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Midwest Minnesota Twitter Meetup

NWA Email Faux Pas

So here’s the email my wife sent to Northwest Airlines commending a flight attendant:

We would like to commend the flight crew, particularly Cathy, on flight
1400 from Minneapolis to Boston (3:25 departure) on April 7.  We were
flying with our 3 month old daughter to Boston for open heart surgery.
We had alot of gear and required oxygen for her safe travel.  Cathy
checked in on us throughout the flight, helping get the O2 going and
adjusting the delivery mechanisms for a baby.  She even made sure we had
some extra snacks to tide us over as the evening commute from airport to
hospital was going to be hectic.  In an era of “on your own” this was a
nice treat.  It made our anxiety a little less during a crazy time.
Please pass along our gratitude.
Paul and Annamarie Saarinen (and baby Eve)

So here’s the email we get in response:

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the service provided while
traveling with us.  On behalf of everyone at Northwest Airlines, I
sincerely apologize for letting you down in so many ways.

I hope I have been able to resolve any concerns you have about our
service.  Your business is important to us and given the opportunity of
serving you in the future, I am confident Northwest will not only meet
but exceed your expectations.

We were like wha? Then we got this:

Thank you for contacting Northwest Airlines regarding your recent travel
to Boston, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

I apologize for my previous response to your email.

We appreciate your kind comments regarding the service received from our
flight attendant.  I was pleased to learn she was able and willing to
assist you and your son. We believe our employees are our most
important assets, and I am happy to learn that our flight attendant
exceeded your expectations.

Please know I will be sharing your comments with our Inflight leadership
team so that this employee receives appropriate recognition, on your
behalf.  Thank you for sharing your thoughtful remarks.

I want to thank you, again, for writing.  We appreciate your interest in
Northwest.  Your business is important to us and given the opportunity
of serving you in the future, I am confident Northwest will not only
meet but exceed your expectations.

Well, at least they tried. *shrug*




2009 Resolution

There are so many things.  I have so many things to do.  On the other hand, those things don’t matter as much now, as they did months ago.  I have this little book that I use to shelve ideas.  This is my to-do list of lists.  They’re not little tactical things like changing my blog theme, they are the time consuming business plans.  I only have so much energy for them.  My book is like the pensive from Harry Potter.  I remove ideas from my head, and place them in this book.  They are there when I need or want them.

This year is different.  I want to recapture something that I once had and lost.  It seems a bit trivial, but I believe will matter more in the coming years, and decades.  It is something that they may not teach in school in the next 20 years, and you’ll be happy you kept up your practice.  If you look at yours, it may be a trainwreck like mine.

When is the last time you sent a handwritten letter?  Not a postcard, not jotted notes on a post-it, but a real letter.  I look at my penmanship, and it’s illegible garbage.  I can’t make it out most of the time.  I’ve created a font before (it was illegible too).  It will be a lost artform in 20 years, only for baby boomers with bifocals, in retirement homes.  I will remaster this dying communication medium, even if the U.S. post office stops delivering.

Nip Tuck Season 6 promo or Dandy Warhols video



Striking similarities between David LaChapelle’s video Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth

for the Dandy Warhols and The promo teaser for Nip / Tuck season 6.  You be the judge.

Esquire Oct 2008 E-Ink Cover

I got this a few days after the issue became available. The battery is supposed to last for 90 days, so it’s coming to the end of it’s life. You can put it in the freezer to extend the life. Here’s to the first mass distribution E-Ink cover for a magazine.

Carmex Kiss

View This Kiss

Experience is the Product

Elle playing Break Classic on the iPhone 3G

[viddler id-31521c07 h-370 w-437]
I know Atari has gone after Break Classic and Apple with a take down notice, but my daughter loves Break Classic for the iPhone 3G

Fired by our Dentist – Customer Service 1.0

I generally dislike trips to the dentist office.  Not that I have a fear of drills and needles, just the impatience of sitting in a chair immoble for a couple hours.  It had been a long time since I had good dental insurance, ok…any dental insurance.  When you freelance, contract, and run a small business it’s one of those things that go on the, “I’ll take care of it later list”.  So with a lot of trepidation, I scheduled my first dentist appointment, fearing for the worst.  My wife had found a nice practice a few blocks from our house.  The ambience of the office was Home Furniture / Yoga studio.  It was nice, the employees were friendly, in a midwest Lutheran type of way, but it didn’t take my edge off from finding what the damage was going to be.

We live in an area where there seems to be a lot of stay-at-home moms.  This is not scientific calculation, just something I have observed when visiting my son’s school over the years.  Both my wife and myself do a lot of schedule shifting to make sure, work and kids (we have a 13 yr. old and 1 yr. old) are taken care of on a daily basis.  We share our Google calendars to try and stay on top of everything.  I’m certain we’re not alone.

At the end of the first visit, I was sat down and told what proceedures they suggested be handled right away, how much this would cost, and when this could be scheduled.  Knowing my wife had the same proceedure done the week before, I was happy to hear that my dental insurance took care of most of the cost.

They decided to split the proceedure into two sessions.  The first was schedule for an hour, ended up taking two, and cost me around $200 more due to “changes” in my dental coverage.  The assessment of costs was only a couple weeks previous.  Knowing how sketchy insurance companies can be, I didn’t chastise the dental practice for not telling me of doubling of proceedure cost.  I told them that I would take it up with my insurance company.

The day before my scheduled second half of the proceedure, I came down with a “bug”.  It was probably from the older kid, as my wife caught it the day before.  Knowing that I would be sitting in the dentist chair the next morning, for upward of two hours and 7 shots, I called and cancelled, rescheduling for two weeks later.

Upon my next appointment, I found out that a client meeting had come up, which I had to attend.  The dental practice called and left a message, which they were really good about doing, reminding me of the appointment.  Knowing of scheduling conflict, I called when I returned home, left a cancellation notice on their office voicemail, and planned to reschedule in the morning.

I never had a chance to reschedule, as the dental practice called in the morning, notifying me that I had cancelled the last 2 appointments in with less than a 48 hour notice.  I was unaware of such notice policy.  It must have been in the fine print.  I apologized for the cancellation notices, and calmly explained both scenarios.  The woman on the phone said she would talk to the dentist and get back to us.

A week passed and we received a letter explaining that this dental practice would no longer accept appointments from not only me, but my wife as well.  Due to their 48 hour cancellation notice policy which was broken 4 times, they would no longer take our business, but would gladly transfer our records to another practice.

Wow, we had been fired from our dentist.  Having been a small business owner for upwards of 5 years.  I could relate to the difficulties of scheduling workers that would not be used.  It was totally in their perogative to let us go, as these cancellations (I only could count 2) could cost them money.  Then I thought about it a bit more.  Maybe we just were not their typical soccer mom client base.  Hecktic schedules, last minute meetings, and genernal pain-in-the-ass to nail down clients, probably wasn’t on their business plan.  This brings up another point on health care.  Could our doctor, optomitrist, or pediatrician fire us?  It might make better business sense, but a guess the hypocratic oath gets in way somewhere.

Something to learn:  Give your dentist 48 hours for cancellation of an appointment, or you could end up using a doorknob and string in the future.