Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Customer Service Award-and the Award Goes To...

There is one thing that perturbs me, drives me bonkers in fact and that is poor customer service. I've always been in service related jobs and providing quality customer service has always been my goal. It is not always the goal of others in service related industries, mostly when I am the customer.
This story is one of good ones.

Awhile ago I bugged my loved ones to purchase a gift for me that would satisfy one of my dreams. That of owning an above average digital camera, so that I could preserve the family memories that mean so much to me. They generously bought me my beloved Nikon D40 SLR camera. I snap more photos than normal, so much to the annoyance of that family. (a collective sigh, as you may KNOW what I mean)

I started uploading the photos on to my hard drive, shocked at the amount of space it consumes. So I made another purchase, an external hard drive to store the photos on. I carefully moved archived photos onto the drive, every smile, every fond family gathering, vacation, wedding and newborn to toddler stage has been carefully cataloged and stored there.
Last week I uploaded some recent photos for work to my drive, and noticed that the drive was no longer recognized by my computer. I fiddled with everything I could fiddle with. I unhooked the drive and rebooted. I opened the tower of my computer and disconnected thing-a-ma-bobs and thing-a-ma-jigs and memory cards and you name it. Using my powerful can of air I blew out every conceivable opening of dust and suspected trouble makers. Still no connection. I connected the drive into another unrelated power outlet, noticing then that the light did not come on the power adapter. "Simple fix", I thought.
I returned to the site of the original purchase. Target. They told me that they no longer sold the hard drives, and that they didn't carry such power adapters either. ( funny, I only had bought this about 8 months ago) I was to call the manufacturer, Western Digital. I searched the net, found Western Digital's web site also noticing that they no longer carried my make and model, the power adapters didn't make the shopping list either. I phoned WD, and after a long while on hold spoke with a customer service rep who in a monotone flat voice told me that the adapter was out of stock, I should check back in a few weeks to see if they carried it then. Maybe yes, maybe no. She really couldn't direct me either way.
Panicked slightly, I thought maybe the Geek Squad at Best Buy could help me. Off to Best Buy, where a slightly geeky guy shook his head and said, sorry you are out of luck. I asked if there was a way to retrieve my picture files off the drive, and without even looking at me he said, No, sorry you're out of luck.
Dead end.
Sunday, while I was off to meet my daughter at the local cinema, I arrived early so I thought I'd go into the nearby strip mall and ask around at Radio Shack. The guy at Radio Shack listened to my story intently, and when I drew in my last breath, said, No problem, just buy this hard drive casing, pop your old drive out of the casing and snap it into the new one and you should be good to go.
I excitedly brought in my broken hard drive the next day and they opened up the casing, snapped the new one into place in no time flat.
I re-hooked the drive and still couldn't find it on my directory. I returned to the Radio Shack guy, thinking I was a sucker, but no, he just had to tighten up the screws inside as the drive had some extra space and had become loose with the movements it took for me to wedge it in between my printer and the walls of my computer case.
Sure enough, this time it works! There are all my precious files and folders carefully named. The guys were awesome! Polite and wonderful...they didn't even blink an eye!

Here's a shout out to Radio Shack. I couldn't believe the great customer service they provided, not only by making the right move...but by not just looking over my head and telling me that I was screwed. Thanks Target, thanks Western Digital, thanks Best Buy with your fancy Geek Squad, all who really didn't care if retrieved my photos or not. They didn't offer options, they said, sorry you are screwed. But Radio Shack cared enough to offer a solution, an affordable solution, and they did all the work. They didn't just sell me the equipment and send me off to install it on my own. They popped open the box and installed it all for no extra cost.

Just thought I'd take a minute to congratulate them, to let others know. Hey go take a look at your local Radio Shack, they have all sorts of gadgets and the customer service was right on!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm OFF work, of COURSE it's Raining!

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know the angst that I have over taking a day off of work, only to have whatever my plans are-dashed to the low, because of rain. It's been like that for over a year, and frankly I don't know what I did to piss of Mother Nature but she's one angry woman!
I took off yesterday to take my mom to the neurologist. Rain. Overcast cloudy skies. Humid.
Today, I awoke to find that same scenario, how lovely.
I think you still can sunbathe in the overcast clouds. I'll let you know later.

So, I went to pick Mom up, as always quite a few hours early, in case she needs assistance. Found in her robe, she was sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and lamenting over an obituary that she was reading. Yet another peer, her cousin had died. My mother years ago gave into a self imposed exile away from most of her friends and relatives. She was then very mobile, and still set in her ways. She found company in her sister, eleven years her senior who lived a few blocks away from her. They shopped together and crabbed at each other and as they grew older still, they watched t.v., each in their perspective living rooms, as they talked on the telephone, each television tuned into exactly the same program. My aunt was really my mom's only peer. She had us, her children and grandchildren, but no one else her own age group to socialize with. My aunt died several years ago, my mother misses her every day, and often speaks of her as though she has not passed. "I wonder what Mary Ellen would think of this, or that".
I don't remember ever meeting this cousin of hers that passed away. She went on and on about this cousin's family, her mother and father, sisters and brothers, she proclaimed I looked most like her. (???? don't know where that is coming from - I'm really a clone of my mom, with a tidge of my father in the mix) Anyway, they were never really close, in fact I think the last time my mom saw this woman was at least 34 years ago. Still, my mom recanted days gone by when her father was alive and all the relatives would get together on a Sunday afternoon to visit his mother, her grandmother who was ill. The grand kids would sit on the stoop outside of the home, and the adults went in to visit. This is the most she could conjure up about her relationship with this cousin. (My mother's father died in a car accident when Mom was 10 - she's 79 now)

My mother about 7 or 8 years old.

Seems her memory is fine. She talked alot yesterday about all the women in her family. How they really weren't nice women. (No? Really? These were her words, I swear!) They were unforgiving and mean to each other. Not my direct grandmother mind you, but ALL of her other sisters, my mother's aunts. Some had such tattered relationships with their daughters, that the pairs didn't speak even up til the mother died. My mom claims that there were alot of "secrets", such as the alcoholism of a husband, whom one aunt kicked out of the house and she went on to raise 5 kids on her own. Tsk, Tsk. But the rest of the family excluded her, because you just didn't "do that" in those days. That same woman walked 4 or 5 blocks every week to the cemetary to visit his grave after he died. Of course, all this was from my mother's perspective, and her perspective was that of a child or young teenager - judging from the way my mother behaves now, and come to think of it, pretty much all her life - is a much self centered existance. She hardly really knows the REAL story because she isn't paying that much attention to detail, so busy she is thinking about her own self. (this too straight from my mother's mouth). Seems that all my female relatives had issues with thier relationships. My mother came from a long line of them.
All in all, it was a good visit. All I did was listen. Listen and think that these are the last years of my mother's life. Lonely and self absorbed, her world is very small. Too small if you ask me, but I think that is pretty much all she can handle now.

We went to the neuro visit, and the doc examined her, asked her many questions. She gave my mother what is known as a Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) which is a variety of questions about the here and now (date, day of the week, year, etc.) and then some simple subtraction problems, (take 7 from 100, then 7 from 93 and so on) and my mom did remarkably ok! She paused a little on the math. She asked my mother to repeat three simple, table, chair and then later to use them in a sentence. Mom stumbled a little on those, she tried to use them in a sentence-before the doctor asked for them to be used in a sentence. I knew she was up to something, because she remembered this test from last year's exam and had some anxiety about it. Well, the doctor was very pleased, told us that mom is doing so well, she is right back where she was before she had her stroke four years ago! There was minimal rejoicing. She reduced my mother's medication, a medication that prevented seizures because she felt it could be causing some of the dizziness that my mother claims to have.
I took her home, making sure that she remembered to reduce her meds and sat a while longer with mom. That's when she showed me a little notebook she'd been studying. She'd written the answers to the math questions on it. 93, 86, 79,72,65. She had a written sentence using apple, table and chair in it. My mom was CHEATING on her mini mental status exam!

My mother - Teen Idol

I think she's a pretty coniving cookie! Jeeze!
All in all it certainly floated her boat getting all the answers right and showing off that she's in control. Good for her I guess. Still when I left her, she was all absorbed in what she was going to fix for dinner, and wondering if Antique Roadshow as going to be a re-run tonight, she seemed sad and lonely to me. Maybe it's just me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Know it’s Friday – But Can’t We Just Get on with It and Start the Weekend? Edition #1

Sorry for the long title. It’s almost noon on Friday and like so many others, I just want to go home and start my weekend. (and get paid for it, I suppose, come on, YOU do too!)

So, here I sit instead, glued to my desk. I’ve typed minutes to department meetings held a week ago. {yawn}
I’ve done a small chart review on medical charts our new doctor (yeah! We replaced that crazy Grampa Doctor from a few posts back-FINALLY) {double yawn}
I’m not really looking forward to my "6 point lunch". No real pizzazz or flavor, it will just keep me from gnawing a limb off until dinner. (oh, yes, for you crazy WW cult members, I’ve lost 15.4 lbs. Hoo HA, without exercise I might add, because I screwed up my fragile little spine – but well I promise to start an exercise program as soon as fall hits) Still lunch will be a bore.

The day is moving like a turtle. (when a turtle does not equal a turd poking out one’s anus…sorry to gross you out, that just popped into my head, the fact that I’ve heard that expression of a turtle before…this turtle is just a plain slow moving creature)
Enough, I'm off point as usual.
Now I sit with a pile of papers and articles I’ve collected trying to create a Power Point presentation on a subject to use at an in-service I must give to the staff. A subject and in-service that most of the staff here have already been trained on time and time again and still don’t care enough to absorb. Lucky for you all it’s not CPR! Ha! That one they “get”…
This is a boring subject, full of acronyms, legislature, forms (yes, we all hate forms) and such.
There, I’ve said the dreaded word. Can;t folks just pay attention?

I’ve not got a lot planned for the weekend, just swimming in 90 degree weather and catching some sun. I’m off on Monday (it’ll rain, it always does! See my previous posts to prove it!) but I have to take my mom to the doctor…that in and of itself is worth a blog post or two. I usually take something and lie down for awhile afterwards. But no, this time I’m going to take something before hand, then be prepared. So, with that in mind…can anyone post bail for me on Monday?

I’d like to see the movie “Time Traveler’s Wife”, which comes out this weekend. I read the book and it’s MARvelous! Any takers?
See, I'm living large for the weekend, and it's not even started yet.