Thursday, June 29, 2006

Customer Service
Lately it seems I've had lots of interaction with Customer Service situations. I've made some observations.

The other day I walked into CompUSA and I barely set foot inside the store when a group of SIX employees immediately turned toward the door, and upon seeing me, they ALL had to greet me with an over-enthusiastic hello. Wouldn't it be good enough if just one of you said hello? Three of them then asked me if I needed help with anything. I said no and walked to the back of the store. Whatever I was there for was not in the back of the store, but I just wanted to get away from the gang of attention that had bombarded me at the door.

Not 3 minutes later, another employee walks over to me and asks if I need any help. I said no, again. Then right after I paid for my purchase and turned to go out the door, TWO MORE employees who were sitting in an office, away from the door, having a conversation, STOPPED their conversation to tell me to have a nice day.

I'm a little weird about employees offering help in a store. If I need it, I will ask. Obviously you work there. There is no need to hunt me down and try to help me. I will come find you. And I probably won't need attention from all 13 of you at once.

For Father's Day, I went to church with my parents at their church. I arrived a few minutes earlier than I intended, but I was okay with this because as a Visitor I get to park in the Visitor parking spaces, and I would get prime pick of the spots closest to the door (for my escape later). BUT, I couldn't get to the very first space because two men were standing in the middle of the row and they didn't move. So, rather than run them over (I was at church, after all), I pulled into another spot and got out of my car.

That's when I discovered the purpose of these two men. No sooner had I shut my car door behind me, Parking Lot Greeter #1 was at my car, handing me a large 4-color glossy brochure about the church, and giving me detailed instructions on where to find a group of ladies at the Information booth who would then help me to anything I needed inside the church. Seriously, it was an Attack Greeting. The church has moved greeting from inside the actual building and they are now proactively grabbing people in the parking lot before we have a chance to drive away again.

Fortunately I saw my parents drive up before he could sign me up as a lifetime member during my first 30 seconds in the parking lot, so I told him I saw who I was meeting, thanks very much, and I headed inside. Actually, I hid behind a cement pylon to watch for my parents to get to the door, so that I wouldn't be greeted by anyone else. I held on to the brochure. I figured if I kept one in my hand the whole time I was there, no one would try to give me another one. They would all see that I had been sufficiently greeted.

More often than not, it seems like Customer Service is just really bad. I understand it's not a fun job, and it probably isn't all that rewarding to answer calls from unhappy people all the livelong day. But it's not our fault. And obviously if we could help ourselves, we would love more than anything not to have to spend time with you on the phone in an unpleasant conversation.

The other day I finally decided to call about my cable internet service. It goes in and out all day, everyday. But I've put off calling about it because that means I have to make time for the Customer Service people to come to my house between 8am and Never to see what's going on.

But, I called. And the guy I got on the phone would not stop talking long enough for me to describe the problem, or ask a question, or for me to answer any of his questions. I would get one word in and he would go off on a tangent about something computery that I don't care about. Then he started scheduling a time for the technician to come to my house without even asking me when a good time would be. Then, I told him when I was available and he said he couldn't schedule that far ahead because the calendar only goes ahead two weeks, so he would have to put me on the schedule for a time we both know I am not available, and then I would have to call back in a few days to reschedule and hope that their calendar could look that far ahead.

Sometimes I think they just make this stuff up because I hear a different story every time.

I never have a good experience with SBC (now AT&T). I had to call this week to clear up some stuff for my church's phone line. I was dreading it. It took two of my lunch hours. The first time I called I was passed around to 4 different people, because even though they send you ONE bill with internet and phone charges on it, to clear the entire bill you have to talk to separate departments: internet, then phone. I had to explain the situation at least 4 times. The last time they put me on hold for so long, I just had to hang up so I could go back to work.

And you when you are on hold, you literally have no control. They could leave you there forever. You can't even push a button or start talking and say, "Hey, I have to go, so are we making any progress? Are you coming back?" You can't even keep the progress you've made after being on the phone for an hour. If you have to go, or hang up, you have to call back and start completely over.


And don't think that putting me on hold keeps me from talking to you. I talk while I'm on hold. I ask you where you've gone. I ask you what you are doing. I even ask you out sometimes. If they happen to be recording me on hold, I imagine they are probably leaving me there longer because they are getting a kick out of how mad I am getting while I'm on hold.

All that is to say, I do have one favorite example of good Customer Service. Every time I go into a Quik Trip gas station store, I walk out feeling like they know how to treat customers. One person will greet you when you come in, but they are not hovering around waiting to do something for you after they see you've entered the store. They are fast when they ring up your purchase. They don't hassle you or try to sell you more stuff than you want while you are in the store.

And the best part is this: When you leave, they say "See you next time." Every time. That is what they say. And you know what? I find that really pleasant, calming, and it makes me want to come back again.

Why? Because they didn't ask me to come back. They didn't pressure me to return, or make some false cheesy gimmicky statement. And what they said is absolutely true. The next time I am there, they will see me.

And yes, Quik Trip. I will see you next time.


Uh . . . Wimbledon?
I woke up this morning, looked out into my backyard, and I saw three tennis balls in a variety of places in the yard.

The nearest tennis court is probably at least a mile away.

Naturally, I can conclude one of two things:

1. It rained tennis balls last night.

2. Those Wimbledon tennis players can hit the ball REALLY far. And they're not very good. My backyard is definitely outside the white line.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

America's Got a Freakish Idea of What Talent is
So, I'm watching the wannabee American Idol show, America's Got Talent. I've seen a total of about 17 minutes of it and I have yet to see any actual talent.

- "Cool" tap-dancing guys who are "cool" because they have product in their hair and torn jeans.

- Leonid the Magnificent, who is the tallest thing on the planet, wears angel wings and body glitter, and who somehow makes all of that even weirder by balancing, then dropping, then balancing a sword on his face

- Several people who can't sing

- A girl who plays the harp and sings for like, 15 seconds. It was the airiest voice I have ever heard, but the British judge dude said it was absolutely magnificent. I think he might not hear so good.

- A "cool" magician who is cool because he wears sunglasses and has rap music

- A guy playing guitar and singing through his legs

These people sit in the audience and wait for Regis to call them up, and then Faux Simon, Affirmative Action Paula (aka Brandy), and The Hasselhoff make comments and vote.

I don't even know who this Faux Simon guy is. Simon's brother? He's not even as mean, so it's not nearly as fun to watch him.

And, really. Hasselhoff? This is who we pick to be the judge of America's talent or lack thereof? The guy whose only talent is to run in slow motion in a swimsuit on a beach? It's funny to hear him judge whether people can sing or not. Heee...

Oh wait, now they brought back Leonid to "have a conversation" with him to decide if he has enough talent to come back to the next round. Apparently, America has talent if you can talk your way into it.

But this guy is Russian, so really he shouldn't be on the show. And America still has NO talent. But now Leonid is BACK on the show to put more body parts in peril with that sword.

I'm going to go ahead and say right now that it is my new goal in life to be the Non-Celebrity Judge-of-the-People on every "talent" show on T.V. Someone needs to represent the common man. I am a MUCH better judge of talent than your average Actual Celebrity Judge.

- American Idol? Put me in there next season after Randy, before Paula. I will speak truth and give the perspective of the voters, since what the judges actually say doesn't quite tap into what people are actually voting for.

- So You think You Can Dance? I can't dance. And I know it. But I know bad or annoying dance when I see it, and I know better than to attempt to dance in public or for a prize of any kind. And I would LOVE the opportunity to rid the world of a few more people who can't, in fact dance. And who don't, in fact, have rhythm. Let me judge.

- Last Comic Standing? I'm no comedian, but I'm really freakin' hilarious. But what's more important is that I know what is and ISN'T funny. And being so personally and naturally funny, it is hard for other people to make me laugh on purpose. Few standup comics have ever ellicited a chuckle from me. So, sure enough I am more than qualified to whittle the lot down to who should be the last comic standing. Let me judge.

- America's Got Talent? Put me in there next to Prandy (Paula-Brandy. Seriously, she has been taking notes from Paula. She has standing-ovated like, 17 people in the 17 minutes I've been watching) and let me talk some sense into these people. I actually AM America, you see. So, let ME be the judge of if we have talent or not.

People, my talent actually IS JUDGING!! I am NATURALLY GOOD AT IT. I practice a lot. Therefore, I should be on EVERY judging show. No matter the genre.

I don't want to see a guy balance a motorcycle on his chin. THAT IS NOT TALENT! That is weird. And it's not safe.

Safety first, people. Talent second.


PS: Why does it increase the probability of talent to beatbox with your shirt OFF, as opposed to on and fully clothed? Is part of the talent actually the shirtlessness? I just don't understand.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Even after a long day of work. . .
No matter how you look at me, I'm still googly-eyed.

Thanks, dad, for pointing that out to the worldwide interweb.


P.S. It has occured to me that I may have damaged some of the mystique of being The Tyrant by posting so many pictures of myself in my blogging habitat.

Oh well.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Apparently this is what I look like when I blog

Yep, genius at work.


Blogging with the Macbook is SOOOO much better than blogging with the old PC.

It's like I've made a fresh start in life over the past two days of having the Macbook.

It's just absolutely liberating.

And, it's just really, really pretty.

This is the first laptop I've ever owned, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to accidentally drop it and break it into a million pieces any second now.

It's also the first computer I've ever purchased. My dad usually hooks me up with his old ones when he gets a new one. I've had my PC for about 5 years or so. Maybe longer. It's been a good machine. 7.92 Gigs of hard drive space, God bless it...

But, everyone should get one of these Macbooks. Seriously. Go get one right now.

It will change your life.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I've adopted a child from China
People say it's really hard and stuff, but I just ordered him or her (I don't care which. I will be happy with whatever God blesses me with) on the internet on Saturday and he or she will be here by Monday. With a credit card, you can order just about anything on the internet these days.

I do have a picture.

Isn't he or she absolutely adorable??

He or she left China on Tuesday. By now, he or she is somewhere in the States, soon to arrive at my door.

I can't wait!

I plan to have a long and happy life with him or her.

Welcome to America, my son. Or daughter.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Be still my heart
So, I'm a little bit obsessed with The Discovery Channel. I watch it pretty much all the time. (I even clicked over during the really scary moments of Game 6 tonight. Turns out, the whole game was scary and sad... but The Discovery Channel helped me through it.)

I love The Discovery Channel so much because I am a huge nerd. I love shows about how thing work, or places I've never been, or things I've never seen.

Plus, I found my two new boyfriends:

1. Mike Rowe

He hosts a show called Dirty Jobs and it is AWESOME. I think I love him.

2. Danny Forster

He hosts Extreme Engineering, and not only is it like, one of the most super cool shows ever, he's super cute. And I think I love him, too.

Super cuteness mixed with super smartness mixed with shows that make learning stuff fun?

All over it.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Well, at least I know it isn't me...
I watched Game 3 and Game 4 with a bunch of friends last Tuesday and Thursday. The Mavs played terribly in both of those games and they lost miserably.

Naturally, I figured it must be me. Something cosmic about my presence with friends was affecting the Mavs in Miami. So, tonight I watched at home. For the team.

But no. Turns out, it is JOSH HOWARD calling a timeout FOR NO GOOD REASON with 1.9 seconds left in overtime and a Dwyane Wade free-throw still to come.

Yep. Nothing at all to do with me.


My Take on Basketball
Don't get me wrong, I love basketball. I'm watching the Mavs. I'm a fan. I even played basketball in school. I know the rules, I know some of the players, I know strategy. I can watch intelligently. I do enjoy the game.

But my take on it is this: We don't really need to halves to the game.

In fact, we should just get rid of the whole first half entirely. It's not necessary. It essentially has no bearing on the outcome of the game. You can be winning at halftime, and still lose the game. You can be down by 20 points at halftime, but come back to win in the second half.

In the meantime, it wears me out to watch 4 hours of basketball just to find out who wins the game in the end. Plus, it's just too stressful.

So, I propose this:

1. Get rid of the first half.
2. Don't even start with halftime. Everyone hates the halftime show anyway. Just get rid of that, too.
3. Start both teams with 50 points.
4. All players start with 2 fouls.
5. In place of a first half and to get everyone warmed up, start with a game of HORSE.

I estimate all of this lasts about 2 hours. So, if a game starts at 8:00, we can all be in bed by 10:30 at the latest.

Now, don't get me started on overtime. I hate it (like I'm watching right now in Game 5. It just totally stresses me out and keeps me up way past my bedtime).

BUT, since we obviously can't end in a tie, we have to do something. So, instead of playing another 5 minutes of overtime, end in a game of PIG. It's the same as HORSE, only a shorter word that takes less time to spell.

It's genius.

Now, back to the last 1:29 of overtime... if I can stay awake.


This one's for the Dads out there

Happy Father's Day, to my Rad Dad, and all the dads out there.

From your dad-appreciative Tyrant,

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Two things that made me a nerd this week
I do lots of things every week that make me a nerd. This week there were a couple of extra things.

1. I bought a new water sprinkler on Wednesday, and I was so excited about it that I almost couldn't wait until Friday (my next designated watering day) to use it. It targets the smaller areas of my yard that are not best served by my other sprinklers that go for distance.

It was a wise investment. And totally worth the wait until I could try it out yesterday.

2. Today, Phoebe #4 and I went to the local auditions for The Amazing Race Season 11. We were going to send in a tape, but I forgot about it before the deadline. Fortunately, I saw online this week that TAR was coming HERE. How could we pass that up???

We wore our matching Team Phoebe shirts, ate Brazillian food before we went, and we successfully followed a map to get to the location of the auditions. All things that are good signs that we would rock on the show.

Honestly, though, it was kind of anti-climatic. As much as I love reality TV and I have a lifelong dream to be on reality TV, we were in and out of the audition in like, 10 minutes. We already had our applications filled out. There was not a line. We just showed up, they handed us a number, and 5 minutes later we were standing in front of a guy with a camcorder, telling our story.

It was a bit unsettling. I felt a little "off" once the camera started. It's hard to sum up into just two minutes all the fabulous reasons why they would be STUPID not to put me on their show. But, we did have matching shirts. So, we've got that going for us.

Afterwards, we found out that Season 11 of TAR will be a race acros North America. I'm hoping that's not correct. I mean, IF we are picked, I will still totally go. But, I hated the family season when they stuch everyone in Tahoes and made them drive all over the country. I'd rather see the world. But, shoot. I'll take what I can get. If they want to put me on TV in a Tahoe, sign me up.

Also, just as we started taping our two-minute audition, the local news station set up their camera and started filming us filming our audition. So that was a little distracting. But, we did make the local news tonight. In our matching shirts. Because we're awesome.

So, at this point in my life, my fifteen minutes of fame is at 1.2 seconds.

I've got a ways to go.

PICK US, TAR 11!!!

But if not, I do have that cool water sprinkler to entertain me.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Funk in an elevator
Smellin' it up when you're goin' down...

I work in an office building that requires me to ride in an elevator several times a day to get to and from my cubicle home-away-from-home. After two years of this, I think it's time that I point out a few things of an aromatic nature.


The elevator is NOT your personal space. We all have to spend some time in the elevator at some point during the day, which means we all need to treat that shared space as kindly as possible. Thusly, there are things that might be okay for you at home (perhaps), or in your car (gross), but that are NOT okay in an elevator under any circumstances.


Obviously it is illegal to smoke in an elevator. But, several times during the week I get in an EMPTY elevator and I am overwhelmed by the stench of smoke that someone has left behind from her most recent outdoor smoke break. And that is NOT OKAY. Fine, if you need the smoke break. I am not going to deny you that. But for goodness sakes and out of consideration for the rest of us who may not smoke or may not want to smell like you do, take an extra 5 minutes after you finish smoking, walk around the building and AIR OUT before you bring your smoke-infested self into our shared elevator.

And really, if you smoke so much that by spending 10 seconds in an elevator you manage to infest that space with the smell of smoke so much that it lingers long after you've LEFT the elevator just because of the smoke contained in your clothing, and that smell in turn clings to everyone else who enters the elevator long after you've been in it, you might consider cutting back a bit on the cigarette habit. Just a thought...

This is almost a more serious issue than the smoke because it is SO disgusting. And seriously people, in an office building, aren't we all adults??? I mean, really. FARTING IN THE ELEVATOR?? And then LEAVING for someone else to walk into a contained fart bomb? Seriously, who does that??? Fart and run...

Whether you are doing it on purpose, or you just forget that you are not at home and you let one rip, please know that even we if we don't know WHO you are, we all know WHAT you've done. Farts do not disappear very quickly when they have nowhere to go. If you fart in an elevator, rest assured that the people who get in the elevator after you leave have been assaulted by your offense long after you've moved on from it.

And this, my friends, is NOT OKAY.


PS: For those of you who know where I work, please do not come to my building and fart or smoke in the elevator next week just because you think it's funny. Although actually, that would be kinda funny. But kinda weird. And I would have to pretend I didn't know you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New Rule
I am no longer allowed to watch 48 Hours: Mysteries at home alone, at night, ESPECIALLY on a school night.


This rule is in addition to the currently standing rule of no scary movies at home alone at night, especially on a school night.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Water Restrictions are lame. And dumb.
Within the past few days, my city has enacted Level Three water restrictions, due to drought and no rain and apparently not having enough water in the lakes. "Level Three" makes it sound all serious and stuff. The basic rules are this:

1. I can only water my yard using a sprinkler on trash pick-up days, which for me is Tuesday and Friday.

2. I can't wash my car, hose off the driveway, or the house, or basically put water anywhere that isn't grass or lansdscape.

3. I can water my foundation using a soaker hose any old time I want, or I can water my landscape and yard with a handheld sprayer any old time I want, if I want to stand there and spray water at the dirt for hours on end.

4. No watering between 10am and 6pm.

I mean, I'm all for water conservation. I already adhere to most of the rules anyway. I don't water between 10 and 6, I don't wash my car (that's what the carwash places are for, people!), and I don't usually wash my house (except now that I CAN'T wash it, birds have decided to poop all over my back door and siding. It's like they KNOW I can't do anything about it. How do birds poop sideways, anyways???)

But, I oppose city enforced water restrictions. The restrictions seem to not actually save water, and serve mostly to make the whole yard watering process frustrating and difficult. Which, maybe that's how they win in the end. People are so frustrated with the restrictions, they just give up trying to water anything, thus saving water.

Anyway, my reasons for being anti-water-restrictions are severalfold.

1. I can't water during the day (see Rule #4). I'm at work anyway. So, I either have to get up earlier to turn on the sprinkler, or water in the evening, on my designated days. But, I'm not usually home on Tuesday or Friday evenings. So, if I miss one, does that mean I can't water again until the next Tuesday or Friday? My lawn will not survive a whole week without water. But my lawn should not be punished for me having to work at night sometimes (or not wanting to get up early.... ever).

2. Since I can't necessarily be home every Tuesday or Friday night, I think we should get to pick which two days work best for us to water. Who are you to tell me which days my lawn gets water? Rude.

3. Every street has at least a few people who just never water their yards, no matter if restrictions are in place or not. They don't seem to care if their yard looks like crap. I, however, enjoy a nice, green lawn. So, for every neighbor who routinely goes all week without watering, I should get an extra day of water that week. Right? Technically, they have instructions to water two days a week, but they CHOOSE to forego their water ration. Therefore, I should get it. It's only fair.

4. If there is bird poop on your house, you should be allowed an exception to hose it off.

5. If my lawn gets so dried up from these water restrictions that it doesn't come back anymore, the city should have to buy me a new one. FRONT AND BACK!

6. If it were up to me, I would water my yard every two to three days, for about 30-45 minutes in each place where I move my sprinkler. I have a timer on the hose so that even if I leave the house or forget about the sprinkler, it still shuts off according to whatever time I set it.

BUT, now that I can only water two days a week, I actually water LONGER on those two days. And I water EVERYTHING on or near the grass to make sure ALL of the grass is getting watered. Which means sometimes the concrete gets a little more watered than it should (even though that's against the rules), but since I now have limited time to get EVERYTHING watered, I can't spend as much time fine-tuning where my sprinklers hit. Which means, I'm probably actually using MORE water in my efforts to work around the two day a week mandate. This seems to be the OPPOSITE of the goal of the water-saving restriction plan, doesn't it?

Basically, I applaud efforts to conserve water. There are responsible ways to water and still have a nice yard and landscape. But, I don't think the city should get to tell me when and how to water.

It just causes too many problems for me. And I'm too chicken to cheat and water on the wrong day. Everyone on my street could water on the wrong days, water the house, water the birds WHILE they poop on the house, and have a waterfall in the front yard. But the FIRST time I would water on the wrong day, I would be the one person on my street to get caught and hauled off to Water Restriction Prison to be made an example of to the community of bad, very bad, water behavior.

I'm kinda thirsty now, with all this water writing. I'd better go check to make sure I can drink water on Mondays.