Friday, July 16, 2010

Things of note

So, I totally think I just got called out by Sissy for not doing anything "productive" about "me" in my blog and just letting it sit here. :P  Yeah, yeah; I'll admit, I HAVE been letting it slide into "decay" for a little while, but my work week has been SOOOO busy that while I have plenty of time at home in the evenings, I just end up so pooped that the last thing I want to do is try to pick my brain for something interesting to write about. I DO have a few up-and-coming post ideas that I'd love to blog about, so no worries; I've just been WAYYYY too tired to try and use my brain for anything more productive than creating white noise and finding precious solitude.

Anyway, I do believe I've been tagged by Sissy to answer a few questions, so here goes:

1. If you could spend the rest of your life doing only one thing, what would it be?  Hmm, that's a tough one. I'd have to say that if I could spend the rest of my life dreaming, then I could be happy; when you dream, anything is possible. I could dream that I was a millionaire, could dream that I'm flying, or dream that I'm working. Possibilities are endless, so I don't think I'd ever get bored!
2. What is the best thing you can bake/cook?  I do make some tasty cake, if you ask me; but I only make the stuff from a box, so I guess that doesn't count. I'd have to say that, if making something out my own ingredients is the key, then I can make a mean sandwich!
3. What household chore is your least favorite to do?  Laundry! BY GOD, do I HATE laundry!
4. If you could bring three things to a deserted island, what would they be?  I'm not gonna cheat like Sissy did! :P  I'd bring a knife, a bucket to catch rainwater in (for drinking), and a tent. Everything else you might need, you can always find a way to make it.
5. What's the next big thing you're thinking about splurging on?  Hmm... I don't generally splurge on "big" items, but I suppose that, if I wanted to splurge on something big, it would have to be either a car or a Mac computer, but neither of those seem to be in my close future, so I can keep dreaming. :P
6. Post a current photo. If you want to be elusive, an abstract closeup would be fine.
This was from a photo shoot that a friend of mine helped me with. We took a lot of pictures that day, but we had lost so much light, that very few of them even looked remotely decent. I would like to try another photo shoot someday, because this was an absolute blast! Maybe Sissy would like to help me with that..?  -nudge, nudge-
7. If you could have any pet ever, what would it be?  Hmm... I'd like to have a Sand Cat!

8. Who is your favorite musician/band and why?  I'd have to say that my favorite artist would have to be Anthony Keidis; not only is he tasty-sexy, but he's an absolutely amazing artist. You can't help but love how funky he is!
9. What celebrity annoys you the most and why?  I'd have to say that the most annoying celebrity for me, right now, would have to be Lindsay Lohan. I normally don't follow celebrity crap, but with all of the damn media coverage for this girl, you can't help but hate her.
10. What has been your biggest letdown lately?  I'd have to say my niece. I'll be writing more on that one, later, but you can see a little bit of it here in one of my first posts.
11. What is the worst job you've ever had and why?  I'd have to say that my worst job ever was my FIRST job ever; working at Ye Olde Fashioned Ice Cream and Sandwich Parlor when I was about 17. I only had the job for a few weeks before calling in sick. Needless to say, I wasn't asked to come back and I probably wouldn't have gone back if they HAD asked me. If there's anything worse than working retail, it's working in food service, ask anybody who's done either one and they'll say the same thing!
12. Guilty pleasures? Spill!  I'd have to say that some of my guilty pleasures include Twilight, anime, and pop music.
13. The last argument you had with someone, what was it about?  It's a long story, but let's just say he ended up saying that he was "Sorry for being a douchebag".
14. What would be something you would never do, even if somebody paid you a shitton of money?  Hurt anyone in my family. I'd probably do anything else, but family is sacred; blood is far thicker than water.


So, now that that's over, I'd like to put something in my blog that may never appear in my blog again!

To start things off, as some of you may know, I work in retail for an undisclosed company (I don't like dragging work into public forums because of the strict privacy policies heavily monitored and enforced at my company) so I don't often get clients that I actually LIKE.

A majority of my clients do nothing but bitch and moan, as most consumers generally do. Now, I try to come to work in the best possible mood, because I know that, when dealing with the general public, a good mood brings good results, patience, and ease in making a sale. I'm in the job that I'm in because I like to help people with their computer problems; the stuff I do for fun every day can sometimes aggravate the shit out of people and teaching others how to properly use and protect their investments (because, let's face it, a computer is an investment) as well as repair said investments... Well, let's just say that I get paid to do what I enjoy and do best.

But, as I was saying, a majority of my clients are simply not happy just having to stand in front of me; they're computer is broken, they don't know how to do something, or they're simply not happy with their purchase, so if I have an equally shitty attitude because of an equally shitty mood, I get.. Well.. Shitty results.

Unfortunately, over the past week, it's been difficult to come in with a good mood; several of my co-workers are on vacation and the work is piling up. Whereas I would normally be able to take care of my paperwork, receiving, and contact clients appropriately, I have not been able to do much of that this week because of us being so short-handed; I have been forced to the front counter in order to help the massive influx of clientele. Also, because of this fortunate swell in clients, there has been an UNfortunate swell in back-up work. Our shelves, normally only with one or two units waiting to be worked on, has now been filled to overflowing. It's not for lack of room to work on them, it's for lack of TIME and BODIES to work on them.

So, my own work backing up, and so is everyone else's work. I've had to work the front counter for the past few days, along with ONE other person; interactions can generally take between five and ten minutes, with a majority of the interaction being "Here, fill out this paperwork for us, describing your problem, while I run this scan. It'll take a few minutes, so when you're finished filling it out, please feel free to shop around. I'll explain the results of your scan and recommendations when you come back. Thank you very much." before setting up said scan and moving to help the next client.

When you have a line that reaches at least twenty clients or more, it can get a little daunting when you run out of time... And patience... And this can swiftly make your mood run sour.

Until you meet a client who has made your day more than any other client has in your career.

I had just such a client yesterday.

So, yesterday it was just me and one other person working, all day... For eight hours straight. We started our shift at ten in the morning and we wouldn't be getting any relief until the moment we left, at 6:30 that evening. That, and we had to take a scheduled 30 minute lunch, which would leave the front bench with only one person, effectively, for a single hour during the day. Needless to say that, with such low staffing, luck would have it that business did NOT stop long enough for either of us to take a piss, much less take a lunch without worrying that the other person was getting mauled by impatient clients.

We worked our asses off and, just a few hours before it was time for us to go home and our relief to come in, we were both a pair of frazzled, multitasking, vibrating, neurotic messes; there was one issue after another that kept us tied up for far longer than ten minutes and we hardly had time to think straight. I had the pleasure of taking in a client who, unlike all of the others, seemed to take his time in bringing his desktop to the counter. He was old, probably in his 80's, and his son was with him, who was probably in his 40's.

They complained that the computer was slow and wouldn't connect to the internet. I had them fill out the appropriate paperwork and they seemed friendly enough. Both of them were smiling, not just at me, but at each other. They seemed freakishly happy to be there, and I assumed that it was just because they were next in line. I reset some settings after booting their ages old machine up and the little guy (btw, all computers are "little guy" to me, don't ask me why) connected to the internet like a champ. Just as I was showing them the results of my settings reset, I got a client issue. I politely excused myself an ended up taking care of a client bitching about an exchange.

Said bitchy client had an exchange under his service contract. Now, when an exchange under a service contract is done, generally it's because the unit is so old that parts aren't available, or it just isn't cost effective to be repaired. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why I LOVE service contracts; if we can't fix your shit, we give you NEW shit. The catch, is that it fulfills your contract. But what people don't seem to understand is that the new product isn't going to cost the same as what you paid for your old one. Let's say you buy a camera for $200 and two years down the road, we can't fix it. We'll give you a new one that's comparable to the SPECIFICATIONS of what you had, not the price. So, the NEW unit will cost about $100 and will, more than likely, be a hell of a lot better than what you had anyway. It's not so tough to understand, if you think about it like a car; you buy a car for $30,000, it gets frikked up, and the manufacturer decides to give you a replacement. He's not gonna give you a brand new car two years later that costs $30,000, because let's say that the exact model of your car is still available... You're not gonna pay $30,000 for THAT car TODAY, now, are you? No, you wouldn't. So, the dealership is gonna give you the most comparable model to what you HAD not what you PAID x-amount of years ago. Make sense? Well, this guy didn't frikkin' get it, got his panties in a wad, and kept me and another associate tied up for at least a half-hour. Both of us were being yelled at, cursed at, and all other manner of "ats" that couldn't be considered physical violence. Basically, the guy was being a shit-heel.

I finally got back to the father and son and I expected them to be pissed.

They weren't. They were very patient, understood that we were extremely busy, and were just happy that I had come back to them to help explain a few things. I went ahead and started the scan on their computer to find out why it was so slow, told them to shop around for a bit, and answered the incessantly ringing phone.

This new client kept me busy for another twenty-or-so minutes; the father and son's computer had finished it's scan at least fifteen minutes ago, and this new client on the phone KEPT me on the phone for-freaking-ever. He wanted to know what was going on with his computer, down to the very tiniest note that had been left by the technicians. After explaining a few things to him, trying to calm him down, explaining that we were busy and shorthanded, then trying to tell him that "yes, it's not YOUR fault, but it's not OURS either", I finally managed to calm him down, and get him off of the phone as a moderately happy man.

By this time, the father and son had been in the store for at least an hour or more, if you count them waiting in line and then waiting on me to come back to helping them.

At this point, I learned that the computer was slow due to a lack in memory. I explained everything to them as quickly and easily as I could ("Memory is like gas in a car. If you don't have enough 'gas' in your computer, it won't go very far, just like with a car.") and had a little chat with them as I rung them up. It went a little something like this.

Me:  I really appreciate you guys being so patient today. I really am sorry about the wait.
Them:  Oh, no, it's no problem at all. We know you're doing your best and that it's very busy over here. There's only so much that two people can do with this many customers. We really appreciate every second you've spent explaining things to us. We really hope you have a much easier day, you've been very helpful.

At this point, I was a little shocked. I'm more used to clients coming up and, before speaking anything else, bitch about the wait. I'm even more used to having clients bitch at me for trying to multitask, helping both them and another client at the same time. I'm even MORE used to clients bitching about how short-handed we are sometimes. This, my readers, humbled me to the point where every stress of the day melted away like ice cream on a blazing summer day. I think I gaped at them a little, and finally closed my mouth, smiled, and continued ringing them up with the biggest, most genuine smile I'd ever worn while working retail.

I promised them, then, that they would be well taken care of for their patience. I told them that we might not be able to get their work done that very minute, but that it would be done and good to go by the time we opened the next morning. They were more than happy with that and hadn't even expected such swift service.

I shook both of their hands, thanked them profusely again, and chugged along with the rest of the day. And, as promised, their computer upgrade was completed when I walked in to open the store again this morning and I shook the father's hand again, thanking him even more, when he came in to pick it up.

I've never been SO happy to work with a client. Sometimes, I have fun, sometimes I do enjoy helping people, but clients like those two guys NEVER happen. I've worked at this particular company for almost four years and I have, honestly, never met a pair quite like them. They were the most relaxed and most patient of any client I have ever worked with and the way they acted yesterday put a bounce in my step that lasted through the rest of the day today.

I normally am not in a good mood when coming home from work, even when I have the next two days off (which I do, now! Yay! Full weekend off!), but these guys did it for me. I was in a great mood all day today, even though it was just as busy as it was yesterday and with just as many issues, and I'm STILL in an excellent mood. I never enjoyed my work so much.

I'm not used to getting really good praise when it comes to work. My manager will, sometimes, give me a pat on the back, tell me I'm doing a great job, and it helps a lot. I'm not used to clients being patient, and I'm definitely not used to clients thanking me with any real sincerity, and when stuff like that happens, I feel like I'm walking on air. Those kinds of clients and that kind of feeling reminds me why I do what I do, when I oftentimes forget and ask myself "Why the HELL am I doing computer repair? Nobody gives a flying frik about us fixing their broken shit."

So, I've been duly reminded of why I do what I do; it's not because I want recognition or appreciation, it's because, somewhere out there, there's somebody who needs help with their computer and I just might be the one to teach them something they didn't know, or save them hours of frustration and raised blood pressure, even if it takes an hour of my time or five minutes of my time-- I know I'm helping somebody with something, and sometimes, that's all I need to get out of bed in the morning.


  1. Isn't it amazing that a little patience goes a long way?

    Glad you had a good day. Oh, and fuck anyone who gets mad because you multi-task. That is the BEST thing I ever taught you.

  2. Yeah, I try to do my best at multitasking when I actually am doing something that allows me to multitask. And people actually get upset about me trying to take care of more than one client at a time! I mean... Really? Come on.

    Anyway... I really did have a great start to my weekend, and the higher powers only know what kind of good things will happen to that father and son for their patience, because while Karma is a stone cold bitch, She can also be very generous. I hope they get just as good as they gave.