Posts Tagged ‘Rants’

Corporate America sucks

Corporate America sucks. Big time. You get hardly any holidays and are worked to the brim. Corporate American culture is like a parasite — it sucks all the blood out of you till it bleeds you dry. First of all, the country has no culture to boast of so no holidays to accompany that. Hardly any national holidays. Then you have 11 sick days and 15 days holidays. My company has 17 paid-time off which includes sick days — although the summer Fridays are a BIG perk and unheard of. Second, people are just spokes of a wheel to management. While every spoke is needed to get the wheel to turn, management feels free to move the spokes around at will. In the process management forgets that these are people, not spokes. If you talk to management, you are given a crap-and-bull story bla bla bla. Management will nod their heads and agree with you, empathize with you, but do nothing about it. It maybe that they don’t have the power to do anything. All the business school crap that you read about motivation, communication, managerial skills, promotion, bla bla is all pure crap. I have not come across a single company that is not governed by office politics in these matters. Office politics – the biggest evil.

Europeans are the best. East Europeans have the maximum number of holidays and then Europeans. Italians don’t work in summer and go away on vacation. They close their workplace at 3pm!!! Ah the luxury… Canadians have the fewest holidays, then Chinese, then Americans. But China and Canada have more national holidays and their workplace is not as parasitic/vampire-like as America’s. This culture is spreading… multi-nationals in India follow American rules, but the average work time in India is 10 to 5. So even though people work Saturdays, the work hours are better. My British friend went to Tony Robbins’ conference, convinced her husband to go with her, and GOT HER COMPANY TO PAY saying that she had to go for motivational reasons. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? And she kept telling me to do it too!!!

Bloggers from my fav blog, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com, were in Europe for a conference. All the Europeans went out for drinks and had fun after the conference while Americans went up to their rooms and wrote for their blogs late in the night. Why do American lives revolve around work so much? Why do people live and breathe for work? Work is just one dimension of life — it is not life itself. I used to care deeply about my work – I still do – its hard not to care about something you spend most of your time and life with. But I have grown to understand that work is not everything – its just work. Like AM says, work is work, it is not supposed to be fun. Its just one aspect of life. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be.

Only in American culture is it common to visit shrinks. Clearly, people need it. With such a culture, stresses of everyday life, lack of appreciation, rude people to deal with, poor customer service, life is a bitch. All of this is manifold if you live in New York.

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Its been ages since I last wrote here… ages. I have been sooooo busy these days with the renovation and work. I got a haircut today and my hair stylist, as always an advocate of letting my hair frizz stay, and I always want to straighten it out. Straight hair is easier to maintain, falls less (he says its a misconception), and is less entangled. Frizzy hair gets entangled and is all over the face. I have thick unmanageable hair, and straight hair keeps it out of the way — I don’t need to wash my hair everyday if I straighten it out. But I have this debate every single time I get a haircut. My hair stylist is awesome and after trying several places including well-known ones, I found him and have remained loyal.

I had dinner at Vatan, my fav Indian place. I went all by myself since AM is in India. I miss him a lot although its just been 2 days, but it was nice to go there — AM does not like Vatan. The waitress was like “you are all alone all by yourself”… duh — this is New York. Women wine and dine alone as and when they please.

My renovation has hit a standstill. We found a riser 12” wide in a wall — I was supposed to have an entrance there and not cannot because the 12 inch riser which is really the exhaust for the kitchen in the entire building blocks the way. There is a riser in the middle and on the side, so I cannot move the entrance by a few inches left or right. The only way is to move the riser or change the entire plan. I am quite bummed with the options — the room sizes are reduced a lot. Plus the space is less open. But I can do whatever I want in the bathroom and have it whatever size. I prefer the old plan. The building Super says I cannot move it. I told the building managing agent that they did not inform me and I have to incur costs of starting the process from scratch and breaking the wall. I am hoping that blaming the building will compel them to allow me to move the riser. Wishful thinking I guess… my contractor says to threaten to sue them. Not a bad idea — I could pose as a lawyer. Maybe that will move the needle.

Does anyone feel like slapping Nigel of America’s Next Top Model? He always talks like he needs to drink water… you know how your mouth is dry and you have to drink water else you use a specific tone… hard to explain. Anyway, Nigel bugs me. He sucks up to Tyrant Fangs all the time, and I cannot stand him. He is half Sri Lankan. The brings me to Tyrant Fangs – I mean Tyra Banks — she looks and behaves like Cruella Devil. She has lost weight this season though and looks much better. But she is annoying, and the highest paid actress in primetime TV — $30 million per year. I mean, what kind of a loser watches her talk show? Her crazy antics? OMG!! I cannot cannot stand her. Anytime she is on the screen, AM leaves the room. He cannot stand her and Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex & the City. Seriously, Tyrant’s show is sooooo dumb. Who the F watches it?

While commuting to my old workplace, I passed Tyrant’s studio and saw a long line of people waiting to be let into her studio in the morning. I would rather stay late in bed. The woman is crazy.

Its so lonely without AM — I miss him terribly. He left on Wed, and I could not sleep and was bored to death. Somehow even though we may not chat, I may watch TV or surf the net, we may be in separate rooms, it makes a BIG difference just knowing he is around. Even if he may come in late from work, just waiting for him is enough. Now I don’t feel like watching TV or surfing the net. I am so used to him and without him its so hard.

Life is hard. People who renovate need to literally leave their jobs because main places are open only on weekdays 8:30/9 to 5/5:30. I was late today — I had to go to Blackman, a plumbing store. Customer service is non-existent in NY… extremely poor. Salespeople at Blackman don’t even have the courtesy and are not even service-oriented enough to change their voicemail – their voicemail says they are open on Saturdays, their website says that, but they are short-staffed and are not open on weekends. The building doorman told me last Saturday that 30+ people had come to the store that morning and he had to turn them away. He told them to change their voicemail but they are too lazy. I mean its just a voicemail. Tells a lot about customer service. No wonder people buy online. People go to stores to view products and buy for best prices and convenience online. I plan to do the same for some products — I don’t trust the Internet.

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Stuck in the middle

What do you do when your two family members are not talking to each other? One person asks you about the other because whether one likes it or now she worries about the other. And you try to keep in touch with the other indirectly, and soon that manner of staying in touch is going to go away, and there is NO OTHER way to stay in touch? And you cannot stay in touch directly because somehow you two don’t correspond as well? How do you make sure that the person is okay? How do you know if she needs you? I guess if she needs you she will reach out to you, right? Whats the point of having an ego? You have ONE life, and you throw away precious years because of ego? What a shame and a waste. On ones deathbed ego does not factor, you only think of your loved ones and how you are going to miss them… what is the point of ego and stubbornness with family?

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Confusion galore…

Yesterday I went to a designer friend’s home to seek ideas for my renovation. Her place is gorgeous! She put so much thought into every small detail… and it shows. I realized that there is so much more out there that I have not considered. She used a Japanese theme throughout her apartment, with wood lines throughout, black furniture, Japanese style doors, and natural influences. Every item was gorgeous, well thought out, and expensive! While I don’t intend to spend even half as much, I found her tips useful: have a theme for your apartment, everything should have a flow and connect, etc. Till now I was thinking of everything separately – kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, etc. I did not think of it all as one whole that should connect in some way. So complicated. There are so many choices that I cannot make a single decision. Last week I decided on tiles, but now am not so convinced.

I thought that maybe I should consider natural because the friend’s home was calm because of it, but that is not my aesthetic taste. I like contemporary, and no matter how many pictures I see online of natural stuff, I really like the contemporary stuff even though its “fake”. BTW she is not really a friend – she is AM’s boss’ wife… she lived in one of those high-fy Park Avenue apartments, and moved to Central Park West two years back and renovated the place. I mean, she replaced a Wolf cooktop ($$$) with a Gagganeau one because she did not like the look of it. Ahhh the luxury. Her view is of the central park boathouse and you can see the boats, river, semi-nude people sun-bathing, people cycling, and feel the cool breeze… The view was so awesome and breathtaking.

I am going to make my designer work overtime. She has not helped me at all, and its very frustrating. One more chance, and if she is not helpful, I will replace her. She doesn’t make good recommendations. I asked her about window blinds, and she recommended $1,000 worth per blind per window. Is she crazy? Like I have bags of money under my mattress or something. The first time she came over to my apartment she brought two people to take measurements, and she brought her kid with her. How unprofessional is that? And I pay her per hour!!! The measurements were completely wrong, and now my contractor has to take them again before construction starts. I have not heard one good thing about any architect and designer that friends have used. Not one good thing. I am so confused right now. Contruction will start in 3-4 weeks, and I don’t have everything ready yet. Hopefully everything will fall in place.

Its like people who work cannot get a renovation done, because stores are hardly open on weekends. They open from 9-5, and weekends some are closed and some are 9-4. How the hell are you supposed to get things done? In this economy, you would think they would want to make some money…

Sometimes I think I have two jobs. Obviously AM is aesthetically challenged, so I have to make all decisions, and I want to make sure that everything is perfect. He keeps telling me that its okay to make mistakes, but I feel so strongly about getting everything right. Today I was excitedly going about checking out tiles, etc., and AM sat on the couch in the store and played with his Blackberry. Sigh… men!!!

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In these trying times, it is more important for companies to hold on to their loyal customers, and what better way to do that than good customer service. Why don’t companies get this simple fact straight? Why will I part with my hard-earned money to someone who is unfriendly?

Yesterday I went to the MAC counter at Macy’s. I LOVE Mac beauty products, and have been using them for years. The only things I don’t buy from MAC are pencil eye liner and Mascara – I prefer Lancome. I went there to buy eyeliner brush, and thought of buying an eye liner as well.

Me: A liquid eye liner brush is key to applying liner. How will I know that MAC brush is good if you remove brushes from testers?

Salesguy (giving me 3-4 tester versions): Take these tester versions and don’t double dip.

The tester brushes are crappy and ruin my eye. I ask another salesguy to give me eye makeup remover. The remover does not remove the liner – has MAC gone cheap on its materials due to recession? Damn.

Me: I would like to buy this liner brush. Is it good for liquid? How will I know that the liner brush is good if I cannot test it? Is the liquid always this thick?

Salesgirl looks at me like I am crazy and she did not know how to answer the question.

Salesgirl: Sorry I was attending another customer so bye.

No “can you ask someone else” or calling out to someone else to attend. She walked away WITH THE BRUSH I WANTED TO BUY. That was all I needed to change my mind about spending my money and I left.

Beauty companies negotiate square footage allotted to the brand and number of salespeople per square foot, so the salespeople really don’t care. I am sure beauty companies have contracts lasting a number of years with department stores. The stores are willing to negotiate based on sales driven per square foot per salesperson. Clearly, MAC “pulls” the customer and Macy’s has to allocate a decent amount of space and body for their counter. There were way too many people at the counter – 8-10 people with one at the cash register and one more attending to a customer – the remaining were just chattering away and cleaning up. Do they really need so many people? I expected more from MAC, and they need to revisit their contracts.

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Why do vendors have to send large files (3-5MB)? I don’t understand the logic. Does anybody have the time to read them? I respond to ALL of them letting them know not to send such large files without prior communication. Its soooooo annoying. That and the automatic opt-in for emails. UGH.

Today one vendor called marketing a search service. He did not even know our website. Gee, how long does it really take to type my company site? Ridiculous! If you don’t have the time to check out my company site before calling me, why will I take time out to review your services? Agencies, especially search, are dime-a-dozen.

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Sick at home

I am sitting at home, unwell, with a stuffy nose and throat. My throat hurts so bad. I decided to stay at home after much deliberation. I have so much work to do, but every day I go with a burning throat and stuffy nose, and the AC makes it worse. By evening I have a bad headache and just want to crawl into a blanket and lay down. After 4 days, I decided to stay at home and rest. I did not turn on the TV or computer, and just slept till noon. My throat still hurts. I had a cup of tea with honey, and will keep sipping hot water. I hate it when this happens. My throat is very sensitive to the weather. I have a bitter taste in my mouth which just won’t go away no matter what I eat. I try to have spicy Indian food and lots of black pepper which helps a bit. I will probably use steam with Vicks drops because that usually helps. I don’t want to go to a doctor. My Dad sent some medicines from India, so this weekend I will stop by my Aunt’s place to pick them up. New York weather is terrible. You never know when it will start raining. I am glad I stayed home – I do feel a little better, but just a little.

Last year I went to an allergy doctor. I am allergic to pollen, dust, and feathers. His remedy was that I come in for a year for shots, but there is no guarantee that I will get cured. Ridiculous! In this country no matter how much money you spend you can never get a guarantee on anything. Its quite frustrating. My mom is allergic to pollen and every winter her condition is terrible. Its amazing that she is so active even in that state. She takes a lot of care. She doesn’t have tomatoes, yogurt, anything cold, and drinks ginger water, and what not. She sneezes so much. My husband says that I sneeze like my mom, so I must have the same allergy. Every Spring I fall ill, and this year its much worse and just won’t go away. Apparently there is no cure. Sigh.

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After waiting for so long I finally reapplied for my Amex card and got one. I decided to check out my credit score and noticed a couple of things that were inconsistent, and disputed them. I got them removed and my score went up by ONLY 10 points. Sigh! My husband’s score is much better… why don’t we have the same damn score? Anyway, I applied again for Amex and got approved. Can’t imagine how only 10 points can get approval… well I also gave my exact salary info. I usually give either none or lower salary info. Why should I tell someone how much my household income is? Its private.

I am so glad to be rid of Citi’s octopus-like tentacles. I HATE Citi to no extent, and completely understand why the size is posing to be such a challenge. Citi has not updated its credit cards site in years. The rewards are pathetic – the only think I redeem my rewards on is Amazon gift cards. There are only so many I can get though. Last year I redeemed my points for a $200 gift card. I never received it. After a couple of calls I received a form. I filled out the form but while moving apartments it got lost. I called Citi again but they refused to replace it, and 20,000 points went down the drain. Amex totally would have replaced the rewards. While I earn more points on Citi, what is the point if the rewards suck? At least Amex treats its customers better and has great rewards. One of my ex-colleagues got an iPod replaced by Amex, how cool is that?

I sent Citi customer service an email letting them know of how happy I am to have finally gone Amex, and that I don’t have to deal with Citi anymore. This is the response I received:

Dear (insert my name),

Thank you for your message regarding your Citibank credit  card account. I regret you did not receive your $200.00 gift card from using your Citibank Credit card. We strive to help our online customers with each request; there are some requests that need to be handled by specialized departments. I would recommend contact our Citicards Division directly. Citibank offers a specific website for credit card accounts. For assistance with your credit card, you may contact CitiCards customer service at 1-800-950-5114, 24 hours a day.

You may also visit www.citicards.com to access your account or select the “Credit Cards” link found at the top of the screen.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. If you have further questions, please send a message or call MyCiti Online Customer Service at 1-800-374-9700. Representatives are available to assist you 24 hours a day
7 days a week.

Thank you for using MyCiti. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

MyCiti Online Customer Service

Does this make sense to anyone at all? They say contact the Citicards division directly. Ok, which division is this? Are you not that division? Then why is your contact on the Citicards site? You regret; really? Do you really regret it or are you just spewing crap? You “strive” to help online customers… do you know what strive means? Strive means “to attempt, endeavor, try”; you call sending this email striving? It says “Citicards offers a specific website for credit cards”. I EMAILED YOU ON THAT WEBSITE, YOU MORONS. The email has NOTHING to do with my problem, its just a generic email. Citi probably spent the government funding on technology to send such emails. I feel free to be rid of this crappy company and crappy service. No wonder they keep selling on the phone – they need the money to make up for lost customers.

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Stupid alarm clock

98% of times I read reviews before buying anything – household & personal products, movie tickets, travel, services, and pretty much anything. I read reviews on Amazon before buying the Sonic Boom alarm clock. Reviews stated that the clock was loud enough to wake anyone. Since I have a problem waking up really early I bought the alarm. What an absolute waste. First of all, THE ALARM DECIDES WHEN TO RING. Second, its easy to move the volume button unintentionally, so you may not realize that the volume is set to 1, which basically means you cannot hear the alarm. The volume thing is not as much of a problem as the fact that the decision of when to ring is in the alarm’s hands. While I do wake up early in general it annoys me to no extent that I paid for this crappy thing. I am up relatively early because my new place has no blinds and I don’t intend to get any in the near future – at least I wake up early, but not as early as I would like.

I came across an interesting article on the most annoying alarms. Wish I had read it before I purchased this one.

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The curse of reality shows

When I first moved to the US, I got into reality shows because I was intrigued by the drama. My initial impression was that Americans are primarily like the ones on the Jerry Springer show, Maury’s show, and various other talk and law shows during the day. Since I was at home and did not have friends (I was very new!!!), I let these shows shape my impressions of Americans, and thought that they were a miserable lot. Once I met people, joined school, and started working, I realized how much these shows misrepresent the average American.

The trend of reality shows is catching up in India as well. While the drama is not as much, I am amazed at how much people have changed and how messed up people are on these shows. There are a few recurrent themes in reality shows:

  1. Drama is # 1, no matter what the cost
  2. Each person “plays” a character, and that character is exaggerated to the extreme
  3. Loud and obnoxious people either reach the final three or win something
  4. Ratings increase due to heightened drama
  5. Producers exploit weaknesses to the extreme, not caring for basic human decencies; racism, bullying, etc. are out in the open and the producers will just watch and tape
  6. Producers will manipulate participants just for ratings

While people who go on reality shows know what they are getting into, you still never know what to expect unless you are in that situation. Over time reality shows disgust me so much that I don’t watch them anymore. I only watch competitive reality shows, such as Germany’s Next Top Model, Project Runway US, Project Runway Canada, Project Runway Britian, Canada’s Next Top Model, Australia’s Next Top Model, and Celebrity Apprentice. I love fashion, and so enjoy these shows because they focus on the skill set and not just drama. I would, however, much rather prefer old fashioned drama and comedy any day. My favorite shows are Heroes, Law and Order, Gossip Girl (not anymore though), and Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma (hilarious!).

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