Gone but NOT Forgotten

Last stop... San Francisco

I’m back!!

Yes, I was gone for three weeks.  Okay, make that four since upon checking I just realized that my last post was dated March 15. 

To those who are wondering where the heck I have been (thank you guys for missing me), well, I went on vacation.  A much needed one.  And I had super duper fun.  I had so much fun that not once did I check if my blog stats were moving at all.  (Well, I checked just now and found out that people were still visiting my site even though I wasn’t around. Yey!  Does my blog title make sense now?!)

I have lots to tell.  Really.  I spent some time with Mickey Mouse.  I saw Jack Sparrow.  Count Dracula tried to bite my neck (after saying my blood probably tastes sweet. Sleazy!!).  I watched a Dodgers vs Giants game live.  I chatted with my best friend/person til the wee hours of the morning (live, too!).  My family and I played in the snow.  I went inside five different Victoria’s Secret shops.. and managed to buy something from every shop.  Heaven on earth, indeed!

Lots and lots to tell.  Have to deal with the jetlag first, though. 

Heavy eyes, bloated everything,  terribly jetlagged… but with a very joyous heart. 

Life is good!

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photo via weheartit.com 

Service with a Smile

via google images

Yesterday as I was doing some christmas shopping (it never really ends, does it?), I was approached by this salesperson who asked if I needed any help in finding something.   I said I was okay and that I could manage. 

He lingered a bit,  saw my shopping list and  when he saw how long it was, jokingly asked  if I was sure I didn’t need any help.  He offered some suggestions which were truly helpful.  And then he was called by another customer — who looked like she really needed someone’s help.  But before he turned his back, he told me that he’ll just be there in the area, in case I needed some assistance.

I really appreciate salespeople who extend quality service.  By quality service, I mean, it’s not just about getting me the product/s that I need.  It’s about the way they attend to me as a customer.  I don’t like salespeople who move like programmed robots… the ones who just memorize a spiel but are blankfaced when you inquire about something they are not prepared for.  Nor do I like the ones who are too pushy and who oversell.  But I think the ones I dislike the most are the ones who can’t even smile… the ones who make you feel like you are being a burden when you ask for assistance.

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My love for shopping makes me a perennial customer, but I do know how it feels to be on the other side… the side that provides the ‘service.’

Having worked for the front office as well as the customer service department of a big company in my past life, I have faced a lot of different personalities.  Not all of them were nice, believe me. Some people can be really rude or overbearing.  There are those who have the tendency to look down on other people, well, just because.  And when you are a sales person, a front office staff or a customer service personnel, or have whatever frontline job, you are prone to coming across different characters.

how will you fare?


In my years of doing frontline work, here are some things that I learned about customer service that hopefully can be valuable to the readers who are also in the same line of job.

1)  Smile  And I mean ALL the time.  Yes, smile though your heart is breaking.  Smile even if you’ve been standing the whole day and your feet are killing you.  Your customers don’t know that.  If you are the type who loves to channel Oscar the Grouch, then by all means, choose another department… far from the front office, far from the customers. 

2)  Be courteous, polite and friendly

3)  Be professional.  When I said friendly, I didn’t mean you should overdo it.  Customers are still customers.  No matter how long you have known them, or how often they go to your store or your company,  keep in mind that you have to treat your customers with respect. Don’t be all chummy-chummy, and avoid making jokes specially at the expense of the customer!  It’s okay to kid around once in a while with customers you are already comfortable with, but still know your place.  Don’t be OVERfriendly.  It could cost you your job.

4)  Let the customer or client talk.  Find out what he/she needs.  Don’t assume.  You are not a mind reader. 

Be different

5)  Be knowledgeable.  Know your company. Know your products. Know current events if needed. As a customer myself, I really hate it when I am asking for something and the sales person answers me with either a flat out ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know,’  without even exerting any effort to either look for the product or offer me alternatives.

6)  Go the extra mile.  In line with #5, going the extra mile or giving a service that is more than what is expected of you makes you different from all the rest.  Chances are your customers will remember you.  AND they will come back.  Happy customers normally come back.

7)  Patience is a virtue.  Don’t rush the customer.  Don’t act like you can’t wait to get rid of him or her.    Some customers take longer time to think or decide on certain things.  There are fickle buyers.  Offer suggestions as you see fit and leave them first if they need more time to think. But like the guy in my example above, let them know that you are just there to assist when they’re ready.  Surely they will appreciate the space rather than having you breathing over their shoulders.

8)  Remember, it is NOT personal. Frontliners face different people with different moods and temperament day in and day out.  Any given day, you may come face to face with not just one but maybe even two or more irate customers.  Customers who, themselves, are having a bad day and somehow end up displacing their anger.  Unfortunately, you end up being at the receiving end.  So, what do you do? Do you cry?  Do you shout back?  Do you walk out?

Best thing to do is just keep quiet.  Let the customer blow off his steam.  It will pass, eventually.  And if you really are not at fault, somehow the customer will realize that.  Most often than not, they even become apologetic in the end.  Just remember, it’s not about you.  Don’t take it personally.

and lastly…

9)  SMILE.  I just have to say it again.  It all starts — and ends — with a smile.  Works wonders on a stressful day.  Makes you look much, much younger, too. 


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photo via weheartit.com and google images   

The List

...and the countdown begins

The other day I opened my file that says “Xmas List” and decided it’s about time that I update it.  

I made a template for said list years back.  It starts with “Immediate Family,” followed by “Relatives from Side A,” then “Relatives from Side B.”  Next in line will be “Godchildren,” then  “Mommy/Daddy Friends from School,”  then  “Son’s Friends from School/Baseball Teammates,” then “Personal Friends.”  This will be followed by the “Teachers and Coaches” and then “Business Staff/People.”  Believe it or not, I also have the names of the staff of my favorite establishments — the ones who are really nice to me– as well as the guards at the mall. 

Every year, I update the list.  I remove some names… like of the ones who are out of the country, or those people I haven’t seen nor talked to in years… or my son’s old classmates who are no longer his classmates… or old teachers who are no longer his teachers… 

The hardest to remove are the names of the ones who passed away.   Somehow, by keeping their names on the list, it feels like they are still around. (Sigh.)

To retain order in the universe, of course by removing names, I know that there is a big chance that there are new names that will be added.  A new godchild… a new teacher… that really nice barista at Coffee Bean who knows what to make for me even before I enter the store… a whole new set of chosen classmates and friends for the schoolyear… a whole new set of baseball teammates… the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…

… and the list goes on. And on. And on.  For some reason, it is much easier to add than remove names. 


were you naughty or nice?

I like Christmas shopping.  Okay, so I love shopping, period.  That’s a given.  But there is something about Christmas shopping that gives me a certain sense of thrill.  I like thinking about what to give this or that person.  I try to think hard about what the recipient will truly appreciate.  It is not always easy.  I do have a budget to stick to.  And considering I give gifts yearly, well I do run out of ideas.

Yet despite that, I still think it’s fun.  No, it’s more than fun. It’s exhilarating.  You should see me coming out of a mall or a bazaar after a Christmas shopping spree… you will surely see that big smile plastered on my face.  My feet may be complaining, but my smile will still be there. 

Ticking all the names on my list is quite a feat.  One friend commented that I seem to have a corporate budget given the number of people I want to give gifts to.  And given that it’s already mid-November and I haven’t really started tackling the list, I will need to manage not just the budget but the time, as well, if I want to finish shopping for this Christmas.

But the ever positive shopper in me is not perturbed.  For one, I know that when you give out of the goodness of your heart, then it shouldn’t be difficult.  You will get something back in return.  I believe in provision.  I believe that as I give — cheerfully, if I may add– I will also receive something… whether it’s more shopping time… or more budget… or a genuinely happy smile from the receiver.. or more gifts that are in turn meant for me.  As shallow as it may sound, the shopping experience, to me, is happiness enough. 

As I look at my Christmas list, in a way, I can’t help but be thankful… because I know that the long list, with tick marks and all, signify that I am provided for.   I give because I have. 

160 names and counting… and I’m saying, bring it on!


Note at the end of this year’s shopping list says:

Remember: You are blessed to be a blessing!



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photos via weheartit.com