Today could be categorized into what I would call a “learning day.” Full of “lessons.” Life is a “classroom.”

Is anyone else doing the Joey Tribioni “air quotes” on everything today? 
First: Customer Service 101 
There’s nothing I love more than a good customer service rep who knows that her job is to make me happy. If you hate your job, please work in tech support. But customer service belongs to the chatty, the kind, the concerned and the willing to give me a credit for the inconveniences that caused me to be on the phone with you in the first place. 
So after patchy internet connection and a first call, which resulted in a technician appointment, I had to work from Panera today. This is not why I pay $70 for internet and phone. I pay it because my office requires it, because they know how grumpy I get when I have work while watching people stuff their faces with a nine-grain (sliced and toasted) with honey walnut spread – or worse. The Cinnamon Crunch. That “crunch” was the sound of my heart shattering after someone, with their gluten-y filled goodness, took another bite. 
All of this carbohydrate-envy-induced anger incited another call to request a a billing adjustment. It only took me about 3 sentences to convince her and a few moments later I have my $16 credit. Which doesn’t sound like much, but she was only able to cover from when I first called to complain until the date of the tech appointment. 
Lessons to learn: 
  • Customer service is for the nice people. 
  • Don’t wait to call and complain. 
Next: Basic Economics
You make an investment on beautiful – BEAUTIFUL – family pictures, and you call your photographer (because you stalk her like that) to ask if it’s silly to pre-buy the frames because you’re at IKEA and WHAT A STEAL to get these huge frames (because there’s nothing currently hanging on your living room walls, even though you’ve been living there for a year). 
Totally hypothetical situation. 
But as the discussion pursues about the purchase of the frames, the concern shouldn’t arise over either the pre-buy nature of not having actual pictures yet OR the fact that the frames have completely whacky dimensions. No, those things work themselves out with the aforementioned brilliant photographer. 
No, the words that should be spoken – probably from the mother who was accompanying this purchase – is, “doesn’t it seem silly to spend such money on fabulous pictures only to put them in cheapo frames?”
I hear your cheapskate little voices. They’re saying “what’s the difference? A frame’s a frame.”
Let’s put the differences in numerical order (not in sequence because, again, this is a completely imaginative situation). 
1. IKEA frames have those little metal tabs allllll the way around the frame that require something firm to flip them up. 
     1a. No, you cannot just flip up 3 sides of the frame and shimmy the framed work under the forth side. Try as you might, but you’ll end up forgetting the pair of scissors you used as a lever and breaking a nail. 
     1b. I mean, you could. I’m not saying it’s for sure or that it’s ever happened before to anyone you know. 
2. IKEA frames don’t use glass. 
3. Instead, IKEA frames use plexiglass and then put a shield on it that is held in place using nothing short of static electricity. 
4. You’ll be so anxious to get the picture in the frame that you lay it all out in the middle of the living room floor. 
5. You forget that though you just vacuumed yesterday, your dogs shed hair at a rate similar in ratio to which you produce children. 
6. Dog hair + static electricity = never good things. 
7. Though you relocate to the kitchen table, you have your work cut out for you wiping dog hair off the entire frame. 
8. Once you’re 98% free of the dog hair (because, let’s face it, you’ll never get to 100%), you put the frame together only to realize that your fingerprints have covered the edges after trying to get the thing back on the frame. 
9. You finally get the thing put together with a satisfactory rating above 80%, though a small black hair is lodged inbetween your husband’s teeth and your two-year-old comes down and plants her hands on the plastic. Which is fine because plexiglass NEVER shows smudges. 
10. You still haven’t even attached the metal wire which will hang the frame and the mere thought makes you want to weep. By looking at the hardware involved, it’s going to require that you have to re-up those little black tabs AGAIN. 
      10a. Tears. 
I think it’s clear the lessons we can take away from this speculative case study. You can spend $20 more for a nice frame or you can include “wipe dog hair off the ginormous and beautiful family portraits” on your weekly cleaning list. 
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