I was called “Man-ish”. It was meant to be insulting. And hurt my feelings. And guess who said it – Another woman.

I was a little shocked by that. I mean, the person who said it has some serious issues, so consider the source, right? But – nonetheless, this is what she thought would be hurtful to me. First, let’s get one thing straight. Can we – as humans – stop with the name calling. It is ridiculous. Luckily, I have amazing people in my life, who build me up everyday. So, her backhanded comment didn’t affect me negatively, it actually made me think. It made me wonder, why would ‘man-ish’ be considered an insult?

If you have seen me, of all the things I am not, is man-ish, in the derogatory way she meant it. I am a girly girl. I wear all the makeup, I love dresses, pink is my favorite color, and lace is a must in my life. That being said, I am a manager of a bodyshop. I love to do wood working. I am a mom of three kiddos, who support them. I also sew, crochet, and am teaching myself to weave. I love my jeep, and doing modifications. I love facials, and spa days. I have short hair and a routine to get it this color that only one woman on the planet can create. (Plug for Michelle definitely inserted here).

So what was meant by Man-ish? I am sure it was the few things in my life that are considered more of a typical “male” role. Which, I don’t even want to address just how problematic that level of thinking is. Problematic, archaic, and ridiculous. I was talking about this with a couple guys at work, and asked them their take. First, they all laughed at me being called “man-ish”.

But, I believe one of the guys nailed it on the head. He said to me, “It’s her anxiety, I bet. I find that the most female on female criticism actually stems from feeling inadequate in an area of life they admire about you. You are the head of the house. It’s only you. You are the breadwinner. The provider for your family. You have given them a great life. Your kids love and adore you. You are involved. You give them freedom to live. She probably wishes she was half that. “

Maybe that’s true, I like to think so, anyway. But my main point is this. Before you hurl insults at someone, make sure it’s them that’s the issue. I am so lucky that my confidence game is strong. I am happy. Completely happy. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love being a mom. I love my crazy busy life. I love my relationships. Ask anyone who knows me, the last 6 -7 months of my life, have been the best I ever had.

I had some real conversations with those I love. We are a focused team. Same goes at work. Things are clicking. So, I am going to allow my “man-ish” self to be taken out to dinner. And I am going to allow my “man-ish” self, to have the door opened for me while we go. And when I get home? I might pour some concrete and make a super hip stool. (All those really happened, by the way. Literally exactly like that.. LOL! I can post a pic of the stool later.)

So, when you are named called, consider the source. But also, remember how wonderfully made you are. You are valued. You are needed. And pray for the ones who call names. Below. I’ll some pics of my “Man-ish” Self. Doing some “Man-ish” Things.

OH! One more thing, Stay Classy. Hot mess doesn’t look good on anyone.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I don’t know about you, and there is no judgement here, personally I don’t worry about Covid-19 much at all. I wash my hands, use hand sanitizer, don’t touch my face, and limit my contact with others as much as I can. But let’s be honest, whether you are Pro-Quarantine, Pro-Mask, Neutral, believe it’s too much, and want it all normal again – what’s the right thing? I am not talking about the mask debate, glove debate, or anything else. I am just saying, what is now polite?

I deal with customers, and at the beginning of March, my work facility became a “hand shake free zone”. I get it. Honestly, there’s times when I have had to shake someone’s hand and it was all i could do not to gag in their face for some reason or another. I am also from the south, and I never want to make anyone feel bad and use manners. NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS! Do I shake hands? Do I not? Do we just not do that anymore? If someone has a mask, should I put one on? How far away do you stand? I don’t know how to review documents from six feet. I also don’t want to disrespect someone with an actual nervousness by getting to close.

Here in Orange County, where I live the, Mayor enacted a mask order starting tomorrow. So I at least know that I have to wear a mask in the stores. So we are on an equal playing field. But what do we do past that? Shake hands? No?

I want to make sure that everyone I encounter is comfortable. At my job, or anywhere else. If wearing a mask is required, I am a rule follower that way. I hate masks – personally, they freak me out. I feel like I can’t breathe. I take it off a second, then I can breathe. Good to go for ten or so minutes. When I do that, I try to breathe in my shirt.

And can people please stop mask shaming!?!? It’s ridiculous. Let me address a few people here.

1. ANTI-MASKERS– I am an anti-masker. But I will not be a mask shamer. That’s those who choose to make their voices heard through social media by memes, secret photos of people, or completely negative comments about folks wearing masks. (And this is coming from a mask hater). STOP IT. JUST STOP IT. You don’t know what that person has went through, to start off with. If they are more comfortable wearing a mask, how in the world does it affect you? It doesn’t. It isn’t your face. Why are we so obsessed with being mean to other people? Maybe they believe the 180,000 articles and news stories that state that masks help prevent the disease – and really feel like they are protecting you – not just them. And if you think of people walking around – protecting you – it makes me admire those masked folks. And let’s be honest, you could be wearing shorts to short, with orange crocs – and they aren’t making fun of you… I kid. I kid. (sorta)

I can do these masks no problem – I wish SnapChat could make them work in real life!

2. PRO-MASKERS – I get it, this disease is scary. But because you wear a mask – doesn’t make you a better person than someone who doesn’t. Again, the passive aggressive memes, photos, etc. needs to stop. Because just like I said above, you don’t know why someone might not be wearing one. Maybe it’s a medical issue. Maybe they are claustrophobic. Maybe they believe the 180,000 articles that state that masks do nothing for the Corona Virus – and they need to get back to normal in their life, and a mask doesn’t feel normal. For me, an anti-masker – I literally feel like I can’t breathe. And I will be okay for 10-15 minutes. Then randomly – I can’t breathe well. Next up – almost a panic attack. That being said, Now that it is instated that I am required to wear one in public – I will. I will also not be going out as often, because it makes me uncomfortable. When they lift the mask order – I am sure there will be a lot of people who still wear masks. I will be one who chooses not to, if I don’t have to.

3. EVERYONE – I think our nation has been through it this year. 2020 is one for the books for sure. But what I say is such divide. Politics. On race. Gender. Sexuality. And now, masks? Can’t we all just get along. And of all the things to fight over – well, let’s just not fight.

So, what do you think? What’s the best way to be polite, respectful, and still warm and friendly. And how do you do it with acquaintances? Like a parent of one of my kids friends? I don’t really know them, but I don’t want to be rude.

This is hard. So what do you do? And what are you – anti mask or pro?

So – I really wanna know. Whatcha doing in this pandemic? To be honest – my life is somewhat the same. I am an essential employee, so I am still going to work – just shorter hours and less busy. On the weekends, I stay home. Which, to be honest, isn’t that out of the ordinary. I mean, my weekends normally consist of the craft store, grocery shopping, a choir concert, hair appointments, etc. But it’s not like I am some social butterfly, running about town.

What I have noticed is this. It’s weird to have to really think before you go to the grocery store. Or, to ask someone to go for you. It is really weird to stay inside. Not going for a walk downtown. Or running to 7-11 to get a Coke Zero with ice. Ohhhh… I miss a Coke Zero with ice. It’s weird, not seeing my best friend when I want to. And it’s also weird, that my hair is turning into a whole mess. These things I have taken for granted wayyyyy too much.

And maybe, in a weird way – this is a good thing. I do believe, that myself personally, will be forever changed. And anytime I am annoyed from a crowd – I’ll be grateful I can be in one. And when I dread my kids starting school, or get annoyed over homework – I’ll be grateful, that I am not the teacher. Glory in Heaven for that. I am not teacher material.

But, for real. What have you guys done? I have, and in no particular order – Binge watched Tiger King. Same with My 600-lb Life. I have sewn a ton of face masks. I made two skirts. I am working on making a bathing suit – we will see how that goes. I have went to church in my Living Room, and have had worship service in my bathroom. I have learned that I am a hard core dance queen, and my daughter’s Tik Tok account is proof of that. I have meditated. I have watched movies. I have done yoga. I have done my make-up – just because I want to be pretty at home. LOL!

You know what else I have done? Cried. I have cried because I miss my bestie. I have cried because my hair looks like crap. I have cried over not knowing if I should or should not venture out to the grocery stores. I have worried over finances. I have made lists of things I want to accomplish – then I took a nap. So, I guess my intro is a bunch of malarkey. My life is different, too.

So, whether you are creating, or crying. Laughing or grieving. All are okay and perfectly acceptable. But drop a comment or send me a message, and let me know how you are handling it. And give me some good ideas – because this could be longer rather than shorter.

Oh. And Carole Baskin totally did it.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

(And I won’t tell you to “Wash your Hands”, because you are grown and know to do that, and to say that is almost passive-aggressive, rudeness at this point. LOLOL! )

Sat Nam.

Oooooh… controversial, right? Yas! I’m feeling a little sassy today!

Seriously though. My ‘real’ job – is literally a Customer Experience Manager. My job, is to make sure that your experience, at my shop, is amazing. We have that crap down, too. I mean, I am super good at my job. I am great at it even. Our scores show it. Customer Service is my pride and joy.

Now, you might be saying, “KRISTIE! The customer is always right!” Well, now you are wrong, too. Lol! Let me give you an example. I am at WAWA this morning. I am standing in the checkout line, and there are two people in front of me. Both people are on the phone. The young lady that was the clerk, was awkwardly trying to catch the first person’s eye. I know she was trying to ask them if they wanted a bag or not. She was also trying to be polite, and not interrupt their conversation. So, customer #1, talking his head off on his phone, never acknowledges the clerk. He is staring down at the credit card machine.

Once his total shows up, card inserted, tap tap tap, he grabs his stuff and walks out. Not even one nod of acknowledgment to the clerk. Customer 2 repeats the same process – almost exactly – and walks out the door. It’s my turn in line.

In that moment, I became painfully aware of my bluetooth earbud sitting in my ear. I quickly pause my audiobook, and pull the earbud out. “Good Mornin’!” I say.

The young lady says back to me, “Well, good morning! Thank you for getting off the phone, but you didn’t have to, no one else does. ” I replied in a panic almost! “I wasn’t on the phone, I was just listening to an audiobook!” She obviously didn’t care if I was on the phone or not – but for some reason I felt ashamed for the way the two customers in front of me behaved. She was such a sweet and lovely young girl working this morning. And those two people, missed an opportunity to engage with another human and to make her feel valued. They missed out.

That got me thinking. We live in a society of instant gratification. Self entitlement. The “I’M GONNA CALL MY LAWYER!” – Mindset. Remember in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, how Veruca Salt was a spoiled little brat. We, as customers, often do the same. I am including myself in this mix, so don’t get it twisted. We have amazon – get it quick. Cell phones with games or social media so we never have to be ‘bored’. Liposuction, Credit cards, Uber Eats, On Demand, Fast Food, Sudden service, WiFi, video games, grocery delivery, and the general lack of having to ‘wait’ for anything . And it seems, the more convenient things have become – that we have become much more impatient and much more entitled. You would think we would be more grateful, but it doesn’t seem so.

You want to know one of the reasons that my team and I are so successful in the customer service genre? In an industry that it is almost impossible to make people happy? I will give you one big tip. I DO NOT CHANGE MY CUSTOMER SERVICE MINDSET FOR ANYONE! So, my CSR’s are instructed to wait. And by wait, I mean this. We are in control of this situation, we are the professionals, so we are going to show you how it’s done. If a customer comes in- on the phone, and instructs me to go ahead and go over the forms while they are on the phone – I don’t. I reply, “These forms are way too important, and I want you to be able to focus on your call – as soon as you are finished with the call, you let me know – and we will get you taken care of. Take your time. ” And guess what, I mean it. I’m not being a smart alleck. These forms are important, and your phone call is also. There are humans on both sides of you. I will give you the time and space you need to complete your call. And then we will get you taken care of! I want to make sure that you are set up with a great level of expectation, and that we are clear!

In the 10+ years, I have never had one customer buck up when I refuse to do business while they are on the phone. I have seen a few look shocked, but that’s it. I want my customers to feel like they are connected to us and that we care. Because we actually do.

Now – let me explain to you a few things that happen at our shop. If you have never worked in the body shop industry – auto repair industry – you might not know. Consider this a public service announcement:

  • Machines make vehicles, humans repair them. We strive to be perfect, and get it as spot on as we can. Please, have some grace. We are human and it takes time.
  • Paint match. Listen, bumpers are different colors than sheet metal. That’s just the way it is. Paint adheres differently. Look at your car before your drop it off. If it doesn’t match then, it won’t match after. If it does now, it will then.
  • You, as the customer – deserve updates throughout the repair process. You should receive them from your insurance adjuster and the shop. An adjuster’s information is only as good as what the shop gives them – so if you have questions, call the shop.
  • Body shops want to repair your vehicle. If an insurance company says something IS NOT related, we have zero control of that. We get paid to repair, remember that. Screaming and cursing at us will literally get you no where. We can’t do anything without their approval. I can also guarantee you, that if you curse and yell in my shop – I won’t be able to advocate for you for anything, because I am going to have to usher you elsewhere as to not offend my other guests.
  • Body shops, especially shops like mine that do insurance work, are so regulated it is crazy. We are audited by everyone. So, we aren’t a crooked industry trying to make a quick buck off you. Just like all lawyers aren’t jerks. All accountants are not dull. Don’t make assumptions.
  • If you tell someone in a shop that you are going to contact your attorney because an insurance company is saying that something isn’t related. Please do. We want you to. So does the insurance company. We are well versed in this, and we aren’t kidding.

If you have any questions about the body shop industry – shoot me a comment or email me in the about me section. I’ll answer asap.

So, here is my challenge to you. Let’s try to be good customers. When we check out, tell your boyfriend to hold on the phone for a second, and talk to our clerk. Let’s show up a few minutes early to our appointments. If we go to pick up some shoes, and they don’t have our size, ask the salesperson if they can help find them – rather than huffing away or sulking. If you have to wait for a table at a restaurant, play a game of ABC with your kids and chat with your spouse. And at your next meal with your family – have everyone put their phone on airplane mode. Let’s be good customers to everyone we interact with.

I’m a realist. Sometimes, you are gonna get someone who sucks. An employee or business that is just subpar. Don’t get mad – don’t freak out – don’t yell. Just move on up the chain. Also, If you want some more Customer Service tips – Let me know. But, I can’t divulge all my secrets.

I gotta stay number 1.

Xoxo

The Best CSS squad on the Planet! (L to R) Eric, Rebecca, and Tariq!)

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.