Monday, April 20, 2015

Things I Put Off Until Last Minute

I like to think of myself as a generally responsible person, though I'm also very prone to laziness. If I were a protagonist in a book, my laziness would likely be my "tragic flaw." 

Said laziness contributes to me constantly procrastinating and therefore ending up in a situation where I either a) end up in a rush to do something or b) become nervous because I may have put off the thing for too long.

Here are some things I routinely put off until the last minute:

Oil changes

Sorry car
This is pretty bad. My maintenance light recently came on in my car and I'm over 1,000 miles overdue for an oil change. Granted, I'm told that the 3,000 mile mark isn't a death sentence with newer car models. But if my maintenance light is on, it's a pretty good indicator that I need to get the thing done.

In my defense, I rack up 3,000 miles pretty fast given that I deliver pizzas part time. This means oil changes have to happen for me more often than they do for the average person who has a quick work commute and doesn't actually drive their car for work. 

I know this isn't a real excuse.

Waking up

My day job starts at 9 am. It takes me approximately 15 minutes to get to work in the morning and I like to allot 5 minutes total of buffer time to walk from my apartment to my car and from my car to my desk at work. This means I need to leave every morning at 8:40 to get to work on time.

So what time do I wake up?

8:15. That's right. I give myself -- a makeup wearing female -- a total of 25 minutes to go from zero to composed enough to walk out the door.

Some people are morning people. These people wake up, brew coffee, leisurely read or watch the news, indulge in a nice, homemade breakfast... All of that sounds lovely, but I'm the exact opposite of a morning person. I literally wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, put on some makeup, brush my hair and/or put it up in a ponytail, grab my things, and walk out the door. 

I do go through some preparations that allow me to shave off a little bit of time on certain tasks:

  • I try to pack my lunch the night before. Sometimes, if I'm bringing a frozen dinner, I pack everything except the entree and thus only have to grab one more item for the lunch box before leaving.
  • I pick out the next day's outfit the night before as well. I'll lay out what I'm going to wear so I won't have to think about it when I wake up and my mind is all groggy.
Despite my nightly preparations, I still end up running late for work nearly every single morning. I just love sleep too much.

Going to the doctor

I'm lucky that I'm a fairly healthy person (knock on wood). I hate, hate going to any kind of doctor.

This is going to sound incredibly gross and anyone reading this will judge me, but I didn't go to the dentist for 8 years once. Yes. I know. From the ages of 12 to 20 I did not go to the dentist once.

And... spoiler alert... I've only been once since then. I know. It's really bad. However, I did not have any cavities after the 8 years of no dentist visits. So at least nothing in mouth is rotting. I may have to see someone about these wisdom teeth soon though.

I do force myself to go see the optometrist and the lady doctor at least annually, though. Each of these visits, intended to be 12 months from the last, seem to get pushed out a little bit each year.

Most recent haircut

There were a few years there where I only got my haircut once a year. This probably sounds crazy to any men who are reading this blog as it seems men with shorter hair have to get their hair cut on a pretty regular basis.

Basically, I would wait to get my hair cut until it was very long and the ends were very ratty looking. Probably not the best idea, but it worked.

My haircut regimen has changed recently now that my roommate is enrolled in cosmetology school. I've had my hair cut twice in the last 6 months! Go me! 

Part of why I hated getting haircuts before, though, was the awkwardness with trying to have a conversation with the stylist. I don't like to talk to people I don't know very well and I don't like superficial chit chat (yet I work in customer service, go figure). My previous stylist would always try to engage me in conversation and I'd just sit there pretty quietly and give her one word answers because I'm just bad at conversing with people I only know superficially.

Then I'd get stressed that she didn't like me coming in because I was boring, so then I'd over tip her because I felt like I needed to compensate for the failed conversation. Which probably suited her fine, but meant I paid more for the haircut than I otherwise would have. I know I over think these things.

There was that and the laziness. It was mostly the laziness, if I'm being honest.

What things do you put off until the last minute?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Oh, You're Left-Handed!"

I am a "lefty." This is my cross to bear in life.

Today, my friend asked me to tell her a weird trait about myself. Other than the mental things (like that I tend to become obsessed with things I like and also I have this weird thing about public restrooms), it took me a minute to think of something.

Then I remembered how a coworker of mine recently and very suddenly proclaimed, "Oh! You're left-handed!" like he discovered Mount Everest or something.

This happens to me on a semi-regular basis. Every once in awhile, I will minding my own business and eating a cup of yogurt when it will suddenly dawn on my lunch companion that I'm holding my spoon with my left hand. Shocking!

For some reason, non-lefties have this need to point out the obvious to me.

Righty: You're left-handed!

Me: Yep, all my life.

Righty: I never knew you were left-handed!

That's like me telling someone, "I never knew you had attached earlobes" or "I never knew you were allergic to pollen." It's so unimportant that it doesn't even merit a conversation, but somehow it produces one.

A quick (very quick) Google search told me that left-handed people make up about 10% of the population. The same Google search also mentions that psychosis is more common in lefties. This article was clearly written by one of those people whose parents made them write with their right hands even though they gravitated toward the left.

10% is a small percentage, but it's still a pretty good number of people. I wouldn't think that being left-handed would be such a rare trait that it should make people feel the need to point it out to me and other lefties.

My parents never really told me that being left-handed was considered "different." Then again, my parents didn't prepare me for a lot of things before sending me into the real world. Exhibits A through C can be found here. I ended up learning from some stupid kid in elementary school that left-handed people were weird and not as smart as right-handed people. I probably cried like an idiot.

Strangely, I am very rarely approached by another lefty about my left-handedness. Nor do I notice when other people are left-handed or right-handed or ambidextrous. If someone tells me or if someone asks me about my handedness then I might notice their handedness. But this isn't something that I feel the need to scrutinize in my own daily life.

I'm not intending to complain, though I'm sure that is how it appears. Really, I'm just astounded by how many people feel like my gravitation toward using my left hand is an interesting conversation piece. I find it pretty boring, to be honest.

Being a lefty really isn't so bad and I've pretty easily adapted to most aspects of living in a righty dominated world. I use regular scissors and I operate a regular computer mouse with my right hand. Really my only complaint comes from writing with a pencil. I don't know how often I came home from class looking like this:


Any other lefties out there feel my pain?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dreams (Of High School Spanish Class and Other Oddities)

Recurring dreams freak me out. I haven't done very much research about how or why this happens, but I am a person who remembers quite a few of my dreams and I'm slightly unnerved by my subconscious's obsession with my high school Spanish class.

It's been happening for a few years now. Every few months or so, I have another dream about the Spanish class I took my senior year of high school. This particular class wasn't any more impactful to my life than any other class in high school, but for some reason I can't seem to get it out of my head.

The dream itself is a bit different each time, but here are the usual variations:

  • I am in college and I've found out that I never actually passed my high school Spanish class. I find out that I never actually graduated from high school and I have to go back and take that class even though I'm already in college.
  • I'm in high school and I'm about to graduate. I realize that I've completely forgotten to go to Spanish class for most of the year. I've just been skipping it. I'm afraid that I will not be able to pass the final because, well, I don't know the material. I'm also concerned that my number of absences will cause me to fail no matter what grade I get on the final.
  • It's the first day of school and I'm running late to my classes. I'm having trouble finding my Spanish class and I end up getting there after the class has already started.

I don't know if I have this dream because I did stress about Spanish some during that year. My first two years of Spanish classes were taken with a teacher who was more apt to let the students run the class than to actually teach us anything. Senior year, I got the "tough" teacher who actually expected we knew enough about Spanish to have made it to the third year. I didn't and I very much had to BS the class.

Although Spanish class is definitely the most frequent, every once in awhile the dream will differ. Sometimes the dream will be about science class wherein I have a science project due and I don't know what to create. In this dream, I usually end up with some super lame project that would probably get me a D. Sometimes it's about English class. Whenever it's about English class, the class is always with my junior year English teacher and it's always about how I haven't done any of the homework.

Lately, my high school dreams have become more and more detailed. I will dream that I'm on my way to high school except that I am taking an alternate route (that doesn't exist) that causes me to have to leave my house in the middle of the night to get to school on time. I also end up having to park in this crazy parking lot with lots of curves and inclines to actually get to said parking lot.

It's weird. 

In all of these dreams, I'm always running short on time. I'm either short on time to do my homework or to arrive at class or to complete my science project. I'm always skirting the edge of failing, which is weird because I was one of those kids who very much focused on grades. These dreams aren't even realistic to my personality. But maybe that's how it's supposed to be? I've read that dreams are a manifestation of sides of yourself that you don't see. I don't know if that's psychobabble or if there is some kind of meaning behind this, but it's definitely becoming a point of concern for me.

I've gotten to the point where I sometimes question if I actually passed all my classes or if there's some "incomplete" sitting on my record somewhere. Maybe I should see a therapist. Maybe there are unresolved issues with my Spanish class that will only be resolved if I face them head on. Estoy loco.

Do you have any recurring dreams that weird you out? 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hot Comedians

I love comedy. From stand up to sketch comedy to sitcoms -- sitting down to watch something funny is my favorite way to unwind.

That being said, I find a good sense of humor to be one of the sexiest traits a person can possess. There's no question that my favorite celebrities tend to be comedians of some sort.

Here I've compiled a list of my favorite hot comedians. Some of these people are stand-ups, some are TV hosts, some are mostly known for sketch comedy, and some just tend to play in funny movies. I'm not being really strict with the criteria here, only that I think they're super hot. Also, I'm going in alphabetical order because it'd be really hard for me to rank them. Here we go!

Remember when Jason Bateman just randomly popped back up into relevancy? I guess it was "Arrested Development" that did it. Because -- let's be honest -- he wasn't doing very many interesting things before that. Anyway, I'm always happy to see his handsome face pop up in a random comedy. And lately, he's in more movies than not.

Spoiler alert: I really dig the cast of Horrible Bosses. That is a trio of fine looking men. Charlie Day is more adorable than sexy, but there's something about his scratchy voice and quirky mannerisms that really get me.

Speaking of voices... Craig Ferguson's Scottish accent is what my dreams are made of. Craig Ferguson's sexiness comes from a variety of things: 1) The combination of gray hair and blue eyes, 2) the sexy accent, 3) the doesn't-give-a-fuck attitude. Also, knowing that he used to be a punk musician doesn't hurt his case.

Tina Fey has mastered the sexy librarian thing. She proves that brains and wit are incredibly sexy traits. Anyone who still thinks "dumb blondes" make for the hottest women has clearly never seen an episode of "30 Rock."

Oh Bill Hader. I don't understand why you make me feel so gushy inside, but I can't seem to make it go away. It could be the strong jaw, the big blue eyes, or his tall, lanky frame.. or it could be that he's effortlessly funny in any situation and is seemingly the complete opposite of the borderline insane characters he is known for. IRL, Bill Hader is a family man from Oklahoma who likes to wear plaid and watch movies. There's something endearing about that.

Mindy Kaling is too gorgeous and smart and funny for it to even be fair. I mean, seriously. This bitch has completely won at life. She was a writer on "The Office" at the ripe age of 24. She wrote a hilarious book. She stars in a show that she created. Did I mention that she's gorgeous? Mindy, you need to stop.

Seth Meyers is one of those dudes that just looks like a really nice guy that you'd meet at like an office party or something. He's very clean cut and attractive in that hometown guy kind of way. He's also very funny and seems like such a nice dude. If he turned out to be an actual asshole, I'd probably be really upset.

It took awhile, but John Mulaney has grown on me. I haven't watched his now-cancelled show, "Mulaney," because I've heard it's terrible and I'd probably quickly reverse my opinion. However, I think he's a brilliant writer and he's extremely easy on the eyes. 

Nasim Pedrad is one of the most underrated women to ever grace the SNL stage. People are always going on about Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, and Maya Rudolph. All of these ladies are great -- but Nasim deserves to be up there as well. She could play the sexy girl easily, but she could also play a boy or a nerdy teen girl. It took me a minute to realize how gorgeous she actually is because of all the sketches where she played like a 10-year-old boy. But she did it. I hope to see great things from this one in the future.

Aubrey Plaza is a wonder. She's one of the prettiest young actresses out there and her delivery is unmatched. I'm hoping she can avoid being typecast as the "weird girl" because I think she can really offer so much more than that. Also, did I mention that she's super, super hot? 

Paul Rudd is one of those traditionally handsome guys that just also happens to be really good at being funny (and being serious). Damn, this guy can really do it all. Anytime he pops up in a movie or show that I'm watching, I know it'll be entertaining. Even This is 40 was made watchable because of this guy. Looking forward to Ant-Man.

The first time I saw Andy Samberg, I thought he looked like a lost puppy dog. I still kind of think that, actually. Andy Samberg has been aging very well. He's gone from "cute lost puppy" to "sexy detective dude on TV." I mean, he was cute in SNL and everything... but he's like a different person in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." It's pretty glorious.

This might be kind of wild card, but I think that Adam Scott is adorable. I'm not sure I'd think that if I hadn't fallen absolutely in love with Ben Wyatt in "Parks and Recreation," but it has continued into other roles that I've seen Scott play. For example, his character in the drama "The Vicious Kind" was super attractive to me. I also went back and watched some of "Party Down" (I need to finish it because it's actually hilarious) and thought he was super fine in that as well. He's a tiny little man and he kind of looks like he'd make a good elf, but something about that is attractive to me. 

I don't think I have to do much explaining with this one. Even as he's gotten older, Jon Stewart is still a sexy, sexy man. Although I will admit that Big Daddy-era Jon Stewart is probably my favorite. 

Aha! The Horrible Bosses trifecta! Did you know that Jason Sudeikis is engaged to Olivia Wilde? And they have a child together? That child is going to be so attractive that we might have to all wear sunglasses to look at him when he grows up. Anyway, Jason Sudeikis is another traditionally good looking man who just happens to be gifted at being hilarious. I would swoon so hard for this guy, I swear.

It took me awhile to decide on a picture to use for Kristen Wiig because she's just too pretty. This woman really can do whatever she wants and still be attractive doing it. Blonde hair, brown hair, short hair, long hair... stupid outfits, bad makeup, no makeup... I usually hate women like her but Kristen Wiig is so funny and seems like such a cool person that I'm going to forgive her and just be jealous from afar. Sigh.

Is there anyone you would add or remove from my list?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing With My Life And That Has To Be Fine For Now


In case you missed it, the insurance company I work for announced in February that they will be closing down our building next year. Basically, I'm going to be out of a job unless I decide to apply for a work from home position or relocate to Columbus or San Antonio.

I've decided to do neither of those things. At first, the idea of losing my job was completely terrifying. It's still a little scary, sure, but I've finally arrived at this point where I'm kind of glad it's happening.

Hear me out.

I work for an insurance company. I work in a call center for an insurance company. My job is basically to answer really stupid questions and get yelled out because someone forgot to pay their insurance and now the DMV is fining them out the wazoo.

It's not very glamorous.

Lately, I've been wondering how I even ended up here. I used to have goals and career ambitions and none of them included insurance or customer service. Unfortunately, this was the first job I could find post-graduation that offered me full benefits and a decent paycheck. If I hadn't taken this job, I might still be working full time as a shift manager at Pizza Hut making less than $9 per hour.

Neither of these jobs appeals to me anymore. I'm 25. I've been out of college for going on three years now and I haven't done a damn thing with my degree. Nor have I even really tried.

The problem with Lynchburg, Virginia is that there are very few ways to succeed in any field that I actually like.

My actual dream job involved writing for a living. It's always been that way. I've wanted to be a writer -- some kind of writer -- since probably second or third grade. The specifics have evolved over time, but that's always been the ultimate goal. It started that I wanted to write novels. Sometimes I want to be a journalist for a newspaper or magazine. In the past, I wanted to write screenplays for feature films. Lately, I've been wanting to get involved in television writing -- like for sitcoms. It's a pretty lofty goal, but I'll never know if I can do it if I don't try.

Unfortunately, literally none of that can be accomplished where I am (except journalism, but our newspaper rarely hires anyone and the company that owns it has a pretty bad reputation from employee reviews I've read).

It seems that everyone I know is starting their lives and reaching for their goals -- whether that be career-oriented or starting a family. So many of my friends and acquaintances are getting married and having kids. That's not exactly my life's goal right now, but that's the dream for a lot of people. And I'm just sitting here, twiddling my thumbs and working in an industry I don't like in a position that is very draining and uninspired.

I have no idea where I will be a year from now. That's both exhilarating and terrifying. Part of me thinks that our building closing could be my "out." I've played it safe for entirely too long. If I don't "go for it" now, will I ever have a chance?

Part of me wants to take this year to save money and get out of this town, but the other part of me fears failure in a new place where I don't have the security of my friends to fall back on. I'm at this point where I need to decide if playing it safe and living in mediocrity is acceptable -- or if I really want to put myself out there and possibly face a ton of rejection.

I don't know what I'm doing with my life. That has to be fine -- for now. But it's something on which I need to decide pretty quickly before my entire life passes me by. I guess I have a lot of thinking to do.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Quarterly Book Updates: Part 1

 At the beginning of the year, I made myself a reading goal. I told myself -- informally -- that I'd read 50 books in 2015.

I'm not off to a great start, I admit. We are now about a quarter of the way done with the year and I have read a total of 5 books.

Not so good. That means, in order to complete my goal, that I'll have to read 45 books from April to December. That's like 5 books a month. Rather than, you know, 5 books in three months.

I'll start by making some excuses for myself:

Excuse #1 -- The first book I read took practically a full month to read because it was really hard to get through. 

Excuse #2 -- I've been picking up extra hours at my second job because we lost a couple of employees and so the staff is a little thin right now.

Excuse #3 (the most honest excuse) -- I am fucking lazy.

So there we go.

Now, I'm going to go through the books that I've read and give a short review of them. If you like books then maybe you'll find something new for yourself to read. If you don't like books, then I'm sorry but you might want to skip the rest of this post. It's going to be about books.

1. Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Cherie Rating: Banging my head on a hard surface
Standard Rating: ***/***** 

I wrote a longer post about this book. You can read it here. Basically, I was excited to read this book because it seemed like a funny thriller set in the '70s amid a haze of marijuana. And, honestly, that's basically what it was.

However, there were so, so many characters. A character would pop up for like one scene in the beginning of the book and then pop up towards the end of the book and suddenly they are important to the whole plot. It didn't help that most of the characters had really stupid names that were hard to remember. 

The plot itself was interesting, but pretty convoluted. I thought maybe it was just me and that I was an idiot for finding it difficult to keep up, but I read some reviews on the book and a lot of readers were saying the same thing.

There's no question that Pynchon is a good writer, but this book ended up becoming more of a chore than something to enjoy. I still want to see the movie.

2. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Cherie Rating: Starry eyed; in awe of this woman and her talent
Standard Rating: ****/***** 

Amy Poehler is one of my heroes. She is so, so talented and such a great, strong female role model. I don't know if she thinks of herself that way, but I'm just so blown away by all she has accomplished and how she is so completely herself and how unashamed she is for that.

She doesn't apologize for being a working mother. She talks about her achievements and her mistakes about equally and she doesn't pretend she's a perfect person -- but that doesn't make her any less proud of her own accomplishments.

Also, being a huge SNL fan, I got a little giddy when she would talk about her time there. Seth Meyers, who co-anchored Weekend Update with Poehler and with whom she is good friends, also wrote a chapter and it's just wonderful.

She also talks about her "Parks and Recreation" cast mates and that made me very emotional. I'm a ridiculous person (or maybe just an obsessed comedy fan, idk).

Mostly, I took away from this that Amy Poehler is an incredibly strong woman who you shouldn't fuck with. I'd love to be friends with her.

3. Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Cherie Rating: NO.
Standard Rating: **/***** 

I bought this book on sale at Barnes and Noble probably 5 years ago but I never read it. I figured my book challenge would be the perfect time to read some of those books that I bought on a whim and never ended up reading.

That was a bad idea.

In my English class senior year of high school, we read a short story by Joyce Carol Oates called "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" It was one of my favorite things we read that year and it made a huge impression on me. Not long after I read that story, I picked up Little Bird of Heaven and another book, Them, by Joyce Carol Oates.

Little Bird of Heaven made me want to throw it out the window of a moving car and then let other cars run over it. The story line itself was decent. It's about the murder of a woman. There are two suspects in the murder -- her husband and her lover. The story is told from the perspective of her lover's daughter, Krista Diehl, and her own son, Aaron Kruller.

Krista Diehl is an ignorant teenager. Aaron is kind of an asshole. Aaron is a little more sympathetic than Krista, but neither are very likable. Krista especially is frustrating. She constantly criticizes her mom and believes her dad (always referred to as "Daddy" which drove me up the wall -- you're 15, stop) could never in a million years have committed the murder. Even though "Daddy" is by all means a selfish bottom feeder.

The ending of the book was so anti-climactic. I just really couldn't even care about it by the time I got to the end, but it was one of those things where I kept hoping the book would get better and by the time I realized it wouldn't, I was already 2/3 of the way done.

I'm probably going to give Oates a shot to redeem herself in my eyes because that short story was so good, but ugh. What a waste of time.

4. The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel

Cherie Rating: Constant page turning
Standard Rating: ****/***** 

Andrea Seigel wrote one of my favorite books, Like the Red Panda. I read it when I was a freshman in high school and it was probably the first "edgy, young adult" book I ever read. By "edgy," I mean that it talked about actual issues like suicide and also the narrator used the F word.

I'm not sure if it's weird that I'm a 25-year-old who still loves young adult fiction, but I decided to read this after reading the massacre that was Little Bird of Heaven and I'm happy to say that this book brought me a lot of relief and happiness.

This book, similar to Inherent Vice, also has a lot of characters. The protagonist is Ingrid Bell, a high school senior who still has to sit with her teenage/young adult cousins at "the kid table" at family gatherings. This is a coming of age novel if I've ever seen one and it's told from the perspective of a flawed but intelligent narrator.

Although there's probably a lot going on in Ingrid's life, The Kid Table focuses completely on her interactions with her family and her cousins. The family is imperfect and quirky. The book will make you laugh, but it will also tear at your heartstrings. There's a lot of subplots between the cousins and aunts/uncles, but I think that Seigel ties it up perfectly at the end. 

I was very pleased with this and, if you like reading about teenagers and their transitions to adulthood, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cherie Rating: Actual speechlessness
Standard Rating: *****/***** 

This is another "young adult" novel, I guess. 

I read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell at the end of last year and found it absolutely charming and simultaneously heartbreaking. Rowell is an author who very much understands teenagers and how they think. 

Fangirl is honestly a book that I very much relate to. It's about a girl, Cath Avery, who is just heading to college. Her twin sister Wren wants to distance herself from Cath a little bit and start her own life. That leaves Cath by herself in a dorm room with a roommate who comes and goes at all hours. On top of that, her roommate's boyfriend (or friend, Cath isn't really sure) keeps hanging out in their dorm even when her roommate is gone.

Cath has trouble connecting with people in person. She would rather spend all her free time in front of her computer writing fan fiction. Cath is a well-known author of fan fiction for a book series about Simon Snow, which is basically like Harry Potter with the whole magic kids at a magic school thing. She is well-known in this fandom and her fiction is read by thousands of Simon Snow fans from across the globe.

This book is basically about Cath coming to terms with college, her family, and learning to branch out and make friends through actual human contact.

Although Cath and I are in some ways very different, I related to this character more than I've related to any character in a very long time. Our family lives are totally different and I haven't written fan fiction since high school, but that's definitely where I started with writing. My FanFiction.Net profile still exists and sometimes I go back to it to reminisce/laugh at my teenage self.

Beyond a love of writing, Cath and I have very similar personalities when it comes to interacting with people. There was this point where Cath was thinking about how glad she was that her dorm was pretty much empty, how she preferred to be alone, etc. At one point, Cath is too afraid to go to the dining hall by herself and she ends up just eating a bunch of protein bars, one of which she takes to the bathroom to eat so her roommate doesn't see.

I feel like part of Cath's issue is self-esteem, but the majority of it seems like good old fashioned social anxiety. I've diagnosed myself with social anxiety disorder. I'm like 99% sure I have it. The thought of meeting new people and having to interact with them socially makes me incredibly, incredibly nervous. And I think that Rowell did a great job at explaining the emotions behind that kind of fear.

Of course, Cath does open up throughout the book. It wouldn't be a young adult novel if there wasn't a lot of growing on the part of the protagonist. I really just think the world of this author for presenting such real characters. Between this book and Eleanor and Park, I am just completely in awe.

So that is my first quarter of the year book update. Has anyone read any of these? Any recommendations for me? I have 45 books to read over the next 9 months so I'll take any suggestions I can get!

Monday, March 23, 2015

You Might Be An Annoying Customer If...

Do you guys remember when Jeff Foxworthy was a popular Southern comedian in the '90s? Do you remember the "You might be a redneck if..." jokes?

Well, I'm here with a new twist on that old joke. Only I'm not going to pretend I'm kidding with these.

As someone who has spent the better part of the last 10 years working in various types of customer service positions (by "various" I mean two -- the pizza business and the insurance business), I have encountered a plethora of annoying types of customers. 

Today, I'm going to share some of those annoyances. This might help someone by making them realize that they're actually an annoying customer and that they should probably cut that crap out. Here we go.

You might be an annoying customer if... you think you know more about my job than I do. 

I don't know how many times I will be talking with a policyholder at work who tells me, "I work in customer service. I know how this works." Or "I've worked for an insurance company. Don't try to tell me..."

This is one of my number one pet peeves.

Yes, maybe you've worked a similar type of job. But you probably haven't worked for the same company and you're probably wrong about whatever it is you think you know. Unfortunately, every company operates differently and unless you're working my position at my company at this very moment (because rules and statutes change, so I don't care if you worked there five years ago) then this really isn't a valid argument.

Sorry. You're just wasting both my time and yours because I'm not suddenly going to change my mind about what I'm telling you just because you used to work for an insurance company.

You might be an annoying customer if... you complain just to get free stuff.

Complaining actually very often does get you free stuff. This doesn't work as well with insurance as it does in the food service industry, so I'll primarily be focusing there for this one.

Recently, my roommate/coworker/friend (she wears many hats) has had to deal with this one customer who just won't stop complaining about our product. The conversation played out a little like this:
Customer: I just picked up my food and the green peppers on the pizza weren't cooked. 
Roommate: I'm sorry about that. We can remake your order if you would like.
Customer: Well, I'm already home now.
Roommate: I can give you a credit for the next time you order.
Customer: The cheese wasn't even melted. It was basically raw.
Roommate: I'm sorry. I'm going to put in a $20 credit for the next time you order so you'll get a free pizza.
Customer: It was just really bad.
After a certain point, what are you expecting? Rambling on about how bad it is doesn't change the fact that our resolution is going to be one of two choices. You either get your food remade now or you get your next order free. It's a pretty easy concept, but I'm pretty sure some of these people think we're going to hand them a key to the store or something because of a mild inconvenience.

Also, this customer in particular seems to be very into free stuff. When she'd originally placed her order, she'd complained to me about how chewy her wings were the last time she'd ordered. And when she came to pick up her order, she parked her car right in the middle of two parking spots (her car was smack in the middle of the lines) in a spot directly in front of the door. I'm glad she's so important that she had to use two parking spots. The next week, she redeemed her credit and proceeded to complain yet again about a free pizza to which we ended up giving her another credit so she could get a free pizza for her free pizza that she didn't like. There's a point where we're going to stop giving her credits, but I think she just should stop ordering entirely.

This particular complaint leads right into my next point...

You might be an annoying customer if... you keep coming back even though you hate the company/product.

I've experienced this type of customer at both of my jobs. There's always going to be people who bad mouth the company or the product every single time they interact with you. And I just don't understand why these people would rather complain than just find another place to do business.

For example, "Every time I order from you, I hate it because  ______ (insert: food is cold, product is expensive, received incorrect product, etc)."

I don't give companies very many chances to fuck up before I just move on and take my business elsewhere. If I go to a particular restaurant and have bad service two times in a row, I'm probably not coming back. At least not for the foreseeable future. I'm not going to make a huge scene to the manager about what a travesty my experience was, but I'm just probably not going to come back.

Some people refuse to stop doing business with the company despite always finding the experience to be negative. As much as you don't want to lose business when you work in customer service, there comes a point when you want to tell these people to just go somewhere else. Of course, you can't do that but oh... do you want to.

You might be an annoying customer if... you keep changing your mind.

This one I understand to a degree. Sometimes there are so many different things that you want and it makes it hard to choose.

But I swear, if you call up three times in ten minutes to change your order again, I might actually roll my eyes so hard that I strain a muscle. Please make your decision for what you want before you order. If you need to hear about the specials then I will tell them to you, but please make your mind up before you decide on something. This is once again wasteful of my time and also of yours.

These are just a few complaints that I have about certain types of customers. In general, you encounter more good customers than bad customers in most different types of customer service jobs (I'd assume). Unfortunately, it's the bad ones that are most memorable.

Do you have any points to add?



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