The unions in and around my hometown... okay, okay, in and around Bakersfield... don't like it when businesses use non-union contractors to do their building or remodeling or anything else along that line. Because of that, they hire NON-CONTRACTOR NON-UNION people to stand outside these businesses and hold signs that read "SHAME ON [name of business] LABOR DISPUTE". At first, this made it seem as if the business in question was somehow cheating the contractors that did the work for them. They didn't. They paid their contractors. They just didn't use union workers.
See, unions might have been a good thing back when they first started, making sure workers were treated and paid fairly, but not any more. Now? Mostly, they're a bully-boy organization that gladly takes members union fees, bully businesses who don't use their workers, gouge employers who do hire union workers or have employees who choose to go union, and sit around on their duffs the rest of the time. They don't even really go to bat for the workers who pay their dues. Yes, I know this. I know some folks who decided union was the way to go... who's employers weren't allowed to tell them anything negative about the unions (unions rules) but the unions were allowed to be as (falsely) negative about the employer as they wanted. Those employees went union.
Once they paid their dues those employees couldn't get a union rep to do his "job" to save their lives.
Unions are a good thing.
Back to the "Shame On" idiots.
As I said, the people who hold the signs aren't even union - let alone part of the contractors union - themselves. The union organization just hires them to hold the sign for 6-8 hours a day.
One man has finally done what most of us don't have the gumption to do. He's made his opinion known in as public a way as they have.
Now, while I don't like the use of epithets, I still get his point. I think everyone else does, too. His name is Zeb Smith and he's an independent (means non-union) contractor. His point is, if unions take ALL the jobs, what do independents like him, who don't want to be union, do? If union wants their workers to work, quit gouging honest folk! Get the jobs done on time and on budget! And quit laying down rules that say certain people HAVE to use union. No one HAS to use union if union won't work!
Anyway, here's the local article (complete with a short video showing Zeb and his protest sign) on our protester protesting the protesters. (snerk)
It just burns my biscuits! Seriously, young people today have so little clue of what customer service is that it has Miss Manners weeping into her handkerchief and Emily Post spinning in her grave fast enough to generate power for most of the county wherein I reside! What has happened? I mean, when I walk into the local Rite Aide store # 06489, choose my items and walk to the front only to find it empty of anything human, and I can't find anyone to willingly relieve me of my money for the items I have, something's wrong.
I understand that they have to restock shelves, clean up where rude parents have let their even ruder little kids run amok and generally tend the store. I really do get that. How-some-ever... it's not good store policy to entirely abandon the area near the exit. See, if I weren't an honest person, I could have been out that exit, in my car and out of the parking lot before store security (if they even have it) could have responded to my five-fingered-discount. I did find a young female-person down one aisle not too far from the front but she ignored my three, progressively louder, "Excuse me's" to the point where she even walked away!
Now, you have to know me to see where this is going (Sister's probably already shaking her head). I got frustrated (not a good place for me to be, what with my dramatic tendencies) and said, very loudly, "EXCUSE ME!" then peered back down the same aisle I'd seen the young female in. It took a few moments for her to even turn and look. I gave her an "I'm-needing-help-here" look and she gives me a three second blank stare, then hollers "We need a cashier at the front!" as she goes back to stacking what was unstacked.
Welcome to Customer Service for 2012, folks.
After a few moments another young lady came trotting up... no, walking up (no hurry, here) to help me. I admit, my expression was probably irritated (Sister says I can't hide how I feel... guess I'll never play poker) and I told her it really wasn't a good idea to leave the front unattended like that. She apologized with the excuse she didn't hear me. Now, I'm no shrinking violet. When I choose to be heard, you're going to hear me (just ask any of my Sunday school kids!). I can modulate my voice from "you-need-to-quiet-down" loud (Sister's advice when I'm agitated and not controlling my feelings) to "drill-sergeants-would-be-green-with-envy" on-deck loud. This time, I was somewhere in-between, leaning toward "quiet-down" but still loud. She had to have heard me unless she had earphones in. She heard the girl who hollered for a cashier and she wasn't as loud as my "excuse me" was. I explained, though, that I had meant it wasn't a good idea to leave the front unattended because people could just walk out without paying. Not good. I got an "oh-well,-sorry-'bout-that" from her.
Okay, fine. Still, kids, you need to know that customer service is not apologising after the fact. It's making sure you don't have to apologise at all (except for those customers who won't be happy no matter what and I'm not counting them). Yes, you want to keep the store clean and neat. We shoppers who aren't rude appreciate it. Yes, you want to restock the shelves from time to time. Those of us with a specific agenda appreciate it. But, you still want to make sure there's always a worker who's near the exit. Not just to check out those who are done and ready to leave (though we appreciate it) but to make sure no one does give themselves a five-fingered-discount. Your boss (and the store's owner) will appreciate it.
Now, this isn't the only example of a lack of customer service, nor is it the worst (the worst is the blank stares some of them give you as if to say "I dunno!") but it's the most recent and annoying, that's why Rite Aide ended up on the chopping block. They need to train their employees in service, not just how to run the cash register and scoop the ice cream or mop the floor and stack the shelves. If someone is ready to check out, and you're not trained on the register, SAY SO. As in "You're ready to check out? I'm sorry, I'm not trained on the register but, if you'll give me just a moment, I'll have someone right here who can help you!" Don't just holler "CASHIER TO THE FRONT!" in front of the customers. It's uncouth. It's rude. And, it's certainly not service by any stretch of the imagination.
And, if you are trained to the register, but it's not your duty station today? Tough!! Get your hind end up there and check the customer out! THAT'S service! But, that's another problem with (most of) today's young people. If they weren't specifically told "this is your job and you will do it with a smile" they won't do it. Even if they know how. With or without a smile.
Here's another example. Less "rude" but certainly disconcerting. I'm from the generation when stores said "you break it, you bought it!" so I'm (usually) careful when I'm looking at breakables. Now-a-days, things being massed produced as they are, the larger stores aren't so strict on that creed because they get credit on items they have to return as damaged. The other day in Target, I wasn't so careful and broke a bowl. It took me 20 minutes to find a store worker (more because I was also shopping and they were working... hard li'l gophers to catch) When I did find one and began my shameful confession, he said "Oh, it's okay" grabbed the bowl and took off. I was glad I wasn't in trouble and didn't have to pay for a useless bowl but... still!
Think about this, young people. If someone comes to you that they've broken something, don't just grab and run (even if you're in the middle of something). Take a moment, ask if they cut themselves (probably not, but I have two words for you in today's litigious society... Store. Liability.), ask if anything else needs to be cleaned up on the aisle where the breakage occured (kids crawl around on your floors, do you want them getting glass splinters? do I need to repeat those two words? ) then tell them it's okay, it's covered. Rushing off is rude, even with an "it's okay" thrown over your shoulder as you go. And, even if customers are rude? You don't need to be! You represent the store and you are it's reputation. Right now, I'm seeing Target as unconcerned but semi-polite. As for Rite Aide.... doesn't-give-a-flying-moose would be my assessment. (yes, I will be letting corporate know my feelings... no, it won't be through their little "on-line-survey" they attach to the receipt.)
Finally, though, where do these kids learn their manners ~or lack thereof~ from, Mom & Dad? From us. The parents and adults in their lives. Now, as a not-a-parent, I only have so much influence over the kids around me. I can get my Sunday school kids to behave, to a degree, but once they're out of my class are they going to continue to behave in a manner I deem appropriate? Doubtful. They do what they know Mom & Dad let them get away with. Oh the shopping trips and dinners-out that have been ruined because of a screamer who's parent(s) only say "No, no. Now, stop. You're not getting it. Oh, fine, here, just shut up." or words to that effect. Or just let little Sweet'ums scream their heads off. Sometimes, if I can catch Sweet'ums eye, I can give them the look my mom used to give me and a short, sharp, negative shake of my head. They aren't always sure if I have the right to tell them "no" or not but will (sometimes) stop. For awhile. Amazing.
Parents, it's up to us to teach our kids how to behave. Even to the point of being helpful to others. If we don't, they won't. Parents who give their kids everything they want believing this will achieve a desired behaviour don't realize the desired behaviour has already been achieved. By the kid. From you. They got what they wanted. And they'll grow up believing they can get whatever they want if they go about it the right (read "wrong!") way. They'll believe everyone owes them something. That people should cater to them and they shouldn't have to work for it. Oh, sure, they might get a job, but they'll complain about it the whole time one way or another. They won't give 100% on the job. They'll holler "CASHIER TO THE FRONT" as they ignore customers. They certainly won't go above and beyond at the job. They'll do juuuuuust enough to get their paycheck and that's it. And it's our fault. We trained them up that way. The Bible does tell us "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6) That applies to training him in the way he shouldn't go, too.
You can't plant a lemon tree and expect nectarines.
And you can't holler "CASHIER TO THE FRONT" and call it Customer Service.
By now, we've all heard and/or read about (if not actually seen) the Wunderkind, Tim Tebow. He's been considered something of a sensation since his college days and even more so, now. I'm not sure what, exactly, makes him such a sensation except for his unabashed, unashamed and unrelenting (tho' polite) stand for his Christian faith and belief in God. Tim does nothing to aggravate others with his belief except that he's vocal about them. I guess, in today's world, it's okay to have Christian beliefs as long as you keep them to yourself. Muslims can talk about their beliefs, but not Christians.
However, not getting into that debate. I'm talking about Tim.
Yes, witches. Witches from Salem, MA to be exact. The same witches who tried to do a "magical intervention" for Charlie Sheen last year when he seemed to have lost his mind as well as all sense. (haven't heard much from ol' Chaz recently, but he seems to be calming down... and, I'm sure if you asked them, this group of witches would say it likely has something to do with that intervention spell of theirs)
This particular group of witches all seem to be Patriots fans, and Tom Brady fans in particular. Good for them. Nothing in any rule book that says witches can't enjoy football. However, in the few articles I've read, I ended up with some questions. Let's look at them, shall we?
CBS Boston has quoted them as saying; “Tebow is praying to the Gods [sic], and we, the Witches of Salem will pray for the entire New England Patriots team and raise the energy in their honor to maximize an outstanding performance,” My first question (outside of who do they think Tim prays to) is, who are they praying to? It's almost like when Paul was speaking to the Athenians in Acts 17:23 "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship..." These women are worshipping someone/thing. Do they know what or who?
My second question comes from another quote over in the NFL news which has one woman stating she's "going to raise the energy of the universe and send out all the good mojo." (to Tom Brady, of course) Good golly, Molly! How does one "raise the energy of the universe?" Is this a "force" -thing, like in Star Wars or something? What if the universe sucks the energy right out of you and leaves you a withered husk of a corpse? What then? Does it backlash against the Patriots and they lose in a royal rump thumpin' because the entire team came down with strep and chicken pox all at the same time?
There's another problem with this, going back to my first question, who are these witches praying to? They say the "spirits" that inhabit the air, rocks, trees, the very universe itself. I'm thinking they don't have a clue as to who/what those spirits actually are. Ephesians 6:12 says "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." These women have no idea that it's not God or some "benign spirit" that is hearing their prayers, it's Satan and his fallen angels. (also, in the NFL news, another witch is supposed to "call in the Angels" to help the Pat's win. Hmmm. Which angels, exactly, is she hoping to invoke?)
Fortunately, there's another verse in the Bible that says "Greater is He that is in me (and Tebow!) than he that is in the world." It doesn't matter who or what these witches pray to, that person/thing is still not going to be greater than the One who created it. And that Creator resides in the life of Tim Tebow.
Now, I'll give these self-professed witches this much, they aren't going to try and hex Tim (not that it would do any good... refer to the previous paragraph if you don't know why at this point), they're "good" witches (all hail Glenda-the-Good-Witch-of-the-North!), they just want to send all the "good energy and mojo" towards Tom and the Pat's. Good for them. I'm not here to judge their chosen life (that's God's job and He'll take care of that when the time is right) nor am I here to promote mine or Tim's chosen beliefs. I am here, however, to laugh my head off at the thought that these witches will have any effect on the outcome of tomorrow's football game between the Broncos and the Pat's.
However, even though I know God doesn't step in and affect football games and their outcome, while the witches are praying to "whatever" they're praying to for good mojo, elevated universal energy juice and the Pat's to win, I'll be praying that, this one time, God allows the Broncos to give the Pat's a severely royal rump thumpin'!