Monday, June 27, 2005

Customer disservice

I called my health insurance company a little while ago, and at the end of a successful customer service transaction, the representative cheerfully said, "I have one more question for you today: Did I just provide you with world-class customer service?" I said sure, not wanting to hurt her feelings, but thought: Well, that's a bit of an overreach, isn't it? World class customer service? Is there some sort of an international standard here? Are there customer service Olympics that I haven't heard about? Then again, compared to the couple of phone calls I made after that, maybe "world class" wasn't too much of a stretch after all. One company took me through a 15-minute chain of electronic menus to complete my transaction, and the other has kept me on hold for ... well, going on 5 minutes now. Perhaps a live human being, a short wait, and a brisk and competent transaction is what passes for the gold standard in customer service these days. Too bad the reason I had to call them in the first place was because they accidentally sent out a whole batch of cancellation letters to folks who weren't actually cancelled.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

An addition to the family, finally?

So it looks like we may finally, after many false starts, be getting a dog. There's a very sweet, gentle, calm, 9-year-old female German Shepherd at our nearby animal shelter who seems to be calling our name (that's her in the photo; isn't she a sweetie?). We've walked her a couple of times, and she seems unperturbed by my skittish daughter and hyper son and skeptical husband. And she gave me some very nice kisses on the face. She was mostly mellow as we walked her around, and the one time she took off after a squirrel I was able to restrain her. We've had a few dogs snatched up before we could properly express our interest before, but the shelter folk think this girl isn't going anywhere, nine apparently being over-the-hill in the shelter dog business. So it looks like we may be getting a dog. Check back here in a week or two to see if I'm celebrating or going "What on earth was I thinking?" Like we don't have enough on our hands already.

Monday, June 20, 2005

So that's all it takes

My daughter was talking to me last night about her middle school classmates and who's cute and who's cool and finally, in a great burst of teenage despair and desire, she turned to me and wailed, "Mom, can I have a cell phone so I can be popular?"

Who knew being popular was that easy?

I mean, seriously, Verizon or Cingular or Sprint should get to work right now on their "Popular with Peers" plan. Your minutes come with coolness, cuteness, lots of friends and a date for the prom, guaranteed. My usual answer to the "Mom, can I have a cell phone?" question is, "Ha, ha, ha, ha! No." But hey, if the service provider could throw in social acceptance and immunity from teasing, I might be more interested.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A match made in ... where, exactly?

So are you buying the whole Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes "We're in luuuuuuuuuuuuuv" thing? Do you think he's too old for her? She's too unfamous for him? The whole thing's a really poorly thought-out promotional stunt? Or do you feel we're all just too darn jaded these days to recognize genuine, goofy, makes-you-act-like-an-idiot, head-over-heels love when we see it? I don't know. If it's true, I'm happy for them. If it's not true, I feel sorry for them and their respective publicists. And I think it's really sort of sad that we don't believe celebrities are having a relationship unless they vehemently deny it. But on the other hand, I have to admit that this site is pretty funny. Don't we all have more serious things we should be thinking about, here at the brink of summer break? No? Okay, then.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Excuses, excuses

AAAACK! End-of-school madness. Moving-up ceremony nonsense. Summer plans to be made. Closets to be switched. Activities to be chaperoned. Teachers to confer with. Anxiety all around. No time to blog! Be back soon ...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Proud moments

Yesterday was a proud day for our family, in a few different ways. Our school district held a "junior olympics" for special education students in its elementary schools, and my son was among those who participated. Parents got to sit in the stands while teachers and other volunteers wrangled our kiddos, and I was proud to see my guy out there running around with his friends. I was also proud of his sister, who was one of those volunteers. She started the morning pretty whiny about having to go to something her brother was doing, and when a teacher we know drafted her to help out, I expected she'd last a short while and coming whining back. But she really got into helping the little kids, stayed at it the whole day, and had a great time. She's often mentioned a desire to work with young children, and in fact has a volunteer job this summer helping at a day camp, so I was proud to see that it was something she could really follow through on.

And one more proud moment: I'm a seat-of-my-pants sort of Web site programmer, learning what I need as I go along and panicking at the complicated stuff, so I'm really feeling quite impressed with my little self that I managed -- after plenty of tries, screw-ups and confusion -- to successfully plant a quiz on my site. Check it out: It's an Alphabet Soup Quiz to test your acronym acument.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mommy, what's that?

Another reason to stop your kid from watching TV: As of this month, condom ads have broken the, ahem, barrier of TV advertising and will now be appearing during primetime programs. Trojan swears that they're going to be responsible and focus on STDs and HIV and not make sex look like fun or anything, but that's not going to make it any easier for parents to explain to Junior exactly what that product is for. Some articles on this new advertising development have mentioned a survey that shows only one in four Americans objects to having this kind of content during family viewing hours. I wonder whether they called any household that actually had parents in it. They sure didn't ask me.