Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

School is a Skill

"He's are really smart! He always get high marks in school!"

I'm sure we've all heard that many times. Many of us have said it.

I graduated from high school with an average of 75%. I failed my first year of college. I re-did that year and got straight 'A's. After that I almost consistently got 'A's. All through college and university. In university I only got 3 non-'A's.

What happened? Did I get inherently smarter? Did my I.Q. rise?


I learnt something very important: School is a skill. Like any other skill, some naturally have it, and some people have to work at it. With the right kind of work, and the right amount of work, just about anybody can become good at it. I didn't have the skill from birth. I never worked on it until I got to college. It took a year, but I got better at it.

If school is a skill that can be learned, how can we know if a person is smart?

That's easy. The more they agree with you, the smarter they are.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm An Artist Too (53)

There will be no coffee cup art this week because somebody can't appreciate real art when they see it.

Whenever I get a styrofoam container I draw on it. I leave it on my desk at work. After I've accumulated enough I take pictures and upload them to my blog to show you on Wednesday's Coffee Cup Art series.

Since I moved to my new job I don't have access to as many places that give out blank styrofoam containers like I did at my old job. I have to go back to my old workplace to get some. I started doing just that. I have to pass my old work place on the way to my new work place. If I pass by my old work place early enough I stop in for breakfast, which leaves with a coffee cup to draw on.

So I started collecting again. I had drawn a pirate on Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19. I came into work yesterday morning and noticed that my coffee cups were gone! I'm assuming that the cleaning staff threw them out.

This is my message to the person who threw out my coffee cups:
What? You don't know art when you see it? Huh? I don't go into your house and throw your paintings away.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Widget

I've added this neat widget above my Blogroll in the sidebar of this blog. The widget is in beta. It might screw up. When it works, you should be able to read Dilbert in colour!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm An Artist Too (52)

It has now been one year since I started posting my coffee cup art. When I got a new job and had to move out of my old office I had to throw out my old coffee cups. I took a picture before they went to the great cubicle in the sky, and here it is, all my coffee cups and to-go boxes:

(It's a pretty high resolution picture so it can take a while if you click on it to download, but you should be able to see a lot of detail on the cups.)

Ahhhhhh, the memories.

Which one was your favourite?

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Woes of Customer Service

"There are two rules of management: 1. The customer is always right. 2. They must be punished for their arrogance." -Dogbert's rules of management.

Many countries have laws that require its citizens to do some military service. Canada is not one of those countries. Nor should it be, in my opinion. Canada is not a militaristic country. However, it is a consumeristic country.

Instead of requiring every able-bodied Canadian to do military service, I think Canada should require every one of its citizens do several months of customer service. This could be working at a fast food restaurant, store clerk, gas station jockey, or any minimum wage job that requires you deal with the general public.

Anyone who has worked in that sort of job knows what customers can be like. Working in that job shows you how to be a good customer. Being a good customer means getting good service. Good service may be company policy, but the customer service agents are people too. The better you treat them, the better they treat you. Trust me; a smile, a "please" and a "thank you" go a long way. Longer than a good tip.

You may be a bad customer and not know it.

I worked at a Tim Horton's in an Esso gas station for a while. It was a small Tim Horton's. I worked alone. My only human interaction most days was with customers.

Tim Horton's has a policy of throwing out old coffee. This way the coffee is always fresh. Once a pot brews we look at a clock, add 20 minutes, and write that time on the pot with an easily erasable pencil. If it's really busy, we don't mark the pots because no pot will last 20 minutes. Once a pot has been sitting for 20 minutes it's poured down the sink.

I always kept at least 2 pots on the go. One pot had coffee that was less than 10 minutes old - the fresh pot. The other had coffee that was at least 10 minutes old - the old pot.

I quit that job years ago to return to college. But if I ever take that job again for extra cash, or whatever reason, and you come in and see me behind the counter here are some ways to get coffee from the old pot:
  1. Ask for the freshest coffee - this guarantees you the oldest coffee I have.

    Yeah, I'm a jerk. But so are you. Enjoy your "fresh" coffee.
  2. Ask for coffee from the oldest pot. - I did have a customer that did this. She wanted decaf as old and strong as I could make it. I would stop brewing new decaf at least an hour before she normally would come in. She would greet me with a smile that would brighten the day. She would ask how old my decaf was. "Ummm...over an hour old."
    "Good. The older, the better. Can I have a large single-single decaf, please?"
    "Why, certainly. That will be $1.35, please."
    "Here you go," she'd say as she gave me a Toonie. "Keep the change, and have a good day."
    "Thank you very much! Have a good day!"

    My best customer. I'd personally remove the caffeine molecules with a pair of tweezers for her if she asked.

    Bottom line: If you want old coffee, ask. You just might get it.
  3. Greet me by saying "Hi. How are you?" then interrupt me when I begin to say "Not bad, how about you?" - If you don't want an answer DON'T ASK A @#$@n' QUESTION! Just say "Hi."

    Yeah, I'm a jerk. But so are you.
  4. If you buy something from me just to make change, don't be surprised to receive $18.50 in nickels and dimes. - I'm there to serve coffee, not make change.

    Yeah, I'm a jerk. But so are you. Enjoy your 20 lbs of coinage. I hope you have a good belt to hold your trousers up with that added weight.
  5. Don't use the manners your mother taught you, like "Please" and "Thank you." - I'll treat you like a human when you treat me like one.

    Yeah, I'm a jerk. But so are you.
  6. Assume that because you don't see anyone else in line, there isn't anyone else in line. - Sometimes I have someone at the drive-thru that you can't see. Sometimes they hum and haw and it looks like I'm just ignoring you. I'm not. You're second in line. Wait your turn.

    Sometimes people come in, order a number of coffees, then go to the washroom while I make the drinks. Then you walk in and think you're the first one in line. You're not.

    You're not a jerk this time. Your confusion is understandable. Unless you blow up at me. Then you're a jerk.
  7. Demand a coffee instead of asking for one. - I'm not your slave-boy. You depend on me for good service. Treat me like a human. When you do that, I'll return the favour.

    Yeah, I'm a jerk. But so are you. Enjoy your "fresh" coffee.
  8. Tell me you're in a hurry, then order something that takes a while to make, like an Iced Cap, or a toasted begal with cream cheese. Then leave before its prepared. Then come back 20 minutes later wondering where it is. - When you demand I move faster you will fall to the bottom of my priority list and get served last. Telling me to go faster has the same effect as tailgating me when driving. I don't move faster. I slow down. When you leave, I'll eat your begal and drink your Iced Cap. Mmmmm. Yummy!

    Yeah, I'm a jerk. But so are you.
  9. Pay for your order with the money from my tip tray. - Thief.
  10. Remove the lid to your tea, take a sip, don't completely replace the cover leaving an opening so some hot tea can fall onto my hand - thus scalding me - in order to tell me it's too hot. - This won't get you old coffee. But you're still a jerk. I'm suing you.

    Tea is hot. So is coffee without cream or milk. In my day you could ask for ice with your tea. I found two ice cubes would quickly cool the tea down to a drinkable temperature. I don't know if you can still do this. This is part of the demise of Tim Horton's, which I will likely blog about in the future. I now go toCountry Style for my coffee.


All of the above are from actual incidences. There was no exaggeration. Apparently customer service doesn't bring out the best in me. I guess it's a good thing I work with computers nowadays.

Maybe I should join a Facebook group, as talked about in today's article.

(Yeah. I know today's post didn't have a lot to do with today's article, but I wanted to rant. Feel free to leave your customer-related rants as comments.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm An Artist Too (51)

This is an angel who wants to be entertained.

(BTW: This is drawn on a church bulletin. I call it "Pew Art")