Aug 29, 2007

1002 ways to goof up (continued)

537. Roll down your window inside a carwash
536. Wait in line for a carwash and discover that you don’t have any money
535. Leave window open going into a carwash
534. Go to the dentist or doctor when you don’t have an appointment
533. Send back a Blockbuster movie in a Netflix envelope
532. Mis-remember your long-ago high school mascot
531. Reply to the wrong person in email
530. Put your keys in the pocket of your fold-up canvas chair while watching the Little League game and then lock the car (and the keys) in your trunk

Aug 14, 2007

Just call me the boss of sauce loss

Forgive the ugly picture below. I'm trying to impart an important reminder:

Trying to save time sometimes costs you far more time than you'd ever save.

In this case, I was attempting to save the precious seconds lost in extracting barbecue sauce from a bottle that was getting low. I stored the bottle upside-down in one of the shelves in the fridge door. I've always gotten a kick out of bottles made to be stored upside down. The idea is great and simple. Simply great!

Note: My big sister and her husband have complained to me that ketchup spurts or even explodes from a bottle designed for upside-down storage, but I've never had that happen. Maybe it's due to higher air pressure in their house. Completely plausible, given how this sister can talk. Oops, did I type that out loud?

Anyway, the barbecue sauce bottle that I stored for speedy use wasn't made to be stored upside-down, but it would have done the job just fine IF I'd made sure that the cap was on tight.

Don't get ahead of me now. Let a couple beats go by to denote that two weeks passed before I next reached for that particular bottle.

That's when I found that all of the sauce had flowed out of the bottle through the loosened cap and onto the bottle's shelf ... and the shelf below that ... and the shelf below that. Like so:

The picture doesn't show the bottles that had been stored in that column of space. I took them to the sink to scrub off their tangy, sticky covering.

All I can say is: Keith ...

Aug 8, 2007

Armstrong un-goofs!

Hey! The story from yesterday continues! Look at the email that I discovered after lunch today:

I would like to personally respond to your comments posted yesterday relative to your being on hold for four hours with Armstrong. My name is Charles Wrightson and I am responsible for Customer Service in our Floor Products Operation. This is totally unacceptable customer service and we sincerely apologize for your extended inconvenience. Our caller experience is extremely important to us and we take the process very seriously.

We do track metrics specific to phone calls with all departments. Our records indicate the longest hold time for yesterday in any department for Flooring Products was 9 minutes 28 seconds. Our corporate communications team also ran a query for all 23 incoming queues for the entire Company and the longest hold time was 17 minutes ( which is used for internal vendors and retirees ). So your experience leads us to believe that we may have a problem with our systems. Would you please do us a favor and tell us which phone number you used to contact us and most importantly we want to help you with your question regarding the floor in your church.

From your message , it is difficult to determine how we can best reach you, other than by e mail. My phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I will be travelling the rest of this week, so please leave a message if I don`t answer , or you can reach Kathy Mallinson at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Again, we apologize and are extremely embarrassed by your experience. I can assure you it is not how we want to be perceived, nor how we normally conduct business. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to recover from our goof.

Nice! Here's how I replied:

Now *this* is encouraging! Not only because it looks like I'll get some information but because Armstrong is hip enough to watch even little-read blogs (and fewer blogs are littler-read than this one!). I assume you watch the net for mention of your company with Google alerts or other means. Way to stay current, AWI! I'll post this on the blog in a way that will give you heaps of credit but protect your privacy.

I was calling from xxx-xxx-xxxx. Please let me know what your log shows for that number, if anything. I'll try calling you now. Thanks.

And a little later, I added:

Satisfaction at last! I tried your phone, got your voice mail, called Kathy, and she transferred me to Jennie Kapwell, who gave me solid answers! I'm once again strong on Armstrong! As mentioned in my previous email, I called from xxx-xxx-xxxx and hope to hear back as to whether that number shows up in your system. And I'll give you kudos on tonight! Thanks.

I really have to hand it to Armstrong. I'm not completely surprised, though. I attended a work seminar some years ago where there was a very interesting speaker who spoke about how seriously Armstrong takes customer service. As I recall, the speaker said that Armstrong had a product that customers regularly damaged by using the wrong type of cleaner, apparently because they weren't reading the directions, and the result was many unhappy customers. Armstrong turned the situation around by beginning to print their support number right on the product, which made customers have to call up to ask how to get the !@#$ printing off--which created the opportunity to tell the customers the correct type of cleaner to use! Satisfaction soared! Brilliant! The speaker's point was that complainers (like moi) can become among the most loyal of customers if you treat them right.

There's no doubt that the next time I need to think about flooring, the first brand that I'll consider will be Armstrong. Armstrong World Industries is our first official Un-Goof.

Charles Wrightson, thanks so much for your email! I do hope to hear back about whether my phone number shows up in your system--and maybe you can verify or correct the details of the "how do you remove the printing story."

Aug 7, 2007

Just hold on an afternoon now, ya whippersnapper

I set a personal record today.

I waited on hold on the telephone for four straight hours. Yep, 12:30 until 4:30, when the company I was calling closes and anyone who happens to be waiting on hold is just ... let go.

The company: Armstrong World Industries

The situation: Our church just had new flooring installed, and we received some advice to apply wax. I researched it on has lots of great info--and it doesn't look like we should apply wax (just cleaner and polish instead), but I wanted a technical rep to confirm that, so I called the support line.

Let's see, since I heard it about 800 times, maybe I can recall what the recorded voice kept saying every so often ... It was something like ...

Thank you for your patience, but we don't have anyone to talk to you, so please go to our website instead.

Okay, okay, it was a little nicer than that, but the result was the same: No live help.

The reason I held on so long: I had a bunch of (relatively brainless) design to do at work today, and I have a headset that plugs into my phone, so I just refused to hang up. After the first hour, it became a challenge. I had kind of hoped to listen to an entire Stephen King audio novel this afternoon, but hey ... the on-hold message from Armstrong World Industries is nearly as entertaining.


People of Armstrong ... Ya Goofs!

Aug 6, 2007

Dire dairy dollars

Ethan and Emmett are in Vermont at Camp Grammie.*

*Translation: Our sons are making their annual summer stay with my parents for two weeks.

Janet and I have the house to ourselves back here in Pennsylvania.**


I drove the boys up on Thursday; Janet needed to stay home. Needless to say, every stop for food involved bacon. And we found every opportunity to stop at creemee*** stands in Vermont.

***Soft-serve ice cream, for those of you not from New England.

My older sister, Tina, said to be sure to stop for creemees at one particular stand in Jeffersonville, Vermont (everyone up there usually just calls the town Jeff). So the three of us did stop at that particular stand.

The signs featured messy handwriting but neat prices for the creemees:

$1.00 baby
$1.25 small
$1.50 large
$1.75 extra-large

I'm genetically very chea--er, thrifty, so that list made me downright weepy.

Creemee stands give you big servings. Tina wouldn't have recommended this place if they skimped on the product. I ordered a small size, knowing that there would be plenty to lick--and indeed there was.

Ethan and Emmett wanted milkshakes. The price wasn't listed, but--oh, it pains me to say it--I figured that if the creemee prices were so favorable, I would find the milkshake prices the same.

Oh, dread and fatal flaw.

The guy at the window was manning the place alone--it was a slow night--and he handed out my creemee and then went to work on the milkshakes. It was a warm night (perfect creemee weather), so I licked my entire treat away before he was done, with time to spare. With a light heart, I jauntily took the time to lay out my money for speedy payment: a five, four ones and a quarter all lined up so that I could choose the best combination for paying. I expected most of the currency to go back in my pocket.

Mr. Window Man finally handed out the goods and toted up the bill, which he announced as ...


Oh, evil stake through a penurious heart.

I numbly gathered up my entire monetary display and transferred it through the window. I don't remember the walk to the car; I simply found myself behind the wheel. I put the car in gear. I checked both ways. I motored onto the road with a heart as heavy as if I'd accidentally driven over the cake that won the blue ribbon at the state fair.

I fumbled about in my mind for comfort. I wouldn't have batted an eye at $2.00 apiece for the milkshakes. Perhaps even $2.50. So I would easily (I couldn't go so far as to say gladly) handed over as much as $6.00. But to have miscalculated by 50% was bitter, bitter, bitter.

"Let this be a lesson to you," I told the boys. "ALWAYS know the price beforehand." I drew some courage from the thought that the experience had been valuable for my offspring.

Still ... it was hard to sleep.

To say "Keith, YaGoof!" does little justice to my mental anguish. I can only hope to get over it in time.

Aug 5, 2007

1002 ways to goof up

539. Drop your keys and credit cards into an automatic toilet.
538. Show up at a Saturday event on Friday.