Does Customer Service Exist Anymore?

As I sit here sifting through (e)page after (e)page of flooring options on Amazon for the bathroom renovation I’ve been working on for the last several months, I’m reminded of the reason why I haven’t gone back to a physical store to explore options. I recently popped over to a local flooring store to explore their offerings and was met with the worst customer service that I’ve ever experienced in my life. I only wish that I was exaggerating.

Within thirty seconds of walking into the store, I was met by (let’s call him) Bob (fitting, since it’s part of the name of the store). He, like any good sales rep, was quick to ask me if he could help me find anything in particular. I told him that I had come by in search of patterned floor tiles for my bathroom.

He seemed confused. I’m not sure why.

His tone shifted.

“You’re going to have to be more specific,” he said, “what exactly do you mean Pah-turn-d  tie-ull?” He asked.

At this point, I already knew that I had zero interest in doing business with someone that speaks to their customers this way. Nope. I really did want to see what options they had, so I decided to respond to him.

“Well,” I said, “I mean tile that has a pattern on it”.

He brought me over and showed me some white tiles since those, obviously, are patterned, and asked me if that was what I was looking for. Much to his shock, it wasn’t.

He seemed exhausted and was clearly not in the mood to continue our conversation so I thanked him for his time and left.

Is customer service a lost art? 

This guy was unbelievably rude to me. It wasn’t even necessarily what he said but how he said it. I wouldn’t have been upset if they didn’t have the kind of tile I was looking for, I understand that. Not everyone carries options that are unique in a world where people generally decorate with a sense of conformity. I get that, truly.

Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe I reminded him of an ex. Who knows. The bottom line is that he felt that it was okay to make his bad mood my problem and that’s not okay.

I’m a firm believer that the way you carry yourself says a whole lot about the kind of person you are on the inside. If you’re entrusted to represent a brand, no matter what your role is, you should represent it to the best of your ability. Present yourself in a professional manner, be kind to others, think before you speak, and – – for goodness sake, don’t talk down to anyone. Ever.

I talked to my seven year old afterwards about the experience I’d had at the flooring store. Not because she was there or because I wanted to complain to her. Rather, I saw it as an opportunity, a teachable moment where I could discuss how we treat other human beings in this life.

So, whether you’re working with others or out in the world, choose kindness. Treat others with respect. And do the right thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Monster Mommy.

I’m a monster. Don’t worry, some of you are, too.

I lost it this afternoon when Charlotte asked me for help with her piano homework. There’s no excuse, though I could certainly offer a few up. She needed me and I lost patience. I lost my temper. I lost it.

She was nearly a month behind on her piano homework in one of her books. Why? I’m not sure, but she had been lying to us whenever we’d ask her if she was finished it. In hindsight, I should have been double checking. She’s seven.

Why do we, as parents, lose our cool when our kids don’t do what we’ve asked of them? 

Because we allow it to become our problem.

That’s true with almost any situation in life.

Charlotte didn’t do her homework and fell behind. She was so behind that she needed help catching up. And it made me mad because I felt embarrassed and I decided to make the problem mine.

I did this.

Was I right to feel frustrated with the situation? Absolutely.

Am I allowed to feel irritated when she doesn’t meet the clear expectations that are set for her? Yup.

Should I handle these situations with calm? Yes.

And I didn’t. That was my doing, not hers. 

That ugly monster itches to come out and play. It’s the monster that I think lives within us all, the one that thrives in chaos, that enjoys yelling, that feeds off of your elevated cortosial. What if, instead of answering the door when the monster comes knocking, I take a minute to ask myself: Who owns the problem?

When I get to the point where I’m so frustrated that I start to lose my temper, I need to look for logical consequences that keep the problem with the responsible party and not with me.

At the end of the day, when I allow a problem to become mine, I’m not only allowing the situation to affect those who happen to be in the blast radius of my own explosion but I’m also punishing myself when I inevitably feel like a monster and a failure in the aftermath.

Parenting is hard. Godspeed.

 

 

 

 

On Life’s Lightbulb Moments

 

Life is full of moments.

Some of my favorite are the ‘ah-ha’ ones where all of the sudden that piece of the puzzle that’s been missing finally clicks into place. I’ve had a few of them over the last couple of years.

1. The moment I realized that your relationships are WORTH fighting for.

Tim and I were, as much as I hate to admit this publicly, on the road to splitting up. We’d had some crucial conversations about our relationship and it really seemed like our journey was heading in that direction. Right around our ten year wedding anniversary, I had a light bulb moment. The amount of time that we’d chosen to be together was SO much longer than the amount of time we’d spent feeling like we were drifting apart – and those years are worth something. Worth fighting for. So, we’ve chosen to try to do that. To fight for our marriage – and, in a lot of ways, things have gotten SO much better as a result.

2. The moment I realized that life is more about how you handle situations than the situations themselves. 

2017 was an interesting year, full of learning experiences. Within the span of less than a month, Charlotte had a nasty case of head lice, our house flooded, the dog died, and we were getting ready to leave to go out of the country. I realized during that timeframe (somewhere around the flood), that life is more about how you navigate through the storms than the storms themselves. Going through all of that in such a short amount of time truly changed me, for the better. I came through it a more calm, grounded individual. I learned a lot about who I am and how I handle crisis.

3. The moment I realized that I can’t expect anyone to treat me better than I’m willing to treat myself. 

I’ve spent years de-valuing myself in life. So much so that I’ve become an expert at it, with more than three decades experience. So it should come as no surprise to me when other people follow suit, right? My most recent lightbulb moment was happened not too long ago. I realized, despite having heard it before, that I set the tone for how other people treat me by sending the message that I’m okay with it. Time and time again. It’s a lesson you will never learn until it finally clicks.

“You’re only a doormat if you lay down for it.”

Should other people be held accountable for the way they treat you? Yes. But, here’s the cold hard truth of the matter: The way that you carry yourself, the amount of self-respect you have for yourself, and how you value yourself is going to play a huge role in how other people respect and value you. I cannot expect anyone to value me more than I am willing to value myself.

Right?

I recently found myself in a situation where I had to defend my value. It wasn’t that the other person didn’t see my worth, it’s that I had sent the message over and over again that I was okay being undervalued. Why? Because, like I said, I’m an expert at it. I started to realize that I’ve spent years not valuing what I bring to the table in life, at work, out in the community, etc. Why?

I’m not even sure why, it’s probably something I need to dig a little deeper to figure out, but I’m finally starting to realize that I’m worth more than I’ve been giving myself credit for. And that’s a big step for me.

Just call me Stuart Smalley.

StuartSmalley

 

 

 

#JoyDelivered to YOUR Doorstep! {WIN} $50 to #DoorToDoorOrganics

Happy March, Friends!

The warmer weather here in the KC metro area reminds me that a new season is nearly here and I’m inviting you to SPRING into better eating habits with me this month! You guys, I’ve been bad…really, really bad. Some time ago (last month, don’t judge me), I survived on pizza snacks for nearly three days straight (#kiddingnotkidding) and ultimately had to have a little Come to Jesus chat with myself about both the example I am setting for my 5 year old as well as the impacts that proper diet (and exercise – *sigh*) can have on your overall health.

I’ve always ENJOYED healthy foods, that wasn’t the problem, but I was struggling (big time) with the “convenience” of the junk in my freezer. NOT ANYMORE (ignore the Thin Mints in my freezer) or at least not OFTEN anymore. I’ve discovered what it means to have #JoyDelivered to my DOORSTEP every single week. This JOY comes in the form of healthy, fresh, organic produce and quality foods boxed up from Door To Door Organics each week and, you guys, I am SO THRILLED to be able to offer one of YOU $50.00 to try it out for yourself. Take a look…

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Setting up my new account with Door to Door Organics was fast and easy. Their website is very user friendly (read: just about anyone can navigate through with ease) and I immediately felt comfortable making changes to my subscription, adding on pantry items, and getting ridiculously excited for my weekly order. The very first thing that I did (and you’ll need to do) was made sure that my home address is located in a delivery area (spoiler alert: it is). Go check to see if your zip code is, I’ll wait…

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FUN FACT: Save $10 on your first box using the code KCBlog16

Once my account was set up, I spent time going through all of my options for delivery. In addition to the box of produce (I’ve ordered both the “bitty” and the “small” boxes) that comes with my subscription, I’ve also been ordering some awesome foods I never realized I could have dropped off at my doorstep. I’ve been ordering breakfast items, frozen foods, and items from the bakery as well. I hopped into my local supermarket to compare the prices of some of the foods I got in my first box and they were fairly consistent with what Door to Door Organics charges for the same items. Take a look at what I got in my first box (it was really two boxes…double the FUN!):

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My first order included a SMALL mixed box and, as you can see, it had quite a bit of food. I’ve since dropped down to a bitty box which is still enough for a couple of eaters. I’m almost afraid to admit this but, before this experience with Door To Door Organics, I’d never had FRESH mango before but now I’m hooked (and so is Charlotte). My favorite thing about this particular subscription is that if there’s ever an item in your weekly (or bi-weekly, or however often you choose to get delivery) box that you don’t care for or have enough of already, you can swap it out for something else. I used ALL five of my available swaps last week so that I could load up on some of my favorite fruits and veggies at home.

You can also set preferences so that your box will never contain foods that you either can’t or elect not to eat (like corn & grapefruit – YUCK). On the flip side (I really wanted to say “conversely” here but decided against it), you can tell Door to Door Organics what you REALLY like and they’ll do their best to incorporate it for you (I’ve had bananas and lemon delivered every week).

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Now for the fun part…Once you’ve made adjustments to your order, added on anything that you’re needing for the upcoming week, and are satisfied with your choices (or it’s midnight the night before your delivery date), you get to experience the joy of WAITING. The anticipation is actually pretty exciting – I REALLY love when things are delivered to me (it’s like *magic*). I may or may not have (okay, I did) squealed with delight when the box arrived at my house.

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{This was just HALF of my first delivery from #DoorToDoorOrganics}

I could (literally) go on and on about how much I appreciate and value the delicious produce and other groceries that I’ve gotten so far from DTDO but I’m getting a little wordy here so let’s jump right into the giveaway and then I’ll share more next week when I announce a winner – Sound good?! Good!

I have, in my {electronic} possession FIFTY Door To Door Organics BUCKAROOS to give away right here on It’s An Ordinary Blog and I really want you to WIN!

To get in on the action, head on over to my FACEBOOK page and drop me a COMMENT on THIS POST telling me what YOU would like best about having this service. You can get a BONUS entry by doing the same on my INSTAGRAM post linked HERE.

I’ll randomly draw ONE winner on March 10th ((comments will be accepted through 11:59pm CST on 3/9/16)) and will announce RIGHT HERE on the BLOG! Stay tuned and, as always, may the odds be EVER in YOUR favor! Good luck!

“13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

“13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” recounts the actual events of a terrorist attacks on the American Consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya which have since been the source of investigations and controversy. Nearing the 11th anniversary of the attacks in New York, the Pentagon, and the downed American Airlines flight in Pennsylvania, the threat level in Libya was deemed critical and Benghazi was considered to be one of the most dangerous places on Earth. So, when American ambassador Chris Stevens’ team was attacked at the US Consulate, there was no help available beyond his small security team that was already in place.

The bulk of the film documents six members of the security detail assigned to the nearby CIA annex who risked their lives to try to save the ambassador and his team in the early hours of the attack. Once back at the annex, however, the team quickly realized that their night had just begun as the militants issued several waves of subsequent attacks on the annex forcing the team to fight for not only their lives but also for the lives of dozens of CIA operatives who were inside the compound at the time.

War films highlighting modern day political conflict can often be a harsh reminder of the world we live in but also serve as a reminder that there are people who are willing to risk their lives to save others – which is exactly what the “secret soldiers” of Benghazi accomplished. All in all, these men fought for nearly 13 hours before being able to return home to their families lives changed, some lives lost. The film depicts the gravity of war and brings you on an emotional journey that will break your heart.

Overall, I recommend “13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” to moviegoers who are interested in war films or for people studying the recent history of our war overseas. On a scale from 1 to 10, I give this movie a 7.45309.

See you at the movies!

Peanuts: They’re BACK!

The Peanuts Movie

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Rated: G

Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang are back on the big screen for the first time in 35 years. With the power of Blue Sky Studios (makers of the Ice Age movies and Rio) behind them, “The Peanuts Movie” has a new 3D Computer generated look, but retains the same heart and spirit of the older films.

As a child, I remember watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” around Halloween and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” before Christmas every year.  As I grew older, I appreciated the complicated subject matter tackled by these movies that were for children and about children. The new Peanuts movie keeps up with that tradition. Charlie Brown deals with self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy and a great deal of adversity. He takes a lot of lumps from life, but always gets up to take another and you never stop rooting for him.  

In the latter years of the Peanuts comic strip, the focus shifted from Charlie Brown’s hopeful hopelessness to Snoopy’s silly antics. This movie does a good job of giving audiences both.  Snoopy has a side story that is interspersed within the main story, which helps distract from the fact that Charlie Brown’s story is a fairly simple one.

This Peanuts movie is very faithful to the original material. Other than the new look of the animation, it feels very much like one of the classics.  Having the family of the comic strip creator Charles M. Schulz involved in the writing process no doubt helped preserve the feel of the originals, and it is evident that this movie is a labor of love. If anything, things may be a little too familiar. Charlie Brown has misadventures in pitching, he visits his five cent psychiatrist and he even tries to kick a football. During these bits, it feels a little bit like “Peanuts greatest hits”.

I didn’t mind. “The Peanuts Movie” will fill old fans with nostalgia while introducing the characters to a new generation. It’s a clever and wholesome movie that will be enjoyable for people of all ages.  On my It’s an Ordinary Blog scale where 1 is the worst, 5 is the best, and 10 is the worst again I give “The Peanuts Movie” a 4.85234 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: GOOD GRIEF! That was Great!

Young Boy Kidnapped From Orphanage, Becomes Pirate, Takes Over Entire Land

“Pan”

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Run-time: 111 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy action, violence, language and some thematic materials
Starring: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara

The live-action remake of classic animated films is quickly becoming the go-to play in Disney’s playbook. Back in 2010, fueled by good marketing, captivating visuals, and peak Johnny Depp weirdness, “Alice in Wonderland” re-imagined a familiar story and made all of the money. Since then, the Disney live-action remake has become its own sub-genre. “Maleficent” and “Cinderella” both did well and now “Pan”, the latest entry in this growing trend will try to emulate that success. Whether “Pan” succeeds or not, it appears the Disney remake machine has started and cannot be stopped. Reportedly there are a dozen or more additional live action remakes in the works.

“Pan”, like its most successful live-action remake forerunners, approaches a well-known story from a different angle so that the audience can learn more about well known characters. It is a prequel to the story we all know and love, showing the origin of how Peter, a 12 year-old orphan, came to Neverland and became the hero known as Peter Pan.

This is a very quirky movie.The story, though stretching far from what we know about these previously established characters, is interesting enough to hold your attention. The visual effects were whimsical and clever. I appreciated the bursts of color when someone was injured in a fight, which softened the impact of the violence while providing an interesting and unique effect.

Even though enjoyed “Pan”, there were parts that are too intense for very small children. My daughter is 4, she loves “Peter Pan”, but I would not bring her to this version. For older audience members; however, the captivating visuals and unique take on beloved characters is enough to keep audiences entertained from beginning to end.

On my It’s An Ordinary Blog scale where 1 is the worst, 5 is the best, and 10 is the worst again, I give Pan a 3.62349123 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: “oooooooooooooohhhh pretty”.

Mad About It Mondays: Entitlement Among Older Millennials

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Happy Monday, Internetland!

Good morning. Today is the one day a week that most people dread. Mondays mean back to work, back to school, and back to the grind that is our every day lives. If you’ve been following It’s An Ordinary Blog for a while, you know that sometimes, on Mondays, I like to share long, rambling complaints about a topic that pisses me off in a series I like to call “Mad About It Mondays”.

Mad About It Monday- Copyright It's An Ordinary Blog

Today I want to talk about a topic that’s been on my mind for a while: Entitlement.

Millennial: (noun) 3. (usually initial capital letter) Informal. a person born in the 1980s or 1990s, especially in the U.S.; a member of Generation YMillennials are self absorbed, entitled jerks. 

As an older Millennial, I used to think that the biggest problems our generation faced stemmed from the behaviors of the younger crowd (who are just now in college and entering the workforce). I occasionally read blog posts about how millennials are lazy, self-absorbed, and entitled and I would think, “Certainly this doesn’t apply to 30-somethings”. Maybe my blinders have been on and I simply haven’t noticed these same behaviors that the media covers being exhibited by my peers or maybe it really doesn’t happen that often among older millennials…until, of course, it does.

To protect the not-so-innocent, I’m going to be very careful with my words here…I have a friend, let’s call her Sally. Sally recently took to social media to complain about a letter one of her neighbors anonymously mailed to her about her lawn. The letter was friendly enough, a simple reminder that Sally’s house is the first house that everyone sees when they enter the neighborhood and a request to take better care of her lawn. Fair enough. Sally is a property owner, basic lawn care should be a given when you own a home, right?!

WRONG

According to the 54+ comments older millennials made on her post

“How DARE (Sally’s) neighbor sent such a RUDE letter,” they said.

“What an ASSHOLE,” they said.

“If THEY have a problem with YOUR lawn, they should mow it themselves,” they said.

“Yuppie suburbanites whose only aspiration in life is to become the HOA President,” they said.

“They need to mind their own business,” they said.

They said. They said. They said. 

The comments went on and on and on all siding with Sally and her complete disregard for her neighbors. And it hit me.

Maybe older millennials are entitled asshats, too. 

Was it a little shitty for Sally’s neighbor to send a letter through the mail so that they could remain faceless while complaining about her lawn? Maybe, I’ll give her that, but the neighbor has a RIGHT to ask her to take pride in the way her house looks.

The neighbor has a RIGHT to expect her to take reasonable care of her lawn so that their property value isn’t adversely impacted as a result. The neighbor, in my opinion, approached the subject in the most tactful (read: least embarrassing, for Sally) way possible and yet, even still, the neighbor is somehow to blame (according to the comments) for the situation.

Sally’s situation reminded me of a situation that I am currently facing (not that I need a reminder – I face it every single day). My own neighbor refuses to take care of their lawn and, as a result, it’s hurting the property values in our neighborhood which is going to directly impact me when I go to sell my house. Homes in our neighborhood aren’t selling for what they should be and that really sucks – It sucks for ALL of us in the neighborhood who manage to be responsible home owners despite being millennials ourselves.

Disgusting.

Adulting can be hard sometimes – I get that. Life is full of obligations and finding the time to fulfill all of your responsibilities can be hard. Nobody owes you the courtesy of overlooking their declining property values because you can’t be bothered to mow your damn lawn. Give me a break. Better yet, give your neighbor a break and get it together.

/rant.

PS- I should mention that it wasn’t what Sally said that inspired the post, it was the 54 people who thought that Sally shouldn’t have to take care of her lawn if she didn’t want to.

Last Chance: Sock It To Me for $2,000! #DASC15

Good Evening, World!

Happy Sunday! If you’re following me on social media – You’ve probably noticed by posts about a FUN contest going on right now from my friends over at Sock It To Me. If you’re not already following me on social, let’s connect: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Sock It To Me is an INCREDIBLE Portland based company that designs the uniquest (if that’s not already a word, it should be) socks featuring fun styles and expressions for children and adults.

Every year, Sock It To Me accepts entries from across the globe for their Annual Global Design A Sock Contest. During the contest, artists of all ages (get your kids involved and let their imaginations SOAR) and skill levels are invited to submit a sketch of their very own sock design for a chance to win up to $2000 in cold hard cash and some really awesome product from the company! BUT WAIT, there’s MORE! The WINNING design will be manufactured as part of Sock It to Me’s next collection! In case you misunderstood what I just said, YOUR SOCKS could be worn by millions of people across the WORLD.

In case you’re curious as to why I *HEART* this company so much, take a peek at the following video while I go fill up my iced tea <be right back!>

Still with me?! Great. As you can see, the Sock It To Me team is super awesome and their fun, unique designs are even more awesomer (also needs to be a word). If you want to get involved in THIS YEAR’S contest – There’s STILL TIME! The deadline for entries into their annual design a sock contest is THIS WEDNESDAY and you can find ALL the details YOU need on the Sock It To Me website.

BUT – If you’re feeling a little lazy and don’t want to follow the link just yet, I’ll give you the details below:

How To Enter:

  1. Download the entry form.
  2. Print it out, or open it in your favorite graphics application and make something awesome on it.
  3. Upload it using the form below, or mail/hand-deliver it to our headquarters so that it arrives by 5pm Pacific Time on 9/30/15.

That’s 7:00pm CST, 8:00pm EST on Wednesday

Contest rules and legal information can be found HERE and follow this link for the full list of prizes.The most important thing is to just BE YOURSELF and have fun with it! If you win, which I hope you do, let me know and I’ll sport a pair of YOUR DESIGN once the line is released!

Be sure to follow me on social media to see what Sock It To Me designs I sport! 

Creepy Bostonian Man Takes Advantage Of FBI & It’s Awesome.

Black Mass Review

Black Mass

Release Date: Friday September 18th, 2015

Running Time: 122 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use.

CastJohnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson

From “The Departed” to “The Town”, movies depicting the seedy underbelly of Boston’s crime syndicate have always personally fascinated me as a moviegoer. Perhaps its the historical significance of how the mob’s presence has worked to shape our nation (like helping to end prohibition in the early 1930s) or the relationship between the mob and the government that is so interesting to witness but it seems like mob movies are always a hit (get it, a hit – haha). The same can be said for the latest in the genre, “Black Mass”, which hit theaters nationwide this weekend.

This film, starring Johnny Depp (“Finding Neverland”, “Pirates Of The Caribbean”), Joel Edgerton (“The Gift”, “Zero Dark Thirty”), and Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”, “Star Trek Into Darkenss”) depicts the real life of FBI agent John Connolly (Edgerton) and crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp), who grew up together in south Boston. The film demonstrates an era in American history where criminals utilized law enforcement to get ahead in their community and some of the scenes are downright unbelievable – it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that this actually happened in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The movie follows the story of how “Whitey” Bulger utilized his role as an informant for the FBI to take down his opposition and position himself as the Irish godfather in the Boston mob. Years of murders, drug dealing, and racketeering ultimately lead Bulger to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List but not before he made big waves in Boston and in the local FBI office.

Crime drama lovers and history enthusiasts alike will appreciate how well the screenwriters, director, and actors brought this part of history to life in “Black Mass”. It’s a great film well worth the ticket price to enjoy it on the big screen.