Aug 25, 2012

What She Order..

Kanye and Kim ordering Fish Filet from McDonalds? via Deerpong

Furry Essentials

Joann giving her signature Eskimo kiss!
Our Beagle Minnie's groomer Furry Essentials won the 2012 Best of Worcester Reader Poll  in the pet groomer category!

I'm sad to say that I didn't even know about this poll because I don't actually subscribe to a print newspaper and found out about it on Facebook this afternoon, but I'm psyched for them and they deserve it.

Joann treats Minnie like a princess. Joann loves to get right down onto the floor to greet Minnie when we walk through the door. Minnie's typical response is to get all submissive and roll over onto her side letting that fat round belly of hers hang all out in all its glory.  After much cooing and fussing, we chat for a while and I always know I'm leaving Minnie in excellent hands.

We've been taking Minnie to Furry Essentials for over five years. At first it was Joann and June, our dynamic duo.  But then June moved down South and Joann's daughter-in-law Michelle starting working there and I loved her instantly.  We became Facebook friends and she was introduced to my love of Hello Kitty.  She started texting me  pictures of Hello Kitty stuff she'd see in stores which eventually morphed into buying me little Hello Kitty presents.  Now every appointment begins with her busting out some amazing little toy or trinket to give to me.    Sometimes she'll text me a picture she's taken of Minnie in a doggie dress which cracks me up because Minnie is SO not that kind of dog, but she endures it with her usual Zen-like calmness knowing this too shall pass.

When it's time to pick Minnie up, Joann also has this nice little touch that she does with the invoice that I really love:  she attaches a little personalized note telling me how Minnie behaved during her visit.  She'd write things like "I was such a princess" or " Five Paw Star" and I grew to look forward to seeing what phrase she'd come up with next to describe Minnie's very ordinary behavior.  (Trust me, I know I'm lucky that Minnie isn't the sort of dog that would tear things up while in the care of somebody else.  She's more the kind of dog who is content to stay in one spot and nap hard.)

I was so happy for them when they were able to expand their business by moving to their new location. The shop is beautiful and taking Minnie there feels like she's going to Doggy Daycare because she gets to be surrounded with all the other dogs that have their grooming appointments.  I swear they should charge admission just so people can walk into their work area, sit down on the clean floor and be instantly surrounded by 5-10 dogs of various sizes and natures.  It's instant love, adoration and a guaranteed drop in blood pressure.

You should see Minnie when she's with the other doggies and there is a treat to be had.  She definitely embraces that whole 'survival of the fittest' mentality and will do just about anything to wiggle her way closest to Joann's hand to be in first place for a Scooby snack. She doesn't believe in missed opportunities and she's got the grand belly to show for it.

If you're looking for a groomer that will treat your dog like it's their own, then by all means visit Furry Essentials.  They've been my best kept secret for years.

(If you're interested in the other winners of the 2012 Best of Worcester Reader Poll, you can check them out  here.)

Aug 10, 2012

Deli (en)Counters

Dear Deli Counter,

I'm writing to let you know all the things wrong with you in the hopes that you'll shape up and embrace changes after all these years of sameness.  It's time...

Lose the  Take-A-Ticket concept. It doesn't work.  Don't you know by now that ordinary folk can't follow direction?  Probably 5% of deli customers see the ticket machine, get the ticket and wait politely waiting for their number to be called so they can place their deli order.  The rest of the 95% ignore what you're supposed to do and just press themselves as close to the glass display case as possible trying to get the person's attention like their ordering a drink from a bar.  If you want people to use the ticket machine, the person behind the counter needs to actually follow the process themselves.  You wait on a customer and then advance the little digital number to indicate the next customer in the que.  What doesn't work is me walking up to the counter, pulling number 15 and the digital display says 4.  Use the technology you've been given! Oh, and get rid of that stupid plastic wicker basket on the counter for people to deposit their tickets into after they're all set with their deli order.  Most people just throw the tickets on the floor and walk away. I know...people suck.

Learn from the DMV. Now that's a system that works for stupid people.  If someone wants to order from the deli, line up benches in front of the counter so people can sit, relax and wait their goddamned turn. NOW you can use your silly take-a-ticket machine to dispense numbers.  If you do that, customers will have time to reflect on exactly what they want to order at the deli before they actually approach the counter.  No more, "Hmmmm.....let's you have any Boars Head Spicy Elephant Ears?"  They'll just approach the counter and order their damn meat.

Stop Playing Games. When I ask you to slice it thicker, do you slice it exactly the same way and see if I notice any difference?  'Cause I fall for it every single time.  How am I supposed to see if you've added a 1/16" more depth to my cheese slice? I'm all the way over there behind the glass with the stacks of bulkie rolls.  I can't see that far.  I say, "Yes, much better. Thank you very much." because I have their weird need to please you, but then I get home and have to perform surgery on my pound of American Cheese with my best knife because I can't separate the slices because they've been sliced too thin. I just want a normal cheese slice.  Can you talk to your pals in The American Association of Meat Processors and get a quorum on the width of deli cheese? Thanks.

No More Free Slices. Stop letting customers con you into asking for a slice to try before they buy it. I stand there silently hating you for prolonging the deli transaction because I've got to wait around for some annoying customer to decide if the ham is too salty for their delicate palate.  Enough with the taste test. Here's another piece of free advice: don't be fooled into thinking if you give a toddler a slice of cheese they'll shut up...because they won't.  They'll just reach out their grubby little hands for more. Or throw it on the floor.

Take A Lesson From Wegmans.  I think you'll agree that you get a lot of deli traffic crowding up your counters.  I know that's not a bad thing, but it's got to be annoying when so many customers are just ordering your basics like cheese, ham, salami, bologna, etc. How many times are you unwrapping and wrapping up the Polish Ham? Isn't that exhausting?  Wegmans, my favored grocer, actually has a little refrigerated area adjacent to their deli counter and they have all the deli meat staples wrapped in half-pound packages so customers can just grab and go.  No need to clog up the deli counter at all. It's the ultimate drive-by.

Deli Counter - I know you've got a tough job to do managing all those meats, cheeses and over-sized pickles for your customers.   I know the elderly can be annoying with their quarter-pound meat requests.  And I can certainly appreciate that the safety training can be tiresome just so you can guarantee that you're people go home at the end of their shift with their ten fingers, but you've got to do a better job.

Because if you don't, I might just have to go all Vegan on your ass. And trust me, if that happens, you'll lose your best over-sized pickle customer.