Tuesday, 14 January 2014

If you go down to the sea today ...

La Jument, off the coast of Brittany, photograph by Jean Guichard 
Picture courtesy of Magpie Tales 

Angry?  Angry, you ask?  Too right I’m angry!
You’ve over-fished my seas
Dumped toxic waste on my bed
Killed off my fish
Damaged my beautiful birds.
You’ve pirated my waters
And angered my soul.
What gives you the right?
What makes you destroy so viciously?
What pleasure do you derive from this?
You’ve insulted my presence
You’ve upset my harmony
You’ve provoked me to react.
Where now are the healing waters?
Where lies the curative balm?
Where are the comforting ways
To soothe and lull me to sleep again?

Monday, 6 January 2014

What if real people answered the telephone?

New York at night Vivienne Gucwa courtesy of Magpie Tales 

I am not a great lover of automated answering services; you know the type, Press 1 for this, Press 2 for that, Press 3 for the other and on it goes. The weary tone of the recorded message says ‘Please hold the line we are trying to connect you’ has a hypnotising effect after the third announcement.  Unfortunately when it’s a needed service and I’m a ‘valued customer’, I have to wait and listen.  At times the music can be painful and all too much.  For me, that’s not customer service it’s more customer disservice! Maybe I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Woman? (Consider this a rhetorical question!)

On my ‘To do’ list today, I needed to track down a ‘lost gift’ I sent over the festive season to a friend … a little surprise … I love surprises and I hoped that he would like my surprise gift.  When I called the Company to enquire after the ‘lost gift’, a real person answered the telephone. Her name was Jane, her voice clear and friendly, her manner helpful and efficient.  Within minutes she had dealt with my enquiry, provided me with the information I needed and offered to help should I need any further assistance.  Now that’s customer service. Thank you, Jane.

I wasn’t sure how to tackle this week’s Magpie Tale but then a daft idea floated towards me.

HE       Okay, so where are we going this evening?
SHE     Option 1 – Cinema, Option 2 – Dinner, Option 3 – Walk in the park
HE       Dinner sounds good to me
SHE     Option 1 – Pizza, Option 2 – Pasta, Option 3 – Salad?
HE       Fish & Chips not on the menu then?
SHE     Selected options only Sir, 1, 2 or 3?
HE       Don’t you think you’re taking this new job as automated voice artist just a bit too serious?
SHE     Yes, No, Maybe?

Have a good week everyone and may all your customer encounters be less of the automated kind!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Breakfast anyone?

As I drove along a countryside road this morning, a Red Kite flew dangerously low near my car.  Within seconds he swooped and claimed the dead rodent that lay in the road ahead. His presence and determination startled me, as I had not been anticipating his calculated swoop for an early breakfast. I wondered if I had frightened him? Undaunted, he collected breakfast, went his way and I went mine.

Motorists beware 

 Flashing red
Flurry of feathers
Fast food! 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

What if I didn’t make a New Year Resolution list this year?

My friend Stella, a keen scribbler 

I’m not doing the New Year Resolution list this year.  It tends to fall by the wayside often before January has blown itself out.  

Instead I’m going to write more often, mostly of the good old-fashioned style of letters and journals.  The word-processed writing is great but for me there is something more special about the pen and ink written letter that pops through the letterbox from time to time.  Yes, it can be an effort to sit and compose a letter at times, particularly if it is a difficult one to write but often the difference that can make to the person on the receiving end can be immense.  Between the lines it reads, ‘I care’. 

I’ve acquired two new pen pals this year (okay last year 2013) and I hope to encourage and acquire a few more this year.   Receiving their letters and staying in touch is wonderful and much more satisfying that many of our faster communications systems of today.  Don’t get me wrong; there is a place for different types of communication, the speedy and the not so speedy! I suggest that we clear a little writing space for both.

I’ve also decided that I am going to do one small deed for ‘the greater good’ every day.  I say one small deed only because I believe that by starting small the knock on effect of said ‘deed’ might grow and make a bigger impact along the way.  I was very inspired by an article I read earlier today  ('Where’s the excitement in a bag of rice’ Just Trading Scotland) about how people can make a difference. 

To conclude, I’m starting the New Year 2014 minus the Resolutions. I’ll keep you posted on the old fashioned writing and perhaps write about the ‘small deeds’ from time to time … perhaps …