Friday, August 29, 2014

Whatever happened to Customer Service 7 Quick Takes Friday

I'm getting fed up with bad customer service.  I expect to get what I pay for and be treated politely.  I have put up with hair in food and other things without complaining.  But here are seven bad customer service experiences I have received this year.  Would any of them bother you?   I am considering going into more detail online and trying to get companies to do something in these situations?  Has anyone tried this with any success?   In order of the most recent:

1.   Twitter Contest (August 2014 - May 2014)

This one I'm trying to get go viral.  I won a twitter contest of two season passes to a local water park -- won on May 28.  In July I hadn't received them, so I called.  After a couple weeks no water park passes.  I asked for season passes for next year or the same amount of the value in beer for my wedding (from a beer company.)  What I received on Aug 28 in the mail was two season passes for a water park that expire on Sept 1.

You can read more about this at these links:
Facebook post
Another Facebook post
Twitter post

Contacted company?   At least four times before I took to social media
Their resolution?   So far just sending me season passes I won't be able to use due to work schedule

2.  Restaurant, West Virginia, August 2014

The salad bar was skimpy, salad was brown and wilted.  Asked for new salad.   Had to confirm to server that yes, we really wanted salad and she really should do her job.  The rest of the evening she never checked up on us for refills or anything.  Had to go to the counter for a take home box.  When I asked if I could have one, she said no and laughed.  (I felt it was an attempt at covering up her true feelings.  If she had more interaction and had been pleasant with us, I would have laughed, but it wasn't funny to me.)   When asked by manager how we enjoyed the meal, I said the salad bar was skimpy.  She never responded.

Contacted company?   I have a letter to go out today.

3.  Pharmacy, Louisiana  July 2014

I had a couple coupons.  Cashier kept arguing with me I couldn't use them.  I asked her to call the manager.  I explained what I was doing with the coupons and he said that was absolutely fine and for the cashier to ring me up.  The whole time she did she kept telling the manager and me we both were wrong!  (Really?  Who argues with their boss?)  I did tell the boss in front of her they should do a refresher on decent customer service, to which she replied I was still wrong.

Contacted company?  Via letter
Response:  Ignored.

4.  Motel, Alabama  July 2014

Checking in at midnight, we found our room wasn't up to code electrically, but since we had no small children didn't worry about it.  At 8 in the morning the floor was being stripped above us.  We called the front desk multiple times, even went up and asked them to move to another room because our room was vibrating.  We were told it was fine because our room was unoccupied (uh, yeah it was at that moment because we were complaining).  Also, it was "fine" because they weren't making noise at midnight when we checked in.   We would have been happy with another night's stay with the promise they would not be working above us the next morning.  What we got was a very, very rude front desk clerk and little sleep.

Contacted corporate?  Via letter and twitter
Response:  Ignored

5.  Restaurant, Alabama  July 2014

I went to the lady's room.   There was a big wad of paper towels in the toilet.  Told a worker.  She asked if I flushed it.  I said no because I didn't want to overflow the toilet.  She told me to use the men's room.   Honestly, this one just barely annoyed me but really bothered my fiance.  So I did write to corporate about it.

Contacted corporate?  Via letter
Response:   Gift card for two free meals
Happy?  YES!

6.   Hotel, West Virginia December 2013

Noise was so bad we called the front desk about six times and even the corporate number once -- all after midnight.  People were slamming each other against wall the room next to us.  (We should have called the police for them disturbing the peace!)  Finally at three in the morning when it was still continuing we were DOWNGRADED rooms on another wing of the hotel and were still woke up an hour later by the same people.  When I complained at the front desk that next morning four others in the lobby said they couldn't sleep for the people who were in the room next to us.  Manager promised to give enough points in my rewards club for a free stay.   I'm still waiting on them six months later.  The next week after this stay I saw on the news that there was a meth lab operating in this hotel.  I don't know if it was the same people or not.

Contacted corporate?  Six times via letter, three times to individual hotel.
Received:  A signed letter from the manager saying enough points will be added to my rewards club that I can receive a free night at any hotel of their chain.
In reality:  I received an empty promise, except for the signed letter from the manager, all correspondence was ignored. And what good is a signed letter when they aren't good on their word?


I have spent over a month of the last year in motels due to family emergencies.    There were some hotels that really went out of their way for us -- allowing us to grab breakfast food late and more.  Great customer service isn't lost on me.  I sell on eBay full time, and I want happy customers.  Even one time someone said a litho on a coffee mug was so crooked she couldn't use the coffee mug.  That was ludicrous because I saw the mug before I shipped it, and I loved it.  Still, I refunded her (and that hurt me on eBay because it counted as a "defect")  I try to do whatever I can to make my customers happy.  A happy customer is a repeat customer!  I can't help but wonder if some companies have gotten so big they just don't care if some customers are unhappy.

For more Quick Takes Friday (and more positive ones) you can visit Conversion Diary

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DVD review and Giveaway: Holy Ghost Be Bold Be Brave

Wanderlust Productions is putting out a movie called Holy Ghost.   On September 6, is the worldwide premier at

This is a 113 minute film where the premise is there would be no script, just allowing the Holy Ghost to direct the movie.  What it reminds me of is people having cameras follow them around while doing street evangelism.

As a Pentecostal turned Catholic, I thought I would either love this movie or not care much at all for it.  I did street evangelism in my day, and looking at this movie, I wonder if they helped those people connect to a local church.   I'm sure the intentions were good in by the people who made this film, but I wonder how much good it actually did for the people who were shown in it.  Now, it may well be the bigger purpose of this movie is encouraging the watchers of this movie, but I felt it left me with more questions than answers, questions that have no answers.

At one point, it is said in the movie "God will heal you".   Not "God can heal you".  Do I believe God heals?  Yes.  Do I believe God always heals?  No.  I think back to a year ago this week, I was told I was likely going to have to remove my mother from life support.  Was she healed?  Not in my mind.  She lived through that episode and her health deteriorated rapidly  and she passed away less than six months later.  I don't believe that means anyone lacked faith.  It just was.  God didn't fail me, it's just that His answer was not what I had hoped.  I'm sure someone could say she was healed by physical death, but I don't like that answer.

Another point I wasn't real keen on is how the encounters with God seemed almost emotional to some of the people.  I believe that can happen, but I also believe that God speaks in a still small voice as well.   I've been in the extreme emotional services, but I found at times I was chasing an emotional high instead of God.  Mass is rarely emotional, although sometimes it is for me.  The peace, the love God has for us speaks so loudly I occasionally shed a tear or two.   I experience God's love more through the stillness, the Gloria, and the acknowledgement that I am a sinner and He forgives than I do in another type of service.  While I believe others can experience God in other ways, I once heard it said that the way I worship God is something that others may not be able to understand because it is personal to me, and it doesn't make me wrong in how I worship, it's just different.  I'm not judging how others worship God, just saying it is different for me.

Still, I think this movie could be a huge encouragement to others, especially if you attend an Evangelical, Pentecostal, or Charismatic church.  Also, I think it would be great for someone who has never experienced this type of worship to see how others feel led by the Holy Spirit.

And for the giveaway:

Open to U.S. and Canada, 18 and older.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning e-mail or another winner will be chosen.    Ends Sept 4.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Horseradish Cheese -- Answer Me This. . . Volume 5

This is a link up, to read others' answers, visit Catholic All Year

1.  What is your favorite picture book?

Oh, this one is hard.  There are so many.  I love Dr. Seuss, especially The Sneetches and Other Stories.   Every year when we put up our tree, we always read  Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree.  I was also a huge fan of the Barney Beagle series. Gus the Friendly Ghost was another series I loved as a child.  I have always been a huge reader, and have loved books since before I could read.  Another book that I checked out of the library a lot as a child wasThe Story of Little Black Sambo.  That might not be politically correct, but it was a story that enthralled me when I was a preschooler.

2.  Are you a boycotter?

No.   I remember in the 1980s we were told at church not to buy a certain brand of toothpaste because there were signs of the devil on the box.   Really?  It was an image that had been around for about 100 years, and it was taken off because of all the rumors about it.  I think boycotts give people a bad name, and many times it's Christians doing the boycotting.  That said, there are certain brands I won't buy and certain motels I won't stay at because I have had really bad experiences there, but I'm not telling others to do the same.  I kind of think of boycotts as lemmings.   If someone told you not to patronize that business would you know anything about what it is you are protesting?

3.  How do you feel about cheese?

Yes, please.   Especially sharp cheddar.  Few things are better than a good toasted cheese sandwich, two slices of Kraft Cheese, one American, and one swiss.  Imagine my surprise when I went to Faith and Fitness camp last year and we could choose between cheese or almonds as our snack with a piece of fruit.  I also love colby cheese and the cheese with pepperoni in it isn't bad, either.  I tried some horseradish cheese recently and it was okay.

4.  How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

One.  I have a pair that is an older prescription pair.  My eyes didn't change much, so they are fine for driving, but if I were to use that prescription for a lot of close up work, such as using the computer or reading, I'd get a headache after a while.

5.  How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

Day before yesterday.  Picture it, Sicily, 1922.  (Oh wait,  and bonus points if you get the reference.)  Picture it, Alabama, July.  After having made appointments for my fiance and I to go to the dentist, they got cancelled.  We were told to make new appointments we had to wait until after August 16.  Well, between when our appointments were supposed to be (August 11) and the 16th, I got a bad toothache.  We have appointments for in October, but I went to the WVU walk in clinic the other day.  I have a tooth sitting on a nerve.  I only had two of my wisdom teeth out because they were concerned about how close they were to the nerves and a wrong move could leave part of my face paralyzed.  So I'm going to have to make a decision as to what to do -- basically take the risk of having it out or put up with pain.  And last time I went to the dentist before this was about a year and a half ago and I was cut by a toilet seat there, but that's another story.

6.  If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

Can I return to Israel?   Does that count?  If not, I would pick either the church my great-great-grandparents were married in (does that count?)  Or the Vatican.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book Review: Lord Have Mercy The Healing Power of Confession

Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of ConfessionLord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scott Hahn does it again.  This time in a 177 page volume, he explains the origin, history, and necessity of Confession.   As someone who is joining the Catholic Church and has completed RCIA, I think this book adds a lot to what was not covered in our classes.  I think Dr. Hahn’s books should be utilized in RCIA — or at least they were not in my classes.  

Don’t think this is a book for just the non-Catholic, I truly believe Dr. Hahn’s books are fantastic for anyone.  My fiancĂ© is a cradle Catholic, and because of me learning about the Catholicism, he has been enriched as well.  Sometimes things become rote, and that’s not what our faith is about, it should be living and dynamic, and I think that reading Lord Have Mercy will give you a new appreciation for Confession.  I admit, I picked up this book because as a Catholic convert, I am nervous about this sacrament.  This book has put my fears at ease, and in fact, I’m looking forward to when I will be able to make my first Confession.  

As with many of Dr. Hahn’s books, this took me a long time to read.  They are so full of great information I want to ruminate on them.  One of my favorite parts was where he explained why our sin does not cease to exist once it is forgiven, we live with the consequences.  He picked apart the common Protestant teaching that God turned his back on Jesus while He was on the cross.  This is something I heard my whole life, and when I read why Dr. Hahn feels it is an incorrect teaching, it felt so freeing, and helped me understand my sin and its consequences all the more.  We can’t think “Oh, this is just a little sin” because it still separates us from God — and therefore we need confession.

I also learned why Dr. Hahn thinks regular confession is a good idea.  I know at one local church they didn’t even have a confessional until recent renovations.  Penitents had to go with the priest to a room off the kitchen.  Yet, in years past, there would be lines of people on Saturday evenings.  Maybe they knew something we have lost along the years?

This is a book I will be referring back to quite a bit in the future.  It’s an excellent work, and one I believe should be in every Catholic’s library.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

You can purchase this book here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School With Technology and U.S. Cellular #spon

I've already been enjoying the back to school photos my friends are posting online.  With school back in session for a week now in some places (Really!  One of my friend's children started in July!)  I wanted to write a post about using technology to get organized, stay on top of things to do (including assignments) and a bit on how technology is used in the classroom.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey showed that 74% of households with children under 18 have a tablet.  That's a great tool for your child to use, especially when a child is sick and misses school.  It's easy to message a classmate  -- or even a teacher to get assignments which can be completed at home.  I know when I was a child before the advent of so much wonderful technology, teachers were scrambling to figure out a cost effective way to get snow day work to us during January 1985.  The solution -- as I remember it anyway -- was make the kids who lived in town go to school one day (the fire exits were snowed shut!).  We were loaded down with more snow work and we were to call our friends who lived in the more rural areas.  How easy would it have been for the teachers if they could have posted assignments online and we could have picked them up instead of those of us who lived in town having to relay the message via phone to those who were still snowed in!  Even if you live in a warm area, the same holds true -- if school is missed for any reason, it's easy to get assignments.

Did you also know that tablets are being used in the classroom?  I'm a little more familiar with this because I have friends who have special needs children and I am more aware of them using tablets.  But all children can benefit from educational apps, eBooks, online videos to enhance learning, and Internet access.  A recent Student Mobile Device survey showed 87% of students would like using eBooks instead of traditional textbooks because it would be much less to carry in their backpacks.   I know when I was in school, from about November through March, we were required to take home all our textbooks every day even if we didn't have homework -- in case it snowed and we were off school a day.  That would have been much easier if we had eBooks.

Accessing the Internet opens up a whole world of learning.   With U.S. Cellular's reliable 4G LTE high speed network, this can be utilized for many different learning activities.  I remember when I was in second grade, we were class pen pals with a school from Oklahoma.  How fun would it have been if the technology existed back then to have used Skype or Facetime to have been able to "meet" each other at the end of the year?  Obviously, this could also be used to "bring in" guest speakers to a class who might not otherwise be able to visit.  My 4th grade class had a very unique opportunity -- we had someone from Australia visit.  My teacher had taught there for a couple years and a friend of his came to visit.  In the 1980s, the only way we could have a guest speaker was for them to physically come into our classroom.  Now, there's the technology available that a guest speaker could be on the other side of the world and be able to interact with a class of students in another hemisphere.

Another notable app is Teachers Assistant Pro which is a $3.99 download.  This allows teachers to keep track of classroom behavior and achievements as well as communicate with parents to help cut down on paper usage.

Dropbox is another great app.  This is a cloud based file sharing app.  Be it teachers storing data or students working together on a group project, this is a handy site to use.

Notability gives users the ability to take notes, record a lecture, journal, sketch ideas and more.  It can even be shared with others using iCloud or Google Drive.

But what about funding?  Every school could use more funding, right?  Well, U.S. Cellular is bringing back the Calling All Teachers promotion.  If you live in the U.S. Cellular footprint area and are a public school teacher, apply at and register as a U.S. Cellular affiliate teacher.  U.S. Cellular is fulfilling $1 Million of teacher projects for the 4th year!  So if your classroom is needing something your budget doesn't allow, apply and your project might be chosen!  Your project must be submitted between August 11 an September 21 to be eligible for this year's funding.

Finally, back to school is a great time to go over cell phone usage with your child.  The FREE Parent Child Agreement is a great tool to be able to start a conversation to make your child's cell phone experience safe and enjoyable for everyone.

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade and this is a sponsored post.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash

I recently received a sample of Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Hydrating Body Wash.  I love anything mango.  I spent a summer in Asia in 1997 and I was on the mango bandwagon well before anyone else in the United States seemed to be.  So I jumped at the chance to review the new Dial Soap Body wash.  If it's mango or mango scented, I'm right in line for it!  Another thing I like is it's a fruity scent so it's a great family body wash.

This is a clear body wash, which isn't always my favorite because without glasses in the shower I'm not always sure how much I'm using, but that's the only thing I didn't like about this.  I really like how slick it is, I can really tell it's a moisturizing body wash.

Dial is a brand I trust, I have used it my whole life, and I'm excited they have added this nourishing body wash to the line up of skin care products for healthy skin.  It's something I'll definitely be buying in the future.

FTC disclaimer: The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango body wash in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

And now for the giveaway. . .

One winner will receive THREE totally free coupons for Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body wash 11.75 ounce size or larger with a maximum valued of $4.49.  These expire on September 30, 2014.  Open only to the United States.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to the e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

Ends 8/10 at 11:59 pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A One Room School -- 1980s style

I went to a one room schoolhouse in 1988-1989.  Well, almost. It was a converted farmhouse, and walls were removed to make one large room.  From where I sat, I couldn't see the boys' room, my view was a closet that held hymnals for our weekly chapel.  If you had already guessed it was a Christian school, you are correct.  We were loosely associated with a Pentecostal church, but we were the only Christian school in the area and we had Pentecostal kids as well as Mennonite, and me, a then-Nazarene attending the school.  Aside from the actual texts we used, there was no one belief that was taught to be superior.

There were 16 students in grades -- um something -- through 12.  Except for seniors, no one was really quite sure what grade they were in, so they usually said what grade they would be if they were in public school.  We used a curriculum where we worked at our own rate.  Twelve workbooks equaled one credit.  We worked on our own and if we had a question we would ask our teacher.  Upon finishing a section, we would "go score".  We never thought of the secular use of the word "score" and we tossed around sayings like "I need to score."  "I left that at the score table."  "I really need to score."   What was scoring?  Basically checking our answers.  There were red pens at the score table.  (Our teachers used green on tests.)  Until we reached the end of our workbook, we checked all our work ourselves.  Then we took a test, and if our grade was under 80%, we had to redo the workbook.

As you can imagine, with so few kids, we had some great times.   This post is first in a series and basically gives you a bit of an overview.  Our school day started at 9:00.  We began with the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible.  There was the Scripture of the month read.  If we wanted to be on honor roll, we had to memorize that passage.  Then someone would open the day in prayer.  I always hated when they called on "Sister Jennifer" to pray.  I wasn't even a Christian then (though I didn't realize it!) and I thought "Sister" in front of my name sounded so funny and I'd always have to hold back a giggle before I prayed.

We then worked in our workbooks until morning recess.  (Yes, even 12th graders got recess!)  After that break which was sometimes playing volleyball or going into the basement to play ping pong with badmitten birdies or tennis balls, we were back at our workbooks until 11:30, at which time we had an hour for lunch.  We often brought board games for this break, and the picture on this post is us playing Old Maid.  For some reason we played that quite a bit.  After lunch, back to work until 1:30.  On Wednesdays we were dismissed at 1:30 (and had no morning recess because we had chapel instead.)  The other days, the final hour of school might be gym (either volleyball or running around the school building 12 times.)  This was also the hour where girls had home ec and boys had wood working, at least for a while.

I eventually showed up once a week to school.  Homeschooling was illegal in my state at that time, and the school said as long as I did 2 1/2 hours of school work each day, I would be counted present.  I went to school to take tests and get new workbooks.  Home Ec was then 120 hours of cooking, baking, sewing, crafting something I had never previously made.

I have so many unique and fun memories of that year I will be sharing over time on my blog. . . so stay tuned. . .