18 Nov

Itchy Ears

So I’ve stolen a few moments to do an amebo (gossip) on today so far on the upcoming business blog. If you have any great ideas on what I should name it do share!

The DHL man cracked a smile today! If you read the last post you’ll see why this is worth mentioning. There is some sort of glitch in the system so that his manifest doesn’t show all our collections for the day. This means he has to create one by painstakingly writing out each name, address and long tracking number for each parcel. Today we had more parcels than usual so he was well annoyed. He looked up and hissed; “what kind of life is this?” I had nothing to say besides; “Have you made a complaint to them?” which immediately sounded stupid as: 1) He probably had- countless times, and 2) Would they even listen? This is DHL.

So I pop in to get him a small card- an invitation to church with times and address. The reverse of the card reads “Life doesn’t have to be difficult“. I give it to him as I ask where he lives, etc. He says; “church? You won’t need that”. My heart sank, brotherhood of the cross and star maybe? He continues; “I’m a leader in the church!” He said it with a smile. I was so happy because this man has never cracked a smile, ever. He went on to tell me the name of the church and it was not a cult, relief. If the Lord allows me, I’ll do a post on cults one day ;-).

The second bit of gist is still evolving. I got a general email from a supplier who informed us that his payment terms are changing to pro-forma, i.e full payment is required before goods are dispatched. I email him back to let him know that we are happy with that, hope he is well, etc. The reason for the change is that yet another children’s furniture store has gone out of business and he has lost money for the second time in 6 months. So we email back and forth a couple of times as I commiserate with his loss of funds, and we talk about the economic climate. Then my curiosity got the better of me and now I desperately want to know who it is. So I google all kinds of keyword combinations- children’s furniture bankruptcy, insolvency, this, that and come up with nothing. I email him after thinking of a dignified way to be an amebo, and he is yet to reply. Hmmm. This was not on my schedule today by the way. I guess now I am feeling embarrassed because he knows my reason for finding out isn’t because I want to console the other party!

On another note, I’m super excited about tomorrow’s fair! I don’t quite know if it is the prospect of meeting customers face to face which I love doing, or 2 nights at the Best Western-complete with a protein-rich breakfast, no house chores, and my own space? The word “mummy” will not even feature, WOW!!!

Thank you for reading, a more informative post next time I hope!

12 Nov

A Day In My Life…

I’ve been thinking about starting another blog- 2 actually. A spiritual one sharing my journey with the Lord like Bimbylads and Jaycee and a business blog.

If I had the Christian one, I don’t know what I’ll call it but today’s post will read something like this;

It’s been a week since I started to examine myself. It all started when I read a devotional with the title, “Check yourself.”. The scripture referred to was Haggai 1:5,

Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways!'” – Haggai 1: 5 – 7 (NKJV)

So began this journey of self discovery as I spent time with the Lord and the fine-toothed comb of the Holy Spirit going through every area of my life. The  topics I covered were (spiritual, emotional, physical, past present and future) on my conduct, attitude, health, finances- everything, even down to beauty regime- yes I like to look good! The Lord uncovered and discussed topics like time keeping, focus, discipline, obedience, etc. Apparently there’s plenty in my life that needs working on! But the good thing is that he also showed me my strengths and they are many too. I wrote out new goals, resolutions and carved out a new vision for my life. Right now I am feeling very refreshed, clean, free, lightheaded, and happy. Something else I have learned to do in the last week is acknowledge my weaknesses and disappointments. It is perfectly okay and expected that you will have disappointments in life and there are some things you cannot do. Denying it isn’t and shouldn’t be the name of the game, instead recognizing and embracing them even makes you stronger. After all that is a part of who you are. Just as I don’t hate any part of my body, I don’t hate any part of my life, past present or future.

Oh, and in the process I adopted Maria Shriver as my second Mum and Paula Deen as my big sister and mentor. Let me know if you want to know why! Trust me, strange things happen when you examine yourself.

And my Business Blog would possibly be named “Dairy of a busy mum of four active boys and wife to an affectionate, loving husband- each with a humongous appetite- working towards her enormous goal of being the Purveyor of fine Furnishings to the Rich and Famous“, or something like that.

Today’s Post will read:

I am loving my new schedule. I had no idea successful entrepreneurs needed to have an airtight routine in order to function so well. I thought being your own boss meant being flexible. Carla is settling in nicely and she is very quick and enthusiastic. I realise now that I am a control freak and have a tough time delegating. I am also a bit of a micro-manager. I know God will deliver me from that.

I thought my root canal would be the worst occurrence of the day but now Schenker“Europe’s Largest Logistics company Established in 1872” have lost 2 cradles bound for the Republic of Ireland. I have been on the phone to Eve all day, it baffles me how she is able to keep the cheer in her voice amidst such a catastrophe. You see to her it is no big deal, the company she works for has dealings with multi-million pound companies and my little tuppence aint that much. Plus of course, she’s just the Customer Rep responsible for deliveries. Unlike me she would not spend the weekend agonizing where my customer’s new twin babies will sleep, as they’ll be arriving soon. She’ll be going off home to her boyfriend, or out with her friends for a girls’ night out.

I digress, sorry.

The other issue is with one of my European suppliers. After countless emails over the last year we finally met in Germany last month. It was a lovely meeting, the Italians are very affectionate. We hugged like we were sisters. Now she’s gone AWOL and I have an outstanding order with her- and a very anxious customer “whose baby is about to pop” any day now. I can’t reach her. Emails, phone, fax, nada. I sent an email to her colleague or business partner or whoever the other company is that she is associated with. After struggling with the language barrier and half-making sense thanks to google translate, he called her for me, said he spoke to her and asked her to call me. Of course she didn’t and now he isn’t answering my calls either.

I’ve been searching for affordable but comfortable hotels with wifi in Hampshire for the Christmas Fair next weekend. My assistant-cum-young cousin who was to go with me has pulled out of the trip. The Lord is taking care of that so I know that I will have some assistance during the fair, I’ll let you know how that plays out.

The Green Tea Rug was collected today. This was the second attempt at collection as the printer jammed while printing the shipping labels 2 days ago. Surprisingly the usually grumpy DHL driver was sympathetic. His mannerisms and expressions always seem like he is about to scream. I’m sure the customer will be well pleased.

A customer has made about 5 different attempts to purchase an ££££s baby cot online. His card isn’t going through. I call him for his card details so I can get an authorization from the bank. He declines and says it’s a surprise for his S.O and he didn’t want her coming into the room and overhearing. He keeps trying- on one occasion with a different name. I can approve the transaction if I am confident that it isn’t fraudulent, but I’ve been burnt once before- and it still stings. So I google his name and come up with a man recently arrested for killing his pregnant girlfriend. I’m not inferring, just saying.

Thank you for reading, do come back!

http://www.lightherlamp.com/
09 Nov

Lessons The Vacuum Cleaner Salesman Taught Me

I promise this is my last spill on Salesmen. I may have made that promise on this previous post, I apologize for breaking it!

Hubby, who is ever so sweet finds it hard to shut the door in people’s faces so when the Vacuum Cleaner man came acalling, he agreed to a demonstration at a later time when yours truly would be home.
The demonstration was meant to be for an hour, and by our calculation would be done and dusted by 8pm. Now 8pm Tuesdays was a crucial time in our household. The boys went to bed earlier, I was on a high and hubby and I just couldn’t wait for Prison Break to begin!
So the salesman began by introducing himself to me, showing his driver’s license for identification. That was when I made my first mistake.

Lesson one
Don’t engage in conversation.
I remarked how slim he had become compared to his photo. That, my friend was when the man gave me the looooong spill about how he was so overweight that he nearly died. He told me his story while very slowly unwinding the power cord from the cleaner. I figured it was an emotional story, once we get past this point, we’ll be on the move. Wrong again.

The conversation went on, I learned that he nearly died twice on the operating table, during his stomach stapling procedure. And how he had to have his stomach stapled twice. That he otherwise shouldn’t be standing in my living room at that time. Somehow it led him to talk about his grandmother and how her son (his father) knew she was going to die. And how she asked her son to stop praying for her so that she could go in peace. This led to talks about our faith, we shared the same faith- then he told me the history of the church he attended. His father was the pastor. He paused only to describe in detail the directions to the church and if I’d ever been to Marietta I would recognize the monument a few yards from the church . I should have just said ‘yes, I know the church‘, sadly some of us are slow learners. So he continued until I was forced to lie.

Lesson two

Be ruthless

By this time the presentation had not even started. I gathered the courage to gently stir him towards the reason he was in my living room. He then began by saying he got paid just to do the presentation. I assured him we had heard of the brand but we certainly were not going to purchase a thousand dollar vacuum cleaner today, but he was happy to simply do the pres and get paid. He said it didn’t matter so long as he showed me what the machine could do. If that’s what it took to put some money in the man’s pocket, it wasn’t so bad right?
He finally began. Attachment after attachment, he drawled on and on and on about how great the equipment was. From the ability to suck up and hold onto a Yellow Pages Phone book, to the gentle rose petal cleaning setting. Hubby wickedly abandoned me by this time to watch Prison Break upstairs, can you imagine?
Don’t worry, I paid him back as the V.C man asked to show me the dust mite removing function, so upstairs we went!

Lesson three

Don’t take him upstairs, Do tell him you majored in Biology

Not surprisingly the dust-mite demonstration was preceded by a lecture on the life cycle of dust-mites, what they liked to feed on, etc. He went into details of how allergies could lay dormant and then suddenly appear- a result of inhaling dust-mite droppings. His words were shrouded with pity as he spoke.

Next we went back downstairs where he nearly showed me the fan blade cleaning attachment. This time I put my foot down,” NO! I believe you, no need to show me!”

Finally, he asked me a very surprising question; “Would you like to buy one?”

My simple answer was “no thanks”

“Can I ask why?”

At this point I was convinced he had a recorder as his sales calls were being monitored. What else was I to think? Did I not tell this man at the beginning I only agreed to this for his benefit? Still I answered;

We are not in the habit of making spur of the moment financial decisions, especially spending that much on a V.C.”

“So it’s the money then? Give me a second“, he quipped excitedly.

He gets up to make a phone call which goes like this:

“The lady said she isn’t willing to spend a grand on a v.c. Oh? Really? I didn’t know that. Okay, that’s awesome. Are you kidding? Right, I’ll get on with it”.

He carries on with me;

“This is so bizarre. My boss actually said we can offer you interest free payments. They don’t do that anymore but he’s willing to do so just this once.”

He whips out his order forms.

“Er.. no, not really. We are not looking to buy a new one, even with your kind offer, thanks anyway. Besides we already have a v.c that does the job, we seriously don’t need all the attachments too.”

“Oh! So you have a v.c already?”

“Er…yes?”

“Great! What’s the brand?”, he scribbles down as I tell him.

“What would you be doing with your old V.C if you were to buy one of ours?”

“We will not be buying one.”

“Hy-po-the-ti-cally speaking, it’s just a survey question, no big deal.”  He was starting to sound condescending like I could not think hypothetically.

“I’ll give it away to charity.”

“Okay. I just need to call my boss.”

“The lady said (repeats entire conversation) and that she’ll be giving away her old one to charity if she bought ours. Oh really? You can-not-be-serious. No! wow. I didn’t know you could do that. Okay, that’s fine then, thanks man.”

V.C shakes his head a few times.Stands up and paces back and forth. Then he sits again and puts his head down on the table for effect, mouth open wide in “disbelief”. After what seems like an eternity of me wondering what his great comeback will be, V.C speaks.

“I didn’t know they could do that. I se-ri-ous-ly did not know that was possible. You learn a new thing everyday”, he says to me. He keeps shaking his head. Me, I leave him to do his routine in peace.

“Would you believe they said because you are giving your old cleaner to charity they will knock off the cost of a new one? Approximately $120?”

“??? I’ll be honest with you V.C. Even if you sold us this cleaner for 10cents, I wouldn’t buy it, we don’t need it. Maybe when I move into my dream home I’ll give you a call but for now, we are very happy.”

Finally he left, but not before admitting to me that the only reason he bought one was because

he moved into a previously lived-in house. Oh and yes, we didn’t really need one as our home was a new build.

Phew!