Monthly Archives: June 2007

Customer Service Score Card

I have always thought that it be a great job to be travel writer — visit fabulous places for free and be super critical, what could be better? Since my paltry writing skills will never land me that job, I’ll have to play out my fantasy on my blog and you all will have to indulge me(or click to the next blog)

Notice that I said being critical is part of the fun. So I developed my own little system for ranking the vendors and services I encountered on my latest trip.

1. US AirwaysTwo out of four legs were more than 30 minutes late, out of all of the people I encountered on my four leg journey greeted me with a smile and said hello. However, a savvy travel writer picks up on the feelings of other travelers and US Airways was failing in a big way. Northwest has been getting lots of media heat for cancelled flights, but it seemed like US Airways was in the same boat, we heard of at least five cancelled flights on the western us during our journey and not once did I see a helpful positive employee, stranded passengers were sent to wait in line after line. I would recommend avoiding this company, I know I hope never to fly with them again.

2. Greyline Disney Shuttle Hooray for consistent reliable service. I think I have taken this shuttle from LAX to Anaheim at least four times and feel comfortable recommending them to all. It runs on a regular schedule and the drivers are always nice. The return trip was over the top in customer service and I feel horrible that I didn’t get the driver’s name(my excuse is pure brain exhaustion after 3.5 software training days). She gave a running commentary on the way back including key sites for movies and a general overview of where the various cities around LA are. The kicker was that instead of dropping us a the airport where we were planning on taking another shuttle to our LA hotel — she went out of her way to take us directly to the hotel! Great job!!!

3. Disneyland Hotel
Just because it’s Disney doesn’t make it great. I can’t quite give it two paws down because there were a few good things — check-in desk staff super wonderful! Banquet waitstaff fantastic!! Steakhouse 55:spendy, but they know there way around a steak Prix Fixe menu was a great bargain(on Disney Standards ie less than $30/pp) Housekeeping — friendly with average service(wilted flowers left for two days, I threw them out and they were replaced the next) The bad: banquet food yuck (I know you can only expect so much) day one was great and set the standard high: eggs well cooked with cheese and chives for condiments, plus a cereal and yogurt bar. Unfortunately other breakfasts fell short with runny scrambled eggs (with no condiments)and dry baked goods. Other hotel food venues: overcooked shrimp, less than friendly waitstaff. Lifeguards at pool: scary. Don’t go thinking that I spent a lot of time at the pool because I didn’t, but my room overlooked and every time I looked out side the lifeguards were all standing together with backs toward the pool.

4. Disney Store in Downtown Disney:
Disney is full of lines, everyone knows that. But it’s no excuse for poor customer service. At any other retail store in the country (ok except Wal-Mart) 10 customers would not be left in line while clerks counted cash in not one but TWO drawers. I of course made a comment — to which the response was — ‘were pickup, we have to do this.’ And while I understand counting one drawer, I totally disagree that you had to move on the the second without apologizing to customers or searching for another clerk. It’s so UN-Disney.

5. Pearson Learning: Pearson is the parent company of Powerschool. The swag was good, the trainers knew their stuff. Second City evening event was fun. But a couple of key things kept this crew from a paws up rating: Trainers didn’t know where bathrooms were located and the first day sent participants far off into another building. On the end of the second day I heard rumors of a closer bathroom and confirmed. This in my mind is event planning 101 — label your bathrooms and make sure the trainers(especially those in opening session) know where they are. Other major flaw: No trainers gave out contact information — I believe this is on purpose as Pearson charges a support fee and while I recognize that some folks may take advantage of trainers hospitality, after paying $2000 to attend I believe I have the right to contact a trainer to ask a couple of questions specifically related to the training when working with my live data.

6. Camp BowWow
I would give these guys 10 paws up if I could (well I know I could, but a good travel writer sticks to her rating system :)). I was totally addicted to the webcams — I saw Tanner have lots of fun and gets lots of love from the staff. I honestly think he is depressed to be home or maybe just plain tired. If I didn’t know better I would think he was sick, but watching him run around day after day I know he’s just plain pooped. He didn’t even give the bunny a good chase this am — poor guy.

So there you have it, my trip in a nut shell. Now back to normal life…

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A quick greeting from California

Classes are going well although the one today was a bit over my head. I was happy to tread water for most of the day and discover a few good tips.

It’s very hard to sit in class when the SoCal sun and lovely pool are calling your name, my only saving grace is that the pool is full of kiddos. Just one thought about the number that pee in the pool will keep me far, far away.

After all of these years, i have a deluxe room at the disney motel — 10th floor w/balcony overlooking the afore mentioned pool. It’s a long way from the ‘not even a’ Motel 6 or trailer park we stayed at when I visited as a kid. Not that I’m complaing I wonder if the kids that are here can truly appreciate the luxury.

The best part about my room is the balcony doors slide open so far and it’s warm enough to leave open at night. It’s my own version of high-end camping. Open air on a king size bed w/cable and internet — although not wireless.

For some reason my card reader doesn’t work so I’m not able to share and pics—boohoo, but I will when I get home.

Have you been watching Tanner at his Camp? It’s slightly addicting — it cracks me up to watch. He’s such a people guy and a busy body. I haven’t seen him sit in one place for more than a minute and he’s always where the people are — if they move, he moves.

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Update to yesterday…

I forgot my hairbrush and any kind of pain medication…ACK! You would never believe I used to travel 30% of the time. My excuse is that the toiletry pack used to just stay packed all the time and I didn’t worry about anything. Clearly I need to restock my bag…I think my small brush is in my glove compartment(does anyone ever put gloves in there?) in my car. Lots of help…

Disney is great! Even for all my whinning as soon as the bus pulled up ‘the disney magic’ put a little spell on me and I couldn’t help but smile.

Looks like Tanner is doing well…hooray!

More from the House of THE Mouse later.

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Overpacker’s Annon.

If this group doesn’t already exist it should and some one who cares about me should drag me to a meeting.

Even with all my traveling, I still have a tendency to overpack. It’s crazy…I make a list, I count the days, coordinate clothes all the right things, but when I get to where I’m going I always have too much stuff.

Finally this morning I had an ah-ha moment and realized how it happens…I stick to my plan up until an hour or so before hand. And then I walk around my place and think ooh I might need that and shove it in at the top, and then something else and then something else. Must learn to stop this craziness.

Off to conference in Cali for most of the week, check out Tanner on the web cam at Camp BowWow…he has group play from 9-11 am and from 1-5 before he retires to his private ‘room’ to sleep it off.

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The things you know…

but forget you know until it’s too late.

I have no doubt this will be a reoccuring theme as I start to blog regularly. Maybe if I write them out it will help me remember when the time is right.

Here’s the first few items to the list…
1. Never wash anything else when washing new towels. Yep did it just a few weeks ago and everything had little pieces of lint on it.

2. Too many cherries = tummy ache

3. Sunscreen is your friend…luckily I’ve been able to remember this regularly this summer, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I forget this on

4. Mountain folks don’t work on Fridays…this is a great thing for meeting planning that requires travel from Littleton to Arvada via C-470, no commuters to deal with YAY!

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Relief…

Relief is the theme of the day…

I have a brand new appreciation for graduation and diploma certification after the past couple of months. Today was a special day for about a hundred kids in our program — high school graduation. I’ve been working with the teachers and other admin staff make sure the graduates were indeed ‘ready’ to graduate. The jury is still out for a few who need to finish their course work — but today was a happy day as they walked across the stage to accept their diploma (well the cover anyway) I’m glad to have the bulk of this tough project behind me. Finally!

Even greater relief Tanner passed his ‘boarding school’ interview today and will be able to stay at Camp BowWow while I’m at a conference in California next week. I was starting to really stress last weekend where my three possible in home sitters all realized they couldn’t watch the T man for various reasons. So I went back to my original plan of boarding him. The tough part was waiting all week for him to have this intro visit. I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

The best part of Camp BowWow (for me at least)? WEBCAMS! I can watch him play with other puppies all day long. It was so neat to watch him settle in and play. The best part for him, based on the webcam viewing this aft it’s probably a toss up between the other dogs and the number of folks that are in the play rooms to pet him — he’s such a sucker for a butt scratch. Even if I couldn’t watch him play I would know he had a great time because he is exhausted right now.

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Clicking through the blogs

I think lots of us now have regular blogs of friends and family or interest that we read on a regular basis. But…Have you played Blog Roulette? Have you ever tried the next blog link…I’ve become slightly addicted…it’s like going around the world in 60 seconds.

I’ve found a few gems, I only wish I would have bookmarked a few at the time so I could find my way back.

Fashionist…wonderful shots of everyday fashionable people in San Francisco
Pearl Jam in Spanish…with a fantastic pic of eddie veder
Other scrapbookers
Interesting business thoughts
Amazing photos from everywhere…

To all these folks I’ve seen and the many more I have yet to read, I say THANK YOU!
Thank you for…

  • expanding my horizons
  • sharing your world
  • keeping me entertained
  • inspiring me to write often
  • accepting life for the wonderful random qualities

If you’ve never done, go ahead a spin the roulette wheel. And it is a roulette wheelword of caution…this is not for the weak of heart or easily offended. I know blogger works hard to keep out the offensive material, but on more than one occasion I’ve come a scantily clad lady.

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Have I mentioned…

since moving to Colorado 6 months ago I have had the opportunity to meet and scrap with the most amazingly talented group of ladies?

I think I have once, twice, ok maybe five times…Saturday was no different. The peas gathered for their first crop at Mary Kay’s store. We had a great time and the juices were flowing. Literally Roxanne brought some yummy lemonade — watch out starbucks.

Everytime we get together I feel a piece of my old happy self come back and my creativity is pushed to a new limit.

Speaking of a new limit, I spent most of the evening working on a small mini album with some coasters. The bulk of the time beading binding to look like purse handes, I still have to decide what to put in the book. Once that part is done, I’ll post a pic.

Speaking of these amazing women, I’ve been challenged by Viv to actually submit something to a magazine — ack! And a laundry list of a call, now the challenge is what to pick. So it’s off to my gallery I go.

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Weekend is over…

and while it was way too short, it was a good one!

I got an earlier than usual start by waking up early and heading downtown to the BallPark Market with Rachel and Kelly. We started at Common Grounds to get our java fill and then off bargain hunting we go. Rachel and Kelly were the super shoppers at this event — I was a good girl at this point and bought only one little thing for $5.

One vendor had a great deal on some adirondak chairs. Check out Rachel in a cute green one.
But we passed them by.

Then Rach had a silly idea for an impromtu photo shoot by the buildings around LoDo…The girls did most of the shooting. Silly me I just sat back and laughed most of the time. After Lodo, we headed over to the Highlands neighborhood — where I would LOVE to live someday, but it’s the new urban chic neighborhood so it will be a loooooong time and a lottery win before I can move in.

Anyway the neighborhood was having a block party/art festival. We walked past lots of cool vendors with beautiful jewelry and other fun things
including these fabulous flip flips…this should give you a clue about the chic-ness of the area…these guys go for a bargain price of $45 dollars! Can you believe it? Even I the impulse buying queen was able to pass up on these. Probably because I’m reasonably certain I can recreate for under $15. So the hunt is on for cute wide ribbon and a sparkly charm. While there we popped into several neighborhood shops. The coolest by far was and interior decorating and gift shop called Unique. They have the most amazing wood floors that have been stenciled and stained by Carl the owner, too bad they’re not on the website. I splurged on a couple of silver and mother of pearl mini-bowls to hold little special things in my scrap room. I also fell in love with a beautiful lamp, it was $215 ack! The worst part was I actualled considered purchasing it…remember the bad with money post from a couple of weeks ago? This is a classic example — I’d love a $20 lamp for the living room can”t find one and think spending $60 bucks is crazy, but here I was considering spending over $200, crazy I know!

So at the end of a very tempting day, here are my treasures…
I spent less than $30 dollars…Yippee! And yes that is a peach in the picture, it is totally a treasure. 1. It was free 2. The vendor is a new farmer’s market store is opening in my neighboorhood.

After the art fair it was home for a few hours of R&R and then to the fabulous Scrapbook Destination for a special crop with the wonderful Co Peas group. More on the crop tomorrow.

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Happy Wednesday!

Do you ever have those mornings where you think thank god it’s Saturday and I can stay in bed and then your brain really kicks into gear and says ‘um no…it’s Wednesday…you must get up’ This is one of those days and I’m pretty sure the original Starbucks folks had their brainstorm on a day like today. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, in fact I hate it plain. But…add a pound of whipped cream and some regular cream and then some caramel and life is good. My favorite part is the first taste of the whipped cream and caramel. So it’s off to work I go, fully caffinated and almost ready to start the day. Lots of little things and a cluttered desk ugh! No comments Mom, I know your’s is just as bad.

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