Today, I've announced some bad news but I also have some great news. My short story Jungle has been accepted by the all to awesome Lamplight Magazine.
I never got an answer to one.
Yes, yes. There are five days left in the month, but I had some insight. It's called Google. I could have save myself a bit of waiting if I had thought to use it sooner.
Anyway, here's what I found out. White Cat is supposed to be run by an author Rick More. He became internet famous for having his story stolen by David Boyer and according to his website, wrote a tell-all book about his experience. He also used his fame to launch White Cat Publications which, according to this, is guilty of not paying writers.
If you want to know more, read through this to the end. Apparently, he doesn't have they time to let writers out of their contracts,(There are at least 100) but he does have time to keep accepting stories for another magazine and will re-open in 2014.
I can kind of empathize. Running a publishing company is a lot of work and I can't imagine trying to manage fourteen publications at one time. If you're thinking of submitting to this/these publications, I suggest you wait. That he's financially strapped is much less worrisome than his inability to release writers from their contracts or at least communicate what's going on. He's probably embarrassed, but still...
One day while vacuuming the many legged and exceptionally drowned critters off the bottom the pool an attractive man (do not trust my judgment here and by that I mean, I hadn't been on a date in ever = lowered standards) chatted me up and asked me for my number.
And then he didn't call. No worries though, this tale doesn't end here. You see he texted: "How are you?"
I replied. "I'm fine, and you?" The and you is something I learned Korea and can be attached to the end of any answer.
"Yeah, my grandmother died. And you?"
This continued for two weeks. (And you?) Finally, he said, lets go out at 9pm on a Friday. And I was like, "Sorry, but I have plans all weekend." So, we returned to "How are you?"
"I'm fine..." followed by "How about you?" (I'm a wild woman!) Actually, things were getting boring so I tried to make a joke.
"I don't understand. Please explain?"
Have you ever tried to explain a joke that someone didn't get? Have you ever been asked to do this by text?
Well, finally Mr. Suave asked me on a date. There was just one catch:Me: "When and where?"
Him: "What do you want to do?"
Me: "You decided, but don't stress. Keep it simple, no worries. We're just getting to know each other and it doesn't take much to amuse me. "
(Roommate: "This is true squared.)
Him: "I like that. So what do you want to do?"
Me: "I am not going to plan the date."
Him: "Ok. What do you want to do?"
Rinse, repeat a few more times, insert me telling in to just "pick a location and a time. It's not hard." (Example: McDonald's, 2 PM... did I mention lowered standards?)
So I make plans and his feelings get all hurt because I wouldn't free up my entire day so he could cancel at the last minute. Which, to make this fairy no-tale short:
Fail, Romeo, Fail
Him: "Good morning? Sorry, but I have to work..." Me: (Lingering in bed because he hadn't answered my text confirming plans.) "Ok."
Him: "Let's do something next week."
The blank slate
Okay, so I actually have something meaningful to say. But, before I can tell you that, I have to tell you this.
Once upon a time I wanted to ride horses professionally. I wrote about that here. But what I didn't tell you about horse back riding is that the only way to overcome your fear is to ride the horse, not how you expect him to based on how he was the last time you rode him, but how he is now. I learned that if I didn't want a horse to buck, I had to ride him everyday as if he had never bucked. Anticipating what might happen often lead to bucking. And even when it didn't, I hardly noticed when I finished riding. I was so busy anticipating what was that I couldn't appreciate what is.
Can you see where I'm going with this? Whether it be love, writing, or riding clean your slate. Not once a year, once a month, or once a week. Clean it everyday. Rinse and repeat.
But to be clear. This doesn't mean staying with a man or woman who beats you or a horse who throws you off everyday. Sometimes, you have to start over. But clean your slate with the next man, woman, horse, friend, or gorilla.... whatever. You get my point.
First: There is going to be text and one photo today because I'm typing this from KFC and their WiFi is extra O sloooooooow.
As a noun
1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.3. regrets A courteous expression of regret, especially at having to decline an invitation.
As a verb:
1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about. 2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.
I regret the KFC I ate. (Calories, oh my!)
I will regret the KFC I just ate. (Over abundance of grease = heartburn, oh yikes!)
Future continuous tense:
I will be regretting the KFC I just ate on the throne later tonight. (Do you really want further explanation of this? I thought not.)
Technically, all of the above are mixed tense thanks to the word "ate" but you get the point.
All KFC jokes aside, I have one main regret in my life and it's that I didn't get a job sooner. You see four major car repairs drained what was up until June, decent savings and left me with no choice but to take a job in a call center.
Call center work doesn't have to be bad and yet I've never worked for a company that made it good. The job, in and of itself, isn't bad, especially if it was really about customer service. But it's not about customer service. It's about sales. Remember this the next time you internet or TV or phone service provider. When you are routed to sales, you are being routed to "sales and service." More often than not you will get sales but not service. It's like a magicians trick and of course the bill you get after you asked for help lowering your bill will actually result in an increase.
Sales is not always a sly business, but it usually is. It focuses on buzz words like "value" and "you" and results in customers not being told about early termination fees, not because the reps wouldn't tell, but they're not trained to tell you. And they have crappy jobs where their scheduled changes, they are not notified of the changes and get written up when they are late. To be clear, this has not happened to me; its just an experience I read about on Glassdoor but is in keeping with my previous call center experiences. The training class I started out with began with 32 people and we are down to nineteen. That means eighteen hopeful employes are busting with excitement to serve you. I don't count because this is not my first or second time at a call center.
But rest assured, if you get me on the phone, you will get customer service. I know how to do things other reps have no clue about, but are integral to the job. I also know giving customer service will not result in job security. So, if you ever wondered why, when you call for customer service, you get a lot of miss-information and pot-luck, and reps who won't help this is why. Giving you real customer service will affect their handle time, their sales quotas or transfer rates. Also they were taught what to say, things like "I will help you" or "I will fix your problem" but they were not to HOW actually help or fix anything. In fact, very little of the training, whether it be one week or eight, will have prepared them to help you.
If you read my blog, you know I am not a negative person, but about this I am extremely jaded. So, some words of advice:
If you want to order services, whether it be a phone or TV do it online.
If you must call, ask for the reps ID before you do anything else. Write this number down along with the date and time you called. If they refuse you, call back until you find a rep who offers it freely.
If the rep you get doesn't seem to know anything, hang up and call back. Call back until you get a straight answer. Do not wait thirty days or until whenever.
If you have a $900 dollar bill and someone says they can't do anything, they really can't. If you're owed money, the amount is probably over their limit and their manager's limit. But somebody can do something. Call back. Eventually, you'll find the person who knows where to send your account to.
If your account is placed under investigation, call back and confirm that it was indeed placed under-investigation. This will be noted in the account and it really may take 30 to 60 days to get a credit applied. Pay your recurring service charges and no more. You can't be disconnected for a disputed balance as long as you keep everything else current... however, if the rep doesn't know how to set this up and/or does not notate your account... goodbye service; hello restoration fees.
However, if you keep track of the reps, their ID's and the dates and times you spoke to the rep, the call can be retrieved from the system. All you have to do is write a letter to the corporate office of said company and/or their legal department.
Unfortunately for the reps who mishandled your account this can mean termination. Don't worry too much, though. Most reps last less then three months before they quit are terminated for other arbitrary reasons.
But most of all, remember as you struggle to get good customer service over the phone, that reps do want to help you. But they can't due to a combination of poor training, misinformation, and policies that benefit the company, not you.
Finally, if you come across this and you need help with a crazy bill but can't get it. Email me. I'll be glad to help know what to do and when to do it.
And to the big corporations: There are ways to solve this if you really want to.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018