Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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At the end of the year we typically make a purchase for the home and call it our holiday gift to ourselves. We have also enjoyed short trips in December to celebrate for a few days in the past. The travel is not in the cards this year since we had to spend big on a new air conditioner recently. This purchase, needed but not very sexy, shot holes in our budget. We will enjoy the time between now and 2017 in Tucson at home.
This is not at all bleak. I decided to make prudent small investments in local fun available to us. I purchased a three month subscription of Sling TV to add new programming to our nightly ritual of watching a few shows. They offered me a free Roku stick if I paid up front for three months. I may quit at the end of that time, but for now we are having a lot of fun with all the new options. I am watching a series on Cyber-War that is blowing my mind. We like the comedy series Bunheads, which we just started to watch. The stick is in the mail, which I think will be fun. I don’t know if it is voice activated, but it is updated to make search easier. For a total of $60 we get the new stick and three months of channels we like. I also decided to let Alexa keep her subscription to Amazon Unlimited music. At the end of my free trial she will switch my payment plan to $3.99 a month to play every song at Amazon, but only on my Echo. She will be the only device able to stream this. I have been having a great time calling up all artists and almost all songs for my home at will. When Alexa is loaded with this unlimited capacity, she truly rocks my world. I want her to be able to do all the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s greatest hits in December, so I don’t mind paying to have her loaded for a while longer. I listen to her all day, so I do get a lot of value for dollar from this subscription. I have been traveling down memory lane in music, and it has been fun.
To put finishing touches on our festive celebrations I have also decided to loosen the Uber budget. I rarely use the driving service, but love it when I do. Any time I want to drink alcohol or don’t want to fight the crowd at the end of an event I call Uber. It makes such an upgrade to any event arrive and leave with your driver. It only costs us about $20 round trip to go downtown Tucson for dining, shows, or the 4th Avenue Fair. This is my last gift to us, a few more more to spend on transportation. Our basic entertainment is restaurant dining. If we take Uber we can cocktail without worry. There is plenty of tourist excitement for us just a few miles from our house.
I am finished with my holiday shopping now. All I have to do is pay for the Uber as we use it, and I am done. I feel intensely liberated this year. I never get into the shopping frenzy thing, but this time I am happy all the gifts will be invisible, consumable, and will not require and storage after the holiday. I wish you all such efficient holiday planning. Good luck! Do you have your plans made? Do you shop for lots of gifts, gentle reader, or take it easy this time of year?
I arrived home after gym and shopping today and received a call from my favorite neighbor, Heidi. She advised me to check my mail for a coupon for a new store opening close to home. I was really not in need of groceries but she convinced me to visit the grand opening of Natural Grocers at Broadway and Country Club in Tucson. She was right that this is a very happy event to celebrate. This store is a treasure trove of shopping wonder for me. They carry all kinds of exotic and wonderful local health foods, very well priced. There are items available in bulk for those who can utilize a giant bag of oats or other grains. The produce is organic. The body care and vitamin section rivals Whole Foods for selection and beats them on price!!! We are so lucky to have this new asset in our ‘hood.
I cruised the store and tasted the various special offerings being sampled. I found many new products, of which I was unaware, now available right down the street. I am highly attached to grocery shopping at all price points and levels. I go grocery shopping when I travel just to have some fun and inform myself about the local market situation. It is how I bond with a community other than my own, through groceries. I am thrilled to see all the fun discount programs offered by Natural Grocers, as well as noting that the base pricing is very customer friendly. The staff was overcome with joy to receive the new shoppers. I have never been so well greeted and treated in a grocery store. Methinks they have training in the 5 and 10 rule….showing eye contact and acknowlegement to anyone within 10 feet, and speaking with uplifting gusto to any customer who is within 5 feet of the staff. They were giddy with welcome, happy greetings for me. What’s not to like? I will shop here for sure. Today I was crammed packed in my home fridge but found some great items to put in the pantry, very well priced. I am a huge fan already, and look forward to the fun events they have planned for education and enrichment.
In business clients have many choices. They can patronize establishments that consistently recognize them, treat them with respect and value their patronage. Some people like to know they are paying the lowest prices for everything they buy, without regard to quality. The service aspect is less important to these folks. Utilitarian objects are valuable if they last, require little care, and are simple to operate. Environments in which people spend time like stores, salons, restaurants, hotels, or spas, are delivering a designed experience beyond the consumer goods they offer for sale. They offer a feeling of being important and unique. I believe the difference between average service and stellar service is attention to the importance of the customer’s special preferences. This might sound basic, but think about times when you feel happy because everything is just the way you like it to be. When services are applied with a broad brush, one size fits all, the result is rarely satisfying to the recipient. Some minor as well as major attention must be paid to how the customer likes to proceed in order to create a service that customer will value highly.
I like to know that my service providers of all kinds are professional. I can tell right off the bat because showing up on time is the first way to impress me that my business is center of attention. Manners matter. Punctuality, as well as finishing on target, are part of the customer service tool kit. I remember those providers who make me wait without a call or explanation of the tardiness. They do not get invited to return to my house. On the other hand once I find a professional, punctual, polite provider my loyalty is fierce. I don’t shop around for lower prices when I am pleased with the services I receive. I will happily pay a little extra to know that my job will be done with pride.
When I need to call on a warranty for a service or product I am always impressed if that repair or replacement is done quickly and well. I sent back a Bunn coffee maker three times while under warranty. I now have that third model for years, working perfectly. I was very pleased when they sent me new ones without hesitation along with a Fedex prepaid voucher to send the broken one back for investigation. I will probably be a Bunn customer for life both for the product quality and the customer relationship. I feel the same way about my health club, my contractor, mechanic, and massage therapists. As a consumer I am particular, but not hard to please. Once I have found a match that works well for me I stick with it. What kind of customer are you, gentle reader? Are you more loyal or adventurous?
I have the news in my in box today that, although I have not been in a Target store for about 6 months, and have not shopped with them on line for years, my personal data has been lifted from their server. They inform you that they will help you monitor this intrusion for a year, but unknown bandits have your information and will, for the rest of your life, target you and sell information about you in order to hack your identity.
|You are a TARGET!!!!!!|
Dear Target Guest,
As you may have heard or read, Target learned in mid-December that criminals forced their way into our systems and took guest information, including debit and credit card data. Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.
I am truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret any inconvenience it may cause you. Because we value you as a guest and your trust is important to us, Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all Target guests who shopped in U.S. stores, through Experian’s® ProtectMyID® product which includes identity theft insurance where available
I have answered the mail and requested the year, which is entirely inadequate to deal with the issue at hand. The number of people who have been hacked at Target grows daily. Ironic that the whole thing is about targets. Have you been Targeted? How does it make you feel? I am not only no longer a customer of the store, I am into the idea of a class action law suit.
In case you need to refresh Sir Isaac Newton gave us some basic concepts that we use today. He broke down movement and energy to define inertia. The third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This may be easy to imagine in terms of tug boats or bumper cars, but how does this law pertaining to matter have significance we can use to make smarter purchases? When we play billiards we consider the angle, the trajectory, the speed of the ball as we direct it on its way. Do we ever think about the economic repercussions we create with our spending decisions?
Today is shop local, Small Business Saturday. At the same time the mega retailers are bringing in customers with loss leaders to hunt for extreme bargains. Santa is in business all over the country promoting the concept that a big spending binge is healthy, cheery, and designates the participants as Christians. Giant light displays and seasonal music beckon to those who are attracted to all that. Office parties with cocktails and perhaps secret Santa designate this month as Slack for Seasonal Cheer time. Monday while employees are paid to be working, a day to shop on line will be granted by workers to workers. Only a Grinch or a Scrooge would interfere with Cyber Monday. Culturally this is the time to allow employees to take it easy around the office as a reward for doing their jobs for 11 months. What equal and opposite harm can come from that?
Meanwhile over at Zappo’s every single employee is brushing up skills, checking them twice, because it does not matter if you are naughty or nice….you will be answering the phone and delivering happiness to customers during this busiest shopping season. The core values that run the best retail experience on earth include full collaboration from all staff all the time. When needs of the customers’ shift, they shift to accommodate. They do not carry the myth that by giving them a party in December the company fulfills the promise to make employees happy. The Zappsters know that an overall commitment to serve the happiness of both customers and staff is in place and being improved constantly. Their benefits, their work environment, and their personal satisfaction are at the very foundation of the success enjoyed by the company. I do enjoy on line shopping, in spite of the fact that it does not support my local economy. Since I am a speed shopper, I am not so much into the comparison of prices as I am into a superior selection and customer service. The happy Zappsters deliver, so much more than shoes. I like the idea that my purchase contributes to a happy healthy workplace if not to my micro economy.