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Actions speak louder than words

The Holiday Season is in full swing. Macy’s has had it’s parade. Black Friday has come & gone. Many are nestled in their beds while visions of Cyber Monday deals dance in their heads. This year marks my 26th. year working in the customer service/sales/retail biz during the Holiday Season. I have heard, seen and smelled (yes, smelled) it all. …and every year I hear the same argument – to wish a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays. I remember a time I worked for a company who sent a corporate memo stating that under no circumstance were we to wish anyone “Merry Christmas”, we were instructed to wish our customers “Happy Holidays”. As you all know, I am not a “yes man”, so I continued to wish customers a Merry Christmas, much to my boss’s dismay. She was quite worried I may offend someone, and then they would call head office and she would lose her job. I reassured her that if the customer was wearing a Yamaka, I would not wish them a Merry Christmas. I then had to explain what a Yamaka was …between that and the memo, I knew it was time to leave. Back to the tale at hand. The point I was trying to make to my boss, and am trying to convey today is this – paying attention and being kind are key in the biz of customer service, and in life for that matter. For instance, I have a woman who comes in every November to purchase her Christmas gifts for her kids and grandkids before she heads to Florida. Her purchase is quite large and usually fills 3 – 5 bags. I take them to her car for her. Every year. It is actually the reason she comes back to our shop. The first time she came in, 5 years ago, she had a cane. She was recovering from knee replacement surgery. She told me she always remembered me because I did not ask if I could help her with her bags, I told her I was going to help her, no questions asked. She told me I reminded her of what customer service used to be.

 

Over the past weeks I have been listening to people complain that Merry Christmas isn’t wished enough. I have seen posts on Facebook cheering shops that are writing Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays on their shop windows. I have also seen posts of people stating they will not shop anywhere that says Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Everyone is so busy being politically correct or trying to look and sound important that they have all forgotten one key point. It doesn’t matter what you say, it matters how you behave. Listen, no amount of  Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays wishes can or will make up for ignorance and neglect.

This December, instead of worrying what to say, how about worrying about how to act.

  • When you are at the mall and you see the Salvation Army band playing, don’t hide behind the plants and try to scurry past, holding on to your nickels and dimes – walk over to them, take a moment to listen, and let go of some of your nickels and dimes.
  • Whenever you can, as you are paying for your purchases and are asked if you want to make a donation to a local charity, do it. … if you can spend $100.00 at the liquor store, you can add a dollar or two to your total. Just sayin’.
  • Donate to your local toy drives. Every child deserves a toy on Christmas. Every child can’t wait to tell their friends and classmates what was under the tree Christmas morning.
  • All business owners – this gem is for you. Give your customers a little treat, be it a sample or a coupon for their next purchase. At our shop, the Starburst candy dish at the front cash is always full and samples are waiting to be sampled. We offer free travel size products for any purchase over $60.00. Our customers and clients are giving us their business, they deserve a thank you.
  • Donate to your local food bank. Every grocery store takes non perishable food donations and monetary donations. Everyone deserves food in their cupboards and on their table. Whether you are Christian, Muslim or Jewish – a parent wants to be able to feed their child, and sometimes we all need a helping hand.
  • Shovel your neighbour’s walkway. It’s a lovely surprise for them.
  • Hold the door – enough said.
  • When standing in line and you notice the person behind you has less purchases than you do, let them go ahead of you.
  • Remember those who have lost loved ones and give them a call, or send them a card. There is no better feeling than the feeling that someone is thinking of you.
Actions speak louder than words. Plain and simple.
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Tales of Truth – The Holiday Editions

The retail Holiday season has officially begun. Tree’s are trimmed. Shelves are stocked. The all important Holiday hair appointment’s have been booked and confirmed. Holiday parties have been planned. Christmas carols are playing on every radio station (trust me, I checked). In my corner of the globe, even Mother Nature has joined in, and the snow has begun to fall. This year marks my 25th Holiday season in the retail/sales/customer service gig. Call it nostalgia, call it the Christmas Spirit, over the past couple of weeks, every so often, I found myself getting hopeful, even excited for the coming retail Holiday season. I found myself daydreaming  of the customers and I breaking out into joyous song and the Osmond’s entering stage right like in those variety shows in the 70’s. ….but as I know, and for those of you familiar with my Tales of Truth now know, it’s safe to say that the only thing entering stage right is a flying flat iron. …and that I should limit myself to only one Vodka & Tonic a night.

 

To be clear, I still love Christmas. I love the sights and sounds, decorating my tree and the memories each ornament stirs up. I love making my famous Sugar Cookies and delivering them to my friends and loved ones. The following events, and the events to come – of this I am sure, will not taint my Christmas Spirit….and a little help from my Smirnoff Santa. So, without further adieu, gather ’round Ladies and Gents, boys and girls. It’s time for That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth!

  • The phone rings. As I answer with my standard greeting I am interrupted by “YEAH! Whatever! Do you have my hairspray in yet?”. I ask which hairspray it was she was looking for to which I was told “Well, you’re no help at all!” and she hung up.
  • A woman came into the shop looking to purchase Joico VeroColor hair color. I let her know that it is not retailed or sold to the public. It is a hair color line that has to purchased by a licensed stylist at the wholesaler. “Well, my old hairdresser would get it for me and I need some more!”. I explained that I could not purchase it for her nor could I sell it to her for the exact reason mentioned above. She asked to speak to a manager and I let her know, “That’s me!”. She stared at me for a minute and on her way out of the shop she told me “If you were any good at your job, you would break a rule now and then!”. …sigh
  • We have monthly draws every month. As a woman was filling out her ballot, she quipped “You never pick me!”. I giggled and said, “I try to.”. She put the pen down like a judge ruling with his gavel, sighed at me and said “this isn’t funny. I am not impressed that you haven’t chosen my name, after all this time!”. I apologized and told her I would try harder. She said “You better!”, grabbed her Shaper Plus and stomped out the door. …I gotta get a camera to prove this really happens
  • It took me 10 minutes to explain to a customer that Shampoo for curly hair will not make their straight hair curly. “but the bottle says curl enhancing, so it will give me curls, right?”. I explained that it meant if you already have curls that it will help to enhance them and give someone with curly hair more control of their curls. She stared at me for a minute, kept hold of the bottle, pouted and said “Well, I think it’s unfair that they false advertise.”.
  • A woman was looking for a certain shade of OPI nail polish. I let her know it was a discontinued shade. As she laughed, I was told that “there is no way YOU could know that!”. I brought out my latest OPI product listing, walked over to her and told her “Lets look at this together and maybe you can find a shade similar to the one you were looking for.” to which she informed me “How am I supposed to know the color I want, I just heard the name of the polish and thought it was fun. Who knows what color it is?!? Do you?!”.  ….it took everything in me not to say “there is no way I could know that!”.
  • One of the fantastic questions posed to me “Will this wax not rip off my skin, you know, around where my underwear is, like between my thighs?” – enough said.
That Girl in the Red Coat

That Girl in the Red Coat

 

 

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…a good problem to have

So, its been a while since my last post. For those who follow my tales (thank you, by the way), you know I call myself out on my own shit – not always an easy thing for me to do – trust me – just ask my lovely hubby and darling daughter. The way I see it, if my words are to hold any water and  if I am going to call people out on their shit, I gotta do it for myself. I gotta.

Over past weeks, between being a Salon manager, a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, preparing the shop for the retail holiday season, keeping my home and our finances in order and  working on potential career opportunities, it’s safe to say yours truly was a tad overwhelmed and kinda began to lose herself and her perspective. Last week, I was in a pretty foul mood. I found myself losing my patience too often and having the right attitude but with the wrong person more often than I would like to admit. In my corner of the world, the wind was cold and for five days straight, not one ray of sunlight. By Friday morning, with an 8 hour day in front of me, I was done. I was tired. All I wanted to do was go home, have a glass of wine and pout. Then I checked my twitter feed and my perspective changed drastically….and I stopped being a pouty baby that my life had become overwhelming – because my life had become overwhelming because I had made it so. Many others, too many to count did not have that choice.

 

Friday, November 13th 2015 will be a date etched into our memories. Just as September 11th 2001 will be etched in mine. Watching your husband wonder for 10 hours if his brother was alive is a vision I would not wish upon anyone. Ever. Before any of you get up on me about the other violent acts that occurred last week, let me be clear, I know of them as well. I took a moment to educate myself on world events over the weekend, for I, as I am sure most of you, had gotten caught up in my own world and forgot to look up once and while a take a look around. So, instead of bashing the opinions of others and focusing on the violence and the anger of it all, try to remember that no amount of debate, insult or opinion slashing will bring back the loss of a loved one, a child, a parent and innocence. Try to remember that there are many people, in Paris and around the world who wish that deciding who’s opinion matters most was their biggest problem today. We cannot change what has happened, all we can change is how we handle it. We cannot control others, we can only control ourselves. So today;

  • when you hear of the loss of loved one or friend, just listen. Don’t ask for details – details will be shared if they want to be. Sometimes, saying nothing at all means more than a thousand words.
  • when you ask “What can I do?”, mean it. Many times there is nothing to be done, but in case there is a need to be filled, you better be willing to step up.
  • there is no need to post every opinion that pops into your head on every social media outlet. If that is what you choose to do, power to you. Please, try not to complain if you do not like the response you receive. (Psst….you get what you give. Just sayin’.) .
  • when you are out running errands, hold the door open for a stranger, let someone in your lane. Buy the coffee for the car behind you in the drive thru.
  • hug your kids and make sure they stop hugging first.
  • hug your spouse and make sure they stop hugging first.
  • take a moment to be thankful, be it for hot coffee, a roof over your head or your health.
  • spread some joy around

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi