Put Your Cellphones Down!

As promised in the last post, here is the story of why I have a very visible sign at my desk that reads: PLEASE PUT YOUR CELLPHONE DOWN, THIS IS A FUN OCCASION, ENJOY IT!

See, the service I provide is a fun one, and although a phonecall might be necessary for one of my clients to get information I need, a continued personal phone conversation is never necessary. Never.

I work in a busy office, where people are given numbers when they arrive and then they wait until an issuer is free. The wait is never that long, but there are times when we are busier than others. So this one time when we had over 10 customers waiting, I was doing my best to deliver and not make people stay in the waiting room too long, but at the same time, remain calm and fun for the people I was calling to my desk… So, one happy customer after another happy customer the afternoon went until I called this one person who came to my desk while having a personal conversation on the phone. I greeted the person as I always do and ask to see the information they had for me, she laid all the documents on the counter while talking to another person on the phone. I have a routine that when I review the documents, I ask questions to confirm the info so that there are no mistakes along the way. The first question I asked was met with a response of one finger in the air, telling me to wait a minute… huh… no.. so I asked again and then put that same finger on her lips in a way of telling me to be quiet… OH!!! OK. but… wrong desk… that could work for my colleagues but not for me… this is how it went:

Me: I’m sorry but I will need to keep asking questions and will need to get answers to continue on BUT if you’re conversation is important, I really don’t mind if you wish to continue, I will call the next customer and you can come back to my desk when you are ready.

Her: What? NO! You are being very rude right now!

Me: Hummm, I don’t think I’m being rude at all, I think the customers that are waiting to be served would agree with me that right now at this moment, you are being rude to them and to me.

Her: (to the person on the phone) I’m going to call you back in a minute, I need to deal with this here. (and then to me) There! Happy?

Me: I’m always happy, but there are questions you will need to answer and information you must confirm before we go on and finish, so I need your full attention, this legal document cannot have errors printed on it when you leave.

Her: I think you have been very rude, this was an important call.

Me: I think I was being quite polite when I gave you the option to finish your call while I serve the people waiting behind you. There’s no reason they should have to be in here any longer than they have to because someone took twice the time because of a personal conversation, as important as it must have been.

Her: I work in customer service and I can tell you that EVERYONE uses cellphones. It’s how everyone operates now.

Me: Well, I promise you that I don’t use a cellphone when I’m being served somewhere, and I appreciate that people do the same here. It’s good etiquette to pay attention to the person serving you and vice versa. Mine is always around in case of emergency but I cannot imagine interrupting a transaction by answering a call or a text. Not the way I operate, nor does this office.

Her: Can we just do this?

Me: Yes, of course, as soon as you answer the question I asked before telling me I was rude.

We did continue on after this, and I did finish the transaction with her. She did ask my name, and I pointed to the space on her document where all my information was, including my full name. I gave her the exact same spiel I give all my customers about what to expect and what needs to be done, and like all the other ones, I wished her a good day. She said I would be hearing back from her, and I told her I would be documenting our transaction directly to my supervisor. Of course, I never heard from her again. And if she did call management, I’m sure the notes I took on this transaction were precise and clear enough to not investigate any further, but my guess is that she never contacted anyone as she knew she was wrong.

The one thing I did right after she left though was type a note that read: PUT YOUR CELLPHONES DOWN, THIS IS A FUN OCCASION, ENJOY IT! and taped it to a spot where all the customer sitting at my counter can see right away. To this day, I always get positive feedback about it, proving that the great majority agrees that cellphones should be put down more often.

Is Customer Service A Thing Of The Past?

I don’t know why I ask, I already know the answer… it’s all over this city…

Just yesterday, as we were getting snacks for our after dinner tv watching, we had put our drinks and chips on the conveyor belt at the NoFrills down the street and as the cashier started processing our items, she just threw the first bag of chips kind of hard after scanning it, and I just looked at her with my eyebrows in that manner that say “what the fuck gurl?” but just said: “Whoa, lady, don’t throw our things around like this!”. She never said anything back, but she was a bit more careful with the rest, which I was happy since I had a bottle of soft drink that I didn’t want to have 911 come to my home and open the bottle for me… And then, when she was all finished and I had paid, she did that thing that aggravates me the most… She slapped the receipt on the counter, even though I’m standing right in front of her… and started scanning items for the next customer in line…

The same thing happened recently when I was purchasing a couple of books and the cashier was busy paying attention to another employee, taking my money but talking with the other person, not minding our transaction. I gave her cash and she absentmindedly put my change and receipt on the counter, even though I was looking at her with my hand opened to receipt both change and receipt… I picked up the coins and receipt and told her how rude she was being, when she’s dealing with a customer, she should be paying attention to that customer and also, money and receipt should be given to the person purchasing, not slapped on the counter… I suggested she got herself some manners as I walked away… rude rude rude…

Then, last weekend, we went to BestBuy at Dundas and Bay, big flagship store for the downtown core, that week I had gotten an email about the newly released Crash Bandicoot racing game and felt like getting into it… As we were browsing, I found a shelf with a good dozen empty shell case for the game, knowing that when a game is newer, they keep them locked up at the front of the store. So we took the game to the cashier and as she looked at it, she said: “oh… I’m sorry, we’re completely sold out of those”… So I said: “you have a dozen shell cases on display, how can you be sold out?” She went: “Oh, we keep those there for people who want to buy them online. Would you like to buy it online?” I just rolled my eyes and headed for the door.

So, let me get this straight… I could go on my phone, order it online to be picked up at the store that I’m standing it right now and it will be ready for me in 20 – 30 min? No thanks…
This exact same scenario happened to me about 2 months back when headphones I wanted were on a 40% discount and could only be ordered online with the option of picking up at the store… Which means there were in the warehouse at the back of the store but the clerk was too preoccupied with whatever to just walk and get them for a paying customer… Because mine had completed fell apart after falling on the ground too many times, I really wanted those and played the game, took out my phone, ordered them online for pick up at the front of the store, and then shopped for about 15 min, got the email they were ready and picked them up on my way out…. Isn’t this the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard of? BESTBUY WHAT THE FUCK???

These are just recent interactions, but on the other hand, I always compliment people on their good customer service skills…

Next time, I’ll tell the story of why I have a sign at my desk saying: “PUT YOUR CELLPHONE DOWN, THIS IS A FUN OCCASION, ENJOY IT!”

“Mind Your Own Business!”

Probably my top least favourite expression.

Mind my own business??? Well… I was trying to do just that until you started acting the fool next to me… and guess what, once you start that, you’re suddenly making it my business.

Now, if the person who exclaimed this heinous maxim is known to me, I might accept it, maybe I was overstepping my boundaries and maybe I should not get involved and therefore mind my own business… But iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffff it comes from a complete stranger, oh guuuurl, look out, I will remind him/her very swiftly and abruptly that all actions have a reaction, and yours are that special that I can always move on without having a say…

  • Awkward Person: (Saying / Doing anything stupid for attention)
  • Me: “Lookout!”
  • Awkward Person: “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!”
  • Me: “Really human buffoon? Why don’t you calm your tits buddy and get the fuck out of my way you ugly cuntface”

Now… if he/she pulls out a knife or a gun or any kind of weapon that migth hurt, at that point, I’ll run. I’ll probably run very fast… haha… but what I won’t do is let them get away with telling me to mind my own business without having my say.

At the end of the day, no one really watches or listens to everyone around them, BUT everyone sees and hears. We can all get triggered when someone does or says something around us, we have no choice but give attention to that person when they bring attention to themselves. We can choose to ignore it, but for that instant, right there and then, it became our business too. That person made that happen, regardless if they wanted to or not.

“Mind my own business!” Pffft… listen to that bitch telling me to mind my own business…

I Don’t Go To The Gym To Look Good, I Go To Feel Good!

This is not a new thing for me at all, I mean, I’ve been going to gyms since the mid-80’s, the YMCA in Montreal was my very first gym membership after I started working on a full time basis. After that I started doing high impact aerobics and step classes at the Nautilus that was on Ste-Catherine St West… After moving to Toronto in the early 90’s, I joined Premier gym, then the YMCA and for the last 5 years I’ve been going to GoodLife Fitness… And with all these gyms, the same argument can be made that I don’t go to the gym to look good, but I got to feel good.

I grew up skinny… I was lucky I guess, I never had body image issues except maybe for being too thin… I remember in my days of aerobics and step, I was very toned and was told by a few people that I actually looked sick… nice friends I had, right?

Lately though, I’ve gained weight, and although I’m ok with it, I don’t want to keep gaining and not do something about it, I want to be able to be as quick on my feet as I always was… I want to remain fit… Those Disney trips need an alert body after all…

That being said, today at the gym, I noticed this guy that spent more time looking at himself in the mirror, playing with his hair, trying to achieve that messily perfect hair look, you know the look that says “I’m working out, so my hair isn’t perfect right now, but is totally perfect because I keep making it perfect, even if it was already perfect to begin with”. Seriously I was able to use 3 of the weight machines that were facing that same wall of mirrors where he was and all this time he did a dozen chin-ups only and then spent the rest of his time less than a foot away from the mirror, facing it… I don’t get that… I DON’T!!! Just like I don’t get those sitting at machine, not using it for what it’s meant for,  I mean if you want a seat to text friends, or reading posts on Facebook,  then find a bench somewhere.

I spend 1 hour at the gym each visit, the first 20 minutes are spent on the elliptical, then I do a circuit of 9 weight machines and then I do the plank for as long as I can stand it that day but never shorter than 1 minutes and then I do my stretching… 1 hour… not one of those minutes are spent on my phone, or in the mirror…

I get why they have mirrors though, I see people using them to make sure their body posture is good while they exercise, maybe even check the progress on their biceps or butts, but to look at your hair or making sure you shorts are just the right size too small showcasing your perfect round cheeks, well, to this I say: “Gurrl.. Take it eazyyyyy!”

Flamed Out

I like Bath & Body Works but let’s face it, this is a store for soap, hands/body creams and candles that uses the same 15 scents and renamed them each passing seasons to something else. As cute as the names are, they are always the same smells as the last season but with a new packaging… That being said, I still buy a lot of their stuff.

Last week I was there for one specific search, I needed a small one wick white candle in a clear or white container to go inside an opaque and small vase where it could go easily unnoticed when lit. 15 steps into the store I found exactly what I needed: One Starry Night, which was even more perfect because what I needed it for a Star Wars decorated kitchen table.

I grabbed it and lunged directly to the confusing checkout line. People all line up between 5 rows of products but there’s only one cashier facing row #3 so who will be called next is a mystery, they really need to redesign this area or maybe use the old standard red velvet stanchion lines to encourage shoppers to line up properly.

Anyway, when it was my turn to pay, the girl rang my $10 one wick candle and made a face like someone forced her to add and subtract numbers mentally… it just didn’t compute. Then she lifted the candle so she could look at the barcode and said: “this isn’t on sale” to which I replied: “it’s alright, I was ready to pay full price”. She then left and conferred with another Bath & Body Works professional and made a couple of cute faces to each other, heads were tilted to one side, then to the other and she finally walked back to me to say that the candle was NOT FOR SALE, which I had misunderstood earlier for NOT ON SALE, it was only a sample. So I was a bit confused, I told her I picked it up on one of their shelves mid-store but she insisted that it was only there for people to sample… I did my own head tilt there and questioned: “So… Am i suppose to bring my own matches and try the candle in the store just to see if I like it?” She made another cute face and said: “No, no, no, it’s for people to smell it… they sample the smell”. “So” I said, “this is on the shelves but it’s not for sale, right? That seems a bit silly to have candles for sale amongst some that are just samples, I can see you doing this with hand cream or soap, people want to try those before purchasing… but not for candles”. She then went on to explain that eventually they would be for sale but that for now they were new and just on display and for sampling…

So I left empty-handed, which was perfect as I needed both hands to scratch my head trying to figure out what had just happend…

But as I left I thought to myself that maybe BATH & BODY WORKS & BRAIN TURNED OFF might be a better name for the store.

Chances Are I Still Hate It!

13 years ago, exactly in May 2006, I started this blog so I could write about all things that I dislike in life… I had a top 100 item list and each post were relating to one of those items… Nothing earth shattering, but very cathartic for my soul. I never got physically violent in my stories, but it felt good to bitch about it in an open forum. It was also fun to see how many people shared my dislikes…

In the Summer of 2013, my blog was hacked and used to send hundreds of thousands of spam emails, the host stopped my account and then after much trials and tribulations, all the content was wiped out and I lost everything… it was a big blow, but I decided then to use this space to show some of my photographs, some stories about traveling, etc… then I stopped using it again, wrongly choosing Instagram as a main social media… Today I’m no longer loving Instagram with their stupid rules and random algorithm…

So, lately, I’ve been feeling the need to share on here again, a few recent incidents that have made the few hair on my head rise and make my eyebrows take that angry position all over again on a more permanent basis… perfect time to start writing again I thought…

Today I’d like to talk about a huge pet peeve, which is: shoppers waiting in line for minutes over minutes to cash out and then don’t have their wallet at the ready when the cashier announces the amount to pay… THAT drives me crazy, and it happens all the time… First looking for the purse, then fishing for the wallet, then trying to find whatever card they need or looks for the exact change by going through all the coins they have in the change purse they also carry… As a cashier, I find nothing more insulting than someone throwing coins on the counter as they try to count that $3.25… One toonie, clink on the counter, two quarters, clink clink on the counter, here’s another quarter, clink on the counter, meanwhile the cashier is looking down the line at all the eyes on him/her, a nickel, clink on the counter, a fistful of dimes, cli-cli-cli-clic-clink of the counter… then defying type looks at the cashier to now pick up and count all that change… puts the wallet away, but wait, there’s $0.15 missing… Are you sure??? Yes I’m sure!!! Then flicks three more nickels on the counters and slaps that wallet shut…

There you go, the new rightful owner of a Venti dark roast… Bravo.. and thanks for the attitude… it will serve you well in life. Loser.

Myself, I go to Starbucks every morning, I use the app on my phone, always easy, fast, reliable. The baristas at the 3 different Starbucks I frequent know me… they’ll know it will be very quick, not many words will be exchange, usually polite acknowledgements, and I’ll be out of their faces before they know it. Yesterday, the lady in front of me ordered her drink and breakfast sandwhich… Her wallet in hand, at the ready… loved it… Then the barista told her the amount to pay and it went south fast… She opened the wallet, took a stack an inch deep of different cards and started going through them like when we were kids with our hockey cards, flicking fast from one to the next…. The one she wanted wasn’t there, drops that stack, start looking into another section, more cards, flick, flick, flick… I’m seeing the colours of all the different rewards cards known to man, but not the famous gold Starbucks card, nor a debit or credit card… Ok… moving on to yet another section of that wallet, which by the looks of it should have its own postal code as it took so much real estate in that purse… Ok.. here we got… I see the Visa logo on the top of that new stacks, we’ve hit jackpot… flick-flick-flick-fl… BINGO… TD DEBIT CARD… My mouth is starting the salivating process knowing that in less than a minute, I’ll have my Grande Dark Roast No Room in my hands for my first sip of the day… It’s almost here…

Oh no… Now she goes: Sir can I tap? Sir? Can I Tap? Sir? Sir? and then he turns around from getting the sandwich which by the way is now ready and he says yes, that she can tap… It should be an easy end to the story now, but no… the tapping has now commenced… Quick tap on the corner of the pin pad… another quick tap, this time turning the card around… tap… tap… tap… and suddenly a growling noise rises from me and words come out: you need to let the card rest on the pin pad for a little bit longer for it to work… and then the magic finally happened…

So yeah… purchasing… learn it and use it well… the people behind you will appreciate it.

While driving through the Florida Keys, we stopped on Honda Baya Key to take in the sights and this bridge was magnificient:




Florida Keys – Sept 2014



The Hanging On The Wall Kind – Weeki Wachee – Sept 2014



On our last trip to Florida, we visited the Weeki Wachee mermaids, here are some of the pictures – Sept 2014



Alone In The City – Part 5
Walking towards the light, walking out of the shadow…



Alone In The City – Part 4
Sometimes, fresh air, while riding a bicycle alone, does clear the cobwebs…



Alone In The City – Part 3
A solo pedestrian on deserted sidewalk, filled with the feel of impending Autumn coming…



Alone In The City – Part 2
Getting ready for a solo bike ride back home… alone…



This city if full of people, millions of people in fact… and yet, everywhere you look, you see lonely people… I went for a walk on a Saturday night, by myself, and within a few blocks, I was able to find quite a few of them… Here is the first in a series of 7 pictures call Alone In The City:

A lonely man sitting by the laundromat, waiting for someone?, waiting for something? just waiting…



High above the ground, flying… Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…



Bright colours, food and fun right smack in the middle of the grey city



This week I will post some of the pictures I have taken during a short visit at the CNE Fairgrounds downtown Toronto. I will start with a duo of sand carvers and their incredible sculptures in progress:

I love how she is using a 12″ doll to get all the characteristics of C-3P0.

This fun bearded artist amazed me with all the small details around his fairly recognizable castle for all fans of Disneyland.



Sometimes luck is on your side. As we were taking pictures of the moon tonight, my camera mounted on a tripod and set with a timer, I was clicking away and then this plane flew perfectly in front of the moon… I squealed… I literally squealed.