Saturday, December 02, 2006

Living In DC: You Have To
How many times a day, a week, or a month do I hear "you have to..." from store employees and other customer-service front line people as they're about to guide me to what I'm asking for? Much too frequently, I'm finding. Today's incident happened at Kaiser Permanente, where I went for my flu shot.

The guard at the front desk did start promisingly by asking "may I help you?"

"Which floor are the flu shots on?"

"Oh no, they're not doing that anymore. It stopped on the 20th. You have to call your doctor for an appointment."

I'll attempt to be somewhat positive about this, and consider some other responses he could have given me, responses not placing everything on my shoulders, which I feel "You Have To" does.

How about:
"I'm sorry to say the walk-in flu shot clinics are no longer given on the weekends. However, your primary care physician will be glad to make sure you get one. Just call for an appointment. I can give you the phone number if you'd like."

"Unfortunately, the last weekend clinic was on the 20th. But if you'd like to wait, I can call upstairs and see if there's anyone who can help you."

Or even:
"The last walk-in clinic was on the 20th. But if you go to after-hours care on the third floor, they may be able to help you schedule one for the near future."

Heck, I'd even settle for a "sorry you had to come all this way for nothing" after the original "you have to blah blah blah."

"You have to" says to me "Whatever it is you want, you can't get it here, and even if you can, I'm not going to give more than a bare minimum of help for it, because it's just not my job to help you more than that."

Last week, I got "you have to" at the post office, where I was told "you have to stand over there and put these stamps on the envelopes." I heard it in an office building lobby, when a security guard said "you can't sign in all those people under your name. They have to sign in themselves." And I get it when I'm swiping my debit card at the doctor's office, and the receptionist says "you have to wait until I pull up the program. Try it again."

I'd be glad to. Could you also try again?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Official Krooz Holiday Wish List
In the spirit of angering a barrista, here is my Official Krooz Holiday Wish List...

This Christmas, I wish:

the earth would receive a message from outer space confirming there's intelligent life elsewhere in the universe...

DC stores, bars, and other services would extend me the same stratospheric level of customer service that I receive from the front desk guys in my office building...

gym memberships and personal training were tax deductible...

for no more Ben Stiller movies...

The HO-HO-HOliday didn't have the stranglehold on the media and the economy it enjoys right now...

classical music would return to WETA-FM...

Kickass Zombie Movie's fourth draft were finished...

Chris Meloni, John Cena, Jason Cameron, or their lookalikes, would chase me down, grab me by the shoulders, and ask me out to dinner (or Starbucks)...

for 27-inch biceps...

there were more cavemen in DC.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not with a boom, but with a fizzle...
Lately I've had this feeling I'm aging out of the system, and today I read that I'm not the only one. As reported on Five Blogs Before Lunch, a Harris poll found:

...nearly two-thirds of Americans say they believe that most TV programming and advertising is targeted toward people under 40. The study, whose results have been summarized in an AP article, say that more than 80 percent of adults over 40 say they have a hard time finding TV shows that reflect their lives. Thirty-seven percent of baby boomers who responded to the study say they aren't happy with what's on television.

Which probably explains why I keep Turner Classic Movies on all the time.

But this has even deeper ramifications when it comes to the subject of the Aging Gay Man. We're all used to finding the universal (i.e., "somewhat gay") in most television and movies. And we flock approvingly to the few crumbs Hollywood throws our way. But try to find something that speaks to those of us balanced on the pinnacle between 40 and 50, and you come up way way short. Not even our own media helps us, as it's plastered with the young, smooth and nonfat. Where's the big budget movie or weekly TV show featuring GMEA (gay men eating alone), the difficulties with dating after 45, or the pursuit of bodily perfection in the middle age years? It's not that advertisers don't think there's a market for it... it's just that we don't fit into their long-range plans for selling soda.

(I'd even settle, at this point, for a gay character on Jericho, someone who would have to defend being gay in a town that's still doesn't know if there's any civilization left...)

Monday, November 27, 2006

What Story Am I Telling?
Back in 1997, Tom Peters wrote: To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. Well, that's stuck in my head now for 9 years... and only today did I get a full understanding of what he meant (ok, so I'm kind of dumb.) I had an awakening after reading this post by Seth Godin on, of all things, JetBlue and the TSA. In a nutshell, I started asking myself "what story am I telling about myself through my words and actions?" It's the story that enters the room before I do (but doesn't order drinks for both of us.) And whatever story it is, well, that may very well be Brand Mike. Now, after a full day of work (following a full four days off), my brain isn't up to ferreting out all the meanings and examples contained in the statements above. But this combination of ideas is bringing an interesting focus to my thinking, especially about guys. And I'm considering "what kind of image am I projecting" instead of "how can I make myself more attractive?" The second question has lead me to an answer having to do with spending thousands on personal training and hundreds on clothes, protein, and cocktails (alcohol, as we all know, being very beneficial in any thinking process.) I'm not sure what this all means in the long run. I'll have to give it more thought.