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Friday, July 20, 2018

Refocus

Everywhere I look every single day I see people giving their attention to things that upset them over and over again, day in and day out...and I cannot for the life of me figure this out.

"I am angry about _____ and I'm going to keep reading and writing and talking about it!"

Why? What changes?

There are just so very many things wonderful things to focus on in your short time here.

I wish more people took the time to refocus on that. 

You don't have to be all Pollyanna and lemons/lemonade about things but, damn, go take a walk or a drive or tell your kid or any kid or some stranger what's great about being alive.

"I am angry about _____ but I'm not going to throw away this minute or this day or this life intentionally pissing myself off." 

 Much better.



 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

App Crap

It happened again the other day - two times in one week.

The first time was when I was checking out at a popular craft store that offers 40% off coupons.

While on the checkout line I remembered about their coupons and so I took my phone out, clicked on Google and typed in the name of the store + coupons.

This led me down a rabbit hole on their website - me, furiously clicking on things that said things like "click here for coupons" even though that just led to more "now click here" instructions...all while ambling in the line closer and closer to the checkout register. 

Finally time was up and I was at the checkout, sans coupon, but still in full click-on-this-now mode.
The girl at the register - seeing me maneuvering my cart, handbag, items I was wishing to purchase, and cellphone - monotonely told me that I had to download their app in order to get the damn coupon.

Contrary to the opinions of some people related to me, I am not a jerk.  I do not yell at people for things that are not their fault.  So I did not go off on the poor girl at the register who probably says "you have to download our app" 5,000 times a day.

That is not to say that I wasn't annoyed.  Very annoyed.

Certainly I am grateful for coupons.  I very much like to save money.  What I am not grateful for is being made to jump through hoops to get a coupon.  So I decided right there on that checkout line to not only remain calm and cool, but to download their damn app...while holding up the line and everyone in it.  The store could have made it easier all around (imagine that) by offering me a coupon in exchange for, let's say, my email address and then sending me an email encouraging me to download their app.  But that would be too easy.  Instead, they chose to make me do that at the point-of-sale and so I would do as they wished...while inconveniencing every person in line behind me.
There's some good business sense.

Meanwhile the girl at the register just kind of stood there awkwardly, likely mouthing sorry to the people in line behind me, as the little hourglass on my phone spun and spun while downloading their damn app.

Fast forward a couple of days.

Now we are in line at a grocery store known for its organic food and high prices.  (I don't care that it's ridiculously overpriced there. If you have ever had the macaroni & cheese from their hot bar you will understand what I was doing there.)  Everything was going fine at checkout until the man at the register saw that I was going to pay with the credit card associated with that store in order to get 10% back on my bill.  He then asked if I had their app because if I did have their app then I would save a bunch of additional money on today's purchase + a bunch of other perks that I can't remember right now.

Like I said, I like saving money a lot.  I do not like spending money so if I can save some when I have to spend some, then I'm all for it.  Plus I got flustered because there was confusion about whether I had to have the app to get the original 10% back that I thought I was going to get for simply using that credit card.

In short, I caved. 

Once again, out came the phone. 
Once again, I was holding up the line.

I turned to the woman behind me with the little toddler boy and said I was sorry and that if it didn't download quickly I wouldn't hold her up.

She sort of smiled, tersely, avoiding eye contact with me and then said to her 2-year-old who had no idea what she was talking about, "Timmy, Mommy is really sorry but we're going to have to be in this line longer than I thought and so I need you to be patient while we wait, okay?  Mommy isn't sure how long this is going to take and I know you need to eat and you're tired and want to go home to play and spend time with Daddy and, again, Mommy is really sorry that we have to wait in this line so long but it isn't Mommy's fault, okay?"
It was obvious she said all of this for my benefit, not Timmy's because Timmy was happily staring off into space.

Well, you know what?  Sharon needed to eat (the macaroni & cheese I was trying to pay for) and Sharon was tired and wanted to go home, too, and all Sharon wanted to do was pay for Sharon's stuff and go and not have to jump through hoops of confusion while listening to some lady talk passive-aggressively in the third person to her 2-year-old.

I put my phone away, told the guy at the register to just ring me up, and paid with the credit card even though I never use credit cards to pay for things like groceries.
And I'm sure I won't be getting that 10% back that I thought I was going to get for using that credit card.

What all of this is is bad customer service.
It is the equivalent of "PRICE CHECK ON AISLE 2"


Business Common Sense 101 will tell you this: Don't intentionally annoy your customers.
It will also tell you that if you want to retain customers and make/keep them loyal, then make their life easier, not harder.

But I am not fooling myself with this diatribe.

Some people will get what I'm saying here, but I fear that most won't.  I'm not naive; I could profess that I will not give my business to stores who make me jump through hoops but it would just fall on deaf ears¹.  For every me who is tired of  it, there are 10,000 not me's who are not.  I know, because I see them all every day, faces plastered to phones, missing life as it happens all around them, probably downloading all kinds of apps.
We're too far gone into technology; obsessed with it and letting it literally take over our lives.  No news there, right?


I have always been very vocal about how I am not a cell phone person.  I carry one so that I can call someone if I need to (need is the keyword); so I can send and receive necessary messages when a phone call can't be made, and sometimes - yes -  silly ones just for fun; and take the occasional picture.  I do not check my phone on a regular basis, for real.  A lot of the time I do not know the location of my cell phone and/or where I last left it.  I believe that at least one person has stopped talking to me because I missed a text message or didn't respond when they wanted me to.  It is not a joke that relationships this very minute and being made or unmade because of a cell phone which is just mind-blowing (and really sad) to me. 

Just the other day I got a text message (of course) from an old friend wanting to catch up.  When I saw her message it wasn't a good time for me so I texted back that I would make contact later in the day.  Normally I would call to talk but I was really busy that day and not in the mood for a long phone call so I uncharacteristically bit the bullet and decided to try texting to catch up instead of calling.
She and I exchanged a few texts over the course of maybe 20 minutes and then...nothing.  We were filling each other in on what was new and I sent back a text to her text and then she just stopped texting.  Was the conversation over?  Did something happen to her mid-text?  No goodbye, talk to you soon, let's get together?
So then I was stuck in this strange dilemma of not knowing what to do.  Do I text again - what happend, are you all right? Probably she was all right; maybe she just got busy?  I didn't know if it was okay to walk away from my phone and carry on with my business which is a dilemma the 30 gazillion of you who are attached to your phones never find yourselves in.
It's just all so weird and unnatural to me. 

Because I am old-fashioned.
Because I am cell phone awkward.
And I like it that way.


It's unlikely that will be changing in the foreseeable future.



¹ I will, however, identify stores that are less likely to make me jump through hoops and shop at them before the others.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Since I last wrote here, months ago, many things have changed in our life.

For instance, we listed and sold our South Jersey house...and searched for, purchased, and moved into our new (old) Delaware house.

I could not write about any of this while it was happening because I was in a self-induced coma in an attempt to avoid the sheer hell that is selling and buying a house.

I'm not kidding.  At one point during the melee, I was so stressed out that a trip to the ER almost happened.  That's how bad/ridiculous things got.

In case you are not aware, the business of real estate is a full-on joke.  I'm talking about almost every single aspect of it, except the part where you make a really good profit from the sale of your house.  No joke there.

The rest of it, though?  Complete nonsense.  I want to tell so many stories now that it's all over but I'm afraid that in the retelling my PTSD might get triggered again.  I'm only half kidding about that¹.
If I told you about the nitpicking you would not believe me, it got that ridiculous.  Maybe one day I will when I can do so with hyperventilating.  Crack in the sidewalk? A real estate person can turn that into "Driveway in shambles. Life threatening sidewalk condition may cause physical harm or even death to new owners and must be remedied before closing at current owners expense using the most expensive sidewalk repair company within the entire state. Estimate $9500."

There should be a Best Dramatic Performance category at the Oscars solely for real estate professionals.

Lucky for us, we had the best agents for selling and buying who are both blissfully non-ridiculous.  If you are in South Jersey or Delaware (above the canal) and need a good one, drop me a line and I'll give their names.

Conversely, if you are in New Jersey and need the name of the absolute worst real estate agent that ever existed...well, I won't give you that person's name because I wouldn't want a single other person to have to deal with that person, and that applies to even my worst enemies.  Or, enemy.  I think I only have one.  I might be wrong.  Anyway, I wouldn't even wish that person on that person. Or persons, if applicable.

Honestly I don't know why the whole real estate thing is as complicated and crazy expensive as it is. I feel bad for people who have never owned a house and who think it's as simple as saving up a down payment.  Hahahahahahahahhhhaaaaaaaaaaa.  Just wait until they start getting slammed with inspection and closing costs!

Anyway, we now live in a terrific house that we love and the very best, most perfect, absolutely divine thing about it is that it has public utilities!  NO MORE SEPTIC!  NO MORE WELL!

God, how I hated living in a house with septic and well.
Nothing like that annual "hey honey, time to call the septic company and have our poop and pee sucked out of our front yard where it's been sitting for the past year!"  So vile.

Now I don't have to think about those things. I flush the toilet and off everything goes down the mystery pipe that carries all the disgusting far, far away from my house, just as God intended². 
The insanity of the past few months is almost worth that alone.
Almost.



 ¹I really do have PTSD (actually C-PTSD) and have to be careful about revisiting things that cause me stress or I take to my bed and hide for an indefinite amount of time that it takes for the waves of anxiety to stop.

²You think I'm kidding?  How about "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."! 😇
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