Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Even though we don’t really “do” Halloween in Australia. Ahhh I remember this time last year, we were in Berlin. All the shopfronts were decked out with pumpkins and spiderwebs, and the kids wandered the streets in costumes... So much more fun than here, where people say “Oh, is it Halloween today?” when you mention it. Grrr.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Aidan asked me for a blog topic, and I suggested he write a biography of Charlie Chaplin... I’ll be interested to see if he takes up the challenge!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No rest for the wicked!

I must be the most wicked person on the planet. My work is never done. Even today, a very quiet day on the phones, I have more than enough on my plate. (So don’t ask me why I’m taking time out to blog... I don’t like my job!!!) I’m going through a massive stack of paper, comparing the papers with stuff on the computer, and emailing sales reps to fix up discrepancies. It’s called “doing the Credit Requests” and it’s a pain in the proverbial. Some of these pieces of paper go back to March! God knows who decided this was a job for the sales centre, instead of the accounts department or the returns area of the warehouse. Either way, nobody has time to do these smegging things – except, apparently, me. Well, I don’t really have time, but today I’m making time to try and get these up to date before I palm them off onto somebody else. Yay for handballing!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It’s amazing how a simple word or sentence spoken to a near-stranger can open up new realms of possibility. I notice it with customers. I know our regulars, there are people I speak to almost every day, and I get a bit of friendliness happening with them. But until some chance remark, it’s generally limited to “Nice weather, eh?” and “How’s work been?”

The chance remark was “Thank goodness it’s you, you’re organised!!!” (In contrast to the last person I’d spoken to). I know now that this customer turned 24 yesterday, is not yet engaged to her boyfriend of six years although they bought the rings recently, and that she isn’t as organised in real life as she seems on the phone! She thinks it’s “cool” that Aidan and I are spending our honeymoon monitoring baboons in South Africa. Now we gasbag like old chums.

The same applies to the guy in the cafe where I get my hot chocolate and muffin most mornings. His name is Matthew, as he told me yesterday when we got chatting properly for the first time. Now he’s counting down how many days until my wedding, and reminding me how soon it is as he hands over the hot choccie. He has been married for 7 years, and says it just keeps getting better! His colleague, Cynthia, has been with her partner (unmarried) for 15 years, and they have two dogs called Yang and Chloe.

It’s just wonderful how a little effort (well, it didn’t even take effort, really, just a moment) can find you a new friend. The world is full of great people, if you keep your eye out for them!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Today's Little Pearl of Wisdom

“I’ll have to wait until I need something before I can place an order.”

S at work asked me an interesting question yesterday. Knowing that I have gothic tendencies, she asked me what kind of music a goth listens to. Good question. I don’t know if there is a “typical”, but if there is I’m not it. I listen to some dark music such as Nine Inch Nails, The Tea Party, and Marylin Manson. I also listen to standard rock such as Deep Purple, AC/DC, and Kiss (including rock ballads). I love a bit of punk, too: The Ramones, Bad Religion, and slightly newer stuff like Greenday and NOFX. Then again, I listen to a lot of jazz/blues/soul as well... Grace Knight, Renee Geyer, Van Morrison, Sam and Dave(!!!), and so forth.

I think of a piece of music like a body of water. My little analogy. Some music, such as pop, is like a little puddle... shallow, fun to have a bit of a splash around in, but you can’t really get into it properly. But the music I REALLY love is like the ocean... it has layers and waves, you can immerse yourself in it and be carried by its currents. I don’t know if that makes sense and I don’t know if that’s particularly gothic. But that’s me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Promises, Promises!

There is a lot to dislike about the lead-up to a State Election. Election Promises are my pet peeve this year. Opposition leader Ted Bailieau has promised that children and full-time students will have free public transport if he gets into power. He has pledged $285 million over four years to achieve this. I have several problems with this. The first is that $285 million could go so far to actually improving the public transport system itself. God knows it needs it. Failing that, it could be used to subsidise fairs overall – lets face it, we’re all over-charged and it would only irritate me to go on paying full fare while some brat is getting the service for free. The Libs claim it’s part of their on-going commitment to education, helping students, and so forth... but as far as I can see, Mr Bailieau is blatantly vote-buying, gaining support from parents and students (the ones old enough to vote anyway) without the application of common sense. The current Labor government have said flat-out that they’re not going to try and match this offer, at least they know it’ll drive state budget into deficit.

The Liberals have consistently targeted the public transport system as one of their major election issues. They hand out flyers detailing all the problems on the train lines, without ever stating that they will do anything about or what they would do if they did. And now they’re blowing that money on giving students free transport.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Uh-oh...

My colleagues just found out I’m not having a “hens night”. I am now, thanks to them. Fortunately I’m leaving it in M’s hands, not K’s, so it will be a nice quiet night and nobody will embarrass themselves too much! K’s idea of a hens night is drinking till we all puke and going to a strip joint or three. Frankly I think that sort of thing is a bit juvenile. I might have been up for it three years ago, but these days I’m rather over all that stuff! I’m a bit of an old maid, at 23... My idea of a good night out is wandering around aimlessly quoting Monty Python!

 

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A sailor went to sea sea sea, to see what he could see see see. But all that he could see see see was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea.

This, to me, is a poignant story of a man sadly lacking in vision and ambition. He leaves his family and friends, goes to sea in search of he knows not what... and finds nothing. Where’s his motivation, where’s his drive? If, for instance, he had gone to sea in search of the giant sea-serpent that had eaten his brother, I feel certain he would have found that serpent, harpooned it, and returned home in triumph, a hero! Instead, he has no strong goal, nothing to work towards; therefore how could he possibly expect to achieve more than just to see the sea? It is a story which brings home the importance of having goals to work towards in life, lest you see nothing more than what’s in front of your eyes.

Friday, October 13, 2006

New-Style Customer Service

I believe the whole concept of customer service should be turned on it’s head. The customer is NOT always right, the customer is RARELY deserving of respect, the customer should be corrected and set on the right path, the customer should be told the WHOLE TRUTH. This would mean that if somebody started telling their life story, I could ask them to simply get to the point. If somebody complains at something unworthy of complaint, I could tell them I don’t care. If somebody is rude I could point that out to them, or be rude back at them.

As things stand, customers have all the rights and customer service staff have none. Customer service staff are the important ones: without us how would you communicate with your bank, your phone provider, your electricity services? How would you do your grocery shopping or buy clothes? Yet customers seem to feel that they can speak rudely to us, insult us, and irritate us – and get off scot-free! They regard us as dispensable, and themselves as invincible. They think they are speaking to a nameless, faceless, automated representative of a company; in fact they are talking to a person with a personality and feelings and thoughts, a person who could, if properly treated, go above and beyond the call of duty for their customer. Customer service staff have power, contacts, knowledge – but will only utilise these if spoken to with the respect due to them.

Situation A: Customer calls, introduces herself by name and business, asks how I am. Listens to my response, has a quick laugh, then states that she’d like to place an order. Tells me what she wants, confirms it’s all in stock, thanks me, and hangs up. Both she and I have just had an enjoyable experience, with minimum trouble or inconvenience.

Situation B: Customer calls, is carrying on another conversation in the background, keeps me waiting, then mumbles that she wants X metres of such-and-such fabric, and almost hangs up without telling me who she actually is. She has taken longer than necessary due to her poor organisation and communication, and she obviously regarded the call as a necessary nuisance rather than a chance to communicate with an individual for mutual benefit.

Now, Situation B is not a customer who is overtly or deliberately rude, but it is a situation I come across on a daily (or even half-hourly) basis. There are customers worse than Situation B, by far. WHY?!?!

Freaky Friday!

Happy Friday 13th! Also: Happy National Herpes Day! I know how to handle Freaky Friday – dress in black and act weird. (Although that’s fairly usual for me.) But what the heck do you do with National Herpes Day? Give it to somebody? Most days with titles entail gift-giving of some description – Easter, Christmas, Birthday, International Women’s Day (what do you give the man who has everything? A woman to show him how to use it)...

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We got pens. We got paper. We had each other. And so we commenced to write our vows. That was the theory, anyway. It didn’t exactly happen as planned. I never guessed how hard it could be! I love the man, I know that, what more is there to say without resorting to clich├ęs and drivel? All the things I want to say are highly inappropriate, such as “I promise to snore and kick you in my sleep every night”, and “I will happily let you play computer games so long as I have a good supply of cryptic crosswords”. I couldn’t possibly promise to “love, honour, and obey”, because I’ll only break my promise about obeying. Where’s the in-between? Not too traditional, but not so personalised as to sound silly. We should have something ready by Thursday, when we are again seeing our celebrant to go through it all, but I don’t like our chances of having them done...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It has been an insanely busy few days, and I’ve had very little time for blogging. Now that I do have a moment I’ve forgotten all the things I wanted to blog about.

One of them was definitely the burning-down of the pedophile’s house, but that’s old news now. I will take a moment to express my opinion that it was a very low act, and another step taken by humanity towards barbarism. Civilisation as I understand it is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, spurred by the Herald Sun.

My other gripe is an on-going one that I always mention. People are so rude! I just spoke to a guy who called in, told me what he wanted to order, then nearly hung up WITHOUT TELLING ME WHO HE WAS! Then when I asked him his account name, he acted like I was being the rude one for having to interrupt him and ask that. Bah!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Well, I didn’t get the PA position. Apparently I’m “too good” for it, and “doing extremely well” where I am in the call centre. That’s a fob-off if ever I heard one! Still, at least it was a fob-off from the Managing Director himself.

 

I bit the bullet and bought tickets for Renee Geyer and Vika & Linda. Well, they were only $27, it hardly broke the bank (more than it’s already broke!)

 

I’m bored.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oh, the Agony!

My wallet hurts! So does my credit card! BUT – Renee Geyer and Vika & Linda are at the Prince Bandroom next month!!! Ohhh I wanna go! How often does a chance like that come along? Not very often, that’s how often! I will deliberate...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Well, I don't often post on Stace Writes, my other blog, but I just did. Perhaps I should put more on there. I can write, I think...

Just another reason to dislike Connex...

Connex is the company who run the trains throughout metropolitan Melbourne. Yes, our “public” transport is “privatised”. Unfortunately. Trains are cancelled and delayed on a regular basis, and even if the existing timetable were adhered to it would still be insufficient. Melbournians are well-used to griping at Connex.

But last night, for approximately two hours, no trains at all were running through the City Loop. AT PEAK TIME, no less. I found out the hard way that there is no bus to my suburb from the city, and had to wait for the trains to start again.

Oh well, it was a little adventure in my otherwise tedious workday!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Drastic steps are being taken. Wish me luck.

A PA position has opened up within the company... I’ve never been a PA before, but it can’t be any worse than being on the phones! So I’m going to apply for it. With any luck, it should be a more enjoyable job which pays considerably better than my current position. Depending how you look at it, it could be a step away from my REAL ambitions... but in a way it could also end up being beneficial. It is another sphere of experience and knowledge to be gained. It will certainly pay for more travel. I suppose when you get right down to it, my ambition is to do anything which allows me to travel – eg, lots of money and 4 weeks of annual leave every year!