The Customer Is Always Wrong

I realize I’m not an easy-going person. And yes, I know that sometimes my hackles rise as does my ire. I’ve mellowed over the years but still don’t suffer fools or jerks in stores. That’s why I got into it the other day with a clerk.

For too many years, I’ve not been able to wear three rings in my jewelry box. Part of the reason is that my ring fingers have been afflicted with a condition that causes them to lock in the joints. Additionally, my digits, along with my stomach, have increased in size as the years have passed. I decided to have them re-sized in an attempt to wear them again. It’s a simple process…or so I thought.

The business where I took the rings is a twenty mile round trip from the house. Amy and I have done business with them before and received excellent service. I dropped the rings off, and the owner’s wife was friendly and eager to help. She apologized when she took them and told me that it might be a week before they would be ready. I told her that was no problem.

I returned to the store a week later and discovered that the woman who’d helped me had undergone surgery and would be out of work for as much as a couple of months. Minding the store was her father-in-law. He was a gruff person who seemed just a bit frazzled about things. He looked for my rings and told me they weren’t back in the store. Next he took my phone number and promised to call me with an update.

The following week, I still hadn’t received any information, so I called the store myself. No one answered at 11:00 a.m., but a recording instructed me to leave a message and number so that someone could return my call. Again, no one contacted me, so the next day I again drove to the store.

When I entered, the father-in-law was again behind the counter. He didn’t recognize me and asked what I needed. I told him I wanted to pick up my rings and handed him my claim ticket. He walked to the backroom and again searched. He came out and asked what I’d left. By then, I was peeved. I answered that I’d left two rings that were supposed to have been ready a week ago.

Immediately the man was hot. He stomped back into the room to look again. Then he made a call to the repairman. When he didn’t answer, the older man told him to call him. Then this man asked me again for my name and phone number. He told me that

“We’re not going to be rude to each other."

Yep, that set me off. I looked him in the eyes and said that I wasn’t being rude. He interrupted and I finally told him,

“No, you listen to me. I’m not being rude. I was to pick up these rings a week ago. Then I was told by you that you’d call me about them. You didn’t. So, I called yesterday and got a phone machine on which I left a message and was promised a prompt returned call. I didn’t get one, so I had to drive here today, and the rings aren’t here yet.”

He puffed up and said, fixed or not, he’d get my rings back. I replied that that was fine. Then I told him I’d never do business in this place again, turned on my heels and left in a huff.

A couple of hours later, the jeweler called to tell me that he’d inadvertently put my rings somewhere and had forgotten they were there. He apologized and promised to have them fixed soon. I thanked him and told him that I understood. I also told him that I had no intentions of dealing with the older man again. We talked a while and he indicated that I wasn’t the first person to have difficulties with him and then asked that I not give up on the store.

I sent Amy to get my rings to avoid more controversy. I might use the store again because it’s a local company that does good work and offers fair prices. I just don’t want to be told not to be rude by a counter worker when I’ve driven 80 miles and 4 trips to pick up two rings that were lost and untouched for two weeks. Of course, maybe these days “the customer is always wrong.”

Now I Understand

So, a couple of days ago I received an email telling me in a round about way that I was being terminated. Instead of coming out with the news, it stated that a correction in my paycheck would be made and then I would be paid an additional amount to “buy out the four weeks notice as your contract calls for and we can call it even.” That means I’ve been canned, right?

For someone who spent thirty years in the same job, getting the axe is tough. The first thing I started doing is asking what did have I done wrong? Surely I erred in some way so grievously that the powers that be had to get rid of me.

My dear wife, a brilliant and compassionate person, sat me down and explained that my firing had nothing to do with “me.” Instead, it was business. She surmises that the decision makers are the ones in control of the purse strings and that they are telling my immediate boss that she didn’t have enough money to keep me.

So, if I’m to be mad at someone, who should it be—corporation, publisher, the damn Democrats, or the damn Republicans? For sure, I’m not happy with the individual who let me go via an email that never directly said it. I gave these folks 2 ½ years and worked hard to make my section of the paper better. In the end, all I got was a message that zipped over the Internet and disrupted my life. What happened to face-to-face meetings, or at least phone calls, that delivered news like this?

Maybe I should rage at the politicians. Aren’t they the ones whose inability to do ANYTHING is dragging this country and its economy down the road of destruction? That economy has been flat-lined for four years. If the politicians would do something, perhaps I’d still have a job.

With all that said, I am still thankful. I have a wonderful wife who still works. I receive a monthly check from the pension into which I invested over my teaching career. I’ll miss the small amount of money I made as a part-time reporter. That income and job made me feel that I still contributed. However, we didn’t rely on my small check to survive.

I’m more concerned for others across the country who have been cut loose from their jobs. Some have been unemployed for years; others were fired at the same time as I was released. These people are in dire straits because those jobs were their livelihoods. They counted on them for money to pay the bills and provide insurance coverage. Now, they’re out in the cold with poor prospects for finding employment that will equal what they had. I worry that they will lose their homes, their property, and worst of all, their hope. These are the individuals who need our prayers.

As for me, I’ll make it. I subscribe to the belief that as one door closes, the good Lord opens another. Perhaps it was time for this opportunity to end so that another could begin. Is it na├»ve to believe this way? Some will say “yes.” That’s all right. I think instead that it is more an act of faith that a loving God watches over us and wants for us what’s best. On so many occasions, I’ve been surprised with the brightness that comes to overpower some of my darkest times. I’ll keep my ears open and “wait for orders from headquarters.” I’ll also take steps to find something new.

For those who have lost jobs, know that you are in my prayers. Now I understand the low feeling that accompanies a boot in the ass. Remember that you are not you’re jobs. The person you are is separate from the work you do. Keep the faith and allow those of us who are all right to help in ways that we can. To firing bosses, tener cajones to face those whom you let go. It’s the least you can do when you affect people’s lives in such a negative way.

No Right Field for My Son

This is a Youtube video including the photos I used in No Right Field for My Son. Hope you like it. Let me know.


Dad uses Facebook to teach daughter a lesson: A 15-year-old puts up a Facebook post bashing her parents for making her work too hard, dad reacts by posting a video response to her grievances on her Facebook page.


Now, let's look at this thing "rationally." I can identify with the dad. He's busting his hump to provide for his family. From his own story, it sounds as if his life has been a rough one, but he's endured and perservered enough to overcome the obstacles. He'd like to think his daughter would be appreciative for the good life that she's been given. In return, he expects respect, love, and, above all, peace.

The daughter sounds like a typical teenager in many ways. I remember the rebellion of one child at about the same age. The second waited until a few years later in life to make a statement. In both cases, I wanted to knock some sense into them, but Amy convinced me that I'd only make things worse.

This daughter also sounds like a spoiled brat. She would rather have others wait on her and fulfill her every wish. I'm sure she's not the most pleasant person to be around much of the time.

The truth is that the dad (and mom)are reaping what they have sown. If this daughter is spoiled, they set the course for that characteristic. Just like too many of us parents, we've given too much to our children to the point that they feel entitled. Young people want what they want "right now!" Waiting isn't in their vocabularies.

The murder of the computer was "overkill." The dad told that he'd just spent hours and $130 updating it. Who's more hurt by the gunning down of the laptop: dad or daughter?

I also might lay odds that before too long, this irate man will reach deep into his pockets and pull out cash for a new computer to replace the one he shot. It's another case against guns.

Hey, kids dirve us parents crazy. They bitch and moan all the time. Nothing ever makes them happy. Then, all of a sudden, something happens in their lives, and moms and dads aren't the enemy any longer. Parents become wise people for whom children a new appreciation and a deeper, lasting love.

The daughter needs a butt kicking: that's for sure. However, the dad needs to think. His actions can very well make matters worse or irreparable. I know what I'm talking about. My parenting skills were weak, and only through loving and forgiving family members were things smoothed out.

Awarding Everything

I suppose that nobody got the memo about it being all right to not award

every person who breathes an award of some kind. It happened again at the UT versus Auburn basketball game Saturday evening.

As best I recall, two of the incidents occurred during a timeout, or maybe it was during half time. At any rate, a long line of college students was marched out to midcourt. Announcer Jeff Jarnigan then informed folks that two national championship teams were about to be awarded plagues to recognize their achievements. The first were members of the wakeboard team. Yep, I said wakeboard team. Evidently, the event was part of the 2011 Alt Games held in San Diego and aired by CBS Sports. It must have been a real slow sports weekend. Other events in the games include flowboarding, skateboarding, and beach volleyball.

UT student participants lined up, and each received a plague and handshake from someone representing the university. The crowd politely applauded for ten seconds or so and then returned to conversations and concessions purchases.

The next group of students recognized were members of the collegiate national paintball championship team. This year 78 teams competed, but in the end, UT’s team had splattered the competition on its way to claiming the national title. These participants waved to the crowd as they accepted their awards, and again, only a few seconds of polite applause came from basketball fans.

Congratulations to the members of these two groups for their successes. I’m happy for them as they fared well against teams across the country. However, these clubs aren’t any more exceptional than are those which enter robot construction or alternative automobile competitions. There’s no need to march these guys out in front of a captive crowd and tell their stories. It’s done to kill time during the half and distract crowds who are more interested in going to restrooms and concession stands.

Before the game, a long line of elementary school children from Sequoyah Elementary School marched to center court. They were introduced and honored for being named as winners of the terms Character Counts award for their school. Each carried a certificate with that proclamation.

At half time, another large group of young people, probably 4-6 years of age, found their spots on markers on the court. Each carried a ball, and I thought they’d be one of those groups of whiz kids who can dribble and handle a ball. Wrong. These kids took their balls and held them over their heads; then they held them and jumped; next they passed them around their feet. Finally, they did dribble the balls, but that turned out to be a disaster. Kids lost control, and balls scooted across the floor. In fact, most of the action took place as they zipped across the floor in pursuit of escaped orbs. Folks clapped loudly for these little guys, but I never figured out why. More than likely the reason centered on the fact that they were young. Everybody loves little children.

Just because those people are on the floor doesn’t mean they are doing anything special. They weren’t! The kids struggled to hold on to a ball, not to mention the fact that they couldn’t bounce it two times in a row. Still, they were stuck in front of a crowd as if they were super athletes. Just because they tried, fans were expected to cheer them on and ooh and aah over their abilities.

This country has gone haywire. The prevailing thought is that everybody gets a trophy. At the same time, everybody gets to perform in front of a crowd, even if their abilities are negligible. I’ve viewed too many bad dance teams; I’ve listened to too many terrible performances of the national anthem; and I’ve seen too many groups of kids who’ve done wonderful things like picking up paper in their communities to collect money for some nonprofit. What I want to know is this: aren’t most of these things kids should do because they’re good citizen? Can’t kids just play games like baseball, football, and soccer simply for the fun of it? Why do they need a trophy?

No, I’m not picking on kids. I love them. I just don’t think we’re doing them any favors when we teach them that they get an award for doing anything? Enough is enough! Get it over it.