Can you believe it’s already been four days since Christmas? That can only mean one thing: It’s time to get busy with the next holiday.
New Year? You’re up! My first resolution is to go Valentine’s Day shopping on January 2nd.
That means I’ve been thinking about resolutions. Let’s break it down.
The word is comprised of the Latin Greek words “re” (do over) and “solut” (ancient greeting) and “ions” (small particles).
I decided why wait so I already made one and having been acting upon it. And it has been a lot of fun.
Let them eat Spam!
The other day I did something I don’t often do. I logged into my Gmail and checked the spam folder.
The fact is, I trust Google quite a bit to filter spam out of my email properly. There is occasionally a “false positive” that I have to manually retrieve (usually after someone whines a lot) but generally it does a very good job.
It’s nice not to worry about getting junk in my Inbox. I usually just leave it on autopilot and never think about it.
The other day, though, on a whim, I was curious. I clicked into the folder and got this bit of good news:
Hooray, no spam here!
That’s nice to hear.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a little plain bit of text above the toolbar on my screen:
Spam Veggie Pita Pockets – Serves 8!
–From the spam folder in Gmail
“Ahhhhh,” I said. “This must be the much vaunted context-sensitive advertising that Google brags about. Sure, that makes sense. This is a spam folder. So why not advertise Spam brandname ‘canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation?”
I have to admit, that does sound good. The thought of Spam can sure make your mouth water. It must be Pavlovian.
I’m a practicing flexitarian, so I certainly could say, “Bring it on!” Unfortunately for Google, I can’t quite flex as far as Spam.
See, this is what concerns me about computers taking over the whole world. Even Google can’t tell the difference between unwanted email and unwanted precooked meat product. Sure, in your spam folder that’s no big deal. But what if it is your new “smart” car that automatically brakes your vehicle without you asking it to? The computer making the wrong could literally result in spam in a can – homo sapiens variety. That sounds good! Hell, why wouldn’t you want to trust your life to a computer? I can’t think of a single damn reason.
I refreshed my Google spam folder a few times and it was always the same thing. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam.
In fact, I saved them up so I could share them with you:
- Spam Hashbrown Bake – Serves 8
- Spam Breakfast Burritos – Bake 5-10 minutes, serve with salsa
- Vineyard Spam Salad – Combine grapes, spam, peapods and onions in large bowl
- Spicy Spam Kabobs – Serve with hot cooked rice
- Spam Fajitas – Serves 8, add extra salsa if desired
- Spam Primavera – Toss with linguini, serve immediately
- Spam Confetti Pasta – Preparation time 30 minutes
- Spam Vegetable Strudel – Bake 20 minutes or until golden, serve with soy sauce
- Spam Imperial Tortilla Sandwiches – To serve, cut each roll in half
- French Fry Spam Casserole – Bake 30-40 minutes
- Creamy Spam Broccoli Casserole – Makes 8 servings
- Spam Veggie Pita Pockets – Serves 8
- Ginger Spam Salad – Serves 1, refrigerate overnight
- Spam Quiche – Makes 4 servings
- Spam Swiss Pie – Bake 45-55 minutes or until eggs are set
- Savory Spam Crescents – Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown
One thing’s for sure. When I’m checking my email for spam, Google sure knows exactly what I want. Spam and lots of it!
Monday morning quickie
I came to work this morning full of optimism and hope for the future. You know, just like always.
The universe had other plans. It wanted me to know, first thing 8am Monday morning, the way things are going to be. I just love it when the universe gets around to noticing little ol’ me.
In my Inbox sat two emails from the Boss. It seems we have a big project and it starts today. It is, obviously, top priority, and, of course, we’re going to have to fit it in our day. Management will not be freeing us up to work on this project. It will simply have to be absorbed by us into our normal routines.
In an email that went to all staff it said, “Tom will be providing training on this project before 9am on Monday morning.” What the fuck?!? I didn’t even know this project existed before I lamely reported to work this morning. What kind of training am I going to provide? I quickly alerted all employees to get ready for me; a 5-minute treatise on how the company sucks was about to go down, yo.
Also contained within the emails were other special nuggets of text. One of these was, “I expect you’ll be able to process 20 widgets a day.” And, copy and pasted from the email verbatim is this: “Each day before you leave, I look forward to receiving an email from both of you letting me know how many items you got completed that day.”
The email has the audacity to say, “Yes, this is all on top of all of your other duties which must also get done.”
True to classic boss form, the emails left absolutely no room for employee creativity or trusting that we have the ability to even wipe our own asses. The micromanaging level of detail was truly spectacular, right down to exacting specifications regarding the spreadsheet we’ll be creating. (“It will have these columns and in this order.”)
Remember the television series Shogun? The English guy was captured and the first thing they did was make him lay on the ground and pee on him. This is a subtle form of alpha-dog behavior that lets you know your ranking in the pecking order. Right now I’m soaked to the skin in universe pee. Delightful!
This week is on!
When customers foam
Yet another Friday bonus post.
Let’s play this post like a round of Jeopardy, shall we? Remember, all answers must be phrased in the form of a question.
Category: Potent Foamables
$500 Clue: “Five”
Tom: The number of minutes customers are willing to wait for a response after sending an email before they foam at the mouth?
Alex: Correct! You are today’s winner!
This is how it works. You arrive at work and go through your emails. You have some from bosses, some from co-workers and some from customers. I have a routine for handling them which mainly involves getting the low-hanging fruit (quickies) out of my inbox as fast as possible. If a customer has a quick question, I might just pound my keyboard like a monkey and get them a response at that instant and be done with it. If it is more involved, however, I jot them down on a list so I can research, do the legwork, and so forth before calling them back.
Organization is good.
Of course, this all goes out the window as soon as the phones roll over because ALL of them simply pick up the phone, dial our number, then pound the redial button repeatedly until they get a human. Don’t forget to wear your handy yellow containment suit to avoid the foam spittle.
Today at 9:05am we had been open for a grand total of five minutes. The customer service primary was already on the phone. I was already neck deep in the shit on the floor with an obliviot customer (who was actually a pretty decent guy). Meanwhile all of the phone lines were ringing off the hook like it was the invasion of motherfucking Normandy beach. Apparently there were a lot of people who needed apologies. (We’re pretty much in the professional apologizing business. They’re all calling to complain about things we screwed up because we suck.)
“This is so-and-so! I’m calling about order XYZ! I ordered two widgets and only received one.”
“Yes, I am aware of that. I did receive and read your email. Unfortunately you’re not the only customer in the universe and amazingly I haven’t had a chance to work on your problem yet. Sadly no miraculous knowledge has yet spontaneously jumped via telepathy into my brain. It’s beginning to look more and more like I’ll actually have to be given some time to work the problem before I’ll learn anything new. And phone calls like yours only delay that process, which, in turn, creates a snowball effect and consumes 110% of the time I have in my day. Take the square root of -1 and multiply that by 42. I’ll probably be able to call you back in that many minutes. But please know that I am very, very sorry about this problem.”
Hmm. Looks like another customer problem just got pushed back to Monday. Gee, I hope you weren’t in a hurry. Too bad, so sad! Loser, loser, whatever!!!