Friday, October 28, 2016

Does It Really Pay to Be Nice?

When it comes to customer service, I have a certain amount of tolerance for inadequacy. But once that level has been met, I am a…well…what’s a good word for it?…complete bitch. 

Just the other day, I may or may not have chewed out a librarian over the phone. You see, I placed a book on hold three weeks ago. I checked online each week and the status of the book was “in,” but I was still sans book. After calling once (and being transferred to three people), I was told to call back the next day. Fine, no problem. However, when the next day rolled around, I called again and was transferred to three different people. Let’s just say that out of a total of six librarians in two days, persons five and six were not so lucky when it came to my patience.

Some of my minor annoyances included the number of times I was transferred and the number of times I had to give my account number and retell my story. However, after librarian #5 told me to call back every day after 2 pm to check on my book, that’s where annoyance morphed into bitch mode.
My response was, “So, it is my job to call you every day at 2 pm to remind you how to do your job in locating this book?” She told me that it wasn’t my job, but she was out of suggestions, as they were unsure of the book’s whereabouts. She then blindly tossed me over to her manager.

So librarian #6 got on the phone, and I had to angrily explain, yet again, the entire story. She acknowledged that it was not my job to call every day, but also noted that her employee did not tell me to do that. In other words, I’m a liar and entirely made that up. We ended the call without a resolution. But 15 minutes later, librarian #6 called me back, telling me she found the book. And then she added, “Doesn’t it pay to be nice?”

When I asked her why she felt the need to add that little quip, she said I was being rude, and that everyone who works there is really nice. So I responded with, “Well, apart from being incompetent liars, sure, your staff is lovely. But to answer your question, no, it doesn’t pay to be nice. I was nice for three weeks. But when I called and was rude, you found the ‘missing’ book in 15 minutes.” She was silent, conceding the conversational “win,” so we ended the call.

After this whole ordeal, I felt slightly bad about being impolite to librarian #5 and librarian #6. But at the same time, it really made me wonder about the world we are living in. In this case, had I not been rude, I most likely would not have gotten that book. And I have been noticing more and more in life that if you don’t call people out on their bullshit, nothing ever changes.

So what do we do? Do we turn on the asshole switch when we want to see a better or different outcome, assuming that people only respond when unpleasant behavior applies itself to a situation? Or do we just try to be nice, not ruffle any feathers and accept things as they are?

My experience with life thus far has taught me that it’s always better to turn on that switch. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of being an intentional bi-atch. I try to listen to the “be nice because you never know what others are going through” mantra. My intention is to always start off on the right foot. But most of the time, I wind up disappointed that I wasted my niceness.

So, does it really pay to be nice? The verdict is still out. But I remain hopeful that maybe one day, I’ll discover a happy medium that allows me to get the desired results without flipping that switch.

*This piece was published on Sammiches and Psych Meds on October 28, 2016.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Modern Day Super Heroes (Sort Of)

As a kid, I thought heroes were rare creatures born with special powers on planets that I couldn’t pronounce. As I got a bit older, I began applying the term to regular people (dwelling on planet Earth) who make lives better for others. But now that I’m forty, and obviously wiser than I’ve ever been, I now realize that heroes are everywhere.

For instance, the other day, my husband made sure to tell me all about how he remembered to take the garbage out. I mean, move over Thor, right? I should have made my dude a cape right then and there, but instead, I started thinking about the heroes I come across on a daily basis. So, without further ado, here are five of my favorite heroes (not including my husband who is the best garbage taker-outer ever) who could totally use a cape.

These folks have mad super powers:

Hero #1 – I’ll call him Super Fan Dave. This is the guy who obnoxiously predicts every piece of music that will be a number one hit on the radio for whichever band he has claimed to discover. Super Fan Dave knows a band’s songs before everyone else…ever…like even before the record company found the band playing with broken strings, a washboard and a tambourine in a seedy bar in Kentucky. Yup, Super Fan Dave was first, and therefore, he could definitely use a cape.

Hero #2 – Super Maybe Bitch. She is the hero in your life who tragically “suffers” from resting bitch face. These ladies wave their RBF flags high, constantly alerting people to their condition. I’m not sure I get it, as it seems weird to me to flaunt your bitch face, especially if you really are a nice person. Does having RBF make you feel more intimidating or badass? I don’t know. But hey, if it’s something you’re that proud of, maybe you could use a cape.

Hero #3 – Super Worker Bee. This busy insect is the hero who works seventy hours a week (including weekends) and only sleeps for one hour at a time, but somehow still manages to tell the Facebook community about how tired she is. I am guilty of this. Working long hours with only a smidgen of sleep sucks. But telling everyone about it somehow gives me a virtual pat on the back. So yeah, hand me my cape so I can have a nap in it.

Hero #4 – Super Charity Chick. This rare bird thinks it’s a good idea to declare herself a benevolent individual by posting comments ensuring everyone knows she just did a few hours of charity work. Sometimes, she even finds it necessary to tell the world how big her heart is. Okay, so maybe she deserves a cape, but not if she’s going to be all braggy assed about it.

Hero #5 – Super Smarty Pants. This genius is a true hero to me because she has ALL of the answers, ALL of the time. She usually starts sentences that sound something like, “If that were my kid, I would never let her out of my sight.” And it doesn’t stop there. She will also give you real life accounts of what a tragic mistake it would be to allow your kid to ride a bike, play outside or watch gorillas at a zoo without constant supervision. She may even leave you wondering if there is a way to surgically glue your eyes to your kid. Super Smarty Pants is a phenomenon. And since she has life all figured out, she’s probably already wearing a cape.

Sometimes, being surrounded by all of these champions of life can really make me miss the humble heroes of old. But I will not fear. The new version of heroes are here. And they are proudly clogging up my daily newsfeed, one cape-worthy act at a time.

*This piece was published on BLUNTmoms on October 18, 2016.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Can I Still Wear a Romper?

For those of you who don't already know, I live in The Land of No none...ever (aka Florida). In early August, when temperatures are so incredibly hot that local weatherman warn against heat stroke, department stores flush out the summer garb to make room for the onslaught of wool sweaters imperative to every Floridian's existence. If you're familiar with my off the shoulder sweater from Urban Outfitters blog, you'll know that I: (A) love a good sweater and (B) love the two weeks every year when Florida's weather allows me to wrap myself in wool without sweating all that much.  But the truth is, no matter how much I love winter fashion, there isn't too much of a market for it in the Sunshine State. So, I've come to the conclusion that if you live in a year-round climate that even the Heat Miser would run from,  seasonal fashion trends should be treated with a "look, don't touch" policy.

With that in mind, on a recent shopping trip to H&M, I ignored the new arrivals and hunted for Florida-friendly outfits. Because it is October, it wasn't an easy task finding something that is wearable in 85 degree weather. But I was up for the challenge! After scouring the racks, I found a beautiful navy romper. I know what you're thinking.  Rompers are such a pain in the ass! Yes. Yes, they are. But for $14.99, I couldn't resist!
Stock photo courtesy of H&M

This romper is lightweight with a touch of feminine detail (non-obnoxious ruffles). And the color is still "fall" enough that I won't feel as though I'm completely disregarding the seasons. I tried it out with some of my own accessories (pictured below).

There aren't too many sizes left online, but I purchased my romper in-store only 2 weeks ago. So, if you're willing to push through the crowds at the mall, I'd bet there are still some of these available.  If you decide to purchase online, I would recommend ordering a size up, as it runs a bit small.

Happy shopping!