Cover me up ONE more time

31 07 2008

Every night after we tuck our two year old in to bed, he comes up with some excuse to come out of his room.  It’s generally something fairly believable such as “Water in cup” or “I need hug” (that one always works).  Anyway, our standard response is to get him what he needs and tell him to go back to bed.  He always whimpers back “Cover me up” to which we respond “We will cover you up ONE more time tonight…but that’s it…so this time stay in bed”.

Well, last night, he cut out the meaningless rhetoric in the middle and simply cut to the chase.  When he came out, he said simply, “Cover me up ONE more time”!


Arbys story

29 07 2008

I have been meaning to post about something that happened to us on our trip to Minnesota a few weeks back.  This has to say something about customer service, employee empowerment, business common sense, etc.  But, I will just tell the story and let you draw your own conclusions.

We stopped along I35 in Mason City, Iowa where there are a handful of fast food places to choose from.  Pretty much every single one of them were packed with 4th of July travelers.  McDonald’s was out as an option because we had already eaten there twice that day.  Culver’s was our first choice, but that place was absolutely packed with people.  So, we settled on Arby’s because it sounded decent and wasn’t completely overcrowded.  It happened to be right across the street from McDonalds.

I placed my order (2 Arby’s Melts and a drink) and then proceeded to start filling up drinks while my wife finalized the order for herself and our kids.  As I was filling up drinks, I heard my wife holler over to me that they wouldn’t let her buy an extra juice box for our kids.

A little more background – our kids are small enough that we normally order them one kid’s meal to share and then simply add a second drink.  We have done this more times than I can count (mostly at McDonald’s) without an issue. 

So, I walked back over to the cashier to try to get an understanding of what was going on.  Here is a paraphrased version of the ensuing conversation:

Me: Can we order a second juice box, please?

Cashier: No, I am sorry, they only come with a kid’s meal.

Me: I don’t need a second kid’s meal, but I would like to buy a second juice box.  Can I please do that?

Cashier: No, I am sorry, they only come with a kid’s meal.

Me: Why?

Cashier: I don’t know, I only work here.

Me: Can I please talk to a manager?

Cashier: Sure…. (Cashier summons Manager to the front counter)

Manager:  What seems to be the problem?

Me: I would like to purchase a second juice box and the cashier is telling me that isn’t possible, can you please sell me a second juice box?

Manager: No, I am sorry, they only come with a kid’s meal.

Me: Why?

Manager: That’s just the only way we sell them.

Me: Why?

Manager: That’s just how it is done.

Me: Why?

Manager: That’s what corporate has instructed us to do.

Me: Why?

Manager: Frustrated sigh…Sir, that is just the way it is and if you don’t want to purchase a second kid’s meal then there is nothing I can do for you.

Me: OK, I will go across the street and buy a juice box from McDonald’s then, I guess.  My preference is to buy it from you, but if you don’t want to take my money in exchange for one of your products, I am sure McDonalds will be glad to.

Manager: Fine.

So, that’s exactly what I did.  I had to go fight the crowd at McDonalds to buy one juice box.

The story doesn’t stop there.  After waiting in line for 20 minutes at McDonalds, I got my juice box and returned to Arbys.  Satisfied with myself, I sat down to gobble down my two Arby’s Melts.  The first one tasted fine.  The second one had no cheese.  I went back to the counter, flagged down the same manager and said, “Aren’t Arby’s Melts supposed to have cheese”?  Exaperated, she grabbed the sandwich, tossed it into the trashcan, and yelled out that she needed a new one.  I waited…

After a few minutes, I received my replacement Arby’s melt, and I returned to my table.  By this time, the rest of my family was wrapping up their meal.  Quickly, I began to devour my sandwich only to discover that the replacement was again lacking something…you guessed it…cheese.  Once again, I staggered back up to the front.  This time the manager didn’t even speak.  She just grabbed the sandwich and flung it into the back (I mean literally she threw the sandwich into the back of the store).  She then walked back there and relieved the sandwich maker of his command post.  I never saw her return to the front counter again.  Someone else brought me the second replacement sandwich (with melted cheese included this time).

That’s pretty much where the story ends.  I gulped down the sandwich and we were on our way with a new and interesting fast food experience under our belts.

Let me just say for the record, that I have never had any problems with Arbys before.  In fact, I can think of a time that our local Arbys here in the Dallas area gave my boys each a toy which we didn’t purchase just to be nice.  The point of this post is not to bag on a company.  The point of it is simply to tell the story and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

To me, it’s just a funny story of a store manager that was having a bad day and had not been properly trained and/or empowered by her employer.

Is the church still reaching?

28 07 2008

Yesterday morning, in our Bible Fellowship class, we all answered one simple question:  “Why are you here?”  There were probably 8-9 couples in the room.  Each one answered.  There were several, including myself, that said we were there because we had grown up in that church, and it was a natural place for us to be.  Others had moved in to town from various places and came to that church because it was similar to what they had known in their other locations or because they happen to know someone there.

There was only one person that said they were there because someone from the church had invited them to come.

My question is…why aren’t there more people there as a result of a personal invitation?  Is it because we aren’t inviting? Is it because they are not accepting our invitations?  Or is it because they came and didn’t find what they needed?

I think, sadly, it’s a combination of all three.

The church needs to be a place where we are excited to invite others.  It needs to be a place with a lot to offer for all kinds of people.  A place that plugs people in the moment they walk in the door so that they are immediately caught up in the spirit of the people there.  Otherwise, what is the point?

So, why aren’t we inviting?  Why aren’t they accepting the invitations?  Why aren’t they finding what they need?

Something is broken.  What do you think it is?

I miss my little buddy

25 07 2008

Our 4 year old is still up at the lake with my parents.  He will be there for another 10 days or so.  He is becoming quite the little fisherman.  He called a couple days ago and told us about his catch of 13 fish.  Today he called and had caught 23.  I asked if any of them were big ones.  He said yeah, but some were small and they had to throw them back!

I am glad he is having fun!  But we miss him down here in Texas.

Meanwhile his little brother is spreading his wings a little down here without him.  We purposely waited until this period of time to start potty training him.  And, he is really doing a great job with that.  In a week, he is going pee-pee regularly on the potty now without accidents.  Of course we have to religiously put him on the potty every 45 minutes, but he goes right away when you put him on there.

Poo-poo…so far is a different story!

Funny moments from a two year old

21 07 2008

Our two year old provided a couple of funny moments this week.

The first was Saturday night over at a friend’s house.  Actually there were several friends of ours there.  When it was time to go, our two year old was going around to house saying “Bye bye choo choo”.  My wife suggested that instead of saying goodbye to the train, he should say good bye to the people.  So, he looked at everyone and said “Bye bye poopoo”.  Everyone cracked up and of course our little comedian knew he had struck gold.  He has said that phrase several times since trying to recapture the magic.

The second moment was at Sunday dinner.  Usually getting our two year old to eat is not a big deal.  But yesterday, we ate a late lunch and we could already tell before we left the house that it might be a challenge getting him to eat.  So, thinking it might help, we asked him where he wanted to go.  To absolutely no surprise to either of us, he responded “Donald’s.”  So, we went to McDonalds.  He got the chicken nugget happy meal.  We tried for nearly half an hour to coax him into eating 2 nuggets.  My wife got herself some ice cream to eat in front of him and everything.  At one point, she said to him, “Yes, ma’am or no, ma’am – do you want to go and play in the playground”.  Without hesitation, he responded, “Yes, ma’am”.  She immediately said, “Well, then, eat that last chicken nugget”.  Again, without hesitation, he said, “No, ma’am”.

Maybe you had to be there, I don’t know, but these were funny moments to us this weekend.

Jesus for President

18 07 2008
Jesus 4 Prez tourbus

Jesus 4 Prez tourbus

Last night my buddy Kyle from Retread and I went to see Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw on their “Jesus for President” book tour.  It was a very unique experience.  I really enjoyed it.  They have unique political ideas that are refreshing to me.  I bought their book and started reading it when I got home.  Can’t wait to really get into it.  Here is a more complete review by my friend.

The evening was definitely something different than I have ever experienced before.  Two guys basically standing up together going through the entire human story.  All throughout, there were musical interludes by the Psalters, a very unique musical talent which is very hard for me to describe – kind of celtic or chanty and middle eastern or indian.  It was pretty special.

Check out to see if you can catch these guys coming to your town.

Episode 5 – What IS the matter with people

16 07 2008

What IS the matter with people?

For today’s episode of What IS The Matter With People, I have two worthy entries.

Mentally Disabled CaregiverThe first comes from this article.  This guy thinks it’s ok to hit mentally disabled people with a baseball bat.  And, hey, if they don’t respond at first, try try again.


Homeless MurderersThe second comes from this article.  How can people be so cold and heartless?



 So, tell me,

What IS the matter with people?