Archive for the ‘Sloppy’ Category

Service of When Man Worsens the Impact of Nature & the Happy Ending

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Snow March 2017 at RR station 1 turned

It’s bad enough when you’re not on the spot to eradicate damage left by a hefty snowfall while the precipitation is fresh and easier to remove. That can’t be helped when you park your car at an outdoor lot by a railroad station and you’re not planning to return for a few days or more. Best you can do is hope for a few warm, sunny days to melt the damage if you’re lucky.

When the people hired to clear the snow make it harder for customers to extricate their cars from igloo-like conditions they cause by their lazy snow removal strategy, it’s enraging. None of the other lots on the two hour trip north looked anything like ours—see photos above and right–and we’re told that the last lot on the line a few miles farther north—Wassaic, N.Y.–wasn’t nearly as much of a mess.

There is plenty of space in this lot to dedicate an out-of-the-way areaSnow March 2017 at RR station 2 turned for a giant mound of snow which is standard practice in the northeast. The plows at the Dover Plains station clear the roadway by piling snow against the cars as they go past which makes it much easier and quicker for them and much worse for us.

We’d asked one company what they would charge to get us out and were told, “We’ll let you know when we’re done.” Translation: “Open your checkbook and we’ll see how much we’ll charge you.”

Snow Angels

Our friends Bob and John exit the train in Wassaic. Last Friday they took the early train upstate, extricated their car and drove down to free ours. This was a huge gift. Even if we had the tools, we don’t have the strength for this chore.

To make things worse, I’d jumped the gun in anticipation of spring and committed the mortal error of parking nose first. Not only did they remove the snow-turned to ice that was as high as the trunk and halfwayup the doors, [photo below, left] they had to clear the front, the sides, and where the wheels were to go and then they turned around the car so it was facing out. When a few hours later we walked out of the train and into the car we left the station in minutes singing their praises.

We have no control over nature but we can manage how we deal with it. Have you seen sloppy or spectacular cleanup jobs after storms? Can you share examples of friends who donate not only their muscle and know-how but their precious little free time to help others in a pinch?

The Before: Our car is in the middle

The Before: Our car is in the middle

After: Our car ready to roll.

After: Our car ready to roll.

Service of Little If Any Assistance: Physician Admin Staffs Fall Down on the Job

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Health admin staff 1

A friend, asked: “Have you done any posts about the outrageously discourteous way patients are sometimes treated by admin staff at doctors’ offices?”

I probably have, but neither recently nor covering any of these instances so I kept on reading as I trust you also will. I wish that her experiences were the exception. I fear that too many of us have similar ones to share.

She continued:  

health admin staff 2“I often wonder if these people are lazy, stupid, incompetent, or all three. Earlier today I brought Mom to a long-ago-scheduled appointment with an ophthalmologist. I called 30 minutes before the appointment to ask if the doctor was running on time with his appointments. I was told that he was. Mom and I arrived 10 minutes early, told the receptionist that we were there, then signed in on the clipboard. We spent the next 30 minutes watching patients who arrived after us get called in to see the doctor before us. When I checked the list we’d signed I found that four patients had signed in after Mom. When Mom asked the admin for an explanation, she was told there had been an emergency with a patient. That explanation may fly in a cardiologist’s office but I’m not buying it from an ophthalmologist.

“Although I wanted to walk out, we stayed so Mom could have her procedure. After it was complete and there was no longer a chance of alienating the doctor, I told him in so many words that his staff stinks. It’s unlikely we’ll go back. This won’t be the first time Mom or I have left a doctor’s practice, not because of an inadequacy on the physician’s part but because of incompetent staff.

Prescription“In another annoying medical-related incident, we learned that the results of Mom’s blood test, which had been performed March 25, still had not arrived at her cardiologist’s office as of March 30. We called the lab and learned that lab personnel had faxed the results to the wrong number. The transmission failed, of course, but apparently it didn’t occur to anyone at the lab to check the number on the test prescription or to call the doctor’s office and confirm it. Instead they did nothing whatsoever.

“Last week I received a bill for $240 for a simple procedure I’d had done in a dermatologist’s office. It was my first appointment with this doctor. I have a very pricey insurance policy that, in the past, always has covered this type of procedure 100 percent, so you can imagine my surprise at receiving this bill. Upon closer inspection I found a line that said: “No insurance information is on file at this doctor’s office.” Really? Was it my imagination that I spent 15 minutes filling out paperwork before the doctor saw me? Was I hallucinating when I handed the admin my insurance photocopiercard and saw her copy it on the photocopier?

“I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a lot of things but this lack of courtesy and common sense by admins in medical facilities makes me absolutely crazy. I’m sure I’m not alone.”

My friend asks for strategies on how you navigate through the oceans of incompetency in this industry. I’d like to know if you’ve experienced similar inexplicable glitches, if there seem to be more nowadays or, on the other hand, if the doctors you see are backed by teams of efficient, smart administrators?

 health admin staff 4

 

Service of Wrong Numbers: Identity Theft or Sloppy Work by an Auto Finance Company

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Wrong number

The idea for this post was a friend’s, CLC, who wrote the following:

I’ve received mis-sent faxes with people’s confidential information from attorneys.

In addition I’ve been hounded by a car financing giant for months first because a loan applicant didn’t supply full information and then later because she defaulted on her first payment.  I must’ve told 6 people that I was not the person in question and to find the correct number.  I later switched to threatening if it turned out the applicant had supplied my number deliberately and they had not bothered to ascertain that. 

identify theftWe were afraid that it might have been a case of identity theft.  I began demanding to know whether the applicant used some of my other information and whether she lived in the same state.  I questioned how thoroughly they vet people to whom they give loans if they couldn’t even get the correct phone number. Given she missed her first payment the implication was, not very well!   

Once the missed payment went from the application department to the collections department, I got three calls from three different agents within about a half-hour.  I had demanded that my number be taken out of the system before applications sent the case to collections. I think I really shook them up when I talked about possible legal action and going up the management chain.  The calls abruptly stopped.   

Yes, people make mistakes when they copy numbers or they misread someone’s bad handwriting.  But in many cases I’ve had it happen multiple times from the same company.   

I’m honest and call to report a mis-sent fax and then I shred the information. But what if it gets into the wrong hands?  And when the error has been pointed out, when does the interaction between the sender and incorrect recipient become harassment?

To CLC’s questions I add: Has this kind of thing happened to you? How did you make it disappear? Isn’t the sloppy research done by the car finance company reminiscent of the non job the mortgage companies did that almost brought this and other countries down on their financial knees?

auto loan

 

Service of How Did That Happen?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

how did that happen

Monkey Business

primateI’ve covered plagiarism before and am consistently amazed by the reaction of the outed plagiarist. This time it’s a world-famous primatologist according to Christopher Joyce, NPR. Jane Goodall who, according to a statement reported by Joyce, wrote the following about “Seeds of Hope.” “This was a long and well-researched book, and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies.” I added the bold to part of the quote to underscore the passivity of the apology. Joyce points out that Goodall had a co-author.

 What’s a $Billion Among Friends?

BillionBankruptcy is a different kind of oops, especially when a $billion is involved and in so short a time. The Revel Casino in Atlantic City is less than a year old, according to Tom Hals and Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, and management expects to be out of bankruptcy by summer. A little bump in the road to everyone but those who are owed all that money and if the vendors are small enough and unable to weather the loss, they won’t be in business as Revel expects to be.

NJ.com quoted CEO, Kevin DeSanctis, in an earlier article: “‘Today’s announcement is a positive step for Revel,’ DeSanctis said. ‘The agreement we have reached with our lenders will ensure that the hundreds of thousands of guests who visit Revel every year will continue to enjoy a signature Revel experience in our world-class facility.’”

How benevolent, how wonderful for the CEO to be concerned about future guests: Is my scorn coming through loud and clear?

Peek-a-Boo

LululemonThe press had fun writing and speaking about Luluemon’s $98 yoga pants that turned out to be see-through by mistake. It affected the stock and Bloomberg.com reporter Sapna Maheshwari covered analysts’ interview of Lululemon’s CEO, Christine Day. Day told them:

“The truth of the matter is the only way you can actually test for the issue is to put the pants on and bend over,” Day said on today’s conference call. “Just putting the pants on themselves doesn’t solve the problem. It passed all of the basic metric tests and the hand-feel is relatively the same, so it was very difficult for the factories to isolate the issue, and it wasn’t until we got in the store and started putting it on people that we could actually see the issue.” [Highlight is mine.]

People in a store are different from people at headquarters or at the plant? I’m not the only PR person to test a client’s toll free number or website link before sending out a press release that includes such references. Chefs are known to have bad teeth because they are test-tasting food all day long. At that price point, couldn’t somebody at headquarters or at the plant try on a pair of these pants and use them as “people in the store” would?

Anybody interested in taking responsibility these days?

Peekaboo3

Service of Editing

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

devil-wears-prada

One of my editors was a part-time consultant at the first magazine I worked for and she taught me how to approach writers I’d edit in future: I did the opposite of everything she did. She attacked and demeaned writers ferociously. I’d return to my desk so jangled and distracted by her anger that I was barely able to jot down my name.

Picking and choosing

Picking and choosing

I thought of her when one of the students I mentor showed me the come-on she got from an online resume service that will revise a resume for $700. She’s a brilliant young woman who in this economy has organizations and companies asking her to intern for them, so she can pick and choose.

Fear is what this boilerplate selling service preys on. The very long cover letter and even longer critique, with a few tweaks to make the recipient feel that it’s written for them, would fit many people in a range of industries.

The second paragraph of the cover letter begins, “Let’s be honest.” What a turnoff and warning about the quality and sincerity of the service. Choosing to initial cap Candidate in the letter and Hiring Manager in the critique……whose pandering style book are they following? 

hiring-managerI’ve read hundreds of resumes between hiring, directing a mentoring initiative and participating in scholarship selection committees and I’ve helped revise countless others. This woman’s resume is easy to scan or scrutinize. I disagree with the critique: “Your resume is difficult to read and is a victim of bad design.” The subsequent implication that her resume was tedious and/or confusing smacks of additional scare tactics. Hers is succinct, clear, and coherent.

edit-copy1I wonder if they’d pay me $700 to edit their cover letter. “In fact your resume has one of the hardest sales challenge [sic] of all: to convince employers, who are complete strangers, that you are someone who could be a difference maker in their organization.”

Would you pay five cents for a critique that includes: “Let’s face it ___[name of potential sucker/client], you’re an experienced Marketing, not a resume writer.”

five-centsWhat’s a Marketing?

And, let’s face it, if someone had read the resume they critiqued, they would know that this young woman is a computer software engineer whose experience is light in marketing though moving briskly in that direction given the graduate degree she’s pursuing and internships she’s completed. Guess the online resume revising place has no boilerplate for transitions and outstanding combinations of skills.

I didn’t have to read farther than the next sentence to confirm that the person who was going to revise it also needed to tighten up her writing style. She wrote:  “Still, a professional at your experience level,” [did she mean “a person with your experience”]– is actually a student launching her marketing career.

Back to “Let’s be honest,” my mentee said that she couldn’t take credit for business results and outcomes that she was urged and advised to provide but which she didn’t cause. 

I agree with the company rep that a resume is a sales tool but I also believe in truth in advertising and treating the person I’m editing with respect, not with inappropriate chumminess on the cusp of rudeness.

Both editors–mine and this one–were trying to foment insecurities, one to grab a power advantage and to feel superior, the other to get a patsy’s money. Do you know of similar tactics? How do you protect yourself from falling for such swindlers?

 nail-biting

Service of Sloppy

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

sloppy-desk

I’ve noticed a rash of sloppy work lately so I had to share.

Snail Mail on Tranquilizers

postalworkerssortingEarly in December I sent 20 Hanukkah cards with the return address on the back. I got back three-all addresses were current. I brought them to the post office at Grand Central Station and a postal worker covered up the bar codes and cancelled stamp art with white tape, making the poor little envelopes look as though they’d been to the hospital.

He also wrote in huge letters, TO on the face of the envelope and FROM on top of the return address label. He then handed the envelopes to one of the workers behind the desk. The next day I got one of these back. I guess that nobody explained to the folks at the post office that the side with the stamp is the one they should refer to.

One Short

cards1In another instance, I heard a loud sigh of anguish at the office. A colleague, who had paid full price at a well known card shop that sells its own brand, came to the end of a box of holiday greetings and was one envelope short. Grump.

I buy my cards at discount stores and on occasion, one will have a print glitch. But I almost expect it. But if I pay full-retail, I expect to get what I pay for.

What Day is It?

grapefruitAn on-air radio personality, reading ad copy about a special promotion for Florida grapefruit and oranges with a deadline, finished with “order by Wednesday December 16.” He then said, “Wait a minute! In the middle of this promo I said Sunday December 16. What is it? Can’t anyone in the ad department look at a calendar?”

Have you noticed any such sloppy work lately?

sloppy-counter

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