Sorry, no customer service after 4:00 P.M.

My real, live experience with “customer service”. If you run a business, don’t do this.

A while ago, I wrote about 8 ingenious styles of customer service that every business should know about, mostly because their employees have been inflicting them on unsuspecting customers.

For instance, I warned about “in your face customer service” and “run for cover customer service”, two equally effective opposites…like pouring too much sugar on your Shreddies one morning for breakfast, and dumping too much cayenne pepper on them the next morning. [Read more…]

The Surprising Value of Vultures

The vulture shortage really did happen. It was a few years ago, but 100 percent true. As for the rest of the story…

Uncle Filbert and I were engaging in some leisurely small talk about the usual topics: what to eat for dinner, how the children were growing, the odd weather we’ve been having lately, and of course, the severe vulture shortage in India.

“It really has placed the country in quite a pickle,” Uncle Filbert observed.

I agreed. “Whatever will they do for Thanksgiving next year?”

“It’s a vulture shortage, not a turkey shortage,” Uncle Filbert explained.

“Well, at least they’ll have the pickle.”

Even vultures have value

Uncle Filbert ignored my wisecrack. “It is a serious, serious, serious affair. Carcasses are littering the streets.”

“Vulture carcasses?” I asked, trying to picture cyclists negotiating an obstacle course of knee-high black-feathered mounds.

“No, cow carcasses,” Uncle Filbert answered.

“Cow carcasses?” I was puzzled. “Cows don’t eat vultures. Er … do they?

“No.” Uncle Filbert assured me. “The majority of Indians are Hindus, and they neither eat nor kill cattle. I am sure it is against the law for cows to die. But cows aren’t too well versed on legal technicalities, and they go ahead and die just the same. Indians rely on vultures to clean up the mess, mess, mess.”

“Why don’t they just ship the dead cattle to America? People can’t get enough beef there.”

“You don’t understand,” Uncle Filbert cried, waving his hands. “Cows are sacred to Hindus. Imagine the sacrilege if McDonald’s got their hands on holy Hindu cattle.”

“Holy cow!” I exclaimed.

“Everything has a value. Everything is useful,” Uncle Filbert said.

“Even car alarms that won’t shut off?” I asked.

“I mean that without the vultures to eat the rotting cow carcasses, India’s environment is getting dirty, dirty, dirty. Hygiene has become as scarce as two-dollar movie passes and disease is banging down the door with a big, loud cow bell,” Uncle Filbert explained. “Imagine what would happen if America had a similar vulture shortage.”

America’s vulture culture

“We have vultures?” I asked?

“Of course we do. We give them gold plated briefcases and law degrees, then we set them free to keep the ambulance population under control.”

“Really? How do they do that?” I asked.

“They help accident victims sue each other,” Uncle Filbert explained. “Imagine for just a minute what would happen if America had a vulture shortage of its own.”

I thought about it for a moment. “Wouldn’t that be a good thing?”

“No, no, no.” My uncle cried. “It would be disaster. It would be horrible. The entire economy would collapse.”

“It would?”

“Yes, everything has a value – even lawyers. I know people like to crack cruel jokes about them, and you’ll probably throw a jab or two at their expense in your blog, but they really are useful.”

“They are?” I asked.

“Of course. We rely on the vultures to clean up the rotting ambulance carcasses. Without them, there would be decaying ambulance flesh all over our highways and icy front steps in winter. It would be an environmental disaster. Dirty, dirty, dirty.”

“What if we just stop blaming each other?” I wanted to know. “What if, when we slip on ice, we just close our eyes and imagine that it has something to do with the cold weather – you know, a natural occurrence, rather than a diabolical plot at City Hall to give everybody a sore tushy?”

“Saints alive! Don’t pronounce that word in your blog. Somebody will surely sue you,” Uncle Filbert panicked.

“What word?” I asked.

“Tushy. Yikes! I just said it, too.”

“But you also just said that everything has a value, that everything is useful,” I countered. “Even tushies. And even vultures. I suppose that means that even decaying cow carcasses must be useful for something.”

“Let’s just hope that the fast food chefs don’t find out.”

Time, energy and money – phases of life

Time, money and energy. You want it all, but you can’t have it all. At each stage of life, the balance changes. So enjoy what you have right now.

Remember when you were a kid, how you had all the time and all the energy in the world? Yes, the world was yours. You could do anything you want. Except that you didn’t have the money.

Well, as an adult, you finally have the money. And you still have the energy. But with the kids and the home and the business, there never seems to be any time to do anything.

No problem. When you retire, you will have all the time in the world. And you should have the money. But oops – where did that energy go?

READ ALSO: No, Really, You Are Never Too Old

You can’t have it all. If you did, you would be Superman. But it is amazing at what you can accomplish and what you can enjoy if you make use of what you do have.

I recall my childhood and how much fun I had. Without the money. Playing in the park and in the forest behind our house. Drawing maps. Reading books. Playing dodgeball. It was a blast.

As an adult, I am having just as much of a blast raising my girls and I really do enjoy most things about my business. I never seem to have much time, but that’s because I am spending – investing! – my time in my daughters and in my business. Sure, I would love to be off hiking and kayaking every weekend. But if I was, I would then wonder when I would ever find the time for the things I am doing now.

And I know that my batteries will start slowing down someday (like when I’m 150 years old, hopefully), but that doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy doing things at a slower pace.

Each phase of life is special

Each phase of life has something missing. But each phase of life has some wonderful opportunities, too.

So enjoy them all. You really have every reason to celebrate…unless, of course, the venn diagram below describes your situation.

Time, Money, Energy

Past Expiry Cartoons (Johnny Ancich) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

No Happiness Without Patience

Instant gratification is not the recipe for happiness. Let’s take a look at how cavemen searched for happiness, long ago…

I’m searching for modern happiness. The old-fashioned kind takes just too long. That happiness requires patience and I don’t want to wait. I want upgraded happiness. I want release 4.02, the “new and improved” version.

This is the 21st century and I demand instant gratification.

Once upon a time, you had to wait to eat your meal. Even when the Mammoth Burger walk-through was open, they offered only self-kill meals. And when you brought them home, you still had to get the fire started.

Patiently waiting for fire to be invented“What? Mammoth burger again? How you cook?”

“Put mammoth carcass on stove.”

“That thing rock.”

“Rock no want to start.  Must make fire for cave lady.”

“Hah. You probably burn cave down.”

“Hah you. No can burn cave down. Buy insurance policy.”

“How you start fire?”

“Rub two fingers together. Make big flame. Cook mammoth burger.”

“Last time you burn fingers.”

“Yummy.”

READ ALSO: How do you fill your time?

 

Nobody lights a fire these days. People don’t even light ovens anymore. It takes just too long to heat up a meal. It takes just too much patience. I’m hungry now, not 40 minutes from now. That’s why God gave us microwave ovens. Just pop the food in and whrrr –BEEP- out it comes, nicely warmed for immediate consumption. That’s how I want my happiness – toasty warm and right now!

“Ooh. No more burn fingers.”

Consider the Internet. You type “electric toothpicks”. You hit “enter”. Google responds: “Search took 1.02 seconds.”

“Seems kinda slow,” you think. “Google is ready for the geriatric ward.” You click on the first result – something about an electric eel eating a balanced breakfast – and a blank screen appears. You wait.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Did you know that Shakespeare once waited almost twenty seconds for a web site to appear, so he could find a word that rhymed with cardiologist? The web site finally appeared in 1997, but he had given up waiting by then.

Five seconds pass. Time’s up and still no site. Your instant gratification cells have been offended. You surf to another site.

“Ugh. No get Mammoth Burger web site. This thing no work.”That thing rock

“That thing rock.”

“Rock need reboot. Go to mammoth burger walk-through”

I don’t want to walk to get happiness. I want it delivered now. Not twenty seconds later, even if it does rhyme with cardiologist. Not 1.02 seconds later. I want happiness now.

Remote control happiness

Remember the olden days when you had to extract your posterior from the couch to change channels? That took such a monumental effort that most people sat through whole television shows without changing channels. Of course, that might have been because the other channel was playing Lawrence Welk.

Back in the two-channel universe there was always something on. Now we flip through 472 channels, which keeps us busy while wishing for something worth watching.

Thanks to the remote control, affectionately known by its technical term – the doodadder – we can flip channels at a relaxed pace of 15 to 20 per minute without even breaking into a sweat. Imagine our body odor if we had to extract our posteriors from the couch each time we change channels!

“Ugh. No like show. Change channels.”

“That thing rock.”

“Rock need more channels. This play only test pattern.”

READ ALSO: Stay grounded or reach for the stars

Happiness should be like television. If I don’t get instant gratification, I should be able to change channels with a zap.

The checkout clerk who doesn’t care…ZAP!

The driver kissing my rear bumper…ZAP!

The loudmouth yakking in the cinema…ZAP!

The telemarketer who calls during dinner…ZAP!

Come to think of it, all those annoying people in my way at the grocery store, at the ticket booth, in the parking lot, in the waiting room…ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!

“Miss Wooly no give me mammoth burger.”

“What you do?”

“I zap her with club.”

“That thing rock.”

“I zap her with club. Take mammoth burger.”

“Ugh. You invent self-serve.”

Sigh. Happiness is not like a microwave oven. Nor like the Internet. Not even like a doodadder. Happiness does not run on the instant gratification system. Happiness takes patience. Lord, please grant me the patience I lack…and I want it now!

Funny Stories of Humor and Satire

Welcome to my Humor and Satire Collection: articles that are supposed to be funny.Your challenge is to find one that really makes you laugh, then forward it to a friend to share the laughter.

Here they are, my humorous stories in no particular order (which is also kind of funny, don’t you think?)

The Art of Kissing
Kissing is the world’s favorite participation sport. Find out why.

Hotel Jokes Haunt My Nightmares
I used to lie awake in a lot of hotel rooms. Now I still lie awake remembering them.

Help with statistics
So many statistics. So many truths. Which ones are just stories?

Butterfly Crossing

An adventure in facial hair
See what happens when I grow a funny beard.

Curbing the Public Nuisance (Part 1)
The time has come to automate the public nuisance. And not a moment too soon!

Curbing the Public Nuisance (Part 2)
How about some wacky inventions to rid the world of the public nuisance?

It’s a Sick Household
We do things as a family. That’s why we all get sick at once.

Vitamin Supplements in a Liquid World
It’s a worldwide liquidation, from soap to vitamins.

I am a Grinch
Funny how, by NOT wanting a present, I am a Grinch. That’s what I call humor.

What?!? No Bananas?
Find out how bananas and traffic both cast a glimpse of how expectations affect our happiness.

Hippo Rage (controlling rage)
Give up all hope of anger management when face to face with “hippo rage”.

That’s the Christmas Spirit
Is there a wrong way to keep the Christmas spirit all year long?

Clowns

A Bad Hairdresser Day
Why are hairdressers never held accountable for baldness growing in their care?

How NOT to Stop Bad Breathby David Leonhardt
There is a right way and a wrong way to stop bad breath. Guess which is funnier.

Flea Market-ing Lessons
Just what did The Happy Guy learn selling his books at the flea market?

My Career as a Hermit
Writers, stay-at-home parents and online marketing geeks – stories of a hermit.

The Pajamas Fashion Primer
If you work from home, you’ll need this fashion primer.

Work-from-home Office Policies
Why should “office workers” have all the fun? This is your policy manual for the home office.

Aging Gracefully (You’re How Old?!?)
Discover the shocking truth about aging gracefully, now and in the past.

Tiger and the Three Pigs (improving self-esteem)
A modern-day fairy tale about improving self-esteem, self-image and self-actualization.

Country Living Explained
City folk just don’t ‘get’ the country. Funny, this story won’t help one bit.

Hurry Up and procrastinate
Three cheers for the last minute … may it rest in peace.

Bigfoot CrossingGrassophobia
We can learn about overcoming our own fears by watching children overcome theirs.

Give generously and sleep better
Givers sleep better at night, right? Or do they?

Sharing The Happy Jar
A little extra effort can make a big difference. Make it personal.

Cleaned Up or Cleaned Out?
Wrestle with the anguishing question of when to give and when to protect yourself.

When Mother Comes to Visit
Just when Mom comes to visit, the house looks like a hurricane wandered through.

By Now, I’m a Expert at Memory Loss
Memory loss is common as we age, but The Happy Guy has discovered a surprising cause.

Painful Lessons from the Maternity Ward (our child-birth story)
Where has all the humor in childbirth gone? This is a funny story…honest!

How to tell if you are a literary snob
A humorous look at titles, status and self-actualization stories.

Mr. Cheapie’s Frugal Dining Tips
Learn how to save big money eating out at restaurants.

Mr. Cheapie’s Frugal Shopping Tips
Learn how to save big money while shopping.

Investing as a Sport
A humorous look at what the bears and bulls do to reduce our daily joy.

Foolproof Customer Service Strategies
A humorous story about customer service strategies that can’t possibly work.

Home of the Year
Discover what it takes to have the Home of the Year.

Unique Gift Ideas for the 21st Century
Before buying anybody a facelift for their birthday, read this!

The Surprising Value of Vultures
Humor: Even vultures have value.

My Book Contains “No Artificial Growth Hormones”
Satire: The Happy Guy wants to copy a biotech giant to hit it big.

Plastic Recycling Confusionby David Leonhardt
Why is it so hard to simply pollute a little less?

Happiness is … recycling dirty diapers
There’s more than one way to be happy in harmony with the environment.

Funny clowns in carSilver Linings Are Everywhere
A satirical look at the true story of how Viagra is helping the environment.

Extreme Fatigue Perpetuitis
Half humor, half deadly serious: learn about extreme fatigue.

The Official Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe for Parenting
Having trouble following a recipe while parenting? This recipe is tailor-made for you.

Top Ten Tools for Writing Humor
Want to write a humor column? Here are ten tips from a humor columnist.

Squish, Climb, Splash: A Family Adventure Vacation
Humorous stories from vacationland.

Tearing Down The House
Learn the importance of time management through this home improvement project.

The Secret Weapon to Beat SARS
Find out how reducing stress can help you defeat disease and illness.

Leadership Secrets from Foreign Penguins
Want self-actualization success? Learn how six penguins achieved their goals using team leadership.

Beware radical mint enthusiasts
Jelly Beans and Toothpaste battle it out for flavor superiority.

No Happiness Without Patience
Instant gratification is out. Patience is in…and so are cavemen, in this humorous lesson.

Thank you for visiting The Happy Guy’s Humor and Satire Collection. We love to share our joy with others.