Yesterday, I was having a good day until I walked into a local branch of a national bank. I wanted to cash a check that was drawn on that bank. I was already aware that most likely I would have to pay a service fee because I was not a customer of the bank. What happened next was not anything out of the ordinary. In fact, itis now considered normal operating procedures.
I waited in line, walked up to the teller window when it was my turn, presented my check and id, and was told that a “banker” would need to authorize the funds in the account. I asked if the teller could check those funds, as it has been done in the past, and she said no, the “banker” would have to do that, please take a seat.
PLEASE TAKE A SEAT!?!??? There were already 3 people seated, waiting for the “banker.” There were 3 tellers available for bank customers. There was only one “banker” who was a woman in a glass walled room who did not seem pressured in taking care of the non-customers forced to wait to have her “authorize” their checks. The wait for me was 25 minutes. She checked the funds available in the account where the check was written from, checked my id again, had me put my thumbprint on the check, and let me go back to the original teller’s window to get my check cashed, minus $7.50 fee.
Here’s my question, how is this good for anyone?!? This particular bank is an instiution with a long history and stated vision, values and priorities that do not match in any stretch of the imagination with the procedures to which I was subjected. I worked in a bank at the Jersey Shore in the 80s, and settled each day with high volumes of customers and hundreds of thousands of dollars in receipts. I never imagined treating either bank customers or visitors to the bank in a manner that says “We don’t trust you because you don’t have an account with us.”
AND how can this be profitable? Holding the funds in that account for an additional 25 minutes didn’t help the bank! They gave a vocal community member a horrible experience to share with the world. Multiply that by hundreds, if not thousands of times a day, which is easy to see happening by the number of interactions on their customer service feed on Twitter. So, how much money does that relate to in losses? Checking, savings, mortgages, car loans, commercial lending, and on and on and on…
Where is the customer service? Where is the respect for trained and experienced tellers who should be given the power and responsibility to provide timely and accurate service at the first line of contact!?! Why is the “banker” spending time authorizing funds in accounts, when her skills are more likely to provide account services to consumers who actually need financial products and services.
My experience demonstrates the crazy level of control, of herding people by large corporate structures, both internally with their own employees as well as with the public. No One Wins! There is no reality in promoting a message of courtesy or customer service with this type of behavior. There is an immediate, emotional response to stay away and not do business with the bank. At this point, it would take a huge amount of good will and public relations to recover from the hole in the ground where the reputation of this bank and the industry have decended.
This post isn’t about climate change or dramatic weather events or even that it is winter, yes, just the first weeks of winter. Today I’m writing in response to the ludacris actions of the United States House of Representatives Leadership to NOT vote on the relief bill for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Here is the reaction of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who speaks for many of us today.
Tired doesn’t even cover it! On a very personal level, my mother has been displaced since Oct 27th when I evacuated her from her home on one of New Jersey’s barrier islands. My sister, who is a warrior angel, has been dealing with the paperwork nightmare on my mother’s behalf, working through the FEMA process, meeting with insurance agents, inspectors, investigators, estimators, contractors, and others who are involved in what we hope will result in making my mother’s life whole again. Both my sister and I, as well as our families, have invested thousands of dollars to care for our mother, instead of having her cared for by a system that is worse than broken. If she had been trying to deal with the mound of paperwork this has involved so far, and we’re no where near done, she would have gone over the edge.
If we had not taken these actions, more than likely, she would be dead now. She suffers from severe osteoporosis, COPD and is almost completely deaf. She does not adjust to change well, a trait she shares with many elderly people. She would not have gone easily to a shelter, or shared temporary housing and she most certainly would not have been able to maintain her schedule required for meals, medications and maintaining some level of a comfort zone. She would have become beligerent, argumentative and would have given up. She is not alone, only one example of a resident who spent her life saving, working hard, doing the right thing to retire to her dream beach house (a modest historic structure, just for the record) to find her dreams shattered.
Her friends and neighbors have suffered as well, with routines, support systems, health care, educational institutions and basic services all in turmoil. As the mountains of depris have been picked up, finally, they have left behind a trail of smaller depris, resulting in flat tires, damaged roads, and much more clean up to come. Many of the damaged homes have not even been visited by their owners, maybe because of distance, expense or maybe because of despair. If a home is not a primary residence, or have flood insurance, or a multitude of other situations including levels of damage, it may become a complete loss and have to be torn down. It is devastation, and if it does not receive attention NOW, the tourism dollars and the next few summers will be much different. Much of the real impact of Sandy is yet to be realized! The stress is overwhelming and the frustration is rising.
There is such a disconnect between the real world and the people who are currently running our government. The United States Congress is out of touch with the people who they represent. I am one of many who believe they should be stripped of their salaries, benefits and privileges and made to work by the hour, for minimum wage to start, as most of their constiuents do. Only after they produce real results, and only then, should they be given an opportunity to continue in their position of service. And there is the bottom line, service. It is their job to help, to be of service to the people who elected them. If a business EVER handled the operations of their business in this manner, they would be out of business quickly! This is my plea, to help me help you, Mr. Politician, do something for the people devastated by Superstorm Sandy, before its too late! Kudos to you, Governor Christie, for taking a stand on behalf of the people of New Jersey.
There was no one who could have known what crazy weather we would have experienced this year. There’s no one who would have said that several crazy people would randomly kill innocent people in malls and schools this year. There’s no one who would have said with confidence that President Barack Obama would have been reelected and that the United States would continue to be held hostage by one of the least productive Congress that is out of touch with the majority of the real people and problems of our nation.
Courage has been my friend!
I was forced, by choice and by circumstance, to face some issues, to take actions that propelled me out of my comfort zone. Situations came up that had to be dealt with, action had to be taken quickly! When a hurricane is coming, and your mother lives on a barrier island in the path of the hurricane, you go get your mother and head the other direction. When you get back, and your mother’s home is not how it was when you left, you clean up the mess. It’s that simple.
It hasn’t been easy. It has made me stronger. Seeking always to maintain a positive outlook, no matter what the challenge, has allowed me to overcome the obstacles. It has helped me flex the muscles that aren’t used as often as they should.
Advice for 2013 from some very smart people…
I’ve been online since 1992. I’ve been selling online since 2000. I started studying internet marketing in 2002. I joined Twitter in 2008 and found my passion with social media and internet marketing. Over all these years, I’ve connected with some exceptional people! The video below is some advice for 2013 from just a few of them…
Pick your word and USE IT!
My word for 2013 is COURAGE. I’m stepping out, taking actions, sharing my story and being confident, building the muscles I need for total, outstanding and extreme success in 2013. There is no other option. It is time and the time is now.
What is your word for 2013 and why? Grateful we are connected and happy to support you on your journey into the New Year of 2013!
If I go back in my mind to a few weeks ago, things were going pretty well. My mother, who has osteoporosis and COPD, was doing better. My sister and I have been trading off caring for her, getting her to doctor’s appointments, setting up a support system for her physical and mental health for the approaching winter season. Then Sandy started up the East Coast.
I arrived to take her to a doctor’s appointment, and ended up evacuating her one day before Sandy hit. As any 82 year old using a walker might move slowly, it took patience to wait for her to get packed, gather her medications, and get into the car. I spent 10 days with her and my 16 year old son, who is the real hero of that 10 days, for keeping us sane and laughing.
It was difficult, not knowing how bad it was, not knowing how my mother’s health would hold up, when we could go see her home, which she has owned since 1959, or if she could go home anytime soon. On November 5th, we got to go see and deal with the facts, which is what I do… but this time, it wasn’t anything I was ready to deal with. The ocean, bay, sewage and rain had converged and had invaded part of the property to toss and soak furniture, books, lifelong treasures and change the future of my family. There was no way to be prepared for it. It sucked the life from me for a brief moment and then I had to care for my mother.
Now, we’re about to move my mother for the third time. My sister and I have been back and forth from our homes to NJ several times over the past few weeks. There is an endless mass of change, where is the mail delivery, where are we in the FEMA process, who do we call to do what next, where is best for Mom to stay to wait for answers? We are not alone. There are thousands of people who don’t have the ability to manage as we have, together as a family facing these challenges. There are people who are alone, confused, cold and have no answers. I feel so grateful!
As we approach the Thanksgiving week, with all the holiday feasting and shopping hype already attacking from all angles, consider a different kind of holiday. Consider adopting a displaced family and sending a care package full of blankets and coats and gloves. Consider hiring a displaced worker, who may have lost a vehicle, and may need a ride but sure needs a job and to make a living. Consider providing a donation of your time to visit a retirement community where the elderly residents may not have any family close by to smile at them or have a meal together or share a hug of support. Consider donating your blood to the local Red Cross in your community, giving the gift of life at a very critical time.
Our situation is difficult, but we were lucky. My mom’s home is repairable, and she will get to go back again. I know other people on Long Beach Island, NJ, who have lost their homes, their businesses and everything they own. It will take time to rebuild Long Beach Island, and many are gathering to support this effort. If you would like to learn more, visit the links below. As for me, I know the only thing for sure is change. The roller coaster of life will continue and it’s the people on the ride with you that make all the difference.
It was just like any other day. Rushing to take Josh to child care and run errands. Then back to the house and do the dishes. Then the phone rang and the world turned upside down. Was your day like that, too?
Remembering exactly the sequence of events of that morning, when I got the call, turning on the TV, in a dream state watching as the world changed. Then coming to, and trying to control my own small world. Where was everyone?
First, I went back to child care and picked up my son. There was no cell phone to reach my husband back then. I went to a local government office where I had friends and we gathered around the TV there, in shock, waiting to learn something, who… why… I had to reach my sister. That is when the panic began.
My mother was in Philadelphia. My sister lived in Raleigh, North Carolina at the time, and worked in New York City, frequenting the Twin Towers for business. We could not locate my sister. As I write this, I can feel the rising of the terror that she was suffering, she was trapped or even worse. I can feel the sequence of loved ones all over the world beginning to hear the news, shock, disbelief, anger and grief. It was just after 9am that we began trying to contact my sister and it was almost 11:30 when I heard from my mother that she had called her from North Carolina.
There is no other day in my life that changed me so much. I imagine this is true for many others as well. As time went on, I found there were people in my extended family that were touched, lives were lost, futures erased. There was never a warning, and from then on to this very day, there is no warning when a memory is triggered that I feel that overwhelming grief for all that disappeared that day. For those who live in the shadows of the memories, in New York, in Washington, DC, and in Pennsylvania, I respect and admire their ability to face the future, to move through and press on.
On a recent episode of the TV show, Secret Millionaire, a young man, Sean Belnick, who has become wealthy over the past few years, but had a clear memory of that day, ventured into the New York City neighborhoods where firefighters and their families suffered unimaginable loss. What he found was a true bond of love and support had risen up from the ashes, an ongoing, visible and living testament to the courage and resilience of those who had suffered the greatest.
As we go through this day, with the memories we hold of our collective experience and our individual experience, please take a moment to acknowledge that we are changed, we are different, and we only have now. If you feel moved to, I encourage you to donate to the Friends of Firefighters here.
In the words of Bruce Springsteen from “Into the Fire” on The Rising…
I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. Not because I’m sick or anything like that, but more because there are only so many moments in a life, and I want to make more of the ones I get. Today, as I sometimes do when I want to decompress, I visited YouTube and checked the new releases on the channels I subscribe to. What I found was a TedTalk about just this topic… Before I Die…
Over the next few months and possibly years, I’ll be living in a middle ground. I have one son who is in high school and will be college bound within 2-3 years. I also have another son who is in a career transition (yes, code for unemployed…) and a mother who is in her 80s, needs more attention and will eventually be living closer to me as she transitions into assisted living. Responsibilities to loved ones and responsibility to self…
So I began to think about what is it I want to do before I die? Where do I want to travel? Who do I want to spend my time with? When do I want to settle down and set roots? and how will that look? Will I have my cottage in the woods, with the little garden and the mountain views and the outdoor solar shower? with my big dogs and little dogs and a barn cat for good measure??? OR do I want to get a cozy RV and drive, seeing friends and family, making new friends, seeing new sights, watching new sunrises and sunsets? There’s a few books to write and many discoveries to be made, like which shade of purple or green or yellow is my favorite? And the FOOD and WINE and MICROBREWS! So many flavors and textures, cool and hot and sweet and savory and sour to taste!
My mind is racing, and my body is ready for a challenge. Where will I hike or bike or ride or run or SWIM or DANCE!?! How hard am I willing to work to reach the summit? What will the view be when I arrive? Will it be worth it and will it make me only hunger for more? There are only so many questions I can ask before my mind screams stop, slow down, let’s just do today.
But that is the dilemma! I don’t know when the clock will run out or begin to run down so that the things that I want to do will become only a dream. I don’t want to wait! So, for the rest of this year, 2012, whether or not it is truly the end of the world, I will not wait to have the life of my dreams. I will do what I want to do before I die. And what will you be doing before YOU die?!?
I woke up one morning recently and realized I had to make some changes. It was hot, sticky hot, and I was too!!! It was time for a change. As I mentioned in previous posts, I attended the Type A Parent Conference in June. There were many sponsors who provided swag for attendees but one I knew I wanted to get to know better was Great Clips. It had been a LONG time since my last hair cut so I decided the first change was going to be me, using my free haircut certificate from Great Clips for myself! That decision may not seem like a biggie to most people, but for me, using something for myself instead of my boys, it was HUGE!
There are two Great Clips locations in my area, so picked the closest where I visit other stores. I will also disclose my younger son had a haircut there before and it was a good haircut (can’t say that every time…). I walked in and was in the chair in only a few minutes! I briefly discussed what I wanted to do (SHORT in back, some length in front and sides) and Tim was working! He cut, and we chatted, and I looked around his station, clean, neat and a BIG POSTER of a Camaro overhead.
Great Clips is having a 30th Birthday celebration. They are giving away tons of gifts to customers, employees and franchise owners. In case you don’t know, which I didn’t, Great Clips has over 3,000 salons in the US and Canada. The other thing I didn’t know is they ONLY cut hair! They changed the salon business by “unbundling” services, such as allowing customers to choose to wash hair before a cut or style after a cut. This cuts down on time required to get a haircut and resources required to run the business, win-win!
My haircut was a complete success! With the 20 minutes I invested, I have a snappy new cut, learned about a wildly successful business in my own community, and am now entered to win a brand new Camaro! I’m going to be coloring my own hair this week, and will post a picture of the new ME on Friday to share the personal transformation as part of my big change. It ends up that Tim, who cut my hair, is also the store manager of the Great Clips I chose for my haircut. He is invested in the success of this business, the success of each member of the staff and has fabulous skills at hair cutting and styling as well!!! Kudos to franchise owner, Kevin Pong, for putting together this stylish team!
Thanks again to Type A Parent for providing the certificates for the Great Clips haircuts. They now have a vocal and enthusiastic customer with me! I’ll be celebrating their 30th birthday with them, and wish them continued success for 30 more!!!
Note: This is an unsolicited review of business services. No products or services were received other than the certificate mentioned above.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been going through something… still not sure quite yet what, but something is shifting! After my Type A Parent Conference adventure, which continues on with followups, then right into drought, and fires, and storms, and no electric (or water) for days, and now rain, there really hasn’t been any peace.
I write for other people. I take their ideas, their visions and their stories and write in their voice. I need peace to do that, thinking outside of my own head and into their’s. With the chaos and volume where I currently live, I don’t get much peace. I drink a lot of water, to stay hydrated, to fill myself up instead of mindless snacking, and because it’s good for my concentration and my skin, along with all the other benefits. It helps with my peace or makes the lack of less noticeable.
Recently, I’ve found myself drawn to naturally flavored waters. It’s a combination of color in the glass, a taste surprise in my mouth, and a refreshing difference from the usual bland glass of water. The more I explore the topic, the more ideas I find, including my newest pin to my water board, Fruit Infused Waters. They are LOVELY! I want to rub the glass across my cheek and let the sweat drip from my glass all over me… ok, maybe that’s a bit much, but really, the idea of colorful, flavorful, healthy water with texture and taste and sensual pleasure, it is really GRAND!
Check out Pinterest and here’s a fancy recipe for Watermelon and Mint “Aqua Fresca” (no sugar in mine, please) from Food Network. Share your comments, recipes and experience with us. I’m making some big changes in my life and my new found passion for infused waters bring me joy and a sense of peace, enough that I know I’m headed in the right direction.
Enjoy your favorite taste of summer in the next glass of water!
In my last post, I shared that I was headed to Type A Parent Conference last weekend. Well, I went and what a whirlwind! Arriving in Thursday rush hour traffic to downtown Charlotte was fun, HA! I managed to finally get to where I needed to be, parked and checked in, just in time for the Volunteers Orientation.
Amanda Henson is the Volunteer Coordinator/Manager/Cat Herder for Type A Parent Conferences. I worked with her back in 2010 when I attended the first time. She is totally organized, even if she doesn’t see it. The Swag Bags were in piles, our assignments were given and we were ready!
Over the next 3 days, I attended open sessions, workshops and outstanding keynotes from Chris Garrett at the beginning to Rene Syler at the end, who I must share is MY HERO! I prefer taking notes on paper so have several pads to go through from what I captured. My goal was to gather advice and strategies for branding myself, in a bolder way. I got that and much more!
The real advantage to attending Type A Parent Conference, both in 2010 and last weekend, has been the real relationships that develop in the conversations, in the halls, at the meal tables, and in the small sessions. I’m amazed at the value provided by every one of the participants, who all have something of value to share, whether they are presenters or sitting in the audience.
Two of the top experiences I had came unexpectedly. First was over lunch, when by chance I met Debbie Bookstaber with the Plan Toys exhibit space. Plan Toys is a Green Toy Company, with a line of vividly colorful toys created from sustainable materials, designed to be environmentally safe for young hands and stimulating for young minds. Debbie is an enthusiastic promoter and sold me quickly on the benefits of these fun toys! I look forward to learning more about the product line and the company for an upcoming green business profile.
When attending events, there is always that one popular exhibit that is always crowded, with a high volume of conversation surrounding it. I passed by the space several times before late on Sunday afternoon, there was no one there and I stopped at the Stow Company exhibit. I spoke with Mike Wolf about the three different organizing options they were promoting, Easy Track, ORG and Easy Closets. Clearing the clutter from any space is important, and I’ve struggled with this through the years so I’m always interested in tools for organizing. But the real ah-ha moment came when I asked my standard, “How green is this company?” WOW, ask and ye shall receive!!! ORG has a sustainability statement which they back up with recycling, environmental certifications and details on the products they install in homes and businesses.
So, even though this is just scratching the surface of my Type A Parent Conference adventure, I didn’t want to wait another day to share my experience. Kudos to Kelby Carr, creator of the event, and leader extraordinaire. I’m looking forward to growing the connections from this year and anticipating the 2013 gathering will be even better!
I’m headed to a very important event this week, the Type-A Parent Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. I attended back in 2010 when I was still working “behind the scenes” much of the time. The event is jam-packed with value, super-stars in the blogging world who have taken the opportunities presented and run with them. I’m in awe of these women and men who have become leaders, as writers and speakers and authors, who are using technology and online tools like Jedi Masters!
Which brings me to the topic of personal branding. Someone who is a master at this is Danny Iny. In 18 short months, Danny developed a strategy to submit guest blog posts to some of the most influential blogs in his area of expertise. You can learn more about his strategy at Firepole Marketing but the magic part is that through the process, he developed a wealth of connections and content!
Here is the video where Danny covers “How to be successful without being famous” which has an amazing relevance to me right now. My process with clients has always been to make them the stars! I approach clients with the eyes of their ideal consumer, and understand they know their business the best. I let them guide the message, telling the story of their business, with me there behind the curtain, guiding them to stardom. With Danny’s help, I have now seen the error of my ways, in a vivid way.
At some point, and I’m feeling like it’s today, I’m going to have to come out from behind the curtain. My personal brand is ready to shine, and share and learn in a big way! While I’m attending Type-A this weekend, I’m going to be fine tuning my brand, defining my process and presentation, and will be relaunching my online presence. I’ll still write here about life, being a mom to boys, living in the wilds of Appalachia and still experiencing the culture shock of rural living vs urban upbringing, but it will be in a fresh and more personal way.
Watch the video and let me know what you think could be upgraded with your personal brand. We can do this!
"You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands - your own." - Mark Victor Hansen