Just a vent about strawberries.

Writing is a wrestling match between my hands and my head. Or maybe it is a wrestling match between my right brain and my left brain. My hands are middle management waiting on corporate to make a decision.  The hands don’t have any decision making power. They are trapped in a top-down corporate structure. This is one of those weeks. So rather than try to censor myself, I will just let both of them duke it out on the page. Note to the reader, if you like nice clean writing stop now, close the page and go read something else. This isn’t for you. But if you want to go on a roller coaster ride, then buckle up and get in.

Each week I write for an excellent writing group. Last week I wrote a post about a class I was taking at my job. I ended the post, with a cliff- hanger that said come back next week to see what happens next. Well, next week is here, and I just don’t feel like writing about my bus ride.

Instead, I want to write about strawberries, customer service, and corporate greed. Perhaps at some point in this piece, a point will evolve. Maybe, maybe not. Today I am writing to vent and get some sort of peace. It isn’t intended to make a point. I am just contributing. You, the reader, can be the judge of it.

Work was rough this past week. Currently, we are down two people on our team, and the emergencies kept coming at a blistering pace. I work as an administrator for a school with students who have special needs, we are called the emergency room of education because the students who come to us, have been removed from their previous school, and we are the last stop . If we are unable to help a student many will end up in jail or residential facility.

Thursday was a nutty day.
So after the craziness of the day, all of the staff was hanging around outside chatting. One staff member suggested to me that I bring in some snacks in the morning to help boost morale.

So the next morning I stopped at the store, Most of the staff is on some sort of diet, so I stopped at the grocery store and purchased some fruit. I noticed that strawberries were on sale. I saw the sale price, and that there was a limit of four packages of strawberries, so I scooped up four and dropped them in the basket.

At the checkout, the cashier said that you can only get two packages for the sale price, I told her the sign said four, she said yes you are correct, they changed it this morning. I punched in the numbers for my club card, and she informed me that only two packages of strawberries came off. Then she told me that you get two packages for sale with your club card, but to get four you need to download the mobile app to get a scannable coupon for the other two. I just laughed out loud. Now the cashier was really friendly, she had a scanner, and she scanned the coupon for me, and I got the sale price.

Now for my rant. This is an example of one- Corporate Greed. I know that some clowns in suits in some corporate office somewhere thought this is a cute idea, hey let’s write stuff tiny, so the customer doesn’t see it, and then let’s use the mobile app. This ticks me off. You already have my information because I have the club card which I have had for over 18 years. Now for some reason, you want me to download your app?

Listen people in corporate offices, all you are doing is irritating the customer. Here is my advice, instead of listening to Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, or Simon Sinek, come out of your corporate suite and get in front of real customers. You don’t learn customer service and how to help people sitting in seminars in fancy conference rooms. You learn it in front of customers. Here is a policy that you should implement. How about stopping sending people to conferences, and spending your expense account money on booze and fancy dinners. Giving thousands to speakers that you can find on youtube.

You do realize that the same speech you heard the Superstar A list conference speaker give at the nice conference center is probably up on youtube. Instead, take that money and pay your workers a living wage.  Yet you get to sip your latte and talk nonsense about influencers, and proof of concept. The person working the cashier gets to feel the brunt of the customer’s anger because of your silly policy. I have seen cashiers get chewed out by customers and I know that those cashiers or customer service workers are bound by some policy, and some tech nerd tracking metrics, who will come over and write the person up if they fail to hit the performance metric. At this point, I want to stand up and yell power to the people, and down with the man.

Yet you will never come down and talk to a real customer, you will simply pay someone to write up a press brief that says you are committed to excellent customer relationships, please. If you don’t dare to look someone in the eye, then I don’t have time for you or your product. If you came down, then I would talk to you.

Now with that off the table, I also stopped and purchased some donuts. The staff was happy, donuts, fruit, and coffee. After a hard day, that is what people needed. Leadership is about service. It is about serving other people, about building relationships, knowing people’s life concerns. In your business or in your job, who are you trying to help?

If you are a leader serve your customers and your people. Your customer is not your email list. Your customer isn’t your webpage. Your customer is not the hotshot consultant with the fancy buzzwords. If you have forgotten who you serve, then look around and find them. We all have problems, and we all want to be loved. Even right now, one side of my brain is calling me a hypocrite for blasting people in corporations that I don’t know and making vast assumptions about how policy is made.

Another part of my brain is screaming at me, saying that this is not how you write. You read Brene Brown for goodness sake.  Yet as I finish this piece, I had fun writing I don’t feel bad about this either. I take that back, I feel a little bad. Yet I am having a revelation. I am the boss of my own art. My writing is my art. Your writing is your art. If you are worried about what people think about your art, then break the chains. I can say this for one reason. The url of this page is called THE STEVEN THOMPSON REVOLUTION. I am Steven Thompson and this is my Revolution. See you next week!

2 thoughts on “Just a vent about strawberries.

  1. Ha, Steven, I love this. Sign me up to your revolution, I am 100% and more, in!!!
    As the boss of your own art you may not care less, about my comments, but just in case your left and right brain want to battle it out, here’s just some of what I love about this post:
    1. This description of your hands in the writing process: My hands are middle management waiting on corporate to make a decision. The hands don’t have any decision making power. They are trapped in a top-down corporate structure. PURE GOLD
    2. The rant. Oh thank goodness you gave me that. I could feel my own rant rising as I read the story of you trying to purchase the strawberries. You released it for me.
    3. The ongoing battle between your left and right brain: I don’t feel bad about this either. I take that back, I feel a little bad
    4. The call to serve people and to break the chains. MORE GOLD
    and, finally,
    5. keeping me hanging to find out how that bus ride went
    Thank you

  2. Hey Steven, I had fun reading this. I like the honesty and stream of thoughts. Messy is fun. Messy gives us more to talk about.

    I’m also proud of the shift you’ve made with knowing your art is your own. Remember the belief used to be something like the art needed to be bought by those buying screenplays. Your revolution is loud and clear and that’s awesome.

    How did you feel after the vent? Which part of ‘think, plan, act’ is a vent?

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