Being a light

Being a light to the world requires action, requires energy, requires substance.

I could go on, and probably will in posts to come; however, today I thought I’d like this cool little fella share a word that if you press play will surely speak to you. Now it’s great to be inspired and encouraged, but go do something with it.

‘Create something that will make the world awesome!’ Are you doing so already? Well what can you change, what can you do to make your team, company, life, relationship better? Remember what is great today, will be good tomorrow if you let things go and don’t continue to invest in staying fresh.


What does your environment say about you?

Today’s observation is again extracted from a personal experience. Two words:




It astounds me how quickly we absorb the culture around us. Culture in our work place, in our peer group. We become who we are around.

Now this is not a newsflash to me, but knowing and understanding something are two very different things. To be honest, we need both to be successful.

Have you listened to those around you? There are certain buzz words that your peer group use that if someone, or a few from that group say them long enough, they become ingrained through-out that particular circle.

So if you want to know where your heading today in life. Stop and listen to the words, phrases and actions of your friends, colleagues and teammates.

Like what you hear? Don’t like what you hear? Do something to change it today. It’s not personal if you discover you need to make some changes to your environment. If you want to be an eagle, you can’t hang around with the chickens. If you want to speak French, you don’t go to Germany.

There is no shame in either, it’s simply a matter of choice to be who you are created to be.

To coin the phrase of a good friend; if we want to think outside of the box, we must first know where the box is.

Know who you are, be very careful what you listen to and what you say, and keep believing. A simple, but effective recipe.

Happy Burns Night to all my fellow Scots. 

Have a great weekend folks!


Talk about being anti-social? Try anti-digital.



So it would seem that rather than making good strides forward and including their customer base in the dinning experience, whilst increasing their reputation. This particular restaurant, in LA, has decided to work against that with their 5% discount offer, when you leave your phone at the door.

Featured in The Stylist weekly magazine, I spotted this weird and wonderful story on the train home yesterday. I wonder what you think of leaving your mobile phone at the door of a restaurant?

Perhaps some make like the idea, but in my experience the majority of us can’t get enough of our phones these days. Irrespective of age, or gender, we are apart of a digital shift, or didn’t these guys get the memo?

Hey, I could be totally wrong here. This could work. In my ¬†opinion is probably will work, for a short while at least, but only for a small number of people. Those who don’t have Facebook primarily.

Just when I thought we were beginning to see a wave of folks, (i.e. companies) embracing the social surge of digital media; que the above article.

What’s your thoughts? Would you take the plunge and leave your phone at the door for 5%?


Being the customers choice

If you want to be the company your consumer chooses, then be the company they’re looking for first.

You attract what you personify in the same way our bodies project a certain message by our unspoken actions, (otherwise known as body language) in which case we push away customers when we fail to give them a smile, or be in the slightest willing to go the extra mile and check the stock room for whatever they may require – especially when we know it’s in stock.

The stock room doesn’t mean this post only relates to those in retail, or warehousing now – the stock room can be the treasure chest of please, thank you and how are you today? Don’t ever underestimate the power of an honest kind word.

The biggest changes are born out of the smallest number of steps; so take a step in the right direction today and choose to be the company you would want to shop in. Leave making a fast buck aside because when it’s all said and done money that comes fast, leaves fast.

Do one thing, and take a step

Once you decide what it is that you want to achieve this year – no matter how small, or large it may be; do something that will take you in that direction.

It’s easy to overwhelm ourselves with what we want out of life if you are someone with big dreams, but start by choosing to take one thing and work to see that accomplished. I suggest we make that one thing big, and then work it back into steps. Look at what you need to do to get there. Every destination requires some level of steps to get there.

Think about it… to gain access to a flat on the fifth floor, you are required to climb a minium of five floors to get there, and depending on the structure of the building you either need to take five set of stairs, or sometimes 10, or sometimes more.

Ask yourself these few questions to help you achieve your goal:

1. Where am I?

2. Where do I want to be?

3. What steps are required to get there?

Choose do so one thing today, but be careful… do NOT mistake activity for productivity, and always check your progress.

River Island: Guilty before charged.

River Island, Dublin, Ireland
Picture supplied by vivido of Flickr.

Before publishing this post, I swayed in the direction I would take this post’

1. From the frustrated shopper who had just experienced another disappointing service from retailer, River Island.

2. Taking the objective point of few, sympathizing with retailers who, perhaps have been under the same economy pressure and doing the best they can to keep their stores afloat.

I have to say after two painful experiences with one retailer I’m more swayed to the first option because regardless to the pressure these stores may be facing, we ‘the UK consumer’ have been subject to the provision of bad customer service way longer than the 2008 recession.

There is no excuse for the way some of the nations biggest retailers have treated many of their customers, advertising half truths, using loopholes and all kinds of trickery just to gain cash from the average shopper, without so much as a ‘thank you for choosing to shop with us.’

According to a survey from Clear Returns, 67% of surveyed respondents have returned items online, and over 40% say they have returned several items. The post, which you can read here goes on to suggest that a large portion of consumers are committing fraud and retailers are doing themselves no favours, by giving consumers discounted items and placing tags on the inside of garments.

Whilst I appreciate there may be a fair amount of this behavior going on, and their best intentions are to address this area. I think it would be naive of us to think that all consumers are committing fraud are to blame for the growth in returns made.

The 67% of folks who have returned items, did they admit to committing fraud? Or where they simply within their rights of the Sale of Goods Act?

In less than one month, I have been in two River Island stores, once to try to replace a damaged top (that I absolutely loved and found by accident, when out shopping with a friend) which was sadly damaged under the armpit after the first light wash – after following the instructions on the garment itself.

My second trip was yesterday, with a friend who like many UK citizens was reluctant to return his worn hoodie that he bought less than two weeks ago and had already started to bobble on the arm after two wears. In this particular case, my friend had looked at the label inside to discover the material was no made of cotton, but a cheaper material which became apparent in a matter of days.

On both occasions, we were met by reluctant and rude members of store management after the counter staff flew like the wind to find them before they even looked at the receipt and goods for return. There is certainly a pattern happening in River Island – And perhaps the retailer are receiving a higher return rate that usual, however, this doesn’t omit them to treat the consumer guilty before charged.

In my own experience, the girl flew to get the manager before I could so much as explain my reason, other than to ask me a yes or no question. Have you worn this out? In my mind I hadn’t worn this on a night out, no. It was for work use. In a split second, the girl was off and there was no way of knowing what she had said to the manager because it was out of sight, but I knew it wasn’t right when he came flying towards me a few minutes later. The angry store manager proceeded to, no word of a lie, shout rather loudly in front of the whole store, calling me a liar and telling me that ‘this top had been worn on a night out’. Again, I bought the top for work, not clubbing; And I couldn’t even tell you the last time I went clubbing. I work night and day. Cheeky monkey!!

If I wasn’t stunned speechless by this manager’s abuse I would have explained as I have in this article. Instead, I found myself forced to defend myself blind to whatever information he was given as if being questioned by police. Screaming inside; ‘I’ll gladly take a lie detector test!’

Needless to say the top I originally hoped to replace, was returned as a ‘goodwill’ gesture after his ten minute rant of insult. Later to find that I too was well within my consumer rights, and River Islands returns policy. Might I also remind us I was looking to replace the top, not return it.

The same happened to my friend when he reluctantly returned his hoodie yesterday, disappointed by the poor quality of his product from a store he thought he could trust. This time the manager was a woman and after the same 10 minute break to whisper in front of the consumer came back with the lame excuse, ‘what’s wrong with it? It is just the kind of material.’ After a few huffs and puffs, I watched on as she gave exactly the same spiel as the Glasgow manager, ‘Ok, well I’ll return it as a goodwill gesture this time, but if it happens again I won’t.’

Are you now recording each customer now? I wondered. No need for a police force when the managers of River Island are quite happy to do their job for them.

What kind of excuse is, ‘it’s just the material’ for rejecting the consumer’s right to ‘reject’ an item that is not of satisfactory quality under the Sale of Goods Act?

Is this low quality the kind of quality we can expect from River Island now? Personally I’d rather pay ten times as much for my clothes and shop somewhere were the consumer is not treated like a criminal.

At the end of the day, retailers have a business to run and yes they shouldn’t be taken advantage of by the consumer. Certainly not. However; this coin flips two ways, and they also need to learn to appreciate the consumers who go into their store and choose to spend with them – especially in today’s economy.

I must also say that many stores, including Next, Boots and several other high-street retailers have continued to improve in this area of service, (based on my own experience) which Mary Portas helped highlight to the UK consumer over a year ago with her documentary ‘Secret Shopper.’

Never the less, it seems there are some stores are either getting worse, or have a long way to go.

Do you have a good, or bad customer service story that you would like to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts and finding on this subject below.