Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday CorneliusOnPoint

Its Black Friday 2011 and the flood gates of low prices, specials and all types of consumer tomfoolery was set in motion for the masses to go ga ga over. Each year the big box behemoths prepare to entice the more than 152 Million Americans that they need just one more of "this or that" of the latest must have item. And so it goes, the mayhem, madness and "more is more" mentality that reins supreme in our consumer driven economy. So if you've already door busted, making your way to your next bust or fled the scene for your sanity, come on in and check out the latest going's on here at COP 24/7.

Service Please...Missing in Action

Hello, can I help a phrase that seems to be far and in between these days. Even as the POS registers clang away on this Black Friday, its all about the lack of customer service that continues to chap my ass. It doesn't matter where or what I'm doing, it seems that those folks that are suppose to be "servicing" the customers appear to be doing everything else but giving the customer service. I had an ordeal with Home Depot where the customer service clerk was so uninterested in doing her job that while I was lugging my item to the counter she was reading a "book," yes I said a book as I stood at the counter awaiting to be checked out. I did later inform management of this unbelievable behavior as I added that she didn't even say "thank you" after the transaction. Working with the public can be a bitch and I certainly know since I've been in that game over the years. I made it my business to always treat the customer or client with value. I made every attempt not to take them for granted or perceive that no matter how I treated them, there would always be another. I use to frequent a neighborhood Mablevale spirit store for my adult beverages. I inform the clerk that some of the brands that I favored were not being carried I might have to seek them elsewhere. He smugly retorted, "it doesn't matter if you come back. There's always other people." With that said, I no longer shop his establishment and never will again. I work hard for my dollars and I demand the respect that I warrant as a customer. Its bad enough that each of has be sub-contracted to do service work that we use to enjoy the convenience. I can remember when a service station included a individual coming out to the car to inquire: "fill it up?" Then proceed to clean the windshield, check the oil and tires if needed, make any recommendations, return the pump, full fill the transaction and complete the task with "thanks for coming in and come back." All of that is long gone with self-service pumps, a no-nonsense person behind bullet proof cases with a clueless approach to customer service. We've all had our drive thru order incorrectly bagged and it seems that the workers at McDonald believe that I don't deserve a break today because my unsweetened ice tea usually comes sugar filled almost every time. Its' just mind boggling to think that poor customer service is rampant with no end in sight. I snickered at the recent Kroger promotion that announces that "you will not have a long wait time while in line at Kroger." Really. I've all but stopped using the "live" cashiers and have opted to sub-contract my labor to use the self-check out. I tired of hearing "I'm ready to go on my break," or "I've been here all day and so and so didn't show up for her shift." Enough already. So what to do? Of course we have to interact at some point but I've made it a mission to navigate my shopping excursions with precision. I am one of those persons who will answer those customer satisfaction surveys. On a recent trip I stayed at the Sofitel Hotel in Washington D.C.  This hotel brand served up some excellent customer service and followed up with a survey and a personal response. Locally I used La Quinta Inn's Downtown for an event in which I received superb customer service from the sales force. I quickly forwarded a response to management of this excellency in making my event successful. In the meantime, If I can check my self out, I do. If I can buy it on line and have it shipped to my door. I do. If I have to engage a sales person, I prepare my mind to just deal with it. At the end of day, customer service is in the tank and as a consumer I'm making it my business to let management know when they've got an employee who is not making the mark. I encoruage all of you who get sloppy service to make your displeasure known in order to correct this situation.

People of Unity Rising

A local effort entiteled People of Unity is being conceptulized as an affiliate of The National Association of Black and White Men Toegether, Inc. Organizer Shon D. stated that he was enpowered to pursue the formation after participating in the Fall Midland meeting held in October. He said that he learned much during that weekend and hoped that such a local group would be beneficial to the commuity at large. The group has begun an awareness effort using the Facebook platform as well as launched a membership drive through the portal. Following the tenants of dealing with racism, sexism, homophobia, HIV & AIDS discrimination, it is the vision of People of Unity to address these issues by engaging in local acitivites and educational programming. If you are interested in learning more check out this link to their Facebook page:  Stay tuned to this forum for more updates.

Lucie's Place On the Move

Lucie's Place, the envisioned homestead for LGBTQ youth has announced securing additional measures necessary to complete its total formation into a non-profit entity. Securing their Employment Identification Number, articles of incorporation and a designated banking insitutuion was noted in a November update, as well as a speculitive timeline to complete non-profits documents. Also the group garnered donations from the Unitarian Universalist Church, Diocese of St. Michaels Episcopal Church and its outreach fund plus additional donations totalling $7,000. Organizers had projected fundraising levels to top $10,000 during a summer fundraising drive but lacked disclosing reasons for the shortfall.  Furthermore, the forwarded update didn't mention if those totals reported were apart of the "summer rollout" or if this was a snapshot of all funds captured to date. The group also held a Silent Auction and fundraiser Tuesday night featuring local entertainement at the White Water tavern. Totals from that event have not been released at post time. Even though the group stated administrative moves, the circulated e-mail did not formally note a board chair or members, interim Executive Director or any actual figure head that can be cited as a point person. Earlier this year the group was embroiled in a mash up resulting in a competing organization citing that an alleged comprimised data base was being used to solicit patrons causing confusion. Numerous press peices were released to counter the confusion in a effort to slove the matter. This forum assumes that Penelope Poppers continues as the point person for the project. An address of 201 South Pulaski was offered a physical address and their are web links connected with the venture. A December meeting was mentioned in the update but no confirm date or place was offered.

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