Archive for the ‘Accommodation’ Category

Service of Dammed If You Do & If You Don’t

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

scam-alert

A friend, I will call her Lisa, works in a small but prominent boutique with beautiful things. She’s been in high-end retail most of her life, has owned stores and traveled abroad on buying missions for years.

boutiqueLast week a woman returned an item saying it had broken. Lisa offered immediately to exchange it for another one and was pleased to see she had one in exactly the same colors, when she noticed that the item was badly stained.  She immediately figured that the woman had broken the piece so as to wangle a new one. Lisa also knew that she couldn’t get a replacement from the manufacturer under these circumstances.

Meanwhile, the store continued to fill up with other customers.

Lisa pointed out the stain and offered to have the piece fixed explaining why she could no longer give her a new one, at which the customer began to argue loudly that the thing broke the first time she used it and that she wanted a new one because she was a good customer. [Lisa had never before seen her though clearly someone had been to the store to buy the article.]

angry-womanKnowing she was being taken, Lisa chose not to inflict a scene on the others. She also wanted to free herself to answer their questions, ring up and wrap their selections. So she gave the woman a new item to get rid of her. 

When I saw Lisa several hours afterwards, she was still annoyed that she’d done that, angry that she’d caused a loss to her employer. She felt this woman deliberately came at a busy time, knowing loud arguments aren’t conducive to business, figuring a crowd to unsettle would work in her favor.

In my opinion, the woman stole the second item from the store. Had she brought in the soiled piece and asked if the manufacturer could clean it or requested the name of a stain remover she might try on the textile, that would have been another thing.

Lisa’s boss backed her decision though several colleagues said she shouldn’t have let the woman get away with it and claimed that they wouldn’t have been so easy on this weasel.

What would you have done? Can you share other examples of no matter what, you’re wrong?

arrowsintwodirections

Service of Travel

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

family-travel

As some airlines are reported to squeeze more money out of infrequent flyers and those who book later rather than sooner, I thought that Catherine C’s recent experience was an especially fitting one to share on the eve of Memorial Day weekend.

According to recent airline shenanigans, frequent travelers flying coach on these airlines are given first dibs for window and aisle seats. Standard travelers who don’t reserve early can ensure that they will sit next to family, friends and colleagues by forking over $25 each way. So you had planned to travel with your bride/groom, grandma or the kids? Such folly! Be prepared to say “See you when we land.”

Catherine C has written several guest posts on this blog such as “Service of Pets” and “Service at the High End.” The recent harrowing travel experience she shares was caused by weather.

flyingbadweatherWeather is an inevitable factor for all in the travel business. Yet there were so many ways that the airline and airport might have turned the inconvenience of storms into far less of a stressful nightmare for Catherine and countless others, as she describes:

I had a horror story of a flying experience recently.  Talk about lack of service.

I was coming home from a business trip to Florida, flying to Newark on US Airways via Charlotte.  We were warned, on takeoff, that there would be bad weather en route to Charlotte.  In fact, when we got near, we were forced to circle. 

Because we still couldn’t land, we diverted to Greenville-Spartanburg for fuel. Once there, we were seventh in line and waited a long time.  Eventually, it was our turn but lightning strikes forced another halt. 

When we finally took off–just short of three hours on the ground–it was past the time I should’ve been in Newark. I can’t say the pilot kept us updated as often as would have been nice. The airline did actually give us each two little cookies and didn’t charge. 

When we finally landed in Charlotte, we were not told that the rest of the flight had been cancelled. We were just herded off the plane. We may have been the last flight to land. 

Someone handed me a card with two phone numbers: One to call to rebook and a second to order a discounted hotel room. “Good luck,” he said.  “I doubt you’ll find a room.” 

I was able to use my mobile phone to rebook but nevertheless had to go to the desk to get the ticket issued. There were two agents: a man and a woman.  Fortunately, I got the man.  The woman was quite nasty.  Two colleagues who were with me-I’ll call them G. and L.–got stuck with her.  The best the agent could do for me was an 11:30 flight the next morning.  I wasn’t happy, but at least the seat was in first class.

I later realized that he wasn’t doing me a favor. One of my colleagues was lucky and was booked two flights earlier than mine and one was booked on the flight after that. 

sleepingairport1By now it was around 2:00 am.  It took some 30 minutes working our iPads and iPhones to find out there was no room at the inn and we’d be sitting up all night at the airport.  There had been so many cancellations and we were so late getting in, we didn’t stand a chance.

So we made “camp,”  but here was no place to sleep.  We were forbidden the gate areas, which left the cold concourse with noisy cleaning crews.  Nothing was open, so there was no food. 

Cockroaches came up out of the planters onto the floor in waves, forcing us to get our bags and gear off the floor.  It was 5:00 am before anything opened. Thank goodness for Starbucks, which was first. 

At 5:30 the US Airways Club opened. One of my colleagues is a member and got us in as guests.  The woman at the desk didn’t look happy, and grudgingly helped get two of us on the standby list for earlier flights to Newark.  We were 20th and 21st, I think. 

In the club there was food, newspapers, nice bathrooms, comfy chairs, TV – civilization.  When the early flight rolled around, we all went to the gate.  G. was ticketed and L. got on standby. Both of them fly US Airways frequently. I once did and was in its frequent flyer program, but not for years.  So I didn’t get on the first or next flight either. 

I went to the gate for the 11:30 flight and checked in with the agent.  Giving her my ticket I said, “Tell me I am definitely on this flight.” “No,” she said, “It says you went standby on that last flight.” I told her they never called my name and before leaving the gate I asked whether they were done calling standbys, which they were. 

“How can you do this to me?” I asked her, explaining what the last 12 hours had been like. I didn’t raise my voice; I just looked as exhausted as I was.  I’ll add that I was well dressed, which may have helped.  She didn’t say anything but clicked away for ages and finally handed me a new ticket for the same first class seat.  When the next passenger came to the desk, I overheard that she and I both had been rebooked to the next flight: a commuter flight in another terminal. 

So, the storms were not the airline’s fault and there was no obligation on its part.  But:

1) Why did the airline provide so little information along the way? 

2) Why did one of the gate agents have to be so bloody nasty? 

angrycaller3) Why, in situations like this, is there no provision for people who have to remain in the airport?  No place to rest, eat, warm up? Why can’t the airlines keep their clubs open? 

4) How can they play the kinds of games they do with ticketing?  You have a confirmed ticket but bump you without telling you so as to give the seat to someone they value more than you? 

Ironically, one of the presenters at the conference I just attended had worked at Virgin America, which aims to be the antidote to legacy airlines. I thought quite a bit about that while going through this experience. I think I may give it a try.

What else might the airline and airport have done in such an instance? Have you similar experiences to share? Have you noticed improvements in air travel?

line-at-airport

Service of Good Samaritans

Monday, March 26th, 2012

giving-a-hand

I’ve known Good Samaritans and have written about them at least twice, in Service of Snow and Service of Pets II.

Two Good Samaritans helped out my husband, Homer, last Thursday night.

The weather turned hot and Homer left his winter coat on the 4:38 pm Metro-North Harlem Line train and in its pocket were his car keys. The car was in the parking lot at the railroad station. I had the second set of keys and I was at the office in the city, two hours away.

mta-policeI dialed the MTA police emergency number clearly marked on the train schedule, worrying that our crisis wasn’t bad enough and didn’t qualify as urgent. The policeman 3764–he wouldn’t give me his name–was wonderful, calming and quick. After hearing the story, he took my number and hung up. He called me back immediately saying he’d reached the conductor on the train who’d found the coat and put it in a lockbox at the last station. Our stop is third from last.

Meanwhile we couldn’t reach a neighbor at home or at work to drive Homer to the other station or home.

I asked the MTA policeman to do me a huge favor: To please call Homer directly in the event he had a question. He didn’t hesitate and said he’d gladly do so and even gave Homer a message from me.

doverplainsrrTrains don’t come often to this rural spot. Homer planned to take the next northbound one to retrieve his coat and then wait on that isolated platform for almost two hours for the next southbound train.

Soon a man on a motorcycle drove up to my husband. He was Dale Hossfield, the Metro-North conductor from the train Homer had just exited. Hossfield reassured him that he’d found his coat and told him precisely where he’d stored it at the end of the line.

I settled into a new project at my desk at work, deciding not to leave my desk until the situation was resolved and Homer had a way to get home. The station is in an iffy neighborhood and once a train moves on, it gets lonely. I was surprised to hear from Homer some 20 minutes, not 1.5 hours, later. “I’m inside our car!” he said.

Instead of going home to dinner after a long day at work, Hossfield returned to the lockbox two stations up and cycled back to the station with Homer’s coat and car keys. He wouldn’t accept a cent for all the gas he used driving back and forth [$4.04/gallon for regular]. There was no way to repay him for his time and kindness. Talk about beyond the call of duty.

People are in such a rush and often don’t take time to help others. We’ve learned to ignore someone who might welcome help. We have selective vision, like a waiter in a crowded restaurant who won’t move his eyes from the water he’s pouring to see a customer who is motioning for the check–or for water–and may have been doing so for several minutes.

How can we get the message to the “I’m too important and far too busy” crowd to tell them how much someone might appreciate a hand? Can you share a Good Samaritan story?

rushingtowork1

Service of Tourism

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Portland Museum of Art

Portland Museum of Art

We traveled to Portland, Maine on business and stayed an extra day to enjoy this charming city. We knew immediately that smart, service-minded people directed principal tourist attractions, like the Portland Museum of Art. The museum is open on Mondays during tourist season-Memorial Day through October: So smart.

The guard welcomed us when we visited on a Tuesday, suggesting we take off our winter coats “so that the outer layer will keep you warm when you go outside again,” he said as he ushered us to the coatroom. I’ve been in museums in small cities around the world and have never been so warmly welcomed.

The cashier at a landmark Maine retailer asked me if I liked tart, citrus-y lemon drops and I said, “Oh, yes!” He recommended that I not buy the attractive tin of candy I’d chosen, warning that they were tasteless. “I thought they were so awful that I returned mine,” he admitted. Now that’s service! [I don’t want to get him in trouble so I’m not identifying the wonderful store.]

Fore Street Restaurant

Fore Street Restaurant

Food in Portland was superlative. With auctioneers Annette and Rob Elowitch, owners of Baridoff Galleries Fine Art Auctions, we enjoyed a memorable dinner at Fore Street Restaurant in the old part of the city. Portland natives, the Elowitch’s, whom we came to see, didn’t know us, and yet they insisted we share a meal in their city. They selected Fore Street Restaurant for its ambiance and cooking. The bread, beet salad, oysters and fish were toothsome. Their enthusiasm for their city made them platinum spokespeople.

dimillosAt DiMillo’s we took advantage of an off-season special-two steamed lobsters, perfectly cooked, for $24. Breakfast at Bintliff’s American Café, which PR colleague David Reich recommended, included a blueberry pancake, lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar, of a consistency-perhaps with a Scandinavian influence–unlike any I’ve ever tasted. I was so full of lobster from the night before, and yet I ate the entire pancake it was that light and delicious.

Portland is well worth a detour and a stay. Please share the names of similar destinations that happily surprised you.

 

Bintliff's American Cafe

Bintliff's American Cafe

Service of Carrying Things Too Far

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

carrythingstoofar

I thought that the cupcakes confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration officer at the Las Vegas airport over the weekend a bit much. He considered that the frosting fell into the forbidden gel catetory.

In the world of sports, Blue Hills Regional Technical “was leading, 16-14, when Cathedral’s quarterback, Matt Owens, slipped through an opening and dashed for a 56-yard touchdown,” Rea Cassidy Reported in the Boston Globe in “Call in Blue Hills-Cathedral game needs to be called back.”

“Here’s where the rules came into play,” continued Cassidy. “While running toward the end zone, Owens raised his hand, for about three seconds, in celebration. Apparently, Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules forbid a player to celebrate before entering the end zone. So, the touchdown was called back, and Blue Hills went on to win.”

shhhhhhhhContinued Cassidy: “We are a society that has so many rules it’s a wonder anyone is allowed to say or do anything anymore.” {The bold emphasis is mine.}

“In the case of this game, the rule was created to prevent taunting and poor sportsmanship. Fine. No one wants to promote or witness poor sportsmanship. So create concise rules that penalize players for malicious or deliberate taunting, rather than for jubilation during the biggest moments of their lives. I don’t want to go to games and watch kids celebrate like timed robots. They are not robots; they’re people,” Cassidy wrote.

president-obamaIn unrelated instances, a few weeks before, there was a spate of school suspensions of small children. One boy was punished for being a racist when he told a friend that a guest speaker reminded him of President Obama; another for sexual harassment because he said to a pal that he thought one of his teachers was cute.

Meanwhile, there are newbie congressmen and women who sit like sticks in Washington, refusing to budge from a strict doctrine when their inaction will hurt the economy, many of their constituents and might even affect the outcome of the Presidential election in a way that isn’t in their best interest. Their closed minds and smug intransigence blind them to the advice of their political leader and many of their party colleagues who are willing to bend for the greater good. Thank goodness someone drilled sense into some of them in the short term but their attitude has infected Washington and the quick fix political antibiotic that just happened won’t cure the patient.

Can you think of other instances of people carrying things too far or am I being too harsh in my examples?

halt

Service of Matching a Person to the Job

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

job-interview

In a response to a previous post, Mervyn Kaufman explained inadequate service by retail staff by pointing to lack of motivation, inexperience, poor pay and/or little to no training. He especially resents  it when sales associates don’t know their inventory. Mervyn also blamed a store’s cynical management that believes it can get away with such poor performance and maintain business levels. I agree with him.

Short of asking each person who provides lackluster/inadequate service at retail or in a service job or restaurant, it’s impossible to know all the reasons. In some cases the reason is as simple as the wrong person has the job.

office-lobby-reception1In the New York Times “Social Q’s” column, columnist Philip Galanes advised a Houston man who staffs the desk in the lobby of a big building. The receptionist, Joseph Z, told Galanes that it was exhausting when he had to smile, nod or wave back each time someone who’d just passed his desk did so again within minutes. “I’m sure it’s annoying to be cheery all day, but short of a large ‘One per Customer’ plaque, I’m afraid that smile fatigue is simply a peril of your profession,” wrote Galanes. I asked the guard/door person in the lobby of my office building whether it annoys him when people say “hi,” “bye,” wave or smile at him even if it happens within minutes. He said he liked it. I think that Galanes might have told “Joseph Z. in Houston” to get a job better suited to his personality. Maybe he could ask for the night shift.

In another instance, I dropped by a high-end deli near my office to buy a pound of ham. I wanted it cut very thick and held up two fingers, at least a quarter inch apart, to illustrate just how thick. The ham here is baked with bone in and is unrelated to the lumps of pressed meat you see at many delis.  My heart sank when the counterman turned in my direction to weigh a pile of very thin slices. He’d used the slicing machine, not a knife. Did he hear me? Did he understand English? Listening carefully and giving customers just what they ask for determines the success of a place that sells special things and charges appropriately-i.e. plenty–for them. Did the manager check for this trait when he hired the guy, even if he’d had umpteen years experience at a supermarket deli counter?

turkish-food1New York has great ethnic restaurants and many are value priced. I’ve noticed no relationship between the level of service and the price. I’ve enjoyed the most elegant and cheerful dinner service where grilled chicken shish kebab served with rice costs $12. Imagine being a waiter here, standing and walking all day long with enough energy at night to be pleasant when tips, based on a negligible total, won’t stretch far?

Can you think of instances where a person’s personality, rather than or in addition to skill, determines their success or failure at a job?

good-personality

Service of Duh

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

duh2

I was surprised by the glitch in the planning of the President’s speech before the joint session of Congress tonight. When planning an event for a client, I check industry calendars and place a call to a trade editor or two to see if he/she knows of potential conflicts for a date in question. I can’t believe that the White House staff didn’t do such elementary research. Duh number one.

calendarOK, so they didn’t. I am equally surprised and disappointed that there is so little respect for the office of President that the Republican debate organizers didn’t defer and select another date. This isn’t a duh moment as much as a worrisome attitude for a country with huge problems to solve.  And everyone’s watching: Duh!

The cat’s out of the bag given our slip in a World Economic Forum listing. In 2008 we were first, Mathew Saltmarsh reported in “U.S. Slips to Fifth Place On Competitiveness List.” He wrote in The New York Times: “The weaker performance was attributed to economic vulnerabilities as well as ‘some aspects of the United States’ institutional environment,’ notably low public trust in politicians and concerns about government inefficiency.” Would you invest in a corporation with warring factions? Another duh: Why should people want to invest in this country if our leaders can’t even be cordial and cooperative about a date?

electricity1On another subject, some of the electric companies in the NY Metro area after Hurricane/tropical storm Irene–in Long Island and Connecticut especially–got a zero grade in both customer service and PR. Caroline Gatto commented about her friend and relatives’ frustrating experiences in these states in the “Service of Silver Linings” post. Some customers, sitting in houses without electricity for five and six days, couldn’t get through to their supplier on the phone. Others were unable to speak with a person. Routinely people in suburbs and exurbs lose electricity whether from weather or blackout. An effective crisis plan for an electric company to communicate with customers in such instances is elementary. Not having one is a duh.

In fact, all these examples illustrate disrespect: White House staff for anyone else, John Boehnor & Co. for the office of President and the electric companies for their customers.

Do you see a relationship between duh-like work and behavior and disrespect? Any duh situations you’ve noticed lately or that are memorable?

 disrespect

Service of Silver Linings

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

hurricane

But first………….By Tuesday night, having been in the dark since Sunday at 7 am thanks to Hurricane/tropical storm Irene–no water, no wc, no clean clothes, no ice, no light after 7:30 pm–we were itching for a shower. Not having coffee first thing in the morning [or at all on Sunday] was a challenge. On Sunday we never left the house between downed electric wires and flooded roads around us.

I was angry at myself as we tossed all perishables from fridge and freezer because I’d bought all those sale items that we’d never get to eat on a rainy day.

With our neighbor, we called Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation regularly to check electricity ETA. On Sunday, the computer recognized our phone number, identified our address and acknowledged that we’d registered the house as electricity-free. By Monday, our phone number was no longer “in the system.” Twice we called to confirm that we’d been customers for 18 years and to register the house. We spoke with a live American who twice put us and our phone number back in the system.

yak-yak-yak1My blood pressure boils when talk show hosts whine about the precautions Mayor Bloomberg and the governors of Connecticut and New Jersey took prior to the storm. There’s also a lot of Monday morning bellyaching about the press coverage during the height of it.

I so disagree.

transistor-radioA radio talk show host this morning sneered at his newsman who admitted he owned a transistor radio [!]. [The newsman’s home was in the dark for a short time.] The host was in Europe on vacation returning to airwaves today so he was late to put in his infuriating two cents and comments about how soft we all are and how he sleeps through 70 mph winds. Tell this to those in the flooded Catskills towns and in Denville, NJ. Amazing how some feel no empathy for others.

Had people been caught in subway tunnels and in railroad cars, had there been injuries and worse, we’d have rightly never heard the end of it. And what about putting all that equipment at risk? What would it have cost to replace it?

We get fooled into thinking that we are in total control of everything but Mother Nature has a way of showing us up. She often punishes those who flaunt her, such as the men out in kayaks during the eye of the hurricane/tropical storm. One died. They are like those who refuse to evacuate their homes when so instructed. Some never consider how they put rescuers at risk.

We sat by our transistor radio hungry for news and were grateful for it. It rained buckets all day and well into the night without letup. We obviously had no access to weather maps to learn when it would stop. We wanted to know about the return of electricity, and how bad it was out and about. Sitting in the dark, literally, makes one feel news-needy.

wcbsnewsradioMy complaint about the news coverage: News teams of major New York City-based stations [that I listen to routinely] never reported what was happening in Dutchess County or in the county directly south of ours-Putnam. Parts of this county are a 1.25 hour train ride from midtown and there are plenty of commuters here. The blessed exception: WCBS news radio. We never moved from that station once we realized this.

So where are the silver linings? There were many:

chinese-checkersWe haven’t played Chinese checkers or Gin Rummy for ages. Once we could no longer read our books with natural light [thank you dining room skylights], we lit some candles, poured a glass of red wine [which tasted especially good in the dark] and learned that my husband is the family Chinese checkers champion and I did pretty well at Gin Rummy. What fun!

On Tuesday we arrived at the dump with such a heavy, supersize bag–that my husband packed like luggage–it took two of us to carry it to the garbage slide. [We’re charged by the bag so we try to squeeze as much as we can into one. Most of the time, the staff, who grab the bag out of the trunk before we can get out of the car, know our game and charge for a few.] Seeing our load the man said, “Freezer, huh?” and punched our card for only half a bag. Then he said something silly and with great satisfaction noted to all around, “Hey! I made her smile!” I guess my expression had been pretty stormy. We were charmed by his spirit which lifted ours.

norman-rockwellAs grimy as we felt, [and no doubt looked], we took off for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Mass. on Tuesday. What a treat that’s well worth a detour and a visit. We had lunch in Lenox, Mass. at Zinc, another delight.

On our return we checked the downed power line tangled under a fallen tree in the woods. It hadn’t been touched. However, there was a cardboard note hanging on our front doorknob-the shape of a hotel “Do Not Disturb” sign-from Matthew Free. Mr. Free wrote in pen, “We will be here as soon as we can. Thank you. Central Hudson.” On the card, along with his name was his telephone number, which we called. He said we’d have light by Wednesday. My husband praised him and his colleagues for their hard work, acknowledged how exhausted he must feel and thanked him so much. Live voices are wonderful when you feel at sixes and sevens.

At 10 pm, a few hours after this call, in mid Gin Rummy tournament, we heard a sound and a rumble and tadah! There was light. We so appreciate being clean, doing laundry, driving on dry roads and we feel for those who are still in the dark.

How did you fare in the hurricane/storm or during a recent natural disaster? Can you share some silver linings either lately or at any time?

 silver-lining

Service of a Symbol

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

 symbols

Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, an August 14 guest of Religion on the Line on WABC Radio in NYC, proposed an idea for US military chaplains that had merit and illustrated a spirit of collaboration and ecumenism that would benefit parishioners and congregants worldwide. If members of Congress adopted a similar approach as this retired military chaplain, all of us would profit.

priest-rabbi-ministerRabbi Resnicoff suggested that all military chaplains wear the same symbol to identify them as they did early on when any soldier or seaman, [no airmen then], would know a chaplain because he wore a shepherd’s crook on his uniform.

Today, said Rabbi Resnicoff, military personnel have no clue who the chaplains are. Christian chaplains wear a cross, Jews a Star of David, Moslems a crescent, but not everyone associates the symbols with being a chaplain. The rabbi pointed out that there are ministers of some little known religions with one chaplain in the armed forces who sport a symbol few could identify.

foxhole1He noted that in our military, a chaplain is called on to facilitate the ministry of other faiths making it important for a soldier to be able to identify him/her. If a chaplain jumps into a foxhole, all the soldiers in it become his flock if they want to be.

So in addition to offering counsel and assistance to any soldier, a rabbi might ensure that a Catholic be let off duty to attend mass; a Catholic chaplain would order matzos for the Jewish soldiers in time to eat during Passover, and so forth.

In fact, an Episcopalian chaplain was largely responsible for this Conservative rabbi’s vocation which along with his military service may explain his ecumenical predisposition. This minister wrote the recommendation that got him into rabbinical school, which he said was unusual.

Given the history of religious wars we’ve suffered for centuries that continue to kill thousands yearly, more men and women of the cloth should follow Rabbi Resnicoff’s lead and recognize that their calling should benefit far more than their constituents. Do you agree? Do you think that there should be a universal symbol to identify chaplains in the US Armed Forces? What do you think of symbols in general?

shepherds-crook

Back to Basics II

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

apple-pie

This evergreen topic intrigues me. I last covered it in February.

Research 101

I have always enjoyed research. Thought I was good at it until the other day. I moaned to my friend, editor/writer Jim Roper, that I’d spent one hour trying to find a street mailing address for a company’s headquarters and the closest I got was the city.

An aside: It’s amazing how some of the most high tech places are able to hide-or maybe it’s because they are high tech that they know how to.

chamber-of-commerceI’d checked every online resource, including the Chamber of Commerce, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. I came up dry.

Jim said, “So CALL the Chamber.” I stopped pounding the keyboard, picked up the phone and left my phone number and email address in a voice message. The next day what sounded like an intern called my voicemail with the street address. It was easy enough to get the zip code on usps.com. The phone? What a concept!

Mail Fundamentals 

The last mail pickup in midtown Manhattan is 4 pm. Can you think of any business for which this is a convenient time?

mailboxWorse, the nearest mailbox to our office that was on Third Avenue and 44th Street disappeared a week ago while the one a block away, on Lexington Avenue and 44th Street, right across from a post office, remains. Another box on Lexington Avenue and 43rd Street, in front of my bank–a block from the post office–is also gone. Was anyone looking at a map?

Elementary Checking

I get emailed news alerts from a major network. Thought I had a case of déjà vu when I saw the subject line, “Bank to Pay Billions to Investors,” that I remembered from the day before and clicked to read the topic: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’s canceling July 4 recess.”  I, too, make silly mistakes. We should all take it a notch slower.

Magazines Forever

magazine-stackRegardless of the economy or technology, we love magazines and continue to invent and launch them. [Somewhere I have a prototype of one that I made with my friends in 5th grade.]  In the first half of this year we added 138 magazines vs. 90 last year at this time, wrote Stefanie Botelho in folio.com. Food titles and regional magazines were most popular. Closures are down, from 86 last year to 74 this, in the same time period.

Do you have any tips for locating a company that wants to hide? Examples of basic services you may have put aside but are using again or others you’d like to use, like the US postal service, that are becoming harder to access?  

hide-and-go-seek

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