My very first job was when I was 13 years old at the health food store my mom managed in Bryan, Texas. Well, I supposed, my first job was really as a sales person for the Girl Scouts of America, but we'll revisit that later.
I got paid $1 an hour to work at this store. For the most part, I loved it. I got to work with my mom and her best buddy, Ann, who was spunky and hilarious. I worked with my someday sister-in-law's cousin, Kendall, who used to go play Space Invaders with me on our lunch break at Mr. Gatti's in downtown Bryan. Downtown Bryan was the subject of this, my favorite Lyle Lovett song. I used to go see Lyle at Morganstern's a few years later, before he got famous. Speaking of famous, if you're a Whole Foods fan, John Mackey, before he hit the big time, used to deliver to our little store.
But I digress.
From this $1/hour job, I saved up $640, which I spent on Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Polo shirts which my mother drove me and my BFF Mary to Houston to buy at the Galleria.
Not every one of those dollars was hard won, but many were.
Customer service is not for the faint of heart. People aren't nice to service people. Some people don't think of them as equivalent life forms, and their behavior indicates that. I yes ma'am'd and no ma'am'd many times when other words came to mind.
One day, a guy pushed me right over the "be nice" line. My mother remembers it to this day. This old coot was buying some hippie frozen bread we sold, but felt the need to grumble about how awful it was, all the way to the freezer and all the way up to the counter. Don't get me wrong - this bread sucked - we didn't disagree on that. But then he felt like he needed to tell me at great length how awful it was. I snapped. I bared my fangs and fluffed up my tail and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to pick that bread up, walk back to the freezer, put it up and not darken our door again. Much to my surprise and delight, he complied. This was the beginning of what eventually became my terrifying and all-powerful scary whisper, which I only use for good, not evil.
I then worked at McDonald's when I was 16 (great employer) and then at a local Mexican restaurant at 17. These jobs offered further lessons in service which I use to this day. Most of all, they taught me patience and negotiating skills.
These experiences are the reason that I try very hard to be kind to people in service industries. I cringe when I see customers who go through a checkout process on their cell phone without looking at a cashier (something my friend Kelli just posted about), because I remember how important it was to be acknowledged as a human life form in that type of job. I try hard to separate frustration with a process or a product from the person helping me, because I remember getting yelled at over things I couldn't and didn't control.
So today, I'm expressing appreciation for the 39 people in Demonstrator Support at Stampin' Up!
These are the people who answer our calls all day every day, and probably get yelled at a few times. They are the sweetest, kindest, friendliest customer support team I've ever worked with, and I truly do know that they care about us and about what we do. I've never received anything less than STELLAR and graceful, sweet service from them.
And yet, I don't know that I've ever written about them or thanked them publicly, so today, I say thank you.Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you for looking up my order number that I should have had before I called you. Thank you for replacing an item mangled by the post office. Thank you for asking me how I am and how you can help me with your cute Utah accent - yes, you have accents. Thank you for fixing things for my customers so that I can keep them happy. Thank you for knowing my name every time I call. Thank you for thanking me for what I do and telling me you appreciate me.
You make me happy. :)
Speaking of Salt Lake awesomeness, I made a fabulous recipe last night that I got from one of my favorite restaurants there. I've modified it a lot, and it's amazing. I really had to restrain myself from eating all of it and going to the hospital for a corn overdose.
Here it is. Enjoy.
Lime Corn with Smoked Paprika Aioli
6 ears sweet corn
1 tablespoon butter
2 TBS aioli (below)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseGround red chili flakes
Chopped herbs for garnish: tarragon, chives, parsley
Scrape corn off the cob using a mandolin or a very sharp chef’s knife.
Heat a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat. Throw kernels into pan and toast for a few seconds. Add butter, followed by a squeeze of lime. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Sauté for 5 minutes until kernels are soft and lightly charred.
Turn out onto a serving dish.
Top with aioli and Parmesan cheese. Finish with hot pepper and herbs and an extra squeeze of lime.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves roasted garlic (I roast mine with olive oil and Confituras lime chile salt)
1 tsp Spanish paprika, toasted
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
SUCH a yummy dish. The aioli can be used for a long time - that recipe makes way more than you need.
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