Thoughts of Nubbs

My spelling sucks,deal with it

Piss Poor Customer Service (Rant)

Piss poor customer service is by far my biggest pet peeve. This weekend I witnessed some of the worst I have seen in the recent past; even worse than United Airlines. Lead up: My wife wanted to get some additional Passport Stamps added to her tattoo. Both of our regular artists book up months in advance so being that the passport stamps are pretty straight forward she started to look at some local shops to get the work done on Sunday as a walk in.  She called Ricks Tattoo.  Figured this is a good place to start. After all they have been around since the 70’s and are a local land mark. Also they are open on Sundays and except walk ins.

She called on Friday afternoon and asked the person answering the phone if they take walk-ins on Sundays. She was told yes they will have multiple artists in the shop on Sunday and should have no issue taking care of her.   She than told the guy, I am looking to get passport stamps, Do you have a person you recommend that does good line work since these stamps are all line work.  Again he stated it would not be a problem and that they had many artists that do good line work and should be able to knock it out for her.  She than asked, should I make an appointment with anybody particular?  I don’t want to not get tattooed because they get booked up. Again she was told no, there would be plenty of artists there and they will get her taken care of.

Sunday:  We roll into Ricks about 12:45 and she walks up to the counter to say she was there for a walk in. The guy at the counter asks her to sign in and take a seat. They have a few openings and a couple artists that should be able to get her taken care of. He said he will go talk to the artists and figure out who is best. We take a seat and start our wait.  Now I have always wanted to own a tattoo shop, so whenever I am in a tattoo shop I pay close attention to how things run.  I have also been tattooed on 3 continents, by at least 12 different artists in 13 different shops totaling over 100 hours of tattooing. This doesn’t count the countless shops I have been in for piercings and with friends getting tattoos. What I am saying is that while I am not an expert, I have seen my fair share of shops over the years.

What I witnessed next made Ricks the first tattoo shop I have ever gotten up and walked out of.

Ricks posted hours on Sunday are noon-6pm.  After signing in we sat down to start our wait. The first thing I noticed was an employee walking around taking everybody’s lunch order. If you open at noon wouldn’t you think you would eat lunch before showing up to work so that you can actually get work done while at work. Now people clients half way through a session are going to have to stop and wait while some of the artists eat. I am not saying artists should not eat at work. I have taken many lunch break during LONG sessions. But I have also gone to artists that plan ahead and try to not take breaks so we can keep working. No big deal everybody has to eat after all.  There was the proverbial loud mouth egocentric artist that seemed to take way to long setting up because he spent way too much time talking about how good he was and how much of a rebel he was. Again no big deal most shops have this guy and as long as his work holds up I find arrogance to be helpful to some artists.  But it all has to be kind of kept in check and not allowed to run so rampant that every customer is subjected to it for extended periods of time.  About 30 minutes go by and my wife decides it’s time to ask what the status is on them finding her and artist and get a ball park time frame for when she might start the process.  This is when things turn south real quick. The guy at the counter says, well we only have one artist doing walk-ins today and he is busy we also want to show him what you want to get to make sure he is comfortable with the line work.  This came out of left field to my wife as she was told a couple times they had artist that could help her and everybody could do line work. (If you know anything about tattooing you know this is the furthest thing from the truth not every artist can lay good lines).  She questioned the guy again saying, you only have one artist free and you don’t know that he can do what I want? His reply was yes, to which she replied “I called on Friday and somebody told me it would not be a problem and you would have multiple artists available. I even stated I was willing to make an appointment to make sure I could get in.”  She was then told that they do not do phone appointments so that would have never been a possibility.  Ok dipshit, way to focus on the secondary problem without touching the primary.  She than asked why she was told when she walked in that it would not be a problem and that they would talk to the artists and find out who would be best. When in fact she should have been informed that there was only one artist doing walk-ins and they didn’t even know if he could do the work. At this point the so called manager walked up to try and help out. Well at least I think that was her thought. However her execution was so bad that it put me back on my heals.  Just when you think you have seen and experienced the worse of the worse when it comes to customer service out of left field comes this bomb shell.  The manager opened with “shit changes”…….That is how you start a conversation with a customer.  This is a simple case of poor communication on the part of the shop and instead of trying to resolve it you open with “Shit Changes”.  I think my wife was speechless at this comment. I was so in shock that I don’t remember what her exact reaction was. I simple stated we are leaving and asked the “Shit Changes” lady who she was. She stated she was the manager to which I laughed and replayed with “You fucking suck at your job” I think her reply was “So do you” or something along that lines.  By that point I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of that place.

We walked out of Ricks on Sunday and will never return. We will never recommend the shop and will make it a point to do just the opposite. We learned a very valuable lesson.  Go to the shops you know treat customers with respect. Ink Junkeez in White Plains Maryland is a good example of this. The Body Gallery in Sterling VA is another great example of this.  There are also many others that I do not have personal experience with but have heard great things from other tattoo artist and collectors.  Just because you are in the tattoo industry does not give you the right to treat people like shit and hide behind the mind set of “deal with it we are tattooist” I have two artist that I will recommend to anybody. One reason is they are among the some of the best I have ever seen.   More importantly they are great at customer service, they respond to tough situation with class and style; they are open and honest with clients; they go above and beyond to help out when at all possible.

This is going to piss off the once a year romantics.

I fucking hate Valentines day. If you need corporate America to remind you once a year that you should do something special for your loved one than let me break it to you easily. YOU SUCK AT RELATIONSHIPS!!!! Every day I wake up I kiss my wife good bye and tell her I love her. Honestly, I do not know that a day has gone buy in the past 5 years that we haven't told each other "I love You". We go on dates at least once a month if not more. I do not need commercials and flower companies and co workers telling me I am a bad husband because I didn't buy her flowers or take her to some fancy dinner on Feb 14th.  I have never in 5 years bought my wife flowers why the hell would I start now?  I'm glade everybody thinks they know what my wife wants when they are telling me I need to go buy her flowers and diamonds.

Better yet I heard a radio commercial yesterday that stated "Just because she said No she doesn't want flowers doesn't mean she meant it."  Sorry , That logic doesn't work for me.  I thought No meant No. Stop guilting men into doing stuff that they would normally not do. All it is doing is setting up woman for disappointment when the guys do absolutely nothing for the other 364 days of the year.

Now onto the asshole whole also made Feb 14th Singles Awareness Day (SAD).  If I find out who you are I am going to kick you so hard you will never be able to reproduce, Why because the world would be a better place without people like you thinking that singles need and awareness day especially on the day Corporate America has turned into a circus of momentary commercial love.   For me personally I loved being single, It was some of the best years of my life. I never wanted anybody to feel bad for me because I was single. But for others it is hard being single. Partially because of the circus Feb 14th has turned into. More so because society seems to label people who choose to be single as some type of failure.  Maybe people are not single by choice. Maybe their loved one stepped out on them, maybe they passed away. Maybe they celebrated valentines day every year with their loved one who just passed and now you are reminding them that they should be SAD because they are single. Have some fucking compassion for the people who are not single by choice and stop fucking labeling them!

Before I get flamed by everybody who lives for valentines day!  I don't care that you celebrate it, I care if it is the only day of the year you do something special with your loved one. I care more if you judge others who choose not to celebrate it, I fucking loath you if you label the singles who very well might want to celebrate it but can not for any number of reasons.

If you do go out tonight please make sure to tip your wait staff well.  They after all are working to make your night special.

Year in Review

I think it is important at least to me to sit down and reflect on the prior year.  I personally do this so that I do not take anything for granted.  You should never take the good stuff for granted, we all know that but I do not want to take the bad stuff for granted either. For anything bad that has happened in my life I have learned more than I have from all the good stuff. What was my last year like:  I traveled to 3 continents, spent Christmas and New Year’s Day surfing and swimming.  I got to have one of the most amazing New Year’s eves with complete stranger who have since because friends. I traveled to a music festival to appease my wife and came out the other end with a new-found respect and love for music and festivals in general. If you are at all a music fan you must go to SXSW!  I incorporated my photography business, started and closed a photography forum.  I failed stats once and passed it once, being .500 means I had a better year than the Cubs did.  I was promoted at work. I took up cycling and meet 90% of my personal goals. I got to spend amazing times with friends and laughed until it hurt on a number of occasions.   But for all that good there is bad. I had to say good-bye to a friend that changed my life for the better in the short 10 years I knew her. At some point I will talk more about that.  I just don’t have it in me to do right now. So that’s my year in review.

Now that is covered onto New Year’s resolutions.  So by this time into the New Year most people have already abandoned their new year’s resolutions. Part of me is very grateful for that since I no longer have to wait in the gym to use the equipment. I find the act of making New Year’s resolutions completely and underlay stupid.  I feel the same about Bucket lists which is yet another topic I am sure I will rant about in the future.   Every year people come up with a list of stuff they want to do different and every year the majority of them make a half ass effort to accomplish the action they want.  Than 3 weeks into the year they give up or forget about it and chalk it up to “hey at least I tried” Well that’s bull shit if you ask me.  I do not make New Year’s resolutions. Why?  it’s not because I think I am above them or anything or that I feel that I have nothing I need to improve in my life. It is actually just the opposite. I have a metric shit ton of things I need to improve in my life and if I tried to tackle all of them once a year I would also fail just like the majority of other people. For years I came up with a list of resolutions and I failed, than I would put off what I wanted to change about myself for the next year. This repeated itself year after year after year.  The next thing I knew I was 10 years older and had improved next to nothing in my life.  I think I actually tried to quit smoking 5 years in a row.  You know when I ended up quitting smoking for the last time? September 11th 2008.  It had absolutely nothing to do with New Years. It had everything to do with not waiting to make a change.

I think most people fail at New Year’s resolutions because it is acceptable to fail at them.  Or because they make a huge list of things they want to change and in the end it is so daunting that they give up on all of it.  So how do you go about changing the things in your life that need to be changed? That’s different for everybody and up to you to figure out. I am in no position to tell people how to change their lives I can only speak to what seems to be working for me.  What has worked for me over the last few years is; I just do it! Every month I try to find something in my life that I feel needs to be changed.  Lately it is using the proper words in their proper form. This has come to make a lot of my friends very happy! In conjunction to that I wanted to read more books and be better husband.  By working each thing into a daily routine I find I tend to accomplish more.  The next thing I know I am reading two books a month (or in my case I listen to them) I come off more intelligent because I tend to know when to use their, there and they’re and my wife hasn’t left so I must be doing something right there (see what I is just did there).

More so than making resolutions I think people should take the time to look back on the previous year and be honest with themselves on how it went.  What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What did you do that was OK but you could do better in the future.  I had a lot of great things happen in the past year. But I also made a huge amount of mistakes and took a lot of great things for granted.  I failed a class in School which pushed off my graduation greatly; I spoke out too much at work and didn’t conform to corporate life properly which gave me the stigma of being and angry person.  I noticed these things and decided to make the changes I needed to make sooner than the New Year. I buckled down in school and passed that shit class. I evaluated how I fit into my current companies culture and decided I cared less about how my current boss viewed more and more about being true to who I was and what I wanted out of life than how my current boss or team viewed me.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t toned some things down at work. I like getting paid and all.  It just means I will not let the corporate bull shit and lack of desire crush my passion for certain aspects of my job that I enjoy.   I make conscious efforts to make positive changes to different aspects of my life throughout the year. I do not accomplish all of them but I accomplish a hell of a lot more than I did when I made New Year’s resolutions like so many others did. I hope to never slip back into the making empty resolutions that seem to be so tossed to the side and disregarded almost like it is a badge of honor to some to fail at their resolutions.

Well that’s my quick year in review and my outlook on New Year’s resolutions as a whole. The funny thing is when I sat down to start typing this it was going to be about “Hindsight is 20/20”.  That train of thought derailed along the way, welcome to how my brain works.  Sit down with one thing on your mind and go a completely different direction.  My wife is a saint for dealing with this on a regular basis.


Snow(Cold) Day Rant

As I write this it is 45 degrees with on and off mist of moisture in the air here in Herndon, Va.  Just in case you missed that, it is January 6th and is 45 degrees.   Yet 3 school districts in the area have closed because it is going to drop into the teens over 12 hours from now. Many more school districts have reported that they will close school tomorrow because it will be a low of 10 degrees. I don’t want to turn this into a “back when I was a kid rant” but for fuck sake what type of example are the schools in the area setting for kids when they close because it will be cold in a few hours or is going to be cold tomorrow.  The forecast shows that at 3pm it will still be in the upper 30s.  This goes beyond them closing down the government, schools and everything else because we are getting less than an inch of snow. It is 45 degrees and school is closed...No wonder we have a generation of people that feel they are entitled to everything they want.  Schools are not teaching kids to overcome adverse conditions. Instead they are teaching them that when things get a little rough we will make it easy on you because that how the real world work.  As one of my friends so eloquently put it, "Don’t let little Billy stand out in the cold! He may grow a beard and a pair of balls and become a man!!" News flash to everybody, it fucking winter, it gets cold in the winter this is why they sell winter coats and long johns.  If they closed school every time there was a low of 10 degree in Alaska or North Dakota or any of the number of other cities or states that are happy to see a high of 10 degrees the kids would never go to school. Yes I had life a lot easier than my parents and my parents had it easier than theirs. I understand that this is a natural progression but at what point to we put a stop to it and stop coddling people. I know I am not the only person that had to work through adverse conditions and figure out how to get shit done. I am also not the only person who had to dress for the cold and prepare to be outside to wait for the bus every day.   I am grateful now for the cold Chicago mornings waiting for the bus because it taught me responsibility and how to look at the weather forecast! Noble thought of preparing in advance for what is to come, god forbid we teach kids to prepare for anything.  The message being sent by closing schools when it is cold is long lasting.  I see it all the time, I can’t come to work because it is raining, snowing, to cold out.  Employees not showing up to work for any number of bullshit reasons because in my opinion they have been programmed to make excuses from a young age. Pusification of a nation is a great title for this behavior.

Some people are going to say “You don’t have kids and if you did you would feel different about sending them out in the cold” Yeah……No I wouldn’t and the fact that I do not have kids I feel puts me in a better spot to be open minded and see the whole picture. I am not jaded by the fact my little precious off spring has to suffer in the cold. My parents didn’t feel bad when they told me I had to go stand in the cold to get to school or that I should look at the weather the night before so I was better prepared for my commute the next morning. They told me to make sure I dressed warm.  This is one of the lessons I bitched about nonstop when I was in high school yet learned to love when I got older.

Others have told me that they don’t want their kids going to school when it’s this cold out because they could slip and fall on the ice and might get hurt.  Are you fucking kidding me! If that’s the case you should wrap your kid in bubble wrap and lock them in their room. Also I hope you understand that ice forms at 32 degree and the logic for this argument would mean your kids are not allowed to leave the house for most of the month of January and February. I could go on and on about this as it really strikes a nerve for me but I will leave it at I am grateful that my parents didn’t coddle me and try to protect me for anything bad that could happen. As for those who make the decisions to close schools at the first sign of any adverse weather. Thank you for doing your part in shaping a generation of entitled assholes who expect to skate through life without ever having to man up and deal with anything outside their narrow comfort zone.