Friday, September 25, 2015

The Stitch Fix breakup...



*Warning* Not an etiquette post.  This is more along the lines of what not to buy*  Keeping an eye out for my fellow fashionistas!

I was so excited about the prospect of having someone else pick out some clothing pieces for me, ship them to my door, and send back what I don't want.  However, after trying this a few times, I'm underwhelmed and here's why:

1. I am charged a 20$ "styling fee" every time a box ships.

2. Prices don't seem to match those of other stores carrying the exact same product (more about that in the video below).

3. They place their own tags on the outside of the clothing (much like Nordstrom) but that makes me feel like I can't try on the clothes outside of my closet to decide if a dress that I'm paying 200$ for is going to work for me or not.

4. After 3 days if they don't have a tracking number, they start to bother you (this bugs because I have one of those community mail boxes...post 9/11 and I can't fit the return bag in the slot!).

5. After they mark up their items, I end up with 300-500$+ bills every box! (I was getting one every two weeks...doesn't make for a happy hubby either).




I have to say, I agree with her, I don't like that I'm being taken.  I like bargains, but I also like nice things.  I love convenience.  I want all of that value when something is sent to me.  I can get that by shopping sales of brands I already know and love.  Yes I love the idea, but the execution is off.  I hope Stitch Fix figures it out and perhaps some of your more savvy shoppers will return.

Not impressed.

My two cents.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The power of a handshake





I was watching a show the other day and saw a woman shake a man's hand with her fingers only (dainty, very 1890's) for this post we'll call it the Lobster Claw.  I was intrigued.  I wondered if I had missed something and some women were now trying to reverse their roles in society and I had not gotten the memo.  I did some research, read some articles, sourced a couple of good books, and came to find that it's really a preference; but one not to be taken lightly.






Women in business, in particular, should shake hands "like a man" or traditionally.  There should be no difference between a solid handshake between male or female when there is some sort of professional relationship.  When it's pleasure or personal, you have a choice.  Personally, I shake hands one way, but if women want to shake hands with men "fingers to palm" that's up to them.


I was in a meeting yesterday and when I met the people with whom I had the appointment, I shook both their hands traditionally.  It's a reflex.  I didn't think about it.  This article provides some feedback and opinions about "the business handshake" for both men and women.  Women in social settings might hug, air kiss each cheek (used to be much more European than American), or shake hands in social situations.





This video shows some ways to shake and not shake hands, specifically speaking about business handshakes.  Personally I feel that shaking hands the "business way" is always my best choice unless I'm hugging or kissing someone.  It shows I'm confident, outgoing, and that I'm serious.


Being an extrovert I like shaking hands palm to palm.  I feel more connected and studies show that you're twice as likely to remember the person if you shake their hand.  My two cents.




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Customer satisfaction




I know it's been ages since I've posted.  I always think about manners, etiquette, and great ideas for posts, but with a full time job as a wife and mama, another full time job, and all the other that stuff life brings, I just don't prioritize the blog like I should.  Just know that I think about The Pink Teapot and you often.  I also host a lot of etiquette dinners for youth which takes up some significant time.

What brings me to actually typing this morning is an experience I had yesterday combined with one I had this past weekend.  They were reminiscent of so many that I've had and I figured that since this happens to me so frequently, it must happen to others as well.  Let's see, shall we?

I was in a retail clothing store yesterday (one of my favorites) and I needed to return a pair of pants and a top.  I had spent a significant amount when making my original purchase, but I don't think that should matter; but I have found that sometimes retailers will treat me kindly when they know I'm a good customer (as in I will spend money).  I asked the sales rep to look up my purchase.  The details are tedious and unimportant, but I was treated like she was doing me a favor by giving me store credit (their policy by the way).  She was condescending in her tone and spoke slowly so that I'd make sure to understand her.  Even after verifying that I was, in fact, following "return procedure", she was annoyed that she had to look up my purchase and went as far as to say, "when you come in and just want to return something and you don't know how you paid for it or when you bought it..."  I was taken aback (I did know how I purchased it- it was a store card that I had already given her; I also knew the date), I smiled, I thanked her (she did give me store credit with which to purchase even more stuff) and I proceeded to spend said credit (and a little more).  I felt like I didn't want to be in that store any longer.  I love the clothes, they fit me well, but the energy was so negative (I braved through it for a couple of pairs of shoes and a top).

This past weekend, I was in search for the perfect woman's bag.  I needed something that I felt I could use every day for my computer and as a personal handbag (a zip top) and by the way, unless it's a diaper bag, this seems to be very difficult to find.  This would be my every day bag (I have a collection of bags, but I needed a trusty uniform-bag-briefcase).  I went into a store where I've purchased many handbags and I was greeted.  The sales rep asked me if I knew what I was looking for and I indicated that I did and explained what I wanted.  I went right to the bag I thought was going to work.  I explained what I was looking for and even gave preferences for color and she gave me *one* option.  I saw one bag on a shelf that seemed to meet my needs, I walked over to it, and she said, "well that one is on sale, I guess if you want one that's on sale..." (um...who doesn't want a sale...seriously?).  It turned out that after looking at 5 or 6 bags in that store, she simply said, "There's nothing that would work for you in here".  Now I'm a fan of honesty, but turning away business?  Maybe not.  I felt like she could have directed me online, asked some questions, anything.  There were probably 100 bags in that store.  You're telling me we couldn't have found one that worked?

Here's the thing that got me:  She acted the entire time like she was doing *me* a favor.  That's the same experience I had yesterday at the clothing store.  The entitlement that some of these people seem to have just blows my mind.  I'm not of the school that a sales rep should be treated poorly, and I don't think the customer is always right; but I do think it's a customer service reps' (sales reps) job to make the shopping experience a pleasant one and perhaps even go so far as to make the customer feel like you're happy they're there to shop.  What a thought!

We need to be considerate as consumers, and I've talked a lot about that, but it's difficult to be considerate and kind when the person who is helping you is rude, entitled, snotty, and vapid.  Thank goodness for lots of choices in where we shop, although isn't it the worst when your favorite stores  are the ones that you dread entering because of poor customer service?

I think the US retail clothing industry has become far too complacent in training employees to be good customer service representatives.  I also think that the generation that is currently in the work force (vague, I know) largely feels entitled, empowered (not in a positive way), they seem to have a superiority complex.

I plead with employers, please interview carefully.  Please ask how someone would handle a difficult customer, and then follow through with proper training and appropriate consequences/rewards for performance.

It seems to me that retailers largely just don't care.  I'm not sure why since the US apparel industry is a 331 *billion* dollar per year industry!

I think we've largely gone online (and quite frankly if I could have exchanged the clothes and looked at the specks of the handbag online I would have), it's become common place to spend time and energy there as retailers.  I personally think that's no excuse to let customer service slide.

My two (or five) cents.

PS  Thanks Coach for having the perfect women's work bag.  Not a diaper bag (nothing wrong with them, I'm just out of that stage), but a working, zip top, well priced bag!  Thank you also for being so polite, friendly, and professional; and no, I didn't get a bag for free, I just feel like it's nice to point out the positive!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Help my best friend and her family


My best friend's husband was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease.  Not only is this close to my heart because I love this family, but my mother in law has Lyme disease and it has crippled her (physically, not emotionally thank goodness).  My mother in law has had Lyme for over 19 years and I've seen its devastating affects on it's victims first hand.  I plead with you to contribute whatever you can to help Jon get the treatment he needs that is not covered by insurance.  Many insurance companies consider anything other than antibiotics "alternative" and although I'm sure he will continue to be on antibiotics, it runs much deeper.  They have four amazing and beautiful children and Eddislynn (Ed) runs a million miles an hour trying to raise her family.  Any and all donations and well wishes are appreciated. 

Thank you my readers.  You're the best!

Janine

Monday, August 4, 2014

Today on Studio 5...




Thanks for the emails and compliments on my outfit!  The necklace and T are J Crew.  You guys are the best ever!  For those who don't understand, I offer customizable etiquette and manners courses designed to help you in business, school, social situations, family, etc.  Please email me with inquiries:  thepinkteapot [at] gmail [dot] com

Loves!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don't judge me by my teacups

I love watching, reading, or hearing things that are uplifting and inspiring.  There are great sources out there that do just that, however, overwhelmingly, the media presented is not uplifting or inspiring.  I've always found it so odd that Facebook is supposed to be a social media platform to share insights with friends and family and I've always tried to honor doing that in the most honest and real way possible; neither editing out all our hardships or concentrating on them, but being real, as real as one can be behind a computer or phone screen.  


I've had people call me and ask me to take this or that down from my personal FB page, which is ironic because it is (as a wise friend described it) like my living room walls.  The pictures I hang don't have to be your favorites, but they reflect me as a person, sometimes they are masterpieces, other times they just have a special meaning to me and might seem worthless to the casual observer.  But the person who knows me well would look at my collection of teacups from all different times in my life and know what they are, and a few (a special few) might admire the teacups just because they're different and want to get to know me better.  The point is, don't judge me by my teacups.  They are an amalgam of special times and people, personal and special to me.  

I think it's easy to fall into a pattern where (especially as women) we feel the need to "only concentrate on the positive" when it comes to social media.  I personally choose to share snapshots of my life, whether the tough times or the triumphant times (sometimes those are one in the same).  Maybe it's too real for people.  I love the inspiring stories and videos, but I also believe I connect with people over social media in order to help facilitate better "in person" relationships, not to avoid them.  

This video recently on my FB feed seemed very appropriate and describes how I feel about social media (or anti-social media as they case may be).  Our experiences with social media will vary greatly just like our life experiences do.  I hope each of us can live life to the fullest and make sure that we always love the one we're with and not love our screens...they won't love you back.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Chauvinistic or Chivalrous


Chivalry is not dead!


I came across a great article that embodies what I speak to youth about and what my blog is all about; helping others feel more comfortable.  This article speaks to 8 acts of Chivalry that should be brought back and that it's not about the inability of women to perform these tasks on their own, but out of respect and consideration for someone other than one's self.  

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.  As a wife, mama, chauffeur, cook, and all the other titles that come along with my identity, I appreciate this from a man's perspective who is trying to show true respect to women.  I'm not less than, never thought I was, and I always knew I wanted to marry a man who agreed with that and I know that my husband would not only do these things for me (does do them), but will do these things for other women.  I only hope I can raise a son who is just as considerate as his father.


Here's another article written in the DailyMail about women accepting men's help.  89% of women say they wouldn't accept a mans help:

Women are suspicious of kind men who open doors for them or offer a coat on a cold day because of a decline in good manners, research has suggested.
Traditional acts of chivalry once thought to be polite and noble are frowned upon in the 21st century because they are so rare.
That means the 'knight in shining armour' persona is an unwanted fantasy now that women strive to be strong and independent.
Style gurus claim 'standards have slipped' in the way men conduct themselves so women are 'suspicious' of gestures once thought to be polite or kind.
A survey said 82 per cent of women preferred to pay for their dinner on a first date and 52 per cent claimed they would happily pay the entire bill.
Men who think women are lumbering heavy shopping bags around should think twice before running to their assistance, because 89 per cent would not accept an offer to help.
And the scene of a considerate lover throwing his coat over the shoulders of a wife or girlfriend seems to be just for Hollywood rom-coms only - a massive 78 per cent said they would not accept the gesture even on a cold day.
Mark Hall, of Socked.co.uk, an online style guide offering tips on etiquette, said: 'Men's standards have slipped so far over recent years.
'Any offer of chivalry from a gentleman knocks a woman off their guard and is viewed with outright suspicion.
'Does an offer of goodwill have to be taken the wrong way?

We have to be smart ladies.  I carry defense with me at all times and I'm aware of my surroundings, but taking a seat offered to you on a crowded shuttle or allowing a man to open a door for you, who does that hurt?  I believe it only demeans us as women if we feel inferior in the first place or that we have something to prove.  I personally don't and appreciate that there are still gentlemen out there.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A mom of older kids







Today I looked on Facebook.  Not a new thing.  But today I cried as I read a post that so perfectly described what I'm going through.  So when you write to me and tell me you miss my posts about manners, take a moment and read this, it's what I'm going through.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The art of conversation



con·ver·sa·tion
ˌkänvərˈsāSHən/
noun
  1.                                              the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.




I recently chatted with Brooke Walker from KSL's Studio 5 while she was on KBYU radio (also Sirius XM radio channel 143) filling in for Matt Townsend.  It was fun to chat with her (love her and consider her a friend) and it's also led to an invitation to come chat with Matt on a regular basis to discuss manners and etiquette; I even got a real phone call with a question (other than the one from my mother-she's so cute).  To the point, my chat with Brooke was about the art of conversation and how to keep it going or start it without being superficial or too deep.

Here's what we talked about:

1.  Be genuinely interested in the person to whom you are speaking
- no matter what you're asking, make sure are sincere and that will be perceived hopefully by the other party.

2. All conversations are give and take.  Don't interview and don't be interviewed. 
- After you are asked a question about yourself, answer it and then perhaps ask a question back to show interest in the other person.

3. Always be your best self, we want to see it all, but not all at once.
- it's always great to talk about interesting things going on in the world such as politics or religion, but these topics can often be personal and even volatile at times.  Try to be your real self while keeping the focus on neutral topics such as career, traveling, etc.

4. Just because you're different doesn't mean you have nothing in common.
- If something comes up that creates a divide or where you don't see eye to eye with the other person, build on some point of commonality, finding the positive in their response.

5. It's called "The art of conversation" for a reason- it takes time, practice, and lots of patience, but it will pay off if you do those things.


5 conversation starters:

Ask a question, for example: What do you do? What brings you here today? What have you been up to lately?  What do you have going on this next week?

2. Pay a compliment (a sincere one):  Notice something about the person that you like, this can be a quality or even something as simple as what they are wearing or how they did their hair (for women especially).  

3. Use a surrounding object as an anchor:  (A. at an event- "the speaker before lunch was so fascinating.  I didn't realize there were so many things to do in New Zealand", B. at a social gathering, "this is such a beautiful location, I've never been here before, have you?" C. Waiting in line to order food, "I love the buffalo chicken here but I haven't tried any other sauces.  Have you ever tried (insert name of different foods here)?"  

4. Ask for help or advice.  This puts you in a passive role which can be very helpful at times when you feel like your questions aren't being answered.  Asking someone for advice helps them feel valued, this is a great way to rescue a crashing conversation.  You must be observant and know on which subjects they feel they are knowledgeable.  

5. Share something about yourself.  This also puts you in a vulnerable position, but a genuine one.  I'd always choose to be genuine than superficial, it's much more gratifying.  



Just last night I was grabbing a drink for my daughter at a fast food restaurant and as a lady and I were both standing by the drink machine waiting for our orders, she casually mentioned that "orange Fanta" was at the fast food establishment in Italy on the military base there.  I responded that I didn't know they even had such a restaurant in Italy.  I then shared that through my travels in Europe, I always ran into Orangina and was that the same thing as their "fanta"?  She explained that it tasted quite different and I responded with how fascinated I was by the fact that they had such seemingly obscure restaurants in Europe and she went on to name several restaurant chains that she had visited all over the world and I asked if the menus varied or the taste...it went on like that until my food was ready and I wished her a pleasant evening.  


Conversations are a basic human interaction that can feed or drain us.  Even for those introverts out there, it can be an interesting experience and you never know what you can learn in just a few minutes with someone, and perhaps you made their day or they made yours...or better yet, both.

It was a blast to have such a casual forum in which to speak and not be pressed for time.  I love doing segments on Studio 5, this was just different, and a nice change.  

I hope this helps you feel more comfortable starting a conversation or helps you keep those awkward moments during a convo to a minimum.  

Have a great week.  

Janine
 
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