Friday, November 28, 2008

Customer Service

As I have just returned from a brief outing on Black Friday or whatever they call the day after Thanksgiving to retail. It occurred to me that customer service is no longer a priority in the retail sector at least in the big box stores. I thought about this before Thanksgiving as I had to pick something up rather quickly and popped into a Schnuck’s. Kroger is my normal store. After running in and getting the few items I needed as I walked out it occurred to me how nice everyone in the store had been to me. I was asked a couple of times if “I was finding everything OK”. All of the people seemed friendly and smiled and nodded. When I got to the check out another question about finding everything ok and the standard paper or plastic but the guy seemed genuine, which I truly think I have never heard before.

Then there was today. I understand that today is absolutely walking thru the bowels of hell, if you work retail. I have been there and done that in a couple of retail applications. Liquor Store New Years Eve and Christmas Holidays in a mall setting. Both were pretty much bad. However, I am still dumbfounded by the people who work retail and are rude and uncaring.
Wal-Mart has to be the worst. I think they know you are there because of price and don’t give a damn whether you buy something or not. They know that there will be another sap, right behind you, to take your place. Then you have Target they were extremely nice to me today, the check out lady had the proper Santa hat on and greeted every customer kindly and showed care and concern if they had even the slightest issue. I am sure somewhere in those 15 lanes of cashiers was a butthole, but not within my ear shot.

And while we are on customer service, I do not eat fast food as a rule. However, if I do it is Backyard Burger or Chick fil a only. These two restaurants could offer the best customer service around. Now explain to me how you get a bunch of who gives a damn high school kids to speak to every person who walks in the door and bring you your food in a nice an service oriented manner. They should bottle that kool aid and sell it to the big box stores, especially this time of year.

If you want to pay top dollar no doubt Oak Hall, James Davis, Ann Taylor and any other outlet owned by a real person who might be in the building is a good customer service experience more than likely.

So this year lets all support the local independents be restaurant or retail services. We might spend a couple of bucks more but I will almost guarantee you will enjoy it.

Happy holidays and hope all of your customers service exchanges this year are kind ones.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Epilog

Well we all made it thought another feeding frenzy. I think this year was the worst of all for me. We visited one place then when to our main destination and ate both places!! WOW

Talked to my son, my sister, they represent all of the family I have anymore, as far as blood goes. You know I really missed my Mom as I was putting that succotash on my plate tonight. Stopped and told her I loved her, and missed her madly. I think she might have heard me over all of the noise at her table. You know the cool thing is no one ever really dies until they are not remembered. I decided tonight I am going to remember all of my family ever day for a minute so they never really die.

Hope you remember those that have gone before us, and especially the ones who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms with their lives. We really need to remember those men and women.

Now remember your family and love your friends. I’m going to bed to much wine and food.
Hope yours was as nice as mine.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As I sit here thinking about the events of the next few days I am wondering about numerous things. This is the first Thanksgiving I will not be able to speak to my Mother. My son is on an Air Force Base in Texas. Now I will not be alone by any means, I have the greatest friends on the planet. We will be together as we have been for the last 10 years or so. But this year there will be a large hole, my Mom. Then I have this thought. How selfish can one person be? Depending on your faith, this will be my Moms best Thanksgiving in over 22 years. You see my Father die in 1986. They will be together. Not only that but all of my grandparents, all of my uncles and aunts safe one are there as well. Now I am starting to get it. I have that to really be thankful for. I know the foods will be wonderful on Thursday where I am. However, it can’t touch everything my Mother will get this year. There will be my aunt’s coconut cake, granny’s pecan pie, and sweet potatoes that no one has ever been able to replicate.

In this me, me world this is a great thing to think about. If you share my faith, that when we die we go to a better place, if you have lived a good and decent live. Then even your family and friends whom have gone before are together as well and the table will be set with love and happiness. And we think we have it good!

I think this Thanksgiving I will be just a little jealous as I think about the majority of my family will be together, just not with me. Make no mistake I look forward to when I am at that table. However, I still have a lot of things I have to do before I am ready for that one!! I want to see my Son marry and have children. Especially the one that I will put the “curse” on to be just like him!!! I want to see what live is like in retirement mode. I will be living on the beach somewhere and can’t wait for that morning walk with my lovely wife every morning. I want to see my Memphis sister have her first grandchild. This child will be treated like the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama!! Its feet will not touch the ground until well past its third birthday!! So please leave me here for a while.

Well I guess I need to go to Feinberg packing company and pick up my traditional fresh ham. Here is wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season. And may your Thanksgiving table be filled with thanks and joy. I know where there will be two just like that….

Sunday, November 23, 2008


As I sit here, looking into my fireplace, enjoying the warmth and crackling fire. I realize that as I enter this stage of my life I need to reevaluate my goals. I had this brought to my attention at the office on Friday. Most of the people I work with are younger than me. I have become complacence in my job. I let the kids go out and show me up!

Well over this weekend I have kind of rededicated myself to my work. I am also setting new goals. This time they are more short term. Like 5 or 6 years out. They include things like retirement, weight issues, finance, health and other things that I did when I was a much younger man. Understanding now you never should go through life without a purpose, an idea, or plan of where you want to go. I am working on a new set of plans and ideas that will take me all the way to Florida. Sitting on my back porch watching the ocean and loving every single day I have left. I can see the house now, right on the water. Nice beach area and of course small boat house with a couple of toys inside. Wonderful kitchen fully stocked with all of the bells and whistles. In the Dining room, that looks over the water, 10 large chairs around a solid wood round table. Off the dining room and wine cellar stocked to the max with only the wines I have loved over the last 20 years. I can smell the sweet salty air as well.

Well I said all of that to hopefully get you thinking about your on life. Are you just going through the motions? Man I hope not as we all know this is not a dress rehearsal! What is the old saying, Love like you will never be hurt, dance like no one is watching, and sing like no one can hear? Not too sure that is it but you get the picture.
Well Beef Stroganoff is calling and I think a very nice Cabernet tonight!


Life can be many things, cruel, kind, sad and any number of emotions we allow into our lives. I know this is a bit philosophical for this lowly blog. However, my life has been through so many changes during the last few months I feel the need to just simply talk about them.

My Mother recently died. I am parentless for the first time in my life. I never thought much about how much you depend on your parents, even as we age. I have a great job, a wonderful wife, a nice home, but I still called my Mother every Sunday. We would talk, and share stories of the week. I never understood how important that was to me. I always thought I was doing it for her. HA! I got as much, if not more, out of those conversations than she ever did. As I think back on them now, wishing I could have just one more. I hope anyone reading this, who still has parents or a parent will pick up the phone and call them right now, it is that important.

My son is in the US Air Force, Special Operations. WOW, I remember him running around talking back, and doing the things kids do. Making grades I thought were well below his abilities. Making messes I thought were well beyond anything’s capabilities; and in general making my life as difficult as he could. As I think about it now as he is waiting for a base assignment, and the Middle East is a very good possibility. I kind of wish he was here to make me miserable!!

I have started going to church! Anyone who knows me knows this is a very large step forward for me. Funny how when I was a kid, I would eat a rat to stay home. Now I am getting up at 6:00 on Sunday morning, at church by 8:00am. Truly a huge change for me. And the fact that I enjoy it is a bit odd to me as well. I go to Hope. You should check it out one Sunday.

I guess as we age there are a lot of changes in our lives. We move a little slower, think a little longer before we speak; A trait I wished I had learned many years ago for sure. I guess all this is to tell myself I am entering a new, and exciting stage of my life. Now, I am the one the child calls on Sunday. I am going to try to remember, that one day, he will be in my position and if he wants to tell me some crazy story about going to the club last night and what happened I will be a little more willing to listen in my new role. I hope this stage lasts a long time. I am going to enjoy this part. I have done the 65-70 hour weeks and the burning the candle at both ends. I think it is time to pull it back to a solid 45, maybe 50 in rough weeks. Cook for friends, drink all of that wine I have been saving for a special occasion.

As I reread this it almost seems like I am retiring which I am not! I am just going to take off the blinders the finish line will come. I do not have to win. The simple fact I am still in the game, at a high level, is very satisfying.

May all of your days be good ones, and if not may the bad ones pass quickly.

Go enjoy a great glass of wine, I know I am.....