Pictorial update.

This is the view from my window at work. I had to capture this the other day. It was such a lovely day and the contrasting colours gave me that glad to be alive feeling.

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And this is a picture of my son. In the last few years he’s gone from a scared boy suffering school phobia and scared to leave my side to a brave young man willing to try almost anything.

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Spot my other little ones too.

Happy weekend.

Life- Slow down!!

I feel like I’m living somewhat of a paradox at the moment. There are things happening in my life I’m anxious to hasten and be at an end and other parts of my life I wish I could slow down.
My 13 year old son popped his head around the door this morning and asked me something in a noticeably deeper voice. When did that happen? Overnight it seems. He’s not my little boy anymore. I have to look up at him now to talk to him when I’m in my slippers with no advantage to my height.
My eldest daughter is making plans to go to college to study her A levels. Where did my little tousled hair baby go with her incessant need to ask why?

Don’t mistake me. I love them being older and having friendships with them and coffee dates and giggles about silly things. But the slow, longdrawn out process of letting them go is tough. I know it’s a natural part of life that begins the second we behold them for the first time. We spend our lives as parents preparing them to stand on their own 2 feet and not to need us so much but it pangs ……

My youngest daughter will be 8 in a few weeks time. This thought almost makes me breathless. I could swear it was only a week ago she was a babe in arms. She’s a lovely placid little girl and she continually makes me laugh at the little witticisms she comes out with but I’d be lieing if I didn’t admit to a twinge of sadness that none of my 4 are babies anymore.

I know I’m so blessed to be a parent, let alone a Mother of 4 but I wish I could hit the rewind button occasionally….

Have you heard the news?

You would have to have been blessedly absent from any kind of social media or news outlets not to know there is a general election tomorrow.
The major parties involved have been campaigning for months to win our votes indulging in all kinds of kiss the baby photo ops and highly charged debates. It would seem they are not so concerned with the ardent voters but the undecided and tactical voters.
Living where I do, in a place where things are decided in Westminster other than a few local government assembly issues I’ve even been hard pressed to wonder if I should vote. What difference will it make to my life? My family? My town? When every political party will promise almost anything to win power and gain seats yet these promises will likely go by the wayside once they are elected and in power?
I will be voting tomorrow. If only because women went to an awful lot of struggle to win the right to vote.

A short while ago I came across a picture on a social media site that broke my heart. It made me sob. It took me a few hours to tell my husband about it because every time I would think about it the tears would flow again and I’d be rendered speechless.
It was a photograph of an orphan child lying asleep on a chalk outline picture of a mother. It was captioned this child was a war orphan who was so desperate for a mother’s embrace that she had drawn this picture and gone to sleep hugging it.
As a mother of 4 myself you can understand why it moved me so much. I wanted to hug this child and pour out love on her.

Having done a little research I’m glad to say in this instance it was not all it appeared. The child was a family member of the photographer and there was no tragic back story.

However for many other children orphaned by war this is a true scenario. Heartbreaking as it is there are many children who are innocent casualties of war, suffering ordeals we can only imagine.

When will something be done for them? When will children not have to sleep on the streets any more? When will they be safe and protected as they should be? When will they be fed? When we stop focusing on things that don’t matter and concentrate on things that do. I’m not saying the election isn’t important. It is but there are other more important things with eternal implications and I’m speaking as much to my own complacency as anyone else’s.
But of course this is another important reason to vote so we will have a voice in government to highlight social injustices.

Do as you would be done by is really the key to Customer Service.

In response to today’s Daily Prompt – Lists I offer up the following.

1.- Treat shop staff the way you would like to be treated. With regards to this twice in the last couple of weeks I’ve been kept past closing time at work by customers. I work alone in a small independent shop in a college and we close at 2pm. I am not a strict adherer to that closing time but I do have children that need collecting from school an hour later so try to close as near to it as possible.
Last week I had the misfortune of a rude, patronising customer. Not only did he not listen to the fact I was closed (door is usually locked but I had just served another late customer!) but it felt as if he went out of his way to be as rude as possible. Even going as far as to ask if I thought I could cope with his custom! I so desperately wanted to say no but I want to keep my job so gritted my teeth instead. He then proceeded to look slowly around the shop before making a purchase and asking for some detailed information about a product which I politely gave him.

Contrast that to yesterday, again someone called in at closing time, apologised profusely, had a very quick look around and went on his way. I was happy to help him because of his approach to me. I don’t mind going out of my way if it seems it’s appreciated.

Fortunately I don’t work in a food environment so can’t add anything to a customer’s food as I’ve heard done. Although I am surrounded by paper that could give you a nasty nick and sharp craft knives! Not that I hasten to add I would ever go there.

2- It should be obvious but it’s clearly not, treat your staff well. A good happy worker will put in more than their time and effort and be happy to do so. In a previous job I worked for a large supermarket. I worked as a cashier and if we needed help from the managers for anything we were meant to put a red light on to summon them. These particular managers who were glad to no longer be till monkeys as one of them once told me, seemed to just stand around chatting to each other and ignoring the fact we needed help. You can imagine what it was like at Christmas time with a crowded store and lots of queries. Chaos. Now to clarify I’m not saying they didn’t have hard jobs and never helped but the attitude they did it with was lacking. It always used to amuse me because without shop floor staff and cashiers there would be no business!

3- lastly and most importantly, shop work is not the lowest of the low and staff should not be treated as such. Customer service is actually a difficult industry to work in and not suited to all. With an emphasis on the customer always being right not everyone is able to be diplomatic and courteous and wear a smile. My husband is always telling me he couldn’t do it! Customer service is an integral part of business and an advertisement of the business involved. It doesn’t indicate a lack of intelligence on the worker’s behalf or a lack of ambition. For many it is a stop gap, for others it is a vocation and for others a step on the path to advancement. You may be a manager and have studied a degree to be so. This does not make you worth more than your shop staff who may not have had the chances or opportunities you have had. I love my job now but I’ve also cleaned toilets and cleaned a huge shopping centre. I’m not proud and I have children to feed.

Customer Service rant over….

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