My wife and I were at the airport the other day standing in the security line waiting to have high-intensity laser beams shot through us in the body scanner. A middle-aged woman in front of us was in the process of placing every possession she owned on the conveyor belt. Each time she thought she was done, she walked to the TSA agent at the body scanner, who promptly sent her back to the conveyor belt to remove yet another piece of jewelry or clothing not allowed in the Star Trek Transporter device.
I have always tried to live by the philosophy that, if you are discussing an important issue, you should try to imagine a loved one being in the same situation. If you are either for or against a particular law, how would you feel about that law if it was your son or daughter who was affected? I feel the same way about customer service. When dealing with a customer I try to ask myself, “How would I feel if this was my mother on the phone?” Of course, sometimes the answer would be, “Stop bothering me mom, I’m trying to work!” Apparently a lot of companies don’t teach their employees that philosophy. And what a week it has been for discovering that fact.
I was walking into the post office the other day and, because I was raised by good parents, I held the door open for the lady behind me. (Before you send me feminist hate-mail, I hold the door open equally for men and women) She breezed through without saying a word. Forget a “thank you,” she didn’t even acknowledge that someone else was breathing the same air. I was a bit miffed, but I decided long ago that you do the right thing regardless of others’ behavior.
Some time ago I had the opportunity to watch my sister Ann work her magic with children. She is a Special Education teacher in North Carolina. If, when you die someday, you are standing in line to get into Heaven and you wonder, “Who are all those people ahead of me being let into Heaven with no questions asked?” they are probably teachers. I watched as Ann patiently went through an exercise that taught the days of the week,
The following is a phone conversation I had with the customer service department of a company that sold me bookkeeping software. This is the most popular software for home and small business bookkeeping in the country. After the US government changed the regulations about Social Security payments, my software got confused. When I tried to enter a payroll transaction using the new amounts, the program gave me the same look my seven year-old stepdaughter gives me when I sing in the car.
I had an argument with my wife the other day (you would think a guy who is supposed to be an expert in communication skills could avoid those). As much as I have been told I have a “dual brain” approach to life, when it comes to spousal disagreements I admit to being very MALE. That is to say, while she is talking about what upsets her, I half-heartedly listen (which means I don’t listen at all). I am really just waiting for her to stop talking so I can get back to the point. Also, when it comes to arguments with my wife
There is a hospital in a major metropolitan area that is consistently ranked one of the top fifteen hospitals in the country each year by U.S. News & World Report. It receives superb patient satisfaction ratings, staff turn-over is almost non-existent, and it makes money. Not a bad combination for a business; happy customers, happy employees, and good ol’ black ink. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a different hospital I worked with recently that is struggling.
I remember when I first saw Irma Rombauer’s book, “The Joy of Cooking.” It was the first book I had heard of that referred to the joy of cooking as opposed to the process of cooking. Later, Julia Child continued the switch from this is how to cook properly to this is how to cook joyfully. Most people who watched Child’s shows were split down the middle. Those who wanted to have a little fun in the kitchen were drawn to her “let go of the little mistakes” approach, while some “serious” chefs viewed her as more entertainment than culinary instruction.
It was a weekend of fun with the six-year old stepdaughter. One day involved a trip to the neighborhood water park, just after a day at the big metropolitan amusement park. You know the kind of amusement park I mean? The kind where the managers take revenge on the younger generation of employees by making them wear uniforms that looked like they were designed for the 1930s? The theme-park owners just have to know that the employee’s teen-aged friends are going to see them in uniform. It’s a sure bet that many young dating relationships are permanently damaged by such a sighting.
Of the two camps concerning money: those that use it to show they have it, and those who keep it in the background, I definitely fall into the latter. I have a stack of favorite t-shirts that my wife mistakes for cleaning rags, I just sealed my own asphalt driveway rather than pay a service to do it for me, and I drive cars until they fall apart from underneath me. Now that my 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager is operating on four cylinders instead of six I decided it was finally time to, as they say at the veterinarian’s office, “put it down.” Note: I held out as long as I could, and am proud that I got the car to last on five cyclones for quite a few miles.