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Sunday, May 28, 2006

profile


OK - it looks like the pic with the camera is the most popular. Now I have one more to throw in...choose between these two. The one with the camera and the one with the shades. Which one?

Also, I'm going to take a break from bragging on myself - but that doesn't mean I won't link to someone who brags about me...hahahahaha

that's it.

PS - I can't believe Barry bonds passed the Babe's HR's. I wonder how many Ruth would have hit if he had some juice...???

Friday, May 26, 2006

a lot of stuff...

Alright...here goes. Luke is really into skateboarding - he has his own and does it every day. He found out his dad used to skate and now i skate with him. We go to local parks and local shops and ride and the boy can already ride transitions and ollie. Very cool. He's watched videos etc., so I decided to make him a little one of his old man. You can see it here - not bad for a 32 year old who hasn't skated in a long time. ;) I promise to practice and get some real footage for you. Beware - the video is about 2MB - it will only play in windows - not a mac, sorry.

Next - I have had complaints that my profile pics is really bad. That I look weird in it. So...I have decided to change it - however...I need votes on it to let me know which one to change it to.

Soooo, please peruse the pics below and let me know which one you like the best. The pic that gets the most votes wins. I know my blog isn't too popular, but hey, that means your vote counts more. heheh












Monday, May 22, 2006

me...

ok -first I'm on a little self-promotion kick...so please forgive me.
second - i'll get off of it when stuff stops happening to me. ;)

Here's the latest. I was asked recently to give some comments/thoughts on a program one of our vendors provides to other companies like ours. They are a pretty big company too - they have roughly 40K+ customers nationwide. Well, I had no idea what it was for - until now. I just got this big hard mail piece that is trifold with a big packet of info etc that has a pic of me and my quote in the upper center of the middle of the brochure. Pretty cool. Here are some pics. It kind of made my day. Just thought I'd share. ;)



This is the whole kit.














main thing I'm in...












Now the opening etc.....



















in top middle....















hahahahahah - ;)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

'chomping(?) at the bit' for tootsie rolls...




After soccer this morning, we were on our way home and the kids were eating tootsie roll lollipops. Lisa and I were talking and I said aloud..."I wonder where those things came from. And how did they get the name tootsie roll?"
"I have no idea." She replied.
"Well, I'm now on a mission." I said. "I'm going to research it and delve into the wide world of chocolate covered candies and get to the bottom of this. I may have to research for hours or days, even, to find the information I need to feel completely satisified with the results."
"Really?"
"Yeah. This is something that people should know. I think I'll even blog about it. I know it's going to be something interesting - and people will want to know more."
"OK. You do that...I'm sure everyone will be anticipating the results of your research and they are chomping at the bit to find out more about tootsie rolls." She said, rolling her eyes.
"Ahhhh," I replied. "They will be chomping at the bit with a tootsie roll!" I exclaimed. "Better yet, I am going to include research on the phrase 'chomping at the bit' as well. This will be a meaty post!"

As soon as I got home, I booted up the laptop, and proceeded to google with the search "tootsie roll". Wouldn't you know it? The first result that came up was the tootsie roll main link. I decided to follow it (this wouldn't take as long as I initially thought). I then proceeded to the history. Here is a quick synopsis of the history of the tootsie roll:

1896 - Austrian immigrant Leo Hirshfield brings to the U.S. his recipe for a chocolatey, chewy candy, which he begins producing in a small store in New York City.

Hirshfield names the candy after his five-year-old daughter, whose nickname is "Tootsie."

When a product reaches an age advanced enough to be known as a "national institution," it usually bears little resemblance to its original form - however, this is not the case with Tootsie Roll. The round piece of chewy, chocolatey candy that delights Americans today still looks and tastes amazingly like the first Tootsie Roll, made over 109 years ago. Even more astonishing, the candy roll still sells for one penny, the original price, even though the company now offers candy packages priced up to $7.17.

1931 - The Tootsie Pop, consisting of hard candy on the outside and chocolatey, chewy Tootsie Roll on the inside, is invented.

1942 - The candy is included in World War II rations and becomes highly valued by the armed forces for its ability to withstand severe weather conditions and give troops "quick energy."

blah blah blah - yes those are the important points of note to me - swiped straight from their website. To learn more for yourself...click here.

'Chomping at the bit'
OK - here's something interesting about this phrase...it's actually wrong! The original phrase was 'Champing at the bit'. How about that? The things you learn when you look them up. Now this whole time - I'm thinking this phrase (chomping at the bit) has something to do with horses eating sugar or something while you try to put reins etc on them. Well, here's what 'Champing at the bit' actually means.

CHAMPING: Repetitious, strong opening and closing action of the mouth whichproduces sounds when the teeth hit together. Champing in swine may be athreat signal, but also is performed by boars during courtship and mating.

v. tr. - To bite or chew upon noisily. v. intr. - To work the jaws and teeth vigorously. Idiom: - champ at the bit To show impatience at being held back or delayed.

For a long time, chomp and champ enjoyed slightly different intransitive senses: to chomp was to chew or bite on something; to champ was tomake biting or gnashing movements. Champ was the usual word to describe the noisy biting or chewing associated with farm animals; when an unruly or impatient horse bit or gnashed a bridle's bit, he or she was said to being "champing at the bit." That literal champing became figurative when it was applied to humans impatient at restraint or inactivity.

Anyway - my hours and days of research turned out to be shorter than the time it took for me to type all this stuff up. Crazy, huh?

Now you can impress your friends and family with a couple of useless facts to be seen as brilliant and full of knowledge. HAHAHAHAHAHAH

-l8r-

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

back 2 2fer...

OK - I realize I missed last week somehow...Hrmmmm??? Anyway, I decided to do something different for my 2fer this week. Instead of 2 things...I'm putting 2 people. I know this will embarrass them, but what the heck...I don't even know if they read this or not.

For those of you who don't know, I had to be in a skit last Thursday that was VERY fun. We did a Jeopardy game for a bunch of people. Well, I was the Alex Trebeck guy (Alejandro Jalepeno) and needed a good costume. I decided to try to find something at Goodwill b/c they have old cheap stuff. Well I did find some good stuff...but, I wasn't alone. HAHAHAH - I was accompanied by none other than Angela and Andrea from my office. We went to lunch and then to Goodwill. ;) I got pics of them sifting through stuff. Of course we did hit the jackpot that day. They were doing a clearance of some sort and had brought all their clothes out to sell. So they had a blast. Here's a pic. And my 2fer. 1-Angela; 2 - Andrea. heh

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's all good...

So, yesterday was one of the worst days I've had in a loooonngg time. It sucked! Especially up until lunchtime or a little after. Then by the end of the day all was well in the world. I don't want to go into too much detail, but I am glad it's over. I have been pretty stressed lately with the 2 houses, all my past and future travel, add to that a crazy misunderstanding and an irate customer who essentially called me a liar. Anyway it's done - today was WAY better. The 2 houses are still in process, my future travel is nowhere near as exhausting as it was going to be (I was to go to Panama City in a couple of weeks and to Boston, Tampa and Siberia...in July - I'll stop there, I'm trying to not even think about DC and Chicago in August etc. etc.) I've decided to axe Panama City and Siberia. Not popular choices with others, but they'll have to deal. The crazy misunderstanding is now understood and it wasn't a big deal and the irate customer...I'll deal with them Monday - I believe it was a misunderstanding too...I'll know after a face-to-face.

Anyway, after work Lisa asked me to go to Kohl's and pay off her Kohl's card (a whopping $62.98) so I went. I waited in line and got to the cashier and gave her the account number, which she typed in and asked how much I wanted to pay. "I want to pay it off", I said, thinking that she could look up the amount. "Sir, I'm sorry, but I can't look up your account balance. I can only accept payments."
"Fine. Let me call my wife and find out what the balance is." I called Lisa and she said it was $62.98, which I repeated to the cashier. "$62.98 is the total. That's what I want to pay."
"OK, sir. $62.98. Alright. How would you like to pay?"
"I'll use my check card."
"Oh, I'm sorry sir. We don't accept credit cards for account payment."
"OK - I'm not using a credit card. This is a check card; a debit card."
"We don't accept those either. Only cash or check."
Well, now I was getting frustrated. There had to be around this stupidity. As soon as I started thinking how to thwart the Kohl's piss-poor point of sale system, I saw 'Gift Card' on the screen. It was too brilliant...too easy, yet so dumb. I had found the hole in their 'oh-so-credit-protected' system.
"Umm, ma'am?" I said, asking very sweetly as to not attract too much attention. "I think I would like to buy a gift card for $62.98."
Immediately, she looked up at me. One eyebrow was raised, her opposite eye slightly squinting.
"You want to buy a gift card?" She replied.
"Yeah. I want a gift card. The green one." My excitement was rising. Foolish cashier, I thought to myself. How dare you attempt to match wits with me. You have no idea who I am or the brilliance I inspire.
"That will be $62.98, please."
I handed over my debit card...easily...steadily...as to not arouse any suspicicion. She swiped it, printed the receipt and handed me the gift card.
"Fool!" I exclaimed. "HA! I have twarted your meager point of sale system. Was there ever a thought that I would leave the store without paying? May it never be!" I quickly glanced at the name tag worn by the cashier. "Now, Ms. Sharon...I would like to pay off my Kohl's account balance of $62.98 with this GREEN gift card!"
All of the joy drained from her face as she realized she had lost the battle. She looked down for a second, almost bewildered at the turn of events. The people in line behind me started whispering and snickering. They were beginning to congratulate my intellectual prowess.
Sharon extended her hand, into which I politely, yet firmly placed the green gift card. What else was she to do? She took the card and swiped it and typed $62.98 on the screen and applied payment to my gift card. Then she printed the receipt.
Applause started from somewhere in the back of the store. I realized they were applauding my efforts...my quick thinking.
After handing me the receipt, Sharon quietly said "Have a good day Mr. Story."
To which I replied..."I always do, Sharon. I always do." I then left the store to a round of applause and laughter which made me smile all the way to my Jeep and to home.

SATURDAY
This is a little anticlimactic, but just to let you know that not every day is like yesterday. I got up this morning, went to soccer, came home worked on my footers, rode my bike, went running and worked on my footers some more. We also had supper with our neighbors - I ran my book idea by them and they thought it was fascinating. What's really funny (odd) is that the neighbor wife's dad may have had something to do with what I am writing about...not sure if that's good or bad yet. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

hell and pride

Before you read on...know these things.

Hell is real.
Pride is real.

In the past 24 hours I have experienced both. Really (no, not really).

1st. Hell. Last night I had the pleasure of attending a PTA meeting at our local school. Along with the meeting, there was a program given in which 4th and 5th graders played music and sang, etc. It would have been much more fun had one of our kids been in it, but they are not old enough yet. Anyway, sitting through that, not really having ties to anyone in the performance, it was - what I am sure to be - what Hell will be like. I even have pictures. All kidding aside, the kids really did do a good job. And they did a lot - I didn't realize kids had attention spans that long.








Anyway, if you notice in the pictures, I would like to know how a student gets picked to play the plastic tube.









2nd. Pride. This morning I was surprised with an award from our local chamber of commerce. They give this award out once a year and it is really an honor to receive it. It is the Community Leadership Association Distinguished Leadership Award. I just got it from our Metro area for this year. Pretty cool. Someone made the remark that I am going to need a cabinet to put these things in. And (my pride being up there) I agreed. Then someone said that I will need a new office for my head to fit in (which quickly brought me back down). hahahahah



Anyway, I hadn't posted in a few days so I thought I'd let you in one some things that have been happening around here (me). hahahahaha

Friday, May 05, 2006

(in)famous....

Well, guess what happened to me on the way to work today.

Nope nothing exciting. But, I did get called to give my opinions on customer service in a kind of interview a couple of days ago and did so - which may be for a new book coming out later in the year. Very cool. And I'm getting a head start by being featured on a blog as well. It's all about customer service. I have decided to repost the blog here - when I get the address, I'll put it up too. I know it's long...but it's really good. And Ted really knows what he's talking about.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ted’s Blog

“Do you do training for companies?” I get that question all the time.

Actually, that’s exactly what we do.

Sure, I’ve written a book. I hope people buy it, and that some of them actually read it (surprisingly, many do!). But I don’t consider myself an author nearly so much as I am a teacher. That’s why I like to describe my book, Five-Star Customer Service, as a really long brochure. I wrote it to send to CEOs and other top managers, in the hopes of winning their business to do on-site training of their managers and staff.

Yes, I do keynote speaking, and I love to do it. There is nothing better than sharing the best practices I’ve learned with a new group of people. I throw myself into it with missionary zeal. Nothing is more urgent in business today than helping people to really “get it” when it comes to customer service. And almost nobody “gets it,” even among our nation’s business leadership. It’s amazing. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

But while a one-hour workshop is useful – very useful, I’ve been told by the people who actually sign the checks – even better is when a top manager invites us to rework some of their operations, making the entire company more customer-centric.

As my father taught me from his work in Total Quality Management, the push for outstanding customer service has to start all the way at the top: without the chief executive firmly behind it, it’s tough to make change of this type stick. Then, the company needs a Chief Customer Officer of some sort – the title doesn’t matter that much, just the job of “Customer Champion.” There really should be someone on the inside whose whole purpose is to drive a company’s customer focus. Someone who reports directly to the CEO. Someone with the authority to reward those who play along, and to make life quite difficult for those who refuse. Because customer service is, first and last, about people. If the people on the inside buy into it, you’re most of the way there. If they stand in the way… good luck.

Saratoga Technologies (http://saratogaus.com/) has just such a person in Tim Story, Senior Vice President of Customer Relations. Tim’s role at Saratoga is to make sure their 1,200 customers (and counting) aren’t just satisfied, they’re spoiled by the products and support they receive.

As Tim says, “There aren’t a lot of people out there who genuinely care for people. I guess a fault of mine is I care too much about people. I just want them to have what they need. Sometimes, when I’m with a customer, I’ll say, ‘You don’t need all this.’ And we’ll sell them less than they were planning to buy.”

Foolish? Crazy? Are you thinking, perhaps, that that is no way to run a business?

If so, the vast majority of business people would agree with you. But they’re wrong. I don’t mean merely from a customer service perspective. That thinking is wrong from a financial perspective as well.

Tim continues, “Whenever we do this – every single time – the customer will call and order something else from us, maybe a month later. We’ve gained their trust, and that makes us the kind of company you want to do business with.”

Saratoga isn’t just another company. They’re one of CRN’s Fast Growth 100. They’re also one of Tennessee’s Fast 50 Businesses. They’re on the move. My bet is, with top executives like Tim Story driving their culture of customer service excellence, it won’t be too long until you start hearing a lot more about this remarkable firm.

Superlative customer service pays. Just ask Saratoga Technologies.

‘Every single time’ he puts the customer ahead of his own company, they buy more from him. Can your company say the same? Or is it too focused on the quick hit?

If so, we should talk.


Questions? Concerns? Comments? Do you have a customer service story of your own to share? Email me directly: ted@coinetraining.com. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Must See TV

well, er, must see web video. Hilarious....

immigrants....

A - I know you know I'm white.
B - That has nothing to do with what I'm about to type.

Yesterday was the big immigrant walkout day. The illegals and their supporters were to show us 'en masse that they controlled so much of our economy, etc. Funny, but I didn't notice any great catastrophe of monetary proportions that brought this country to its knees. That makes me wonder... What did the immigrants prove by protesting and walking out, other than by showing that they really aren't neccessary to the national economy? At least on a grand scale like they thought. I don't understand. I went and ate Mexican food for lunch yesterday (which was at a place ran by Mexicans) simply because they didn't walk out and close.

Another thing that I find odd is the "New Black Panther" Group that is in NC supporting the woman who accused the Duke LaCrosse players of rape. I watched their spoksman on Hannity & Colmes try to speak as to why they are there and supporting her and wanting the kids to be guilty, etc. I know they are supporting her because she is black. Fine. What I don't understand is that the spoksman for the group had nothing to say but rant on about who shot MLK, Jr. etc. And he talks about how the crime happened (before there's even been a trial). If groups like theirs are really trying to bring about justice and grow their cause, one would think that they would at least try to get the brighest of the bunch to be the "face" of the group so they didn't look so ignorant on TV. Even Alan Colmes, who I usually disagree with, was putting them in their place by trying to ask a simple question and never getting an answer. I don't understand why these people agree to be on TV with "Pro's" unless they can really handle it.

OK - time to step off my soapbox and go get some lunch.

Oh one last thing - Johnny T, MXing last night was fun...I still can't believe you opened it up on the big jump...hope you're not too sore this morning. heheh