Customer Service – or the lack thereof.

Recently, it’s been the lack thereof.  You’d think in these  competitive times, customer service would be a priority. I know lots of companies say that is their top priority but there are some that are lacking. I will be naming names.

  • DIL#2 decided to look for a new refrigerator and/or mattress set. It was a sultry Sunday afternoon and with nothing else to do, I said, Sure, I’ll tag along.  Our first stop was at Sears since she’d seen a flyer advertising their current sale. We walked in and several workers were standing at the registers/CS desk. A fellow said, “Whatcha looking for today?”  She said a refrigerator and could she get it delivered in a day? He replied, no – usually takes 3-4 days but take a look and let me know any model numbers you’re interested in and I’ll see what delivery time would be.  No offer of going with us to the appliance section or engaging us in any way.  While we were looking no one ever came over to check  on us.  We  found a couple and went back to the front of the store. There was no one there so we left.  Our next stop was at Ashley Furniture. As soon as we walked in we were greeted and asked what we were looking for. She said a mattress and the salesperson directed us to that area and said he’d send someone right over. In a few minutes the manager of that department introduced himself and began asking questions about what she had in mind and if there was a specific health issue she was hoping to alleviate with a new set. His explanations of foundations, toppers, pillows and firmness was illuminating.  Needless to say there’s no new refrigerator at the house but she’s sleeping much better at night.
  • I recently accompanied Son DM on a business trip to Northern Mississippi (what was I e thinking: Mississippi in late August?!).  He had a rental car reserved with  Avis that he was to pick up at 9:00. We were going to be a bit late so he called them to let them know and make sure the car would be ready. When the phone rang, a voice said, “Hello.”  Not, Good morning,  this is Beckie at Avis. How may I help you?”  Just “hello”. That should have been our first warning. He told her we’d be a bit late. She replied, “OK, car is getting oil change so it may be ready when you get here.”  When we did get to the location, DM went in. He returned in less than 10 minutes so I knew something was wrong. He was upset and explained: when he entered, the woman behind the counter (dressed in a tee shirt) sighed loudly. When he jokingly said, having a bad day, she replied, Yes, due to people like you reserving cars and expecting to pick one up.  OK then.  He inquired as to the status of his rental and she said it wouldn’t be ready for an hour, if then. Not once did she offer another vehicle or an explanation as to why it wasn’t ready.  He immediately called Avis Customer Service. The lady who answered was very apologetic but that didn’t get us a rental vehicle.  He then called Enterprise and was told yes, there were rentals available at their location a few miles away.  When we got there, the employees were wearing their company jackets and said Hello, how can we help you as soon as we entered.  They offered bottles of water and a phone charger (that he forgot to bring) at no extra cost. Needless to say, he’ll be using Enterprise Rental from now on.
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What’s the proper attire for a roller-derby match?

That’s what I thought when friend VR called and said she had tickets to a match for Saturday night of the Race City Rebels. Well, nothing else happening on a hot, humid July evening so I said sure, let’s go.  VR’s co-worker is on the team (#9 Rebel Yell) and invited her to attend.  Since the match didn’t start till 7:30 and was at Ellenberger Ice Rink (minus the ice) we had time for dinner and picked Chef Dan’s in Irvington.  If you’ve not tried out this place – shame on you.  It’s Mississippi/Louisiana cooking in the heart of Indy.  Check out their link: http://chefdansindy.com

We got to the Rink with a few minutes to go in the Naptown Roller Girls match and discovered without the ice, the Rink is very toasty, especially on a late July evening.  They did provide energy efficient fans: cardboard on a wooden stick.  We found a couple of chairs and started to peruse the crowd.

Obviously, our clothing color was wrong – almost everyone had on black, and we def didn’t sport enough tats. No matter, the crowd was excited and totally engrossed in the match.  We had no idea what was going on; all we knew was they were going around in a circle, trying to stay between the markers and the referees blew their whistles and made all kinds of hand motions. During a time out a fellow would skate out and re-tape the circle.  The Roller Derby Girls won by a large margin; we have no idea who the opponent was. At the end of the game the crowd jumped up and stood around the circle to get a hand slap from the teams.

There was a short break then the men’s team took the floor.  The acoustics were terrible, it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher: wha, wha, wha. Plus, there was loud music playing so we were at a complete loss but determined to not use technology for information. Everyone jumped up again and got hand slaps as the teams were introduced. I wish we could have heard the announcer, the web site has a team roster and their names are very colorful!

During the men’s game we did figure out that there was one guy trying to get through a group of opponents and if he did it three times, it was a grand slam.  We never did figure out the scoring or any of the penalty calls. I think there were seven officials; it took that many to keep an eye on all the skaters.

I looked up the Race City Rebels after I got home and they have a handy FAQ on their website.  We weren’t too off in how we thought the match was played but I learned a lot more.  Check it out for yourself:  http://www.racecityrebels.com.

Just one more thing I can add to my Life List of things I’ve done.

HGTV = Hardly Good TV

Back when there was a cable ‘box’ I enjoyed the early years of HGTV. Since I’ve ‘cut the cable cord’ I get my remodel fix by watching PBS shows. When Son #1 asked me to pet-sit while they were on vacation I said sure – they have satellite and Netflix – win/win for me! I remembered all the fun shows I used to watch: Design on a Dime, Decorating Cents, Curb Appeal, and Holmes on Homes. Then I got a rude awakening – it was nothing but repeats all day or night long of the same shows: people looking for houses on a beach, in another country or less than 150 sq. feet; people flipping houses, people remodeling then selling a house, people letting brothers remodel and sell their house. . . . Not any of the quick and easy fix it shows from the old days.
I tried watching but after a few, it became apparent that there are plenty of highly opinionated, non-imaginative folks looking for a home. The price tags for these are incomphrendable to me. Guess things are different outside the Midwest. This was just another version of reality TV with whiners and it’s all about me participants. I was also very disappointed that when they did a remodel, the cabinets and fixtures were completely destroyed. You’d think in this day and age they’d reuse and recycle all of that. Habitat for Humanity would be glad to get those things for their ReStore facilities. I checked on-line to see why the changes and found out most of them are scripted and produced in Canada even tho the HGTV headquarters is in Knoxville, TN. The homeowners are carefully chosen and of course the hosts don’t do any of the actual work.
I suppose you can find all the projects you’d ever want on Pintrest with videos and instructions. Just search on YouTube and you’ll be able to learn to knit or crochet. Gone are the days when you learned these things from your Grandmother.
On my “free” TV there was a Live Well Network and it had some hands on, crafty shows. But the local station discontinued it so I watch it via my laptop now. I still watch This Old House but deep down, the Scott brothers are much better to look at than Norm and Roger!

Adventures with JP, Episode 2

BB truckBefore this adventure started, my favorite sister and I, along with Nephew JR3 headed to Knox County to get strawberries in Oaktown. Along the way we stopped at Asbury Chapel to put flowers on family grave sites. Our mother would have been 100 years old on May 17th. It boggles my mind to think of all the changes in the world she experienced in her 89 years. The roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, WWII, the space race, watching grand and great-grandkids grow up . . . .
Before we got to Blann’s Berries off US 41, we went past the Lays potato fields which were in bloom. Some were a pretty purple and others had white blooms. After loading the berries (we order ahead, getting too old to do U-Pick!), we went past the asparagus fields which were going to seed. They still had some for retail sale so we added fresh asparagus to our load. Too bad the melons weren’t ripe yet – that will be another adventure later this summer.
I spent the night at Windy Hill so JP and I could get an early start on the Old National Highway – US 40 Yard Sales. There’s absolutely nothing I need or want but, you never know what treasures you’ll find. The plan was to head West, stopping at sales on the Northside of the road then hit the Southside ones on the way back.
Our first stop netted a Tupperware cake taker for $1 – now that’s a total bargain! Onward – A few more uneventful stops then we got to a barn sale where I purchased a small bookcase that found a home in Grandson M’s room.
JP’s co-worker had been telling her that the ‘best’ fish sandwich was at a café in Reelsville. There’s not much in Reelsville, but we found the place; still not sure what it’s called: two different names on signs and two different names on the building itself. It was an old Texaco filling station and pretty much original. The hostess, Chris, gave us a running narrative on the history of the building as she cooked our food. She even had pictures from the town flood of 1913 and celebration dinners from the 40’s and 50’s. It’s nice when people keep historical records. Oh, BTW – it really was a good fish sandwich.

There’s lots of things to do in Indy during May that don’t involve an oval track!

Not everyone is into that event in Speedway where 33 cars & drivers turn left and go fast. Here’s some events to keep the rest of us busy:

– Now through Mother’s Day (Sun. May 10) you can visit the 54th Annual Decorator’s Show House Presented by St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild. Info link: http://www.showhouseindy.org/show-house
– Join a walking tour of Fountain Square on May 14th. The 90-minute tour will be led by Indiana Landmarks and a resident of the neighborhood. Featuring a 1- to 1.5-mile walk, tours cost $10 per person. Details at: http://www.discoverfountainsquare.com/
– Remember Ayres Department Store? The Indiana Historical Society has a wonderful exhibit titled “That Ayres Look”. There’s also Concerts on the Canal on Thursdays. Check out all the info at: http://www.indianahistory.org/indiana-experience/you-are-there
– Take a short drive North on Michigan Road and discover Conner Prairie – a living history museum. Find events at this link: http://www.connerprairie.org
– Explore the undead underbelly of Indiana’s most haunted places with Indiana’s most accomplished professional paranormal investigators! They visit Noblesville, Westfield and Chatham Arch plus others. Details at: http://www.unseenpress.com
– If you’d like to learn the historic background of funerals, Bona Thompson Memorial Center will host a historically accurate replica of President Lincoln’s casket, along with a Victorian funerary customs exhibit. It happens on May 22 through June 30 at 5350 University Ave
– Rather sip some wine and channel your inner artist? Visit Chateau Thomas on May 14th. For $20 you get all the materials, a light dinner and oh, did I mention wine? More info: http://www.chateauthomas.com
– Do you enjoy music? Then stop by the Arts Garden at Circle Centre on May 16 for Performathon showcasing the talent of local students of all ages, as well as a wide variety of solo music from faculty of the Music Academy. Details: http://www.indyarts.org
– Ready for some yummy, fresh veggies or get your green thumb on by buying plants to grow? Visit the City Market on Wednesdays from 9:30 – 2:00 for the Farmer’s Market. Don’t forget to pick up a bag of caramel corn!
– Enjoy the historic surroundings of the 1890s Propylaeum Club during a relaxing lunch or afternoon tea with friends or business associates. Tuesday through Friday. Visit this link for details: http://www.thepropylaeum.org/
– At University High School on May 23, you are cordially invited to the fantastic, free Russian Festival with ethnic food, dances, kids’ corner and much more! ww.universityhighschool.org
– Has Mother Nature been calling your name? Then get to Garfield Park for the Plant Sale on May 16 from 9-12. Check here for types of plants available: http://www.garfieldgardensconservatory.org
– For a variety of events and classes, check out Indy Parks http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPR/Pages/IndyParksHome.aspx
– Who doesn’t like Happy Hours? Show up on Georgia St. on Thursdays. At 5:00 to see live music, enjoy food and have a good time.
– After that, a walk around U of Indy to see the artwork on the campus sculpture walk. The free outdoor art exhibition features work by artists from around the country. Sculptures vary greatly in size, style and subject, Click here to get a map: http://www.uindy.edu
– If you’re totally bored, this should rev your engine (sorry!). On Thursday, May 7, at 9:00 a.m. it’s Government Information Day at the Indiana State Library to learn about online services and discuss the transformation of government information from the print to the digital age. Location: Indiana State Library, 315 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Marion County.
– Wow – Basketball is not over in Indy: Sat. May 9 the Indiana Blaze (semi-pro men’s BB team) will play the New Jersey Bullets. Game will be at Noblesville East Middle School, 625 Field Drive, Noblesville Info link: http://www.indyblazebasketball.com/
– Well, golleeee Andy!! It’s the Mayberry in the Midwest Festival, beginning May 15 at the Courthouse Square, Danville
http://www.mayberryinthemidwest.com/

Whew – that should keep you busy for awhile!

SPRING (which I love) CLEANING (which I dislike)

Yes, it’s THAT time of year – spring cleaning. Or at least that’s what Clorox, Windex, P&G and Mr. Clean would like you to believe.  Just turn on the TV and there’s someone telling you how to do it faster and better.  The only way that would work for me is to have someone else do it.

And please, stop showing those pictures of dust mites magnified thousands of times – they’re giving me nightmares.  I’m sure my house is a much desired location for them, probably got 5 stars on Yelp.  I was much happier thinking of dust bunnies.

Of course the big thing nowadays is making your own cleaning products. I have a niece that makes her own laundry soap. Sorry, I have better things to do than chop up soap bars and mix it with borax.  I guess it’s a choice of convenience vs expense or the Little House on the Prairie syndrome.  Just check the internet for recipes for cleaners:

Glass Cleaner: 2 Tblsp of lemon juice, 1 Tblsp white vinegar and 1 cup hot water, mix, put in spray bottle and start spritzing. But, do it on a cloudy day; if it’s sunshine-y your windows will streak (so I’ve heard).

The one thing I do make is drain cleaner – easy peasy:

1 C baking soda, 1 C salt and 1/2 C vinegar, pour into the drain, let sit for 5 min. then pour 2 C boiling water down the drain. Works great plus the foaming makes me think of jr. high science class.

I did purchase a spin mop and the grandkids love using it. Winner all around: happy grandkids and clean floors!

Adventures with JP, Episode 1

It was a dark and stormy day . . . isn’t that how Snoopy starts his great American novel? Well, this time it was true when we took off for niece JP’s annual birthday trip. We’ve been doing this for several years and never know what adventures lay ahead. This year she decided we’d go to SW Indiana, Sullivan to be exact. I picked up her and sister V. on Friday afternoon and we headed out.
We made it to The Front Porch in Worthington for lunch. We all thought they closed at 2:00 but they were open later since it was a Friday. We enjoyed some home cooking: tenderloin and fish sandwiches and onion rings. Then it was onward southwest through the rain.
I’d made reservations at the mobile home (they don’t like to call it a trailer) at the Sullivan County Park & Lake. JP had camped here a few years ago so I looked it up and found they had a few cabins and the MH for rent. JP knew there was a shortcut off the highway so we took off down the back roads. Maybe if it hadn’t been so rainy, she’d have remembered the landmarks but somehow we ended up on the opposite side of the lake. I called the Park Office and asked for directions. The lady said, “My, you’re making it difficult. Let me think about where you are and how to get you here.” She did talk us in and we got checked in. The MH probably has not earned a lot of stars on any rating site, but it suited us. It was clean, had hot water and appliances and three bedrooms (although JP’s was on the porch).
JP called Cousin M and asked if we could pick up dinner and come over and watch the IU game. We knew she’d be in front of the big screen since she’s a huge IU fan. So, a quick stop at the town market to pick up food and off we went. We yelled and coached from our chairs but it didn’t do any good, IU lost. We did get caught up on local family news and saw pictures of the newest grandbabies.
The rain stopped during the night and we had some sunshine as we headed out Saturday. We got a late start so thought we’d grab lunch in Sullivan. Well, most of their eateries DO close at 2 p.m.! We finally found the bar & grille at the bowling alley was open. As we were paying our check, we noticed a flyer for the local high school’s presentation of Mary Poppins. Wow – that would be fun! So we had to be back by 8:00.
We crossed into Illinois to find a winery – we always try to tour a winery on our adventures. We found an antique/flea market open in Palestine so took a look around. Since we gained an hour, we took our time strolling through the aisles. We asked about a winery and the proprietors said the closest one was at Vincennes. We were running out of time so that wasn’t an option; we headed back to Indiana.
We made it to the high school just in time. It was a typical amateur production. The sound was bad, the audience noise was distracting but somehow we were transported into the story of the Banks family and Bert & Mary. The students did a good job of singing and even made their English accents believable.
Sunday morning was even brighter and warmer. We’d noticed a couple of trash to treasures shops in town so off we went. Well, everything was closed on Sundays; we forgot we were in small town America.
So, time to head back North. When we stopped for gas, JP ran into some folks she knew so caught up with them. Lunch was back at Worthington again at the 67 Grille & Ice Cream Shop. This time, JP ran into someone she went to school with so more catching up. Back to Morgan County and home, sweet home.
Lessons learned:
– There’s more than one way to get to your destination
– You never know who you’ll run into on an adventure
– You’ll always find an IU fan
– Check county parks for rentals – cheaper than hotels
– Remember what time zone you’re in
– Go to a high school musical – always enjoyable
– Take wine with you just in case