Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When Government Fails Its People

When Things Don’t Make Sense!!!!!
 Anyone who is walking, breathing,and living in this country would have to be dead to not see that there are so many things within our own government and culture that don’t make any sense at all. As a people we blindly follow along allowing bad policy, and rules to guide the course of our lives. Yet it feels like everytime I turn around I hear about another rule that makes little or no sense at all.

In a country that preaches about education and its importance why would you make it easier for a foreign legal or illegal student to attend college but squeezing the average person into student loans. I don’t know about you but that makes no sense to me, if the funding is there shouldn’t it go to the families and kids of the people paying the taxes in this country.Why say that we really  want kids to go to school yet make it as hard as possible for them.  I cannot tell you how many struggling college students I come across who work and try to cover their education costs themselves. Then to add insult to injury you have students from other countries receiving grants and scholarships as well as soliciting funding from the public at times online.
Lets not forget healthcare. Having worked in the industry I can tell you I have seen thousands in medical bills generated by illegal immigrants who seek treatment and never pay. Some even come here seeking medical treatment and then return to their own countries never paying a dime. Yet we will bash our own citizens over the heads with their medical bills denying charity care when in truth they very well may qualify. People say our government financial system is the equivalent to a ponzi scheme but believe me our healthcare system isn’t far behind it.
When I see young mothers unable to buy food for their kids because they just don’t qualify for assistance it makes me furious. When we all know there are individuals out there playing the system to their complete advantage.
Of course we mustn't leave out the prison inmates who were caught receiving unemployment benefits, or welfare while in jail. Yes this does happen, every single day. it makes me sick to think that either our intelligence level has drastically dropped or we have become such utter and complete pacifists that we no longer care about taking care of our own. Many of these programs had great intent when they were started. There was a need and our government attempted to meet that need. Here’s the thing, it isn’t working anymore. Sure there are those few who do manage to get assistance when they need it. The reality is that there are more people out there twisting these programs for their own benefit while those who do need it are left out in the cold.
I realize that it may seem foolish to be offended by the things that are going on. Truthfully don’t you think we owe it to our kids, grandkids and future generations to fix the problem. Revamp the system before it self implodes from our own stupidity.

I know I have been saying the poo is eventually going to hit the fan, and I personally do still believe that. All anyone has to do is open there eyes and look to see just what we are doing to ourselves. Our politicians can't seem to get their acts together or their heads out of their backsides, and follow the rules that were originally set down. They have spent years twisting and perverting the laws that our forefathers wrote down and fought for over a century ago.
Personal gain shouldn’t be a part of the equation for the politicians running this country. Those nice little side perks some have set up for themselves like double pensions while working at one job and holding one on paper. Serving special interest groups and lobbyists who represent large corporations. Should never have been allowed to happen. Yet here we are years later making the problem worse every year until eventually there won't be anything left. Just a country owned by a foreign land  with a people owned by a foreign country. Kinda sounds like what we were fighting against in the first place.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Really Bad Date Night....

Sometimes a Good Idea Can Be Bad..... Today when it seems like our dollars do not reach quite as far as we would like them to, it can be upsetting when we do manage to go out and receive really bad service. Now normally I won't criticize a waitress, counter clerk or even a cashier. There are times when the customer service is so bad you have to say something.
My husband and I do not get to go out to eat that often now. Between the kids, the store, his work and school we make it a point to go out for a “date nite” at least once a month. Tonight the opportunity did present itself so he and I slipped out to grab a bite at Red Lobster in Toms River. Every year my husband will wait for their annual shrimp festival. When you're married to a guy who is 6’4” you quickly learn that they do have an appetite and they can eat. “A Lot!”
One glass of water no refills. 
As a customer I  tend to be more sympathetic towards waitress, cashiers, and clerks in retail and eatery establishments. In part because I have been in their shoes, so I know what it’s like to deal with the drunks, the high maintenance customers, and still provide good customer service.
Tonight Red Lobster was slow, not a usual busy Friday night. There were several tables empty in our section and throughout the restaurant.
So I was rather surprised to have to look for their shrimp festival, which was located in the back of the menu on their dessert page in print. No highlighting of the promo, no additional advertisement anywhere. We asked our waitress Karen if it was still going on, and she did advise that yes it was. Now to try to be fair here neither Tom nor I ordered drinks tonight, he got a lemon water and I ordered an Iced Tea and a coffee. I say this with the thought in mind that perhaps our waitress felt she wouldn't get a good tip because we didn't order the extra’s.
 Not busy. 
What Tom and I were both put off by was was the attitude that started to emerge after she had brought our initial meal out and  it was time for the shrimp. Having come for this event yearly, we are used to our waiter or waitress putting in an order for two of the shrimp varieties at a time when they drop off your order. The conversation usually goes, “ Would you like me to put in an order for another order of the shrimp for you?” which most will do. Here is where its starts getting freaky. When the first plate arrived she put in an order for shrimp for each of us.A server brought them out and after we had finished the shrimp she came over to clear the plates and quickly disappeared without comment.We waited and waited and she finally came back. 
As I advised her my husband would like another order of shrimp we got the look and the tsk noise like it was a problem. Now mind you there were only customers at two possibly three other tables at this point in her section.
She then brought out his shrimp, and a refill on my coffee that I had asked for. Then without asking if he or I would like anything else she brought over the check. At this point I have to admit I was at the end of my patience with our waitress and asked  if she could please send over  the manager a very nice young lady named, Melissa.
I explained the situation to the manager, who handled it like a pro. “She provided good customer service.” Apologizing, offering to bring out more shrimp for my husband. At this point I think he had lost his appetite which is big. She was gracious enough to offer to adjust our bill, at which point my husband did chirp in let her know that wasn't necessary. It wasn't about the bill but the really poor customer service from our waitress. We both just wanted to leave, and did after waiting while our waitress tried to hand off our check to someone else to give to us.
Im a  good tipper, our check was only $39.00 and had she paid attention, provided good courteous customer service she would have gotten at least a $10.00 tip.I'm that lady who will usually look at the check even if i’m not picking up the tab, and will slip extra money on the table because I know how hard it can be working as a waitress. 
 I may be an average person, not dressed to the nines, because lets face it we slipped out to get dinner this wasn't planned. We were clean but casual. We didn’t drink and we were nice too our waitress even when she started to aggravate us. I was still trying to make excuses for her bad behavior.
The average person works too hard to get treated badly when they go out. We all work to hard, and although I have the utmost respect for anyone who does this either as a job or a profession the name of the game is customer service. If  you are incapable of providing good customer service you shouldn't be in the field. When you're working in that establishment you're representing the company you're working for. I know despite the managers attempt to make it right we will seriously think twice before going back to this location in Toms River.

We  still like Red Lobster, but this experience has left a bad taste in our mouth and I will hold off on going back anytime soon.I have never not tipped on a meal no matter how good or bad the service, but I was so irked by her behavior I paid the check and walked away. For the first and hopefully only time.

Here is the Lesson from this tail.
1. Do not judge a book by its cover.
2. If you treat every customer with a smile and respect you may be surprised by the outcome.
3. Never assume the man is picking up the check. (Big Mistake)
4. Treat every customer like they are a critic for the New York Times. (Because maybe they are.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Has Social Media Hurt Us As A Society

 Has Social Media Hurt Us As A Society
What would you do if it was all gone? 
     With the advent of cell phones, tablets, and computers the ability to blurt what we think and feel has become more prevalent. In all of this new wonderful technology where stars tweet their thoughts and people post parts of their lives on face book have we gone too far and lost our ability to form close connections with each other?
     It used to be you had a close circle of friends, that you talked to, confided in, and played with as a kid. In this world we live in today that personal connection seems to have fallen by the wayside.Lost behind both young and older people glued to their cell phones unable to turn away from the constant barrage of  mindless media. Where is this coming from you might ask? Well in the course of discussing a short story where a young man is attempting to flirt with a young woman at a party he inadvertently blurts out some very personal information.
     Not a big deal you might be thinking, but ask yourself how many times have you been in line at the grocery store or someplace else and a complete stranger starts telling you their life story. Things one would expect them to talk about with a close friend not a complete stranger. I know in my own life I've had it happen to me on more than one occasion and I am sure you have as well. I always come away feeling a little sad for the person.
     Is it possible that as technology increases we as a global society are losing those close interpersonal connections we once had? Are we losing our camaraderie as a species? Have we shut off that part of ourselves for the superficial. Or are we all turning into a bunch of “Attention whores,” as some would suggest. Needing the attention we are not getting in our own lives.
     Coming from a perspective of pre cell phones I can remember that we spent more time talking to each other. It was personal, and real. Not blurbs across a screen for immediate effect. We talk about moderation in our diets and exercise but why wouldn't you have moderation in your social media use. We know texting and using a cell phone while driving is dangerous yet many Americans still do so. Isn't that then a sign of lack of control or dare I say it out loud “addiction”.
I can remember taking my daughters cell phone away as a punishment . She would of course pitch a royal fit over how I was ruining her life. “REALLY” How is that actually possible.   What worries me is that as technology advances we are going to grow more and more disconnected from each other. Machines won't rule the world, but our insistence on isolating ourselves from the rest of the world through social media just might.
Technology isn't bad, so please do not get me wrong here there is a place for it. It allows us to see new much faster then watching it on TV. It also opens doorways to communicate with people we may not have seen in years. Or to stay in touch with loved ones overseas or away at college. Nothing is ever all good or all bad. the hard part is maintaining balance in the world we live in. For ourselves and those around us.
      Here is the challenge for today, at 5:00 put away your cell phone, ipad, computer and spend time with your family. Talk play cards interact with each other. When we focus on the people around us we allow ourselves to connect that is a part of being human. That compassion or connection that we can only obtain from just talking to each other instead of at each other. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Year Three The Home Stretch.......

The Home Stretch
Its who you are with that makes
the journey worthwhile
As another year of school begins, it isn't surprising that life has grown even busier. Between the store, classes, family emergencies and all the other things that go on in life it is a relief to be back in school. This year I only need 4 classes to graduate, so this is the home stretch. This semester its creative writing and math. I am honestly looking forward to learning a lot this year. I am always amazed by the things I get to experience.
Year three is the wrap up for my Associates degree and I just wanted to say thank you to those of you who have been following along on this journey. It isn't always easy to juggle everything, and as I move closer to my goal I find there are more things I want to do. All too often their are not enough hours in the day. So today I am canning like a madwoman, more tomatoes and string beans today.
My EBay store is doing well and I have started to take on consignment for a few people including my mother. Who I have decided likes earning money from it but really has no interest in doing it herself. However she is the queen in my book at finding good antique bargains to sell. I am always learning from her.
Tom and I have settled into a routine of sorts, which involves helping each other with the canning. Working together at things keeps us on the same page. It helps that we share some of the same interests. We are each others cheerleader in life as I move on with mine he is moving on towards starting his own business within the next couple of months geared towards home defense and self defense. I am really excited for him because this is his dream.
Almost there. 
Always near mommy. 
In all of this running around trying to get everything going in the right direction, my Aunt passed away this past week. I will get something posted this week, in her remembrance. So it was also a sad time in our house as well.
I keep plugging along and am already thinking about next year and going to Kean or Stockton. If nothing more I hope after reading about my journey it will inspire someone else to follow their own dreams. Go after that degree if its what you want, or even if it is to take a few classes. What I have learned from being with Tom is that life is too short to sit around waiting for life to happen. You have to embrace every day as if it were your last and take the time to share it with those you love.
Patton and Annabelle are here at my feet, as always while I write. Both have been into their usual mischief. Annabelle decided she was going to be friends with a chipmunk that lives in our back yard this year. She would stand and watch him scurry behind a board or along the fence. Getting as close as she could then jumping back when he would move. It’s been rather funny to watch. My dogs are my babies and always with me, when I go outside or in they have to follow.
One of the things I learned during my first day in of Creative writing is how talented these kids really are and how hard it is to put what you write out there for others to review. If nothing more I hope this will help me tap deeper into that creative side of myself and allow me to grow as a writer. The Math class, well we all know how I feel about math. I will be getting tutoring as needed up at the College. It is truly great that they are their to help anyone who asks.
I am looking forward to this part of my journey, and am going to endeavor to get more involved at school this year. It should be interesting to see how this year goes.

Its More then Just a Dream

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