Showing posts from October, 2010

Democrats and Republicans

With the election coming up Tuesday, I sometimes wonder how people choose political parties. Maybe the parties choose them. After doing some thinking and research I came up with some differences between the two.

Republicans roll a toothpaste tube as they use it. Democrats squeeze from the top.

Republicans like a good brandy. Democrats drink beer.

Republicans sleep in twin beds. That is why there are more Democrats. Thank you will Stanton.

When a leader is in the Democratic Party he's a boss; when he's in the Republican Party he's a leader.Thank you Harry Truman.

Democrats give their old clothes to the poor, Republicans wear theirs

Democrats like baseball,especially the World Series. Republicans like college football, especially the BCS controversies.

Democrats drink coffee from a mug. Republicans drink coffee from a cup with a saucer

Democrats call the evening meal supper. Republicans call it dinner.

Democrats believe people are basically good but must be saved from themselves by …

Target online is way off target

How long would you think it takes to get a ten dollar item from an online site shipped ? Three days maybe. Possibly a week ? Try two weeks. On September 29 I ordered a cool reader/sunglasses combination from for $9.99 plus shipping and handling which came to around sixteen dollars.

After a phone call and several emails back and forth over the next two weeks as to the status it was finally sent out on October 13. Why the delay ? Well, it seems that the order was "stuck in the system." I was told twice that it could be neither cancelled or sent out.

Here is what one response said, which by the way is from Guest Services:

I'm really sorry for the delay in shipping your order.

I know this must be frustrating for you, but your order is stuck in our system. Right now I can't get at the order either to ship it or cancel it. Our technical team is working hard to take care of this, and we'll let you know just as soon as we have an update.

We'll e-mail…

When did service stations turn into plain old gas stations ?

Remember when you drove into a service station and sat in your car while it was filled with gas , had the oil and tires checked , your windows cleaned and someone waved and said have a nice day? Not in a long time.

One would pull into a service station and almost immediately two or three smiling people wearing matching white shirts, bow ties (yes they did wear them) and dark uniforms swarmed all over your car.

One would lift the hood, pull the dipstick to check the oil and squirt some water in the radiator with no extra fee.

Another checks and inflates all four tires to the required pressure and asks if the spare also could use some air. He would then spray water on the windshield, towel and wipe it off while meticulously cleaning all other visible panes of glass.

The last attendant would lift the nozzle and pump leaded or unleaded gasoline into the tank and give you the total for the gas , walk back into the office and return with your change. Sometimes you even get a free road map.


Hello, may I help you

There are actually hundreds of reasons but let's focus on ten of the most common reasons why someone calls in to a service center. You want to have your 800 number handy for the company. If it is PG&E, Comcast, AT&T or banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America or Chase you may have your own record of times you have called.

1) Their service is not working

This could be cable, phone, internet, power, plumbing or something they use daily. Some will do basic troubleshooting, others will not but regardless you will be expected to use your Jedi power to correct it.

2) They do not agree with their billing statement

This will happen if there are such items as taxes, delivery charges, "handling" or a charge they do not recognize. If billing is not your main duty, get them to a representative in that department, otherwise you could spend thirty minutes going over everything.

3) They have an appointment and the technician has not arrived

This is when you will need the cooperatio…

More tipping jars than pumpkins

What is it with all these tip jars that are now proliferating on store counters from Fremont to Oakland . They seem to be more common that voting signs or pumpkins. Are we expected to tip for every type of service we pay for. Let's go over some of the most traditional services for tipping.


They have been the most traditional one to tip. You are seated at a table, you order there, your drinks are brought and refilled and your food it put right in front of you. You have personalized service, so you feel generous. Now let's take the delis, fast food chains and coffee shops. You stand in line, order at the counter, wait for your order, take it to your table and that's it for the service. Places like Subway, Starbucks and your local shops now have strategically placed a "tips accepted" jar on the counter.

Tip for What

You are not getting personalized service and no one offers you a refill. I know a lot of people are working barely above the minimum, but these…

Turning your resume into a political ad

If you are like me enough is enough for all these political ads. My mind is made up, I'm voting and then like millions of others it's time to look for a new job.

While I am currently doing campaign work in an election, I thought what if every job seeker had thirty seconds on television to pitch themselves ? You hear about the so called thirty second elevator pitch you should have ready. I call mine a ten second standing in line pitch that describes who you are and what you are looking for.

Anyway, here is what my ad would sound like if I was looking for a position in the customer service industry and I was given time on a network which would feature a voice over and actual people talking about me.

John Swager has ten years experience helping thousands of customers all over California to keep their service working.

He has followed through on issues, resolved technical problems and opened the door to new products for people who have become frustrated with the lack of service in toda…

On 60 Minutes 99er Episode


Re the 60 Minutes episode. I am a member of the Job Connections group that Scott Pelley visited in Danville which is almost an hour from Silicon Valley. He spoke to fifteen people that were present and it was edited to show about three of them. A friend of mine was interviewed twice by Pelley for the in depth situations at her apartment but was told it did not make the final 14 minute segment. The Job Connections group is a weekly meeting where you have a guest speaker, new people introduce themselves briefly,there is an open mike where people get to say if they received a job offer or had an interview. There is networking afterwards, but with the majority out of work there is not very productive. What people in the group were disappointed in is he did mention or show what is called success teams , which consist of about 6-8 people who meet once a week for two hours at a library or such to give more personal support and exchange strategies. This is what is really vital to unemployed,…

Job searching and fantasy football

The NFL season started recently. I have been playing fantasy football since 1982. For those of you not born yet, John Elway was in college and Dan Fouts was "the man" in fantasy leagues.

It is truly amazing how much time and effort people I have participated with put into preparing for the draft and into making their weekly lineups. Probably far more than they put into a job search when they are out of work.

Example # 1

The millions of people that buy several magazines on football and study every trend , from who will be the Saints third receiver to who will win the kicking job in Seattle.

In your career field do you ever pick up a magazine or read an article or two online ?

Example # 2

Now be honest, how many times a day do you check sports websites for injury updates, roster changes, players moods and such.

Do you check company websites or look at postings in job sites as often ?

Example # 3

How much time do you spend writing and editing draft lists and ranking players.

Do you ever …

Feels like temperature and customer service phrases

While watching the weather report on television the other day I saw a fairly new phrase: the feels like temperature. Now walking outside I could say it "feels like 80." Someone next to me may say it feels like 65 to them. Another could say it must be at least 90.

The exact meaning of a sentence or phrase is sometimes curious, especially in the world of customer service.

Have you ever been told by an agent, I need to put you on hold for a minute. Meanwhile a real time of five minutes has passed and still no agent back on the line.

You have have walked into a place to eat and the waiter may say, I'll have your table cleaned up in a second. One thousand one, one thousand two. Over two minutes later, it's still being cleaned.

An interesting phrase when buying online is days before your item gets to you. Lots of places now may give themselves a big cushion, like 4-14 days delivery.

Of course, a common one in retail when checking out is, "find everything you wanted ?

Don't leave yet, we want your money

ave you recently looked into a job application, maybe a loan or just following a link on the internet to get more information ?

If you have you may have run into the annoying pop-up below:

Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page?

Your dream job is ONE STEP AWAY!

Register to view the latest job openings in your area. Press CANCEL to continue.

Press OK to continue, or Cancel to stay on the current page.

It's like someone there has come up with a way to keep you from leaving their page. Most of the time the site is possibly for a job or perhaps a loan or a school.

Having spent time recently on what I thought was a job application turned into a front for a school. Aside from the pop-up, I received three emails and two voicemails saying I had not completed the information.

How is that for someone watching what you do and where you go on the internet.

Imagine walking out of a market or retail store and a clerk steps in front of you and says, "sure you want to leave, you did no…

Outsourced: The TV Show

Having worked in call centers I was curious to watch the opening show of NBC's Outsourced, the new comedy about, you guessed it, a call center being outsourced to India.

Doing a comedy on this touchy subject may not go over well with unemployment at over 12% in the Bay Area.

There were lots of things wrong from the way the center is setup ( one big room with desks around) to silly one line zingers.

Oh and just in case anyone thinks outsourcing is a political subject, there was an ad for Barbara Boxer blasting Carly Fiorina for among other things, outsourcing jobs.

Let's see, if I knew absultely nothing about Indian cultute I learned that:

* Spicy curry will have you going to the bathroom for five days.
* Deroit is the home of Motors and Black People.
* Americans eat hamburgers all day long.
* Cows are treated with respect and can go anywhere.
* People in India wonder why Americans buy stupid products.

Among the one liners that came across are:

* A manager tells th…