What Is WRONG With Me?

Today I worked my job at the gift shop and – for probably like the kahjillionth time – I heard several parents give their children the following directive as they entered our store:

“Remember, NO TOUCHING ANYTHING. Let’s LOOK WITH OUR EYES, not our hands…”

So, besides the fact that I think such guidance could damage young children’s perception of how our senses work (I mean, like, would you ever say, “No tongue – let’s remember to taste with our ears,”), every time I hear a parent say that phrase, my mind goes to this guy, The Pale Man from the movie, “Pan’s Labyrinth:”

monsterI want to lurk around the store in this make-up and, every time I hear a parent say, “Let’s look with our eyes, not our hands,” I  want to be able to jump out, dressed like The Pale Man, and scream at them, “Look, I am looking at you with my eye hands. That’s right, My EYE HANDS.”

What the heck is wrong with me?

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Deciphering Customer Service Responses

Today I called the alarm company my Sweetie and I use at our apartment. More than a decade ago, the apartment got broken into not once but twice within a year (the police speculated it was the same criminal/s) so, in response to those break-ins – and to feel safer – I signed up for an alarm service. I never wanted to feel “unsafe” again…

Thief-Break-In-RobberyI have to admit, the alarm service did/does give me a feeling of security (I have requested an armed response) and, overall, the service has been good. That said, about every eighteen months or so, my quarterly rate “creeps up” four or five dollars. In fact, the same service that I signed up for a decade or so ago now costs me $112.00/quarter, compared to the $79.00/quarter it cost me when I signed up. That is an increase of 42% over the original contract price – yet I’m in the same apartment, I have the same service, so I have to ask,

Why?

How can a company justify a rate increase of over 40% over a decade? I mean, I do not MAKE 40% more than I did a decade ago (not even close, BTW!) So why the increased cost? I was determined to find out the justification for these additional charges, so I called my “security monitoring provider” and spoke with a lovely CSR (customer service rep) named Viki (I know she spells it that way because I asked her name before the call ended).

calling

CSR: “Thanking you for calling G******* Alarm, this is Viki, do you have an emergency?”

Me: “No, Viki – at least not in the traditional sense. No, I have a question about my bill.”

CSR: “Great! How can I help you with that?”

Me: “I see my bill went up since last quarter – can you tell me why?”

CSR: “We had a rate increase effective July 2014, which is reflected on this billing statement.”

This is when I shifted into what I like to call “Two-Year-Old” mode.

Me: “A rate increase? WHY?”

CSR: “Periodically we have rate increase adjustments and that is what is reflected on your billing statement.”

Me: “OK, I get that you had a rate increase – but WHY?”

CSR: “Why what, Sir?”

Me: “WHY must I pay a rate increase? My apartment is no larger, there has been no change in service or equipment, so WHY the increased cost?”

CSR (obviously a little rattled): “Sir, may I put you on hold for a moment while I check?”

Me: “Of course.”

About two and half minutes pass – I imagine Viki grabbing a quick smoke, running to buy a fresh Mountain Dew, and she’s back…

CSR: “Sir? Thank you for holding while I checked into your billing charges. I did verify that there was a rate increase July 1st, which is reflected on this billing statement.”

Me (now pissy and slightly frustrated): “Yes, Viki, you explained that before you put me on hold. My question is, WHY is there a rate increase? What justifies your company arbitrarily charging me more for what seems to me to be the exact same service. WHY?”

CSR: “Sir? I will have to check into that and get back with you. Is blah-blah-blah the best number to reach you at?”

And with that, the call was terminated. Viki was on to the next customer. She will never call me back.

I spent 3.5 years in high school studying Latin. A HUGE part of my studies involved doing translations – translating Latin into English. Allow me to attempt to translate this for conversation for you…

When a CSR says, “We had a rate increase adjustment,” what that means in English is “We are a big company that can charge whatever we want for the same service. You have few options so suck it up or leave.”

09092009_thumb_nose_1

I co-own a small business. My business partner and I bend over backwards every day, just to SURVIVE, let alone THRIVE. It galls me when companies like this one just raise their rates because “they can.” Jerks.

Monday Memes 13

I have shared here that a (somewhat) challenging personal situation lies ahead for me – like about 96 hours ahead. I am NOT looking forward to the necessary conversation I need to have; as such, I was looking for inspiring memes for me, personally, and was touched by the following graphics this past week. Enjoy!

look for stars

encourage yourself

never give up

Make Mine a Jumbo Venti Grande DeLuxe – WITH Cheese

It is now past midnight – my “Sunday” blog post is technically late so I will make this one brief. All in all, I had an awesome Sunday – my Sweetie and I got up, drove to Shelby, visited with my Dad/enjoyed lunch with him, did a VERY small amount of “off-price shopping” (we scored a pierogi press kit – three sizes! – for under $5!) and ended the evening visiting with our besties for an hour and a half. On the way home, we decided to visit a fast food restaurant to just grab a quick sandwich. We stopped at a national restaurant chain, famous for their roast beef sandwiches, and enjoyed two tasty reuben’s.

Reubens. At Arby’s – the roast beef restaurant with corned beef. And I guess that is where my bitch of the day comes in… When did fast food restaurants become so diverse? I mean, burger joints sell chicken, chicken places sell roast beef, Chinese buffets (sort of fast food) serve pizza – what the hell? Is it just me, or does a sight like this, viewed from a car drive thru lane intimidate you as well? Especially if there are cars BEHIND you? Heck, I always order McDouble’s at McDonalds because I have never taken – or even had! – the fifteen minutes to invest in reading their menu to see what the hell they are offering now:

MENU BOARD

And as if just READING the menu boards weren’t enough, try deciphering the “menu speak” – I mean, what happened to small, medium and large? Now it is venti or grande or “make it a meal.” It’s too much to process, and way too confusing… I guess I long for a “simpler time,” the time of Big Macs and single cheese everythings, of two piece fish dinners with chips or a foot long coney and a tall root beer.

Don’t get me wrong, our reubens at Arby’s were delicious, even if they did take two attempts to make them correctly… When they first filled our order, we got two TURKEY reubens by mistake. See? Even the RESTAURANTS don’t know what the heck they are serving!

Adulthood Myth Debunked – “Saturday Night”

A quick review of my Facebook news feed lets me know what our friends are doing on this “Saturday Night” – or, “Date Night” if you prefer. One couple is at Blossom Music Center, enjoying The Cleveland Orchestra. One couple is having dinner and then a night of gambling at our hometown casino. One couple appears to be indulging in some homemade sangria with friends (quick note – I have personally enjoyed that homemade sangria at Blossom with friends mentioned above  – it is AMAZING!) Another couple posted a pic of the hearty steaks they were enjoying, along with their wine “pairing.” Any/all of those evenings look awesome and I am really happy for all our friends… Now what my Beloved and I are doing?

Going to bed at 10:30P, listening to the rain fall outside our window. Actually, that is a bit of a fib – I “took a nap” after dinner about 7:00P, at some point around 8:30P or so my Beloved snuggled up beside me, and now I am popping off this quick blog post before returning to bed to rejoin him there. So much for our big “Saturday Night Date Night,” right?

Myth debunkedThe truth is, Saturday Night should be about what ever you want it to be about. We have both had long weeks – I have worked 5 out of the past 6 days, with a whirlwind trip to Columbus for a family matter occurring on the sixth day of that week, while my Angel traveled six time zones and 5000 miles to come home from Europe just nine hours before making that whirlwind trip to C-Bus with me. It has been an exceptionally busy and taxing week: somehow, the act of turning in at 10P on a Saturday night, listening to the rain fall as I drift off beside my forever guy seems, I don’t know, deliciously self-indulgent.

When I was a child, I thought that “being an adult” meant that I could stay up as late as I wanted and do whatever I wanted. Now that I AM an adult, I have come to appreciate that maybe going to bed at 10P on a Saturday night after doing nothing but sharing dinner with the guy you love is really the best way to celebrate Saturday night.

Speaking of, I better get back to sleep. ‘Nite, y’all! Happy Saturday!

Christmas in July – My Gift

Among all my other weirdnesses, I observe Christmas in July.”

Every 25 July, I like to celebrate the impending event known as Christmas (only in July!) Typically I send a few holiday cards to friends and family (the list changes every year; if you didn’t get a card this year, don’t despair – your turn is coming!)

I always enjoy the responses they (the July Christmas cards) bring about: “I can barely manage sending cards in December – how do you do it twice a year?” or “That card really brightened my day and made me smile – thanks!” or my personal favorite, received this year: “What in the Hell is wrong with you? Are you insane?”

Christmas BranchesChristmas really is my favorite holiday (Martin’s, too!) so it is pretty easy for me to “get in the holiday mood.” I like to think the cards we send make people smile big, forget about their troubles and concerns and maybe – just maybe – make their day brighter. So, whether you made the card list or not this year, “Merry Christmas – in July!!!” 

PS – I mentioned a gift in the title of this post. Seems today, my little online journal surpassed 25,000 views (25,011 as I write this!) Twenty- five thousand minds have connected with the daily “boredom” I share that is my life. Viewed by peeps from over 132 countries, territories and – honestly- places I have never even heard of, such statistics make ME smile big- now that new is MY Christmas in July gift! Ho ho ho! 

breathe

Today was something of a turning point in my life – I finally reached a conclusion that should have been so obvious long ago. If I am being honest, I finally admitted/accepted a truth that I have been ignoring for – embarrassingly – probably more than three years. The actual details are not important at the moment; “all will be revealed” in time. I do, however, feel a great burden has been lifted from my life. While I have no doubt that the NEXT step/s in this journey will not be easy and might actually be unpleasant, I now know in my heart that I have made the right decision.

I’m not sure that everyone will be able to understand this but it is nice to finally be able to breathe in AND out again. I’ll keep you posted…  🙂

breathe