Customer Service, Assumptions and Listening

I was at the co-op yesterday and saw the booth selling phone calling cards.  I keep wanting to ask about them but always forget because mainly I don’t really need them.  Yesterday I had the time and decided to ask.

Me:  How much are the calling cards?

Salesperson:  This one is for 3.5

Me: What are the rates?

Salesperson: 70 minutes to Egypt.  [He assumed I only wanted to talk to Egypt]

Me: (Trying to calculate the minute rate to compare to skype, but that’s too difficult and I was also carrying a squirmy baby)  Can you tell me the minute rate.

Salesperson:  It is 3.5 KD for 70 minutes [He didn’t listen to my question and gave me a totally different answer than the one I needed]

Me:  Can I use it from my mobile phone or does it have to be a landline?

Salesperson:  No, only from Skype.

Me:  But I already have Skype, I want something to use from my mobile phone.

Salesperson:  We have another type but they are too expensive for you, buy this one. [He assumed it was too expensive, I found it rude and offensive]

Me: Yes, but I need something to use from my mobile phone.

Salesperson:  No they are too expensive.

Me:  I understand but I don’t want to talk from my PC.

Salesperson:  They are too expensive for you

And this is where I walked away having not bought anything.

I am not trying to make fun of him or complain about customer service, even though it was quite bad.  I was curious and really did want to try the service, even the Skype cards seemed like an interesting option and they are the same price as buying credit online  (I did the math right now using a calculator).  How many times do we have conversations with people where we assume and don’t really listen to what they have to say even though they are being quite clear?  Had the man taken the time and interest in my questions I might have taken interest and bought something instead I am taking my business elsewhere, especially that these cards are available everywhere.  Human relationships are exactly the same thing.

You have to listen carefully to what the person talking to you is saying.  You have to ask questions if you don’t understand or think you might not have fully understood their intended meaning.  You have to avoid making assumptions and if you do feel the need to make one, then ask the person if your assumption is true.

As the person on the other side, you also have to be patient enough to explain your ideas and thoughts.  If you don’t feel the person is correctly receiving then try a different approach.  In life you can’t always take your business elsewhere.

Invest the time and energy in your conversations so that eventually you get some return on them.

Why don’t they write songs about it?

Most songs are love-centric, which is weird because of you think of it, the average person isn’t in love the majority of the time.  Even people in a relationship eventually move from the “love” stage to the “life” stage.

Why aren’t there songs about:

  • Laundry.  The average household does laundry 2 – 3 times a week (based on my observation).  Why hasn’t anyone sung to laundry?  Detergent, fabric softener and the washing machine would make great heroes for the song.
  • Changing Diapers.  The average baby uses 3500 to 4000 diapers (based on my calculations), which a mom has to change.  Someone should come up with a song to cheer those poor Moms along the way.  I sing to my daughter while changing her diaper because at the moment if I don’t entertain her she tries to crawl away really quickly.
  • Being stuck in traffic.  I got stuck in traffic in apparently what turned out to be lunch break hour for a couple of hours.  I kept trying to think of the words for the traffic song but I couldn’t really concentrate because there was a huge truck carrying cement in front of me and I kept imagining what would happen if one of those bags got loose, fell on my car and then it rained.
  • Shopping.  Grocery shopping, shoe shopping, clothes shopping, whatever shopping.  Shopping is a serious sport for some people.  It deserves a song.
  • Email.  There’s a facebook song and a twitter song.  Email is the unsung hero of the internet.  Let’s all sing for email.

What song would you like to hear?

Friday’s Five: Fears

I am not one to easily admit that I am afraid of things.  Scratch that, there are things I am afraid of.

  1. Horror Movies:  I absolutely hate horror movies.  I get scared and even nightmares if there are gory scenes.  I know it is just acting but I can’t help it.
  2. The phone ringing in the middle of the night:  I always feel that bad news is coming.
  3. Stuffy Closed Places:  Yes, I am a little on the claustrophobic side.  I don’t like elevators especially crowded rides.  I hate it when I feel that I am trapped in a stuffy place.  Interestingly though I used to love hiding in the cupboard when I was a kid and reading horror stories with a flashlight.  Kind of ironic when you think of it, but I think horror stories are not as scary as movies and you can always close the book and the visuals aren’t so scary and when you voluntarily choose to hide someplace you always feel in control.  Maybe I like scaring myself.
  4. Train Tracks:  This goes way back to when I was 10 and they showed us this documentary about a little boy who played near the train tracks and got hit by a train then had both his legs amputated.  At the very end they showed you the boy sitting in a wheelchair with no legs.  The image has haunted me ever since.  I still shiver when I see kids playing near train tracks.
  5. Crows:  I once had to go to Suez for a work related thing days after I had seen Hitchcock’s Birds.  The crows over there are huge and there were lots of them.  They just gave me the creeps.

Be afraid, be very afraid!


What are you afraid of?

All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten

All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten

Yes, it is true.  I got this book as an audio book and listened to it while running errands.  If you saw a grown woman driving her toddler around and laughing like a loon then you saw me while I was listening to it.  Written by Robert Fulghum, it is absolutely a wonderful read/listen to.  It was just what I needed to hear.  Funny, deep, profound and totally true; his ideas were like a breath of fresh air. All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten was first published in 1986, but its wisdom is timeless and Fulghum does a great job of telling it like it is in a way even children in Kindergarten would understand it and appreciate it.  The book contains fifty short essays, ranging in length from approximately 200 to approximately 1,000 words, which are ruminations on topics ranging from surprises, holidays, childhood, death, and the lives of interesting people including Mother Teresa.  In his introduction, Fulghum describes these as having been “written over many years and addressed to friends, family, a religious community, and myself, with no thought of publication in book form.”  One of my favorite essays is the one about crayons.  He talks about how a box of crayons (I love crayons) makes adults and children alike giddy with happiness.

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A Beauty Bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peace and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination instead of death. A child who touched one wouldn’t have his hand blown off. [from the book]

I am definitely going to buy this book give them away as gifts to friends and loved ones. We all need innocent childlike curiosity and cheer in our lives.

نصائح العيد من أختكوا الكبيره

  • روحوا البنك و جيبوا كبشة أربع جديده عشان تشتغلوا العيال الصغيره و تاخذوا منهم العديه تبدلولهم العشرينات و الخمسينات بالإربع
  • ماحدش يتطافس على الكحك علشان في واحده صاحبتنا )هي عارفه نفسها كويس) أكلت كحك كتير طحن لحد ما تعبت و من يومها مش بتاكل الكحك خالص
  • ناموا بدري ليلة العيد علشان تلحقوا الصلاة
  • إشتروا بمب و بلالين كتير عشان تلعبوا و تضايقوا الجران
  • ما حدش يفكر يخرج أول يوم العيد في الزحمه.  أولا بلاش عشان البيئه و ثانيا علشان أنفلونزا الخنازير و العدوى

و كل سنه و إنتوا طيبين و حلوين

My Imaginary Zero Calorie List

Somewhere in my imagination is a wish list of foods that have zero calories.

  • Anything you eat off of your daughter’s plate.
  • Cake batter when licked off of the spatula.
  • Any recipe being tried for the first time.
  • Anything that has veggies in it, carrot cake would have zero calories.
  • Dishes with names you can’t pronounce.
  • Anything you eat while cooking, it’s just tasting not really eating.
  • Anything you eat while standing on one leg.
  • Anything you eat with your eyes closed.
  • Anything you eat while talking on the phone or watching a movie.

Disclaimer:  I just wish these things were zero calories.  Unfortunately they’re not

Friday’s Five: Things I’d Like to Teach

I don’t know how to do these things, but I’d love to learn and teach them too.

  1. Balloon animal making.
  2. Bonsai Growing School.
  3. Pastry making
  4. Calligraphy
  5. Puppet making

Spreading the “Happy” around

All the synonyms for “happy” in a wordle.   I am nice like that, I want to spread more happiness in the world.

Wordle: Synonyms of Happy

If you don’t know how to smile

  • Dont work in sales, no body likes a salesperson that doesn’t smile.
  • Don’t look at kids, they like being smiled at.
  • Don’t visit sick people, they need to be smiled at.
  • Don’t bother whitening your teeth, no one is going to see your teeth anyway.
  • Don’t take pictures, why torture the picture viewers.

Where is Farag?

There should be a version of Where’s Waldo called where is Farag, the first person to find Farag does not get to keep him.  Farag must be released in the wild again quickly.  The longer Farag hides, more people look for him.  You can also try looking for Sabr if you want help finding Farag.

Or maybe it should be called “Who is not looking for Farag?”