Archive | July, 2014

Damn Pride

30 Jul

I’m one of those people who absolutely hates asking for help unless it’s necessary.  My pride gets in the way and makes me feel guilty to the point where I feel bad.  It’s almost like telling myself I’m a loser for reaching out, which is insane.

I will never ask for directions and rarely will I use the GPS on my phone or Google Maps to figure out where the hell I am.  I’ll drive around, making my daughter crazy, until I find the place.  I guess I’m kind of guy in that sense…heaven forbid I stop and ask for directions.

I also have a hard time asking for financial assistance if I get in a bind.  It’s admitting defeat, like you can’t take care of yourself.  But, unfortunately, there are times when almost everyone needs a little help.  I feel like a puppy who peed on the carpet, walking with their tail between their legs.

It’s almost like I feel judged or I’m inferior because I can’t do things on my own, whether it’s financial, asking for directions, or refusing to read the instructions to build a toy for my child.  I think it’s great I have the “I’m woman, hear me roar” mentality, but sometimes it just gets in the way.

Soy Not?!

23 Jul

As many of you know, the price of meat and dairy has gone up quite a bit.  I had sticker shock last month when I went to the store to buy a bag of frozen chicken breasts and it was seven dollars.  I thought, “Man, are the breasts going to cook themselves?”.

So, I thought I’d get creative and try a substitute for hamburger, since my daughter loves spaghetti, pizza, sloppy joes, tacos, and Hamburger Helper.  I bought soy crumbles.  Over the next couple of weeks I conducted a science experiment on my child.  Would she notice the difference?

Week one began with spaghetti,  I cooked the crumbles in a little olive oil and spiced them with salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel seeds.  The result?  It tasted like sausage and I successfully fooled her.  I also got away with it as a pizza topping.  Of course, I’m sure it didn’t hurt the pizza was loaded with pepperoni.

Next were the sloppy joes and tacos.  Both were also successes, due to the sauces and seasonings. This was so exciting…I was tricking her and saving money!  I’m a brilliant Mama.  I was, that is, until the Hamburger Helper.

Clearly, the name does imply you have to help that specific meat.  I used the soy crumbles and she could sense the difference immediately.  “Mama, why does the cheesy macaroni taste different?”.  I tried to blame it on “a new formula” and “maybe I didn’t use all the seasoning” but to no avail.

I’ve concluded that using soy crumbles is like drowning your vegetables in ranch dressing.  If you put enough crap on it, it’s bound to taste good.  Will I continue to use it?  Yes.  Do I believe there will be a Soy Helper on the store shelves anytime soon?  Hell no.

Crappy Customer Service

16 Jul

We’ve all had the experience.  You go into a business, spend your hard-earned money, and get treated like crap.  It’s incredibly frustrating and insulting.  I had the displeasure/pleasure recently of not only experiencing awful customer service, but excellent service as well.

Monday, I went to a local liquor store to make a purchase.  The young man at the register said the credit card machine was slow and timed out on the first card swipe, so he swiped my card again.  When I came home and checked my account, of course, I was charged twice.

I called the store and at first, they couldn’t even find the transaction.  Luckily, I had the receipt showing I was charged twice.  I was told the extra charge was voided and to check my account the next day and it should be corrected.

Later the next day, I checked and the charge was still there.  Once again, I called and was told to come in the store and they would give me a cash refund.  I went in the next day to make a purchase and was told they were not authorized to give me the refund.  Only the owner could, and he’s in the store from 9am-3pm.  I was there at 4pm.

Needless to say, I was not happy.  Why wasn’t I told this information over the phone and spared the inconvenience?  I told them this is bad business and a great way to lose customers and left without purchasing anything.

Tomorrow, I will go in (being inconvenienced a fourth time) to chat with the owner and get my refund.  I’m hoping the owner will apologize for the inconvenience and somehow persuade me to spend another penny at his store.

Now for the great customer service.  I left this store in a huff and went to the store by my house. I told them what I had experienced at the other retailer, and how wonderful they are, and why I will from now on make my purchases at their store.

Their customer service skills were tested, however, when I came home and my purchase was damaged.  I went back to the store and they gladly replaced the item on the spot. No questions asked and they profusely apologized.

That, my friends is good customer service.  I’m not asking a business to bend over and pucker up, I just want to be treated fairly and respectfully.  Times are tough, and I’m spending my money in your establishment.  The least you can do is be pleasant and I walk away content.  Is that too much to ask?!

Spin for a Mate

9 Jul

I started thinking about this concept today, having lunch with two of my co-workers.  The one co-worker (a guy) has been with his wife 19 years and (appears to be) happily married.  Co-worker number two (a woman), has just been dumped by asshole boyfriend after eight months.

So there I am, eating my leftovers, across from two people who couldn’t be in more different situations.  We have the guy who is either truly in love with his wife or miserable but doesn’t want to leave and the bitter woman who thinks all men suck because her boyfriend claims he “wasn’t ready for a commitment.”

As I’m listening to her talk about the breakup and watching him burying his face in his lunch, I come up with a “brilliant” idea.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could rotate mates like the spinning wheel at the meat raffle.  Get sick of this boyfriend/husband, spin the wheel, get a new one.

Now, I’m not condoning cheating or quitting relationships, I’m just saying it’s hard to be in a relationship for eight months, let alone 19 or 50 years.  Are we really meant to be with one person? I love the concept of having one person to be there to love and rely on until you or they croak, but is that realistic today?

I remember being a kid and watching my grandparents together.  They would seem to be happy but at the end of the evening, grandpa would go to the man cave or his bedroom, while grandma went to her bedroom or the living room.

Back then, people stayed together because of the kids, religious beliefs, economics, social stigma, etc.  Nowadays, those things still have some influence, but not enough for most people to keep a miserable marriage intact.

I’m not saying divorce is right or the way to go, but I feel life is short, and why be with someone who isn’t going to make you happy.  Are we meant to be with a person for 50 years?  Are there several “right” people for us?

I don’t know what the right answer is, but if I come up with the butt roast on the meat raffle wheel, I’m going to take a chance and spin again to find the filet mignon.

Death by Cell Phone

2 Jul

Yet again, another tragic story of distracted driving involving a cell phone.  This time, it was a mother, who was biking with her two young daughters in a bike trailer on the side of a highway. She and her girls were minding their own business, out for a nice ride, and then the unthinkable happened.

A 25 year-old thought whatever was on his cell phone was far more important than paying attention to his surroundings.  His truck plows into the mother and her daughters.  Mom is killed instantly.  The daughters are injured, but are expected to be fine.

Now, thanks to this careless and selfish human being, a man is widowed and his girls will never know their mother.  Countless friends, family, and community members are also affected by this senseless act.

Granted, the man who killed this woman and injured her children is affected as well; his life is altered forever.  I would hate to be him and have to live with the guilt of killing an innocent woman and hurting her girls.

However, he gets to live, she does not.  I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to realize all it takes is seconds glancing at your phone to cause a life-changing incident.  Put down the damn phones!  What is so important that you have to look at it while driving 55 mph?

For all the convenience cell phones offer, they’re also a distraction and a threat to public safety. Will the time come when phones will be banned from vehicles or their signals jammed so you can only use them outside of your car?

Who knows…in the meantime, please put your phones away when you’re behind the wheel.  It’s not worth taking the chance of injuring/killing yourself or someone else.  Don’t become a statistic or a bad headline.