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My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #88: Monday Ramblings and Customer (non)Service

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-30-2010 01:33 PM 3622 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 87: "The Grizz" Part 88 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 89: Back to the Shop! »

Ahhh! One of my favorite days of the week! I can tell already that it is going to be warm today. It is so quiet and still out and I can hear that rooster in the distance crowing every five minutes or so. It sounds silly to me. Maybe because I was a city girl for so many years. Most people here are annoyed by it, it seems. My neighbor Lee says when he first hears it in the morning it makes him get up and close the window. He threatens to go over and do it bodily harm. It’s all words though because he is a gentle man. He is single and has five cats. (yes, five!) He works at the nearby fish processing plant on the wharf and his friends tease him and call him the ‘cat lady of Meteghan’. He has built a shelter for the feral cats at the wharf and feeds them every day and works with the rescue organization to find some of them good homes and medical attention when necessary. They capture the new arrivals and make sure they are spayed or neutered and do all kinds of fund raisers and stuff. Anyone like that has a good character, I think. in his travels, he has adopted five cats of his own, the most recent being an orange tabby kitten last year. The kitten had a lame leg and he didn’t want it to be put to sleep and even though he already had four of his own, he took it home and kept it. It turned out that it outgrew its leg affliction and is beautiful and healthy and full of mischief. So now he has five. And I think the rooster is safe.

It is good to go into Monday with a clean slate. By that I mean that most everything is caught up and I can make a fresh start on some new things. I have some great ideas for patterns and don’t know where to start first. I think I will use that Pau Amarillo because I want to see how it will cut for one and I want to try some of those Mach 3 blades that were given to me from the manager of Busy Bee. Although it just occurred to me that if I try the new blades on the new wood, I won’t be able to tell how each really preforms. I guess I will have to try the new wood with the old blades first and some wood I am familiar with with the new blades to really get a good idea. (Heck! What was in my coffee this morning anyway?)

The site is all updated, but I was unable to put the reader’s Gallery pictures and stories on it. As we were updating, I received the error message “Disk Limit Exceeded” and thought “Un oh!” I have over 350 products there and many of them have several pictures. I started the site in 2002 and I wasn’t as computer-literate as I am now and some of the file sizes of the pictures are pretty big. I really don’t want to go and pick through and re-size all those old pictures of products that don’t sell much anyway, but I still want to keep the older stuff there because people do buy the patterns sometimes. I contacted the host company and they said that with that older software I am using, I have a 500 mb limit and have reached it. I asked if I could purchase a higher limit and they said that I needed to upgrade to the newer version.

Now I am all for upgrading and keeping on top of things. Nothing bothers me more than someone running Windows 2000 or other old software and wants me to fix their computer. Eight or ten years in computer software is several lifetimes and the stuff that is out today is so far beyond that there is no way I can see things working together. In 2002 I felt like a big shot because I had a computer with 4 GB of hard drive space. Now my computer is 1.5 TB with my network storage and I am still considering another backup drive in the future. I know that I was running on older software for the site, but I was unaware of it until the beginning of this year when I really started taking interest in building the site again. For several years it sat there as an afterthought and I focused mostly on my magazine and wholesale aspects of my business. However, with the downfall of the economy over the last couple of years, I figured that I needed every resource possible if I were to make a living and have really made it a part of my business again since the beginning of the year.

It was then that we realized there were problems and we were told that we needed to upgrade. However, as recently as a couple of months ago, we were informed that we would have to rebuild the site from a blank template. With over 350 products that wasn’t where I wanted to spend my time. Since we did have it working for us at the moment, we decided to shop it out later and do it when we had more time. But Saturday’s error message really kind of forced the issue. After all, my business isn’t getting smaller. I need room to grow.

This representative told me, however that they were able to migrate the information from one version to the next, which made much more sense to me. If that was the case, I don’t mind having to take a day or two to fix things up (as I know that it won’t migrate seamlessly – even on the pink cloud that doesn’t happen) and I put in the order for the upgrade. I am to hear back from them “soon” as that department wasn’t open on the weekend. It should be – ahem – interesting to see how this will go. I will just have to brace myself for that roller coaster ride and take it as it comes.

It is funny how customer service is like that. I believe that I even have a transcript of the conversation I had at the beginning of the summer with the rep that told me that I would have to re enter all the information. Now I find I wouldn’t have to. That is a basic issue, isn’t it? Shouldn’t they know the answer decisively to that question? If it means the difference of a company running eight year old software and updated stuff – which is admittedly easier for all parties involved – then why aren’t they properly educated and informed about their products? it just makes no sense!

Last story of the day – speaking of customer service (or should I say “non-existent customer service”?) The other day when I was in the city, we went to the big box store (HD) just to see what they had. While I was waiting for the washroom, I was waiting in the last isle and noticed this one customer with interest. At first, he looked at the bags of powdered concrete mix. Nothing special there. He was looking around for someone to help him, I imagine because he had that bewildered look and was looking up and down the isle. His eyes stopped on me at one point, but I must have not looked like the helpful type because he continued on and finally walked away.

A few minutes later, I see him rolling one of those flat carts up the isle toward the place where the concrete was. He stopped in front of it. I guess he took matters into his own hands. Now you would think that they would have the heavy bags of concrete mix sitting on the floor, but that wasn’t the case. They were on the shelf that was about four feet from the ground and the bags were piled 4-5 high. So to get to the top of the bag, this guy pulls the cart directly under the shelf and proceeds to stand on it.

Now remember the cart had wheels. And to get the large bags down from the shelf, he needed to stand on the edge of the cart. So with the first step from his body weight alone, I see the cart teeter and the wheels on the opposite side come up off the ground. I stifled a gasp as he quickly stepped towards the middle of the cart so it wouldn’t tip. But then he went back to the edge because he couldn’t reach the bags from the middle. The cart again wanted to tip a bit so he stretched out his body to reach the first heavy bag and try to put it on the cart. Since he was reaching, he kind of pushed the cart and it was ever-so-slowly rolling away from the shelf.

It was like watching a comedy movie, but it was really happening and overall quite dangerous. I would have taken a picture of him if I didn’t think he would come over and bop me for doing so. I guess thinking back I should have went over there and held the cart steady for him but I honestly was so fascinated watching him that it never crossed my mind. :( It was like I was mesmerized.

So he gets hold of the first bag and in one swift motion throws it to the opposite side of the cart with a loud Bang! From there on it got easier as he counter-weighted the cart (at least he had the sense to do that) and the bags were piled from the outer side in. The rest was uneventful and I went on with my business.

How sad it was though that this is the case. I have read so many stories like this here on LJ’s about the service at these stores, and there was even a funny poster about training the employees to avoid customers. I thought about that poster when I was there and it is so, so true. This was a lawsuit waiting to happen. It is quite sad that things have come to this because it seems that if these places hire anyone that has any sense of pride or work ethic, they don’t last because they crush their spirit and they soon quit. I don’t blame them one bit. I wouldn’t want to be any part at all of that type of organization. (We only bought a can of spray glue there. I guess we just like to go there to see things up close. I don’t like the store myself, but it allows you to browse without being pestered by sales people, which is quite an understatement)

So with that said, I will get on with my Monday. I didn’t get to make my cinnamon buns because I didn’t want to turn on the oven yesterday. It doesn’t look as if I will do them today either. In the next week or so it will be cool enough so I will wait. I am debating on going for one last look at the blackberries, but it depends on how involved I get with the things here. I am going to get some drawing done today and hopefully I will be cutting my Pau Amarillo by tomorrow. (And have some more skaters to show you)

I hope everyone’s weekend was as fun as mine. It seems we still have a bit of warm weather left so it is good to take advantage of it while we can. I hope you all have some wonderful plans for the week and have fun doing them.

Happy Monday to you all! :D

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"



9 comments so far

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1310 posts in 2447 days


#1 posted 08-30-2010 03:36 PM

Web companies can be really tricky…. Webdev is a really big part of my job and I have a partner. We have the same basic skillset, but there are definitely some things he is way better at than I am and some things I am way better at than he.. He likely would have said we can totally transfer things over because he likes working directly in databases like that. So, I’m not surprised you got conflicting information. One suggestion, however: when you hear back from them, confirm that you have a backup of your store BEFORE they begin. If you can backup the database on your own, do it. I don’t want to tell you how many times I’ve had to start a project from scratch because of a mistake as simple as not backing up a database. The filesystem is important too, but the database is the key.

500mb is nothing. I’m impressed you were running that whole store on that tiny amount of space! I’ve browsed around it – there’s definitely a lot of content there.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9036 posts in 2381 days


#2 posted 08-30-2010 03:48 PM

Thanks so much for the info, Lis. I really am not good at that aspect of things at all. As you know, web design can be a whole other career. I think that is why I neglected it so much before. There just weren’t enough hours in the day.

I will definitely find out about backing things up properly. I am kind of excited in getting the new software because there have been so many little pesky things that are attributed to the older software and I am sure this will ultimately be much better. Stupid me just didn’t think about it and I ‘assumed’ (Never good!) that they were updating things on their side all along. I probably got a message from them that I failed to read when I wasn’t paying attention to the site about the upgrade years ago. :( Dumb me!

Anyway, I will brace for the change and hope for the best and deal with the hiccups as they come. The company is basically good and it isn’t that expensive for them to host me so I kind of want to see what this brings and stay put with them.

Thanks again for your thoughts! I do appreciate it!

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View William's profile

William

9906 posts in 2303 days


#3 posted 08-30-2010 04:50 PM

I now have a deep seated hatred for Home Depot. They have actually changed their customer service policy at the one here locally. They now have a lady up front of the store near the tools, which is usually the main section I go to there, and she’ll ask if you need any help, every thrity seconds. That would be great except for two things. First off, sometimes I’m just there killing time and browsing, knowing I don’t have the money to buy anything. After I’ve told her that five time, even in detail that I’m broke and can’t afford anything but can look for when I can afford it, it seems she would leave me alone. The second problem, for example when I went in last week looking for a replacement pad for my Porter Cable sander, she has no freaking clue where anything is anyway. Ok, so if she would tell me, “sir, beats me”, that would be fine with me too. No, instead she has me follow her all over the store, even over in the paint department looking for it herself. I could have done that. Hell, I was doing that before she decided to “help”.
I’m sorry to hijack your post for my own rant Sheila. I really just wnated to let you know that I am fuly aware of what you mean. All the way down here in the south, the HD is just as bad. Besides, I’m still jealous of you about the hardwood shopping trip. If I had stores like you do near enough to go at least a couple times a year, I night never darken the doorway of HD again.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View William's profile

William

9906 posts in 2303 days


#4 posted 08-30-2010 04:54 PM

Oh, and you are so lucky with the blackberries too. Here in my area, you have about a two month window to get blackberries before they start drying up. If you haven’t picked what you want by about the end of May, you’re out of luck. That would be fine except the only decent blackberry patch I know of close by is up by the river. The last three years has flooded that general area and we can’t get no black berries at all. So listening to you talk about picking them makes me miss my wife’s blackberry cobbler.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)

helluvawreck

23133 posts in 2328 days


#5 posted 08-30-2010 05:08 PM

Hey, William, I know what you mean about the big box stores. Maybe you missed this post by Abbot the other day:

Home Depot Training Manual

Maybe you could print this manual out and take it to her in order to remind her that they are suppose to run and hide when they see a customer coming.

Thought that you’d get a kick out of it if you hadn’t seen it.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1310 posts in 2447 days


#6 posted 08-30-2010 05:24 PM

I’m glad to hear that overall you’re happy with your host. That’s very important! :) I’ve heard so many horror stories. :(

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)

helluvawreck

23133 posts in 2328 days


#7 posted 08-30-2010 05:37 PM

Sheila, computers and servers can really be finnicky and when you add software to the mix anything can go wrong especially if the software is old and out of date. Sounds like ya’ll are getting it licked though. HD is a good place to get injured especially if you are older and can’t get any help.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9036 posts in 2381 days


#8 posted 08-30-2010 06:47 PM

Lis – you are so right! I heard many horror stories too. I figure that is why I will stick here for now. I just hope it goes ok. I will do everything I can to make it go smoothly. The last thing I need after business is finally picking up is to sabotage one of the vehicles of income for myself!

@ everyone else – that was the training manual that I was talking about! It was funny but so close to the truth it hurt. You are right about helping the elderly too. I know I am not able to do what I used to do and while I was watching that guy I was thinking just that – what would an older person (man OR woman) do in that situation? Probably get hurt I would imagine.

I just go there also to look mostly. I rarely buy from them but like to see the stuff on display. We just went mostly ‘because it was there’. I would rather buy from a local place myself.

:)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7796 posts in 2764 days


#9 posted 08-30-2010 10:37 PM

well your one person i know of that enjoys mondays…being a non working person now..they are all the same to me…no week ends…no mondays…....lol…big box stores…i know what they can do and what they cant…and what they have now and basicly what they dont…over all i dont like them…they are just as you said….hope the new up grade works out and i hope its not to painful…..when it comes to computers and software…as you know it can be tricky….good luck…..happy week to you…....more coming…privately ….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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