Archive | October, 2012

Take Time to Organize

27 Oct

Sorry about the gap in posting…it  has been a hectic last couple weeks. I lost a job very prematurely and started another one, less than two weeks in the unemployment line, Thank God!

I just wanted to write a few words about the importance of organizing stuff. I have been a social worker (Master of Social Work earned 97′) and have been collecting materials to help me do my job for over 20 years. Recently, I had the opportunity to “unpack” and organize my social work collection. I was able to downsize to only four boxes (copy paper sized).

I went through every shred of paper and made a decision to keep or not. I also organized each piece of paper into specific areas to make it easier to find and use. Yes, it took time, 3 hours but it was well worth it. I now know what is contained in my four box collection and since I know what is in it, I will be able to access it easier. What good is something if you don’t know where it is? None.  What is the point of having a bunch of stuff but don’t use it? None.

I actually feel free and less stressed because I took the time to organize and downsize. I can now be more effective and efficient in my field of work. Other side benefits of this cleansing were that I found stuff that I forgot about and now can use to help someone. And I found some fun stuff that I can use and some inspirational stuff as well.

Take the time, I promise it will be well worth it!

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Workers at Wal-Mart Finally Wake Up!!!

17 Oct

For months now I had been thinking of ways to help Wal-Mart “associates” organize themselves to protest and strike against the 3rd largest employer in the world.

I know, I know but Darron, that is not for you to take on…I was just re-reading the National Association of Social Work ethics yesterday and one of the tenants that I am licensed to adhere to is: Social Justice. Since Sam Walton died about 20 years ago, Wal-Mart executives have been finding ways to line their pockets at the expense of the employees (I call them). Wal-Mart employees are paid menial wages and have lousy benefits. But yet, people still line up to work for this nasty employer. Why? Because they are the 3rd largest employer in the world behind the Chinese and USA defenses’ personnel and people need jobs to support themselves and their families.

We, as consumers, really need to support the workers not just Wal-Mart’s products and services. I know, I know but Darron, the costs of Wal-Mart’s products will go up for us, the consumers. If, as President Obama keeps preaching, we “level the playing field” for Wal-Mart and its operations, everybody will win! 

So anyway, this week, I read an article by Amy Goodman that Wal-Mart employees in 12 states, making up 28 Wal-Mart stores have finally woke up and are finally organizing themselves against the Wal-Mart machine. With the help of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Wal-Mart employees just recently protested outside its headquarters in Bentonville, AR as a large # of investors were meeting. This was the first time in the company’s 50 year history, that the employees finally stood up together to fight for better wages and better working conditions. Things that they shouldn’t have to fight for, the employer should already be supplying these items.

I was talking to a Wal-Mart employee recently as he was sweeping the large parking lot of his store. I commented to him, wouldn’t you rather be inside working with the others and he replied, “no, it is crazy in there, I am better outside (in the PARKING LOT). Give me a break! How sad is this? Very.

So, the Wal-Mart employees who have organized against the MACHINE that Alan Jackson sung about 20 years ago, call themselves “OUR WAL-MART” which stands for “Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart”. I think the name of their group is very appropriate and pro-Wal-Mart even in the midst that they are being treated and paid poorly.

The Lost Art of Customer Service

12 Oct

What has happened to the customer is always right? Of course, in reality, the customer is not always right but the business that he or she is patronizing “should” treat that person with respect, dignity and appreciation. If it was not for the person buying the product or service, that person would not have a job.

I recently experienced the ultimate betrayal in customer service when the worker in my case, threw out the “customer is always right” manual and opted for “treat the customer like shit so they never come back again” handbook. My very unpleasant experience occurred a couple weeks back at a Firestone shop in Denton, TX. My 2001 GMC Jimmy had been making some quirky noises for a few days and I needed to check it out. I had to travel over an hour to the closest Firestone shop so I could use my Firestone charge card since I didn’t have the cash.

The noise turned out to be the fact that the back brakes were totally shot, including the rotors. Yes, those brakes had served me well, over 145,000 miles. The assistant manager was very professional as he laid out how much the “job” would run me. He even “educated” me on how the brakes, pads, caliper and rotors work together. I have never been much of a “car” guy so his explanation, using large visual aides was appreciated.

Fast Forward three hours and the assistant manager is already 20 minutes into OT so he quickly checks my ID so he can get approval from Firestone (charge card)  to pay for the job. Then, he disappears and I am left with the customer service manager. I will call him Mr. W.  Well, Mr. W. quickly informs me that I owe over $650 for the job. I counter with, excuse me…but I was quoted $350 for the job by the “other guy”, three hours earlier. Mr. W. questions me: he didn’t tell how much he would cost? He had said about $350. I asked to  see the breakdown of the costs. Mr. W. showed me the computer screen vs. giving me a print out. The computer “bill” is confusing so I ask for a print out “bill”.

This request aggravates Mr. W. as he points to the computer screen, see, the print out would be the same as the screen. I tell him once again that I don’t understand the “screen bill” and to please give me a print out. Finally, after some huffing and puffing, he give s me a print  out but it doesn’t show all of the costs. I point this out to him and he becomes more aggravated. I then look at the “screen bill” and ask him how much is the total for taxes. He fires back, what is the tax rate in Texas? Excuse me, I live in Oklahoma, I am not familiar with the TX tax rate. He refuses to give me the tax total.

I finally step back from the counter and tell Mr. W. that he is a “complete a-hole”. Believe me when I write this, I have never, ever called someone an a-hole to their face. That is how upset I had become. He took my remark in stride and asked to see my ID so he could get approval from Firestone (charge card) to pay for the job that I have still did not understand. I replied, I already presented my ID to the “other guy” before he left magically. I added, that he had already got pre-approval for the  job. Mr. W. then demanded my ID. I again told him that I had given my ID to the other guy. He then quickly closed out my transaction and moved his attention to the next customer, leaving me speechless.

I proceeded to walk out to my Jimmy (they had parked it out in front of the shop with the key in it) and sat there to ponder what had just happened. Shocked! Disappointed! I called the customer service # on the back of the print out and told the lady my situation. At about the same time, Mr. W. came out to my vehicle and then turned back around without saying a word. The lady on the phone informed me that Mr. W. was going to summon the police if I didn’t show my ID. Can u believe this? I couldn’t. I asked my lady friend to take my ID into Mr. W. and she did.

The lady on the phone told me that a district manager for Firestone would be contacting me in the next 48 hours to take my complaint.  The next day, the store manager of that Firestone shop I had visited the day before called me. He wanted to know what had happened between me and Mr. W. I informed him that I had given a complete statement to the customer service lady already. He said that he didn’t get that report and that he needed to hear it from me on what happened. I asked him if had at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to take my story. He said no, but would call back in about an hour to take it then. He never called.

Of course, I will never, ever return to that Denton, TX Firestone shop and I will never, ever trust Firestone again.

How does one behave while they are being terminated from their job? U tell me…

11 Oct

I know, I know it has been awhile since I have created a post.

First, I dropped my laptop and killed it. Then, I acquired a laptop with only 1G of memory (only good for browsing, an IT guy told me). So, finally I purchased a 4G laptop for 20% discount (took the shelf model) yesterday.

A lot has happened in the short time that I have been away from the Blog World. First and foremost, Mitt has threatened to kill Big Bird if elected (that better not happen for 97% of Americans). Big Bird has been around just three years shy of how long I’ve been around. Amazing. But the good stuff sticks and the bad stuff goes away, Thank God, just like Bush W. and Dick C (gotta keep your Dicks straight).

Second, I lost another job, on 10/5/12. I was just minding my own biz when I was “replaced” but an immoral, unethical woman. However, it looks like I won’t be sitting in the unemployment line for long. Another Vet Center is interested in my skills as well as a counseling center, located just a 1/4 mile from my living quarters.

So, after I was informed that my “services were no longer needed”, I started to ponder how one should behave during a “termination” meeting. During my “T-meeting”, I remained calm and composed for the most part. But that just didn’t feel natural or right to me. I guess part of my “good” behavior was due to the fact that I was in total shock.

But really, how should one act in a T-meeting? I mean the person or organization who u put your faith and trust in, has just told u to beat it and don’t come back, not even to visit the Vet residents who have a very limited support system.

I guess by behaving “good” gives one a false sense of reality that somehow that person will change his or her mind and keep u. Also, that person won’t call security, the police or even homeland security if u act well. Come on Darron, homeland security, really? Yes, really. I know of an employer who did just that. Wow, right?

I am really baffled by my own question. so please give me your comments on the issue. Thanks