Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lessons from a Cheater

I’ve been a cheater. It’s not something I’m proud of. I’m not going to try to justify it. I’m not going to give you my back story or blame my exes or tell you why.  But listening to a friend’s story today, I thought of a few things I could share with those who believe that they've met their soulmate as a result of an affair...
  • I seriously doubt that the person you’ve never spent more than a few hours at a time with is your soulmate. Let’s see how that holds up when you spend day after day and night after night together, when one of you is sick or mad, when you’re arguing about how to best deal with the ex or each other’s kids.  You know, that stuff you’re avoiding with your current partner…
  • You know that butterflies-in-the-stomach, giddy, can’t stand to be away from each other feeling you have right now that makes you THINK your soulmates? What are you going to do when that ends? Because even if it doesn’t completely stop, it’s going to diminish.  Remember when you had it with your current significant other? And you thought it would last forever? Obviously you were wrong then, what makes you so sure you’re right now?
  •  Remember that part of the excitement comes from the thrill of secrecy, the clandestine nature of an affair. Will there be something left when that subsides?
  • Of course there’s a chance that this person really is your soulmate – but after a few months of secret meetings and a few hours snatched here and there, how likely is that? Imagine your current life with this person instead of the one you’re with. Would  you still think he/she is the one you're meant to be with forever?
  • Going to marriage counseling with your spouse one day and out with your new flame the next day doesn't qualify as working on your marriage. You don't get the best of both worlds, you have to choose. You think choosing is hard? Imagine what your partner is going through. S/He chose you, still chooses you, and they are in pain knowing you're struggling to choose between her/him and someone else. 
I didn't meet my soulmate. I didn't leave my marriages to be with a specific person (although that didn't mean I wasn't seeing someone) but rather because I knew I couldn't be with this person any longer, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the way I went about that wasn't great. I'm not an expert on anything - but I know that initial excitement wears off pretty quickly once you're free to spend all the time you want together. I've seen more than a few marriages fail as the result of someone meeting their soulmate only to discover that once the dust settled, the new relationship wasn't really any better than the last. 

So those are my lessons - take 'em or leave 'em. Just more of my random thoughts.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

4 Tips on How to be a Good Customer

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a good customer. Mostly just to be kind and considerate. Unfortunately in today’s world, those aren’t widely abundant characteristics in customers.  Here are some tips for you. I’m writing these as someone who has worked fast food and retail and now volunteers at a coffee shop during the closing shift.

1.       Don’t take up valuable space.
a.       If you’re going to hang out for hours, buy something. You’re taking up space that could go to a paying customer.  The WiFi, heat/air conditioning, lighting you’re taking advantage of don’t come free. If paying customers come in and see there’s no place to sit, many will just leave. Without even buying anything. You’re nice little hang out spot is going to close up shop if it’s not making money. Buy a $2 cup of tea and get a $1 refill for every hour you spend in the shop. Or just make a flat out donation.
b.      Don’t spread out and take up three spaces. That’s two people who could potentially leave when they could have had a place to sit.
c.       If you’re alone or with one other person, don’t take over a table set up for four to six (or even eight) when smaller tables are available.  
d.      If you know in advance you’ll have a larger group and/or will be staying awhile, see if the meeting room is available. That opens up space for customers who aren’t staying as long.

2.       Don’t walk in 10 minutes before closing. How annoying is it to be just about ready to close and someone wants something that will require dirtying appliances and dishes.  This is like when you’ve just completely cleaned your kitchen at home and are rinsing the final dish and someone walks in with a stack of dirty dishes while tracking mud across the clean floor. You were almost done! You saw the light at the end of the tunnel. WHERE were these dishes when you asked for them 15 minutes ago? My personal rule is to try very hard not to enter any store less than 30 minutes before they close.  

3.       Do not hang out past closing. Music is off, front door is locked, lights are dimmed, mop is brought out, it’s been announced that the store has closed? These are all your signal to get the hell out. The people helping you are at the end of a closing shift. Closing sucks. They don’t get to go home unless everything is done. The shift before just leaves when their time is up. But the closing shift has to leave everything ready for the morning shift to come in and go straight to work. If customers are lingering about, there are tasks that can’t be done. Which means those poor people will be leaving later, and if they get paid hourly their bosses are freaking out because bosses think the closing should be done by XX:XX pm, so what’s the problem?! And if they don’t get paid at all? They’re wanting to get out of there as soon as humanly possible. Not to mention they’re all drawing straws to see who gets to be the tough guy and kick you out this time. Because, ya know, it’s always the same people who just won’t leave.

4.       Be realistic. If you just stood in line listening to the group ahead of you order for 12 people, realize that your order might take some time. If this is going to be a problem, ask if your order could possibly go before the large order or somewhere in the middle. But don’t go sit down and then pretend like you had NO idea there were so many orders ahead of yours and act all outraged.

Of course there are many more tips I could give on being a good customer, but as I head off to another four hour shift of working for free, these are the ones that will most be on my mind!