Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Service of No Info at Information

Monday, July 24th, 2023


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay  

I am intrigued by people who are so secure that they don’t care if they can’t answer a question even if they sit behind a desk with an Information sign overhead. This also goes for those who work in customer service or as dispatchers for a bus or railroad company. What really gets me is that when they can’t, many don’t try to find out the answer.

I’ve always been too insecure to behave this way.

I’ve been a volunteer guard in rooms in private homes for house tours produced by historical societies and before the visitors arrived I’d learn as much as I could about the antiques or paintings there in case there were questions. As a longtime PR person, I’ve felt that I couldn’t expect to know the answer to every question about a client’s product, initiative or organization and I wouldn’t rest until I found out and I’d get back to the inquirer a.s.a.p.

But that doesn’t seem to be de rigueur these days.

I was knocked off the New York Public Library eBook app which was strange since my membership is good until 2026. Nevertheless the popup notice informed me that my membership had expired therefore no eBooks for me.

I visited the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) on Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, iPad in hand. The ground floor Information desk staff has previously solved all my issues and/or answered all my questions. The pleasant young woman that day sent me to the second floor. There I again stumped the Information attendant who called for the tech expert. Her first response on hearing my situation was that she hadn’t been trained in eBooks. Between the two of us we finally finessed it so that I am once again able to download eBooks. Hooray! But it took a while.

I guess it’s vacation time.

A friend found Long Island Railroad staff similarly lacking in knowledge with a dollop of “who cares?” She’d missed the train to her usual beach destination and there was an hour wait for the next one. She made a last-minute decision to hop a train to a different beach that required transfer to a bus. Not only did a person advising her in Manhattan neglect to mention that the wait for the bus would be half an hour—adding even more travel time to a much longer train ride–it turned out that between the ride, the wait and ride to the beach, she would have been better off taking the next rain to her original stop which is a short walk to the beach.

In addition, there were no signs indicating where the bus stop was located once she got off the train–two blocks from the station–and when she asked about the return bus schedule, all she was told was where to pick up the bus. No timetable.

Have you found that Information staffers aren’t always informed or helpful? Are any apologetic or do they seem content in their ignorance?


Image by D. from Pixabay 

Service of Thinking Twice: When NOT to be Generous

Monday, July 3rd, 2023


Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

My nearest and dearest are breathtakingly generous, consistently giving to causes that sorely need support.

However, I think there are instances in which the faucet of human kindness should be turned off and sharing information for small immediate gain reconsidered.

Here are some examples.

You should think twice before giving…..

  • Your mobile phone number to a company so it can send you texts in exchange for a one-time minor discount–unless you don’t mind incessant text pings announcing a new product or sale.
  • Money to beggars. Charities recommend you should instead give money to them. [I know—this sounds self-serving, but it is the prudent thing to do.]
  • More money to someone who didn’t repay you for the last loan–unless you consider both a gift in which case say so.
  • Up your aisle or window seat in exchange for the middle one in a long flight because another passenger made a last-minute booking and nevertheless wants to sit where you are–next to a family member.

The New York Post covered this topic with a compelling example. The flight originated in Japan. The woman who wanted to switch her middle seat for a window seat so she could be next to her toddler was part of a tour wrote Brooke Kato. The passenger who wouldn’t budge said the mother should have asked another tour member or the tour operator or a flight attendant for a switch and yet she only approached her. I don’t blame her digging in her heels and wonder if I’d have the guts to ignore her request. But enduring a middle seat on a very long flight…..I think I’d find the strength.

What are more examples that suggest that people should zip shut wallets and keep mobile phone numbers to themselves or refuse to do what might seem to be the right thing? Is this line of thought counterintuitive if you are trying to address some of the world’s inequities?

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

Service of Museum Manners in New York and Paris

Thursday, June 29th, 2023

Unusual to see the Louvre so empty.
“Winged Victory” at the Louvre and not a soul in sight. Spooky.

I’ve written about behavior at museums quite a lot from, for example, strangers who glom onto a private tour to busy bodies who interrupt a stranger’s conversation about an exhibit only to insert incorrect information. I also wrote about people who express their anger over personal matters by destroying art.

A friend shared the idea for this post after an afternoon at one of her favorite NYC museums. She wrote: “Real lack of decorum at the museum: People noisily chatting, taking selfies, reaching over others to take pics, blocking paintings.”

I couldn’t agree more with her frustration.

Children waiting to visit L’Orangerie in Paris

This is not just a NYC thing. In fact, I found museum manners of tourists even worse in Paris. The most blatant example was at the Louvre. Because French President Macron was greeting dignitaries from Naples for the opening of the Capodimonte National Museum exhibit the day of my timed ticket, my scheduled arrival was moved first to 1:30 and at the last minute to 2:00 p.m. Our group was the first one in the museum that day so it was shockingly empty. I figured why not say hello to the “Mona Lisa,” known in France as Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Jaconde.”

This class of little ones waited quietly to get enter the Rodin Museum, Paris.

The room that housed her picture was set up for a huge line but there were only a dozen tourists there when I arrived. Were they looking at one of the world’s most famous paintings—the oil on poplar wood panel of Francesco del Giocondo’s wife Lisa Gherardini? NO. They had their backs to her while someone took their pictures with Lisa in the background or they snapped selfies. Then they hung out and chatted.

Same thing happened at L’Orangerie where tourists stood for far too long with their backs to Monet’s “Water Lilies” to have a photo taken to prove they’d been to see [?] the work. It didn’t occur to them that they were covering up the art that others were there to enjoy.

When visitors face one another to carry on a conversation right in front of a picture—and they are clearly not speaking about the exhibit or the work—it baffles and irritates me.

However, I’m thrilled to see public interest in art even if sometimes the inspiration is more “look at me,” not “look at what I saw.” Visitors come in all sizes. At the Musée de l’Orangerie and Rodin Museum I was charmed by the youngest ones who were anticipating a look at the collections.

Have you been peeved by the behavior of fellow museum visitors? Do you say something, or do you tolerate them?

She smiled at me even though I was wedged to the side in order to get a shot of her without the other tourists who had settled in straight in front for the best selfie.

Service of Foreign Customs that Make Me Smile: Paris Trip IV and a Half

Monday, June 26th, 2023

Ask an agent to lend you an umbrella–this sticker on the attendant’s booth at my stop in the Paris metro.

It’s fun to recognize different customs from one country to another and to chuckle at characteristic humor, when you see it.

Sculptor Yayoi Kusama across the street from Louis Vuitton.

In Vino Veritas

To prove what I thought I knew, my question to Google was “what percentage of a restaurant’s profit comes from the sale of alcoholic beverages?” The response: “The average revenue that comes with selling alcohol is 20 to 25 percent of restaurant income, but it can become much higher.” That’s here.

When three nights in a row at different restaurants in Paris the same thing happened, I wondered if the servers were worried about my health or what. I’d finish my glass of wine, still eating the main course, and nobody asked if I wanted another. This would never happen in NYC. Too much money is involved.

History of hair exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

I asked the helpful young Parisians who worked at my hotel what was going on. They explained that as a waiter’s tip is not impacted by the total bill as it is in the States, they had no incentive to increase the sale by offering more wine. It’s one more thing to do so why bother. “If you want more, ask for it,” was their obvious suggestion. Duh on me.

History of Hair exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Woof!

Was I in Puritan Paris or New England?

My French father was very strict compared to American dads. I nicknamed him the “puritan Parisian” much to my American mother’s amusement.

I thought of this when I was flabbergasted by a sign on the door of a grocery store that said no alcohol sold after 5 p.m. Was I in puritan New England or a US state with tough liquor laws? The purpose, the clerk explained, was to avoid liquor-fueled arguments.

Sticker on metro doors. Go Bugs B!

Wondering about the dinner guest who expected to pop in to buy a bottle after work on the way to a party I was told that this was the case only in some neighborhoods.

Rainy Weather

I enjoyed blue skies during my 10-day visit but a notice on a metro attendant’s window caught my eye. It offered a loan of an umbrella! I can’t imagine a program like that working in NYC.

I liked how the metro authority pulled in Bugs Bunny to warn passengers about getting fingers pinched if they put their hands on the doors.

Luxury Polka Dots

High end fabric designer’s window displaying a range of textiles.

The collaboration of sculptor Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton impacted the luxury brand’s Christmas windows in New York and an LV store in Paris. Her trademark polka dots decorated the outside of the building as well as her dress on the humongous sculpture of her across the street.

Hairy Subjects

British designer Paul Smith’s artful displays of the artist’s work at the Picasso Museum made me smile. This room was covered in white plates to contrast with Picasso’s.

One of the exhibits at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs was “Des Cheveux & Des Poils.” It featured hairstyles over the centuries. A fun video showed a hairstylist creating an 18th century Marie Antoinette style concoction from scratch on a very patient model. There were plenty of reasons to guffaw throughout the exhibit. Note the dachshund style in photo above.

Fabulous Fabric Birds

I loved the way a fabric designer displayed his textiles by creating a flock of birds sporting them. The windows weren’t funny but they made me smile.

When traveling—even to a different US state—have you noticed customs different from yours or humor that seemed typical of where you were?

No alcohol sales after 5 pm–hard liquor, beer or wine–in the window of a Paris grocery store.

Service of Delicious Public Places in Paris and New York

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Place Furstenburg, 6ieme arrondissement, Paris
Florist on Place Furstenburg

Wherever I’ve lived I’ve been drawn to quiet enclaves open to the public. We often picnicked at the Clermont estate in Tivoli, NY to watch boats on the Hudson River. It was about an hour’s drive from our house that was also in a bucolic section of Dutchess County but nowhere near the River.

Spice store on Place Furstenburg

There are a few spots I cherish in Manhattan within walking distance of my apartment. The biggest is Tudor City Greens, [photo bottom, left], a park on either side of 42nd Street, up the stairs opposite the UN on First Avenue and also accessible from two streets off Second Avenue—41st and 43rd–as well as two sets of stairs on 42nd between First and Second Avenues.

Garden at the Delacroix Museum

The waterfall on East 51st Street in Greenacre Park between Second and Third Avenues [photo bottom, right] covers up the sounds of midtown traffic. The pocket park is a cool resting place in every sense.

A country road? NO! A few steps from the Picasso Museum in Paris.
Rose garden at the Rodin Museum

I found a few such escapes or streets in Paris. The charming Place Furstenburg just outside the Delacroix museum in the 6th arrondissment is a gem [ top photo]. Also on the Place are a florist and pepper and spice shop [photo right and left above]. Tucked in the museum is a peaceful tree-filled place to sit.

Place des Voges, Paris

The shade of the Place des Voges is tempting on a hot day whether you catch your breath under a tree in the garden [photo left] or walk under the arches encircling it.

And there are plenty of benches to enjoy the rose garden of the Rodin Museum and to take a moment to think [photo above].

What are some of your favorite public places for both quiet and reflection?

Greenacre Park, Manhattan on East 51st Street
Tudor City Greens, Manhattan

Service of Traveling Alone: My Paris Trip III

Monday, June 19th, 2023

I’m outside Chartres Cathedral–a visit my sister urged me to make that was well worth the trip.
Chartres Cathedral. Blue skies every day of my trip.

I’ve traveled a lot to countries as far ranging as Ethiopia and Turkey to India, Iran, Haiti, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Greece, Syria, Lebanon, throughout Europe, South America, the Caribbean and here and there in the U.S. Before my recent Paris adventure, I’ve always been on vacation with another person except once. That weeklong stay, many moons ago, was in Aruba, and was among the best thanks to a superb hotel manager. Business travel alone doesn’t count.

There’s nothing like having a good time by yourself.

Montparnasse railroad station, a daunting shock of fellow travelers to absorb before figuring out where to buy a ticket to Chartres.

When I first learned I was going to Paris again after more than a decade I couldn’t contain my excitement. I’d pass a mirror in my apartment and shout, “I’M GOING TO PARIS!!!”  One of my friends suggested that the most fun part of a trip is in the planning—and that was partly true. Planning is crucial. [My husband did all the planning when he retired and he did a magnificent job.]

I wondered if the real thing was going to live up to my expectations. It surpassed them.

What’s so great about traveling alone? Following are some examples.

After a few good dinners with scrumptious desserts—baba au rum my favorite—one evening I decided I wasn’t in the mood for anything for dinner with sauce. After a day of museums and walking, I detoured to the magnificent Bon Marché in the 7th arrondissement. It’s so easy to make a u turn like this using the efficient metro system. The department store’s renowned food emporium is a showcase of fine food. I left with a selection of four divine cheeses—the inside of the Camembert at its prime oozed out of its rind–bread, strawberries, salad, a bottle of olive oil and a bag of mini madeleines and I feasted in my room. Oh, I also had wine.

If I’d been with someone else this last-minute decision would not have worked out. You might be thinking that I saved money by doing this. You’d be wrong. Remember: I was at the Bon Marché!

Veggies at Bon Marché

I mostly ate a hearty breakfast of croissant, some of the bread that came with it, OJ and café au lait at a brasserie near my hotel. I was surprisingly thirsty throughout my stay [which rarely happens at home], so I drank a lot of water but had lunch only twice because I wasn’t hungry. Some traveling companions might gripe at that.

I woke up when I wanted to, went to sleep the same, didn’t have to think a moment about being late for a meetup [except for the timed museum tickets and the Giverny tour]. I took the day trips of interest to me—to Giverny and Chartres—that might not have been compelling to someone else and didn’t think twice about what time I’d return to the city. There was no rush: It got dark at around 9:45 pm.

Even though I gorged on museums, I didn’t nearly check off all the ones I wanted to see. Had I tried to accommodate someone else’s druthers, which my personality tends to do, the “didn’t get to” list would have been much longer.

Just a tiny percentage of cheese for sale at Bon Marché.

And by the way: In addition to museums I love visiting stores and I did which is not everyone’s cup of café.

I tried brushing off my rusty French that had there been a witness who knew me, I’d probably not have done. And I quickly got over my silly reluctance about asking for directions.

Flowers at Bon Marché

There were moments that gave me pause but having someone else by my side wouldn’t have helped. I entered the Montparnasse railroad station that was chockablock with passengers and no information center—if it existed–in sight. I suspected the Monday overcrowding was due to an anticipated strike the next day and folks had decided to travel while they could, which I’d not anticipated. The line to purchase tickets from a person was at least 30 passengers long so I used a machine to buy a ticket which I’ve done at home for years. I told myself if I did something wrong, I’d work it out with the conductor. Ticket purchased, I learned the train left in 12 minutes. Easy peasy. I had deliberately not looked at timetables. I didn’t want the stress of an unnecessary deadline.

Proof I was in Paris–it wasn’t a dream! Paris hopes that Notre Dame Cathedral will be open in time for the Olympics next summer.

A traveling companion might have found the elevator at the Montmartre metro station that I missed so I ended up mounting the 144 steps to the street. Likewise, they might have directed me to the funicular saving the additional 237 steps to the top. All those metro steps before my visit to Sacré-Coeur Basilica prepped me for this exercise.  

I’m so grateful to my nephew who sent me Business Class, which makes a huge difference at airport check in especially. He also paid for my hotel. Can you imagine?

Being in touch daily with folks from home via text and email was super.

Nobody is a better traveling companion than you are. You know if you want to lick a lemon gelato at 4:00 pm or visit one more site or call it quits or order dessert or cave and take an Uber or overtip a helpful hotel staffer or visit another store or read your mystery novel or snap another photo or instead of watching TV, listen to a magnificent classical music radio station via cable.

Have you enjoyed solo vacations? If you have any questions for me, fire away!

Grandma buying ice cream for her grandson outside the Bon Marché on a warm June day.

Service of A Bad Rap: My Paris Trip II

Thursday, June 15th, 2023

Iconic clock at the former Paris railroad station, now the Musée d’Orsay

Bad raps abound. Some enjoy repeating them and are often smug about it. And as they utter tired claims, they look as though they think that they are clever and have made a discovery.

President Gerald Ford, one of our most athletic heads of state, was known as a klutz because of a widely publicized photo of him tripping down the steps of a plane. I went to a college that in the day had a reputation for cheap looking female students with big, overly sprayed hair and too much makeup. Nobody like that crossed my path. Recently on a local NYC radio station a morning show host claimed that Canadians were boring. That was news to me.

And what is Paris’s bad rap? If I had $1.00 for every time I mentioned Paris to some folks who’d parrot “Parisians hate Americans,” or “They are so unfriendly and rude,” I would cover more than a month’s rent. It happened as recently as Sunday when someone learned I’d just returned. I’ve been to Paris many times for a few days and hadn’t noticed it then and in 10 days you’d think I’d have an even better feel for things.

Manet picture at the Manet-Degas exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay that’s coming to the Met in NYC

Have these self-righteous ignoramuses forgotten the attitude of some New Yorkers who can’t control their overstressed, overworked, exhausted, grumpy selves that translates to rude and impatient behavior? Their Paris claims could be describing Big Apple’s citizens, bus drivers or subway employees, restaurant staff etc. Paris is a big city too and has its share of equal opportunity angry grouches. I’ll also describe a few.

Here are just some examples from my magical 10-day visit that challenge the overwhelmingly negative allegations:

  • I hadn’t made a reservation to see the Manet-Degas exhibit** at the Musée d’Orsay and asked the guard how long she thought it would take to enter the exhibit given the very long line. She asked if I was alone.

“Oui,” I said. She ushered me to the front of the line and in I walked like a celebrity. The smiles of the young guard who witnessed my happy surprise and overheard my ebullient thanks equaled hers. **The exhibit is coming next to the Metropolitan Museum. Don’t miss it.

  • I asked a keeper of one of the many kiosks that sell magazines, postcards and tourist items if he carried notecards with envelopes.

He asked, “Do you need an envelope?”

Me: “Oui.” He went into his cubby and pulled out an envelope and wouldn’t take a centime for it.

  • Many of the metro workers are over-the-top helpful. One printed out maps and directions for me. Another patiently explained the system to a British couple ahead of me in line. I was turned around in a metro station and a third walked me to the right set of stairs.
Waiting for the metro. It was a joy to ride
  • I was more than a half an hour late for my 11:30 timed entrance to the Musée de l’Orangerie, apologizing all over the place and out of breath. The young woman checking the timed document and my museum pass smiled and told me not to worry. Did I mention the long line outside of those without timed tickets?
  • I was parched and not the tiniest bit hungry and in a part of town with only two restaurants near the metro station I needed to use. I had a hard deadline as I was leaving town that afternoon so there was no time to explore other options. I asked a waiter at one if I might just have something to drink and he apologized, said they were serving lunch and as I turned to go he ushered me to the back and said to the bartender “she just wants a drink.” And that’s all I had.
  • I found a restaurant near my hotel with good food and a joyful staff. On my last night one server greeted me and declared that the table I’d chosen again was “your table.” I felt at home as I did when one of the young men at the front desk of my hotel ran to the door as I headed for my taxi, leaned out, smiled and waved goodbye.
  • Without exception the hotel employees were upbeat and helpful.
  • I was told Uber was unreliable in Paris. I couldn’t find empty city taxis. The Uber I ordered to take me to the airport arrived on the dot. Others ordered while on the run found me just fine.

Not everyone was perfect.

  • I didn’t return to a brasserie I’d visited for breakfast for a few mornings after a waiter I’d not seen before was exceptionally rude.
  • In another instance, the owner of a restaurant near my hotel that was recommended by an acquaintance acted as though she could live without my trade, so she didn’t see me again. [She preferred to chat up couples and single men. Hers was the only restaurant, from the most humble on up, where I wasn’t asked mid meal if everything was OK.] I haven’t written up my experience at this place in Yelp but am sorely tempted.
  • And last, the old woman selling tickets to the Montmartre funicular was supremely nasty to an Australian tourist ahead of me. She clearly hated her job and spewed her anger all around. We know the type.

Three blatant negatives over 10 days isn’t enough to deprecate an entire city.

In a way I’m happy that Paris’s reputation as a place Americans should avoid lingers because there were already so many tourists [from all over] and it’s not even high tourist season. Let them go elsewhere.

What bad raps about institutions, countries or services irritate you because they are unfair and inaccurate?

In addition to Monet’s celebrated “Water Lillies,” the Musée de l’Orangerie has an incredible collection of magnificent pictures

Service of Travel Tips

Monday, June 12th, 2023

I could almost have a picnic on the floor of this metro stop in midtown Paris.

I just returned from 10 glorious days in Paris. I plan eventually to share my thoughts about various adventures and impressions, but first some travel tips of both general use and about the City of Light.

Paris is cleaning the Seine so that Olympic competitors can swim in it next summer. Shot this from Batobus.
Not many Paris metro stations look like someone’s living room.
  • A portable charger for your phone is essential if you take lots of photos and rely on Apple Maps or any GPS app that gobbles up a device’s charge. I’d leave my hotel room in the morning and not return until evening and I’d want to be able to check what number metro to take.
  • Don’t hesitate to pack an extra pair of comfortable shoes/sneakers. You’ll wear them all and change them often if you’re a walker.
  • Jackets and vests from Uniqlo have deep inside pockets. These are perfect to store your passport, room key and metro card. The pocket protects these items against pickpockets and are easy for you to access.
  • If you plan to handwash socks etc., bring along a plug in case there is no stopper in your hotel bathroom sink.
  • If you’re staying in a hotel, listen to Nancie Steinberg when she suggests you bring a small bar of soap, unless you use gel for everything.
  • Pack cream rinse.
  • When you leave France, security is serious about seeing the quart-size see-through kit or baggie in your carryon luggage with liquids such as shampoo, mouthwash, makeup, etc. so keep it handy. You and the other tourists line up about 8 across facing security guards. Unless it’s right on top you’ll go nuts finding it in the mayhem of placing it, your jacket, electronics, camera, handbag and carry-on luggage in different plastic trays.
  • Bring a small empty plastic bottle that’s light and easy to refill with water and carry as you tour. Museums allow you to bring in liquids in bottles. Not usually a thirsty person, I was crazy thirsty during my trip.
  • If when you travel abroad you tend to react to the change in water and air [as I do, violently], I’ve found probiotics, one a day, help mitigate the worst. Check with your doctor. And as tempting as ice may be, pass when it’s served and drink your soda without. I even used bottled water for my water pic!
  • Don’t depend on Apple Maps. It was great to identify the number metro to take and which exit to use but unreliable above ground.
  • Paralyzing traffic goes on above ground and the metro is so easy to use. Compared to the NYC subway, you can eat off the floor.
  • Batobus is a great way to see Paris from the Seine. It stops in nine crucial places and you hop off and on as often as you like. I got on at the Eiffel Tower, took the entire tour and left at Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
  • Museum Pass was a lifesaver except at the Sainte Chapelle where the day I was there an angry security guard admitted those in the prepaid line last. [We’re supposed to go first.] I reported it to the museum pass folks. While literally broiling in line, I looked up the site and learned that the former chapel is now run by the government.
  • Even if you have a museum pass, unless you love waiting in long lines, if a website—such as the Louvre or Musée de l’Orangerie–recommends you get a timed entry, do so. Otherwise, having the pass gives you first priority access and that’s all you need.

Please share your travel tips about Paris or anywhere in the world.

This was the line for timed tickets at the Louvre. It moved fast. Sadly, my videos of the line without timed tickets were too big to post here.

Service of the Superfluous in Tech that Causes Confusion: YouTube to the Rescue

Monday, May 22nd, 2023

I have no confidence when I’m confronted by technology and I blame myself if I don’t catch on to something or if something goes wrong. When there’s a glitch with my new printer or laptop first I panic and next I rush to YouTube which usually provides a visual step-by-step rescue.

I bought an Apple World Travel Adapter Kit for my iPhone and iPad charger and was confused which was which because three of the elements looked the same. As much as I stared at the sketches on the box and the actual widgets, I couldn’t tell the difference between the electric plugs for Korea, Brazil or Europe.

I went to the Apple store in Grand Central with the box and a man on the welcome team handed me one of the connectors, but I wasn’t convinced.

Next, I found a wonderful video on YouTube—there are a bunch on the subject–in which the tech guru opened his box and went through the various elements. Towards the end he remarked that he couldn’t tell the difference between the three adaptors and I cheered!

I admit my eyes aren’t what they once were but even with a magnifying glass I had a difficult time reading the gray-on-gray EUR on one of the identical looking adapters. YouTube man pointed out where to look. Obviously the 20-something at Apple didn’t know where to look either. He had handed me the device for Korea.

I went to the Apple store for something else this weekend and while I was waiting for the product to arrive I mentioned this to the bright [very] young associate helping me. He said that the devices would be different even though they might look the same because they also address voltage in each country. He suggested I ID each country’s device with magic marker. I don’t expect to go to Brazil or Korea so…..

The voltage info also didn’t get out to the associate who handed me the adaptor for Korea. Lucky for me I know where to look to ID the correct device thanks to the fellow on YouTube. Maybe “Let me find out,” wasn’t part of the training language taught the first assistant either.

Have you been tripped up by a tech company when it turned out that it is they—not you—at fault?   

      

Service of “No” IV

Monday, May 1st, 2023


Image by SplitShire from Pixabay 

I haven’t picked up on the “No” series since April 2014. It was time. It’s a word often said or implied but one that should be challenged.

Afterall, we were brought up with the proverb “when at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” weren’t we?

Boost Your Communications Please

My doctor recommended I get the most recent Covid booster available for people 65+, those with diabetes, immunocompromised etc., so I tried to make an appointment on the Walgreens site from my phone and after punching in my zip code learned that I’d have to go to Elmira, N.Y. to get it. That’s 240 miles from me.

I dropped by my local Duane Reade. It’s part of the Walgreens family. The pharmacist told me it would be a few weeks and said none of the Manhattan stores would offer it.

On arrival home, I went online from my laptop. I immediately snagged an appointment for the next day, a Saturday—any number of times were free at a Duane Reade also a few blocks from me. I was prepared to be on a false errand, but I got the booster at 11:30 a.m. as requested.

Deli Delight

On Saturday I ordered sandwiches online from Sarge’s for an ungodly price and chose a pickup time of 11:20 a.m. and arrived precisely then. I was told “15 to 20 minute wait.”

That didn’t suit me. Apart from it being a tiny, overcrowded place with nowhere to wait—it was pouring outside, and I was drenched already–I had somewhere to be and a hard deadline was involved. The restaurant was full and there was only one sandwich man. I ignored the dismissive woman and approached another employee with a worried expression on my face and explained I had to be somewhere and voila! He looked for my order, spoke with the sandwich man who turned to my request.

They’d run out of dark meat turkey, and I wasn’t warned when I placed the order. But that’s another story.

Tour Trouble

After researching the tour options and reading reviews I picked one. But it wouldn’t let me sign on for a single reservation. Surely, that was a mistake. Whether I used my laptop, iPhone or iPad I could only add to the 2 reservations frozen on the form. Discouraged, because I didn’t want to go with 50 others, I finally found one for a small group and the order for one went through! But it took persistence and time.

Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose

This is nothing new. I encountered “No” frequently in the day when I was an Air Force wife at an overseas post. That’s where I cut my teeth rebutting the many rejections I’d get to my queries. Eight out of 10 times if I returned to the office or service that was turning me down, or tried another tack, I’d get my wish.

What hasn’t changed

It surprised me then as it does now why people or systems make a person go through a rigamarole to get what they want. Just say “yes” or do what you should or what people want in the first place.

When faced with “NO,” what’s your response?


Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay 
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