Have you noticed, or is just the circles I travel in, that the survey has taken the place of Big Brother? Or maybe the survey is today’s hallway monitor. Here’s what I’m talking about.
Every time I take my car to the Hyundai dealership for service, everything is impeccable, the service, the price, the clean and comfortable waiting room equipped with wi-fi, coffee, and TV. And every time as I’m leaving, the courteous super-helpful service manager walks me to my car, opens the door and while I’m fastening the safety belt, reminds me yet again that “Someone will be calling or emailing you with a survey about your experience here today.”
Different scene, similar survey:
Once a year I go to my local hospital for ultrasound testing. Since ultrasound is utterly painless and non-obtrusive I actually enjoy it. But then the experience is tainted when the technician walks me to the front desk and not only reminds me, verbally, that I will be receiving a survey in the mail, but hands me a paper reminding me of the same.
And then there are the times I don’t even have to leave the house to be faced with that ghostly specter. Case in point, I came home Friday night at about 10 PM to find that not only was I lacking access to all but three stations on cable TV but my internet was out too. After an hour of reading about trouble-shooting and trying my hand at it, I gave up and called Optimum, my service provider
Believe it or not, not only was I able to reach a real live person at that time of night, but he was in Connecticut and not India! After a bit of trouble shooting and futile attempts to remedy the situation remotely, he told me he could schedule a technician to come out the very next day – Saturday!!! And then he had to go and ruin it. Yes he asked me if I would stay on the line to answer a brief survey about my experience on this call.
So what am I getting at here? all three individuals, the service manager, the ultra-sound technician, and the customer service agent were all very forthcoming about asking me to give them a positive rating , saying that their job performance reviews depended on it. This leads one to wonder would they be quite so super-nice, so utterly professional and so competent, professional and efficient without that survey dangling over their heads? I’d like to think so.
PS my cable and internet are working better than ever after the technician’s visit. “The Cable Guy” discovered I was getting absolutely zilch, zero, nada signal so he had to trace my connection outward to locate the problem. Speaking of someone doing his job well! He started with the basement – nothing.
So he checked the connection into the house
Unfortunately, still no signal and if you think that involved a bit of climbing,
his next stop was the utility pole.
But before you say yeah, that’s his job…….
Take a look at the other side of the story .
That’s quite a lean angle for a ladder to reach the top of the pole.
And there lay the problem. Squirrels! Squirrels had eaten the wires!
So despite the frigid temperature he put up a new line from the pole to the house to the basement junction box, and now I have a super strong signal and faster download times.
But there was one problem. As he was leaving he told me I’d be contacted for a survey!
I mentioned in the Kool-Aid post that one reason we drank so much Kool-Aid in my family was because we were not a water-drinking family. Well, that sent my mind on a rambling goose chase, and I found myself following a trail. One that led to a couple of strange eating and drinking habits in my family.
As to the no thank you, no water, I can’t swear to it, but I think this sprang from the fact that my father had a thing about water. He said that he “once got sick after drinking water”. I wish I‘d asked more about this experience like “how do you know it was the water?’ Or “what else did you eat or drink that day?”But I was I was very young when I first heard this and whatever Daddy said was taken on faith.
I wasn’t young in Daddy’s later years when I’d visit him during various stays in hospitals and nurses would ask me why he wouldn’t drink water.
But I’d still say “once he got sick after drinking water.” After a few days, he’d have them won over, and all the nurses would bring him orange juice when they came around with the medicine cart.
But this isn’t the only drinking problem our family had. There was also Aunt E., one of Daddy’s older sisters. Her problem was milk. She drank it, but only if she couldn’t see it. Brother A and I always liked eating at her house since she poured our milk into coffee cups.
It made us feel like grownups drinking coffee.
Recently I was reminiscing with Cousin J, her son, and he pointed out that she always let her ice cream melt to liquid before eating it, and she only ate vanilla ice cream – in a clear, crystal dish.
Melted ice cream, t hat brings it around to yours truly. I’ve never really psycho-analyzed myself but I’m pretty sure ice cream is the reason I don’t like big parties. During my early years, say three or four, my mother was always taking me to kiddie birthday parties. The kids weren’t my friends. We did kind of play together in the park but it was our mothers sitting on the benches who were forming the real friendships.
“Don’t be silly,” she’d tell me when I said I didn’t want to go. “Parties are fun.”
Sure parties had their moments.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey was funny,
and Musical Chairs was exciting.
But with the end of each game, dread and loathing inched a little closer. It meant ice cream and cake was just around the corner.
Sure enough, the birthday girl would open her gifts and the next thing I knew I was crammed in with kids I didn’t know, surrounding a table with a big round cake festooned with white icing, and pink or blue or yellow roses. Candles with dancing flames sat on top.
Happy Birthday would be sung. I’d mouth the words because my throat was closing and the tears were forming.
I’d sniffle and gulp as some grownup with a big knife would slice the cake and put it on a balloon decorated plate before handing it to another grown-up who’d use an equally big knife to slice a rectangle of ice cream from the deconstructed carton, and hand it to yet another G.U who’d place the plates on a tray and give them out.
I just knew the ice cream was melting by the second, and I knew, I just knew I’d have to eat it . After all, the other kids were clapping and jumping up and down and devouring theirs on contact. But the more it melted, the soggier the cake got; and the more I tried, the more I cried.
That’s when the questions would start.
“What’s the matter?” some little girl would ask.
I’d shrug my shoulders,
“Why are you crying?” a mother would ask.
I’d shake my head.
“What’s wrong with you,” my mother would ask on the way home. “Kids like ice cream and cake.”
Well, this kid didn’t like ice cream-and-cake, not together. The cake wouldn’t have been too bad if the ice cream didn’t go and “soggify it”.
Maybe that’s what led to my beets and macaroni problem.
My mother always seemed to make macaroni and cheese
when she cooked beets.
And since those were the days when a good square meal meant a starch, a vegetable, and a meat, no matter how you dished it out, the red of the beet juice was going to run into yellow of the macaroni and cheese. And I just could not eat the macaroni. No way. And so I sat and sat at the table….until I finished it.
The sands of time have had their effect on me, but two idiosyncrasies (to put it kindly) remain.
Although I accept, and always have a great time, an initial invitation to a party calls for time to settle into the idea.
Oh yes, I always confine runny, juicy foods to their own little bowl, one that kind of look like aunt E’s ice cream dish.
Any formative food stories in your past?