Archive for the ‘The Main Beef’ Category

Can I get some service here?

In The Main Beef on 06/10/2010 at 16:29

So, maybe I’ve brought this up a time or two before, but I’m gonna go on about it again.

Customer service is Denmark is… challenged. Ah, in some areas, it really kind of sucks. Which I really don’t get. I mean, these folks get paid decent wages, have regular hours within reason (it is retail, after all), and even have unions to help them fight The MAN if he tries to get too abusive somehow. This is Denmark, part of the civilized world. They don’t allow kids to become sweatshop slaves, and people can actually live off of what they make at the Danish version of Payless Shoes, or McD’s, or the local smoothie shop. You would think that, armed with that knowledge, and even in spite of it being retail work (lots of standing on one’s feet, dealing with demanding customers, potential back strain from restocking shelves, having to watch people like a hawk so they don’t wander off with the goods), the girls at the check out stands could muster up a smile and a quick ‘Find everything’ before taking my money. You would think. But, you would be wrong.

The DH and I went to the local Danish Payless the other day to try and find me some boots. First, let me give props to my man for going shoe-shopping with me. HOLLA!! I love him, I really really do. 😀 Anyway, we pop into the shop and begin the endless (for me, I have weird feet) search for the right pair of boots to keep my tootsies dry and my ankles straight. First, this is not one of those shops where you get asked if you need help. Definitely self-service. We find the boot section, and even run into a few pairs that I want to try on. The DH goes wandering off, only timing me a little, and I start trying. The first thing I notice… the girls who wander the floor seem suddenly extremely interested in the area I happen to be in. Within 5 minutes I saw no less than 5 clerks wander past, picking up shoes, pushing boxes around, doing whatever. I may be a little paranoid (I am American, after all), but that just seemed odd. However, it can be ignored, because I want boots. So, dodging the occasional nosy clerk, I finally find a few pairs that fit, and that I like. After a brief, bloody negotiation with the DH over how many I can carry out of the store (only 2 pair, but they were the best of the lot so it’s all good), we head up to the checkout. Sadly, the DH’s eagle eye kept me from adding the impulse bag and pair of Hello Kitty hjemmesko to my take, but that’s probably good for our bank account, so I can live with it.

Now, so you know, the checkout girls are NOT the same wandering watchdogs I ran into before. These are different girls. I think they handle the front area alone, because they surely didn’t seem to move much from behind the counter. I don’t know how this particular shop is run, so that may be a false assessment, but that’s how it looked to me. I wait patiently, while the checkout chick does her thing with the other customer, and idly wonder if the other girl standing at the counter will help me. She doesn’t, though she does give me a distinctly odd look now and then. I wonder if I have TP stuck to my shoe, but decide that’s not possible since I’ve been taking them off and on for the past half an hour and would have noticed it before. I turn my attention back to the only functioning checkout chick, who seems to be ready for me. Shoe boxes on the counter and a brilliant smile from me. I get… nothing. She goes through both boxes, repacking them (I guess I messed them up with my repacking after trying them on, go figure), then gives me a price. Or rather, she whispered something that the DH heard, luckily, because I didn’t catch much besides ‘mumble mumble kr’. No smile, not even a ghost of one on what should have been a ridiculously pretty face. Instead, if looks could kill, I might just have a smokin’ stump where my head should be. I felt like I had, somehow, interrupted her in the middle of a really important… something… because she’s been standing behind the counter and what else is she doing?! Instead of a beautiful young woman, tastefully made up, with an attractive head scarf and trendy clothes, she looked like some washed up old harridan screaming ‘GET OFF MY LAWN’ at the top of her lungs. I quickly punched in my code to pay for the boots, grabbed my bag, and with a ‘Tak for det’ and a confused glance back, the DH and I were off. Once out the door, we both wondered at just what had happened there… did I expect too much? Did I buy the last pair of boots that she wanted for herself? (I doubt that, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t wear my size, or like the same style I do, based on her outfit) Did I accidentally flip her the bird without realizing it?

I think, however, that the answer is simpler, and more complex, than that. Customer service here leaves something to be desired. I know it’s been falling in the States as well, what with bad wages, stress about the economy, lack of business, etc., but I have a feeling it hasn’t hit quite this level. It’s like the shops here expect us, the customers, to cater to them, not the other way around. They aren’t there to serve us, we are there to keep them in business. Now lest you, gentle readers, think shopping is hell in this little land, it isn’t. Not all shops are like that, many of them do believe that a smile goes further than a frown, and that a tiny bit of attention to a customer will ensure loyalty more than low prices or exotic goods. And I make sure I tell my 10 friends when they have need of such a shop, so that shop stays in business. Hey, be nice to me, I’ll do everything I can to keep your shop around. I like to spend money in a place that makes it nice to do so. I don’t like to spend money in a place where I feel like I’m wasting their precious time somehow. Because I don’t believe I am. Chances are, if I’m in your shop, I intend to make a purchase. Possibly many purchases. Hey, I like to shop, what can I say? All that really needs to cost the people working there is a smile, and perhaps a bit of attention if I have a question. I can be patient and wait until you’re finished with other customers. I’ll speak my best Danish, slowly, so you can understand me. All you have to do is smile, and realize that we’re in this thing together. If there are no customers, you have no shop. If you have no shop, we customers have no place to find whatever it is you offer. So we each have a vested interest in keeping the other around. I don’t think I’m alone in this, either.

Last week, the DH and I went to find Farm Mountain Coffee (site is in danish, but the coffee is to die for, so totally worth it), which has a shop in our little burg. The ladies behind the counter were welcoming, with smiles, asking if we needed help, and generally inviting. And you could see that it was effective, because the shop was busy. Folks in and out, cash register ringing regularly, even the latte lady was busy. Yes, the goods are worth it, excellent coffee, chocolates, other artisan goods, but that’s not the only thing. The people behind the counter have something to do with it as well. They get it. The chick at Deichmann Sko… didn’t.

Life goes by fast; I don’t want to spend too much time dealing with folks who don’t get it. So no more Danish Payless for me.


Now where did I put that?!

In The Main Beef on 18/09/2010 at 18:05

Hello, my patient (possibly comatose) readers, who haven’t heard from me in a while (thus the coma):

Eesh, ok, looks like I need to do a bit of cleaning here. Dust off the shelves, wash the linens, general fall cleaning. Oh, how I hate cleaning. But, the good in it is, you’re often amazed at what you find underneath the grime, or in the forgotten boxes. So, let’s see what we have here…

First things first, an update.

Since last I took fingers to keyboard for the purpose of expressing myself digitally, I’ve gone full tilt into the marketing adventure, finished my Danish classes and even passed the tests (barely, but it’s a pass and I can live with it), got through two summers without aging too drastically due to too much sun, and celebrated two more anniversaries with the astoundingly handsome, charming, and fabulously witty DH. Now I’m looking at the end game of my bachelor’s studies, considering taking a Master’s Degree (may have to give up my dreams of being a secretary the rest of my life, I think), and fall is blowing in with a vengeance to this part of the world. We even had a tornado here, recently. In Denmark. I guess that almost NEVER happens, so it’s kind of a big deal. Of course, I missed it somehow, while chasing my hair down the street or something, so I had to read about it on text tv after the fact. hmm… just never expected it. However, it’s not quite as big news here as whatever President Obama has said recently, or the guy in Copenhagen who completely failed at terrorism and suicide bombing 101. I don’t know, maybe he did it on purpose.  And the ever-lovely Crown Princess Mary is with buns, which is also news. You wouldn’t know it to look at her, she must have them tucked in tight somewhere because she really doesn’t have any kind of bump at all. She’s due in January, and looks like a model. Ah, to be a princess, whose biggest job was presenting a beautiful face to the press and public, and ensuring the continuation of the royal line (Yes, she does other things, but really, those are her main duties). I could totally pull that off. Well, ok, maybe 10 years ago, I could have totally pulled that off. Now, I can do the pretty face most of the time, but we’d be looking to adopt if the royal line were to be continued. 😀 So it goes…

Anyway, I think I’m going to give ye olde blogging a try again. A fairly light class load this semester, then bachelor’s thesis in the spring, so I won’t lack time. It’s finding my motivation. Where did I put that again?!? Son of a… I hate when I lose stuff, don’t you?

Until next time –


Say It Ain't So, Joe…

In The Main Beef on 17/10/2008 at 10:49

Being a good Americhick, I have attempted to stay somewhat abreast of the happenings during this election year. Reading at least something about the candidates and their views, trying to find points and counterpoints to what they say and what has been said about them, and watching the debates. The third one is now over, and all I can say is WTF was John McCain thinking about? Sarah Palin, negative ads, condescension, talking down to the American public, repeatedly spouting lies that have been refuted time and time again… it’s an endless parade of irritating pandering to the rich, claiming how much of a maverick he is while planning to tax everyone who can’t afford it, even as he continues giving tax breaks to those who don’t need it. Not to mention his endless whining about how hurt he was when an outside person, someone he respects and hopes to count on if he gets into the WH, speaks out about how negatively he has been running his campaign of late… I know that both candidates have come up with some pretty amazing things about the other’s policies or plans, but only McCain’s campaign and running mate have lowered themselves to making it personal, claiming it’s about Obama’s ‘character.’ Yes, if there are questions about his associations or past actions, then ask the questions, and find the answers. Don’t make them up as you go, claim them as gospel, and then act all shocked and shaken when your supporters believe them and react. And don’t cry foul when you’re called out on what you’ve done, and claim that your opponent must repudiate what someone not even associated with his campaign has said about your actions. McCain has no power over what people outside of himself and his immediate campain people say (as evidenced by Ms. Palin’s loose lips), but I’ve also never heard of him doing more than stating that ‘he’s a good man, devoted to his family’ when one of his supporters called Barack Obama a terrorist… is that repudiation of the tactics that are happening in his campaign? I think not. But that’s just me… Honestly, I haven’t seen someone act this big of a baby since Bush whined about the first election, or had his lawyers at the ready to sue anyone who suggested he stole the second election. Of course, how Bush even got to have a second election is solely due to the unrivaled ignorance of a good portion of the US. Somehow they were sure that he could do a good job. Unfortunately they’ve been proven wrong in a spectacular fashion.

It will be good when the elections are over, and America chooses its next president. I hope that ALL Americans able to vote will do so, no matter where they are, because if you don’t vote, you don’t get a say in what happens when the person you don’t want in office steps in to do his job. I’ll be voting, from Denmark, because I REFUSE to move back to a country where stupidity and special interests have so much sway as they do now. I can only pray that people can get past their party lines and do a little outside-the-box thinking this time, rather than insisting that there’s only one way to do things. That’s what’s gotten us to this state right now…

Yes, I’m talking to Republicans, even as I recognize that Democrats can be just as stubborn, narrow-minded, and stupid. But for the last 8 years, a Republican’s been in charge, and we’re not looking so good, on the homefront or the world stage. Let’s try something new, shall we?

Of course, that’s just my opinion… I could be wrong…


Emptying the cupboards, tightening the belts, and watching the world go by…

In The Main Beef on 12/10/2008 at 12:06

Ok… this was going to be a rambling post about how we’ve having to watch what we spend, and how we’re seeing how we can stretch our cupboard contents through the month, things of that nature. Obviously the economy, whether one is in the States or the rest of the world, is important, and lots of people are talking about it. But, I just read an article on Time.com titled ‘Is Barack Obama American Enough?’ and all I can think is WTF?!?!?! Is he American enough? Where does that come from? His name? How is having a name like John McCain any more ‘American’ than Barack Obama? Because it sounds more ‘American’? Please! Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of millions of immigrants over the years who have moved to the States, making it the country it is today, who have ‘foreign-sounding’ names, but who are as American as Mr. McCain. Tell them that, because of their name, they are, maybe, not American enough. And then see what they say.

Something like that floors me, because not only is it putting importance on a name, but the person attached to that name. In this case, the person attached to that name happens to be black. So, what does that mean for every other person of color, whose name happens to be a little different than John or Sally Smith, or John and Cindy McCain. Are they suddenly becoming ‘less American’ because their name doesn’t fall into the prescribed ‘American’ pattern? Are the Redumblicans (please note that this is NOT a personal attack on my Republican friends, merely a statement against Redumblicans in general) really willing to risk what goodwill they might have with voters on someone taking that attack the wrong way, and passing their opinions to their friends, and so on, and so on, and so on… I’m sure they would insist that what they mean is they are questioning Barack’s associations – his ‘relationship’ with William Ayers, his belonging to a church with a preacher not afraid to speak his own mind – and how those relationships bring to question his patriotism. Obviously the Republicans have forgotten the history of the United States that has encouraged the ancestors of the very people they are seeking votes from today to immigrate to this great country of ours (The USA, not Denmark, I am still a US citizen even as I am becoming a citizen of the world. :D). If I recall from grade school history, the founding fathers were traitors and terrorists, the whole lot of them, and proud of it. At least once they believed they could make a change, and take charge of their destiny. Once they had HOPE that they could make our country great. But, you know, who wants to think about that little bit of the past. After all, we aren’t supposed to think for ourselves any longer, or question the government for things like bailing out huge corporations so they can continue spending money recklessly… why, that’s un-American, to think that one man actually can make a difference!

All I know… if a few people hadn’t felt that they could make a difference, NO ONE would be having this discussion today.

Barack Obama is as American as I am. A bonified American hybrid, with the best of a few different flavors wrapped into one, seasoned with adventures, trials, and daily life, seeking the American Dream, just like the rest of us. He’s one man, trying to make a difference. If that’s un-American, then the US is going to be a very small country very soon. John McCain can have that country, I want to live someplace where it’s ok to question what goes on in the government, where it’s ok to speak your mind and have independent thoughts. And there’s NO WAY I’m moving back to a country with John McCain as president, because I don’t believe he can do that. You can shout about being a ‘maverick’ all you want, but unless you do it, it’s all talk.

So that was my rant for today. Now back to our regularly scheduled programme… :p

So, I was on the way to the keyboard when…

In The Main Beef, Wren Light - half the calories all the sass on 11/08/2008 at 01:47

Ok, so it’s been a week. Actually a couple of weeks. Good, bad, frustrating, generally a week (or 2). We’ve been kind of waiting for the DH to get his vacation time, and in between then our diet group came off holiday, so we went in to see the tale of the scale after 3 weeks off. The DH lost a fantastic 4.6 kg. I, however, only lost 1.1 kg. Suffice to say I was disappointed, even though it was continued downward motion, and some slacking on my part occurred. I did continue to support the DH, however, so imagine my surprise at the most recent weighing when I lost 1.5 kg, pushing me over the 5 kilo mark, and even beating the DH (percentage-wise)! Yes, there was much more happiness in the nest this week, and a renewed commitment to the whole adventure. As well, the DH got his 10 kilo reward, as he has moved past that number like a snowball rolling down a hill – gathering momentum as he sheds the weight.

Anyway, the adventure continues… As well, I’m heading back to language school, and starting the new program at business school… oh, and I applied for a job at one of the local international companies, doing what I do best… what can I say, I like to keep busy. 😀

So while the DH is on vacation, we’re planning a barbeque, and working on our apartment, and watching summer pass by on little bird feet… life is, as always, good.

Now for the details from the past few weeks of blood, sweat and vegetables:

Weight – 111.6 kg
Weight lost to date – 6.1 kg (approx. 13,2 pounds)

I’ve made my first goal, 5 kilos lost, and a bit more, which I am quite happy about. Next goal is 10 kilos lost, only 3.9 to go. The DH is heading towards 15 kilos gone, with only 3.6 to go. We also measured ourselves about a week before the group vacation ended, so even though my weight itself didn’t go down so much, there was a shift in the numbers on the tape:
Waist – 106 cm – 1 cm lost… total loss – 4 cm
Bosom (beneath the extra feathers) – 105 cm – 3 cm lost… total loss – 6 cm
Bosom (including the extra feathers) – 123 cm – no change… total loss – 1 cm
Wingbone width – 35.5 cm – 2.5 cm lost… total loss – 2.5 cm
Leg – 75 cm – 4 cm lost… total loss – 4 cm

All in all, I’ve lost a total of 23 cm, which works out to 9.05 inches lost, as of 26 July. The DH has lost 34 cm, or 13.38 inches. We’ll have another measuring party in a week or so, after the next weighing, and see how things are progressing. Whenever I get frustrated with the numbers on the scale, I have to remember to turn to the tale of the tape to remind myself that every small step takes me in the right direction, and patience will pay off in the end. Now to find my worrystone and start rubbing the impatience away…

Until next time, keep the feather side up, and the rubber on the road!

A little funny, to pass the time…

In The Main Beef on 18/07/2008 at 22:09

I just saw someting funny in one of the online newsletters I get, had to pass it on…

It’s July, holiday month, so this is so fitting: Denmark is currently closed…

hahahahahahahahahahaha… you have no idea how true this really is!

I’m sorry, but Denmark is currently closed, please call back in August. Tak!

lolololololol… 😀

Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?

In The Main Beef on 11/07/2008 at 15:02

The DH and I, being the good geeks we are, marshalled our considerable geeky forces and were first and second in line for the official release of iPhone 3G in Denmark. While we weren’t the very first ones to receive theirs, as Telia shops in Copenhagen opened at midnight for sales, we were among the first in our little town of Randers, pop. approx. 60k, established approx. 1100 AD or so. (Have I ever mentioned that my new town of residence is far older than the country I was born and raised in, by about 500 years?! Boggles the mind sometimes. Anyway…)

So, after waking up the birds, and being on the very first bus, we arrived at our destination and were pleased to find that we topped the line. In fact, we made the line, which was quite entertaining. We got the pleasure of watching the town wake up, street sweepers and early morning delivery men dropping off their goods, the bakeries and cafes straggling open a couple of hours later, it was really kind of cool. We even got to watch the sun rise over the City Hall where the DH and I exchanged ‘jas’ a little over a year ago. Brings back some lovely memories. *sighs* But, I digress.

At about 5:30 am we took our spot, then proceeded to wait. Slowly we were joined by other folks, and chatting ensued, though unfortunately for me much of it was in danish, so I didn’t pay too much attention. I did end up having a nice conversation with another iPhone devotee, discussing politics, religion, and the upcoming election, Obama and Hillary, and our experiences as citizens of our respective countries. She works at (runs, owns, could be all of the above) a local bookstore, and has strong opinions about the upcoming presidential contest. I enjoyed the time, the conversation, and hope to run into her again. All in all, the wait ended up being very pleasant and stress-free, with much camaraderie and no one acting like petulant children denied their favorite toy.

Then, at 10 am on the nose, Danish time, they began ushering us into the sacred walls of the Telia shop to worship at the altar of iPhone. Perhaps that, in itself, is where the problem began. Besides the usual stinginess in availability of said desired product, it seems the shops didn’t quite plan for the response they were receiving for the new toy. Computers began running slow, and it was about 40 minutes before the DH and I walked out with our prizes – bright, shiny new iPhones, one white and one black (so we don’t mix them up) – waving them to those who didn’t take the diehard geekfan route and queue up at the buttcrack of dawn. Then we headed home, only rushing slightly, as if to say that we didn’t really have to hurry, as we had what we came for. But of course, what good is a toy without the batteries? We started working on getting them set up, and ran into a problem. A small issue, but one with rather large implications for our immediate enjoyment of the new phones. It seems that Telia, still forgetting the potential response, didn’t set up the sim cards for immediate activation. So, we have to wait up to 48 HOURS before the card will be activated. Umm… WTF?!? Who came up with this bright idea?

In the meantime, the DH and I are having a bit of fun setting up our phones, and anxiously looking forward to the time when we have activated sim cards, and can actually call them iPhones… rather than iPod touches. Let’s cross our fingers for soon, shall we? All together now… 😀

IKEA Rant #2534

In The Main Beef on 10/07/2008 at 21:14

Just back from a shopping trip to the Århus IKEA. Now, don’t get me wrong… I love IKEA. Love it in a special way, because of all the goodies lurking, and the flat-packed boxes that turn into fun furniture with some sweat and tools, and the occasional curse because I’m not really inclined to work with my hands that way. But why is it that I must be assaulted by hordes of screaming children when I go to spend some of the DH’s hard-earned kroner on parts and pieces for our little home?!?!?1!!! Honestly… take a perfectly good shopping trip, in a store the size of a small town, that carries pretty much any and everything you could ever want, and serves you tasty swedish meatballs, then add screeching kids screaming for whatever toy or stuffie they’ve just passed, or screaming because they want a nap, or a meatball… you’ve just ruined that perfectly good shopping trip, faster than I can say WTF mate?!? You think I jest? Not bloody likely!

I understand that IKEA is a hard place to resist, and even here the consumerist culture is taking hold (thanks in no small part to the very same IKEA that I hold dear to my heart) and so must be fed from time to time… and a shopping trip can be a fine family outing, checking out all the pretty or interesting things, talking about how you might redo your family room like you’ve been thinking of, the kids happily testing bean bags and bunk beds as you eye that lovely set of sturdy yet still beautiful cabinets that could really refresh your kitchen while the significant other finds the perfect couch for the family room… But must everyone else then be subjected to the pivotal time when the kids go from having fun to just wanting to go home, the parents are still deep in shopping mode, and the kids then do the only thing they know definitely works when they want attention – scream at the top of their little lungs?

Have you ever noticed just how loud a child can get? Today, there was one kid, I swear, at the OTHER end of the store, wailing fit to beat the band, and sounding like he was standing right next to me with a megaphone pointed at my eardrum… If you know how big IKEAs can be, then you know that when I say OTHER end, I don’t mean a few meters away…

Anyway, all this makes me wonder…  Are parents of small kids so addicted to getting out of the house that they forget that others might be hoping for a bit of peace as they browse the shops or stroll around, or do they really feel an overwhelming urge to make others suffer when their kids throw tantrum, as if to say ‘Don’t you wish you could have one too?’ Or maybe it’s a warning… ‘Be careful, or you could be as lucky as we are.’ eep


The family that blogs together… rules the world

In The Main Beef on 26/05/2008 at 09:43

So the DH has begun, or perhaps re-begun, his blogging, going on about PIM and other geeky things. He’s quite the super geek, a systems administrator in his mild-mannered alter ego, and these sorts of things interest him. He’s found a book that’s sparking his imagination in wonderful ways, and I think it can only do him good.

Of course, now he will be using his superhero powers more and more, so I will have do pull out my own secret identity, or rather work on one… what will it be?

Indiana Jones and apple pie

In The Main Beef on 24/05/2008 at 23:28

Tonight the DH and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That was a fun movie! I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I will say that I once again see why I LOVE Harrison Ford. When I say LOVE, I mean it in the way some women LOVE chocolate, some men LOVE football (on both sides of the pond), the way my BFF LOVES her Frankie. It’s in that kind of way that’s indescribable, but you sure want to try, because it gives you new opportunities to love the object of your affection that much more. Even at his slightly advancing age, that man is just delicious! Rugged, worn but not worn out, funny in that wry, slightly self-deprecating way, with I-just-got-out-of-bed-and-I-still-look-this-good hair, a great smile, and the best eyes… *sighs longingly* Luckily, for me, the DH understands that if the ever-so-dreamy Mr. Ford should happen to toss aside his slender chippy and come knocking, I will be opening the door. Of course, I will probably have to wrap a towel around my head to hide the white hairs that refuse any color and continue their relentless advance, in spite of my efforts to stop them. And then there’s the whole “love me, love my husband” thing… I’m sure not giving up the DH just because the hunky Harrison flies his own plane, and has a fab ranch in Wyoming, complete with horses I’m sure, and used to go to Ripon College.

I suppose that will put a bit of a damper on any fantasies of running off with the fabulous Ford… so I will remain supremely happy with the DH… we will wander around this little country (have I ever mentioned that Denmark is just about the size of one of the Great Lakes?), and make lovely american-style apples pies with just a little danish in them – recipe to follow once it’s perfected – when we come home. Seriously, we make a wonderfully, sinfully delish apple pie, deep dish with crumb topping, full of sugary, cinnamony (huge thanks to the lovely Karla for hooking me up with all the fab cinnamon in this woefully backwards little country we live in – can you believe they think cinnamon is only to be used sparingly here… what kind of place is this?!) goodness, you can taste the love and spices when we’re done with one of those. After all, isn’t that really what apple pie’s all about anyway? Tasting the love… mmmmmm… We’re baking one up tomorrow, we’ll save you a piece. 😀