Monday, 30 May 2011

Tip etiquette: when to leave a dollar and when not to.

I was out this weekend doing errands and decided to stop at the liquor store for some beer. While paying with my debit card I noticed a tip option come up on the screen. Now I can see that this might be applicable if I had a large purchase and the cashier helped me out to my car, but do I have to tip for a case of Bud Light Lime?

When is the right time to tip? We are all familiar when eating out to tip the waitress. But what if the waitress was no good? What if she was rude? Do you hand over the cash then? And how much is too much? What is considered the norm? Most places have a few choices when tipping. You can bypass the whole thing. Pay a percentage of your bill. Or choose to pay a dollar amount. The choice ultimately is yours. I tip all waitresses whether good or bad, the dollar amount may vary, but I always leave something.

This brings me to last week when I took my boys for ice cream. I paid with debit. The tip option popped up and I wanted to bypass it. However, the machine wouldn’t let me. I was told by the cashier that I’d have to enter an amount even if it was a penny. I was shocked, and angry that I was being forced to tip. I was not given the option. The business took away my right to choose whether I’d like to tip or not.
I probably would’ve given some sort of gratuity if these were extravagant ice cream cones that took time to construct, but they weren’t. They were vanilla, and not even dipped in chocolate! I pulled out my wallet and counted out the correct amount in change – pennies included, and handed them to the now grumpy cashier. Why should I have to tip for three ice cream cones?
Where is the line drawn when it comes to tip etiquette, not just on our part as the consumer, but the businesses as well? Shouldn’t it be our choice to tip or not? And what is the deciding factor when it comes to adding this option at your store? Does a liquor store or fast food restaurant qualify?

A debit card junky, I now carry cash with me where ever I go. This eliminates the awkward feeling I get when paying for an item and having to tip.

Sometimes not seeing things can be a blessing. – August Strindberg


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Love Free for the Taking!!!

Everyone's experienced a day where you feel the world is against you. Sadly, for the people in Slave Lake their life just got a little bit harder. Homes and businesses lost. Treasures burned and unrecognizable, clothes, furniture, cars and more lay in ashes down the streets – blowing and scattered across the prairies. Memories are all that will be left for some, as these victims try to put their lives back together.

However, there is a light shining through this dark and twisted tunnel. Humanity hasn’t been lost. Empathy still plays an integral part in our society. People still care. Calls for donations have been made. Strangers have rallied together and boxed up blankets, bottles, diapers, and food to load onto their trucks. Doors have been opened, wallets emptied.

Whether small or large your efforts have made a difference.
Your sleeping bag will warm children. Your bottles will feed babies. Your money will aid in the reconstruction of lives.
But above all, it will be your generosity, your kindness, and your heartfelt thoughts and prayers that will stay with these people forever.

It is comforting to know that when life throws you a curve ball, there are people who are willing to help. Hands are extended. Arms are there to
embrace you. Prayers are sent. The gift of love is given freely and without cost. AND that people is something to be proud of!!!


I have added a few places accepting donations:

*Customers can text “REDCROSS” to 30333 to donate $5 to The Canadian Red Cross Society. TELUS works with the Mobile Giving Foundation to make these donations available through mobile technology.

*Donations are being taken in Spruce Grove at Walmart. Large truck and trailer set up by the Garden Centre until 9:00 p.m. Monday, 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.

*Salvation Army relief efforts: Monetary donations can be made at the Salvation Army's website (specify your gift for the Slave Lake Disaster Relief Fund) or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visit your local Salvation Army.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hello Sunshine!!!

Hello Sunshine!!
The winter has been a long one, and I am happy to bid adieu to the cold, frigid weather for a while. With arms wide open I embrace the sun and all its warmth!
Today I will be writing. What? I am unsure, but I will take my coffee and computer and head out to the deck. Maybe I will find a little inspiration there.
When I was in school the one thing that was drilled into your head, was write what you know. Write the genre you read. Write about a story you’ve lived. Write about your crazy neighbour and all his antics you’ve witnessed through your screen door. But most importantly just write!
Because I love history so much, I choose to write that genre. But sadly this doesn’t fall into the “write what you know” category. What do I know of the Romans, the Victorian era, the Civil War? How did they bake bread in the 1800’s? What did they wear in the 1700’s and how do I describe their wardrobe? And what of their lingo, their language back then. Whether it’s 100, 200 or 300 years ago they spoke differently than we do now. How do I capture that essence? How do I take what I only partially know from text books and online research, and build it into something believable and real?
Imagination, creativity, and knowledge are my tools. Much like a carpenter, but without the tool box, I have a computer, a pile of books, and a highlighter; I begin fixing the story in my head. I know the plot. Now I need the tools to hammer out the characters, sub plots, and everything else in between. There has to be conflict and resolution of some sort. I build an outline, a chapter by chapter breakdown. And then I take a deep breath and begin.
Sometimes it doesn’t come to me right away, and I wait patiently for the conversation to begin in my head. This could take days, weeks, and on occasion months. I become a little fearful before I begin, knowing that I will say goodbye to daily pleasures such as talking on the phone, reading a book, and watching T.V. All will be cast aside until I am done. I will be consumed, obsessed and somewhat recluse. I will allow my nails to over grow, my hair to go unwashed, my clothes unchanged. I will have vanished.
So let the writing process begin!!!


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Bad Hair Day.

Today I had the unfortunate pleasure of helping out a friend’s daughter. She went to the hairdressers for a trim, and came out with crooked, way too short bangs. I am aware that bangs are supposed to be short, but these were horrific. Cut away as if they didn’t matter; snipped off without any thought towards the girl in the chair. Not only were these bangs jagged and not blended, they were unfixable. How does this happen? This is a teenager. It wasn’t like she couldn’t sit still for a haircut.

It is clearly obvious the hairdresser didn’t listen to her client. The “please trim my bangs” was not heard. The small request fell on deaf ears. The result so disastrous and will surely affect this girl forever. She walked in the salon with expectations of being pampered – transformed. Instead she walked out looking like a bad 1950’s doll.

We have all experienced this regrettable monstrosity. Too much cut off. A wrong colour put in, a massacre of botched hair scattered on top of your head. You look like a lead in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Is this fair? Should she have paid for this eyesore? How does a person know who can cut hair well and who can’t? And are there warning signs?

Here are some tips:

1. You should not pay for anything you are not happy with. Especially when it comes to your hair. If you don’t like the cut say something before you leave the salon. Heck, say something before she is finished cutting your hair.
2. There is no sign to tell you who can cut hair and who can’t. What might work for one individual may not work for another. Before planting your butt in the chair bring a picture and explain in depth what you are looking for. Then ask them if they can do this? Go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling run like the wind.
3. Warning signs will come in little bits of information. So make sure you’re listening to the hairdresser. Watch her actions. Is she uncomfortable while cutting your hair? Is your hair looking the way it should? Run your fingers through your hair during the cutting process, see how it feels. Most times you will be able to tell if she’s cutting too much or the hair isn’t blended.
4. Ask questions.

There is no guarantee you won’t look like the Bride of Frankenstein after a trip to the salon. Placing your fate in the hands of someone holding sharp pointy scissors is always a gamble. Remember the choice is yours, leave your hair the way it is, or take a deep breath and roll the dice!