Christmas sorta sucks. The glittery, magical loving Christmas I once knew is no more. I remember visiting grandparents or having grandparents visit for a week. Christmas was full of family and baking. Christmas was about rifling through the Sears catalog and picking out what I wanted Santa to bring (I know… my rant on commercialism falls short by saying that…). Those were pleasant times. Sharing family and having lots of people around. I will admit, they were pleasant because they always brought cool presents for ME.

This modern version of Christmas is very hard to swallow. I don’t fell the same good will as I once did. I can’t stand being pressured into purchases. I can’t stand those bell ringers (where are you during Jan thru Oct???) I can’t stand hearing about the earnings of various retail stores. My Christmas is not that material. Christmas has become a cold far out nightmare that comes once a year. I hate the mall. People only go to the mall because they HAVE to. Mall parking is a nightmare. Traffic jams do not put anyone in a good mood. I wish I had a camera for my last mall visit. The Santa line was something to behold. I did not see cheer on a single face, except the kids. EVERY parent had a look of annoyance. The santa was just being santa and besides I can’t hear or see what he may be mumbling under that fluffy fake facial facade. What’s worse… (than the mall)… WAL-MART!!! Give me a break! That place has become the mecca for white trash everywhere. The picture hut is hilarious. People elbowing each other to get in line so little Johnny can ball his eyes out just as the camera is about to click. The 24 hour places have gone way downhill and become soooooo dirty. Don’t get me started with the checkout lines. They are long… always. There is some sort of length of line quota because I went to Wal-Mart late at night and had to wait (of course only 1 checkout open). Morons.

Christmas sucks. But January gets better. The crowds, the over marketed products, the appearance of products that will be sold in the following summers garage sale (The Pizza cooker???) will all go away as soon as the NCAA Div I football champion has been crowned. Then life gets back to normal. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Go to work. Have a nice weekend. Go to work. …you get the point. I remember Christmas being good once (about 9 years of it). I don’t remember when I found out Santa’s secret, but I am sure I denied for a few years after. I am now (at my old age) recognizing more why we have Christmas. I am trying to enjoy Christmas with my heart instead of my wallet. For more on Christmas, visit your local clergy.

Thank you and good day….

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I really need to write more blogs. Or else change the name to “weekly/bi-weekly thoughts”. Or better yet, “whenever the thought hits me”.

This is the “season of giving”, yet I pass the bell ringers everytime I enter Wal-Mart. In my defense… I normally use a debit card and seldom have change in my pocket. Yes, I could put a dollar bill in the bowl, but why temp the ringer with easily concealable currency. If that guy or gal is going to run off to their Nascar bookie with donated money, they better be jingling all the way.

I get a bit upset seeing the athletes and celebrities on TV who have committed multiple drug offense (IE: D. Strawberry, Downey Jr.). What upsets me (or causes me a moment of frustration) is that we are lead to feel pity. “They are victims.” Cut the crap. I get enough of that on the “Lifetime” channel. I am not talking about the common Joe who has a drug or alcohol problem. I am pointing out the people who have a gift to perform or excel in a certain sport (not to mention buy their way out). Don’t get me wrong. I have compassion for the peasant who gets “mixed up in drugs” or “was never given the same opportunities”. I am pro second chance and believe in a certain level of public assistance to aid in the cause. Sinkholes I oppose. I have a problem with the famed being victimized and given multiple chances at the same time we are supposed to feel sorry for them. These folks have the opportunities to be clean. Do it. Get help. I don’t pity you…totally.

BTW… on the topic of drugs. I am a Gen-X’er. As much as a try to dissassociate from the stereotype, I am one. I grew up with all the other Gen-X’ers who were pounded with TV ads. We grew up watching a crying indian (Native Am.) who was upset by the litter. We grew up seeing the American Heart Association symbol (…and it wasn’t a Phillip Morris ad). We grew up with Nancy Reagan and her cause. We also saw the egg and the frying pan. ……. But for some unknown reason, we (my generation) still have smokers, drug abusers, and kids throwing straw wrappers out of their beat up, crappy, rusted Datsun 210 window while pulling out of the drive through lane. I ask my fellow Generation X’ers to give me a good reason why you do these things. Why do you think smoking is good for you? Why in the hell do you think Meth is fun? Why is it so hard to put the straw wrapper in the brown McDonalds sack and dispose of it later? Tip to live by: keep your trash in your car and dispose of it at the gas station. There are trash receptacles at almost every one. Tip2: Smoking not good. Tip3: Meth bad. Mantra: Don’t be a dumbass.

Quality vs. Quantity

How do we balance these two concepts when trying to provide good customer service? Does the customer care whether or not they get heard or whether they get their issues taken care of. On the one hand, a customer talks to a human to listen and receives “uh huh, uh huh… we will get back to you, please hold” which offers the quantity notion by moving on to the next customer. On the other hand, a customer can get the full attention of a customer service representative and gets the problem heard and resolved in a certain amount of time (with other customers waiting or not even heard). Which would you want? A quantity of half satisfied customers or a lower number of quality satisfied customers. The ideal situation is to obtain both… quality and quantity, but the short term reality proves that you can’t achieve both. Over time, you can establish a standard of quality and tweak that standard to better serve the masses and hence obtain quantity.