggers' comments.

See here is the truth - K-BULL will stay on the radio. Maybe they'll issue an apology. Maybe they won't. They will get bombarded with people who are angry about the treatment of this woman. They will loose some listeners. They will probably mock this entire incident and continue to place blame on anyone but themselves. This will always happen as long as people who get treated badly do not stand up for themselves. You see, my blog comes after reading ten other blogs on this same incident. I have sent an email with the story out to all of my friends and posted it on my mommy forum. I am fueling the fire and I am ok if the fire doesn't burn down K-BULL.

What I am not ok with is people, like Lloyd, who have their heads stuck so far up their asses that they have deluded themselves into believing that behavior like this is excusable or at the very worst, ok! This is what I really want changed. Then, by the very nature of having people change stations like K-BULL would never be survive.

So they next time you get shoddy service, express it. You don't have to get all of your friends to call the place, just talk with the manager. Express it in calm tones and an open mind.

And the next time you get amazing service - above average service - express it too! After that McDonalds drive-thru employee treats you really nice and calls you Miss instead of Ma'am, grab your cell phone and call the 1-800 number they have posted on their window.

Either one makes a difference. And though I am far too much of a realist to think that any of this will extinguish all of the rude, incompetent Lloyds out there - it will make a difference in how you feel in situations and hopefully, in how the business acts in future situations.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's not you, it's me...

The dreaded line of 'It's not you, it's me'. Quite the staple of any relationship break up. You hate to be the one to hear it and you hate to be the one to use it, just because they might ask you to explain it more.

So here is my dilemma. I need a break-up. With my friends. No not all of them. Not even the majority of them. You know how you have those friends in your life who seem to call only to talk about themselves and always need you to wear your 'therapist' hat?

Well I seem to be surrounded by them. And I am so tired, physically, emotionally, mentally! Between the upcoming move, ending a rough semester of school, working on a convention, having two young kids, my own depression, and now finding out Wi has celiac disease - I just have a lot on my plate.

But they keep calling. One because her husband lost his job, can't seem to find another job, and they are in drama. They are always in drama. One because he just accepted that he is gay. No doubt he will need lots of love and support. One because her boyfriend dumped her and she really needs to talk.

And it's not just that - it's that every time we talk it is always about them. Like my friend just called, and I'm pooped and it is obvious. He asks how I am, I start explaining and when I am done, there is nothing. No response, no 'Gosh, that sucks' or 'How can I help' or 'That must be hard'. Instead, it turns right into the reason that he called me. How does he tell his best friend that he is gay.

And I just cannot do it. I cannot be the ones to walk them both through everything right now. I have my heart and soul and mind full. Right now I feel like I really need people to talk to.

So what do I do? I feel like ignoring their calls and their messages is mean, and just not me. Yet I feel like telling them I cannot be their friend anymore is mean too.

How do I say 'It's not you, it's me' and have it not hurt? I love these people. I really do. They have been wonderful people in my life at different times and for different reasons.

I just feel evil. Am I not trying to hurt them? Or am I not trying to hurt myself by having someone in the world that just might not like me.