Friday, September 13, 2013

Dressing Simply

I gave my students an assignment; my students gave me an assignment in return. I submitted this email to the CEO of the company this morning.

September 13, 2013

Dear David F. Dyer, 

Your company was founded in 1983; I have been wearing Chico’s clothing since 1992. So, this means that I have been wearing Chico’s apparel for over 20 years. I had considered purchasing stock from your company. However, after a service customer issue that occurred in the Mishawaka, Indiana store in August 28, 2013, I am seriously reconsidering my position.  In fact, I am reconsidering my position of purchasing any Chico’s clothing in the future. 

The location of this shop is nestled inside a strip mall that is located close to Granger, which is an affluent community connected to the cities of Mishawaka and South Bend. I dressed simply on that Wednesday to shop for clothing because it was a 90-degree day. I sported a black tank top and Chico’s jeans in order to try on clothing efficiently. I did not wear heavy makeup, in fact, not any makeup, out of respect for your merchandise. 

I learned quickly on that day that dressing simply was a mistake. Perhaps if I would have flounced into the shop dripping with diamonds and carrying an air of entitlement, I might have been treated differently. If I would have blatantly expressed the fact that I am working on my fourth degree and teaching classes in a university, perhaps I might have been treated differently.  

However, the most valuable lesson I learned from this experience is that dressing simply was not a mistake, but that thinking simply is. And that is what your staff did on that hot, humid day when they ignored me to fawn over the lady next to me, and the saleslady’s dismissive point to the clearance rack when I inquired about a different dress size. They thought simply, or perhaps they didn’t think at all, when dismissing my inquiry about my birthday club coupon, which I never received.  

I have since turned this humbling and humiliating experience into a positive lesson; I shared this story with my Business Communication class, and turned this into an assignment: How would you handle customer service recovery? My students have given me their written responses; I am now waiting for yours.

Sincerely Yours,

 Lori Caskey-Sigety

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Happy September

I look at the bottom right-hand side of my laptop and realize that it is September. On the 22nd, fall will officially be here and a new season will start. The summer season is always a challenge to navigate, with the hot weather and the memories that creep up and take hold, some positive and others, well, still bring sorrow, although the intensity has significantly lessened, and for that I am grateful. And I am learning that challenge doesn’t always equate with bad.

What I’ve learned through living, loss, loving, reading, research, and therapy is that happiness can’t be lumped through man-made constraints of time: an hour, a day, a month, a season, a year, a decade--but rather though series of events and moments within those constraints. I attempt to mindfully hold on to those special moments and hold them close to my heart, because they are fleeting. Life is fleeting, and does it go fast, so there is no time to ruminate. There is too much more to do and experience and see to stay stuck in the muck of what was.

And if the muck tries to creep in, I turn to music to shield myself. A song that I use to lift my spirits—and the spirits of my students---is Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. I try to remember Marley’s lyrics when I am feeling afraid: “Don’t worry / about a thing / ‘cause every little thing / is gonna be alright.”

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