Monthly Archives: November 2017

Only Child hits beauty scam in Toronto’s Yorkville

It’s a good thing I was a journalist for 35  years. My instincts about when to be wary and question what is going on are still with me. Like yesterday when I was walking along Cumberland St. on the way back to Bay St. and was stopped by two young men in dark suits standing outside 108 Cumberland. No, not Jehovah Witnesses. As much as some of us don’t like their tactics, at least they are real and upfront.

Not so these young men and the bitch sitting inside the beauty shop. One young man handed me a packet of some face cream and gave me a talk about it. I mentioned something about allergies and have to be careful what I put on my face and he lead me inside the store to show me something else they carry. At first I thought it was another sample packet, but he gave me a demonstration of some under the eye reducer of puffiness. Okay, so far. Then he opened a photo album and showed me some before and after photos of his mother who he said was in his 80s in relation to another product, an anti-aging cream

Then the bitch sitting at one of the tables jumped into the act. The young man at first said she was his eye doctor and she only worked three hours a day. But when she went full force into her act it was clear she was not that. She worked for this store and was probably the manager. She went into a big spiel about I look like someone famous (the name of who escapes me now) and I said I was not her but was a mystery writer. Her tirade went on something like this.

I have nice skin on my cheeks but there are wrinkles around my mouth and my neck is a disaster.

I was wearing sunglasses because the sun was shining and my eye doctor (a real ophthalmologist) says I must wear my heavy duty-prescription sun glasses out in the sun. Ms. Bitch said, “you won’t even remove your sunglasses for me.”

She tried some collagen cream on me – said it was hyper allergenic and then went into her try to get me to buy the product spiel. Non-stop she went and when I said I couldn’t afford it she said “it’s not that you can’t afford it, you are just cheap.” She said I should do something for myself and insinuated that writing was not doing something for me.

She obviously knows nothing about writing. Writers write because they have to – for whatever reason – but they are doing it for themselves; if for no other reason it is their creative outlet. But what does this bitch know – she is too wrapped up in scamming people.

I told her I needed to see if the product caused an allergic reaction before I even considered buying it. She said that I could return it in two weeks and get a full refund if I got an allergic reaction.

No! No! I needed to see if the sample gave me an allergic reaction first. But she kept on with her spiel, which included lowering the price of the cream and then saying she would throw in  for free he other product which the fellow had put under my eyes. She said one time offer and if her manager (who she said was away) found out, would not like it. Really? I bet she is the manager.

And the guy? He wasn’t as bad, but give him a few months more of practice. No way his mother is in her 80s as he is around 35. She would be just past menopause when he was born then. Do the math. The woman in the photo may not even be his mother.

Ms. Bitch kept pushing and pushing for me to buy. I finally said, “I don’t like to be pushed.” And walked out of the store.

I didn’t look back to see the looks on their faces. But I’ll bet they didn’t see that coming.

As I continued walking along Cumberland, I could feel some reaction with the cream near my mouth. I whipped out a facial tissue and wiped and wiped. Fortunately I seemed to have caught it in time. Strangely, the cream under my left eye gave me no bad reaction and actually reduced the puffiness temporarily.

Back at home, on my laptop, I did some Google Research. The number 108 Cumberland Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, appears to have three different businesses. One, Forever Flawless, seems to have been taken over by Lionesse Cosmetics and Bar. Lionesse Cosmetics is a US chain and has a reputation for these hard sells and some even call them scams – at least at their Cumberland Address and their Las Vegas address. The company is not a member of the Better Business Bureau in Canada or the US.  Here’s a link to what others who have run into this have to say about this Cumberland location on Yelp. And for their Las Vegas location. Read down a bit and you’ll see the scam part. Sound familiar to my experience?

I felt elated and empowered that I stood up to this scam – and without yelling at them. Just that one sentence “I don’t like to be pushed.” And walking out.

What do you think? Have you ever been scammed? Or caught a scam and ?

Comments, please. The public needs to be educated and warned.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumerism, Only child, Seniors

Only Child on writing a memoir using the senses of smell and taste

Mom and Only Child in Backyard

The senses of smell and taste often go together – at least where food is concerned. There are, of course, some smells you definitely don’t want to associate with any taste – like a skunk’s smell.  But maybe that will bring in some taste in your memory. It does for me.

A friend of mine always had at least one dog. And one of these dogs was forever colliding with a skunk. You can imagine the stinky and messy results. My friend used to try to remove the smell by bathing her dog in tomato juice.

Tomato juice is a taste I like and it brings back some memories – my mother growing tomatoes. My mother making some God-awful relish from green tomatoes. My mother calling me to the side door of our house where she stood on the other side with a large tin can in her hand and showing me what was inside the can. Not tomatoes she had picked, but horrible green tomato worms. I remember her laugh here.

So you can see how taste and smell can work together to trigger something from your past. That something might just be a story you want to include in your memoir.

For those writing a memoir, using the six senses to kick start your memoir is one way to get your mind, feelings and emotions (latter two very important) back in your past.

When you walk into a Tim Hortons and smell the coffee, what does that remind you of? And when you taste the coffee? Does that enhance your memory?

This Tuesday, November 21 I’m teaching another workshop on Kick starting your memoir using the six senses. This time I’m at the Forest Hill Library Branch in Toronto. There is still room in the workshop for participants for anyone living in the Toronto Ontario Canada area who is reading this before the workshop time  (2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.) and day. You can either phone the library at or just show up. More details here.

I’m posting this a day early because the workshop is Tuesday, when I usually post to Only Child Writes.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Sharon’s backyard garden. No green hornworms on my tomato plants.

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Filed under 1950s, Family and Friends, Home and Garden, Memoir writing, Writing

Only Child on memoir writing using the six senses

Only Child with Mom and Dad at her godmother’s farm in the early 1960s.

I’m not talking about common sense here, although it could be a seventh sense. And yes there are six senses – sight, taste smell, hearing,  touch, and the sixth is intuition. And I’m teaching two workshops called Kick Start Your Memoir Using the Senses – this Friday, November 17 and next Tuesday, November 21.

As the title suggests we will cover those six areas. But the workshops are geared to the participants, not me, so I find out what they are writing and help them get organized to do so –  with tips on research and putting all that you find together, finding your memoir muse and getting started.

Here’s a peak at one of those things we will cover. First things first.

Why do you want to write a memoir?

Are you writing for family? To get something off your chest? For publication? Discussion using the below for kickoff.

What is the most interesting area of your life that is also different than the usual?  For example, your teen years, did you overcome an addiction, dysfunctional family? Ask yourself: what is your most vivid memory, the memory that evokes the strongest emotion from your childhood, your teens or your young adult years?  Your school years and school friends. Bottom line is focus on your theme or area of your life.

Decide. Hone in on the one that is the strongest and the one you can develop into a memoir. Ask yourself if you learned something from your story – that can be a key to deciding.

In next Tuesday’s blog post we’ll take a peak at one of the senses. But if you are in the Greater Toronto Area, you might want to consider attending a workshop. Both are at Toronto Public Library branches and are free. But you have to register first. Here is the information on my website.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Teenage Only Child with her Mom

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Filed under Memoir writing, Toronto Public Libraries, Toronto writing seminars, Writing, Writing workshops

Only Child asks: Is this good customer service? Part 1

Your customer service rep today

Customer service is becoming non-existent in my life if the past two weeks are any indication. Here is one of those real stories.

The Bank and the Safety Deposit Box

For 19 years I have had a safety deposit box at the same bank branch. The box’s location? Floor level. Not great for a senior with bad knees and bad feet and a bad temper when the first two act up.

So, I decided I would get the box changed to one higher up. Might as well get up in the world.

Well, pardon my knees – maybe I should have gotten down on them and screamed bloody murder.

No one at the bank branch seemed to know what the procedure was. First time near the end of the rental year for the floor box, when I went in about it, a teller told me to come in a few days before the actual fiscal year end. So I did and those who should know better were running around like the proverbial chicken with no head – except the chicken would score higher on the intelligence level.

The teller didn’t know but at least had the sense to check with Debbie, the Customer Service Manager. Debbie didn’t know how to close it either. Isn’t it her job to know the ins and outs of customer service? I was told that only the teller named Tina knew what to do and to come back the day it closes and she could do it all then.

It was beginning to sound like some secret ritual.

So I showed up the last day of the rental contract, the last day I could pay. Tina was there and transferred my payment from my chequing account. Tina tried to close the account and open a new one so the box could be moved.

The computer couldn’t do it. Tina said it would have had to be done a few days before and I said I did come in then but nobody knew what to do. She figured it would work on the Monday so said to come in then. Monday arrived and I was too busy with writing work (and dealing with other snafus – for another post), so decided to be courteous and call the branch and leave a message for Tina.

And ran into recorded voice mail hell. You can no longer just leave a voice mail message for someone at the bank branch. You get this female robot voice asking what you want – of course their less than pea-sized robotic brain has a limited number of what they will recognize. So the voice asked for my bank card number. Which I gave her. She said it wasn’t recognized and I immediately got back to square one when you call in.

I ended up calling the main line, complaining, and a very nice and smart representative named Dennis got me transferred to the branch…to Debbie, the customer service manager – oh excuse me, her voice mail. So I just left a message to pass along to Tina that I couldn’t come in today and was just calling as a courtesy. Tina called back shortly and I said I couldn’t come in before Friday but she wasn’t going to be in Friday. Friday is the only way this damn bank branch is open to 6 p.m. and I couldn’t see why I should steal from my work time to waste time at a bank because they don’t know what they are doing.

So I went in around 3 p.m. Thursday and got into the line. The manager, Vince, was walking by and I told him loudly all about my problem and that only Tina knew what to do to change safety deposit boxes, etc. etc. And that the others, particularly Debbie,  the customer service manager needed some retraining. He apologized – but I wasn’t impressed. He always comes across as an unintelligent jerk – a yes man who doesn’t listen. The previous bank manager, a woman, was so much smarter and helpful. She was quick to straighten out a mess one of her tellers made including writing the utility companies involved to tell them it was a teller’s error and I always pay my bills on time. But she’s not there and we are stuck with Vince and Debbie.

Tina did straighten everything out and I got my new safety deposit box at eye level. Tina also got my up-to-date email where  she said I would receive a survey. and I could tell what happened.

I expected the survey, but not a place to put everything.

The survey, not only had a place for comments about what happened, but asked the question “What would correct this situation?”

My answer? Get rid of Vince; retrain Debbie and train the rest of the staff.

Then I rated them: Tina A+, everyone else at the bank involved F-

Now when I go into the bank branch I’ll be looking to see if Vince is Gone Boy.

There are many more customer service snafu stories in the city of Toronto. Hang on – I’ll be writing more in upcoming posts. No one will be spared and sometimes I will name full names.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Banking, finances, Problems