Saturday, January 12, 2013

Categorizing People You Meet

Nothing will get me to flip in to arbitrary mode quicker then when someone (especially of the opposite sex) attempts to put me in some category in their mind without really getting to know me.  I know this my sound a bit weird but I think there is so much more to a person then what you may get out of them from your standard get to know you questions.  So I will run you through a scenario in this post and you can call me whatever you want but I don't think you will call me boring or think I am your average or normal conversationalist by the end.

So I remember this time I was at wine bar and this gal started asking me questions, like, "What do you do?"  Now I know this is a standard question that most people ask, and I would say that about 20% really care or are interested in what your actually do, and the rest are just trying to figure out what they can get from you or if you can help them with something they are interested in doing.  NOW I ask people this all the time everyday, but the difference is I am trying to understand how to relate to them, and explain things in a manner they might better understand.  OK so back to the 80% of people that ask this question.  So we will call this gal Becka, and she whats to know, What I Do.....

So my response was, "Well I Snowboard, Wakeboard, Kite Board, Surf, Mt. Bike, Dirt Bike, Race Cars, Skydive, Base Jump, and I love walks on the beach and sunsets or sunrises.  What about you?  Now Becka's response was, "NO I Meant What DO YOU DO?  Now here is where it gets fun, I just stare at her with a "Are You Stupid" look on my face and say nothing...........  Total awkward Silence!  For at least 30 seconds to a minute.

Then you have to look like you had an epiphany, roll your eyes, and loudly say, "OOOOHHH you mean what do I do for monetary compensation?"  Now understand that for the most part some people might not know what "monetary compensation" is and you might just have to roll your eyes again and say "money."  Now here is a little trick, if this person is really into you they won't care and they will be more interested in what you do for fun then what you do for monetary compensation, so if they persist just ask them what they do for fun since you already told them what you do for fun.  This is also another trick, because they could be the most boring person on the planet and not worth the next vibrations from your voice box if they can't answer the question. It's sad but over 80% of our current society globally has no purpose driving their daily actions, and I would say that ratio is greater in the US because most are consumed by pop culture and their jobs.

Having Fun Yet?  Well you have to understand that this type of conversation is going to go bad 80% of the time, but just understand that your sorting for someone that might have other interest then how stable you income is and if you have a retirement plan, or if they will be able to brag to their friends or parents about your title (MD or Dr or PHD or Esq.).  Sometimes you just need to sit back and think to yourself, "What is this person Really asking me?"

So what happened with Becka, well as soon as she could not put me in an income category she flipped out.  All I could do is think to myself is, I am sure glad I was able to find out what she values in her friendships, by taking a conversation in a direction not anticipated or expected by the other party and watching them deal with the unexpected, and the feeling of not being in control.  Better to find it out now then later.  Another way to do this is to push someone out of a plane for the first time, but I will cover that in another post.

In a quick closing note, try this with anyone, see how it goes, leave a comment or share it with a friend, and most of all just have fun with it and stop having the same boring conversations with people because they will keep giving you the same boring relationships.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Management Ethics

Ian Kirk
PO Box 2775
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
January 9, 2013
Customer Service Center
Safeway Inc. - M/S 10501
P.O. Box 29093
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9093
Dear Customer Service Center:
Although I find it an unpleasant task, I feel that I must bring to your attention a problem I am had with your manager, Russell at The Tahoe City CA location.
Being new to Tahoe City I have enjoyed shopping at the local Safeway for all my grocery needs.  On my visit on January 9, 2013 I asked a teller if Safeway cashed pay checks from the ski resorts, because I was new to town and didn’t have a local bank where I could make the deposit, and she didn’t know so she told me to ask Russell the manager.
Russell directed me over to another counter and asked for my check and if I had ever cashed a check at Safeway before, I reply, “No I have never cashed a paycheck at Safeway before.”  He told me to type my social security number into the ATM/Credit Card Scanner machine at the counter.  For some reason we had to redo the process again because something didn’t go through, and Russell again asked me if I had ever cashed a check at Safeway before where I responded, “No I have never cashed a Paycheck at Safeway before.”  After retyping my social security number into the ATM/Credit Card Scanner it endorsed the back of my paycheck.  Russell then told me to sign the back of it over what the machine had printed on the back of the check.  I asked him for a pen and he went and got one from the produce stocker because he didn’t have one on him or at that counter.  Upon looking at what was printed on the back a fee of over $10 was going to be taken out of my check for cashing it at Safeway.  I calmly ask Russell if this was correct and he informed me that yes it was a check cashing fee.  I asked Russell why he didn’t tell me that there was going to be a fee involved and he said, “I do so many of these I just figured you knew that there was going to be a fee involved.”  I responded by saying, “I told you I had never cashed a check at Safeway before three times.  Do you think it is fair that you charge me a fee without disclosing it to me first?  Russell responded with a demeaning tone, “ I don’t know where you can cash a check without  a bank account without paying a fee.”  I calmly responded by informing him that I could have taken it to the Casino’s or to Bank of the West and they don’t charge a fee to cash a check and now that you have endorsed the back of the check without disclosing that there was going to be a fee I can take it to either of those places to cash it now.  To which he turn to his coworker Kelly and told her that I was requesting that the fee be waive since it was not disclosed to me by neither him nor the ATM/Credit Card Machine I typed my Social Security Card number into.  Kelly just shrugged her shoulders and mumbled something to the effect that, “yep 2.50 per 100 dollars that right.”  I said to Russell well how about just giving me a 10 dollar Safeway gift card since I do all my grocery shopping here anyway and we can forget the fact that you didn’t tell me there would be a fee for cashing my check.  He informed me that NO he could not and would not do that and told me, “You were born in 1977 you should know better than to think you can cash a check without paying a fee.”
Now I don’t know what type of managers training that you as the Safeway Inc. use but I would hope it does not include belittling long term customers in front of other employees when the management fails to disclose a fee attached to a process the customer is unfamiliar.
I don’t know how you as Safeway Inc. would like to resolve this situation but I am interested to find out because after taking my other check to Bank of the West, which is less than a mile down the road, and telling the teller what had happen, she ask if it was the short stocky manager?  I responded, “Yes it was, his name is Russell.”  To which she responded, “That’s not surprising he is a real ________.”   Let’s just say she used an adjective that should not be used in a professional business letter, and if you choose to want to contact her to verify this incident I would not want to get her in trouble with her management for a slight slip of the tongue speaking off the cuff and from experience. 
In conclusion I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and look forward to whatever resolution you choose, and sharing that resolution with the local chamber of commerce, the entire staff at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, the Better Business Bureau, and all forms of social media.  It’s not the events that happen to us that shape our outcomes, but the reactions we have to those events that shape the final outcomes in our lives, businesses, and relationships.

Ian Kirk