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Archive for the category “As Consumers”

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet

Once-upon-a-time I carried mail; I was a pretty good carrier but I had several pretty nice routes in Los Angeles, California. I no longer work for the USPS, but what I have witnessed lately has me shaking my head with disapproval and disbelief.

What I have personally witnessed is mail delivery at night and I mean DARK OF NIGHT and mail delivery on Sunday!  What’s more is these are not outside incidents they occur regularly and they are happening in totally different regions. The night delivery happened in Inglewood, California. The Sunday delivery happened in Duluth, Georgia. This tells me there is a problem and it is NOT on a small scale.

Now maybe I missed the memo, but what my last communication talked about was the possible elimination of Saturday. There was no talk of replacing the Saturday delivery with nighttime or Sunday delivery, which is incidentally preposterous. When i was hired in 1985 “Special Delivery” carriers were being phased out. These were the carriers who delivered on days and at times the average carrier would not/did not. Also there were generally NOT delivering REGULAR mail.

I will start with delivering regular mail at night, it is dangerous and with the limited vision “misdeliveries” have to be at an all time high.When you see a carrier with a miner’s cap on walking door to door, you have to wonder what the manager is thinking. If someone walked up to my door after dark, making all kinds of noise that sounds like the are trying to compromise my security, calling the police would be the least of their concern.

Then there is Sunday. Okay this to me indicates the work load is out of control and/or poor planning, plus insufficient time management. Look at things from this standpoint, what business is really conducted on Sunday?  Therefore, where is the urgency? It is only urgent because that mail has been delayed.

This is a “pet-peeve” of mine, as I still utilize the U.S.Mail for small jobs, but I still expect to be dealing with a professional agency. I  still have friends that work for the USPS, I am not trying to discredit the agency, but I do see problem. I don’t want to read about a carrier being injured or killed, because of  an unsafe practice.

Therefore, if you see a carrier walking the streets at night or dropping mail off at your house on a Sunday, bother to take time out and write a letter to the USPS first, and if you don’t get a response your congressman next. Let it be known this is UNACCEPTABLE. If you don’t expect anything from an individual that is exactly what you will get, NOTHING. The same goes for agencies and industries. Expect and DEMAND more!



License To Kill

Remember that movie? Well I don’t; I was never a James Bond fan, I vaguely remember the song, and I had to research it to find out who was singing the song. It was Gladys Knight. I also found out that Bob Dylan wrote a song with the same title different lyrics. Neither is pertinent to this piece, except they share the same title.

Who are these people charged with the task “To Protect and Serve”? In a  time of controversy or civil unrest we may even ask ,” Who do they protect and serve?” Think about this one; what do you think about police in general and specifically related to YOU?

Many years ago I thought about becoming a Los Angeles County Sheriff. I did a little research, registered to take the exam, but when the time came I decided that I was not really interested in being a part of law enforcement, all I wanted was the money that was promised in salary. I knew at that point in my young life, money alone should not be the reason one gets into law enforcement.

I had a friend who went a bit farther than I did, she was a beautiful young woman with gorgeous hair. What impacted me, what made me know that she was serious was, when she cut her hair off to wear a short cropped afro because she wanted to be a part of that community. She did the ride-alongs first, she took the exam, and even passed the interview. On her was to the psychological testing, the next thing I heard was she decided against moving on. Now we can guess at or assume what may have changed her mind, but this was just a  personal tid-bit as to why I am here writing this piece now. My turning point was the idea that one day I might have to pull a person from a car who had been fatally injured, or having to aim my weapon at a suspect with the intent to “stop” them and by mistake or intentionally end their life, or knocking on the door of some unfortunate survivor to tell them a loved one would not be returning home to them.

Police/law enforcement officers are a special breed, in my opinion I was NOT that “kind” of special. Strong, stoic, yet compassionate. Honorable and trustworthy, calm and well trained. I am so very happy we have them, but when you find them abusing the power they are given, it frightens, angers, and appalls you. Why shouldn’t it. They are entrusted with our lives.  When they take that power and use it incorrectly, use it against the very ones who are looking to them for help; what do you say about individuals like that? The officer who demeans a man in the presence of his child, the individual who places an individuals life in danger by using a hold that has been forbidden and illegal for decades, the individual who hides/misplaces evidence, the wife beater, the alcohol abuser and yes this same individual still has a badge. Common sense, sensitivity, and reasoning are no longer the tools of their trade. Yet the public is told these are community leaders and turn to them for help.  These are the individuals who look at their positions and think in a manner that demonstrates they think they do in fact have a license to kill and it is open season on citizens. How safe do you feel?

Call Me, Ms. Fix-It

Okay folks, I admit it when it comes o repairs I leave it to my spouse or a professional. However lately I have marveled and been annoyed with paying high costs to have simple repairs done. My better half says ,”I’ll fix it” but the schedule of  when is very hard to narrow down ( I am being extremely polite and understanding here). There is nothing worse than needing something repaired and having a very capable individual at your disposal , yet the thing you need fixed remains in disrepair.

About a year or so ago one of my dear friends sent a picture of one of her kitchen appliances that SHE was going to install some type of switch in. Now mind you my friend is an engineer, but she does NOT fix household appliances for a living, nor is it a hobby. I was in awe. If you saw her with her well manicured hands and bikini worthy body you’d say, no way. I don’t need to tell you that she was successful in her venture. I have to give acknowledgement to my pals though they are talented, creative, and physical. My group of grandmother friends do not let that title hold them back. They are painting rooms balancing baby on their hip and that hip is free of osteoporosis.

My challenge was not a new one. For about 11 months my in door ice dispenser has only been giving crushed ice. I did not really see that as a big problem and  beyond the first month of discussion we let it linger on. Well the warranty is getting ready to be up and the thought crossed my mind what if this leads to something else. You all know they do not build appliances like they used to.  Why repair it when you can replace it, and that is fine if you have resources overflowing. I do not, my money tree has yet to yield the first dollar bill. Therefore, I have to be more practical. I have had considerable luck going to the internet finding answers to tech problems. I found directions on repairing my dryer belt that I passed on to the man of the house, I solved an iphone dilemma, and there were couple more DYI projects made simpler.

I was up early Sunday morning and I said, ironically, “What the HELL”(couldn’t resist that one).  I went to the internet and “googled” my problem. I did not get a feasible answer first time out, but I refined the search a bit and taadaa…”my workable answer”. I went upstairs to the fridge and followed the steps sure enough once I finished solid cubed ice came crashing out into my cup. I felt like Rosie The Riveter, no more crushed ice for me, unless I select crushed.  I don’t have to call for a service man to come tie up my day, I didn’t have to beckon to my spouse, I did it and so can you.

My Life Through Malls

As I sat watching my husband and granddaughter ride the merry-go-round I was transported back  through time and space to Torrance, California;  her father was about 3 years old riding this imported merry-go-round with his “Auntie Jennifer” (I even have a picture) at the “Old Towne Mall”. That mall housed old fashioned shops, glass-bowers, etc. ; it never caught on, it survived for decades but it slowly disappeared into oblivion like the “Carson Mall”, “The Hawthorne Mall”, “Gwinnett Place Mall”, to name a few I had encounters with. However, even before that as a teen when the mall phenomenon was just catching on my life-long friend(i.e just like a sister, only our parents are different) Kim and I spent many Saturdays at the nearby malls. We would spend hours there with money that would barely buy lunch, no wait  a cookie and a drink now. The malls had everything from cute clothes, fun food, and attractive members of the opposite sex. Truly one stop shopping. As certain music can be attached to you , producing YOUR personal soundtrack , my mall experience served as a navigational tool.  I was able to connect my shopping habits to where I was in my  life at any given time. I thought , ” Wow this is crazy”! Yet it started me thinking about how true this was. I now see myself going out of my way to avoid trips to the mall. I buy online to avoid the crowds or go to local shopping areas, places that you have to walk from store to store by exiting the building and going outside. As everything in life, this trend of malls has made a full circle. Once the appeal of year-round-regardless-of-weather-conditions environment brought people out in droves. They had everything. There was a point that you could do it all at the mall. The Mall of America even had an amusement park inside. multiplex movie theaters were signs of a money making mall, the mall near my home “Peninsula Center” even had an ice skating rink. A little out of the ordinary for Southern Cal. It was a point that you not only dreaded going into malls because of crowds, but the area nearby because of traffic. Now the small local specialty shops are on the rise, “anchor stores” like Macy’s are losing ground to vintage clothing and second hand stores. The economy made us uncomfortable and unhappy, but it also made us think and become thrifty. We came up with new ideas to keep ourselves fashionable without spending a fortune. Of course the mall experience has not died, in many cases it is not even sick. I know my disdain began when I watched a report in the mid 1990’s and the “mall psychologist” was  noted as a necessary part of mall planning. My first though was what-the-__ is a” mall psychologist”. As the report went on it explained things like appealing to people and promoting impulse buying, the use of tactic like end cap displays, but what ticked me off was when one of these professionals talked about how some malls had the up escalator on one end of the mall and the down escalator on the other end. If you wanted to just come into one particular store aside from those “anchor stores”, you would have to either climb stairs, wait on an elevator (also in an “anchor store” for the most part}, or walk a good distance past many stores clamoring for your attention and your money.

I thought of malls I knew of that were designed just like that, malls I frequented and  how hard it was to just walk, not browse when you were in the mall walking past stores. Then the “mall psychologist” did not seem quite so ridiculous, I realized how predictable I was, how these individuals had sized me up. I hated that they were right. I set out to be a part of the resistance. Yeah well, finances were the biggest factor in my resistance. However, as time went by I did realize how little I needed the mall experience.

On this particular day as I sat recalling a time gone by, having a DeJeVu moment with my granddaughter I was once again able to appreciate the experience of indoor shopping. However, I did take note this mall is all on one level.

Has My Blog Died and Gone To Heaven?

Today we are going to do a Frankenstein type experiment utilizing a eulogy as the tool to attempt resurrection.

Hafacenturyncounting.com was cute down in it’s prime. A victim of neglect. No one could have known that after a few short weeks it would be treated as though it never existed. As passerby drops in a couple times a week, but overall the site remains quiet and unnoticed. The few followers are still around as loyalty is characteristic of them. One can easily see how blogs get caught up in the whirlpools of the internet, and you truly are only as successful as the last piece you wrote.

Hafacenturyncounting.com came to be three short years ago, armed with a background of a “seasoned novice writer” as it’s only tool. Continuing through the years hoping to connect with others on a common journey. There were no real expectations; only to be an exchange of information from one individual’s vantage point, with perspective many travel this same road and share these same experiences. Never wildly popular, but most who bothered to stop by enjoyed the visit. I blame marketing or lack there of. It is a plain paper bag in the world of colorful, picture riddled writings. Yet Hafacenturyncounting.com  believed it could appeal to the mature, serious-minded individual.

Hafacenturyncounting.com “bit the dust” without warning; okay maybe that is an over simplified assessment, but it took a backseat too long. I stopped writing everyday or every week for that matter. I thought there was enough material to keep visitors coming and there is a great deal to read(292 published blogs). What I failed to realize is we as a society are very much into the now, what is new will catch the eye. Even though there is a great deal in the blog to read, it only gets attention when a red flag is waved or an announcement of it comes.

Therefore, I wish to announce Hafacenturyncounting.com is not dead! My answer to the title is “Not by a long shot”! I do respectfully request a little more effort on the part of my followers, to bother to read more of the material contained in the blog. However, I will make every effort NOT to be negligent from this point forward. That said look for a least one piece per week.  Hafacenturyncounting.com does appreciate each of the followers, readers, and critic who stop by the site. See you soon.

Hurry Up And Wait

I am exhausted.  I have been going through process for several months now and let me tell you it is horrendous! I can only imagine what people who search for years feel like and am grateful I do not have that experience to date.

As a Job-seeker from 1959 in 2013, I have encountered a world of strange and amazing things. I have also had bouts with sheer disappointment and enough “red-tape to circle the globe.  If you are a 50-something person looking to change jobs change careers my first inclination is to tell you DON’T, but if circumstances dictate or you simply feel compelled to do this let me offer a little insight. This will be “fun”.

First things first; if you haven’t been in the market for awhile throw out everything you THINK you know. It has ALL changed. You may not talk to a human being through many of the initial processes. I can say, with a great deal of confidence, you will do no writing until it comes time to sign your name, and even then it may be electronic. You may even be interviewed via the internet( webcam).

The SEARCH: What is it you want to do or think you want to do? Once you decide this do a GOOGLE search and find websites for employment and ones that are dedicated to the particular field or area you want. If it is a general search you have the sites that are well known, but not necessarily a great choice if you want fast results. When you “land” on a site KNOW, KNOW, KNOW you will have to register with them before you can move forward. If they allow you to view jobs before registering, you are still going to have to register to put in an application. Therefore, get ready to submit your vital information and then get ready to submit it again, and again, and again.

The RESUME’: You have to have a resume’, if you don’t stop reading this and go create one, you are dead-in-the-water if you do not. We are going to move forward like you do have  a resume’; make sure it is updated, a contact number or email may be the difference between you getting an interview or not. Keep your information current, I cannot stress that enough. Go to the internet for samples of the particular type of resume’ (field/ industry/profession) most applicable. However, the fact that you have a resume’ will not eliminate your having to register to apply for a job, or filling out an application, in which the very same information/questions are required.  Do a cover letter( a letter that tells why you are looking for “this”type of job and what you can offer “this” particular company), it is an introduction to your resume’.

The INTERVIEW: Yaay, you have done what may seem like the impossible or it may feel like you are waking from a dream. Yet one must approach this process with extreme caution. You have to know what to wear, consult the internet or speak to your friends and colleagues. KNOW where you are going and how long it is going to take to get there and BE EARLY. KNOW something about the company you are applying for a job with.  KNOW yourself, be prepared to answer questions and again go to the internet and view sample interview questions.  Try NOT to be surprised, because today you may be interviewed by an individual or a team (two or more), you may be asked to participate in a group interview where you are NOT the only applicant, it may be structured or not. However, you may not be privy to any of this information until you arrive. Therefore, be prepared for the items mentioned before and then some.

This is not only a frustrating process, it is intimidating and at times frightening, for if you are in search of employment it is because you are in need. You have to put aside the emotion of your circumstances, think on your toes, and move forward into uncharted territory. Preparation and research are your friends, and I suggest you use these tools to the utmost. Today finding employment is like an espionage project; the target(job) is out there, the enemy(competition) is trying to get to it as well as you are, the only thing that separates you and them is…..You have to figure out what you have that will separate you, and make YOU stand out and be successful. Good Luck, and that is sincere.

Do not give up, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I found it; I managed to get to the target, now if only the government will get back to work, so I can.

Can I Get A Witness

There you are sitting in a parking lot, BAAM!! You look around and you see two people arguing and it is clear to you there has been an accident/collision of some sort. You proceed to go into the sandwich shop next door.

Later at the department store  you walk by a display where the mannequin is postured in a fashion that makes it virtually impossible to pass without hitting it. You hit it and catch the model before it falls. Moments after you pass you hear a scream and the sound of metal and glass shattering. You see a display fall and run toward the commotion, there is a young woman on the floor rubbing her head. You go to her, asks is she okay and offer any help you can provide. A member of the store’s staff comes and you leave. You have done your part here.

How many times have you observed a situation or an incident that made you look twice but did not move you to act or get involved? I realize this is asking a great deal of most of us. We stand  a chance of being told off or to mind our own business, we may do the wrong thing and be in trouble for trying to help. What do we do, we go about OUR business and don’t get involved. Do you ever ask yourself,”Why?”

Let’s explore something else here, the insurance aspect.  There are times when responsibility is questioned what gives the edge is someone who has no vested interest. This outside disinterested party can easily mean the difference of a repaired vehicle minus out-of-pocket costs versus none. After all after being involved in a wreck is enough of a trauma, couple that with having to pay for something that was not your fault merely adds insult to injury.

Very recently a couple of things happened and as a result of these incidents, I know am going to pay closer attention to things and be an active participant whenever the opportunity presents itself to me. Now you must exercise caution involving accidents and injuries, but the one thing you can almost always do is give an eyewitness account, if you are one. Always bear in mind one day the shoe could be on the other foot; you may need some stranger, some independent witness to come forward and say,” I saw what happened and here’s my information.”

Clean Up Your Act

Cleaning; not a subject I am particularly fond of nor do I have a deep seeded hatred for. However, I am quite good at it.

I have to confess I did get into the business from a “need” inspired place. I had been exposed to this particular vocation since childhood. It was not something I imagined doing, that is until I would get quite aggravated while working in the administrative aspect of the Postal Service. Then I would both sarcastically and jokingly say, “Can’t I have a stress free job like the custodian.”

At the risk of having customer former or present read this piece I will be very cautious.  Never would I  point out an individual in a forum such as this, I am far too conflict oriented( I know what I am saying) for that. I would much rather confront you face-to-face. I am not trying to provide competition with strategy. Yet I do not mind giving out a little information that might help someone. All of these suggestions work/have applicable ideas for the provider and the customer.

If you are looking for someone to provide you with a cleaning service be very specific; either they will do what you want or not. Don’t get trapped in/bogged down with assumptions, this will keep you(the customer) from being disappointed and the service provider from being unhappy as well. Sometimes you can ask for addition services that either will be provided at a cost or even given if the provider is aware of the want/need at the time.  Communication is paramount. Ultimately, you want a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

Don’t be cheap. Licenses, bonds, insurance cost; if you risk having someone come into your home or place of business without these be aware you may get off cheaper initially, but in the long run bad service, damaged items, missing effects… what did you really save. You do get what you pay for, especially if you do as previously stated. If you have a price in mind share it. This does not suggest you will get the price, but perhaps you will gain understanding as to why what you want is/is not possible from a particular provider. You may be able to negotiate better.

Do not mix up services. If you want someone as a housekeeper  look for a housekeeper. If you want a maid look for a maid. The job descriptions are similar but not the same. That being said you cannot expect a housekeeper to do your laundry or your dishes, unless you discussed and agreed to this prior. Pick up your place so the service provider can clean what actually needs cleaning. If you need an organizer then look for one of those. You waste time and resources not taking these steps. If your housekeeper has to sift through piles of clothes in order to vacuum, either the floor will not be vacuumed or your fee is going to go up.  If you have stacks of dishes in the sink and no room in the dishwasher, there are a variety of end results that could occur. YOU will be unhappy in either case.

Therefore, try this; be upfront and honest, communicate your wants and needs, make no assumptions. When you the customer/service provider do these things the expectation is realistic and generally will be met.  End result, mutually beneficial.

Gigi’s and Me

Now I am not suggesting you make this a habit, but I want to share my special indulgence with you. It is Gigi’s Cupcakes! They are close enough to get to with ease, but far enough away that my trips there are NOT daily( my waistline could never afford them). My location is in Norcross, Georgia. GOOGLE them. Gigi’s creates some of the most beautiful and fabulously tasty deserts you have wrapped your tongue around. The look draws you in the taste brings you back. They even have gluten-free cupcakes! Did I mention the specialty cheesecakes… My mouth is watering even as I write this. The atmosphere is of a small hometown bakery, the staff pleasant and accommodating.

How many times have I stopped by for one cupcake and then found myself so indecisive that I walked out with at least half a dozen. I will not tell you about the menu or discuss the cost I encourage you to visit their website or better yet visit a nearby store. You will be happy that you did. For special occasions or especially for YOU,  simply I can’t say that you will go wrong.

If Your Heart Isn’t In It

In the midst of a philosophical conversation, the realization came to me as to how very important it is to be passionate about what you do. I always felt this was the case with me personally, but figured it varied from one individual to another.

The teachers, nurses, doctors and even lawyers of our world stand out when I think of this point. Not saying the gas station attendant, cashier at your local WalMart, the dry cleaner, or telemarketer are any less applicable; if you do then you give freely, with both hands, the excuses for doing something poorly. Having passion for what you do is essential for one to do anything well,  and it seems an odd or unusual thought pattern in today’s world. I find it odd that we do not expect more and therefore accept substandard performance.

I was raised by parents that instilled, “If you are going to do anything you are obligated to do YOUR very best”. It didn’t matter what it was, you owed your very best, because this was a reflection on you. It did not simply say this is_____ and identify you, it went deeper and gave a look at that ever-present, character.

At first glance you may question placing one who saves lives(doctors) in the same discussion with someone who in most cases disturbs one’ life(telemarketer). However, that is at first glance, dig deeper what do you think of that same individual who possesses the skill to save a life if his attitude is bad, and his work shoddy. Then the individual whose sole purpose is to manage to keep someone on the phone long enough to make a presentation, that in spite of countless hours of research, may have guided them in a completely wrong direction. Who is held to a higher standard; why is it okay for one to do a bad job, have a bad outlook and treat people accordingly and not the other?

We have all experience the examples given when they are not passionate and caring, but we have also experienced  others in the same line of work who were polar opposite. Chances are the good experience tends to cancel out the bad one(s). Let me pull your coat-tails here; these individual occupations cited here are not just being pointed out for review, they are for reflection, they are US.

We are all threads in the fabric that makes up our society. Ultimately one has to recognize it takes all of those threads to make the fabric strong, functional, and beautiful.  You can’t change everything and everyone, but you can certainly change you and that is a start.

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