365 photo challenge: mountain

Mount Rainier over Tacoma, Washington, USA.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s probably taken me the last 24 hours to climb a “mountain.” Not just any mountain, for it felt as though I was scaling Mount Rainier, what with the monumental effort I had to exert to get to the summit. My friend Sylvia, and perhaps other like-minded seniors, will understand how ominous it is to undertake any task that involves technological lingo.

Reading the book and writing its review for my previous post “the daughter’s walk”…spokane to nyc, were easy. Figuring out the remaining components required to publish my post on Blogging For Books and retailer Amazon.com was excruciatingly painful. My back still aches from the stress. But my mind is still doing cartwheels and handstands from the phenomenal exercise it got. I’m positive I grew trillions of new brain cells that are building new networks even as I type.

Through the many hours that I labored to copy and insert images from Blogging For Books to my blog with the corresponding URL links, and then go through a whole other process with Amazon.com, I probably racked up enough miles for a frequent flier’s trip to Europe, or maybe even Australia. But just as journeying to either destination would require a lot of preparation, so too it was necessary for me to jump through hoops to get everything perfect for publication of my review on Blogging For Books and Amazon.com.

Lesson learned? “Free” doesn’t really mean “free.” Getting a free book required not only writing a review, but having the wherewithall to publish it on 2 other sites besides my own. That is certainly a “no brainer” for someone with the wherewithall. But even though I’m a couple of months shy of my blog’s one-year anniversary on WordPress.com, I still don’t know it all…technologically speaking. I know just enough to publish my posts, and include some pictures. Except…

i did just climb…a “mountain”…so take a hike…alzheimer’s…hugmamma. 😉 

(Note: So now that you know the “behind-the-scenes” story, won’t you read my post “the daughter’s walk”…spokane to nyc and click on “rank my review.” My arthritic back thanks you…as do I!)   

vanishing books

Image by jenny8lee via Flickr

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal reminds me of a fear I previously expressed in “books, extinct?” on 8/13/10. I maintained then, that e-books may be sending physical books the way of the dinosaurs. The news article, written by Stu Woo, “E-Book Lending Takes Off… New Online Clubs That Let Readers Share Have Drawbacks but Worry Publishers” suggests that books, hardcover and paperback, might be on a quick rocket ship to outer space, as we speak.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

E-book lending libraries such as Book-Lending.com and Lendle.me “ have gathered thousands of users, (and) allow strangers to borrow and lend e-books for Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc.‘s Nook free.”Another site, eBook Fling is slated to begin offering its services on Monday. The lending procedure is as follows.

1. Lender joins lending website, agreeing to share e-books. Each title is shared once.

2. Lender tells website which Kindle book she owns. The site determines which e-books are eligible for lending.

3. Lender is notified when a borrower requests one of her e-books. Request includes borrower’s name and email.

4. Lender instructs Amazon to send the e-book to the borrower.

The borrowing procedure is as follows.

 

A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

1. Borrower searches lending website for e-books that others have made available. 

2. Website sends borrower’s name and email address to the lender.

3. Lender tells Amazon to send the book to the borrower.

4. Borrower has 14 days to read the book and the lender cannot access it. After that time, the borrower loses access to the book and the lender gets it back.

The 3 lending websites mentioned are free to users. When books aren’t available for borrowing, users are referred to Amazon.com. If the references result in purchases, the sites receive commissions. The sites also encourage users to lend their books by offering them incentives.

Lendle requires users to make at least one book available for loan before starting to borrow, and the site has an algorithm that improves users’ chances of getting a book they want if they lend frequently. BookLending has a similar algorithm, though it has no requirement to make books available for loan first.

There are some drawbacks to e-book lending. Selection is limited. Most major book publishers haven’t made their e-books lendable, and the books lent by site users can only be lent once and for only 14 days. So with every successful loan, the sites’ lending library shrinks “unless new users with books to lend join.” Borrowing books is neither guaranteed, nor quick. A desired book must first be available for loan, and if a request is made to borrow it, the lender gets an email request, which she can accept or deny.

The Hunger Games

Image via Wikipedia

But that hasn’t stopped avid readers like Marilyn Knapp Litt from signing up with BookLending. “I really like the idea of being able to borrow a book the way you might borrow a book from the library,” said Ms. Litt, a 58-year-old retiree in San Antonio. She has so far borrowed the first two books of the “Hunger Games” trilogy from BookLending. But she hasn’t offered to lend any, she said, because the books in her collection can’t be lent.

While publishers fear e-book lending deters people from buying physical and digital books, e-lending sites disagree saying “they are helping publishers because their users, after borrowing books, can purchase other books in the same series or by the same author.”

“People are saying I borrowed a book and I bought it because I didn’t finish it,” said Jeff Croft, who created Lendle. “That seems to be happening a lot.”

It’s an undeniable fact that electronic books are here to stay. It’s probable, though unfortunate in my estimation, that they will replace physical books as the primary access to literary works. The statistics tell the story.

Consumers spent $1 billion on e-books in 2010, and that number is expected to triple by 2015, according to Forrester Research. It added there were around 10 million e-readers in circulation in the U.S.. at the end of 2010.

 

The Last Lecture, a book that Pausch and Jeff ...

Image via Wikipedia

as for me…i’ll just keep hoarding my beloved hard and softcover books…hugmamma.  

“trivial pursuit”

I’ve visited another blog site which is great at “housekeeping” and decluttering. Thought I’d try it with my brain. Need to empty it of tchotchkes every so often. So I’m decluttering, in no particular order.

  • Did you know that storing apples with other fruits will ripen the others more quickly?That’s something I need to constantly remind myself.
  • Walking around Seattle yesterday, lunching on a nice, healthy salad, and supping on shared appetizers with hubby, garnered me a weight loss of 2 pounds! Yeaaayyy! At my age, that’s some feat! And my feet didn’t hurt, either. Thanks to great walking shoes, Merrell’s.
  • With 21,082 spams to date, I’ve got a “spam club,” which I’ll gladly relinquish to anyonelse. Sage? Ellen?
  • Received an email that Ellen de Generes
    Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.

    Image via Wikipedia

    is following me on twitter. Not sure how that works. I just click “tweet,” and send it out into internet galactica. Have never visited “twitterville” myself. WordPress.com is mind-boggling enough for me. But I sincerely hope Ellen or her fun assistants have a laugh or two, or cry a tear or two, depending upon which post they’re perusing. Hmmm…just tried to send her a message, but can’t. Will have to delve into the machinations of Twitter. OMG!…more techy speak.

  • Can’t seem to get the hang of blog  buddies, so I’ll just continue to embrace the universe of bloggers. It takes all kinds, after all, and I’m just one kind.
  • Recently saw a segment of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” which featured a home remodel in
    City seal of Honolulu, Hawaii. Image created b...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Honolulu, Hawaii. Since I turned the TV on after the story had already begun, I didn’t see what the house looked like beforehand. Fronting the ocean, with completely unobstructed views, I could only imagine its original price tag. During the process of the remodel, the city, and then the state, prohibited the building process. Denying a permit, FEMA explained its concern about the proximity to the water and flooding issues. Did that stop the property owners? Maybe they blinked their eyes, but they went forward, leveling the house and its accrued $250,000 renovation up to that point. Raising the new house to a more acceptable height, it was completed. At $4 million, the completed home was breathtaking, inside and out. Now that’s my idea of “pie-in-the-sky,” a dream home in Hawaii. But for me, that’s exactly what it is…a dream.

  • A bowl of Bob’s Red Mill Oat Bran with 1 cup of blueberries, 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 cup of Silk’s vanilla, almond milk is my new BFF. Love, love, love that it keeps me “regular.”  😉
  •  Heard on the local news recently that sitting for 6 hours or more a day without taking breaks to move around, contributes to increased risk for heart disease, and premature death. According to the report, even those who work out 3 or more times a week aren’t exempt from the threat. And the strain of work puts females at a 40% risk for coronary illness than men. Something to seriously contemplate, and perhaps take steps towards changing one’s routine.
  • Well-meaning friends and relatives also help to clutter my brain. Here are some of their contributions.

How the Internet started 

A revelation with an Incredibly Big Message (IBM):

Well, you might have thought that you knew how the Internet started, but here’s the TRUE story…..

Molnár József: Ábrahám kiköltözése

Image via Wikipedia

In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of 
Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. 

And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband: “Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?”

And Abraham did look at her – as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said: “How, dear?”

And Dot replied: “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.

McDonnell Douglas MD-11(F) N273UP United Parce...

Image by Kuba Bożanowski via Flickr

 And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”  

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew To The People (HTTP)

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secret himself inside Abraham’s drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham’s business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted – for insider trading.

And the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.

They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land.

And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say: “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.”

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said: “We need a name that reflects what we are.” 

And Dot replied: “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.”
“YAHOO,”  said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE)

And that is how it all began.
 
 
Truuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuly!!!

The above was courtesy of my friend Sylvia, And the following was shared by my brother Ben.

cid:004d01cba06a$f3b58c10$0201a8c0@user542eef7362

life doesn’t get any better than this…hugmamma.

“rehashing vs. recycling”

Thought I’d call attention to a recent text addition at the very top of the sidebar, to the right of my main blog area, where my postings are viewed. The words inscribed are

Use of my material: “rehashing” is a mess; “recycling” is ok, if credit’s given, where credit’s due…hugmamma.

I’d debated early on, when I first began posting, as to whether or not I’d try to restrict use of the contents of my blog, “Hugmamma’s Attention to Detail,” and now, “Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul.” As a novice blogger my goal was to write, and then get what I’d written out to readers on the internet. At the time, maintaining ownership of my printed words, was relegated to the “back burner.”

Cat Rambo, my Blogging 101 instructor, at Bellevue College, touched upon the subject of copyright. She’s a prolific author of fantasy, her work appears on bookstore shelves as well as on the internet. One such is the “Surgeon’s Tale.” You can peruse the many references to her on Google. One that had me smiling and saying “aha,” is that Cat Rambo has an MA from The Writing Seminars of John Hopkins University. No small feat there. She is also credited as being the fiction editor of the award-winning Fantasy Magazine.

With her depth of writing and blogging experience, and with views of her website probably past the 200,000 mark at this juncture, I paid close attention to what Cat Rambo shared during her trio of classes. While she did pursue one case of copyright theft in court, our instructor maintained that such a path is expensive, and without guarantees. She added, that, generally speaking, she considers “recycling” of her words a way to broaden her audience. From time to time Cat Rambo does share what she’s in the process of writing on her sites. But she does so with deliberation, putting out just enough to whet the reader’s appetite. Smart woman, I think.

My decision regarding “use of my material” has evolved over the 6 months in which I’ve been blogging. It seemed initially other sites were hijacking my posts and inserting them into what they’d written, or even going so far as to intimate that my words were actually theirs. The end results looked like a mess, in my opinion. They seemed a hodgepodge of sentences, assembled without thought. So I shrugged my shoulders, and decided that readers weren’t dumb. They’d see through the ruse. At least any readers who value good writing.

With my nose to the grind, I kept Cat Rambo’s words emblazoned across my mind, “If you write something of value, they will come.” She may not have uttered those exact words, but I got her meaning, for sure.

The message that I leave with you then, dear readers, is that my words are to be shared, but not coveted. Just as they are no longer mine to keep safe once I’ve clicked “publish,” they shouldn’t be “rehashed” to appear to be someonelse’s. What was once mine is meant to be recycled again, and again, and again. I only ask that its origins be credited to…

hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul….with aloha…hugmamma. 

you can check out Cat Rambo on several sites: www.kittywumpus.net, catrambo.livejournal.com, www.catrambo.com. And if you leave a comment, tell her “hugmamma sent you.”

“going the way of the dinosaurs?,” books

I will be very sad if books are ever relegated to the burn-pile, as depicted in the 1966 film, Fahrenheit 451, starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie and Cyril Cusak. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you do. (A YouTube clip is below.) 

“Fahrenheit 451” is a haunting tale of a society overtaken by a robotic mentality. Books are condemned for they encourage independent thinking, which the ruling government decides is detrimental to man’s happiness. Of course, the comparison to replacing  books with e-books is not the same, but might it be the first step toward a technologically controlled society? Might those, like myself, who prefer to read the old-fashioned way, be marginalized by the majority who can order up a book in seconds? Worse, if in the future some evil force with total technological control decides to eradicate all sources for e-books, thus destroying mankind’s history, will we find ourselves in a “Fahrenheit 451” of our own making? I jest, I think, I hope.

The following editorial article in today’s Wall Street Journal reminded me of my passion for the printed book. Rather than try to paraphrase the words of the author, Dan Newman, I’m reprinting what he’s written, verbatim.

 A KINDLE FOR CHRISTMAS? SPARE ME

I should be the perfect candidate for an e-reader: I own thousands of books, lack space for more and often schlep several heavy volumes in my bag. So when I begged my family to refrain from getting me a Kindle for Christmas, they were confounded.

At first, they thought the problem was that I wanted another model, one that could be dropped without worry, read on my winter camping trips, and never run out of power. Then they realized I was describing an old-fashioned book–paper and binding!–and I lost them again.

E-books are not only better, my family claims, but inevitable. Retail giants tend to agree. Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble and its biggest shareholder, has said that, “Digital publishing and digital book-selling will soon become the most explosive development in the history of our industry and will sweep aside those who aren’t participating.” The physical book will soon be akin to the parchment scroll.

The numbers seem to support this view. Sales of e-books have more than doubled over the last year, to $340 million so far this year from $166 million in 2009. At Amazon.com, e-books now outpace bestselling hardcover editions. So why do I doubt that I’m being left behind?

First, while growth in e-books is impressive, it’s not overwhelming. E-book sales this year will account for 8.5% of all books, a smaller share than Apple commands in the computer market even after years of growth at a similar pace. Though e-books will surely continue to grow, for now about 90% of book sales remain in print form.

Online retailers, particularly Amazon.com, work hard to promote e-books. Kindle advertisements have topped Amazon’s home page–some of the most valuable real-estate on the Internet–for nearly three years. The Web pages for print editions always include links to Kindle equivalents when possible, but the Kindle versions never link back to print forms. Amazon wants you to buy a kindle.

And it should. Kindle sales compete primarily with bestselling hardcovers–the heaviest, most heavily discounted editions that Amazon sells. The Kindle will sweep them aside, its supporters say, because e-books are portable, include useful search functions, and can retrieve new titles within minutes. This last point hardly matters to me, given that I can have physical books delivered within days and already have hundreds of unread books waiting to be cracked. While a search function is useful, it also points to a flaw in the Kindle: All the pages are alike, to the extent that there are pages at all.

I remember passages by where they are in my books–this or that detail is two-thirds of the way through, on the bottom left. That physical memory runs deep.

University of Washington Book Arts Librarian Sandra Kroupa demonstrates as much with a party trick she’s developed. I’ve seen her set down a dozen stiff-backed Little Golden Books before a group of adults. They chatted with delight as they held old copies of “Dumbo,” “Little Toot the Tugboat” and other childhood favorites. “The physical book holds meaning,” says Ms. Kroupa. “If I were to bring a modern edition of ‘Dumbo,’ it wouldn’t elicit nearly the same response.”

Print editions enable shared experiences in ways unavailable to electronic versions. I’m no snoop, but one of the first things I do when I enter a home is scan the bookshelves. As often as not, that sparks conversation about the interests of my hosts and about what they’ve read and hope to read. They invariably pull out other books, some inscribed, and hold them in their hands while we talk.

That experience simply can’t happen crouching over a hard-drive. Imagine entering a living room and saying: “Hey! Mind if I scroll through your Kindle?”

A book is more than a shell for words: It’s a box whose magic starts at its real-world dimensions. No other common item so lacks a standardized size, and that makes individual books memorable. I could tell with my eyes closed if you’ve handed me a copy of “The Great Gatsby” that isn’t mine.

I see e-books as a companion format that will always share space with printed volumes. Perhaps one day, I’ll even travel with a Kindle. 

Until then, I’m content with my hefty volume of “Don Quixote,” my tattered grade-school dictionary and my wood-cut illustrated “Moby Dick.” Maybe I’m a Luddite because I feel sorry for children who read “Good-night Moon” on a phone. And perhaps I’m a softie for hoarding my torn copy of “Huck Finn,” a gift from my grandfather, with an inscription that still makes my eyes water.

I could tell you what it says. But it’s best to read with the book held in your own hands.

Mr. Newman is a writer at work on his first novel.

Mr. Newman and I may be a dying breed, especially since we’re not products of the technological age. While I agree that print books are still very much in evidence, only time will tell if they’re here to stay. Recent generations, and those to come, have a different reference point. Hand-writing has been replaced by typing at a computer keyboard. I can’t see that our children, their children, and so on, ever reverting back to practicing their penmanship. Even I prefer to type up a letter on Word Process, than put pen to paper. And my hand-writing has suffered as a result.

I’m passionate about details, small things that make something unique. I’ve taught my daughter to decide which of 2 or 3 items to purchase, by the attention to detail each has. The words in a book are certainly its substance, but its packaging is part and parcel of its attraction. Perhaps an impoverished childhood taught me to cherish the few material things I had, whether I borrowed them or owned them. Library books were especially valuable, for they were my escape from the reality of my surroundings. So collecting them because I can now afford them, seems only natural. They are, after all, still a wonderful avenue for living outside my “box,” since I can’t afford to travel the world over, or back in time, or forward into the future, or into imaginary realms. I admit to being more discerning than Mr. Newman, for I’m sure my books don’t number in the thousands. If they did, we’d have to sell our current home for one larger.    

 I’m hoping there are many like me, one foot in the past, the other in the future. I love blogging, but I love holding a book in my hands as I settle in for the night.

for not letting this “dinosaur” go the way of the others, hugs…hugmamma.

“service with a smile”

Having both worked in service-oriented jobs for many years, with my husband still in the business, we agree that customer service is a “dying art.” Shopping on the Internet has made it more convenient for consumers to surf the global market for all their needs. An appealing product, savvy marketing and a credit card completes the transaction. There’s no need to interface with a flesh-and-blood person. After all, Google can answer any of your questions. And if you’ve got a hankering for “warm and fuzzy,” click on “smiley face” or download your choice of YouTube videos, to get your endorphins moving.  

Businesses grew by leaps and bounds when consumers had quantities of disposable income. Customer service was unnecessary, so it became a thing of the past. A few retailers, like some purveyors of travel and TV’s QVC, continued their traditional practice of being solicitous towards customers. But some, like E-Bay, Amazon.com, Craig’s List, department stores, supermarkets, drugstores, fast-food chains, medical practitioners and airlines, may have opted to minimize service in favor of quick turnover, with a “get ’em in, get ’em out,” attitude.

With the downturn in the economy, companies are scrambling to win back customers who have fewer dollars to spend. Customer service may be on the rise again. I hope so. It doesn’t cost businesses more to have employees smile, offer a warm greeting, listen with patience, offer options for resolution, and express appreciation for ongoing patronage. However, a company may want to invest in customer service training. Even employees with impeccable manners and the greatest intentions, will meet their match in irate persons. I know, I’ve sat on both sides of the desk.

In my mid-20’s I worked as a customer service agent for the Hawaii Medical Service Association in Honolulu. It represents Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the islands. I had extensive training in the technical aspects of HMSA’s policies so that I could answer policyholder questions. I did so in person, and on the phone. I enjoyed helping people, especially when I could clarify or demystify the finer points of their coverage. Receiving their thanks, and seeing their smiles when they turned to leave, was extremely gratifying. Of course, there were some who were disgruntled with what I had to say. And there were a few who insisted upon speaking with my supervisor, hoping his response would be different. Sometimes a review was scheduled, but often his answer confirmed mine. One particular encounter left me “shaking” in my muumuu (long, Hawaiian dress).

A gentleman from the island of Molokai had called, unhappy with a bill payment. I think it was a hospital claim, probably of a sizeable amount. I explained how the insurance carrier had determined his coverage. Unhappy with the information, I can only imagine how the man’s eyes bulged, his belly heaved, and how difficult it might have been to breathe, as he screamed profanities through the telephone. The tirade continued when I handed the call over to my boss. We were mistaken to think we’d heard the last of the policyholder. Not long after, the huge Hawaiian man  arrived at our offices, having made the flight specifically to address us in person. I gladly introduced him to my supervisor, who withdrew to the privacy of his office, with the angry islander in tow. I think someone from upper management eventually joined the conversation, but I don’t remember the outcome. Needless to say, the experience left me wary.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been the irate customer. However I’ve certainly done my fair share of yelling, I’m sorry to say. But it’s always been when I felt inconsequential, the company having already snagged my business. There was the time we’d refinanced with a bank at a low-interest rate. Because the appraiser hadn’t submitted his report on time, our rate was due to be increased. Not until I spoke with the President’s secretary, shedding tears of frustration, did she resolve the matter in our favor. 

When my 19-year-old daughter’s VISA bill showed an annual $85 fee for fraud protection on a credit limit of $500, I went ballistic! If she didn’t pay the fee, she’d be slapped with a finance charge. And if that kept up, she’d reach her allowed max in no time.  It was ludicrous that a billion dollar corporation would take advantage of a teenager. Unfamiliar with marketing schemes, my daughter thought VISA’s $2 rebate check was a reward for opening a bank account. Cashing the check actually signed her up for credit card protection, as indicated on the back, in fine print. My nonstop tirade failed to move the customer rep until I asked how she’d feel if her teenager had been scammed. The rep agreed to remove the fee, without requesting repayment of the rebate.

Purchasing a used sofa back table in Atlanta for $300, I agreed to pay the dealer another $265 to ship it to my home in Washington state. He shipped with a small, regional carrier because of its comparatively low-cost. When the merchandise arrived in Tacoma, my husband was told that the price had escalated to $600. In speaking with the seller, I learned that the price change had occurred within the shipper’s bureaucracy. The clerk with whom the transaction originated, wrote up the piece as a “sofa bed,” not a “sofa back table.” Sight unseen, the receiving office modified the price accordingly. When we asked that they open the crate to verify that it was a table, not a sofa bed, we were aghast when the amount shot up to $800+. No reason was given, but I surmised the decision was made that the piece was an antique. If I refused to pay the exorbitant price to retrieve my belonging, it could be sold locally for a hefty sum. After phone calls to 3 different offices, I was directed to the company’s corporate offices in Alabama. I wrote a letter describing, in great detail, the events leading up to my outrage. I addressed it to the President of the freight company, copying the President of its parent company, and express mailed both. It was sent on a Saturday, and I followed up with a call on Tuesday. Long story short, the Tacoma branch delivered the table to my husband for the originally quoted price of $261. That didn’t include door-to-door transportation, but it did in my case.

Who wants the grief that accompanies confrontation? Not me, that’s for certain. I’d just as soon turn my back, leaving it to those with hardier constitutions. But as I’ve indicated in my earlier posting, “put a ‘face’ on the ‘unknown,’ ” sometimes I’m integrity gone amuck! As with most people, there’s a “line” which when crossed, Mr. Jekyl steps in for Dr. Hyde. At that point, I become “warrior mom,” battling until my opponent is “face down,” eating dust from under my high-heeled stiletto, specifically removed from moth balls for the occasion. 

In my travel experiences from one end of the country to the other, southerners and Hawaiians exude genuine warmth and hospitality. The tellers at my mother-in-law’s bank welcome her with sunny smiles, and assist patiently with any questions she may raise. I find Southern wait staff gracious in their greetings, and their drawls hold my attention as they enticingly describe the “specials of the day.” What both ethnicities share is a slower paced lifestyle. That seems to translate to great customer service. Of course, as with anything else, there are exceptions to the rule. But I enjoy spending time in those locales, where “getting to know you” and “service with a smile” are more than fanciful sayings. They’re a way of life. 

for amazing customer service, huge hugs…hugmamma.