Tag: rant

I. Hate. Texting.

I. Hate. Texting.

I need to vent.

I’m 36 which means I grew up in the age where people still actually spoke to each other. We weren’t glued to our phones, and we didn’t hide behind words on a screen as an alternative to having a real conversation. We had something to say to someone, we found a time to talk, and then discussed it. Why has that fallen by the wayside? What’s happened to the art of genuine human communication?

It’s slipping away in an agonizingly slow painful bleed to oblivion.

I remember when texting came out; it was originally called SMS – which stood for Short Message Service.  The keyword there– short.

I remember sending little texts to people I was meeting up with…

“Running late, be right there.”

“Want me to bring anything?”

Stuff like that.

For some reason, though, now it’s exploded into this form of communication where people have entire conversations over texts, without hearing anyone’s voice.  This opens the flood gates of misinterpretation, which for me is extremely frustrating. I always choose my words carefully and intentionally, and have often been praised for communicating in a clear and concise way when I speak with people. There’s a reason for that; because I want to be understood. Then again, don’t we all? I don’t want to leave anything up to misinterpretation, and I expect those with whom I’m speaking to mention if they need something clarified, and I will gladly do so. That’s how conversations work; at least, that’s how I think they’re supposed to work.

The biggest flaw of this form of communication, is that it completely eliminates the human element; it’s just a collection of words, instead of a true conversation. Text-based messages going back and forth is not the same thing. It’s just letters that happen to elucidate a message from one person to another. The actual intent of the message, and the meaning behind it, it’s inflection, etc… are left up to the reader for interpretation, or in most cases, misinterpretation.

Now, I’ll admit, in most cases, this isn’t that big of a deal. In the “Running late” example, it really doesn’t need any interpretation. It’s a factual message. The person sending it will not be arriving at their destination on time, so they will be late. Asking what time a show starts, or the address of a meeting place, etc. You get the idea; these are fact-based answers.

The problem lies with asking questions that deal in feelings, and not -fact-based information. There is a major benefit to hearing someone’s voice, and having that genuine human connection. You can hear inflections and tone, and whether or not many realize it, these can drastically change how something is coming across. Things like these are what keep conversations human.

Dying or not, I’ll always be someone who prefers to talk than to text. I’ll gladly exchange texts if need be, but I’m most likely to turn the conversation toward when we can find a time to talk on the phone and have a real conversation. Human interaction doesn’t have to die in the name of convenience. Yes, texts may be more convenient, but let’s not forget about keeping human interactions…human.

 

Awful customer service

Awful customer service

There’s somewhat of an unwritten code of ethics when it comes to dealing with the general public in a professional setting. Even aside from that, there’s common courtesy that, sadly, seems to be lacking in society today.

That being said, I have to share an awful experience I had today when going to pick up laundry from the laundromat. (Side note: Having other people wash/dry/fold my laundry is bloody fantastic… Expensive, but a luxury I’m willing to make the occasional sacrifice for because it’s so nice not to have to worry about it… and I suck at folding.) I didn’t use my regular laundromat since they had quite a few orders ahead of mine and thus couldn’t get it back in time for when I needed it. There’s another laundromat a few minutes down the road that I went to as a backup, who promised next-day pickup for the clothes. Fine. I dropped everything off yesterday and was helped by a friendly attendant who told me it would most likely be ready for pickup today, and suggested I call to check on the status in the morning. No problem.

Around noon today, I called to check the status, and the person was very short with me on the phone.

Me: “Hello, I’d like to check on a batch of laundry I dropped off yesterday.”

Lady: “It’s done.”

(I hadn’t even given her my name, a ticket number, nothing.)

Me: “Do you know which one it is?”

Lady: “anything brought in from yesterday is finished.”

(hangs up)

It’s a good thing I didn’t have another question, since she hung up on me…

I went down there shortly thereafter, after 3. As soon as I walked in I noticed the attendant sitting behind the counter on her cell phone. She was texting someone while having a conversation on speakerphone. She looked at me briefly, and I gave her my claim ticket to get my order.

While talking loudly and texting, she started looking for my order. The completed orders were on shelving units behind the counter clearly visible to anyone in the store. My order was about eye-level directly in front of where she was standing, and my name was written in black marker in large letters on the bag. Still, she couldn’t locate it. Apparently multitasking was not her strong suit.

I verbally guided her to the bag, and she brought it to the front. She set it on the table, and for a good two minutes focused solely on her conversation and left me standing there, credit card in hand. She mumbled a few numbers, which I asked her to repeat. Apparently that was my total, and apparently I should have been eavesdropping on her conversation as evidenced by the sarcasm in her tone from having to repeat my total.

I paid, and started to leave, but I couldn’t leave it at that. As a customer, in a business I’ve just given money to, I will not play second fiddle to a rude attendant’s personal conversations.

Me: “Is your supervisor here?”

Lady: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Is your manager here?”

Lady: (with attitude) “I AM the manager.”

Me: “I just wanted to say its very discourteous to be on the phone while waiting on customers.”

Lady: (combative) “Yeah? Well my kid just swallowed a whole bottle of Advil, so I don’t care how courteous I’m being.”

Me: “Well, I hope he’s okay.”

I left immediately after, because I realized that staying there would have been a tremendous waste of time. Some would say I shouldn’t have bothered to bring it up at all, maybe that I shouldn’t have such high expectations for service at a laundromat. They’d probably be right, but it could have happened anywhere; I’d probably have said the same thing regardless of what I was doing. As a manager I’m surprised she would be running a business like that.

She could have handled that a few different ways, but acknowledging my statement and explaining the situation in a more professional matter would have made a huge difference, and kept
me as a potential customer, and someone who would recommend that business. I will not go back there, and will encourage my friends and family to go a little further up the road to my usual laundromat, where the service is friendly, and the space is clean and inviting.

From now on, even if my regular laundromat is backlogged, I’ll still go through them. The friendly service and quality of the work are well worth the wait.

Getting heated about the heat

Getting heated about the heat

I need to vent.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist… I figure if a blog post has a picture of some variety it makes it something a bit more interesting. No? Oh well, I thought it was funny. I need to “vent”, so there’s a picture of a vent…okay, never mind.

Let’s go back in time just a bit, to March 2010. I’d been looking around at different apartment complexes, and narrowed it down to a few within a short drive of my mom and brother’s place. Once I found the one where I currently am living, I was excited to get my paperwork in order and to move in. But, once I did move in I found the one extremely annoying thing about my apartment that really bugs me.

So, the papers are signed, I’ve got the keys, and I’ve come in to have a look around before I move in. The wood floors are all shiny, I have a new refrigerator, and I can start moving in any time. Great! So, I’m looking around, and I can’t find the thermostat, since it was a little toasty in the apartment.

A friend suggested I look on the baseboard heater things to see if there was a controller, and sure enough I found one! Or, I found one that…kind of looked like it may have been one at one time or another.

I called the rental office, and asked if someone could come to repair the thermostat, and I then found out, the hard way, that which I wished I’d asked initially.

A friendly voice on the other end of the phone said to me, “There used to be a thermostat there, but it was removed a few years ago and all apartments heat is now controlled from a central location.”

What?! I have no control over my heat?! WTF!

I then found out this was common among apartments…

Asinine!

Now, back to the present; I got my rent bill, and sometimes included with the bill will be some sort of flyer or letter from the landlord. This time around, we had something talking about “Getting ready for Winter” – the letter stated that all of the snow removal apparatus was ready, they were stocked up on salt and whatnot, blah blah blah, but then there was a section about “What you could do to get ready for winter”

This is when I started laughing. Uncontrollably.

One of the lines stated “To ensure proper heating of your apartment, please remove all window air conditioners.”  (and they made sure to bold and underline this part too)

Proper heating of my apartment?!

That’s damn hilarious. I can’t properly heat my apartment, because with the windows closed it makes an oven look like Antarctica. I have to have the windows open, and even that doesn’t help all the time. Sometimes I will need to use the fan mode on my A/C units to get adequate air flow to make the environment habitable. Sometimes when it’s been below 50 outside I’ve even had to use the actual A/C component since it was just too damn hot in my room.

So, in response to that request to remove my air conditioner, in a word:

No. In more than one word: “To properly heat my apartment, give me a damn thermostat. Until then, you can either come remove them yourself (which I’ll just put them back when you’re not looking), or shut up.” 

I’m not bitter, honest. Really.

I honestly don’t see how removing the window units will “ensure proper heating”  – the two have nothing to do with one another.

There is another apartment complex just down the street from where I live now, I may look at it as an option if the rent goes up too much when my lease renewal comes up. The caveat, though, is these apartments rely more on electricity, but have lower rent as a result since none of the utilities are included (I need clarification on that) – so, theoretically, I may be able to pay for exactly what I want/need and not have to feel like a broiling chicken when I’m watching TV… I don’t know. I really don’t feel like moving again, but I also don’t feel like experiencing the inside of a sauna just when I’m trying to relax in the sanctity of my home.

Okay, rant over, thank you for letting me get this all out.

One of my new favourite words

One of my new favourite words

The word is “egregious”, or “extraordinarily bad.” 

I was trying to post a tweet this morning and, as usual, I rather quickly eclipsed the 140-character limit, hence I’m writing this here. Had I been able to post it, it would have looked something like this: 

“I need to live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, maybe the Midwest. What I hate most about NJ is the egregiously high costs of living.” 

I lived in the Midwest for two years – it wasn’t

terrible

 but it certainly was different. The pace of things is a lot slower, people seem to be more mellow and they just do what they do. I’ve always noticed an “angst” with many East Coasters, a certain “gotta get there, gotta do this, gotta go” anxiousness that doesn’t seem to exist as you move farther away from this area. When I lived out there, people told me they could see it in my behaviors and actions, they could tell I “wasn’t from around there.” 

I think I know why those Mid-Western farmer folk are so pleasant: they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg, and the other leg, a kidney, half their brain, a nostril, and an eyeball for a roof over their heads. They get to keep their limbs, and even use them from time to time (I wonder what that’s like.) Maybe I need to pick up another 4 jobs and work 500 hours each week to be comfortable…. looks like that may be the secret to the truth of a reality I was hoping wasn’t actually a reality.

Oh, and one more question… why do most employers pay their workers every two weeks instead of every week? I’ve never understood that.

Okay, I’m done now. Rant over.

Give Props to Your Docs

Give Props to Your Docs

I was going to tweet this, but I wanted a little bit more room… While getting my periodic tooth cleaning this morning, I couldn’t help overhearing this woman in the next room complaining about every little thing about whatever she was having done to her. Now, granted, I’m no dentist, but it doesn’t take an expert to know when a little common courtesy and respect are necessary. She had the nerve to criticize the doctor, telling him he didn’t put the Novicaine in the right place, he didn’t wait long enough, etc. How rude! I would never make criticisms about things I know nothing about, or a job I was not qualified to do myself. I wouldn’t know where to put Novicaine in someone’s mouth, but I’m sure someone with the experience that this doctor has knows what he’s doing, because he’s dedicated his life to dental care and he’s damn good at it. I was quite tempted to go in there and give that woman a piece of my mind, and tell her to quit being a big baby, but I realized it was none of my business so I just left when I was done.

There’s no rule in any rulebook saying you have to see the same doctor every time anyway, so if you really have an issue with what one says there is always the idea of a second opinion! It happens all the time, and I’m sure doctors encourage it!

I’ve had nothing but great experiences with my dentist, and just about all of the doctors I’ve had to see for that matter. Being in customer service, of any field, it’s more often we hear of the negative comments and experience people have, as opposed to the positive ones. I just wanted to take a brief moment to recognize my appreciation for those doctors who have helped me out. I am grateful for your help!

Ethics, or lack thereof.

Ethics, or lack thereof.

I need to vent about something that, frankly, I feel shouldn’t even be the problem that it is. It’s one of those situations that, if the people involved could step back and watch others in the same scenario, would agree that it’s nothing short of pathetic.

What am I talking about? Common courtesy and ethics. Where are they nowadays when it comes to interpersonal electronic contact? GONE.

I will not say that I am an exception to this, I freely admit that sometimes I fall short and don’t deliver, but I own up to it. I’ll never leave someone for days without some kind of response when they contact me. I always try to acknowledge the fact that someone took the time to reach out to me, and that I recognized that fact, even if I can’t respond right away, because it’s courteous.

I love text-messaging for some times, and I completely loathe it or the others. It’s great for quick on-the-go messages but it’s completely hideous for conversation. Even moreso it is terrible for communication, and makes it much to easy for messages to fall through the cracks. Tons of opportunities could go missing with texts being ignored, whether they are personal or professional. How hard is it to acknowledge a message, I mean seriously?

Even someone as busy as Donald Trump responds to a message when he gets one. Anything less would be lazy! Nobody can say they are too busy to answer a text!! Especially with practically everyone having some type of “smart phone” in their pocket with their e-mail and messages just a few taps away. There really is no excuse.

In one way, this heightened presence of on-the-go communication helps us see all of our true colors. Where do all of our priorities lie? Do we really care about those who go ignored? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

If this situation comes up with me, and I fail to respond or acknowledge you, I apologize wholeheartedly and invite you to call me out on it. I’ll gladly own up to it and do what I can to make it right. Maybe someone else might follow my example.

Politics and Text Messaging

Politics and Text Messaging

The full title was going to be “Politics and text messaging, why I don’t follow politics, why I don’t like long conversations over text messages, and even more specifically why I especially hate text messaging conversations about politics” but that may have been too long. But, that being said, that’s exactly what this blog is about, and I have a friend of mine to thank for that. He started a text “flame war” with me this morning, and I wasn’t in the mood. Instead, I’m voicing my opinions here (and on a keyboard much more favorable to typing a document of this type).

Let me break it down…

Text messages…. I love to get texts. It’s fun, messages can be short and concise. But, I’m a firm believer in the simple concept of “If you want to talk to me, call me.” (Note: This blog is not a passive request to stop texting me, far from it!) I’m just not a huge fan of having full-out conversations over texts. I do it, simply because it’s a popular means to communicate these days, especially with the rise of “Unlimited” texting plans, and the fall of said plans’ pricing. I also understand that it makes sense sometimes to communicate this way due to one participant (or both) being in surroundings that don’t favor talking on the phone (ie loud bar, train where it’s quiet, etc.) I get that, trust me, and I have no problem with that. What bothers me about text, and this refers to “words” in general, regardless of on a phone or AIM, etc, text on a screen carries no emotive content whatsoever, so it’s impossible to determine howcertain words are being said, that’s left up to the other participant(s). It’s also much much more impersonal. But, it is what it is. I deal.

Politics… I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, I have no idea, and that’s fine with me. I think Obama is good, and I didn’t like Bush, so does that make me a Democrat? Apparently? But that doesn’t really matter to me. I vote for the person who is going to put in an effort to make things right, and who appeals to me as an American citizen, and as an individual. The way things have been going in this country wasn’t working when Bushmeister was driving the ship, so someone came in and stirred things up. At the last election, the other guy (McCain) seemed like he had other priorities in mind so I didn’t vote for him. Evidently neither did most of the country, because he lost.

In the aforementioned text-message flame-war, I was told that my not following politics was essentially me “not standing up for my freedoms.” Not true. I don’t follow politics because I don’t feel like listening to mindless arguing. I’ll follow it when it comes down to the vote, where I can make a difference. When it’s up to me, I’ll throw in my $.02. Before that, when it’s all over news and discussion shows, and the McLoughlin group, and all that bullshit– I am more than happy to put my attention elsewhere!!! If nobody is asking me what I think, and I have no means to contribute, why bother putting any attention towards it. I think that makes sense. I call that being efficient, effective use of time. To further clarify, it’s not that I don’t care, I’m just not interested until it comes down to the vote. You show me the facts and figures, I’ll make my decision. The debates and arguments leading up to it, I can do without those.

So, do I follow politics? Yes and no. I follow it every few years a few months before the election, or I’ll read a news article or two if something big is going on. I followed on Twitter while they were signing that big healthcare bill. I watched some CNN videos explaining it, but then I went about my business. I didn’t feel the need to discuss it, because I didn’t feel like entering into a big debate on the spot, as that tends to happen with politics discussions. Everyone has their own opinion on politics, and I prefer to let it stay that way until there’s an opportunity for me to put in my $.02, at which point I go and vote, and move on with my life.

‘Nuff said.

Exercise Exorcism

Exercise Exorcism

In the movie Boiler Room, there’s a brilliant scene that comes to mind when I think about the concept of exercising. Basically, Giovanni Ribisi is sitting in his kitchen eating a bowl of cereal and the phone rings. He picks it up, and hears a timid newspaper salesperson on the other end trying to get him to sign up for one of the local newspapers. Here’s a youtube link, watch this before reading any further. Warning, there is some profanity…

So, I know that physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and I’ve tried many times to buy into that, but I have yet to find any personal physical benefit to myself from going to a gym and “working out”. I have never had that “rush” or that feeling of…whatever it is that people get. But I want to. I feel like I would just go into the gym, go through motions, and then leave. Go back the next time and do this that and the other thing, and then leave. Where is this miraculous rush? Am I missing something here?

I thought I was, so I decided to sign up for the “personal training” program at my gym. That was a bad idea, because I was misled to believe it was sessions with a personal trainer, but it’s just sessions in general that are with “any” trainer there. How is that personal? I’m supposed to document everything in this little book, and some random trainer is going to read it and automatically know what I’m supposed to do the next time I go there? I think not. When I want “personal” training, I want someone who knows me. Personally. Someone who actually can make recommendations, give me advice, feedback. I want someone I can trust who I know and am comfortable with. How do I know the advice they would be giving me is apropos to what I’m doing? How do I know it’s not just a preset regimen they give everyone?

Each time I’ve talked to people about exercising, they seem to imply that there’s this blind faith I’m supposed to have that it’ll just “work”. Well, like the clip above, if they want to close me they need to sell me on it. Each time I’ve gone I haven’t felt anything, not then or the day after. Maybe I worked with the wrong trainer? I don’t know. But I realize that in order for me to get to a place in my life where I’ll be a lot happier, it’s just something I have to do. I have to force myself to do it, kicking and screaming as I’d be. (Granted, I’ll be kicking and screaming mentally, I’ll keep that to myself while I’m there).

I don’t want to exercise because the time spent there is boring beyond belief. Walking while on a treadmill, or riding an exercise bike, so horribly boring. Lifting weights is at least mildly cool, but I’ve been told that I have to focus on cardio stuff for the stage I’m at. “Well if you don’t like those things you could always walk or jog” I hear that often. But, I tried jogging, in the spirit of being proactive. I wound up with shins splints for a week afterwards, so that put the kibosh on that so to speak. So much for being proactive!

As the title suggests, I need an “Exercise Exorcism”. I need the demons removed that are precluding me from having the a better mindset. I look at gym rats and scoff at their “motivational” attitudes, but I just need to start buying into it. This is clearly a case for “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. The reality of it is simply this; I don’t do it because I don’t get anything out of it. I need some kind of proof that it’s working, some kind of result or indication, whatever form it comes in. Clearly, by the lifestyle I’m leading now I’m not in any position to beat anyone, and I’m just making myself lose more at this game they call “life”.

I might as well suck it up and join the other team, so I have a much better chance at winning.

Bring back the damn towels

Bring back the damn towels

I miss those paper towel dispensers from the public restrooms. You know the kind I mean, the one with the newspaper-like half-paper/half-somethingorother towel-like linen-esque thing dangling beneath it, awaiting your rip. You just walk up and snatch a piece to dry off your dripping hands. Nothing is more annoying than to have dripping hands. Your hands are sopping wet, you really can’t do much of anything else. Anything you touch will get wet, you’ll leave a liquid trail wherever you go. We can’t have that.

But now, in the spirit of being “Green”, and being more eco-friendly, the dangling paper purveyors have given way to…the giant air-blower dryer things that don’t do the job nearly as well!!!! It takes minutes to dry your hands with one of these, rather than seconds. That’s huge. 3 minutes versus 10 seconds? And that’s not all. The stupid things are on timers, the length of which is clearly not long enough to dry your hands completely in the first place!!!

If we’re recycling just about everything under the sun, what’s to say we couldn’t recycle the paper towels used in the bathroom and melt/mix/mash them into more paper towels? Do wereally have to subject ourselves to wasting more time in the bathroom when we’re already done with our business? Think about it. What else could we possibly do in a bathroom once we’ve made our deposit and washed up? There’s really nothing left to do, but once we’ve got wet hands we’re stuck there for another short time. I’m surprised there aren’t ads up on the walls of the bathroom near the hand dryers. It’s prime real estate when you think about it; it’s a wall that people have to look at, because there’s nothing else we could possibly look at while standing there during the 2-3 cycles of the timed hand dryer. Really.

It’s free advertising. Let’s also think about target market. Who would a bathroom wall appeal to? Who visits a bathroom on a regular basis? Moreover, who washes their hands? Hopefully everyone, but if there’s an interesting ad on the wall maybe it will make people want to wash their hands just to spend the extra few minutes reading the ad. Maybe it can be a means to promote washing our hands and not spreading nasty germs in the surrounding area to your bathroom of choice.