|A colorful addition/edition at the National Heritage Museum
This month, I had great fun designing a new newsletter for a local museum. While the museum has been using me for the occasional small project for several years, this is my first “regular gig” with them. First, I am very happy for them. They have long needed a print vehicle that better reflects the quality of their exhibits and programs. As their first 4-color periodical, I think it is sure to be received favorably by their donors. Second, I am having a blast. I am so accustomed to working with (to be kind) “nonprofessional” photography that it is a total treat to be using (literally) “museum-quality” artwork. It really is easier to work with strong images. The result is really compelling. Congratulations to the museum for taking the leap. Perhaps some of you other nonprofit organizations can take a lesson from this — budgetting a bit extra for printing, design, or artwork often can provide much higher impact. (But you know that already.)
|Putting energy in the right places
My wife, Debra, puts a lot of effort into living lightly and healthfully on the planet. We recycle, eat organic food, reuse rather than discard. We went shopping for a Prius the other day and are thinking seriously about solar panels. So, when Debra read about a new heating oil program soon to be available in our town, she immediately got on the phone with Mass Energy, the program sponsor, and the local retailer. When they told her that a critical mass had yet to be reached, Debra sent email to friends and neighbors in an attempt to convert them to the new program — a 90% low-sulphur, 10% soy oil mix. It worked. When the time came to do the first “ceremonial pour,” Mass Energy asked if they could do a press event on our deck. The product manufacturer, Mass Energy, the local retailer, and state and federal officials were all represented at our “event.” I can’t begin to count the times I have been sent pictures of similar “photo ops” to place in my clients’ newsletters, magazines, and annual reports. Because many of my clients have not met me in the flesh and Debra does not share my last name, I half expect someone to send me a photo of...well, me...for their next publication. That’d be a first.
|Learning to work with our “demon”itors
I wrote this entry while waiting in the car for my son and his friends to emerge from a movie theater. It was a long wait. I wrote a (very) long entry. Here is my attempt at a shorter version.
Recently, I finally entered this digital century with the purchase of much-deserved and needed flat screens for both Amanda and me. Mine exploded twice. The third time was the charm. Amanda’s arrived a few days later but lacked a necessary connector. The adapter arrived five days later and failed to provide a connection solution.
Over the course of these days, I have been misinformed (on several occasions by several “experts”), been put on hold at least a dozen times for up to half an hour, and been inadvertently disconnected twice. Apple’s bricks-and-mortar and cyber stores apparently have yet to create policies about how to share customers — which put me in the middle of a bad situation that kept getting worse.
It turns out that I simply had to plug my monitor into a different wall jack to resolve my problem. And, after conversations with five technicians at Apple, the last one finally figured out that there is no product that Apple sells that can adapt my oldish (2001) computer with this new monitor.
There are several morals to this story. I am choosing one to share with you. I lost it. The confusion, misinformation, lack of coordination, and bad training evidenced by the Apple service providers simply got the better of me. A couple of days into this process, I was a screaming meemy. Literally. I was so frustrated that I was rude to a couple of well-meaning Apple staff and — as Amanda and my family will attest — I was no fun to be around.
Then, out of nowhere, a switch went off inside me. I took a look at myself and the situation and was, frankly, embarrassed by how much energy I had invested in the problem. With all the real troubles in the world, I could only laugh at myself. Yes, I was treated poorly and yes, large corporations can be frighteningly dysfunctional. But we are talking about a computer monitor here — not food or heat or shelter or personal freedom or anything that really matters.
Shame on me for giving such a little thing so much importance. And good for me for finally coming to my senses.
(PS: Thank you to the staff at the Apple Store and online technician #5 for being so patient with a very frustrated customer. They redeemed the company in my eyes.)
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