audience, Author, customer service, customers, life lessons, money, shopping, Uncategorized, writing

First Impressions

Last week my job ordered lunch for our team from an upscale pizzeria, Buddy’s. Another location of the same chain opened about two weeks on my street and I was wondering how the food would taste. Needless to say I was disappointed. Other than the lasagna, which was delicious, the rest of the pasta was flat and tasteless and the salad looked like someone just opened one of those instant salads you can buy at the grocery store. The restaurant which could have gained me as a customer failed to impress me, so I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

The same is true for me and my relationship with Sonic restaurants. I tried them at first three years ago when one opened around the corner from me. I ordered a chili dog and got home to discovered a bun with nothing but chili in it which completely turned me off the restaurant chain. I haven’t visited since.

These restaurant’s loss of my business is the reason first impressions are important, no matter what type of business you run.  So go all out. Don’t be shy. Dare to impress your potential clientele. If you don’t wow your customer or your reader from the start, chances are you’ve lost them for good.

 

Advertisements
Standard
cultural understanding, customers, family, holidays, life lessons, shopping

What Happened to the Holidays?

When I think back to the family holiday celebrations when I was a child growing up in the 80’s, I remember the family gathering at my grandmother’s house. The food would be set around the dining room table and the desserts on her buffet. Mom and Aunt Pat would see what needed to be done in the kitchen. It wasn’t yet known if Aunt Pam would be making a guest appearance, even though she literally lived right around the corner. My grandmother would have every thing covered in that cheap plastic wrap she used to buy, the food barely covered. We’d hold hands to bless the food, one random adult selected to say the prayer. Everyone would say Amen and we’d commence to making plates.

It was a guessing game as far as the meats, pick one at your own risk. Grandpa was a hunter, so you were subject to get raccoon, rabbit, or even goat on your plate. I remember the Christmas where my Uncle Phillip, jockeying for position to get closer to the bowl of chitlin’s knocks over several of my Grandmother’s house plants, spilling dirt every where. It’s thirty years later and he still can’t live that one down.

Now we wouldn’t eat at the dining room table, so everyone would take their paper plates out to the living room. God forbid if you spilled any of the red pop on the carpet. After everyone was stuffed, we’d either see what was on the TV or the rest of the evening would be spent catching up on family events. Aunt Pam would show up with her family, right after the dishes were washed and all the clean up work was done. ; )

These holiday celebrations from years past live on only in old photographs. The kids are adults now, some with kids of their own. Uncle Junior, my mother’s baby brother has been sleeping in his grave since 1999, Grandpa followed a few years later, and this year Grandma joined them in eternity. My parents have been divorced for years, Aunt Pat is still up in Grand Rapids, and Aunt Pam and one of her daughters are hours away in St. Louis. Life happened between then and now, which is why those holidays spent together are so precious.

Those are times that we can never get, which is why I don’t understand people nowadays. Instead of spending the holidays with their loved ones, they’d rather spend it in a tent outside a store, waiting to buy some item they don’t really need. When did Thanksgiving or the other holidays become so twisted? With today’s society and everybody focused on me, me, me, and what I need, they forget the real meaning. Worse yet, their shopping habits affect the poor people who work at these stores.

My mother works for a retail giant, the head of her office which is vital to the running of the store. We can’t spend the holiday together because she works Thanksgiving morning and then has to report to work at midnight the same evening to be ready for Black Friday. Now our holiday dinner has to scheduled before or after the actual holiday because some executive who’s having his holiday meal catered by the help decides they can make a lot of money on Thanksgiving. All so somebody’s kid can have that nice new tablet or laptop, which truth be told is last year’s model anyway. It’s something you might want to consider if  you decide to venture out on Thanksgiving to shop.

Standard
Chicklit, Indie Author, Uncategorized

I Am a Serial Complainer

My name is Joi and I’m a serial complainer.

Last October to celebrate the release of our first book,The Body Hunters, Von and I decided to go out to dinner. We went to a popular chain restaurant with a couple friends and our editor, Reggie. Now Reggie is blind (blind people have it going on by the way) and she had her guide dog, Brooks, who now is happily retired and lives with Von. I had some errands to run that day, so I showed up a little while after everyone else arrived.

When I get there, Von is talking about cutting a broad and she didn’t say broad, I’m just keeping it PG. She’s got her purse open and she’s pulling out her scalpel, piano wire, and other tools of mayhem. I ask her what’s wrong and she says the ignorant heifer of a hostess threw a hissy fit when Reggie walked in with Brooks. The girl screamed at them about how they couldn’t come into the restaurant with pets. Von explained that Brooks, who’s clearly on a harness for guide dogs is not a pet. Then the girl starts talking about how she hates dogs like they just walked in with a pit bull. Long story short, the girl made this blind, breast cancer survivor feel like she wasn’t welcome in the establishment. I told Von to calm down, just let me shoot the corporate headquarters an email and all would be fine.

I sent the company an eloquently worded email that evening explaining the situation. A couple days later I got an email back from corporate and from the restaurant manager who assured me the situation would be taken care of. They even sent $25 worth of gift cards just to make it right. But they weren’t fooling me, Reggie had a potential lawsuit, but we weren’t interested in going that route. The gift card was fine. A few months down the line Von and her husband Ray go to the restaurant with the gift card and the waitress asks how they got it. Von explains what happened and the waitress said that the offending hostess was fired for that incident. Problem solved.

I have a habit of stopping almost daily at a chain of gas stations, right around the corner from work. Tuesday I went in and over hear one of the cashiers asking her manager if she can leave early. He says no, there’s too much to do at the store. Not thinking anything more of it, I say Hi to one of the workers there who knows me as a regular. My mother’s a dialysis patient the same as her boyfriend, so we happened to see each other at the Kidney Walk. We catch up and I grab my stuff and go to pay for it. Now the manager is outside grabbing trash, leaving the girl who couldn’t get home early to ring up customers. She’s taking her sweet time putting money in the safe, while the number of customers waiting in line behind me is multiplying. I’ve had enough attitudes in my life to know one when I see one. She’s pissed because she couldn’t leave, she’s gotta work the rest of her shift and doesn’t care if customers have to wait. As if for verification of the state of her attitude, she starts ringing my stuff up without a word and says nothing to me until she gives me my total.

I go to work and marinate on that situation and get a little irritated. I’ve worked customer service for years and know that you don’t take out your frustrations on your customers. Like I did in the previous situation, I got home and sent an email to corporate. The next day they sent an email back and today I got a call from that store manager. Now he was very apologetic and didn’t want to lose me as a customer. I assured him I just wanted him to know about the behavior and like always I went there to gas up before work.

If you never speak up, how do people know they’re doing wrong? I’m not saying do it every time, your power to complain should be used sparingly, otherwise you’re a nuisance. You don’t have to be nasty and go on an expletive loaded tirade. If you have a complaint, it goes a lot smoother with courteous words. Your comments don’t even have to be all negative. If you get outstanding service, the road goes both way. Let the person know you like how they did XYZ.

If I spend money somewhere and I don’t get the service or the quality I pay for, then I have the right to complain. If I don’t tell a manager right then and there, then I’m going to send an email to their HQ to get it rectified. Now being a complainer doesn’t mean I just go around woe is me I hate my life, I hate my job. See that’s getting into the realm of being a crybaby and nobody likes a crybaby.

Standard