Tuesday, December 20, 2011

“He Didn’t Look Creepy…”

My daughter has detailed instructions for after school. The bus drops her off approximately 25 yards from our house.

Get off the bus.
Go in the house.
Lock the door.
Call me.

There are only a few random occasions when she has to go home to an empty house. Yesterday was one of those times. About an hour after my daughter arrived home, she called me at work.

Daughter: “A guy has two flat tires and he wants to know if he can leave his truck in our parking lot until he can get a new tire.”

Me: “What?!!!” Where are you? Where is the truck? Did you answer the door?”

In the background, I hear the man talking about his truck, the tire and the flat spare.

Me: “Go back inside the house.”

When I got home from work, I spoke to my daughter about the man with the flat tire. She assured me that she cautiously looked out the window before opening the door. The man pointed at his truck and the flat tire. He asked for permission to leave the truck until he was able to repair the tire. She called me to obtain permission. My daughter concluded her side of the story with…”He didn’t look creepy.”

We spent the next ten minutes discussing her faulty logic.

You cannot tell if a person is dangerous simply by the way they look.

A person does not have to look “creepy” to be “creepy”.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Deer-Vehicle Collisions

My car stopped inches away from hitting a large deer this afternoon. I was taking a back road by the lake to avoid the holiday traffic.   A deer jumped over the railing to cross the road.  I slammed on my brakes hoping the truck travelling behind me would see the deer too.   The deer ran across the road in a scattered manner.  When my car was stopped, I noticed several more deer running away from the road.  It was mid-afternoon on a cloudy day.

Most of the roads I travel are marked with deer crossing signs.  Seeing deer crossing the road at night is a common occurrence.  The deer usually are moving at dawn and dusk.   I was surprised to see deer in the middle of the afternoon. 

According to data from State Farm, the likelihood of a licenced driver hitting a deer in Pennsylvania is 1 in 86.  State Farm offers tips in avoiding Deer-Vehicle collisions.

Here are tips on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle collision involving your vehicle becoming part of the story we tell next year:
          Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer
          crossing areas.

Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
         Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Be Safe!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Information Overload

When I was a brown belt student, the dojo offered Intro lessons to prospective students. The Intro was taught by a black belt or 1st kyu brown belt. I remember being asked to lead an Intro session as a brown belt. I was handed a clip board with a detailed sheet listing the items to be covered in each lesson. The instructions…

Stick to the list and try to resist offering too much information.

I followed the advice of the class instructor even though I did not understand it at the time. The sessions covered the basics of courtesy, dojo layout, punches, blocks and a few stances.

I was a class instructor before I truly understood the importance of the instructions. There is a danger of too much information. I also understand how easy it would have been to get carried away with the intro. As a 1st kyu or a new shodan, there is an exuberance and willingness to share.  It takes time to learn how to break down information in digestible pieces depending on the experience level of the student.

As I mentioned to the beginner class last week, Karate and Shrek have something in common.

Karate and Shrek can both be described as being like an onion…layers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How To Be A Good Customer

I am tired and grumpy.  The "busy" season at work is soon over. I work for a company in the Christmas business.   We distribute seasonal merchandise.   Each year, I hire and train seasonal customer service representatives to work seven weeks in a demanding call center environment.

Overall, we have great customers. It is nice seeing our regular customers who stop in for their order. I am sad when I hear an "old timer" in the business has died.  This year, a few of the customers have been especially challenging.  In an effort to put this season behind me, I present suggestions on How To Be A Good Customer.

1.  "What do you mean?!!!"  is not an appropriate response when told an item is out of stock.

2.  Please refrain from using "Gimme".  Gimme a case of stands  Gimme a box of rings.

3.  It is really difficult to hear if you are on speaker phone.

4.  Please do not call in with an order and put us on hold to answer your other line.

5.  Please have your order ready.  Going through the 30 page catalog...one page at a time should be done before you call.

6.  Please do not swear at us when we tell you there are no parts available for an obsolete machine.

7.  Know who you are.  The database has over 10,000 customers....many with the name evergreen somewhere in the title.  The call will be much smoother if you know your customer number or at least the name your account was set up in.

8. Freight charges are an expensive part of doing business.

9.  If our published pick up hours begin at 8:30, please do not arrive early to get a "jump on your day".

10.  Do not ask us to leave your order outside for you to pickup after hours.  We cannot.

In other news, I should resume regular posting in a week.  Thank you to the readers and followers of this blog for bearing with the lapse in posting.