Little Black Heart: What does it take to make a difference?

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I once took a Facebook quiz, back when taking Facebook quizzes wasn’t just something your parents and grandparents did, back when only students could have Facebook profiles, back when all Facebook photos were party pics uploaded from a digital camera… sigh, the good old days. I digress… I once took a Facebook quiz and it was called: “What colour is your heart?” 

Behind my keyboard I clicked away, telling Facebook with brutal honesty, how I would react in different situations and who I am as a person. I clicked submit with glee as I waited for the results, which obviously were very scientific and meaningful. Submit… Processing… Black. Wait… what? The colour of my heart was black. Not pink, not red, not even green or blue, but black. That’s not even a colour! I stared at the screen perplexed for a minute as the true colour of my heart was automatically posted to my profile. Well little black heart, I guess the world knows our secret now. 

So, you’re probably wondering, 1.) what’s the point of me telling you all of this and 2.) should you really continue being my friend/colleague/acquaintance? I’m getting to it!

Over the past few years I have been volunteering my time with two different organizations in our city: Big Brothers Big Sisters (6+ years) and Make-A-Wish (1.5+ years). Shocking right? I guess they didn’t catch my little black heart in the interview!

The one thing I have noticed when people hear about my volunteer work is that I get all sorts of compliments and pats on the back. “You’re amazing!” “I don’t know how you do it!” “Oh man, I don’t think I could do that.” “You have such a great heart!” (Ha!) 

Now I love compliments (almost as much as I love getting likes on Facebook) but in the words of one of our three year old Wish Kids, “I’m not a princess, I’m just a regular girl.”

Before I started volunteering, I too put volunteers on a pedestal. I viewed “them” as different from myself. “They” were bubbly, keeners. “They” were probably nicer, smarter, and better than me. “They” were movers and shakers on a mission. I, was little black heart. I admired the difference they were making, but didn’t think I could do it.

After perusing the Big Brothers Big Sisters and Make-A-Wish volunteer applications for awhile and chickening out, I stopped and thought about it. I realized that “they” were just regular people too,”they” just decided to step outside of their comfort zone and follow their heart (whatever colour it may be).

My little black heart told me that if I found the right opportunity, I could have a positive impact on my community. So I leaped and I’ve never looked back.

What does it take to make a a difference? Being yourself and having the confidence to know that you can. Take the leap, you won’t regret it.

Coming back, when you’ve let yourself go.

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Oh hey old friends!

I’m writing to you from a place I have been before. I’m writing to you because maybe, just maybe you’ve been here too. I’m writing to you because quite frankly, I need a bit of a kick in the ass. Here we go…

I had the best summer. A little bit stressful, a little bit busy, but in the end, a great time was had. I travelled, I partied, I enjoyed the hell out of my new backyard. But what I didn’t do… was yoga, spin or barre. Like… at all. 

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but before summer hit I was seriously killing it (toot-toot). I was going to spin or barre at lunch and finishing the night off with some yoga. I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and began to view my body more by what it could do and less by what it looked like. I felt strong and it was empowering. I was doing poses in yoga I didn’t even think were physically possible!

It was a great place to be, but one day I just… stopped. I let the lure of sunshine, Netflix and wine on the deck carry me away. Four months of bliss but now I am here: ready to get back at it and absolutely terrified. It’s easy to workout when you are already fit. It’s hard to face the music and realize your body isn’t capable of what it once was and know that it’s your own damn fault.

Anyone who has been here before knows that the hardest part is getting up, driving there and walking through those doors. It’s nerve-racking. Like first date, nerve-racking. You know it’s either going to be great or terrible, there’s rarely an in-between. If you’re competitive with yourself like I am, the whole time you’re going to be comparing your current self to the fit, ass kicking version of you from before.

You’ll be frustrated when poses that used to be restful are now a shocking amount of work. You’ll be embarrassed when the weights you pick up are much lighter than before and still seem like torture. You’ll be annoyed when the instructor pushes you harder and counts out those last thirty seconds in the slowest.countdown.ever. “That was WAY more than thirty seconds you bastard, we know how to count,” you’ll think in a fit of blind rage. And then the hour will be up and you’ll realize that you did it, you survived. It might not have been pretty but you did it.

On Friday, I dragged my nervous self back to spin and I survived. Yes, I was way worse than before, yes I contemplated cancelling the class about 100 times before I actually went, and yes I felt discouraged while I was doing it. But when it was done? I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I’m not telling you this to dig for compliments, I’m telling you this because I’m going to need this reminder and you might to. It’s easy to feel good when you are doing all the right things, it’s harder when you’re clawing your way back. Working out, spin, yoga, barre, running, whatever your thing is: getting it back won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. That incredible feeling once you’ve accomplished even just that first class back, is your glimmer of hope.

Keep going, don’t stop. We don’t want to be back here again! And if you reeeeeally need to, hit up DQ afterwards, to remind yourself that after all, you do need balance. 😉

Why my Best Buy experience was the worst.

I have been trying to decide whether or not I should write this blog post for the past week or so. On the one hand I don’t want to be viewed as complaining for the sake of complaining but on the other hand I am so shocked at this customer service experience that I just can’t seem to help myself.

Below is the Facebook private message (and eventually the email) that I sent to Best Buy about my “worst buy”. (Just wait until you hear their response….)

We went to buy a t.v. this afternoon at Best Buy in Edmonton and the sales associate helping us told us there was a 40% fail rate for your televisions while he was trying to sell us the $300 dollar Best Buy warranty.

Is this correct? Almost half of the televisions that are purchased at your stores come back with problems?? He also told us that the fail rate for your computers was MUCH higher. I wonder what your suppliers like Panasonic and Sony would have to say about this statement. I find it hard to believe these major players would stay in business with such atrocious fail rates.

Also, after we declined the warranty because we said it was a rip off he offered it to us for half price. Dropping the price by 50% seems pretty outrageous and made us feel even more like the warranty is a scam. We were also surprised to find out that this price was negotiable, how many people are getting ripped off spending $300 on a warranty they can get for $150??

We did end up purchasing the television we wanted but this experience made us not want to purchase it at all or purchase any other product from your stores. By telling us the television we were buying has a 40% chance of not working and pushing the warranty on us because something will “most likely” go wrong with it your sales associate took away our excitement about this purchase and made us lose total confidence in the quality of your products. This experience made us feel like we just spent $1000 on a ticking time bomb of problems.

I think it is important for you to know that I have never written in to a company to complain before but I was so disappointed by this experience that I felt compelled to. I will be sharing this information with my friends and family so that they can purchase their products at a different store where they can feel comfortable and confident in what they buy.

Shortly after I sent this message I received a call from Best Buy Canada’s head office. The woman apologized to me (which I appreciated) and she explained to me that she had never heard of these fail rates before. She also assured me that this was not how their sales associates are trained to sell the warranty. She asked that I email her a copy of my receipt so that she could contact the store and let them know about my complaint.

Here comes the part that shocked me… she then proceeded to try to SELL me the warranty… again! I politely declined (even though by this time all of this warranty talk has given me a complex and I feel like our new tv is doomed to be a dud… man I hope not). I then emailed her a copy of my receipt as requested and mentioned that I was really surprised by her response to me. That was one week ago. I have yet to hear back.

To be perfectly honest, I am not sure there is anything Best Buy could do at this point to even have a hope of getting any of our future business. But what I wish they had done was:

  • Told me the real fail rates for their televisions and computers
  • Assured me that the television we purchased is of top quality
  • Respected the fact that we declined the warranty 
  • NOT tried to SELL me the warranty again
  • Shown a genuine interest in keeping us as customers 
  • Recognized that while they did get our business this time, we regret it

It seems to me that the only thing Best Buy was worried about was the fact that their sales associate was going to give us a deal on their warranty. The minute our credit card was swiped our experience and customer satisfaction no longer mattered. Oh how I wish we hadn’t been constrained for time and so determined to purchase our tv that day. Oh how I wish we had listened to our gut taken our business elsewhere.

Your turn… What is the worst customer service faux pas you’ve ever experienced?

I’m all fired up!

Vanity Insanity, photo credit... me!

Is it just me or has the standard of what is considered a newsworthy item totally hit rock bottom? Every morning I peruse the Edmonton Journal or the Calgary Herald online and almost every morning I come across some so-called “story” or even worse “gallery” that I feel is completely outrageous and well… degrading. Normally in these circumstances I simply stew on how disappointed I am in our society and wonder whether other people feel the same, send out a tweet, and then drop it. But today’s gallery however, has proven too much for me to simply stew, drop, and ignore (it’s 10:30 PM and I’m still thinking about it!).

The gallery was titled, “Freaky photos of beautiful stars.”

 “Are they wearing insane Halloween costumes?” I thought to myself. “Maybe there are pictures of the celebrities after being scared like in a haunted house? Or hmmm… perhaps they are doing some death defying stunts?”

And away I clicked! My curiosity got the better of me. I should have known better.

Instead of being anything remotely “freaky” this gallery simply consisted of mildly unflattering photos of beautiful stars. Now someone please tell me how the hell these images are “freaky?”  Is a double chin that exists only at a bad camera angle terrifying? Or how about pursed lips, do they make your skin crawl?

I see little hope for the self esteem and body image of women in our society when “stories” and “galleries” like this one exist in our local newspapers. *sigh*

The cardinal sin… blogging about blogging

The blog gods are angry, readers beware.

I read somewhere that blogging about blogging is the cardinal sin of… well… blogging. So what the blog am I doing?! The blogging gods are going to come down and smite me! The truth is, I have been trying to write another blog post for the past two weeks and have been feeling quite frankly, uninspired.

After my last blog post, “This really makes my blood boil!” I received so much positive feedback and an astonishing number of views that I am almost paralyzed at what to write next. Is it just me, or is there something about praise that is crippling in a way? When I was writing a blog that no one read except about five of my Twitter followers and my roommate, I focused on my thoughts and nothing else. Now that I know people are actually reading my writing, I picture their faces… your faces… and I feel totally naked! 

This minor stumbling block (also known quite simply as, writer’s block) reminds me of my first blog. In that post I decided that I need to stop thinking and worrying about what other people are going to think and start doing. I need to get my blog on, if you will. So coming soon to a computer screen near you… my next “inspired” blog post. (Unless of course the blog gods do in fact smite me, in which case I will be off dealing with that.)

Until next time…

Betty