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When Spam Repeats on You

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No, not that kind of Spam. Although, that also tends to cause stomach upset on occasion.

Everyone thinks technology is so great.

Except when it isn’t.

I had a job at the end of 2014. It turned out the job was not a good fit (in every conceivable way) for me, but I tried to stick it out for a short while. During that time, I got an email to go to a website and look at documents regarding benefits. Benefits I wasn’t going to enroll in, but since I got a reminder in my personal email about every third day, I wanted to take care of it. But my password didn’t work. I tried to contact someone about it. They reset it. It still didn’t work. The emails, with a due date of 8/4/14, wouldn’t stop coming. Then I left that position to become a famous author (I am still working on the famous part).

I thought, “Well, at least those emails will stop coming.”

I was wrong.

These tasks were due in 2014. It is now 2017!!!

These tasks were due in 2014. It is now 2017!!!

Censored not to protect them, but to protect ME from getting sued by them.

They still come, every three days, over two years after I left that job. They still have a due date of 8/4/14. It is an international Fortune 500 company. You would think that they would purge that stuff every now and then. It makes them look very bad.

There is no way to opt out or stop the emails from coming, since I have no way to log into the site they come from. I am no longer an employee, so I wouldn’t have access to any inside way to stop it. And that didn’t work even when I was still an employee. So, I set them to go to my spam.

Which is probably bad for that company, which happens to be in retail, when they want to send advertising to actual customers, and I have marked them as spam. But I had to.

But it doesn’t stop there. When I periodically check my spam, there they are, all sitting there, mocking me. They remind me of a very unhappy, unhealthy, and chaotic time in my life that I would rather never think of ever again.

And they force me to think of it weekly, putting me back into that horrible state of mind, even if just for a few seconds. I should sue their asses for mental anguish. I have PTSD from that position. I wanted a clean break, and it was in every way EXCEPT FOR THE EMAILS!!!

It bothers me so much to still receive them that I am writing a whole damn blog post about it! Using up my personal space just to rant about their stupidity!

Interested in spending time in my headspace during that time? Check out this flashback post:

iNsTaBiLiTy: a poem

Eight days after that post, I put in my two weeks notice. And I really only gave them eight and a half more days; I could not even make it to a full ten.

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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Why Am I Saying “Thank You?”

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Let me explain my title.

I am totally cool with thanking people for gifts, for those who hold the door for me, for all sorts of situations.

I am not cool with thanking a store for MY purchase.

But I find it happening every day, several times a day. Because that is how I was trained.

See, my first real job was at a local convenience store gas station. And while that may sound pretty unimportant, back in 1997 they had a woman who spent three days giving me orientation, customer service training, and chain smoking. And I was taught to thank every customer as they left the store, whether they purchased something or just used the bathroom.

Use it properly & use it often. You could just make someone's day.

Use it properly & use it often. You could just make someone’s day.

I so wish more businesses trained their employees like that today.

Every time I am at a retail store and I complete my payment, the cashier just says nothing to me. There needs to be some closer to the transaction. Handing me my receipt and saying, “Here you go,” is not an appropriate send off.

This is where I usually reflexively say, “Thank you.” I actually had an employee respond with “you’re welcome.” While I give her props for manners, I am the one patronizing their establishment. That should be my line.

My name is actually in the credits of Clerks 2-true story. (Thanks MySpace!)

My name is actually in the credits of Clerks 2-true story. (Thanks MySpace!)

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I realize cashiers get paid peanuts, have to use broken-down equipment, and are asked to up-sell customers who couldn’t care less. They either are in the position of quantity with slow customers or quality with customers who are in a hurry. Trust me, I’ve been there. But as a customer, my first priority is an accurate transaction. And the second most important thing to me is that I am thanked for my patronage.

I wish businesses would realize that is more desirable and meaningful than another reward card clogging up my wallet. If the employees were trained to do that, I believe they would. When I sell a book, I might even thank someone twice. If they manage to thank me first, I will correct them and say, “No, thank you.” Sometimes it is even in my inscription.

People think if they say the words, it is the same as still having manners in this day and age.

No. The correct person needs to say “please” and then “thank you”. Don’t even get me started on “excuse me”. When you say it with an attitude and are already pushing past me, you have missed the whole point of the phrase. You might as well say “Move, bitch” because that is how you mean it and how I am going to take it. For more on this, click here.

Just me venting. But I feel like other people out there must feel the same way. Is it so bad that for my money I want my goods and a thank you? I don’t think so. I’m not asking for a free cheeseburger or something. Thank yous are free.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

My 3 Jobs

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I think of myself as having three jobs right now:

1. Writer

2. Maid/ Mom

3. Customer Service/Retail

A pictograph of my life right now.

A pictograph of my life right now.

As a writer, I am working on like 4 novels at once. I hope to have once finished soon. I am also trying to keep up my blog, as I do not want to lose views just as I might have a product (my future book) to hock to them (THIS MEANS YOU!). I don’t want to abandon my only marketing tool. I have also learned that I write because “I can’t not write.” So, I might as well try to find a way to use that to move toward a goal.

Making a little money from it would be nice as well.

Fame and fortune would be AWESOME!

3 JOBS-meme

I am not a stay at home mom, because I work part-time outside the home. But when I am home, I am chasing my child, trying to keep him clean and fed and happy. (The “happy” part is almost impossible.) I am also trying to keep up with the laundry and dishes and sweeping. I aspire to complete a thorough spring cleaning someday…for 2011. We also have two large dogs. So some days I feel like a zookeeper as well.

I work about 15-20 hrs per week in a retail customer service job. So, I spend all day waiting on my child’s beck and call, then I head off to get paid to do the same thing for strangers.  I have an hour commute one way. So, if you figure I usually work 3 days per week, that is 6hrs I am gone from home and not getting paid for them, plus gas. It cuts into the bottom line. I know it sounds silly, but you have to understand that we love our house and want to stay close to our family. Therefore, we live in the land of very few good jobs. To get a job similar to the one I held for 12 years prior, we would have to move closer to Detroit, or a different city. We don’t want that. So, we make due.

I know that my husband does not see it this way at all. I try and throw the “three jobs” thought out there once in a while, but I don’t think he understands what I am getting at. He just sees my small paycheck and thinks I should get a different job. He views my writing as a hobby.

But I looked for a job for a year and a half, before I found this one. And where I am at now, I am actually making more than minimum wage. If I got a different job, that might not be the case. The minimum is the new maximum, me thinks. And with this job I have thus far avoided daycare for my son, which, could lead to additional costs.

I don’t think he realizes that in 2003, we tried to run our own business, because he wanted to. I supported him, because I knew a version of that had always been his dream. We were also planning our wedding at the same time. It was highly stressful. It was one of those businesses that only thrives if you sign up people to be under you. We never got any. We gave up on it. The info and motivational tapes from that are still sitting in our attic. Like a big sign that reads “failure”.

When we were both out of work a few years ago, he tried a self-employed venture. Once again, it wasn’t exactly his big dream, but it was something he would enjoy doing more than factory work. I supported him. The market was not real good at that time, and it was a hard business to network. It was hard for a new kid on the block to get word of mouth, when there were so many established people in the field available. He put that venture on the back-burner after a year. The advertising from it is still sitting in our driveway, a literal “sign” that makes me sad.

That is two years of my life of letting him take his chance on a dream. So, I am looking at 2014 as my year to pursue my dream. I am just not sure that he has realized that yet.  We might not have a lot of food in the cupboards, but we are not going hungry. Working part-time allows me more time to work on my writing.

I have not reached my goals yet, but I AM GETTING SOMEWHERE!

I AM CLOSER THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN!

Will my goals cost a little money to get there? Sure.

Did my husband’s? Yes.

Will my writing pay out big dividends? Most likely not.

Did my husband’s? Not so much.

Were his ventures important to him? Of course.

Are mine important to me? Damn straight.

Imagine the wonderful harmony in our household if at least one of us was doing something they enjoyed as a part of a career?

Imagine if we BOTH were.

I don’t want to walk by boxes of my writing upstairs and have it remind me that I failed to meet my goal. I have been doing that for 20 years already.

I am done with failure. I want some success.

Kiddie City: Did It Really Exist?

My husband does not believe me that there used to be a toy store called Kiddie City, very similar to Toys’R’Us. In fact, there was a Kiddie City right in nearby Sylvania, Ohio, which still has a Toys’R’Us. I had to prove it to him by Google-ing it the other day.

Kiddie City Coloring Book

Kiddie City Coloring Book

I was correct.

My recent and short-term memory might be junk, but I can remember some things from my childhood very clearly.

Plus, Kiddie City is one of those things I have clung to all these years, so I would not forget it. Like that Punky Brewster’s dog Brandon was named after head of NBC, Brandon Tartikoff.

Plus, I have kept this all these years to remind me:

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa around 1980.

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa 1980.

My mom and I always shopped at Kiddie City. I always thought of Toys’R’Us as inferior (I still do). Apparently my tiny pre-schooler brain was pretty on-track, because according to Wikipedia (where any info I site here on out in this post comes from), Kiddie City was the second-largest toy chain in the United States. They were owned by Lionel, of model railroad fame.

I asked my mom where it was located, and her memories do not seem to match mine. That doesn’t really mean anything. We could both be wrong. She thinks it was in the shopping plaza where Major Magic’s was for many years. The location would make sense. My mom never traveled very far into Sylvania/Toledo on her own. That would be an easy location for her to get to and regularly find.

I have memories of looking at toy robots in a toy store when I was a kid. I remember blue, metal shelves (kind of like Cosco). I have no idea if that would have been Toys’R’Us or Kiddie City or just my imagination. I like to think maybe that was Kiddie City.

When I got my swing set when I was a kid, I know we bought it from one of those two stores in Sylvania, but my mom doesn’t remember which one. But I think maybe that was Toys’R’Us.

Apparently Kiddie City declared Bankruptcy in 1982, reducing their store count from 150 down to 55 stores. This is most likely when the Sylvania store closed. They grew back to being the fourth-largest toy store in the country before the stores were all closed for good in 1993.

Gone, but clearly not forgotten.

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

Classic Kiddie City Commercial
(Ah, what it must have been like to be a mom in the 80’s. Awesome hair, awesome clothes…)

What I Learned This Week – 12/29/13

This week I learned that working retail Christmas Eve is tiring in ways I wouldn’t have expected.

LOVE these ornaments <3

LOVE these ornaments ❤

I expected it to be hectic, with lots of customers.  I had been to the mall in Toledo once on Christmas Eve many years ago.  My memory is probably tainted because I was young and short, but I just remember a sea of people, shoulder to shoulder.  I imagined that at my own mall.  (The one I work at.  I don’t own my own mall.  I don’t think I would even want to.)  At 12:45PM on Christmas Eve, that had not come to fruition, and I don’t know if it did after that.

I had a co-worker with me and we had a line, but it was not overwhelming.  The part that got to me was explaining the details of the product we were selling, over and over again to each person.  Sometimes we had to explain it to the same person several times.  I didn’t just work Christmas Eve, I had worked the three days prior as well.  My tongue was twisting on my spiel.  And answering the phone reciting Santa’s hours.  I had them all memorized, even his break times to “feed the reindeer.”  For someone who was used to working 18hrs in a week, I ended up working 32 hours in 4 days.  I was wrecked.

I had thought I would be tired from the rush of so many people and transactions.  I actually was wrecked mentally.  My boss was out of town on vacation, so I took it upon myself to try to keep our space well stocked and in order.  Everyone was supposed to, I think.  But I took the initiative, and no one seemed to complain about it.

By the time my shift was done, I just wanted to throw the money from my drawer up in the air and run for the door. Instead, I had to complete paperwork, and answer a question for a co-worker who was stuck with a customer situation.  She is a sweetie.  But all my customer service reservoir was drained, and it was all I could do to make myself talk her through how to fix the transaction on the register.  It is very true to say that my job that I usually enjoy immensely whooped any love for it out of me for the week.

Here is to hoping I recover from Christmas before New Year’s.  And my birthday.  And my husband’s birthday.

The holidays just keep on a comin’…

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