Sunday, March 30, 2008

Riddle of the Day

Q: What's black and bejeweled in a sea of denim?

A: Me at the gala on Saturday night! I should have listened to my MIL when she called that morning to warn me off my new cocktail dress but noooooo, I just *had* to wear it! For a minute I thought about racing home to change but then convinced myself that it was I who was dressed correctly and all of those other schleps had the attire wrong. At least I felt better. Husband, in his infinite kindness, said nothing to exacerbate my unease.


Everyone Else:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Leaving Wreckage in My Wake

If you go to the baby stores at Barton Creek Mall and notice that the display strollers are in various states of mangle and collapse, that was me. I can collapse them just fine, but can't seem to get the hang of unfolding them back to their operational state. Any of them. So I'd just shove them back on their respective pedestals and leave.

Shopping for baby accessories is going to be *so much* fun (said with *so much* sarcasm).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How Could Something the Size of a Flea Take So Much Out of Me?

So, judging by my sidebar you probably figured out the reason for my absence: I'm pregnant. Besides basking in the glow of this thrilling news, I have been spending a LOT of time in a horizontal position (even more so than I did pre baby, ha ha). I nap in the morning. I nap all afternoon. I'm ready to go to bed at 8:30. It's ridiculous! And although I'm doing my best to keep up a healthy exercise routine, I find myself *exhausted* after walking only 4-5 miles (which was something I had no problem doing pre-pregnancy).

According to my "Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Pregnancy" (or whatever that book is called) (give me the clinical reference any day over the fluffy "So You're About to be a New Mommy--Now What?" books), this child inside me is the size of a flea. I even created a growth chart and taped it to the fridge since Husband has no concept of all things baby. Therefore, I think my baby widget is wrong.

The question is, how could something so small make me so tired? I don't have morning sickness (yet) nor am I ravenous (yet). I'm just tired. *All* the time.

In my next blog, I'll write about how I broke the news to Husband. For some reason, he thought I was joking. It took me telling him FIVE TIMES to convince him that I was telling the truth. Imagine that!

Addendum: I almost forgot that Melek tagged me to reveal what's in my Coach purse (the same one that she carries). I will let the contents speak for themselves:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sorry I've Been Such a Slug!

New posts are coming, I promise. Just had a lot going on the last week. I've got the posts in my head, I just need to transfer them to the computer. I hope to start that tomorrow (Tomorrow--ha! I am the queen of procrastinators. Ask me how my GMAT's going. No wait---don't. Don't ask me about that.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dance, Monkey, Dance!

As if I'm not sedentary enough, I taught Le Pooch Grande to fetch the paper.

In other news (ha ha--that was a pun--haha), have you seen this?

I haven't been able to find the first season of Friday Night Lights anywhere--until now. And it's all free! This is especially useful for those of you who've been trying to download NBC/Universal shows off of iTunes (Apple and NBC don't like each other right now, so NBC/Universal pulled all their stuff off iTunes).

I just finished reading "October Sky" and guess what? The movie is on this site. For free. Imagine that!

Some of the programs have commercials, some don't. I watched a full episode last night of Friday Night Lights and there were no commercials. Two days ago Husband and I watched and episode of The Office and there were commercials, however, the commercials were *very* short (10 seconds?). In fact, the commercials were so short that we actually watched them!

Try it out, let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

That's One Way to Sucker Someone into Teaching the Class

A little background first: I volunteer for a Habitat for Humanity program wherein we install free computers in the homes of people who otherwise can't afford it. In addition to setting up the computer, we are responsible for connecting/testing the Internet access and making sure their email is setup correctly.

As volunteering goes, Habitat for Humanity is great! They're organized, respectful and really take the time to make sure that their volunteers are comfortable with the work they are performing. This includes training, if you feel you need it. Since I've never attended one of their volunteer training classes, I figured it would probably be a good idea to go to one before I perform my next install. Here's the email chain:


From: Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 3:20 PM
To: All Volunteers
Subject: AccessAll Classes

Dear Habitat for Humanity Volunteers,

We are having another round of classes and installations!

Classes start Monday, March 17th with Introduction to the Internet at 6:30 p.m.

Internet Safety is Monday, March 24th at the same time.

Let me know if you're interested! The installations are April 4th.


Volunteer Coordinator


From: Femme
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 3:22 PM
To: Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator
Subject: RE: AccessAll Classes

Dear Volunteer Coordinator,

I am and can (so far) do either time. Let me know where you need me. I’m dying for something to do since getting laid off (other than study for my GMATs).

Kindest Regards,



From: Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 3:25 PM
To: Femme
Subject: RE: AccessAll Classes


Wonderful! Would you like to do Internet Safety on the 24th?

- Volunteer Coordinator


From: Femme
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 3:26 PM
To: Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator
Subject: RE: AccessAll Classes

I would be happy to. I’ll will mark it on my calendar!


From: Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 10:25 AM
To: Femme
Subject: RE: AccessAll Classes

Dear Femme,

Hello! Thank you for signing up to teach the class on March 24th. Attached to this email you will find the class materials and a PowerPoint slide show that you will be presenting. If you have any questions...(blah, blah, blah).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wait--I Thought it was Jodie Foster Who Starred in "Taxi Driver"...

This is younger sister's Glamour Shot also circa 1994 (remember, we went together). She was only 11. I'm pretty sure a crime was committed here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Super Mario Brothers

My Score: 200
My Nephew's Score: 51,450

My Age: 36
My Nephew's Age: 4

Friday, March 7, 2008

1994---Was it a Bad Year?

So...M2K2 has posted her Glamour Shots and I couldn't be more disappointed. I mean, what's going on here? We have proof that Glamour Shots circa 1992 were we have proof that Glamour Shots circa 2001 were also good. Was 1994 a bad year, or something? Can Glamour Shots be likened to grapes? Come to think of it, 1994 was the year I wore a black, floor-length jumper to the office Christmas party and the year I fell head-over-heels for Jimmy Hendricks. He took me out on a date and then proceeded to flirt with the woman sitting on his left (and I wasn't even wearing the jumper). I was devastated but didn't let on that I was upset. In hindsight, I should have thrown a drink in his face or cracked a candlestick over his head or something.

That settles it. 1994 was a bad year.

I think Melek and I were gypped. Hmmm...should we consider a lawsuit of the class-action variety?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Offer To Do Their Hair--Then Ruin It!

In keeping with my jealous nature, I offered to highlight my sister-in-law's beautiful hair in order to "save her money". I used to be a hairdresser (18 years ago) and am somehow still licensed in the state of VA. I bought some professional color that I had never used before (and thus had no idea how it worked) and proceeded to turn my sister-in-law's beautiful, golden highlights into an ashey shade of gray-blonde. I then convinced her that it looked good and that we should update her Glamour Shots. We chose the upstairs bathroom for our studio and used various backdrops to include the couch throw blanket and shower curtain. Genius!

Classic GS

Who, Lil' Ol' Me!?!

Did I hear a request for Shoulder Pads?

After she was ravaged by my brother...

This is What Happens When Your Cousin Works for Glamour Shots

This is my sister-in-law. Forgive the quality, it's a picture of a picture. Her cousin worked for Glamour Shots in 1992 and gave her a sweet hookup on the hair and makeup. No Mickey Mouse trucker cap in this picture, no siree. This is just straight up glam. If I didn't love her so much, I'd rip her hair out. Thank goodness the contest is for "Worst Glamour Shot" and not "Best". I still have a chance to capture the prize!


I saw this weird, downtrodden Statue of Liberty puppet person while driving in Fairfax County, VA. Why do companies think that humiliating their employees is a good marketing ruse? It certainly caught my attention, but I couldn't tell you what company was being advertised..

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Road Trip

I may not be blogging for a few days because I'll be hanging out in this guy's neck of the woods:

Then again, you never know what might happen while you're traipsing around the nation's capitol...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Because You Asked for It

Here it is, Rose (per your comment in my last blog post). What can I say?

Update: this is the new and improved Certificate of Greatness. M2K2 thought that it was lacking credentials, but she rectified that situation. I am grateful.

More Discomfort at Select Comfort

I walked in, pillows in hand, dreading the interaction that lay before me.

"Femme! How are you!" the kind sales lady from yesterday said to me, a questioning look in her eye.

"Oh--I have bad news, I'm afraid." I told her. "After reading the online reviews about your product, we canceled our order ."

"Why? Why on earth?" Her eyes grew larger. "What reviews? What website did you go to? Didn't you look at the reviews on our website? They're all good! All of them! They're good!"

Reminding myself that my objective was to return the pillow and not argue with the sales lady, I kept myself from stating the obvious about researching a product by reading the reviews on the manufacturer's website.

"Well, no. I read the reviews on other websites..."

"But you should have gone to our website! The reviews are fantastic! They're all you need to look at to know how great our product is!"

"Cindy (not her real name) listen--if you were buying a used Ford would you only read the reviews on Ford's website?" I didn't let her answer. "No, of course you wouldn't. That would be a very irresponsible thing to do. You would hopefully read every review you could find with an objective eye."

Just then a second salesperson popped out of the back, shocked that I would not take Cindy's word at face value.

"I don't know what website you were on," Other Salesperson said, "But our product gets great reviews across the board."

"No, I'm afraid it doesn't." I told her.

"Well exactly which website did you look at?? You can't just make up your mind based on one website!"

" was all of them. We spent several hours poring over the reviews and looked at at least one dozen websites. I'd venture to say that roughly 90% of the reviews were negative."

"This just doesn't make sense," Cindy said, "our website reviews are really all you need!"

Back to that argument again. I decided to shut it down once and for all.

"Okay, Cindy, I hate to do this but I need to level with you." I leaned on the counter so that I was looking directly at her. "Yesterday you told us that there was a 30-day money back guarantee if we decided to return the bed."

She nodded.

"You also informed us that we would have to pay $200 to have it shipped back to you in the event that we did choose to return it."

She nodded again.

"What you failed to tell us--and I think this is rather important--is that we would also be out an additional $150 for the original setup fee. So that's $350 and nothing to show for it if we decided to return the bed. See, that's what we learned from reading the online reviews."

She looked stunned and turned to the register stammering, "Well I apologize for that. If you'll remember, I received a phone call right about then and it slipped my mind. I sincerely apologize for failing to tell you that."

"I understand how that could have slipped through the cracks, but it makes us wonder what other loopholes are out there. For this, we lost faith in your product. I'm sorry to do this, but let's just please process the return now." I noticed that her hands were shaking. I felt bad. She truly is a nice person.

"Femme, I will process your return as you requested but I have to say that I am adamant you give this bed a chance!"

"And I am equally adamant that you please process my return."

Meanwhile, Other Salesperson is looking at me aghast. I stare back at her and this is all the encouragement she needs to try out her powers of persuasion.

"I just don't understand what reviews you could have been looking at. I mean, what did you search under? I've got one of these beds and I've never had a problem with it!"(Remember this line for later.)

"I researched using the keywords 'Select Comfort Problems' and 'Select Comfort Reviews'", I told her, "I even tried 'Select Comfort Raves' but that one returned no hits. I urge you to try this yourself so that you can see what consumers are saying about you."

"Well what are they saying?"

"That your bed's components malfunction. That they are havens for mold. That the customer service department is rude."

This is too much for Cindy to bear. She disappears into the back office and returns with a homemade certificate.

"Look! Look at this! We have the best customer service in the industry! It says so right here!"

I glance at the certificate and feel bad for what I'm about to say to Cindy. "Er...Cindy? Where did you get that certificate?"

"Select Comfort headquarters!" she says proudly.

"Precisely. They made that certificate for themselves. How can I believe a certificate that they made for themselves? If it came from an objective third party, that would be another thing but..."

"But it's right here on the certificate! And look---this sign (on the register) says that we are a Consumer Reports Best Buy."

" you're not." Man, this sucks.

"What?? Yes we are!"

"No, you're not. I spent a great deal of time on Consumer Report's website and they steadfastly refuse--and they say this right up front---to review mattresses."

She was dumbfounded.

Other Salesperson stepped forward to have one last go at me. "I still don't understand how you can say that the customer service is so bad. I've had nothing but positive experiences with them!"

"That's probably because you haven't called with a complaint."

"Oh, yes I have!" (Huh? I thought she said she'd never had a problem.) I had a problem with the remote and they fixed it right away!"

I decided to let that one slide.

"How long have you had your bed?" I asked.

"Fifteen days!" she said proudly.

"Well..." I waited a beat so that I could say this as kindly as possible, "according to the reviews, the beds don't usually start failing until after several months have gone by." I was feeling really bad by now.

Other Salesperson faded into the background.

Trying to redeem the situation, I turned to Cindy whose hands were still shaking. "Cindy, if you are not making six figures, you are working for the wrong company. You are one of the best, most likeable sales people that I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with." She looked visibly relieved. "I mean it. I feel terrible returning this bed because you stayed an hour and a half after closing to work with us and I hate that you're losing your commission."

"Thank you for your kind words--they mean a lot to me." she said. Dignity restored, she shook my hand and we wished each other well.

And thus ends my short-lived but tumltuous relationship with Select Comfort.

Select Customer Service

"Ring Ring!"

"Ring Ring!"

"Hello, Select Comfort? I'm calling to cancel an order that my husband and I placed last night for one of your beds. I'm afraid we had a change of heart."

Last night my husband and I spent hours reading online reviews for Select Comfort beds after purchasing one. Normally you do this in reverse, but we like to live on the edge. The reviews of malfunctioning parts had us so concerned that we decided we didn't want to take our chances.

"Let me transfer you to the correct department" said the sweet, elderly lady who answered the phone when I pressed the phone option for general inquiries.

"Hello! Returns department!" said the brash voice on the other end of the line, "Can I help you!?"

Uh oh...

I spoke with quiet confidence in hopes to disarm her. "Yes, my husband and I placed an order for a Select Comfort bed last night at one of your stores. We've changed our minds and would like to cancel it."

"Well...I can certainly help you with that, but may I first ask what changed your mind?"

"Certainly. We spent several hours reading reviews online and found that there seem to be a lot of problems with malfunctioning parts."

"Malfunctioning parts? That's a rare circumstance."

Rare circumstance my patooty. Select Comfort has an entire phone tree option for malfunctioning parts. In an effort to remain polite, I did not tell her this.

"Yes, malfunctioning parts." I said. "My husband and I are both engineering types and reports of malfunctioning parts makes us nervous."

"Well, I see. You know, for every good review there's a bad review. Did you even *look* for the good reviews?" Her voice lost its friendly edge.

"We certainly did," I told her, "In fact, we wanted to find the good reviews in order to feel better about our purchase, but I'm afraid they were far outweighed by the bad reviews."

"Well for every good review there's a bad...what else did the reviews say?"

"That you have poor customer service." I duly reported. This is true. The reviewers complained long and loud about how poorly they were treated by Select Comfort's customer service department.

"Oh, I see. Well I'm sorry they feel that way. We don't feel that way."

"Of course you don't," I thought, "that's precisely why you're service is so poor." I bit my tongue.

"I'm afraid your customers do."

"Well, you should look for the good reviews, you know, because for every bad review there's a good review."

What was this? Groundhog Day? How many times was she going to read me that script?

"We'd just like to cancel our order," I instructed, "Please let's continue with that."

"Fine," she said. "Let me pull it up right now. Hmmm...I see that you also purchased two accessories (read: pillows) which you have in your possession. I'm afraid you will not be able to return those."

"Actually, yes I will." I told her.


"I will be able to return the pillows. In fact, according to the contract I'm holding right now, I must return the pillows if I cancel the order or I will be charged for them." I love a good fight.

"Oh no," said Brash, "That is not the Select Comfort policy. Our company policy states that you can only exchange accessories, not return them!"

Side bar: Why do these tools call pillows "accessories"? That's like when I bought my condo a few years ago and they kept calling the fountain out back a "water feature". I looked right past the fountain trying to find this illustrious 'water feature' before I realized that they were talking about the fountain."

"And the piece of paper with your letterhead that I am holding in my hand tells me that I must return them when I cancel the order." I retorted, still polite.

"Well..." She was losing ground. "That's not our policy. You can only exchange them. We will not accept your return."

"I'm afraid you can't do that," I told her. "I've got it in writing. You simply have no recourse."

"Well, I'm sorry (no she wasn't) but company policy does not allow for returns of accessories..."

"See...this would be an example of your poor customer service," I said slowly.


My order was canceled without further discussion.