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~Thursday~  I caught the university's #9 Greek Village bus at Avent Ferry & Gorman at 8:30. I did have on long pants and a sweatshirt, but at one point, I thought, "Damn, it's freezing out here!" I looked at the weather app on my phone, and it sure enough was: 32°

At the stop after mine, a tall blond boy took a seat next to me, and he was reading War & Peace. My kind of guy. At one point he coughed in my direction, but lifted his jacket flap to do it in there. Again, my kind of guy.

Two boys got on at Fraternity Court and ended up standing in the aisle right in front of me. At one point, one of them said, "Man, I've only had three hours sleep."

Then, one of them got to talking about a previous roommate, who evidently had let his laundry—or the dishes, I didn't catch which—pile up to the point the someone finally had to say to him, "Man, you need to wash your shit." Nothing like washed shit.



My friend, and now-retired boss, Jude, dropped by during lunch time, and it was so good to see her. She is having a blast in her retirement, which makes me happy to no end.

Not forgetting the "culture of food" we had while she was here, she brought me a couple of pieces of some ginger bread with apples that she'd made. Delicious!

And on her way out she gave me this affirmation, "I'm so glad I met you. You really enriched my life."

In other workday-related news, I attended a Web Developers Ning Meet-Up this afternoon, which is a monthly education presentation, this month's of which featured my friend and colleague, Jen, giving a modified version of the social media presentation that we gave together at UNC CAUSE 2010, back in November.

Just before leaving work I had an excruciatingly frustrating call with one of the credit unions at which I have an account. Before hanging up, I asked for the names of the supervisors of both people I talked to during the call, and then wrote this e-mail to send to their management:

Dear Ms. Kritt,
 
Thanks for being in touch so that I could share my customer experience regarding a call at around 4:40PM on Thursday, December 2, about a withdrawal that had been initiated from my State Employees Credit Union (SECU) account by CFCU for my Equity Access Loan (associated with account #####), which I paid off on 11/18/2010.  I was first connected with a customer service person named Peggy (I didn't get her last name), and eventually was transferred to John Boyette, who resolved my problem.
 
As I said, I was first connected to Peggy, who needs more training on the processes of the credit union, as well as how to deal with frustrated customers. If you have a way to listen to our call, which said it was "recorded for quality purposes," there are some things to be gleaned from it, but here's how it occurred on my end:
 
1) Peggy was not at all empathetic to my situation; that is, no "I'm sorry this has happened to you," or "I can tell that you're very frustrated, and I can understand that," "We're going to do everything we can to rectify this situation," or anything like that.
 
2) She tried to explain the problem in terms of it was this department's or that department's process, none of which meant anything to me. I don't care about the bank's internal processes.
 
3) At one point, she intimated that it was the State Credit Union's fault, that they had to do something or other on their end, which made no sense at all. CFCU made an authorized withdrawal from the SECU, and they sent the money. How could this be the SECU's fault?
 
4) When I challenged her on that, she then blamed the ACHS (or some such acronym like that) group. First of all I don't know what your acronyms mean, and second of all, again, I don't want to hear about your bank's internal process issues.
 
5) Then she told me I had to submit a request in writing to stop a withdrawal for a loan payment on a loan that was paid off, which from a customer perspective makes no sense. Why would a bank continue to withdraw a loan payment for a loan that was paid off? Besides I had asked on the day that I called in to payoff the loan (11/18/10) if paying off the alone was going to cancel the withdrawals for the payments each month or if they had to manually cancel it, and at which time I was transferred to somewhere, where they assured me that it was canceled by the time we hung up.
 
6) She then said that she was going to have to put me on hold to check with another group, which she did. I was on hold WAY too long without her coming back, at least to give me an update on what was happening or what was taking so long, or even just to say it was going to take longer than hoped and ask if I was still okay holding—which is a fundamental customer service tenet.
 
7) She eventually transferred me to John Boyette, and the transfer took so long with no music or anything playing as a cue to the customer that I was still connected, and in fact, I looked at my phone to see if I'd been inadvertently disconnected. It looked like I was still connected, so after a little bit more time, I started to say, "Hello? Hello?" to see if anyone was on the line.
 
8) Finally the transfer completed to John Boyette, and he was like a breath of fresh air. He investigated what had happened, and his explanations were plausible, actually even made sense. It appears that the cancellation of the withdrawal didn't get in in time, so that's why the December payment was processed. He also said he'd get that $180 back to my SECU account. He GETS customer service, and I appreciate him. I hope you'll tell him so and show him appreciation in some way if you have an HR process for that, even if it's something as simple as a handmade "Bravo Award" or certificate, or reading my thanks in a department meeting in front of his peers.
 
9) I also help that Peggy gets some counseling and/or training on "what went wrong" with this customer service call.
 
Thank you for listening and, hopefully, taking action to deal with both the positive and negative aspects of my experience.
 
Sincerely,
John Martin



I just loved this recent failblog entry. As my friend, Anna, pointed out, the parenthetical comment on the bottom really makes it a WIN! (Hover to read if you can't make it out.)




Although I'm not a poetry fan, I attended a poetry reading this evening at the Royal Bean coffee shop, because my dear friend, Anna, was reading in it. And quite frankly, anything that Anna does is going to be of high quality. I was not disappointed.

The format of this reading event was that a "featured reader" was to read first, and then names of subsequent readers would be drawn from a hat, which was actually a bag, which reminds me of the book, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." But I digress...

The featured reader read a series of poems, about which he joked, "There seems to be a bathroom theme running through these," at which time I thought if Sarah were here, she might ejaculate, "I HATE POTTY TALK!" and shortly after which Anna and I passed this note back and forth:


There were so many people there who wanted to read, I believe it ended up being around 20 or so, that I began to wonder if Anna was going to get a chance to read her work. Then, after a long while, people sitting right around me got called, almost sequentially. It could have been that their names were about the only ones left in the hat bag.

A young lady, Tara Lynne, sitting with us and whom Anna knew from previous readings, and who—at the risk of digressing yet again, had a sexy boyfriend with her—was called first, then her boyfriend, then the guy to my right at an adjacent table, and then Anna. I really liked Tara Lynne's work—one being a poem she wrote whose impetus was a grade-schooler's progress note that she'd found on the ground, and another—my favorite—being a poem she composed mashing together one line from each of several different Craigslist Missed Connection postings. You know I loved that idea!

Her boyfriend read, what he framed as his first and last poem, which he'd written when he was 14 years old, now being in his mid- to late-thirties. His dad had taken him to see a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and it was such a defining event for him that he went home and wrote a poem about it. The poem was pretty good, but his introduction to it was stellar.

At the end of the night, he was telling us that he was supposed to be going off to Afghanistan, so he'd made a bucket list, one item of which was to take his three-year old son to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. As he spoke, I thought of a phrase penned by my friend Brad regarding a time when a hot, sexy colleague of his spent some time talking with him about a work project, and all he could think of at the end of it was, "Could we count this as a date?"

Anna's readings were absolutely mesmerizing to me. I loved watching, and listening to, her in action. I loved her dance with language and employment of rhetorical devices, one explicitly—the synecdoche



She read with expression, which some people actually didn't. A couple of them read like robots, and by that I mean, pretty much in monotone, and with no expression. One case in point was a girl reading an excerpt of her book involving her, her mother, and her grandparents, and the other being a guy reading an excerpt of his book, a section which consisted of a lot of dialog between two characters, and he didn't change his intonation in any way to help distinguish which character was talking when. You essentially had to wait for the, "Junebug said" or "Fancy said," afterwards to discern.

I really liked the work of "Maria," who read two pieces with great expression and flair. The first one was about an amulet and the second one about a body building.

At the end of the evening, the hostess announced that she wanted a copy of one of the poems Anna read tonight to be considered for "the Royal Bean anthology." She's collecting candidates from tonight, and the next 3 open mics, and those accepted will be published by Main Street Rag Press. Go Anna! Quality is as quality does.

Overall, I enjoyed the evening, but was ambivalent at times, because although this event was billed as a "Poetry Reading," I would estimate that at least a fourth of the readers read excerpts from novels, which was at once annoying and interesting. Annoying because novels aren't poetry (therefore violating my M-B "judging" preference), and interesting, because I'm more interested in novel-writing than I am poetry-writing.

What I wasn't ambivalent about was whether or not I'd go watch Anna read somewhere else if the opportunity presents itself.



Once home, I actually considered running to the gym at 10:00 at night, but eventually came to my senses.

Instead, I watched Tuesday's episode of Glee, the Special Education episode, which I enjoyed for the most part. That lead singer for the Dalton Academy Glee Club is just adorable. Here are two pictures of him that I like:

Darren Criss as Blaine on Glee
Darren Criss in my Dreams



And, in closing, another of my favorite holiday songs, this one country:

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 4th, 2010 10:10 am (UTC)
Christmas in Dixie
I really like this song too.

Brender
dailyafirmation
Dec. 4th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
Yay!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Brender!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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