Customer Service

Customer ServiceLast week I was hit with three separate instances where customer service was less than desirable. In fact, I almost walked out of a restaurant before even ordering. But I’m skipping ahead…

Tim HortonsWhile in a drive-in line-up at one of the local Tim Hortons, I placed an order that came to $2.55. I had my $3 ready when I drove up to the window. When I got there, I was handed my order and then that was it. I just sat there looking at her, waiting to get my change. She asked me if I got everything I ordered. I said, “Yes, but I didn’t get my change.” At this point, any change I may have left as a tip was coming back to me.

She apologized and asked me how much it had come to. I told her $2.55 and that I had given her $3.00 when I drove up. She grabbed some change out of the register, handed it to me with , “Here you go” and off I drove. I opened my hand to find a nickel. A NICKEL.

Now listen, I’m not upset over the $0.40 cents I was short-changed. It isn’t about the amount of the change. It’s the fact that (1) she forgot to even give me change and (2) she didn’t know how to subtract 2.55 from 3. It was very frustrating.

Lower DeckOn our Date Night last week, Sunshine and I went to a restaurant that we had never been to before because we were both craving burgers and they offered gluten-free buns for her. It was a weird atmosphere…set up like a country bar, the wait staff were all wearing kilts, and they were advertising the local dance radio station doing live DJ’ing on the weekends. I dunno…it just all seemed like a mish-mash.

It was just after 5pm and was NOT busy when we walked in. Staff saw us and one of them said that we should go seat ourselves. We were there for five minutes…staring at each other and looking around the restaurant…just waiting for a menu to look at.

A waiter walked to the table next to us with some food. He went back to the bar and never came back with menus. Another couple of guys walked in a solid 5-minutes after we were there and a woman walked behind them with menus.

I started to get upset. I raised my voice and waved my arms, “HELLOOO!?!?”  At this point, Sunshine asked if I wanted to leave. She was probably just as annoyed with me over-reacting as she was with the lack of service.

Thankfully, somebody finally came over (the waiter that was just by us earlier delivering food) and we proceeded to have a great meal.

SubwayThe next day, both Sunshine and I went to the local Subway at two different times to pick up lunch. We  both noted that one of the servers was NOT in a good mood that day. Sure, he gave us the proper script and said the right things, but he had a very audible “tone” in his voice like we were annoying him.

And we both also saw him throwing food around like he was a child. I saw him whip some cheese back into the bin, only he missed and it went into the lettuce. He grabbed it and chucked it back into the cheese bin. Sunshine saw him throwing onions around, too. It was just a really uncomfortable situation.

On the weekend I went to a sporting goods store to look at their ballcaps. Normally, the guys who work here are all over you as soon as you walk in the door. It wasn’t busy and there were two guys working on this day. No greeting when I arrived. Alright…not a big deal.

Sports FanaticI had my New York Jets ballcap on and was looking at their rack of caps on the wall. I walked up and down looking for the one I wanted to get but couldn’t find. One guy was up against the back wall looking around, the other guy was folding shirts next to me. Sure, I could have asked for help…but I was hoping they would ask me first. They didn’t so I walked out after about 10 minutes of staring at the caps trying to find my team.

*****

It’s the old saying: consumers will tell, on average, twice as many people about bad service than they will about good service. And having been a waiter for about a decade, I would like to think I know a thing or two about good customer service.

I don’t expect to get perfect service out of a drive-thru coffee chain. But I’d like to think that if you miss one thing, you don’t completely blow the other. And even if that job is the best job you can get, they shouldn’t put you on the drive-thru register duty if you can’t count or subtract simple decimals.

I don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot as soon as I walk into the door. But if restaurant isn’t busy, then I certainly expect to be waited on in a certain amount of time…especially if the wait staff is just standing around.

And I don’t expect everybody to be super-excited to be “Sandwich Artists”. But I don’t expect them to throw food around like an 8-year-old throwing a tantrum. Even if you’re in a bad mood, there are certain standards that still need to be met.

I would LOVE to hear some of the bad customer service situations that you’ve had over the years…just so I realize that my situations weren’t that bad.


10,000 Steps

I’m finding it difficult to hit 10,000 steps on a regular basis. I mean, I went for a morning walk/run yesterday and got almost 4,500 steps. By the time 4:30pm came around yesterday at the office, I was only up to 5,800 steps. Obviously, I’m sitting at my desk way too much…but I was really surprised to only hit that mark after the entire day.

I spent the evening making sure I got my 10,000 steps in…doing whatever I had to do. Today was a day I wasn’t planning on going out for a walk, so that means I’ve got a much tougher time trying to get those steps in.

I don’t know how people do it, especially people who work in an office environment all day. Maybe things will be easier once it slows down a bit at work and it gets a bit nicer outside. I hope so, anyway.

I was feeling a bit sore yesterday and I can feel a bit of tenderness this morning, but I expected that to happen. Thankfully, I didn’t go too nuts yesterday morning so I’m not wrecked by any stretch. I can say, though, that I’m absolutely looking forward to doing this C25K app from the beginning to the end again because I know that I can do it. Last year I was motivated but timid…thinking I could actually run a 5K but not entirely sure. I’ve got the confidence in knowing that I can do it now, so it’s really a matter of trying to keep up the pace.


Day One

So today is Day One.

It’s weird to be starting this process all over again, especially after the success that I had last year. But I was in a bad way near the end of last year and running or being healthy simply wasn’t in the cards for me. I needed to get my mind right before getting my body right.

After four months on anti-depressants, I can honestly say that I feel as though a fog was lifted for me. All of the times that I tried to move forward and failed were always for different reasons. I was never happy with my physical condition and used that self-hatred to motivate me to get healthier. Depression would always creep in the way and my self-destructive tendencies would always leave me short of my ultimate goals.

I don’t feel like that right now. I’m actually not hating what I see in the mirror. I realize I’m overweight, but I don’t hate what I wear every day. I’m not letting my physical condition dictate how I’m going to feel that day. I’m making that choice on my own regardless of what the scale says.

And in the interest of full disclosure, my weight this morning was 240.8lbs. That’s my starting weight as I begin this journey to being the “me” that I’m finally ready to become. And yes…that’s the heaviest I can recall ever being.

I purchased a FitBit on Friday because (1) my Garmin strap broke and I didn’t feel like dishing out $$ for a new one, (2) my friends are already using FitBits. I like that FitBit also synchronizes with my Map My Run app, my My Fitness Pal app, and my C25K app. I plan on combining everything to ensure I’m giving myself the best opportunity I can to lead a healthier life.

The ultimate goal is to lose weight, it’s true. But my goal for 2015 is to run a half-marathon. Now, whether or not that means I walk 15 km and run/jog 7 km is irrelevant. I want to do a half-marathon and complete it on my own. I want to do this for me. I want Sunshine at the finish line waiting for me cheering me on. I want to know that I’m not the last person crossing that finish line. And eventually, I want to be able to have a good enough time that I could qualify for one of the many Disney Half-Marathon events that they hold (definitely the ultimate running goal for me).

So those are my goals. They’re set, they’re realistic, and they’re achievable with some work and effort on my part. I may never, ever see my abs again (did I ever have them?), but I’m ready to become a better ‘me’.

I’ve done the mental part. Now it’s time to tackle the physical part. That started this morning.

Day One down and in the books. #LetsDoThis

A video posted by Todd (@canadianbaldguy) on

Day One is down and in th ebooks. Let’s do this!

 


Date Nights

CBG & SunshineIt’s weird…when I lived 2.5 hours away from Sunshine, we would get together and try to spend every waking minute living life to its fullest and never let a moment pass us by. Once we got married, everything changed.

Admittedly, the majority of the reason for that was me and my depression. We talked about going out on dates but never did. I was more interested in lounging on the couch watching TV than going out for a meal with my awesome wife while we laughed and talked.

Thankfully, my life has changed around tremendously since going on anti-depressants. One of the things that we both promised each other was that we would set aside some money in our monthly budget to go out on dates. It didn’t have to be anything big…but we needed to get out of the house and do SOMETHING.

007We’ve gone out for coffee at Starbucks. We’ve had some amazing burgers at Jack Astor’s and some decent burgers at Flip Burger. We’ve had “ghetto meals” (i.e. cheap meals) at Wendy’s. We’ve had ice cream at Marble Slab Creamery. We’re going to catch Insurgent this weekend. Regardless of what we do, the most important thing is that we’ve actually gone out together.

To me, this has done wonders for us as a couple. We don’t feel like we’re stuck in a rut every night. Sure, we still have nights on the couch and we still have nights when we’re running around doing errands. But going out on a date on a regular basis (usually once every two weeks) has really made us feel like we’re getting back to us as a couple; not just two people living together.

003I’m far from the expert to be telling you how to improve your marriage, but all I can say is that this has worked for me and Sunshine. Just taking time away from the kids to spend on each other can make a world of difference. No work, no kids, no unnecessary distractions or interruptions. Just two people in love enjoying each other’s company.

You wouldn’t think it’s necessary, but it is. Life can pass you by quick; sometimes you just need to stop long enough to enjoy the moment.


Let’s Do This

AwkwardI haven’t been out running since the end of November/beginning of December. Once I was diagnosed with having Major Depressive Disorder, I immediately shied away from doing anything that distracted me from getting better.

Of course…that was also just an excuse I told myself. I was lazy and depressed and full of self-loathing. As the months passed on, I used my recovery as an excuse not to go outside (the winter didn’t help, either).

So here we are nearing the end of March. We’ve been hit with three snowstorms in the past week and the sidewalks/roads are still in really bad shape. Of course, that hasn’t slowed down my awesome wife…who has gone for at least a 2km run every single day for almost a year now!

5KAnyway…the point is that I’m ready to get back to this. I’m in a much better place mentally and I’m ready to begin my journey to completing a half marathon. At first, that seemed like a daunting accomplishment to try and achieve, but I ran a 10K last year on my own: twice!! If I can run 10K, I can run 21.1K.

Monday, March 30th is Day One. I’m re-starting the Couch-to-5K app that I used last year. It’s been over three months so I know I need to start over again…but that’s okay, actually. I feel like I’ll be able to pick things back up quicker this time around.

I’m also at my heaviest weight, so starting slow is a realistic suggestion for me. But after looking at My Fitness Pal stats from 2012, I saw that my lowest was 212lbs. That’s almost 30lbs less than I weigh now…so where that was only three years ago, I feel it’s not an insurmountable task for me to overcome. I can TOTALLY do this. 

And I’m not using anything else for motivation, either. I don’t have Random Esquire or Sunshine or a “Biggest Loser” contest at work or a race against a co-worker to motivate me this time around. I’ve got a positive mindset and a will to want back out there and prove to myself that I can do this. 

004I’ll be chronicling my journey over the coming months here and on my Instagram account. I figure that I’m the “poster boy” for the Couch-to-5K app because that’s where I’m living right now…on my couch. I’m really looking forward to changing things up and getting back out there. 

Self-motivation…I never realized it could be so powerful.

Let’s do this!!


An Update From A Major Depressive

I know I haven’t been around lately. I apologize to anybody who actually cares to read this blog on a semi-regular basis. I’ve been working through some things and talking about them hasn’t been high on my list of priorities.

To recap…I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder back in December. I’ve been taking anti-depressants ever since and have been working to be a better person, inside and out.

So how am I doing?  In a word: great.

IMG_0009I honestly feel happier now than I’ve felt in years. And what is making things better is that I feel it’s a genuine happiness; not me simply telling myself I’m happy or me enjoying a couple of days while still suffering through anxiety and sadness underneath a “happiness façade”.

Here’s some honesty for you: I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I weighed-in this morning and just under 240lbs. I mean…wow. But here’s the crazy flip-side of things: I’m not hating myself because of it. For the past few years, my weight has been a constant cause of depression and self-loathing. I look in the mirror now and, while a bit embarrassed at how large I’ve gotten, I don’t hate what I see. I don’t hate the person looking back at me in the mirror.

This has been a VERY long time coming. It was one of those “you can’t heal yourself until you can love yourself” situations. I feel as though I have hit a really positive point in my life, and this self-actualization is quite the eye opener for myself.

The work isn’t done, obviously. Beginning next month, I will be seeing a psycho-therapist to really help me dig into the “why” of my depression. I’m going to try to figure out the origins of my anger management issues and defensiveness, and hopefully find new ways to tackle those issues, too.

IMG_0077With the exception of a pretty bad meltdown on my part one night last week, I’ve been doing great. I feel as though I’ve fallen in love with my wife all over again, and that’s been a spectacular feeling. We’re genuinely smiling and laughing and loving each other again…and I know that my attitude change has had a lot to do with that.

So now what? Well…I’m waiting for the sidewalks to get a little less icy and then I’m going to get out there and start running again. I feel like I want to start the Couch-to-5K app from scratch again because I haven’t done any running all winter. My plan is to run a half-marathon by the fall, so starting off with 5K would be a pretty good start.

Along with that comes the “I need to lose weight” issue again. God…how many times on this blog have I said that? But I feel different now. I’m not hating myself or using food as a self-sabotaging weapon. I’m eating now because I’ve been concentrating on my happiness so food as just become part of that. Once I begin to analyze the issues I’m dealing with, I can stop using food for those purposes.

I won’t do it to “look better” and I won’t do it to impress anybody. I’m just going to do it for myself and my health.  I recently saw that a former local news anchor died at age 58 due to the stress he put on his body from shoveling snow out of his driveway. I don’t want to become that type of statistic. I want to be healthy so that Sunshine and I can enjoy our lives well into our “golden years”.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be blogging on a regular basis going forward, but I want to document and chronicle where this transformation takes me. I’m finally ready for change. I’m ready to embrace it. I’m ready to become the man I always wanted to be; not because of others, but because of myself.


The Performance Review

Dilbert performance reviewI had my first performance review at my job last week. It was based upon the past year (obviously), which happened to be my first year with the company.

Things didn’t go quite the way I had initially hoped they would.

Y’see…because of my issues with depression over the past year, it wasn’t only affecting my marriage. It was affecting my capacity to do the job I was hired to do at the best of my abilities.

Not only was I depressed every day and worried about getting fired, but I was falling into a “mistake black hole”. Basically, I would make a silly little mistake on a document and then another…then another and then I would be making mistakes in almost every document.

I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I would look at a spreadsheet, make changes, and then send it off to my supervisors. They would come back noting mistakes that I had missed. Once I looked again, I would see things that I swore were not there before.

My supervisors would take something and assume it was 100% correct before sending it out to a customer or client. There would be mistakes on the documentation that I should have noted well before sending it off. It made the company look bad, my supervisors look bad, and me look bad.

The performance review started off with me explaining to my immediate supervisor, whom I had a very up-and-down relationship with in 2014, why I had been the person I was last year. I explained the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and told her that it completely affected my personality and my ability to fully concentrate on the work at hand. I told her that I didn’t realize this until December, and that I had really tried to change over the past couple of months on my medication.

I’m glad I did this because it made the review much easier to handle. She explained the issues and I completely accepted responsibility for everything. Once the review was over, she even told me that she was happy that it went better than she had expected.

I messed up 2014. My depression affected my life on every single level. If I had gotten this performance review last year, it would have sent me into a darker spiral of depression and self-loathing.

Thankfully, I knew what the review was going to be like before it even began. I realize that the person I was last year wasn’t the person I needed to be and that I’m on a much better path now. I’m going to do my best to use this review as motivation for 2015.

Quite frankly, my company doesn’t know if I can do the job that I was hired to do. I totally understand why they feel that way, though. I’m not upset and I’m not depressed and I’m not anything but motivated at this point.

 I plan on proving their faith in me was not mistaken.


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