Old Dog, New Tricks

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Life
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Sixty is the new forty, right?  And fifty is the new thirty.

Well try telling that to those in their 30’s (the new 15) who are responsible for hiring.  Why are upper middle-aged people and seniors so reviled in today’s culture.  Why is it that once upon a time, those who reached that exalted pinnacle in life, were adored, revered, respected and looked upon for advice, but now they’re a mere annoyance.

The past few years, since the great recession started, this experienced class of citizens have been tossed aside for the favor of younger and less experienced workers in this changing climate.  So the dreams we had of getting older with a little bit of prosperity have disappeared.  We are no longer our parents generation, where we worked for one company and then retired with a company sponsored pension and health benefits.  No, today it’s self pension via 401K’s or other investments and no health care upon leaving a company.  But those are topics for another time.

So what happens to someone who is displaced when they reach that age of disenfranchisement?  They learn new tricks.

She painted her first painting when she was 76 and went on to paint over a thousand more until her death at 101.  Grandma Moses, when she could no longer hold an embroidery needle began to paint and became an American Icon.

At age 52 he started what was soon to become a worldwide empire.  Ray Kroc saw an opportunity and partnered with the McDonald Brothers and soon saw the growth of the largest fast food hamburger franchise ever.

When he was 77 years young he took his second journey into space, this time for a nine-day adventure.  NASA still valued his knowledge and experience.  John Glenn had the right stuff on February 20, 1962 and then again on October 29, 1998.

Now, at age 58, I’m looking ahead at the new tricks I can learn.  Just before I lost my job, (I know I bear some responsibility for the job loss) I began to teach myself the art of apparel decoration.  Now two years later I’m still learning.  No, I’m not rich and famous, and my work isn’t being carried in large department stores, but I am fulfilling a quest to becoming something more than a burden waiting for handouts.

While I’m not a college trained graphic designer or a skilled artist, I have taught myself some basics involving design studio software, the art of e-commerce, social networking and writing the occasional blog.  Working on my website, www.presteejustees.com gives me an opportunity to learn and grow.  It may not have the latest and greatest indie designs, but it does have my soul, and I do the shirt creations myself.

Now back to you 30 somethings who hold sway over all people looking to lend talent to your company.  By passing on the seasoned worker, you are passing on some of the best resources available to you.  People who have endured life at a multitude of experiences that you cannot imagine.  People who can bring with them, wisdom, common sense and compassion.  Try learning that in a text-book.

Just look into their eyes that have seen so much and say to them:  “We would love to have you on board”.

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Comfort Food

Posted: March 22, 2012 in Food, Humor
Tags: ,

Salads, vegetables, fruit.  I like them all, really.  I also know I should eat more of them.  But I’m sorry.  I like food that has some substance to it.  Meat, potatoes with thick gravy, burgers and chili dogs with cheese and onions and big, thick juicy steaks (when I can afford them).  Oh, and let’s not forget anything barbecued!  That’s eating.

I know there are all these health studies saying that this is bad and that’s bad and then they contradict themselves with a new study saying maybe they were wrong.  Don’t drink alcohol, well maybe just one drink a day.  Don’t use salt, well maybe just a little.  Don’t drink coffee.  Oh, actually it’s good for you.  Do these people who do these studies even know?

We are so convinced now a days that everything is bad for us.  Hockey Puck.  Maybe a lot of overindulgence is bad, but in moderation, what’s the problem.  Instead of 2 chili dogs, just eat one.  Instead of super sizing the fries, get a small order.  That’s all you need to do.  Keep it moderate.  Really.  Instead of a whole box of Ho Ho’s, just eat half the box.

Have you ever noticed that the loneliest place at a buffet is the salad bar.  There’s a fricken reason for that.  Who goes to a buffet for a salad?  Where’s the longer line at;  Mcdonalds or McSalads?  Burger King or Salad King?  I think you know.

THE STEAK PALACE:

Waiter:  “May I take your order”?

Customer:  “Yes, I’d like a small dinner salad and a cup of soup, no bread”.

Waiter:  “You do realize you are at the FUCKING STEAK PALACE”!!!

I guess my point is that one of the few things we can enjoy is good food.  Why do we want to piss off our taste buds with stuff that is meant for rabbits.  Salads, fruit and vegetables should be done in moderation.  So until we get our daily nutritional requirements from a little pill, I’m going to enjoy some red meat, potatoes and thick gravy.

After all, this is not the year 2525.

ROAD RAGE!!!!!!

Posted: March 11, 2012 in Driving, Humor
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Warning!  The rest of this post may contain some offensive language.  After all, it is a part of Road Rage.

Pleasant drives almost don’t exist anymore.  With all the traffic and everyone in a hurry to get to nowhere, or worse, work, the roads are filled with a bunch of inconsiderate fucking idiots.  It seems like there are an unlimited number jackwads on the roads today.  I’ve done a lot of road trips in my day and continue to do so and I am constantly amazed at the shit that I see out there.  Some of my favorites:

THE OLD MAN IN A HAT DRIVING A CHRYSLER:

Okay, they don’t drive Chrysler’s anymore.  Now they drive a Lexus, but the concepts is the same.  YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ANYWHERE NEAR THEM.  If you happen to be following one they won’t be doing the speed limit. They’ll be in the left lane doing 15 miles an hour BELOW the limit.  AND they’ll have their left turn signal on the whole time. Don’t be in a position where you’re next to them either because when they change lanes they just go. No looking or signaling (except for the blinker that’s been on the whole time).  Some other old man in a hat driving adventures:  slowing down a half a mile before they need to make a turn, sitting through three light changes trying to make a left turn and finally, why do they always have a fucking poodle in their lap.

TAILGATING

Tailgating is really a pet peeve of mine.  There never has been a valid reason to drive up quickly on someone and then just sit on their bumper.  The offending tailgater is almost always driving an over sized SUV so all you see in your rear view mirror is one big ass grill.  I see this one a lot on the freeways and the really stupid thing is, they can always move into another lane, especially if the old man in a hat driving a Lexus won’t move over.

PUT YOUR FUCKING MAKE-UP ON BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

Enough said.

TRUCKS

Now, first of all, I have the utmost respect for big rig drivers.  Most are some of the safest drivers on the road. MOST.  There are however a couple of things they like to do that really piss me off.  Living here in Oregon we get a lot of rain.  Bet you didn’t know that, but we do.  So why is it that these guys always have to drive in the center lane on the freeways.  You know that they splash a lot of water, so now, whatever lane you’re in, your windshield is going to get so wet that no matter what speed your wipers are on, you still won’t be able to see.  But the one thing they do that sends me into a fucking, screaming frenzy is one truck passing another truck.  Okay, that’s no big deal.  The big deal is when on a two lane freeway, they decide to do it right at the beginning of a long, steep uphill grade.  Guess what?  He won’t be able to pass.  No, he’ll just slow down and slow down and slow down and the two of them will be going 10 miles an hour all the way up the damn hill.  HEY IDIOT.  Turn down your Willie Nelson CD and pay attention.

OTHER GRIEVOUS INFRACTIONS

Speeding through a school zone:  They should be arrested.

Not pulling over for emergency vehicles:  Shoot em!

Rap music playing so loud I can’t hear the emergency vehicle in a school zone:  Take away their fucking iPod.

Not stopping for pedestrians in a cross walk:  Cane them.

Not stopping for pedestrians not in a cross walk:  Award them points.

Finally, I’ve picked on Lexus drivers.  I really don’t have anything against people who drive a Lexus.  I’m sure they are good people.  Actually, i’ts Volvo drivers I can’t fucking stand.

The List

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Customer Service
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Welcome to my personal blog where I will rant about any number of topics.  Topics that wouldn’t be appropriate for my business blog, unless I expect to piss off and lose customers and potential customers.  But I find there are times when I need to rant but I don’t want to do it one on one, or with a group of people while socializing, so a personal blog works well.

So, let’s get started.  You may have noticed the title, “The List”, but it could more appropriately be called “Customer Service”.  As someone who has been in customer service all my adult working life, it’s something I take notice of.  When customer service lacks, there’s a good chance the business will end up on my list, which is a list of company’s I no longer patronage.

My list has been accumulating for as long as I can remember.  In fact, the first business to end up on “The List” was retailer JC Penny.  It was one of those situations where they could have provided a little good will and work with a customer but instead chose to be unwilling to be flexible.  The “List” was born.

Over the years more businesses have been added to the list.  It’s a mental list and I don’t always remember who’s on it until I happen to be driving by or need to shop somewhere, but it’s not a lonely club.

So what kind of things will get you on the list?  Here’s an example.  A national restaurant chain, one of those 24 hour places, had a fantastic looking menu with wonderful pictures of food.  I scanned the menu, looked at the pictures and made a choice.  Wow, I couldn’t wait to taste what I thought was going to be an awesome lunch.  When it arrived, it looked nothing like the picture.  The picture had lots of meat in the sandwich, what I got didn’t.  The picture had lots of French fries, my plate, not so much.  I brought this to the attention of the server and asked if I could have what’s in the picture.  Well apparently, the serving portions are weighed and those are the portions that are served.  When I complained a little more, they did take the plate back and added one more thin slice of meat to the sandwich and a sliver of fries to the plate.  It still had no resemblance to the picture.  I ate it, paid, and left.  I haven’t eaten there since.

Another restaurant, a fast food place, decided to stop helping me and take care of a drive through customer.  Half way through taking our order, she left to take care of someone else.  This time I just left, no food, nothing.  I did return a moment later to let them know how rude they had been.  They made the “List”.

I’m not a demanding customer, I tip well, and sometimes I overlook things that others may complain about.

The main point here is that consumers have choices.  As a business you are asking them to part with their very hard earned dollars and you have an obligation to meet their shopping or dining expectations.  If, as a business, you don’t meet those expectations and do NOTHING to correct a problem, consumers will use the multitude of choices they have and go somewhere else.  They may even add you to their “List”.

One final thought.  Coming off the “List” is possible.  JC Penny is now again open to my shopping needs.  However, the commercial they recently ran with all the screaming almost got them back on the “List”.