Tag Archives: kudos

In Recognition

There’s a job that is pretty well underrated in the modern age and it needs a little more promotion.  That job is: Lifeguard.  When you read that word, what’s the first image that came to mind?  A person sitting in a high chair beside a pool or on a high deck at the beach?  Just sitting there all day?  Maybe yelling at people every once in a while?  Sounds like an easy and/or boring job.  Anyone could do it, right?

If your lifeguard is not doing anything at your local swim area, be grateful.  That means you have a community that is educated in water skills and water safety.  But, there are many places where this is not the case.  In my area, where people come on vacation to go to the water, it’s painfully obvious that water skills don’t come naturally.  And that is why you need lifeguards.

A lifeguard is not just someone who likes to swim.  A lifeguard is not even just someone who can pull another person out of the water.  Lifeguard certification consists of many specific saving techniques – ones that EMTs and Paramedics might not even know.  There are precise ways to handle different emergency situations and skills that must be honed to perfection to avoid causing additional injury to a victim.  A lifeguard is an emergency first responder and is essentially an ambulance in the water.

There is another element of being a lifeguard that elevates them above EMTs. (You wouldn’t think this to be the case, but it is.)  When an ambulance is called and an EMT is sent to an accident scene, the damage is already done.  The EMT can only keep things from getting worse.  In the role of lifeguard, there is the opportunity to stop an accident from even happening in the first place.  Lifeguards are trained to identify signs of distress and trouble and can respond before anything bad happens.  Of course, this can be completely underappreciated, since the person being saved wasn’t in desperate need of assistance yet.

So the specialized skills of a lifeguard are beyond those of an EMT because an EMT is too late to the scene to help.  If that isn’t impressive enough, consider what “late” means to a lifeguard: 20 seconds.  Can you look out into a crowd of people, identify someone having problems and get to them in 20 seconds?  And if you think that any good swimmer could be a substitute for a certified lifeguard, consider some of these.

Could you save a a struggling person without being drowned yourself?  The victim isn’t trying to kill you and it’s nothing personal, it’s just self-preservation.  Could you save a person with an injury without causing further injury?  What if it was the neck?  What if it was the spine?  How long can you do CPR?  You don’t stop until the ambulance gets there.  How are you with heat?  You’re in the sun for a long time.

Lifeguards are not beach bums and they are not Baywatch.  They are trained professionals who save lives when needed and prevent bad situations from becoming disasters.  They will be the ones who are first on the scene for emergency assistance, whether for cuts, broken bones, jellyfish stings, choking or even drowning.  You may never see one in action, for which you should be grateful, but don’t discount the level of safety they provide.

I am almost always fascinated by trade magazines, because they illustrate how serious and passionate people are about their individual profession.  For example, at my first jobs working at pizza shops, the store would have a subscription to Pizza Today.  Yes, there was plenty going on in that industry, with techniques and technology to keep up on.  So, check out Aquatics Intl and get an appreciation of a lifeguard’s world.  They take it seriously and there is constant education and training happening there as well.

A Good Week So Far

A couple of shoutouts for a couple of good actions by a couple of businesses I’ve dealt with.  These were cases where I could have been out a little bit of money, but they absorbed the cost in a show of goodwill.  For this, they deserve a good mention.

First, PNC Bank.  Under most circumstances, I would be giving them a rant post.  Consider this.  I’m on the board for a small non-profit organization.  We went to PNC last October and signed up for the free business checking.  Everything was just great.  Fast forward to two weeks ago and I got an email saying that August 1, there’s no more free checking and we would start getting charged $12/month.  We’re a really small organization, so $12/mo is significant.

That was enough to irk me, but after some research, I discovered that the PNC’s decision to end free checking was made before we had even opened our account.  So, our account rep sold us on an account knowing that in 10 months, we’d start getting hit with a fee.  That’s not fair.

I just closed the account on Monday.  The account rep was very understanding and didn’t give me any hassle.  Later on that evening, I made the awful realization that I never printed off my online statements.  Shame on me for not doing it each month.  So, I check PNC’s fee schedule and it looks like it’s going to cost me $5 per statement, or $50 total.  I take it on as a personal cost, since it was my screw-up.

I visit the bank Tuesday and sheepishly explain that I just closed my account and didn’t print my statements.  The rep didn’t even bat an eye and said they’d print them out right away.  And they did, for free.  My sum impression of PNC is that the local branch service is very good, and they want their customers to be happy, but maybe the higher-level execs are a little disconnected and are just looking at the numbers, hence the discontinuation of free accounts.

Second kudos go to AdoramaPix.  For the afore-mentioned organization, I had a need to print off a bunch of photos.  Shopping for price proved that AdoramaPix was substantially cheaper, and I wasn’t worried about using them because I’d previously dealt with Adorama and they are highly respected.

I order the photos at 10pm on a Thursday with an estimated delivery next Friday.  The next morning, I wake up to see my order has been shipped already  and my delivery estimate is now Wednesday.  I check the delivery tracking on Tuesday and discover the photos were delivered on Monday.  Damn.

Then I go out to get my mail.  No photos.  Oh my god.  I hate my mail carrier.  He or she is always misdelivering mail.  I’ve gotten valuable, important, and sometimes embarrassing things sent to me for my neighbors.  I either hand-deliver them or put them back to be redelivered.  This time it’s my turn.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of faith in my neighbors.  So I send an email to AdoramaPix and file a claim on USPS’s site.  In the meantime, I’m wondering who just got $55 worth of pictures for free.  A few hours later, I get an email from Adorama.  An apology and a note that they’re reprinting my photos and resending them.  It was that simple.

So yeah, it’s been a good week.  Thanks to PNC and AdoramaPix whose personal service saved me unwelcome expenses.

Professing Love For One Of Society’s Downfalls

I love Dasani.  That’s all.

No, there’s more.  Duh.  There’s a long-standing argument about bottled water.  People are always saying, “why are you paying for water?  You have it in your sink!”  The answer is simple.  That water sucks.  That’s all.

I’m not sure why people don’t understand the concept of bottled water.  I mean, I guess it might be strange if I lived somewhere back up north where I had clear mountain streams at my disposal.  I will forever remember the time I was in a training camp in the Poconos and I happened to drink some water from the sink.  It was amazing!  Smooth and clear.  Not like this limestone and calcium-ridden stuff we have here.  We even bottle this crap as Zephyr Hills bottled water.  It’s called natural spring water, and that’s what you get.  Lots of minerals for a “great” taste.

But Dasani, that’s the real great stuff.  So first, they filter out everything, then they add in certain minerals to give it taste.  Just like the minerals that are in the ground everywhere you go.  If I could find the place that had Dasani-like water from the ground, I’d be in heaven.  You can try different bottled water and it really does taste different between brands.  Aquafina’s good in a pinch, and Fiji is pretty good, too.

So the argument is that some people think other people drink bottled water because those people think their tap water is unhealthy.  That’s not true and I know it.  I’ll drink my tap water without any fear.  I just don’t like the taste.

Customer Service, Done Right and Done Incredibly Wrong

I’m writing this on a day that hasn’t really been in my favor, so it’s probably going to be a bit more harsh than usual.  But anyway, to have a post in the rant category with a tag of kudos would be rather odd.

Sometimes it takes a spectacular display of behavior to elevate something very good to the excellent level, and at the same time, showing the bad as very bad.  A couple of weeks ago at Fuddruckers, the GF and I ordered our food and sat down to wait for it.  When the server arrived with the food, she asked, “Did you get your shake, yet?”, which we hadn’t.  The server said, “Hold on just a minute,” and immediately went over and made the shake herself and brought it right over.  While she was doing that, I commented “I’m impressed she has taken personal responsibility for the problem and is fixing it.”  When she brought the shake, the GF gave expressed the same and thanked her for her level of service.

Fast-forward to a meal this weekend at Cracker Barrel.  I order my usual plain cheeseburger, which arrives not plain.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Cracker Barrel cooks don’t seem to understand what plain means.  As is typical at restaurants, a “runner” brought the food and when it was commented my burger wasn’t plain, she was confused. She offered a fresh bun and I accepted.  Just as she was walking away, our waitress came over and asked if everything was ok.  She saw the burger and commented defensively, “I put it in as plain” to which I sarcastically replied that it’s nothing new.  The GF asks the waitress if we can get a new bun, and incredibly, the first word out of the waitress’ mouth was “no.” 


When, ever, do you flat-out say “no” to a customer?  She immediately started back-tracking when she saw the looks on our faces and I think (or I hope, for her sake) she had intended to say that instead of just bringing a bun, she would take the plate back and fix it in the kitchen.  But, as it turned out, we commented that the runner was going to bring a new bun, and the waitress dismissed herself.

Time passed, and no bun appeared.  I assumed that would happen – that the runner and waitress would each think the other was taking care of it.  As I finished my fries, the waitress came back around and saw I still didn’t have a plain bun.  Again, she didn’t really apologize, she just refused to accept blame for someone else not doing something correct.  At that point she went back and got a new bun in under 20 seconds.

The rest of the meal was uneventful, but we were still shaking our heads at the level of customer service provided.  As I’m paying for the meal at the checkout counter, my cashier is talking to another cashier, discussing that they are both done for the day.  She asks me how my food was.  I responded in a tone that should have roused suspicion, “It was… good.”  There was a short pause while she processed the payment and she asks, “and how was the service today?” and before I could answer, she turned away and picked up on her conversation with the other cashier.  My eyes grew wide.  When she turned back, she didn’t seem to realize that the question had gone unanswered and finished the transaction.  As we walked out, I had plenty of expletives in my vocabulary.

Notice how little description it took for the positive experience and how much more was devoted to the shitty experience.  I’m not sure anyone thinks that good customer service is recognized, but everyone knows that bad service is immortalized.  It is pretty clear that the Fuddruckers we were at empowers their workers to do what it takes to make the customer happy.  It’s also clear that this particular Cracker Barrel does not.  It’s entirely possible that the individual employees contributed to the success or failure, but in the case of Cracker Barrel, it was four employees’ failures – the waitress, the runner, the cook, and the cashier.  That speaks volumes about that location, which we will never return to again.

So, in conclusion, kudos to Fuddruckers for giving their workers the power to fix problems themselves, and no comment to Cracker Barrel for not taking responsibility for mistakes and being too wrapped up in their own selves to find out that they screwed up.

Going Above and Beyond

A couple of days ago I bought a piece of jewelry to extend a bracelet, since my wrist was between link sizes – one link either made the bracelet spin freely or cut off circulation.  So I purchased a small extender, $8 after shipping.  It arrived today.

This is how it was packaged:


Nice and fancy.  That kind of stuff is lost on me.  But that’s not the end of it.


So, a bracelet link in a poly bag, in a mesh bag, in a poly bag, in a shipping box, wrapped in the shipping invoice, wrapped in tissue paper and shredded packing paper, in a plastic shipping envelope.

Now that’s how it’s done.  That’s http://chainextenders.com for everyone that insists in having their jewelry treated like gold – even if it’s not.