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In the past 48 hours I've had the BEST and WORST customer service experiences.  On Saturday, I walked away ----or should I say I DROVE away from Enterprise Sales----in a new car due, in part, to the outstanding customer service interaction I had with the sales team.  Meanwhile, on Monday I walked away from Burger King determined to let Corporate know how dissatisfied I was with one of their managers.  What set these individuals apart?  Attitude and a genuine enthusiasm to make the customer happy.

Saturday experience:  I can't say enough GOOD things about the way I was treated.  Charles, who worked with me initially on determining what type of vehicle I was interested in, was patient, kind, knowledgeable, courteous and personable while offering absolutely no hard sales pitch or pressure to buy.  Mike, one the of the managers who help with the financing, found a way to make me laugh when MY patience started falling short.

Monday experience:  I can't say enough BAD things about the way I was treated by Mike at the Burger King drive-thru window when I ordered a croissant sandwich before work AND when I returned the half-eaten sandwich because of its horrible taste. (My complaint was that the sandwich wasn't fresh, fast and flavorful like they advertise.  Oh, it was FAST---too fast.  That's probably why it tasted so bad because it was cold and it looked like it had been prepared hours ago.  When I returned the sandwich I discovered Mike was also the manager who seemed like he was having a bad morning---but that wasn't my fault.  He did offer to make me another sandwich to which I declined but he offered no apology and no refund.  (Of course, you know I took the survey to express these sentiments).

Here's my point:  Businesses who invest in quality customer service will attract loyalty and referrals from those loyal customers.  A well trained, positive customer service team will make their company the best version of itself.  Employees/managers who can communicate effectively with customers will always come out on top and people like me will sing their praises.  On the other hand, nothing matters when you offer poor customer service to someone like me.  You not only lose a customer but you may lose more business once the word gets out (like in the blog post) and you could even lose your job.

Customer Service Matters!

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If you are the parent of an upcoming college graduate CONGRATULATIONS!  Your financial investment (along with some frustration and tears) has finally paid off.  But, wait.  What if your college grad doesn't have a job lined up?  Chances are they will be living with you for awhile.  The number of college graduates returning home to mom and dad has nearly doubled in the past several years.  So what can you teach your young adult beyond the classroom as they prepare to step into a new career?

1)  Let them know they should not DELAY in looking for a job because the longer they delay looking for full-time employment, the harder it becomes to compete and network. Every year thousands of college graduates prepare to enter the job market with even stronger skills than the previous graduates.  Competition is fierce! 

2)  Let them know that if they don't get a decent job in a reasonable amount of time to continue learning.  This  is especially critical for young people who may need marketable skills. Learning doesn't end at graduation, and many opportunities exist (some are even free) to learn new skills. Courses range from boot camps for technical skills to video classes for vocational training. 

3)  Let them know not to get hung up with wanting a certain salary.  If they expect to come out of college making $50K, they will be sadly disappointed.  The important thing is to get a foot in the door and go from there. 

4)  Don't ignore non-profit job opportunities.  They may not pay as much but the experience you can get will be incredible due to the fact that end of working in more than one capacity.  One great website is NC Non Profit Careers

5)  Finally, let them know how proud you are of their accomplishments up to this point and provide encouragement  because as long as they keep their eyes on their goals and continue to press forward, they will eventually launch and find a path to a successful career.
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What happened to actor Geoffrey Owens at his Trader Joe's job is what many older workers deal with as well.  We are forced into becoming victims of "job shaming" because, more often than not, we are passed over for the well-paying jobs we desire and are qualified for.  That's because some HR personnel think we're too old to warrant a respectable salary or that we'll end up as an "insurance burden" to the Company.

The former Cosby Show cast member was able to speak out about his plight before a nationally televised audience but the majority of us are not because we are your "everyday people" who've worked hard all of our lives and just want to continue to be productive and well-paid before retirement.  Companies like Amazon prey on those of us who are eager to work to make ends meet by offering $11/hr positions to work in one of their warehouses (NC).  The opportunities for the higher paying jobs don't come through the regular channels---and if they do, they are looking for someone younger to fill them.

The truth of the matter is many of us are being shoved aside for younger, but not necessarily brighter, employees.  Corporate America must take some of the responsibility for pitting the young against the old. Many companies don't want to pay for experience. They would rather hire someone with the ability to do the job for less money than pay top dollar to a more experienced older employee. Some businesses aren't as interested in quality as they are in the bottom line: PROFIT.

Young people, eager to get a foot in the door, often times will accept less money and learn just enough to move on. There are others who don't even make it through the training period and then there are those who don't show up for work at all (known as "ghosting.")  What some businesses fail to realize is knowledge and years of experience go a long way in keeping them from making the same mistakes over and over again.

According to a researcher from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, potential employers are more likely to discriminate against older workers. Johanna Lahey sent out 4,000 resumes, of people between the ages of 35 and 62, to firms in Boston, MA and St. Petersburg, FL. Her findings indicated younger workers were 40 percent more likely to be called back for an interview than an older worker, defined as 50 years and older. Furthermore, she cited the top ten reasons why employers said OTHER employers might be reluctant to hire older workers:

1) Shorter career potential
2) Lack of energy
3) Cost of health and life insurance and pensions
4) Less flexible/adaptable
5) Higher salary expectations
6) Health risks/absences
7) Knowledge and skills obsolescence
8) Block career path of younger workers
9) Suspicion about competence
10) Fear of discrimination lawsuit

The truth of the matter is older adults are living longer, healthier lives, have updated their skillset and need to make ends meet just like their younger counterparts. Corporate America must be willing to recognize the pool of talented applicants no matter how old they are and the general public and (FOX News)  needs to stop the job shaming!
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), marijuana use among baby boomers between the ages of 55-64 has jumped a whopping 455 percent!  Thankfully, I am NOT in that statistic but it shows that smoking pot isn't necessarily "a thing of the past" when it comes to the baby boomer generation. We were known for becoming the first generation to become openly infatuated with, and addicted to, illegal drugs.

And get this:  Marijuana use among people 65 years old and older is up by more than 300 percent!

Certainly, the fact that marijuana is legal for recreational use in 9 states and legal for medical purposes in 30 states contributes to this dramatic increase.

With this in mind, award-winning senior living designer, Lisa Cini, has created a survey to determine if and how today's baby boomers and seniors are using marijuana.  She says the information she gathers anonymously will help her and her team understand if and how marijuana use among the baby boomer generation should be accounted for in the living environments they create for us. 

I've already taken the survey so even if you aren't currently a "weed head" you can still help her out with your responses.  Here is the link:

https://content.leadquizzes.com/lp/ZyyQC3WChA

Oh, and in case you didn't know....here are the 9 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use:  Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Washington, DC.

These are the states where marijuana use is NOT legal for any purpose:  North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho.
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We've all heard the saying, "A dog is man's best friend." Most, if not all, baby boomer dog owners will tell you their beloved animal is a part of their family.  Their pets are so loved that upwards of $60 billion was spent on them in 2016, according to American Pet Products Association.

It's easy to associate baby boomers with dogs for a number of reasons:  

  • They believe pets are a good source of affection
  • Interacting with a pet can help them relax
  • Owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health
  • They help ease the pain of divorce or the loss of a loved one
  • There is a feeling of unconditional love from their pet
  • They don't come across as disrespectful or unappreciative like their Millennial children might be
But according to a new survey, it appears Millennials are going to the dogs even more so than baby boomers. According to statistics released by Just Right by Purina, 56 percent of those surveyed say they have purchased birthday cakes for their dogs, and 77 percent said they feed their dogs before they feed themselves. The survey also found dogs have helped 15 percent of Millennial men gain the attention of the opposite sex, while half of all women surveyed said they preferred time with their dog over time with their partner and/or other family members.

And on a side note here, there also appears to be some differences between the way baby boomers and millennials treat their dogs.  One glaring difference, according to the worldofangus.com blog:  "Millennials are all about safety (combined with style) for their pups.  It's rare to see a millennial dog lover whose back seat isn't equipped with a fancy dog booster seat and safety restraints.  (Meanwhile) baby boomers are completely unphased going for a ride with their pup free to roam the front seat and able to stick his neck out the window for a good breeze."

I've seen that.  Have you?  Or perhaps you are in the guilty party?

Another one is how Millennials will create Instagram accounts for their adorable doggies, while baby boomer dog owners are still trying to figure out how Instagram works.

Not only is there a changing of the guard in the workplace with Millennials, but they also appear to be changing the rules of pet ownership. 


About the Survey
Research Now SSI conducted an online survey on behalf of Just Right by Purina among adults ages 18+ who are dog owners and have some responsibility over the well-being of their pet. A total of 1,010 responses were collected between March 26 and March 29, 2018. The online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.



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Death, as we all know, is inevitable and the older we get the closer it comes.  The question is:  How prepared are you when you've taken your last breath?

As I pointed out in a previous blog post, the majority of us will die without a Will in place.  According to Gallup News, "Americans' likelihood of having a will depends largely on their age and socioeconomic status. Sixty-eight percent of those aged 65 and older have a will, compared with just 14% of those younger than age 30. Of Americans whose annual household income is $75,000 or greater, 55% have a will, compared with 31% of those with incomes of less than $30,000. And nonwhite adults (28%) are about half as likely as white adults (51%) to have a will."

Yes, death is an uncomfortable subject but if you want to make sure your affairs are taken care of properly, it is a conversation you must have with family and/or friends (if you have no living relatives or any you want involved in handling your estate).

Here are some suggestions to consider:

Designate someone to be in charge of handling your insurance policies, annuities, bank accounts, etc.  It could be a lawyer or loved one.  Make sure all of your account information can be accessed and you have designated beneficiaries.  If you've been contemplating making changes to your beneficiaries, make sure you do so while you still have the capacity to do so.

If you become critically (or terminally) ill and can no longer take care of yourself, do you want to remain in your home with the help of a caregiver or do you want to be moved to Hospice or a nursing home?

Do you want to be cremated or buried?  That's important to know because there is a major expense difference between the two.  Do you already have a plot picked out or is there a family plot or will one have to be purchased?

If you choose burial, be clear on the cemetery of choice.  Maybe you want to go back to your hometown.  If you opt for cremation, what do you want done with your ashes?    

When my daughter's father passed away last year, she was his only living relative other than his brother (who couldn't be located for several days).  He left no Will so, since she was responsible for the expenses with the funeral home, she chose cremation because it was cheaper.

Do you want a church service with a public viewing of your remains or do you want a private memorial for just family and close friends. Do you want your funeral to have a theme?  Perhaps, you'd like everyone to come dressed in 1970's attire.  (If you're cremated you can have a memorial at any time of the year).  Perhaps you don't want anything at all.  If that's the case, make it known so you can spare your family from conflict---because believe me, there will be conflict when an older loved one dies, especially if there's money and other valuables involved.

If there's someone else not mentioned here that you'd like to share as a suggestion for your death wish, please feel free to do so,



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