Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What Happens When You Wear Uncomfortable Shoes to Your Nephew's Bar Mitzvah

  1. They will match your dress perfectly
  2. You will acknowledge they are uncomfortable and still wear them because your outfit needs the texture
  3. After five minutes you will realize that it would have been less painful to snap mousetraps directly onto your feet
  4. After ten minutes you will begin to embrace the pain, thinking about all the colourful imagery this will provide for your writing
  5. You will then realize that your novel already contains the foreshadowing line "I squeezed my potato feet into the french fry shoes" proving that you don't need to actually feel pain to write about it.
  6. At minute thirty you will slip off your shoes, lose one in the pew in front of you and send your eleven year old daughter crawling on the floor after it
  7. Her necklace will then catch on the delicate fabric of her brand new party dress and your fifteen year old niece who is the sister of the Bar Mitzvah boy and very good with her hands will have to extricate the chain
  8. You will rise above the pain for the sake of navy velvet, and wear the shoes for at least two more hours for appearance's sake
  9. You will realize that you may be permanently crippling your feet, and that even though you will lose two critical inches of height, your shoes need to come off
  10. You will remove your shoes again
  11. You will have more blisters on your feet than any of the four times you walked 60km for breast cancer including the year you fell head first into a pile of bricks 
  12. You will wiggle your toes
  13. You will send your eleven year old daughter up to the cloak room to get your flip flops and you will wonder where your two teenage sons are.
  14. You will regret cancelling the pedicure last Wednesday just because you had a major work deadline
  15. You will wear flip flops for the rest of the luncheon
  16. You will bring the beautiful shoes home, wonder where you stashed the receipt and try to figure out when in the name of Lucifer you will have time to return them to the store
  17. Your cousin from out of town will stop over the next morning to say goodbye 
  18. She will try on your shoes, they will fit her perfectly
  19. You will tell her that they are ancient foot binding torture chambers that would not have been out of place at Guantanamo Bay 
  20. Yes she will say. But navy velvet.
  21. "Take them if you want" you will say to her. "It will save me having to find the receipt and return the shoes."
  22. She will take the shoes. She will then say to her daughter "These will be perfect for you."
  23. Your cousin's daughter will tell her mother that she does want the shoes, but doesn't need to bring them on the plane with her to New York. She will get them when she comes home to Toronto for the High Holidays.
  24. Your cousin will put the shoes in her suitcase and keep them for her daughter.
  25. You will close the door behind them, look down at the pillowy blisters on your feet, your cramped baby toes and your cracked heel and you will say to yourself "The shoes weren't so bad."

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

As An Example, Godot

Order lunch delivery to my office to save time, not money.

Projected dumpling delivery time: 55 minutes.

63 minutes later, co-worker asks What Happened to Your Lunch.

Call restaurant.

Lunch on its way.

82 minutes later am gnawing on my left elbow.

Call restaurant again.

Lunch on its way. Oh. No it isn't. Lunch has been delivered.

To whom? Where?

No idea Ma'am. Call delivery company.

(Wish I could)

Have a little chit chat with company chatbot.

Chatbot asks what happened to free spiralizer. (Just kidding. That is a reference to a Twitter contest I hosted last week where a chatbot won a spiralizer.)

Chatbot says order was delivered, clearly to wrong person and gives me refund.

I complain more using key words like: I am unhappy, I am a good customer, This is not the service I am used to.

Chatbot falls right into my hot little hands offers me an additional $20 coupon for my inconvenience.

Take elevator down to restaurants in my building and realize that lunch delivery may be tastier but does not save time at all and for sure doesn't save a dime for my pocketbook.

Feel disappointed that this all worked out because was hoping to get a blog post out of it.

Two hours and thirty five minutes after order was placed.

58 minutes after I was told order was delivered to someone else.

45 minutes after I finished throwing white rice and spicy Chinese tofu down my gullet.

My cell phone rings.

Where are you?

Who is this?

Delivery. I'm in the lobby.

Complaint Lessons Learned:

1. Sometimes dumpling delivery takes longer than a drive to upstate New York. And back.

2. Chatbots may not be able to twirl zucchini but they can still give you a refund. Use key words.

3. If you order food and it's two and a half hours late, it will be freezing and inedible.

3. If something is super late, it doesn't mean it's not coming at all.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Count the Buts

Need new Roar and Roadwork coffee table that is like hulu: Not Available In Canada.


Canadian store will special order Roar and Roadwork for delivery.


Will not deliver to my house.

Are you not a delivery company?

Yes we are. But. Only in US. In Canada we can special order only to store.

But my house is in Canada. So while you are here, couldn't you just pull the truck over and roll the Roar and Roadwork over.

Wish we could, Ma'am.


Unfortunately that is out of the question.

For reasons that I would only understand if this was actually my story and not hijacked from someone who told it to me The only possible coffee table I can live with is this Roar and Roadwork. So I order it from US company for delivery to Canadian store.

Canadian store calls, Roar is in.

Drive to store, double park, lift extra heavy coffee table into my car, drive home.

Unpack coffee table from crate and all is fine.


It's not the coffee table that I ordered.

Call 1-800-Canadian-Coffee-Table-Problems and Customer Service Agent is lovely.

Yes I see here that you ordered the Roar. You do realize that there are two Roars on our website?

Check website while on the phone and I see the second Roar.


This not the Roar I ordered, nor is it the Roar in my living room.

Yes, that makes sense. There are two Roar coffee tables on the web site, and it looks here like we special ordered you a third Roar. This one is only available by special order.

I need to return this Roar and get the actual Roar that I wanted in the first place, I roar state politely.


You are in Canada. We don't deliver to Canada. You would have to create a special order and have the coffee table delivered to the store.

Customer Service Lessons Learned:

1. Moving to Canada seems like a good idea until you need a particular coffee table.

2. Do not take for granted when you order something online that there aren't multiple versions with same name sold by same company with absolutely no differentiation and no way to determine what you've actually purchased until you uncrate it.

3. Just because I say "It happened to me…" doesn't technically mean it happened to me.

4. Just because you are resting your feet on an American piece of furniture does not mean you will be able to watch hulu.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Going: Part 2 of 2

Cancellation fee is $75?

That's correct.

Is there any room for negotiation here?

Yes Ma'am (patiently). The negotiation is from $300, the regular fee that you SHOULD be charged, to $75, what they are WILLING to charge you.

Even though it's the hotel's error?

I'm looking at this Ma'am, and I don't see any error.

Well. I called to cancel my reservation. To me, that meant all the hotel rooms associated with that reservation. How would I know that only one room was covered?

That's how we do it. Each room has it's own reservation.

Unless I worked for your hotel, I would have no way of knowing that. We are a family travelling together. When I called to cancel my reservation, of course I wanted to cancel all the rooms associated with that reservation.

I see.

(Encouraged, I continue.) I had one reservation number. I thought that all my rooms were linked under the same reservation. Obviously I am not sending my children to the hotel without me Especially since it is so exorbitantly priced.

One moment please Ma'am.


Ok, Ma'am I have spoken to the hotel and they are willing to waive the $75 cancellation fee. Your whole reservation will be refunded.

Excellent.  Thank you very much.

Complaint Lessons Learned:

  1. Pushing too far is not always smart but in this case it worked
  2. In retrospect, sending kids on vacation without us may not have been the worst idea
  3. Complaining is ultimately about the pursuit of justice. If something is unfair, like in this case, your chances of winning are a little higher.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

And Going And Going And Going And: Part 1 of 2

Needed Just-In-Case hotel reservation in Highly Desirable Area.

Booked two rooms.

Sold a kidney. Cost a fortune.

BUT can cancel with no penalty up until Certain Date.

Put Certain Date in phone with several alarms to Be On Safe Side.

Turns out we don't need rooms.

Called to cancel. 

Received cancellation e-mail.

Went on shopping spree because now it's found money.

Two days later received confirmation e-mail.

Hmmm that's strange. Already cancelled this. Why are they confirming?

Called the hotel.

Funny story. Blah blah cancellation blah blah confirmation blah blah so refund please.


? I have cancellation number right here.


Shall I read it to you again? Kilogram Harry Never 90-

I need to transfer you to our Customer Care Centre.

Hello Customer Care. Funny story. Cancellation, Confirmation, etc.

Yes I see that here, but it looks like you only cancelled one of the rooms.

What? Why would I only cancel one room? I called to say no longer going to High Traffic Area so no longer need Exorbitantly Expensive hotel. 

Just one moment Ma'am.


Ok, I've spoken to the hotel and their normal cancellation fee is $300 but they are willing to reduce it to $75 for you.

Now let me pause here to acknowledge that  someone who does not make their living complaining may be willing to accept this dramatic reduction in charges. However, it still struck me as unfair so I kept going.

But unfortunately we have reached our word limit so I will tell you the rest of the story tomorrow.

Remember to subscribe so you never miss a post.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Plan That Didn't (Really) Work

Wanted to do a funny series about how to stop your kids from complaining this summer.

Hint: You can't actually STOP kids from complaining, but you can make it less painful.

Plan was to interview unexpected people.

(Example: For column on "You Don't Listen to Me", interview hearing specialist.)

Problems Encountered:
1. The pieces didn't really work

Possible Reasons:
1. Too long
2. Too boring
3. People didn't get the joke (e.g., why would you interview a hearing specialist for a column on listening?)
4. Too much else going on in the world (e.g., let's make fun of American Presidential Candidates, Who Cares about the kids)
5. Timing (kids are away for the summer, pass the tequila)

Other Problems Encountered:
1. Interviewees bailed at last minute
2. Didn't have a Plan B, C, etc

End Result (half-empty):
1. Three columns at her Magazine, pathetic and alone
2. Excellent interviewees may screen my future calls
3. Social Media makes everything worse

End Result (half-full):
1. Learned from mistakes re: need to book more interviewees next time
2. Gained experience in interviewing those that showed up
3. Generated additional content which can always be used later
4. Topic for today's blog

Nu, already, so where can I read these columns?

1. here
2. here
3. And here