I appreciate good customer service, and service recovery when it’s needed. Today I was pleasantly surprised when I received a followup to my customer complaint email to Pick ‘n Save after I purchased a bakery item there that … well, it just tasted funny. Strange, because I usually am quite satisfied with the products there at the north side store. The director of the store called to apologize and asked what he could do to make everything right. I expected perhaps the $4 replacement price. He was soon at my door with a smile, a dozen of my husband’s favorite powdered sugar donuts (they really are good), a gift card and a bouquet of flowers. It does pay to complain. I believe it helps us to be alert consumers, get value for our money, and helps the stores improve their products and processes too. Thank you, Pick ‘n Save!
Sometimes, the mind’s eye takes a snapshot that captures a mood, an event or even the weather. This winter, and it still feels like winter, has been way too cold too long, even for Wisconsin.
Driving home through an older neighborhood last weekend, I saw a family gathered in front of their home. The air was damp and chilly, and the sky hung like a permanent grey tarp above their heads. The family stood in the semi-shelter of the wide porch that fronted their two-story house, a narrow strip of grass in front of it. In the instant I drove by, they looked like statues without expression, a portrait of flannel shirts, hats and jackets. One or two had a can of beer in their hands as they stared ahead. A pink plastic trike sat untouched on the sidewalk. And there on the grass was the focus of the family’s stoney attention. A small black Weber grill sat on its tripod in cold insolence. There would be not brats today. No burgers. No happy children playing barefoot under a sunny sky. No T-shirts and shorts and laughter spilling off the porch. This was Wisconsin and they’d have to wait like the rest of us for spring.
The chill in the air this time of year, like a clean knife, cuts the warmth of summer from our skins and breath. Like past summers, this year’s is already a memory.
Halloween defies the obvious. The cold to come, the bright crisp leaves littering the sidewalks, the darkening days. The dead are alive and children costumed fearlessly as ghouls and zombies and clowns and super humans patter through my neighborhood. Dancers and princesses and storybook Miss Muffets politely rap at a doors and beg for candy. Lions and tigers and alligators, some in daddys’ arms, pursue their treasure from behind furry faces; some trip over their tails.
What I like about Trick or Treat is that the ritual treats everyone equally, no matter what their size or age. The callers at my door last Saturday ranged from babes to teens. Some adults were costumed too, under the ploy of accompanying their children; they wanted candy too.
There should always be a time to pretend, to be what you are not, or what you think you could be, or even what you are afraid of. Imagination is not just for the young. It allows anyone to dream and soar above the chill of an ordinary dull-dressed day.