Monday, March 22, 2010

The old me would have bitch slapped you!

** Have you entered the GIVEAWAY to win YOUR CHOICE of prize, valued up to $75, from CSN Stores? Why not?! Go HERE and enter to win...I want you to win goodies! Entries open til March 31st!**

Although many of the communities that I lived in growing up were small-ish ones, the impact of that was never fully understood. In my teen years (the ones I was most likely to screw up in), we lived in Air Force communities...the last one in Germany. British Air Force bases. The one in Germany was rather self contained and although we did venture out to explore Germany and Holland, we tended to hang out on base. We did stuff, we screwed around, we came home and discovered that somehow our parents already knew what was happening. It was like they had spies everywhere on base, watching our every move and reporting back to our parents.They probably did. The thing is, the whole "small town" thing was never fully impressed on me because I was a teen who didn't give a crap about anyone but myself and didn't really care how my actions affected my parents.

Flash forward to now, and I'm suddenly having to learn all this small town etiquette. I'm not sure I like it. I'm naturally very outspoken (shocked aren't you?) and it's difficult for me to hold my tongue in many situations. I fear that I may soon have to get a gag or something! You need examples?

Exhibit A) Being a small town in NZ, surrounded by vineyards and farms, there is a lot of good ol' countrified stuff to do. Seriously, we're just one step away from breaking out into a hoe down in the middle of the street some days. So this past weekend I decided on behalf of my lazy, tv loving, family that we should go out and actually do something. One of the schools out in the country was holding a Country Harvest Fair. Sounds awesome right? The spawnlets had pictures of ferris wheels and carousels dancing in their heads, Hotty Hubby had thoughts of drinking beer while perched on a hay bale and I was looking forward to cows.

When we got there, it was little more than a school fundraising gala, but we figured we'd stick around. I let the spawn hop on a trailer ride, I stared at some really ugly turkeys and the rear end of a sheep, and HH stared into space. Then I spotted it!

A table FULL of books was not 20 feet from me. I headed over there to check it out and the first thing that caught my eye was a box full of encyclopedia type books for kids, all about their health and internal systems etc. The two right at the front were all about reproduction and babies and how we develop, so I grabbed them. Then, because I was only blessed with two hands, I put them down on the table right in front of me so that I could continue to look through the box and see if there were any others I wanted.

Colour me shocked when this woman walked up, looked at me, looked at the books, TOOK the books and carried on browsing through the table in front of her.

Me: Um, I was actually going to get those.

Her: Well my grandchildren will love these.

Me: Yes, but I'd already chosen them, and just put them down for a minute.

Her: Well my grandchildren will just think they're great, they're all into this stuff now

My internal dialogue was going crazy the whole time, wondering how I could get the books away from her without seriously injuring her.

She wouldn't give them back. I had to walk away, biting my tongue til it hurt. All because this is a small town and chances are that she knows someone who knows someone who knows me.

Exhibit B) Girl Spawn, at the ripe old age of 7 and a HALF (!!) is still rather partial to dressing up once in a while. Fine with me. For "Book Character Day" at school last year, she dressed as Pinkalicious and we still have all the bits of the costume. She spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon dressed up like this.

In the late afternoon, I needed to run to our NZ version of Wal-Mart. She wanted to come. She was still dressed as a fairy, but what do I care? She's 7. And a half. If she wants to go out in public dressed like that, who am I to say no? So off we went.

We wandered through the store, picking up the few things we needed and then got to the kids department. I grabbed a pair of jeans in a flash of genius and sent her to try them on (so that I know what size to get when I go to the thrift store!). While she was in the changing room, I was approached by a woman who I can only surmise is what retired hookers, who moonlighted as clowns, look like. G-String hanging out the back of her ugly, ill fitting jeans. Boobs pushed up and out, and not even in a remotely attractive way. Make up to rival Bozo the clown and hair teased from here to kingdom come. She looked like an 80s reject. She sidled up to me and said:

You know, I think that in future it would be more appropriate for her to be wearing "real" clothes out in public.

As the voices inside me went absolutely nutso again and my hands started to flap at my sides just aching to bitch slap her, I heard a totally foreign voice come out of my mouth and say:

I'll take that under advisement.

And then my feet took me in the opposite direction of her when all the old me wanted to do was let loose a tirade about how in future it would be in the best interests of the public if she could please just stay indoors as I was pretty sure she was scaring every child within a 50 block radius and even the clowns were running home to rethink their wardrobes lest they be confused with her.

But I kept my tongue because in a small town like this, she probably knows someone I know. Like my mother.

Then there's just the little things like people cutting in front of me at the grocery store and not being able to cause a fuss. (Normally I'd wait for my spawn to speak up and just answer them in a snide manner, loud enough for the perpetrator to hear, but they were silent on the most recent occasion). Or idiot drivers and not being able to flip them the bird.

One of my friends commented on Facebook yesterday that I moved to NZ and became "Nice Maggie", that the old me would have bitch slapped the second woman and what happened to "old Meg".

Believe me, the "old Meg" is still there, itching to come out and play. Unfortunately I'm unable to do it in public most of the time. Small town bullshit etiquette and all that. I guess that's why I blog. So I can vent here. Although, had the whoreclown made that comment in front of Girl Spawn and hurt her feelings, you can bet I would have thrown all good behaviour aside. No one messes with my kid.

Do you live in a small town? Do you have to censor yourself? How do you deal with situations like that?

** I'm over at Looking For My Feet today as well **

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Perkiness wins every time!

From Wikipedia:

Customer service is the provision of service to customer before, during and after a purchase.

According to Jamier L. Scott. (2002), “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.

I have been working in customer service, in some capacity, since I was 15 years old. I've been a cashier, a sales assistant, a hotel clerk/night auditor and even the work I've been doing in the health care industry is a form of customer service. I learned very early on that there are some very important aspects to providing top notch customer service:

The customer is always right, even when they're full of shit and totally wrong. You must pretend that you worship the ground they walk on and will move mountains bigger than Everest to make them happy. You won't, but they need to believe you will.

It doesn't matter how crappy a day you've had, you must plaster a smile on your face and pretend the world is full of fluffy bunnies with rainbow coloured candies falling out of their asses. Your husband's been boinking the milkman? Your son is failing high school and your daughter's been hooking for extra drug money? No one gives a flying rat's be cheerful when you're at work. Turns out this also counts in a call centre which is where I discovered that a smile CAN be heard through the phone. Thankfully me flipping you the bird, cannot.

Don't know the answer to a question? You have two options. If you're really good (and the customer in question is somewhat dim), you can waffle your way through and no one will be the wiser. Usually the better option to pick is the one where you swallow your pride and go find someone who DOES know the answer before the customer decides to smash your head into the counter.

As a customer service agent, the face and voice of the company you work for, those three things are really all you have to remember to get by. Sure, knowing how to count and speak to people without throwing up helps, but those are the main things. A trained freakin' monkey should be able to manage it.

So, pause for a moment and imagine this scenario..

I was in a part of town today that for some reason does not have any ATMs from my bank. In fact, there is only one ATM at all in this area. I needed the cash so I sucked up the fee and stuck my card in. Punched a few buttons and followed the instructions. Out popped my card and my $40. Take the card, reach for the money and......



MOTHER CHUCKER!!! What. The. Hell. Man?!

Stupid machine just sucked back my $40.

Ok. Breathe.

Ohhhh look! An 0800 number! Cellphone out, dial number, go through a million and ten menu options to finally get through to customer service...

Customer Service Rep (male): Thank you for calling Greedy Bank, my name is Dillwad, how can I help you today?

Me: Hi, I just used my Awesome Bank card in your Greedy Bank machine and it pushed my money out as requested and then sucked it back before I could take it.

CSR: Oh I'm sorry, my system is down right now and I can't actually help you. Please hold while I transfer you to someone who can.


Dial number, go through the million and ten menu options again....

CSR: Thank you for calling Greedy Bank, my name is Dillwad, how can I help you today?

Me: Hi. You just disconnected me. Could we please try this again?

CSR: Yes ma'am, one moment while I transfer you to someone who can help you.

Annoying Menu From Hell: Press 1 for Balance, Press 2 for Sanity Sucking, Press 3 for Lobotomy.

I hang up, dial the number AGAIN and just sit patiently through the menu options AGAIN until it connects me to yet another rep.

CSR #2 (female): Gooooood morning, thank you for calling Greedy Bank, my name is *mumble mumble*, how may I be of assistance today?

Me: Ah. Yes. I used my Awesome Bank card in your Greedy Bank machine to try and withdraw $40. It spat the money out and then sucked it back in.

CSR2: Oh. Well. There's probably not enough money in the machine to complete the transaction.

Me: But it gave me the money. It pushed out the $40 I asked for and before I could take it, not even 10 seconds later, it sucked it back in.

CSR2: Yes. There's probably not enough money in your account to cover the money you asked for.

Me: *sigh* But it gave me the money. And I'm holding a receipt in my hand that shows my balance and there's definitely enough money there.

CSR2: Yes, like I said, there must not be enough money in the machine to allow the transaction to complete.

(I wish strongly for the technology that would allow me to bitch slap a person while talking to them on the phone from miles away)

Me: Ok. But. I'm sitting here talking to you and I've just watched four people walk up to the machine and withdraw money. Significant amounts of money.

CSR2: Ugh. You're. Not. Listening!! I'm saying that there must not be enough money in your account to cover the money you asked for.

(Can someone help with that bitch slap technology?)

Me: Again. I'm holding a receipt that says I have enough money.

CSR2: *raising her voice* You're. Not. LISTENING!! The machine must not have enough money to cover the transaction.

Me: *raising MY voice* First....don't speak to me that way and second, I've just watched ANOTHER four people withdraw money from the machine. And it GAVE me the $40 I asked for. And then it sucked it back.

CSR2: *shouting now* LISTEN!! There's obviously not enough money in your....

I hung up. (And no, it didn't occur to me until after the fact to ask for her supervisor. I'm slow like that.)

There's just so many ridiculous, circular arguments I can take before I get dizzy and fall over, and not in an "oooh I've had to much gin and feel all fuzzy and awesome" kind of way. Is it just me or was the stupid douchecanoe just going around and around in circles? I was about ready to drive blunt needles through my eyes by the time I hung up on her.

So then I whipped out my card from Awesome Bank and dialed their number. Sadly, as is the case with most institutions nowadays, I had to sit through another Annoying Menu From Hell. But within a minute I was through to yet another rep in a call centre.

Awesome Bank CSR: GOOD morning! Welcome to Awesome Bank, my name is Perky Bubbles, how may I help you today?

Me: Oh I hope you can. Greedy Bank ATM took my money back and the supremely unhelpful wench in their call centre likes to argue in circles without producing any great results. Not even a crop circle. What can I do?

A-B CSR: Oh that's easy! I'll just fill out one of these super easy dispute forms, send it off to the Greedy Bank Powers That Be, and in about two or three days you should have that cash credited back to your account.

Me: Um. Wow. Thanks?

A-B CSR: Happy to be of assistance ma'am.

And that, folks, is how it's done. Perky to the rescue.


In other news, on Saturday I will be launching a GIVEAWAY!! You can have the chance to win a prize valued up to $75 from CSN Stores. So stay tuned and make sure to check back and enter lots!


I'm also over at Looking For My swing on by and say hi.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

A more ambitious woman would have roasted him on a spit!

I have a little bit of biz to get out of the way before I proceed to the roasting of the "him" in the title.

1) Remember that Great Interview Experiment that I took part in? No? Well reacquaint yourself. I'll wait.

Alright. The person who had the misfortune to interview me was Sus at Joy Is Everywhere. And today she has that interview posted. So head on over, say hi, marvel at my wit and weirdness and leave her some love.


2) Loco YaYa over at Loco Yaya's Snafud World awarded me this fantastical little award a couple weeks back and I'm just getting around to sharing it with all of you. It's called The Stiletto Award ...for excellence in blogging. Once I'd finished giggling about the fact that someone thought I deserved an award like this, I was ever so grateful.

I'm meant to nominate 5 - 10 people who I think are deserving but let's face it, I don't read anyone's blog who isn't excellent. So you ALL deserve it.

Ok. Now.


He who has just barely managed to keep his testicles in the right place after opening his mouth and shoving a foot in. He who has mastered the art of backpedalling at high speed. He who barely managed to not have a knife driven through his eyeball.

With all the swimming that I have been doing lately in the interests of weight loss and fitness, I have noticed my body changing in various places. So as we stood in the kitchen last night talking about the places that muscles are going to start showing up, I was very excited about the prospect of having a swimmer's body. I even went so far as to flex what little muscles are currently showing in my arms and had him feel them. Big smile on my face, excitement oozing from every pore.

Which is why he was very lucky that I did not have anything sharp in my hand when he uttered the words "Yeah. You're getting hot".

Excuse me? I beg your pardon...or rather, you should be begging MY pardon! What did you just say? I'm getting hot? GETTING?! I have an idea, why don't you just dig yourself a hole and jump into it. Then cover yourself with 6 feet of dirt and stay there.


Now, I fully understand that he was trying to be nice and loving and gushy. I get that he merely left the suffix -ER off. This didn't make any more appreciative though.

Apparently I wasn't too tired yesterday though, because I just laughed and laughed and gave him a hard time. And then announced it on Facebook. And then vowed to blog about it. And tell everyone I know. Because you know I couldn't just let it go. Could you?

What have your spouses done that's similar? Did you cut their heart out with a spoon? (there's an extra leg hump in it for you if you know that reference too)

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Monday, March 8, 2010

The libido. The life force. The essence. The right stuff. What the French call a certain... I don't know what.

Erm. Hi. Remember moi? That chick who used to come here on a relatively regular basis and blather on and on about pretty much nothing and you all sat and took it? Did you realise it has been almost a frick frackin' MONTH since I last posted anything here?!?! I know! How the hell did that happen?

I'll tell you how because I know it's been weighing on you and you couldn't possibly continue with the rest of your day...nay - life!... without knowing. It's very simple really. I lost it. I lost my bloggy mojo.

But! (Muahhaha!) I'm back! To terrorize you into oblivion! Or just bore you to death. Also? I'll be back to reading all your stuff very very soon. I'm thinking of campaigning for 36 hour days so that I have enough time to get everything done. What do you think?

So. Here's the general gist of things:

I went away to camp with the spawnlets for the weekend. To the surprise of some people, this was a church run camp. Hubby stayed here. It was a fun weekend with lots of play time, swimming, water slides etc. The kids had a fantastic time and I learned a lot about myself, my beliefs and my future.

When we came home, we spent a couple of hours with Hubby and then put the kids to bed. It was Valentine's Day. I'd already had a text from my mother asking if I had done anything for Hubby for the day and I'm all "Umm. No. We don't DO those over commercialized, store run holidays. We don't love each other enough for all that crap". I went across the road for a bit in the evening and when I came back I found a note on the door signifying Hotty Hubby's total mutiny from the regime. He'd broken 8 years of tradition of NOT doing anything for V-Day and had put together a treasure hunt of sorts. I followed little pink notes around the house, collecting matches and candles and my robe....only to end up in the bedroom where there was soft music playing and a massage waiting. I still didn't get him anything.

A few days later, my younger sister arrived from Auckland for a week and that took up a bunch of a good way. The kids were so happy to see her. Me? I got my ass kicked in a play fight and I'm STILL sporting bruises on my arms. That girl is a tough (and dirty) fighter!

Since then? I've been working, hanging with the kids, READING (!!) and just relaxing. I've even been able to watch the news. And the Olympics. Which reminds your face USA!! Muahahaha. I sat glued to that last hockey game and just about crapped my pants when I thought y'all were gonna win.

And for those of you who are doing Lose It Bitches, since my last blog post, I have weighed in 4 more times gaining 500 g (1.1 lbs) and then losing 1.8 kgs (3.96 lbs), 700 g (1.54 lbs) and last week was 900 g (1.98 lbs). So doing well for the most part. That small gain was the only one I've had in over 3 months so I'm considering myself lucky.

Alright lovers...that's a wrap. I'm going to go and check out what's happening with all of you and hope to have something of more substance next time I come back. Which should be in a few days.

Oh! You can also find me over at Looking For My Feet.....blathering on a bit more about my weight loss journey and successes.

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