A California Girl On A Short Drive In The Midwest

The first leg of this trip began with a 12:50a redeye flight from SeaTac to Chicago O’Hare.

The airport at 10:30pm was the emptiest I’ve seen an airport. The security line was short, the terminals were peacefully quiet and empty and even Starbucks was closed.

I think the weirdest thing was brushing my teeth in the airport bathroom and having strangers coming in and out. It’s one of those things I’ve never really thought of. I have zero problem doing so around people I know, but strangers seeing me brush my teeth? Weird. Not uncomfortable, really, just weird.

Everything seems slower at night when it’s quiet. Boarding felt slower, the waiting to taxi and take off felt much longer, but it really wasn’t.

Us on the plane
Plane faces

I had taken a 2hr nap after work and before making final preparations, and the sleepy was starting to kick back in. Perfect!
I was a tad worried when a little one was very clearly upset on the plane, but she had calmed down before takeoff. I don’t have children (yet..?) but I’m pretty sympathetic.. I felt bad for the parents who were probably getting all kinds of angry looks from travelers hoping to get some sleep on a 1am flight in which passengers lose two hours.
Foregoing the neck pillow purchasing, getting into a comfortable position that wasn’t going to destroy me was quite difficult. Luckily, this plane’s seats had those head wing thingies that you can position outward to lean on. They were very helpful, and I didn’t need any additional cushion. It was still uncomfortable, and sleep was difficult, but I got a bit. So yay :)
Landing at almost 7am on a weekday at O’Hare did not lend well to my hopes of seeing the actual city of Chicago. Our destination today is in Indiana so heading towards Chicago was not the best of ideas. That’s okay though; I was so sleepy anyway!
We grabbed something quick to eat and began the drive. A car nap stop was necessary, because safety. After seeing signs for a candy factory, a candy shop stop was also necessary.

Albanese Candy Factory sign
Albanese Candy Factory

Definitely necessary. From Albanese Confectionery, I picked up only a tiny bag of dark chocolate almonds, pretzel balls and amaretto pecans. And a bag of gummi bears. That tiny bag really should have been a medium. It’s taken so much willpower to not devour it’s delicious contents over the course of like five miles. A stop there on the way back out miiiiight just be a trip requirement.

So Indiana is flat. At least the part that I’ve just ridden through. It’s very green, which I love! I have this thing, however, likely due to growing up with the Santa Cruz Mountains or other tree-covered hills as a constant background nearly everywhere I looked.

I never noticed it until I traveled across the country. If I can’t see big level changes, the landscape automatically feels boring to me. No matter how gorgeous the immediate area is. It’s a silly thing, and I have to tell myself that it doesn’t make a place any less beautiful. Maybe it’s too much sky and not enough everything else? I dunno; It’s just a quirk of mine, I suppose.
Overall landscape aside, I’m awed by how much open space and land there is between each of the cute little houses!! It’s so cozy, adorable and refreshing to see after living in and around larger cities. AND I WANT ONE! OR ALL OF THEM!
I’ve always wanted a house that’s cute and mine. It doesn’t need to be huge at all. I figure I’ll be able to fill it with everything that makes it into a true home, regardless of size :) A girl can dream… And hopefully not be disappointed later in life, hah.

We’ve almost reached our first real destination now :)

Being a Cookie Brigadier at PAX Prime

[This post is so late. PAX Prime happened like two months ago, I wrote this piece over one month ago. Better late than never, right? I’ll post all of the recipes I used some day, too!]

After my first PAX Prime, I was hooked. My second PAX Prime, I had the surprising opportunity to compete as an Omeganaut. This third PAX of mine, I volunteered as a Brigadier for the Cookie Brigade.

The Cookie Brigade is a volunteer-run organization that distributes cookies to fellow convention and event attendees, for free. Any donations collected are donated to the Child’s Play Charity to help bring toys and games to a network of children’s hospitals.

Convention + cookies + charity. Not even a question, I SUPPORT ALL OF THIS!

My baking extravaganza consisted of the following:

  • Classic chewy chocolate chip
  • Star Wars gingerbread
  • Vegan peanut butter
  • Peanut butter chocolate chip
  • Brownie bites (non-cookie)

It took about two days to get everything done.

The first day, I made the dough only for the gingerbread cookies, and managed to get through the entire double batch of chocolate chip!

I also made the brownie bites, start to finish, except bagging. For these, I kind of cheated. I used a Duncan-Heinz brownie mix and a well-greased mini muffin tin.

I’m super grateful that @rabbd came by to help and make me real food to eat for dinner. Thank yoooou!!

On the second day, most of my time was spent rolling and cutting the Star Wars gingerbread cookie dough! Last Christmas, I picked up the Star Wars gingerbread cookie cutters from ThinkGeek for @rabbd. They hadn’t gotten any use yet, and I figured this was as good a time as any! Luckily, he let me borrow them :)

Second-to-lastly, I made a double batch of the vegan peanut butter cookies. Un-veganizing half of it, I split the dough in half and added chocolate chips to one of the batches. These batches were much smaller and it was nice to have them over quickly.

The last step, individual bagging, was probably the most daunting, even though I completed it in about 40 minutes.

Phew!!

I did get to help distribute cookies at the convention as well, but my time this PAX ended up being way more booked up than I had originally thought. Though I didn’t end up distributing as much as I would have liked, it was still a blast! The Cookie Brigade raised over $20k over all 4 days!

Thank you to all who supported the Child’s Play Charity and I hope you all enjoyed your sweet treats!

I Helped Make A Game!! (Seattle Game Jam)

For the past few years, I’ve toyed with the idea of making games. I love games and I love making things.

Not only are there a zillion avenues to begin learning how to make games, which is intimidating in itself, it’s a huge undertaking when you do pick one.

In addition… Although it’s not uncommon, I have this bad habit of not starting things out of fear that I won’t finish or keep up with them. Game development is one of them.

I’ve always wanted to do a game jam, but somehow always found out about them too late and am unable to attend.

This year was different, and I found out about PlayFab‘s Seattle Game Jam with weeks to spare! I didn’t have a full time job yet, and it was on a weekend anyway. The reservations were free, too. I nervously contacted the event coordinator, asking if it was newbie-friendly. The response I received was very positive and encouraging, and that made me feel better. I made sure to thank Tom for that when I figured out who he was :) 

Over the weekend, our team made this game, called Gravefighters. A 2D, top-down pseudo-tower defense with 3D animations and all custom music and sounds!

Here’s my general conclusion about participating in my first game jam, and below is the day-by-day breakdown of my experience.

Overall Thoughts

I know I was with a really talented and accepting team. Even though I know next to nothing about how the building of a game actually works, am not an artist, I felt welcome. THANK YOU TEAM!!

I wasn’t able to help as much as I wanted to be able to.. The other teammates were definitely more busy than me, most of the time. For this, I felt so helpless.

At the same time, I do know that my contributions were valued and that it’s a great feeling to be a part of something bigger, even if it was a much smaller contribution than others. It’s also in the nature of the roles and timing.

Simply being around every aspect of the development was totally worth coming for! I’ve learned a lot about the project management of a game, how the teams and timing work together. It was a completely invaluable experience!

It’s re-sparked interest and furthered motivation in the field, even as a hobby. I’m excited to pursue more development aspects and do this again some time!

THANK YOU TEAM!!!

I was so impressed with our game and all of the other teams during presentations. The results of hard work, creativity and each team’s take on the theme was great to see. So many possibilities had come to life!

Though we didn’t win, the two teams that did were more than deserving!! Read about them here on PlayFab’s blog post.

Day-by-Day

Day 1: Pitches, team formation and planning

The theme was “It’s Alive”. I was only able to come up with a small, open-ended concept, but with no idea how to do anything behind it. I did choose to pitch it, and it was received well, but not enough to make the main cutoff. Which was TOTALLY OKAY!! because there was no way I could lead a team when I had never done anything like this before. 

I chose to check out one of the other pitches that I found really funny and that sounded like it could actually be done in two days: Grave keeper by day, necromancer by night.

At night, you resurrect your buried bodies to defend your graveyard from rival graveyards’ undead to keep your graveyard the nicest. Silly, right?! 

Though I have no experience, I was accepted to the team. It had grown quickly to 10 of us. I offered to help with sounds, organization and UI design. 

Narrowing down the concept to a two-day project was difficult. We all had really awesome ideas! But we needed to make sure that the scope wasn’t so farfetched and the gameplay concepts were sound.

With a fairly solid lead, we parted for the night, preparing for the grind the next day.

Day 2: Get a move on!

Everyone knew their role and they quickly got to work. Since we had another person on UI/project management, I took the lead on sound effects and made a mini studio out of a conference room table, USB mic and beanbag. 

For never doing them for reals before, I think they came out pretty well! I’ve cut and done basic mixing/editing for fun before.

Using Adobe Audition, I was able to record various noises, add audio effects, mix and edit. The engineers were able to initially implement most of them by mid-day. 

I had help and inspiration from our youngest teammate, the son of another teammate, to use a tablet to work with music. Using MAGIX Music Maker Jam on my Android tablet, I was able to put together some loops to use as one of the background music loops.

I must say that that app is way too much fun. Especially the pack called “Bro Step Vol. 2.” That generated a lot of laughs! 

The artists were working hard to make things really pretty, and the engineers got things to actually work. 

It was so awesome to see the progress throughout the day!

Day 3: Crunch time and Judgement Day

All of the sounds, music and UI screens were completed, so I didn’t have too much to do since I don’t know Unity. 

A couple of us collaborated on story, introduction and instructional copy, and I was able to help edit one of the 2D art pieces! I added a highlight..YAY I’M USEFUL!! #IAmAnArtist (HAH. No I’m not.)

We all got a chance to playtest and point out major bugs and the occasional spelling error. Seeing everything in action was fantastic! 

Every little bit by each person made it silly, fun and actually functional. Priceless!

I Hate Running But Ran My First 10K

The Decision

Five months ago, I moved to a new city without a job lined up after my temporary contract with my old position ends. The first thing I did was cut down every monthly expense that I could, which included my gym membership. I knew I needed to stay moving.

Hey! I’m living right where The Oatmeal hosts his race, Beat The Blerch! I love The Oatmeal he’s awesome and inspiring!

I also needed a goal..

So I registered for the 10K. I got a friend to commit to running also, though he signed up for the half marathon. I’ve only run 5Ks before. Slowly, but I’ve done it.

I’ve pretty much always said that I hate running. This summer, I’ve learned a little more about myself and that it’s not running that I hate. It’s the exhausting, out of breath, feels-like-dying feeling that running brings. Just thinking about going for a run, my chest tightens up, and I get into my own head.. I can’t do this, it’s going to feel awful, I don’t want to go. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!

Wrong.

The Training

The two-month journey after my investment in a spot in the race was actually exciting. It wasn’t without minor injuries or getting caught in the rain, of course, but the small achievements, my accountabilibuddy, and the fact that I paid to be there kept me going.

I needed to find what worked for me. I knew that pushing myself too hard would lead to potential injury and failing myself would be mentally painful.

I decided to meet myself in the middle and try run-walk intervals. I read a little about it, and even though it may inhibit a super awesome pace, it’s good for keeping up momentum late in the game. The less feeling like death, the better!

As much as I despise it, I’m not new to running. I started out with 1.5 minutes running followed by 1 minute walking. Repeat. Hey.. This isn’t so bad.. I’m doing it!

Once that was comfortable, I upped the run time but left the walking at a single minute. Then repeated that. 5-second increases were hardly noticeable when I made them, but over time, I found myself wondering if my audio cues were even working! I use Seconds Pro for custom interval timing, and I LOVE it!

Eventually, I settled with a 3:25 run and 1:00 walk. I’m confident I can totally do 3:30 now!

I tracked each of my runs with a series of apps (MotionX GPS and the eventually FitBit app) so I knew what my timing and pace was, give or take a few seconds to start and stop the app each time.

I did a few at the 10K distance, even! I knew I could do it.

I was ready.

Race Day

I was pretty excited. It was finally happening! There were some nerves, but I think those kept my energy up.

It was also raining. Mainly sprinkling, a little rain-rain, but I was definitely pretty soaked by the time I finished.

I checked my apps after I finished and got my medal… And my pace was a good :45/mi under what I had expected.. WHOA!!

My guess is that this is due to to the extra excitement of finally doing that thing I set out and trained for, plus being distracted by all of the other runners, trying to pass others appropriately and making sure not to get in their way, especially when I slowed to the walking interval.

Official Results

Time: 1:10:06
Distance: 10K / 6.2mi

Overall
: 386/947
*All female: 222/666 (667)
*Age division f20-29: 67/176 (177)

*Somehow, I was registered as a male.. The number in parentheses is with me added to the female total. Sorry, ladies after me, you’re now ranked one less!

The Future

Would I do it again?

Yes. Now that I know I can, and it doesn’t feel like horribleness!

Would I run longer distances, like a half-marathon?

I am undecided. I would still like to increase my maximum distance, but at the moment, I don’t really feel like making that commitment. Perhaps if I increased at my own pace instead of with a race date in mind.

Don’t you need to do different things to keep your body from just “getting used” to a routine??

You betcha! I really want to get back into weight training :)

Any advice?

START. Start small and go from there. It will suck at first, but I promise it gets better! Give yourself time to improve.. Just do a teeny bit better each time. Don’t forget to rest. Do happy dances :)

I need a good brain distraction so I’m always listening to music. I’d like to try audiobooks or podcasts to see if I can pay attention.

An Open Letter to Rite-Aid Regarding Thrifty Brand Ice Cream

Hello there!

I would like to express my saddening disappointment in your store locator function. I have recently relocated to Seattle from California (you probably know where this is going) and was elated to find that I could filter my store search to include only those with hand-dipped ice cream.

In doing so, I was excited to find that one store (105 Washington Ave, Kent, WA) was not as far as I thought it may be! I had heard rumors that ice cream was not sold there by the scoop… so I made sure to call. And alas! The woman on the phone had told me that, no, they do not have Thrifty’s ice cream by the scoop.

Widening my search, a second store was found on the radar (691 Sleater Kinney Rd. SE, Lacey, WA). Upon calling this store as well, the response was the same.. No scoop’d ice cream here either!

My hopes had been so high when finding that I could still indulge in the delightful, hand-dipped deliciousness that is Thrifty’s chocolate malted crunch ice cream on a sugar cone… Only to be confronted with the truth that the internet does, indeed, lie. :(

With that, I would like to request that the stores’ Specialty features be properly updated to reflect those features that do truly exist. I would not wish this tummy grumbling experience upon anyone else.

Many thanks,
Melissa

PS, Any idea where I -can- find Thrifty ice cream, even by the container, in the Seattle/Washington area? :)

New Photo Set! 10-25-2014 – Rock The Ship Concert – Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA

Link to gallery page: 10-25-2014 – Rock The Ship Concert – Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of getting to shoot [photos at] Pirates Press’ Rock the Ship festival in San Francisco. Oddly enough, this was my first daytime, outdoor concert.

The show itself was a ton of fun and I was brought back to my early high school days when I got to see the Bouncing Souls again. Insert a bunch of hashtag-reminiscing with old friends via text here. Even moreso when a few members of Rancid were pointed out to me.

Thee Parkside was also great! More punk rock playing inside the bar, free (for the event) photo booth, silent auction and even caught some of the Sharks game on TV. Didn’t really get much better!

Lineup

Cock Sparrer*
Bouncing Souls
Street Dogs
Bishops Green
Suede Razors*
Bum City Saints
Smalltown
Lenny Ashley’s Gang of One*

*No photos of this band..Sowwyyy

The Photos

Why I Use the Kindle App More than the Actual Kindle

I own a Kindle, but I keep finding that it’s waaaay more convenient to be reading using the Kindle app on my iPhone. The small screen doesn’t bother me, especially now with the retina display. I’ll find myself reading in places that I normally wouldn’t and thus, reading more. For instance, when in a long line at an amusement park. Or PAX! Not exactly times I could imagine carrying my actual Kindle with me, nor should I.

There are two things I absolutely adore about the Kindle (apps or device). One is the dictionary function. Highlight a word, get definition. Donez.

The second is the ability to highlight lines, paragraphs, words, whatever.

You know when you’re reading a book and you come across a great quote? And you want to recall and use it or show it to someone later? I love that the highlight function allows me to do so with so much ease!

Not only can you simply highlight things, but you can color-code them with the app. I use yellow for general quotes I like or want to remember and red for terms or names and their descriptions that will be useful to recall should I need to. And there’s like 4 other colors if I find another category! These can be pulled up on the Notes page directly within the app!

But wait! There’s more! [Insert Billy Maze meme here]

If your chosen reading material was purchased directly from Amazon, you can –wait for it– *GASP* see them all on your Kindle page on Amazon’s website!! There’s no apparent way to export, but you can very easily copy and paste, and even reformat to make it look nicer if you want. I think I’m going to start doing that when I finish books and post the quotes that I liked and/or found meaningful.

So far, the one downside of attempting to use both the app and the actual Kindle is that the highlights don’t seem to sync up. Say I begin a book on my phone, continue it on my Kindle, then go back to my phone. The highlights seem to stay on their respective devices only. Note that I haven’t actually tried this with two -apps- (iPhone/iPad combo). But this was a little disheartening as I wanted to have a complete collection. It’s also another reason that I prefer the app over the kindle itself.

Now don’t get me wrong! I LOVE the Kindle device, and I do wish I could say I use it more. For me, it feels better for dedicated comfy reading time. Like walking to the park or beach and relaxing or out on the couch (when I had an accessible one). But dat app. Annnnywherrrrrrre! And… my highlights!

WTF Was 2013?

2013 was… Interesting.

Disclaimer: This year wasn’t all bad news. I learned things, made new friends, tried new things, made some cool stuff, went a couple places, got on TV, decided on a few healthy lifestyle changes, and connected with others. However, I AM going to focus on the things that led to my current state of being. I do not seek sympathy nor praise. This is simply a reflection. You have been fairly warned.

I began the year one month in, ending the relationship that was stressful and no longer making me happy. It was a good move for me, and I don’t regret the decision. I was doing all the things I’ve wanted to try. Piano class, dance class, playing softball, doing freelance web administration and continuing self-education on whatever struck me at any given moment. It was freeing, productive and I enjoyed every moment! I had a full time job with great coworkers and a great atmosphere.

Over the course of the year, the job was becoming more and more stressful. The trigger, though not noticeable right away, was the departure of my partner-in-crime/party-cube buddy and the fact that her replacement was not in place until four months later.

I quit piano class. My brain would just not function, work day after full work day. I found it difficult to stuff my brain full of quarter notes, eighth notes, ties and slurs. I needed a rest. (Haha)

I lost my grandmother. She was my last living grandparent, and the only one I had any sort of relationship with. As a child, my siblings and my time with her was limited due to other familial issues and pressures preventing us from being as connected with our relatives as all of us would have liked. It was only the recent years that we had been able to visit and make up for the lost time. There is so much I wish I could have learned from and about her before her passing.

Then, my new super cool, foreign, knowledgeable coworker made her departure, too, just three months later. Onboarding had barely begun to pierce the surface of the scope of our team. Again, the responsibility had fallen on me, with little support as our team of two was already spread thin with more and more new projects, and growing presence a department, thrust upon us. All support that was given is appreciated more than I can put into words. Mentally, and work-wise.

I quit dance class. Not only was my brain exhausted at the end of the day, but my whole body found itself falling over itself while attempting single pirouettes and unable to properly retain choreography. It was frustrating. It wasn’t fun anymore.

I went to PAX Prime! Now THIS was an experience of a life time. Making new buddies, being around video games and those who make them possible. New concepts, endless ideas, reiterating my love for games and the industry, reconnecting with old friends, a new city with my kind of weather. I loved EVERY MOMENT. Except the one in which I realized I had to leave.

Being undeniably passionate about something again and being fully immersed in it just to leave it all behind was truly depressing. I started to question my current path in life. Realizing my loves there made me realize how unhappy I really was here. On top of the previous stresses, I was pulled so far into what I called a “life rut.”

Earlier in the year, one of my best friends had moved nearly two hours away. Over time, he had found his place there, and I am more than ecstatic to know that he’s happy. We don’t talk as often and our interests, while common ones exist, are not as similar as they once were.

My other best friend stopped talking to me all together for a time, for reasons I’m still unsure of. Denial of anything inherently wrong and his inability to tell me the whole truth makes me question the friendship we had had all along. This actually hurts. More so than the closure of my romantic relationship at the beginning of the year.

I quit softball. Temporarily. But still. This is saying something. With the exception of two years in high school, I’ve played softball every year, at least one season, since I was five years old. I don’t even need to say anymore.

December 2013 was pivotal. The prospect of another new coworker, who was already familiar with 80% of our processes, finally feeling like my voice had been heard, people willing to listen, and the petitioning of an extremely-overdue reclassification of my position were the most relieving things I had heard all year. Not to mention winter break was approaching.

They say that hindsight is 20/20. I believe it.

It was during this break when I took the time to reflect upon this year that I realize that I did not narrowly escape burnout. I hit it head on. I can’t pinpoint the exact time, but it happened. There were breakdowns in front of those who did not deserve to have to deal with me. You know who you are, and I cannot thank you enough for sticking by me. And I’m also sorry it had to happen.

My social life had taken a plunge off the deep end. The friendship I had left with the breakup, more to a city to two hours away, and the other seemingly just disappeared.

Those who I continue talking to remain scattered across the US and beyond. Most of them I haven’t even met. This concept was strange at first. Truthfully, they are the ones who know the most about what’s been going on with me, and I talk to them the most. Who is to say they are not my friends? I am eternally grateful for their company, laughs, random messages in the middle of the night, silly gossip, support they’ve shown, collaboration and teamwork in various games and projects, trust they’ve shown, inside jokes and all the digital hugs. Without them, I really would be alone. I’m so glad I’m not.

But what really happened here? The simple answer is that I let work become my life.

Work wasn’t good. Therefore, life became not good.

For a time, I was looking for new work, but I didn’t even have the energy to properly do that.

With more support than I had initially realized, made clear by certain work exercises, the best coworkers ever and the most outstanding supervisor backed by the rest of the chain of command, a renewed confidence has recently been sparked. That spark at the end of this dark tunnel that was 2013 has given me the “it’s getting better” vibes.

Now that the work factor was out of the way, I could finally think about me again. To try and figure out what the fuck happened. All of this was what I came up with.

I suffered burnout and breakdowns, and I’m sure a dash of depression is existent here, too, though not clinically diagnosed. But I am recovering. Not there yet…but recovering. I feel it, and I want it.

Conveniently coinciding with the new year, there are things I want to do differently this year:

Love my job again. Be the difference. Stand up for what I believe in. Share the knowledge.

Stop making excuses for myself to say “no” to adventures and opportunities. Adventure is out there.

Make new connections. Rekindle old ones. Let them know they’re appreciated. Keep in touch.

Make. Craft more. Cook more. Build more. Design more. Code more. Photograph more. And show it off.

Consume what I enjoy. Books, games, movies, tv. Without shame.

Learn from mistakes. Don’t get down on myself for not accomplishing exactly what it was that I had set out to do. It is NOT a failure if I tried my best.

Strive to be the difference. Everyday.

Doing these things will ensure that I meet the main goal:

Be proud of myself and my life again.

Ready, set, Mew.

Stop Telling Me that I “Look Fine”!

Anytime I mention fitness and getting into shape, I’m bombarded with comments saying “But you look fine/good/great/gorgeous/pretty/insert-something-else-nice-here!”

First of all, please don’t get me wrong. These are all VERY nice to hear, and I do appreciate the compliments, even if I don’t fully believe you. Then again, because of that whole worst-self-criticsm thing, half of me doesn’t give a shit what you think about how I look.

Even still, is this even about -how I look-? No.

Okay, some of it is; it’s a result of the main goal. I mentioned getting in shape and fitness. Not body image. I did not call myself fat. When I do, I’m joking. I know I “look fine,” but I could look better (and have the old photos to prove it.) But that’s besides the point.

When someone says “I want to get in shape” or “be/become fit,” DO NOT, I repeat DOOOO NOTTTTTT simply tell them that they look fine already. It’s like you’re giving us an excuse to continue to the lifestyle we wish to change. If we look fine already, and already know that we are accepted as who we are, why should we bother trying to change?

As much as you are trying to give a complement (thank you) it’s extremely frustrating!! It feels so unsupportive of what my goals actually are.

It’s like somebody saying “I want to go back to school to study ____,” and someone replying with “but you’re already really smart!” (appreciated, but..) SO WHAT?!?!! Normally, what you see people responding with is something like “That’s great!”, “You should do it!’ and “Rock the fuck on!”

Why not respond in a similar manner when goals are fitness-related? Are you not supportive of the person? If so, let them know in addition to the compliment you were about to give. It will make worlds of a mental difference for the receiver.

Let me reiterate that I am NOT fishing for compliments. I just want people to understand the position of an okay-looking overweight girl who wants to get back into shape.

That said, I’m going to the gym :)
[Actually, I had written this before I left but was unable to post it. But shhh.]

How to Receive Really Good Customer Service

Have you ever needed help with something?
Yes. You have. Don’t even try to pretend.

Were you unsatisfied with your customer service, but the problem did get solved?
If so, you:

  1. Didn’t read the initial information given to you
  2. Probably made zero attempts to look up information on your own
  3. Were probably rude to the rep
  4. and/or you were … here it comes.. ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS

It’s very difficult to help someone if they can’t provide details leading up to the issue. If you don’t know where to start, that is okay, too, but don’t act like you do.. That just makes things even more confusing, walks everyone in circles, and takes even longer to find a solution together. Own up and ask for help. We’ll start at the beginning, sure, but I guarantee that will go faster than if you pretend you know what you’re talking about. Trust me, it’s obvious when you’re making shit up. We know our processes better than you do…isn’t that why you’re calling?

Being professional, detailed and nice will get you what you need MUCH faster than any other alternatives. When someone asks you a question nicely, you’re more likely to be nice right back. RESPECT!

To drastically improve the quality of customer service you receive, follow these simple steps, BEFORE calling your service representative:

  1. RTFM

If you really, REALLY can’t figure it out on your own, here are some questions to ask yourself to help identify what the problem actually is:

  • What steps are you taking before you encounter the issue? Consult TFM again to make sure you’re actually doing it right.
  • What do you expect to see?
  • What do you actually see?

After exploring the ideas in the above questions, go ahead and send an email or call, providing the details you’ve discovered.

During the call/email:

  1. Report your findings clearly and in detail. Use the correct terminology you’ve learned by RTFM. You want a solution quickly don’t you?*
  2. Be nice. We like helping, but not if you’re going to be a whiny bitch about it. Golden Rule applies here.**
  3. Act professional, be accountable. I’m sure you want to be taken seriously***
  4. Don’t demand things. It’ll make us less likely to want to give it to you.****

*The following questions/comments are 100% worthless:

  • It doesn’t work [Can you describe your issue in further detail?]
  • _____ is broken. Can you fix it? [Can you describe your issue in further detail?]
  • I can’t find _____ / I don’t know where _____ is. [Have you even tried looking for it?]

 

**Sure, it’s my job to help you, and I WANT to help you.. However, it’s not my job to entertain your idiocy, disrespectfulness and/or lack of common sense and intelligence. Don’t waste your time or my time (but at least I get paid for my time). Like I said: Golden Rule. We learned this in preschool.

 

***Ask questions like this:

i have a question i just enroll in class but when i go the  [company name removed for privacy purposes] student portal when  i click on  click my course sites i dont  show any my classes

I’ll laugh at you and want to answer you like this:

i have a answer there is processing period after registering it will come later i promise

 

****Say things like this:

It think this [policy] must change to …

or…

CAN YOU PLEASE HELP

NOT MUCH TIME and I still need to take a shower.

I don’t give a shit what you think. The end.