Customer Service Winners and Losers

Nordstrom at Washington Square (Oregon)

Image via Wikipedia

You Get What You Pay For?

This is a SNAP! Hands down, best customer service goes to Nordstrom’s which is a bit of a shame because they are so expensive I never get to shop there. Worst? a tie between Kohl’s and Target, for lack of anything to do about customer service. It seems that employees seems to disappear when I shop at Kohl’s or Target. I know it’s a hard job to work for either of those companies but stop being so grumpy!! All you need is a smile, go to Nordstrom’s and learn their tips.

p.s. @Nordstrom: those sailboat shirts for men are to die for!

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Where The Sun Rises

Galilee

Image by Florian Seiffert (F*) via Flickr

Right now as I am about to go to sleep there are people waking up all over the world starting their day. The earth continues to spin, bringing me soft cotton blankets and images of sleeping baby lambs. On the other side of the world, in Israel, people are waking up with the energy of a newly performed puppet show for grinning children.

There, old women with white hair put red and blue carpets outside their apartment windows and beat the rugs rhythmically with a broom. That same sound would wake me up in the morning when we visited. Plumes of dust would escape the beaten rugs and disappear into the blue sky like magic.  Once awake, I would tiptoe to the living room window to see the stray kittens and cats on the ground floor crying out, begging for food. I would slip behind my step-grandmother’s back and throw bits of chicken or bread out the window every day. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that but that was not going to stop me. I would do the same thing today.

There is a main street in the city, Dizengoff Street, that is filled with shops of all kinds and numerous outdoor café houses all in a row. It was a tradition after an afternoon nap to pick a place and have coffee and cake, or in my case, iced chocolate and cake. There was never a question if we would go, but rather where we should go. The one that had the deep chocolate fudge cake or the one that had lemon meringue tarts? Where could we get orchestra seats, a front row table, to watch other people go by. Everyone knew each other back then and it always felt like we were being welcomed back home. My mother was the star, the queen from America; often, people would recognize my mother and come over to say hello and join us as they smoked cigarettes, one after the other.

I felt safest here, walking alone at night with yellow globes of lit lamps along the street and a steady stream of people cheerfully talking near me. I did not fear missiles or bombs or terrorism. I had little more to do than try to avoid eating some of my step-grandmother’s moldy cheese. She would keep little squares of cheese and cut the mold off and say the rest was fine; she did this with all her food. She would hold on to tiny bits and pieces of food in her refrigerator and never throw them away. I tried to stay away from the her home-made dark tuna salad that reminded me of cat food.

During the early morning we would go to a beautiful pool club that was next to the ocean. The pool water was bright, glimmering blue, sunlight crystals sparkling on top of the water like freshly polished diamonds. People would play beach tennis on the beach; the hot sand only a few seconds away. The tide was strong, pulling, pulling, like repetitive pain. The current could go from challenging to dangerous in a split second. Lifeguards blew their whistles here too.

My mother would hold my hand as a child and take me from store to store to find American Cheese and Nestle’s Quik for my milk, I was always a fussy eater. Once we found corn flakes in a tiny store no bigger than a closet and that was a major triumph. On every street corner there were at least one or two vendors selling freshly squeezed orange juice or grapefruit juice. We always stopped for a glass as we walked on the steaming pavement under the blazing sun. I can almost taste the fresh orange essence dancing on my tongue.

In three days my friend’s son is getting married in a forest in Israel. Two interwoven trees, black and white, were beautifully hand drawn on the invitation. I wish my whole family could have been there but it is a long way from home and very expensive. I imagine the happy couple, friends and family, dancing joyfully. I imagine endless platters of food: vegetarian only: hummus with pita, salad, platters of eggplant drizzled with olive oil, home-baked goods and people cheering and celebrating into the wee hours of the morning. Dogs and children playing on the forest floor making happy sounds, babies gurgling with delight.

I need to go back with my husband for a visit. I would like to return to a place where I have a lot of colorful memories from. I would also like to take my mother back to her home. She wouldn’t need to find me chocolate milk or cheese; it’s my turn, this time I would take care of her.

Congratulations Daniel and Nora!

Dedicated to my Mom.

If I Could Star in any TV Commercial

A glass of chocolate milk.

Image via Wikipedia

Truth In Advertising: My Family and Chocolate Milk

Yoohoo or Nestle’s Chocolate Milk.

I’m almost 55 years old and have been drinking chocolate milk all my life. I still LOVE it. When I was a child and we traveled abroad frequently (for free) I was a very fussy eater and my mother dragged Nestle’s Quik powder in her luggage because I would not drink plain milk. I still love chocolate milk ( hot or cold) or Yoohoo, still drink either one as much as possible. Vanilla, banana and strawberry milk are okay but my first choice is always chocolate milk. The only time you will see me drinking plain (regular) milk is with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a piece of chocolate or vanilla cake with frosting. With those two items, I cannot drink chocolate milk…. Not that I’m fussy about eating or anything…..I just like what I like.
p.s. Dear Yahoo and Nestle’s Quik, I am available to be your spokesperson at any time. My mother and my kids could join in too, we could have a multi-generational advertisement. How cool would that be? Drink up!

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*MoMA, Just Plain Wrong (*Museum of Modern Art, NYC)

MoMA - Design and the Elastic Mind

Image by pt via Flickr

The Museum of Modern Art was my refuge when I was a High School student. I went there during school breaks, hanging on to the subway straps on packed trains. When I was in college, my sister and I used to go because she was friends with the guard and he always shook his head from side to side, laughing hysterically and shooed us right inside.

When I heard that the MoMA had increased their rates from 20 dollars to 25 dollars per visit, I was shocked, then stunned and now disgusted. I’m sorry but that is way too much money for people to pay (with the exception of the rich and famous.) Just alienate more people from coming to visit this precious museum if you can. I thought that you might want to encourage students and all people to come visit this treasure of a place. I guess not.

Isn’t there a better way? A different solution? Did you really need to expand THAT much? I remember the first MoMa gift shop, sweetly nestled into the main building, cozy and humble. I bought posters there and post cards and a book about the paintings that lived in the museum. Now it’s a separate store?

I think you should have thought of all these things before increasing the price. If admission is twenty-five dollars imagine another twenty dollars to get into the city for some people, perhaps another ten for a cab. I’m not even talking lunch or a cup of coffee. Most museums have one FREE day per week where people can go without worrying about how they are going to pay their mortgages. I remember you used to have one NIGHT free. Please tell me that’s changed.

MoMa, I’m disappointed in you, for myself, and for all the other people who would love to go but just can’t afford the steep price. Shame on you.

Cake vs. Pie

Devil's food cake with vanilla bean icecream.

Image via Wikipedia

CAKE IS THE VEHICLE FOR FROSTING

CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! ….Hmm, let me think about this challenging question. OK, obviously there is nothing to think about. Hands down, CAKE! Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, frosting on frosting. Asking which type of cake is my favorite is like asking me which of my children I prefer; you can’t answer, you love them equally..sometimes you feel like vanilla, sometimes you feel like chocolate. The possibilities are endless….Oh dear, I just realized something maybe what I love most about cake is the frosting. Let’s face it blueberry pie and frosting just does not work.

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When I'm Happiest

Oven roasted chicken

You Can Get Used To Anything

This would have been the easiest question in the world to answer if it was 3 months ago. I am not sure I have felt happy in a long time. Weather wise, I am happiest in the Spring with the kiss of summer almost upon us. The old, brown down jacket gets put away in the closet along with the gloves and the boots and I see the first purple crocus pop out from the thin layer of white snow.

I’d be happier if we were back in our home, making a simple dinner of roasted chicken, potatoes, a fresh green salad with arugula, lettuce, craisins, tomatoes, English cucumbers, broccoli and green apple, all tossed together like a three-ring circus. There would be a loaf of whole wheat French or Italian bread waiting to warm in the oven, banana bread and brownies for dessert and we would all talk about our day.

It’s going to take a long time before that happens since we are unable to live in our house; it has been so destroyed with wood rot and carpenter ants and termites that the entire house has to be rebuilt.(Oh, and of course, insurance won’t pay for a thing.)

I would have to say that I am happiest when I am in my own home, in my small, cozy nest. A home that means, family, safety, nurturing, love, books, freedom and familiarity, my favorite television shows and my dog snoozing and drooling on the bed next to me.

While we are already empty-nesters with one child, next year both kids will be in college. I wonder if the house will still feel like the same home it did before.

I have adjusted to not being home although it is not easy but I am trying now to just look forward to our new, old house with a new bathtub that has jets (hopefully) to easy my Fibromyalgia pain. Change is not something to fear anymore, you can get used to everything. It just makes you appreciate what you had when you don’t have it anymore.

Why did this have to happen? I have no idea, I’m trying to figure that out now. Maybe the lesson is that there are things in life that will always shake us up: go ride the rough waves as best you can instead of staying in the still of the shallow waters.

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Never, Ever Do This

Lioness and cub (D2A_4116)

Image by swh via Flickr

NEVER doubt your gut feelings. If you think something is wrong, it is wrong. My gut instincts are usually sound and solid and I pay careful attention to them. Once, many years ago when I was much younger I decided I was being too critical or too “in-like” so I gave a second chance to a man who lied to me. I loathe lying yet somehow he managed to sweet-talk me into a very credible excuse. WRONG. That was a big mistake and I should have known better. Listen to your gut instincts and follow them and don’t question yourself or let your emotions get in the way. Pretend you are a lioness protecting your cubs. Follow your gut instincts. Always.

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If I Could Be Two People

Circle-question-blue

Image via Wikipedia

Seriously?

1) I would seriously consider asking the person that wrote this prompt, what on earth he/she was thinking?

2) Then I would ask his/ her boss the same question.

3) Then the boss and I would go to lunch together (their treat) and I would give them some really awesome prompts.

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