Sunday, October 27, 2013

System Malfunction

I have been so consumed with the writing of my research paper that I have neglected this blog for awhile.  It is time now to rectify that.  The goal of this blog is to identify methods that can integrate technology with the practical world in which we live.  Although I focus much on textiles, and the process of making while using the technological tools available, I think it is important to identify why technology has been created.
I believe that all the technological processes and tools are there to create an ease of completion in whatever task that needs to be done.
            With that being said, I had the opportunity this month to discover the potential of serious malfunctions with technology as it is seen by the consumer.
             As a consumer who has had a tremendous number of years in the field of customer service, I try to be a patient customer.  This was not the case this month as I attempted to purchase 2 chairs.

After waiting for 8 weeks to have the custom designed chairs delivered; they were.  The fabric was right, yet both chairs had recliner mechanism issues, padding issues and general poor workmanship.  After following the "corporate" policies; sending out a repairman after two weeks waiting it was determined that the cost of repairing the chairs would be over and above the cost of replacing.  But wait - the Michigan office needs to send paperwork - even though it is in the computer to allow for a re-selection - Never mind that the customer is in the store, ready to do so.  Oh, you decide you want a floor sample - well, we need to wait for the supervisor in Michigan (who won't be in for two days) to contact the Store Manager (who is scheduled off two days from now), it is because we need to make sure the "Inventory" department is correct.

So how about we "problem solve" here - the customer is willing to take a different chair, out of the clearance selection, off the floor in two of the local stores.  The customer is willing to deliver back to the store the two damaged chairs.  The customer is willing to change the design of her room, so that the problem and sale can be complete within four months of paying cash for the chairs.

* Response - but the computer system isn't set up for that!  The inventory system will be all messed up!

Note to retailers:  You will not be in business without your customers.

Thank goodness, after me being more patient than I ever thought possible, I was able to convince Kathy, the Store Manager of LaZBoy Gallery, Turnersville, NJ that policies are there to create a system, but that sometimes exceptions and good old common sense needs to be put into practice.  Don't let a computer system run the show - that would take the human element out of a creative career opportunity.

Now the company went from an unhappy customer to one who is at least satisfied.  Not exactly exuberantly happy, but at least the chairs are working, and satisfy my needs.

The point of this post - remember your ultimate goal when utilizing technology and systems.  They should not be the defining answer to all situations.  Make the system work for you!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Family and Consumer Science in the news...

So last week Dan Abrams on Good Morning America, part of the Jury's Out segment commented that parents should teach their children "Home Ec".  Jury's Out - Bring Back Home Ec?

So many responses came in supporting "Home Ec" - known as Family and Consumer Science, thank you very much, led to Dan Abrams visiting Belleville, New Jersey where he got to spend a class period in "Intro to Culinary".  He was a student in the class with 15 students, taught by "J" one of many FCS teachers in New Jersey, AAFCS member and an FCCLA adviser.

Yeah J! Thanks for representing us.  I am sure that he had his eyes opened as to how it's not just "cooking", but that the essential skills of life are all intertwined.

So everyone - tune in to "Good Morning America" tomorrow morning, the segment is due to be aired!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bring Back Home Ec?

If you have ever read this blog you know that I am a proponent of Family and Consumer Science Education in the United States, and around the world.  Sometimes it becomes very frustrating as it seems that the only people listening are those with "skin in the game", those of us who still have the joy and honor of teaching this fabulous, interdisciplinary curriculum.  But this week there were two great examples of others commenting and debating on the merits of the discipline.

On September 20, 2013, the Wall Street Journal, opinion section offered an editorial by Christine Grow-Loh and the benefits of compulsory Home Economics education in Japan and how her child benefited and blossomed.  Who Says Home-Ec Isn't a Core Subject?

This article led to a short, 2 minute debate on the benefits of "Home Ec" on Good Morning America, Bring Back Home Ec?  It's the first two minute of the "Jury's Out" section.  Having someone that is as respected as Robin Roberts support the field is great.

Aside from the great media press the highlight of the week came in class yesterday.  I work diligently to help students develop habits that demonstrate wise resource management.  As we were beginning our sewing project - making a toy - I explained the requirements of the project.  They are to keep a record of the resources that are being used to create the toy.  After determining the cost of the toy (based upon materials cost list) students are to price the toy to sell with the goal of making a profit.  Out of the blue a 13 year old boy states:

"This is why we did the toilet paper activity - It's all about the resources!  We don't have unlimited stuff to use!"

It has been a great week!