Monday, August 24, 2015

25 Years

     I went to my 25th High School reunion this weekend.  When I was invited a couple months ago, it didn't really seem possible.  I mean, I'm still like 29 right ... so how could that math work.  I was a bit nervous for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was that I didn't grow up to become an entertainer, as was the goal at the time.  I was worried that they might be disappointed.  Isn't that silly.  To potentially deny yourself communion with some wonderful people because they might possibly be surprised in the path my life took.  After a bit of thought, I decided that there were probably a lot of us not doing what we wanted to do when we were 18, so I should get over myself.  And I'm so glad I did.
     There were so many beautiful and wonderful people there.  I graduated from a large high school, so I knew there would be people I didn't really know or couldn't remember, but there were a bunch whose faces came back to me quickly.  I've worked with thousands of people over the years and helped probably 10X that many more after 20 years in customer service, so names sometimes escape me.  Thankfully, I got help with some names and others just told me theirs outright, so it made it easier.  There were a lot of people that I wished would have come, so I could hug them and listen to their stories, but distance played a factor for many people I think.  My biggest wish was to see my best friend again, a woman who I have thankfully been recently reunited with.  I knew she'd never be able to come the great distance with her very hectic work schedule, but a girl can still wish.
     While I watched them chatting and catching up, it was like the years melted away.  I could close my eyes and remember them just as they were, really the way I still see them all.  There was the group of beautiful women in the corner - fashionable and chic, with easy laughter and warm smiles.  The strong, resilient ones who went from group to group, mingling and coaxing out updates on children and spouses.  The gregarious and persistent ones, gathering us for photos and jokes.  There were people who I respected immensely 25 years ago for their spirit and reminded me in only a moment why it was still true.  And there were boys, now men, I adored ... for their smile, their talent, their charm, their convictions.  It was good to see them happy, with wives, with children, with joy.
     There were so many kind words said to me, so many hugs and smiles.  It was a wonderful experience which I highly recommend.  As my father-in-law says, why wouldn't you go out on a limb, after all that's where the fruit is.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


     The customer is not always right.  In fact, they're probably not even right half the time.  I'd like to find the moron that invented that phrase and punch them in the throat.  The customer deserves to be treated courteously and fairly.  They should get all the goods and services that they paid for in the time frame that was stated at some point during the transaction.  If they ask for help, they should get it efficiently and without any lip.  Save that for the break room.
     The problem is that a huge chunk of them think that they're right all the time to the detriment of common sense, and sometimes, common decency.  Don't worry my loves, this isn't where I draw some line in the sand to defend Comcast.  Au contraire, it's actually those idiots that keep this myth alive.  You hear a recording of one of them give the textbook example of how to do everything wrong, and the backlash result is that every customer from Poughkeepsie to Albuquerque decides to get their dander up before they walk in the front door.  There's also plenty of poorly trained customer service reps out there that make it worse for the rest of us, too.
     Recently, I've had customers open my office door and walk in while I was on the phone (my office sits near the lobby and has windows - so they can see me).  Yesterday, an old crotchety woman not only opened my door but yelled at me to "get out and take care of the line" ... while I was working with another client in that very same office. When I grabbed one of my tellers for help a little early off her lunch break (don't worry, I made it right by her), the first person she helped said, "oh, were you on your break?"  When she said yes, and that she had come back early, the customer said, "good!  I'm glad you missed your break.  Maybe that'll make them hire more people."  Today, I told a guy he wasn't welcome back after he swore at me and a co-worker.  The swearing came after he said he'd come back next week to "break my balls" and when I said "pardon me?"  He said,"oh, I meant break your rug." Hilarity ensued from that point.
     I'll be honest with you.  I'm tired of this shit.  The wonderful and appreciative customers are few and far between anymore.  I enjoy helping other people to my core, but the focus has shifted from asking for help to demanding servitude which is a far cry from service.  I can't help but wonder if the disconnection between words and deeds that social media helps to perpetuate has increased this decline in civility, as well.  If you call some "faceless" person on the internet a bitch (or much worse) in a comments section ... maybe that makes it easier to do it to her face when she tells you there's a fee to cash your check.