Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quite the Reverse

So after my whinge about a certain company's poor customer service, I felt it only fair to write about the excellent customer service I've received today, only this time I'll name the company (actually, companies but I shall mostly be praising one...)
So. I haven't been into a Lush store in years. Mostly because of the smell and assuming I'll feel awfully sick if I spend too long in there. Also because I mostly think that they make bath bombs and bits of soap. While these are nice enough, I really don't buy them often. (I know what follows will be preaching to the choir with le Welsh.)
Anyway, I've been looking for a gentle sort of face exfoliator for a little bit now and as I was passing Lush as I left town, I thought I'd stop in.
I wandered about for a pleasant amount of time before I was offered assistance. I explained what I was after and the assistant showed me several options, one of which seemed like just the thing. I was getting prepared to buy some when she said "so I'll give you a sample. Try it out, it might not be right for you in which case you could go this way or that but do try it for a few days before committing". I was impressed enough by this point. Then I remembered to check that everything was ok for pregnant ladies (aside here: I keep hearing half comments about problems with some skin products while pregnant but as yet have found no information on it other than very vague remarks. So I'm assuming that normal stuff is fine!)
I was assured of the nature of all Lush's products and that I'd have no problems but the sales assistant was now very excited to show me lots of lovely massage bars and moisturisers and other yummy things that would be a good thing over the next few months. I had a hand massage and then tried out several other scrubs and moisturisers and and and.
This reminded me that I had actually been looking for a new hand cream for over night as my hands are still really not liking the water in these parts. So we sorted that.
Then, ever so delicately, she suggested another skin product that I might be in need of and again got me a sample so that I could see if it did please me before committing.
Finally she gave me a copy of the Lush Times in which she had marked up all the products we'd talked about and which ones were generally good for pregnancy.
I came away with three products and lots of information having only spent £5.82.
Clearly, all her information and help is also a very effective selling technique but I don't mind that at all, it is still very, very good service.
(The other places of good service today were Jessops (they always do well I have to say), a little jewellery shop the name of which I cannot remember but I will go back there for any jewellery needs in the future and Tullivers, a health food shop where I didn't buy anything but gained a lot of information on dealing with the combo of hayfever and pregnancy. (More aside - Jessops sold me a diddy camera (which I was looking for as a birthday present from Husbink's parents) to be a more mobile item than our lovely but often impractical D-SLR. It's blue and it's cute and it does everything I wanted it to. I am happy. :) ))
So, well done Lush, you've just acquired yourself a new loyal customer. I sincerely hope you can keep me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Body, Mind and Soul

So we are all made up of lots of different aspects, we can divide those things in many different ways. One such way being to think of our bodies, our minds and our souls.
At the moment, my body is boss. Big time. If my body says jump, I jump. My sorely neglected, my soul perhaps even more so. I don't have the capacity (mental? physical? emotional?) to listen to anything other than my body at the moment. Mostly what my body says is "feed me" and "rest me".
I've had to listen to it just now and decide not to go out for the evening. The evening would have probably benefited both mind and soul but the body won out again. I don't think this is a problem. For much of my life, my mind has won. Not so much over the past seven years or so since finishing uni but I still think it gets its fair share. My soul tends to win in bursts, great big bursts of getting what it needs that then fizzle away until I realise that there is need for a burst again.
That last pattern, the soul one, is one that it would be good to get out of but otherwise I think it is ok that different parts of ourselves are fed and tended at different times.
You can of course see that my mind is going to pot at the moment from the inane babble of this post. Ah well. I thought it was time to finally let one of the semi-ideas in my mind out so here you have it. There was another one about taking a long time to learn some lessons but I think I've basically written that post before, perhaps about eighteen months, two years ago so I thought that could wait a bit longer (in this instance, it has taken me years to learn that although I might like the wallowing and reading and bubbles of having a bath, they always (well, almost) give me tummy ache and a relaxing shower is much, much better for me. Here endeth my lesson. I think last time it was about a particular author who I admire but whose books I can't stand...)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rather Lacking

The company I work for is VERY big on customer service. We rely heavily on an extremely loyal customer base and so we go out of our way for them every day.
Sometimes this is particular situations like the woman I had in a few weeks ago whose husband had ruined his favourite trousers by getting a biiiig stain on them while doing some DIY. We had no advice on ways to remove it (it was not coming out) so instead managed to track down a suitable patch (the trousers were no longer current stock) which involved cutting up a spare pair found at head office...
Other times, it is just our policy that gives the good service. We have no 28 day limit for refunds or exchanges. We have one of (if not the) longest guarantee in the business on waterproofing. If we start a 20% off promo and people come back in complaining they hadn't heard one week, two weeks, three weeks ago when they bought their x, y, z, we refund the difference in gift vouchers... Sometimes I get irritated because we are a small company and would people really do that to M&S or Debenhams when they have one of their blue cross sales? Maybe some would but I suspect not as many as do to us. Anyway. The point is, I spend my time at work bending over backwards for people (sometimes I'm happy to, sometimes it grates, it rather depends on the person) and so I have very little tolerance for bad service.
This week, I got very cross with myself for not saying to someone how utterly abysmal their service had been. Instead I left. Then I spent the rest of the evening fuming and plotting what I might do to rectify the situation while knowing that I wouldn't be bothered to do any of these things.
I was in a shop on the way home from work. I was looking to buy a few things that I required but I was buying treat versions rather than cheap versions. There were signs all over the shop saying that if I spent £20 I would get a free bag. As I I was spending nearly £20 on what I wanted I thought I might as well tip it over the £20 mark as a free bag never goes astray with me. Several sales assistants checked if I needed any help and one of them pointed out to me that there was an offer still on that ended that evening so she'd removed the signs. She did not say "so the offer that all the signs in the shop are for is not running yet". Nothing of the sort.
When I got to the till and made my purchase (which included getting sucked into a discount card thingy) it became apparent that my free bag was not forth coming. However my money had been taken by then and I was tired. It twigged that if one offer was still running the one advertised everywhere wasn't. I stated this much. The woman (who was the manager making this even worse) simply said "no" at the end. I was tired. I was grumpy. I just walked out. I did not point out how poor her service was. I did not point out that in my shop if we put the signs up early so we can go home on time, we honour them. It is our fault, not the customers that we are over-keen.
Now I'm left just not wanting to ever go into that shop again. But I like their products. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So, I promised a more news-full post so here goes.

You may remember a while ago I very vaguely mentioned keeping secrets? Well, I'm lousy at it. Not at keeping your secrets - if you tell me something that you want to be confidential, I can do that, no problem - it's my secrets I struggle to keep. Anyway. I've done a bit better than sometimes over the last few months while I've kept two things relatively quiet. Well, three things actually. Note the relatively though. By no means have I kept them secret!

First, and least excitingly, I've started a freelance journalism course. This came about for various reasons and I'm not sure where it is going. What I mean by that is currently I'm not thrilled with the course. It is a little silly and quite frustrating in places. It also isn't put together all that well and that really winds me up - something lecturing me on the importance of care and attention to detail as well as grammar and spelling that can't do it itself. Grump. Anyway, I can (normally) look past those things to the actual content and with that I'm still not thrilled but perhaps the benefit of this course is that it will confirm whether or not I'm interested in this at all. And confirming not is just as valid an answer. I'd looked at some more fulltime journalism courses but they were very big time and money commitments for something I wasn't sure about. This is a relatively low time and money commitment and a good starting point. I'm sure aspects of the course will be very interesting even if at the end of it I don't do anything as such with it.

Second, and equally excitingly with the third secret (sort of, they are quite different sorts of excitement) is that I'm pregnant. Just passed the 12 week mark but no scan yet. Which everyone keeps telling me must be a good sign - if they were at all worried about me, they'd have got me a 12 week scan. As it is I'm waiting until nearly 14 weeks. Waiting impatiently!
I have been relatively lucky through the first trimester. I haven't been sick at all. I have felt pretty lousy at times and done a lot of sleeping but I know it could have been much, much worse. Now my mind is beginning to reel with all the practicalities but I'm doing my best to not be overwhelmed, at least until Husbink's exam is over.

Third, I still don't feel like I can quite say in this context because it isn't my news so I shall continue to be oblique. Many of you will know this one already. Which is that someone else is pregnant and due at a very similar time to me but a long, long way away. This is so very, very exciting. I have found it much easier to be excited about this other pregnancy than my own. My own has implications for me (like a lot of time with my feet up!) and this other one I can be much more simplistic about and enjoy!

I'm not sure I quite believe the middle bit of news yet, Husbink certainly has moments when he is less convinced! I've been assured by various other men that until the scan, it is really unreal for the father. So what if your wife is being hormonal and crazy? Isn't that just normal?! For me a big part of the unrealness comes from the distortion of time. It seems like it has been going on so long now that I can't believe I've only known for seven weeks. That this strange bit of time has only lasted that long.

Well, there you have it. Now the news is out there, I can perhaps write interesting posts again that I promise will not all be about how I feel today and whether there is a bump and what I craved last night (my afternoon craving didn't work for me...I craved, I ate, I was not satisfied) and so on. I may even subject you to some of my articles for the course. We'll see...

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Well, that's about as far as this post had got in my head. I just wanted to check in really.
I've had a thoroughly lovely weekend with the marvellous Ruth. It is a little terrifying just how long it had been since we last met but at least we've had the weekend now and the possibility of lots of other meetings over the summer. We talked. That's about the size of it. It was fab.
Other than that...
Last week was pretty crazy at work. We were seriously understaffed. In the end, I only worked 7.5 hours more than usual but it still meant work/tutorial every day but one. I was very sleepy on Friday. And Saturday. And today. I fell asleep on the sofa this afternoon but it was vaguely nightmarish sleep so I'm still mostly just wanting bed now!
I realise this is not the most exciting post in the world ever. Give me another week to get myself sorted and I promise a more interesting post soon...