Time has really gotten away from me lately.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep up with all my obligations.

It’s pretty maddening, really. I’m the kind of person who prides herself on keeping up with everything, and with my current plate, there’s just no way.

Deadlines are a writer’s lifeblood.  We live by them and we die by them. Meet them, and you’re a star. Miss them, and your name is dirt. The problem is, in many cases, that the deadline is being set by someone who has no idea how long it takes to write a quality piece of work.

Case in point:  Last week, I was told I had to completely update two 300 page manuals and the help documentation for a software release. That’s all well and good, but the deadline was one week.

Yep, you read that right; ONE week.

I had to laugh at the ludicrousness of that request, and my laughter was met with Originally from: stares.  “What?  You can’t do that?  You’ll just have to work overtime.”  Again, I laughed.  “You don’t get it,” I said, “You were oooing and ahhhing over the fact that I wrote the 11 page release notes in a day and a half, because it was so fast. Take 900 (the number of pages you want me to write and/or update) and divide it by 11 (the number of pages I wrote) and then multiply that answer by 1.5 (the number of days it took me to write the 11 pages). That’s how long it would take me to complete the task.”

For those of you who don’t have a calculator, the answer is 122.7 days or 24 1/2 work weeks, which is approximately 5 1/2 months or so. Gotta love that!

At that point, the blank stares changed to popping eyes. (It was actually pretty funny.) The even funnier thing was, though, that they still expect me to do it.


So, I’m having a little trouble keeping up with my obligations. Hopefully, I can give them something that will at least look decent and have the correct information, but this isn’t how I work. I produce quality at a fast pace, not quantity that’s crap.

So, stay tuned, boys and girls. I’ve got my feelers out again to see if I can find something more suitable for my work ethic.

God help the poor person who takes over when I’m gone, because one thing is sure - some things never change. And here, it looks like nothing does.

See you soon!

Friday night, my family and I experienced something that was so ludicrous, so ridiculously bad that I felt it was my obligation to share it with you. It happened at the KFC on warningPennsylvania (Penn) just north of 122nd Street in Oklahoma City. Remember that location and save yourself tons of pissed off by not going there. The poor colonel was probably rolling over in his grave, trying to get out so he could rip the eyes out of the people ruining his reputation.

Now, before I get started, let me make clear that I’m not one of those anti-KFC people. I love their food. If you get what you want - the way you ordered it - it’s really good. I don’t know if they’re cruel to chickens; I hope not, but that will not be the focus of this diatribe. Instead, I’ll be telling you about a completely ridiculous customer service experience and the worst manager ever. (Her name is Kim, by the way. If someone named Kim whose resume says that she was a manager at KFC on Penn and 122nd in September of 2007, don’t ever hire her.)

Here’s how the transaction went from start to finish:

We drove up to the drive through window and after a few minutes, I heard a garbled message coming through the box that my son said was the drive-through girl saying she was ready to help us.

Me: We’d like a chicken pot pie with an order of mashed potatoes and a garlic Parmesan panini with mashed potatoes, a large ice water with extra ice and a large Dr. Pepper.

Window girl: Though I didn’t understand a word she said, according to my son, the great translator, she said they didn’t have pot pies ready.

Me: Okay, change the pot pie to two extra crispy breasts.

Window girl: So you want a six piece original and what?

Me: No; I never said anything about a six piece original. I want two extra crispy breasts and mashed potatoes and then the Garlic Parmesan Panini with mashed potatoes.

Window girl: Ohhhh, you want the panini.

Me: Yes, the Garlic Parmesan Panini.

Window girl: Okay, I have a number 2 wif 2 breasts and mashed potatoes and the panini with mashed potatoes, a large bottle of water and a large Dr. Pepper.

Me: No; I don’t want a bottle of water. I asked for water in a large cup with extra ice. I’ll pay the regular price for a drink if I have to.

Window girl: You don’t want bottled water?

Me: No. Like I said, I want it in a large cup with extra ice.

Window girl: So, you want a number 2 wif 2 breasts and mashed potatoes and the panini with mashed potatoes, a large ice water with extra ice and a large Dr. Pepper.

Me: Yes, and the breasts should be extra crispy and the panini should be the garlic Parmesan one. Is that what you have?

Window girl: (heavy sigh) Yes, two extra crispy breasts with mashed potatoes and the panini with mashed potatoes.

Me: That’s the Garlic Parmesan panini; right?

Window girl: (obviously annoyed) Yes. Pull forward.

Me: Thanks!

So we pulled up and waited for about five minutes before the girl would even look our way. Finally, she handed us our drinks. Mine was a medium instead of a large, but I’m used to that. Fast food restaurants generally have a hard time giving their patrons ice water for some reason, so I thought I’d let the size slide.

Then I took a drink. It wasn’t water; it was Sprite.

At that point, I tried to get the window girl’s attention, but she wouldn’t look our way. This went on for another five minutes or so until the food was ready. Finally, she returned to the window to give us our food.

Me: This was supposed to be water, but it’s Sprite. (At this point, I handed her back the Sprite.) Don’t worry about getting me another one; I’ll just get it at home.

Here’s where we made our mistake. Just happy that the order finally got to us, we drove off without opening up the boxes containing our order to see if the order was correct. It had to be right, because we’d clarified it so many times. How could anyone with a brain get it wrong?

When we got home, we were excited to eat our delicious order. (Yes, excited. We hadn’t gone to KFC for over a year, because every time we went to this particular restaurant, the customer service experience had been bad. But our love for their food made us try this one last time.)

I pulled out the order and my blood pressure doubled immediately. The mashed potatoes were both there, but my son got the chicken club panini and I had a breast and a wing - original, not extra crispy. My son does not even like club sandwiches, and I don’t like their original chicken. For me, it’s all about the extra crispy. Even worse, the “wing” they gave me was the size of a quarter. Literally. There wasn’t even any meat on the bone that a person could eat.

I picked up the phone and called the restaurant, vowing to remain calm and hoping to accomplish two things - I wanted an apology and I wanted the manager to understand that the continuing bad service at her restaurant was causing her to lose customers.

Here’s how that went:

Window girl answers: Thank you for calling KFC; how can I hep you? (All said with a wooden tone that said, “I don’t really mean thank you, and I don’t want to help you.)

Me: (in a calm business-like tone) Yes, I’d like to speak to the manager please.

Window girl: (sighs audibly and then yells to someone in the store) Tell Kim she have a manager call and see if she want me to take it. (There was no response to me at all.)

Me: No. I don’t want to talk to you. I want to speak to Kim if she’s the manager.

Window girl: (not responding to me at all again) Tell Kim she say she won’t talk to me. She want a manager.

Someone in the background: Kim say she’ll take this one.

After a few moments, Kim came on the line.

Kim, the manager on duty: This is the manager. How may I help you?

Me: Kim, I’m not calling you because I want anything. I don’t want my order corrected, and I don’t want a refund. I just want to tell you a story. First, let me start by telling you that every time I’ve ever been to your restaurant, I’ve never received good service. Because of that, we haven’t visited it in over a year, but we thought we’d give you another chance tonight.

At this point, I relayed the story about what happened that night. Then I ended with, “Kim, this is just unacceptable.

Kim: (huffily) Well, you know we get new people all the time. (No apology whatsoever)

Me: Kim, I understand that new people have a learning curve, but this didn’t happen because your window girl is new. We repeated our order many times, because she kept getting it wrong. In the end, she pretended she had it written down correctly, rather than actually getting it correct. This is a case of her purposefully not doing her job.

Kim: Well, I’m looking at your ticket, and it says an original breast and wing and a chicken club panini.

Me: Kim, do you think we actually ordered something that we didn’t want? Do you really think those words came out of our mouths when we don’t even like those things?

Kim: Calm down and listen.

Me: (Still in the calm, business-like voice) Kim, I am calm. I haven’t raised my voice once. I’m just trying to give you some information to help you do your job, so you can fix it.

Kim: Hello? Hello?

Me: Kim, I’m on a landline, and so are you. I know you can hear me.

KFC: Silence on the phone other than the sound of people talking in the background and work going on in the kitchen.

Me: Kim, I know you’re still there. I can hear the background noise. You’re a manager. This kind of childish behavior is ridiculous for anyone but especially the store manager.

KFC: The sound of someone’s hand being put over the phone and the continued sound of background noise from the restaurant, proving that she heard what I’d said.

Me: (beside myself, to my son) Oh, my God! Now, the manager of the store is pretending she can’t hear me! She’s holding her hand over the phone, but I can still hear the background sounds. She knows I know she’s there, but she still won’t say a word! I’ve never experienced such a thing in my life!

My son: Mom, I told you those people don’t care. Give it up. They don’t want to get better, and they’re not going to tell you they’re sorry for your bad experience. Just hang up.

Me: Kim, I’m giving you one more chance to be a good manager. Quit pretending you don’t hear me and respond.

KFC: Continued sound of background noise.

Me: Okay, Kim. You’ve just earned yourself a letter to the owner and to the corporate office where I’ll be naming you by name and telling this story. If I were you, I’d get the resume ready, because I won’t give up until I see you fired for this.

And then I hung up.


I never raised my voice at all. I remained calm and business-like the whole time. And THAT’S how I was treated. No apology, an angry attitude and then a childish pretense from the one person who’s supposed to be running the place.

Honestly, my mind’s still reeling from the experience. It’s so beyond my idea of how a business should be run that it’s hard for even me to believe it happened.

So, save yourselves a LOT of hassle, citizens of Oklahoma City. Don’t visit Kim’s store. And if you are brave enough to try it and have a bad customer experience there, do what I did and tell the owner and the corporate office. They have the right to know.

President and Chief Concept Officer: Gregg R. Dedrick
COO: Harvey Brownlee Jr.
Director Public Relations: Laura Schalow

Customer Satisfaction Numbers
U.S. - 1-800-225-5532 (1-800-CALL KFC)
Canada - 1-866-664-5696

Online Customer Comment Forms
U.S. Feedback (Continental United States)
International/Hawaii/Canada Feedback (outside the Continental United States)

KFC’s Corporate Address for Comments
P.O. Box 725489
Atlanta, GA 31139

Owner of this KFC in Oklahoma City
KFC US Properties Inc.
DBA KFC Y336006
PO Box 35370
Louisville, KY 40232-5370

I started my new job this week, and it’s been fun. I enjoy being in such a comfortable atmosphere. No one seems stressed out. People are nice, patient and generally happy. I have a very strong feeling that, when I was deciding among the three positions I was offered, I lucked out and made the right choice.

I’ve never been in a work environment where I felt so immediately at ease.  Everyone has made me feel so welcome, and I feel like I can just be myself.  I’m in training this week, and through that, I’ve become acquainted with several of the help desk technicians, and I’m impressed with all of them. I know they’re going to be a real asset when I start working on the manuals. These guys really know their stuff.

My only struggle, as far as I can see, will be my own ego. So much of my self esteem is From www.taskboy.comtied up into what I do, and I’m not a manager now.  A big part of me wants that back, but that goes against my goal to scale down a bit. I’ll need to work to keep that part of me in check, lest I do what I always do and end up taking on ridiculous amounts of work just to prove my worth. If they see value in me, they’ll promote me sooner or later. I just need to trust in that.

I’m really looking forward to getting out of training, so I can start writing again.  I told my trainer yesterday that if I didn’t get into a computer soon that I’d go nuts, and that’s double today. I’m not made for sitting and watching. I need to get out there!  But I know that the learning is fundamental to my job, so I’ll happily do it.

I can’t wait until I have a handle on all the information, so I can do a good job documenting it all.  So…I guess training is a necessary evil, even though I’m chomping at the bit to get out of there!

It’s been years since I had a real vacation. As a Communications professional, my life is full of deadlines; I’m used to that and, in fact, I thrive on it. But there comes a time when too much is too much, and that’s the situation I was in at my previous place of employment.

Working for a company that started from grass roots has its positives. In that environment, someone with real initiative can fill holes the company doesn’t even realize it has. That’s what I did. I got a shovel and started filling holes. Prior to my joining the company, they had no system of communications; instead, information was passed in an ever increasing number of confusing, frustrating and often conflicting emails. But, by the time I left, they had a pretty decent system of communications going.

The flip side of initiative, though, is that there are often a lot of holes to fill. I saw a need for better manuals, so I started writing those. Then, I saw an even bigger need for editorial services, fixing everyone’s grammar, so we would look smarter. Add that to writing speeches, answering questions and running the Intranet (among many other things), before I knew it, I was doing the work of an entire Communications team. It was crazy - doing the work of five people isn’t easy - but I loved it.

Still, I didn’t realize how tired I was until about a week after I walked out the door for the last time. I’d forgotten what it was like to relax. I needed it more than I think I’ve needed anything in my life. It was rejuvenating and renewing.

Monday, I start my new job, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be doing one thing. One. I’ll be writing technical documentation. Sure, it’s not as creatively satisfying as communications work, but think of it…

I’ll be doing technical writing.

That’s it.

ONE thing.


I can’t wait to see what it feels like to have a job I’ll have a handle on. I’m excited that I’ll be able to give it my all, that I won’t be spread so thin that I can’t really dig in. Once I learn the ropes, I hope I’ll not only give them what they hired me for to do but much more than they expect. It’ll be so much fun!

I hear the company is a joy to work for, too, and if the people I’ve met are any indication, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy working with the other employees. I couldn’t be happier!

Life, as they say, is good!

I‘ve never understood people who think it’s acceptable behavior to call for help and then treat the person on the other end of the phone like they are trash. What makes these people think it’s okay to do that? What’s more, what makes them want to do that?

If you ask these people, they will tell you that their behavior is their way of gaining control, of getting what they want. I’m sure they’re telling the truth, but we all know that it’s not necessary to treat strangers poorly to get what you want. In fact, you can get more by treating the person on the other end of the line with kindness and respect.

So, why do they do it?

Abusive behavior often originates from a sense of entitlement. It is classic misuse of power and control within a customer service context. Sadly, abusing strangers is a learned behavior. Those who do it probably grew up watching their parents do the same thing. In addition, people who abuse frequently avoid taking responsibility for their behavior at all, blaming their abuse on the situation or the company itself. Sound familiar?

I’ve learned that there is only one way to deal with abusive callers. The first rule is that you never show your anger; doing so gives the abuser the upper hand. The second rule is to use their own behavior and account history against them. Here’s a little story to illustrate what I mean.

Years ago, while working in the retentions department at a call center, I got a call from a man whose bill had been in arrears for so long that it had been with a third party collector for over a year. This meant that the man hadn’t paid his bill in over a year and a half! I answered the call in my usual pleasant way only to have this man spit vulgarities at me at an extremely high volume. His beef was that he couldn’t get another cell phone because we had sent him to a collection agency, and he’d tried calling our call center numerous times only to be told to call the third party collector, who had told him to call us.

I let him abuse me until he stopped to take a breath, and then I said, “Sir, you’ve been run back and forth between companies unnecessarily, and I’m very sorry that happened. I would like to be the one person to do this right, but I can’t do it as long as you continue to abuse me.” This resulted in escalated abuse. The fact that I’d dared to stay calm during his tirade made his anger even worse. At this point, I chuckled audibly and said, “Sir, do you realize you’re abusing the one person who’s willing to help you? Do you think that’s a good idea? After all, I’m in control over whether this situation is handled right here and now, or whether you’ll have to continue to call in.”

Taking away his illusion of control flustered him, but the abuse continued. At this point, I pulled out the big guns. My friendly tone was replaced with a stony tone, and I said, “Sir, I’m not responsible for this problem; you are. I’m not the one who didn’t pay my bill for six months, in spite of at least 50 attempts to work with me. I’m also not the one who continued to let the bill languish at a collection agency for a year in spite of numerous calls and letters from them. Finally, I’m not , I just work for them. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at yourself, be mad at the company if you want, but don’t be mad at me. I’ve never talked to you before. I’ve never looked at your account. You are abusing a perfect stranger whose only sin is trying to help you finally clear it up.”

This was answered by silence, at first, and then by an apology. The rest of the call went perfectly. I dropped the stony voice and told him I’d do my best to help him, and I did.

This is exactly what usually happens when someone stands up to the schoolyard bully. They’re so used to lording it over the weak guys that they don’t know how to handle it when someone stands up for themselves. I’ve used this tactic numerous times as a phone rep, and it always works.

If you’re someone who abuses strangers trying to help you, remember this - the stranger on the other end of the line is truly the one in control over whether you hang up satisfied or frustrated. He or she can help you, or he or she can make the situation worse. Just as a waiter can spit in your food if you mistreat him before he’s brought it to the table, so can a call center rep hang up on you, or worse, create even more “errors” in your account.

So do what’s best for yourself. Treat the person on the other end of the line with respect and courtesy. If you don’t, you’re likely to spend a great deal more time in a state of stress and frustration.

And remember this - your violent behavior only hurts you in the end. Don’t kick the family dog or beat your wife and kids. Get some help for yourself. Abuse is abuse, no matter who it’s directed at.

Is that the person you really want to be? If so, what’s your account number? I’d be happy to take care of you. };>

Note to self:

No matter how much rain you get - even if it’s 45 inches, like we’ve had here this year - don’t ever, EVER put off mowing the lawn and doing the landscaping, because it’s still wet.

I must admit, I’ve been afraid to look in my backyard for the past couple of weeks. For the past two months, it seems like every time we’ve had a chance to work in the yard, it’s rained a gully washer. Now, I’m finally off for a few days, so I finally got up the nerve to go take a look and get started.


This isn’t just six weeks’ growth. This is a jungle! I worked for two hours and got about a third of it done.

Never again. I don’t care if I’m wading ankle deep, I’m going out there with at least the weed eater.

[Please note: The picture above is not of my backyard. It’s a jungle in Borneo. But it might as well be.]

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