Category Archives: management

10259330_715172081854832_8992840686047184098_nWhat happened to nice?

I wouldn’t even bother to say society needs a good dose of Miss Manners, Emily Post and a decent wrap on the knuckles with a ruler.  (except, I just did) Honestly, I think the concept of being nice or even remotely polite has gone along the way of the chicken trying to cross the damn road.

Forget the road, that chicken is trying to survive to  see another day of cracked corn and hope that little old couple comes down to feed them if they’re lucky…so it doesn’t have to cross the road!

Society has given up on the concept of NICE.  It’s better off walking in the ditch.  Not worth the effort.  Why even bother?

It’s short attention spans, loud volumes, fast paced environments, in the NOW technology, constantly walking up my ass at the grocery store and honking your damn (insert whatever model car here) horn before the light even turns green because I may be color blind and not realize the change in brightness indicates I should remove my foot from the brake…..these are some of the things that has led us down this path of….. fuck off behavior.

Seriously.

Laura Ingalls would be appalled.

Jack Hannah would say animals behave better.

Charlie Brown would say even Lucy, when she removes the football, is a kinder person.

What the hell has happened to being nice?  I don’t mean you have to be overly polite, like you’re trying to win the Nobel Peace Prize or hoping to be crowned Miss America and need to over compensate for your lack of not knowing the answer to your random question on politics, world peace or child labor.  Nor am I suggesting you pretend you’re up for an Academy Award and have to buy your way to the winners circle….enjoying this person’s company and clinking glasses with that person say they “really like you.”

That’s not it at all.

But. Damn, people.

Get a clue.

Get some common sense at least.

Maybe that’s what it is.  No common sense.  Can you get a pill at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for Common Sense deficiency?  If you made it a dummy pill – and labeled it would people automatically gain common sense just by thinking they were enhancing their common sense?

At work recently they’ve adopted a campaign.  A be kind to your co-worker campaign – it’s a nice place to work campaign.  I don’t know, maybe employees are getting beat up in the parking lot after work for their lunch money.   They want us to be friendly.  You know…..hold the elevator for people…..don’t hide behind plants….say hello….because after all “smiles are contagious.”

Yeah well so’s herpes.

You can get herpes from a friendly environment.

Thanks.

Every time I see a stranger, they greet me.  It’s like a secret email has gone out, “We don’t work among strangers.  We work among F R I E N D S.  If you see a stranger, don’t point and scream….just say hello!”

Are you shitting me?

I’m an Only Child.  I prefer strangers, they don’t bother me.  (Unless they want to kidnap you, then you have a problem.)  Strangers are usually quiet, unless they are my old upstairs neighbor but you know that already and that’s not a stranger, that was a neighbor.  Anyhow, most strangers are Q U I E T.

Now. At work. I can’t go to the bathroom without everyone I pass greeting me.  It’s like I’m on a parade.   You would think I’m running for a governmental office.  I’m hoping the next installment to this campaign will be confetti cannons.  Those of you who know me, know my love of confetti….and confetti cannons.

The first day it happened I was walking down the hallway and everyone I passed was “Hi-ing” and “Hello-ing” me.  About the third person that greeted me….I started to wonder what the hell was going on.  I mean it’s a big company, but have I EVER met any of these people?  Who the hell are these people?  Am I loosing my mind?  We don’t even work in the same department….

Tell me.

Now when I leave my padded desk area is it required I be on campaign mode?  Is this the goal? Should I automatically turn on the Queen’s wave (which, if you didn’t already know…it’s wrist, wrist, wrist….elbow, elbow, elbow) and royal co-worker charm?

What if I am NOT in THE MOOD? Can I help it if I have an “at rest bitch face” when in deep contemplative thought or just not wanting to be bothered?  No amount of my Happy Camper pills are going to help and certainly you don’t want me eating pea soup if it’s one of those types of days.

Perhaps I need to fashion a board around my neck that says, “In a mobile time out.”

The other day a group of us were walking between the buildings, coming back from a meeting.  We knew everyone in our group – safety in numbers.  A single person was heading towards us.  The single greeted us.  Most of us kind of did a soft response back hello….”who the hell are these people.”

I asked the loudest in my little gang of responders…..”did you know that person?”

No…not really, I mean they kind of looked familiar but I don’t know them.

Okay, it’s not just me.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Apparently You’re Broken

I have a complaint.

Why have I not heard about the fundraising effort to assist cashiers across America?  Di you know, they have all broken their arms.  Shocking news isn’t it?

You must be kidding me.  Seriously, you can’t lift the head of lettuce, chili pepper, bottle of shampoo and loaf of bread out of my basket?  The basket is on the conveyor belt.  It’s waist high!  No, you still can’t empty it?  What on earth is wrong with this customer service world?   It’s not like I’m carrying around 50 pounds of cement mix in my basket…..if I can carry it with one arm, you would think the cashiers would be able to lift each item out individually to ring them up.

WRONG.  It’s happened to me at Target and now at Whole Foods.

“Is this your basket?”

No, I’m standing here to ask you if you prefer your orange juice with or without pulp.

YES, it’s my basket.  Who else would it belong to?

“Oh well can you help me empty out the items?”

A look of disbelief crosses my face like a tumbleweed in a desert ghost town.

I start to empty out the items and she turns to start talking to the bagger guy.  Since the conveyor belt keeps moving forward I have to pile all of my items together.  This is ridiculous.  After I empty out my plethora of heavy items she turns to me and asks how I’m doing today.

The only reason I can figure why this has now become the norm (I’ve had this happen to me both at Target and today at Whole Foods) is someone has undoubtedly thrown their back out by lifting out a can of chickpeas or a 4-pack of toilette paper out of a basket sitting on the conveyor belt.

Cashiers don’t even have to enter numbers any longer except when multiple quantities or a produce item comes across their stand.  When I was a casher in high school, at the local grocery, we had to actually ring in items.  Imagine that.  Then I had to walk home without shoes, up hill and in the desert sun.

At Costco here in South Florida, they unload your cart for you.  THAT’S service.  Of course, their management probably figures after heaving that overladen cart around their football field of items you’re arms are fatigued and you need help.

My purchases are finally rung through and as I’m preparing to swipe my card for payment (cashiers don’t even have to do that any more shocking) the cashier points to the basket and says, “Can you put this on the floor for me?”

Gobsmacked.

Are you kidding me?  Seriously?  Are your arms painted onto your torso?  What happened to customer service?  Here, move over and let me ring up and bag my own groceries.  Oh wait, I can already do that.  In fact, I did just that earlier today at Ikea.

What is it exactly that we’re paying cashiers to do these days anyway?  Drag items across a scanner that rings up the item.  Wow.  Difficult.

Imagine the qualifications for the job:  able to keep right arm bent at elbow for hours while dragging items across scanning device and shoving item with left hand to the bagger for packaging.  Smiling and pleasant chatting is not required or expected.  Prefer individuals with sour personality and frown hanging down to their knee caps.  If you can sweat sheer exhaustion and boredom, you’re hired!

Few cashiers are pleasant.  Most are annoyed you are standing in front of them.  Very rarely do they even greet you or ask if you found everything.  They’re too busy discussing with their coworkers when their next smoke break is and if they can borrow a cigarette.  TRUE, happened last week at Target.  If one should actually thank you for shopping at their place of employment, pigs would fly.  Actually monkeys would probably shoot out of my butt if good customer service was normal at retail stores.

Even the girl at Barnes and Noble was annoyed today.  When you are angry at the world, try not to take it out on me.  If being nice to customers isn’t your thing, may I suggest a job change.  You probably want to stay away from people so I would look into office cleaning in the evenings, back-room stock person or counting beans in a basement somewhere.  Maybe you could pass as a sultry 900 number operator, there you could wear a headset and not even have to use your arms at all.  There’s a bonus!

Seriously, I think owners and managers alike should do their own version of Undercover Boss and experience first hand just how rude their front line staff can be to customers.  It isn’t even rude as it’s down right anti-customer service.

I’m thinking of starting a rating system.  If you provide great customer service, I will thank you and give you a high five.  Actually, we have stopped managers in stores and restaurants to compliment a particular employee.  Maybe I’ll just start telling the anti-service cashiers, I hope their day gets better……let them ponder that one.

 

AN ADDENDUM:

I would also like to comment at this time that The Public should learn some manners as well.  The woman in front of me at Whole Foods today…..her son, maybe 8 years old, nearly ran me down as he was obviously hopped up on sugar and decided to run back into the aisles like a fox chasing a hare.  No excuse me.  No I’m sorry.  No pardon me.  NOTHING.  Even the man behind me raised his eyebrows and shook his head.

I don’t care WHAT country you are from people.  It’s never okay not to be nice.  Running down a stranger is not acceptable, unless they have a mafia hit on them.

 

Are You For REAL?

Previously, living in Juneau, Alaska….my daily commutes to work were 15 minutes and literally….wait….let me count them….TEN lights.  Total miles traveled about 13.    And when I talk about the lights, we never use street names to identify the intersections.  We have the following:

Super Bear

McDonalds

Vanderbuilt

Hospital

Main Street

And my personal favorite, “You know the one by that weird overpass that was built for pedestrians, that nobody ever used and then that truck ran into….THAT light.”

I loved living in Alaska.  We just knew what we were talking about.

I’m thinking in Miami……

the people….

they have no common sense.

Honestly, I don’t mean to be mean and evil  I’m just making an observation.  As a newcomer.  What leads me to this conclusion?  Wait for it….

A few weeks ago a co-worker emailed me and said, “OMG I have something for your blog.”  I couldn’t wait to hear what the story was going to spill into my little fuzzy brain.

Imagine this.

You work for a giant corporation.  It’s a corporation that is an industry trendsetter – always steps ahead of the competition.  People WANT to work here.  Luckily as a manager, you have a position that has just come open and need to start interviewing.

Thus begins the process.  You line up the candidates and begin.

Now serving NUMBER ONE!

On day two you are running through the line up of interviews and begin the first phone interview of the day.

All goes well.  You’re feeling confident.  Soon you will have a new employee.  SWEET!

You dial up your next candidate.

Pleasantries are exchanged and the small talk comes to an end.  Time to get into the nitty gritty.  Anxiously, you begin to mow through your list of questions:

  • What is your background in analyzing the efficiency of 400 count Egyptian sheets compared to 743 count Grecian sheets?
  • Can you describe a time when you faced a monetary discrepancy between how many peanuts an elephant consumed in a week and the total number of fishnet pantyhose a Fright Night Corpse Bride went through in a Halloween weekend?
  • In your opinion,  do blondes really have more fun than brunettes?
  • Tell me about a time when you knew you had to argue your point to support the idea of Marco Polo not being as desirable as Fabio on the cover of instructional books on how to steam up the laundry room.

The interview is going exceptionally well.  The candidate’s answers are spot on.  You’re excited.  The candidate is excited.  THEN  you ask, “Why do you want to work with us?”

Watch out!  Open the flood gates.  Stand back!  The energy combined with bright sunlight and rays of happiness are literally blinding.  You think little blue birds are circling your head while whistling tunes of euphoria. These are signals of the candidate’s obvious perfection for being the right person for the job.

They launch themselves into the future with the appropriate answers, as if they were shot out of a cannon.  Except, this one was launched, sadly…without a crash helmet.

Oh how they go on about the grandiose wonderfulness of the company.  A leader of the industry.  Exploring areas even Mister Rogers didn’t venture into or Sesame Street for that matter.  Climbing mountains in leaps and bounds.  Success beyond the banks of Donald Trump.

It was as plain as plain yogurt.

This individual knew they were destined for greatness.

Destined to work for this cruise line.

The other thing that made the stars align, much like the first walk on the moon or when Elvis learned about his jaw dropping hip thrust (young Elvis – mind you) was the cruise line was so close to the candidate’s house.

“It’s perfect.  I live just a five minute drive from 87th Avenue.  I could walk to the corporate offices!”

Excuse me?  What?  Can you repeat what you just said?

“Certainly!  I live so close to your corporate offices, I can walk to them each day, which is ideal!  I’ll never be late.”

Right.  Okay.  And that address again was what?

“Well, I live just two blocks over from 87th, which is where your main office is located.  I mean, I totally expect I will be working in the corporate office.”

Note:  It’s okay.  Take a deep breath.  All together now.  Inhale deeply into the pit of your stomach and exhale very slowly.  Now.  Don’t you feel better?

Why?  Well, let’s continue the story….

After you calmly pick your head up off the keyboard and pry the “escape” button out of your third eyeball, you very calmly…..however with a slight edge in the tone of your voice…. no doubt from the grinding of your wooden teeth.  (You and GW go way back.)  You advise this nearly ideal candidate of their fatal flaw:

“Wow!  Great news that office is so close to you.  Our offices are actually located in the Port of Miami.  Specifically on Caribbean Drive.  The address you are referring to, is our competition.  That’s Carnival’s corporate office.”

Silence.

Please cue the cricket chorus.

Encore of the cricket chorus.

Lighters out to encourage yet ANOTHER encore of the cricket chorus.

As you pick your right eye tooth up off the floor you calmly advise the candidate, the interview they just completed was for Royal Caribbean Cruises NOT Carnival.

Have a good day.  Thanks for playing.

P.S.

No, you did not get the job.  Are you kidding me?