Friday, May 20, 2011

Customer Service

I had two customer service experiences today.

The first one was with Sears. I had a giftcard for Sears and I decided to get some car work done there and use the card. It wasn't my first choice, but I figured I already had money in the bank there.

It took 3 1/2 hours to complete the work that they promised would be done in 2 1/2 hours. In response to this they kept me updated on what was going on and apologized for the length of time. Because they used the basic customer service principle of setting expectations, I never felt like the hour was a waste. Good so far.

I start to drive home and I heard a noise. I heard an awful noise. Coming from under the hood I hear a screaching noise. This concerns me as the only real work I had done was a new tire and battery service.

I pull off to the side of the road and look under the hood and I can tell it's coming from the fan. The fan is also not moving because a tool is wedged into the fan casing and against the blades. I shut off the engine. I now have to get the engine cool enough and figure out how I can safely reach down (or up from underneath) to get this tool out of my fan. This sucks. I get home one hour later.

I talked to their manager today and told him what happened. He begins by telling me that he is "at the losing end of this discussion" and that I should tell him "what will make it right." I did tell him, and he agreed and Sears will have my business again. It cost them very little to keep me as a customer.

My other experience was at my doctor's office. Had a 10 o'clock appointment to address my chronic cough that I've had for 3 weeks. What passes for normal at my clinic is that the 10 o'clock appointment is really more like 11 o'clock and getting out at noon for a 15 minute office visit isn't a huge surprise. Today though I explained that I needed to get out of there on time.

10:40 rolls around and I've not been called by the nurse yet. I have my older son who I'm taking to school at 11:10. The school is about 10 minutes away so I figured that the hour and 10 minutes cushion was enough for a short office visit. They indicated that it should be.

I finally get someone and they tell me I can go wait in an exam room but the doctor would not be with me for awhile. So basically I could wait in a different place where I wouldn't bug anyone about what time it was.

I explain my problem and how I didn't have all day to wait and asked if they would honor the appointment time they made for me. The nurse told me there was nothing she could do. She got her manager.

The manager pretty much explained the same thing. They're running late and there's nothing they can do. She did say that I could see the doctor on time if I got an earlier appointment. Apparently only the first person who sees the doctor in that clinic gets their appointment time, everyone else has to wait.

She offered to call my son's school. That was a nice offer but I explained to her that I pay for my son's school and I don't pay for him to wait with me at the doctor. They said if I took him to school and came back they would make sure someone saw me. I asked how this was possible to do this in the future, but not now. How could someone see me when I got back if they couldn't see me when I was there for my actual appointment.

I raised enough hell to get the doctor to see me but like clockwork I have to leave to take my son to school. I told her I'd be back in 20 minutes. The doctor didn't get the memo about seeing me when I got back and told me she didn't want to wait 20 minutes.

I can believe that if my auto insurance company paid for my tire and the garage was getting their pay from a 3rd party I can bet the tool lodged in my fan would just get lost in the shuffle, similar to my doctor's visit.

After the complaining I did today I will probably need to check my butthole and make sure the doctor didn't leave anything in there.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Perfume smells or Poo Poo smells

A female co-worker has explained to me that there is a spray can in the women’s restroom which has a notice on it that it should not be used due to allergies.  This is very much how my company works.  The people here like to put notes on things.

When I first started the two stalls in the upstairs men’s bathroom had a note above them explaining in a whiney fashion how to properly use the toilet from the standing position.  Apparently someone years ago got some pee on the toilet seat and this now deserved a notice.

Back to the women’s bathroom.  The note also explains that the use of a spray will be available again as soon as a suitable non-scented alternative can be found.  In the meantime everyone smells what goes on in that room.

I have allergies and I can sympathize with people who are impacted by scent.  I wonder how many people have an averse reaction of smelling everyone else’s bowel movements?  Does this even make sense?  Everyone has to smell each other’s fecal matter because someone may get a temporary headache or a runny nose from potpourri?

What reasonable arrangements can be made in this case.  One thing is for sure:  Everyone is smelling something they don’t want.  Whatever the solution is, I know that in this place it will be handled by a small sign.  Idiots.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bad at picking friends

I have some good friends in my life. I'm not a person who has made a great number of friends but the friends I've made I've had for a very long time. They're people I could count on in almost any situation. They've stuck by my side through the ups and downs of life and have celebrated the awesome times and gently guided me in the bad times. I'm fortunate.

I have a five year old son who is in the beginning stages of picking friends. He already seems discriminate as he looks for those unwritten character qualities that makes a lasting friend.

As a country, the USA is pretty awful at making friends. Outside of countries that are the equivalent of family (UK, Canada, Australia, and even France) we can't seem to make a lasting ally. The Shaw of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Bin Laden and other Mujahideen. All of these friends we eventually had to turn our back on or outright kill. But not after handing over billions in foreign aid first.

Now we're using NATO, a treaty that exists to defend ourselves against an enemy that no longer exists, to fight Muamar Gaddafi. Although not a full fledged friend, Gaddafi was at least a guy who was receiving some aid and up until a little while ago was on the "up and coming new friend" list under Bush and Obama.

Maybe it's not our friends that are the problem. Maybe it's the USA. Maybe it's because we're always so unsure of how to spell, or even pronounce, our friend's names. I had a girlfriend years ago whose last name I didn't know how to spell. Writing her name was a source of embarrassment as it showed that I didn't know the most basic thing about her. Osama? Usama? Kaddafi? Gaddafi? Is it SaDAMM or SADamm? We never knew.

I wonder who we're making friends with in Libya today that we'll need to kill in 20 or 30 years.