06 December 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

         As a kid I used to read a lot. Over the years while raising a Family and running a Business it has been hard to read leisurely. There was always lots of “have to” Business reading. The last 2-3 years I have been getting into more leisure reading. I am not a novel reader but I love to read History, Geography, Nature, Animal, Travel, Discovery and Exploration books and magazines. This past summer I bought at a yard sale a 50 lb. box of 20 year old magazines for $ 3.00. I have been enjoying reading what writers had to say on events pertinent to the time and comparing the information to today’s realities. I have 2 subscriptions from the U.S.; one is called “Farm & Ranch” and the other “Country”. These magazines have great pictures and interesting articles about both the present and the past. I was born and raised on a Farm and these readings bring back great memories. I find these articles bringing me back to my childhood. While growing up I felt like most other kids that life was tough, unforgiving, never ending, wishing for better days and my parents were unsympathetic tyrants. My parents were actually great and loving but it took me into early adulthood to appreciate and understand what they taught me. These magazines do allow me to go back to a simpler and happy time in my life. These publications are American but it is amazing to learn how many people in all of America had identical upbringings and experiences. The other satisfaction I get from these readings are the real great and memorable things we did as kids. Building forts anywhere we could in ditches, in buildings particularly barns, in and under trees, old culverts, in miles of snow which lasted from October to April. We made things like tools to help us build, bow and arrows, clubs, spears, bats and more. We made things to reach high in a tree, long sticks to poke, clubs to break things, sticks to dig, etc. We were ingenious and spent hours creating. We did even more than all of this but we were active and outside and happy. The world was ours to discover. These moments were also done after a long list of duties, responsibilities, homework and church. Then it dawned on me! What will the kids of today remember as their favourite memories?

         Let me speculate what today’s kids will remember and cherish 40-50 years from now. They will most likely remember the video games they conquered, the computers they hacked, the pictures they posted on line, the farm or business they built on line, the friends they harassed by phone, the world they explored but never visited, the hours of surfing on the internet, the great pictures they took and lost in cyberspace without ever getting their hands dirty or getting a cut or scrape, weathering the elements or creating things with their hands instead of drawing them on a computer. I am probably over cynical but it does beg one to wonder what it will be like when comparing to our experiences and memories.

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Bad Retail Experience 2

02 December 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

        Here we are almost a week later following this large Computer purchase and she is still trying to figure out Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. QuickBooks has so many changes and updates she is not sure when she’ll be able to really start the Business. She is still a long way from getting her wireless internet set up. The Joys of Technology! Many start up’s underestimate set up/learning times not only for computers but also with bank accounts, registrations, ordering Business cards and more.

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Bad Retail Experience

01 December 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is a story you may be able to relate to. Bear in mind we are in an age of being bombarded with EXCELLENT Customer service advertising. At least that is what all companies tell us. A good friend of mine decided to start a new business and share my office space. She did some on line research on what kind of a computer and accessories she needed as well as price ranges. She first decided to buy on line so she looks at the Staples webpage. What she wanted and needed was either out of stock or not available. She then decided to go to the local Staples store. In she goes with her list of items she wanted to purchase and of course there is no associate in sight other than the cashiers. By the way I was with her during this shopping spree, probably to carry her stuff. She asks for an Associate to help her. A very nice young man comes and proceeds to answer her questions and show her various options and products. After she had checked price and functionality, she says I will take this computer. The young man goes to the back to get her item. A 2nd Associate saw us standing for a while so she decided to come and see if she could help out. She asks us if needed any help and we said we were waiting for the computer we had picked out. She proceeds to go check why it is taking so long. She comes back with the young fella and we are told the computer is not in stock but that they had a re-furbished one (a return from someone else). My friend said no way. Again she looks at computers and picks a second one. That one was in stock. She also wanted a separate and larger monitor than the one on the laptop. She picks one on sale. It is out of stock. She picks a second monitor, more expensive and that is out of stock. Finally her 3rd pick was in stock. She also purchased 2 printers (one for the office and smaller mobile printer to travel with), a wireless keyboard and mouse, desk calculator and a QuickBooks software package. This was a total purchase of almost $ 2000.00. I loaded everything in the truck and we were off to the office.

       At the office she can’t wait to open the boxes and get her new equipment up and running. Following a day and half of plugging, reading, setting up, loading and whatever else, she finds the 2 printers are not compatible, the mouse and keyboard are not wireless and QuickBooks has additional charges to the initial set up. Would you believe the mobile printer was a returned item? Inside the box, the instructions and cd disk for the driver were missing instead she found personal correspondence and other papers belonging presumably to the previous buyer. Off to the store she goes to return her purchases and to buy what she really needed. She is now on day 3 of learning and getting everything set up to her liking. Her stress level is almost thru the roof with frustration. The store was not sympathetic to her level of dissatisfaction with the service and poor advice. She went on line to complain to Staples twice about her frustrating experience, lack of product in stock and lack/poor customer service. Any responses are yet to be received. I think she will eventually be OK but the whole experience was less than pleasant.

      As a customer you have certain basic expectations. My opinion is if you advertise a product on sale or not it should be in stock otherwise you should give the customer an amount for false advertising. Secondly the average customer is not a Techie therefore make sure you understand their needs and provide information to help them with their decision. Thirdly, have some compassion with a frustrated customer and if warranted be prepared to compensate them.

     Here is Gerry’s rule # 486. Any purchase will always be more than what you budgeted for and you will spend an excessive amount of time setting up, learning it, customizing it, reading instructions, understand it then finding the extra space for it. Finally you start wondering what your return on investment was.

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