Tag Archives: Only child

Is Retail Customer Service a Myth?

Only Child contemplating bad customer service

I’m beginning to wonder if some retail outlets are now operating under a hidden slogan. Something along the lines of  “The customer is never right; but we are” or “We do as we wish and the hell with customer service.”

My recent experiences in two big retail chain stores are making me wonde.

 

Is this the new wave of customer service?

First off – Shoppers Drug Mart. Double Whammy here.

Shoppers has the penchant for suddenly stopping carrying certain products, which is their prerogative.  But when it isn’t across the board with all stores and when it gets even pickier, i.e., one selection of a particular product at one Shoppers’ store, you begin to wonder what’s the idea behind it.

I was in my local Shoppers last week to buy a specific product on sale that week – PC tinned pink salmon. I had bought it last month and before that at this particular Shoppers, but it wasn’t there last week. PC tinned sockeye salmon and one other PC tinned salmon were available, but not on sale. There was no space and no price sign (sale or otherwise) for the pink salmon. So I talked to the manager – he checked and that branch is no longer carrying the pink salmon but he gave me a rain cheque and clarified that I could buy the salmon at another Shoppers Drug Mart. I said it was too hot to walk to Woodbine (the next nearest Shoppers) and I wasn’t friendly about it.

The second whammy. Another customer and I were looking for help with products and there were no clerks around in the store (except in makeup and checkout). So, the other customer boldly opened the “Employees only” door and called out – twice she had to do it. And I stuck my head in and said “me too.” The other customer claimed she had been waiting an hour  for someone to bring her some Sprite pops cans. I think she was exaggerating – but I do remember someone asking for some pop earlier as I went about collecting what I wanted to buy. The store manager finally came out and told her they were out of Sprite. You can imagine her reply…and I don’t blame her.

Over the weekend in  my local No Frills grocery store, they were not only down to about a dozen bananas of dubious quality, when I took my four purchases to the express checkout I ran into grief. Two of  the purchases – two containers of I Can’t Believe it’s not butter were on sale at another grocery store, so I had that store’s flyer to do a price match – something No Frills does. Imagine my dismay when the young clerk said they don’t do price matching anymore at the express checkout. I said, “I didn’t see any sign for that.” He pointed to a tiny sign posted  up on the side of the debit machine.

Huh? By then you are way in the checkout counter with one person behind you, putting her groceries down. I pointed this out to the clerk and that I had only four items. And I finished with “It might help if you put the sign up right at the front so people can see it before they put down their groceries.”

He didn’t make me go to another cashier and honoured my price match. But he got his just desserts, thanks to the lady right after me in the checkout. Never have I seen what goes around comes around happen so fast;  because if this price match is now a no-no at Express to save time, well the lady after me just foiled any quick move through the cash with a price check – a dispute in the price of strawberries.

Mentally  I was cheering her on.

And you may know, both No frills and Shoppers Drug Mart are part of the big Loblaw chain owned by Galen Weston Jr  since 2006, and who in 2017 t00k over as CEO of the  big parent company  George Weston Ltd. from his father. Galen Weston Sr. Junior is worth 9.3 billion according to a Wikipedia article on him.

Is this the new way he is doing business? Make it difficult for the customer?

I’ll have him know that the competitions, the Rexall drug store chains are making waves in Ontario. And there is another grocery chain, Metro,  that owns Food Basics as well.

Better watch out Mr.  Big Business. Your competition has some better customer service tactics. No Frills doesn’t offer rain cheques, but Food Basics does.

What are some of the “no” or “bad cust0mer service issues you’ve run into lately?

Let’s start  posting comments here.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Customer Service, George Weston Limited, Loblaw chain, Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills

Only Child says Sleep Sleep perchance to…just sleep

Pondering sleep and sleep deprivation

When I was a child, when I was a teenager, I slept at nights. Lots of sleep. When I was in my late 40s I would kill to get my sleep – anyone and anything that got in my way risked my wrath. Now in my senior years, I ask “What sleep?” If I am lucky I get  6 hours sleep and that’s counting the half hour or so when I fall asleep during the 11 p.m news on TV. I’m not sleeping in though; I keep to about the same time to get up each day – 7.45 a.m. even on weekends, but with it being gardening season and the light of day coming very early, I would like to get up and into the garden much earlier than I do.

And that might be my cue as to something is off. I’m trying to do too much – evenings, yes I sometime watch some TV, besides the aforementioned news. But not until I do some more gardening, weather permitting and I’m not out somewhere. No matter what, I have way too much to do and often some of that comes to mind after the news and so off I go, despite trying hard to get to bed somewhat earlier than 1.30 a.m. or 2 a.m.

Carrying around in  my mind all the guilt of stuff not done, particularly phone calls to friends I didn’t have time to make, doesn’t help. I don’t have time to call them until the gardening is done, so right now that could be 9.30 p.m. as that’s when it gets dark. If I’m out at an event, forget it. One friend has said to call her but she doesn’t do late evening phone calls as she goes to bed. That was a message on my voice mail when she tried to call me and I was out at an event. Not sure what late means – after 10 p.m.? After 9 p.m.? Unless it is an emergency I don’t call friends or family after 9.45 p.m. Fortunately two of my friends are night owls like me.

Is this another health bane of being a senior? Hey, I’m running out of fingers to count all the medical crap I have to deal with as a senior.

So, I decided to put on the hat of my former profession – journalist – and do some research about sleep deprivation online. Here is some of iowhat I found:

If you go here you will find an interesting article covering many aspects of sleep deprivation, including summarizing some studies, how much sleep is necessary, and the effects of sleep deprivation. I have some of the latter, most notably: irritability (well, more than usual), immune system dysfunction (not good for someone who already has a compromised immune system), forgetfullness (mainly if I did something – although I don’t forget what I have to still do, but often forget where something got put. My mind hits a blank here). Yes, it affects my cognitive abilities and I seem to he slower doing things than my usual  modus operandi. The worse things were sleep depreviation could cause cancer and death.  I know we all got to die sometime but not yet please, and do I really want to drag cancer into it?

And look at my language “drag”.

So, I am now going to  make a bigger effort to get body and mind into bed earlier. Yes, I’ll still watch the news and weather report. But the TV goes off, right after that half hour. And before the 11 p.m. news, maybe even before 10 p.m. all the housework shit I have to do for the evening (gardening is never under that category) has to be done. And any phone calls – if I have time to make them.

I am also purging my “to do” lists of stuff and people who steal my time – some will be just on the back burner until next month; some permanently out the door. I am also learning (slowly) to pace myself with what I do – although I still get upset if something takes way too much longer than expected – no matter what the cause.

Do you have trouble getting enough sleep? Why or Why not?

 

Time to get more sleep

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Health Seniors, Life Balance, Life demands, Sleep and Health, Sleep and Seniors, Sleep deprivation

Only Child on weather and your mood

It’s raining again and I’m feeling grumpy and even a little depressed. God help anyone who crosses me – that is if I have the energy to react. I feel like I have the world on my shoulders and will never get through all the stuff I have to do this day. And my longtime medical condition (a digestive disorder that has weird symptoms and side effects and is worse in the morning), seems even more acute and I feel like screaming.

Flip to the next day and I’m getting up in sunshine and raring to go. Even the digestive disorder can’t stop me.

Does weather affect your mood?

Most of us have heard about  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which some people get in the winter when the sun seems to do like the bears and hibernate. We not only have a lot of cloudy days but when the sun does make an appearance, it doesn’t stick around for long because of the short days.

No, I’m talking about in late spring and summer when we usually get  more sunny days and days are much longer. Depending on where you live, the sun could wake up around 5 a.m. and not go to bed until 9 p.m. That’s a long day – great when the sun shines, not so great when it rains. How many of you have noticed this 180 degree mood reaction with the weather changes?

You are not alone. It is not your imagination. And science backs you up. Many studies beyond the SAD ones, cover this. I’ll just touch on a few briefly.

This study published online  does a summary of weather and moods and references other studies. Although some studies show that hot humid summer weather with sunshine can have a negative affect on people because of the heat and humidity, for the most part sun brings on positive happy moods and rainy cloudy days negative sad moods. The part I’m quoting from this summarized study refers to serotonin and its affect on mood.

Positive and negative moods are also known to be influenced by atmospheric factors. Kämpfer and Mutz (2013) found an influence of sunshine on life satisfaction and argued that this effect is mediated by mood (defined as frequencies of experienced positive vs. negative emotions). They reasoned that sunshine activates positive emotions due to an increase of serotonin in the brain. (Richard E. Lewis and Nicole M. Lawless: “Does Life Seem Better on a Sunny Day? Examining the Association between Daily Weather Conditions and Life Satisfaction Judgments”, Journal of Personal and Social Psychology, May 2013).

What is this Serotonin. SEROTONIN is a powerful chemical and transmitter that affects many things that go on in your body including moods and low serotonin amounts cause depression. I first heard about serotonin in the early 1980s when I suffered from horrible migraines. Then I learned that a depletion in serotonin can cause migraines. Not long after that I learned that serotonin can help you sleep. At that time Serotonin was not available over the counter in Canada. It is now but I have also found out that you can’t just swallow some serotonin to get your nightly zzzz’s without considering the negatives of too much serotonin in your body. And not all of that comes from serotonin supplements as described here.

FOR MORE INFO  ON TRAVEL AND WEATHER MOOD read this 

I have another theory, a personal one, that might help explain part of why I turn dour when it rains. When I was a child my mother was fixated on me wearing rain gear when it rained. A simple umbrella would not do. I had to go the whole route, including rain boots – not the high rubber ones of today, which are popular because of all the floods worldwide, but these plastic flat-healled smokey coloured rain boots, more like shapeless overshoes which you wore over your shoes, closed them with a loop that clipped on a button. I hated them – old lady boots and I doubt any old lady around today wears them.

And yes, I do cart an umbrella and raincoat when raincoat is forecast in summer. But I stick to wearing shoes that are waterproofed.

Anyway if it is heavy rain I would rather stay inside. At least my bad mood will stay in.

Just don’t phone me or knock on my door when I’m writing.

I can still scream.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Serotonin, Weather, Weather and Moods

Van hits pedestrians on sidewalk in Toronto – time to reinstate capital punishment?

Only Child thinking about Torontos’s van murder.

Yesterday in north Toronto at Yonge St. and Finch area a van drove into pedestrians on the sidewalk, killing 1o and seriously injuring 15. Police arrested the man very shortly after.

“I hope he burns in hell, whoever did this; I hope this sick person gets dealt with accordingly,” said Ali Shaker, who was driving behind the van and said it was a horror show with the vehicle running down person after person. (from The Toronto Sun. See rest of story at http://torontosun.com/news/local-news/multiple-pedestrians-struck-by-van-on-yonge-st).

So do I hope this person gets dealt with accordingly. To me “dealt with accordingly” means capital punishment, something Canada abolished in 1976.

And before you think I’m being blood-thirsty, I base this on Canada’s laws regarding sentences for murder. The police do their job; the suspect gets arrested and charged; there is a court trial…and then it all goes haywire. Even judges are hampered with sentencing. Sure, we have life sentences in Canada (usually 25 years), but… if life imprisonment meant until the convicted person dropped dead in prison, fine. No  credit for time spent in prison awaiting trial, no parole, no parole requests, no day passes – if it meant all this I would change my wishes for reinstating the death penalty. Taking another person’s life (or in this case, 10 – so far) – unless  in self-defense or as part of proper police procedure  – should  mean the guilty party forfeits either his or her life or at the very least, any life outside prison. Even if the person is found insane.

About ten years after Canada’s death penalty was abolished I took a law course. My instructor said that the law should not be “not guilty by reason of insanity” but “guilty by reason of insanity.” I agree with her.

Many states in the US have a charge called Vehicular Manslaughter – which works for me for drunk drivers killing people. But this crime on April 23, is murder, intentionally done – whatever the killer’s motivation. It is vehicular murder in my books. Some states also still have the death penalty. Most also have stiffer life imprisonment sentences, including to be served consecutively, which could mean until death sends the guilty to another hell. That works for me.

What do you think?

Here are a few more websites to check out.

Capital Punishment history in Canada here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_punishments_for_murder_in_the_United_States

Globe and Mail article on why Canada’s life sentence for murder rarely is that

 

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Life, Life Sentences vs. Capital Punishment, Van Murder Toronto

Only Child asks: Spring flowers bring heavy showers?

Snow flower in my outside garden Apr 9

Still too cold outside but at least the sun is shining  for now. I’ve been doing indoor gardening and took some shots of that as well as outside.

Yes, I saw the first flowers outside – a lone crocus and some snow flowers and a few clumps of irises and tulip plants trying their best. Took some photos yesterday and Sunday. I’m going to need this hope for good spring weather because of what’s coming in a few days. I’m worried and on basement watch and warning.

Because it is coming again – more rain  – too much rain – too many mm of it over five or so days. With wind mostly from the East there is a big risk of water getting in my basement and others’ basements too.  See The Weather Network for Toronto. This is my big nightmare mostly caused by that contractor Nigel Applewaite who messed  up a few years ago supposedly waterproofing my basement. He didn’t dig deep enough and then had the nerve to blame it on the drains. Well, I had the city check the drains twice and they showed fine. After a half-ass attempt by contractor Nigel Applewaite to find out where the cracks were he had missed or new cracks in the part not waterproofed – he bailed out, washed his hands of it. He isn’t a member of the BBB so I  make a point of blacklisting him through word of mouth and word of blog.

Meantime, here are a few more garden photos – inside and outside that I took. Enjoy.

Tulips and Irises trying

And inside the house

Poinsettia still in April

Flowering begonia on bedroom windowsill

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Heavy Rains, Indoor Gardening, Life demands, Only child

Only Child on connecting

Pondering life in the digital world

How do  you connect with those close to you and well, those not-so-close? And in today’s digital world what do you mean by close? Is it the friends on Facebook you post a like or comment to their posts or adding you own post about something? Or the quicker blasts on Twitter? Is it sharing a problem with a friend in person? Is it texting on your smart phone? Is it actually talking with someone on your phone? Is it playing voice-mail hell on your phone? Is it chatting with a friend, neighbour, acquaintance on the street? Is it yelling at someone who is blocking your way on a street or public transit steps because they are standing there texting on their phone?

Is it killing someone because that is the only way you can communicate with them or with anyone?

And note: I don’t condone murder. Even though I write about it in my Beyond mystery books.

This spiel of questions came from a conversation online with a friend about perhaps being Luddites. What we discussed is private, but it got me thinking about the way we communicate (myself included) today.

Fact: we live in an ever-changing and increasing digital world.

Are we any better for it? Should we roll back the timeline and go back to “the good old days” whatever era you think that should be?

Despite my writing my Beyond mysteries in the late 1990s when so-called digital was less onerous and could be handled, we are not going back there. We have to live with what we have now. But, it is how we do this that counts. And not all of us will choose the same path.

I tend to go along in the middle. No Twitter, but Facebook, no Smart phone but wireless – with voice mail – I definitely want to catch missed calls. Sitting on a bus texting away is not me. I look around and count the number of people in my area of the bus, the subway car, the streetcar who are shall we say involved with their devices. But I also look to see who is reading a print book, a newspaper or magazine (besides me) or even what I call low digital – an e-reader.

I also look and listen to see who is talking to another person – preferably in person sitting or standing beside them? Who is actually using their smart phone for the phone’s original use talking to family or friend – even the short phone conversation that begins with “I’m on the X bus and should be home in about 15 minutes.”

Personally, I think the overload in digital has cost us some of our humanity. Like I said we can’t go back. What we can do is reign in our digital time – well we can TRY. And try to connect more in person, on the phone with our friends and family. And some of the digital stuff can actually help here. Think Skype. Think of that commercial – I believe for an Internet service – where a grandfather is reading to his granddaughter and then they say goodnight to each other. That’s when the viewer realizes that they aren’t in the same room and it is online.

So, like most anything else (excluding murder), there is good and bad in digital. We just need to find our personal equilibrium here so we don’t lose our humanity. Like most anything else (except murder), moderation, not overindulgence works better.

Now, if I could just convince myself about that for chocolate.

Okay, cards on the table (not on the screen for a change) – my name is Sharon and I am a chocoholic.

Are you a digitaloholic?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

From  the past

 

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Filed under Communicating and Connecting, Digital World Madness, Life Balance, Life demands

Only Child absorbs Canada Blooms

Only Child in shadow in the Japanese Garden at Canada Blooms

Saturday my friend Carol and I headed for Canada Blooms, the largest Canadian garden show held in March every year. I’ve been going for almost 20 years so have seen the changes including in location. I still like the original location best – the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto – on two floors – lots of halls with exhibits, a large roomful of  plants and garden related products. I still remember one year when I went with another friend and she brought four of her friends too. So, in the market room, there were six of us wandering around and getting separated from each other constantly. I kept thinking of those mittens  with the yarn joining them so you could thread it inside your coat for a mitten to come outside each sleeve. Mothers, including my Mom, used to knit them. For Canada Blooms, the yarn would need to be extended to join all six of us, so we would stay together

The past four or five years it has  been held in the Enercare Centre located in the CNE grounds – still downtown by Lake Ontario but a little to the west. Here, the CB location is one room only for exhibits – much smaller and in places dark, plus a small brighter room with garden stuff for sale. The first year I complained in an email to the organizers about that dark room and the almost inaccessible area for a speaker in a wheelchair . The latter was fixed but the lighting, while improving in some areas is still dark. The marketplace is still small but has expanded into the main area. But this main area is all the National Home Show and it is daunting to try to get through it all. Carol and I decided to avoid looking around there except for the Kitchen Stuff shopping and a booth selling really good cookies – a small enterprise. We both bought some packages of cookies – gluten-free. Unfortunately, to get where we wanted to go and to even find it required going through the National Home Show area. The two are now together and you can get in to the two for the price of one. Still I prefer when they were separate and Canada Blooms was at the Metro Convention Centre.

Tree of Roses at entrance to Canada Blooms Marketplace

Still CB was better this year in other places despite some dark areas in the bigger room. The speaker on fusion garden was excellent but we didn’t like the backless wooden benches we sat on for the talk. Carol’s neck got sore from it and my feet couldn’t reach the floor. Canada Blooms was also a welcome break from all the snafus and problems I’m still dealing with. That ugly nasty-looking guy may well be back here in next week’s post.

But neither of us could find a plant we wanted to buy. So no plants bought at Canada Blooms. First time for me. Next day I bought a hyacinth at my local garden centre/florist to make up for it.

Meantime , below are a few more shots I took of a fraction of the exhibits at Canada Blooms.

Wooden frog at Canada Blooms

 

Backyard Garden at Canada Blooms

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Garden, Only child, Roses