Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is Faster Better? Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

I recently found an interesting blogger that I’m liking, Betty from A Bench With a ViewHer most recent post that I read was titled Self Check-Out and you can read that post HERE

I thought it was an interesting post and I left her a comment that said: “Recently I purchased a new car that has a little icon that comes on every time the tire pressure isn't absolutely perfect, which means that I have to find someone to check my tires because it terrifies me to put air in myself. I feel I'm going to overfill and they will blow up in my face! It prompted me to think about those days when I first started driving and I'd pull up to the gas pump and a friendly attendant would come running out and he'd clean my windshield and check my oil and my tires, I really miss the good ol' days! I don't do self check out! I already feel like the stores have made me do too much work in making me bag my own groceries, the least they can do is make an effort to have a live human taking my money! Great post!

This post made me stop to think about a recent shopping trip with my daughter April. We went to a Ross Store and I bought a few painting supplies and April bought a few clothing items. As usual at Ross you go to the cash registers and there’s a rope barrier that you wait behind that loops snakelike until you get to the front to wait your turn.

It doesn’t take very long as the line moves quickly. The reason that the line moves quickly is that Ross Employees are timed on how quickly they can get a customer taken care of.

When you get to the front and it’s your turn they still have the previous customer in front of them trying to gather their purchases and secure their wallet in their purse and they are already shouting “Next on Check-Out #4!”

I feel rude when I walk up and the previous customer is still standing there, helplessly trying to gather everything up!

When it’s my turn the cashier is polite in saying “Hi, did you find everything you need?” But you can tell that they really don’t expect a response, they don’t really care, they are already looking to the next customer!

Once they were done checking me out, they handed me my bag while I was still trying to get my ATM card situated in my purse and they ask me to please take my receipt. There is even a sign there asking me to take my receipt, they don’t even bother to hand it to me.

I once asked a Ross Cashier why they do that and she said it’s part of their process to get us in and out quickly so we don’t have to wait in line. I guess it saves them a few extra seconds of not having to make eye contact with you while they are yelling out for the next customer!

As we were leaving I mentioned to April that being rushed through like cattle to slaughter was the one thing that I really didn’t like about Ross. I fully expected her to agree but was very surprised when she said that’s her favorite reason for going to Ross, she can get in and out fast! I wonder what her generation would think about stopping to pump gas and having to wait for the attendant? Her generation is used to faster is better and they are not as concerned with etiquette and cashiers trying hard to build a rapport with you. 

Do you remember the good ol' days fondly or are you ok with self checkout and fast and unfriendly customer service?

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Artist in Me

So it's been a while since I've done a post and my excuse is I've been busy living life and having fun! When I do get some down time, I'm too exhausted from living life and having fun to blog, I just want to sleep!

One of the things that has been keeping me busy is my Monday Art Class. I love it! Oh my gosh! Where has Art been all my life? I thought writing was my calling! I thought I was going to write the great American Novel or at least be Blogger of the Year at a Blogher Convention someday! But I know that I am meant to be the next Bob Ross! Remember Bob Ross? I loved watching him paint, it was effortless for him and I knew that I could never do anything like that!

But I think I can! Well, maybe not be the next Bob Ross, but I think I can be a halfway decent artist. Well, maybe not "sell my art for a million dollars" kind of artist, but a happy artist that can create some nice little pieces to give as gifts to friends and family (if I can ever make myself part with them)!

I need to share some of these with you all.

First, my owls. I'm not an owl person, but somehow I keep getting owls in my head! I love these two little guys and the way they are cocking their heads. It reminds me of our dog Chorizo and the way she cocks her head when you ask her a question. These were drawn free hand from a photo. 

On the weekend of October 6th, my sister Lisa and I went to her semi-annual conference in Lake Tahoe. The last time we went was October of 2014 and you can read about that adventure HERE

I took my drawing pencils and pad hoping to get some time to sketch, but we made a stop at a Ross Store and I was able to pick up a set of Acrylic Paints, a set of paint brushes and (2) 12 x 12 canvases for about $20! One afternoon while Lisa was in her classes I set up a little paint studio for myself in the hotel room and came up with this pretty little background. I almost wanted to leave it like this, so bright and cheerful!

But that was not what I had in store for this canvas so the next day I added a bit more in the morning ...

and a bit more in the afternoon ...

I had not really had time to do anything further until last night when I finished this little guy up. I say little guy, but with those flirty lashes, this has to be a girl owl right?

And in keeping with the upcoming Halloween Season, I've done two more paintings. Our instructor wanted us to do something abstract, so I did this painting and then at the last minute added the pumpkin just for fun!

As I kept looking at it afterward it looked to me like a blue sky with a harvest colored mountain, so I added a witch flying through that beautiful sky.

And I loved her! Flying on her broom just enjoying the harvest night without a care in the world; but it looked a little bare. I needed something on the bottom and once I added some headstones I realized that she needed some flying companions and Voila! Bats!

My mom, who does not like Halloween things because they scare her actually loved this so much that she went Goodwilling and found me the perfect frame for it. This was so much fun! And the more creative you get, the more the creative juices flow!

This past Monday our instructor wanted us to paint a Sugar Skull. It's a two hour class and this is as much as I completed. He needs a dental visit badly, but other than that I think he's kinda cute!

The first picture is almost the completed project. I say almost because a friend asked me to try adding some white dots around the eyes. I was at work and didn't have the actual piece with me, so I used a computer program to appease him and he had a great idea because I loved it with the white dots. I don't have a picture of the white dots I actually did, but they are almost identical to the computer generated dots shown below.

You can see how that one detail really made those eyes pop!

So you can see why I've been too busy to blog. Not to mention that I have been taking a line dancing class on Tuesday nights as well and planning a surprise birthday party for my mom, plus a full time job! The job, I'm finding is really cramping my style! Can't wait for retirement!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Regressive Progress - Things I wonder about

I fear for the fate of our civilization and in many ways am glad that I won’t be around to see how things end. Well at least I believe I won’t, but you never know considering how rapidly the world seems to be coasting downhill!

My reason for this post and that last sentence? The latest iPhone update and it’s new and “improved” messaging app. I just sent a text message to a friend about another friend that will not be able to join us because she’s sick and has no one to watch her children.

I typed out the message and iPhone automatically substituted some of the words with pictures instead! See for yourself.

So what’s the problem with this text message? It made the message a little brighter with the icon of the little smiley face with a mask on and instead of just the boring old word “watch” it gave me a cute little icon of a watch and look how adorable her children are. 

But people….it’s dumbing us down. Now we don’t even have to type out whole words! It's a world gone mad with Icons - Emoticons!

Does this look familiar? This is a photo of an actual caveman drawing. 

No words, just drawings of items to tell a story. We’re regressing people! Regression – “a return to a former or less developed state.”

Another example that is glaringly obvious to me is the new Facebook “like” buttons. Since Facebook started there has been a “like” button like the one over there on the left, and a comment box. 

Most people would hit the like button and then leave a comment. The ratio of like was always slightly above the amount of comments left but several people felt moved to comment if only to explain why they liked that post.

Then Facebook “improves” the “like” button and we now have this:

At first they were cute and I enjoyed using them. I would “love” almost everything that I used to only “like” before! The Haha was definitely much more fun that having to read “lol” or “LOL” depending on how funny the post was. 

The “wow” was pretty cool because I do often see something and say “wow”, but sometimes I would see a video of a bad car accident or read a news story about a child being abandoned and some people would “wow” it and some would “sad” it and some would “angry” it. It made me wonder what thoughts and feelings prompted the choice of icon? I would rather they had voiced their wow/sad/angry thought into words!

I also notice that whereas before I would get 30 comments on a post, now I would only get the icons. People don't actually feel like now they have to voice their opinion because they have more options as to the icons. I really miss reading the comments.

Maybe I should try blogging using just icons? Who knows, maybe my readership would grow and I'd go viral! But no, I raised in the era of "use your words". I know I tend to use more than others, but it's a burden you will all have to bear!

I know it’s just a petty thing to be worried about, especially considering all the other things going on in the world, but it just makes me pause and wonder about how regressive progress can be.