It’s about feeding our nation’s poor…

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I read a poster the other day that said that “there is more food in a rich man’s shampoo than there is on a poor child’s plate.” Wow. These are some profound words that really hit home. I don’t have any hair so shampoo isn’t something I can relate to, I thought. Well, and than there is the “rich man’s” part of that equation. I have no money.

I get the idea though. In fact, in America, 40% of all the food we produce goes in the trash. It doesn’t even go in the gas pump. It gets thrown away. Now that is shocking! When I was in the Navy, I heard a speech by President Jimmy Carter. In the speech, he made the statement that “Waste and Inefficiency never fed a hungry child.”

I think what he meant was that the money our government wastes each year could be used to feed the children and families who go hungry every year. Of course, those were the good old days when most Republicans and Democrats could get along, like Senators Dole and McGovern, and sponsor bills that benefitted the farmer and the poor and create the food stamp program.

Now it is so much more divisive and only a handful of folks in each party get along and get things accomplished that benefit the have’s and the have not’s alike. I think we have all experienced hunger. But not to the extreme of not knowing where your next meal was going to come from.

I’ve experienced some of it when I was homeless in my teens. It was nothing like most children and families do who live in poverty these days in America and around the globe. And I’m only focusing on hunger here. Combine the feeling of panic over where your next meal for you or your child with the needs of housing, health and safety.

Yet 40% of all the food produced in America goes to waste.   I know I’ve already written this down, but it is worth repeating over and over again. I have to say that it adversely affected me when I first heard the words of President Carter. I thought that in the wealthiest country in the world, that we waste so much food. I travelled the world and I saw children eating food scraps out of a truck with waste in the Southeast Asia. I went to places both here and abroad and saw people starving.

I immediately started eating everything in my plate. When I had children, I ate everything that was left over in theirs. I ate more calories than I could burn and eventually I grew quite obese.

But then, It’s not about me…





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It’s about the ten things I love about my wife

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Have you ever played a game with your partner called “The ten things I love about you? It is a great game intended to bring some intimacy to the relationship by build a truly great connection between each partner by letting them know how much you love them and why. Sometimes just saying you love your partner isn’t enough.

The rules of engagement are that each partner writes down 10 things they love about the other partner and than each partner goes back and forth with the other and shares each item with the other until they are done.

So here was the list I came up with for my wife that day:


1. I love the way your eyes light up and smile when they look at me.

2. I love it when you tell me that you love the way I love you.

3. I love how much better, fuller, richer (not money), my life is when we are together.

4. I love your devilish good looks, personality, wit and charm and how you put a spell on me and leave me powerless against it.

5. I love it that I can share my dreams, desires, hopes and fears with you without fear of being judged.

6. I love it that we can make great baby’s together.

7. I love your spark of genius and the brilliant solutions you come up with when we problem solve.

8. I love it that you love to watch football with me.

9. I love it that you dress weird. Nuff said.

10. I love your laughter and the way you express your joy with the world.

Guess what happened? Everything was great until we got to number 9.

“What do you mean you love that I dress weird. What is wrong with the way I dress!”

“I guess maybe weird was the wrong word to use.”

“No, you used it. What do you mean by weird. You don’t like the way I dress?”

“I love the way you dressed. I just find it different than most people dress, sometimes, occasionally.”

Deeper and deeper the hole that I was digging for myself got. It appeared to be about the right length and the right width and the right depth for my casket. But no, I couldn’t just shut up. I prayed she was distracted by a text or a call on her phone but it never came.

“But you loved the other nine things I came up with, why does this one matter so much?” I asked.

Ouch! There went the other nine good things, right out the frickin window. Just sucked out of the universe as if they didn’t happen! Guys, if I could only take back number 9 on my list. And if only I could take the last line too about “her loving the other nine things I came up with and why does this one matter so much?” line. Ouch again. Discounting your partners feelings once you have screwed up is really bad form, even if its not what you meant to do.

For future reference, the correct things to say are:

“Sweetheart, it was a stupid thing to say, I didn’t mean it like it sounded, I made a mistake and I’m sorry if I hurt you.” And once you have said this like you really mean it, just shut up.

Why is this so hard for me to do?

The easy answer? It’s not about me.

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It’s about doing the hard right…

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What does it mean to “do the hard right, rather than the easy wrong?” Some of the best people to ask this question lie in Arlington. Certainly, those who have given their lives for our country and whom we celebrate every Memorial Day.

Doing the hard right, rather than the easy wrong is a way the concept of integrity is described in military leadership training. The ability to choose the hard right over the easy wrong is the essence of true leadership. My wife often says that I am the only person she knows who wants to be in charge when everything is going to hell in a hand basket. I think that is her way that saying my gut tells me something is wrong I feel compelled to investigate and fix it.

I went to Afghanistan to serve my country in a position with the Department of Defense working for the U.S. Army. My position was as an Acquisition and Business Specialist, the equivalent of a program manager over several contracts worth $4.3 billion dollars. The position required me to gather information from people in positions of authority over me and people around me from the military, civilian employees, federal contractors and Afghan citizenry, some of whom had an inability to communicate in each other’s language.

What I discovered was that the greatest difficulties was not interpreting between one language or another in the pursuit of the truth but between one frozen mindset and the other in order to identify needs and requirements and satisfy the mission. Soon after beginning my work that gut feeling that something was wrong kicked in. I suspected that predecessors had chosen the easy wrong, safer in a hostile environment. After much interviewing of individuals from each of the sectors, I determined that a new course of action was necessary.

First, I reviewed the three contracts I was managing. I set up an excel spreadsheet where I identified the contract requirements at each of the 87 service sites in Afghanistan. I listed everything from the latitude and longitude of each site to the individual contracting officer representative (COR). I contacted each of the 37 COR’s and learned more about each site. I read two years of reports from the COR’s which contained information including environment impacts, inventory data points and infractions committed by the contractor responsible.

Second, I ventured into the field, donning my helmet and Kevlar vest. I knew that I had to put “eyes on” in order to verify what my gut had told me and my spreadsheet had verified. This was the first time in two years that any body had bothered to verify the data or even to fully collect and analyze it. It was a dangerous “hard” thing to do and the review was met with resistance from many levels. It was the only right way to obtain the necessary information for a mission critical evaluation.

Because of my choice to do the hard right rather than the easy wrong, the government was saved millions of dollars. For my efforts, I received three medals including one from the Secretary of Defense and one from the Secretary of the Army. However, my greatest satisfaction was not the recognition but the knowledge that I had taken the correct course of action.

Of course, it’s not about me….


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It’s about our Uncle Buck…

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“Everyone has an Uncle Chuck,” explained Marci.  “He is kind of like an Uncle Buck.”
If you are older, it might be like an Uncle Charley O’Casey as in William Demarest of “My Three Sons.”  Uncle Charley was a retired sailor who lived in the Douglas household with Robbie, Chip and Mike Douglas and their dad Steven. If you are younger, it might be like Jonah in the movie “The Sitter.”  Sarah would be more like 9 year old Blithe, destined to be a Drew Barrymore or Lindsay Lohan or maybe even a Martha Stewart.  I’ll explain the latter one later. 
My friend Marci has an Uncle Chuck.  He is retired from Boeing.  As she explained to me, “You know, the relative that isn’t really related but you think of like your favorite and most dear relative.  That is our Uncle Chuck.  He has always been a part of our family.  He’s been on all of our vacations, all of our holidays, our family events.”
My daughter Jeni has an Aunt Cathy.  But after nearly thirty years, Aunt Cathy still looks like she is way younger than me.  Okay, everyone looks like they are way younger than me.  I mean after thirty years, she is hot.  In fact, she is even hotter as a Grandma than she was in her teens.  But let me stay on topic.  She didn’t go on any of our vacations, our holidays or any of our family events.  They are very close though.  I think that is great for Jeni, but that doesn’t meet the criteria. 
The person must be there with the entire family, not just a kid. Our 11 year old daughter Sarah seems to have dozen of aunts and uncles.  Every time we go somewhere together, we run into one of them.  I don’t think of most of them as one of our favorite and most dear relatives.  Heck, I don’t even know them!
“Sarah, how have you been!”  She runs up to them and gives them a big hug.  They will stand there and she will run down the list of questions she has quickly come up with at that very moment.  “How are your kids?  How is the dog?  Did you end up remodeling your kitchen?  Did you try that new recipe that we discussed when I last saw you?  The one you were wondering whether or not you should add ginger to it.  Remember?” 
By this time in the conversation, my head is still spinning trying to figure out where she could have possibly met this person. I sat down with Sarah and made a long list of folks who Sarah considers uncles.  I figured I would stay away from aunts because that can only get me in more trouble than I already am. 
Did I really say she was hot?  Oy vey!
Let me tell you, the list of uncles is quite a long, long list.  Even though it is someone who is not a blood relative, it is an extremely long list.  After much contemplation, we came up with two – that is correct – two uncles. Of course, Tim and Vitaly most definitely fit Marci’s description.  However, Vitaly is a little suspect because he is Russian.  And he is very handsome.  So he could be a blood relative. Every Thanksgiving and Holiday Season, Tim and Vitaly are there.  Every birthday, Tim and Vitaly are there.  They even come to Sarah’s dance and voice recitals.  In fact, we have relatives who are jealous of Tim and Vitaly because they are “there” so much.  If anything bad should ever happen to either of them, we all would be devastated and when good things happen, we bask in the rays of joy with them.  We love them dearly.  They are family.  I think they meet Marci’s criteria. Whew! 
Finally, I now know who our Uncle Chuck is.  If every family has an Uncle Chuck, than I need to know who that person is, right?  I don’t want to be the only family who doesn’t have one.  We have Mothers Day and Fathers Day.  We have Grandparents Day.  We even have holidays for people we have never met and are dead.  We need an Uncle Chuck Day.  I know I do.  It should be a day that parents can drop off the kids at Uncle Chucks and go and do something all day and night.  Maybe it should be an Uncle Chuck Week?
But it’s not about me.
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It’s about pork roasts.

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I got nothing against pigs.

The ranch I worked at most of my days had two pigs:  Summit and Waller.  They were brothers.  They were named from the hood the ranch sits in, the Summit-Waller Neighborhood.  They were the cutest pigs.  Summit escaped and probably became someone’s bacon.  Waller had a much fuller life entertaining children in the area for an entire year and a half.

It upset me a lot when Summit went missing.  I called the local butchers, a woman we call the Pig Lady who has a portable slaughter mobile first funded by USDA because local farmers couldn’t afford to raise them for slaughter and then slaughter them without federal subsidies.  Kind of like the current situation with banks.  How could we expect banks to hold our money and use it and then make a profit on it.  So we bail them out.  Never mind that some of us who pay taxes so the government can bail them out so they can exist and turn around and throw us out of our homes because there isn’t anybody to bail us out with our money.  Huh?  Anyways, I prayed for Summit to come back to our ranch and be safe but we never saw him again.  Sad.

I got nothing against pigs.

One day I caught some high school age kids, kids we like to call Transitional Age Youth (ages 16-24), feeding Waller slices of pepperoni pizza.  I asked them if they appreciated just how cruel that appeared to me.  Turned out they had no idea that pepperoni came from a pig.

In fact, most kids I have worked with these days have very little idea about where there food comes from.  More stunning is that most kids I work with have no idea what there food is.  I asked a group of thirty kids to identify three pieces of fruit or vegetable.  I held out an avocado, an artichoke and a tomato.  Most kids could identify only the tomato.  Very few got all three.  It was crazy!

Progressives continue to proselytize, lobby and regulate us by posting caloric information next to our favorite value meal, as if reading how many calories the food we are about to eat has will deter us from eating it.  Good luck!  Actually, it only antagonizes some people into continuing to eat it.

Progressives should push for more education that includes nutrition, food security and identifying your food.  It seems rather basic to me but what do I know.  I know that my children can identify their food.

So back to the pigs.  I got nothing against pigs.  Probably, what I should say is, I’m Jewish and I got nothing against pigs.  I never fully appreciated what pigs had to offer until my future mother in law cooked a pork roast.  Pigs can be mighty tasty if cooked in just the right way.  I’ve only had four pork roasts in my life.  Two of them were cooked by my mother in law.   The other two were cooked by my wife and her sister.  Same recipe made by two siblings blessed with the many positive attributes passed on by the beautiful matriarch with the 5 star, blue ribbon hands skilled in making the pork roast of all pork roasts.  I tried a couple “tastes” in the grocery stores, country clubs, barbecue joints and they could not compare to the pork roast my mother in law made me or her genetically blessed children.

By the way, my sister in law is beautiful, smart and single.  My wife is taken so forget that.  If someone were smart and they really really liked pork roast, they would marry my sister in law.  My only word of caution is that the pork roasts stopped about the time my mother in law had enough of my crap.   You might consider a prenuptial agreement with performance outcomes pertaining to the making of the pork roasts.

So like I said, I got nothing against pigs.  I pray for them, I protect them, I eat them.  I got nothing against pigs.  Without them, there aren’t any pork roasts.

But it’s not about me.

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It’s about moves like Jagger

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If someone has “Moves Like Jagger” now, those moves would be with a walker.  What an absurd song!

My parents took our family to a Rolling Stones concert at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois in 1966.  I was 9 years old.  I mostly remember loud music and my Dad snoring for most of the concert.  That was 50 years ago.  If Jagger was my age when he performed that concert, he would be 60 years old.  Of course, he is not.  Mick is 73.

I was having a beer at Buffalo Wild Wings in Grandview, Missouri several years ago while visiting my daughter and her family.   I struck up a conversation with some 30 something women.  One of them tells me that 50 is the new 30.  I asked her if she would go home and have sex with a man who was in his fifties and she says “gross!”  adding that her Dad was that age.  Probably not even if he had moves like Jagger, I’m guessing.  So if a woman tells you this, don’t you believe it.  If you truly understand the lyrics to the song, I’m thinking this gal would find it repulsive to have sex with Mick Jagger even if he had a tongue like Gene Simmons.  Heck, speaking of old Jewish men, I’ve got everything Gene has except the money and the show.

When I was in my teens, it was not uncommon for kids to go from concert to concert.  My concert career began when Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina played at an outdoor concert in Phoenix, Arizona for $2 in 1971.  Janis Ian was one of the warm up acts.  It was a benefit concert for Terros, to raise money for an ambulance for victims of drug overdoses.  There were many drug overdoses that day.  That was 40 years ago. 

I’ve been informed that it still is not uncommon to go to concerts for teens.  The only thing that has changed is the price.  I saw tickets on sale for Justin Bieber last week and kids paid a minimum of $80 bucks in the nose bleed section.  The drugs at today’s concerts aren’t acid or quaaluds any more.  Now they are drugs you can make at home with over the counter ingredients and air compressors.

I remember going to so many concerts.  A million I’m guessing.  My sister Barbara and her husband David drove me and Cindy Delstar.  She was a girl from my 8th grade summer school geometry class.  We went to see Ozzy Osbourne (age 68), the Prince of Darkness and Black Sabbath in concert.  It was at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.  It was $6 a person and I thought that was real expensive.  Cindy was a devout Roman Catholic so it didn’t turn out so well.  The Devil was in the details.  One of the last times I saw a concert, it was Rod Stewart (age 71) and he was singing Broadway tunes.  He did sing “Forever Young.”

Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones first became a band in England in 1962.  In 1964, they recorded their 3rd international hit “Not Fade Away” written by Buddy Holly.  I got on youtube while writing this blog with my 16 year old daughter Sarah.  She and I watched the Rolling Stones perform “Not Fade Away” in 1964 at the Hollywood Palace.  Then she and I watched a performance of “Not Fade Away” by Florence and the Machine.

“Dad, I like this one a lot better than the other one,” she commented in a very serious tone, referring to the Florence and the Machine version. 

“Why did you like this one better than the last one?” I inquired. 

“Because she is a much better performer.  She has more energy, like Christine Aguilara.  And there it is.  After more than 50 years of performing, it all boils down to a 30 something having “Moves Like Jagger.”  

Moves which he doesn’t have any more.  And neither do I. 

But it’s not about me.

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It’s about Henry David Thoreau…

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I remember Mr. Spinks at Coronado High School. I remember the day I got kicked out of my high school junior year English class.  I hated my high school junior year English class, but we had to take it. Most juniors in high school hate to take classes that are mandatory.

The room was all abuzz with loud chatter as I first entered the room that day and sat down in one of those uncomfortable desks where the little wooden table is attached to the little wooden chair with only one way to get in and out of them? Our teacher Mr. Spinks stood in front of the class quietly waiting until the bell sounded that the period was beginning.

In his quiet voice, he asked the class to quiet down. No one paid attention. In a louder, more pronounced tone, he asked the class again to be quiet. No change. “Would you please be quiet!” he said as loud as he could, which wasn’t actually very loud, but it seemed to work. Of course, it made most of us laugh, but we began to quiet down, mostly because we knew we needed this class to graduate.

When his opportunity presented itself, he asked the class ”who was Henry David Thoreau?” I raised my hand up high, but he ignored me and called on someone else.

“He was a writer,” the hot little number in the pink sweater said. “Yes”, Mr. Spinks responded, “but Candy, he was more than that.” Again, I raised my hand only higher sitting on the edge of my seat. Again, he ignored me and called on someone else in the class. “He was a naturalist,” Lori answered.

“Correct,” Spinks responded. “But why do you say that? He asked her. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know, that’s what the book said?” So much of this class was regurgitation. So much of high school was regurgitation. Most of the classes never ask you to think for yourself. They ask you to think like the author or worse, like the teacher.

He asked the class, “does anyone know what that means? To be a naturalist?” Again, I raised my hand and this time, no one in the class had their hand up. Spinks turned back at me, his elbow in his hand, his hand on his chin. He was the only teacher in high school that ever wore a suit in class. Not the handsome kind. The kind you got at second hand stores.

“Okay Mr. Beletz!, what does it mean? What does it mean that Henry David Thoreau was a naturalist?” He rolled his eyes when he said it. I never quite got the feeling that he appreciated my insight into literature. There was the time I pointed out to him that I thought Shakespeare was an anti-semite because he referred to Jews as Shylocks or the time I told him Michener got paid by the word.

“He was one of the greatest masturbators that ever lived!”

“Excuse me, Mr. Beletz? What did you say?”

Thoreau. He lived in the woods by himself for years. He never had sex. He probably only did with himself. He probably got really good at it. Right?”

It must have been an arrow through his heart. Yes. I was kicked out of his class and suspended from school. And when I came back to school, I had to finish high school junior English with another teacher. But it didn’t change my mind about Thoreau. It didn’t change my mind about high school junior year English.

But it’s not about me.


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It’s about pork at half price

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Metro Market had an advertised Wine Tasting with Prime Rib, Lamb and Ham last night. So I got in my car and went to Metro Market. I didn’t go for the ham. Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t eat ham. It’s a longstanding Jewish dilemma. Pork at half price.

Nothing is cheap at Metro Market – except the pita bread. That is according to Phil, who I ran into at the Metro Market last night. He was there for the pita bread and the lettuce, which is grown locally, and fresh and organic which is why it’s so expensive. You can go to Safeway or Albertson’s and buy the lettuce shipped in from Mexico for cheaper, but the lettuce from Metro Market is healthier and supports the local economy. This is an American Dilemma.

It’s kind of like health care and insurance coverage. Health care costs more if you don’t have it. Simply having health care insurance coverage drops the price of every procedure. For example, my heart surgery would have cost me $200,000. Because I had health care coverage, it cost the insurance company $100,000. It says so right on my bill. This makes no sense. This is an Ethical Dilemma. I’m thinking the insurance company should pay all of us who have health care insurance a commission check for helping them save money.

Phil didn’t want to buy Parmesan Cheese at Metro Market. If he bought it at Metro Market, he thought he would have to take out a loan. So he was going to get in his car and drive to a nearby grocery store where the Parmesan was cheaper.

I pulled up to a pair of gas stations one day and one gas station had prices for gas that were four cents cheaper per gallon. In a 15 gallon tank, that is a savings of 60 cents. Today, a gallon of gas is approximately $3.50 a gallon. The lines were long with cars waiting to gas up with the cheaper gas. The other station was absolutely empty with plenty of gas and no waiting cars, burning the gallons of gas sending pollutants into the atmosphere and with which they would fill up and save money. This is a Moral Dilemma.

Local gossip has it that WinCo, another local grocery store outlet, has prostitutes on Friday nights.   I thought about going to WinCo last night, but decided that the advertised Wine Tasting with Prime Rib, Lamb and Ham that I don’t eat was a better choice. Besides, there was no guarantee that there would be prostitutes at WinCo. After all, there was no advertisement saying there would be. It was just local gossip. Imagine my disappointment when I got to Metro Market and found out that there wasn’t any Wine Tasting and there wasn’t any Prime Rib, Lamb or Ham, that I don’t eat, as previously advertised!

I thought maybe when I got there at 5:30 p.m. that they had run out. No, in fact they just didn’t have it. Instead, they decided to have a Display of Teas. A Tea Tasting with an attendant so you could taste Tea. Really. Really? I was being Teased! I could have gotten that at WinCo! After all, it was Friday night!

I had to speak to someone in charge. The Metro Market Store Director happened to be in the store last night. I asked her about it and she apologized. She gave me her card and asked me to call in the morning and told me she would personally serve me a slice of something. Really? Really.

There is someone at Metro Market who understands customer service and corporate accountability and responsibility? Her behavior makes it difficult to get in your car and travel to another grocery store and get items at cheaper prices. Her behavior makes it difficult to go to another store and see prostitutes on Friday nights. This is called a Personal Dilemma.

But it’s not about me.

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It’s about thin mints.

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Why do they call them Thin Mints when all they do is make you fat?  Our days are filled with these “bait and switch” decisions, which can ultimately become lifecycle events.  Buying Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts is a lifecycle event for me.  Every year, I buy them because someone I know has a cute little daughter or niece who is selling them.  This year it is Isabel.  She is a heckuva cookie seller.

I began a cigarette smoking habit in the 7th grade because I wanted to be like the cowboy on the horse.  Actually, I just wanted the horse.  Instead, I got hooked on cigarettes for nearly 30 years until I had a heart attack.

RONCO, which advertised all kinds of kitchen gadgets for three decades, sold millions of Mr. Microphones to kids like me.  The microphone was wireless and they persuaded kids like me to buy them through television advertisements during our Saturday morning cartoons.   Mr. Microphone would make us rock stars like the Beatles, the Monkees or the Rolling Stores.  If we had one, we could have lots of groupies.  Again, all I ever had at the end of the day were other kids in my neighborhood who wanted my microphone.     

We watched movies where the stars we worshipped drank tons of booze and smoked lots of cigarettes just before they danced.  Drinking made you dance better.  So did cigarettes.  They helped you relax and you danced better.  So for years, my friends and I went out to bars and drank a ton of booze, smoked tons of cigarettes and danced.  Believe me when I tell you – drinking doesn’t make you a better dancer or a better lover for that matter. 

Millions of young people grew up for decades thinking that steroid use would make them a better athlete.  And more often than not it does.  Of course, coaches and others never told them that years later it would destroy their body and affect their minds.  It also shrinks the  penis or so I’m told.  Don’t even get me started about Coppertone, sunbathing and skin cancer.

Every year, I eat dozens of boxes of Girl Scout cookies because someone like adorable Isabel asks me too.  My cookies of choice are the Thin Mints.  They are covered with delicious milk chocolate.  They are even better after you stick them in the freezer for a few hours.  They come in two packages with a dozen in each pack.  Once they are opened, you are compelled to eat them all.   Seriously, I hear them calling out from the freezer in my kitchen.  “Jamie!  Jamie!  We are Thin Mints and you can’t resist us!” 

All they do is put pound upon pound on me.  They negate any progress I am making on my exercise and diet.  I justify eating them by saying that the quicker I polish them off, the sooner I can get back to my diet and exercise routine.   

But it’s not about me. It is all for a good cause – Isabel and the Girl Scouts.  I wish they sold Oatmeal Raisin.

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It’s about customer service.

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One lesson I learned a very, very long time ago – things aren’t always what they seem to be. A girlfriend once accused me of drinking too much.

“But I never drink before 5 o’clock in the afternoon!”

“But Jamie,” she replied, “you don’t get up until 4 o’clock in the afternoon!”

Customer service is a very hard skill for people to learn. While being polite, well mannered and long on patience are extremely important, there is more to it.

I went to my bank yesterday. I asked the teller if she could help me. She was very quick to say “yes, how can I help you?”

The reason I conduct my financial business at this bank is because the folks who work at this particular branch are extremely friendly, helpful and they appreciate my business. So, it didn’t surprise me that the teller asked me if she could be of further assistance.

“Thank you, Sheila. I have been getting charged these fees on my savings account and I’m not even using it. I want to keep my checking account and cancel my savings account.”

Sheila responded, “Being a senior citizen, you shouldn’t be paying those extra fees.”

A senior citizen? Me? Okay, it didn’t completely take me by surprise. Being 60 is pretty close to 65. Like 10 is close to being 15. However, when you are young, you can’t wait to become older. When you’re older, you can wait the rest of your life.  After I picked up my feelings from off of the floor, I asked Sheila if she could eliminate the fees if I was in any other category. I felt like the woman who doesn’t want to admit her dress is a size larger than it was before. When I look in the mirror every day, I know I look like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet, but I hate it when someone else notices it.

Quickly, Sheila must have noticed the melancholy look on my face. I wear emotions like hurt, disappointment and martyr on my sleeve like Charlie Sheen wears bipolar behavior in the tabloids.

“We have the same plan for military veterans!” she quickly retorted. I must have been wearing my PTSD face just then. I probably was scaring the crap out of her.

“That will work for me, Sheila,” I said. “Thank you. Sign me up for that.”

As it turns out, Sheila only solved half of my problem yesterday. She only thought she solved all of it. I’m still going to have to go back to the bank branch and try to have them help me solve the other half of the equation. If we can’t come up with a solution, I’m going to become more frustrated and I’m going to switch banks. Asking the right questions, listening and understanding what problem exists goes a very long way to coming up with solutions for customers. That is customer service. I appreciate Sheila’s earnest to help me.

But it’s not about me.


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