Monday, June 30, 2008
We have been customers of WOW for 5 years. We have had consistent service and could not be happier. During last week's storms we lost our service - the phone, the cable and the internet. I called them on Thursday evening about 6 pm and I spoke with a wonder phone rep, who was helpful and arranged for a service tech to come the next day - with a 20 minute call ahead. They could not give me more narrow time frame than 8 am to 6 pm - since they were working me in. Not a problem, I really had nothing going on on Friday.
The 30 minute call ahead came - and it was a live person. She was very professional and nice and told me the service tech was on his way and she thanked me for choosing WOW. I was shocked it was a real person. Pleased mind you - but shocked.
The tech came and he investigated the problem and it took him some time to figure it all out and he was oh so good natured at having E follow him around the yard with me. E was very interested in the goings on and was even showing the tech around our basement.
It took no time at all and the tech stayed until I was sure the tv, phone and internet was working once again.
So since I gave an award for very poor customer service - I feel like I should be balanced and praise those who are doing a good job, providing outstanding service and actually running a customer centered business.
Perhaps it is because WOW is not the only game in town - which could very well be a part of the process OR it could be that the CEO of WOW - actually gets it - the customers are the reason they are in business!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Columbia Gas of Ohio Background
Columbia Gas of Ohio, headquartered in Columbus, is an investor-owned public utility that sells natural gas and provides gas transportation services to customers in Ohio. The company serves 1.3 million of Ohio's approximately three million natural gas customers. Columbia is the state's largest natural gas utility, serving more than 1,000 communities in 64 of Ohio's 88 counties with a service territory covering approximately 25,400 square miles. The primary Ohio metropolitan areas served include Columbus, Toledo, Parma, Mansfield and Springfield.
I say they are failing miserably. They have positively horrible customer commitment - on a service level. While I know many people complain - I have actual and factual proof to back it up.
This post then is an open letter to Combulia Gas's President Jack Partridge.
Sure when I turn on the oven or the furnace it is working and directly so because of the product I am purchasing from you - but SERVICE - CUSTOMER SERVICE is also part of the equation and I gotta tell ya Jack - in that arena - you fall very short from the mark.
Even though you are the only game in town - there is absolutely no reason to flaunt that fact and treat your customers in a shabby manner. There is value in service and humility. There is value in acknowledging that your customers are very busy people with lives and that as a service to your customers you will leverage technology and the very least be polite.
I will now share with you two examples of your complete failing to be a forward thinking customer focused organization. It is your choice - be the only game in town and KNOW that your customers would rather get struck repeatedly by a semi truck than deal with your Company OR Be the only game in town and BE SEEN AS A TRUSTED PARTNER. Sadly I gotta tell you - YOU ARE Light YEARS AWAY FROM THE LATTER!
I volunteer for my church and we own a rental house. It needs an automated meter reading device. This makes our life easier and YOUR life easier. (Ah, once again the opportunity to partner! Which your company fails miserably at by the way.) I arrange payment for the device, I attempt to set up a time to have it installed. The house is vacant. An all day window is not doable for me - as I have family responsibilities and a LIFE, Jack, so I ask for a call ahead. Begrudgingly I am told they will call me 30 minutes ahead.
Because of a bad traffic accident I miss the first appointment. I tried to call and let the service tech know this - but I was told by customer service - "Too Bad - I would have to reschedule." I did so. They claimed to A) not know who was going to be at the house and B) nor could they contact anyone via phone or otherwise.
Next time around. Again the call comes, I drag my daughter, who is ill and my sleepy toddler across town - only to sit at the property for over an hour and no tech arrives. I call. I get told too bad so sad not our problem and hung up on. (I am paraphrasing but let me just say helping me was not this woman's job apparently.) I call again and get a very nice young lady - who tried to find the tech via dispatch. She tries and it does not seem to work and well I needed to be at the doctors at this point and so I bagged it.
So let's review some random facts:
It is 2008. Everyone - including my 11 year old neighbor has a cell phone. How hard would it be to issue all service techs - a 2 way cell or something - so that they may be contacted at a moments notice. MMMM. Not hard I should think. AEP does it. WOW Cable does it. Sears appliance repair does it. If the techs have phones or radio - everyone should be able to stay in touch. You should be able as CEO and the BIG GUY IN CHARGE - reach out to anyone in the field at any time!
You have a very poor automated phone service that calls when they are on their way - WOW cable - has a live person - who thanked me for my business when they called today to say the tech was on his way. MMMM - seems like a touch point and an opportunity to service me well.
After my 2 horrible experiences with your company - and the lack of service I request a supervisor - and well she was young and sweet and totally not helpful. Not interested in my feedback in the least.
I fail to see why we cannot schedule service in 2 hour windows and I understand that if there is an emergency I will get bumped - but I deserve a phone call. I am the paying customer - I DESERVE service. I DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT. A dog generally even politely sniffs the fire hydrant before it takes care of business - YOUR company - yeah not so much.
Let me ask you JACK how you would feel being in a restaurant, and the server can come and take your order between the hours of 8am and 6 pm or they can fail to show up at all or they can tell you they will be there in 30 minutes and well 4 hours later they finally arrive. I would image that you would not be satisfied with this level of service. Nor should you be.
How about at the doctors - you show up at 8 am and wait in the little room all day - only to be told by a Medical Assistant that the doctor was called away to an emergency and well you will have to reschedule and be prepared to waste another day, she is very sorry but that is the way it is. I think the doctor would loose alot of patients.
But you Jack do not have those worries as a businessman, now do you? No as the only game in town, you feel you can mistreat those who butter your bread. My thought is that plan may work for a time - but in the end - bad business always fails.
My challenge to you - is to give this some thought. My brother and his roommate still have no gas in their apartment after 10 days. I plan to be there on the 2nd of July - the earliest time apparently in your Company's very busy social schedule - in which you can provide them service - to wait on a tech. My hope is they show up - an even better touch - maybe you can show up and we can have coffee. As a professional writer - I am good with words and well I have a few more choice ones for you - all constructive mind you. I only want to see that YOU take a step forward.
I do so hope Jack that you will come to see that - there is the right way to run a business and there is the wrong way. It is as easy choice - if one truly values their customers.
All the Best to You!
Thoughts from the Edge
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
My mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when L was a newborn. She had a thryiodectomy and then a 2 courses of radioactive iodine (which makes her glow in the dark - well not really but she is radioactive for a bit of time.) Then she went on synthetic thyroid hormone maintenance meds and that is supposed to be it.
Two years ago before she had surgery to correct some deterioration of her 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae, the pre op x-rays detected some spots in her lungs. Then came the MRI and then the PET scan.After she recovered from the surgery - she once again did some radioactive iodine. (After many many tests and lengthy doctor visits and some turf waring....)
Well the day glow cocktail did not work - and we are faced with not only did it not kill off the tissues first discovered - yeah well there is more, which has come to join the party. This is not the news we were hoping for in the least. The cancer cells are in the area of the body where the wind pipe splits and the bronchial tubes branch off into the lungs. Surgery is not an option and it is not the best place to have extra tissue and cells laying around - clogging up the works.
So we are off to a super specialist at OSU Medical Center. The correct direction is forward but sometimes I just want to throw things at who ever thinks this is a good idea. I happen to think my mother has been thru enough and has control of her blood pressure and her diabetes and is entitled to some peace and quiet as she nears retirement. She is entitled to relaxing with her grandbabies.
But we all know life is not fair! Not in the least and the challenges presented to us can be met with a panic attack or with grace! I am praying for grace! It is baby steps and the next big step is figuring out where to park at OSU when we go see the specialist!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
, , and John Mc Cain were flying to a debate.
Barack looked at Hillary, Chuckled and said, 'You know I could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy.'
Hillary shrugged her shoulders and replied, 'I could throw ten $100 bills out of the window and make ten people very happy.'
John added, 'That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10 bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy.'
Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his copilot, 'Such big-shots back there. I could throw all three of them out of the window and make 156 million people very happy.'
I'm voting for the Pilot.
First off - I think it is very funny and on the other hand - sadly all too true! In a previous post I suggested we need to do something radical. There is no reason that we need to stick with the same old same old - there is no law, no rule and if there is - then I say we throw it out and start something new. THE CURRENT TWO PARTY SYSTEM IS BROKEN! It is not working. It is like a bad marriage crying out for divorce or some serious and in depth counseling. The constant in fighting and all is counter productive and WASTE of everyone's time.
Isn't it sad that in the world larges democracy - it is once again a choice of not who is the best for the job - but the lesser of two evils at worst and at best the only one willing to stick it out. I happen to like aspects of both McCain and Obama - but by the end of the 5 month campaign of in fighting and finger pointing and media circus - I will want to hang myself more than cast my vote.
This is my rallying cry - Can the spin and sit down and DO SOMETHING DAMN IT! We have real problems and NO ONE CURRENTLY IN POWER is doing anything - other than finger pointing or shoving their head up their ass!
We need a 3rd party or a 4th and we need someone to final admit out loud - that the system is broken and needs fixed. It worked during the horse and buggy era but we are in the modern age and we need to shake it up and get with the program!
Is there a relationship between Osteoporosis and Celiac Disease?
Have you ever struggled with a health condition and wondered if the
solution might be some simple thing, right under your nose, that you and
your doctor have easily overlooked?
This might be the case for thousands of the 18 million people in the
U.S. who have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have low bone
mass, which places them at high risk of the disease.
Making the connection
Scientists already know there's a much larger incidence of celiac
disease (CD) among osteoporosis patients than that of the general
population. CD is a triggered by gluten intake.
Treatment for this condition is simple: remove gluten from the diet. But
will CD treatment have any effect on osteoporosis?
This is the question that researchers from the Washington University
School of Medicine in St. Louis set out to address when they recruited
840 subjects, 266 of whom had been diagnosed with osteoporosis. All
subjects were screened for CD, and results were confirmed with
intestinal biopsies. Those who tested positive for CD then underwent one
year of treatment with a . Bone mineral density tests
were used to monitor osteoporosis.
The results: Severity of osteoporosis was found to correlate with
severity of CD. More importantly, subjects who were treated with the
special diet showed significant improvement in bone mineral density.
The lead researcher, William F. Stenson, M.D., offered this assessment
in a Washington University press release: "Our results suggest that as
many as three to four percent of patients who have osteoporosis have the
bone disease as a consequence of having celiac disease, which makes them
unable to absorb normal amounts of calcium and vitamin D."
Gluten is a typical component of several different grains. As a primary
ingredient of flour, gluten delivers protein and gives bread a higher
rise. The problem is that many people don't tolerate gluten well,
complicated by the fact that a good number of them aren't even aware of
But celiac disease is more than just sensitivity to gluten; it's an
auto-immune disorder in which gluten creates an obstruction to the
absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. When CD goes untreated,
malnutrition can develop, followed by a chronic condition that may
trigger other dangerous ailments, including gastrointestinal cancer.
The problem with diagnosis of CD is that the symptoms are sometimes
directly related to digestion (as with abdominal cramping, unexplained
weight loss, and chronic diarrhea), but sometimes not (as with joint
pain, and depression). If any of these symptoms occur in a patient with
family history of CD, this should stand out as a red flag for any physician.
The primary treatment for celiac disease is adherence to a strict
non-gluten diet. But this is easier said than done. High-gluten grains
can be easily remembered with the mnemonic "BROW": barley, rye, oat and
wheat, but gluten is often hidden in some foods such as soups, soy
sauce, low-fat or non-fat products, and even in candies such as jelly
beans. Some common food ingredients that may contain gluten include:
modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein, and some
binders and fillers, as well as malt and natural flavorings.
As Dr. Stenson pointed out, for a small fraction of osteoporosis
patients CD may be a precursor of their condition. But that small
fraction could equal thousands of patients in the U.S. alone. Needless
to say, anyone with osteoporosis who has a family history of CD or
sensitivity to gluten should talk with their doctor about the Washington
University study to determine if a blood test to screen for CD is necessary.
Those who test positive may also want to talk with their doctors or
healthcare providers about supplements that contain a plant-based enzyme
called Aspergillus oryzae. A number of studies have shown that the
enzyme may be effective in protecting the intestine from the effects of
gluten. Formulas containing Aspergillus oryzae (such as Similase and
Zest for Life Enzyme Boost Formula) are available from sources on the
Sunday, June 15, 2008
For three months this has been fairly consuming. I mean it is about all I got done, outside of the mommy tasks and some fun here and there. I will also say that it taught me how to make myself write - even when I just did not feel it. I learned to write faster. I would be lying if in May I did not think to myself that perhaps it was taking its toll. I have not been focused on poetry nor my novel - which is where my true writing passion lies. In all fairness I like doing both - the articles and profiles but I also like the fiction and poetry. I had lost my balance.
I also had not been getting paid. The magazine owes me for work I did in late February, March, April and May. I had not worried about the lack of payment until late April. My contract had said I would be paid the 25th of the following month. Seemed reasonable. That is how it worked in January. When the next check did not arrive - I inquired and well got the it must have been lost in the mail - which with my mail lady I was totally willing to buy. So the editor proposed combine the next two - that was fine with me. Having worked at ML - I knew it takes a few days to process the stop payment and all that jazz.
As I wrote the articles and profiles for May I got a bit more wary. Still no check and well it took longer to get my emails answered and by the last week of the month when we were generally the most busy - I had nary a phone call. Odd.
But I decided perhaps the editor had finally gotten her act together and it was just running smoother. I enjoyed the week or so of quiet and refocused my writing efforts on my blogs and my fiction and my poetry and I read some - a novel thing for a budding novel writer.
Then one of my profiles called - wanting to know why he had not gotten his copy of the proof nor the magazine. Umm, no idea. I offered to call. Then another called me. Then another and another.
Then I tried calling and emailing and got nothing. Weird. But in the pit of my stomach I knew. I knew that this was not good. In all fairness I knew it in May and just tried to be hopeful. It was good work and exciting and it was great for my portfolio and it would have paid decently - especially given that I have little experience. But as the days ticked by and still no word and no answer it was obvious what had happened. Well there are tow possibilities really.
One is the entire things was a scam, a fraud. It is possible I suppose that the editor went to all the trouble of starting a website and magazine and setting up a company to just pocket advertisers money. What is more likely is this was legit - but it was a bigger task than she expected and instead of facing the music and being a stand up person and telling the advertiser that it was not working out as planned and telling her freelancers (the graphic designer, the web master and me) that well she could not pay us - she instead split. Took down the website and fled. The other possibility is it was a bit of both.
In any event I am angry, mostly for her lying to the small businesses she sold space to. For not being a stand up person and behaving in an ethical manner. The fact is I would have - had she said she could not pay me - more than likely said she could have some of the work for free or worked out a payment plan. I am a reasonable person and this was in my opinion a career enhancing move. It was the experience I needed to make a leap professionally. That said - the nice Susan ship has sailed and I am hopping mad. I have contacted the police department, told the advertisers I have spoken with I would be happy to help in whatever way I can - with whatever action they choose to pursue and I fired off a collections letter this week(mailed certified) and next week - I am going to head down to small claims court. (or the week after - depends on whether my certified is singed for or not.)
I was feeling a bit down. Like maybe I should have researched her business more before I took her as a client. But the fact is I used the web and checked the BBB and other sites and frankly it looked legit. I mean one of my first gigs was for a business in India. I wrote some canned business letters in US ENGLISH. They paid me via paypal. Not like I knew much about them. I may have to rethink that practice or not - it is the electronic age and a global market place. No business - even for us lowly copy writers is without risk.
So now I have plenty of time to focus on my full length novel, which I guess is how this summer was meant to be.
Friday, June 13, 2008
I found these at Whole Foods the other day! Raw Indulgence bars. Yumm-o! Now I know when most people see the words, "Gluten Free • Vegan • Wheat, Corn, Soy, Trans-fat, Cholestorol and Refined Sugar Free!" they immediately think - oh it will taste like paper. Add to that the words: Kosher, Non-GMO and nothing artificial and no preservatives and well - it must be yuck!
Me, well I think - hot damn - provided that there are no oats in it - then I might be able to eat that! Now I will agree at the outset that being able to eat something and actually wanting to eat it are totally different things. The Raw Indulgence Bars - Yeah - I want to eat them. Thus far I have tried the chocolate & cashew and the chocolate and raspberry. Very tasty. Soft and kinda chewy and they are sweet but not in an unnatural way - the sweetness comes from fruit and some Agave Nectar.
They are not overly high in protein, but they do have the healthy fat I need in my diet and they are portable. The double as dessert (hey come on my dessert choices are very limited!) and they make a great on the go snack or breakfast.
In theory I am behind the Raw food movement. I think we should focus on eating things with the least amount of processing.
So even if you can eat all the omitted stuff mentioned and then some - I still think these are worth trying out! They are very tasty - so tasty you do not miss what they have left out!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I generally take my own bags to the grocery or my collapsible crate. (Compliments of PDA in Germany!) I was doing this before it was trendy and in Germany you have to take your own bags - unless you would like to pay for a plastic one. The only issue for me is, what do you do if you are out and about and well you have time to hit the grocery? My bags will not fit in my purse and I sometimes have them in the car but sometimes not. Well this is the solution. Envirosax! I found them in a boutique here in town and they are perfect! They roll up to be smaller than most wallets and are a great light weight nylon! They have all sorts of colors and patterns - I went with the piggy in the middle pink! They also make organic ones and have a variety of material options. Some patterns for kids (or the child with in us all) and others more for grown ups!
These sacks are also great for other types of shopping - like when going to the mall or other small stores. No need to get a sack from every retailer.
Everyone is up in arms about the price of gas and I agree it is out of control, but what many of us forget is that plastic is petroleum based - cutting out so much of our consumption of plastic is not only green - but also can be effective in reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I think I shocked the guy whose studio I visited. I look very mainstream and good girl and well I am that, but I am also a poet and a writer and a free thinker. I am not defined by someone elses standards I am defined by my own. For me - my outward expression of that is some body adornment in the form of glitter - for others it is a tattoo - ink.
Creative self expression - ideals I am hoping to pass on.
So here is my radical idea. Let's not have a general election. Lets have 2 presidents. Let's have President McCain and President Obama. They can draft up a contract and decided who is going to handle what, sign what types of legislation or decide to do it like a committee and if they are dead locked the VP will break the tie. Obama has some wonderful strengths as does McCain. They are different and therefore a partnership would be very Ying-Yang and I honestly think it would help unify us as a nation and it might actually lead to the resolution of fair number of problems in a short period of time.
I for one am tired of the same old same old. I am tired of the Democrats verse the Republicans, the finger pointing, the coping out, the in fighting and all that crap. Shut up and do something. Hell for shits and grins - do something radical!
Friday, June 6, 2008
Welcome to Daily Lit. It is like the library only via email. Some of their selections are free and others do cost. You give them your email address and they will email you a portion of a selected book a day or at whatever frequency you request until they have emailed you the entire book. So right now I am getting for free a romance novel via email. Perfect for killing time in the park or while waiting in line somewhere. All on my Crackberry via email. Create a folder on Yahoo in your in box and you can keep the book all together. Rereading at your leisure. I think it is a great way for me to read just a bit, when I have time.
Another feature I am testing out is the Wikipedia options. I am having Daily Lit email me 50 Capitals of the World and The 50 best Poets of all Time. So they send you a summary from Wikipedia and if you want to learn more - well they include the link for that as well. Better for me than the news I should think and educational. I am all about learning something new every day, this should help me with that.
According to their newsletter - Daily Lit as a website is a year old. Surf on over and give it a try!
Monday, June 2, 2008
I have recently found some great crafts which we can do together. We recently made this poncho and just started this purse yesterday. It is sometimes slow going - but so worthwhile. Good mother daughter time and a great way to focus her creative spirit.
I also recently found a great game for her to keep her mind busy! Rush Hour Jr. is like a puzzle game for one.
Here's to a great summer!
Now I am sure some of you may be wondering why I have not been posting it here. Well there are a lot of reasons. Some of them good ones and some off them just plain silly. I will outline some of them.
In part I was shy about putting my creative work on the net. What if it sucked? What if it was no good. What if people did not like it? What if I could not sustain the pace?
Well my poetry does not suck. It is intensely personal, very powerful and actually surprising. I never thought of myself as a poet. I wrote poetry in college and then when I got out into the real world I stopped. About a year ago, I started writing poetry again and well I have not stopped. I have written enough to fill a small book.
Some of it is playful and fun and some of it is intensely emotional and I think all of it is a fair representation of me and who I am. I am so proud of my work and with the encouragement of some very great friends I have published my poems in a book. Celebrated Deliberations is available at this moment at LuLu.com. I have published the book under my pen name.
My pen name is very special to me. I chose it after alot of thought. I decided to go public with my work with a pen name for a number of reasons. I think my pen name is more artsy! I want to create a thin wall dividing my writing life and my kiddos lives. Being a kid is hard and having to deal with a mom who is being creative and all that is easier I think if their friends cannot find my work surfing around the web. (ok or their friends parents. Let's face it people can be judgmental.)
I gave my pen name alot of thought. I wrote it out and most of all I wanted it to mean something to me. I wanted it to be as personally as my work is to me. So I picked the name with some care and some forethought. I write and have now published as Elisa Philips. I am using my maternal grandmothers maiden name and changing her first name slightly.
My grandmother was a great woman. Good cook, had wanted to be a teacher but the depression had other ideas. She wrote letters - really long ones. She also was a killer archivist. She wrote notes and documented anything and everything. She compiled a genealogy of her family - a pains taking process - especially considering it was before the Internet.
I think she would be proud of my pursuing my dream. I am not sure all the content of my work would be her style - but I am pursuing my dream, being authentic to WHO I am and I am hopefully going to touch and inspire others and I know for sure she would have loved that.
If you would like to check out my new book - follow this link.