Saturday, April 08, 2006
 

Do not take internally or use externally

'shroom from my backyard, April 7 2006Okay, so there was a recall on those hella-fun Magentix as of March 31. Here is the Consumer Product Safety Commission bulletin. Out of mourning, I have put a yummy Kinder Surprise egg from Canada on my desk to amuse myself... it's an older one so the toy inside is probably a helicopter. [Update: Nah, it's a 15 piece jigsaw puzzle; for the collectors, it's K 02 Nº 110] My wife and I joke all the time about how American kids (and parents) are too stupid not to eat the toy, and wonder how M&M's have stayed on the market so long since they are a delicious choking hazard. Correction, there are Americans who know not to eat the toys in their food; they grew up in Louisiana or Mexican households, eating King Cake with dolls or trinkets inside.

An update in the icicle light situation -- and don't think that just because I'm not going to post any pictures soon doesn't mean I'm not going to talk about them: The house with the icicles and flakes finally took down the decorations, I noticed today. No, they didn't mow the lawn, so this must be in anticipation of that. (I mowed mine today. It'd been over six months, the yard needed it badlike.) And on that note...

I'd like to give you a little insight on my thought process regarding icicle lights as a general topic. I don't hate them if they're on businesses like coffee shacks, they're a customer attractant. I don't hate them if they're on buildings in Leavenworth, Washington [The Bavarian Village], but those are hung professionally by trained experts. Heck, there are even rare houses that make me ooh and ahh which have them when I take the tour of lighted homes. What it comes down to is a matter of taste, and a lot of people who put them up haven't much. Follow me on this... When icicle lights first came onto the market in the early 1990's, few people had access to them and most of those who did typically did a good job of hanging them (or maybe it seemed that way since there wasn't anything to compare to at the time). What are these boys doing? They looked pretty awesome in 1993 because they were unique. Then the price dropped, the suppliers increased, and they became as common as yellow ribbon magnets and just as meaningful: "if I put this up, people will consider my house as decorated and believe me to be in the Christmas spirit". Most people do a foul job of putting up the lights (huge gap where two strings connect, anyone? sagging like swag?) or their choice of lights is attrocious... seriously, the only place you should hang the kind that come in rainbow colors is around the perimeter of the counter inside a bar, or if you must hang them outdoors put them around the top edge of a gazebo for year-round use, and blue icicles are like blue eyeshadow and should be avoided by 99% of people because they look tack-kay except in rare cases [hint: hang them right and put a tight string of ice-blue or purple or ultraviolet C-7's parallel to them around the eaves, and you will blow the whole damn neighborhood's mind]. Red icicle lights, no matter how much you think red is a Christmas color, are an indoor-only decoration. So be kind to your neighbors and passers-by: like high heels, if you don't know how to wear icicle lights (on your house) then don't put them on or you'll stumble in public. And like I said earlier in regard to any Christmas lights, put 'em up as early as November 1, sure, but take 'em down by February 1 or you deserve to be egged.

Okay, today's stupidity... Weeks ago at my work, we were told that the company we outsource for is noticing that we have a lot of time in "idle work" (also known as "aftercall"), the state of not being available to take a call which is usually used for finishing notes or taking a dash to the can between scheduled breaks, and they asked us to try to cut that unavailable time down. The other day, we received an email telling us that "in order to reduce the number of misdirected calls, and to reduce handle time" we are to schedule a callback, or if the customer doesn't want that we now to give customer service's number instead of tech support's number. I think our corporate overlord needs to lay off the hard drugs (like the chick in the image below); let's look at this objectively:
a) Outbound calls are tracked as "idle work", not as their own category, and when we were told we needed to cut down on the unavailable time the suggestion was given not to offer callbacks, we offer our number so when and if they need us they can call and it won't hurt our statistics.
b) The initial call will take the exact same amount of time if the issue can't be resolved. Don't let this happen to your dick Us calling them or them calling us doesn't factor into call length, duh.
c) The phone system through customer service is pretty damn confusing as well as unreliable, which is why there are misdirected calls in the first place. Why wouldn't you give tech support's number when the customer needs to call back for technical support?
I figure that as soon as the parent company notices that "idle work" has skyrocketed and the number of misdirected calls goes up instead of down -- and the beancounters notice that the phone bill for outbound calls has doubled (as it is, the phone system has trouble finding open lines with which to dial out on those occasional times you do need to call a manufacturer) -- then a few grains of sense will come back. This could take a little time, knowing them, but I'm patient and since this one does involve stuff they care about like $$$ and unavailable time I'm sure they'll figure it out sooner rather than later... unlike why a month after call center management asked the company why one option we do not handle in tech support is still on tech support's phone menu.

Comments:
this is one very interesting post of yours, Mushy! you are talking of all kind of proper everyday things can come to a guy's mind, while in the pictures the things are supposingly on your mind while talking of those proper everyday things show up. oh there are more ways than one way to make us understand! I love it.
 
You could say that... the first paragraph is about things not to put in your mouth, and yard mushrooms qualify; the paragraph about bad taste in seasonal visuals has a pretty good example (just a different season); and the last paragraph is about the things we do while we're on drugs, and she definitely qualifies (and is also something not to put in your mouth).

I just put up pictures and if they mean something next to what they're next to, then great. :)
 
Your company could use a good consultant to talk to the employees and look over the whole shebang, then give logical steps to make it all run more smoothly. You should pose as your identical twin and offer your services.

We've got a business is town that is the most horrendous second hand store you've even laid eyes on. I took a couple of pics of it and will post about it one day next week. They have those icicle lights, and you will not believe what else they have.
 
I checked out April's photos.

Poor Mitch, He never could figure out why his kids all have flaming red hair like his best friend.
 
Jamie:
a) Yes, they could. I think this would be a job for Obviousman!
b) I look forward to those pix. Someone other than me needs to post icicle liiiights photos for once! :)
c) I wondered if you'd looked yet. This wasn't the only lingering question everyone but Mitch had an answer to. Reminds me of an old joke...

A knight was about to ride off to battle, and he entrusted his wife's chastity belt key with his best friend in case anything happened to him. A few miles outside town, the knight was surprised when his best friend rode up to him going as fast as the friend's old steed could go, and breathlessly the friend says:
"You gave me the wrong key!"
 
That first paragraph brings to mind Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor, where I had one of my birthday parties as a kid.
They had this huge vat of ice cream with all the good stuff on it, and the workers would carry it around like pallbearers, and they would play loud music and sing your birthday tune before placing the concoction in front of the lucky b-day kid. Inside the ice cream, they hid plastic zoo animals. They were both a choking and a tooth breaking hazard.
 
And we loved it! We didn't die!
 
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